Master Untangler

I had to complete a task that I'd been dreading for weeks. It was a tedious job that would require keen eyes, steady hands and tons of concentration. I finally decided that I could procrastinate no longer, so I tackled the mammoth challenge.

Okay, maybe mammoth is a bit of an exaggeration. I mean, the ball of necklaces could fit in one hand. Allow me to explain. We moved a couple of months ago and my daughter, whom I love dearly (just for the record), packed her jewelry in a container with no thought of the consequences. She had varying lengths of silver chains, each with their own charm-keys, crosses, penguins (don't ask), as well as a few chords with pendants. I had no way to tell how many there were. All I knew is that it was a blob of . . . of . . . sheer frustration!!

I know, moms, I could have made her untangle the mess herself . . . but . . . Okay, I have no answer. The bottom line is I decided it was my job to free the bound jewelry.

At first, I decided to shake the mass and  pull a couple of the dangling chains, hoping they would all magically fall apart. No such luck. I then pulled tighter on one that looked like it was rebelling against the pack. This only angered the ball and the others clung tighter. As I sat, trying to decide whether or not to throw it in the trash, I came up with a plan.

Magnifying glass and needle in hand, I formulated my strategy. Each chain was slightly different. I would choose one, slowly trace it's path, untangling it along the way until I freed each one individually. I knew it could take hours, but there was no other way. 

As I went about the meticulous chore, there were times I wanted to change my focus and choose another chain but I stayed the course. When the first necklace was freed, I gained confidence. Five minutes later, a second was rescued and so it went. I discovered that the job got exponentially easier with each release.

Sigh . . . With pride, I lined the twelve necklaces on the table to present them to my daughter.

I opened my Bible for morning time with my Father and  glanced over at my proud accomplishment. I remembered my desperate prayer the day before. I felt like there was a tight ball in my stomach, a mass of stress, tension, regret, fear . . . I smiled as a quiet, still voice reminded me that the Master Untangler is at work.

His vision is perfect, His hands ever-steady as He loosens what needs to be released, tugs at the perfect time and creates something beautiful from a mess. He won't give up until all is free . . . so neither will I.

My Daddy's Loving Legacy

The year was 1970 and I was three. As the sun crept into the horizon and the house became quiet, I skipped to my most favorite spot, baby doll in tow.  I climbed into my dad's comfy recliner. He scooched  over and wrapped his arm around me. I giggled, cooing to my doll as he watched a John Wayne movie. It was a night-time ritual for years. The old recliner formed to our bodies. It was a perfect fit . . . a safe sanctuary. I never wanted to grow up.  

As a child, there's no better feeling than snuggling with your daddy, your protector and provider. It saddens me that many don't have happy childhood memories. It's heartbreaking to know that some have difficulty accepting the love and grace of their heavenly Father because they've never experienced it from their earthly one.  I am eternally grateful that my dad modeled God's compassionate love in such a  profound way that I had no difficulty understanding  God's agape love.

Today my dad would have turned 73 so  I thought I would share his legacy. Well, a tiny bit of his legacy, to tell his whole story would easily fill a book. My daddy grew up in poverty, had little education, yet built a successful business through hard work and dedication. He constantly found ways to show his wife and children how much he adored us. 

When I was a child and got a boo-boo, he never said, "don't cry" or "chin up". Instead, he held me and whispered, "I wish I had a magic wand and could take this pain out of you and put it into me." As I looked into his eyes, I knew it was true. I always felt his deep, sacrificial love. 
When I was a sophomore in college and told him I decided to major in psychology, he bought me a huge trophy that  read, "Susan Dulin: Best Psychology Student in the World."  Whenever I doubted myself, I looked at the trophy on my desk. Knowing he believed in me gave me confidence. That was the type of daddy he was . . . always affirming, my biggest cheerleader.

I don't want to romanticize his memory, he wasn't a perfect man. But he had a passion for life. I think he was the happiest when he was racing cars with my brother or riding horses with my sister. His eyes sparkled when he surprised my mom with breakfast in bed or bought her a new car. On Valentine's day, he didn't just send my mom roses, he gave flowers to me and my sisters as well. He looked for ways to pamper us, to show us his love.

Today, as I remember him, I choose not to dwell on the years when Alzheimer's slowly stole his memories, changing his personality, hiding his smile. I choose to remember who he truly was. A beautiful man, strong and vibrant, dimpled smile, caring eyes and compassionate heart. He loved spoiling his children and would do anything to see us laugh. What an awesome example of my heavenly Father.

If you didn't receive this type of love from your dad, know that God, your heavenly Father, loves you beyond measure. He wants to shelter you, protect you and give you wonderful gifts. He loves to hear you laugh. He wants you to know and experience him. To top it off, He's preparing an awesome home just for you. It's as easy as accepting His son, His ultimate gift to you.