Graduating God

Let me tell you about my day . . .

or my days these days. . .

I wake up most days to the sound of 6 alarm clocks.  The first two are the peaceful, generic melodies pre-programed into my husband’s and my cell phones.  The best part?

There is a snooze button.

LOVE the snooze button.

BEST. INVENTION. EVER.

The remaining 4 alarms are as follows:

Alarm #3: A high pitched wail, similar to that of a fog horn or severe weather siren.  This one has no snooze button and in fact will get louder if ignored.  She is known in these parts as “Papaya” but is often times mistaken for a baby.  Note:  None of our earlier models can produce decibels like this one can.

Alarm #4: This one is called the Cyndi Lou Who.  Her alarm of choice is usually the soft sound of “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy. . .”.  She also has no snooze button but her overall ability to force her parental units from a dead sleep is fairly slim. . .unless she can’t find her blanket known as “Fuzzy” or “Fuvvy”.  Should (God-forbid) that “Fuvvy” go MIA, sweet Cyndi Lou Who can produce sounds that can pierce eardrums, cause extreme embarrassment in public places and break sound barriers.

Alarm #5: The Dom Bomb.  This is something resembling an explosion of noise and blinding energy.  There is no snooze button.  He would emphatically add, “you can’t snooze da Dom Bomb”.

Alarm #6: Bossy-albeit-forgetful-Beagle-who-sleeps-in-my-bed-at-my-mercy alarm.  Kicks issued to my kidneys, alerting me that the previous 5 alarms have all sounded. Three of which are still bothering her REM cycle.  Also, has no snooze button.

The funny thing is, I’ve been thinking lately that this is only temporary.

One day, I will miss this.

One day, my house will be quiet between the hours of 5:30 am and 7 am as I sit and drink my coffee in peace.

One day, maybe I’ll get around to eating breakfast.

One day, I plan on shuffling to the bathroom first thing in the morning without an audience.

One day, I’ll sit with my cup of coffee and watch the clock.  I’ll fiddle with the handle of my mug and toy with the idea that revenge is a dish best served hot and that maybe I should go bounce on the beds my 3, now teenage, kids asleep upstairs.  Maybe a bullhorn would be a nice touch.

One day, I will have graduated from the days of babies and toddlers and moved on. . .

And life is always like that.

Temporary.

We learn, we grow, we get to graduate to the next season in life.

But even with all of our graduating, we never graduate God.

Life was meant to teach us that.

Life is pretty smart that way.

But graduating is necessary because it causes us to grow up and have a more mature relationship with him.

Which is actually really awesome.

We get to grow up.

God wants to be with us that much, for us to know him at an adult level.

That he wants us to know him that completely.  To be able to relate to him and have adult conversations with him.

He wants that.

But even in his wanting, he waits.  He waits for us to grow because the truth is, even with all of our graduating. . .

We never graduate from him.

We are in perpetual relationship with him.

Oh sure, our relationship changes, just like mine will with my kids.  I’ll no longer have to change diapers and contrary to popular belief in my house, I will not be wiping anyone’s butt when they are 18 (don’t ask, you don’t want to know the thoughts that roll around in little minds).

But my kids will always be my kids.

We don’t graduate from a relationship with God.

We graduate into a new depth of relationship with God.

We graduate into a deeper kind of grace.

 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18 (HCSB)

I love that we can’t outgrow God.

There is a whole relationship with him that we’ve never imagined.

Whether we’ve been hanging out with him for minutes or years or decades.  He is so full of surprises and mysteries and the conversations never get old.

He will blow your mind if you let him.

And that’s true for every stage of life, every conversation, and every graduating step.

The Beagle Monster

The Beagle Monster

My dog, Savi, and I have been having a minor disagreement.

It’s been going on for the past 6 years.

She thinks she should be able to sit at the table like all the other people in our family.

She thinks she’s human.

I think differently.

To be perfectly honest it’s not all her fault.  When she was a cute little fur ball I didn’t really think much differently than she did, but my husband being the voice of reason tried to establish boundaries.  She was not allowed at the table, not even under it.  She was supposed to sit in the living room during meal times.  My husband also thought that Savi shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in our bed, or allowed on the furniture, or allowed to eat table scraps.

I looked at him like he lost his mind.

What was the point in having a dog if you couldn’t snuggle with it on the couch or in your bed?  And what poor dog doesn’t lose sleep at night over missing a sliver of steak?

YOLO, even if you’re a dog.

But fast forward 6 years and my teeny weeny, adorable Beagle has become this bed-hogging, crumb slurping, drooling on my couch monster with oversized ears.

I’ve finally wised up – yes, my dog needed boundaries from the beginning but I lacked the foresight.  So now it’s an all out battle at meal times to get her to stay in the kitchen while the rest of us eat in the dining room.  The dinner conversation goes something like this:

Me: How was your day hon—-   Savi, get back in the kitchen.

Sorry, how was your day?

Jason: Good —- Savi, get to the kitchen.  Yours?

Me: Oh you know  —- Savi, kitchen.  Same old.

Jason: What’s the plan for —- Savi, kitchen.

Me: Savi, kitchen. (my voice escalating)

Jason: Kitchen!

Me: KITCHEN!

Finally, I lose it and send Savi packing outside or to the garage while the rest of us eat in relative peace to the serenade of Savi’s howls and yips begging to be let back into the house.

Ever heard the phrase, give em an inch they’ll take a mile?  Here’s what I’ve come to learn.

My dog is the devil.

Literally?  Okay maybe not but it struck me today that she is a furry metaphor of how the devil tries to inch into our lives.

As the enemy of our souls – the devil is much more sinister than a little red devil with a pitchfork.  He’s subtle.  He only needs a little opening to corrupt, just like Savi didn’t become the scrap snarfing monster she is today without an opening.

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

1 Peter 5:8-11 (The Message)

We’ve gotta keep our guards up.  Not in a fearful way, but in a confident awareness that we have an enemy who tries to catch us while we are napping.  He’ll try to steal even the smallest scraps from the table that God has prepared for you.  What does that look like?  It starts with thoughts.  Subtle thoughts are the sneaky test paw into the dining room.  Thoughts contrary to the promises of God. Thoughts that might sound a little like this:

I’ll probably get cancer.  It runs in my family.

It doesn’t matter.  God doesn’t hear my prayers anyways.

I’m just so tired of this.  I wish life were easier.

The awesome thing is that Jesus showed us at the very first inkling of the devil’s paw print into the dining room of our lives what to do.  Matthew 4:1-10, Jesus was tempted by the devil with some pretty compelling things but every time he used the scriptures to shut him down.  This works on 2 levels.

1. It reminds the devil that God’s word is the final authority – he cannot argue by anything higher.

2. It reminds us in our moments of weakness that God is for us and has us covered.  The Word causes our faith to grow.  (There is a scripture for every, and I do mean every, temptation and struggle that we face)

So when you hear those thoughts of:

I’ll probably get cancer. It runs in my family.  You can shut it down with 1 Peter 2:24 (By his wounds I have been healed)

or

It doesn’t matter.  God doesn’t hear my prayers anyways. James 5:16 it. (the prayer of a righteous person has great power)

or

I’m so tired of this.  I wish life were easier.  Share Galatians 6:9 with it. (I won’t be fatigued by doing good,  I’ll reap a reward if  I don’t quit)

You may have some pretty persistent thoughts to deal with but keep reminding it and yourself of what God says.  Eventually you’ll send it with it’s tail between it’s legs.

 

 

(This is awful to admit but the picture above is not my beagle. Lame, I know.  Photo Credit: “Beagle” by masch permission through C.C. by 2.0)