What will you do when God says "no"?

What do you do when you don't get your way?

My eldest screams with a red hot rage and sobs tears of hurt and disappointment.

As much as I would like to hold my head up high and speak with condescension about the ways of a child, I can't. Instead, I will bow my head with shame and confess that, even if I don't do it out loud or in front of people, I have much the same reaction in my deepest places.

I received another "no" from God this week.

It really hurt. Yet another of my well-laid plans was swept away with the dust of a hope.

I do gain deep peace and joy from knowing beyond a doubt that the only reason that God said "no" was because that wasn't what was best.

And, just as I wrote recently, my heart still grieves.

There is a piece of me, that child that can't seem to grow up, that wants to shout and rage and stamp its foot and demand a "yes" from God.

The desire, the temptation, is not wrong. As I often tell my eldest, the feeling is not wrong, but what you choose to do can be either wise or foolish.

So what did I choose to do?

This time (I wish that I could say "every time") I chose what was wise.

With tears, I praised God.

I thanked Him for telling me "no" because I trust that it was best, that it was done out of love.

Then I went to church and worshiped.

You make all things work together for my good.
You stay the same through the ages,
Your love never changes.
There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning.
And when the oceans rage,
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me.
Your love never fails.

My whole life I place in Your hands.
God of mercy, humbled I bow down
In Your presence at Your throne.
I called, You answered
And You came to my rescue
And I want to be where You are.

You stood before my failure,
Carried the cross for my shame.
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders,
My soul now to stand.
So I'll stand,
With arms high and heart abandoned,
In awe of the One who gave it all.

I turned my eyes back to Jesus and gained back my perspective. No matter to what God says "no", it is so small compared to the huge thing to which He has already said "yes": allowing us to become His children through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. He has given us everything, and so...

I'll stand
My soul, Lord, to You surrendered.
All I am is Yours.

art credit: 
songs are from Your Love Never Fails (Jesus Culture); Came To My Rescue (Hillsong United); The Stand (Hillsong United) 
sketching is The Three Crosses by Rembrandt


Craving Connection

Fairly regularly, my eldest will call to me after I have put her to bed for the night.

When I ask her what she needs, she will say, “I just need you, Mommy. I just need you for a moment.”

I will crawl into bed with her, she will wrap a strand of my hair around her finger, and we will snuggle for just a moment.

My little ones need my touch. They need me to look into their eyes, they need to feel my skin touching theirs.

Why is this so necessary for them? Not just desired but truly needed.

Every mother knows this instinctively, that their babies need their touch, but it is also a documented subject of research studies. A 2009 Cochrane Review of studies found that infants who have their skin stroked regularly cry and fuss less than those who don't. Science also has shown that skin-to-skin contact lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Funny how we need science to prove to us what we already know: that we need connection.

Why do we need this connection, both with others and with God?

One clue is in how we were created.

As God created everything in our world – light, sky, islands, dolphins, lions, sparrows – He spoke. Powerful, yet a bit impersonal.

When God created man? He breathed.

His face leaned in close to the dirt and His breath brought us into being.

That closeness is what we need, what we crave. That connection is what we were created to need.

God's intention, though, was for us to always have what we needed, to always have a perfect connection to Him. In a garden, long ago, we threw it away.

So He once again gently leaned in close to us and became a soft, touchable baby. A baby that we could touch and hold and kiss.

A baby that would once again breathe on us and in that final breath on the cross, reconnect us to our Abba.

What will we do now that we once again have that perfect connection with God? Will we again throw it away, or will we cherish and nourish it?

Will we continue to seek to know God as intimately as He knows us so that our connection with Him can flourish? Will we lean in close to those we meet and breath grace on them so that they, too, can be connected?

What will you do?