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Hang on for the Ride!

22 Apr

In her post on the Christian e-zine, The Christ Pulse, author Karen O’Connor wrote about a group of women who toured London tearooms. Her description of the “White Knuckle Ride” on a British double-decker bus that make me laugh.

Karen wrote that the women downstairs were attentive and happy, but when she walked to the top deck to talk to the women , the passengers “were sitting like soldiers on alert,” clutching the seats in front of them.

“Is anything wrong?” she asked.”We’re having a great time downstairs, but you don’t appear to be enjoying yourselves.”

As Karen looked around, “One of the ladies looked up at me with a touch of fear in her eyes,” she said.

And then one of them spoke up in a small voice, “That’s because you have a driver!”

I couldn’t help but see a parallel.

It always helps to know that someone is “driving” our lives. Knowing someone is in charge alleviates our fears and concerns.

As I think about my journey in life, four things have helped me relax and hang on for the ride.

(1) God’s Sovereignty – He’s always in charge (Psalm 103:19). In His sovereignty, God rules over all (Psalm 115:3; ). He is totally in control and nothing is impossible for Him (Job 42:2; Luke 1:37). We may make plans from our perspective, but God sees the bigger picture, so we can trust His promises and purposes (Proverbs 16:1-4).

(2) God’s Loving Presence – He never leaves me, even when I can’t “see” Him at work (Psalm 139:7). I am never alone. His presence is a place of protection (Psalm 31:20). Knowing He is near, I have joy and I can rest (Psalm 16:11; Exodus 33:14).

(3) God’s FaithfulnessHe has always led me well … never led me wrong. He is good and merciful to His children (Psalm 145:9) ~ while there is no doubt that He works for His purposes, He also is concerned for my well-being (Jeremiah 29:11).

(4) God’s Wisdom – He’s more than willing to give me direction through the scriptures (Psalm 119:105) and the Spirit (Psalm 143:10; John 16:13). He will guide and teach me the right way to go, because my “enemies” (including temptations that arise from within me) mean to do me harm (Psalm 25:5; 27:11). I simply need to acknowledge (know and recognize) His voice and listen to His wise instruction (Proverbs 3:6).

I am not a roller coaster fan, mostly because I get dizzy every time, but I do occasionally allow myself to be strapped in ~ and as you well know, once you’re strapped in and the coaster is moving, there’s no turning back. The ride may get uncomfortable, but you’re not going anywhere except up and down (and maybe upside down) on the tracks.

The best way to ride a roller coaster is simply to surrender to the adventure. You may scream… your emotions may go wild… you may even feel a little queasy… but you will eventually arrive at the ride’s destination.

When I became a Christ-follower, I was “strapped in” for the ride. No turning back. It hasn’t always been easy. The ups and downs of life and the corkscrew turns that made my head spin ~ it’s all been part of the ride. But I know that God had purpose in each one, and that He was there with me the whole time. He’s been right beside me, cheering me on.

God has given me insight into how to make the ride a blessing rather than something to be endured. And just as I lift my hands high on the coaster, I find myself lifting my hands is sheer joy at times, praising my God for one incredible “ride.”

How about you? Does your life feel like a roller coaster these days? Remember that God is in control. He loves you and stays close by your side. And He is faithful and wise ~ He can be trusted! 

Do you believe these things? Get ready … in this great adventure with God, you haven’t seen anything yet!

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Got Post-Christmas Blahs?

26 Dec

There’s a funny “Day after Christmas” poem that might describe many homes in America:

‘Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house,
Every creature was hurting — even the mouse.
The toys were all broken, their batteries dead;
Santa passed out, with some ice on his head.

Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor, while
Upstairs the family continued to snore.
And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans,
Went into the kitchen and started to clean.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a little white truck, with an over-sized mirror.
The driver was smiling, so lively and grand;
The patch on his jacket said “U.S. POSTMAN.”

With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox.
Then quickly he stuffed them into our mailbox.
Bill after bill, after bill, they still came.
Whistling and shouting he called them by name:

“Now Dillard’s, now Broadway’s, now Penny’s and Sears;
Here’s Levitz’ and Target’s and Mervyn’s ~ all here!!
To the tip or your limit, every store, every mall,
Now chargeaway-chargeaway-chargeaway all!”

He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work.
He filled up the box, and then turned with a jerk.
He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road,
Driving much faster with just half a load.

Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer,
“Enjoy what you got … YOU’LL BE PAYING ALL YEAR!” (1)

And then there are all the “returns” after Christmas.

Brian Bill dealt with this by quoting a poem by Dave Veerman called “Many Happy Returns” ~

“‘Twas the day after Christmas, And all through the room
Strewn wrappings were crying For use of a broom

The children were scattered, The friends’ gifts exploring,
Since now most of theirs Were broken or boring.

All tummies were stuffed From the fabulous feast;
Leftovers would serve For one month at least.

And mama and papa Were countryside ranging,
Those unwanted gifts Returned or exchanging.

Yes, Christmas is past With its bustle and noise,
Sales and carols, Santas and toys.

Decorations are packed, The Yule tree’s discarded.
The holiday’s over, Just as we got started….” (2)

It’s so true … if we’re not careful … all the post-Christmas bills and returns will get us down (unless, of course, we paid for it all with cash and chose perfect gifts).

Sometimes, as hard as we try, Christmas is disappointing. It’s like the child who opened all his gifts and then declared, “Is that all there is?” Or maybe there are some relationship problems. Or maybe there is so much activity and you run on adrenaline … and then you crash.  (I know it’s only the day after Christmas… it might take a bit to catch up with you!)

Here’s how I’ve always dealt with post-Christmas blues Continue reading

Who’s UR Cheerleader?

1 Jun

Cheerleaders in RedQuestion: How does a cheerleader answer the phone?

Answer:  H – E – L – L – O!  He-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-llo!

Question:  Do you know what a cheerleader’s favorite beverage is?

Answer:  Root beer!

MegaphoneCheerleading has evolved over the years. When I (Dawn) was a cheerleader, my big focus was making sure I didn’t fall down while jumping up and down and yelling “Push ’em back; shove ’em back, wa-a-a-a-a-ay back!” Cheerleading was pretty simple ~ cute little ditties while clapping hands or using pom poms.

Pam was a cheerleader a decade later, and cheerleading was already changing, with far more physical skills and gymnastics thrown in. Pam is a born cheerleader, and I can just imagine her enthusiasm!

But what used to be simple cheering on a team or getting an audience to participate is now an art form with intense training and competitions.  Cheerleading is an exhibition that garners its own applause. On ESPN2, those who are interested can even watch hour-long exhibitions for recognition and championship trophies. Cheerleading has become a “sport” in and of  itself.

I’ve been thinking a lot about cheerleading lately. I’m beginning to realize how much I need other people, and there’s really nothing wrong with that, because we were not meant to be “solo Christians.” I am so thankful for my cheerleaders.

One of the mentors in my life is Pam. She’s been a spiritual “cheerleader” par excellence! She pours her life into many women’s’ lives, cheering and encouraging them in their life adventures. She encourages persistence, faith, and living life to the max ~ all to the glory of God. She encourages women to choose joy and live in wisdom. And Pam inspires me to encourage others … to pass on the blessing I’ve received.

Renee Johnson is another friend, a young woman who inspires 20-somethings; and she has encouraged and motivated me for a couple of years now. Every time I think of her, I think of the way she ends her Devotional Diva newsletters ~ with this verse: “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24 NLT). Other versions say “stir up one another” or “stimulate one another.” The idea is that we care about someone’s spiritual growth and ministry so much that we try to figure out how to cheer them on!

Cheerleading doesn’t have to be all rah-rah, though. One of the most powerful cheerleaders in my life Continue reading

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