Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Could Have Just Asked!

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
--James 1:5

Thanks for your patience during my hiatus from blogging! I’ve been writing for publication, and the publisher has asked me not to post those stories electronically. But stay tuned! I’ll let you know where you can find them in the bookstores.

As we begin the Lenten season, I am looking forward to receiving free daily reflections from Dr. Larry Crabb. And thinking of Dr. Crabb, I was reminded of a funny incident that happened years ago . . .

A few years back, we lived just south of Austin in a two-story house that had a game room and all the bedrooms upstairs. My husband, an executive pastor at the time, worked in the study downstairs. Being an odd hybrid of working-stay-at-home mother, I didn’t have an official home office; instead, I lugged my laptop around the house and edited while watching our preschool girls, who were ages four and two. (Our little guy wasn’t born yet.)

The upside of working from home are the hours (anytime you want to work) and the commute (none whatsoever). But the downside is that sometimes the lines between work life and family life are blurred.

Such was the case one late morning when I was in the process of editing Soul Talk by—you guessed it!—Dr. Larry Crabb. I should mention here, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Dr. Crabb, that he is one of America’s premier Christian psychologists. He is scholar in residence at Colorado University and spiritual director of the American Academy of Christian Counselors. He is also founder of New Way Ministries, popular Bible teacher and speaker, and author of dozens of books on subjects ranging from counseling to family life.

I needed to call him to discuss the latest revisions to his book, so I set out lots of toys for the girls in the game room and told them to please play quietly while Mommy made a very important work phone call. And I told Brett to please listen for the girls and come upstairs if he heard anything. Then I took my laptop and phone into our bedroom and shut the door.

(I bet you can guess what happens next, huh?)

I was enjoying my phone call with Dr. Crabb—who is truly gracious, professional, and kind—when about midway into our phone conversation, the girls burst into the bedroom, squalling and bellyaching about some disagreement. (Note to self: I should have locked the door.)

“Mom! She stole my toy!”

“Did not!”

“Did too! Mom, she’s lying!”

“Am not!”

“Are too! Make her give it back! It’s miiiiiiine!!!”


Mortified, and trying to conjure up enough telepathy to make Brett come upstairs, I said into the receiver, “Excuse me, Dr. Crabb. I need to handle something really quick. I’m so sorry.”

Then I proceeded to deal with the situation. I can’t remember exactly what I did, probably something like confiscate the toy and put it in time-out, and then send the girls to their bedrooms. And I’m pretty sure I used that half-whisper, half-growling And you better get along or else tone of voice as I shooed them out of the room and shut the door behind them.

Picking up the phone again, I distinctly remember being struck by a sinking feeling of realization—Dr. Larry Crabb had overheard the entire interchange with my kids. Dr. Larry Crabb, the premier psychologist and family counselor. The guy who trains counselors and writes books about parenting. He had just overheard me discipline my preschoolers.


Back on the call, I remember fumbling some kind of apology and then saying something like, “I’m sure you probably heard my kids squabbling. I hope I handled that right!”

Dr. Crabb chuckled good-naturedly, clearly getting a kick out of the situation. And I’ll never forget what he said next: “Yeah, I heard it. Your kids are just regular kids, that’s all. And don’t worry: you handled it well. But you know, I was here the whole time. If you needed help, you could have just asked!”

In the years since then, I have worked with Dr. Crabb on a few other books. We have a great working relationship, and he always asks me about our kids and our church. A few months ago, I was working with him on his current book, 66 Love Letters: A Conversation with God That Invites You into His Story. I asked him if he remembered that incident, years ago, with my squabbling kids. He did, and we both got a good laugh at the memory.

I’ve thought of that incident several times since then. Because, you see, every moment of every day, I have Someone much wiser and infinitely more capable of helping present with me. He is ready, willing, and able to help me raise our children in a godly manner. Best of all, He can not only give me counseling advice, but He can give me true wisdom.

And anytime I need His help, I could just ask!

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