Meditations on a Swing Set

Gazing out at the snow covered swing set in my back yard

a string of thoughts

was set into motion.

Child’s play. It is all a prep.

A revving up to the heart break of parenting.

Do you remember?

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The two year old struggling to get on a swing….?

Chuckling, a twitch of heart pang feels for the child who has no skill yet.

The three year old who sits and calls to you: “Push me!”

Smiling, a sympathetic heart watched as the child attempted the swing motion with uncoordinated thrusting back and forth that resulted in no momentum at all.

Now the child can push himself. And he swings with oblivious abandon.

No chuckles anymore, fear has come. We hear the thud and then the cry; he fell off the swing….clocked his brother in the crossing…and the two collided.  Heart aches.

Higher and higher the swinging goes.  The poles rise up out of the ground and slam down into the ground again.  A warning is given.  But it falls on deaf ears.

The heart hurts.

Cringing accompanies the fear now and a rehearsal recalling the quickest route to hospital is begun in the mind.  And the eyes continue to watch…

He jumps off and exclaims, “Geronimo! Look at me!”

The heart skips a beat. Maybe two.

This time there is no run to the hospital.  This time.

A revving up.  A prep for the heart ache in the raising of our children.

My heart has swelled with feeling and sympathy.  My heart has ached, and hurt, and skipped many a beat.

Then and now. Even more now.

The swing set has been replaced by a bigger play on life.

What to do?

Then I thought, Apply the lessons to me.

I am the child and my God is the Father.

At times…

Why do I pursue life, on my own, without Him?

Why do I  thrust myself forward and back unproductively?

Why do I pump harder and harder without attention to my surroundings?

Why do I turn a deaf ear to the warnings of my Father?

How have I caused my Father heart ache?

Is not my Father also looking down with a heart chuckling feeling for me; Does His heart not ache, and hurt, and perhaps skip a beat as He has had  to watch me stumble along in my way?

And yet.

He is patient.  He is compassionate. He is ever forgiving.

Mercy and Grace are poured out upon my walk with Him.

And so too should I be.

God, my Father, is a lover of hearts,

a changer of hearts.

Hearts are HIS main concern!

And so too should be my way.

So I continuously turn my heart back to Him and pray.

Forgive me LORD, for all I have done to cause your heart to ache.

LORD, grant me the gentleness of heart to offer mercy and grace to my children.  May you give me your wisdom in guiding them.  Help me to be patient and compassionate and forgiving. 

Even when my own heart is breaking.

There is HOPE in the cleansed heart….HOPE for the changed heart…

all for the Glory of God!

HOPE!

47 Things on Thursdays: Yes,We May Grimace…

The Judgment Free Zone exists! Planet Fitness declares it on their walls in four foot tall letters. Yet, my wonder wanders.

The myriad of people range in age and size and intensity of energy.  I wonder at the stories behind each one.  Is it vanity or health that drives them to press on?  Maybe it is both. In my case it is a little of both.  I want to look good to my husband and to myself as I look in the mirror. And, I’m recovering – trying to win back my body from the ravages of cancer.  I want good health.

This is my purpose.  This is why I don new sneakers, leave the comfort of my home, and push myself to learn how to operate the odd looking contraptions that tell me I will strengthen my muscles and re-shape my figure if I continue using them.

Two evenings ago after such an adventure on the many contraptions, using the phraseology of my young son, I sweat-ed!  I have not sweat-ed in a very long time….A smile altered my countenance and I felt a Hoorah! creep up inside me. Change is on the way.

This is my purpose isn’t it?  To change. To reshape. To make better.  I press on for the benefit of my overall health – physical and emotional.  I’ll be happier.  And if I am happier with myself and my body, then my husband will no doubt be happier as well.  It’s a win-win situation!  A boost for our relationship.

Pressing on means hard work doesn’t it?  Of course it does.  As I wander with my eyes, I can see it on the faces of those around me sharing in the exercise adventure.  Grimaces, quiet exhales of breath, pained expressions accompanied by droplets of perspiration are found no matter where I set my vision.  Everyone is pressing on to some degree.  Pushing themselves on purpose – for a purpose.

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I am triggered to wonder and wander to the question: what is God’s purpose for us?  Especially, what is God’s purpose when He allows hard things into our lives?  He allowed cancer and its ugly side effects into my life.  For why?  For what? Certainly He has allowed hard things into your life as well.

Be assured, GOD has  PURPOSE in what He allows and he has a plan for each of us to be changed, reshaped, and made better.  He presses on with His work so that we are given opportunity to press on in our work; our work is the exercising of trust and faith in God.  Romans 8:28 & 29 declare, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son,…”

Did you catch God’s purpose?  He desires us to be conformed to the image of his Son!  This is hard work, not for God, but for us to endure the trials and the difficult struggles.  We must push ourselves!  Yes, we may grimace, we may quietly exhale (although I have exhaled with a wailing guttural voice at times!).  We may have pained expressions and perspiration on our brow.  I urge you my friend to push yourself and use the odd contraptions — exercise trust and faith in your difficult trial.

For why?  For the purpose of being conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus.

For what?  For the glory of God.

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The gym fosters change for our physical body which in turn helps our emotional body.  The enduring of hard trials and exercising of trust and faith in God fosters change in our spiritual body.  In God’s purpose, for God’s purpose, with God’s purpose we are made better and we will be happier in Him. God is happier as we choose to press on with faith and trust in Him and become conformed.  It’s a win-win situation!  A boost for our relationship with God.

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Join me again next Thursday!   And don’t forget about Tuesday Tidbits…. next Tuesday I will share with you ways to learn contentment.

The Heart Drives the Action

Every year it’s the same.  For twenty five days in December, my children arise and begin discussion about whose turn it is to pick the chain.  This is not a ponderous chain as is referred to in Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol; it is a chain made up of colored construction paper that hangs in our dining room.  This is a chain everyone eagerly takes apart link by link.  Inside each link is my handwritten note of an activity to do in preparation of the season.  Each year I have included a new Christmas movie to enjoy.  Consequently, we have a pretty good collection to watch – it’s all part of our tradition!

During dinner tonight, I was thinking about all the conversation that has been going on in regard to the Newtown killings; so many opinions, so many sides & arguments as to what we should do to prevent such things from happening. Emotions are high.

One word came to me: Heart

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It’s always about the heart.

All the movies we watch at Christmas, are always about the heart.

Miracle on 34th Street: Doris & Susan Walker’s hearts softened and they believed in the impossible.  The Grinch: his heart glowed as it grew three sizes.  Charlie Brown’s Christmas: Charlie Brown’s friends give him the end credit for his pathetic tree – after all, it’s the heart that counts.  A Christmas Carol: old Ebeneezer’s heart is changed drastically and he becomes a kind and generous person. Rudolph: it’s about the heart accepting others even if they are different.  It’s a Wonderful Life: George has a change of heart and gains contentment in his life – discovering the heart of each person effects those around them. These are highlights of our viewing.

We love these movies! Not just those in my family but the general public loves these movies.  Why?  Why do we watch year after year and tear up, feel good, and get satisfaction over seeing them?  I believe it is because they all touch our own hearts. And we all yearn to see hearts changed in others.  We root for the goodness that the heart change brings.

God is just like that.

He yearns for heart change. Ours.

Without Jesus in the manger, without His sacrifice of blood on the cross, without His resurrection from the dead, we would not be capable of changed hearts.  Scripture says, “That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10: 9 – 10).  The heart drives the action.

We see it in the movies.  Doris fires Santa and Susan has no imagination, the Grinch is a thief, Charlie is depressed, Ebeneezer is stingy and cruel, the reindeer are judgmental, and George is suicidal.  Until…until their hearts are changed!

It is the same with us.

More rules and regulations, more guns…no guns, metal detectors and practice drills will not make us safer, our children safer, or our culture at large safer; these things are only pacifiers at best. We are only truly safe in the arms of our Lord.

Our culture at large needs heart changes, one by one, because the heart drives the action.  It’s always about the heart.  Changed hearts means changed actions. This is the answer to everyone’s frantic worry; it’s one word: Heart. The heart is the root of the issue.  Won’t you consider giving yours to the Lord Jesus?  Ask Him in; confess Him and believe in Him; you will be safe.

If you have a heart that loves the Lord, love those around you and share the love given from above...until their hearts are changed.