Month: May 2021

When God Makes A Man

For the past fourteen and a half years, I have been tasked with the responsibility to keep this man-child alive. I have feed, clothed, protected, and shielded him from foes and dangers, visible and invisible. For years I was his everything (what David would call having him wrapped around my apron strings 😊) From the time he was a toddler, he remained within eyesight of me and my protection, willingly lavishing me with his all his affection…. payable in never-ending hugs and kisses….. then one day the hugs and kisses became few and far between…. photos nearly impossible! Watching my adorable, affectionate, pudgy boy grow into a lanky, strong, deep voiced, hairy, opinionated man has been one of the most heart wrenching yet beautiful seasons of life for me.

This afternoon, for thirty minutes, I forced myself to remain calm and glued to the couch where I sat while watching my boy scale a backyard tree. This wan’t your typical tree climbing adventure. This involved ropes, climbing harness, carabiners and a homemade climbing rig and minimal use of the tree to climb. I can’t begin to express the struggle within my heart as I watched my son climb 30 plus feet into the atmosphere, where I am pretty sure oxygen deprivation would soon overtake him and inhibit any existing common sense! I willed myself to sit in silence as I watched him falter, flounder in the breeze, struggle with tangled ropes, get stuck, cling to a branch (I am pretty sure it was rotten) swing precariously out of control, untangle and eventually free himself…..and then continue to climb…… It took every ounce of will power and self-control to not run out and shout motherly (and wise) admonitions, imploring him to not kill himself all while pointing out every possible way he could die….. which was in fact a real possibility because I ran the probabilities of all manner of calamities that could possibly kill him, and the odds were not in his favor.

After a thirty-minute struggle with nature, I was relieved to watch Owen’s uneventful return to earth.  A few seconds later he rushed into the house and invited me into his world. With excitement, he began to describe his adventures in the tree. Once more, I bit my tongue and listened to his detailed narrative of events. I praised him for his quick thinking and asked questons about his ability to free himself ( from what I considered a near death experience with a rope and gravity.) I asked him questions about how he solved the delima of getting hisglove caught in the rope (to which he proudly exclaimed “I unhooked myself from the line (30 feet in the air) in order to get loose!!!!” And gasp, ….. I even offered him my phone to take back up into the tree so he could photograph the “hundreds” of beetles he discovered on a branch. A miracle happened in that moment mama’s because  I didn’t reprimand, caution, or give him sage advice. I let him be who God created him to be, a strong, courageous, adventurous warrior.  I can’t describe his excitement over the entire episode (which I consider a near debacle!) He talked me through everything he realized had gone wrong, and his solution to the rope that had inhibiting him from successfully reaching a dead branch (he has determined to cut down), and how he was going to succeed next time. Seconds later he was back in the tree and….climbing even higher. I verbally called out to the Lord to preserve the life of my son and then forced myself to look away while doing a mental refresher of my 1st Aid skills.

Then my husband came home. He walked over to the couch where I sat and I pointed out the window towards the tree. With a smile, he gazed out the window at his son dangling from a rope. He nodded at Owen and exclaimed, “That’s exactly what I did when I was his age.” David slipped out the back door and walked to the tree, standing below flailling limbs and legs. I am not sure what my husband said to our son, but I saw a grin spread over Owen’s face as his daddy called up to him. Soon Owen was on the ground, and I watched as father and son discussed climbing strategies. I watched David inspect Owen’s rigging and ascent line, giving him advice regarding his knots. I watched Owen ask a question and then saw him respond, giving his father a huge smile and thumbs up….. and then he was backup up the tree. While my mama’s heart ached for times long past, I knew even in that moment, I was watching the process of my boy becoming a man! I am not sure how, but my heart ached and surged with pride, all at the same time.

I an age where men of courage, valor, and strength are shamed and even attacked, I am so very grateful for my husband who models Godly character and might in action. David knows that Owen faces an uphill battle and he is committed to walking alongside and encouraging him to become an man of God as he faces the battles ahead. David is reading a book “How God Makes Men,” preparing to take Owen through it.” I’d give anyhting for a hug, or semi normal picture, but more than anything I want my boy be be the full measure of a man God desires to make him. I pray that as God grows my son, he also gives me courage and faith to let go. Though my heart aches to hold my adorable, cowboy boot wearing, tractor loving kid one more time, I pray there are more towering trees to climb in Owen’s future, and mountains to scale, battles to fight, and enemies to vanquish……

Mama’s, hug your sons while you can, savor the moments, but don’t hold onto them. Let them find a tree to climb a mountian to scale, a battle to fight. Let them falter, fall, and fail. Let them discover who and what they are made of. Don’t shield them from battles that will make them men. Let them become men who love you but don’t need you.

My Abba Father, Part 1

I remember the day my oldest daughter Jessica entered this world. The Doctor dutifully announced her arrival and shortly after, her tiny cries filled the delivery room. At that moment, her wails of disapproval were the most beautiful sounds I had ever heard. With awe, David and I welcomed her into our lives and she captivated our hearts. There was no question about it! We had given birth to the most beautiful baby ever created. Looking back this makes me laugh because Jess was the typical newborn- blotchy, cheesy, with a very malformed head and swollen face. BUT, she was ours and in our opinion, she was perfect. Shortly after her grand entrance, both sets of grandparents busted through the delivery room door, eager to meet their granddaughter. As they passed her around, I remember hearing David’s mom exclaim “She has David’s nose!” Even in my exhausted and drug-induced state, I immediately felt a twinge of irritation. Yes, I was completely aware that this little life shared our DNA, but something inside me wanted to see, and hear others to acknowledge, my likeness in her tiny purple form. 

If you are a parent, you understand that longing to see your likeness and the sense of pride your child(children) brought you when you caught glimpses of yourself in their face. For the past two days, I have been immersed in a book, “God Has A Name,” by John Mark Comer. As he expounds on Exodus 34:4-7, describing the life-transforming truth of God’s character and nature found in His name Yahweh, he asked a question.  “Can you imagine how God feels about His Children?” This question brought me back to that hospital room almost eighteen years ago. The joy, excitement, pride, utter awe I felt when I held my daughter is indescribable. I loved her then (and now), with a love I had never experienced before. For seventeen years, I have positioned myself to move heaven and earth to care for, protect, and provide for her every need. I have sacrificed sleep, food, personal wants, and needs (including hygiene those first few weeks), goals, and even dreams, in order to care for, provide, teach, and prepare her for her own journey and life story.  Even today, as I look into the face of the beautiful seventeen-year-old woman, racing out the door on her way to work, my heart swells. She is my daughter! I gave birth to her!! How did I get such a precious gift?!?! (Also, how did we manage to keep her and the other two alive??) 

Within the limits of my earthly brain, I understand Comer’s question and the importance of asking it, not simply within the context of my children Jess, Mollie, and Owen. My Father feels the same way about my husband, sister, parents, friends….. He feels the same about them as I do my own children, but then a gazillion timed more!! As often as I can, I let my children know, no matter what they do (good or bad), what they accomplish (noteworthy or embarrasing), or who they become (professional dog walker or president)…. I will always love them. There is no sin, no screw-up, no failure, no length of prodigal living that can diminish, to any degree, my love for them. They may cause great sorrow and break my heart, but they are mine, and I will love them unconditionally (Never condoning, excusing, accepting, or enabling sin). But then there is the Love of our Father towards HIS children! A Love that abounds, overflows, and is poured out with unlimited, “Compassion & Grace.” Comer’s point was to allow our limited comprehension of God’s love for His Children to challenge, define, inform, and empower us to love others, be they spouses, children, friends, enemies, those who have hurt us, and even the mildly (or majorly) irritating people in our lives. All BECAUSE, they-are-HIS-children and HE is the Ultimate, ON Steroids, Don’t Mess With this Papa bear’s kid…… kinda daddy…. A Daddy who NEVERgets it wrong, never misses a fall, never fails to see, never fails to respond, never lacks the resource. A papa who never lacks authority, power, and ability to intervene and come to the rescue of his kid!!!!  Immediately after reading this, my thoughts were ouch! What have I done!!… duck for cover!!!…. repent !!!!

If the above truth strikes a twinge of fear into your heart (and it should) as you consider all the relationships you have with all the children of The Father of Heaven – husband, parents, children, siblings, co-workers, churchgoers….. the quarrels, fights, disagreements, public slander, private musings….the thoughtless offenses and outright blatant sins you have committed against His children, let this next thought bring comfort. (after you repent of course)

As I grieved over this realization and with embarrassment and shame began to talk to my Daddy and ask for forgiveness, MY Abba, Daddy In heaven reminded me “I gave and YOU a name too Jody, you are equally mine! (Isaiah 43:1) In the margin of my book, I scribbled, “I am never a disappointment to God! There will never be even a moment in time where God can not, does not, or will not look upon me, his faltering and struggling daughter, and not be moved with compassion. His graciousness, in light of my failures and imperfections, will never cause him to hesitate to come to my aid, encompass me with His presence, and forgive me of my sins and failures.” WOW!! He looks at me the same way I gazed upon my newborn daughter! He looks at me with equal measures of pride and compassion. Because of the blood of his son, I am forever and eternally His! Do you struggle to wrap your head around this truth like I do? The insecure, often made fun of, never quite fit in, never chosen, never enough, always felt like a mistake little girl inside of me struggles to understand…believe, accept this truth.. I am the wife who got irritated at her husband, the mamma who snapped at her children, the drover who got angry and barked at the driver in front of her going 15 mines under the speed limit, and I struggle with this reality….this gift. How can he look down upon me and beam with pride and glance over at the angles and exclaim “Thats my daughter!!!”

Think back to a time when your kid did something so amazingly fantastic that your heart swelled with a pride you could actually feel deep inside your heart. A time where you pulled out your phone to share a photo with a firend or posted a video of them doing their thing on the internet for all of the world to see……… This is how God your Fathert feels about you!  Let your heart and mind settle on this thought until it breaks you, sucks the very breath out of your lungs, ignites hope and joy where frustration, guilt, and shame used to reside….. And then go climb up into His lap and tell him about your day.