Dear Grumpy Face, (from Someone Who Loves You series)

 

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Dear Grumpy Face,

Are you feeling a little bit confined? I know restraints aren’t fun and be quite frustrating.  In a perfect world, I would take you out and let you have the freedom you want. But there is real danger in this world and those boundaries are there to keep you safe. My heart hurts to see you so unhappy but your safety is more important at this moment than your happiness. Hang in there, Little One, this moment won’t last forever.

Always,

Someone who loves you

 

Leviticus 25:18   “Obey my laws, and carefully follow my rules. Then you will live securely in the land.  (GW)

 

These letters have double meaning. On the surface they are letters I’m writing to my granddaughter. But they are also letters God is writing to you. Reread them, replacing the greeting with your own name, and the closure with God’s name – and get to know the great love God has for you!

Let the Comforter Comfort

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She sighed with satisfaction as she put down her scissors. Finished! It had taken awhile but the hand quilted comforter was finally finished. And just in time for her friend’s birthday. She imagined how cozy her friend would feel cuddled up in the large softly padded blanket. She didn’t usually make such an elaborate gift for birthdays, but this friend was special, as was this birthday.

She lovingly folded the comforter and tied it with a pretty red ribbon, then placed it carefully in a large gift bag. She couldn’t wait to see her friend’s face when she gave it to her in a few days.

She spent the next few days packing for her move out of state. Each time she passed the bag, sitting on the small table near the front door, new images formed in her mind…

…her friend, sitting on the couch, reading a good book and wrapped in the warmth of the comforter.

…her friend, sleeping peacefully on her bed under the cozy weight of the comforter.

…her friend, sitting in her bathtub seeking safety from a storm and surrounded by the softness of the comforter.

When the day came, she handed the bag to her friend with a huge smile, eager to watch her friend’s surprise and delight.

She wasn’t disappointed.

“Oh, wow! This is amazing!” her friend said, holding it up and admiring it. “I can’t believe you made this for me. It must have taken you forever!”

“It did take a while,” she answered. “But it’s well worth it. I wanted to give you something to treasure to remind you how much I treasure you and our friendship.”

“Aww… thank you. I feel the same way and I will treasure this comforter my whole life.”

Six months later, settled in her new home, she began missing her friend and decided to make a visit. Upon entering her friend’s house, she saw the comforter she had made. It wasn’t on the couch where it could be easily grabbed and used. It wasn’t on the bed waiting to provide warmth in the cool evenings. It was displayed on the wall!

“I love the comforter so much that I didn’t want it to get dirty or damaged so I put it on the wall. It looks great up there, doesn’t it!” her friend told her.

Hiding her disappointment, she smiled and agreed – it did look good up there. But it wasn’t made to be displayed on a wall. It was made to be used! To part of her friend’s everyday life. What good was it up there? How could it provide warmth and comfort from up there? But she knew it wasn’t her right to force her friend to use it the way she had purposed it. It belonged to her friend now and it was her friend’s right to choose what to  do with it.

On the way home, she sought the comfort of her Friend… and made a startling connection.

“Lord,” she prayed. “Thank you for Your gift of the Holy Spirit to be my comforter. Help me to allow Him to be part of my everyday life, to seek Him to comfort me when I’m scared and to warm me when I’m cold. May I never keep Him at a distance, knowing He’s there but not allowing Him to serve the purpose for which You gave Him to me.”

And she drove the rest of the way home wrapped in the cozy embrace of her Comforter.

I Think There Were Angels Here

“That’s the last of them,” she told her husband as she dropped a board on the stack of boards in their back yard.

He looked up from where he was setting up his saw. “I’m ready here.  The first thing we need to do is dig the holes.”

“Why can’t we just build it on top of the ground? It’s going to be heavy enough not to blow over.”

“It may not blow over in normal wind, but it wouldn’t stand a chance in a hurricane. Besides, do you want to chance it falling over with our kids on it? ”

“No, of course not. I just don’t see how it could fall over.”

“Trust me. We need the holes. And they need to be about two and a half feet deep.”

Sighing, she picked up the hold digger. She hated digging holes. “Here, you do it,” she told him.

She watched as he got busy, handing him the ax whenever he ran into a thick root.  They had decided to build a free standing tree house close to a young tree. She had wanted to wait until the tree matured a bit more and nail it to the tree, but the kids were growing too and she wanted them to have the tree house while they were still young enough to enjoy it. Besides, her husband had pointed out, the tree was tall enough for its branches to extend over the tree house giving the illusion of being in the tree while not putting any stress on the young tree itself.

When he got about two feet down, water began filling the hole.

“I’ve hit the water table,” he said. “I don’t know how much further I’ll be able to go. Hopefully this will be deep enough.”

After attempting to dig past the water, he gave up and started on the next hole. When he finished all four holes, sweat was pouring down his face and he moaned as he stretched his arms and back.

“That was hard,” she said.

He just looked at her.

“What’s next?” she asked.

“We build a side, then stand it up and slide the posts down into the holes.”

“OK, what do I do?”

“Hold this,” he said as he laid a 2x2x5 across two saw horses. She held the board firm as he measured then cut it to fit between the two 4×4 posts that would be going into the holes. He cut a second one to match the first.

“Now what?” she asked.

“Hold this,” he said, laying one of the cut boards across two of the 4×4 posts. As she kept the board from shifting position, he nailed it down securely, then placed another 2x2x5 across the posts, a little ways from the first post.  “There,” he said. “Now grab that side and I’ll get this side. Stand it up slowly.”

She took her position and between them, they got the side to stand up, then managed to pick it up, and slide the posts into two of the holes. As she held the side up, he backfilled the holes, tapping the dirt down firmly every six inches until both holes were filled. She let go of the side and it stood there straight and tall.

“Perfect,” he said. “Now for the second one.”

They repeated the process only this time it didn’t end as well. As they were sliding the posts into the holes, he lost his grip and the side began swaying. IMG_20180516_195405657

“Hold on!” he said, trying to get a good handle on the post.

“I can’t hold this!” she grunted. “It’s too heavy.”

His hand slipped again and the post began falling towards her.

“Watch out!” he yelled as he desperately tried to get a hold of the post.

But before she could move, the side came down right on top of her. It happened too quickly to take any evasive action and she felt the brunt of the weight land on her shoulder. He bad shoulder. The one that had been damaged back in high school and later had surgery to repair the recurrent dislocation.

Shocked, she stood there unmoving, not knowing what to do to avoid more injury.

“Don’t move. I’m going to get this off you,” he said.

But she couldn’t hold the weight any longer. She twisted in ways she would have thought were impossible for her until she managed to get the side on the ground.

“Are you OK?” he asked her.

She didn’t answer right away She just stared at the boards laying within inches of her feet, and thought, “I could have been killed.”

He went to her and checked for injuries. Your neck is a little red and I think you’re going to have a bruise there, but other than that I don’t see anything.”

“I could have been killed,” she said. “Or at least on my way to the hospital. ”

“But you weren’t. And you’re not.”

“How did those boards not hurt me? They weigh more than I do and they came straight down on me. And all I get is a bruise?”

“Praise God for that!”

She thought about it as they got back to work. After a while, with no more mishaps, they were able to finish the tree house. By the time they finished cleaning up, she thought she knew why she hadn’t been hurt enough to call 911.

“I think God knew this was going to happen,” she began.

“Of course He did. He knows everything,” her husband interrupted. “Nothing takes Him by surprise.”

“I think there were angels here,” she continued.  “I think they caught that side so it wouldn’t kill me. It’s amazing that I’m not even really hurt.  Do you think there could have been angels here?”

“Definitely. God charges some of his angels to protect us. Remember what it says in Psalm 91:11? “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

“That’s right!” she agreed. “I do remember reading that. I just don’t think about it very much. But after today, I bet that’s going to change.”

Looking up to heaven, she said, “Thank You Father for Your angels, and for looking after Your daughter.”

“Amen,” her husband said.

And they went inside together to let their kids know the tree house was ready for them.

Trust Me

After her walk in the rain, she got in her car to head home. Home was about an hour away, through mostly uninhabited areas. There was the one small town between where she was and where she was going, but it was too small for even a traffic light. So she thought it would be an easy drive, especially in the early pre-dawn hours. She prayed like she usually did before making the drive, only this time her prayer was not about getting her safely home without delays or problems. It was that He would get her home according to His will. Why did she change her prayer, she wondered. That was strange.  But she just shrugged and drove out of the parking lot.

Thirty minutes later, as she entered that very small town, her car began to overheat. She watched with growing panic as the needle on the temperature gauge climbed steadily towards the HOT section.

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She was still almost 30 minutes from home. No way would she be able to make it. As she slowed down and studied the few buildings she was passing, all closed up and dark, she began complaining.

“Why can’t this have happened after I got home?  There are people there who can help me. I don’t know anyone in this town. Besides, they’re all sleeping anyway. So what am I going to do?  I don’t even know where to get water.  This is just my luck! If something is going to go wrong, it sure will. Look at that gauge! I can’t keep driving, or the radiator might explode or something. Where should I stop? Man, I’m so tired! Why did I have to go walking in the rain? If I had come straight home, the gas station would have still been open…”  On and on she went, getting more worried by the minute.

Finally she turned to God.

“Why are you letting this happen, Lord?” she demanded. “Aren’t You supposed to be taking care of me?”

In her spirit she heard Him clearly. “What did you ask me before you started driving?”

She thought for a moment, then remembered.  ‘Get me home according to Your will.’

“Yeah, but I didn’t mean this!”

“Trust Me.”

Trust Him? He wasn’t the one in a overheating car in the middle of the night, without even a flashlight. Or was He?

“OK. Where do I stop?”

Just then she saw lights ahead of her. As she got nearer, she saw that it was a small restaurant. Could it actually be open? As she looked through the large glass windows, she could see a waitress serving a man. So she pulled into the parking lot and went inside. Despite, or maybe because of, her appearance – a young girl, soaking wet and all alone – the waitress and man were happy to help her. After a small mishap with the radiator cap, the man managed to refill the radiator with the water the waitress brought him. And the car was ready to make the last leg of the trip home.

Back on the road, she thought about what had just happened. And was thankful that that man just happened to be in that restaurant just as she was passing it. The restaurant could have been empty, considering time of day it was.  Coincidence? She shook her head. Jesus had told her to trust Him. And He was right. She learned that even if things go wrong, He can be trusted to take care of her.

Hmmm… maybe He was behind her changing her prayer in order to provide her with this experience in trusting Him. That would explain a lot. He was sneaky that way sometimes.

“You are amazing,” she told Him. ‘But next time, can we just wait until I get home?”

That Wasn’t Fair!

“There she goes again,” Evil One said to Evil Two.

“Is she running with that four-legged beast again?” Evil Two asked.

“Yeah, ” Evil One said.

“I’ve got an idea.”

There was a long pause.

“Well, are you going to tell me?” Evil One glowered at Evil Two.

“Sure.”

Another long pause.

“Now would be a good time.”  Evil One spat at Evil Two. “I don’t have forever.”

“Umm… actually, you do.”  Evil Two smiled his evil smile.

“Enough of this! What is your idea?”

“Well, you know how she goes in that room every week to … worship God,” Evil Two barely got the words out, but then continued. “And then comes back out and runs down the block with her dog?”

“Yeah, so?”

“What if we gave her a little nudge.”

“A nudge? Like to make her go faster?”

“A nudge. Like to make her fly.”

“Oooo… that would be awesome! Then when she landed, on her face of course, she will get mad at God because she believes He protects her from everything!”

They both chuckled savoring the image her hitting the ground and cursing God.

Then Evil One turned to Evil Two. “Whose going to ask His permission to do this?”

“Hmmm, that’s right.”  Evil Two grimaced. “We have to have permission to touch her. So what can we say that would make Him agree to this?

Evil One said, after a moment, “I’ve got it! We can say we only want to help her run faster to get back to the safety of her car. After all, it is late at night and evil does hide in the darkness.”

“You mean like us?”

“Yeah. No. I mean like another human that would want to hurt her.”

“Think He’ll go for it?”

“Let’s go see.”

 

Moments later they were back.

“I can’t believe He fell for it.” Evil One said. “Whose going to do the honor?”

“Oh, you do it,” Evil Two responded with an look of anticipation. “I want to see her expression from the front.”

They began moving towards the girl and the dog, who were now running back towards the parking lot.

“Wait!” Evil Two said. “Make sure you nudge her to the right so she lands on her bad right shoulder. Another dislocation would be awesome right now!”

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“Well, that didn’t turn out too well.” Evil Two said sadly as they watched her get back in her car with her dog and drive away.

“Yeah. I didn’t see that coming. Who said anything about an angel protecting her fall? He sure came out of nowhere, didn’t he?”

“And did you hear what she said?” Evil Two’s face scrunched up in disgust. “She thanked Him! She actually thanked Him for His protection! She’s flat on her face and she’s thanking Him! The only one she got mad at was us.”

“Well, actually, she wasn’t flat on her face. I had the angle just right, but that angel rolled her in the air. Her face and right side never even touched the ground. ”

“That wasn’t fair. And angel was not part of the deal.”

Evil Two shook his head. “Just wait until next time. We’ll make sure we include a ‘no angels’ clause.

 

The next day, Evil Two asked Evil One, “Want to go see what she wrote in her journal? Maybe after thinking about it, she might not be in such a thankful mood.”

“You might be right. As hard as she hit the ground, she should be feeling pretty sore. It’s hard to be thankful when you’re hurting.”   He gave a nasty chuckle.

She was just finishing her journal entry when they appeared in her room.

They read: “I don’t know what happened. But somehow I fell last night and hit the ground pretty hard. It could have been so bad. If I had landed on my right side, my arm could have been dislocated again. But I didn’t. Somehow I didn’t even land on my face even though I fell face first. God is so amazing! He must have protected me and made me roll on my left side. I am so thankful to Him for His protection.  I know I can’t always protect myself. My trust is in Jesus…”

“Disgusting,” Evil Two said to Evil One. “Let’s get out of here!”

And God laughed.

Your Car Could Explode!

“I wouldn’t drive it again,” the man at the gas station told her. “It could explode.”

She looked with dismay, mixed with fear, at her car’s exhaust pipe. She had filled her tank with gas earlier that day and noticed when she got home that some gas was leaking from her tail pipe. She waited until it had quit leaking, then drove to the nearest gas station for advice and noticed gas had started leaking again.

“Don’t drive it.” was not the advice she wanted to hear. She needed to leave town within the next hour. Could the man fix it by then?

“Nope,” he answered when she asked him. “It’s just the overflow tank that was filled too much.”

She shook her head. No, that couldn’t be right. She had filled it like she always had and this had never happened before.

“So what do I do?” she asked him.

“Wait for the gas in the exhaust to dissipate or drain before you start the engine again. Any spark could cause your car to burn. Maybe even explode if it got bad enough.”

“But I have to leave town soon.”

“Guess you’ll have to cancel whatever plans you have.”

“I can’t. My parents are expecting me tonight. If I can get to their house, my brother can fix my car before I drive back home.”

“You really need to have this repaired before driving long distance. If it leaks while you’re driving, and it got too hot, it could explode.”

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She frowned. Was she stuck here at the gas station? She used the office phone to call everyone she knew in this very small town, back in the day before cell phones, but no one was home. She assumed they were all at the high school homecoming. What should she do?

She considered her options but didn’t like any of them. So she turned to the One with all the power.

“God,” she prayed. “This is Your car, remember? I gave it to You when I gave You myself and all that I had. Your car has a problem and I can’t find anyone here to help me. I’m going to go ahead and go to my parents’ house so my brother can fix it.  Please keep me safe as I drive. Amen”

With the faith of a new believer, she ignored the objections from the gas station man, and began the hundred mile drive. She drove very carefully, believing it could explode at any time. It was a long drive. A very long drive. Had it always been this long?

Finally she reached her parents’ driveway, pulled in, and, with a sigh of relief, shut off the engine. “Thank You,” she said as she climbed out of the car.

It was too dark, and the car too hot, for her brother to look at it right away. So he waited until the next day.

“All four gas hoses are cracked,” he said. “You’re lucky it didn’t start burning, or even explode on your way here. But I can get that fixed for you before you go back home.”

She knew it wasn’t luck that had kept her safe. She also knew her decision to go ahead and drive the car after being told not to was not very wise.

She looked up and said, “Thank You, Lord, for protecting me even when I’m doing something stupid. Your love and care for me is simply amazing!”