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The Heart of a Father

Today’s guest post is by Barbara Hollace.

Barb-headshot14-2.76170342_stdYesterday (Sunday) Pastor Alice’s message was about “The Heart of the Father” – our heavenly Father and God’s love for us… so amazing the depth of His love for you and me.

This morning I experienced a visual demonstration of the heart of the Father. My friend Sharon and I were on our Monday morning walk in Mirabeau Park and as usual we were walking, talking, and praying while keeping our eyes open for what God had in store for us.

We had been in the park for less than five minutes when we saw two very small chipmunks (3 inch body plus the tail) running over tree limbs on a tree that had been struck by lightning a couple of weeks ago. They ran and stopped and then chased each other some more until they ran out of sight. We moved on.

Along the way we pointed out rabbits and magpies and other small birds darting here and there, we hadn’t gotten to the part of the trail where the quail and butterflies and baby dragonflies hang out. On the trail we caught a glimpse of the ‘regulars’ (walkers and bikers) and then many others who decided to take the opportunity to enjoy this second day of summer.

As we approached a turn in the road where the river is closer to the path, our silence was broken by Sharon’s voice, “Is that a rabbit in the fence?” I looked to my right and saw a rolled wire fence with 2 inch x 3 inch openings. There was a rabbit stuck in the fence. The front part of him had made it through but the back end and his legs were still on our side of the fence but his feet were not touching the ground.

My stomach dropped. “Sharon, it doesn’t look like he’s moving.” My greatest fear was that the rabbit was dead.

Sharon replied, “No, I just saw it move.” I could see that he was moving a bit. Likely trying to figure out how he could make it out.

I climbed up the small incline off the trail to where the rabbit was stuck, talking to him as I came up the hill. Speaking words of peace and that we wanted to help him. As I got closer to the fence, I could see how stuck he really was and the wire near his right leg was ‘cutting’ into his leg.

“Sharon, he’s really stuck.” At that moment I knew that if we couldn’t help him get free, he would die right there before our eyes. My tears began to flow as I felt helpless. A cell phone and keys and driver’s license and a $5.00 bill weren’t going to save him. I had no tools that would help this rabbit.

I reached out to the rabbit to see if there was any way we could get him free and the rabbit cried out in pain and distress. My heart was breaking. Without the right tools, any attempt by us would only cause more pain.

Sharon from the path below said, “We need to find someone who has some wire cutters to get him free.”

There was a house close by so Sharon volunteered to go get some help while I stayed to tend to the rabbit and watch and pray and speak calming words to this frightened creature. If he tried to fight the fence and get loose, he would only injure himself more.

Sharon walked down the fence line and then jumped over the fence that was about 5 feet high. Wow, was I ever glad I had such an athletic friend! She walked over to the house and I waited and watched the rabbit and prayed. His body shook from shock and fear. Inside, I wasn’t doing much better.

I reassured him that help was on the way and watched his rapid breathing. I saw Sharon keep on going past the house running down a driveway… the first place must have been a dead end. I watched and I prayed. I was afraid we didn’t have much time left since I didn’t know how long he had been caught in the fence. The rabbit shivered less and less. I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. I moved from one side of him to the other to see if his eyes were tracking with me. I needed to see some sign of life… some movement to know that we were not too late.

What seemed like a long time… but likely wasn’t, I saw Sharon coming back down the driveway with a man in his early 30s wearing a blue t-shirt, they were intent on their mission. As I saw them coming, I told the rabbit, “Help is on the way, they’re almost here.” Once more the rabbit tried to get free and then stopped.

Both of them vaulted over the fence and came to join me near the rabbit. Sharon introduced us, “Adam, this is my friend, Barb. Barb, this is Adam.” I greeted him with a smile of thanksgiving. I noticed he had wire cutters in his hand… yay! I’m not sure what his t-shirt really said, but I saw the word “Courageous” maybe it actually said ‘Cougars’, honestly, I don’t know. But God showed me “Courageous”.

Adam moved toward the fence with a calm manner like someone who cared about our friend in distress and also knew his way around fencing. He examined the situation and the rabbit was not afraid. He stayed where he was and Adam began making some strategic cuts. With one last clip and a gentle push on the rabbit’s foot, the rabbit was free. The rabbit jumped away from the fence and ran for freedom without a limp, as if the spot where the wire had cut into him did not hurt.

“I’m free! I’m free! Praise God, I’m free.” That’s the message I heard in my spirit. By this time, tears of joy were flowing down my face. God had sent help to save one of his beloved creatures. Adam turned to leave without fanfare. Sharon shook his hand and thanked him and Adam wished us well on the rest of our walk. I had no words, only tears. My heart was full and overflowing in that moment with the heart of the Father.

Sharon and I walked back down the incline to the trail below. We stood there for a moment and cried and held each other in a hug. What had we just witnessed? What had God called us to be a part of? We did not know. But we knew that God was there.

As we resumed our walk, we cried and prayed asking God what had just happened. I knew that we had witnessed the very truth Pastor Alice spoke of yesterday… the love of God the Father for us. The rabbit would have died without our help. Sometimes we are that rabbit. We are ‘stuck’ because we tried to go somewhere we did not belong and did not fit.

But it was more than that, we saw the problem and we wanted to help but we didn’t have the right tools to solve the problem. We too needed to ask for help, a willing soul who would help us to free the rabbit not someone with a cold heart that saw it just as the way nature works, some live and some die.

And God sent “Adam” – the irony of his name was not lost on us. Who else but God would send a willing soul to answer the distress call of a stranger? And he just happened to have wire cutters coupled with a heart of compassion for a wounded rabbit? Only God.

Three strangers came together to save a life… all of us were touched by the experience and I believe that the rabbit lives on. The Heart of the Father… my heart broke as I saw that rabbit stuck in the fence and knew that I might see him die if we didn’t get help. How much more does my heart break for my fellow-man who doesn’t know the Lord? May God break my heart for what breaks His. His heart breaks for people who are ‘stuck’ in life situations that will result in death unless they are set free and so should mine. I cannot do it alone and neither can you.

The empty fence was where the rabbit was set free. The empty cross is where Christ set us free. May the love of the Father live on through us. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. (If you would like to hear the message about “The Heart of the Father” (6/21/15) you can listen to the replay at www.spokanedreamcenter.org)

Barbara Hollace is not only a beautiful writer, she is also an amazing editor. For more information on Barbara go to www.barbarahollace.com

 

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Be the Standard Setter

Originally post on the Whatever Girls and dedicated to my husband, an amazing husband and father.

10294226_10203169849075500_7767579091901015690_nWe expect high standards. We look at the safety standards of cars, the standard of education offered by universities, and the standard of customer service a business offers. Even the standard of preschool education is important to many parents.

If the “standard” of a product or service is so important, then shouldn’t our standards be important when it comes to our daughters? Dads, I am talking to you. You play a key role in helping your daughter set the standard about what kind of man she will choose to be her husband.

1011315_10201087772263926_1690466469_nYour daughter watches how you treat her mom, stepmom, and other women in your life. The words you use to speak to your daughter are either going to build up her self-worth or tear it down. There is a YouTube video of a little girl and her father talking about her being a princess and what she deserves some day when she becomes a queen. Her daddy talks to her about how a man is to respect her and open doors for her. I believe that all dads need to talk to their daughters like that.

1011960_10201208008229750_1728592987_nMy husband has been very open with our daughter about what she should expect in a man and he has been very open with any young man who has come around looking to date her. He has set very high standards by how he treats me and in how he talks to our daughter. She knows that she is worthy of more than being some guy’s “friend with benefits”, that pornography is never something she needs to settle for, and that the words, “if you love me you would…” or “if you were a good girlfriend you would…”are completely unacceptable.   Those are just some of the standards that my husband has set in place for our daughter.

Dads, you can’t just be worried about the safety standards of the car you send your daughter out in or the standard of education a potential university offers. Letting her date without setting standards is extremely dangerous. You need to be the standard setter for your daughter. You need to set the bar high because there will be a day when she steps out on her own. Her future is in your hands so set the standards high.11350301_10206319654897722_1670066942_n

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s that are setting high standards for you daughters.

Dad’s check out the Whatever Girls for more posts like this.  Your daughters are counting on you.

 

 

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Never Lose Your Laughter

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My mom and I

Over the years I have had more than one person mention to me that they were surprised by how much fun I had for being a Christian. I guess I missed the memo that said once you have been saved you will never have fun again.

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My best friend

 

As I have grown in my walk with the Lord there have been some things I no longer take part in because they just don’t feel right to me anymore. My laughter and desire to have fun are something I cherish and I know God would never want me to give up. (The silly photos of myself, family and friends from my sons graduation party should be evidence of my desire to have lots of fun).

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My son and some of the guys from my “Dirt, Trucks and Faith” series.

While trying to type this post, my phone has been going crazy with text messages from a group of my friends. They are all believers, Christians who have not found the need to give up their sense of humor. The photos they sent me had me laughing so hard and that laughter blessed me after the very hard week I had been having.

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My husband and his best friend. Two of the funniest guys ever.

 

Sadly when I became first gave my life to the Lord I had another believer tell me that my sense of humor was not honoring to God. It was not that I was saying anything crude but I liked to have fun and I always seem to have a line for everything. Her words crushed me. I was new in my faith and I wanted to honor God so I began to shut down in the humor department. The feeling that I could no longer be funny and have fun made me wonder if I really wanted to be a part of this new life I had found. How could something that feels so good and so right mean I could no longer find joy in laughter?

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My wise friend who told me the my sense of humor and my laughter were gifts.

Thankfully someone who I knew and respected pulled me aside one day and asked me if I was okay. She said where is your joy? You have always been full of laughter and so much fun to be around. She told me that my sense of humor and quick wit was a gift. Apparently she felt my ability to make others laugh was important.   As I cried and shared with her what I had been told by another person she told me that God gave us laughter for a reason. She told me that God would never want me to give up my sense of humor.

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Having fun with some more of my friends

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My daughter and a couple of her friends that I love like they were me daughters also.

I hope you understand the importance of laughter and that just because you are a believer in Christ it doesn’t mean you have to give up all fun. God is a loving God, and I can’t help but think that our laughter must be music to his ears. He is more than just the God we call on in our hard times; he wants to share in our good times also. Laughter is good medicine and we all need to remember to use it. “We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. 
And the other nations said, “What amazing things the
Lord has done for them”. Psalm 126:2 NLT  Go ahead and laugh a little. Better yet laugh a lot. Laugh until it hurts your stomach or until you cry. Life can be a lot easier with a good laugh and a joyful heart. Never loss your laughter.

 

Originally ran on Living Better 50 magazine.

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