by Joanna Sanders on May 22, 2019 at 6:05 pm
Shortly before I met my husband, I had begun the process of qualifying to become an adoptive or foster parent in the state of New Jersey. I was blessed with the privilege of giving birth to one son, and I wanted to care for more children. After several months went by without progress, I contacted […]
by Joanna Sanders on May 16, 2019 at 1:57 am
If I had ever doubted what God could do with even the smallest item, I’m grateful to have been given a new perspective. I just witnessed God create a new family, and a new home, from a five-dollar plumbing part. The Flood It was three months ago that a small hose burst in our bathroom, […]
by Joanna Sanders on May 2, 2019 at 1:45 am
I was brought up in a church where God seemed untouchable. The rituals and religious emphasis felt sterile and dehumanized. Rules superseded relationship, and shame superseded grace and joy. Yet I still tried to participate in the rituals as I could, sensing glimpses of holiness calling me through the noise. I wanted to do right, […]
by Joanna Sanders on April 24, 2019 at 5:10 pm
It’s hard not to love this time of year when everything comes to life once more, sometimes even flowers and blooms we don’t remember or expect from previous years. It is a joy to see something blossom, especially when you’re not sure if the seed you planted actually took root or not. Such was my […]
The God of the Hardened Heart
by Joanna Sanders on April 17, 2019 at 10:51 pm
When I imagine Jesus, I am inclined to focus on Him as the tender, gentle Shepherd who lovingly holds His arms open to us like little children, with an accepting and longing look on His face. Of course, we know He’s also the One who overturned the tables in the marketplace to stop the corruption […]
Featured Guest Writer: Nicole Horsch
I have one child who, as a toddler, had an unexplained aversion to Target. Each time I approached the front doors of Target, Lucy would stiffen as straight as a board and would refuse to sit in the seat on the top of the red cart. Encouraging, pleading and even attempting to tickle her tummy to trick her into bending proved to be unsuccessful. Eventually, I would find some way to fold her up just enough to buckle her into the seat, and head off through the store. Lucy’s storm of emotions would build and build at every turn of the cart. The most memorable of these trips included the fitting for new shoes.
The only thing that made these stormy outings more bearable were the knowing glances from those moms or grandmas who would spot me in the aisle and shoot me a quick look of, “I got you, girl. You can do this.” There’s a comradery out there among parents – because no matter our economic status, race or religion, there are common experiences in the difficulty of raising children. Life doesn’t let anyone off the hook. You can have all the money or resources in the world, but if your kid doesn’t want to try on the velcro princess shoe, she will ball her foot up so tight, you can forget getting it on.
Our pain is what connects us in our experiences, even at different stages. You might not be a toddler mom. Maybe you dropped your first kid off at college and made the tearful walk from the dorm to the parking lot to an empty car. Or you’re the husband who sits in the waiting room while your wife goes back for her second or third mammogram because they’re not sure they’re getting a clear picture of the mass that was found. If you look around, there’s someone who’s been there and done that. And if your eyes don’t see another person to relate to, in the dorm elevator or in the waiting room, you can be assured there’s One waiting to hear your prayer who can relate.
It might seem silly to think Jesus identifies with us. No, He was not a father to screaming toddlers but His disciples weren’t much better at times. Hot-headed Peter could put his foot in his mouth faster than a toddler can throw a princess shoe. Jesus didn’t leave a kid at college but He left His dear cousin who baptized Him, in prison; knowing John’s head would soon be served on a platter. Jesus had no wife, but he wept over the death of a good friend.
In fact, there’s no depth of our own pain that He hasn’t experienced. How about betrayal? Which of us hasn’t seen that nervous smile and quick kiss from a supposed friend that turns out to be the kiss of death? We’ve all had a friend or family member practice deceit. Betrayal burns in our hearts the most and seems to be the most difficult to forgive. Jesus catches our eye lovingly, and nods because He’s been there, too. Judas sold him into the hands of those who’d nail him to the cross, for a mere 30 pieces of silver.
Hebrews 4:15 reminds us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
I used to focus on the fact that Jesus encountered all the bad stuff without sinning in the midst of it, so I should try harder to be perfect like Him. However, I recently realized the value of looking more to see the knowing glances of our high priest as the beginning part of the Scripture references; the great reminder that I am never alone. I may mess it up. I may lose my temper, say a bad word (or two) and struggle with forgiveness. This verse isn’t calling us to try harder – it’s the job of the Holy Spirit to enable us to act in the holiness we simply cannot muster on our own. And we have a God who, like us, experienced every heartache, temptation, and frustration we encounter. Our kind Savior is looking to catch our eye and remind us, He gets it.
Nicole Horsch is a married mother of three young ladies in Northern Virginia. She spends her days home schooling, running a home based wellness business and shuttling children to and fro. Her favorite pastimes are kissing pony noses, eating delicious food and laughing with her husband.
She proudly wears the label of Jesus Freak and was once called a member of the God Squad by a childhood friend. She has decided to blog as prompted by prayer and the pushing of a few sweet friends. Blogging is cheaper than therapy and reduces the spoken word count in her home by a few hundred words. With four young ladies in the home, her husband is thankful.
Contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org