My Dad is the Boss

“My dad is the boss of you.”

My son explains this to his big sister’s friends, as if it’s an essential fact of life that they need to know.

These older girls climb into our minivan and strike up a conversation with him.

He launches into his typical introduction:   “I am Andrew Christopher King.  And my dad is the boss of you.”

Just like that.

He’s become rather obsessed lately with this hierarchy of authority.  It slips into  his conversations and even into his prayers.

At night, we let the youngest child choose which family member gets to pray in what order during our nighttime prayers.

So, when he chooses, he just doesn’t say the name of the chosen sister.

No, he adds a little clarification:

“Catherine will pray next.  Catherine is my friend and I am the boss of her.”

Or, maybe if this had been a source of contention during the day, he’ll say it like this:

“Catherine, my friend, and she is not the boss of me.”

This is probably all my fault as one of my great Mom fall-backs in the midst of a major preschooler meltdown is to announce, “You are not the boss.   I am the boss.  Mommy and Daddy are the boss.”

Sometimes, after all,  three-year-old kids miss that truth on their own.  They think their own whims and wishes and wills rule over all.  Here they reign in all their tyrannical glory.

Until Mom upsets all that by staking a claim to the boss’s title.

I guess he’s  trying desperately to find at least one person that he can boss around.

Truly, I understand his tiny attempts to assert control over  a big wide world where he has so little say in what happens.

I sympathize with that feeling of helplessness….of things not going the way you want…people not doing what you want them to do….all kinds of life trampling over all kinds of plans.

Maybe our instinctive reaction to life out of control is to  try to be in control.

We try to rescue and save and salvage.  We try to  put the pieces together and hold it all with Krazy Glue.

We try so hard to be the boss.

And the danger of that is, of course, we’re not.   We’re not sufficient for that.  We’re  not capable of managing it all  and doing it all  and running it all.

I am not the boss.

And, instead of that realization being terrifying, it can be liberating.

After all, “My Dad is the boss” and He’s greater than the unexpected and the unknown.  He’s greater than the dreaded date on the calendar and that one relationship that always seems to breakdown into disaster.

He’s greater than the overwhelming to-do list,  the difficult decision, and the impossible circumstances.

That’s what we need to know really.

In John 4, we discover Jesus’ longest recorded conversation in the Gospels, not with a disciple or follower, not with a rabbi or pharisee, not with a man.

Instead, he talked with a Samaritan woman while sitting at a well in the heat of the day.  And she tangled that conversation right up with worries about religious practices and traditions.

She didn’t understand when he talked about “Living Water” or the well or even why a Jewish man would talk to a Samaritan woman in the first place.

So, she asks this question:

12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.”   John 4:12 ESV

Are you greater THAN…

That’s what everything came down to for her and what it comes down to for us.

Is Jesus Greater than those we’ve turned to and trusted in?

Is He Greater than anything we face?

Is He Greater than our weakness?

Is He Greater than the mountain that looms and the valley that surrounds?

In a blog  post, author Kelly Minter wrote:

we tend to get stuck: right at that point of believing someone or something—right in the dead center of our lives—is greater than Jesus. Or the reverse, that Jesus is not as great, loving, or powerful as whatever it is we’re hoping will quench our thirst or quell our fears or satisfy our longings.

Maybe this whole issue of who is the boss isn’t just a preschooler’s issue.

Maybe this is for us.

We love and worship and follow our God who is greater than this.  All of this.

Nothing can overwhelm or overcome Him and nothing else could satisfy us or rescue us.

He is Greater.

 

A Secret-Keeper Spills the Secret

The trouble is that I’m a secret-keeper, not a secret-teller.

So, I’ve struggled with how to write this post for days, and most of this morning I’ve sat at a blank computer screen and then walked away again unable to find the right words.

I’m the opposite of my middle girl, who just spills out good news as soon as she hears it, just so excited to share she can’t possibly hold it in one…second…..longer!

I like to hold on to secrets for a while and then I get used to holding on to them and then I don’t know how to tell them even when it’s time.

Yet, my husband assures me that you can’t keep secrets forever and this one, well, it’ll tell itself soon if I don’t share.

So, here goes.

In December, my husband and I both spoke the word: “Incomplete.”  Our family wasn’t full, wasn’t finished, and there was someone still missing.  So we prayed and prayed, trying to discern what that meant for us.  Baby, foster care, wait for a future adoption?  Or were we wrong and this was it?

We prayed separately.  We prayed together.

Finally, we just sat holding hands and my husband said the words: “God, we want what You want, but we need You to show us clearly what that is.”

A month later, I gave my husband a present for our wedding anniversary—a baby blanket—for use in October.010

When we ask for God’s guidance, sometimes we must wait with determined patience for the neon sign.

Then other times, it seems like He says, “I was hoping you’d ask me that!” and the answer is right there before you’ve even finished praying.

On Sunday night, we told my daughters the news at the dinner table.  My oldest girl asked, “Am I allowed to tell my friends?”

My middle girl didn’t even think to ask because of course she’s going to tell her friends!  By the time I picked her up from school the next day, I’m fairly certain she’d told every single person she’d passed in a hallway, classroom, lunch line, and on the bus.  She’s telling people all over town, everywhere we go–school, church, ballet…

It’s joy; it’s just sheer joy bursting out of this little person!  And I love that about her.  I don’t ever tell her any news I don’t want broadcast to the whole town, but I love it about her just the same.

Sometimes God does that for us surely, giving us news that’s not meant to be contained or hidden away or kept to ourselves for one single moment.  It’s the “good news” and it’s meant to be shared.  Christ has come!  He has risen!  He has saved!  He has delivered!  He has changed me and I tell you, I just won’t ever be the same, not ever, ever again.

When Jesus spoke truth to the hurting Samaritan woman at the well, she ran into town and told everyone she could find about Jesus and what He had said.  It was her overwhelming urge to tell the good news that brought salvation to her people:  “Now many Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of what the woman said when she testified, ‘He told me everything I ever did'” (John 4:39 HCSB).

But if she had waited, they would have missed Jesus sitting at the well that morning.

Some secrets aren’t the joy-kind, though.  They aren’t the spilling over with good news kind, not the new baby news or the salvation and deliverance testimony.

Eventually, we’ve got to give in and tell somebody, not everybody, but somebody who is safe and full of grace and who is willing to pray us through it all.  Because the secrets of shame that we lock away can ultimately lock us right up in this prison of darkness and loneliness.

Maybe we’ve grown so used to just keeping that secret that over time the secret is really keeping us, and we need to put it to death by putting it into words.

Or perhaps you’re like me, someone who holds on even to blessings and good news for just a little while.  It gives us joy just to pause and consider what God has done.

Like Mary, receiving the gift of mothering God’s Son and watching Him grow, who was “treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them” (Luke 2:19 HCSB), I like to ponder and treasure.

And sometimes that’s important.  Sometimes we’re so quick to tell and then the emotional high passes and we forget the beauty of this grace and the grace of this blessing.

Yet, even a secret-keeper like me needs to tell the good news eventually so that this isn’t just part of my life; it’s part of my testimony.

Do you have something to add to your testimony today?  Maybe you can find a friend and share the secret.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Water Without a Bucket

Every Thursday, I sit for 1-1/2 hours at the ballet studio while two of my daughters take lessons.  At first, I was totally convinced this would be a disaster for my 1-1/2 year-old daughter, who gets to tag along for the ride.  There really isn’t that much in that little waiting room to hold her attention and keep us both from going crazy.

But, there is one thoroughly exciting thing in that ballet studio waiting room that has saved the day — the water cooler.

I can’t explain why this water cooler amazes my daughter, but it does.  And, it’s not just her.  The little girls in their leotards and tights seem to think that nothing is so wonderful as water from this water cooler.  Clearly, it’s better than Mommy’s bottled water or the water we can get at home.  The ballet water is special and I feel sorry for the ballet studio and all the money they have to invest in supplying the plastic cups these girls go through every week.

It reminds me of the woman at the well in John 4:1-26.   There is something about this Samaritan woman’s conversation with Jesus that captures my heart.   She’s just so practical.

Jesus says to her: “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water” (verse 10, NIV).

And this precious woman looks up at Jesus and says, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?” (verse 11, NIV).  To rephrase—-“Mister, I don’t know how you think you could give me any ‘living water’—you don’t even have a bucket!”

I’ve done that to God.  He’s offered to give me provision, healing, comfort, direction and peace and I’ve turned to Him and said, “God, what You offer sounds so great, but it’s impossible.  You don’t even have a bucket!”

Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest wrote, “My misgivings arise from the fact that I search within to find how He will do what He says .”  We think God is confined to what we have to offer and what we are capable of doing in this practical, physical, fleshly reality of ours.  We forget that God is bigger than that.

It reminds me of the passage from yesterday’s post, when the disciples faced the storm out on the sea in Mark 6:45-52.   In the middle of this tempest, Jesus “saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them” (NIV).  These were expert fisherman,who had probably faced many storms on the sea.   They knew what to do in a storm and they spent hours employing all their skill and expertise, trying to stay alive.

But, the storm was too much for them. 

We say all the time as Christians—“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  Do you know that isn’t in Scripture?  It’s a misquote of  “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV).

I think God gives us more than we can handle all the time.  I know He does for me!  Whether it’s a big life crisis or just my kids fighting for the 20th time in one morning, it’s too much for me.  I can use all my expertise and ability to try to rescue me from a storm of circumstances, but the bottom line is I am not enough.

The Psalmist wrote, “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?  My only hope is in You” (Psalm 39:7, NLT). Don’t place your hope in what you have or who you are.  Don’t look at your circumstances and discount God’s ability to care for you in the midst of them.  He is God.  He doesn’t need a bucket to give you living water.  He isn’t confined by the expertise and ability of professional fishermen to save you from life’s storms.

Oswald Chambers also wrote, “We impoverish and weaken His ministry in us the moment we forget He is almighty. . . .”  Place your hope to survive the daily annoyances and the huge life storms in the Almighty God and leave it to Him to figure out how to save you.

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Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2011 Heather King