Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Abundantly Beyond

I saw it coming. The large steel door began to close just as my baby's dimpled hand reached toward the hinged edge for support. In that eternal split second, I thrust my hand out to rescue hers, but it was too late. I braced myself for the scream and the dreaded unknown. Scooping her up in my arms, I quickly examined the little hand. "Can you wiggle your fingers, baby?" With tears streaming, she showed me that she could. I sighed with relief. But then the swelling began. I quickly scanned my surroundings, looking for help.

This was supposed to have been a quick trip into Trader Joe's, but the restroom detour was proving to be quite unfortunate. Thankfully, an employee was immediately at our side (Avery wails are hard to ignore). "Could we please get some ice? She pinched her finger in the door." A look of concern spread across his face. "Let me see what I can do." And he was off.

I comforted Avery while Bethie strategically veered the shopping cart toward the penne pasta samples. When the employee returned, I nestled Avery into the cart and surrounded the throbbing finger with the bagged ice. But he wanted to do more. "Would she like a balloon?" he wondered. A perfect way to divert her attention from the pain. "Yes, thank you," I said. "That'd be great." Once again he left, and quickly returned with a bright pink balloon and two rolls of candy. I thanked him for his kindness, and the girls beamed over his generosity.

We quickly zipped through the aisles in an attempt to finish our shopping. Every once in a while, Avery remembered her pitiable condition and let out another wail. I kissed and soothed. (Rather loudly, I'm afraid, and with dramatic emphasis. I somehow felt it necessary to assure the gawking shoppers that she was not throwing a tantrum. She was injured. "Oh honey. I know your FINGER still HURTS, but the ICE will help the SWELLING." My pride! Always at work.) I popped a raspberry candy into her little pink mouth, and assured her, "We're almost done." The sweetness helped, as did the bobbing balloon above her head.

I was relieved when we finally got back to the van. The swelling was down, and her finger already looked much better. But Avery's concerns began anew. "How will I get into my car seat?" she moaned. I assured her that she would still fit. "How will I get out of my car seat?" Once again, I promised, "Mommy can help you." Back at home she was unsure about the porch. "How will I get up the stairs?" I smiled to think that one small finger could cause so much fear and apprehension. But, with the balloon still soaring overhead, she conquered those steps. Then suddenly, all was forgotten. Daddy was home, and so were the boys. They would surely be impressed by her bag of ice, the balloon, two rolls of candy and a fancy bruise. Into the front door she burst, ready to tell her story.

My little Avery has unwittingly given me a precious glimpse into the heart of our heavenly Father. Like my child, we all have wounds. We all need healing. Those wounds hurt, distract and sometimes even draw attention to ourselves. But when we bring them to the Lord, realizing that He alone can minister to our hurt, we find the gentle, healing touch of a Physician whose skill greatly exceeds our expectations.

However, it doesn't stop there. Just as the employee desired to do more for Avery, so our Lord wishes to draw our attention away from ourselves and the wounds that threaten to overwhelm, by lavishing His goodness upon us. The pink balloon drew Avery's gaze away from the pain toward something bright and beautiful. The raspberry sweets on her tongue were soothing and pleasant. Likewise, our Healer tilts our chin toward the beauty of His Son and pours from His Word a sweetness that satisfies our every desire.

We may come with burdens that seem impossible and insurmountable. Yet our Father, as always, is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). And it is His delight to do so. We are created to come to Him for healing and comfort. We may doubt. We may wonder if we'll ever get out of that car seat or if the porch steps will prove to be too difficult. But then we'll remember. Our Daddy is home. And we'll burst through the front door, ready to tell our story.
Pin It

Friday, July 3, 2009

Not in Vain

There we sat in the Wal-Mart parking lot, waiting for Miss Avery to buckle up. (It takes at least three minutes to conquer that five-point harness every single time we pile into the van, but she definitely prefers to do it without help. I've gotten to where I don't even turn on the ignition until I hear the final, triumphant "click" that announces her success.)

So there we sat. We sat and people-watched, always a fascinating diversion. This time, we were amply rewarded for our patience. Weaving slowly in and out of the parking lot aisles was a white patrol car -- a handicapped parking enforcement patrol car. The amber lights flashed rhythmically as the vehicle hovered around parking spots clearly designated for customers with physical limitations.

The car slowed to a stop, and from the passenger's side emerged a woman, probably in her eighties, to inspect the first vehicle. She peered through the front window, squinting the blue parking tag into focus. Good. She then examined the license plate, saw the blue symbol. Good. This one was okay. She slowly shuffled to the next car, a slight curve in her back, silver hair gleaming in the sunshine. Again we witnessed the same routine: Parking tag? Check. License plate? Check. And then again, and again, and again the rhythm repeated itself. Each and every car in that section received the same meticulous inspection: Parking tag? Check. License plate? Check.

When it was time to move on to the next aisle, she eased herself back into the car (chauffeured by an aging gentleman who bore a matching crown of silver hair), and prepared herself to revisit the checklist. This routine continued, car by car, until I heard Avery's "click," when I knew it was finally time to head toward the pet store. I cast a last glance toward the faithfully patrolling couple and left the parking lot, wondering if their work ever felt tedious.

Once at Petsmart, I again waited in the van, this time for Drew. His errand was to run in and fetch crickets for Leona, his leopard gecko. While we waited, we people-watched. To my delight, the patrol car was not far behind us. Into the lot it came, its occupants eager to fulfill their duty. They slowly approached the first vehicle. Suddenly, they screeched to a halt. They stared, blinking, as if to confirm what they dared not hope. Something definitely wasn't right. They both worked their way out of the car, breathless with anticipation. Parking tag? No! License symbol? No! With a collective gleam in their wizened eyes, the pair unleashed their expertise on the unsuspecting violator.

She whipped out a clipboard, feverishly scratching out pertinent information, as if the state of the union rested on this report. He produced a tiny digital camera, hobbled back a few feet, and proceeded to snap shots with the stealthy enthusiasm of a paparazzo. The two were unstoppable. That poor violator didn't stand a chance. I smiled in admiration and inwardly applauded their triumphant moment. After countless aisles and vehicles, each one carefully scoured, they had finally found what they were looking for. They had fulfilled their mission. Their work was not in vain. Back in their car, details were exchanged. They eventually drove on, this time at a stately pace that hinted of satisfaction in a job well done.

Once Drew was again clicked in place, we headed homeward. But the victorious patrol team stayed in my thoughts. For days, actually. They had been specifically trained for this task, and although it appeared to be painfully monotonous in the beginning, their steadfastness paid off. Had they rushed through their work or paid little heed to the details, they might have missed the big one altogether.

It's easy to be discouraged by the menial chores that seem to have no earthly value. I think of the many things that I do over and over and over again. Always the same. The laundry hamper is always full come Monday morning. The bathroom mirror mysteriously attracts toothpaste within minutes of being wiped clean. The dishes need washing every single day. Little tummies require food with a frequency that astonishes me.

But what if the faithful completion of these tasks is preparing me for something bigger? If I ignore, rush or grumble through the little things, am I running the risk of being ill-prepared for a critical kingdom assignment? It's a sobering thought. I don't want to miss out on the things that God has in store for me. I know that he is preparing me for His work, be it in my home or in my community -- an amazing opportunity could be waiting for me just around the next bend. So I'll determine to press on with my little flashing amber light. I'll faithfully patrol my home, tending to my flock and meeting the needs that come my way. And I'll be well equipped for His service, knowing that my work has not been in vain.
Pin It


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...