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Two Hands

24 Nov

I wish I was more faithful about my morning quiet time. It’s in these quiet moments that I hear God speak to me, new truths that are nothing more than gentle whispers in the dimness of the morning when it’s just me and (occasionally) a hungry baby.

You only have two hands.

That’s all I heard. It just so happens I was trying to feed my baby with my chin when I heard it, so I could catch up on the newsfeed from the previous night, and look into my friends’ lives through the lens of their Instagram history. My precious baby. Just 8 weeks old. The one whom I grieved over when I was told I could no longer breast feed him; an intimate connection I mourned when it was taken from me. And I was feeding him with my chin because there were other things I wanted to do with my hands at the same time.

So I hear this quiet nudging this morning, and I put down my phone, and the strangest thing happened. I noticed my baby for the first time all morning. He’s so beautiful. I noticed that his face is filling out and he no longer has that “newborn” look to him. He stared me straight in my eyes and I wondered, how long have you been looking at me and waiting for me to look back? Then when I readjusted my two hands to hold him more peacefully and tenderly instead of more conveniently, he did the most marvelous thing: he reached that little, immature and uncontrolled hand up and he held my hand that was feeding him. So even though my revelation wasn’t monumental this morning, it was the most relevant and poignant command I’ve heard in a long time.

I only gave you two hands. Because they are enough.

Your elbow does not exist for you to carry more than you can handle. Slow down – I have not asked you to carry more than you can handle, if you would only listen to me.

Your bluetooth device does not exist for you to carry on a conversation while you are distracted with other things. Be present. Honor the person on the phone by giving them your undivided attention instead of minimizing their worth by multitasking.

And your chin should not be feeding your baby. “If you pour yourself out to the hungry, then your light will rise in the darkness” Isaiah 58:10.

Be present. Be involved. Be focused. Be controlled. Do what you can with what God gave you, but don’t abuse your power. You can do many great things with God’s provision or you can do more things to a lower standard. You choose.

“Lazy hands make a poor man, but diligent hands bring wealth” Proverbs 10:4




Being Safe vs. Being Loved

6 Nov

The idea of being “safe” has been one that I’ve contemplated at great length these last few weeks. Since October 15th, when my health took a bizarre and scary turn, I have worried and worried about whether or not I am safe from any matter of side effects or symptoms of a stroke, an aneurism or worse.  If I’m tired at night and find myself talking slower, I worry that my speech is being affected from a stroke. When I took pain medication that made my hands tingle and affected my depth perception, I was afraid those symptoms were due to a lack of blood flow to my brain. When I couldn’t get out of bed last week because of the fatigue caused by my meds, I was afraid of depression. When I lifted Navy out of his high chair during a tantrum the other day, I was afraid the shot of pain in my neck was a worsening artery dissection. And I have realized after a few weeks now of walking on egg shells and hiding under the covers that the truth is, I’m NOT safe. No one is safe. These things happen, and “these things” are better referred to as life. Life happens. And no one is safe from that.

As I ponder this thought, I’ve had a this quiet revelation: “Courtney, even though you are not safe, you are loved. And how much greater it is to be loved than to be safe.”

Let’s unpack that thought.

Imagine you are completely unloved. No family loves you, no friends love you, no coworkers or mentors love you, and no god loves you. You live in a home that is as good as you can afford on your own skills (which you have had to learn the hard way because no one loved you enough to teach you anything) and at the end of the day, you return to that lonely home without any person (or god, as previously mentioned) who loves you. BUT you are promised one thing in life: safety. You are safe from disease. You are safe from harm. You are safe from fear. You are safe. But you have no love.

Now consider that even though you aren’t promised safety, you do have love. You have family who loves you and lifts you up. You (perhaps) have a husband or a wife that loves you and is committed to you. You (perhaps) have children who love you, even on days that it seems they are against you. But most important, you have a one true God that loves you and promises you that he has “plans for you; plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Which would you rather have? A life of solitude and safety, or a life rich in love where you don’t need to fear because you know that you are promised eternal life with The One who loves you more than you can ever imagine? A life where it doesn’t matter what happens with health or wealth because your home is in Heaven and you are promised an eternal life far greater than this Earthly life, full of its failures and disappointments. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

I know that the truth is that I am SO GLAD I have a faith in a God who is bigger than the universe and far bigger than my fears. But the reality is, I’m still a human, and every day I have two choices: I can continue this day living in faith or I can continue this day living in fear. And you have that same exact choice today. Worrying about my fears will not make them go away, and it certainly won’t make me a better mother, a better wife, a better sister or friend or daughter, and it most DEFINITELY won’t make me a better (more trusting) daughter of Christ. “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things will be given to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:25-34).

I hope you choose to walk in faith, and I hope you find peace in a life of love rather than wasting away seeking safety and security as your first priorities. I’m praying today for the eyes that will read this and that someone may be blessed and quenched by the living water and by the truth that whether you have chosen to walk on the path of righteousness yet or not, there is a God who is ready and waiting for you to accept His love; who is eagerly anticipating the moment that you say, “I love you too”.

“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).