Not why I gave her the phone

This weekend I rode in the car with my oldest daughter for about twenty minutes in silence. It felt like I was completely alone. That child was glued to her phone the whole time. I could have asked her to put it down, and she would have with no argument. In situations like this I usually do remind her that the person she is with is more important that whatever is on her phone.  However, this time I was curious to see what would happen if I didn’t say anything.

She never even looked up. In my optimism I thought that if we rode and I said nothing, that would give her a chance to talk about anything that might be on her mind. I was looking for conversation – but received silence instead.

The irony, of course, is that I’m the one who gave her the phone. She has the phone to be able to communicate with her parents when we’re not with her. She had it with her that day because we had been running, and she uses an app that helps her log her runs. It comes in handy, but the very thing that I gave her because I love her and want to be able to communicate with her was currently having the opposite result. The two of us riding in silence was not my plan. That is not why I gave her the phone.

So we drove along side by side, with my daughter absorbed in the phone that I gave her, and me just waiting for her to put it down and talk to me.

My own blessings

I thought of my own heavenly Father who has given me so much, and I wonder if He sees me often distracted by His blessings and thinks That’s not why I gave you that. I didn’t give you that so you could ignore Me.

God gives me the choice as to how I use His blessings, just as I did with my daughter. I can use them with God’s purpose in mind, or I can use them for my own enjoyment and ignore the very one who gave them to me.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

If I find that something is keeping me from my relationship with God, I can be sure that either it did not come from God, or that I am not using it the way He intended. God wants us to be near Him, communicating with Him. He wanted that so much that He sent Jesus to die for us – just so we could be near Him.

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  Ephesians 2:13

God has blessed me with so much. It is easy to become so absorbed in enjoying His blessings that I begin to think of them as mine. Those blessings are not mine any more than that phone is my daughter’s. I need to remember the source and the purpose of all that God has given me. God wants us to enjoy His blessings, but He also wants us to remember Him. He wants us to talk to Him. More than that, He wants us to abide in Him.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. John 15:4

We can choose to abide in Jesus. We can choose to use God’s blessings for His purpose instead of letting them distract us from Him.

Putting down the phone

Let’s not ride through life too distracted to see God. He sits there right beside us just waiting for us to remember Him. He sits waiting patiently for us to put down our phones, turn our faces to Him, converse with Him, and abide in His presence. 

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 1 John 2:28


Too Busy to Be Hungry

“So when is lunch again?”

“When we get home from running all of our errands.”

“When will that be?”

“Whenever we’re done.”

“Well how many more things do we have to do?”

“We have to go get a new litter box next.”

“And then lunch?”

“No, then we’re going on our walk, remember?”

“Oh yeah. Well, what time is it now? I’m just used to eating lunch early.”

This is how the conversation went with my ten-year-old son, Logan, while out running errands. It was just my younger two children and myself, and it was getting pretty close to lunch time. I was actually hungry, too, to be honest. Logan wasn’t really complaining. He was just hungry, and his mind needed to know exactly when that hunger would be abated.

Time for a Walk

As planned, the last thing on our schedule before lunch that day was a walk down at our favorite park. We took the path that leads down to the beach, and I sat on a bench looking out over the water while the kids played in the sand. They were having a grand old time walking across an old log like it was a balance beam, pushing each other off and so on. We stayed down at the beach 20 minutes or so, and in all the time of walking, sitting and playing, do you know what was never mentioned?

Lunch.

That’s right. Logan had forgotten all about being hungry. He was too busy having fun. That’s natural. I know I can go much longer without eating when I’m busy. I think most of us are that way.

The Importance of Hunger

Hunger is actually a good thing, of course. It reminds us that our bodies need something to keep going. That busyness won’t hold the need off forever. At some point, we will find ourselves weak or cranky because we need to eat. (This happens to me more often than it probably should!)

God created our physical bodies with the need and desire for food, and he created our spiritual bodies the same way. Our souls need the nourishment that only God can provide. He created us to hunger for Him.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matthew 5:6

When we get too busy that we forget to eat spiritually, we might also find ourselves weak and a bit cranky. That’s our soul’s way of saying “Hello? You have been ignoring me for too long. Feed me, please!”

Too Busy to be Hungry

It’s so, so easy in this world to become too busy to be hungry. Our lives are so busy. It takes diligence to constantly push things aside and take the time to sit and actually feel hungry. I mean, every week we fight this at our house, trying to find the right balance. We all have things we enjoy and want to be a part of, but we just can’t do everything. Sometimes, we have to say no and push things aside. We can’t push everything aside, of course. We have to work, buy groceries, go to school, do laundry, and so on. But, honestly, a lot of what we spend our time on we can do without. Those things may be fun, but if we stay too busy to ever feed our souls….then we starve. We die. It’s just not worth it.

When we stop long enough to feel hungry, we’ll be just like my son, trying to find out exactly how and when that hunger will be satisfied. God promises to satisfy our hunger abundantly. We just have to take the time to realize how much we need to be fed.

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundance.  Isaiah 55:2


Beautiful Misspelled Words

AE drawing age 6These sweet pictures hang in my office. I look at the messages that my youngest daughter wrote to me a few years ago and I smile. She wrote on one of them “I hope you have a good tiam at wrook tonnite.” I love it. I love the misspelled words written by her little hands.

I love them because I know the intent behind them. It doesn’t matter that they are misspelled. That’s not what I see. Instead I see the love that she has for me, and her desire to express that love. While it may not be perfect, it’s beautiful to me.

I take such comfort in knowing that my Heavenly Father views my expressions of love for Him in the same way. I am His daughter.

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God. Romans 8:16

As such, I take comfort in knowing that He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He loves me the way I love my daughter. My attempts to show my love to Him may have mistakes, but that’s not what He sees. He sees my intent and my love, and He thinks that it’s beautiful.

Sometimes I can be hard on myself as I look back on my past efforts. I think “Oh, I would do that so differently now. I can’t believe I did that.” Well, that’s just as silly as my daughter looking back and feeling bad about misspelling those words.  

Princess Autumn and Queen Mom

Princess Autumn and Queen Mom

Thinking about her pictures makes me a little more patient with myself – and with others. There are things that just take time and maturity to learn. They can’t be rushed.

Now, at age 8, my daughter knows how to spell all of those words correctly. She’s at a different point in her life, a point when I can expect a little more of her.

As Christians, we should be growing and learning as well.

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11
Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature. 1 Corinthians 14:20

Parents expect more of their children as they grow, and God expects more of His children as well. That doesn’t take away from those early efforts, though. (I’m talking to myself here.) Don’t feel bad about those misspelled words. Don’t worry about what others think of them. Your efforts are beautiful in your Father’s eyes.

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 1 John 3:1-2