It’s the last Sunday of my month to serve in Nursery and I’m hanging out with the Toddlers. I look forward to this chance to see my niece’s daughter Pbay (Penelope) and interact with her one on one. If it weren’t for Sundays I’d never get to blow bubbles and play on the floor with her.

It is usually a fun time.

But today P is not her usual self. Most often playing the role of Helper Bee when others are fussy, handing out fishy crackers to a fellow 2 year old who won’t stop crying, proffering stickers to make others smile, today her favorite word is ‘No!’  

L reaches for the play telephone and clearly Penelope is in no mood to share.  I could force her, hand over hand, to give him the toy, but forcing someone to share when they don’t want to is soooo counterproductive.  
Can you relate?

Another playmate K wants to hold the noisemaker she has, reaching for Penelope’s lap where it rests.
“No!” ‘No’ with a scowl and a wrinkled brow.

And no wonder–Penelope’s mother has a new baby at home–10 days old, to be exact–and P is feeling one-upped for sure. Mom also can’t hold her or pick her up because she’s post Caesarean, so add that to the grumpy factor. Yes, Penelope is having a bad day.

Can you relate?

So, unlike the other Sundays where we hang out and eat snacks, roll a ball and scribble on Jesus-y pictures, the only place Penelope wants to be today is in my lap.
She toddles towards the rocker where I sit and crawls up, nestling close. Viewing the room from here, she is content to be held at my chest, while I protect her from her bothersome playmates.
She just wants to be still and feel safe.

Can you relate?

I think about that place–still, safe, held–as I read a verse in Chapter 55 of Isaiah.
It’s week 7 of memorizing (which I’ve never attempted before) and this chunk of Scripture speaks loudly to me:

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; 
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God,for he will abundantly pardon.”

In the past I’d skim right over those verses….”yeah, wicked. SO not me.  Unrighteous–well, Jesus covers my sin and declares me righteous. I guess those words are for other people.”

But the Penelope picture is fresh in my mind, the baby feel of her soft skin, the perfect way she fits right in my lap, the reach of my arms around her small body.  

God is so like that. Welcoming. Gentle. Larger than my me-centered life.

Yes, me-centered–that would be ‘unrighteous’ in my book.  God knows my days are full of turning away from Him, stepping outside my righteousness in Christ.

Unrighteous–“from an unused root, perhaps meaning to pant, 
hence, to exert oneself usually in vain, trouble, wickedness, sorrow idolatry” 
(Strong’s Hebrew Concordance, accessed online #205 Heb.)

Idolatry?  You’re kidding me.  

Well, that sort of makes sense……When I’ve turned away from God, I’m turning to something else–my own needs, my wants, my ways.  I’m prone to say ‘no!’ to what God has in mind more than I say ‘yes.’

What I really need to do when I’ve got the grumpies or the gimmes, is turn away from those lifeless forms that promise me nothing and run to Him like a child. (“return to the Lord” as it says above.)

Turn? Why?

So He may have compassion on me……..and to be abundantly pardoned.

Who doesn’t want a God who welcomes you like that?
Linking with Laura for Playdates, the Soli Deo Sisters and 
We’re letting go of the love idols taking up space in our hearts, 
space that belongs to God alone. 
Join us?

{Inspired by the book, LOVE IDOL, by Jennifer Dukes Lee} 

releasing APRIL Fool’s Day. No kidding.
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