Tag Archives: grandchildren

Like a Child

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Like a Child

I’ve just spent three days at Walt Disney World. In fact, I’m writing on my phone in a restaurant at  Hollywood Studios while sitting with a napping grandchild.

My granddaughters are obsessed with princesses. I love seeing my sweet girls twirl in their sparkly gowns. You may question the wisdom of it, but I want them to be comfortable with celebrating the beauty that He longs to set free in their hearts.

The King’s daughter is all glorious within;
Her clothing is interwoven with gold.

~ Psalm 45:13

Reality has a way of interrupting the magic, even at the happiest place on earth. As we waited for a royal meeting the phone buzzed with a text that jerked my adult self to attention.

Now alone with my thoughts my stomach churns, my jaw tightens and I am tempted to run down a familiar path that leads to worry and despair. A glance at the sleeping toddler makes me pause.

Early this morning, way before dawn, I woke as my bedroom door opened. Her little princess feet pattered the well-known path to me, her arms filled with princess dolls and her blanket. She lifted her burden toward me and spoke one word.

Grandma.

I unloaded her arms and pulled her into my bed; I wrapped my arms around her and she settled into the curve of my embrace. Her breathing  slowed and sleep came.

Anxiety, fear and fatigue will steal my joy in a skinny minute if I’m not paying attention. Instead, what if I choose the path that leads to  him? What if I choose to speak his name rather than reciting the woes that are sure to come?

Jesus.

I come to him, my arms filled with the worries, burdens and hurt that will steal my joy. He takes my heavy load and he pulls me close and I settle into his embrace. The weight of burdens lifts and he sings over me.

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing. ~ Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

I love that sweet little girl, but I know that my love for her pales in comparison to his love for me. He never sends us away; he pulls us close and sings songs over us. Whatever you are dealing with today, come to him…hand it to him and let him take the burden and pull you close.

Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child,
you’ll never get in. ~ Luke 18:18 The Message

Resting in his grace,

lorraine

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Really Not a Cat Person

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I’m Really Not a Cat Person

The grands left for home on Saturday, just after picking up a kitten that was to become their new pet. Unfortunately, none of us are cat people and therefore didn’t know it wasn’t a good idea to let the kitten wander around a strange yard to use the bathroom before boarding the swagger wagon.

She bolted. Almost caught. Not anywhere to be found. After thirty minutes of fruitless searching, they left without her, a van full of sad children and frustrated parents. It wasn’t the most graceful of departures, but hugs and kisses and reassurances were given that we would be on the lookout.

I doubted we would see her again, but I dutifully posted in the local Facebook lost and found animals page.

The Facebook post filled with helpful advice as the day progressed, most of which was far too much effort for a kitten I was not emotionally invested in and…I’m not a cat person.

I had just spent a week with a houseful of grandchildren I am heavily invested in and I was tired. Instead of making posters and knocking on neighbors doors, I tidied the house a bit and then “cat-napped”.

As the cat lovers had predicted, she began to meow around dusk. We crawled around the bottom of the deck, sure we were hearing her cries coming from underneath. A dish of food was strategically placed within view of a window, hoping she would venture out once we were out of sight. There was no sign of her and we went to bed because I am not a cat  person.

Sunset Silhouette

These are the days that count, the evenings that we will remember. And these are three of the reasons that I depserately wanted to rescue that kitten.

I awoke to the sound of a baby crying or maybe it was the kitten? I peered at the clock.  2:30 a.m. – that was definitely a whining kitten, but weariness overtook worry and I feel asleep. After all, I’m not a cat person.

Morning came; the kitten’s crying continued. She seemed more desperate, crying almost constantly but there was still no sign of her.

Soon her cries became hoarse and weak. She had been missing almost twenty-four hours. This “not a cat person’ was getting concerned.

In full sun it was apparent she was not under the deck as previously thought. I noticed a hole in the dirt, at the corner of the deck, against the foundation of the house. Her cries grew louder as we investigated the opening.

hole-in-the-ground.jpg

It was apparent she had run into an underground trench, likely forged by running water from the sprinklers. We’d found her!

Momentary relief and joy turned to panic. Hubby got on his face in the dirt and began to carefully excavate the opening. He caught a glimpse of her but the kitten retreated and went silent.

Meanwhile, I consulted with an animal-loving nephew who was giving advice via text message. He suggested we give her some time to calm down; perhaps she would venture out when she felt safe. We reluctantly walked away, and I was fearful that hole would be her grave.

An hour passed with not a sound. My earlier adrenaline rush was gone and fatigue and a bit of sadness overtook. I’m not sure why, ’cause I’m not a cat person, you know.

Neighbors popped in to offer help and I shared my concern. As we stepped onto the deck, chatting about the situation, she resumed crying.

Her voice grew louder as she ventured toward the opening.

And then, peering out of the darkness, we saw her face! She timidly approached the tuna I had placed near the opening and began to take small bites, peering at us in between.

Thankful for a twelve-year-old to navigate the narrow space, we all agreed our young neighbor was the best person to try to coax her out, most apt to be trusted by the frightened fur baby.

kitten shows her face

We all praised the kitty, trying to be totally chill so as not to alarm her. Finally, she ventured far enough to be scooped from her hiding place.

Filthy, she’d spent more than a day down a dirty hole in the earth without food, fearful and hungry. Her fur was matted with mud and fleas. And this “not a cat person” carefully washed the squirming kitty, hand picking every flea. I cared for that kitten like it was my job, but I’m not a cat person.

Dang it.

I planned to write a warm and amusing kitten story, but the analogy just made a direct hit on my heart.

Stuff happens and I feel insecure or wounded.

I’m not appreciated.

I was left out.

I was criticized unjustly.

I’m misunderstood.

I tend to follow a natural instinct to protect myself by my own means, running into a dark hole of sorts.

I try on my own to find a safe place, quivering and loudly complaining about my situation, but unwilling to take a step toward help.

As much we wanted to help that kitten, we couldn’t until she was willing to come out of that hole.

I wasn’t deaf to her cries; they pained me. I had empathy for her predicament. But she had to show her face and take those few steps of trust.

So often I run away from the promises and reassurance that God’s got me, that he is in control of the big picture. I hide and complain instead of looking to him.

These promises came to mind as I thought about our little kitten rescue and the joy that we shared when we “not cat people” knew she was safe!


But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him
who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9 NIV


He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Psalm 40:2 NIV


 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:14 NIV


 

Can you relate? Where do you struggle to trust him, even when you are frightened by the unknown? Do you long to be known and seen and yet run from the one who knows you and loves you just as you are?

I’d love to hear how all of this landed on your heart, friends. Talk back to me in the comments.

Growing in grace to trust him with my fears and hurt,

lorraine

Kitten2

Here she is, all cleaned up and waiting to be delivered to her family.

Six Things You Need to Know About Wrinkles

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Six Things You Need to Know About Wrinkles

 

She was looking intently at me when she spoke. “Grandma, are you old? Because you have lots of wrinkles so I think you are getting old.” Her beautiful blues eyes gazed directly into mine. Completely matter of fact, she innocently gave voice to her thoughts.

I continued to braid her hair, thinking hard about how to respond. I admitted to my sweet granddaughter that yes, I am getting older. I told her that wrinkles are the blessing of a long life, but I wasn’t convinced.

She couldn’t possibly understand, but my heart ached a bit as I thought of my dear friend Sandy and my younger sister Teresa, who left us before time and gravity etched the undeniable evidence of age on their precious faces. I reminded myself to be thankful for the gift of life even as I struggled with the reality of her honest remarks.

Later, as I shared the story with my husband and daughter, I began to cry. Do you know what I’m talking about, the ugly face-contorting cry you never saw coming? My little chat with her had kindled feelings I’d been trying to avoid.

Reflections of an older woman have been popping up in my rearview mirror recently. The woman I face every morning as I brush my teeth can’t possibly be me, gray hair peeking from around her ears.

I’ve never obsessed over my appearance. I put makeup on and do my hair in the morning and walk away, rarely stopping to look in the mirror again. If I remember lipstick a couple of times during the day, I’m doing well. Maybe that is why I am so shocked when the woman looking back at me looks nothing like the woman who lives inside my head.

So why did her gentle observation touch me so deeply? With a house full of grandchildren, I didn’t have much time to think about it and I pushed the thoughts down again.

A few days later, as I polished her tiny little toenails, she asked again about my age, mentioning those wrinkles yet one more time. More tears flowed, but I quickly changed the subject to the perils of red nail lacquer. She didn’t even notice as I quickly wiped them away.

When the house was once again quiet, I looked for an answer in Scripture, the only place I trust. The people who love me want to make me feel better about myself; I needed to hear the truth.

Gently, the verses washed over my weary heart:

1. Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. – Proverbs 16:31 ESV

2. Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? – Job 12:12 NIV

3. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green… – Psalm 92:14 NIV


4. Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. – Isaiah 46:4 ESV

5. I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. – Psalm 37:25 ESV

 

6. Since my youth, God, you have taught me and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. – Psalm 71:17018 NIV

Six promises – one for every decade that I’ve been given. I’m encouraged, but I still have wrinkles and the hair will only continue to turn grey. Absent a change of heart I’m destined to be sad for the rest of my life!

I discovered a beautiful series of portraits by Tom Hussey of older men and women looking into a mirror and seeing their younger selves. That is how I feel. The great news is that although my body continues to age, my spirit is growing brighter and brighter.

His light shines more every year I am closer to being complete and in the presence of my sweet Jesus. Even though youth fades, the glory of his light shines brighter. These promises encourage my heart and remind me of my true value and the legacy of faith I am building.

As I celebrate yet another year, my prayer is that although they are surrounded by lines, my eyes reflect his peace; that my face, although aging, will shine with the joy of walking with Jesus for many years.

Gracefully yours,

lorraine

 “With long life I will satisfy her and show her my salvation.” – Psalm 91:16 ESV

Check out Tom Hussey’s photos here!