Archive | February 2013

Uh-oh, A Teddy Bear and Mercy

My daughter told this story to me early last year (Jan 2012). Then she typed it into her pc and sent it to me.  Recently, I asked for her permission to publish that account of yet another of God’s {if-you-ask-I-will-do-it} blessings .

Mercy 

It had been a rough day. It wasn’t any more challenging than other days in some respects. But, in other ways, it was monumental. The day was Wednesday, a crazy day. Wednesdays are supposed to be my “off” day. Off day to do what? Ah, yes. We run errands, have doctors’ appointments, go to dance, go to Girl Scouts, and then we have church. This particular day had a couple of added complexities. You know the days when you plan everything so carefully and then a wrench gets thrown in? Yes, it was one of those days.

The day started out cold and the kids and I headed to the doctor’s office. It was the third time in a week we’d been there. We are there for 90 minutes, we get a diagnosis and we hit the road. My oldest isn’t feeling well. I’m beginning to feel the sickness coming on me. I knew the worst was yet to come. But, alas, we kept going. Returning home, we have lunch, the baby has a nap and we’re off again.

I make 2 stops during this outing. First, to the dance studio. The little one does her dance practice and the others meander around. We finish up and it takes 20 minutes to get out of there! I had to contend with an unhappy 4-year-old, a sick 7-year-old, and make sure the other got out the door safely. We load up and we’re gone. Second, we go to a local store to pick up the 7 year olds medication-3 prescriptions for her and 1 for her dad. We get a few other items and head back home.

Once home, I open the van door on the baby’s side of the vehicle. And so it begins. “Uh-oh,” she says, in her sweet baby voice. That “uh-oh” means she dropped something. Shoes? For once, she’d left them on. Socks? Those were on, too. Okay, no worries. I gather our things-dance bag, school bag, purse, diaper bag, blanket, and so on. I look on the opposite side of the baby’s car seat to pick up her bear-surely it was there. But, no bear. Well, perhaps the kids grabbed it. So inside we go with all of our stuff. Off go the coats and the shoes. Chaos ensues as it’s time to make dinner, clean up a bit and get ready for Dad to get home. I task the kids with looking for the bear. No bear. Hmm. Perhaps she put it somewhere. We decide to look more later.

                Dinner is successful for everyone except for our 4-year-old, who has had a trying day. She was tired after not sleeping so well. So an early bed time it will be. By 7 pm, the kids are settled down with a movie, my husband is putting the last coat of paint on the girls’ wall. We put the baby to bed and off to search for the bear we go. The bear is not under the couch, not in the van, and not in the playpen. It isn’t in any of the strange places. Then, I start to worry. I call Target three times. The people were very kind-no teddy bear to be found. I call the dance studio-of course no one will answer, it’s about 8 pm. I e-mail the dance studio. The owner e-mailed back-no bear in the lobby or bathroom.

                I ponder what to do. It is after 8 pm. I am sick and I am tired. Surely that bear is in the dance studio. I sit back and think. I remember when we got to the van at the dance studio that the baby said her famous, “uh-oh,” there. She didn’t ask for Teddy. She didn’t shriek for her baby. Just the “uh-oh.” I talk to my mother, who prays that we find the bear. I decide then that I have to go look for Teddy-if not for my baby, then for me. I knew I would not rest until I had the bear in hand.

                At 8:35 pm, I leave my house. I make the 25 minute drive from where I live to the dance studio. For most of the drive, I pray. I think of James 5:16 (KJV), which says, “[T]he effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”[1] I pray for mercy. I pray, “God, I know that this is a little thing. It is a bear. But, my baby loves that bear. I have to find it. Please, God, show mercy. Let me find that bear. Let it be there. Please, God, show mercy.” Over and over during that drive, I pray for mercy. It was all I could think to ask. Mercy.

                I drive to the shopping center where the dance studio is located, heart pounding and prayers being whispered. I pull into the parking lot, get out near the spot where I was 6 hours before. I look around the spot, under a car, on the median and by the hedges. No bear. I get in my car and circle around to look at the other side of the hedges. Still, no bear. Undefeated, I pull up to the curb where the dance studio is. I get out, look on the sidewalk, in the bushes and walk to the door. The lobby is lighted so I peer in. I see the chairs as they were left in disarray (by my child!), but still no bear. I walk away, still searching and still praying.

I decide to drive through the parking lot again. I creep slowly and something catches my eye. I look out my window and there it is. In my methodical steps to back track, I completely passed the bear. On a light pole that is surrounded by a barrel of concrete, the bear sat. It is like someone lovingly picked it up and placed it there knowing that a child’s mother would be searching for it. I pause for a minute, capture the picture in my phone and get out and grabbed that bear. My heart rejoiced and I sobbed. I felt His mercy pouring out on me. I felt like something very good had happened. The only thing I could say was, “Thank you, God.” Over and over, I said those words. He heard my cry and my call. He answered me in the way I believed He would. And, by doing that, He showed mercy.

Mercy-what is it? How is it defined? I like Merriam-Webster’s definition. Here, it is first defined as being, “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion” and second, it is “compassionate treatment of those in distress.”[2] So by definition, it is an act of compassion for those in distress. For me, the mercy I needed could not come from any one person. It couldn’t just be handed out. I think I had to listen to the voice that told me to go get that bear. Because only once that I listened could the divine favor be handed down. But, why?

Let me paint the picture for you. Before I found the bear, my state of being was, “off.” I was distressed. I was sick. I had a rough day. It was dark. It was cold. My baby went to bed without her baby, her Teddy. And I couldn’t fix it. But, He could. He spoke to me. He told me to go. I obeyed that voice. My motive was pure-to find the bear that my baby girl clutched every day. I needed something to show me that, as my mother tells me, “His mercies are new every day.” So when I listened to Him and when I did as He told me to do, He could do as He knew He would. He showed me where the bear was and He gave me a gift. It made all the hard things of the day fall away. It made me see tangible proof of His divine mercy.

I drove home with the bear. Periodically, I picked it up and held it close, thinking of what it represented. It is a reminder of a 19 month old with a love for animals; who has a tender heart at such a young age; and it is a reminder of God’s merciful answer to a fervent prayer. I go home and take that bear to my baby. I put it in her arms and kissed her goodnight. She’ll not remember that it was missing. She’ll not know of my distress. Instead, she got to wake up in the morning and hand me her Teddy. Mercifully, I was able to retrieve it and mercifully, she never missed it when it was gone. What a gift!

What can we learn about God’s mercy? Who gets it? Mercy isn’t extended on an exclusionary basis. It is given in a variety of situations. You will see it when….

                Kids rough housing yell, “Mercy”!

                An inmate on death row is given reprieve.

                The electric company doesn’t turn off your past due electric bill

                Forgiveness is extended when you mess up.

                The Christ hanging on a cross so we never have to.

                Think you’re missing out on mercy? Think that your day, every day, is ridiculously hard and challenging and that you’ll never catch a break? Think about this. We are born sinners. When we are born, our bodies are already dying. And no second, no minute, no hour and no day is guaranteed. Every day you wake up is a gift; an extension of His mercy. He does this because He loves us. Evidence of this love? How about this one-when He died on the cross, He thought about you. And me. And my children. He knew that on a particularly cold winter’s night I would call on Him to show me where to find a little brown bear for my baby girl. He thought about that when He was dying. Instead of thinking of Himself, His pain, and His impending death, He thought about all of us and all of things that would hurt us, scare us, and distress us. And, for those things, He died so we would have mercy in every aspect of our lives.

                What a gift that mercy is. Christ extended mercy upon us because He wanted to. He cares about the little things such as a sore finger, an average cold, and a missing bear. He cares about the big things, a wounded heart, a personal catastrophe, and the death of a loved one. So no matter how small or how big you think your problem is, remember this: you matter to Him and He will extend mercy to you just because He can. It’s up to us to share His gift of mercy and extend it to others.

© 2013 Alexis Owens

I have not edited her account; there is no need.

Throughout the New Testament, you’ll find God reaching out to us.  Look at the book of  John 14:13-14  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.  (KJV)

Now look at the same verse in The Message Bible   vv 11 – 14 “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do. (MSG)

And His mercies ARE new every morning! Lamentations 3:22 – 23 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (KJV)

This entry was posted on February 7, 2013. 1 Comment

Green is the new Black!

     My favorite color used to be blue – just about any shade, but my preferences have changed.  I love every shade of green, even drab olive-green. I also like pink; mainly raspberry, burgundy and magenta. Those are my favorite colors; greens and lively pinks.

As you can see by my title, green is (my) new black.  I “came up” with that phrase about 6 or 7 years ago. That year for my birthday, my eldest granddaughter gave me several gifts, all of which were green! Green hangers, green water bottle – lots of green.  Additionally, she typed a scripture to put with each green offering.  What fun!

Recently, I found some cocktail napkins with MY phrase on them – Green is the new black (Oops! Can I say cocktail on this website?).  ☺

Last year, I had the opportunity to help Beverly* with her wee daughter, Emma.  I took care of Emma a few hours a week for several weeks.  I played with her, changed and dressed her and put her down for naps and fed her cheese puffs (she quickly learned where I kept my stash, and like most little ones, she loved cheese puffs). My being there with Emma allowed Beverly to do some intensive house cleaning and purging – she wanted to get everything in order before her twins were born.  I am very fond of this family.  Beverly and I had some good visits as we both loved sewing – she’s made some gorgeous quilts.  Additionally, she inherited some lovely fabrics from her creative mother whom I believe had been an interior decorator.

When I arrived one morning, there were bolts and folds of several different fabrics scattered in the room where I cared for Emma.  Beverly was putting things away, and I commented on the lush hunter green fabric lying among the textiles.  Beverly asked me if I wanted it. I was a little embarrassed.  I wasn’t coveting it; rather just commenting on how beautiful the piece was. She told me to take it and reminded me that she was trying to trim her many belongings. Wow!  I was blown away and felt very blessed.

Now let me tell you what Beverly didn’t know; no one knew. This had never crossed my lips. I’d never written it down. I hadn’t even prayed about it. But God!!!  But God heard my thoughts and He read my heart.

I have two perfectly good bathrobes, but I have wanted a nice dressing gown for quite a while.  I hadn’t looked into how much one would cost, or if I made it, which was far more likely, what kind of fabric I would or should use.  The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted the color to be either hunter green or cranberry.

I am reminded of the verse in Psalms 37:4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Through this sweet friend Beverly, God gave me the desires of my heart.  Only He knew what I wanted and he arranged the provision through a very generous and lovely person. Thank you, Beverly. Thank you, Father.

I am continually amazed as I walk with God; as I experience Collateral Grace.

*names are changed

© 2013 Cat Brennan

This entry was posted on February 3, 2013. 2 Comments