Friday, October 15, 2010

Maddox the Magnificent

Well, what do you think? Does it look like my barn-cat-turned-house-cat is happy with his new arrangement? Here is Maddox the Magnificent, as Jot calls him, sound asleep on Jewel. His tiny raised paws remind me of my kids when they were newborns. It their tiny arms raised over their heads like that, I knew they were deep in sleep and would stay that way for a long time. This was my cue to take a shower, run the sweeper, or stretch out on the couch and be assured that I'd get at least 20 winks before my little bundle of joy beckoned.

The kids are in love with this blond, blue-eyed fluffer-nutter. They argue about who gets him in their bed. They come through the door after school calling his name. They pet him, hold him, and love on him any chance they get. And he just eats it up.

What did this little guy do to earn a place in my house and their hearts? Nothing much. He couldn't control that he was born a kitten instead of a rattlesnake. He didn't put in an order for his soft blond fur with the cute white feet. He had no say in the fact that his warm, soft, purring body makes him irresistible to hold. He is just living the life he's been assigned and they love him anyway.

What's more, they adore him in spite of his faults. I mean that little guy has some razor-sharp daggers that come out of the ends of his soft paws. His teeth are like lightning fast staples. He is a mite over-zealous in his use of the litter box, flicking the stuff all over my bathroom. When we brought him in, he hosted an army of fleas in that wealth of long hair. None of it mattered to the kids. The love Maddox simply because they invited him in and he's here to stay.

Kind of reminds me of when I brought each of them home from the hospital, a scenario that plays out in homes all over the world every day. Not even mentioning the pain or labor and delivery, we bring these foreigners into our homes and let them turn our worlds upside down. They have no way of communicating but to cry, they drain us of our energy, deprive us of our sleep, and defile us with bodily functions that spew from every orifice. But we love them, care for them, and sacrifice for them because we've invited them in and they are here to stay. We want them here and we'd give up everything to keep them with us.

Reminds me of another Parent. In the midst of our sinful lives, in spite of our horrendous faults, He gave up everything to keep us with Him. God gave up His only Son so we could live in His house with Him for eternity. Jesus gave up his sinless life to make a way for us to be reconciled to the God who can't even look at sin, but gave up everything to provide a way to make us sinless. And we did nothing to deserve His lavish love. We had nothing in us to draw Him to us. We stumble along this road called life and He loves us anyway.

Rest assured of God's love of you today. Be encouraged by Jesus' sacrifice for you today. Be comforted by the Holy Spirit's power in you today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fan the Flame

Crisp fall leaves, warm jackets, bonfires, s'mores. All the things we love about fall. And those things aren't just fun, but just like most of life, if you look close enough, you can find a lesson.

What's the lesson in a bonfire? Click here to read my story on the home page of this month's Devo Kids website. The story, Fan the Flame, is written for kids, but the lesson is for everyone who wants to know what to do with the gifts they've been given.

Check it out and remember the lesson the next time you enjoy a gooey s'more or sit in the glowing beauty of a fall bonfire.

Nikki Studebaker Barcus