Life’s Splinters and The Fathers Care

Splinters are pesky things. Those little slivers of wood that slip right in to nag and throb relentlessly. Incredible how something so small lodges itself in places that seem impossible to retrieve. Typically either the beginning or end is showing itself just beyond tweezers reach, right below the surface of your skin. Ugh. And this skin that was so easily punctured, yet now,….tough as an old leather boot. Caleb got a doozy of a splinter in his foot on Friday. I can’t blame him for celebrating the sunshine and warmth by kicking off his shoes because let me tell you we are so ready for spring!!! 🙂 🙂 But then came the crying and the bleeding and this small limb hanging out the bottom of his foot. At first it didn’t seem that bad, pulled it right out….. Until we rinsed him off and realized there was a good chunk still left.

So you know,…we did what any parents would do,….sit him down and break out the “scalpel”. Which seemed like a great plan at the time. However, Caleb turned into the Hulk….

No seriously, this is not an exaggeration. Don’t all children acquire super-human strength in the midst of pain and resistance?

So yeah, we were a little concerned he or we were going to be injured in this process. After a trip to the urgent care and getting referred to the hospital (yes you read that right, the ER for a splinter. Right?!) we have opted to try some home remedies. Which requires a lot of patience. A lot of care and tending to. We’re soaking, we’re drawing (prid and Epsom salt if you’re curious), we’re bandaging, we’re praying and we’re waiting. Caleb asks me each time in his little three year old way “Will it be hurt? Will it come out?” And I remind him “It will come out eventually, but this takes time and yes it will hurt but not forever.” And in fear of the pain he cries and we calm him down. “It’s okay, don’t worry. It’ll be alright.” It’s only been 4 days and it feels like this thing has been stuck there forever!

Caleb doesn’t understand the process of pulling this splinter out because he is only three. He only knows that it hurts, it’s hindering him and he’d like for it to be gone.

I don’t know about you but I have some splinters in my life. Splinters can be anything from consequences of sin to byproducts of living in a fallen world. Like most people there are some things I just want gone. They hurt and they seem like a hindrance. Sometimes I don’t understand the process of removing these splinters but my Heavenly Father does. He sees the whole picture. God even sees that these unwanted splinters provide opportunity for me to rely on Him, trust Him and bring Him glory, as I point to Him as my Source of everything I need. When I cry out to my Heavenly Father He hears me and cares for me. He washes my fear and pain with His Word. He sends His beloved bride, the body of Christ, to comfort me and tell me “it’s alright.” He reveals Himself through my patient husband and my sweet encouraging sisters in Christ. Is it slow? Yes. Does it hurt? Sometimes, yes. Will I trust His process? Yes! Will there be moments like Caleb where I am resistant, scared, and crying? Well it is me we’re talking about here….and who do you think Caleb got that from 😉 And you know what I love most about God. Where, truthfully, I would be tempted with my child as they kick and scream and resist to say “Fine. Leave it there. Don’t let me help you.” God does not respond that way. He is patient and understanding. He tenderly moves forward with the process; strengthening, comforting, drawing me to Him and thankfully, sanctifying.

I love what Jon Bloom says, “Whatever it takes, Lord, increase my delight in you as the greatest treasure of my heart.”

Whatever.it.takes.

Maybe that pesky splinter is actually the thing that causes us to press into God and He become the greatest treasure of our heart.

Melodious Monday: I Shall Not Want

Psalm 23:1 “The LORD is my Sheperd; I shall not want.”

Audrey Assad: I Shall Not Want

From the love of my own comfort
From the fear of having nothing
From a life of worldly passions

Deliver me O God

From the need to be understood
From the need to be accepted
From the fear of being lonely

Deliver me O God

Deliver me O God

And I shall not want
I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness
I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness
I shall not want

From the fear of serving others
From the fear of death or trial
From the fear of humility

Deliver me O God

Deliver me O God

And I shall not want
I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness
I shall not want
No, I shall not want
I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness
I shall not want
When I taste Your goodness
I shall not want

Why Do You Pray?

 I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on firm footing.

Psalms 143:6,8, and 10 NLT

I love the saying “Caught not taught.” With parenting so much of what our children learn is from what they see, what they catch us doing. (We all know this can be both a good and bad thing.) Even still, our efforts to find those teachable moments definitely needs to be made. One thing I was recently prompted to talk about in depth with our children was prayer. My kids “catch” me praying regularly. We strive to pray with them at bed time, dinner, and other given opportunities, so I believe they are learning how to pray and the importance of praying often. The question that came to my mind was “Do my children know what the purpose of prayer is?”

In the words of David Platt “God has designed prayer as a means by which we might grow in love for Him, on a moment by moment, day by day basis.” (If you’d like more on that you can listen to his sermon The Privilege of Prayer.)

I agree and believe that when we understand prayer from this truth, it changes everything. When we come to God with a desire to commune with Him, know Him, and love Him more, it will certainly impact how we pray. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” Not our little kingdom, HIS Kingdom. Not our wills and what should be’s, HIS perfect will.

So, do my kids know why we pray? Let’s find out. 🙂

Me: Tonight we are going to talk about prayer. Can you tell me what the purpose of praying is? Why do we pray?

Ryann: Umm cause we’re talking to Jesus. And its nice to Jesus. Cause when we pray it makes us happy.

Micaila: We pray because its important to Jesus and because its loving to Jesus and it cheers you up.

Caleb: For food and for God.

Ryann: Oooh Oooh! For other people!

Caleb: Nooo I wanna say thaaat!!! (Tone change) For other people.

Me: Those are some good answers…..

Ryann: What does it really mean? Because you didn’t seem happy with my answer.

Me: (I had to laugh, I didn’t think my expression showed disappointment lol) You’re answers are good but there is more to why we pray.

Since my children are almost nine, seven, and three I really did feel these were pretty good responses. But it also confirmed that it’s important to teach our kids the biblical reasons why we do the things we do. If we don’t teach them, they will merely be going through the motions of tradition and run the risk of becoming like those Paul referred to in his second letter to Timothy- “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” Or they may become teenagers and later adults who view God as an estranged parent you only talk to when you need something or call on when you’re in distress, but ignore all other times. Or worse yet, view Him as a genie we recite our self serving wishes to.

A few more questions I asked were:

Do we only pray when we want or need something?

Will God always answer our requests the way we want?

Is that wrong of Him?

I was thankful that my girls answered a resounding “no” to all these questions. I lost Caleb to some foam wrapping he found inside a game and decided to crumble all over our living room. 🙂

I proceeded to teach the girls the acronym “P. R.A.Y.”
P- Praise God for Who He is and what He’s done.
R-Repent of sin and ask for forgiveness.
A- Ask or make requests to God.
Y- Yield yourself, your life to Him.

This led to even more meaningful conversation as we talked about the attributes of God. Some examples the girls gave without prompting were “He is kind.” “He is merciful.” “He is perfect.” We discussed what all those words mean and more practically what this would look like for them. Talking about things a nine and seven year old might repent of like impatience with others, delayed obedience/disobedience, being dishonest, poor attitude in school, and being selfish.

What amazed me was what my kids do know. Praise the Lord! Yet there was much they didn’t know or at least couldn’t yet put into words, I assumed they knew. We finished our time by praying through the acronym and it was really wonderful.

“Holy Father, Thank you again for the opportunity to partner with you in raising these children. As Ryann reminded me tonight, You ARE perfect, therefore completely trustworthy because all you do is good and right. I know I’ll make mistakes, as will our children, but I pray we would be diligent to build them a solid godly foundation that, no matter what, they will return to You, the Way, the Truth and the Life. “

Luke 6:47-48 “I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.”

Jeremiah 33:3- “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”