My heart is hurting and even still… it is well with my soul

It’s been over a month since my grandma went home to be with Jesus. Over a month. It’s weird how quickly time goes by and weirder still that it can feel like a lifetime ago. I miss her a lot. When I knew my grandma didn’t have much time left I asked permission to share at her funeral and my family agreed to let me do so that day.

I wanted to share what I wrote and read as we said good-bye to one of my favorite people. I hope you take comfort in knowing that Jesus is good even in our sufferings. We can be hopeful in our grief because He is always and forever making all things new.

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“I have thought a lot about what I could say today to adequately express how much my grandma meant. She meant a lot to all of us and she will be missed for sure. I know I could talk all day about how much our family will miss her, but instead I thought I’d talk a little bit about what made us love her.

First, I will say she was incredibly tough. I don’t think I ever realized how tough she was until I got older. Life threw some major curve-balls to Viola and she withstood a lot. Some of the hardest things you can imagine happening to a person happened to her: losing her parents, all her siblings, and worse a grandson. She saw a lot of pain and heartache in her life, but she remained strong.  Then, there is just the wear and tear her body went through and how she kept fighting her cancer, her diabetes, and her numerous injuries over the years. I really think anyone who knew her would say she was tough.  She had moments where maybe we would have preferred she put aside her toughness. And she definitely had moments where she came across as gruff or too hard, but I think with Viola what you saw is what you got.  I think that’s how our whole family functions too.  That same independence and stubborn strength she possessed is very apparent in all her children, her grandchildren, and great grandchildren; I don’t think you can be that strong and not pass it on to people around you. 

Second, I believe Viola was one of the most adventurous people I have ever met. We talked a little bit about her trucker days and how she has seen and done so many things. I really believe she lived. She loved life and enjoyed what life had to offer. One major example of that adventurous spirit was a couple of Christmases ago when Justin and I decided we’d drive from Texas to Illinois to visit Mom, Tiff, and Kynlee. We planned on picking Grandma up on Friday evening and taking her with us, but after she got hospitalized early in the week with pneumonia we figured she wouldn’t be able to make the trip. When we called throughout the week she told us that she was planning on getting out of the hospital and going.

She was released from the hospital at 7pm. When Justin and I were a few hours away we called Grandma and asked if she was up for driving through the night instead of leaving in the morning. Grandma responded by telling us she was packing her bags! Sure enough, we show up in Stillwater and she loaded up and we were on our way at midnight. I’ll never forget her getting in the front seat and telling us how she called Uncle Randy and said she was leaving at midnight for her trip. She loved adventure. She was always ready for a trip or an outing. 

Third, my grandma’s sense of humor was one of the bests. She always had some smart aleck response or witty comeback. She often joked about me finding a husband and said once she would write the producers of the bachelor to sign me up for the show. Then, a few years ago, I got a Christmas card in the mail that had a picture of Santa on the outside and on the inside she had written something along the lines of, “I found you a boyfriend”. That was how she was; she liked messing with all of us and showing her ornery side. She loved laughing, but rarely smiled for the camera. We began to realize if we got her to laugh we’d get a good picture. You knew she was especially tickled by something if you saw her shoulders start to shake. And, though we don’t necessarily like to admit it, she passed that trait on to us as well.

Finally, I think the most important component to her life was her faith In Jesus Christ. I don’t know a whole bunch about her early years, but from the stories I’ve heard Viola was wild. She made bad decisions like the rest of us have done and she was probably a little too adventurous at times. I know she didn’t always live for God. But, from what I saw in my life she loved Him and wanted to please Him. She spoke to me often about her thoughts on her faith and how glad she was to know that we serve a loving God who forgives us regardless of what we have done. I know without a doubt she believed in Jesus as her savior. Grandma made these angels that you could hang; in a small way they have become our family’s sign of her faith over the years—we all have one hanging somewhere. Last year Tiff was at a car dealership and said she spotted an angel hanging in the rear view mirror of a complete stranger. Curious to know where the lady got the angel Tiff asked and found out that the lady had bought the angel at church from Elaine! Strangers who never met Grandma were touched by her.

She knew to whom she belonged and she had peace about her final destination.  

She believed the Gospel of Jesus. So, I want to answer the question: what is the Gospel that Viola believed? What makes me so sure she is reunited with God in heaven?

The Gospel is this: God is the holy and perfect Creator of everything and everyone. He created everything as a way to honor and enjoy Him by trusting and obeying Him. Instead, all men and women have trusted themselves and fallen short of honoring God. We have all sinned as Romans 3:23 states.  And sin requires punishment–death. Jesus was 100% human and 100% God. He lived a perfect life and came to bear the wrath we deserved by dying for our sins. Since He was the only human to never sin, He was the only acceptable sacrifice to free us from the wrath God feels towards our sins.  He was killed, buried, and raised on the third day according to the scriptures—defeating death once for all. This is the gospel and it is good news that demands a response. We respond by turning from our sin and trusting Jesus alone, or we will continue to trust ourselves. The result of salvation is God no longer considers us guilty of sin, but acquits us of all sin and guilt because of the finished work of Jesus. Now, like my grandma, we can live boldly for the glory of God by the power of His Spirit because we are new creations. Though her earthly body is being laid to rest today, she will forever be made alive because of her faith in Christ.  She chose the words of Jesus in John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” to go on her tombstone.

So, this is the hope I cling to while my heart hurts today. It’s the same hope my grandma clung to and wanted to leave with you all.”

I think i’m still grieving and will be for a longtime and even still… it is well with my soul.

 

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OklaHOME Part 2

As I stated at the end of my last post here God has continued to remind me His plans are not my plans. I memorized Proverbs 16:9 in college and never realized just how much it would come up in my life.

When I memorized the verse I think it was so easy for my flexible, adaptable, adventurous heart to grasp.“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  (Proverbs 16:9). 19 year old Jenn loved the idea that I didn’t have to have all the answers because He does. “Yes!” my heart screamed, “He knows what is best and I can trust that because i’m young and naive and have no clue.” It was easy to wrap my heart around The Great Shepherd who would lead me to the best and protect me from the worst.  I had plans for great adventures and I just knew that God wasn’t going to disappoint.

Looking back I see clearly how I used this passage to warp my theology to get the upper-hand. Basically, I was preaching to myself that God was more interested in what I could gain than Him. I still struggle with this concept.

Before I moved to Texas (and in my wrestling with God to let me leave Texas) I had so much knowledge of Jesus. I could tell you lots of things about what He does for me and what He has done for the world. Heck, I could go on and on about all the things that the Great Shepherd who leads me and protects me and knows my name has done for me–which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

BUT GOD.

In the last year or so God has shown me WHO He is and He has bid me come and behold HIM not merely what He can do. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

I hope this isn’t anti-climatic and I pray you keep reading how this truth has fleshed out for me in my life, but that’s the big secret– the truth that it’s all been hinging on. Beholding the glory of the Lord. Beholding HIM. Getting to know who He is rather than just stopping at what He does for me. Moving from a whole bunch of head knowledge and moving to personal knowledge.

It’s way easier to say to ‘Behold Christ’ than it is to actually live that way. That’s been the big problem for me; reversing years of weird theology that I didn’t even realize I had fallen prone to believe.

Last August I was out with my friend and we were lamenting on our singleness. We were talking about an awkward date she had and I mentally felt myself shaking my fist at God. “Why wouldn’t He just give us what we want?” “What is He waiting for?” “How long, O Lord?” You know, those questions that are just so much easier to ask in your head where it’s safe and no one can hear. Then, I heard my cynical words stumbling out of my mouth as if I was declaring them in slow motion, “I don’t understand why He doesn’t give us what we want”.  I’m tearing up writing this because now it’s out there in the world for all to read and that’s embarrassing; what if you think less of me? I can still remember where I was sitting and it was if I had an out of body experience because I remember realizing in that moment I had such a narrow view of Him and His Character. No offense, but so what if you think less of me? In admitting that I realized I was thinking less of the creator of the universe. And, as I am tempted to do now, I hung my head in shame in a physical attempt to hide my vulnerability from Him.

THEN, God answered. I heard Him. I know it was Him cause I just admitted how desperate and cynical my heart had grown. I know without a doubt I would not have come up with this on my own. His words shook me to the core and I’m still dealing with the aftershock of His question, “Jenn, do you ask me for what you want? Do you know who I am?

That question has rocked my world.

I’ve realized that I have become a person who would rather shake my fist at God and complain about my circumstances because I know about what He can do, but He isn’t giving me what I want. So, even though it seems so simple, I started training myself to start asking Him to teach me to have a healthy view of who He is. I asked Him to help me reverse my thinking. Namely, I asked Him to do what He wants and began to praise Him for how His character shapes what He does/gives.

I started asking and He answered and He showed me fears that I had and how I had become so wrapped up in my own ideas of security–my plans– that I was missing out on following His steps. I started asking Him to help me understand His plans in light of who He is and not what I can get out of them.

Then I read a blog at the beginning of the year by Brad Hambrick here and God showed me how I really desire to try ministry full-time and see if I want to spend my life on college women. So, I started asking for clear direction and help getting over my fears of inadequacy and all the fears of moving from the known world I’ve lived in for nearly 5 years to the unknown. And He answered and within a few months of asking I felt Norman was the place to land for now.

At this time, I do not have a full time ministry job, but i’m confident He will provide in His time not because of anything I want (which obviously I do), but because of who He is–provider. I am confident (because of various connections) that God will give me a few college aged women to pour into because of who He is, even if it means I work at Starbucks.

I don’t know a lot about logistics, but i’m asking. 🙂

I know He answers because I know who He is and even in my stumbling He continues to establish my steps for His glory (which really is what’s best for me regardless of what my circumstances may tell me).

How do I know for sure? Because I am beholding Him and, of course,

because of who He is.

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OklaHOME Part 1

As some of you are aware, I have decided to move from Fort Worth back to Oklahoma. Norman, Oklahoma to be exact.

 For some of you this news is shocking, but for others who have heard my heart recently this just seems like the logical next step. But, since my time is limited and I can’t spend face to face time with all of you I wanted to fill you in how I’ve come to make this decision.

When I left for East Asia in July 2011 my goal was to complete my term overseas and then return back to Oklahoma to help with student ministry. I had chosen to move to Norman to gain practical experience in a like-minded ministry similar to the one I was used to at Oklahoma State. I had a place lined up to live with Jenny Van Dyck and was excited about all my plans. Then, God reminded me of Proverbs 16:9. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

I got to the east side and fell in love with it and the university students.  Quickly I realized as I met with the women I was discipling that I knew very little about finding a full-time job and what it looks like to walk with Jesus while working and living with roommates, budgeting, etc. I felt deeply that God was calling me to fill some of the holes in my discipleship meetings if I was going to do ministry full-time. Likewise, I knew that I was going to be tempted to fall into college ministry if I went through with my plans to move to Norman. So, I began praying about where to move when I returned to the states.

When I chose Fort Worth I set up a call with Jenny via skype to break the news that I wouldn’t be moving to Norman and she would need to begin looking for a different roommate to fill my spot. I remember being nervous and feeling guilty that I was not following through with my plan and begged God to give a person to live with Jenny. Likewise, I begged him to give me one friend with whom I had a heart connection that I would know and be able to live life with in Fort Worth.

I finally worked up the nerve and told Jenny what I felt led to do. During that skype call I found out that Jenny too was praying about leaving Norman and had previously interviewed for a job in Fort Worth! (Can’t make this stuff up) We celebrated together that God was answering each of our prayers for one heart friend and that we were going to get a chance to live life together even though it was in a new city where we only knew a handful of people. What a kind and faithful God we serve!

Fast forward almost 5 years and God is continuing to blow me away with His Kindness. I’ve learned a whole bunch about myself, but more importantly about Jesus. I moved to Fort Worth with no idea when God would move me on to another area. In fact, I wrestled with Him and begged Him to let me leave Texas.. A LOT.

Then, all of a sudden, it didn’t feel like I was wrestling God about staying in Texas.  Similarly, each time I left for some trip and came back it felt like coming home. Somewhere along the way it all clicked and I stopped merely surviving here and started thriving. I stopped treating Texas like some waiting room where I was sitting until God called me elsewhere and just started living my life away from the waiting list.

Then, God reminded me of Proverbs 16:9. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

That next part of the story is up next… stay tuned!

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(Jenny and I at a softball game 3 years ago)

Dancing on Disappointment

Let the heroes rest
Let the striving cease
I lay down my crown
Here at Your feet

Amanda Cook has an amazing album out right now called “Brave New World” and the first song on the album called “Heroes” has been the anthem of my life for the last few months.

I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time with disappointment. In fact, I would say that I have an even harder time being expectant or hopeful because of how crushing disappointment has been in the past. I have become the type of person who doesn’t ask for what I want because i’m afraid of being disappointed. I think I always thought I was being smart and realistic; a girl with her head on her shoulders and not in the clouds.

For a while I have been wallowing in my disappointment. I have sat and complained, cried, and thrown a fit because I am not getting what I want. Then the Lord in His kindness has shown me that I have not really asked Him for things recently. Mostly, I have been playing the ‘woe is me’ game, but haven’t taken any action steps to change.

It’s a weird place that i’ve been living: the land in between the unspoken expectations and the one where I don’t really have any expectations because it hurts too much.

Let the weary rise
Lift their eyes to see
Your love crushing every lie
Every doubt and fear

BUT, the Lord has shown me recently that being fearful is not the life He wants for me. He has opened my eyes to see that there is beauty in laying down my crown at His feet and acknowledging that all that I have or hope to have comes from Him. He has shown me that it’s okay to hope and to ask and to dream. Basically, He has been asking me to step out on the ledge and to TRUST that He is good.

So, because He is good and knows what is best, I am choosing to leave this land and to rise and lift my eyes to the one who knows what I want and need without me saying a word. I’m choosing to ask. I’m choosing to hope. I’m choosing to be expectant.

I’m choosing to dance upon disappointment and to worship Him exactly where I am. I am choosing to believe that He is good and wants my good.

I will trust
Here in the mystery
I will trust
In You completely

Awake my soul to sing
With Your breath in me
I will worship
You taught my feet
To dance upon disappointment
And I, I will worship

What about you? Is there something you are not asking for because you are afraid of being disappointed? Do you truly believe He knows what is best and wants what is best for you?

A Reason to Sing

“When the pieces seem too shattered
To gather off the floor
And all that seems to matter
Is that I can’t feel you anymore
Is that I don’t feel you anymore

 

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that you’re still holding
The whole world in your hands
I need a reason to sing”

 

The song, ‘Reason to Sing’, by All Sons & Daughters basically sums up the past few months for me. There has been so much going on in my head and heart that I am finally sitting down and processing and every time I hear the first verse and chorus of that song I am reminded of just how much He really does love me and He really does want to be the reason I sing (as corny as it may sound).

Fall was a very strange and awkward time for me. In September we found out my mema (Dad’s mom) was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and doctors didn’t give her much time.  Then, in October I got a promotion at work that brought me more privileges and a whole bunch more responsibility.

As if those situations weren’t emotional enough I started to get sick which led to complete and utter exhaustion.  I was tired and emotional, but I just kept trying to chug along on fumes thinking that I could run away from all that was going on in my heart.  Somewhere in all that madness I just stopped spending time in God’s Word and convinced myself that it was just a season of busyness.

In short, I was running away from God and trying to run on my own strength.

Of course, you know where this is going….

One day I just cracked. I’m not even sure what happened, but one minute I’m talking to my boss about something and the next I’m crying hysterically in the stairwell of my office building as a few patient friends try to comprehend the incoherent babble coming from my mouth. In a matter of minutes all of the walls that I had carefully constructed around my heart just came crashing down and I was left exposed.

I stopped running.

I was tired. My heart was sore. And I was ready to breathe again.

And, because He is relentless, He reminded me of the Gospel. He called me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11: 28). I could breathe again.

My mema passed away in December and I was overwhelmed by God’s kindness toward me as I realized how amazing His timing is in all things. Just a few weeks before that,  I was able to come to grips with the fact that my mema was not going to be with us much longer, so I prayed fervently that God would give me peace and comfort. I spent Thanksgiving at her house with family just enjoying each other and telling old stories. As I pulled away from her house that day I was overwhelmed with peace. I knew He was in control and I trusted that truth.

And I was reminded of that truth at work recently when I was bogged down in stress and anxiety about things beyond my control.

Somehow a co-worker and I started talking about the story of Abraham and Sarah and their promised son. When she had asked a question about Ishmael, I was reminded that God really does want what’s best for me.

Abraham and Sarah had the PROMISE of a son. God had said it would happen and still they took matters into their own hands.  They got tired of waiting. They forgot the Truth. So, they tried doing things on their own terms. Enter a servant and an illegitimate child 9 months later. There were consequences to their actions.

But, the God of Abraham and Sarah was and is faithful to His children and to His own glory. Even after all that Abraham and Sarah had done He kept His Word to them, and Isaac was born. Abraham was 100 years old! And God did what He said He was going to do!

And He is still doing so.

Even in my running from Him and in my mourning and even in my joy, He is faithful.  And He gives me a reason to sing.

 

“When I’m overcome by fear
And I hate everything I know
If the waiting last forever
I’m afraid I might let go

 

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that you’re still holding
The whole world in your hands
I need a reason to sing

 

Will there be a victory?
Will you sing it over me now?
Your peace is a melody
Will you sing it over me now?

 

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that you’re still holding
The whole world in your hands
I need a reason to sing”

You might be the reason for your own loneliness

I was born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  Among several other things, Stillwater is home to Oklahoma State University (Go Pokes!).  As a child I saw college kids around town and dreamed of the days that I would be their age with a group of friends that traveled in packs and did what we wanted when we wanted. To me, college meant complete and total freedom.

To some degree my perspective of college was pretty accurate. I remember when my mom and sister helped me move into my dorm room my freshman year. I recall vividly the realization that I was no longer accountable to my family, but instead I made my own decisions for better or worse. I celebrated.

That celebration lasted until my last bag was unpacked and my bed was made.

I remember the first night in my dorm room with a complete stranger sleeping in the bed across the room.  I am pretty sure I shed a few tears in the dark that night as I realized everyone I knew and loved were miles away (my mom had taken a new job in Albuquerque, New Mexico).  I second-guessed all my decisions. Suddenly my freedom from accountability felt like a death sentence for my social life.

Thankfully, I plugged into a ministry on campus really quickly and began seeing familiar faces around campus.  I put aside my desires for personal space and began seeking relationships with people that wanted to hang out. all. the. time.  In fact, I am not quite sure how I passed any classes my freshman year.  I was always with people.  I didn’t want to feel that loneliness I had felt the first couple of weeks of the semester.

As a group, we chose to be intentional with our time together. I remember late night conversations crammed in a dorm suite with 15 or so of us spurring each other on to love Jesus more.  I remember being challenged by my friends to start sharing the Gospel on my campus.  So, I began sitting in intentional spots in class and prayed for God to open my eyes to see those around me. I recall being convicted by my lack of scripture memory when my friends would quickly quote me a verse they had committed to learn. So, I started memorizing verses and confessing sin and seeking reconciliation and serving my Church. The list goes on and on.

Yes, I gave up personal freedoms. Yes, it hurt to ask for forgiveness. Yes, I was embarrassed to admit sin in my heart. Yes, I hated waking up early on Sundays after staying up late on Saturdays, but through Jesus my friends made me a better person. They were all I had and I fought hard to keep them in my life.

I’m finding this to be true as a 25 year old too.

College has been over for awhile now, and I praise God for how He drew me to Him and to others during that time. That group of friends will forever be close to my heart. We are all over the world now because of our commitments to God before all else (even our friends).

Over the past few years here in Texas God has drawn me to a new group of friends.  This one looks a lot different than the last one.  Instead of late night conversations crammed in dorm rooms we are discussing life over a meal in their homes.  They may have earlier bedtimes than my college friends ever did, but through Jesus these friends are making me better too. These friends make me want to love Jesus more as I watch them work hard at their marriages.  They spur me to want to serve when I see them with their children.

Yes, my friends may look different and be in a completely different life stage, but the lessons are eerily similar. And, the truth is, I need them.

The more I think of my journey in community the more I realize me and my friends are not much different than the Church of Philippi.

The Philippians were a ragtag group of people thrown together by one common denominator: Jesus.  He had dramatically changed each of them, but they were as different from each other as my freshman year of college was from my life now.  In Acts 16, we see the beginnings of the church being formed by Lydia, a rich fashion designer, and the Philippian jailor.  Their lives could not have been any different from each others, and still they clung to each other and to others as they grew into a community of believers who spurred each other on to closer walks with Jesus.

They gave up personal freedoms and comfort for the good of each other.  They sought reconciliation and chose to serve one another.  Through Jesus, they made each other better. Why?  They were all each other had.

The older I get the more I realize how much stock I have put in my personal autonomy.  Like my freshman year, I love the idea of answering to no one; I can’t help but to enjoy my freedom.

But, the more I think of my group of friends and the more I read of the Philippians the more I realize how much I’m giving up by valuing my lack of accountability.  Like my freshman year, I get lonely.

I’ll be honest; sometimes I think it sounds nice when I think of having no one around me to answer to or to ask forgiveness of or to spur me to give up personal rights. Sometimes i’m tempted to do what I want when I want.  But, when I think of how I cried alone in my bed that night my freshman year I quickly remember how great the gain of those types of friends can be and I personally resolve to cling to those people around me that make me better.  Why? Because they are all I have.

Basically, it all comes down to the reward being greater than the price.  At least, that’s what I think Paul is telling the Philippians and what the spirit is whispering to me as I read the letter.

For so long, I thought Paul was looking down on me (and the Philippians) by pointing out all these areas they need to work on in order to be more like him.  I used to read Philippians like some type of ‘guilt-trip’ for Christians.  But, when I consider Paul’s own journey of suffering and loneliness I can’t help but read the letter a little differently.  It seems like Paul is talking to them to help them to set up perimeters to avoid dissension and I can’t help but hear him begging them to fight for their friendships. I hear it in his words, “These people are all you’ve got. You can’t run from this community. Stay. Fight for it. I promise, it will be worth it.”

Suddenly, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3) is like a crash course in church survival. And, I want it to be true of my life and my community.

What about you? What happens when friendships get hard and you have to give up some rights? Are you are more likely to run? To seek your own personal freedom? Less accountability? Maybe if you examine your life closely you may find you might be the reason for your own loneliness.

Loneliness will always be a struggle for us this side of heaven.  Sin makes relationships hard. But, like Paul, I’m begging you “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.” (Philippians 2: 4) After all, they are all you’ve got.

I don’t know about you, but I act like I’m two

Before I moved to Texas I knew two people: Daniel and Jenny. Daniel was my teammate in Asia and I knew Jenny through college ministry stuff.

Jenny had moved in with her sister and brother-in-law and their baby, Sadie.  I knew about Dan and Amy through various functions, but I remember the night I officially got to know them over dinner and stories. In fact, Dan made me laugh so hard during dessert I spewed milk on my brownie and their tablecloth (sorry again, Amy!).  Rather quickly I began spending more and more time at their house until Dan and Amy officially offered to let me move in with them as well.  “The only condition,” they warned, “you have to share a room with Sadie.”

I was in.

Though it sounds like a sitcom, we made it work. Jenny took the guest room and I slept on the twin bed next to the crib in Sadie’s room.  With my family so far from me these friends quickly became family and Sadie was no longer a roommate, but my adopted niece. We spent a lot of time together.

Jenny and I moved out after the school year ended, but I praise God for the time I had at the Hay’s house being invested in and cared for as I adjusted to working full-time and being back in America. I also praise God for my relationship with Sadie.  She taught me a lot about Jesus when I lived with her.

She still does.

Last weekend Dan was out of town and I volunteered to stay over and help Amy with the kids (Jackson was born in May).  We had planned on sticking around the house on Saturday morning and taking it easy, then going over to Amy’s parent’s house (Mimi and Pop) to swim and eat later that afternoon.

Sadie had other plans.

I’m learning plans are never really set in stone when you add toddlers to the mix.

When I tried to put Sadie down for a quick nap after lunch WWIII broke out.  Suddenly, this little girl that loves making you laugh with the crazy things she says turned into a very stubborn toddler who was not taking ‘no’ for answer unless she was the one screaming it!

Seriously, I don’t think I had ever seen her act that way. Every time Amy tried to tell Sadie to lie down Sadie had other ideas. When she was asked to pick up her toys Sadie made excuses.  She bucked back every step of the way as Amy kept asking for obedience.

Then, as I sat on the couch listening to Sadie scream while Jackson threw up all over me (another story for another time), it hit me; I’m Sadie.

Though I may not be suffering from the terrible two’s I act just like Sadie sometimes. In fact, as I think longer about it, I act worse than she did.  You see, Amy had Sadie’s best interest at heart.  She knew her daughter needed to rest before she went and spent the afternoon in the sun swimming.  Amy wanted Sadie to obey and lie down for a nap so that Sadie would enjoy herself later.

“She is going to get to do her favorite thing,” Amy told me as Sadie kicked and screamed. “When she wakes up from this nap I’m going to take her to Mimi’s house to swim and make cookies; her favorite thing.”

Sadie’s obedience was going to result in her favorite thing. Her mom wanted to give her something good. Amy wanted Sadie to enjoy it, and she knew that if Sadie was rested she would enjoy it more.

Sadie is two. Like I do with God, Sadie sometimes sees her mom as an obstacle in the way of getting what she really wants.  He asks for my obedience because He knows what is best for me. Instead, I would rather buck him every step of the way.

“It’s too heavy”, “I can’t”, “Stop!”, “NO!!!” While these are common responses from Sadie they are also incredibly common for me too.

God is in the business of love. More than Amy loves Sadie and wants what’s best for her (and she does) God wants what’s best for me.  He knows what’s best for me and I only think I do.

Man, I pray that I would learn to please my Father by obeying Him when He asks me to do something. I pray He would open my eyes to see how much He cares about me.

I’m praying the same thing for Sadie.