Monday, October 26, 2015

Devotional by Mary Manners: Boundaries

Let's welcome my good friend Mary Manners to the blog today! She's here to share another devotional that she wrote. 

The title of today's devotional is, "Boundaries," and it is quite appropriate. You'll understand why when you read the story from Mary's childhood experience. I will give you a clue: it involves a child testing the boundaries (given to her by her dad) when she receives a brand new bike.

Enjoy your time with Mary! :)

~*~
Boundaries
A devotional written by Mary Manners

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”~ Psalm 143:8, NIV 


My seventh birthday was a momentous occasion mainly because in my family, turning seven meant I was sure to receive what I imagined, in my child’s mind, to be the greatest gift of all—a shiny new bike.

It was a beauty—a splash of bubblegum pink with streamers flowing from curved handlebars. Pedal brakes and a chunky banana seat rounded out the mix. One look and I knew that suddenly I had my freedom, my independence, and the power to travel all the way to…the end of the block. It was better than the confines of our meager, chain-linked back yard. I grew up in Chicago, after all, and the streets could be a dangerous place.

My dad taught me how to ride. An hour, a few scrapes and bumps later, and I was ready to go. No helmets back then and no fancy riding gear…just the wind at my back and pure pedal power. Dad outlined the riding boundaries, cautioning me not to cross the street at either end of the block or the alley that ran behind our house. Cars were dangerous.

Dad’s firm warning rang through my mind for the first week or so, at least until my sister challenged me to a race around the block. We’d ride off in opposite directions, keeping our progress top-secret, until one of us returned to the starting line—and victory—at the front of our house.

Guilt nagged as I launched myself, pedaling into the wind. To circle the block and claim my victory I’d have to cross the alley twice, breaking my dad’s rule. Yet, the desire to be one of the ‘Big Kids’ along with my sister only served to make me pedal faster. The sky smiled clear-blue as the streets whispered encouragement. What could possibly go wrong?

Closing in on the alley, I picked up speed. The faster I crossed, the faster I would be done. No sound of an engine, nary a car in sight. Perfect until…
Crash!

My gaze kissed the cerulean sky as the front tire of my bike plowed a canyon into the passenger door of an approaching Chevy station wagon. I sailed over the hood to sprawl, several yards beyond, across the unyielding concrete.

Needless to say, in the time it took for the frantic driver to scoop me off the cement, I knew that I suffered a much worse fate than losing the race to my sister. I’d broken my father’s steadfast rule. There was no choice but to return home and confess my transgression. The evidence was clearly etched over my cheeks…and my knees…and across my throbbing elbows.

But, just as it is with my Heavenly Father, Dad was more concerned about my welfare than my transgression. He cleaned my wounds and we had a long talk. Dad repaired my bike and eventually my bruises—both physical and emotional—healed.

I learned a valuable lesson that day, one that remains with me decades later.

Boundaries are set for a reason—not to confine but to protect with the deepest love. Yet, even when our free will takes us across a dangerous road or down a shadowed alley, God our Father welcomes us home with open arms and forgiveness. When we stray, we must remember that God is waiting for our return with open arms. No sin or transgression can separate us from Him. 

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