Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Enemy's Plot to Enter Unseen

by Danetta Kellar

Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” 
-Nehemiah 4:11

They had come in through an unseen crack in the foundation. Silently, in the cover of darkness, they multiplied. In the hidden places they carried out their dirty work, while life went on outside as usual, unaware. 

One night I tiptoed through the darkness of the courtyard to get a drink of water from the kitchen. As I flipped on the light I screamed in terror. Covering the floor like a horrifying, pulsing carpet was an army of cockroaches. They frantically retreated to their dark places, frightened of the light. They had been exposed.

Christians must be vigilant, always watchful. God’s enemy excels at stealth, and will enter through the unseen cracks in our lives, the unguarded places, while we are unaware. 

Before we know it or see him, he will be right here among us, destroying our joy, our relationships, our lives.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Don't Do It Alone: The Power of Togetherness In Times of Uncertainty

by Danetta Kellar

I lay on the sofa, my eyes closed to the bright light coming through the tall windows. My mind would not, however, so easily shut down. One of our family members was hurting, and we had gathered to support and comfort each other. We were all having trouble keeping a quiet heart.

As I lay still, my head pounding, I listened. Familiar voices talked softly in the next room. The dog trotted by, his paws tapping the wood floor. Glasses clinked in the kitchen as someone tidied up the lunch dishes. Feet pounded across the upstairs floor as children chased each other. Doors opened and shut; someone was looking for a misplaced shoe.

The normalcy and comfort of togetherness during this time of anxiety somehow settled my heart, and rest entered despite the fear and worry that had taken up residence in me since last week. 

We are a family, and we are together. The strength of that wrapped its arms around me like comfort. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Father I Know

by Danetta Kellar

There is much I do not know about fathers. I do not know the comfort of climbing into big safe arms when I am scared. I do not know the delight of running to meet him when he comes home from a long day at work. I do not know what it is like to have him protect me from danger. I do not know the confidence of a girl who is loved and beautiful because her Daddy says it is so.

Growing up not knowing my father, I missed so much. 

But this is not a pity party. Not a mournful dirge narrating what I did not experience growing up and blaming my life's problems on the past. 

No, on this Father’s Day, I am celebrating an immeasurable gift only found in the darkest of places. I celebrate the Father I know.

The great, priceless gem that I have mined from the darkness of abandonment is the treasure of knowing my Father God. 

It is He who has shaped my father image, it is He who has become Real to me in a way perhaps no earthly father ever could. Though it was never God’s plan for my life, the absence of my earthly father left a gaping void that would later be filled with the very real presence of my Father God.

When I was a little girl, frightened and hurting, He came to me one snowy Christmas evening through the gift of a Bible my great-grandmother gave me. 

In Genesis, I learned that I was made to look just like Him. In the book of Exodus, I learned that He would fight for me. In the book of Judges, I read about Deborah, and learned that girls could be strong and brave, and live boldly for Him. In the Psalms, I learned to hide in His strong arms. He taught me that I was beautiful because of His love for me. In Zechariah, I heard Him singing over me.

In the book of Luke, I learned that my Father runs to me with joy when I come home. In John, I realized that when my earthly father had failed me, God was on the cross, saying, Father, forgive him

I learned in Romans that nothing could ever separate me from my Father God’s love, and Acts taught me to lean on the Helper He sent to always be with me in everything I faced. 

I learned all of this, and so much more, about my Father.

I came to know my Father God in all His strength and love, in the very place of vacancy left by my earthly father’s absence. 

I am not abandoned, unloved, after all. I am confident, certain of His constancy in my life. He has never left me, and He never will.

I still have moments when I wish for a real lap to climb into. I wish for human father eyes to look at me and tell me that I am approved, I am good, I am loved. At those times I pull away with my Father God and pour out my heart. And I am overwhelmed by His love for me.

One day, I will sit in his real lap. I will look into His eyes. 

But for now, I walk with Him each day, and talk to Him. He never gets tired of listening.

Happy Father's Day to all the fatherless, abandoned ones, to the ones who have not known an earthly father’s protective love. You are not alone, after all. May you know the treasure of God’s heart for you this Father’s Day.

Dear Father, I pray for the fatherless, the hurting ones, today. Show them your heart, who you really created a father to be. Walk through the walls they have put up to protect themselves and sing over them songs of tender love and acceptance. Listen to them and heal their wounds. Amen.

How has God filled your vacant spaces? Share with me!


Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Pilgrimage of Motherhood (Psalm 84)

By Danetta Kellar

According to the dictionary, a pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place. Whether you are a mother who only held your child briefly in your womb, a mother who has outlived her children, a mother who is striving alone to raise children in a frightening world, this journey is sacred, holy.

We find in Psalm 84 a map for the pilgrimage of motherhood. Upon close examination, we discover that it makes a large circle. Its beginning and end are the same, and one finds herself embarking on this journey from the same place to which she hopes to return at the journey’s end. 

The pilgrimage of motherhood is all about Trust. Trusting the Lord, dwelling with Him. He is the beginning and end of our sojourn. 

A Nest Near Your Altar

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. (v. 3)

The sparrows know a secret. As mothers we must nest closely to the Father’s side. In the shadow of His altar, we are ever-dependent on Him for daily wisdom and guidance as we nurture our children.

Ever Praising

Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. (v. 4)

As mothers, we have a unique vantage point. We are privy to the daily victories in the lives of our children. We see the challenges that lay them low, and we hold them up as they work to overcome. We rejoice in triumphs unseen by others. We celebrate the small miracles of baby toes and the way a teenager grows more confident the first day he drives a car. We bask in the sweet prayers of a little girl asking for her sunflowers to grow. Surely the heart of a mother has reason above all others to be ever praising God for His marvelous works in the lives of children.

Hearts Set on Pilgrimage

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. (v. 5)

As mothers we daily remember the destination, the goal. We are the GPS of the home, referring to the map, reminding everyone where we are headed. We are leading our children to God, to the dwelling place for their souls. We call them ever higher and together we make the climb upward and onward.

Tearful Passage

As they pass through the Valley of Baca (Weeping), they make it a place of springs…” (v. 6)

We weep, oh how we weep! We weep tears of joy and sorrow, fear and hope. The love we have been given for these dear ones is so poignant we would die for them. We stand in the gap between our children and the enemy of their souls, interceding for their very lives and futures. The Lord, our dwelling place, makes those tears into places of springs, places of blessing to nourish others who come behind us. He never wastes the outpouring of our mother hearts. 

Strength to Strength

They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. (v. 7)

The strength of a mother is an extraordinary mystery. She has been given a special ability to rise again, and again, going from strength to strength through the journey of mothering. Through sorrow, challenge, and the dark nights of the unknown, she strengthens herself once again in her God.

Blessed is the One who Trusts in You

O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. (v. 12)

And here we find our final destination, the place from which motherhood begins, the place where it finds its destination. There is no other place to dwell, really. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. 

The pilgrimage of motherhood is a journey of trust. We climb higher into the arms of God, carrying our children, entrusting them to Him again, and again. From strength to strength we press forward, keeping the goal in mind. The goal is Himself, the Lord Almighty, the only dwelling place for our souls and the souls of our children.

Where do you find yourself on this journey today?


Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Relationship Between Harmony and the Menial Task

by Danetta Kellar

Clink, clink, swoosh. Clink, clink, clink. In the middle of the workday, I could barely hear my husband’s voice on the telephone against the tinkling of something in the background. 

“Are you washing dishes again?” I asked him.

Sheepish silence.

“You are. You are washing dishes. Again.”

He wears his position of influence at work under the humble garb of humility, a willingness to do the menial task. He has always done this, the menial, no matter where we have lived in the world. He serves his family and his friends, even the stranger in this way. It annoys me sometimes, in my stubborn pride and the sheer inconvenience of service to others. But over the years I am learning from him how to lay my life down in the smallest, unnoticed ways.