Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Today: The Warm Red Chair

I have on my desktop at work a picture of Ivy asleep in the red leather chair in my bedroom. She’s curled up in an almost sitting position. One arm, bent at the elbow, is tucked up behind her ear. The other folds gently across her lap. There’s a fan in the window and a patch of warm sun on the floor near the chair. The window radiates warmth and light and all is still.

There’s a story behind the picture. At the time of the picture, I had been very sick for two weeks and no improvement seemed on the horizon. Life and its associated responsibilities weighed heavily on my mind and I wondered if I would ever feel happy again. Right in the moment, I was trying to work up the energy to fold a pile of laundry on the bed. I felt tired, misunderstood, isolated, alone, and overwhelmed by all that needed my attention.

Suddenly, these dark, self-absorbed thoughts were punctuated by screaming, yelling, kicking, stomping, rampaging in the streets, and the terrorizing of small animals. I walked out of the bedroom to investigate and discovered Ivy—the smallest of the small ones—throwing an epic fit. Evidently, a sibling misappropriated a toy of questionable economic value, but tremendous emotional value. In an effort to ease tensions and prevent imminent bloodshed, I intervened.

For those who do not know Ivy, she’s small, but she’s strong and, more importantly, determined. As a result, it took some effort to disengage her from the melee and move her to the red chair in my room. Once ensconced in its warm leathery comfort, the wailing subsided to crying, which gave way to wimpering, which in turn ended in sleep and blessed release.

I watched the entire incident unfold in a matter of minutes. And I was struck—as I almost always am when teaching a child—by how the Lord speaks to me through my children. Turns out Ivy’s only problem was she was tired. What she needed was a warm peaceful place to take a nap. As I stood there watching her sleep, I could feel my Heavenly Father place his arms around me, pull me from my tantrum, and settle me into His warm red chair. I remember feeling impressed by the sunlight streaming through the window and how the light itself felt like a tangible manifestation of God’s love for me.

Significantly, the issues I confronted at that time did not go away. In fact, if I remember correctly, months passed before I fully navigated that ocean. But that divine act of comfort, that very real reminder of God’s love for me, gave me the courage to continue trying. And the peace or joy I felt in that moment reminded me that our Father’s exceeding great and precious promises are worth the 

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