Time to Fly

 A friend and colleague of mine posted a link on their facebook last night.  50 Rules for Dad of Daughters.  As I was thinking of what to write and putting my boys to bed, this snuck in where I least expected and lodged its way into my soul.  It is a simple blog, with rules such as “. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway”  “Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.”  Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait ‘til her wedding day”

 Those are the easy ones to digest and they bring a smile to the face.  Then the author launches 3 zingers back-to-back .

43”. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.

Let her know she can always come home.  No matter what.”

 I saved the best for the last one.  Now, I am not a dad, but I am a daughter and something about this blog post would not let me go.  I sat watching Comedy Central a blubbering mess last night as I read this.  The author commented when he first posted this he had to shut down the comments option to this blog because so many people had responded.  Men and women; old enough to have children and grandchildren of their own, most fighting back their own tears for what these words speak.  For all the bravado that we carry, when it comes right down to it, we are still the little boys and little girls of our Maker. 

            Does it escape your attention that there remains an element of a lack of confidence and fear in those words?  Does it escape our attention that the desire to fly and dream big also occurs?  IT shouldn’t surprise us, we are created that way, to dream big and want to fly.  It is also within our nature to be afraid.  Our loving parent knows this and has sent us some amazing words in Psalm 91.  Listen as the Message illuminates:

You who sit down in the High God‘s presence, spend the night in Shaddai‘s shadow,
   Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
      I trust in you and I’m safe!”
   That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
      shields you from deadly hazards.
   His huge outstretched arms protect you—
      under them you’re perfectly safe;
      his arms fend off all harm.
   Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
      not flying arrows in the day,
   Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
      not disaster that erupts at high noon.
   Even though others succumb all around,
      drop like flies right and left,
      no harm will even graze you.
   You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
      watch the wicked turn into corpses.
   Yes, because God’s your refuge,
      the High God your very own home,
   Evil can’t get close to you,
      harm can’t get through the door.

 

Let those words envelop you for a moment, sit with them, let them speak to you.  
   His huge outstretched arms protect you—
      under them you’re perfectly safe;
      his arms fend off all harm.

Yes, because God’s your refuge,
      the High God your very own home,
   Evil can’t get close to you,
      harm can’t get through the door.

What comfort and what power resonate in those promises.  It almost takes my breath away as I take in the full weight of those words.  We are perfectly safe, protected from all harm.  I want to sink into that and rest.  I wonder how many others feel that way.

As I look at the headlines today, I still wonder that.  As our political scene becomes more muddied with allegations and fear mongering, we are fed course upon course of lies and hate rhetoric.  A  dear friend is nursing a child back to health after some violent hockey this past weekend, fear of losing and not being the champions has left a number of young people irreparably hurt in Minnesota.  The television programs are full of zombie-crazed violence which drives my young sons to run to me in terror when a commercial crosses the screen.  As a parent, I watch shape our world is in and I am scared.  As a woman, I step cautiously wondering where my rightful place is and am plagued by questions of doubt.  In ministry, I enter the world having just completed my education and stepping from the safe haven that is seminary.  I feel naked and vulnerable; can I make it on my own?  As a daughter, I want to climb into the safety of protective arms and hang out there for a while.

God knows this and knows us intimately and has provided the safe haven we can run to when the world looks and feels like more than we can handle.  I notice in these words of comfort from the Psalm, there is also a call to action….

                Listen one more time. 

   Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
      not flying arrows in the day,
   Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
      not disaster that erupts at high noon.
   Even though others succumb all around,
      drop like flies right and left,
      no harm will even graze you.
   You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance

                Fear NOT!!! Emmanuel—God is with us.  A colleague and mentor said this to me the other day as a blessing and I took their words at surface level until this Psalm settled into my mind.  Fear Not….We will stand untouched—watching it from a distance.  Wow!  What confidence that inspires.  Doesn’t it make you want to dream?  Doesn’t it make you feel like whatever you have been called to do, that thing that seems so big and so scary is possible?  Fear not!  We are protected and safe, cradled in arms that promise that we can come home…always, no matter what. 

                God understands dreams.  Close your eyes for a moment.  Imagine what it is that makes your heart sing…makes your soul dance, and brings joy to your being.  What does it look like, feel like, what are the sounds that surround it?  What would give it wings to fly?  Courage, ambition, motivation, finances, or a quest for perfection often paralyzes us from action. 

                I understand paralysis.  This past October I attended a National Conference with more than 3,000 change agents.  The energy was electrifying.  On the last day of the conference, I attended the morning plenary session and was transfixed by one of the presenters.  It turns out she is five years my senior and my same height.  She spoke with such passion and wisdom; I could not contain the excitement.  My colleague busied themselves with a registration form and tried to shut out my constant badgering and elbowing…asking if they had heard  what was just said.  I still remember the patronizing head knod, I smile at the memory because the information was not from them to hear.  It was for me.  She was speaking and living out part of a dream I carry.  I went up to her book signing after the session and waited in anticipation.  I stood in line and when my turn came all I could do was look at her and tell her that I have felt called to write and to speak on behalf of the least, the lost, and the lonely.  She smiled, looked me straight in the eye and said, “Scared out of your mind, aren’t you?”  She scrawled something in the book, handed it back to me with her card and I went for lunch.  I opened the book and saw what she had written, “Cindy, OBEY.  Psalm 91  Lisa”  Those words are etched on my mind, I can see them as clearly as the page from which I speak.  There was no longer an excuse for me to hide.  There was no more running from that which I had been called to do.  The veil of fear had been exposed and with it the lies I allowed to run in my head.  We all entertain them and they paralyze us in fear and doubt.  As I flipped open my Bible, there was no real need for confirmation.  I knew what my eyes would see,  I was already quoting it verse by verse.  “The Lord will give the angels charge over thee…”  The power comes not from me, but the empowerment from the promise in Psalm 91 is for me to grab hold of.  To grab hold of, and if I have the courage, etch that promise on my soul, let it soar from my fingers and mouth….to fly!!!

                This is my dream, but we all have one that we entertain in the dark corners of our mind.  One of the seminary books I was asked to read for Spiritual Formation class asked us to write our spiritual autobiography.  One of the first questions asked us to articulate what we dream, what do we desire for our lives, and do we have the courage to embrace that dream?  I was offended at first, believing that to speak out a dream meant that I was selfish and not carrying out servant leadership.  I was wrong.  We have been given go-ahead to dream!!!!!  I can almost hear the Great Cheerleader inspiring us to go forth, dream, big, and FLY…we are protected.

                I asked a father the other day what his greatest wish is for his children, “Peace and joy, and wonder.”  May that prayer be fulfilled in you and through you each day.  It is the same prayer your God in Heaven has for you.  Embrace the wonder and joy of those dreams, grab onto them and remember you are safe.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rani
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 07:22:10

    This is a powerful post, Cindy. Thank you. I love the topic, as I have three girls, too. If I could only get my husband to read that post 🙂 I also loved the reference to our Savior as “The Great Cheerleader”. Can’t wait to read more about your journey!

    Reply

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