When You Need to Know You are Crazy-Loved

 

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It is my pleasure to share Pearl Allard’s guest post with you today.

I had just settled on the couch, grateful to have crossed the day’s finish line with two kids intact and in bed. I eagerly reached for a book I’d been longing to read, when my six-year-old padded out of her room—one bare foot and one slipper-socked foot. I bristled, wondering with the psalmist, how long, O Lord?

Dear daughter held up the partner slipper sock in one hand and a gray pom-pom in the other. The slipper had (past tense) a pair of dangly gray pom-poms attached at the top which I was preparing to mentally curse. She wanted me to fix it.

Yeah sure, kid. No problem. I’m on it. And by the way, you’re supposed to be in bed!  I choked back the destructive spew and accepted the extended slipper sock and offending gray pom-pom. I examined them (come on, you know that deserved a gold star right there), but I informed her it wasn’t getting fixed that night, if it was even fixable. She looked crestfallen.

I peered at the small mass of gray fibers coming loose in my hand. I’d wait until she was in bed and then throw away this whole fraying mess.

“Do you think you can fix it?” Her little voice held such angst.

It was a gray pom-pom for crying out loud, not a broken limb, or a break-up with a boyfriend, or a life-or-death matter, not even a blip on the radar of important…to me.

I looked up into her earnest expression watching me. Hoping. Trusting.

I sighed. When she’s grown, will she remember me shoving aside what she valued? Or will she remember me caring about even the outlandish details of her life? I sighed, again.

“Couldn’t you sew it back on?” I sensed her trying to lighten the workload, offering the most helpful suggestion she knew.

It was just a mess on my lap, and it was all kinds of unimportant and…it mattered. I sighed for the third time.

“Yes, I can probably sew it on,” I admitted. That seemed to satisfy her since she smiled and, with both feet now in one slipper sock, hopped her way back to bed. Crazy girl. This mothering thing…yeah.

I set the book aside, hauled my rear off the couch, and rummaged through craft supplies, shaking my head. Was I actually comparing shades of gray thread?

Back on the couch, I stitched the fraying mess – and realized I was actually stitching up something far more significant. Is this what real love does? Stitches things, people, back together? Reconnects the disconnected? Takes the time to do crazy for the sake of demonstrating love? I marveled at the way the eye of a needle opened my eyes.

I paused and looked up. Hanging over our fireplace were three crosses – just small hot-glued branches – beneath small heart lights I’d strung around the mantel. The cross, a symbol of the most crazy love ever. And small hearts connected together because of it. Radiating light. In that moment I tasted a richer flavor of God’s love for me. Why does He love me? Me with a wandering heart and reluctance to share what’s been lavished on me. Crazy-amazing love.

How fitting so near Valentine’s Day.

I tied off the knot and surveyed the repair. It didn’t seem nearly so costly a sacrifice anymore. Those few interrupted minutes a disguised opportunity to participate in something much larger than irritating gray pom-poms. Any investment of love, no matter how small, is really part of something big; because God IS love. I’m slow to see, slow to look up. But thank God, I didn’t completely botch this. (Lord knows how many other times I have!)

May this Valentine’s Day bring a fresh awareness of how much God loves you with a crazy-amazing love. Romans 5 is an amazing chapter to reflect on, if you get the chance today. But the verse below from John is a good summary.

Yes, God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him would not be lost but have eternal life. John 3:16 ERV

 

Pearl and I met two years ago as members of The Jerry Jenkins  Writers Guild and joined the same writing group, currently comprised of nine women from around the world with a passion for Jesus and to honor Him with our writing. Pearl is a precious sister in the Lord, a down to earth, gifted and anointed writer and speaker, a prayer warrior with a heart to glorify God and encourage others. She has written for (in)courage,  Keys for Kids, and Breathe Christian Writers Conference.

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Pearl Allard

 

Pearl is an imperfect Son-follower learning to enjoy grace. Sunflowers are her spiritual metaphor, because they track the sun’s movement as Christians seek to follow God’s son, Jesus. She is happily-mostly-aftered, work-at-home mama to two, and lives in Michigan. She writes at LookUpSometimes.com.

Connect with Pearl on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

This article was originally published on Pearl’s website, LookUpSometimes.com.

Update

Progress is slow as I recover from an inflamed nerve which makes it difficult to work on a computer. Eleven of twelve articles are posted for my current series of interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives. I will post the final article in the series, (which features missionaries), as soon as I am able. This link will also bring you to my interviews with pastors and pastor’s wives from prior years.

*You may Click here for excerpts from and links to my Series of Interviews with Pastors and Pastor’s Wives.

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Here in the USA, February is Black History Month. If you haven’t already, I’d like to invite you to click here and read my post, Why are We Shouting? (Remembering MLK’s Message). From there you can link to read  One Blood, A Civil Rights Story,   Jean Colby, my mother-in-law and Sara Clay, my sister-in-law recount their experiences as Civil Rights activists.

Waiting for Perfect

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Please Click here to read my devotional, Waiting for Perfect, published on Inkspirations Online

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CLICK HERE to sign up for the TATTOO IT ON YOUR HEART NEWSLETTER to receive my blog posts, occasional notifications of special events, offers, and free downloads by email. 🙂 I’m currently working on a free download.

© 2019  Rachael M Colby                          Tattoo It On Your Heart

 

A Father to the Fatherless

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_A_Father_to_the_FatherlessOur culture seems to spend a lot of time demeaning men and undermining the importance of the role of fathers, but wonders at the staggering numbers of fatherless and troubled children. To the fathers out there who are sticking it out and standing up for their families and to the men who have stepped up to the plate to fill someone else’s shoes—thank you. You play a vital role not only in your family, but your positive impact is felt throughout society.

I hadn’t planned on posting for Father’s Day this year, but my heart kept remembering those who do not have a father in their lives or perhaps not a good relationship with them. I remember the longing and loneliness of being in school and my friends making cards for Mother’s Day while mine was overseas and I didn’t have much contact with her at the time. I know there are others who feel this emptiness because their parent has died, is not a part of their life, or is physically present but emotionally absent. So I want people to be aware that for some, Fathers Day can be hard. I’m hoping if you know of such a person, you will be encouraged to consider reaching out to them as a friend or father figure. Or perhaps you know of a dad who is not shouldering his responsibilities, or doesn’t know how to be a father and needs someone to come alongside and help him. Continue reading “A Father to the Fatherless”

A Parent’s Petition

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Sometimes as a parent your heart swells with joy, but at other times you labor in love with tears and a busted heart over your children. For those in a hard season, I thought I’d share some scriptures and re-post my poem, For the Prodigal’s Mom, in hopes of encouraging you.

Whether your child is faring well, struggles or has strayed, whether you just have the occasional hard day or more tough days than not—your work does not go unnoticed. God sees you, He feels your heart. He wants to come alongside and help and strengthen us. Jesus weeps with us and we can take joy in the shelter of Him. He cares for our children. Remember, He sets out in search of the one lost lamb.

We don’t have to walk this road or wage this war in our own strength. Jesus is the difference maker in our lack as we strive to find your footing and guide your children on the right path. We can petition Heaven and storm Hell with our prayers and partner with our Maker, the Good Father, for the needs of our children. God provides and equips for every task He calls us to.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9 KJV

For the Prodigal’s Mom

Mama,

Don’t you know Jesus loves your children

Even more than you?

Pound the gates of Heaven, Mama

Pray without ceasing

Know the God of Heaven, inclines to your cry

He shares your passion for restoration of the prodigal child

So go ahead and cry Mama

But, make every tear a prayer

An offering of hope and heart

Your prayers are the rain

On the soil of your prodigal’s heart

Your prayers are the rain

On the soil of your prodigal’s heart

Your prayers are the rain

On the soil of your prodigal’s heart…

Those who sow in tears 
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him. Psalms 126: 5-6

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

Suggested posts:

Letters to My Children

The Measure of a Mom

Sometimes it’s a God Thing                                      A Perfect Mothers Day Gift

© 2016, 2018 Rachael M Colby                 Tattoo It On Your Heart

In Step With My Father

I remember Daddy holding my hand as we entered the gates to the botanical gardens, Wrigley’s gum, Elephant Ear pastries, Matchbox cars, him carrying me when I was hurt, and scraping every speck of black pepper off my food. And bumper cars. I hated them, but I never told him because I liked to hear him laugh- and we were together.

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He was pale and shaky after riding the corkscrew roller coaster. We made kites with bamboo and tissue paper. They always crashed, but that was okay. I remember us driving way too fast on the windy island mountain roads in his little ultramarine Triumph Spitfire. He would get upset when I fared better with a drop line than he did with his expensive fishing rod.  Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Fishing Boat_Jamaica

*This piece, In Step with My Father, was originally posted on 6/10/2016. Some revisions and additions have been made.

You gave her the tie dye set. You get her cleaned up!” said Grandma as she pushed us outside. A bucket of soapy water, a scrub brush and our stifled laughter under the mango tree. Pinned to the clothesline, my brightly colored creation flapped happily in the breeze. I loved that hat!

He gave me a piano, like Schroeder’s in the Peanuts comic strip. I  played it as loud as I could, because I thought it would make him visit sooner.

I pretended I didn’t know him when he took me to Disney World. Fearing someone might recognize us, I walked several feet ahead, or behind, because I thought his camera bag looked like a purse. Tears coursed down my cheeks when he wouldn’t let me run off for the day with the boy I met at the resort. All the boys were afraid of my daddy.

He was a businessman. He laughingly called me his “rapacious little capitalist” for running my underground fudge business at school. I made over $1000 before they caught me. We were proud of the “F” I received for my class presentation on a controversial topic. I did a good job on it; I stood for what I believed. When I ran away, he followed me.

Daddy had his problems, but he loved his children and grandchildren. Sometimes he missed the mark. We all do, some more than others. But God will use imperfect fathers, imperfect people, to guide our lives sometimes, if we let Him.

Then, one day he was gone. Just. Like. That. No warning. I didn’t know that was our last “I love you.” I wasn’t ready. But God is the one who numbers our days; He said it was time. We have a finite amount of time to love, to know, to understand and reconcile with each other. He wasn’t a perfect father. None of them are, you know? Except for one.

God is the only perfect father. He is a father to the fatherless. Jesus went to great lengths to meet us where we are. He left his throne in Heaven, donned human flesh, and died to save us from our sin, and reconcile us to Himself. He loves us in spite of ourselves. But we have to accept Him.

A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation. Psalms 68:5

“Daugh-tah, come here. Child of mine. I love you so much, yuh see.” my father would say in his accent. God calls me daughter too, he calls me to himself. He wants to call you son or daughter too. God wants to do life with us. And when people fall short of our expectations, and our needs aren’t met, God is always there for us. He is our sufficiency, the difference maker. He is enough.

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭3:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.   ‭‭John‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”   Romans‬ ‭8:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Father, daughter, son, is there a breach that needs mending? Will you start the journey to restoration? Just take one small step. May I suggest the first one be to pray; and the second, forgive? Maybe you won’t get where you’d like to on this side of eternity. Maybe you are only able to take those first two steps. That’s okay. Just start, and let God be God, the mender of hearts. Extend grace, like God does for us, even though we don’t deserve it.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   ‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”   Matthew‬ ‭6:14-15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”   Matthew‬ ‭18:21-22‬ ‭NLT‬‬

7 x 70 – Chris August

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.   ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:31-32‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The Blessing – Jim Trick

Dads- your children, your wives, your country needs you. Will you step up to the plate?

“Here I am Father. Forgive me. Help me to step in Your footprints, and walk a little closer with You Jesus.”

Lead Me – Sanctus Real

Yeah, you are probably going to mess up sometimes, stumble and fall in the process. But God will pick you up. He’s like that.

Good, Good Father – Chris Tomlin

LINK TO: The Father Effect, Movie – 3 Minute Trailer (*Warning: Contains some sensitive material) 

John Finch grew up the youngest of 3 boys in a suburb of Dallas where he lost his father to suicide at age 11. As a young man, John did anything he could to avoid confronting the wounds he suffered as a result of being fatherless. His craving for affirmation from a father who was not there to provide it, led him to…  http://thefathereffect.com/about 

RESOURCES

Encouraging Dads Project- Stories and resources to encourage dads Creating a community where we can share positive stories and ideas about becoming better and stronger fathers.

Encouraging Dads: 30 Short Stories That Inspire & Encourage Dads Kindle Edition

 Focus on the Family is a global Christian ministry dedicated to helping families thrive. We provide help and resources for couples to build healthy marriages that reflect God’s design, and for parents to raise their children according to morals and values grounded in biblical principles.

To speak with a family help specialist, request resources, make a donation over the phone, inquire about general information, or to report a problem, contact us at the number below.

  • Tan Phone Icon
    1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459)
    Mon – Fri: 6am – 8pm (Mountain Time)
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    Focus on the Family
    8605 Explorer Drive.Colorado Springs, CO 80920-1051

Family Life Ministries -Help for today. Hope for tomorrow

Link to my post entitled, Forgive   

©2017 Rachael M Colby

Tattoo It On Your Heart

Sometimes it’s a God Thing

DSCF0515I stood in the kitchen on one of those mornings, feeling suffocated by the pressure of making decisions, afraid of messing up. The weight of responsibility and the barrage of demands overwhelmed me. I felt so distressed because I just couldn’t seem to make all the magic things happen for my children.

God, I’m failing as mother. I feel so inept, Lord.

But then I shook myself, looked at my beloved child and said, “I’m sorry; but all your dreams aren’t going to come true. And that’s OK.”

Yes, I actually said that. I know; it’s not very Disney-ish. But it’s truth!

Let me elaborate. The Bible says, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”   Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This is not to be confused with the idea that God will give us everything we want. Jesus is not a genie in a bottle. We can’t just clap our hands in prayer, then snap our fingers, and expect Jesus to do our bidding. Our wish is not His command. This scripture is about allowing God to change our heart, so He can deposit the desire for Him and His will in us. God is a good father. He loves us, and gives us the  best according to His plan. He is the Master Weaver and sees the big picture.

So, for all my children who weren’t there that morning, I will say it again. “Darling, Sweetheart, Honey; good morning. Hello, and wake up. I love you with all my heart. But all your dreams aren’t going to come true; and that’s OK. Sometimes it’s a God thing.”

And Lord, I will try to remember to rest in Your Word.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.     ‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.     ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.”     ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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A Perfect Mothers Day Gift

Last week the leader of our women’s Bible study asked us to share something we had learned as a mom, or from our moms. I sat terrified as she went around the room, wondering what my teen daughter would say. What if she didn’t have anything to say at all? God, I fall so short!

Finally, her turn came and this is what she said. “My mom taught us to adapt and be resilient, even in situations where we weren’t comfortable. And she really leans on God. When she’s having a bad day, she doesn’t go to anyone else. God is her go-to.”

Wow. Grace, grace, grace. She’s been sick this week and hasn’t been out, so she thinks she hasn’t gotten me a Mothers Day gift. But she did; she was three days early with it. All I really want from my children is for them to see Jesus in me and to love and serve Him. I want them to choose wisdom and apprehend the destiny Jesus has for their lives.

On our way home I thanked her for her kind and gracious words, and apologized for not being a better mom. She looked at me and said, “Why are you apologizing to me?”

“Because I wish I was a better mom. I just want you to know that I love you and I love God… And I’m trying.”

“No one ever thinks you’re not trying mom!” She interrupted.

“Oh. Then we’re good.”  🙂

 © 2016 Rachael M Colby                          Tattoo it On your Heart