Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Sheila Lloyd! Welcome back Sheila. I hope that this devotional can be an encouragement to you all today.
Shadows lengthen on a mid-October lawn reminding me of Autumn afternoons of my childhood and adolescence in a veritable garden of love, where kindness and tenderness cast long shadows on walls of growing maturity. The gift, not only of being loved but actually enjoyed, of not just feeling protected but also supported and celebrated, engendered confidence to fly high pursuing dreams. And when the wild blue yonder conjured up storms that tore the parachute, my parents were soft piles of hay ensuring a safe landing. Chastisement was given at times, but not in a way to squelch the dream or the spirit, just as a constructive tweak to the rigging in preparation for the next flight.
The older I get, the more I am acutely aware of the lavishness of such endearment and security. And now that my parents have joined the ranks of what the Bible calls, “the great cloud of witnesses,” I have keenly wrestled with the loss. Heaven’s gain has left and earthly void, and I long to hear their voices of reassurance once again especially on those days when the parachute has become mangled.
However, the Lord–who was always their number one Source of Strength for flight–has been teaching me of His Presence. He reminds this eaglet that He will never leave me nor forsake me. His voice will never fade away–unless I have run purposely out of earshot.
A humbling realization struck me last week at my piano. Singing of the charity of God, I realized my parents’ adoration for me had only been a mere shadow of my Heavenly Father’s…their encouragement, gentleness, and faithfulness a drop in the bucket compared to the waterfall from the Almighty.
I am also aware that for my fellow humans, my testimony of parental support has most likely not been the common experience. For far too many, the sentiments of acceptance, security, encouragement and even love were completely absent, and for that I am deeply sorrowful. And yet, the reality of God’s unconditional affection for every single human being is infinitely greater than what my mere words might convey!
A glance in the mirror reminds that I am certainly no eaglet any longer! The baton is passed. I cannot travel back in time to that yard under the huge oak trees and the welcomed safety of my parents’ embrace. Nor can I bring them back to walk several more years–or even one more moment–on this terrestrial ball with me, much as I might think I need them. Who I truly need is Jesus, and his enduring love looms larger than any evening shadow.
As I grasp the baton and run toward the next bend in the race, I acknowledge that I have been granted the gift as well as the responsibility of parenthood–and so hope to have instilled in my children the same adoration, security, encouragement, celebration and delight that were bestowed upon me. These human qualities are just shadows, boys. Look up and beyond them to the Source of Light–Your Creator, Your Redeemer, Your unfailing and unfading Lord.
Sheila Lloyd is learning to live in freedom through Jesus Christ! Her vocational life has included teaching private piano lessons, writing, acting in and producing musical dramas, spearheading women’s retreats and other ministry outreach events, composing music, leading worship across the country, teaching Bible studies and mentoring. Shelia has two grown sons, one of whom has special needs. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Brian, since 1990. The couple experienced growth on the cutting edge of faith as Brian suffered a massive rehabilitating stroke in 2014. They published a book sharing God‘s powerful hand in the situation titled, It’s OK! I Had a Stroke. It was released on Amazon and Barnes and Noble May 2019. Website here. The couple currently shepherds a storefront church in Woodstock, VA.