The Fourth of July can be quite stressful…. at least that’s my experience as a mother to a rescue basset who suffers from anxiety issues. This year, while my husband, Steve, and three-year-old son, Carter, sat outside enjoying the fireworks, I remained inside with Lucy as she paced, panted, trembled, and occasionally lost control of her bladder (and worse).
As I sat crouched on my knees near our living room window, scrubbing away at the carpet, a burst of light flashed, catching my eye. Turning my head, I was soon captivated by the nearness of the fireworks.
Sheepishly, I realized what was truly happening: There I was on my hands and knees, literally scrubbing away precious time while my family was outside making wonderful memories.
Abandoning my task, I jumped to my feet, heading towards the door. It was time to take my place in those memories… not remain in the background cleaning up after a neurotic hound dog.
Turns out, that was only the first lesson I learned that night.
I came through the door to see Steve and Carter, side-by-side in lawn chairs, watching the sky. Smiling at the picture they made, I came up from behind, squeezing Carter’s shoulder.
My son, who’d always loved spending time with his mom, looked at me and said, “No, I don’t want you. Go inside.”
Though I don’t take orders from a three-year-old, I can’t say his words didn’t slash…that my happiness didn’t dim; and that the lights in the sky didn’t suddenly lose their luster. Here was my son; this precious little person whom I love so much…for whom I’d suffered, sacrificed, and rearranged my entire life for…telling me to get lost… It was my first real rejection from my child, and it cut deep.
But don’t I do that to God, my Father? The truth is that God created the earth and the heavens for his glory. We, too, were created to reflect his glory, and to embrace with gratitude the gifts he’s placed all around us. How much time have I spent failing to recognize what he’s done for me; the glory that is obvious all around me?
It’s so easy to fixate on the things we feel are lacking in our life; to become consumed by the few things that we want but don’t have… and somehow miss God’s glory and his very presence all around us.
For years I didn’t understand that my sins hurt God. I reasoned that I was only hurting myself. But what if that’s not true?
If the underlying cause of all sin is a basic rejection of God and his ways, why would I not believe that it would cause him pain? In Deuteronomy when God speaks of the Israelites he says:
“For I will bring them into the land I swore to give their ancestors – a land flowing with milk and honey. There they will become prosperous, eat all the food they want, and become fat. But they will begin to worship other gods; they will despise me and break my covenant.”
Deuteronomy 31:20 NLT
How had I believed this would not be hurtful? With all God did to demonstrate his love for the Israelites, and all the miracles he performed while freeing them from slavery… How could I ever believe that their blatant rejection didn’t sting?
On the Fourth of July, I began to understand.
With Carter, reconciliation came quickly. Less than an hour after telling me that he didn’t want me, he was cuddled in my arms falling asleep. And though he’d hurt me, I was more than willing to embrace him. The same is true of our Heavenly Father. In whatever way we’ve rejected him, be it intentional, or unintentional, the remedy is simple.
He’s ready to forgive and restore. Just tell him, repent, and rush into his ever-waiting arms.
And enjoy Him.
“Sing hymns to God;
all heaven, sing out;
clear the way for the coming of
cheer when you see him!”
-Psalm 68:4 MSG
Nicole has spent the past 3 years as a stay-at-home mom to her young son (and two hound dogs); and considers this time away from work to be an incredible blessing. This season at home has given her the space to focus on growing in her relationship with God as well as the time to explore her faith in writing. You can read about her journey at Faith Over Understanding. (If you are a dog lover, you may also enjoy her dog blog: Two Suburban Hound Dogs).