ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

So my lovely wife challenged me and several of my coworkers to dump a bucket of ice water on our heads or donate money to the ALS Association. She was so cute doing it too. I thought about dumping water on my head or just donating the money, but I decided I wanted to do something different. I have to be weird, I know, I’m a rebel without a cause. When I sat down and thought about it, I felt that dumping ice on my head or making a donation were good steps, but I wanted to take it a step further. When Jesus came to care for people, He entered into the suffering of those around Him and I wanted to dig a bit and try to understand not only the disease, but the patients and their families who journey with it.

This craze that’s been sweeping the internet is funny to watch as it fills my social media feed and it’s actually made a pretty substantial difference in giving to support research towards treating and hopefully curing ALS. According to the ALS Association, as of the day I was challenged this hashtag driven frenzy of awareness and charity has led to over 14 million dollars in donations to fund research into treating ALS.

ALS, by the way, stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is more famously known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease for the famous baseball player who made it more well known. It is a degenerative nerve disease that essential weakens and deadens the nerve cells and causes the patient to eventually become totally paralyzed. There is no cure for this disease and all treatments as of now are specifically designed to minimize the effects of the disease and prolong the functionality and lifespan of the patient. It’s not very well known either. Most people know it simply as Lou Gehrig’s disease and have no idea what the acronym stands for our what the disease really does to a person.

There was an article a few friends had shared on Facebook and wanted to encourage you to check it out. It’s written by a woman whose family is currently walking through this disease and about her thoughts on this particular craze of challenges and especially how we can walk a mile in the shoes of someone with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis to better understand their reality. Go take a break and go read it. It’s really worth it.

I was really struck by this, specifically the list of ways of Empathetic Experiences to understand what it is like to have this disease. This is what she came up with.

 

  1. Pick up a 10-pound weight. Now imagine it’s your fork and move it from your plate to your mouth repeatedly without shaking.
  2. Sit in a chair for just 15 minutes moving nothing but your eyes. Nothing. No speaking, no scratching your nose, no shifting your weight, no changing the channel on the television, no computer work. Only your eyes. As you sit, imagine: this is your life. Your only life.
  3. Borrow a wheelchair or power scooter and try to maneuver quickly through the aisles at Walmart, without speaking. Note the way people react to you.
  4. Strap 25 pounds to your forearm. Now, adjust your rearview mirror.
  5. Using none of your own muscles, have your spouse or child or friend get you dressed and brush your teeth. Write down some of the feelings you have being cared for in this way.
  6. Before you eat your next meal, take a good, long look at the food. Inhale deeply and appreciate the aroma. Now, imagine never being able to taste that – or any other food – for the rest of your life.
  7. Put two large marshmallows in your mouth and have a conversation with your friends. How many times must you repeat yourself? How does this make you feel?
  8. Go to bed and stay in one position for as long as you possibly can, moving nothing.
  9. Strap weights to your ankles and climb a flight of stairs, taking two at a time. That’s the kind of strength it takes for someone with ALS to tackle the stairs on a good day.
  10. Install a text-to-speech app on your phone or iPad and use it exclusively to communicate for one day.

For me, engaging with injustice in the world and with those who are suffering is more than just taking time to give something or even drawing attention to it. I want to understand and try to identify and walk alongside the other. So in lieu of dumping a bucket of water on my head, I am choosing to take this challenge and make a donation to an organization supporting research or treatment for those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerorsis and I’m going to do some of these things on this list, just to have an idea of what it is like to deal with this condition and better identify with those who are suffering. It took time to dig and learn a bit more about this disease and it is going to take more to really try and understand what it would be like to live with it, but for me this is the best way I can engage with this.

So my challenge is for my brothers in arms: Kyle Sapp, Tommy Butler and Bill McKinley. You can donate money, dump water on your head, or get creative. What you got fellas?

 

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Atonement Made For You

I find myself thinking and writing about Sabbath and rest quite a lot. I think it’s because the need for real rest that reflects on God’s goodness and my own need for Him is really lacking in my life as well as in the life of the western church these days. Some of us can be quite good at leisure, which is something given the push in our society to provide and achieve, but really resting in what god has done is something else entirely that I think we miss most often.

I started using a Christian Lectionary (planned out and assigned readings to be used for either teaching or personal study that assigns passages to every day of the year) to determine what I read each day instead of feeling bound to work through a specific book or just aimlessly wandering. Today I read two Psalms and got to the Old Testament reading and was struck by the book of Leviticus. The passage in question was a description and warning on how sacrifice should take place since Aaron’s sons had just been killed for being flippant and disrespectful when offering to God. It had many details on exactly how one should dress, how the animals should be chosen for sacrifice, and what steps and actions the priest should take. Then it says something I found very striking.

“This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you—because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.”
(Leviticus 16:29)

All of this preparation and work is a heavy task for the priest to maintain, but the people have one job and focus. Sit down and rest. As a people and as an individual you can do nothing to atone for the broken relationship that exists between you and God. All you can do is wait and fast. And you can’t do anything that day, not even incidentally, so you can’t think that anything you do is helping or contributing to the work happening in atonement. It is a somber and mindful day and the work is entirely out of your hands. I can only imagine how stressful that would have been. Having your entire spiritual life resting in the hands of a single person who has to do it just right in order to satisfy the requirement of atonement and actually be cleansed of the guilt and weight of sin.

But that’s exactly what I have to do as a believer in Jesus Christ. I depend on and lean in to what Christ has done, not adding anything of my own to the work that cleanses me and makes me whole in God’s eyes. Letting go of what I have to offer and leaning back, fasting from the things that I so depend on and trusting that Jesus is good enough and at His effort to “get it right” and fulfill God’s strict requirements when I know I cannot is a challenge everyday. As I rest today on the good work of Jesus, I am satisfied in the fact that He is the best high priest and one I can depend on to have made atonement for me. And that gives me peace because who could know and do what God wanted better than the One who knows Him most intimately, His precious Son who was willing to not only be the one who offers the sacrifice, but the sacrifice Himself. Amen.

Original Sin and Toilet Brushes

2481_toilet-brush-and-holder1This morning I had a surprising epiphany moment as I was getting ready for work. I was wetting my hair and putting gel and stuff in it (since I’m an adult and I have to “do my hair” now!) and Hattie was wandering around my feet while I did this standing in the bathroom. She has started toddling about and it means that she is often getting into places she shouldn’t and she especially loves the bathroom because it’s where tubby time happens. So she was toddling near the shower when I realized that she had ducked behind the toilet and was trying to grab at the toilet brush. I jumped and grabbed her and put her far away from that side of the bathroom while telling her how terrible the toilet brush was and that she didn’t want to touch it because she would get sick. My well reasoned argument seemed to be lost on my daughter and despite how gross I tried to play up that toilet brush, she wanted nothing more than to play with it and as quickly as possible. My back-and-forth picking her up and putting her down outside the bathroom as she tried to get past me and play with the forbidden object was apparently pretty hilarious. Brittany chuckled at our antics and commented how, “forbidden fruit always draws us in.”

That’s when the lightning bolt hit me. I’m trying to tell Hattie how terrible this thing is for her and how it will make her sick, Adam and Evebut she just doesn’t get it or care to follow my instruction and keeps running toward the thing that I want her to stay far away from (for her own benefit too!). How much more so was it like this in Eden when my Heavenly Father sat His children down and told them to stay away from that which would cause them to surely die? Willful and unbelieving of the goodness of their Father, they embraced that which would give them death and just like Hattie running towards a toilet brush, they got sick through their disobedience.

Now a toilet brush may not make us like God, but it’s a fitting temptation for a one year old. Our inexplicable draw to that which brings us death even when warned how dangerous it is for us is something I know is in me as well. How often have I looked at God’s commands as keeping me away from something I think is great and missed the warning away from the toilet brushes in my life.  Gives pretty different perspective when those attractive sins amount to a cleaning device for my toilet.

If I, a simple earthly father, want to keep my beloved child from harming herself in her ignorance, how much more so does our Heavenly Father want to keep us from injuring ourselves with those things in our lives that would drive us from Him and otherwise mess with the full life that He desires for us?

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A Saint By Any Other Name

Happy St. Patty’s Day! Other than forgetting to wear green today (ouch) I do really like Saint Patrick’s Day. Both Brittany and I have an appreciation for the old saints as a whole and while I don’t venerate them as much as some, I do think there is a great deal for us to learn from those who have gone before. Saint Patrick is a challenging one because of the number of myths and false truths that follow his story around. For every thing we know about Patrick there is a pile of stories that have no basis in historical evidence. Patrick, who was the bishop of Ireland and the first to successfully build churches in Ireland and reach the native Irish people with the good news about Jesus Christ, also apparently could shoot rays of light from his fingers while he preached. That’s pretty awesome. There’s the bits with the snakes too.

saint patrickWhat we do know, from his writings that have survived, is that he was the son of a wealthy British clergyman and as a young man he could really care less for his religious upbringing. He was captured by pirates, yes pirates, and sold as a slave to the Irish barbarian tribes where he learned to hear God’s voice in the still night while watching sheep in the fields. He eventually ran away and was able to sneak aboard a ship and get home to Britain, but he his heart had been captured by both God and the Irish people and he trained to become a priest so he could go back and help them come to know Jesus. He established monastic communities that invited people to experience what life with Christ looked like before inviting them to commit their lives to following Jesus. He also encouraged getting to know the local people and what the already believed to find ways to connect the truth about Jesus to where the people already were and better reach out to them in their own language and culture. In the Irish tribes, he saw a love of the beautiful world around and an awareness of the sacred in all things.

Patrick was an interesting guy and one of the things that came out of his time in Ireland is a tradition that embraced poetry and song to express spiritual truth. The prayers of the Celtic people that came out of Patrick’s teaching have been handed down for centuries and some are both inspiring and beautiful. One of the most famous is a prayer called “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate” and it is a prayer attributed to Patrick himself. Take that with a grain of salt, but it is a beautiful invitation for God’s presence in all senses of the day. Today as I celebrate Saint Patrick, I’m walking in the legacy of one who followed Christ well and in the light of the presence of Jesus Christ in all things.

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

I arise today 
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
God’s strength to pilot me,
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.

I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;
Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.

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Cultural Intelligence: Beginnings

cultural intelligence I took a class on the nature of relationships in family and youth ministry given that our culture is very focused on digital relationships. It was a fascinating class, which generated some really cool discussions and the readings for the class were topnotch. One book in particular really stood out to me. We had to read Cultural Intelligence by David Livermore for class and in a paper comment on the book’s premise and how it connected with the particular cultural differences inherent in digital interactions. I did read the book, but I did not take the time to really digest it on the level I wanted to and now that the quarter is over I can go back and revisit some of the things that I wanted to dig into more deeply.

One of the things I found most striking about this book in particular was that every chapter included questions for reflection and direct application of the concepts of how we are deepening our understanding of the cultural issues at hand. Since I was reading for basic content and for speed, I did not take the time to really sit and process some of these concepts on a deeper level to really internalize the ideas. Well, now I’ve got some time. So now I’m going to work my way through some of these questions and begin to process the ideas of what it means for me as a Christian and as a minister to enter into relationship and situations with a base assumption that there may be deeper cultural differences than I anticipate.

I thought I’d pull the curtain back a bit and think through that process here as something to hold me accountable to actually doing it and also to invite others into the discussion as I explore what it looks like to consider those who have different experiences than I and how I can really minister in an honest and effective way within an increasingly diverse and multicultural world.

Busyness and Sabbath

Today was one of those cool moments where something I was working on matched up with something I was forwarded by someone else. Today for our staff training, I led a discussion of Sabbath and the gift of rest that God intended for His people to experience through Sabbath. I also then came across this series of articles from Rootedministry.com and The Gospel Coalition about the busyness of kids in our culture. I thought I’d share, because this is something that has been coming up for me quite a bit as a new parent and as someone who works with youth and is worth thinking about how we fit into God’s clear command to take time and rest with Him and each other and whether or current patterns are really sustainable or good for us.

Busy All the Time: Part 1

Busy All the Time: Part 2

Busy All the Time: Part 3

Heaven: Garden or City?

This is by far the best treatment on the apocalyptic book of Revelation I have ever read.

This is by far the best treatment on the apocalyptic book of Revelation I have ever read.I’m more than a little ashamed to admit that I’ve been working through this book for close to a year and a half. It’s not that the writing is dense, far from it. Eugene Peterson is incredibly well known for his accessibility and for his intent to make text approachable. No, it’s taken me this long to read this book because I keep getting distracted with other readings for work or school. It might also be because I’m going to be sad when I finish with this book. The poetry of it all is wonderful and his insight into a book I have been purposely avoiding for the last several years is fantastic.

Peterson’s chapters are organized theologically as he unpacks the topics that John broaches in the book concept-by-concept. Today I was reading a section giving voice to John’s last words on Heaven.  I was struck by the point that he unpacked in John’s Revelation and what that means about our perspective on the Kingdom of Heaven. The image that John uses to describe Heaven in his book  of Revelation is so counter to the mindset we often think about or visualize of the perfect place and fulfillment of God’s plan on Earth, but I’ll let him speak for himself because he says it very well.

The surprise of St. John’s rendition of heaven is that it comes in the form of a city: “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride for her husband” (Rev. 21:2)…Other religions describe heaven as the restoration to the natural-to a formal, gardenlike paradise, or an unspoiled wilderness like Arcadia. That seems like the right way: when we want renewal and restoration of mind and spirit, want to recover intimacies in family and marriage, our usual practice is to leave the city for the country, or wilderness, or resort-some variation on Eden or paradise or Arcadia that we are apt to call “heaven on earth.”

But cities are noisy with self-assertion, forgetful and defiant of God, battering and abusive to persons. The first city, Enoch, was built by the first murderer, Cain, and destroyed in the Noachic flood. The second city, Babel, was built in an arrogant attempt to storm heaven and was abandoned in a tangle of broken languages. When St. John gave us his vision of judgment, it was a city that was destroyed: “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!” (Rev. 18:2).

Heaven surely, should get us as far away from that as possible. Haven’t we had enough of cities on earth? Don’t we deserve what we long for? Many people want to go to heaven the way they want to go to Florida-they think the weather will be an improvement and the people decent. But the biblical heaven is not a nice environment far removed from the stress of hard city life. It is the invasion of the city by the City. We enter heaven not by escaping what we don’t like, but by the sanctification of the place in which God has placed us.

There is not so much as a hint of escapism in St. John’s heaven. This is not a long (eternal) weekend away from the responsibilities of employment and citizenship, but the intensification and healing of them. Heaven is formed out of dirty streets and murderous alleys, adulterous bedrooms and corrupt courts, hypocritical synagogues and commercialized churches, thieving tax-collectors and traitorous disciples: a city, but now a holy city.

Reversed Thunder, Eugene Peterson, p. 173-174

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Thirsty?

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, my God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 42:1-2

This week in our regular student ministry staff meeting, we opened with a quick devotional thought from our high school director, Dave. He read the first couple of verses just to get us thinking about our relationship with Jesus and what that should/can look like. He focused in on what it means to be thirsty and how sometimes we try to quench our thirst with beverages that don’t actually help us when all we really want and need is water. It was a striking comparison and I think it’s really true, and it got me thinking about what it takes to be thirsty, like really thirsty.

it's the quenchiest!

It is remarkable to think about the times that I have been most desperate for water and acutely aware of how thirsty I had really gotten. I can remember times from as intensely difficult as laboring in the hot sun in Mexico building houses and drinking cold ice water that tasted better than anything in the world, to times as silly as after having drank many cups of coffee staying up working on a paper for school and realizing how parched I let myself get  without thinking about it. Each of those times stands out because of how desperate I found myself and how my need for water was so pronounced by my situation.

The times we become the most thirsty are the times where we have worked so hard that our body has worked out all the moisture we have depended on to get us there or the times of trial and struggle (like a literal desert situation) when we notice the absence of refreshment in our lives.

In our spiritual lives, the same is also true. The times when I have noticed my desire for God and my own spiritual panting after Him have been in times where I have either felt overwhelmed from working for God or when my life has been rocked by challenges and struggles. It takes a vigorous workout to drive us to the panting place of thirstiness in our physical lives, but how often do we find ourselves in that place spiritually?

Do I thirst after God with the sweaty satisfaction of hard work done and seeing how He is using me to be His presence in the world today? Am I feeling drained by the ministry set in front of me forcing me to turn to God alone for my strength and satisfaction? I know my acceptance by Christ is based on His work and not my own, but am I working hard enough to really need Him in my life in a way that would make me pant after Him?

As much as I hate the running metaphors to describe the spiritual journey, I recognize how apt a symbol it is at the end of a race with the perseverance of an endurance runner to be standing there panting and out of breath and desiring nothing more than the satisfaction of a cold glass of water. How good it will be to say:

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

May I long after God with the panting desire of one who is worn out and in need of Him alone for satisfaction.

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What Is Best in Life?

I know this is an invitation for a Conan the Barbarian quote. That was entirely intentional I assure you.

A couple weeks back, I was on vacation visiting my family and introducing them to my daughter. It was a delightful trip and an exhausting, but also relaxing time away. While we were staying with my parents, we participated in an online worship service of my parents church (a family visit ran late and we weren’t able to get there in person). The message was on envy and focused on the text of Psalm 73. The structure of the Psalm is pretty cool because the author, Asaph, starts by reflecting on how much is wrong in this world when the evil flourish and how he is struggling even in light of his obedience. It’s a pretty whiny Psalm until about half way through when he talks about going into the sanctuary of the Lord. From that point on it takes a very different tone as Asaph gets some perspective on his situation and what really matters in his life.

21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
    I will tell of all your deeds.

As Asaph peeled back the layers of his entitlement and expectation sitting in the sanctuary of God, he realized that the only thing that really mattered for his good was intimacy with God. Being near to God was his good and out of all things, the only thing he desired was God. The pastor went on to pose the ultimate question of his sermon; “What do you desire most in life?” His implication was that if you desire anything other than intimacy with God, your perspective will be off and you will be making comparisons to what others have and ultimately will be unhappy with your lot. What he is saying is that it is in intimacy with God alone that we can find satisfaction and that is the only thing worth wanting.
Hearing this got me thinking and reflective. What is it that I want most in life, really? As I contemplated the things that make up my life and where I find value, I was surprised by my answer. I realized that right now the thing I want most in life is to serve God. Serving my college students, finishing up seminary, and pursuing a pastoral call have dominated my effort and thought life for the last several years. Serving God to the best of my capacity is what I want most right now. But wanting to serve God is not the same thing as wanting intimacy with God. As I thought about it, I realized that even in wanting to serve Him, it is still wanting something outside of just being with Him. Even in desiring something good, I open myself up to discontent in my job and  ministry, and the more I thought about it the more I realized that it really had started to happen to me.
If serving God well is what I want most, then I open myself up to judgment on my performance, the results of my service, the use of my time, and the fear of not measuring up. If instead, my focus and desire was on knowing God and being present with Him, how much of that concern and envy would be present? How much more satisfying is that: finding my identity and my value in God’s promised nearness than in what I am able to achieve, produce, or do for Him? I am challenged by this message and by this passage in particular as to what I have made most important in my heart. I want to want intimacy with God most of all and I know in my head that it is the place I can find real contentment in my situation no matter my circumstances as I relate to God the way He desires me to. This has become my prayer of late as I echo with Asaph, “It is good to be near God,” as I remind myself of the simplicity of knowing Christ and finding intimacy with God through Him.
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The Wondrous Problem of Pain (and Vaccines)

Endure trials for the sake of discipline. God is treating you as children; for what child is there whom a parent does not discipline? If you do not have that discipline in which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not his children. Moreover, we had human parents to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not be even more willing to be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share his holiness. 11 Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

-Hebrews 12:7-11

So this past week, we took Hattie in for her two month well check up as well as her first round of vaccinations. Now there are pretty much a million different opinions about childhood vaccines and pretty much all of them involve lots of shouting, name calling and contradiction. That’s not really what I want to talk about. We knew Hattie was not going to enjoy what happened when the vaccines came. I mean, what kid likes getting shots?!? The funny (and terrible) part was that she actually screamed more while getting stripped down to be weighed than she did actually getting her shots! We headed home with an increasingly groggy baby who while a little grumpy, promptly fell asleep for a couple of hours. I headed back to work.

I came home that afternoon and Hattie was still asleep. It was not long after I got back that she woke up and oh boy did she wake up. The soreness from having the injections had kicked in full force and the screams that came out of my precious little girl were HEART-BREAKING. I wanted to die.  It was absolutely terrible to know there was nothing* we could do to make this better and she just had to ride it out. As I walked around our house holding Hattie in my arms and trying hard to comfort her in her pain, I was struck with the incredible love I had for her. There was no way for her to know that this was for her benefit, that we did this out of love for her and a desire for her to be safe in the long run. She couldn’t know that this would pass soon and she would be all the stronger for it. All Hattie knew was how badly she hurt.

I was struck in that moment how very like her we are. When painful circumstances come our way, our limited perspective on how they fit into our lives is much like a little baby after an injection. She just doesn’t know! And so in her ignorance she cries and screams as if her very life were ending. All she can perceive is that things are terrible and there is no goodness left.
So she kicks and screams and cries and all the time I am just there holding her and whispering in her ear and so full of love for her. As I was doing this, I realized that it is exactly what my Heavenly Father is doing as I walk through struggles in my own life. With my perspective my problems can seem so huge and unending, but my Father can see the whole thing and knows exactly what is going on. All I can do is lean in to Him and rest in His arms and trust that He has my best interests in mind. Not a small task, but so easy to forget.

Happy as a clam. Well, now she is.

 

So as I hold my crying daughter, I want to remember in my own life that when troubles and trials come in, this too may be a moment for me to trust my Daddy and wait to see how He is forming me for my best. Then when the troubles pass (which they always do), I’ll feel as happy and free as this little gal.

*Side note: We could do something about. Baby Tylenol is pretty much amazing in my book. Use it.