Perfect fingernails. That is the first thing I remember noticing on her as I held my newborn baby. When I examined her tiny hands for the first time, I made note of the perfectly manicured fingernails untainted by the harshness of the world to which she was now introduced. It would not be long before those tiny fingers would begin to prove themselves useful and ready for adventure rather than just pretty and squeezable.
I did not realize, at the time, that one day these fingers would glide meticulously across the keys of a piano, perform a homemade surgery on a rooster’s foot, and know right when to release the pull of the string on a recurve bow.
And then…those fingers started giving me clues as to the kind of girl this newborn would soon become.
It started with the seemingly innocent restaurant scenarios. I recall sitting at tables in restaurants holding her in my lap. The first thing she would do is reach out for the utensils wrapped tightly in a napkin. I would unwind the napkin to locate the rounded edges of a spoon to keep her occupied. She would persistently push away the “safe to play with” object and immediately attempt to reach for the jagged edges of a steak knife. She would do whatever she could to try to prove to me that her petite framed 8 month old personality would one day be a larger than life, thrill seeking, danger chaser. I became a professional “knife push awayer” because of her.
As Reece grew older, she began to show more signs of her love for weaponry. My dad introduced her to pocket knives and the art of whittling. She was allowed to play with knives before she was allowed to cross the street. I never dreamed that by the age of six, my second grader would have a small collection of homemade wooden arrows and spears displayed in her princess playroom. I remember confiscating her pink pocket knife from her Cinderella backpack on her way to school one morning. She innocently had assumed she would need it in case she came across a bobcat on the playground or found the perfect small branch to carve.
Around the age of 8, she found out she could shoot an arrow at a target at first aim. Foam targets, fake deer, and hand guards were on her Christmas list that year. Not too much time elapsed before a BB gun, throwing knives, and a hatchet were added to such lists.
One thing is for certain. She is somewhat hardcore. There have been times she has been found up in a willow with a bow, holding an ax under a homemade fort camouflaged by branches, or climbing up her tree rope aiming her slingshot.
“How to Survive Anything” books…”Country Wisdom and Know How” books…she has read them almost as thoroughly as her animal books over the years. While most kids were asking for a new bike or new video games, she had other plans of a good time. “One day I really want you to just drop me off in the wilderness so I can see if I can survive and make it back home. I know I could do it.” Many parents would laugh that off. I did too…at first.
The other night before bed, I walked past her room as she sat on her bed reading a book. Quickly realizing I had probably startled her, I backed up and peeked into her room. She quickly laid down her book and said “You scared me! I thought I was gonna have to pull out this.” As though she had done it a thousand times before, she pulled a knife from its sheath that had been tucked under her mattress. At the same time, I noticed what looked like a wooden Billy club look alike leaning on her night stand next to her bed. She explained that Grandaddy had made it for her. When I asked why she had them by her bed she stated in a matter of fact way, “you never know when you will need them. You have to be prepared.”
I should know by now to be “unsurprised” by scenarios such as this. This is the same girl who has, many times, sought permission to shoot an intruder with her bow if the need were to ever arise. This is the same girl who, as a preschooler, gave her parents the best escape route in case of a home fire rather than learning it from her parents.
“Therefore be on alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. ‘But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known what time of the night the theif was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.”- Matthew 24:42,43
Whether you are a believer, a doubter, or just plain out of the loop that Jesus is returning, it does not matter. The truth is…it is true. His arrival is a sure thing. It will happen. It will happen soon.
There are numerous places in scripture that remind us of the importance of being ready. He will come like a thief in the night, meaning that no one will know when it will happen. But only those who have confessed Jesus as the redeemer of their sin and the ONLY way to the Father will be excited to witness His arrival.
Live each day like it’s your last. Take advantage of the time you have been given. Stop and smell the roses. These are good recommendations from well intentioned people. But these recommendations are not as thorough as they should be.
Many people have sought to live their day as though it was the last. They spent it by ensuring that their day was filled with laughter, good times, and hugs for loved ones. But had they suddenly collapsed from a fatal heart attack their last day would have merely ushered them into hell. Sound harsh? I hope so. Sound like old time fire and brimstone preaching? Maybe. But I would be doing a disservice to my readers if I let them keep reading without reminding them of their need for the one and only savior of their soul…Jesus Christ.
Go on and breathe in the beautiful aroma of a rose. Your Creator created it. Take your day by the horns and ride carefree into the wind. Your Creator loves it when you enjoy yourself and bring joy to others. But please be ready. Your Creator will be back and He wants you to spend eternity with Him.
Throwing knives, arrows, hatchets…a few of the necessities a girl would need to face either a burglar in the house or a bear in the wilderness. But even greater than these are the weapons that truly count. Ephesians 6 gives us a list…”the belt of truth, the shield of faith, the breastplate of righteousness, shoes of readiness, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit.”
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me,…Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”-Revelation 22:12, 14