Saturday, February 26, 2011

An Hour ...

It's evening. Supper is done. Dishwasher hissing as it works away the evidence of a meal. Curled up beside me on the couch ... no tv ... no radio or game systems ... just me and James ... and ... a book. He squints his eyes. Thick dark lashes over chocolate brown eyes (just like his Daddy). James picks at the words. Some are easy, others difficult. I sound out the tough words. He repeats them and gains excitement with each sentence. Together, we're discovering the world of knights and castles.

I press my cheek against his mass of brown hair and I listen. James has reached chapter 7 ... Armor. "Armor was heavy ... hot ... hard to put on ... hard to take off. But, it was the best protection a knight could have when he went into battle." This book describes each piece of armor in detail ... what it was for ... how it was made ... why it was important. At the end of the chapter, two pages covered with pictures of a knight in armor and his horse. James reads the caption above the knight's picture ... "it could take over an hour for a knight to get dressed."

Every sentence, every word after that ... blurred. I was stuck on the idea of a knight spending an entire hour putting on his armor. Each piece somehow fit together with the other pieces to create an impenetrable exterior. An hour ... dressing to go into battle. That didn't include the years training to become a knight. That hour was just the armor.

James lets out a frustrated sigh. Lost in my thoughts, I missed his need for help with an unfamiliar word. "Heraldry" I sound it out slowly. He turns back to the book and I turn back to that hour ... James story reminded me of God's armor. In Ephesians 6, we are called to put on the full armor of God.

"10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. "

As Christians, our time spent with God and spent in His word is like the knight dressing for battle. An hour. If a knight spent that amount of time dressing for battle, surely I should spend the same (if not more) preparing ... dressing for my daily battle against the things of this world. But, sometimes ... I don't. I let my busy schedule, my crazy mornings ... get in the way of my time in The Word. Some mornings, I hurry through my daily devotional ... not letting the words soak into my heart. I don't take time to put on the armor He provides. I race around stuffing lunches into totes, folders into back packs, double checking pockets for toys ... another cup of coffee and 5 minutes of local news.

Today, I'm still thinking about that one sentence. I'm working on my schedule. My morning routines. I'm trying to find a way for more time in His word and less time racing. I'm not sure I'll ever find an hour to spend in His word each morning. I hope I find that hour. But, I know I need more than I have right now.
How much time do you spend preparing for battle?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

She Dances

Tomorrow, they'll wheel her down a narrow hallway. Doctors and nurses will take her to place her parents can't follow ... surgery. She'll disappear into an ocean of white sheets and heart monitors. My sister and her husband will watch the hospital cart vanish ... along with a piece of their hearts ... their little girl, Hope.

If you've hung around my blog enough, you know I have 5 amazing kids in my life. My three boys and my 2 girls (my nieces). The youngest of my nieces, Hope, was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS). Over the past year, she has gone through multiple surgeries to gain her desire ... ears. Tomorrow is another step toward 'cute ears' as she puts it. The process is painful. This time, she's scared ... more than on other surgery days. She's prepared for the pain ... but ... leaving mommy and daddy ... she's afraid of that this time. She'll get through, she always does. Mary (my sister) and her husband will get through it. They always do. Hope's older sister, Alex ... she'll get through ... she always does. Sometimes, I think ... I forget her ... Alex.

And, her courage. She does what many of us couldn't do as adults. Alex will spend the day away from her parents and sister. Alex will go to school ... she'll stay there all day ... trying to pretend her world isn't several hours away. Pretending that things are normal and ... she'll worry. She'll wait for the call ... my sister calls the school and leaves a message ... just so Alex knows everything is ok and sis is done in surgery.

Alex is an amazing girl. She's rapidly approaching the teens ... holding on to childhood with one hand but stretching to reach the independence of a teenager with the other. She's quiet (when she doesn't know you well). She's all bright colors, red hair and blue eyes. And, she dances.

Since the day Alex could toddle around, she has been dancing. It's her passion. Out there on the stage, caught up in a song full of emotion ... she tells her story with fluid motion. She's an artist painting a picture on the stage. All her fears, excitement and dreams ... Alex pours them out like brushstrokes on canvas. And ... I admire her. Her courage.

Alex and I ... we have something in common. Tomorrow, we'll each be separate from our sisters. I'll be at work ... waiting for the call that says ... Mary is ok. Alex will be at school ... waiting for the call that says ... Hope is ok.
Only ... I wish I had half her courage. Her strength.
Is there a child in your life ... one you admire? Tell them. Let them know ... you see them ... you see their courage and strength.

1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."