“Guilt” by Association, An Unlikely Lesson in Grace.

We’re never going to get in, I thought as we joined the end of the extremely long line. In front of us blocks and blocks of people who apparently got in line long before us. It was supposed to be a day that could quench a little bit of my homesickness. I had been away from home for nearly a year, living outside of Stockholm as an exchange student. On that early summer day, my Swedish host dad Håkan and I headed into the city for a rare visit to Sweden by several US Naval ships. For just a few hours that Saturday, one of the ships was open for group tours. But apparently there was an overabundance of curiosity to see the ships that day. For me, it was more personal. My dad served on a Navy destroyer years earlier. I hoped the tour might make me feel just a bit closer to home. Håkan craned his neck to survey the line in front of us. With little time left before the tours would stop, we knew it didn’t look good. “I’ll be right back,” he said as he stepped out of line and began briskly walking towards the front. Soon he disappeared in the mass of people several blocks away. Alone at the back of the line, I waited. Shortly he returned. “Follow me,” he said. Not having any idea what had transpired, I stepped out of line. Together we walked to the front. A group of a dozen or so people from the beginning of the line followed two sailors on board. Once they did, two...

How Stepping on Toes Strengthened my Faith

I reached my arms straight up grabbing hold of my dad’s hands. Without hesitation my fingers curled around his first two fingers. Enthusiastically I stepped up onto his toes with anticipation. I’ll be honest, I don’t remember exactly how young I was, only that my feet could ride comfortably on his toes and my fingers were dwarfed in comparison to his hands. Excited to see where we’d go together; in my imagination we went far beyond the kitchen, dad taking the steps and me along for the ride. It was a sweet scene that played many times as I was growing up. I was reminded of that time the other day as my dad and I recounted many stories capturing the impact he has had on my life and on those who have been blessed to know him. The priceless mental snapshot of me standing on his feet, holding on to his hands still warms my heart as it provides a valuable reminder of three things that can strengthen our walk of faith. Step where God guides, don’t go where He doesn’t. Standing on my dad’s toes, my steps followed his, some large steps, some small, my movement in tuned with his. When we’re growing and walking in our faith and seeking God’s purpose for our lives, we should look to Him for His guidance for each step on our path. Some steps may be quick or big, others may be small or not moving forward at all. Our steps should be in His timing, and in the direction He leads.  Hold on to Him to maintain your balance. As I journeyed around the...

Treasure Found in a Pile of Sawdust!

  (photo credit/copyright: 123RF.com)   If I close my eyes, I can still smell the sawdust and hear the hum of the saw in my dad’s workshop. Growing up, I used to watch him build and create beautiful woodwork. Too young to use the big equipment, I often pulled wood scraps from the sawdust, added my imagination, a few nails or glue and made my own projects. Although I had fun spending time with my dad and building them, they were a distant memory until just last week. While visiting my parents, they gave me one of my small wooden creations. My dad has kept it in his office all these years. My heart swelled thinking of the joy I had making it and then even more when I realized how much he’s treasured it all these years. The piece not only reflects my relationship with my dad, but also provides three great reminders of our Heavenly Father. What I created was not perfect, but my dad loved it. – One piece is crooked, the nails aren’t symmetrical. And, there are chips in the wood. But my dad loves it just the way it is. God loves us just the way we are too. He knows we’re flawed yet still loves us. He knew we’d make mistakes so He made a way to be reconciled through Christ. We don’t have to be perfect! Even if no one else sees the value in the little wooden object, my dad did. – Someone might look at the wooden figurine and think it’s worthless when indeed, it’s priceless. People may not always see...