Friday, January 31, 2014

What's In Your Hand?

             I learn a lot by listening. It’s not my favorite activity, but pretty close to the top of the list. One of the things I’ve learned from listening to young people is that they all want to do something great with their lives. Sadly, I don’t always hear the same enthusiasm from adults. I think that as we age, our zeal is dimmed by doubt that God could really use us: human, imperfect, frail man.
            The story of Moses fascinates me. When he was an infant, his mother floated him down a river in a basket to save his life. He was raised in a palace, ran for his life after he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave, and spent 40 years tending sheep. Then God appeared to him in a burning bush and told Moses that he was to deliver the people from slavery in Egypt.
            Moses immediately began to doubt his ability. God asked Moses, “What’s in your hand?”
            “A shepherd’s staff,” said Moses. The staff was the representation of what he had done for the past 40 years. It was the symbol of his season spent silently and in solitude on the back side of the desert, taking care of sheep.
            “Throw it down on the ground,” commanded the Lord. Moses obeyed. The power of God turned it into a snake. Moses was so terrified that he ran away. Surely Moses had seen a snake before. Moses was trying to flee the call and the power of God; the power that brings life to dead sticks and spent seasons.
            “Grab it by its tail,” said God. Wow! That seems like the worst place to grab a snake. It could turn around and bite you. But Moses obeyed and the snake became a shepherd’s staff again.
            Are you doubting the call of God on your life? Are you wondering how in the world you will accomplish what you believe He’s called you to do? I think God will start by using what's in your hand. He will use the gifts He’s given you and your past experiences to bring about His future plans.
            Moses didn’t leave his staff behind when he went to rescue the Hebrew children from Egypt. He took it before the Pharaoh and displayed God’s power there. He used it to part the waters of the Red Sea and later to strike the rock so that water would come forth.
            Take your experiences and talents into the next phase of your call.
            Move forward. Don’t look back. Use what’s in your hand.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Interfere? Who? Me?

“It’s the job of grandmothers to interfere.” No , that’s not the bumper sticker on my car. It was spoken by one of my favorite fictional characters, Violet Crawley, on the PBS series Downton Abbey. While the line made me laugh, it also forced a quick self-evaluation of my role as a grandmother.
            I don’t want to interfere, I don’t try to interfere, and I certainly don’t think I interfere. However, the only problem with a self-evaluation is that it’s filtered only by one’s own thoughts. Nevertheless, I forged on.
I thought about the times my daughters have asked my opinion regarding my two granddaughters and tried to decide if I went beyond their questions with unsolicited advice. When asked to help chose Christmas gifts, I told them to get light, plastic, easy-to-clean little kitchen sets. They both chose heavy, wooden, vintage-painted sets, with a 51-step assembly process. It was worth it because both Adeline and Olivia are having a great time with their beautiful new kitchens.
I’ve also been quizzed on party themes, locations, and whether or not to open the gifts during the party. “Definitely during the party, Monique. She’s only turning one. What else are we going to do?”
“Then why did you tell me to let Adeline wait to open hers?” Lauren asked. 
I forgot about that. I think it was because the children were outside playing games and I didn’t think they would want to stop. Oh, well, at least my medical advice is consistent. “Call the doctor,” or “Go to Urgent Care.”
What I lack in advice, I make up for in prayer. I cannot describe how much I love those little girls and the prayers I began praying before they were born have only increased. So what if I have a different opinion on their toys, don’t know how to plan their parties, and have no medical training. My prayers surround Adeline and Olivia and I am committed to continue. With all my heart I believe it’s the job of grandmothers to pray.
Ronny may be reached at