Keep Your Hands and Feet inside the Ride at all Times

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I almost died last week. You might think that is an exaggeration but that’s only because you did not see the ring of death that I rode at the local Strawberry Festival. I don’t know if rides have gotten scarier or if I’ve just gotten older (okay, fine, I do know!), but there is no reason for an almost forty-year-old woman to be dangling upside down for a sweet forever.

My brother has always had this theory that you shouldn’t ride anything that can be put up and taken down in less than twenty-four hours. I used to think that was just fear speaking but, perhaps, it was wisdom at an early age. After all, as I was standing in line for the tilt-a-whirl, I did see the two workers have a pow wow in the corner. Then, one reached behind a curtain and pulled out a small bag of parts and proceeded to crawl under the ride. Were these the parts they had forgotten to put on? The “spares”, perhaps? Were they replacements for the parts that come off on the regular?

What would make a normally rational woman ride the ring of death fire? In my case, it was a little boy who rides the bus to our church on Wednesday nights. He came up to me as I was working a booth and begged me to ride this particular ride with him. He continued to check on me every thirty minutes to make sure I had not forgotten. So, at 6:00, I walked to my doom and rode the ride.

For the rest of the weekend, every time he saw me, he smiled and gave me a thumbs up. He would yell over the noise of the rides and crowd, “You did it!” He’s right; I did it. But, I’ll tell you, it was frightening and uncomfortable.

God often calls us to frightening and uncomfortable scenarios. If you commit yourself to following Him, you may just find yourself hanging upside down trying not to embarrass yourself by begging the workers to stop the ride when all you wanted was a funnel cake.

The Strawberry Festival draws you in with the cotton candy and bright lights. You’ve already bought the armband and gotten on the ride before you realize the cost. Christ, on the other hand, is quite upfront.

Pick up your cross.

The world will hate you like it hated me.

Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted.

You can never say that you weren’t warned. But, one day, when it’s all said and done, we will lay eyes on Jesus Himself. On that day, over the noise of the angels singing and trumpets blasting, He will yell, “You did it!” And you can know that, yes, it was often frightening and uncomfortable, but you did it.

Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

 

 

Buddy Up, Buttercup!

The Buddy System

Whether we are walking to church, grocery shopping or playing at the park, our family has a hard and fast rule: always buddy up. This was a way of life even when we only had two children. If they were outside playing and one needed to use the restroom, then they both came in and used the restroom. If one wanted a drink, then they both got a drink. If one child was done playing outside, they were both done playing outside. You get the picture.

These days, we have five daughters; my husband and I are grossly outnumbered (and we love it.) It does present issues when out in public. Zoos, amusement parks and the like would be super stressful if I had to have a hand on each of them at all times. After all, I wouldn’t have a free hand to hold my frozen lemonade! The reality is that I could not physically protect all five at one time in the case of an emergency which is the whole point behind the Buddy System.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. (Ecclesiastes 4:9 NLT)

 

A child walking alone is a far greater target than two or three children together. A lone child is also much easier to overpower and carry away. A child without a buddy has no one to help him in a time of need or to hold her accountable in a time of temptation.

Women would benefit greatly from the Buddy System approach. The enemy is prowling around like a lion seeking someone to devour (2 Peter 5:8.) What better target than a woman attempting to make her way all alone! While social media has created true camaraderie among many people, it has also given the illusion of community to others. A woman can have thousands of “friends” and “followers”, yet have no one to buddy up with in real life.

 

Nobody Walks Alone

The main rule of the Buddy System is that nobody walks alone. This may seem obvious but, trust me, I’ve had more than one two-year-old who thought she could be her own buddy. Just the other day, my husband attempted to hold our youngest daughter’s hand to which she replied, “No, thanks. I’ll hold my own hand.” And she proceeded to do just that.

Chances are that we all know a woman who wants to just hold her own hand. Perhaps, at times, we are that woman. God never intended for us to walk alone (Genesis 1:18.) and a woman attempting to do life that way is much weaker than one with a buddy at her side. The fact is that it is foolish to think that we can go it alone or that we can hold our own hand.

Are you feeling weak? Look around and find a buddy!

Are you strong in your faith? Scripture says it is your obligatioto come alongside another woman and shoulder some of the burdens!

It’s time to get serious, ladies. The enemy is seeking weak women (2 Timothy 3:6). Let’s buddy up and make sure no woman is left behind.

You are loved.

Don’t Look Away

Sometimes, when my child falls down, I pretend I don’t notice. Please don’t judge me. I’ve come to realize that, if they think I didn’t see, they often carry on with whatever they were doing prior to the fall. If I make eye contact, however, weeping and wailing may commence.

Sure, I’m watching out of the corner of my eye. But no eye contact – that’s the rule. This parenting tactic has served me well over the years. Here’s the thing, though:

This doesn’t apply to grownups.

You know what I’m talking about. You hear that someone is going through some stuff and you’re afraid of being uncomfortable, so you avoid her. You’re worried you may say the wrong thing, so you avoid her. You have enough of your own stuff to deal with, so you avoid her.

When we see another woman take a tumble, we don’t pretend like we didn’t notice! We don’t avoid eye contact hoping we can all just carry on like normal. Let’s just go ahead and face it: if your eyes connect, there may be some weeping and that’s okay.

If we love Jesus like we say we do: we will not look away. Jesus never looked away. Not from the leper or the lame. Not from the pharisee or the prostitute. Not from you or me.

But you, O Lord, know me; you see me… (Jeremiah 12:3)

Hurting women don’t need us to watch them out of the corner of our eyes. They need us to stare into their eyes, hug their necks, and shoulder their burdens with them.

It’s easy at first. We post a prayer request for them. We take up a donation for them. It happened to be a Saturday so, perhaps, we drop by and sit with them. <—These are all good things, by the way!

But it doesn’t stop there. They still need to be seen on Tuesday when the baby is crying and you’re trying to make tacos. They still need to be loved on as the weeks pass and everyone else’s life as returned to normal.

Don’t look away when it’s no longer convenient. Don’t look away when it’s uncomfortable. Don’t look away because you don’t know what to say.

It’s okay to say, “I don’t know what to say, but I see you and I won’t look away.

Don’t look away.

You are loved. ❤

 

The Call of Community

I used to be very intimidated by other moms. I would feel great shame when I would show up at a play date and see that other moms had packed coolers filled with healthy snacks and cold bottles of water. Meanwhile, I would have a ziploc bag filled with random whatevers from the pantry and a desperate hope for a fairly sanitary water fountain.

These days, I don’t worry about it as much – partly, because I pack somewhat better snacks but, mainly, because I have friends who know me well enough to pack extra snacks and drinks for my kids. That is what moms need to do. We need to fill in the gaps for each other. booth

We all have strengths. For instance, if you get in a bind and need someone to watch your kid, I’m your girl. Seriously, when you have five kids, another bowl of macaroni at lunchtime ain’t no thang. Some of you are fabulous at planning birthday parties. I see the things y’all pull off and am so grateful that my kids are not on Facebook to see it.

Motherhood is a community. It is our duty to rise up and help one another. This is a difficult age to raise babies. We need to worry about things that our mothers never did. For instance, were you aware that there is an app designed to hide photos and videos? The sole purpose of it is to deceive! I had no clue until another mother mentioned it to me. We need to have each other’s backs, y’all. The infighting and insecurities need to stop. There is too much at stake.

In Acts 6, the church was growing quickly and some things began to slip through the cracks. Due to a large number of people and a language barrier, the Greek-speaking Jews were upset that their widows were being neglected. They wanted the apostles to fix the problem.

The solution the apostles came up with was for people within that community to rise up and take on that responsibility. That is the beauty of community. We know the needs of our people and we know how to help.

churchbuildingYou and I are a community. We know the signs of a mama who is on the edge because we have been there. We recognize the desperation in her eyes because we have seen it in the mirror.

Listen, sweet friends. Motherhood is glorious. I would not trade this time with my babies for anything. This is not a woe-is-us message – not by a long shot. We are a blessed bunch of women. My point is that, sometimes, we stink at community.

Oh, we are great at moms nights out and small talk in the halls at school and church. We sip our coffee and smile as we sit on the bleachers at our children’s sporting events. Yet, when it comes to true community, we are missing the boat big time.

It is wrong that so many women would slip emails into my box saying, “I am all alone.” A complete stranger sent me a message asking if we could be prayer buddies because she did not have anyone. That should break our hearts because I believe it breaks God’s heart.

We are called to live in community. Let’s rise up and meet the needs of our sisters.

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Also, if you are not able to physically join a group of ladies to study God’s Word. You are more than welcome to virtually join me. 😉 I am currently reading through the book of Acts with a couple friends. You are welcome to join us. Just join our Facebook group and jump right in. We just read a chapter each day and share our thoughts. I would love to have anyone join who needs a little daily affirmation or accountability. There is no need to play catch up. Seriously, just jump right in with us. ❤