Children love to go higher and higher, to be lifted, to swing, to climb – always asking and desiring “Higher – daddy, higher”.
As a young child I would swing for hours pushing higher and higher until I could hear the “ker-thunk” of the swing set legs lifting slightly up and then back into their sleeves, enjoying every minute of free-flight freedom. I would also find the same release of joyous freedom when I would twirl round and round with arms stretched out and head staring straight up at the clouds; spinning like a top until I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand upright anymore – landing in a heap in the grass. And another childhood memory – my love of encountering a grassy hill! Without words the race to the top would begin, no thought given to the inevitable grass stains and no concern to the possible nauseous feeling at the end. The only desire was the exuberant release of joy and freedom that was to come as I rolled all the way to the bottom.
Do you remember those times of untethered freedom expressed in childhood? Most of us have some or have loved watching our children or grandchildren experience them.
But then the time comes where these types of behaviors are no longer appropriate; we grow up. However, we still search to find that same release of joyous freedom. As adults we shift our search to downhill skiing, bungie jumping, skydiving, zip-lining and a myriad of similar extreme sports, finding the release of joyous freedom that explodes us out of our care, worries and craziness of life. All of these examples speak of our desire for the exhilarating joy that freedom brings.
These experiences of “letting go of everything” require a faith! It stirs a belief that we will be ok, that this is worth the risk, that this is really a safe activity.This is an ultimate trust in our God who is good and has our lives in His hands.
We believe, desire and declare, “Higher – Daddy, higher”.
However, when life throws you an unexpected curve ball, life begins to spin out of control, life pulls you into the pit; suddenly the free fall fun is no longer joyful or freeing. Your trust is shaken, you pull back, you hang on and fear takes over! This overwhelming grief, this unexpected medical diagnosis, this heart-stopping loss or this unrelenting pain begins to run your life!
The spinning and out of control feeling has changed, what previously brought joyous freedom now is overwhelming, why?
Your eyes have become focused on the mountain not on the creator of that mountain; you have forgotten who is pushing the swing.
Looking back to the face of Jesus, His promises and His love for you is the key. As you lean into His presence – it will bring you back to that child like trust, allowing you to “let it go”; stirring joy and releasing freedom in the very center of the chaos. On this zip-line life journey, the fears that claw and grasp at your heart will soon begin to dissolve. The balm of Gilead with healing will soothe your heart and life will begin again.
Return as a child to swing higher and higher with your daddy – He’s got you – trust in His love for you, then the exhilarating release of joy and freedom will return and lift you from the pit.
Let go of the fear, grief, pain and loss; turn and declare, “Higher -daddy, higher” as you find that place of peace and trust that only exist in the presence of the arms of Jesus.
Saying good-bye is never easy – if it’s for a few months, a few years or for eternity.
The hardest is the eternal good-bye!
I look today at grief and loss of a loved one, not in a morbid depressed way but with eternal eyes.
Having lost many family members and currently grieving the loss of my brother I think – today – not of my loss but of their gain. As we shed this tent, this earthly body we receive an immortal, imperishable one that when received allows entry into a place where “no pain” exists, where freedom of earthly limitations reigns, where we can eternally walk in peace – no burdens to think of or carry; an eternal place where the presence of Jesus is our very breathe.
My heart is heavy and tears overwhelm me – but I know that to be absent here means to be present with the Lord. My faith in Christ is my solid foundation – I know that neither life nor death will separate us from the love of God.
So with a thankful heart I remember that the three most important heartfelt words “I Love You!” were spoken between us. These three words are the most enduring truth that we can hope for in this life.
There is a time we all must say good-bye, a time when our eternal assignment here is complete, a time when these bodies wear out, a time when “It is finished” must be spoken.
If we can approach death – its grief and loss – its eternal good-bye similar to when we see a loved one off on an extended trip; with farewell words – I’ll see you soon; then with anticipation of that reunion we can overcome despondency – knowing this good-bye is only temporary and eternity awaits.
So to you my brother – “I’ll See You Soon”.
Romans 8:38 II Corinthians 5:1-8 (ESV)
I stand outside – the howling wind and the cold drizzle of rain a constant discomfort. The flickering glow, the desire for warmth, the obvious peace that waits, draws me to the window like a “peeping tom”; looking through the glass that separates me from what I desire.
I am acutely aware that warmth, dryness and contentment are available if I chose to open the door.
Making the choice and opening the door allows a new adventure to materialize before me. What could be seen from the outside does not compare to the experience of hearing the fire crackle and the sizzle of wood in the hearth that begins igniting new senses; the smell never experienced before now swirls as smoke and wood meld together with bone deep warmth in this new atmosphere.
What I thought I understood about this experience – this presence of fire – its warmth, light and peace – are nothing like its reality; an outside looking in experience is like experiencing a mountaintop through a photograph. This new experience of the very presence of God has exploded into a new inexpressible encounter at the feet of Jesus.
Have you chosen to open that door?
In church, never churched, or anywhere in between; you may find yourself still looking through the window, thinking you understand all that is inside but never partaking of all that is available to you free of charge.
Don’t wait outside, cold and wet, wishing for something more; yield to his call to open the door and walk into His presence. Come join him in front of the glowing fireplace that is filled with a roaring crackling fire – just waiting for you to experience and enjoy with Him.
The question, “But why mommy?” erupts from little lips almost as soon as language skills appear, parents bombarded hundreds – if not thousands of times as the child grows. Often, the question, repeatedly asked, eventually evokes a firm response from us as parents: “Because, I said so”! This answer to the child’s mind is seemingly an appropriate answer, our little ones accepts that we know the answer, there is a reason and that we have it under control. Acceptance and belief relieve the concern and off they run to play.
As adults our need for answers continues in our lives as we turn those “But why mommy” questions into “But why God” questions; we still need answers, assurance and understanding of “everything is going to be ok”.
We often cry and shout out those questions to God because of the hurts, disappointments and fears that riddle our lives. Assurance and belief dissolved, anger and frustration our seemingly permanent state of being, a need to understand and hear “everything is going to be ok”, holding on to our rights and control, we find NO relief in our chaos. These needs outweigh the simple faith that we had as a child, the answer is still the same: “Because I said so” which now is heard in our heavenly fathers voice.
There will still be the things that don’t make sense: those that furrow your brow, cause your heart to pause, your head to shake, the difference; like a child, you can let it go because “daddy” said so, and run off to play again assured of the answer.
Doubt and questioning fills the bible, it’s not something new to our time in history. Believing has always been a choice that man has had to make. Jesus assured Jairus, even having just witnessed a miraculous healing, “Do not fear, only believe”. We hear a father’s response to the need for Jesus’ deliverance for his son with quacking words “I believe, help my unbelief” and of course, the story of Thomas who needed to see in order to believe. We have that choice to make also – lay down our “why’s”, “how’s”, “what if’s” and ONLY BELIEVE!
There are no platitudes or canned answers to help the tough often horrific life situations we or our loved ones must suffer, but when I walk through these times my only peace, comfort and strength have come from a solid belief: My God is a good God, He loves me and I can accept his loving response of “Because I said so”.
Return with simple child-like faith, lay down the “why” questions, believe that Jesus loves you, you are safe and that He has it all under control.
Make that choice to ONLY BELIEVE!
Today my jewelry box got some much-needed attention – bracelets popping open the lid, necklaces spewing from the drawers, the obvious answer – time consuming sorting.
A bundle of tangled chains required the most attention, sitting for an extended time, picking patiently, unable to tug them apart for fear of breaking the delicate links, Oh what a tangled mess.
One by one they slowly released, the first one – a heart with Jesus written on it, getting my attention as the spirit began speaking, while the second, a silver heart unraveled in my hand, one by one they now untangled, ending with a silver pearl.
We are just like those tangled chains!
Our lives filled with tangled messes, costume and precious jewels all mixed together, allowing our tangled thinking, feelings and life’s activities to ensnare us, causing the precious to become ineffective, often forever lost.
When Jesus is our number one focus, He begins the unraveling process – He gets our heart, the costume falls off and the pearl remains.
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