A Simple Prayer

February 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , , )

a-simple-prayer

A simple prayer I offer
Humbly before Your throne
Oh hear the words I proffer
And take me as Your own
Oh hear my eager crying
Your face my only view
My trembling heart requiring
To be at peace with You.

I ask no other blessing
Than that You own my name
While I am You confessing
Oh do for me the same
Till all the hosts here dwelling
Know as the hosts above
That all my sins dispelling
You claim me with Your love

Indwell Your precious temple
With truth and wisdom’s glow
Make me forever simple
Your word all that I know
And teach my heart to ponder
Each day as ever new
In never ending wonder
The mystery of You

And though this prayer is ending
Cease never our commune
The Spirit which You’re sending
Precedes Your coming soon
Refresh me with the water
Springing to eternal life
I am Jehovah’s daughter
And Your own promised wife

Copyright 2003 by Abigail

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Why Don’t You Open That Door?

February 25, 2009 at 12:20 pm (Articles, Attitudes, Godly Living) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

open-that-doorHaving my own bathroom sounded glamorous. As soon as we moved in, I set to work stripping off disgusting grey wallpaper, sanding down the uneven walls and painting it a delicious color of green. (Well, Lauren doesn’t like it, but it’s not her bathroom, now is it?) I hung new towels and put out the perfect canisters and soap dispenser, but I soon discovered that my “beautiful” bathroom has a nasty problem: mildew. Tucked into a back corner of the house, the humidity is high and the slimy black stuff appears from nowhere, crawling across the ceiling or down the shower wall and clinging to the tile grout.

I’ve rolled up my sleeves and scrubbed with bleach water (thought I’d ruined my hair when I accidentally spilled some on my head!) more times than I care to recall. For a couple of days the tile shines and the ceiling glows white again, then one morning I wake up to realize the mildew has crept back into life. Where does it come from? How does it get here? Why does it keep coming back?

One day my ever-wise mother responded to my frustrations: “Why don’t you open that door?” I blinked. I didn’t even realize that I do keep it closed, until she mentioned it. Of course, I have a cartload of excuses. For one, I don’t want everyone who comes into my room being tempted to use my bathroom–or even being able to see into it. You know, sometimes I have sweaty work-out clothes hanging up in there. Or dirty work jeans. Or the dirty clothes become restless and tumble out of the closet–it’s my bathroom, none of their business. In these cold winter months, it stays warmer than my 45-degree bedroom, which is nice for showering and getting dressed in the mornings. “So,” she said, “Close the door when you’re showering and dressing and leave it open the rest of the time so it can air out.”

Are you wondering why I’m going on and on about the mildew infiltration in my bathroom?

The mildew offered to me a prime picture of my heart. When I trusted Jesus it got cleaned up, adorned with good things and I thought it looked pretty good–for a while. Slowly, so many nasty things began to creep in. Where did they come from? How did they get there? Where there’s a bathroom, there will be mildew to fight. Every heart is deceitful and full of wickedness. When I notice the mildew in my heart, I go for the bleach and scrub brush and get to work cleaning, scrubbing, purging, repenting, weeping, praying. For a couple of days I seem like a shining, new individual on the inside, and then the mildew comes creeping back. Always, it comes creeping back. Always it will come creeping back, but “Why don’t you leave the door open?” Mom said.

Leave the door open? What in the–?

Accountability. Instead of closing myself up inside, hiding behind a white-washed door, I ought to be seeking accountability, opening myself up to scrutiny. Not to everyone (I don’t invite everyone into my room), but to my parents, to my siblings, to my closest friends and sisters in Christ. Not necessarily about everything. Some things are private-like showering–but do I really need the door closed when doing my hair? Putting on make-up? Or even cleaning? In fact, I might need accountability for those very things! What are the sins and struggles that keep creeping back into my heart and life, those nasty things I try to hide from everyone else? Thinking my agenda is so important, my bad habit of reading everything I see, or beginning to focus on outward appearance and worldly success. Or the fact that I don’t pay attention when Mom is giving me instructions because I think I know what is and isn’t important. Or not being disciplined about personal study or prayer time.

Just like getting some air into a mildew infested room can slow down the mildew’s growth, being transparent about my failures can often spur me to overcoming them and can dampen the temptation. Having someone know that I am tempted in a certain way can strengthen me to resist. After all, they might ask, or they might notice that mildew growing now the they know what’s behind that closed door. They can guess what I might be hiding when I say, “I’m doing fine.”

Seeking accountability involves more than just sharing struggles. There’s little need for a mutual pity party. Accountability involves action on both parts: prayer for each other, suggestions, Biblical guidance. When I seek accountability, I should be praying and seeking prayer. I should be seeking suggestions, tools and ideas for overcoming and resisting, for cleansing and purifying. And I should be looking for root issues. When I seek accountability, I should be implementing suggestions and expecting follow-up inspection. The goal is a mildew-free environment, not just an open-door policy. It’s not that I want people to have to look at my disgusting bathroom. The goal is to become presentable: a bathroom fit for the King.

“Why don’t you open that door?” Mom said. It’s habit now to close it-at least most of the way, but when I see itjames-5-161 standing closed, a white wall barring the view into my “inner” room, I open it to let it air out. Sometimes it means I actually have to put those sweaty work-out clothes away, or wash that hand-towel, or get more toilet paper, or even go to work on that mildew when I’d rather be doing something else. I’m trying to learn to open up my heart to accountability, as well: let it air out to help slow down the mildew’s growth, implement other’s suggestions for cleaning, seek root problems and deceitful heart issues. Hopefully, at least, I’ll notice more quickly when the black slime begins to spread.

And perhaps it will encourage others to see that there’s hope. We all have mildew in our bathrooms and our hearts, but a little accountability and a lot of bleach can go a long way in the cleaning process.

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We Have a Winner…

February 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm (Announcements) (, , , , )

Poor Lydia was displaced for a slightly more random drawing from Random.org.  And the winner of “Emotional Purity:  An Affair of the Heart” is Carley!  Fancy that!  Happy birthday to you, Miss Carley!  Looks like you won’t have to go buy your own copy, after all!  Now, as soon as you’re finished, we expect a full report on how well you liked it…:D  Just kidding, though we’d love to hear back from you.   Thanks, ladies for entering!  We wish we could give everyone a copy–it’s an excellent book!

Blessings,

lauren-and-abigail-sig

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Did you miss us?

February 23, 2009 at 2:15 pm (Announcements) (, , , , , , , , )

We decided to let the last couple of posts sit and simmer…wanted to be sure everyone got a chance to read the men’s excellent feedback on “Respect.”  If you haven’t read it yet, we highly recommend taking the time to look over their thoughts and give them some consideration!

And the giveaway is about to wrap up.  Today is your last chance to enter to win “Emotional Purity:  An Affair of the Heart” by Heather Paulsen.  It certainly has brought a few lovely ladies out of the woodwork.  We’ll announce a winner tomorrow (Lord willing) and get back into the swing of posting.

We’d still love to have more additions to the “Jesus Tales” page–testimonies of the Lord’s grace in the lives of ladies!  We’ll try to get ours up soon!

Also, we’re still both grinding away at several writing projects, but we’d love to know:  is there anything in particular you’d like to see us write about?  Anything  you’d like to see added here?   Any issues you have or discussions you’d like to raise?  We value feedback–both the positive and the constructive criticism!  Anything that will encourage us to grow and learn even as we seek to share what we’re learning!

It’s been rather a refreshing break for us!  🙂  Lots of home projects are constantly calling our names!

“Lauren…Abigail…”

See?  Like that.  So it’s off to the next thing with the Lord’s reminder to do everything in His name.

Blessings,

lauren-and-abigail-sig1

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His Perspective…On Respect

February 14, 2009 at 1:00 am (His Perspective) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

his-perspective-on-respect

Valentine’s Day conjures up thoughts of red foil, powdered candy hearts, oozing chocolate cakes and over-the-top sentimentalism all wrapped up in a hazy misunderstanding of the word “love.” To the world, love is a feeling, coming and going on the winds of time, age, business and beauty, pronounced in words that pass away and proudly displayed through things destined to perish with the using. The disciple Jesus loved gives those of us who would understand true love a great reminder: “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in action and truth.” (1 John 3:18 ) English teachers will insist that love is an abstract noun—an idea. Scripture tells us it’s a verb. Sisters, let’s stop just using empty words to express love. Let’s really get active about loving according to the truth of scripture!

Paul, the bond-slave of the Lord, never mentioned flowers or chocolate or candlelight dinners, but he did give some excellent advice for godly love and relationships. “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church…and let the woman see to it that she respect her husband.” (From Ephesians 5:22-33–we really recommend reading the whole passage). In the literal Greek the word for “husband” is really just “man”, plain and simple, and we believe that the respect factor applies to young women under the authority of their fathers, as well. After all, what better way is there to prepare for respecting a husband, some day? Could there be a better way to prove respect for the Lord than to respect the authorities He has placed in our lives?

Some of the men who are seeking to work out this Biblical pattern graciously agreed to help us in digging up some great insights on the issue of respect. We’ve included a few prime quotes below as a sort of appetizer and we’d encourage you to take a look at what they had to say and put your love into action, guided by the truth of God’s word! Just follow the link at the bottom to visit the “Respect” page and see the whole survey! Feel free to share what you find, and don’t be afraid to ask your own men the same questions to discover what honors them and proves to them your love and respect–for God’s glory.

Are candy hearts and red roses wrong? Not at all. They are thoughtful. They are romantic. They are even pleasant. Only to call those things “love” or even “expressions of love” which never even come close to scratching the surface of the love of God, who sacrificed His Son for sinners, is to cheapen a word which should be reserved for gifts of much greater worth. This Valentine’s Day, we challenge you to give more. We challenge you to lavish your man with respect—all year long.


“Biblical respect is the humble, intelligent, joyful response of a wife to God’s placement of authority expressed by esteem for, encouragement of, and submission to her husband’s leadership.”

Shai Linne, Philadelphia, PA


“It is possible to have a surviving relationship without respect because I could choose to love them [wife/sister/daughter] even if they refused to respect me, but to have a really healthy flourishing relationship both must fill their biblical roles.”

–Moriah Day, Altamont, KS, age 16, eldest of 10


“Leaving me would be the highest rejection of my leadership and provision. But in absence of legal separation, complete emotional and relational separation would be basically equivalent.”


–Nathaniel, Tulsa, OK, married to Lauren for 1 year, 4 months and 4 weeks 😉

We hear much about men having a built in need for respect and similarly women having a built in need for love … as if men and women are designed by God with the frailties of tiny egos and frail emotions that need constant stroking by the other lest we suffer the consequences. This is nonsense. Respect and Love in the context of Marriage have everything to do with God given roles and authority structure. Respect and Love are what bring about God’s desire that we use our position selflessly for the benefit of our Spouse.”

–John Day, Altamont, KS married 18+ years, father of three daughters (so far)


“’Love is of God,’ I John 4:7 says. God’s love is not natural to man, as the Scripture continues: ‘everyone who loves has been born of God.’ So husbands are to love, not by human product, but by the love of God. Likewise are wives, according to Titus 2:4, to love their husbands, not by natural love, but God’s love.”

–Glenn Schreiber, Central Illinois, (very happily) married for 18.5 years, father of two daughters


It is the ‘picture’ of Christ and His bride. The relationship for the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. Sacrificial love, a love worth respecting because it is wonderful and it knows the love is acting in the best interest for the wife. How do they differ? The love is the leading action which makes the respecting enjoyable.”


–Gabe Graham, Tulsa, OK, married 5+ years, father of three daughters


“The Bible says that Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. I think this word is a great way of summarizing how a wife is to respect her husband. She treats him as someone who is very important; as someone who she means to serve and obey, and who is worthy of her service. No other person trumps him; he is the #1 person she is meant to help, to love, and to give her time and affections to. What is important to him becomes important to her, simply because he values it. This all comes out of an ultimate desire to serve her Heavenly Lord, because this is His command to her; ultimately, she is serving Him through demonstrating a giving over of her desires to the desires of her husband, and treating him as the authority God has given her.”

John A. Moss, Morgantown, WV, married almost three years, a daughter due in April (!)


“God’s originally-stated purpose for creating mankind was to rule over the earth (Gen. 1:26). His special purpose for man was to cultivate and keep the garden (Gen. 1:26; 2:15) and for woman was for her to be a suitable helper of her husband (Genesis 2:18). It follows that she must learn to help her man. This is the major distinction between the husband and his wife’s roles–he is the leader and she is the helper. More descriptively, he is to be her loving leader and she is to be his reverent helper.”

–Lane, Rural AR, married 31 years, father of Abigail (and Lydia)


Trust and respect can be shattered by failure to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus.”

Zach Welchman, Arkansas Tech University

We found the answers sometimes surprising, often enlightening, sometimes encouraging, often convicting.   We’d love for you to take a look at the comments and the survey (when you can) and tell us your thoughts!

His Perspective on Respect: The Survey

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Christian Community?

February 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm (A Time to Laugh) (, , , , )

Posted by Abigail

a-time-to-laugh

We have an enormous table, often filled with guests–usually students from the nearby college.  The atmosphere is that of a huge family with an overabundance of overgrown sons.  Lydia, as the little lady of the family, sat next to me one Sunday at lunch, mouselike, unobtrusive, trying to eat her food in peace while chaos raged around her.  And I do mean chaos.  Bruce was taking every opportunity to snatch dinner rolls from her plate.  Josiah gobbled grapes out of her fingers as she held them out of reach of Zach.  As she settled in at last to enjoy a piece of Lazy Daisy Oatmeal cake, Josh reached for her bowl.  “Thank you, Lydia, for offering to share your cake with me!”  No sooner had she pulled it out of his reach than Tommy snagged it from across the table.   “Lydia!”  Josh exclaimed in indignation.  “Did you see that?  He stole OUR cake!”

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You could be the proud, new owner…

February 10, 2009 at 3:39 pm (Announcements) (, , , , , , )

Of your very own copy of “Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart” by Heather Paulsen.

We’re finally hosting another giveaway! And what can you expect? It’s a book! Fancy that. And a great one.

Check out our review of it, just a few posts back and then leave us a comment on this post to enter! If you’d like a second entry, announce this giveaway on your own blog or website and leave a second comment with a link to your announcement. Entries close February 23, 2009 and we’ll draw a random winner ASAP.  Who knows?  Perhaps this will draw some of the lurkers out of the woodwork.

Enjoy!

Blessings,

lauren-and-abigail-sig1

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God gave you a brain…

February 8, 2009 at 1:00 pm (Food for Thought) (, , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

Galileo Galilei

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

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Be An Audio Bible Ambassador!

February 5, 2009 at 10:53 am (Announcements) (, , , , , , , , , )

Sometimes I get super excited about something. So excited that I’m basically bouncing in my seat. This is one of those times. One of the mission organizations that I’m already super excited about is Faith Comes by Hearing, a group in Albuquerque, New Mexico that records dramatized audios of the word of God in many languages for distribution all over the world. The results are breathtaking! Especially in audio visual/traditional tribal cultures the dramatized audio captures the hearts and minds of the people for Christ and brings about huge transformations–entire villages! On the cutting edge of technology, they’ve developed solar-powered players that native missionaries can carry from village to village playing the word of God and now they are taking advantage of the 21st centuries Roman Road–the internet. You can download the audio Bible in MP3 from their website–free! And here’s what I’m super excited about–they are setting up a network that functions much like Skype, using a user to user interface to store pieces of the audio Bible in different languages on the hard drives of “host” computers. You can be a host! When you download the Audio Bible you can click a little button that says “share this” and instantly you will download the Bible in languages you can’t even understand–so that others wanting to download those languages will snag pieces of the Bible from you as well as other computers for a complete recording. It makes the program super cheap, super fast, super accessible and, get this, virtually untraceable. Perfect for distribution in countries where persecution is rife. No risk of being blacklisted or blocked when the info comes from a million computers across the world. Even the third-world countries are not so third-world–the internet has infiltrated where missionaries dare not tread!

In case you’re concerned about FCBH, I’ve actually been to their headquarters (several years ago–the year the Proclaimer came out), toured their buildings and almost got to record, even! These folks are the real deal. They’re on fire, simple, sincere and are pouring their lives and hearts and minds into this work–and God is blessing it! Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God…

To download the Audio Bible click here. You’ll have access to all the languages recorded. Be sure to click “share this” if you want to be an Audio Bible ambassador! You should be able to log in and even see how many people (and approximate locations) your computer has reached! Exciting or not?

Now you can see why I’m bouncing.

Blessings,

abigails-sig1

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My Love-Hate Relationship with Vinegar

February 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , )

domestic-economy

Posted by Lauren

Do you like vinegar?

Do you like adding it to soups, enjoy pickles that are soaked in it, and love sauerkraut? I sure don’t! I can’t stand the stuff! And yet we have two gallons of vinegar in our house as I type. I could do without the strong taste of vinegar, but it has other strengths that I’m quite fond of…

Did you know that vinegar is a disinfectant? It kills mold and germs and can make your bathroom and floors shine? Yep, this is why I love vinegar—or, at least, this is when I love vinegar!

*Pour a quart of white vinegar into your empty washing machine and run it through a small cycle to remove soapy film that builds up in the wash basin.

*Pour some baking soda down your icky drain and then add a 1/4 cup of vinegar and watch the volcano erupt, knocking the nasties loose.

*Load up a squirt bottle with vinegar and you’re ready to go, armed with a VERY inexpensive household cleaner that is guaranteed not to put harmful chemicals into the air of your home. And it’s one that you don’t have to worry about little ones getting into—first off, it tastes nasty (my humble opinion), and secondly, it’s safe for human consumption anyway! 😉 You can search online for more cleaning tips using vinegar. Perhaps you use vinegar for some other household secrets?  We’d love to hear them!

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Baked Oatmeal

February 2, 2009 at 8:52 am (Counter Culture) (, , , , , )

counter-culture

Ingredients:

9 cups oatmeal

1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon

5 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oil

3 1/2-4 cups milk

4 eggs

1/2 cup honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat liquids.  Pour liquids into dry mixture and stir thoroughly.  Spread in 2 greased 9 x 13” pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Tip:  For a quick breakfast, stir everyone except the baking powder together the night before.  Refrigerate over night.  Add baking powder in the morning and bake.

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Daddy, May I Help You?

February 1, 2009 at 11:34 am (Attitudes, Godly Living, stories) (, , , , , , , , , )

daddy-may-i-help-you

Posted by Abigail

“Daddy, may I help you?”

The wide, blue eyes peer wonderingly up as the father raises his head from underneath the car. “Of course, Son, I would love to have your help. It is my greatest wish for you to learn to do everything that I do.”

“What are you doing, Daddy?” There is a grunt as the father lowers himself under the car once more. The child waits for a moment, watching as his father’s body disappears behind muddy tires and dirt-caked axles. “Daddy, what are you doing?” the child ventures again.

“Wait a little and you’ll see,” comes the father’s muffled response.

“Daddy, did you hear me the first time? When I asked you the first time, didn’t you hear me?” The small boy drops to his knees, poking his head under the car to watch his father.

“Yes, Son, I heard you.”

“Why didn’t you answer me?”

The father raises his head to gaze lovingly into the little boy’s face. “Son, if I tried to explain to you what I am doing now, you wouldn’t understand it. I just want you to wait a little while and then it will all become clear.”

“Daddy,” the child wriggles under the car next to his father. “What can I do? You said I could help you?”

The father reaches past his son to grab a tool. “So I did, Son. But right now you are in my way. It would be most helpful to me if you would just climb back out from under the car and sit down on the pavement to wait.”

“But Daddy, I want to help you!”

“Do you want to help me?” the father’s eyes are keen as he again twists to gaze into his son’s eyes.

The child halts in confusion. “Yes, Daddy, that’s why I’m here.”

“I appreciate it, Son. If you want to help me, I need you to do what I ask of you.”

“But Daddy,” the boy whispers tearfully as he climbs out from under the car. “I want to help you, really and truly help you. Not just sit here and watch you work.”

“Son,” the voice is stern yet gentle. “I am not ready for you yet. Right now you are just in my way, slowing me down. Sit there and wait until I need you–then you will be a big help to me!”

“Just sit here?” He isn’t really intending to whine, but the pitch in his voice displays his dissatisfaction. There is no answer from underneath the jacked-up vehicle. The boy glances out of the garage door at the blue sky and warm sunshine. The he crosses his legs and sits quietly on the floor. A minute passes, then two. He can see his father steadily at work and his hands are itching to be doing something–anything. “Are you ready for me yet, Daddy?” No words–only the steady tapping of the metal tools against the underside of the car. “Daddy?”

“Wait–” the grunt is anything but satisfactory.

The little boy glances out the wide doorway again. The fresh air and sunshine are whispering alluring suggestions–he will hear if his father calls.

“Son, could you hand me that–” there is no answering scramble, no eager voice and smiling eyes as the requested tool is produced. The father raises himself on his elbows. Empty. The garage is empty. So much for the child who wanted to help him. The father sighs, crawls from under the car and reaches for the neglected wrench. He can hear his son’s delighted laughter just outside the door.

“Daddy, are you ready for me yet?” the dirty little feet patter across the pavement and pause by the car.

“Son, I needed you just a minute ago and you weren’t here to help me.”

“I went outside to play while I was waiting. What do you need, Daddy?”

“I already got it myself, Son. You will have to wait again, now.” A tool clattered to the concrete floor, drowning out the last few words.

“Why didn’t you come and call me, Daddy? I would have been happy to help you.” The child bent over again to peer under the car.

“It would have taken me longer to come find you than for me to just do it myself.”

“When will you need me again, Daddy?”

“I am not sure, Son. But if you want to make yourself available to help me when I need it, then you must sit down where you are and wait until I need you again.”

“But Daddy, sitting here isn’t really helping you!” the son pouts as he reseats himself in the sunshine that spills through the high garage windows.

“Son, the definition of helping me is doing whatever I need you to do. Right now I just need you to wait so that you will be available.”

The child watches his father’s legs wriggle as he moves to a new position. “Would you hand me a rag, Son?”

“Oh, but Daddy, the rags are so dirty!”

There is no answer. Only the soft shuffling as the father climbs from under the car and walks toward the plastic sack filled with rags at the far end of the building. He pulls out a long, greasy towel and returns to the car.

“Are you ever going to have something for me to do?” the son moans, playing restlessly with his dirty toes.

“You didn’t want to get me a rag,” comes the quiet response.

“But Daddy, getting a rag is not real work. And it’s dirty. You know I want to help you with the real, hard work.”

The father pushes the towel out from the side of the car. It is covered in new grease stains and the dust of the garage is sticking to it. “Work requires getting dirty, sometimes. You are not ready for the big jobs yet.”

“When will I be ready?” the son asks, anxiously.

“When you become faithful in the little jobs–in waiting.”

“But Daddy, the little jobs aren’t any fun and waiting make my head hurt. Why can’t I be doing something important?

“Son, the little jobs have to be done, and that’s what I need you to do right now. Here, hold these nuts for me.” A hand reaches out from under the car to drop several cold, greasy round objects into the cupped hands of the little boy.

“Daddy, can I put them on or do you want me to put them away in the big jar with all of the bolts?” the boy starts to get up as he speaks, gripping the nuts tightly in his fist.

“No Son, I just took them off of the oil pan–just hold on to them for a minute. I will need to put them back on in a little while.”

“Daddy, may I put them back on?” the child hesitates a moment, deciding whether to remain standing or reseat himself.

“We will see,” comes the response as the father again reaches for the towel. Seeing the movement, the child pushes it toward his father. A nut falls from his hand and rolls under one of the wheels of the car.

“Oh Daddy! I dropped a nut! I’m so sorry! I was only trying to help you!”

“I can get the nut, I believe. But remember, I didn’t ask you to hand me the towel. I appreciate your eagerness, but what I need is obedience. I only asked you to hold the nuts. You dropped one because you did something I didn’t ask you to do.”

“But Daddy, I thought you needed me to help with the small jobs.”

There is a sigh as the father squirms under the far tire to retrieve the lost nut. “I need you to concentrate on doing what I ask you to do, Son, not on whatever you think I need help with.” He places the runaway nut back in his son’s hands. “Now, hold it tightly.” The chubby fingers close over the dirty nut, joining the others, and there is silence for a few minutes as the father works steadily. At last, “Hand me the nuts, Son.”

The child carefully places the nuts, one by one, into the large work-worn hand extended to receive them. “They are all here, Daddy. I didn’t drop any this time.”

“I see that,” the father answers with pleasure. “Good job!”

“How may I help you now, Daddy?”

“Would you like to tighten the nuts?”

“Oh yes!” the child answers eagerly, snatching up the wrench and hurriedly wriggling under the car.

“Son, climb back out from under the car and put that wrench back where you found it.”

“But Daddy, you said I could–”

“Yes, Son, I know,” the father’s voice is reassuring. “But you have the wrong-sized wrench. The one we need is under here with me.”

“Oh,” the sun hands his head as he lays the wrench down again and then worms his way back under the car. He rolls over onto his back and seizes the smaller wrench.

“Son,” comes the father’s voice form just beside him. “Hand me that wrench.”

“Daddy, you will let me tighten the nuts, won’t you? Like you said?” the child clings tightly to the wrench, afraid to let it go.

“Would I deceive you, Son? You must give me that wrench before you can do anything.”

Reluctantly, the boy releases the wrench into his father’s hands.

“Now, use your fingers to tighten each nut.”

“Will I ever get to use the tool, Daddy?”

“Finish tightening them with your fingers, Son.” The voice is firm as the father points to the unfinished work. “Now you may use the wrench, but you must be careful.” Gently the father shows his son how to hold the wrench and helps him tighten several nuts.

“I want to do it by myself.”

“You are not strong enough, Son. You need my help.”

“Please let me try, Daddy. I’m sure I can do it.” the blue eyes gaze up pleadingly at the father.

“You may try, Son, but you will not be able to do it.” the father’s hand drops from the wrench.

Eagerly the son grips the heavy handle and struggles to turn the nut. It doesn’t budge. He grunts and whines and sweats. “I guess it’s tight enough, Daddy,” he pants.

“Let me help you, Son,” the father’s strong hands grip the handle again, turning the nut easily.

“But I was trying to help you,” comes the disappointed whisper.psalm-25

“Help me is correct, but you can’t do it on your own.” The father gives his son a loving squeeze. “Now I need you to climb out from under here and wait until I need you again.”

“Wait, Daddy? Again?” The disappointment is evident.

“Yes, Son. Sit where you are. I will call you when I need you.”

“But Daddy, I am ready now–”

“I will let you know when I am ready for you–but I can’t use you unless you are available and waiting.”

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