I had the chance to go to camp this weekend with some kids and the thrill of the weekend is zip lining. All the kids were harnessed up, ready to go. One was very apprehensive. He was scared. I could relate. I’m petrified of heights but I have zipped a few times. Once you get over the fear, it’s really fun.
This frightened little man walked all the way up to the tower, climbed the stairs, looked down and said, “No way.” He climbed back down and walked back to the base. Looking up at me with his sad eyes, tears flowing, he said, “It’s just too scary. I couldn’t jump off.”
I agreed with him. “I know it’s really, really scary but after you take that first step it’s really, really fun.” He wasn’t buying it. I started for the tower.
When I got up to the tower my heart pounded. I climbed the stairs and the arguments in my mind start. Will the harness hold me? Will the line snap? Will I fall? It’ll be fun. I’ll be fine. I could die.
The mini war was interrupted by the guy on the second landing. He asked me to climb up those last five stairs to clip onto the line. I will admit, that is the worse part. You’re on this little platform. You have nothing to hold on to and it’s a straight shot to the ground. I was scared enough and I didn’t need to stand up there waiting my turn, thinking about what I was about to do. It would scare me too much. I told him I’d rather wait until the lines were clear. I prefer to walk up those last stairs, clip on the line and zip.
I clipped. I zipped. It was a blast. The kids all cheered and adults snapped pictures.
Zip lining is like a ride with Jesus. You harness up, trusting the guy who put it on. You clip onto the line, trusting it will hold you. The hardest part is stepping off the platform. If you look down and around, you may just chicken out but when you trust, the ride is a blast!
I thought of Peter stepping out of the boat. He stood on the edge of the boat, looking around, the wind blowing, wondering, Can I walk on water? Will I sink? Will Jesus help me? Jesus told him to, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Peter heard Jesus, suppressed those fears, and stepped out. Can you imagine the ride? Walking on the water with the wind blowing around you. How cool would that be? Yes, he looked around, he was afraid. He took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink but Jesus saved him. And for a moment he walked, however brief, and it had to be amazing.
When Jesus calls us to do something, the hardest part is taking that step off the platform. Trusting that God has it all under control and the line will hold. Once you let go, lean back in the harness, and enjoy the ride because it is amazing. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more that all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” (Eph. 3:20)
Don’t waste any more time standing on the platform looking down. Clip, zip and enjoy the ride.
I will admit to needing to lose a few pounds, twenty would put me where I want to be and make me feel better but I never thought God would use my weight and a precious preschooler to teach me about the tongue.
I was teaching the preschoolers and I had one of the four-year-old girls came up to me and gave me a big hug. As I basked in the hug, she patted my stomach, looked up at me with her gorgeous eyes and said, “You have a big tummy.”
I looked down at her, “I know have a big tummy but I’m exercising and trying to make it smaller.”
She must’ve sensed that maybe it wasn’t the best things she could’ve said because she looked up at me with a sadness on her face. All of a sudden, her face lit up and she smiled from ear to ear. She said, “Maybe you have a baby in there!” with an excitement that was almost contagious. Almost.
Everybody loves a baby, right? Maybe not when you don’t have one, you’re a tad overweight and almost fifty. I did a little worse about my “fat tummy” but I knew she was just trying to make it better. I laughed and told her, “Nope, no baby.”
I got to thinking about how many times we say something, sometimes without even thinking, and it comes across wrong. Then instead of really thinking about it, we say something else to make it better but in actual, we make it worse.
God reminds us to watch our tongue and to guard our mouths to keep us from calamity (Prov. 21:23) but He also tells us in Ps. 37:30 that The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just.
She spoke to me in wisdom. In all honesty, my tummy is fat, yet she spoke it in such love that I could still laugh about it and take it to heart and do something to change. Let’s always watch what we say and when we do speak, make sure we speak in love.
We had an exciting evening at church tonight. This semester, I am teaching early childhood. I miss my older 1st – 5th grade kids but I know the importance of them learning from other teachers then just me. Despite missing them, I love the little ones and sure do have fun with them.
One of the things I’ve always done with little ones, even back when I taught preschool, is I want to teach them to pray. It’s very easy and fun. Right before snack, when they are all sitting down, we pray for our food. I like to get on my knees, I think it’s important to be on their level and for them to see this prayer posture in an adult. I go around to each child and ask them if they’d like to pray.
There is nothing more precious then their prayers. Some pray serious prayers for their parents and their pets, some tell family secrets, and some just make you want to laugh.
One boy likes to pray in his head so we get to him he says, “I want to pray in my head.” I remind him to say amen when he’s done. We all bow our heads and sit quietly, well, as quiet as fourteen preschoolers can and then he shouts, “Amen.”
I had two new kids at the start of January. When it came to their turn to pray the first night, they said they didn’t want to pray. I assured them that it was okay, not every wants to.
I was talking to their mother after church and I was telling her how we pray in class and how much I love to hear the kids pray.
She said, “My kids didn’t they?”
I said, “No, but that’s okay, not all kids want to.”
She said, “We come from a church background where that’s just not normally done.”
Again, I told her it was okay, I just like to give them the chance if they want. We chatted some more then went on our way.
Tonight, three weeks and three classes later, I asked the two if they wanted to pray. Brother said he would if sister did first. I looked at the sister and she nodded and started praying. I grinned deeply as she prayed then he prayed, thanking God for the little things like hearing a preschooler’s precious prayers.