Skinned knees

What is an inevitability when “shorts” season finally arrives?

Skinned knees.

For my daughter this year, both fell on the first day.

Lauren's skinned knee

Lauren’s skinned knee

The freedom of summer is not without its risk…bee stings, eyes nipped by chlorinated water, sunburns, poison ivy, and, yes, skinned knees.

But those temporary scrapes are worth running through the sprinkler in the hot sun, slurping popsicles and staying up late roasting marshmallows around the fire!

In the Christian life, we need to remember that freedom does not always mean free from pain. Even when smack dab in the center of God’s will, we will face pressures, frustrations, difficult decisions and betrayal.

Does that mean we need to stay inside all summer? Should we live with timid faith, avoiding danger and potential sacrifice at all costs? Do we question our quest when surrounded?

But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56: 3-4

Staying off the radar is not an option as a follower of Jesus. God desires for us to live life to the fullest, abundantly, even if that means personal loss.

I remember times when we were small that one of my siblings or I would fall and my dad would come running toward us making a loud ambulance sound, scooping us up and bringing us inside to assess the damage. He or mom would clean out our wounds with peroxide, carefully bandage us up, and send us back outside again.

When Lauren fell in our gravel driveway last night, she received her first of many skinned knees of the year. But, after some kisses and cuddles, she was back up to play.

Sure, life is not always as simple as bouncing back from a minor scrape. Sometimes hurt slices our hearts deeply. Jesus knows and understands, and He came to give us freedom, forgiveness and peace.

The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to (Jesus). He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.”

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently.  Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!”

Luke 4: 17-21

God intends for us to run in His good pleasure with our eyes fixed on Him, not on the ground.

Summer is worth the skinned knees.

Rain

Life is full of storms.

The rain comes down. We hunker down. Life gets messy, muddy. Dark skies crowd out the sun.

Storms dominate the news and our worst fears. Planning models are made, tested and tested again.

If we aren’t careful, storms take over, everything.

Looking for puddles to splash and stomp in

Looking for puddles to splash and stomp in

This week, my daughter’s preschool theme is rain. And, conveniently, it was raining outside. The heavy skies had been tipped, and water gushed down. It wasn’t enough for us to watch through the wet windows. Instead, we each grabbed umbrellas, Lauren put on her boots and raincoat, and we ventured outside.

Puddles beckoned, and Lauren stomped right in, with sprays of water behind. We peered into the layered skies and felt the rain on our hands. We twirled umbrellas up and down our driveway.

It’s true that storms can be scary. There are times we must seek shelter, praying for protection.

Yet, could it be we focus more on the storm, rather than the blessings through and from the storm?

You sent abundant rain, O God,
to refresh the weary land.

– Psalm 68:9

We forget the fresh smell of the earth after the rain, the way it makes you hold your little girl close as you run across the parking lot to your car, trying to dodge the raindrops. We overlook the blessing of storms driving little feet across the house in the middle of the night to snuggle and find security in our arms, and being able to remind them of God’s ultimate protection and peace.

We don’t go out and splash in the puddles.

We miss the joy that can be ours in the midst of the storm.

If it’s storming where you are today, look for the blessing. Search for God’s promises of His presence and His strength.

Put on your boots, and venture out.