Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Letting Go

I love this song! It's such a good explanation of what it feels like to trust in God, to give up our own ideas for what our life should be like and embrace instead His plan. Because it's true: His ways ARE higher than our ways.

Over the Summer, I went with my family to Pigeon Forge, TN for a much-needed vacation. On our last day there, I did something I'd been wanting to do for a long time: I rode the Superman! That's not what this particular place called it, but still... You strap into the harness so that you're on your belly and they take you up about 80 feet in the air to drop you, then you swing REALLY high for a long time. This is how the conversation with my attendant went, once I was in the harness:

Him: "OK, go ahead and start leaning forward, your feet are going to come out from under you in just a second."

Me: "HUMPH!" (as my feet shot out behind me and I found myself studying the gum-strewn concrete from 3 feet up. It was then that it dawned on me, there's no cushioning should the mechanism fail... *gulp*)

Him: (as I'm eye-level with him and steadily climbing.) "When you get all the way to the top, I'm gonna count you off-- 1-2-3-- Then you're gonna pull that cord on your right hip."

Me: "OK-- WHOA!HANGON! WHO'S gonna pull the cord?!?!?!?!?!"

Him: "You are. Wait til I count. Have a nice flight!"

NO KIDDING, wait til you count!!! I had to be responsible for pulling the cord?!?! For letting go and trusting the rope I was dangling from to do its job? At 30 feet, I seriously began questioning my sanity. At 50, I was gulping down air, telling myself repeatedly how unhappy the onlookers below would be if I didn't hang on to my breakfast. At 80, the machine stopped. And so did my heart.

ONE! (Oh holy Jesus, what am I DOING?!?!?!?!)

TWO! (I can do this! --I can't do this! --I CAN do this!!! --I can't--)

THREE!!! (Ooohhhh Gooooddddd!!!!!)

My hand clumsily found the cord. My eyes rolled around, not actually focusing on anything, just taking in a blurry sea of hard, hard ground. The go kart race below became muffled and distant. I inhaled deeply, held it, and tugged on the cord. For a moment (that felt like eternity) nothing happened. I just hung there. Then I began my rapid descent towards the ground. I didn't breathe again until I felt the cord pull tight and I began the arc upwards (after coming terrifyingly close to the pavement). From there, it was AWESOME!!!

Letting go is both exhilarating and nauseating. You want to shout with joy and expectation while at the same time weep in fear and mourning for what you're letting go. It is terribly wonderful, and wonderfully terrible! It's scary. There's comfort in having something to hold onto: our routines, certain people, different things that have been a part of our lives so long that we don't remember life without them.

We find our security in these things that we cling to. But God's promise is that HE is our security. He will never leave, never forsake; He does not change. There is much more strength in HIS grasp than in our own. And sometimes we need to let go of our "stuff" so that we can cling more tightly to Him. THAT'S where true comfort is.

So what is it that you're hanging on to? Let me encourage you to let go. Pull the cord; feel the wind on your face!

Don't be afraid, for I am with you.
Don't be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Don't just DO something! STAND THERE!!!"

I love these words from White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland! But I never thought they'd be fitting in any situation but sarcasm... Until I just couldn't take it anymore...

I told you in this post all about the Salvation Army bells and how they ALWAYS make me cry. Last week, as I got out of my truck and heard the bells and started crying and wishing there was something I could do, I heard a voice say those words to me: Don't just "do something" (wish that you could, but can't and so nothing gets done at all)! STAND THERE!!

I asked the guy how to get involved, got the number, and rang a bell for the first time last night. Yes, I choked up a couple times. Can it. ;) Well, that's all well and good, I thought, but what if we could make it more interesting? I like to make things interesting...

So I challenged my Millbrook-area friends to come see me and make a donation. In return, I would sing a Christmas song for them. It was a nasty night, so I don't really blame anyone for not turning out (except for the Smiths-- THANK YOU GUYS!!!)!

Well that challenge is still on! I'll be letting you know my bell ringing schedule so you can come donate and have a song sung in your honor... But while I was on the Salvation Army website today I found-- wait for it... an online kettle!!! Oh this is just TOO good to pass up!

That's right! I'm now ringing the bell ONLINE! Check out the widget on the right that keeps up with the progress of online donations!

And furthermore-- I'm extending the challenge to the online kettle! For every online donation, I'll sing while I'm at the real kettle in Millbrook!

So to ALL my friends, local and only close-at-heart, I wanna sing for you! But there's only ONE way to make that happen (well, two, technically)... Please help me make a difference in the lives of so many who just need a little hope this year!!!