A Deep Pit

‘He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit,

and his life shall see the light.” Job 33:28

 

Our family is vacationing at the beach this week and it is wonderful! Waking up and seeing the ocean first thing, building sand castles, collecting seashells and relaxing is a gift to us. After a long school year, this is just what we needed. Getting away from our normal has been good for each of us. We have laughed, gotten upset with one another, eaten too much and sat unmoving on the beach for long periods of time. We have been slow in just about everything we have done. I treasure our times away and look for gifts continually. It is very easy to hear the Lord in times of slow, rest and beauty.

IMG_3340 copyToday we ventured out to our little area in the sand and settled in. One of our boys began to dig a huge hole and really did not want anyone else to help. He dug and dug until the pit was deep. Another one of our boys had been eyeing this great feat and jumped in. He then asked to be buried with only his head sticking out. Because the pit was so deep, it took a lot of sand to fill the hole back up and cover him. He was trapped, but said he liked it. One kid put a bucket on his head and he was helpless to remove it. Another “accidentally” kicked sand in his mouth, but he could do nothing. And then it was time for lunch.

He was buried and could not help himself. He needed someone on shore to dig him out and pull him back up. At first he resisted and wanted to do some kind of challenge. Then the promise of his favorite meal was heard. His dad came and scoop by scoop dug him out. The weight of the sand had been heavy and he needed help even standing. He was covered obviously, so I walked beside him to the water to wash off. He said his legs did not feel quite right and I stood close in case he fell. We walked back to the family side by side with him free and washed clean.

What looked like a fun time, ended up being a trap. He needed his dad to help him out and we are no different. We stray from our loving boundaries and get buried in a pit. We cannot move and we are powerless. Sin appears harmless and takes us much further than we ever thought. Before long we become slaves to our sin or so we think. Might I suggest you do what this child did and ask you Heavenly Father for help? Start with “Help” if you don’t even have the words to cry out. It might take time to feel free, but you are the minute you believe. Pit living makes one weary. Peace never lasts and experiences are costly. Life in abundance is found in Christ and Christ alone.

So today I ask the Lord, “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18). Our eyes do not see clearly in a pit. It is like we have a bucket on our head. Only the Lord, the creator of our heart and eyes, can make us truly see. “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5). If you want freedom, peace, to be washed of all sin and life only found in living in the light, then ask the Lord. He is waiting and I would love to walk beside you.

 

Anything But Calm

Today begins our summer break and that is exciting! This is one of our families most favorite times of the year. However, yesterday was a struggle and I felt anything but calm. Not until a sweet friend called and we started talking about the day, did it all kinda piece together. Who knew how much one day could hold? Emotions on the surface felt unsettled and I had to dig a bit deeper to see the root of them. The root is change and some changes are harder than others.

IMG_2883For the past 17 years, I have had at least one child still at home during the school day. Being a mom is what I was made to do, so it makes sense that I like having my kids at home. With this school year coming to a close, this era will also close. Summer stretches between today and the beginning of a new normal. Our oldest will begin her senior year and our youngest will start kindergarten. Another will start high school and one moves up in middle school. One moves to the intermediate school and two more advance a grade in elementary. It is a bit overwhelming for me and it all fell hard on my heart. I love seeing them grow up, but it just is happening way too fast.

I remember once when my mom and I were out shopping with my first child, an older lady stopped me and said, “It goes by so fast, enjoy it.” I replied with a confident, “I know” and we parted ways. I did not know and she was right. The intense look in her eyes was not lost on me, but my arrogance did not allow her words to count. Yes, I remembered them, but I know I wasted days not enjoying my time with my kids. Thankfully, the Lord did a work in my heart and that changed. My kids now have a happy mom. Only God can do this kind of work. Only God could have reduced me to love.

As one of our boys graduated kindergarten the other day, his precious teacher read a fabulous quote that started with these words, “Let them be little…”. (Excuse me for a minute while I tie homemade horse tails on my youngest two. Apparently, they are horses today.) Looking back over the years that have flown by, I want to remind us of how important this is. Our children only have one childhood and it matters. Their early years play such a foundational role in who they become. It amazes me that more teaching isn’t done at the hospital before we take our babies home! We have been entrusted with a little human, who has feelings, a personality, a mind, preferences, thoughts and so much more. As a parent, we shape each of these in good and bad ways. What if we get this wrong and totally mess our children up? Will they forgive us as they get older and know we were doing the very best we knew how? Will we be humble enough to repent and ask our kids for forgiveness for the ways we failed?

With each child that has arrived in our family, we have been given yet another chance to do better by relying on God as our source of strength and direction. When people ask about the large size of our family, I often say it is because the Lord had so much to work out of me that did not reflect His image. So much pride, selfishness, blame and the list could go on and on. Thankfully, with the reducing of me, He has had more space to invade. My children have a better mom because of Him. Being reduced to love is painful, but worth it.

So, as summer arrives and our days slow down, I will ask the Lord to make each of my children, “…like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.” Psalm 52:8-9.