Held Captive by a Cup of Pretzels

Good thing that being a parent means you’re supposed to teach your kids lots of stuff, and instead they end up teaching you a hundred and one lessons every day.

Good thing that being a parent means you’re supposed to teach your kids lots of stuff, and instead they end up teaching you a hundred and one lessons every day.

She clung to it like it was her last lifeline.

Not realizing that if she’d just let it go, she would be set free. Free to experience what was right in front of her. Free to see and hear and feel – to its fullest potential.

It was just a cup of pretzels. But she was hungry. {She was always hungry.}

She tried to justify her fears: what if this was the last food on earth? What if Mommy never put her in her booster seat with a plate full of lunch ever again?

She wanted to hold on to that cup of pretzels. She thought she needed to hold on to that cup of pretzels.

But right in front of her was the playground that Mommy and Grandma had taken her to: Rows of exciting swings to see the entire playground from high up in the air. Tons of Toddler-sized tunnels to hear her voice echo as she crawled through and shouted to Mommy. Lots of rolling slides to fly down and feel the wind through her hair as she shot off the end.

But she held on. And by holding on, she was also being held back.

Held back from really seeing, hearing, and feeling. From really knowing the fullest potential of this abundant playground. She couldn't climb the ladders unless Mommy or Grandma lifted her. She couldn't swing on the big kid swings unless she sat on somebody's lap.

That hand, clinging to her cup of pretzels, was holding her back from a lot more than she realized. Her misunderstanding of the present and her apprehension of the future held her captive:

She didn't understand that this cup of pretzels was not the last food on earth.

She didn't understand that her Mommy loved her very much, and would once again, within just a short matter of time, put her in her booster seat with a big ‘ole plate of leftover lasagna for lunch.

She didn't understand that simply letting go would open up a whole new world of peace and joy and contentment and playtime that she couldn't even imagine. That if she would just give up her fear and need for control that she would be free.

Free to run. Free to climb. Free to swing. Free to slide. Free to get dirty and scrape her knees. Free to see and hear and feel. Free to know the playground’s fullest potential.

And oh, how I so often need to learn this same lesson.

Like this past Friday, as I sat in the same ‘ole chair for a fetal echo, waiting to hear what has become the same ‘ole bad news, feeling what has become the same ‘ole anxiety as our present circumstances and unknown future are more than I can emotionally handle at times.

{A fetal echo is like an ultrasound, but looks only at a baby’s heart. We learned that Aliza's pulmonary artery is a little too small, and her aorta is a little too big. There is also a hole between her left and right ventricle. This is not considered fatal in itself. It is something a surgery can fix on an otherwise healthy baby. We just don’t know what Aliza's condition will be at birth.}

But then it became Sunday. And we celebrated Christ's resurrection from the dead. We celebrated the fact that our Savior is alive.

And in the message and in the Scripture I felt Christ whispering into my heart: “Let go.”

Because sometimes I live as if I am still being held captive. Captive to things that Christ came to live, to die, and to rise again in order to set me free from.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. {Luke 4:18}

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But the resurrection of our Lord and Savior demands a response: both an inward response of belief in my heart, and an outward response of service and gratitude in my life.

Do I believe? And if I believe, am I living like I have been set free? Or am I clinging to something? Holding on, and in the meantime, being held back from the abundant life God promised through His salvation?

Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” {John 10:7-10}

{Don't confuse "abundant life" with "perfectly happy and always healthy and forever wealthy life." Rather, think of "abundant life" as a "content, at peace, close to God, and joy-filled life."}

What are we clinging to that is keeping us from seeing, hearing, feeling this abundant life? What are we letting hold us back?

It might be sinful habits we try to make excuses for rather than turning away from.

It might be guilt for sins we have already confessed and have left behind, but still haven’t accepted the forgiveness that God promises upon confession.

It might be anger against someone who has hurt us in ways that seem beyond repair.

It might be a desire to be in control of our lives and its surrounding circumstances, rather than unclasping our grip and praying “Thy will be done, Lord.” {This one is my personal struggle right now.}

What did Jesus die and rise again in order to set you free from that you keep clinging to? What will your response to the resurrection be, both inwardly in your heart, and outwardly in your life? Did the sun set on Resurrection Sunday and rise again to you living the same as you did on Friday and Saturday?

Let the message of the resurrection and the truth of Scripture wash over your heart.

Loosen your grip.

With the knowledge that Christ is risen, and with the reassurance that He has defeated everything you cling to: Let go.

There in the ground His body lay, Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious day, up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me.
For I am His and He is mine - bought with the precious blood of Christ

{In Christ Alone, lyrics by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend}

Grace and Peace,
Kendra