Modern Sparrow

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I began a job for Mrs “P” last week. I’ve been to her home on several occasions to do various painting projects. I couldn’t help but notice the large metal cage that graced it’s presence on the island in the middle of the kitchen.
Mrs “P” began to tell me this story. In the cage was Chili the chinchilla. Chili was her granddaughter’s classroom pet. Months ago Mrs “P” was asked to care for the little guy over the summer so she agreed to do it. The truck arrived with the cage and all the necessary supplies. Chili lived there for a while and it became increasingly apparent that something was wrong. He stopped eating and could not make it up to the second floor of his little resort without falling off the ladder. Mrs “P” decided that it was time to take him to the vet. She found a vet who had some expertise in small rodents. He examined Chili and came to the conclusion that he had suffered a stroke. Interesting… who knew rodents had strokes! He told her, “It’s probably not worth it to save him. He continued, “He’ll need to be force fed every 2 hours until he can do it for himself. Even then, he may not make it.” Upon hearing this, she made a decision that most of us would not have made. She didn’t have the heart to let him die while in her possession, so she decided that he was worth it and began feeding him. She said, “It was like taking care of a newborn!”
While not completely recovered, Chili had shown great improvement when summer approached it’s end. Mrs. “P” and the teacher began discussing the plans for Chili when finally the teacher said, “Mrs “P”, Chili is going to require more care than we are prepared to provide him. Do you want him?” After all that bonding, she couldn’t say no. So now, he has found a permanent home with Mrs. “P”.
This little story reminded me of our heavenly father’s great love for us. A scripture that I was reminded of is found in Luke.

Luke 12:6-7 NIV

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Chili had little to no value in the condition he was in. Even the veterinarian felt that he would be better off being put to sleep. It wasn’t until someone decided his life was worth saving that he became valuable. We can feel sick, worthless, forgotten, or discouraged, but the truth is someone much greater than us has already decided that we ARE valuable!

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You can trust Him!

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The later part of 2011 brought in some changes to our family. I believe it has been a re-focusing of priorities. The Lord has been calling us into a deeper relationship with Him.
At the end of the summer, my wife came home from work to be with our children. It was a huge step of faith for both of us. We went from relying on two incomes to a much smaller inconsistant one. I just didn’t see it possible when studying the numbers. Although I had doubts on how this was going to play out, I felt this was what God was asking us to do. Putting our faith into action was a challenging step. I’m a self employed painting contractor and traditionally I receive little to no calls in January and February is not much better.
It was the middle of December when panic overtook me because I had no work lined up for the month of January. I’d like to say that I didn’t worry and put my whole trust in the Lord, but that wouldn’t be quite true. Although, I did turn to the Lord, I didn’t do it with the great confidence that I think He would be pleased with. As I usually do, I immediately went to the far side. The worst things that could happen are made possible in the imagination of my mind, which by the way, have not come true yet! I was lining my schedule up last week with the jobs I had received recently and realized that the Lord has provided me with a whole month of work for us!
I can focus on my shortcomings or maybe I should be greatful that I find myself right where the Lord wants me. A place of reliance on Him.

An old friend

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I write with sadness today as I remember a good friend of mine that I lost this week. We have not known each other for a long time, but we have become good friends in the time we have spent together. He was a great work companion as we have gotten down and dirty on jobs together from time to time. Customers who are used to seeing him think that I look different when he is not with me. It was earlier this week that my son, my friend, and I, were all playing together in the hallway and that is where the accident happened. My son always liked to pull around on him and laugh and good ol’ Lan, he was such a good sport. He would just sit there as if it didn’t bother him. My son was pulling on him on this occasion and this time the strap broke and it was all over. We like to refer to it as the strap, but in reality it was the only thing that kept him on the straight and narrow. It all happened so fast. I only recall holding him in my hands and thinking “Oh, no! He’s gone!”

If you would like to see a picture of my friend, I have provided some links to pictures of him below for you to pay your last respects. Gone, but not forgotten!

His picture

Another Picture

The Wound

Daddy’s hands

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Tonight my son had a bit of trouble falling asleep. Most nights he falls asleep hard and fast and doesn’t wake up until morning. He began to whimper as we were watching a movie and by the end he was in a full out cry. He responds much better to me than my daughter did at that age, so I went up and entered his room to find him standing in his crib with tears rolling down his face. I picked him up and decided to give a little more milk. I came back and held him for several minutes to calm him down.

He finished his cup that he was drinking and I placed it on the table next to the chair. I love it when he calms down for me. He just lays there and either falls asleep or just sits there looking up at me. He did that for a few minutes and began reaching his hand out for his cup. Even though it was empty, I think it’s a little bit of a security thing for him. I reached out and placed my hand on his and was reminded that mine could surround his completely.

If I had to pick a favorite body part, I think it would be the hands. They can say so much about a person. My hands are short and stalky. I have hair on my knuckles. They are rough from all the painting supplies I use on a weekly basis. My wedding ring is too big since I have lost about 55 lbs in the last year. I have a bump on my right middle finger that has been there forever. On that same finger I have a damaged cuticle that won’t seem to heal and a wart that won’t go away!  I have my dad’s hands. My dad’s hands are strong. They were often used for calming fears, guiding us in the right direction, and keeping us close to him. I always trusted them and I knew he knew what was best for me. I love my hands! I love my hands because they are a perfect reminder of my daddy and also a great reminder of my heavenly daddy. It’s comforting to know that my heavenly daddy has a much broader perspective than I could imagine and He plans to guide me, to calm me, and keep me close to Him as I seek His will for my life!

Things left behind

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The last 4 years of my life have been full of change. My kids have me wrapped around their little fingers …at least that’s what they think! Well, maybe they do … just a little!

I’m sitting here in my living room looking around at items in our home that have appeared over time. All kinds of things from puzzles to balloons to piles of kids clothes. Most things we have at some point chosen to bring into our home and other things people have brought and left. I can think of other things that have made their presence in our home that are more valuable than anything that can be purchased. Things like laughter,  hugs from tiny little arms, and eyes that light up when I enter the room are just a few of the many.

That got me thinking about my spiritual house. When Christ lives within us, “things” start appearing in our lives and in our homes. I think of things like church bulletins, sermon notes, my Bible, scripture verses tacked up on my mirror, nativities set up around Christmas, forgiveness, joy, hope, peace, and laughter. Just as easily though, we can have other guests in our home that come and go leaving things that can harm us. Greed, lust, anger, bad attitudes, putting others down, unforgiveness, pride, and the list goes on. Every so often we have to go through our home and remove things that could be harmful to our children. Likewise, our spiritual lives need to be cleaned up sometimes. Things have a way of creeping into our lives to where one day we look up and wonder why we don’t feel God’s presence in our lives.

Prayer: Keep my heart pure, Lord and help me to remove anything in my home that would distract me from you.

Do everything with purpose

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For quite some time now I have struggled with what my purpose is. I suppose it’s the age old question, “Why are we here?” I grew up in a Christian home and  in my mind I know that I have value, that I am “Fearfully and wonderfully made”, but in my heart I don’t always feel that way.

I heard growing up many times that a person could have a “calling”, and that everyone is “called” to do something. For some reason, my mind would always go toward a career. Probably because for many people I have observed, their calling has been closely related to a career. Numerous times I have gotten discouraged when I prayed for some clear direction for a “career” that God created me for and received no clear answer. I can think of nothing that has stuck with me for any length of time. Just in the last couple of weeks, the Lord has been pointing out some things to me.

  • Everywhere I go, God has a purpose for me… even if I don’t see it at the time.

We had our Furnace and Air-conditioning replaced in the last month and the husband of the husband/wife team said to me at one point, “We go where people call us, because we figure that God wants us to work for them.” That phrase stuck with me. He realized that God had a greater purpose for them. As a self-employed person, I find myself in many homes of people that do not know Christ, and also, some who do know Him. I have had a strong sense that God has provided each and every job for me so that I can provide for my family. However, what I have failed to realize is that He has placed me at each house for a greater purpose than to just make money. Even if I don’t see it every time, He must be doing something through me. He has provided me with a great opportunity to be Jesus to the world.

  • I am responsible for pointing my family towards Jesus

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 I have been instructed to teach my children about Jesus and show them what it is to be a Godly father and husband. They instinctively look to me for the answers to life. It’s not an easy task sometimes. I don’t always handle situations in the best way. I just pray that God will show me where I have messed up and what to do to fix it. Sometimes that means pushing my pride aside and apologizing!

  • One thing may not be enough

One thing I am constantly learning is that we can count on change. I may not be “called” to a full-time career and even if I am, that’s no guarantee that it will stay that way. He’s constantly calling us to something, whether it’s to go talk to our neighbor or go around the world on a mission trip to do who knows what! (that’s a whole other thought process I/We are having at the moment.)

Someone shared a verse tonight at church that spoke to me. I will share it with you.

Psalm 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.

Uncoordinated

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I don’t consider myself old, but sometimes I feel like I am getting there. Yesterday morning we were preparing to go check out our new daycare for the kids. We slept in to the extent that a 3-year-old and a 9 month old would let us, which meant we woke up at 7 and tried to go back to sleep to no avail! Our kids finally won the battle and drug us out of bed to get breakfast made. I was all dressed and heading down the first flight of stairs toward the basement when all of a sudden without notice, I landed flat on my back laying on the stairs. I let out an “Aaaaaaah!” and without hesitation my wife came running out yelling “Are you ok?”

I began to pick myself up wondering how in the world that could have happened. I wasn’t running, skipping, or doing cartwheels down the stairs, just walking! After jumping up and brushing off the humiliation off my pants, I had to laugh a little.

You would think that was good enough, but there’s more! Because of our leisure morning, I had to work until 8:30 to finish a job. After getting home, I ate my dinner and sat down to relax for just a moment before jumping into a deep sleep. Finally, my sweetheart convinced me that it was time to go to bed. After getting in bed and turning all the lights out, we realized that one light was left on. I was brave enough, I was man enough, I had no fear, I decided to head to the kitchen without turning any lights back on… What I did not calculate accurately was that someone had placed a little toddler folding chair right in my path. I still do not know exactly what happened, but here’s what I do know:

  • I know I landed on my feet.
  • I know I somehow cleared the chair.
  • Somehow one foot ended up on the dresser, clearing our wedding unity candle and displacing several other things.
  • I know that our unity candle is tough and didn’t break (like my love for her) Now, get your finger out of your mouth.
  • I know it hurt less than falling down the stairs.
  • Finally, my bride of eight and a half years could not stop laughing at me!

What I don’t know:

  • I don’t know how I landed on my feet!
  • I don’t know how I cleared the chair.
  • I don’t know how my foot ended up on the dresser.
  • As graceful as it sounds I don’t know why it didn’t hurt.
  • I don’t know why my bride of eight and a half years could not stop laughing at me!

Here’s the lesson I want you to take away from my day: Don’t wear slick shoes, Don’t run to the kitchen in the dark, and don’t laugh at me, laugh with me!

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