To Be Able To Curl Up and Sleep Like a Dog

Perfect, she thought as she looked at the bear leg she had just finished making. She dropped it into the tub and picked up the next leg, already stitched and ready to stuff.

She had spent the previous day at her sewing machine stitching a seemingly unending pile of bear parts while her embroidery machine was kept busy stitching out names, dates, and short poems. By the time she had finished it was dark and she was stiff. At least that’s done, she had thought as she stretched her back muscles and headed to the kitchen for a quick dinner. She had imagined how good it would feel to climb into bed and go to sleep in the quiet, empty house.

But that didn’t happen. No matter how hard she tried, her mind wouldn’t stop thinking of all the things she still needed to do and her body couldn’t get comfortable. Finally, hours before dawn, she gave up and got out of bed. She carried the tub of bear parts and embroidered fabric to the comfortable rocking chair, turned on Netflix to continue her binge watching of Cheers, and began the tedious process of stuffing the bear parts, hemming the seams by hand, and clipping the embroidery threads.

Now it was getting close to noon and she was only half way through the bear parts. Sighing, she began stuffing the leg she was holding and let her gaze wander over to the dog laying so comfortably curled up on the nearby couch.

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And she began to feel envious. Why couldn’t she just curl up and sleep like that? Why was sleep so hard for her and so easy for this dog?

Maybe it’s because the dog isn’t worried about the future.

But I’m not worried, she thought. I just have so much to do and not so much time to do it in.

As she continued to stuff and stitch throughout the afternoon, she thought that if she could finish stuffing all the bear parts before dinner, she might have time to attach the arms and legs to the bears before bed. It will make for a late night, but maybe that would make it easier to sleep. Then tomorrow morning she’d get up early and begin working on the pillows. I’ve got to get them done by tomorrow night or I may not have time to work on them again for days, she thought.

See?

See what? She shook her head as she finished stuffing the last bear leg as the sun went down. She wasn’t worried. She was just trying to get it all planned. So much to do. And not just her sewing. She also had laundry, cleaning, and writing. How would she ever get it all done in the next two days?

See?

That question again. Why? She WASN’T worried. If she didn’t plan it out, she’d end up not finishing them in time. So her mind had to stay busy working out the details. That’s not worrying. Was it?

What was the dog doing earlier today?

She was curled up and relaxing.

Looked cozy, didn’t it?

Yes, I would love to just curl up and sleep like she does.

Why don’t you?

Because I have so much to do! And besides, it wouldn’t do me any good. I can’t sleep even when I try.

Why not?

Because my mind keeps thinking of all the things I have to do and my body won’t relax.

Sooo… you spend all day thinking of what you have to do, and you spend all night thinking of what you have to do?

Um… I guess so.

What would happen if you didn’t think so much?

I wouldn’t get done.

Really?

Um…

What are you getting done while you toss and turn all night?

Nothing?

That’s right. Nothing is getting done. So what if you just let Me handle all those thoughts at night? Then you could curl up and sleep just like the dog. And get the rest you need.

You?

Don’t you trust Me? Don’t you think I could do a good job planning your day? 

Yeah, but…

You trust Me with your life. You trust Me to keep you safe and to provide for you. Can you trust Me in this area also?

She thought about the dog again as she ate dinner. Should she let go of the plans she so tightly gripped and allow God to handle them for her? It really would be nice to be able to curl up and sleep so easily and comfortably. But how would it work – God making the plans?

I’ll tell you what to do and when to do it. All you need to do is relax and listen for My voice throughout the day. I’ll keep you on track to meet every deadline. Will you trust Me?

As she attached the arms and legs to the bears later that night, she thought about all the times she had put her trust in Him over the years. He had never let her down. In fact, things frequently turned out a lot better whenever she did give them to Him.

As she got ready for bed, she made her decision. Yes, Lord. I will trust You, I give you all the things I need to do and ask You to plan out my day tomorrow.

Wow, she thought. It’s amazing! It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders! Now all I want to do is curl up and go to sleep!

And she did.

 

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

 

1 Peter 5:7 

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 

Dear Little Worrywart (from Someone Who Loves You series)

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“Sure, you fed me last time. But will you feed me this time? I’m going to scream just to make sure.” 

Dear Little Worrywart,

Do you not trust me yet to feed you when you get hungry? Since you were born, you’ve been fed around the clock. You never had to miss a feeding. So why do you fret so when you have to wait a few minutes? Relax, dear child, and know your needs will be met in the future as they have been met in the past. It’s my love for you – not your worrying, demanding, fussing, or screaming – that gets you what you need. And I will always love you, now and forever.

Always,

Someone who loves you

Philippians 4:19   And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Do you hear God speaking to you in these letters? If so, it’s no coincidence.  As I write to my new granddaughter, I can hear God speaking to me. And my prayer is that you can also hear Him speaking to you for He loves us even more than I love my granddaughter.

The Storm That Never Was

She watched the storm approach from the east. Dark clouds rushing towards her, getting darker by the minute. She could hear the thunder in the distance.

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“This is going to be a bad one,” she said to herself. “Better get inside and prepare.”

She was used to storms coming and going, but most weren’t this dark, or with thunder this loud. This storm was going to be intense, maybe even have dangerous winds and lightning. And if enough rain fell, the streets might even flood keeping her stranded at her house until the water level went down.

She ran around her house unplugging anything that didn’t need to be plugged in. She made sure she had good batteries in her flashlights. And she turned up the radio to mask the sound of the thunder for her dog who was terrified of storms.

Then she waited.

The dark clouds continued to move westward until they were above her. She turned on the lights in her house as the clouds caused everything to be darker than it should have been at that mid afternoon hour. She made her dog comfortable at her feet.

And she waited.

Hearing a few raindrops, she looked out the window. Yes, the rain was just beginning, although it was mostly just sprinkling.  She began imagining the rain falling harder until it fell in sheets, drenching everything, and flooding the yard. She imagined the wind blowing hard enough to knock over her old rotting fence. She should have taken care of that months ago. Now it was too late. Now her dog is probably going to get out of the yard before she could get it repaired. Or worse, something could get in and attack them. She had heard that there were coyotes in the neighborhood. She even imagined a tornado hiding in the storm clouds and coming down just as it got to her house, destroying everything and endangering her life.

Nervous now, she looked at her dog buried under at blanket at her feet and wished she could join him. How nice it would be to hide from this storm. To pretend it wasn’t coming. But that wasn’t possible. Even if she could hide, she’d know it was happening and not being able to see what was going on would be worse than not seeing.

So she looked out the window again and was surprised that the sprinkling had stopped. And where was the wind? There had been no wind. Yet, she reminded her herself. Surely it was still coming.

And she continued to wait.

After a while, she noticed the thunder was not as loud as it had been and that the sky was lightening. What happened to the storm? She walked outside and looked up at the sky. The dark clouds were now on the west side of her and receding into the distance. Light was breaking through the remaining clouds.

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She looked at her car. Just some drops of water. Not even enough to wash off the pollen.

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No drenching rain. No flood. No wind damage. The storm had looked way worse than it actually was. She hadn’t needed to fear after all.

She remembered Ps 23:4 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”

Well, she thought. This wasn’t a dark valley, but it did get pretty dark.  I think it’s safe to paraphrase this.  “Even though I wait as the darkest storm approaches, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”

Then she had another amazing thought: Just like the storms in my life, many look worse as they approach than they actually turn out to be.  But not matter how scary they look, I need not fear for God is with me.

Multiplying Money

Looking at the budget once again, she shook her head. They weren’t going to make it. Why did they think they could afford a house that big anyway? They should have limited themselves to the cheaper houses like she had wanted. But her husband didn’t agree with her. And neither did God, apparently, as He had led them to a house way over her budget.

Now as they were waiting to close on the house, she kept studying their finances, trying to figure out how they could possibly add the mortgage payment to their already tight budget. It would help once they sold the trailer they were living in, but for now, they would have to manage both mortgage payments. True, the trailer payment wasn’t very high since they had locked into a great rate a decade before when they had bought the trailer. But still. Numbers don’t lie. And when she compared their income to their bills and living expenses, it just wasn’t enough. She feared, deep down in her heart, that within a few months, they would lose their new house because they wouldn’t be able to make the payments.

She went to bed that night still worried, not having found any answers.

As she slept, she dreamed.

She was in a grocery store doing her weekly shopping. She pushed her cart down one IMG_20180521_212134311row after another, picking up the basic foods her family would need for the next week. Vegetables, ground beef, chicken, soup, cereal, milk, bread, peanut butter, juice, and several other items found their way into her cart. After completing her list, she headed to the front of the store to check out but suddenly found herself walking down the snack foods aisle. Picking up a bag of chips, she placed it into her cart, along with some peanuts and a bag of popcorn.

She woke up knowing God was trying to tell her something through this dream. She quickly wrote it down so it wouldn’t fade away like most dreams. Then she puzzled over it as she got ready for work. “I was shopping. I had gotten everything I needed. And I was buying junk food. Stuff I didn’t need…”

And then she knew what God was telling her through this dream. He was telling her not to worry about the finances. They were not going to go broke trying to make the mortgage. In fact, not only would they have enough money to buy everything then needed, they would even have enough to buy extras. Stuff they didn’t need but wanted.

She didn’t know how that would be possible, but she placed her faith in His message. And as the months went by, and their mortgage payments were made and necessities bought, there was always just enough money left over to pay for extras like soccer fees, kids meals, and family outings.

She didn’t know how He did it because their income didn’t increase. All she could think of was, just like He had multiplied the bread and fish to feed the multitude of hungry people, maybe, just maybe, He had multiplied their money. Numbers may not lie, she thought, but my amazing God is God over everything, even numbers on a piece of paper.

Mary’s Heart in Martha’s Body

She couldn’t go back to sleep. Why did they say that? Did they think her friend loved Jesus more than she did? And here she was carrying the greater load in serving them? It was totally upsetting and hurtful to her and she resented them for it.

To be honest, she didn’t really get that bible story anyway. If Martha didn’t serve, who would? Certainly not Mary, who didn’t even lift a finger to help. Actually, she had always thought of Mary as being lazy and self-centered – she wanted to spend time with Jesus so she did, not caring in the least that she had left everything for her sister to carry. Forcing her sister to carry more than she should have had to carry. If Mary had stayed with Martha to help finish the preparations, they both could have sat at Jesus’ feet.

And she was being called a Martha? Like she would rather stay in the kitchen serving than be with Jesus? Like she didn’t love Him enough to want to spend time with Him?

She still didn’t get it – but what she did get was a revelation of her resentment towards people who forced her into the Martha role.  It wasn’t fair for them to do that to her. The injustice of it hurt her. That and other injustices done to her over the years, especially when she was a young child, kept returning to her as she lay in bed not sleeping.

So she did the only thing she knew to do. She prayed.

“Jesus, I don’t understand all this. All I know is it hurts. But I forgive them for saying what they did and ask that You deliver me from the resentment and pain that has filled me.”

She fell back asleep and dreamed of a barracuda. A poor innocent barracuda that was about to be sacrificed in the name of entertainment. Upset at the injustice, she went to the people in charge and told them it was wrong and that she would tell the authorities about it if they didn’t stop it.

She woke again, puzzled.

“Lord, what’s this about?”

“Injustice. You have been treated unfairly in life.  I can release you from the past, to free you for the future. Just don’t worry about things so much.”

“So I really am like Martha?” she asked, heart sinking.

“Yes, daughter. Sweet daughter,” He said, voice full of love. “You are like Martha in that you get so worked up about things. You don’t need to worry if things will get done.  I’ll make sure what needs to be done does get done. I am here, involved, and I will bring about all that needs to be done. Relax in Me. I will give you the desire to do the things I want you to do. The rest I can handle. Don’t sweat over it. ”

“Do I at least have Mary’s heart? I love listening to You.”

“Yes, you have Mary’s heart. I know your love for Me. But you have been forced into a role I didn’t create for you. IMG_20180511_161925872As you are freed from the past, you will be free to be who I made you to be.”

“How do I get free?”

“Give it to Me -your resentments , your pain. Continually give it to Me. Forgive those involved. Listen for My directions. Practice letting go. I won’t treat you unfairly. As you see My faithfulness, you will be able to relax more.”

As she got ready for the day, she thought about His words. And came up with a plan. When things had to get done, instead of trying to get everything to happen herself, she would say…

“I wonder how Jesus is going to make this happen.”

Then all she needed to do was wait and watch and listen. Like Mary.