…the good parts

When I am in the middle of reading a fiction book I almost always skip ahead.  Sometimes it is to the end and other times it is only a few chapters ahead.  Once I am satisfied to know what I did not know before, I go back to my place and begin reading there again.  Yup, I admit it.  My husband always makes fun of me when he catches me doing that.  The other day I caught my five year old daughter doing exactly the same thing.

 

During a movie I will forward through scary or intense parts I would rather not see.

 

Do you?

 

At the coffee shop where I am writing I just watched a young boy drink an entire apple juice box.  Why do kids, including this young man, drink everything in a juice box in nearly one big sip?  They want the goodness to keep coming.  I so identify with that.  I want the goodness to keep coming, so I skip over the scary, overwhelming and hard parts of books and movies so I can get back to the good, and the wonderful. I want to stay right there.

 

The thing is, in life we cannot really do that.  Gosh, wouldn’t that be nice?  In personal struggles and difficult circumstances we have no remote or power to skip over it.  We have to live it.  We have to walk through it.  We have a choice of how we do that, in fear or in faith, with others or alone.  Some difficult things in my life this year has brought out fear, anxiety and worry more to the surface in my life.  In all of these things I have wanted to overcome them all already and be done with them.  But, it isn’t that easy.  We learn things and grow in the process.  The in between time between the trouble and the victory is place where we become.  It’s the place where we get to see God be who He said He will be.  He will be your refuge and your strength, even if it doesn’t quite look like how you imagined it to be.

 

I want to become so I have to accept the hard too.  I am still in that process.

 

I have been walking through Beth Moore’s bible study The Quest this summer.  It has come exactly at the right time.  It has encouraged being honest with God and asking him all the questions you have.  Even the scary ones.  God won’t be hurt or surprised when you ask them.  The study has asked questions I have needed to verbally process within myself and God.

 

This week we have begun reading and talking about the book of Job.  This is a book of the Bible that I have skipped.  I remember intending to read it probably ten years ago and I never got around to it until now.  God had to include in the Bible for a good reason, right?    So far, I see Job in the most horrible circumstances.  I am going to keep reading to see what I find.  I won’t skip it this time.

 

What do you need to face and not to skip in your life?

 

Cinderella, Swords and a Kingdom

I hear about princesses daily.  Cinderella is my daughter’s favorite.  We host balls in our living room and there are always a plentitude of dresses strewn about across our bedroom floors.  I often have a helmet clad boy approach me with a wooden sword ready to attack.  I have to tell my son so many times that mamas don’t really appreciate battle as much as he does.

 

Children seem to have an innate interest in things of royalty.  What little girl doesn’t want to play princess or even better be a princess at some point? As bigger kids, or I guess some would call us adults, we still have that desire that lingers somewhere within us.  It is why I could not get the latest royal wedding this summer between Prince Henry and Meghan Markle out of my mind for days.  As one who never reads entertainment magazines, I scoured the internet for anything about the couple and the wedding.  There is something deep within us that is wired for Kingdoms, Kings and Princesses.

 

I think I know why.

 

We were created to be a part of one, the Kingdom of God.

 

This will be our forever home.  He will be our forever King.

 

The Bible speaks so much about this King and this Kingdom.  As I read,I become more and more excited.  As I read, the power that is behind His words that don’t merely exist on a page of paper reach inside and refocus me.  They whisper to me of what is really true, and it feels so opposite of the seen world in front of me.  That’s why I need to read, so my perspective is returned back to my Father and what He has told me is important.  He says in Luke, “Don’t concern yourself about what you will eat or drink, and quit worrying about these things.  Everyone in the world is concerned about these things, but your Father knows you need them.  Rather, be concerned about his Kingdom.  Then, these things will be provided for you.”  In short, don’t be so concerned and focused on the world in front of you.  God will take of the world and He will take care of you.  Instead, think about His Kingdom.  Make Him and His Kingdom your number one priority.  My daughter wearing a crown to breakfast doesn’t feel so crazy now, right?

 

In the book of Matthew the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest in God’s Kingdom.  I am not sure why.  One of them probably wanted to be the greatest.  It was almost like a school yard fight for superiority status.  Jesus knew they still were not understanding.  He asked a little child to come to him and put the child in the middle of all the disciples.  I can picture it.  A little child staring up at the taller adults around him.  Jesus looked at his friends and said, “You need to become like this child, and if you don’t you will never be a part of God’s kingdom.  Whoever becomes like this child, is the one that is the greatest in my Father’s kingdom.  He goes on even further to say, If you welcome this child, you welcome me.  I can just imagine the disciples shaking their heads, hardly believing what they were hearing.  They had to become like kids?

 

I am so glad that I have my children to watch and learn about the Kingdom.  I don’t have any concrete conclusions but some observations and questions.

 

Children wake up and immediately begin playing.  Playing is their work.  It is within play that they imagine their way to understanding, they try things out, and simply play.  Life is not so serious or as complicated as we make it.  Our Father has told us not to worry and maybe play is a part of that?

 

Children will simply believe what they will hear.  At the same time, they ask a million questions.  They are not afraid to ask, because they are curious.

 

They think so much more is possible.  After all, Nothing is impossible for our God.  That can become something we simply repeat, but pause for a minute and know that it is true.  Nothing is impossible for God.  Absolutely nothing.

 

Oh, how children’s eyes light up as they experience new things!  It is one of my favorite things to observe.

 

It is His Kingdom that I want to be a part of my and my family’s reality.  I am not really sure how to do that but I know it will be worth it.  His Kingdom will be more of our reality than our present one.  It may take a constant stopping and shifting my perspective.    I will pray.  How can we invite His Kingdom to our meal times, our parenting and our play?  Well, our kids have the play part down, right?

It sounds like the greatest fairy tale, because it is.   It is actually one we have the privilege to be a part of.  It is your story too.   In Luke 12:32 Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid, little flock (that’s us!).  Your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.  Let these words wash over you, and become a part of you.  He is pleased to give you the Kingdom.  And it is an actual, real Kingdom my friend.  What is unseen will soon be seen.  It is time to prepare for the Ball my sister.