Caroline and the Puddle

When Caroline was a puppy, we took her to the Outer Banks for the first time.

She was just about five months old and already loved the water.  Caroline is a Lab.  One of her favorite things in life is to jump in and swim in the creek behind Pappy’s house.  We couldn’t wait to see her reaction to The Sound.

We put Caroline on a leash and began the short walk from the house to the sound.  Caroline loves taking a walk, loves being outside, loves life.  She was practically vibrating with excitement.  About halfway there, Caroline noticed a large rain puddle and went straight for it.  She leapt into this shallow little puddle.  She was splashing around,  having the time of her life.  No amount of calling her name or pulling on the leash would distract her.  She was so happy with that little puddle, when the whole Sound awaited her just minutes away.  We had to literally drag her away  to the real experience we were trying to give her.

John said to her, “Caroline, this puddle is nothing compared to what we want to show you!”

I thought to myself, And this is just how we are with God.

And isn’t it?  I look back over the course of my life and see so many times when I was willing to settle for a puddle while God was trying to give me the Roanoke Sound.  We knew that there was something better for Caroline but she couldn’t see that.  All she could see was the puddle, which was right now and right there and really good enough.

This year, in 2012, I want to stop playing in the puddle and really experience God’s best for me.  I want to look ahead to the finish line, to the outcome I’ve been promised, to the finale.  I want to finally stop thinking I know best.  I want to stop finding my own joy and start seeking out the joy of the Lord.  I want to stop sitting on God’s hands and making my life un-blessable because I’m too busy wallowing in the puddle I found for myself.

I asked the Lord how I could do that.  He said simply, “Love well.”  Two words that can change my life if I will obey.

If I love well, I will love the Lord well.  That means time in the Word, where I will learn more about His character.  That means time in worship where our intimacy will grow.  That means time in prayer where I will see His goodness and His faithfulness.  That means obedience, which sometimes hurts in the short-term but always pays off in the long-term.  I want to love Him well.

If I love well, I will love my husband well.  It’s no big secret that I love my husband to pieces, but I need to practice that love instead of just feeling it.  That means serving him in our home, praying for him, honoring him.  I may even have to watch a boring history documentary with him.  That’s love right there.

If I love well, I will love my children well.  My five treasures are mostly easy to love.  That means that I will respect them as well as adore them.  That means more patience and prayer.  That means asking the Lord about their futures and praying into them.  That means guiding them away from puddles and into the Sound.

If I love well, I will love my extended family and friends well.  More respect, more honor, more service.  These are the people who spice up my life, love me and my family, laugh with me and cry with me.  I want to give more than I take this year.

And as long as we’re talking about it, I will love my enemies well.  I don’t want to do this, but God has called me to it.

Matthew 5:43-48  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

So there you have it.  I have to pray for God to bless those who persecute me.  I have to love my enemies.  It’s a bitter pill to swallow.  Sometimes, okay, oftentimes, in my humanity I don’t even want my enemies to have a mud puddle.  Its time to have honor for my enemies.  God loves my enemies…just like He loves me.  This will be the challenge.

I want this year to mark a change in my life.  I want this year to be the year I run full speed towards the Sound and never even notice the puddle.  I want this year to be the year that I love well.

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