Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion October 24, 2018

Greetings All!
My husband and I are watching Grandchildren. My husband always watches grandchildren, that has become his ‘job’. Three days a week he is in charge of little ones - 2 on Mondays, and 2 different ones on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesdays. He whines but he enjoys it and his charges love their "pa"!
But this week the 2 Monday grandchildren came to our house because their Mom had a Continuing Education class to attend and the 2 Tuesday and Wednesday ones had other things they needed to do and so there are 2 at our house.
All is going well until a moment this morning when the older of the 2 went to the Library with her grandfather. The Library has a great program for young ones on Wednesday mornings and whenever we have grandchildren here Grandfather takes the ones who are the right age to the program at the Library.
This meant that the younger of the two grandchildren stayed with me at the house.
Now he is a little boy and he is always on the go - always. He hits the ground running as soon as he is out of bed and unless you tie him down he doesn’t even like to take the time to eat even though he is really hungry. One morning we made the grandparent mistake of having him sit in a regular kids chair at the table, put his food in front of him and before you could blink he was off the chair and cruising the house. So the worried he won’t get enough to eat grandparents sort of stuffed food into his mouth whenever he wandered by…. I know, grandparent mistake but we do learn!
So after the breakfast fiasco and he was sufficiently full of food - or at least enough nourishment to get him through the morning until snack time - he began his exploration of the world. Grandad and granddaughter headed off to the library and that left the drifter and grandma at home.
Since he was busy with his travels, I decided I could get some work done and I sat down at the table in the living room (which was suppose to be a place to eat but somehow got piled up with things I needed to do….) and began to cut out large animal parts.
Now, you say “Why are you cutting out large animal parts” which would be a normal question to ask and I will tell you why…. Each month we have a ‘fun’ night for our church’s children and youth. Sometimes it is just fun and sometimes it is fun tied to a Bible lesson. Since this is Halloween season we always do Spooky Stories from the Bible with a bible story and then some supporting activities.
This year one of our spooky Bible stories is the beast from the book of Daniel that is made up of a bunch of different animal parts. So the kids are going to make their own animals made up of giant animal parts and to prepare for this fun the animal parts need cut out….. Which is why I am sitting at the table while the young one is making his way around the house again and again and again cutting out large animal parts…..
Now a while ago I had to tell him “No!” as he began to pull a chair over to our dining room table and proceed to climb onto the table which was not a good idea and you would have thought that I had put bamboo shoots under his toe nails as a loud wail went out and he went over to the couch, buried his head under a pillow and cried real alligator tears…. Poor guy.
It wasn’t too much longer when he decided he needed to pull open the dryer that is in my kitchen and if he could have figured it out he would have been inside of the dryer which required another “No!” which gave a repeat of the earlier loud cry and huge tears and a moment of sulking until he got distracted by something he saw and quickly dried up the sobbing and off he went once again.
I continued my animal part cutting and as I cut them I laid them neatly in a stack on the edge of the table having another grandmother not thinking moment and of course what attracted my little explorer but these pieces of paper that were on the table and he motored over and I saw a little hand reaching up the table as it tried to grasp some cut out animal legs and again there was a “No!”…….. this time there was a cry delay which always means the cry is going to be louder and the prediction was accurate as his eyes closed and the mouth came open and out came the ‘my life is over’ screech followed by tears and a run over to the couch where once again he tried to bury his head as he continued to shed these huge tears…..
There is a part of grandma that wants to run over and hug him and say that is ok and give him a cut out animal leg but then the ‘I once was a parent’ part of grandma kicks in and I know that shortly he will become distracted by something like the abandoned spoon under the coffee table and life will go on and learning "No!" is an important part of growing up.
Our relationship with God is much like that of a grandparent or parent and while God loves us more than we can ever imagine, God knows quite well what is good for us and what is not. God knows quite well when we need the parental brakes applied and when we, even as adults, need to hear “No!” to our wants and desires and our requests.
And often, we respond just like a disgruntled one year old as we cry and sulk and think God doesn’t like us any more because we aren’t getting everything we want.
But we know that God loves us with a perfect love, a generous love, but also a love that knows that we aren’t always going to make the right decisions and we aren’t always going to do what is right and good for us - a love that knows that we can’t have everything we want because God knows the big picture and many times God knows that saying “No!” is the best thing for us and for the purpose God has laid out for us….
So know, that when God says “No!”, God is not being mean, or is not trying to ruin your life, or is not ignoring your requests, we need to trust in the one who not only created us but created the world and everything in it and knows us and knows our future.
Its hard and we will probably sometimes run to the couch and hide our head and shed crocodile tears, but God is still there and God still loves us and God only wants the best for us…..

Amen!!
Joanne!


These devotions began in 2006 as a way to give us a midweek boost as we live out our lives as the people of God! Feel free to share them if you wish.

Devotion Oct 3, 2018

Greetings!
I love spending time with people and I particularly enjoy spending time with people over a meal - especially lunch.  So if you ever want to go to lunch and I don’t have a myriad of other responsibilities that happen to be happening during that lunch time which is unfortunately often the case…. anyway I enjoy a nice lunch with a person or persons and I really am not overly picky as to what that lunch may be or where it may be….
So the other day I was going out to lunch.  I was looking forward to the lunch and made sure I worked out my schedule so that I could spend some fun time over a table of food!
Seemed like the events of the day cooperated and I gathered what I needed  and grabbed the car keys and into the car and off I went.
It wasn’t far to go and it was a fairly popular lunch location for many in the area but I found a parking spot (which when you go to here on Sundays after church is not always a possibility), pulled in and parked and proceeded to walk across the lot.
I was the first one there and fortunately in front of the door to the eating establishment was a nice bench just asking for someone to come and sit.  So being there before my lunch companion, I did.  
It was a nice bench, pretty comfortable and a great place to do some ‘just sitting’ and relaxing.  I actually overcame the temptation to pull out the cell phone and peruse Facebook or emails or even play a game because I thought what a nice opportunity just to sit and relax and gaze off.  
Several other people were gathering around the entrance to the restaurant apparently waiting for others to come join them and a small girl, probably about 4, came and sat down beside me because she was tired of complaining to her mother that she didn’t want to stand and wait any longer.  Thought it was just like a child to be willing to come and sit down beside someone and not worry about all those social conventions of joining another person you do not know on a pretty small bench. 
Now I realize all of the wariness of today’s society especially when it comes to children and strangers and I am not disrespecting this necessary aspect of our world today when it comes to being careful with our little ones.  I assume that this little girl’s mother felt the ‘older woman’ on the bench looked pretty safe and after all Mom was standing right there and there really wasn’t an escape route had I chosen to do what we worry people might do.
I of course never wasting an opportunity to talk to a child because I love little children in my grandmotherly sort of way, I told the little one she was welcome to sit with me and I saw her mother look questioningly but not say anything…. The wee one proceeded to tell me all about how she was meeting her mother’s friend here and her mother’s friend was bringing her (the little girl’s) friend and how she was looking forward to having a grilled cheese sandwich with some of those really good chips that tasted like cheese and she really like cheese which is why she was getting a grilled cheese sandwich and some chips that tasted like cheese and yes she talked just like that with nary a breath…. It made me want to breathe for her!
I told her I was really glad she was going to get her favorite cheese and get to see her friend and she began to talk once again non stop until finally the Mom friend and the little girl friend showed up and Mom said ‘Come on, it’s time to go in and eat’ and I smiled at Mom who did not smile back as she held out her hand towards her daughter and proceeded into the restaurant.
This whole encounter reminded me of Jesus’ words when he said, “Let the little children come to me because their’s is the kingdom of heaven”.  We wonder what that means and how that applies to us mature adults who think we have it all together because we are old and children have a lot to learn because they are young yet as Jesus so often does, he flips us around and says that we mature, supposedly knowledgeable adults need to become like children…..
It has a lot to do with the willingness to be vulnerable around people we do not know in order to be like Christ around them - open and willing to share our lives, share our faith or just tell someone we like grilled cheese sandwiches and be amenable to allowing God to guide the conversation to places that only God knows one of us sharing that talking time need to be.
And maybe we as adults need to relax a little and remember we are children of God…..

Amen!