Directing Squirrels

God spoke to me through a squirrel.

We were coming home from a birthday lunch date with my daddy, and in the middle of the street there was a squirrel. He was pitiful. He was confused and dazed and didn’t know where to go. He’d head one way then circle around another way – going nowhere just spinning. He’d get dizzy so he would lay down his head and then twitch his tail and fight to stand up only to be dazed and confused again. It was one of the saddest things I’d ever witnessed. I wanted to cry, and I told my dad we had to help him. I was desperate to see him be safe!

We went to my house, and I grabbed an old dog kennel. I figured maybe he we could lure him in and release him into a tree. Yes. I wasn’t thinking clearly. After all, my college roommate and I had played momma to a baby squirrel for a few weeks, in my right mind I would have remembered how dangerous a scared and trapped squirrel could be, but all I could think about was the danger it was in, my own didn’t matter.

My dad and I walked over to where we had seen the squirrel, but in just those five short minutes it had taken to get him some help, he’d moved. We weren’t content with that we wanted to know where, so we walked a little and saw a tail twitch at the base of a tree. It was our little squirrel! He was slowly but surely making his way up the tree, to safety. I saw my compassionate dad getting choked up and wrapped my arms around him! My dad leaned his head to mine and said, “I’m glad he made it home.”

God spoke to me later that day. He said “That desperation, that heartache that you felt for that simple squirrel is but a fraction of what I feel as I watch my misguided children spin about dazed and confused with no where to turn. I need you to point them to safety. I need you to make sure they find the tree, the cross, and I’ll Take it from there. Just point them to Me.”

And that’s what we do. Everyday, in a million different ways.. Whether its through Teen Christian Ministries, LeadHer Academy, or writing books, We point to the cross. We are desperate at times! We want to grab them and force them into safety, not wanting to see them face the pain or heartache we have, and we forget that we can’t save them. That’s the hardest truth. We can’t save them. But He can! Only, they have to choose to fight, to shake off the confusion, and find their way to safety. But they have to walk it.. We can’t place them there.

I was pondering this very heartbreak after sharing my squirrel story with my friend, brother and writing cohort, when I was reminded of one of Jesus’ own moments of pain and desperation:

When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” (Matthew 9:36, 37, 38 MSG)

His heart broke! He saw their confusion and their aimlessness and His heart broke. The one that could save them stood amongst them, but what did He say? He turned to the disciples and basically said, “You see that? They need YOU to help them.”

That’s my same hope and inspiration! I can only do so much. I only see so many squirrels..err.. People.. But WE see many.. And if we are willing He would point out so many more! His heart is breaking still at their aimless confusion and desperation, and He addresses us, as He addressed me last week, “I need you to point them to me.. And I’ll take it from there.”

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The importance of being “weird”

I swore I wasn’t gonna be one of those weird moms – the ones that didn’t let their kids watch certain shows or confine them to the house or separate them from the world by their entertainment or lack of. But that was a resolution I made when I was childless, when I didn’t understand the dangers of giving them free reign, when I didn’t realize the so called “weird moms” were simply doing their job.. And those that weren’t were giving in.

My children often hear the line, “It’s more important to me that I protect you than that you like me.” When they want to post videos on YouTube for public view, or have a Facebook like their friends even though they are under age, or they want to spend the day with a friend and her teenage brother, they don’t understand. They think I’m being mean, but I am protecting them from what could be, what might be, if I weren’t so weird.

I’ve heard the line, “You’re just projecting.” So what if I am? So what if my past pain and regret have made me wiser and more aware of things that other parents might not notice or see as a danger? I vowed that my pain would have purpose, and this is part of that purpose – to save my kids from many of my seemingly innocent pitfalls, to warn them so that they might abscond from wearing my scars. I realize I can’t protect them from everything, but so what if I’m projecting.. If in the end it protects them?

I don’t go crazy with it. There are certain things that I allow them to do and watch that other Christian parents would probably disagree with, but I discuss issues that those same parents probably won’t address either. Like sexuality, sexting, and pornography. I refuse to sweep that under a rug labeled, “mature content.” I will never forget the first time I had a dream about my best friend and dreamed I had kissed her. I asked my mom about it, what it meant, why I had imagined such a thing? My mom simply said, “You love your friend, right?” I admitted I did. “You spend a lot of time with her?” I did. “Well, our brain tries to process our emotions, and dreams are one place we do that. It doesn’t make you a lesbian, it means you love your friend, and your mind can misplay that affection.” Now, some of you are probably rolling your eyes, but I was 11 and that made sense and in the future when I had bizarre dreams, I remembered what she said. I still do. I want to be the one to inform my kids, because they are gonna find out about it, if not from me then from their misguided friends.

In a world saturated with sex and self image, I’m careful about what my kids watch. We don’t watch much TV. We don’t let them watch “Biggest Loser.” That probably seems strange but in a world obsessed with appearance and the fear of obesity (because according to a recent study teenagers are more scared of that than nuclear war or the death of a loved one!), even shows like that plant seeds of dissatisfaction. Don’t believe me? After a few weeks of watching the show, my daughter, then 9, started doing laps around the house and wouldn’t stop until she had burned so many calories. She still makes comments about her body compared to others. It breaks my heart. But how can I blame her when I find myself fighting the same thoughts?!

She doesn’t like it that she’s one of the only girls in her class that hasn’t read and watched all of the Twilight series, but really, she isn’t missing much more than pent up sexual aggression and nightmares of golden-eyed vampires. (By the way, I’m was Team Jacob, before he imprinted a baby.. What was that about?!) I shudder when I pass rows and rows of young adult fiction that feast on young minds to glorify the occult. Granted I’m writing a series about Angels and Demons that others might determine “inappropriate,” but if your gonna highlight a battle between good and evil, might as well use the Truth that sets us free.

I haven’t let my oldest read my books, either. This gets under her skin, “You’re my mom! You wrote them for me, didn’t you? Let me read them.” And she is right. I did write them for her, but when the time is right. Now is not the time, I’m the parent and the author, I will determine when. Besides its a little bit of cowardliness on my part, because their is the underlying fear that 1. She won’t finish it, and 2. she won’t like it. I just don’t think I can handle that truth just yet.

So I’m weird. But in a good way, not in a smother your kids, hide them from the world, and watch every one else burn kinda way.. But in the way that says, “I love you enough to tell you no, and I’ll put on my big girl panties and not cry when you tell me you hate me.” In fact, I’m weird enough to encourage other parents to be weird.. Because no one else is protecting our children, and God called us to lead them.. That includes taking care of their minds. God’s word says “it is better for a millstone (that’s a threshing stone about the size of a tire wheel) to be tied around your neck than to lead any of these little ones astray.” Wow. I’m not particularly fond of drowning… But, Maybe I’m just weird.

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A Bird in the Hand

“…And you count far more to him than birds.”

God gave me a very real lesson this weekend, a moment that captivated my heart and my attention and spoke life into a hard and trying time.

The story:
My friend and I were sitting at a local restaurant. We were talking about some of the hardship that I had just faced, the attack of the enemy with an arrow trained directly at my heart and my past. Actually we were both sharing, about our faith and our trust despite the accusations that others might want to level at us. It was in that moment of serious honesty and transparency that something hit the window.

I flinched. She noticed, and wondered what it was. Then I saw it the little bird outside the window, heaving for breath and looking so tiny and vulnerable under a chair of a young girl that was completely unaware that her foot may just take a life. I looked at my friend and she looked at me. “It’s a hummingbird,” she announced. I didn’t believe it. To me it was just a baby. But she was sure, “It’s a hummingbird. Look at the beak.” She was right. Then, she said what I knew in my heart, “We have to go out there and rescue it!” She ran for one last refill, and I ran outside to see what I could do.

I ran out and told the girls sitting at the table, “There is a bird there. We have to rescue it!” At first they looked at me like I was crazy. It was, after all, a bird. We stooped down and picked it up and my friend, Dionne, took him in her hands. She stroked its chest and silently we both prayed and willed that bird to find its wings. You could tell it was stunned. It was blinking its little eyes rapidly and trying, it seemed, to get its bearings.

I marveled at the moment, here was this most beautiful green hummingbird completely still in the hand! I announced the miracle of this to the girls whose table we’d invaded as Dionne looked on the verge of tears. Something, no EVERYTHING, in me told me that I had to capture this moment. So I did. At this point the girls were interested, a stilled hummingbird, “I want a picture, too!” And the bird was still just long enough. The pictures were taken, and with one small, fast (after all it was a hummingbird) flit of its wings, it flew off.

The rest of the story:
That amazing moment, though so short, spoke volumes very specifically and intimately to both of us. To Dionne, it was a moment of captivating love lavished on her from Daddy God to say “I see, I know, I hold you…” and so many other personal messages of love and hope that only she can interpret.

To me it was lesson. It’s like Daddy God said, “I know that you have been stunned. I know that you are hurt and you feel that your pain came out of nowhere. But, like this little bird there are two choices: You can stay on the ground and struggle to breathe and possibly find yourself trampled under the weight of it. Or, you can let Me pick you up, remind you of your purpose and My purpose in you. Open yourself to love again and be loved, and find the wings to soar once more.”

Is that you? Are you stunned, finding yourself hurting from an injury you never saw coming maybe from those you least expected? Take heart. If God cared so much for this errant bird (one of the tiniest that you can find!), how much more does He care for you! Let our story be your hope. And, it’s no surprise that upon further research and the input of others more acquainted with birds… our friend is thought to be female. Well, of course she was. 😉

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