Tag Archives: God

Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?

Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?
Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?

I read plenty of blogs and books about forgiveness and grace and how the Father’s arms are open wide.  I also read posts about hope for children as they grow and how everything will be ok. Really?

But what if you are in the position of the Dad in that story.  (Luke 15:11-23) What if your child is still out there in the pig pen, even though you did the best you could. How do you get to the place of daily living and being ready to open those arms when and IF they return?

I love that picture of love, grace and forgiveness for the returning son.  I am a true recipient of it.  I was in the mud and the muck and my heavenly father lifted me right out of it.  (Ps 40:2) I don’t even remember running to Him – He was just there, pulling me to himself, washing the grime and shame right off my face.  He beckoned me and I went.  Without that daily grace and love in my life I just know I would curl up in a ball and never function.

It’s that unconditional love that I have been given that stirs the desire in me to share it with everyone, especially my children.  I want to be that person, patiently waiting with open arms, filled with love and grace.  But what if that child doesn’t want it and what if they never come?  And what about those times I just don’t think I can?

Nothing in life guarantees that the sweet toddler you can’t get enough of will grow into the adult you have envisioned.  The reality is, they will grow up and be the person they want to be, and God will allow trials and consequences to grow and shape them.  (James 1:2-4) You can love them till it hurts and it might not make a difference for a very long time or seemingly never at all.  How then do you have hope and patience?  How do you get through those times of blaming yourself, fear or regret?

One of my favorite verses is Phil 4:13. “You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.” We can do all things. We can love when it seems undeserved. We can bite our tongues when all we want to do is scream.  (Col 3:12-13) We can pray continually and feel the flood of God’s peace fill our hearts and minds when all seems lost. (Phil 4:6-7) We can rest in the real hope that God is sovereign, and He can and will take care of everything, either in this world or the next. (Rom 8:28) We can cast our burdens on Him, and He will take it. (Ps 55:22) We can be that person, with open arms, without judgment, when the prodigal returns.  Even if that child doesn’t return, we can cry out in the stillness of pain, and know that God is God and that can still be enough.

Find your peace and hope in the eternal Abba Father that is worthy of it. Love your children and enjoy the moments you have with mother prayingthem. It’s the closest example we have of how God loves us. Just never forget they belong to Him first, last and forever.   We can do our humanly best, and even our worst, and God is still in control.  I believe that’s how the Prodigal Son’s father did it.  His hope was always in the sovereign One who made us all.

One of my favorite quotes is this: “Everything will be ok in the end.  If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.” Fernando Sabino

Sometimes the end takes a very long time to get here and sometimes it’s here in a flash. Either way, it’s never quite what we expected.  But, if we’ve spent time dwelling in the awareness of the ever-present God, and we’ve learned to acknowledge Him in all our ways, when that end finally does arrive, we will be ok… And what a celebration it will be!…Really.


My Blingy Cross

My Blingy Cross

IMG_8859For those who know me, I am kind of famous for my “bling”.  My motto is, “If you can’t lose it, decorate it!”  I am also just drawn to the sparkly and girly.  I just can’t help it.   My most favorite accessory is a pair of earrings that dangle.  They have crosses that are gold with little diamonds in them.  I have had hundreds of compliments on these earrings over the years, so their beauty isn’t restricted to just me.

The thing with those earrings is not so much that they are pretty, but that they are crosses; which can be easily dismissed behind all the glitter and my impeccable fashion sense. (Ha ha ha!)  I see a lot of cross jewelry in my excursions and I, myself have missed the point behind the fashion at times, so I thought I should write about it…

I would be lying if I said I didn’t appreciate fashion, or compliments.  The reason I actually wear the cross is much deeper than those two reasons.

I grew up in a culture that frowned upon wearing the cross.  It was almost taboo.  I remember when I first became a true Christ follower; I still wouldn’t be caught dead wearing one!  As a new believer, I realized the gift of grace and eternal salvation.  I was amazed and in awe of the Cross and what happened there!  It had always been a part of the salvation process to me, but I hadn’t grasped the reality of Christ’s words, “It is finished.”  (John 19:30) When Christ died on that Cross, He literally took my place for all my sin – what I had already committed and what I would still commit.  When He died, the penalty was complete!

What I deserve for my pride, covetousness, lying, gossiping, theft, fornication, disrespect, slander, and greed is death and complete separation from a holy God.  (Romans 6:23) (Those are just some of the sins I have been guilty of.)  Any sin, as small as you may think it is, keeps us away from God.  The Creator of this earth is perfect and holy.  By His very nature, He cannot commune with us eternally as we live in our sinful state.

So, being the very definition of LOVE, God sent His one and only son – to take all of our sin to the point of punishment and death on a cross.  And it doesn’t even end there!  To fully beat sin, He died, then rose again, for us to have eternal life!  Without death, and removal of sin, there cannot be eternal life in the presence of God.

The Cross isn’t an idol that I worship, pray to, or even just consider a pretty accessory.  It’s the very representation that demands me to remember who I was and who I am now, in Christ.  It reminds me that Christ took my place.  It reminds me of how loved I am, and that I have the power of Christ in me.  “The very power to overcome sin and death and walk humbly with my God.” (Micah 6:8)

I hope that when people see the crosses dangling from my ears, they see Christ in me and not just my bling.  My prayer is for everyone to see the point of the Cross in all of the various fashion statements this world has made out if it.

Becoming a Christ follower doesn’t magically make me perfect, or even less hypocritical,  HA, I wish! But it does make me a new creation from the inside out.  The Holy Spirit has moved into my heart and is transforming me day by day.  I still sin.  The difference is that now I know I am forgiven and I have His Spirit convicting me and working in me.  It can only be by and through Him that this transformation can happen!  Honestly, just the fact that I am forgiven, and my punishment has been taken, gives me peace and fills me with gratitude, that is hard to ignore.  I can testify that my sin isn’t as easy to walk in, and my hearts desire is to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, which makes all the difference.

I know God has given me the gift of bling… (stay with me here.) Having an eternal perspective almost demands it! (tongue in cheek) Heaven is described pretty “blingy”:

Revelation 21:18-21 The wall was made of jasper, while the city itself was made of pure gold, yet it was as clear as glass.  The foundation stones of the wall of the city were decorated with every kind of jewel: the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst.  The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate expertly crafted from a single beautiful pearl. And the city street was pure gold, yet it was as transparent as glass.

As long as my outer adornment doesn’t take away from the Spirit of Christ in me – (1 Peter 3:3) then I am just displaying a little piece of heaven! Really. (see what I did there?)

If you have not trusted in Christ to be your Savior, it’s not hard!  He not only died for me, but for you too! If you want forgiveness of your sins and to be filled with the peace that only God can give, then just pray to Him.  Confess your sin, tell Him that you need Him and ask Him to take over your life.  I promise you that He will and it will be worth it.  Really.

What do you think of when you see the cross?

Answered Prayer…Yes, it happens.

Answered Prayer…Yes, it happens.

My last post was about fellowship, and how important I think it is… That got me thinking about an even deeper fellowship, which is the glue that holds me together… Which got me thinking about a time when I was desperate for fellowship with a friend, or family member, and God made it clear that it was only time for Him.  I then thought I should share that story with you…

My oldest son has had many challenges in his life.  Much more than the average person for sure, and that has made life just a little bit more difficult for him and for those that love him.  This week we celebrated his 28th birthday, so we have come a long way!  We have some scars, but we also have some faith and we have clearly seen God’s hand in many of the trials we have endured.  I am very proud of the man he has become…

When he was 17 he had gotten into some trouble with the law, and had gone to jail for a short period of time.  This development had come after a long line of struggles and I was really exhausted.  On the morning of his court date, I had to drop two of my kids off at school, and one off at a friend’s house.  I had been sick, and I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for that morning as well.  I dropped off all of the kids, and was heading to the courthouse when it all just overcame me.  I needed to talk to my husband.  I called him and he didn’t answer.  So, I tried my mom.  She didn’t answer.  I called 3 of my friends.  None of them answered.  At this point I was crying and asking God where the heck everyone was!!  I got on a roll and just started screaming at Him.  I threw my phone across the van and really let God have it.  Why? I kept asking Him.  What am I supposed to do?  I told Him that I needed peace and direction!

I got to the courthouse and my son and his lawyer were outside the courtroom.  I was informed that within the hour we could all go home.  I had my doctor’s appointment, and I was still pretty upset, so I told the lawyer to drop my son off at the house, and I left.  He obviously had it under control.

I arrived at the doctor’s office almost 30 minutes late.  The nurse told me that I would now have to wait to be “fit in”.  So, being emotionally exhausted, I agreed with the terms and found a seat.  About 30 minutes later, I was moved to room on the far left of the building.  I sat in there for about another 20 minutes.  Then they came and moved me to the far right of the building.  I sat in there for about 15 minutes.  Then the doctor walked in the room…

I didn’t know her, but it was a big practice, and I was a “fit in” so I wasn’t alarmed that I wasn’t getting my regular doctor.  She seemed sweet enough at the introductions, and I immediately felt at ease.  She kindly took my hand and asked me what was bothering me.  Well.  I burst into tears and started telling her my parenting woes!  She encouraged me, by asking questions and really looking like she cared!  I ended up spilling the whole story in about 5 minutes.  She then took my hand again, looked me right in the eye and told me that she had gone through the same thing with her son a few years ago.  She then shared her story, and offered lots of advice, books for me to read for comfort and peace, and she even told me about a place that my son could go if he really needed to.

The nurse kept popping in and smiling and looking like she wanted to say something too.  The doctor asked the nurse to bring lunch to her, because she didn’t want to end our conversation just yet.  When the nurse came back, she asked if she could share something too.  She then told both of us that she used to be just like my son.  She told us how she felt and why she did some of the things she did.  She even told us what she thought when her parents tried to help her.  She then told us her beautiful story of redemption and transformation.

Well, after all of that sharing and crying, it turned out I had a sinus infection too.  I got some antibiotics, a list of resources that would help me with my son; some hugs, and headed home.

I left there in complete awe of my God.  He answered every single question I screamed at Him, just a few hours before.  He used those stories to give me hope and peace, and even an action list – which is important to type A’s like me.

A few weeks later, I called the doctors office to thank her.  I was told that she was not there.  She was just a friend of one of the doctors, who just happened to be in town that week, and was filling in that day because they were short staffed.  She was gone.  Really.

She was there, in that office, for just that day.  God knew what I needed, and even the questions I had, before I had even thrown my phone…  If that’s not an answered prayer, I don’t know what is.  I also realized that I had waited an awful long time to see the doctor.  Kinda like waiting on the Lord.  What if I had gotten impatient and left?  God’s timing is not the same as ours, but sometimes it’s pretty close if we just wait…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

One of the resources she recommended is the book “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian.  It has brought me much peace over the years.

The place she recommended was the Paul Anderson Youth Home for Boys.  We did end up having our son stay there for a while – and I can also recommend it!  It is a wonderful place, truly anointed by God.

Do you have a God story to share?  Are you still waiting on the Lord?