Perfection, and Not – Ephesians 2:4-7

Real children don’t always behave well, not like the cherished doll that adorned my bed. Real children come to us bringing messes, noises, and cries of protest. Not Priscilla. I bought her at a church bazaar with my babysitting money, after years of yearning for one of Mrs. Dillon’s dolls. Priscilla’s job was to spend the day exactly as I’d arranged her, propped against my pillow; pleasant, quiet, and clean. I came home from school to find she’d performed these duties flawlessly.

child dirty. free. rrsilvestre1. pixabay

Real people

My son stopped by briefly with his wife and children yesterday. While he was talking with my husband, I leaned against the van door to chat with his wife, their three sons, and their foster son.

The kids were loud and a bit disobedient. They’d just come from a BBQ and wore remnants of a meal on their faces. I couldn’t resist their hugs and updates on their day. Even my new little foster grandson called me grandma, not resting till I’d grabbed his hand and given him my attention.

My doll never did that.

Priscilla’s disguise

I didn’t discover my doll’s ruse until this week, when I remembered she wasn’t actually what she appeared to be. Priscilla was fashioned to look like a rag doll, but she was actually handcrafted from new materials. No rags, or anything second-hand, was used in her creation.

She was also a false friend. Her lips were stitched into a pleasant smile, but she couldn’t truly care about me, not like the little boys who reached for me from the back seat.

Free to love and be loved

That Christmas, my Sunday School class volunteered to provide a neighborhood family with Christmas gifts, and I donated Priscilla. It was truly a sacrificial gift, and sometimes I wish I’d kept her. It was better, though, to give her up to fulfill her purpose, bringing joy to a child in need.

In some ways I’m much like Priscilla. I am loved, cherished and protected, yet working in disorderly, noisy, uncomfortable places in order to share God’s love.

“. . . because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7 NIV).

Some day I will see I’ve been sitting next to Jesus all along.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

What I Learned from a Doll – Proverbs 18:21

I held the covers over my head and turned the cell phone away from my sleeping husband. In a breathy voice I recorded my thoughts, watching to see if Jerry might stir. He’s a man who can sleep through branches scraping against the roof and our dog’s barking, but apparently not a whispering woman in his bed. Rats.

That killed any chance of keeping track of my thoughts while in bed. From now on I would have to leave the room to write down the stories that come in the night.

doll eyes. alexas_fotos .free pixabay

I’d put in my order that day, for copies of the book, Jesus Talked to Me Today: True Stories of Children’s Encounters with Angels, Miracles, and God, which includes my story about a doll I carried in my pocket and how I learned about Jesus through her.

In the night I found I have another doll story to tell.

The other doll

My 8″ Betsy McCall doll was very talented, able to sit upright because of her bendable, lifelike knees. She was dressed in the TV Time outfit, a cute teal jumper and blue pants. I looked forward to coming home from first grade and posing her on the dresser in the garage, where we admired each other and shared our secrets.

One night I had a nightmare about her watching me from her perch as I teased her about the hinges in her knees. She smiled. Emboldened, I mocked their ugliness, and though her expression didn’t change, she lowered her chin and tilted to one side. Then, like a marshmallow melting on the end of a roasting stick, she slumped over.

My words had destroyed my friend

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).

My precious doll disappeared from my life. I don’t know what happened to her, but I have no memory of playing with her after that dream. The lesson endures, however, and I hope to never forget the image of my words’ affect on her. I don’t ever want someone damaged because of something I’ve said, even in jest.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis