David, what the heck are you slowing down for?

The sun was bright and the sky was that clear blue color dotted only by a few white puffy clouds; beckoning all to come away and enjoy the day.  And so, my husband and I took advantage of the rare spontaneous moment and decided to go for a bike ride together.  It had been nearly two years since our last bike ride.

I was not in the best of shape, as a year and a half of cancer and its treatments had taken a toll on my body. Yet, I was determined to do something active with my husband.  Finding any time to do something “fun” with my husband was a feat in and of itself.  Sharing him with many children, a grandson, and three jobs often left us to logistical conversations and brief kisses as we crossed paths. So this was an opportunity to be seized!

The new bike was an effortless ride.  The breeze was just enough to dance and tickle around my body as it burst forward through time and space.  My dearly beloved ahead of me, leading the way, filled me with contentment as I followed.  Speed picked up and I was just getting “into” the enjoyment of the day.  Then, I saw my leader slow down.

The words in my head whined, No(!) David, what the heck are you slowing down  for?…I am just getting going and I am liking this…why are you making me stop and lose my momentum!

David stopped the bike totally.  As I slowed to a stop just behind him, he leaned over sideways and picked a daisy from the side of the path and extended it to me with a smile and twinkle of love in his eyes.  Daisies are my favorite and he knew it!

My heart melted and I returned a gentle kiss as he tucked the flower stem under my spandex strap.  In seconds we were off again enjoying the day – sunshine, blue sky, and breeze.  As I took in the view of my husband in the lead I gave an audible thank you to my Father in Heaven.

I was reminded of God’s divine interruptions in my life; the moments when He slows things down and stops things with the purpose of showing or teaching me something.  I am often whining in my head, No, Lord, why are you doing this…I am just getting going on my own way here….  But, like my husband modeled today, my Father God extends to me things that He knows will delight me; things that will touch my heart in just the right way to impress upon me His presence and His love for me.

Philippians 4:4 calls me to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.”  My Father delights in me simply because He made me, I am His, and I love Him.  All because of the purposeful pick of a daisy I am rejoicing in the Lord!  He is such a cool bless-er!

Isn’t it great to know that God knows exactly what will delight us in a day?!

Eat the green goopy stuff!

My youngest daughter is a very uniquely created child.  She is the youngest of nine children, has the most creative thinker, and loves God’s creatures.  A few summers ago, she went on daily quests to find and hunt down toads.  One in particular toad was named “Toady”; she cradled him, pet him, talked to him, caught bugs for him, and made him a habitat. It was a very sad moment when we had to let “Toady” go.  She cried and mourned for several days.

One of my oldest sons got married three years ago.  The reception took place in a lovely hall with chandeliers and large windows overlooking lush green rolling hills.  Three of my young daughters were flower girls and looked as beautiful as all flower girls do.  Everyone was enjoying the company, the music, the dancing and all the usual wedding festivities.  My youngest daughter was totally engaged…..in tiny little black beetles that she had found crawling on one of the large window sills.  She was collecting them in a glass.  She was preoccupied for most of the reception as she went around showing off her collection to any guest that would give her ear.  Reluctantly she left them at the hall when it was time for us to leave.

This is the daughter who asks for more “worms and blood” when we are having spaghetti and sauce for supper, who wishes she could get shrimp for pets, searches the internet for turtles and turtle supplies – making lists and prices – hoping one day I will give in and purchase them for her.  She also once  painted a white spot on a snapping turtle that happened by our yard one day so if he came by again we would recognize him……

It was her ninth birthday this past April and we asked her what she’d like for a gift.  She responded in all  honesty, “cactus plants and butterflies.”  My mom got the cactus plants and I got the butterflies — well it actually was a butterfly screen house with an order form for caterpillars.  We filled out the form and my little girl anxiously waited for the caterpillars to arrive in the mail.  They finally were delivered and she excitedly watched as they ate and ate and ate some green goopy stuff in little plastic sealed cups; starting out they were very tiny 1/4″ wormy things but grew fat and long and very caterpillary very quickly.  The caterpillars then attached themselves to the top of the lid and hung upside down and in a matter of a day or so became  lifeless brown corpses.  Carefully we placed them into the screen house and waited.  Like those Dr. Suessy children that sat by the window watching the rain, my daughter watched these chrysalises hang and do nothing …for days and days and days.  Then, without warning, the butterflies emerged flapping their wings and fluttered around the screen house.  They were perfect.  They were beautiful.  She enjoyed them immensely for about a week and then was willing to let them go free and enjoy the sweet flowers and expanse of sky that God had intended the butterflies to be a part of.  The wonder and satisfaction on her young face was precious.  It was an exquisite birthday gift.

I was reflecting on these moments with my daughter and I was reminded of how our Creator delights us with creatures and nature.  I was reminded of how He makes everything beautiful in His time; “”He has made everything beautiful its time,” Ecclesiastes 3:11.  He takes even us weeny wormy humans and provides all that we need to turn us into beautiful new creatures; like the caterpillar, we have to eat the green goopy stuff and we too have to go through drab brown seemingly lifeless periods of time in order to be transformed.  However, unlike the caterpillar and butterfly, we are in constant transformation as we are being molded into the image of Christ.  I am realizing that it is during those seemingly lifeless situations that most of the growth and renewing happens; the green goopy stuff then is put to full use.  The green goopy stuff  is His Word and we need to eat it!  It is  full of the life giving nutrients we need to grow in Him; Just as Romans 12:2b calls us to “..be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  The drab, brown seemingly lifeless moments are those hard times that we go through – when we lean on and stand on the Word of God and exercise the full use of His Word; He crafts and transforms us, making us beautiful in His time.  More freedom is found as we are released from our chrysalises.  Each transformation brings us closer to the understanding of what God’s will is for us: ” Then you will be able able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will,” Romans 12:2c.   I imagine the delight on the face of God as He watches us flutter – exercising our wings – as we engage in the paths and places He intended for each of us, reflecting His image.  It is good.  It is pleasing.  It is His perfect will.

I am thankful for my daughter who so often points me to reflect upon God’s creation.  In turn, I am then pointed to His truths.  Moral of this story: Eat the green goopy stuff!