Finish fishing

 Frank loves to fish.  Frank loves his grandchildren.  So Frank loves to take his grandchildren fishing.  Recently on a beautiful morning, he invited Ryder (our 4-year-old grandson) along to throw in a line!

Thirty minutes in... the trip was deemed successful as Ryder had reeled in 10 fish ALL. BY. HIMSELF.  As the 11th fish was being taken off the hook, in Ryder's words, "PopPop hooked my finger!"

There was a moment of distress as a drop of blood emerged.  Determined to be brave, Ryder fought hard to maintain his composure.  PopPop gently whispered, "Buddy, it's okay to cry; I know your finger hurts." Permission granted... tears flowed...  ice applied to finger.

Frank waited and a few moments, then asked, "Hey Ryder, do you want to go home now,  It's okay if you do."

Ryder wiped his eyes, and offered a resolve reply. "Oh no, PopPop, I want to finish fishing."

As I listened to Frank, and then Ryder, recount their experience, I so identified with Ryder's thought and emotion.

Go with me for a moment.

Walking with Jesus, following His lead, surrendering to His will is always the best option.  It doesn't always feel like the easiest option.

Recently, we've walked through a difficult health issue.  Not our first difficult health issue and likely not our last.  

Weariness had engulfed me - both physically and emotionally.  I found myself tearful, overwhelmed and discouraged.  Trying to maintain, I clung to the idea of yes, holding it all together.  Not aloud, but certainly with "loud" clarity, I heard, it's okay to cry; I know this hurts.  Moments, well really, hours later, my decision crossroads came.  For me, the question was a need for resolve.  Did I trust my Heavenly Father to walk with me, to lead me, to offer His will and purpose in this moment?  Resolve is a great beginning, but I knew my strength was lacking; I simply could not pull myself up by my bootstraps.

Truth I know reminded me,  "He said, 'My grace is all you need.  My power works best in weakness." That reality comes directly from Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9.

My resolve was simple.  Our God is trustworthy.  I do trust Him.  And then my prayer simply became, "Help me trust Your grace, Your strength, Your power in my weakness".

I think I could have uttered, "Heavenly Father, I want to finish fishing."

Friend, what about you?  Are you at a point of simply needing permission to cry, to cry out, to express discouragement, to admit that you are experiencing hurt?  

Are you in the midst of realizing your decision-making point of resolve, or needing to acknowledge weakness and the power in God's strength?

His grace, His power, His strength is always available to His children.  He created you, He loves you, He knows your hurt, He calls you by name.

Ryder knew his PopPop was trustworthy.  Frank  heard his hurt and comforted him in it. When the decision to finish fishing came, Ryder's weakness was made strong through his confidence in Frank.

Join me, won't you.  I'm choosing to finish fishing.. knowing the One who called a motley crew of fishermen to simply follow HIM... who changed the world.

Finishing Touches

 So many Sunday mornings, our family would be in the car ready to head to church.  Missing one unnamed daughter, the consistent routine unfolded.  Frank would rush into the house, calling to unnamed daughter,  it's time to go, what could you possibly be doing, you've been dressed for an hour!?!  Following the predictable pattern, the answer was always the same...

"Finishing touches, Dad, finishing touches!" 

And here we are...

Just another Friday [yesterday] leading into a weekend.

Just another Saturday [today] raining and a bit dreary.

Maybe with a dramatic musical overture, we remind ourselves, with much emphasis.... we ended 2021 which means we began 2022 in the past 24 hours.

How does your brain process that thought - questions like the ones below?

Are you...

 a goal setter?

a word for the year chooser?

a determined number of books to read planner?

a brand new blank journal writer?

a redo the budget manager?

an exercise starter?

a read-the-Bible-in-a-year accomplisher?

Honestly, I think about all those questions, and some of them are good questions to be answered or at least thought through.

But my mind is still pondering a bit of the finishing touches needed on 2021.  Let's really be honest enough to say that some of those finishing touches might be lurking around from 2020 or 2019 or 2015... you understand, right?

Maybe I've thought through another list...

Who do I need to forgive?

Who do I need to ask for forgivenss?

What has God brought to my mind and heart this past year, maybe before, that He is calling                     me to do?

What have I learned from the past twelve months that I'll use to encourage someone else?

When might I choose to follow God in ALL things, ALL aspects of my life?

When should I have shared the good news of Jesus with a friend... with a stranger?

How might I help mend a hurting relationship?

How might I need to re-evalute an unhealthy relationship?

Can I encourage you, even challenge you, to spend the beginning of 2022 putting needed finishing touches on 2021?

Looking back and looking ahead had been a powerful reminder to me of the constant, never-changing power of God's word... the Good News.... the Bible literally at our fingertips.  

Hearing Paul's words freshly reminding me... looking back, looking ahead, living present...

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
since all members of one body, you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly 
as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom
 through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit
 singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
 do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus 
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:15-17