Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Screaming like a girl!

I have two boys. Both are boys boys if you know what I mean. They are the rough and tumble kind of guys. They are ferocious on the basketball court and are not afraid to shed blood. However, as I was crawling into bed last night I was startled by the sound of what sounded like a girl screaming from my son's bedroom. All of a sudden my 14 year old son comes running into our room screaming like a girl. I immediately started laughing."What is this kids problem?"

It was a SPIDER!! He had been trying to get rid of the spider with his shoe and it jumped on him. WELL..... I have never seen a display quite like it. I, of course continued laughing as I told my husband to accompany the little girl back to his room and make sure there were no more spiders. I myself am not afraid of spiders. I figure I can easily step on it or take care of it any numbers of ways.

As I tried once again to crawl into bed I chuckled to myself as I remembered that my older son will scream like a girl when a bee circles his head. Hilarious!!!

My daughter on the other hand is fearless. No screaming like a girl from her. She is a warrior. She can give you a look that puts you in your place pretty darn fast. (I wonder where she got that?)

Now snakes are another issue altogether. Taylar and I are deathly afraid of snakes.....

In the summer of 1990 we moved to Bolivar, Missouri to attend university. We rented a small house just outside of town on 3 acres. I am not a country girl but I thought I would give it a try so I planted a small flower garden in front of the house. As I placed the last plant in the ground I decided to run across the yard to the well house to grab the hose. So barefoot, in cut off shorts I made my way to get the hose feeling like I was pretty smart. Then it happened..... I stepped on a snake. Did I mention that I was barefoot? So the snake jumped up between my knees and was flapping back and forth and I was jumping up and down and no matter what either of us did we could not get away from each other. Garry came around the house at a run and somehow separated the snake and I. All I remember to this day is jumping for about an hour and screaming. Garry was chasing the snake with the lawn mower around the yard and then the snake slithered under the house. I took one look at Garry with the famous look and said, "We are moving to town." And we did that very week.

So I guess maybe I can understand the screaming like a girl thing...Sorta

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Finish line of 2007

As December neared its end I became more and more reflective. I started to see the finish line of 2007 ahead. At first, it was just a speck but as the month progressed it became larger and I saw the words "Finish Line". It became my focus, my goal. My spiritual muscles were burning and my heart was pounding from the course of this year. I found myself saying over and over again. "I am going to make it"! I heard the feet of Jesus running beside me. I saw the pleasure of His excited grin as I turned to Him and heard the clapping of His hands of encouragement as I grimaced and tried to catch my breath.

I was in a large crowd on New Year's Eve and as the clock struck midnight It occured to me that Jesus and I had crossed the finish line of not just 2007 but the finish line of the last 10 years. 1997-2007 has proved to be the biggest challenge of my life. Countless trials have come our way. At times my faith has been shook to the core. The enemy has launched some of his most heinous attacks and while I bear some of the scares of those attacks I know now more then ever before that God is faithful. He is absolutely for me and has been running with me when I have had the courage to run and has set down with me when I felt like I couldn't go any farther. He wrapped my ankles when I turned them and bandaged the scrapes when I tripped myself up. He has never left me. Not once. When I ran the gauntlet and felt the blows He ran it with me.

Today I feel like Jesus and I are walking it off. Panting!!!!! I feeling the elation of having made the long trek. I have learned endurance. I have learned persistence. I have learned the art of spiritual warfare. I have available to me and have put on the full armour of God and I have learned how to use it. Mainly from trying to function without it and failing. I have learned to continue when everyone else's race went a different direction. I am not afraid to be alone. I am not afraid of the future. I am not afraid of people's opinion, only God's. I am more determined to make knowing Him my purpose. I have experienced His mercy. I have felt the overwhelming power of His forgiveness and grace. I have felt His approval. He is my everything. My all in all. I am thankful for all that I have learned this past 10 years and rest in knowing that He will waste nothing that has happened in it. That He is using it all to conform me to the image of His Son. Whoa!!!!!!! Victory!!!!

I know that the race is continuing and Jesus and I are at the starting line of the continued course. There will be trials ahead but we will be victorious in the treachery of the enemy ahead. I rest in the confidence that I will never run alone. The sound of His feet pounding beside me will comfort me. I will hear his Word in my ear and feel his mighty arm of protection upon me. I will praise him with my running. I will do all I can to gather more runners as I go and make them into runners (disciples).

The excitement of a new beginning is on me and the staring pistol has been raised. Jesus and I are ready for the shot. I can't stop smiling and I hear him laughing. Our heads are down and BANG we have started. The pace is slow today as we find our rhythm but as 2008 progresses I have a feeling the the spiritual muscles developed on the previous portion of my race has prepared me for this present portion. I don't know exactly what is around the next bend but I am not afraid. In fact, I am very excited.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My wiener dog sings opera.

Yesterday my family was watching the Mr. Bean on holiday movie with my sweet Phoebe lying in my lap. There is a certain scene in this movie where Mr. Bean lip syncs a famous opera song sung by a soprano. My Phoebe joined in. Yes, it is true my wiener dog sings opera. We repeated the scene several times because we couldn't believe it. But she did it every time. It was priceless.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Helmet on!!!!

There is something serious about this picture. Helmet on....goggles in place. Eyes intence. Smile firmly fixed. This is how I feel today. Determined to not be goaded by the enemy.
Lord, help me to be determined to know you. I pray that when the enemy looks at me that He sees you and runs for cover.
Christ in me, the hope of glory.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mountaineer Gear

I am a mountain lover. I have spent many summers in the San Grande Cristo mountain range in Colorado, southwest of Colorado Springs. Each summer my family would load up and head out across western Kansas at night so as the sun rose we could comb the horizon for our first glimpse of the Rockies. We would watch those small blips on the horizon that looked like clouds at first grow to majestic mountain peaks. Glorious Pikes Peak is the back drop of Colorado Springs, one of my favourite cities. I have often day dreamed about living there. Actually, I am sure that God lives there.
My family spent a week out of each summer at a Christian family camp called Horn Creek about an hour and a half southwest of Colorado Springs near Westcliffe Colorado nestled in the stunning Wet Mountain Valley. It was a magical place to me. I loved the mountain air except that it took my lungs about a day and a half to adjust to the thin air. Walking to our cabin became a huge endeavour. We would hike Rainbow Trail which runs the entire length of the mountain range and climb to Horn Lakes, officially the most beautiful spot on earth, at least in my books. The big event of the week was the mountain climbing day. Early in the morning the climbers would set out to climb Horn Peak, a 14,000 foot mountain where our little camp sat at its foot. For several years I watched my dad and my brothers climb this mountain by sitting on the porch of the lodge playing dominoes or cards and waiting for the flash of a mirror from the top indicating that they were there and then waiting for them to come out of the trees and head for the hot tub. I remember the first year my dad climbed Horn Peak. When he appeared out of the trees after the climb I was stunned by his appearance. His eye brows were encrusted with salt because of the amount of sweat that had come from his strenuous climb. He couldn’t lift his feet over the one foot barrier in the parking lot. I knew then that this would be one hard climb for me if I was brave enough to attempt it.
My senior year in high school I decided that this was my year. I set out with some friends even earlier then the rest because I didn’t want to get left behind in the large group. The first part of the climb is easy. Trees and mountain streams filled my eyes. I kept thinking how insignificant I was in comparison to the huge God who had made this mountain range. I will never forget the moment that everything changed. I came around a bend and the path went straight up. Not gradually but drastically. My heart was pounding. I remember pausing and thinking that I had a decision to make either go for it or turn and run. I decided it was now or never and with my head down I started climbing. At mid-morning we stopped at a mountain stream to eat lunch. I could see that I was shortly going to be above the tree line. My heart was pounding because of the lack of oxygen and because I knew that this was going to be a life moment. At this point I downed a Snicker bar provided in the lunch packed for the climbers at the camp kitchen. I had never tasted anything so fantastic. Something about the combination of terror and chocolate is exhilarating.
I wasn’t too far out of the tree line that I stopped and turned around. I gasped! I could see the tiny red roofs of the lodge and cabins below. I was very far away from my parents. I waved just in case they could see me. I knew they couldn’t see me but at that point I really wanted them to see me. I was thinking to myself, “What were my parents thinking letting me climb this mountain.” I could only take about 5 or 6 steps before I would have to stop and get my breath. I could reach out touch the mountain in front of my face. There was a group of us spread out along the face of little peak. Horn Peak is a beautiful mountain. As one climbs you ascend the very steep face of little peak and then you hike along the rugged ridge then making one last precipitous ascent to the peak literally climbing over large boulders until you reach the top and touch the plaque. Victory! It was part way up the face of little peak that I wondered if helicopters ever came by to pick people up. I was not having fun and wished that I was sitting playing cards or dominoes with those who had gathered to watch me die. I reached little peak and turned around. How in the world was I ever going to get down? I could not believe how perilous this looked and the thought of coming back this way almost made me swoon especially since I would have to look down as I descended. It wouldn’t be advisable to close my eyes when I had to come back this way. So I turned to big peak and left the future terror for later. I found the ridge quite easy and actually enjoyed the journey. I could see Pikes Peak and many other mountains. I could see glaciers and crystal blue lakes and streams. We saw mountain sheep and other creatures that I had never seen before. As I reached the peak I took out my mirror and flashed the happy card players at camp to indicate that I had made it. I sat up there for about an hour before I headed down. I passed many others who left camp after me and encouraged them to continue on. I rested again at Little Peak and then gathered all my courage and began the descent. It was more like sliding down the mountain. I tore off both back pockets of my jeans in the process and I was sure that my knees would never be the same.
As I descended into tree line I started to feel the thrill of victory. I was going to survive this day. Several hours later I came around a bend on rainbow trail and saw my dad walking to meet me. He walked the last few miles with me and congratulated my success. As we came to the parking lot I looked at him smiled and jumped over the barrier that he had trouble with a few years earlier. Later that evening I received a patch stating that I climbed Horn Peak. I slept very well that night from exhaustion and from the since of having finished well.
I have reflected on that experience so many times in my life. It really is a picture of our life with Christ. Sometimes He asks us to scale mountains. And to do this with success you must have the right gear. Mountaineer gear. In Ephesians 6:10-18 we learn about the right gear to scale mountains or to travel any terrain. The truth is that we have evil predators to face on this trek. And we had best be prepared.

This reminds me of a story about my brother Casey. One of the summers that we were in Colorado my brothers started the yearly trek up Horn Peak. I was married by this time and was in no condition to make the arduous ascent. Quite frankly, I felt that I had done that and got the patch (not the t-shirt). I assumed the position of watcher on the deck of the Lodge waiting for the flash of the mirror that they had made it. When my brother Casey returned he told us that while he was climbing he was repeatedly attacked by a bird. It kept pecking his head. This went on quite a while so he armed himself with a large rock and when the bird came around for another peck He launched the rock at the bird and well……..the pecking stopped. He actually bled. I have to confess at this point that I was sorry that I had missed seeing that. My brothers used to bug me like crazy. That reminds me of another story about Casey.
When I was in high school Casey would have been in Junior High school. Mom would be at work when we got home so there was about an hour that we were alone. I would arrive first and Casey would arrive about 20 minutes later. He would come in the door and start making weird noises and acting crazy. He would do it forever just to bug me. I tried to ignore him but I would always end up fighting with him. Everyday I would tell my mother and she was sure that I was exaggerating.
One particular day my mom was home when I got home. I had an idea. I raced in the house and asked mom to put the car in the garage so that Casey would not see that she was home. I told her it was her only chance to see him in action. The car was hidden in the garage and I assumed my position at the kitchen counter making a snack just like any other day. Mom hid in the hall at the top of the stairs.
I heard the school bus pull up and stop and then I heard the bus pull away. My heart was pounding as I anticipated the joy of him getting busted. The door opened and he looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and the antics began. He was in extra rare form. He went on and on and on and on waiting for me to lose my temper. I just kept working on my peanut butter sandwich. He was really putting himself into it now determined that he would break me. My mom was hearing the whole thing. My heart was soaring. Sick isn’t it? Finally my mom stepped out from her hiding place and the look on his face was priceless. BUSTED!!!!!!!!!! I can’t remember if he got in trouble of if he was just embarrassed. Why did I tell you that? Sorry, Casey and I laugh about that now.
Anyway, back to the point, yes I have one. The Helmet of Salvation mentioned in Ephesians chapter 6 is the first piece of armour. Each and everyday we have an enemy that wants to get into our minds and plant seeds of doubt and discouragement. But God has given us the Helmet of Salvation which covers our mind. It makes me think that maybe Casey needed a helmet when he was climbing the mountain as a defense against the pecking bird. I know from experience that Satan pecks me half to death if I have not protected my head with the helmet of Salvation. When someone has had a head injury they wear a helmet as protection. We all have a head injury called sin and the salvation that is provided by Jesus Blood to all who will call upon Him is the protective helmet that we need.

Monday, October 1, 2007

In the Secret

God wants to say something profound to us everyday. He wants to whisper a secret in our ear. He is exceedingly creative in His methods and He enjoys surprising us even more than we enjoy being surprised by Him. He speaks to us through His Word as we sit at His feet each day. He speaks through unusual methods like a children’s story book, a song on the radio or the laughter of friends. God is all about relationship. He desires our company above all else. We are created to abide, to hang out with Him. He is crazy in love with us and wants to share His heart with us. The only requirement of us is that we give Him our heart. What happens in this relationship is not what the world says is normal. In fact, it is not of this world at all. The Word says that He has set eternity in our hearts Eccl.3:11. Our hearts crave Him. He is the only perfect fit to the God shaped hole in our lives. We may try to stuff other things into it. But Ps. 63:5 says, “My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness”. Speaking of the state of our souls if we seek Him earnestly (Ps. 63:1)
In the last few years I have come to understand more what that state of being satisfied means. As I have made it my determined purpose to know Him (Phil 3:10) I have truly gotten to know Him better. Not that I understand Him or His ways any better. It has been in the most trying of times that I have learned the most about Him. I, quite frankly want a God that I can’t understand. If I can understand Him then we are all in serious trouble. In fact, the more I know Him the bigger He gets and the smaller I get. I have become more intimate with Him. More honest. More real. As I have sought Him His character is changing me. I look forward to getting older, not my body failing but the adventure of walking with Him through many years. None of us will be completely like Him until we see Him face to face, however we should be changed by our meeting with Him everyday in a secret rendezvous where He can direct, correct and encourage.
I have experienced God’s surprising methods of communicating in many ways. I had a beautiful life changing time with God a few years ago. My husband Garry, my 18 year old son Tim and I went on a two week trip of a life time to the U.K in 2003. We spent the majority of our time in the English country side with dear friends. However, we set aside four of the days for an adventure to Ireland that ended up being a series of spiritual mile markers for us all.
First, a little family history. My parents were young newly weds in the early 60’s. My father was in the United States Navy and was stationed in Londonderry, Northern Ireland when I was born. A year or so after my birth my parents returned to the States and continued growing their family. Two brothers were added to the family and we spent our growing up years in the Mid-West, mainly Kansas City. I grew up in a home where my parents took us to church every Sunday and taught us to love the Lord. One of our favourite family activities while we were young was to pull out the carousel slide projector and look at slides. Yes, that is aging me a bit. We spent many evenings over the years sitting in the dark family room as a family looking at slides of castles and green country side. I often said that I would love to go back and see the place where I was born. Those off-the-cuff thoughts were prayers that God would take great joy in answering later in my life. He was waiting for the perfect time.
After spending a week in England we excitedly and somewhat nervously flew from Bristol, England to Belfast, Northern Ireland where we started the quest to reconnect with my past. We had decided to be courageous and act as if we were backpackers. Our preparation for this adventure consisted of two purchases, backpacks and walkmans. We thought that that was all you needed. We were wrong. We soon found out that we were in fact real backpackers. All we had to do was ask our sore feet and our aching backs.
Upon deplaning in Belfast we were presented with our first challenge. How do we get to the train station? We rather hesitantly walked out of the airport not really knowing what to do with ourselves. Here’s an idea how about read the sign. Right in front of my face literally the sign said, “Bus to the train Station”. So we waited for the bus, on the wrong side of the road I might add and a few minutes later our bus arrived. We boarded the bus and sat down with relief until we got to the train station and it looked like we had stepped into a time warp. The weather was turning rather nasty all of sudden so we sat down on a bench on the platform of the outdoor terminal. Thankfully it did keep us protected from the rain but unfortunately it did not protect us from the wind. All I could think was, “I cannot wait until the train comes”. Then the train came. I looked and Garry. Garry looked at me. Tim looked at us both like, “Are you crazy?” I am sure that it was the same train that my parents rode 40 years ago. We rattled and rolled down the track anxious to arrive at our destination.
I have had several experiences that are in the category of gifts from the Lord and what I didn’t know on that rickety train was I was just about to receive one of those precious gifts. The three of us managed to get a whole car of the train to ourselves. So we spread out. Garry napped, Tim listened to music on his walkman and I was reading and staring out the window at the beautiful landscape. We passed through quaint little villages and saw masses of sheep grazing in the fields. As we were passing through one of the small towns I thought that I saw what looked like water off in the distance. I nudged Tim and pointed it out to him. He said, “Where are we, by a large lake?” I had to admit that I really didn’t know where we were. The comment did not please him to much. The look on his face was priceless. As we progressed the thought popped into my mind that maybe it was the ocean. It wasn’t long and we could see that I was right and we were about to get a good look at the North Atlantic. We all stood up and anxiously stared out the window at the ocean in the distance. We were all grinning like ninnies. Shortly after we pulled out of the small sea side village we entered a dark tunnel. We were in the tunnel forever it seemed. My son Tim had picked up the video camera and had been shooting footage of the distant ocean before we entered the tunnel and in his excitement had left the video camera running while in the tunnel. The commentary by the three smart Alecs is hilarious. We could see that we were coming to the end of the tunnel ahead and were looking with anticipation out of the window. All of sudden we were out of the darkness and before us was the ocean. And I mean right before us. It was crashing against the rocks and splashing the side of the train. It was the most magnificent sight we had ever seen. I was screaming and running up and down the aisle of the train in utter delight. The cool thing is that we have all the reaction on video. Most of the video is floor, ceiling, flailing arms and deafening audio. I burst into tears and looked out over the expanse of water. The contrast of the ominous stormy clouds and brilliant rainbow arching over the water were beyond breath taking. At that moment I felt like God was standing in the train with His arms around the three of us saying, “Isn’t that cool? I gave that to you. It is a promise. Enjoy”. We traveled the coast for about 20 minutes with faces pressed against the glass of the train window and then sadly the train headed inland. We just sat and smiled at each other. What a gift!
It wasn’t until we had been home about a year that I really understood the significance of that moment on the train. God gave us that picture because He knew that there were going to be times ahead that were going to be dark, some of them would seem like a forever. He knew that I would be tempted to be scared. But He also knew that the fulfillment of the promise He had waiting for me when I came out of that tunnel would be breathtaking. I will have minute daily tunnels and I will have extended tunnels. I could apply this to a day in my life or my life in its entirety. When this life is completed and we come out of this world that is plagued with sin and its consequences and enter eternity we are going to see God and fall at His feet and worship Him in the beauty of Holiness (PS.29:12) It is going to be spectacular and forever! So hang on…….there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As the trained rocked and swayed into Derry I could just make out the gothic spires of a large church poking up above some buildings. I remembered from the slides that this church was across the street from the apartment building in which my parents and I lived. We left the train station and walked across the bridge over the River Foyle to a round-about where the apartment building sat to the right. At one time the building looked like a piece of pie. Narrow at one end and widening as the two streets veered off in different direction. My parents lived in the third story of the building. The Living room window was at the point of the building overlooking the round-about. I know from pictures that I loved to stand at that window as a toddler and look out over the street below. Sometime over the past 40 years the front part of the building where the living room was had been torn down and a tree had been planted in its place. Spray painted on the side of the building was IRA in black. A lot of history has gone on in this nation since we lived here. We walked by the building and since the weather was so incredibly miserable and we were wet and cold we headed to our goal, a warm dry bed.
We showed up at our accommodations soaking wet which didn’t seem too strange since all the youth in the hostel looked identical to our waterlogged condition. Tim being 18 was the only one that qualified as youth since Garry was 41 and I was fast approaching 40. Thankfully since we were a family they gave us our own room. Even though it was the middle of the afternoon we collapsed on our bunks from absolute exhaustion and slept. I e-mailed my parents later in the evening that we had arrived safely in Londonderry and that we had eaten dinner at ……………Pizza Hut. They were shocked to say the least. I think they expected us to have some fish and chips or something. The three of us, I am tempted to call us stooges in this case because it applies, were green travelers to say the least. If someone had attached a microphone on my backpack I am sure that it would have been good stand up material.
The next day was an adventure in and of itself consisting of Dun Luce castle, which we had all to ourselves and an hour at The Giant’s Causeway. Dun Luce castle, in the rain of course, was a dreamlike experience. I ran through the ruins and yelled “Hail King Jesus”. Yes, I scared my husband and son half to death but I couldn’t resist. I have had an aspiration for the past few years to put my toe in every ocean of the world before I go home to be with the Lord. I thought that this was going to be my first toe/ocean experience. As I headed to the edge of the rock shore of the Giant’s Causeway Garry pointed out a sign that said something like, “Be careful you might get sucked into the ocean”. (That was my paraphrase). I decided against the toe in the ocean experience.
We planned some extended time at the apartment building my parents lived in for the last morning we were there. I was excited and emotional about going. As we approached the building I gasped as I saw the number 77 on the very door my parents would have entered each day, the door that they carried me through when I came home from the hospital. Some of the building was gone but the front door was still there. It was raining of course, so I stood under the umbrella and took in the moment. All I saw were feet passing by on the sidewalk from under my umbrella. In the stillness of that moment God gently whispered to me, “This is not just the place you lived when you where born. This is where I formed you in your mother’s womb. This is where I made you in the secret place. This is where you and I began. I brought you here for a reason. I have brought you full circle. It is time to move on from here and into what I have for you but you must leave some things behind.”
I spent as long as time would allow before we had to make our way to the train station. As I walked tearfully over the bridge to the train station I thought about what the Lord had said to me and looked at the river. I truly felt that I was crossing the River Jordan into the Promised Land leaving the wandering behind and stepping into the victory and blessing the Lord had for me.
I boarded that train a transformed person. I stared intently at the spires of the church until it faded from sight and turned to face a new direction full of hope and courage to walk the unknown path ahead. I will treasure that memory of that moment for the remainder of my life. I was not alone. Even though I was surrounded by people on that wet sidewalk I was in the secret place with my God. He was talking to me and I was listening. It was a profound moment, a moment that compels me to spend time with Him everyday in secret where He can whisper His Word to me. The secret place is where we began, Him and I. It is where He is waiting for me now. And it is where we will be together for all eternity.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Game of Life

It was such a good idea. I wanted our family to spend some time together playing a board game. I was expecting lots of laughter and fun amidst a myriad of snacks, which in our family equals fun sadly enough. In fact, I could put out a large plate of nachos and no game would be needed. However, we decided to play The Game of Life. We all picked our playing piece from plastic cars in a variety of colors and put the sex appropriate colored peg in the front driver seat. In the original game this was a straight plastic peg with a ball on the end representing the head. Now the pegs have developed shoulders. I am not sure why except for the fact that you must need big shoulders in The Game of Life. I was in the orange car obviously driven by a pink peg with shoulder pads. I had to remind my youngest that he needed a blue peg. Oh brother! We all took turns spinning the wheel to see who would go first. My youngest won the spin and the game began.

My family is quite vocal and so it wasn’t but a few minutes into the game when everyone was talking at the same time and I was confused beyond belief. This is happening more often lately, something to do with being in my 40’s. My oldest son, who was married last summer, suggested that everyone should talk one at a time before my head popped off. I thanked him as I was sure that my head was in fact ready to launch itself into the light fixture above the table. I have the funniest kids but their problem is that they don’t know when to stop. The older I get the sooner I think they should stop. Anyway…….

The first choice each of us had to make was whether we are going to go to college or just hop in and choose a career. You did this by drawing a card from the deck of career cards and then drawing a salary card. If you choose to go to school you had to take a bank loan of $100,000. (Great) This supposedly was to allow you the opportunity to choose a better career with a higher salary. So I chose the education route, trying to be a good example to my children. They all laughed at me and went the career route. I was shaking my finger at them wanting to use this as a teachable moment.

Over the next few turns all of us had drawn our career and salary cards. They were all entertainers (big surprise, I wonder if there is a smart alek category for entertainer), athletes, tech support, etc. and had very very nice salaries in which they would get the joy of collecting every time the passed a payday. I, on the other hand was an accountant and I drew $30,000 a year for a salary and I had a huge loan to pay back. They did not. Not only that I landed on every “have a baby” square on the board. If I had one more baby I would have had to attach another car to the back of my orange mini van playing piece. Everyone was having a hoot and naming my children. They were all married with no children and huge salaries, very large bank accounts and nice homes which they sold later in the game for a huge profit. I was too busy paying off the school loan and paying expenses for the children to buy a house. My oldest son kept doing things that contradicted the rules of the game and when we would correct him he would say,” But I am a millionaire, I can do whatever I want.” What a joker!

As the game went on everyone was laughing except me. I thought to myself, “This is a little too real.” I thought I had made all the right choices in order to have a nice life/game and it all back fired. At the end of the game I retired but with little money. However, I had a huge family to visit me in my retirement home. I am not sure how I paid for it but I was there.

The game was full of decisions like buying insurance, buying a home, which route to take and even though we tried to make the best decisions possible the game still snuck up and surprised us. For instance, I landed on the square where you had to pay $5000 per child for a college fund. Considering I had four little plastic big shouldered children it cleaned me out until the next payday and I still was paying off the loan for my own college. I wanted to pull my hair out. Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? My millionaire son won of course. I let him know that that did not mean he could do anything he wanted. He disagreed but that’s his wife’s problem now.

We cleaned up the game and everyone either headed home or headed to bed and I headed to a sleepless night where I relived our life year by year trying to re-evaluate the choices we made. I should have been deep in sleep but I was deep in thought. I thought that we had made all the right choices when we started our life together Garry and I, but life continued to sneak up on us. We have landed on numerous bizarre life squares and have dealt with them as best we could trying to follow the directions of our maker above who could see the whole picture. At times He has steered us to routes that others would not take because it didn’t look smart to them. And sometimes we have had to ask the very honest question of God, “why?”

Just like in the game when I landed on a tragic or stressful life square I would slump in my chair not believing that that just happened. Then I would sit up and work through the pain and move on. As the game neared the end I thought to myself, “I might as well refill everyone’s drinks and get more chips because I am so not going to make it to the end, at least not with anything in my pocket.” I also realized that I have come to a similar place in my real life almost wanting to just give up.

I woke up the next morning a bit down and then the Lord started reminding me of things that He has said to me along the way and I realized that if I hadn’t come this way I would have missed these precious Words. This is maybe not the life I would have chosen for myself. Quite frankly, I would love to have a life of luxury where I do nothing but travel or to have a brilliant career where I am well respected and successful. But God has called us to ministry. Talk about a bizarre life square! Where a lot of times there is not extra money to travel and sometimes you get no respect. The rain falls on everyone and we have had our share, as I am sure you have had your share.

So I am on a quest to remember what He has said to me in the times of trial and stress as well as the times of joy and laughter and to record them for my own healing and hopefully for your benefit. So that you can see that God works and speaks to us in the times of extreme pressure not for the purposes of meanness but for the purposes of conforming us into the image of His Son Jesus. This life is not about retiring with all the gadgets or funds but reaching the end of the race and hearing. “Well done, good and faithful servant”. I want to walk into heaven all used up. Really, He is not going to be too impressed by all the clever things that I did for myself. The only thing He is looking for is the blood of His Son covering me making me righteous before God. I remember as a young mother telling God to “bring it on”, whatever it took to make me like Him. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that life has been a bit of an adventure. I have triumphed at times and I have had times of failure. I have climbed a mountain and have rafted the white water of the valley. I can tell you this that I have lived. I choose adventure. I choose faith. I choose the narrow way, the high road and the road less traveled. I do not choose clich├ęs or sanctimonious sayings. I choose the Word of Life. I choose the lifetime goal of knowing Him above success or renown. The road I have traveled has taught me much. The road ahead has much to teach me. For I know that all things work together for good, for those that love God and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Yes even my stupidity. Even my failures. Even my weakness.