Pursuit of Toddler

Pursuit of Toddler

“I’m so sorry!” I gushed again. I quickly yanked my toddler from behind the dressing room curtain shielding my half-dressed and good-humored friend.

She laughed and replied with a genuine “it’s fine” as she carried on slipping into another stunning gown. Embarrassed, I brought myself upright once again, but without much time to recover. A moment later I was whisked away to restrain my daughter just as her tiny sprawled fingers reached for a pristine white gown to tear from its perfectly placed hanger. She stiffened her body and squealed as I plucked her up, thoroughly unhappy that I had interrupted her reign of terror. (If her older brother was here right now, this would definitely be when he’d declare his embarrassment and try to pretend he didn’t know any of us.) Nevertheless, I was left to my own devices for damage control today.

A bridal boutique is simply not the ideal environment for the untamed species that is a one year old.

Photo credit: Charisse Kenion

The pursuit continued for the duration of our shopping date, punctuated by brief moments of awe and many compliments as I watched my friend make a big decision for her big day. Even in those pauses though, I was keeping track of my little tyrant and planning the next interception.

Long after I’d left the boutique, it occurred to me that my own pursuit of my child was not unlike God’s pursuit for me. Just as I dodged delicate decor, weaved between racks of gowns and rows of accessories, and dove with abandon to catch my daughter before she was able to do damage, God dodges and weaves and dives to pursue me. Even in the moments when it seems His attention is elsewhere, He’s still aware of where I am and the paths I’m taking. He’s always waiting for His next opportunity to intercept when I need His guidance or protection.

“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.”

-Psalms 139:7-10

There are no giant mirrors I can hide behind, no bench seats I can duck below, and no pedestals I can climb on top of where He can’t reach me. Even in my wandering and shenanigans He is chasing after me without ceasing, pursuing my soul for my protection out of His great love for me.

God- our father- never stops. He never gets tired or resigns to let us run rampant away from Him (no matter how far off we may feel.) He never shrugs His shoulders and says “oh well” assuming He’s done all that He can do. He stays close because His diligence in pursuing us (much like His love) knows no bounds.

“I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:11-12‬ ‭NLT

If you feel far off or disconnected from God today- take heart. You may not see Him at this moment, but He sees you and He is never more than an arm’s length away. If He watches out for even the sparrows (Mathew 10:29-31,) rest assured He watches out for You.

Keep Your Eye On The Couch Pillows

Keep Your Eye On The Couch Pillows

“DON’T EAT THE CARPET!” I yelled, as I dove over the kitchen chair barrier I’d created to keep my now-crawling daughter within the confines of the living room.

I pried her mouth open as she flailed her extremities in every direction. In one fluid swipe my glasses were removed from my face and landed just out of reach. “Blind your opponent- impressive strategy for a 10-month-old,” I thought. Nevertheless I was able to reach into her tiny little chipmunk-like cheeks between blows and retrieve the stray strand of carpet.

Our living room is currently its own special work of art. With an open concept floorplan there is little to keep my curious baby herded within the pasture of our living space. So, from necessity, I’ve designed a very chic arrangement consisting of a side-lying kitchen chair, furniture pressed up against each other, a laundry basket filled with hopeless, matchless socks, and a portable playpen.

I’m not sure why I haven’t been contacted by Better Homes and Gardens yet, really. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Now while much of our home boasts newer flooring thanks to the previous owner, our living room carpet has certainly seen its better days in the decades since our house was built. Charlie, our lazy yellow lab, must agree. Wherever he decides to lay, he paws at the carpet to make for a softer napping spot, and occasionally strands from the carpet are pulled loose. My eagle-eyed munchkin sometimes finds these small pieces before I do.

Feeling the frustration, I thought, “I’ll get ahead of this.” I grabbed a pair of scissors and went around extracting any little strand that looked as if it may come loose at Charlie’s pawing. Then, feeling accomplished, I returned my daughter to her designer play area.

A short time later I made a quick trip to the next room, only to return to find her squirreling away couch pillow stuffings in her tiny baby cheeks.

(Friends. Remember me in your prayers.)

As moms we know that we can’t take our eyes off of these sweet little sneaks for a second. The moment we start patting ourselves on the back for conquering the trials of one milestone, they’re already onto the next. In the midst of trying to keep up with my daughter this week, I came across a verse that pointedly reminded me that we can’t take our eyes off of our enemy either:

“When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.” -Luke 4:13 NLT

That’s right- He. Never. Stops.

Even as we celebrate the moments when we find the strength to walk away from a carefully crafted temptation, or choose differently rather than going back to a bad habit, he is already scouting out the next opportunity to knock us down. He is constantly working- so that means that we need to be, too.

In light of this, I’ve got to ask you what I’ve been asking myself this week: How can you be more persistent? 

Is it waking up earlier to get into the Word before your day sets your priorities for you? Grabbing your Bible or devotional as soon as the kids go to sleep instead of the remote? Deleting an app off your phone that- let’s be real here- the enemy is using to distract you from devoting more time to God?

The bottom line is this: our purpose in life is to love God and love people. It’s so simple, but the enemy is persistent and effective in making it complicated. We have to hold onto the truths of the Word in order to be prepared for every opportunity to love, so that there is less opportunity for the enemy to take the lead.

Donut Thief

Donut Thief

Have you ever sat down with a donut and counted the seconds until your children come running at you to steal your new treasure?

(Probably not, right? Because we’re smart enough to hide in our closets or cars while we indulge in that sort of luxury…. 💁🏻) BUT if you have, you know what it’s like to grasp at something wonderful and watch it walk away in pieces in the hands of someone else.

Well sometimes my peace is like a donut.

When I started my current Bible study with a small group of wonderful women, it was mentioned that we ought to be on guard for the enemy trying to work harder in our lives when he sees the progress we’re making. Y’all it’s real. He KNOWS when we’re getting closer to God and he wants to steal our “donuts” of peace, faith, courage, truth, motivation, and anything else he sees us enjoying as a benefit of relation with our Creator.

His favorite place to get us is in our thoughts- especially the ones we’re not paying very much attention to that like to run away from us. I’ve personally noticed the struggle in this area- and even in my dreams!

The other night I had terrible dreams and when I woke up I realized- he’s messing with me. So I prayed and prayed, and finally went back to sleep. The next night I was anxious at remembering the fear I’d felt the night before and I spent a long time in prayer. When I finally laid down it was nearly 1:00am and I opened up my Bible app to read the new Verse of the Day as it had just changed over. This is what it said:

God listens!! How amazing is it that at one o’clock in the morning while little old me is laying in bed STRESSING, the divine God of Heaven and Earth is listening to the drama flooding my mind??

We all have our own ideas of who God is and what he’s like but it’s wonderful to remember that he’s also our father. He listens to the little things, he tucks us in at night, and he takes the “donut” of peace out of the hands of the bully trying to steal it away and gives it right back to us.

So guys, I realize that I just likened my children stealing my food to the devil stealing my peace but I know you get it…. And I know you all know I love my littles!! 😂🤷🏻‍♀️ Just remember that we- YOU- are loved by a God who wants good things for you- who hears you, sees you, and looks after you in all aspects. And if that isn’t enough, if we’re still needing the sprinkles on top, sometimes he bends down and speaks directly to us.

Whatever your fear or worry is- take it to your father. He listens- and speaks!

It’s Tuesday- Rejoice!

It’s Tuesday- Rejoice!

There was a good old Psalm mentioned on the radio this morning that got me thinking:

“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” -Psalms 118:24

With simple, straight forward verses like this, I’m often guilty of skimming over them with an “oh that’s nice” sort of sentiment. But this one jumped out of the radio at me this morning, especially because I’ve been feeling particularly convicted lately to pursue a life filled with God’s peace.

Here’s what got me:

“We WILL rejoice and be glad in it”- As in.. not just if you feel like it. As in.. not just if the barista gets my order right, the traffic is light, my kid gets to school without melting down over having to wear nice jeans instead of sweatpants, and unicorns sprinkle magical glitter in my coffee that will ward off fussy babies. No- we WILL rejoice, and we will do it simply because we are given this day by our good and faithful God! We’re not just going to be glad over good circumstances, but over a God who is good!

Have you ever come across a person who just exudes joy everywhere they go? Like someone who could probably be attacked by a rabid squirrel on their walk to work and still be positively radiating joy over the fact that it was sunny enough to walk instead of drive? Those people, I think, have something surprisingly simple figured out that I am still working to learn, and that is Psalms 118:24.

Joy in all circumstances is a simple concept that I over complicate in my desire for control. Because if the circumstances are not up to my expectations, my inner need for perfectionism says- ‘no dice, it’s time to freak out over even the most mild inconveniences.’ But what am I going to believe and, more importantly, ACT on- my own imperfect tendencies, or the wisdom God has graciously given me through scripture?

I think we know the answer here.

The only perfect person who ever was or will be has already come and gone from this earth and in many ways that frees us from trying to be perfect, or create a perfect environment around ourselves. While the life of Jesus set the standard for us, it didn’t create an identical mold that we have to try to fill. All we can do is our very best to climb inside that mold and let God’s grace fill the cracks that we can’t quite fit into.

We have to stop trying to look for circumstances that create gladness, stop trying to create qualities within ourselves that produce joy, and just simply decide to BE JOYFUL because we already have the very best reason to be- we are living in a day created by a perfect God who gives us perfect grace and that is more than enough reason to rejoice and be glad. So there is no divine secret to activating joy in your heart- it just takes gratitude and a mind set on Christ.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬