Do Knot Give Up

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Happy New Year, friends! I can’t believe we’re already halfway through January. Are you staying warm? It’s been chilly, even in Florida.

I hope you & yours had a peaceful Christmas with family & friends.

In late December, I pondered adopting a ‘word’ for 2018. Usually I pray and pay close attention to scripture and specific verses the Lord brings to mind. One of my favorite memories from Christmas, 2017 ties in (literally) to the verse I focused on.

  • Romans 12:12: rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer ———> Persevere in faith 

A few weeks before Christmas, we braved a trip through Wal-Mart on a quick-as-can-be errand. My younger son has always loved stuffed animals, cozy blankets, and soft things. He’s older now and mostly graduated from stuffed animals (other than the Minecraft plush toys smothering his bed).

But that afternoon, something caught Chase’s eye in the aisle at Wal-Mart.

A huge, soft red knot.

FullSizeRenderThe adult head-sized fabric knot was unique and fun. The boys tossed a blue one back and forth across the aisle, and Chase inquired about getting a red knot.

I said no, Christmas is right around the corner, and we continued with our day. But I filed it away in my brain as a Christmas present possibility.

Flash forward to two days before Christmas. One more quick errand to Wal-Mart for extra tape and stocking stuffers. On my way around the store, I notice a low shelf with a few fabric knots left. (This was in a different store.)

One red and one black knot, perfect! Their school colors.

Chase likes red and Cole likes black. I purchased them and headed home. My germaphobe side cringed at the possibility of dozens of people and kids touching, licking, dropping, sneezing, kicking, and drooling on the soft knots.

I waited until the boys were in bed then shoved them in the washer. 45 minutes later, I transferred them to the dryer, expecting to wake up to dry knots on Christmas Eve.

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Knot so much.

The formidable knots knocked the dryer door open two minutes into the cycle. Notice the blue tape on the left? Hubby used painter’s tape to keep the door shut.

NOW they would dry.

Wouldn’t they?

Throughout Christmas Eve day, I started the dryer at least a dozen more times. Those knots WOULD. NOT. DRY!

By the time Christmas Eve rolled around, and we’d partaken of our annual homemade-hot-chocolate-doused-with-marshmallows and watched our Christmas Eve movie (The Grinch), they still hadn’t dried all the way.

But I kept checking and drying and checking and drying, and around midnight the knots were finally (barely) dry enough.

I couldn’t help thinking of Romans 12:12.

Persevere. 

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Are you tired of persevering?

I’m with you, friend. That “I might as well give up” feeling? Or the “why is this such a long, confusing path” cry? I’ve felt it and fought it off lately.

Do knot give up!

Remember: God IS faithful. Persevere, friend!

“Trust in the Lord with your heart, and klean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”


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Something That’s Better

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“You are a beggar.” I tisked and shook my head at our nosey Sun Conure, Mango.

Leaning against the kitchen counter, I ran an avocado under the faucet then dried it with paper towel. Avocados are one of my favorite healthy additions to salad, and I try to eat at least one a week. I ignored the needy bird, slicing the fruit in half and twisting it open.

From his perch across the high bar separating our kitchen from the dining room area, Mango jiggled in a beggar bird dance and fluttered his wings in case I’d forgotten he was there.

“Nope. Can’t have this.”

Mango enjoys fruits and a few veggies: apple, blueberry, banana, raisins & grapes, strawberries, mango, broccoli, carrots, and corn. His store-bought bird food contains some of these items as well as all sorts of nuts and seeds and dried fruit.

We give him two or three food treats a day. But he is absolutely not allowed to eat avocados. (Or chocolate.)

Mango and one of his favorite treats–a blueberry.

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I’m not sure why he can’t have avocado, but it’s definitely a no-go.

As I finished scooping out the firm, greenish-yellow avocado halves, my mind wandered familiar paths…school starting for our boys, unsettling issues I’ve been having with my asthma, home remodeling projects undone, the book I’m trying to finish editing before a big writing conference, the writing conference itself…

As they often do, my worn worries turned to whiny prayers. “Lord, why can’t…”

“Help me let this go and trust You…”

“Keep them safe while…”

“Please make it that….”

One particular writing concern, something I’ve been praying specifically about for two years–something that almost worked out recently but ultimately didn’t–weighed so heavily I blinked away frustration tears.

Another prayer trickled from my lips. “Why couldn’t that have…”

Mango eyed the chunks of avocado and dance-strutted across the thick perch over his cage.

I glanced up, shaking my head at the bobbing bird . “You can’t have this. It. Is. Not. Good. For. You. I’ll give you something else that’s better.”

I handed him a sliced almond, and he eagerly grabbed it with his black beak and dug in. (Eating only 5% of it, as birds do.)

And the still small voice, the one God’s given us to guide and direct, nudged and kneaded my heart, still tender about the dream.

“I’ll give you something else that’s better.”

For I know the plans I have for you…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

Giving that tender dream back to God…I needed to do it. To be reminded that He’ll give me something that’s better.

If you’re in a similar place…praying, hoping, praying, trying to trust. Maybe downtrodden and discouraged about a closed door, too. Or even confused about something you thought God had planned for you.*

Hold fast to the Hope you have, and trust God’s higher ways. He loves us–He made us–so He knows what’s best for us.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Ps.27: 13 & 14)

 

*Praying for you, friend.