The Day our Hero Cried – Romans 12:15

Dad’s mood was somber that morning in 1966 when he sat on the couch and opened his arms for a bear hug. The four of us piled on his lap, hugging and chattering, squirming and pushing. Dad didn’t seem to mind the ruckus. Lowering his head, he squeezed us extra hard.

We knew Dad loved us more than anything. We didn’t know his heart was breaking.

The night before, the phone rang after we’d started getting ready for bed, which was unusual. Mom and Dad talked quietly about the call, and as Dad prepared to battle the Kendall Ford fire*, he pulled the curtain back to peer into the evening sky.

firefighters. skeeze. free pixabay

He drew us all to the window to show us the glow over downtown Eugene. It was all so exciting, like waiting for fourth of July fireworks or a lunar eclipse. We bounced into bed for hours of peaceful sleep, unaware our dad would spend the night at war.

As he held us on the couch, he described how big the fire was, how hard he’d worked, and that two firefighters had died. One was a friend whom he’d supported as he fell, the other a young man several yards away, a young husband and father.

That’s when I saw the tears in his eyes.

I’d never faced the possibility my dad could be hurt before. It rocked my world to see him cry. I thought he was indestructible, unshakable, but he proved otherwise. His heart hurt for the wives and children who were suffering at that very hour while he held his family close, and I shared his pain, thanking God my daddy had come home.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15 ESV).

My dad’s example drew me closer to him, because now I understood he had weaknesses just like me. Because he allowed his family to see him grieve, he helped us see that everyone needs God to be their Father.

It was such a powerful moment in my life, it made the transition from trusting Dad to trusting God a natural one. Thank you so much, Dad!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

*The Kendall Ford fire occurred on October 11, 1966.

 

Jesus in my Pocket – Matthew 28:20

In the third grade at Adams Elementary School a little 4 1/2-inch doll changed my life.

Dolly sat inside my desk with her toothpick-thin legs bracing her behind the pink eraser. Sure no one suspected I’d smuggled this contraband from home, school classroom .minasi stockxchngI’d play with her while the teacher wasn’t watching, making Dolly dance as I pretended to be engrossed in my coloring.

Dolly went with me everywhere.

My friend was always ready to play, even when the teacher was talking and couldn’t see my hand in my desk. Dolly’s whisperings made me smile, and none of my classmates knew why. I could take Dolly wherever I went, because she easily fit in my coat pocket.

I could even slip her into the pocket in my dress and take her out to play at recess. Oh, how I loved having a friend who would be with me wherever I went.

Then Pete saw her. He was one of the rowdy boys who the teacher assigned to the desk next to mine—hoping the quiet Kathy could influence him to be more attentive. He smirked and threatened to report Dolly.

Then I knew my friend couldn’t come to school anymore. She wasn’t that great a friend after all, since someone could steal her away, or she could fall out of my pocket and be lost.

Jesus, my true best friend.

Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command … This is my command: Love each other” (John 15:14 and 17 (NIV).

He also said, “… surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).

Though Pete was an irritation to me he awoke me to the reality that I needed to choose Jesus as my best friend. Jesus proved his love for me by sacrificing his life for mine. There is no friend like him, and he will always be with me, whether or not I have a pocket.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Let Children Come to Jesus – Matthew 19:13-14

My mother says I came home and reported to her that I’d asked Jesus in my heart at an after-school program. With great reverence I said,

“I felt Jesus all over me.”

I love how children explain things that they haven’t tried to express before. In my child-like understanding I knew my life had changed.

A little can help a lot

used with permission. zumbari stockxchng

photo from zumbari .stockxchng

When my husband agreed to train with me to become foster parents, my commitment was to help children experience a home that might affect their lives forever.

I’ve known adults who were impacted by spending one week at summer camp. Certainly I could do the same for a child, though caring for children short-term was a different parenting paradigm than I was accustomed to. But if we would only foster one child, I knew helping the one would be worth it.

Do not hinder them from coming to Jesus

“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven'” (Matthew 19:13-14 ESV).

I think I wouldn’t know Jesus like I do if there hadn’t been children in my life. I’ve learned so much from their trust, vulnerability, joy, openness, transparency, dependence, and need to bond. It seems clear that’s what Jesus meant when he said the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these.

Prayer

Lord, I think that if you hadn’t made a point of welcoming children that day, I might not have benefited from the caring adult who invited me to your side. Thank you so much for people like her, and for making us all a part of your kingdom.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis