Hitting the wall

My poor pirate Jackson after he had crashed into a wall

My poor pirate Jackson after he crashed into a wall

Lauren finished cleaning her room, and rushed out to announce her achievement to the family. She grabbed me by the arm to come see, and once I had closed my eyes, she began to lead me back. Jackson decided to come too, and held my hand on the way. I had one eye open to make sure I wouldn’t run into anything, because Lauren is notoriously dangerous about guiding people when their eyes are shut. What I didn’t expect was that Jackson had followed Lauren’s instructions to “close your eyes.” A loud smack caused me to jump, and Jackson crashed to the floor.

My son was depending on me to guide him, and instead he cracked his head on the wall.

I held my sobbing son, saying over and over in between kisses, “I am so sorry. I didn’t know you had your eyes closed! I didn’t know.”

We often have no clue who is watching us, following us and trusting us. In this case, that resulted in collateral damage. As Christians, how we journey through this life matters. Our testimony matters.

Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) In other words, follow me as I follow Jesus. We may not always know who is watching, but we can intimately know who WE are watching. When our eyes lock on Christ, and our heart and purpose is to literally walk in His footsteps, those following behind us will move closer to Jesus instead of into a wall.

We may not always get it right. In fact, we will all get scrapes and bruises along the way. We will have moments when we must beg for forgiveness. Yet, God is faithful. He will be there to scoop us up and dry our tears and help us begin again.

Today, consider who is following you. Maybe it’s a friend, a spouse, a child, a co-worker or a neighbor. Determine to fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2), and invite those people to join you on your journey.

Smashing fingers

In a pinch

In a pinch

A painful scream sent me sprinting into my daughter’s bedroom. She turned to me wailing and crying, and it took me a beat to figure out what was wrong.

Lauren stood with her little fingers wedged between a drawer and the dresser, and she couldn’t get them out.

I had sent her into the room a few minutes before to get some socks so we could get ready to go into town. The trip was delayed as I yanked the drawer open and scooped a weeping girl into my arms.

It took numerous kisses and quite a bit of snuggling before the sting started to wear off.

Many of us, right now, are caught in expectations, frustrating circumstances, grief, uncertainty and loneliness. We are stuck in tired routine, fake friendships and marriages barely hanging on.

And yet, we are adept at burying the pain and pasting on a smile, while our fingers pulse from being smashed in the dresser drawer.

All we must do is cry out, just open our mouths and scream. Instead we suck it up and continue to purposely live in the pain.

Why must we pretend, when confession will give us release from the trap we are in?

God is our protector, our strong right arm, our shelter. He is ever waiting for our cry to rise up and defend us against our enemies. He is watching for our movement back to home, ready to run and pull us into His embrace. His forgiveness and grace are ready.

Our Savior has also given us His body here on earth, the church, where there are so many who love us, will stand by us and will see us through.

The only reason I knew Lauren needed my help is because she screamed. Chances are, the person sitting beside us in Sunday School won’t know the depths of our hurt either if we never reveal it.

Take a deep breath, and let it go. Cry out to the Lord for rescue and redemption. He will answer, and come rushing through the door to pry our fingers out of the drawer. He longs to hold us in His arms and remind us of His great love.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

– 1 Peter 5:7

God also wants us to share our burdens with our spiritual family. Allow them to help, even after release. The consequence and sting of the trap may not leave right away, and we need Christian brothers and sisters to walk with us as we recover.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

– Galatians 6:2