devotional thoughts


He had everything he needed. (Including underwear and socks for each day- which by the way-he never changed. Not once. Gross. I know. He showered each day, but slipped back into his undies faster than a formula 1 pit stop.(kids + public showers and change areas= torture. Just sayin.) under those panicky conditions I can almost understand. (I remember desperate locker-room prayers…”Dear Lord, please don’t let anyone see my junk.” The official locker-room prayer of every tween.) If he’s ever in the Guinness book of World records it will be for: least often changed underwear with the cleanest backside and most nagging survived.

But, he had them. Along with a smuggled against the rules flashlight. Cause I knew he’d have trouble getting to sleep.

And a dated note from me to encourage him each night. And bug spray. And sunblock. And 3 new books….and countless t shirts. And jeans. And slippers. He had it all.

He even knew that God goes before and with him everywhere…..we talk about that all the time…

And yet, that note says it all: “I can’t take it anymore, I’m homesick.”

A heartbreaking scrap of paper, shoved into an envelope in hopes that someone would hear his desperation. And rescue him.

It’s the only direct contact i received from camp. There were no cell calls. No texts. Not even an email. (With the exception of a daily summary email from the teachers. Which helped ME survive.) It was an adventure in preparing him….and then letting him go.

The letter arrived, after he did. It’s the only letter because it was written on the first night of camp. After that- he was too busy having fun to write. I’m convinced it was grace that it arrived after he did.

I’m sad he had a rough first night…. But, I’m glad the letter didn’t arrive in time for me to immediately climb into my car and go: RESCUE my BABY.

Because he would have missed out. He would have missed out on fun…..and on overcoming his fear.

The truth is: He could take it. He did. He even: had fun. So did I. Coincidentally, my husband was also out of town. It was a time for me to sleep in, watch movies on the big tv and maintain control of the remote. (I’m the only woman in the house- that’s a pretty rare event.)

And a chance for me to let go of (my false sense of ) control and trust God with my kid. Or try to. Let’s just say lots of prayer was involved, too.

There are moments in my life when my prayers sound a lot like Noah’s note from camp. “I can’t take it anymore. I’m homesick.” I can’t take chronic pain. I can’t take the seemingly never ending stress of my husbands ongoing cancer battle. I can’t take one more piece of home- machinery breaking down. One more car problem. One more decision about health care. One more thing.

The truth is: I feel homesick, too. For a time when there won’t be anymore crying…pain, sickness, stress, sin, parental struggle, marital struggle…..loss to grieve. Fear to confront or hope- disappointed.

I long for heaven. For a time when God will wipe away my tears and my body will be whole. (And I’m pretty sure a size 8.)

I wonder if my prayers of desperation are met by God with the same response I had to Noah…..”you did it! I knew you could! I’m sorry it was so hard that you though you couldn’t…..but I’m proud of you for continuing on, anyway.”

Fortunately, my prayers are faster than the USPS. My prayers of desperation are heard. God encourages through his people, his word and his creation….I listen. And then…. I do the next thing to get through..,.

Someday camp will end, and I’ll reminisce about all I learned and experienced.

I can do this. So can you.

“Dear lord, that note from Noah broke my heart. I’m so glad you got him through, and that he grew and had fun. I’m also glad that you are compassionate when I send up my own desperately scribbled scrap prayers ….thank you for being even here…. When I’m not sure i can take it anymore. Thank you for getting me through. I love you Lord and ask you to wrap your heart around all who read that feel the same… Jesus’ name, amen.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you.”

I’ve gotta be honest- the first part of the verse makes me feel bad…. Cause I’m not strong. I don’t feel courageous. I am sometimes afraid. But the second part? That makes it possible to get through thee first part;)

tom tom   I ALWAYS lock my car.  I am the one who nags my husband to lock his car.  But-   apparently- I messed up. Big time.  I know what happened.  The other night- on my way home from Target- The sunset was SPECTACULAR. ( you can see the pics if you scroll down)  I ran into the house- grabbed the kids -they know i’m crazy- and the camera and ran upstairs to watch it together.  In the commotion, I must have forgot to lock the truck.

Yesterday- when I went out to my car to go pick up groceries- I noticed my husband’s Tom-Tom- (His Christmas gift from last year) was GONE.  It had been on the dash board the night before.    Stolen. 

It’s just a “thing” but it made me so angry.  DH called the police- they will be by tonight to make a report.  But- the bottom line?  It’s gone.  Something special I bought for my hubby (who is hard to buy for like any man) is toast.  I was (ok- I still AM) furious.

The anger- I expected. What I didn’t expect- was the fear I felt later last night.  I felt vulnerable.  Afraid.  Like maybe our neighborhood isn’t as “safe” as I thought.  I checked and double checked the window and door locks before bed.   I turned on every light- inside and out.  

This morning, I realized some people live in fear like this all the time.  Their neighborhoods aren’t safe.  It isn’t just an ocassional thing.  It isn’t just “stuff” being stolen, but real violations.  real hurts.   I can’t imagine how hard that would be. 

This morning- I’m calmer.  I managed to pray for the person who stole the tom-tom.  I keep thinking “what a dumb thing to do- what a dumb thing to be imprisoned for”.  In all probability it’s a kid who wanted to make a few quick bucks.  Totally not worth being arrested for.  The police said there have been a few other cars broken into, other stuff stolen.  Who ever is doing this- has done it more than once.  Eventually, they will be caught. 

I hope they stop.  I hope they get some help.  I hope they find out their life and freedom is worth so much more than “stuff.” I hope they realize they are hurting people. 

The tom- tom can be replaced.  (besides- now I know what to buy him for Christmas this year).   But freedom, lost can’t be.  

I feel so bad for this person- and for those who live in crime ridden areas…. will you pray for them with me?

“Dear Jesus- you know I am angry. I am hurt. But- God- this is just a thing- so totally not as valuable as the person who stole it. I pray that they’d learn their value in your eyes. That they wouldn’t squander their life and freedom over “stuff”. Lord- I pray that I wouldn’t either. I may not steal, but God- you know the truth is I spend too much time worrying about, taking care of and cleaning- stuff. I guess I’m as guilty as anybody of wasting my life on stuff.

Help me to value people more than things- the way that you do. Jesus- I ask you to be with those who live with crime on a constant basis. I pray for them to have courage, and for protection. I pray for the police pfficers who confront crimes big and small, that you’d be with them and protect them, adn give them wisdom and courage. And- Lord- it would be nice if the police could get the stupid tom-tom back… I love you Lord- amen”

peeking “Help me Mommmmmy!  I’m twapped!”

I heard the little panicked cry from the living- room.   To be entirely honest- I didn’t exactly run from the bathroom to his rescue.

Like the little boy who cried wolf, we’ve been here before- not all Noah crisis’ are real.  Most are imagined.  (Like standing in the pantry screaming to be rescued when all he has to do is push the door open.)  I learned a long time ago not to freak.

 I finished my lip-liner and gloss before I went on my rescue mission.

 OOPS.  This time it was true.  I found him lying in front of the armoire that holds the TV in the livingroom.  His left arm -up to just above the elbow- was mostly out of view.   It was pinned under the armoire.  

The armoire is a pretty typical 7  feet tall and thousand pounds of oak, particle board and media equipment with flashing clocks.   If you toss in an additional 10 pounds of accumulated dust – (somebody really SHOULD clean that) you’ve got the picture.  

I tried to pull it out. No go.  He screamed. 

I tried the “wiggle method.”  Nada.

I thought about butter- then, thought about the beige carpet.  “Not that desperate, yet.” I thought.

I pulled again- He screamed. Again.  Louder.

“Stop screaming- I can’t think” I yelled. (volume helps? right? ) I was starting to freak- just a little. 

I thought about all those news stories I’ve heard- about parents suddenly being able to lift cars off of their pinned children.  I tried to move the armoire.  Nothing. (it was worth a shot.)   Incredible Hulk Mom- I am not.

The thought of having to call the fire department to free my child from the monster armoire was not appealing.  I looked at my watch- (the flashing clocks are useless) I wondered if I could keep him busy playing one handed gameboy until my teenagers came.  They are pretty strong- I was convinced the three of us could lift it.

 “What were you doing?” I asked him.  More to kill time, than to get an answer.   “I had to get my TOY!”  My mind instantly went to all the stories about monkeys with their hands in coconuts  “Are you still HOLDING it?”  I asked. 

“I have to get it” He said.  Sheesh.  A classic. I live in a monkey house. No doubt about it.

It took some convincing- and the locating of an implement to prove that I would fish the toy out as soon as his ARM and BODY were out of the way.

He finally relaxed his grip- we bent his elbow and he was free.  Just a few red marks  and that faded pretty quick.  No permanent damage or butter messes.  What a relief.

“I love you mommy, thanks for rescuing me” He said. 

I had to laugh.  I didn’t exactly “rescue” him….. he just let go of the toy.  

Funny- I’m pretty sure that from God’s perspective I’ve had my arm stuck for a while- too.  Holding onto something, refusing to let it go and but not able to hold on and make it work.  

 I wonder what would happen if I just let it go?  Would he be able to rescue the thing I love?  Would He fish it out and hand it to me?

 It just might be worth a try.

Matthew 16:24-25
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”

“Dear Jesus- help me not be stubborn- trying to rescue myself or hold onto and grab for things on my own that you want to freely give me- I love you Lord- please help me to stop bein a Monkey mom- amen. Oh- and thnx for helping me figure out how to free the boy….the butter would have been a bad idea.”