Hide & Seek

“Grandma, can we play peek-a-boo”?   Hmmmm

This was my four-year-old grandson asking to play “peek-a-boo”.  I’m thinking he doesn’t really mean “peek a boo”.  “Do you mean “hide and seek”?   YES!

We were on a hike and we found a great clearing with plenty of room to both walk and hide.  I told my grandsons to close their eyes and count to 10.  I hid standing behind a large tree.  They didn’t know, but I had my eyes on them the whole time.  Their blue matching jackets were pretty easy to spot in the fall woods.  

“Ready or not, here we come”!   I could hear their little boots seeking me out in the woods. Miraculously, or not so miraculously, they found me right away. 

I decided to switch places with them.  I would hide my eyes and count.

Now, I have played hide and seek in the woods many times with their parents when they were young.   I quickly (too quickly) defined our parameters and then began my count as they ran to hide.

They are young and as I counted I kept my eye on them and their “secret” hiding place.  When the blue jackets were safely hidden, I yelled “Ready or Not…Here I come”.

I had their 2-year-old brother with me.  As we held hands and sought out to find them, I purposely went in the opposite direction of where they were.  I began asking in my “LOUD enough voice”, making sure that they could hear how beautifully they had hidden from me.  “Do you think they are here Titus?”….   Hmmmm……maybe over there???”

As I turned us toward where they HAD BEEN hidden, I realized they had moved on!

Talk about panic!   Where did they go?!    These woods are massive!   Oh my goodness…I began yelling their names….running with the 2-year-old now in my arms…panic, panic, panic!  Prayer, prayer, prayer.

They were about 20 feet from their original spot.  I spotted them lying in the dirt and dust beside an old fallen log.   I ran over, “found them”,  and asked them to please come to me.  

They were innocent enough, but I needed to explain that these woods were very big and I surely did not want to lose them!    It was my fault for not defining our perimeters a whole lot more carefully!!!!

We, (mostly I) decided to end our hike.  We found our way out of the woods and had a picnic lunch instead.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 reads:

“Am I only a God nearby, declares the Lord, and not a God far away?  Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord.  “Do I not fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

Now I remember a family friend from when I was a little girl. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for her much.  She always had this “little bird” (so she said).  This “little bird” had eyes everywhere.  He knew all and saw all and according to her, he would tell her what REALLY happened.   I hated that Bird!   The bird I never saw, but seemed to hear about him a lot!

In contrast with that “little bird”, I am comforted by the true fact that there is nowhere that I can hide from God.  He really does see me.  He gets me.  He gets you.  He doesn’t try to find me and then panic because he’s lost me.

He sees all and knows all.

He promises to be with me.

There is no mountain too high or valley too deep that will stop Him.

Here’s another truth..

I might “think or feel” like God isn’t nearby, but He is.

I didn’t think my grandsons were nearby.  They were.  My thoughts and feelings did not determine or affect this fact.  They were close by even though it felt like they weren’t.

We can hide or rather try to hide from God, but this is an impossibility.

Back to our hiking adventure..

It was during this last hiding session that one of my grandson’s got something in his eye.  My guess it was dirt!   He had been lying on the ground next to a fallen tree.  Who knows the myriad of things that could have irritated his eye!

How often do we try to hide something from God.

How often do we eventually give up our hiding spot and realize we’ve hurt ourselves in the process?

I enjoy playing hide and seek with my grandchildren, well MOST of the time.

I don’t enjoy playing Hide & Seek with God.  I need Him.  I’m thankful He knows exactly where I am and what I am facing.

Back to School

I loved this time as a child.  I loved the preparation of what “back to school” meant.  My mom would take us to JC Penney’s where we would choose some new outfits for the new school year.  We would purchase new shoes and new dresses as little girls.  We’d then be allowed to buy new crayons and new pencils and new, new, new, new!  

 As we got older we moved on to the “mall” shopping and I loved picking out new jeans, new shoes, new shirts, new purse, and all things new for the new school year just waiting to be experienced.   

My oldest grandson is about to enter kindergarten this September.  I had the wonderful one on one experience of taking him “back to school” shopping. For him it wasn’t so much “back” to school as he’s never been before.

We both were looking forward to our time together.

We started at Old Navy.  I told him to “show me his style”.  He went straight to all the cool super hero shirts.  We bought Spiderman, Batman, The Flash and more.  

He even insisted that he would need this Spiderman baseball cap (which he looked adorable in)!

I picked out a few pair of jeans for him to try on and a pair of nice shorts and then walked into the dressing room together.

It was in this dressing room that the transformation happened. Up until now he was excited to have me all to himself.  He was excited that he was now old enough to go to school.  He was excited that when all of this “school shopping thing” was over we had planned to go to Barnes ‘n Noble for a cookie and a smoothie.  He was excited and insisted that I had previously told him that he would be allowed to pick out a toy!  That was most likely his ultimate goal in this whole trip!

To be honest, I didn’t remember saying anything about a toy!  But this is my grandson and if he says I said that…well then…we will end our trip with a toy.

His version of “back to school shopping” and mine differed a bit.

He planned on one stop shopping and then his ultimate goal of “the new toy”.

I planned on visiting 3 stores of little boy clothing and trying them All on!

As we stood in the dressing room at Old Navy and he tried on one super hero shirt after another, he began to be transformed.  He loved the image he saw in the mirror. His smile beamed from ear to ear, all the while sporting that Spiderman baseball cap.

Prior to this, he would have been perfectly happy to just pick out his purchases and go straight to the counter and pay.  It was in the putting on of each article of clothing that he beamed. He glowed!

I think a lot of people are content just acknowledging that God is God.  He’s up there somewhere and they know about Him and they believe He is true.

They never take the time to “try Him on”.  They are more focused on the new “toy” in their lives. To try Him on would take time.

But for those who not only believe, but by faith and through prayer truly receive Jesus as Lord…they try Him on.  They seek Him.   They read His Word daily.  They “put Him on” and when they look in the mirror they are amazed!  They glow!

They can’t believe that transformation.   It takes time, but God desires to enter into that dressing room with us.  He desires for us to ask for Him to be stronger and us to be less in our lives. He desires to dress us in love and peace and kindness and goodness and patience and gentleness and joy.  

Imagine what this world would look like if we each entered that dressing room to “put on Jesus”.

I have been entering that dressing room daily now for 38 years. I start my morning with a cup of coffee and God’s Word. In these 38 years, as I seek Him and let Him transform me…I have found I often get the “new toy” too. He blesses me daily and so often gives me the desires of my heart.

Why?  Because He loves me.  He loves you too.  Try Him on!

Colossians 3:10

“and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

Colossians 3:12

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Whispers

He usually leans into me, but instead he was pulling away from me.  He didn’t want to hear what I was trying to say.

We had just had a wonderfully long day at a perfect place for any child to enjoy. He was sulking.  He wanted more.  He wanted to go back again.  He wanted to purchase the new and latest toy.  

His parents sat across from him as we ate our dinner.  They were not pleased with his pouting, but were being kind and patient as yet again they decided it was best not to give into to their son’s requests. 

Sometimes, many times, it’s wiser to work on heart issues.

I decided to gently give it a try on my end since my seat was directly beside his at the restaurant.  I put my arm on his shoulder and leaned in to whisper.  I only got out my first five words that I had been rehearsing in my mind and it happened.  

He pulled away.  He shrugged my hand off of his shoulder and physically moved his body closer to his grandfather.  

Okay.  He’d hear no more from me.  I’d pray and with confidence knew his parents would deal with the heart issue that was rising up.

This picture of him pulling away has not left my mind.

It hasn’t left my mind because it’s me.

God can bless me in the most wonderful way and the most wonderful experience and I can turn around, spoiled child that I can be, and simply want MORE.  I can say things like “why can’t I just own my own beach house”?

“Why can’t I have that latest ‘toy’”?

Perhaps He leans in to whisper beautiful truths and I am too stubborn to listen. Perhaps I pull away.

I’ve asked for forgiveness and so did my grandson.

May we lean in and not away for God loves us and desires the very best for us, heart issues and all!

Job 37:14

“Listen to this…stop and consider God’s wonders”

Jeremiah 17:23

“Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff necked and would not listen or respond to discipline.

Proverbs 23:15

“My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed”


Undeserving

I chose what looked to be “the fast lane” today at the grocery store. You know where I’m going with this…it was NOT the fast lane.

Ahead of me in line was an elderly woman. She had a check in her hand written to the grocery store in the amount of $57.00. The problem – the grocery store would not take her check because she didn’t have a shopper’s card with them. She seemed confused. He hand was shaking. I’m not sure if she has or ever had a debit card. I don’t know if she had any cash on her, but I began to pray and ask if there was something I could or should do. After a bit, I stepped up and told her that we are moving into celebrate Easter. I told her I was a believer and that Jesus loved her and I would pay for her groceries. It actually took her a bit to understand what I was doing. Once she realized that I had paid for her groceries, she paused and said “oh, but I don’t deserve this”…”are you rich?”. My response was (no, I’m not rich)…that’s the point. None of us deserved Jesus loving us and dying in our place and conquering hell that we might have eternal life with Him. He died in our place. He took our punishment. We don’t deserve this and never will, but because of His love for us, He chose to do this for us.

As for being rich, no I’m not rich…but in Jesus I am. I have everything and more because of Him.

The clerk thought this was very nice. I’m glad.

The lady…ugh…after pushing her cart about 3 feet turned around and said to me “I hope that big bunny is extra good to you”.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I wanted to shout….there is no bunny lady!

But you know what…that’s also the point…underserving, undeserving, undeserving…millions will celebrate nothing more than a bunny.

God forgive us…and open our eyes and ears and hearts.

Thank you for your great love even while we are yet sinners.

I

The Secret

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He’d walked past me a few times and kept looking my way.

“Do you want to hold her?” I asked.

He nodded his head no.

I sat there again holding my granddaughter who is almost 4 months old. My 3-year-old grandson loves babies. This is his little cousin.

I sat holding her in a comfortable chair that sits in my kitchen.

He finally decided to come over and these were his words:

“Grandma, I do want to hold her.  BUT…I don’t want you to tell anybody.  I don’t want anyone to come over and I don’t want you to take any pictures.”

I reassured him that this would be our secret.

We exchanged places and he took the comfortable chair as I knelt on the floor next to him.  I placed the baby on his lap.  I positioned her in a way that faced him.  He sat there for the longest time “holding her”.  At first he just looked at her and studied her.   He then gently rubbed her hair.  He eventually took both of her hands in his and began to sing a song to her as he moved her hands up and down.  To be completely honest, I’m not sure what song it was that he sang. It was a moment between the two of them in his eyes.   He talked to her.  He cooed for her.  He smiled at her and she smiled back.

I kept to my word and did not call attention to him.  I did not snap a picture.  I just let him have his time with his little baby cousin.  When he was done, he told me so and I removed her from his lap.

It was such a sweet span of time.

No one, not a sibling or cousin saw it.  Not one other parent, aunt, uncle, or grandparent witnessed it. I was the privileged one for this moment in time.

A moment I will treasure for a very long time.

It reminds me of the secret room.

The Bible talks of things done in secret.  Good things.  Honorable things.  Prayerful times.

No one “sees me” times.

But, The Father sees.

Matthew 6:4

“…so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Matthew 6:6

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Matthew 6:18

“…so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

May you have many secret times today to treasure in your heart!

One on One

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One on One

 

It was grandparent’s day last week at my grandson’s gymnastics school.    I was excited to be invited.  All 3 boys take gymnastics.  My daughter and I rotated as we interacted and observed all 3 boys engaging in their classes.

My oldest grandson was, of course, in the most structured class.

His coach, though now older, was once a fine gymnast.  He spoke with what I thought was a Russian accent.  The classes were small in size in order to give the best instruction.  I watched as the coach made his way from boy to boy.

He’d tap their legs to remind them to straighten those legs in their handstands. He’d brush his hands near their feet to remind them to point and extend their toes when needed.   He’d take turns helping each boy wrap himself round and round and round the uneven bars and then help them in their dismount.

My oldest grandson was often looking my way.  Without any words, his eyes were asking me…”Did you see that?”   “What do you think?”  “Are you proud of me?”

Once in a while when he’d finished a task he would give me a double thumbs up from across the room.

I loved watching his class, but there were other boys the coach needed to attend to as well.  During the coach’s rotations with the other 5 boys in the class is when I would roam about and watch his two little brother in their class.

As I sat down the next morning and read “He guides me in the paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3), I pondered at just how personal God is.

He guides me.  I don’t have to wait in line.  I don’t have to wait until God is finished with his rotation of the other billions of people in this world.

He greets me each and every morning.  He has a path and purpose He desires for me.  He is patient and kind, gently reminding me to “keep my legs straight” or “point my toes” (you know what I mean).  He leads me in His path for me.

He is the shepherd and each and every sheep matters to Him.

He creates a path for each of us.  A path is a way beaten, formed, or trodden by the feet.  He has walked this path before.  He knows it well and He desires to share it with me.

Don’t wait in line today.

Ask the Shepherd to Lead YOU in His path of righteousness.

He’s got the perfect path fitted just for you!

“Trust Me”

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“Trust Me”.  These were my words this morning with my oldest grandson.

He and I and his brother were on a bike ride  to get a smoothie.  He has a PJ Masks bike with training wheels.   (VERY cool)

I had one hand pushing his brother on his little tricycle and one hand at the ready for him as he both pedaled up hills and then coasted down hills.

He’s doing a great job these days on his bike.  His little legs pumped extra hard up the steeper hills and when I noticed his legs slowing down a bit or weakening in any way, I’d simply put my hand beneath his back seat and help to push him up the hill.

It was the “downhills” that had him worried.  A hill looks so big from the top.  “Trust Me”.  I said this a few times and he did (mostly).

I knew that I had my right arm free for him.  It is my dominant arm.  I have the most control and strength with this arm.  I knew that we could do this together.  If he would just listen to my instructions, we would be fine.  I had his back.

I told him to gently push on his brakes.  I had my hand on his bike seat the whole time.  I wasn’t going to let him go at any time.  I, too, wanted this to be a good experience.

“Don’t push too hard on your brakes.  Just keep them gently pushed upon.”

“Trust Me”.    Little by little we descended those hills.  I had my eyes riveted and knew the  dips in the cement that I wanted him to avoid.  I saw the turns ahead and knew how I planned to coax him in the turn…not too sharp…as that would cause a sure tipping over moment.

As we enjoyed our “bike” and smoothie time, I heard another voice in my head.

“Trust Me”.

Yes, you see, my husband lost his job back in early April.  His company did some realigning and his area was let go.

For the most part, he and I are doing fine.  He’s been in the business for over 30 years now and has a lot of contacts.  He’s been on top of his job search each and every day.

We’ve been able to enjoy extra time together and trips to see the grandchildren together. We’ve celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary during this time.

We trust in God.  We have a faith in Who God Is and What God Can do.

We’ve walked life in a relationship with God each and every day of our marriage.

“Trust Me”.

See…It’s been 3 months now.   He’s had lots of interviews.   Companies have interviewed him over and over and over again.  Is the job coming Lord?

When?   What company Lord?  Will the pay be good?  Will it allow us to maintain the lifestyle that we’ve become used to?  How much longer Lord?

“Trust Me”

I’m now the little kid on the bike of life with training wheels on.

He is the parent (grandparent in my case)…He’s got his hand on the back of my bike.

He sees the bumps ahead that he desires me to avoid.  He sees the sharp turns in the road and He desires to show me how to navigate them.

He loves me.  He loves my husband.

He isn’t about to take His hand off of our bike seat!  He’s got us, yes He does.

Sometimes it’s just nice to hear His words as I did today.

“Trust Me”.

Okay Lord.  I do.  I will.  Your arms are strong (both of them).  You’ve got me, I know you do.

 

Job 40:9

“Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like His?”

Psalm 77:15

“With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.”

Song of Songs 2:6

“His left arm is under my head, and His right arm embraces me”.

Sensing His Way

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My dog was freaking me out the other night.

It was a beautiful night and I was the only one home.

I took a book, a few magazines, a glass of lemonade and a few candles and set myself up on my patio for an enjoyable evening of reading.

I turned on the patio lights and my evening began.

My Sophie (my large Bernese Mt. Dog) lay still in the soft green grass just a few feet from me. Every once in a while she’d pick up her head and her ears would perk up as if she were hearing something important.

She’d done this several times on this particular evening and each time it unnerved me a bit. What was she hearing? Was there a raccoon nearby?

Was it a skunk? A person?

Why could she just not lay there and relax?

She was beginning to ruin my otherwise peaceful evening.

After a bit, she got up and left her spot in the grass and sauntered onto the patio with me. At first I thought she was just going to lie down on the patio carpet. She not only walked onto the carpet and past the carpet, but she then circled and went behind my patio chair! This put her behind me and between my chair and a corner of our house.

Now I was freaked out alright!

What on earth was she so afraid of?!

She’s down to having only 3 legs so I told her to “stay” as I entered our home through the back door.

She can only enter and exit now through the front door due to her leg strength. I went in through the back door, freaked out and annoyed. I exited through the front door to be able to walk around the house and get her and take her in the now unlocked front door.

As I exited the front door, I was able to see what had scared her and had her on edge.

There were flashes of lightning far off.

I hadn’t been able to see them from the back patio, but Sophie sensed them.

Now, not so annoyed, I took her around the house and in to safety. I pondered the idea of staying on the patio by myself for a bit, but decided against it. I no sooner had gathered all of my reading materials and shut off the patio lights when the thunder rolled in.

A few minutes later I sat close to Sophie (now inside the house) as the thunder and hail raged outside.

 

Sophie had senses that were more in touch with our surroundings than I had.

God, Our Father, knows all things

In all seasons

In all matters.

May we tune into Him

As close as Sophie tuned into her surroundings.

 

May we not run and “hide” as she did,

But trust and embrace God

And walk through the circumstances that surround us knowing that He is in control.

 

May we lean on Him

In our times of fear and receive the comfort that only He can give.

 

Philippians. 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

 

Proverbs 3:5

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Walking With Confidence

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I’ve said it before and I will say it again…I love watching little children walk.

Some walk with a strut and authority.

Some walk a little wobbly and end up on the ground more often than not.

Some use what we might call “Frankenstein arms” as they have those arms out in front for protection of the up and coming fall.

I love when little legs just can’t help themselves and they start to run.

The run goes faster and faster, each step seems to be a little more out of control.

Watching little ones walk might make us wince now and then, mostly because they are not even paying attention to where those little legs are taking them!

 

Recently I watched my grandson transform his walk in front of me.

For most of the day he walked and ran like he normally does.

When he saw the Buzz Light Year costume that I had just purchased, everything changed. He changed on the outside, yes, as he put on the entire costume from head to toe. But, he changed on the inside too.

All of a sudden his little hands went to his hips.

His elbows were out.

His chest was a little more puffed out.

He held his head high and suddenly walked with

Downright authority!

He had BECOME Buss Light Year!

Complete strangers commented on his costume and there wasn’t a shy bone in his body.

He was Buzz!

 

I’m reminded that we can choose to walk hand in hand with Jesus.

We can have Him with us on any occasion and at anytime and every time if we desire.

That should put some confidence in our step!

By faith, know that He can be with you.

 

To quote Ruth Graham

“Stop studying the problems and start studying The Promises”

 

He is in our midst.