Life Preserver

tara-young

“Those who guard their lips, preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3

This verse gave me such a mental picture!  I saw a person flailing and splashing about in the water. Screaming and yelling, though I am not sure if it was out of fear or anger. Fear of being alone. Fear of past or present. Fear and anger that nothing ever done is good enough. Fear that the kids won’t succeed. Fear that always keep friends pushed away, because we don’t want them to see the evil in our hearts. Or just because we are sinful, hurt people.  Fear consumes.

Regardless of the craziness, the first part of the verse, “those who guard their lips, preserve their lives.” struck me with full force.

Our words build up, encourage, tear down and hurt all out of the same mouth.

The latter part of the verse talks about bringing ruin. Not just ruin for us, but also for those around us.  This was a painful blog to write about, because of this very thing I am guilty. Perhaps this is the reason I was led to write these words?

I have a challenge. Let’s watch the faces of those we love, crumple as we speak loudly and rudely.  Let’s watch as they shine and sparkle as we encourage them. Let us see their hearts fly as we encourage them. Or, see them chained to the pain as we yell mercilessly.

I want to be a life-preserver. Not one who brings ruin.

Join me!

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The Bad Place

The Bad Place

My husband and I were missionaries in Africa early 2000-2003.  We were so excited to plan a rafting adventure!  Rather, he excitedly planned a rafting trip on the Nile River, while I was leery and fearful! I nearly drowned as a child, so it was natural apprehension.  Being the good wife, I put a frightened smile on my face and off we went.

Typical, well-balanced rafts, carry 8 or more people.  Our raft, including the guide, carried 5.  Should that have been an indication of our day???  It wasn’t as if we could say, “We’ll wait and do it another day” as we had flown from Kenya to Uganda!   We were at an extreme disadvantage with that, and that none of the four passengers had ever been rafting before.

img_6108With trepidation I carefully put my helmet on and tightened my life jacket.  It was so tight for safety reasons, it was really hard to breathe.  I felt trapped.  We paddled for a few minutes to practice.  He taught us how to hold onto the oar and the raft if we flipped, and how to climb back in the boat.  In calm water, that is much easier to do! He called different terms like the obvious, “ROW HARDER!” and “GET DOWN!” (I excelled at the latter!)  That was one he called most frequently because that meant we were either going to flip, or go into the rapid and come out properly in the boat on the other side,  and he was trying to keep us safe.  Did you know that guides have done this so often, they know if you are going to make it through the rapid or not?  Did you know that they will flip you for your own safety? No.  Me either.

So out of our 8 hour Nile River rafting adventure, we flipped 5 out of 10 times.  Wait.  He flipped us 5 out of 10 times.  We made it through the level 2 & 3 rapids, but not the level  4’s or 5’s.  Also unknown to me, because I was not aware much of the time being separimg_6109-1ated from the boat, and being rescued and brought back to the boat by my own personal kayak-er rescuer,  that there were Nile Crocodiles on the banks as I sailed by crying and peeing my pants as my life passed before my eyes. I was also hit by branches and had red ants on my life jacket and in my hair. (On a good note, though I was unable to hold on to the raft, I did hold on to my paddle!)

At the end our long journey, there was one more optional level 6 rapid. Saved for the risk taking, professionals!  It was called The Bad Place.  I can hear you saying, “Don’t do it! Tara! Don’t do it!”  That  was what my heart and mind were saying as well! Believe me!   One of the men said, “Man, I am not doing that!  No way!”  “I am going to sit this out!”  It came down to me.  Sammy and the other guy were game so I had a decision to make. Quit, or hit this rapid head on, knowing full well we weren’t going to make it through.  I can honestly say that I had tears of fear dripping down my sun-blocked, sunburned cheeks. Not all weepy boohoo, just plain old fright, panic, horror and dread!   My comment, which made my husband beam with pride was, “I didn’t come this far to quit. Let’s go.”

the-bad-placeWe got into the raft and as soon as we sat down, he pushed us off and yelled, “GET DOWN!”  it was at that moment, I let go of my paddle because I was already under water.  I was tossed, turned, scared and tumbling like a towel in a washing machine!  I thought I was going to die.  I couldn’t get to the surface. I couldn’t see the surface! Twisting, whirling, spiraling out of control, until I finally, I reached the end of the rapid.  Sammy apparently was still under water, but popped up soon after I did and was already at the bank down river a bit smiling. I on the other hand, was breathless, hyperventilating and crying.  I saw just a hand reached out saying, “I got you. You are ok.” One of my fellow rafters was there to help me out of the water.

Sammy and I walked up the hill with his arms around me.  He said something like, “that was fun.” Or, “I am so proud of you!” or both.  We arrived at the top of the hill, after a long day, to an awaiting celebration feast.  In my heart I thanked God for my survival.

I can say with pride, “I Rafted The Nile River!”

Life is like rafting that river sometimes isn’t it? We are rafting along smoothly enjoying the ride,  until He being the guide,  sees things that we can’t and protects us by flipping our boat. Or circumstances like the life jacket, tiny red ants, or branches smacking or biting us, cause us great discomfort and pain.  We begin flailing and tumbling in the rapids of life, and forget that God is always there.

He sends friends to give us a hand. He sends a way for us to get back in the boat.  He never leaves us alone. Psalm 138:3 says, ” On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.”  He hears us when we call. He gives us strength.
He equips us for  “The Bad Places” in life and gives us the courage to go through them, even though we know going in, it is going to be hard and scary.  Yet, we are able to say, “I didn’t come this far to quit.”

Lord, be with my friends who may be going into, or are already in The Bad Place. Please protect each one and bring them safely out the other side.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Confessions from a Country Girl

I grew up on a dairy farm in Idaho, though I never had to do any hard work. I got to play which is great when you are a kid! We left the farm though when I was still young so even though I played in cow poo and mud, I still had a problem with snakes and spiders.

We are now living in my dream home on 7 plus acres and I feel restful. Happy. Fulfilled!

This morning as I was preparing second breakfasts for my daughter while she put on all of her “Goojelery”,  and there was a spider see.

I quickly grabbed a black rubber boot in a quiet freak out mode of, “ew! ew! ew!” and killed that sucker! Then I threw it in the toilet, flushed it smiling a fretful smile of victory as I walked briskly to get my phone.

I texted my Dear Husband and asked what kind of spider it was!

He wrote back, “Was it fuzzy or glossy?”


WHAaaaaaTTTT??? A SPIDER! DON’T YOU READ ME???
I wrote back.
“Haha.”
said he.

“Glossy probably Black Widow. Fuzzy means probably jumping spider.”

All I know is Spiders in my house with black furry or glossy bodies are not going to make it!

Spider: 0 Country Girl: 1

And that is all about it.

If you are scared…

Last night we had a good storm. By good, I mean it rained and there was lightning and thunder. I LOVE STORMS!!! We have told the kids when they ask, “If I am scared can I come to your room?” that they are welcome to come crawl into bed with us.

Last night someone crawled between Sammy and I, laid their head on my pillow while I was sleeping. I reached out to comfort them but when I did, I found out it was Angel, our 60 pound Springer Spaniel!  She had gotten so scared that she climbed in between Sammy and I could not move her! She was so heavy in my sleep darkened state, that I just left her there with her loud snore reverberating in our bedroom!

While I expected it to be one of the kids, Angel was shaking and scared so I left her there. In the morning, I was in a tremendous amount of neck and back pain because that perfect sleep number was off with her extra weight.

How often do you or I leave some particular sin in our life because it is just easier to leave it there rather than  fight the sin to get it out?  It is sometimes easier to leave it be!  Is it right when the pain of the choice comes with the willingness to leave it?

NO! NO! NO!

If you are scared, pray it out.  Get “the dog off the sleep number bed” and a make your life easier. We need to ask God to take the sin out of our lives and live a life pleasing to the Lord walking with Him free from the sin that causes tremendous pain. If you are scared, run to the One who can rescue you. Climb up and let Him love on you. 🙂

He is not here now.

Taken from the book of Mark chapters 15-16.

Sweet Jesus He hangs there nailed to the cross. He willing gave up His life for us all.

He hangs ‘tween two robbers two sinners two low lives. They are quite simply an example of me.
Bitter wine he refuses. They cast lots for His garments. “Come down” they say. “You can Lord you’re the King of the Jews!”
Chief priests, scribes, and others all mock Him with their words.  The sixth hour is here the sixth hour has come.
Darkness ‘til the ninth hour when Jesus He cries out, “My God my God why have You forsaken me?”

Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His last breath. The curtain in the temple was torn it two.

From top to bottom now that is from God’s hand. The soldier said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

But the story of Jesus does not end in this way. You see 3 days later He was alive again!

The stone had been rolled back.  Two Marys brought their spices and to their shock a young man did they see.

“Do not be alarmed ladies.” I would have been panicked but guess what, they weren’t the listened instead.

Jesus of Nazareth He is risen not here now. See the place where they laid Him it’s empty and bare.

The young man told them to tell the disciples and Peter, “He is going before you to the town Galilee.”

“There you will see Him just as He told you. They fled from the town and astonishment seized them. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.

He appeared to Mary, the one delivered from demons. “She went and told those who were with Him” they cried and they wept as their friend was dead now.

This woman she tells them that He was alive but believe it they did not.  But He showed Himself to two more.

When they went back to tell the others they’d seen Him. They didn’t believe what those two had said.

He then appeared to eleven disciples. He came through the walls what a sight that must’ve been!

Go tell the whole world now proclaim me to creation whoever believes and is baptized is saved.