I grew up in the DFW Metroplex during the glory days of Six Flags — and Wet N’ Wild, for that matter. There weren’t fourteen theme parks all over the place, making it super convenient to hop in the car and be in fun-land within twenty minutes. Nope. Six flags. Wet N’ Wild. That was it. Two choices. And they weren’t cheap.
And, for some kids, they brought a day filled with thrill and adventure. But, like I’ve mentioned before I was still am a big fat weenie. My social status mattered zilch when it came to not riding rides. In fact, it was pretty much the only time I didn’t care about looking cool. I simply didn’t want to plummet to my death. Instead, I wanted to live to see the 8th grade Valentine’s dance. Period. Oh that you could see the dress I wore to that beloved event. Epic.
One of the few rides I would partake in was the classic summer-buster called Splash Water Falls. It wasn’t too fast or too high. It didn’t go backwards Godforbid or loop you around in weird directions. It was one hill, and it was wet. Period. And, in Texas, when it is 104 degrees in the shade – wet was all that mattered. Take a look for yourself.
And, while the ride wasn’t all that thrilling, per say, the payoff was in the after party. When riders exited the ride, they had the opportunity to walk across the bridge and go on their merry way. And, if you were a chicken (or wearing denim shorts), you would quickly hustle across the bridge for dry safety.
But, the brave, the bold, and the near heat-stroked would stay — grab a bar of the railing and hold on for dear life. The wave that was a comin’ was for. real. It would literally knock you on your butt in an embarrassing woulda-been-posted-on-youtube-if-that-was-invented-back-then kind of way.
But, oh the relief. The wet, beloved, sweet, cool relief. In an instant, you were changed.
That, my friend, was me Wednesday night.
What a dry spell I’ve been in lately. Call it a phase. Call it a funk. Call it complacency and big fat laziness. Tomato. Tomahto. Let’s just call the whole thing off.
The last five years have been such a devastating, frustrating, yet growing, maturing time. But, I equate it to something like summer camp romance. Anyone can date a guy at summer camp. It’s a bubble. He is most popular counselor, reads His Bible daily, is great with kids, and thinks you hung the moon. But, then fall comes. School resumes. And all of a sudden he is back on his home turf with a new class of fresh meat to choose from. Purely hypothetical analogy, of course. I got played like a fiddle.
And while my couch time, while surely for-real, and absolutely genuine – was a bubble. How hard is it, really, to have a phenomenal relationship with God when you have to spend ten hours a day, every single day for weeks or months on end, alone and flat on your back? One can only watch so much HGTV. At some point, God gets your full attention. He surely got mine.
But, now that I am sealed and healed I have been working my way back into the real-life-Mom-of-three-who-loves-Jesus world. And I’ve pretty much sucked it up at times.
I’ve tried to Ninjago for Jesus. Meaning, I’ve wanted to honor God while I spend a tireless amount of time decorating ninja lollipops for six-year-olds.
I’ve chilled with the least of these. Meaning, I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone and directly in to His comfort zone of loving those who society has mistakenly forgotten and/or purposely ignored.
I’ve stretched the wings of my creative talents. Meaning, I’ve been giddy while creating some crafty-goodness, in hopes to sell some of my creations online and perhaps help our family out financially a bit here and there. I’ll post pictures soon. Please buy something.
I’ve become more serious about this whole writing a book thing. Ps. I am on chapter three and I’m flat scared out of my mind. Don’t ask me about it. I’ll deny the entire thing completely.
I’ve volunteered at school. I’ve creatively cut my shopping budget. I’ve carpooled it up. I’ve chaperoned a field trip. I’ve read some books. I’ve made friends with one of God’s precious sons and served his darling family. I’ve failed miserably at learning Spanish, but I can say Que dios de bendiga! to my precious new friends who clean my kids’ school and flip burgers at my local Wendy’s.
But, oh how I’ve missed my hours of Bible study. My blueletterbible.com and all the nerdy joy I got on that site. Oh, how much I miss hearing nothing but praise and worship all day.
Dry. Dusty. 104 in the shade. No mo’ money left for a beloved Lemon Chill. This was my life.
I needed some Splash Water Falls, dangit.
Last night, I had the immense blessing of seeing this precious little boy get baptized.
Or, as my precious Benjamin says, “Landon got bath-tized”. No, I don’t correct him – it’s adorable. Not sacrilege. Leave it alone.
Landon’s Mama and I have been friends since he and my oldest were babies.
Look at these darling baby boys. We wanted to dress them alike. They wanted to nap. We won.
If I could have gotten her fired from her job somehow, I think we would have hung out daily. But, regardless of that whole job-thing, she and I have kept up, kept close and stayed with it. She loved me on my couch. She helped fund my Mayo trip. She did all she could. And she will vouch that we have literally b-l-i-n-k-e-d and those boys are almost NINE years old. Gulp.
So, tonight, sweet Landon invited us to celebrate his ‘bath-tism’ so of course, me and my boys wouldn’t miss it for anything.
Little did I know I was getting in line for this sweet, refreshing ride.
Our church does a lot of things well. (To be honest, God does a lot of things well and we just hang on tight and try not to screw it up!) But Worship Wednesday is one of them. On the first Wednesday of every month, from 7:00-8:00 (not 6:00-7:00 like some people me, yes me thought and showed up an hour early. Sigh.) the sanctuary is filled with praise, praise and more praise. People go public with their faith in ‘bath-tism’, we join together as a family and “Whoop!” and holler and darn near do the wave to celebrate this joyful event! Our church family unites in communion. And then we praise some more.
Oh how I needed it.
And I don’t know about you, but God…my God loves to show off. He desires good things for you. (Psalm 29 and 103) He has exceedingly and abundantly beyond all you could ask or imagine in store for you. (Ephesians 3:20) And He loves to knock you to your butt sometimes with the overwhelming wave of power by His Holy Spirit and His presence.
Man oh man, am I drenched!
They played one of my anthems. Yup, I cried.
I saw three of my favorite people on the planet. One of whom I’ve hurt recently. I suck. But, she loves me, still. She showed me grace. And I got to hug her. Needed that – bad.
I got to see my precious Benjamin rock out to praise and worship for really the first time in a corporate setting. I bout near cried. Everyone around us enjoyed his drum solos on the chairs in front of us, too.
I got to show my boys how much I love to praise. My oldest (who is like his father) sat back and ‘observed’ while praising in a subdued way. Totally fine…just not how I roll. This will surely mortify him in about four years. I can’t wait!
I got to watch my sweet boys stare in wonder as their buddy partook in the blessed symbol of being buried like Christ in baptism, to come forth raised to life new in Christ Jesus. I feel confident they will be dunked for Jesus soon as well. Oh what a day that will be!
And, the icing on the cake – I got to take communion with my boys. I am overjoyed (times a million) that both Jacob and Benjamin have accepted Jesus as their own personal Savior but this was the first time I’ve gotten to share in this sacred ritual with them. It was priceless.
God knew I was dry. He knew my funk. He knew I wanted to be close again, but didn’t know how to get what we had on the couch, without having to actually go back to the couch. He knew I needed a wave of His Spirit like none I’d felt in a while. And boy did He deliver.
I honestly have no stinkin’ clue. His overflowing grace continually humbles me. Especially after my lazy, busy behavior lately.
I’ve spent more time writing my book than reading His. ouch!
I’ve spent more thoughts on my future for me than for His future for me.
Yet, still, His grace abounds.
I wonder friend…do you suck it up like I do sometimes? If you say no, we can’t be friends. Do you feel parched and weak from heat exhaustion? Has the world drained you of the fresh spirit alive in you? Oh that you would come back to Him. Get in line. Await the wave. I surely wish you would.
The world can be such a blessing. Carpool, making lunches, volunteering in kindergarten…all ways I can honor my God by honoring my beloved roles as a wife/Mom and homemaker. But, the daily grind can make you lose focus.
Especially me. I am re-learning how to do all this well. Last time I was this “well”…I had a three-year old and a one-year old and worked part time at church. I didn’t cook. I didn’t clean. Somewhere across town my husband is shouting Amen! I didn’t have three kids. I didn’t have homework and spelling words and endless projects for school to work on. I didn’t have a heart poured out for the least of these and a desire to spend every single day with them. I didn’t have basketball practice and cub scouts and gymnastics and baseball and soccer and carpool and all of the other things I craved more than water itself all those many years on my couch. But, in Jesus’ Name I do have those things now! But, oh how I want to still have my precious Jesus too.
I want to do this life well. This Daughter of The King life. This wife life. This Mom life. This friend/sister/daughter/neighbor life, well. But, I don’t want to do it all. I don’t need to do it all.
I need less of all the excess and more of just the Jesus.
So…I’m going to do something that, by name alone, may sound a little like I’ve become Fruit-looped.
I’m going to fast.
That’s not a typo. I didn’t mean to say “I’m going too fast” as in not slow enough. But, I am going to actually partake in a fast. As in “to abstain from eating all or certain foods or meals, especially as a religious observance” No, it isn’t a diet. Although if I lose ten pounds, I’m totally cool with that, Lord
I am choosing to simply do the first verb in that sentence.
Do you know that word?
It means “to hold oneself back voluntarily, especially from something regarded as improper or unhealthy”. The life some of us live is exactly that. Improper and unhealthy. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to differ from believers to non-believers. That breaks my heart, and I’m certain God’s too. Here’s the truth of it, friend. As my pastor always says, “none of us are getting out of this thing alive.” Apart from Jesus actually returning we will die. Someday. Why in the flipping world are we wasting SO much time being caught up in the same junk non-believers are?
I say we, because I am a part of it.
In a world where no one ever abstains from anything, ever. I choose to do, as this Bible study I’m about to embark on says – surge forward in an “experimental mutiny against excess.”
I hope you will join me.
We will look at seven areas of our lives and stop. Reflect. Cut out. Abstain.
I am announcing to you now, my friend, that as of March 1st – I will be leading/doing a Bible study called 7 by Jen Hatmaker. I have already introduced you to her through my super-cool-kids book club and I have actually already read the book with the same title. It ‘tis uh-maz-ing.
Then, I got this great idea. This generally every single time makes my partner in crime cringe when I open a conversation with those words.
Me: “ Hey! Why don’t we do 7?”
Thing One: “You mean like re-read it?”
Me: “No, like do it. Fast.”
Thing One: “Like, re-read it quickly?”
Me: “No, dude…like actually do it. Partake in the fast.”
Thing One: (leaves the room)
Obviously, she changed her mind. Actually, God did. She’s in. Are you?
Here is the down-low from the site. Check it out for more info! “The seven areas include – Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. We will spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.”
Please join us.
Go online and buy the workbook. If you live locally, contact me for more info, because we will meet at Thing One’s house every other Thursday evening for Bible study. If you don’t live close…get your own group together! Link them to my blog and let’s all share in this journey together!
And…that’s not all!! I will be posting a giveaway in the next week or so for FIVE lucky winners! That’s right – Thing One has offered to BUY the Bible study workbook for FIVE OF YOU, if you promise to do it with us and comment on our blogs along the way, so we can share in this craziness for Jesus together!
Let’s grab a hold of the bars of the railing together, shall we? Let’s stand, throats parched, skin burned, as we anxiously await the knock-us-to-our-butt-flood of His Spirit that awaits us.
Let’s Splash Water Falls this thing, up, baby!
I feel certain we’ll never be so blessed to walk away in wet denim.
So…I guess my only question is…you in?