Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Unconditional Love

"May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love.
And may you have the power to understand,
as all God's people should, how wide,
how long, how high, and how deep his love really is."
Ephesians 3:17-18

Sweat trickled down my neck and beaded on my forehead. As I rounded the last turn on my usual morning walking route, my house came into view—a beckoning oasis on this humid morning.

I kicked off my shoes just inside the door and peeled my outer shirt up over my head. Ahh . . . Thank You, Lord, for air conditioning.

In the few moments that I stood there, our cat Baxter meandered over and rubbed against my legs. “You don’t want to get too close to me, buddy. I need a shower,” I told him, bending down to stroke his sleek, silky head.

But Baxter didn’t care. He continued to wind around my legs, looking up at me with pleading eyes and his characteristic soundless meow. Finally, I gave in and picked him up.

Heedless of my damp skin and sweat-laden tank top, Baxter nestled against my shoulder, gripping my upper arm with his front paws. He breathed a sigh and closed his eyes, purring in contentment.

I, on the other hand, felt disgusting. I probably would have scared even my husband away with my red face and wild, Phyllis Diller hairdo. I am sure glad I am the only person home. No one would want to be close to me right now.

In answer to my thoughts, Baxter gripped my shoulder a bit tighter. Nuzzling him close I realized, Baxter doesn’t mind. He accepts me just the way I am.

Suddenly I heard God speaking directly to my heart. That’s how I accept you, Pam. I want to be close to you. I don’t even take note of your outward appearance; I look at your heart. I take you as you are.

A deep sense of comfort and love welled up in my heart and overflowed down my cheeks. I thanked God for revealing His truth to me through the simple actions of my feline friend, Baxter.

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting


I admit, waiting challenges me. Waiting with patience? Well. . . though I try to appear patient, the wide-eyed anticipation on the face of the keyed-up kitty in the above photo expresses my feelings far more accurately. I still remember an incident from my childhood when I was forced to “wait with patience”.

Standing in my parent’s bedroom, I could hear my mom in the kitchen helping my little brother Jon count outloud. My siblings and I were playing hide and seek; I was looking for the perfect place to hide.

I spotted the freestanding cedar closet! No one would think to check there on a hot summer afternoon. I carefully opened the screechy, protesting door and peered inside.

The usual assortment of winter coats, along with Dad’s old army uniform, hung neatly on the metal bar at the top. Heavy blankets covered the floor of the fragrant closet.

Climbing inside, I was scrooching around trying to get comfortable, when I felt a lump in the blankets. Reaching underneath, I pulled out a book. Before I could get a good look at it, I heard my brother shout, “Ready or not, here I come!”

I quickly pulled the door shut and settled in behind the clothing.

Waiting in the total darkness, I felt the book all over—spiral-bound, glossy cover and pages, not too thick. I squinted my eyes to read the title but couldn’t. I wondered why someone would hide a book in the cedar closet.

Just as I considered moving closer to the light seeping in around the door, I heard my brother enter the room. I kept completely still, holding my breath when he opened the closet door and peered inside. My mother’s long winter dress coat secreted me from view. Jon only took a quick glimpse before slamming the door and running out of the room to search elsewhere.

The door now stood ajar. With my brother busy for the moment, I took the opportunity to read the title: Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls.

Why was a kids’ cookbook hidden in my mother’s cedar closet in August? My sister’s June birthday had just passed and mine wasn’t till March. Jon’s birthday was fast approaching, but he couldn’t even read, let alone cook! And Christmas was months away!

Unable to wait any longer I climbed out of the closet, clutching the book to my chest. Completely forgetting the game, I ran downstairs to question my Mom about my discovery.

“Look at the book I found in the cedar closet. Whose is it? Why was it in there?”

Hands on her hips, Mom rolled her eyes and asked irritably, “Do I have to stick everything up my butt to keep you kids from finding it?”

Immediately on the defensive, I retorted, “I wasn’t looking for it on purpose! We were playing hide and seek! When I hid in the cedar closet, I found it under the blankets. Whose is it anyway?”

“Yours!” she stated, blowing out her breath in frustration. “It was supposed to be for Christmas!”

I stared at her in wonder. Mine? For Christmas?

“Cool! Can we make something out of it for lunch?” I asked, flipping through the pages and loving the new-book smell that wafted up.

Finally noticing that Mom wasn’t answering, I glanced up. Uh oh. Mom was not happy. I asked, “Or . . . should I . . . put it back?” thinking how nice it would be if she told me I could just keep it.

“Yes!” she said, stirring the pan of spaghetti sauce a bit too vigorously. Wiping the dishcloth over the top of the stove, she added, “You’ve ruined the surprise, but you’re still going to have to wait till Christmas to read it.”

With the corners of my mouth drooping and my eyes on the floor, I turned to head back upstairs. Maybe it’s possible to wait patiently for what we haven’t seen, but I have to admit, it sure was hard to put away that cookbook for five whole months!

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Moments with Daddy


Moments with Daddy
Pam Williams

I will still look up to you, Dad,
I don’t care how tall I grow.
You will always be my hero.
Who can match the love you show?

You’re the one who takes me fishing.
Feeds my appetite for books.
When I hurt you hold me close, Dad;
Set me straight with just a “look”.

May these moments on the river,
With no phones or clocks to chime,
Be remembered as a treasure,
As I whisper one more time~

I love you, Daddy!

©2012 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Where are you headed?



" If you wander off the road to the right or the left,
you will hear God's voice behind you saying,
"Here is the road. Follow it."
Isaiah 30:21

Traveling to new places can be fun—and a bit of a challenge sometimes. I recall several occasions when my husband missed a turn, or we disagreed on the best route, or we thoughtwe knew the way, and found we did not end up where we intended. Then one Christmas our son bought us a GPS.

Now all we do is input the desired address and press the bright green “GO” button. A pleasant, though somewhat mechanical, female voice tells us step by step how to get to our destination. We call her Jill. By doing exactly what she says, we can avoid driving for miles in the wrong direction, steer clear of toll roads and circumvent big cities.

Occasionally, however, we are convinced that we know a better course than the one Jill plans for us. Perhaps we’ve traveled that road before and it worked well for us. At any rate, it appears to be the wiser choice, so, despite what the GPS recommends, we go our own way. Inevitably, our route is longer or less direct than the one Jill recommended.

Similarly, God carefully maps our lives to bring about what is best for us. (Jeremiah 29:11) Often, however, we insist on our own approach to life’s situations and then expect God to bless the mess we made. Like not bothering to turn on the GPS or ignoring what it tells us, we don’t read God’s Word; we don't ask Him for direction; we don't follow where he is leading.

Predictably, then, we pout because things don’t work out. We anguish over why God didn’t help us. We blame Him for not just taking over. But God will only work where He is allowed to work. (Isaiah 48:17) He will not force Himself (Revelation 3:20) or His plan on anyone. Much of the time what results is what we have set in motion by our own attitudes and actions.

If we are not where we want to be, if the road we are traveling does not lead us where we need to go, we can ask ourselves a few simple questions:
  • Are my plans within the shoulders of scripture?
  • Have God and I discussed which avenues are best for me?
  • Are God and I in agreement as to my destination?
  • Am I willing to yield my plans to God’s?


“. . . follow faithfully the road God chooses, and never wander to either side.
Job 23:11


©2012 Pamela D. Williams