Follow Me

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Our dog, Princess Leia Freyja Wilks, is incredibly talented at ensuring that she gets to come along on car rides. In fact, it takes real foresight and a bit of sumo wrestling skill to leave her behind. One time, I made certain that each of the boys had their car doors shut and there was no way for her to gain entrance to our vehicle, no way except through the driver’s side. Quickly, I opened up my door and darted inside. I held my arm up to keep her from making a leap for my lap but Leia sensed another weak spot. She dove for my feet, scrambled across the pedals and under my legs in a scrum of paws, feet, and a thrashing tail and plopped herself triumphantly in the passenger seat. Another time, I had my door well-guarded but one of the children wasn’t fast enough and she wedged her snout into his door hurtled herself onto his lap and, like a giant attacking sand worm, wriggled across all three boys’ laps until she lay stretched across them, victorious.

There is really no room for her in the car and she knows this. When she’s sitting in the front seat, she huffs and sighs and switches position here and there giving me long-suffering glances and the occasional raised brow. Yes, dogs really can raise an eyebrow at you, watch her sometime, it’s amazing. When she is in the back seat, stretched across all three boys’ laps, she pants and wriggles and is clearly too hot. When she is in the back with the groceries she hangs her head over the seat gazing at the boys, giving them the occasional slurp and obviously longing to be closer to the fun.

No matter how smooshed and squashed. No matter what indignity she must endure to gain access to the car or upon the ride itself. Leia always wants to come along.

Always.

Matthew 19:21-23—“Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’

But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.

And Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’”

Princess Leia Freyja Wilks knows with absolute certainty what is most important to her. Leia knows what it means to give up any security or comfort to follow. No trouble or hardship is too much to squelch her desire to come with us.

Jesus gave such a simple command and yet He was so bold. When He called His disciples the words were simple.

“Come, follow me.”

He did not qualify this request with a guarantee that we would not be smooshed into the backseat of life. He did not explain that we would never have to ride with the groceries, curl up in the passenger seat on top of a lumpy purse, or flatten ourselves out like a giant worm across three constantly moving boyish laps.

“Come, follow me.”

There is a part of our hearts that wants to know exactly what to expect, what to steel ourselves against. But this is not God’s way. Are we His or are we our own? Follow me. Will we or will we not. That is the only question because who knows what the journey will have in store. Yes, God does, but we don’t need to know. We have only one thing to consider. God is going somewhere. Do we want to ride along with Him or not?

Some car rides take Leia to the river where she gets to chew sticks and chase dandelion fluff and dig in the sand. Some car rides are for shopping and she must squish between cans of green beans and watch the gray buildings whiz past the window. But she always knows the answer to the most important question of all.

“Come, follow me.”

I pity any individual who dares to stand between our 90 pound dog and a car ride with her family, because Leia may not deign to fetch a stick or leave a pan of warm rolls alone upon the counter, but she knows exactly what it means to follow.

Now, the most important question of all.

Do we?

 

 

Boo Boo

 

Fearful

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Drenching rains, fallen leaves washed into sodden piles, fog creeping up the meadow and lingering among the pines. Autumn is here and Halloween fast approaching. When I look out across the meadow in the mornings as I’m driving the boys to the bus stop, I often see wisps of morning mist drifting through the bony fingers of the bare aspen groves with creepy eloquence. It gives me the same kind of thrilling chill as reading an Agatha Christie novel on a dark evening with a cup of warm tea in hand. But there was a time and place when people were truly frightened as the days made their steady march toward October 31st.

Monday may be just an excuse to eat a whole lot of chocolate, wear a pirate costume, and throw bean bags through a painted piece of plywood in the church parking lot, but this fall I find no shortage of things to be frightened of.

As I eschewed sleep to nurse a beloved pet chicken and then held a heartbroken boy after his favorite pet had died, I realized something anew. Anyone who chooses to love must live with fear. What if that puppy you waited for all year gets out and is hit by a car? What if a dog gets into the chicken pen and kills your pet hen? What if that case of Mono your oldest child came down with is actually Leukemia? What if your husband gets into a car wreck or your wife meets a grizzly bear on her way to the outhouse during vacation? You laugh, but as we enjoyed the marvels of Yellowstone this summer, the thought did cross my mind. But the fears don’t stop there. What if you lose your job? What if terrible laws are passed? What if terrible laws remain? What if the economy crashes? What if we end up like our brothers and sisters all over the world and face persecution? What if it rains? What if it doesn’t rain? What about earthquakes, volcanoes, and tornadoes?

There have always been plenty of things to fear, from random peril to genuine evil, the world has been a dangerous place for a long long time.

It rained all morning, but now the showers are letting up. The forest still lies in a dreary shroud, but we need not wrap ourselves in fear. Autumn is one of my favorite times of year, despite the spooky weather. The quiet insistence of a rainstorm gives one time to think, to mull, to consider, and to seek God. The long nights push families to stay in and play board games together. The nippy weather reminds us to prepare for the winter to come and to be thankful for all the blessings that have been given. But more importantly, God Himself, has given us reason to step out from under the cloak of fear and to trust.

Luke 12:4, 6-7—“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more…Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

John 10:10—“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 12:46—“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

Philippians 4:6-7—“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

Boo Boo

Like A Spider In A Bowl

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A spider was trapped in a large mixing bowl on our kitchen counter last week. Not wanting to wash a bowl with a spider crouched within, I ignored it. Later, I went back and noticed something, dare I say it, inspiring that the spider had accomplished.

Now this spider was totally stuck, destined for death as she could not escape, could not get to water, and had dared to wander into the home of an arachnophobe. Did she curl up into a little ball at the bottom of the huge steel mixing bowl and accept her fate?

Nope.

She made a web and she caught a fly.

And you know what?

I did not squash her. I did not demand that my husband squash her. I did not beg one of my three strong sons to squash her. I showed her to my boys with a little bit of a catch at the back of my throat and then I asked Scruffy to go and release her outside. Because I have been there, too. Stuck, without a hope in sight, breathless with my lack of options and the sudden darkness that surrounded me.

If I, a woman who hates spiders, can be moved by the humble struggles of a stray arachnid…how much more is your Father in Heaven moved by your own struggles, my friend.

He is not deaf to your cries.

He is not blind to your efforts.

He is not heartless in the face of your darkness… brokenness…defeat.

Take heart, cling to His mighty right hand, be secure in His inexplicable love.

Job 39:1, 5-7a–“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn…Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied his ropes? I gave him the wasteland as his home, the salt flats as his habitat. He laughs at the commotion in the town; he does not hear a driver’s shout.” 

Psalm 4:8–“I will lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 10:17-18–“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

 

 

Boo Boo