Faith, Parenting

Put your hands up

“Mommmmyyyyyyyy!!!!” came the urgent cries from my two year old today, whilst I was washing up the dishes. I dried my hands and hurried to the kitchen door to see what mischief he has gotten himself into and I was greeted by the sorry sight of a very tangled up little boy. We have a small goal post in our garden, that is more often than not used as a net to catch monsters or to hang toys off of rather than to field incoming goals. My youngest had been playing with his ‘arrow’ (tin opener… go figure) and had somehow managed to get his hi-top clad feet hopelessly entangled in the goal net and was now stood in the middle of the garden with tears of frustration streaming down his cheeks.

Goal

I ran over to him to assess the crystal maze-esque task of getting him out of the goal as he pulled at the ropes wound tightly around his legs. “Its OK baby” I soothed, “put your hands up and Mommy will pull you out”. Keen to escape the confines of the goal post, my son immediately put his hands in the air and reached out to me as I pulled him up, clear of the net without a struggle.

As I pulled my son close, God whispered into my spirit “If only you put your hands up to me so quickly. Daughter, I love you and always want to help you, I can see when you are struggling and if only you would reach out to me I would pull you out of every situation that you find yourself in.”

My heart quickened as I recalled the many times where I have inadvertently gotten myself in to a tangle, and rather than calling out to God and reaching up to Him to pull me out I have picked at the knots and strings entwined around my life getting more and more tangled and increasingly frustrated.

When my son was in his tangled moment, I had the vantage point of being above him, I could clearly see where the strings were wrapped and how to move him so that he would be freed. God has the ultimate vantage point in heaven, He knows all things and sees all things, and He can see the things that bind you right now. He can see the situation you are in that you think is impossible to leave. He sees the financial burdens that keep you locked in to place, unable to move forward. He sees the physical limitations that sickness and chronic conditions have over you.

But He wants to set you free.

He wants you to move freely, unbound, unshackled, moving forward into all that He has planned for you.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb” Jeremiah 1:5

If only you would put your hands up. Put your hands up to the one who formed you in your mother’s womb. The one who created you and ordained every single day of your life even before time began, the one who loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus to die for you. If only you would realise that by putting your hands up to the loving Father, He will take your hands and pull you up and out of your situation. Just as we love, nurture, protect and rescue our children so too does our heavenly Father, but we must be willing to surrender, to reach up to God for His love, His help and His protection in our situation.

Friend, please don’t give in to fear, shame, guilt, debt, sickness, relationship breakdown, abuse or addiction. Instead give it up to God today.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11

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Faith, Parenting

Can I help you with that?

“My do it!!” insisted my fiercely independent two year old son, as I tried to prize the Avengers backpack from his chubby little fingers. We had just been to the local park for a picnic and I had managed to keep the back pack away from my son’s eagle eyes by hooking it over the back of the pushchair on our way out of the house. Until now.

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You may be thinking, why not just let him carry his own backpack if he wants to carry it? It is his after all… The reason is that I knew that it was far too heavy for him. I had packed it to the rafters with drinks, snacks, wet wipes and other toddler paraphernalia in preparation for our park adventures, and as the bag itself is rather big for him anyway, I knew that the poor little mite would struggle to carry it further than a few metres.

IMG_4870Undeterred, my persistent son won his battle and I duly helped him to haul the overloaded backpack on to his little body. Buoyed by his success, he hopped along happily but within a few paces he began to struggle with the backpack, wanting to reposition it on his shoulders as it constantly slipped on and off.

A typical (and unashamed) helicopter mom, I hovered behind him, continually trying to step in to help my son, offering to take the bag or at the very least shorten the straps so that it fit him better, much to his dismay. On occasion he would concede and pass me the bag, only to regain his strength a short while after and try to take it back again. I found myself getting more and more frustrated as I watched him refuse my parental wisdom and offers of help only to see him visibly struggle a few more steps before being unable to carry it any more.

God whispered to me, “Precious daughter, that is how I feel with you.”

I stopped dead in my tracks, watching my son soldier on and felt tears burn my cheeks as God reminded me of his promises in the Word;

‘For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you’. Jeremiah 29:11

“You know that I have your very best interests at heart, please trust me my sweet girl,” God whispered, “I know the burdens that you carry and I know that they are yours, but you cannot carry them alone, so won’t you let me help you?”

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Gazing at my son, happily oblivious to mommy’s God-conversation, my spirit alert, heart softened and eyes shining with tears, I thanked God right there and then, that despite my protestations and endless quest for independence, he has never quit loving me, never stopped asking, ‘Can I help you with that?’

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God loves you and I more than we will ever know or comprehend. He loves us exactly as we are, right now, imperfect and impossibly independent. We have spent a lifetime living OUR way when all along we should have been living YAHWEH. God has a plan to give us a purpose, a destiny, a hope and a future, and that will mean addressing issues and bearing burdens along the way. But God never intended for us to do life alone. He promises to never give us more than we can bear and He also promises to help us carry it.

I love The Message version of 1 Corinthians 10:13:

All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit.

Just like I knew as a mother that my son’s backpack was too heavy for him, so too does our heavenly Father know what we can and cannot bear.

What is in your backpack today? Are you carrying the weight of a shame so heavy you feel it is dragging you down? Are you battling with a sin or an addiction that you have carried around for far too long? Do you bear the burden of unforgiveness, past decisions you have made or circumstances that were beyond your control? Do you cling to the grief left with you when your loved one left you? Are you tired of struggling on each day, fighting to place one foot in front of the other as you constantly reposition your load?

Jesus said; “Come to me all who are weary, for my burden is easy and light” Matthew 11:28

If you will trust him, and listen to his gentle pleas to help you today, Jesus will stand with you and shoulder the weight of the load you bear. He didn’t promise an easy ride, but he did promise a life-long road-trip companion. Please don’t fight the still small voice urging you to quit trying to do things in your own strength. Don’t wait until your arms are so sore from struggling that you cannot lift them up to ask for or even accept the offer of help any more. Please, please take a moment today to stop a while, reassess what you are carrying and take a load off at the foot of the cross.

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