Apple of God's Eye

1apple-2Would you agree that every person has a desperate need to be someone’s one and only? Do you wonder why small children vie for attention without care for their siblings? And why we feel stabs of hurt or pain when our spouse or children or friends prefer someone else to us? Or why we eagerly check Facebook or Instagram after we pour out our hearts to the world? I think the only honest answer would be a longing to be seen as unique, to be the only one, to be special, to be adored by someone we desire. Last summer the dark sky threatened rain in the August morning. Rain was imminent, the air heavy with promise. The fierce gathering of clouds fit well with the condition of my heart, heavy with anticipation after the prior day and night of waiting at the bedside of my dying mother-in-law. Unusual for my sensitive nature, I had not shed any tears yet, though I had observed others around me holding back and restraining their own emotions.

This particular morning the time had come for a faithful servant to be called home. Our family’s beloved matriarch was in her final hours. Our pastor had come to see her, administered the Lord’s Supper and led us in song and prayer.  Now he was gone. Morphine to dull the pain had been administered. We could do nothing else but wait for the end.

Time was hanging heavy and the only thing I could think to do was to look for comfort from someone who loved me. So I called my own mother, who of course would listen and offer some word to try to sooth my need. Spilling out the news in a string of sentences without breathing, I walked out onto the porch into the humid stillness. I waited for words of wisdom to comfort me, but the Holy Spirit led her to utter a message for my husband's mother, who was in greater duress.

“Tell her she is the apple of God’s eye and that she is under the shadow of his wings.”

Simultaneously huge drops of rain and enormous tears stung my face. The truth of those words cut right to the desires of my own heart, even as they were meant to encourage our loved one going to the Lord. Those words of wisdom from one believing heart to another were so appropriate. They echoed the love the Lord has for each of his children. For me, for you, and for our loved ones!

The Psalmist David wrote Psalm 17 with this thought in mind as he prayed for protection against the attack of his enemies. He pleads with God in verse 8:

"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings" Psalm 17:8

Not only does David acknowledge that he currently has the distinction of being the apple of God’s eye, he also commits himself to the shadow, the place under the loving Father’s protection. Peter echoes the same understanding of his only hope in a fervent confession of faith to Jesus:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68

When pain or sorrow enters life, or when we just do not understand what is going on, can we remind ourselves of this place of affection only we can occupy in the eye of God? Can we flee to his Word and the shadow of protection under his wings?

Yes, by God’s grace you can do all of this and more. God loves you eternally and proved it by carrying your burdens to the cross. He redeemed you and lives in your heart.

In the future when you are tempted to believe you are not anyone’s favorite, stop and remember who you are. No matter what circumstances life may deliver, stop and remember your unique status with the Lord. When the day comes and your loved ones are in need, remind them of the apple and King David’s reassuring picture of their worth in God’s eyes. Through Christ, you are unique, special, adored, loved, longed for, and desired.

You are the apple of his eye!

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Still Pregnant? How to go into labor in just 110 easy steps!

Congratulations! You are 38 weeks pregnant! This is the point of pregnancy at which 45% of those other moms you know swiftly and painlessly gave birth on the side of the highway by mistake! From here on out, you are a ticking time bomb. Follow these 110 easy steps and you’ll be snuggling your baby on this side of the womb in no time at all! belly toddler

 

  1. Pack your hospital bags or assemble your home birth kit. That baby will never arrive if you're an unprepared slacker!
  2. Realize you have no idea what you’re supposed to pack or assemble.
  3. Scour The Internet for advice.
  4. Question Google’s advice to pack or assemble ALL OF THE THINGS.
  5. Ask several experienced mom friends for advice.
  6. Question their advice to pack or assemble nothing but a tube of chap stick, a couple of hair ties, and a celebratory bottle of wine.
  7. Decide to err with Google.
  8. Begin to pack or assemble ALL OF THE THINGS!
  9. Realize you are missing several of the items on your list.
  10. Waddle to Target for a new toothbrush and that tube of chap stick everyone swears you will need.
  11. While at Target, take a detour through the baby section.
  12. Decide you probably need another pack or two of newborn diapers.
  13. Shrug as several adorable baby outfits from the clearance rack mysteriously find their way into your cart.
  14. What’s that other thing 50% of your mom friends swear by? That thing that looks like an oversized neck pillow? Better grab one of those too.
  15. Swing through the grocery section to stock up on small, easy to eat snacks for the hunger everyone says will overtake you while breast feeding.
  16. Make it all the way home and unload your shopping bags before remembering you forgot to pick up the chapstick.
  17. Decide a tub of coconut oil from your pantry will just have to do.
  18. Assemble the rest of your list. Realize 50% of the clothing you need is out of commission.
  19. Start a load of laundry.
  20. While adding the detergent, suddenly remember your new baby will need to wear clothing when it gets here.
  21. Peruse the disorganized pile of adorable handmedowns and questionable Target purchases that have accumulated in the corner of your baby’s nursery.
  22. Realize the room in question is less of a nursery and more of a cluttered spare room.
  23. Wonder how you can possibly bring a baby into this world to live in a cluttered spare room.
  24. Completely ignore the fact that you plan to have the baby sleep in your room for at least the first several months of baby’s life.
  25. Spend several hours on Pinterest organizing a board you’ve entitled “nursery essentials.”
  26. Determine that the least you can do is rearrange all the furniture, paint the walls, and sew some adorable coordinating curtains.
  27. Inexplicably decide to act on this decision at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday
  28. When your husband comes into the room to find you wallpapering a closet at 3 a.m. and suggests that maybe you should come to bed, stare at him like he has three heads and growl defensively until he slowly backs away.
  29. Spend the entire next day alternating between sleeping and rubbing your aching hips.
  30. Decide you’re way too tired and have far too much to get done to have a baby anytime soon. Tell your baby he or she is free to stay in there for at least another month or two.
  31. Take several more naps.
  32. Wake up in a panic and sob uncontrollably when you realize you likely have less than a week before you’re *officially* a mother in charge of a tiny human.
  33. When your husband asks what he can do to relieve your excessive sobbing, take advantage and enlist his help in finishing the unnecessary nursery renovation project you’ve started.
  34. From your throne-like position of reclining on a thrift store baby glider with your swollen feet up, direct your poor husband while he paints, rearranges, and hangs curtain rods to your specifications.
  35. If he complains at the amount of unnecessary work, gently remind him you will soon be pushing a watermelon sized person out of your vagina. Is that a contraction you feel?
  36. As you fold and sort your baby’s clothes in your now satisfactory nursery, realize you are 39 weeks pregnant and have yet to experience a single sure sign of impending labor.
  37. Decide it’s time to get serious.
  38. Have a heart to heart with your baby wherein you fondly stroke your belly and explain that you’ve changed your mind. Another month is way too long to wait for their arrival. How about tomorrow instead? Or better yet, right now?
  39. When your lazy baby fails to get moving, ask the internet for advice.
  40. Question Google’s advice to do ALL OF THE THINGS to encourage the swift and immediate birth of your baby.
  41. Ask several experienced mom friends for advice.
  42. Question their advice to “let go and let God, because babies will arrive on their own time.”
  43. Decide to err with Google.
  44. Commence walking.
  45. Walk to the park.
  46. Walk to the store.
  47. Walk around the mall.
  48. Walk the local fair grounds.
  49. cream puff bellyWalk up and down your stairs.
  50. Walk in circles around your back yard.
  51. Decide that walking is useless.
  52. Take several more naps.
  53. Dream that you give birth to a puppy.
  54. Wake up relieved you didn’t actually give birth to a puppy.
  55. Think about how nice it would be to give birth to a puppy, if only it would mean the end of this eternal pregnancy.
  56. Attempt that “Eggplant Parmesan” recipe your neighbor swears put her in labor.
  57. Wash it down with an entire gallon of pineapple juice.
  58. Writhe and moan as you suffer the consequential heartburn.
  59. Down more than the recommended amount of Tums.
  60. Take another nap.
  61. Dream that you give birth to a full grown man.
  62. Wake up relieved you didn’t actually give birth to a full grown man.
  63. Think about how nice it would be to give birth to a full grown man, if only it would mean the end of this eternal pregnancy.
  64. Scrub your entire kitchen floor on hands and knees with a toothbrush.
  65. Decide you’ll avoid walking on said floor ever again so that it will stay clean until baby arrives.
  66. Give your baby an encouraging motivational speech, emphasizing phrases like “come out now” and “you’ll like it, I promise.”
  67. Stop mincing words and write your baby an official eviction notice.
  68. Visit the chiropractor for an adjustment.
  69. Feel well adjusted, but still undeniably pregnant.
  70. Post a sarcastic facebook status update to the effect of “happy due date to meeee!”
  71. Observe as the incomprehensible happens and your due date comes and goes.
  72. Refuse to believe pregnancies can extend beyond due dates.
  73. After several more days without labor signs, gradually accept pregnancies can extend beyond due dates.
  74. Imagine you feel a contraction.
  75. Text your husband at work to tell him you think you just felt a contraction!
  76. Text your mother, best friend, and doula: “HOORAY! AN ACTUAL CONTRACTION!”
  77. Realize several minutes later that the alleged contraction was only indigestion.
  78. Sob uncontrollably.
  79. Take another nap.
  80. Dream that you visit your baby in the womb and he or she is pointing and laughing at you.
  81. Wake up and decide that this dream really happened.
  82. Rest assured that every subsequent kick from your baby is his or her way of mocking you.
  83. Consider having sex to encourage cervical dilation.
  84. Realize that at this point, the thought of sex is just comical.
  85. Suck it up and have sex anyway.
  86. Treat the act like a business transaction.
  87. Cry uncontrollably when it doesn’t work.
  88. Drown your sorrows in a tub of ice cream and a pineapple ham pizza.
  89. bellycoffeeAlleviate that poor decision with more Tums.
  90. Confide in a friend that you have decided you will probably be pregnant forever.
  91. Don’t let her convince you otherwise.
  92. Fail to view her seven children as living proof that all babies eventually come out.
  93. Watch as everyone else in the world who is pregnant with a due date after yours has their baby.
  94. Pretend to be happy for them.
  95. Picture all of those babies growing up and graduating college before your baby is born.
  96. Attend a doctor’s appointment only to realize that you had originally scheduled it as your baby’s one week postpartum well check.
  97. Laugh dryly when your doctor feigns surprise that you are still pregnant.
  98. Stop responding to “is baby here yet?” texts, emails, and phone calls.
  99. Turn your phone off altogether.
  100. Change your facebook profile picture to a photo containing the words “Keep calm, I’m still pregnant.”
  101. Log out of your facebook account. Because you suddenly can’t stand people.
  102. Secretly relish the horrified look on the grocery cashier’s face when you explain your baby was due nine days ago.
  103. Fantasize about your water breaking right there in the checkout line.
  104. Fold your hands and pray to The Lord to send you magically and instantly into labor. Oh, and, Lord? Could you make it so that labor does not hurt at all, please? Can I pretty please be the one exception to the consequence of Eve’s fall into sin?
  105. Pout when you realize God’s answer is “no.”
  106. With a friend’s encouragement, revise your prayer. Pray for patience and peace while waiting, strength to endure the pain of childbirth, and a safe delivery and healthy baby.
  107. Rejoice that God’s answer this time is “yes!” Feel peace and acceptance wash over you as you “Let go and let God.” (Darn, those experienced mom friends were right!)
  108. After a long (but patient) wait, finally go into labor!
  109. With the help of God, give birth to your baby.
  110. Snuggle your brand new human and realize it was all worth it.

 

There’s something in the water here at Holy Hen House! Two of us writers (Amanda and I) are nearly full term (39 weeks!) and anxiously anticipating the arrival of our babies! Please keep us in your prayers over the next few weeks!

For those of you who have had babies before, I would love to hear some of the crazy things you said or did during those final days of waiting! Or am I the only one who goes a little batty toward the end of pregnancy? ;)

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