My Father’s Lap

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In the shadow of thy wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by. – Psalm 57:1 (RSV)

When I was growing up, there was only one place where I could escape my mother’s wrath—my father’s lap. I was an impulsive child, and my mother wasn’t blessed with patience, so when our wills clashed, sparks flew.

Mom was the firestorm; Dad the quiet stream. I loved them both, but it was to Dad I turned when I needed a listening ear or when I just needed cuddled. Curled up in his lap, resting my head on his shoulder, feeling his arms around me, was the safest place in the world.

Fast forward forty years. I am now a mother, still a bit impulsive, fiery when I get going. My husband is like my father—a soothing balm to my blistering heat. One of my children has impulsively done something that could cast a dark shadow over the future. I am so furious, I shake. I feel heat radiating from my face.

“How could you do this?” I shout. “When we get home, you will tell your father what you’ve done.”

But the scene doesn’t turn out as I expect. There, curled up in my husband’s lap, is our errant, remorseful child.

Fast forward eight more years. I am now a grandmother. As my family has multiplied, so have my love and concern. I pray for my children and grandchildren every day, but still I worry. I am at the age where I realize how fragile life really is and how dangerous a place the world is. I have much more to lose now.

As I sit in the family room, my head rests on the wing of the love seat where I’m curled up. Eyes closed, I imagine myself sitting in my heavenly Father’s lap, resting my head on His shoulder, feeling His arms around me.

I speak no words, but peace, like a placid stream, gently seeps into my soul. I am in the safest place in the world.

Abba, Father, thank You for Your unconditional love. Amen.

Read and reflect on Psalm 57

From God, Me & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God, Copyright © 2018 by Michele Huey

 

Pockets

 

Let us turn away from everything wrong, whether of body or spirit, and purify ourselves, living in the wholesome fear of God, giving ourselves to him alone. —2 Corinthians 7:1 TLB

I love pockets! Into them I cram the bits and pieces of my daily life—stuffing from the dog’s chair, paper clips, pens, screws, fingernail clippers, gum wrappers, pop bottle caps, rubber bands, used and unused tissues, receipts, keys, loose change, buttons, even the cat’s shed hair.

One pocket is not enough. I like at least two. Into the left pocket I put the things I will throw away. Into the right pocket go the items I’ll either use soon or need to put where they belong. At the end of the day I empty my pockets. It wouldn’t do to carry today’s debris around with me tomorrow, and neglecting to remove a tissue buried deep in the pocket of a pair of jeans that later get tossed into the washing machine can get messy. The items in my right pocket are put where they belong—in a cupboard, closet, or drawer. Tomorrow I will start my day with pockets clean and ready.

I have “spiritual” pockets, too. In them I stuff the bits and pieces of my spiritual life. Deep in my left pocket I push that exaggerated truth, twinge of envy, thoughtless remark, moment of discontent, act of selfishness, word of gossip, and bitter feelings. Into my right pocket go the things I often need at my fingertips: honesty, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, kindness, gentleness, and humility.

Like my physical pockets, my spiritual ones also need to be emptied and scrutinized every day. Disposing each day of the accumulation in my left pocket through confession makes tomorrow’s lighter to carry and quicker to discard. Too often, however, I don’t dig deeply enough, and bits and pieces of an overlooked “tissue” cling to the fabric of my life. That’s why it’s important to ask God to show me what I’ve missed. After I’ve cleaned out my left pocket, I sort through the contents of my right pocket and apply them where they belong—to a relationship, attitude, habit, or perspective.

And tomorrow I start over, with pockets clean and ready.

Father God, keep Your hands in my pockets. Amen.

Read and reflect on Ephesians 4:23–32.

From Minute Meditations: Meeting God in Everyday Experiences, © 2000 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.