Ice-Laden Death Traps and Other Spiritual Journeys

The other morning my friend asked if we would like to join her and her kids for tobogganing and treats. We have twin families: two boys and a girl, all within months of each other. And, as God would have it, she is one of my dearest, most fun friends. So I jumped at the chance to spend time together, as I always do. I love doing life with her.

To describe where we live as “flat” would be a misrepresentation. “Flat” would suggest that there is something to compare it to, like say, elevation. Literally the only hills in my city are man-made, and were usually designed to get over or under train tracks. So when we go “sledding” this generally means going down big wooden iced slides. Having grown up in a significantly more hill-y part of the country, I had never been down one of these death-traps – I mean – toboggan runs.

Now, this may surprise some of you, but I’m not the most adventurous woman. I like all my ducks to be nicely in a row, preferably within my eye and ear shot so that I can maintain optimum safety control over said ducks. My friend, on the other hand, is spontaneous and fearless. She once made me walk in the exit only door at IKEA and I almost died. So when she said “you gonna give it a try?” and gestured to the death-trap, I laughed and informed her no thank you. I didn’t feel like dying that day, and I couldn’t foresee any other reasonable outcome.

But then it started nagging at me. That little voice in my head that keeps saying “Really? Are you really going to miss out on something because you are scared?” and I knew I was in trouble. I miss out on a lot of things because of fear. I have always felt like I didn’t belong. Be it my weight or my height, or maybe the way I always manage to say the wrong things, or laugh at the wrong jokes. I always felt like things were off limits for me. I don’t want to put myself out there because I don’t want to face the rejection or ridicule of being the “other” so I keep my feet firmly on the ground and don’t rock the boat (or the sled as the case may be). But this time, I knew I had to listen to that voice, because it’s been talking to me a lot lately.

So I grabbed my kids’ sled and walked up the 50 odd stairs to the top of the tower. I looked over the edge, down that steep, iced slide and thought “NOPE! Bad idea, this isn’t going to happen” and would just have to deal with the embarrassment of defeat. Yet again, I was the ‘other’. But then my 6 year old comes running up and asks to use the sled. And I say, “sure, if you’ll go down with me” to which he agrees with the kind of enthusiasm that only a 6 year old boy who is pretty sure he is going to see his mom make a fool out of herself can muster. So I get on that sled with my baby boy (who’s gone down it about 20,000,000 times already) safely tucked on my lap and we push off and I swear to you I thought I was going to die. I screamed so dang loud because we were going so dang fast and that ice just wouldn’t let up. And just as I started thinking “well, this is it, Lord. See you soon!” we hit the ground and started flying across the freshly fallen snow. It flew up into our faces and all around us and it felt like we were flying. My screaming turned into uncontrollable laughter as my boy and I managed to get our sled the farthest (a competition that had been raging all morning) and joy was bursting out of me from every angle!

Isn’t that the perfect picture of how God wants us to live our lives? He is constantly calling us out of fear to step into abundance. He knows that on the other side of the scary thing we have to do is the plan He has for us. And He knows that plans are good, He tells us that in Jeremiah. As The Message puts it

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.

Jeremiah 29:11-13, MSG

We have a good, good Father who is waiting on the other side of our fear. And He is going to make us go through it. We are going to walk through those dark valleys. And sometimes those will look like ice-laden death traps and other times they might be even scarier, like illness, or death, or loss. Or maybe He will ask us to put ourselves out there in scary and unknown ways. But I promise you, He knows what He is doing. We only have to trust Him that He truly does work all things together for our good. If we can let go, if we can trust Him with our whole lives, those scary things won’t be so big. They might even lead us to a joy and a peace that passes all understanding.

I am praying for you as you read this. I am praying for this new year and that 2020 would be the year you fall even deeper into a love and knowledge of our Saviour. If you don’t know Him at all yet, reach out, I would love to tell you all about Him!

I’m rooting for you,

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