God made sloths, elephants, and YOU

Today at lunch time, I was reading a new devotional book with my kids. It mentioned how creative God is and how He created all different kinds of unbelievable animals.

If you’re like me, you, too, love the incredible variety of animals in our world and find it fascinating how different they all are.

But, have you ever thought about why people don’t want to all be different? As humans, we all want to be like everybody else! We think we should all be tall and thin and have the intellect of a genius. None of us want to be a slow-moving sloth or an enormous elephant.

Friends, God has a purpose for the sloth and for the elephant. God has a purpose for every, single human being that He creates, no matter their physical appearance or mental ability. God has a purpose for YOU.

Are you feeling unnecessary, unimportant or not good enough?

GOD, the Creator of the Universe, made YOU. That’s enough for you to be necessary, important and valuable.

How can I pray for you today?

How can you encourage someone else today? Pass it on!

Expectations

After returning home from spending a week caring for my dad in the hospital, I’ve been wondering, Why is it so much easier for me to love and serve my dad than my husband? I understand that this may never have been a struggle for you, but for me, it requires a conscious, daily choice to put my own selfish wishes aside to love my husband. Why is that? I may have finally found the answer … or at least one answer.

I expect nothing from my dad except for the most basic level of kindness.

I expect him to remember my birthday with a phone call and a gift (and to be honest I bet even that comes from my mom). I expect my dad to be happy to see me and to enjoy the few days a year we’re able to spend together.

Yep. That’s about it. Done. Expectations met.

Now, let’s see, what do I expect from my husband? Are you ready? This may be a little longer.

1. I expect him to notice when I need some help, picking up the slack when I’m busy with kids or errands or Bible study or even fun time with my friends.

2. I expect him to care about how I’m feeling, asking questions about how I’m doing and listening attentively.

3. I expect him to express his love for me with hand-written notes or flowers on random occasions, and to go “all out” for Mother’s Day and my birthday.

4. I expect him to know what I would want to order at my favorite restaurants … and to know what restaurants I’d want to go to for a regularly scheduled date night away that he has planned.

5. I expect him to tell me how beautiful, smart, funny, and all-around fantastic I am and that no one could ever take my place.

6. I expect him to express gratitude for all the little things I do at home, cooking meals, cleaning up, caring for our kids.

7. I expect him to have his own daily quiet time with God, and to share his Biblical insights with me, praying for me and with me, and to lead our children in their faith in God.

8. I expect him to take care of his physical body, exercising on occasion, eating somewhat well, using sunscreen, going to the doctor and taking whatever medicine he needs.

9. I expect him to be interested in our children, asking about their day and listening attentively, giving discipline, counsel or encouragement where appropriate.

10. I expect him to encourage me to spend time with my family and friends, as well as attend two women’s retreats a year and have an overnight away for some alone time.

11. I expect him to take care of all the “manly jobs” around the house: mowing the lawn, changing lightbulbs (he’s 10 inches taller than me!), as well as minor wood, electrical and plumbing work, home improvement projects and the like.

Well, that about takes care of it. ?

Honestly, I don’t think these expectations are unfair for a wife to have of her husband, but the point is this: The reason it is easy for me to just love my dad right where he is, is because I’m not constantly frustrated that he’s falling short of my expectations for him.

Ultimately, God is the only one able to meet all of my needs … and the only one able to change my husband. I have to choose to focus on my own walk with God and my own shortcomings, rather than my husband’s, and that is HARD TO DO!

Hope this encourages y’all, like it’s encouraged me!

What expectations do you have of your dad or husband that I left off my list?

The little things

Have you ever felt like a request you have is simply too little to bother God about?

Earlier this week, while I was in the hospital with my dad, he told me that he’d really like a big straw. Since he was having such a hard time talking, this request was a big deal to me, but, let’s be real, in the scheme of life who really cares about a big straw???

God does. GOD DOES.

After striking out two days in a row in the hospital cafeteria and with our floor nurses, I asked a woman in scrubs who was waiting for an elevator in the lobby. “Do you know where I could find a big straw for my dad?”

Her response blew my mind, “Sure, if you can get off on the fourth floor with me, I’ll get you one. My floor provides them for the patients.”

Five minutes later, I was the proud owner of not only a big flexible straw, but also a 1,000 ml marked plastic mug.

I returned to my dad’s room, calling out, “Happy Father’s Day, Dad,” with tears in my eyes.

God sees us. God hears us. And God cares about us. He is God over the little things like big straws.

How have you seen God provide for you in the little things? I’d love to hear your story of PRAISE!

Is there something today that you are seeking God for? I’d love to join you in prayer!

Leave a comment below.

TWIG

Of Big and Little Acts of Service

As I shared in yesterday’s post, love compels service … which leads me to a new trail of thoughts.

I wonder, is my dad only interested in the big things that I can do for him? Are the doctors with a dozen years of education who correctly prescribe just the right medication more valuable than the nurse who correctly draws his blood?

Incredibly, just now, while I’m writing this and waiting to board a plane back home, with my dad still in his hospital bed, the flight attendant announced that our plane is having some mechanical issues.

I realize how critically important a good pilot is, but realistically is a good plane mechanic any less essential?

I know that answering my dad’s questions about faith and asking God to hear my cries for mercy truly are valuable acts of service, but do I believe that sitting in silence, holding his hand while he sleeps, is valuable in God’s eyes?

Surely reading Psalm 23 aloud and talking about the hope of Heaven with Jesus is of immense value, but how about cutting up my dad’s food into manageable bites?
Sometimes as a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama, it can feel like the daily chores, loading the dishwasher and washing the laundry and cooking the dinner is worthless … and yet I hope that I can do my work as unto the Lord, pointing my children’s eyes to the blessings of dishes and laundry and food … and of work.
Sometimes as a Christian speaker and writer, it can feel like reaching one hurting soul isn’t as important as speaking to the multitudes.
So today, let’s remind ourselves that God values our little acts of love and service, as well as our big ones. He sees us. He cares. And He is able to multiply our fish and loaves and mites and talents as we offer them up to Him.

TWIG

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.” (Romans 12:3-8)
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24)