Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Hide me

I was studying Isaiah chapter 30 this week for our women's group when I was captivated by these two verses:

For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
"In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength."
But you would not,
And you said, "No, for we will flee on horses"--
Therefore you shall flee!
And, "We will ride on swift horses"--
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift! Isaiah 30:15-16

Now, I'm not a hunter personally but my husband is and on occasion he will hunt birds. Pheasant can often be found in large fields where they will hide among the tall grass to find protection from their enemies. When they stay hidden, they are safe.

I imagine that this is a very hard thing to remember when the feet of the enemy begin to draw near.

I don't know if you're familiar with pheasant hunting techniques but the typical method is for several men to walk abreast through the field. As they walk the birds are scared into flying, making themselves an easy target for the hunters. They forget all about the safety of the grass and in their panic they put themselves right in harms way.

How many times do we do the same thing? Instead of trusting in our hiding place, the Lord, we try to flee instead. The verses in Isaiah remind me that resting in His strength is where I will find my deliverance. My comfort comes not from fleeing from my enemies but in surrendering to the Lord.

It is when we panic and take flight that we put ourselves out in the path of danger and make ourselves an easy target. I can relate to those Israelites who wanted to flee and make alliances with other countries; we don't seem to feel safe unless we're doing something. The people that Isaiah was addressing didn't just panic, they deliberately ignored the word of the Lord to them and laid other plans. They sought to protect themselves and refused to trust in the Almighty, but to truly be safe we need to take refuge and let Him be our defense.

Psalm 91:1-6 says,

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust."

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;

His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday."

Abide in Him, then when the feet of the enemy draw near you won't be tempted to flee because you've made Him your dwelling place. The person who trusts in God is the one who lives close to Him.

Monday, April 10, 2006

one, two, three, dip...

As I often do when I hear his truck tires crunching along the gravel road, I went out to the front yard to greet him. I waited patiently as he got out and put his things onto the hood before turning to give me a hug. As usual, he opened his arms to embrace me and I gladly came to him.

But then he did something completely unexpected; he dipped me!

Yes, that's right, he dipped me. Swooped me right off my feet, twisted around and bent low to the ground, looked into my startled eyes and after all that grand swooping simply said, "Hi."

"Hi!" I breathlessly replied. I felt completely helpless dangling there supported only by his strong arms. A quick kiss and I was back on my feet as fast as I'd left them. He gathered his things and flashed a michevious grin at my stunned face.

I'm sure that first dip didn't look as romantic as it might sound because I remember flinging my leg out and wildly clutching at his shoulders. It probably looked more like a drowning woman grasping at a life preserver than a graceful dip! I hate to admit it but I just didn't trust him not to drop me!

He has dipped me many times since that first one and though I am usually still caught off guard by the suddenness of it, I no longer flail about. I have learned to trust that his strength will hold me fast. I have learned not to struggle but to just lie peacefully in his arms, knowing that I will be upright again in a moment. I have learned to enjoy the ride. When he dips me, all I can see is his face looking lovingly into mine and the world falls away for those few beautiful moments.

As I reflect on the gift that I have in my husband I can see that there are bigger, stronger arms than his holding me. Whenever life has knocked me off my feet the arms of the Lord have been there to catch me and set me upright again. When an old hurt rises like a Pheonix from the ashes of my memory His arms encircle and protect me. He whispers reassuring words to my heart that soothe and calm.

There is something wonderful about learning to just lie peacefully and know that I am in the care of one stronger than myself.

"If I say, "My foot slips,"
Your mercy, O Lord wil hold me up.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me,
Your comforts delight my soul."
Psalm 94:18-19

Friday, April 07, 2006

Kid Speak

I love the way kids get things garbled or mixed up when they're speaking. Gracie is almost two and she's says a lot of very interesting stuff! I'm not sure what most of it is but I hang on every word. Here are some of her words and their translation:

Mee, mee = Excuse me!

Tate tu = Thank you

Eeez = Please

Da bouche = garbage (I think this is one of my favorites!)

For banana she sticks her tongue out and moves it back and forth across her lips while making noise. (I love that one too but there is no way I could draw you a picture of it. You'd just have to see her do it. )

As they get a little older the things they say are much more sophisticated. Josh used to call vanilla yogurt "ballilla logurt" but not anymore.


He just turned six in February and now he is quite the linguistic artist. He pronounces most things correctly these days but he still uses some amusing terms.

Just last night he was holding Snowy (his completely gray kitten) when he exclaimed; "Mom! I didn't know Snowy got so bumpy when he purrs!"

I love that kid. :)

A few weeks ago we went to Alfy's Pizza with a group of friends for an after church lunch. Josh had eaten his required piece of cheese pizza doused liberally with Parmesan and was now eyeballing the candy dispenser. All those colorful little balls of candy were too much for him and he began his quest for a quarter. He turned the full power of those big blue eyes on the adults present and the loose change began to flow!

Sadly, the M&M dispenser was jammed. Despite the Herculean effort of Mr. Miller to jar those candies loose Josh never did get his chocolate fix. At one point he turned to me (the Mommy who can fix everything, don't you know!) and asked if I could "get the pizza cooker guys to come get me a candy?"

If I had thought those pizza cooker guys could get him one I would have pulled one out of that kitchen by his ear!

Funny isn't it? They know what they want and they don't worry about the proper way to ask. Jon and I were talking last night about praying and how we all do it differently. Some people will use King James English and some will use flowery, extravagant terms. Others just pray simply. I love the story of the guy who had just become a Christian and was invited to join a group in prayer. The other members were praying with big religious sounding words but he simply said, "Hi God, in case you don't remember me, it's Bob. I talked to you last week and now I'm back..."

I used to worry about praying in front of others. I had been in a church where the Women's Ministry leader would go along after everyone who had prayed and correct everything they had said. You can imagine the impact that had!

It's taken some time but as I've gotten to know the Lord a little better I've realized that He's like any parent would be. He just loves it when we come and speak to Him. I don't have to use big fancy sounding words or try to impress Him.

I think it pleases Him more when I come to Him like Josh did to me; expecting that He will hear me and take action on my behalf.

I am so comforted by that because most of the time I sound more like Gracie than someone scholarly anyway. He is so amazing, so awe-inspiring that all I can manage is, "Tate-tu!"

And thankfully, that is enough.

"Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Mathew 18:2-4 NKJV