Wednesday, April 27, 2011


*I didn't have time to write today, so this is from my "personal archives" (revised).  Hope you enjoy it!*

            When I was a little girl, I loved to play with toads.  Or rather, I loved to possess toads.  You see, as the baby of my family, I was always being possessed.  I was told what to do or what not to do, was often excluded from playing with my older brother and sister, depending on their whims, and was forced to play specific roles when I was allowed to play (sometimes the baby, but never the mother).  I often played the part of “go-getter”, as in “Hey Lisa, go get ________(insert whatever it was my sister wanted but didn’t feel like getting herself)”.  I hate to say it, but my personality then and now lends itself much better to being the possessor and not the possessee.

Toads, I discovered, were much better than siblings (besides the fact that they frequently tinkled on me).  They were meek, obedient, and never tried to get away from me.  Okay, so they weren’t exactly obedient…. but at least they didn’t tell me what to do.  And as for getting away, it’s probably not truthful to say that they didn’t try.  I am, and always have been, an incredibly gifted possessor.  I possessed some of those toads right into the little toad paradise in the sky.  My parents, being slightly concerned about the number of toad casualties, graciously purchased me a turtle in exchange for a cease-fire on all innocent amphibians.  The turtle, Chip, stayed in his aquarium with his friend Dale and refused to come out of his shell when possessed.  My need still unfulfilled, I eventually resorted to putting pajamas on the dog.

So now it’s like twenty-five or so years later, I still feel the need to possess, and I find myself blessed with a house full of toads.  Not counting my husband there are five, ages eleven, eight, five, three, and two months.  Our older two toads are adopted, and have been with us since they were seven and four.  They came with a whole set of pre-learned bad behaviors.  Our younger three toads have been ours since they were…um…tadpoles.  Slimy, warty little toads, each and every one of them.  They are often amusing, jumping around the house, and yes, they have been known to tinkle on me.  My toads are not generally obedient, frequently try to tell me what to do, and are by nature sinful and selfish.  And I love each of them immensely.  My problem is this.  I am terrified that I am going to possess them to death.

My greatest desire for my children is that they come to know Jesus as their Savior.  I pray continually that God will draw their hearts to Him, and I know that their salvation lies in His hands and not my own.  Yet I am deeply troubled when my children’s behavior does not reflect the Christ-like path that I desire for them.  I expect them to be perfect.  I am angry when they aren’t perfect, and furious when they don’t seem to be trying.  I have frustrated them, belittled them, and at times made them feel unloved and unforgiven when they have followed their sinful natures.  I have dealt with so much bad behavior and ugliness in the five years since I became a mother, that I take it all personally, as if their sins reflect all of my failures as a parent.  Of which I have many.

I am a toad.

I am a possession of my Father in heaven, whose greatest desire for His children is that they come to know Jesus as their Savior.  He continually draws my heart to Him, because He knows that my salvation lies in His hands and not my own.  He is deeply troubled when my behavior does not reflect the Christ-like path that He desires for me, yet He does not expect me to be perfect, for all have sinned and fallen short of His glory.  He is patient when I’m not perfect, and mighty and just when I’m really not trying.  He does not frustrate me or belittle me, but is loving and forgiving, providing all the strength I need to cast off my sinful nature.  He has dealt with so much bad behavior and ugliness since the creation of man, and yet He loves me so much that He allowed His only Son Jesus to be tortured and nailed to a cross for my sins.  Of which He has none.

Slowly and painfully, I am learning.  God does not possess His possessions…He loves them and teaches them and sets them free.  He gives them guidelines to live by, punishing as needed and redirecting paths.  He loves unconditionally, forgives immeasurably, and provides for all our needs.  He is a safe haven, a strong tower, a mighty fortress.  I trust Him with my life and with the lives of my five little toads.

I am in the process of declaring a cease-fire.  Would someone please buy me a turtle?