Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Arms Open Wide

When Caleb was younger I remember looking forward to the time when he could hold his arms up to show me he wanted me to hold him. I'm thrilled that he's reached that age and it's just as great as I had hoped. It's really all about communication. Caleb can't speak (well, other than the occasional "uh-oh," "dadadada" and "bye-bye"), but when he holds his arms out, he's "telling" me a great deal. "I want you." "I need you." "I'm content with you." "I love you."

I'm his mom, an adult, that will do what is necessary and provide all he needs whether he "tells" me these things or not. I do not place a condition on my provision. Maybe that makes it even more special when he holds out his arms for me or snuggles up to me at bedtime, I'm not forcing it yet he chooses to communicate those things out of a genuine desire and need of me.

If I feel this way, how much more my heavenly Father. I've always loved the prayer Jesus prays the night before His crucifixion. I think it gives such insight of the love and desire of Christ. He talks about wanting us...His creation to be unified with Him. Wow. The Bible is full of examples of how far God is willing to go to gain that unity, that communication and fellowship with us. There's no doubt how much He wants us. As I was looking forward to Caleb being able and willing to communicate with me...God is doing the same.

We're formed with His specific plan, created with the necessary gifts to achieve it. I imagine as we're placed in the arms of our parents, God begins His wait for that little one to open his arms wide to Him, to begin showing their genuine desire and need of Him, to begin allowing Him to continue molding us and preparing us for our individual service. No wonder "the heavens rejoice" when we first open our arms to Him. Whether we're 5 or 45, He rejoices.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Finding Joy

Feeding Caleb is one of the most enjoyable times of the day for me (breastfeeding that is, solid feeding is quite stressful right now!). After he finishes, we sit together in the rocking chair, talking, playing, laughing, singing. Today he found it hilarious for me to pull him up to a standing position and sit him back down. We did this over and over, and each time he just cracked up.

He is so joyful about experiencing things in his world, how they feel and sound, what they look, smell and taste like. Whether it be a facial expression he finds funny and wants to imitate, kicking a ball around the kitchen, listening to dad play the guitar, or tasting the petroleum jelly he grabbed out of the jar (oops), his contentment is written all over his face. He is most certainly enjoying the gifts God gave him. It got me thinking how rare it is to see an adult similarly joyful about his world and the gifts God gave him. We are even more experienced, have more abilities, more traveled, more aware of our world than a 9 month old, yet instead of creating more contentment we seem to let it make us more cynical or even depressed. Sure there are things in this world that we notice as adults that less than admirable. We're at fault for that and we have to live with what we've done. Last I checked, we still have those many things God made for us and gave to us. These are the same things that "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. " (Gen. 1:31)
He can see the good here. Caleb can see the good. Why do we let ourselves miss out?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Work done well, work done poorly, and work not done at all"

I just started a new book from a new favorite author of mine, Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer. It is a novel about an Amish boy that leaves home as a teenager...that's all I know so far as I'm nowhere near done and have no idea where the story will lead me (haven't even read the synopsis on the back yet).
In beginning his nomadic trek through the states working wherever he found a job, the main character, Will, gave a beautiful description of the type of work ethics I would love to instill in Caleb as he grows.
"Work was work and a roof was a roof, even if it was just a harness room with cots. There was nothing he could not, or would not, do. He had never been taught to divide work into categories of good work or bad, easy or hard, dignified or undignified; he had only been raised to recognize work done well, work done poorly, and work not done at all. If manure needed shoveling, in Will's mind the only true indignity was leaving it unshoveled." (p. 45)
This attitude is so far removed from our culture today. I'm not quite sure how one would go about teaching this...other than modeling it yourself.

"With good will render service, as to the Lord, an not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free."
Ephesians 6:7

Friday, January 9, 2009


I've started trying to teach Caleb what "no" means and to acknowledge me (by looking at me) when I speak to him. I thought since he can give me a "high five" or clap his hands when asked, I figured he can learn some simple commands.

I'll preface this by saying, I acknowledge that when he doesn't look at me at my request or listen to my "no", he's not disobeying me. At his age, he doesn't understand what it means to disobey and is simply learning what certain words mean...but I learned a lesson through it all the same.

Throughout my life as a Christian there have been things that I just get wrong a lot. I don't listen to the Holy Spirit's direction and simply do what I want instead. When I've consistently done something wrong, it's easy to just give up and think "I've done this too many times, God's so disappointed, why even try anymore." (or something along those lines). One thing I learned with Caleb is that even though he ackowledges and "obeys" me about half the time, I'm still so excited and proud of him when he does obey. When he doesn't look at me when I ask or when he touches the blinds even after telling him "no", I am of course disappointed. But that disappointment doesn't make me give up on him, nor does it make me any less pleased with him when he choses to listen and obey.

I think that's the way God is with us. Our mistakes and disobedience certainly disappoint Him, but it doesn't lessen His pleasure in our obedience later on.

My persistence will pay off with Caleb. God's persistence will pay off with me too.