"The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of whom shall I be afraid?"
Psalm 27:1 (NIV)
It's that time of year- the kids are going back to school- the weather is still hot and the Illinois State Fair has come to a close. Phil and I took two of our grandchildren the final weekend and while were waiting on some other friends to meet us, our 4 yr old grandson, Mayson wanted to get on some rides. So Grandpa purchased tickets and we made our way through the people trying to pick out the best one that would satisfy him.
He was determined as he walked through the people, like he was a (little) man on a mission. He came to a stop in front of The Octopus. Now,... he had been to the fair the night before and I was told he rode it with his dad. I looked at Phil, walked Mayson to the device that checks to ensure he's tall enough to ride, turned to my big brave husband,Phil and asked if he wanted to ride it with him. I got "the look"- and he gracefully declined and said he's stay there (grounded) with the little sister.
So we waited our turn and while we stood in line, Mayson kept telling me "Nana, it's ok- I can do it myself" "Really, Nana- I can do it myself". I watched it turn one way, then another. Then it went up and down and I lovingly said to this FOUR year old, "Oh no honey, you can't do it by yourself".
Now, I have said numerous times that I love a thrill. I love the excitement of roller coasters and rides that flip and turn you, so I really didn't think twice about jumping up into the seat with him and watching as the man pulled the front towards us and locked us in. We were the first ones on, so it took awhile for the entire ride to start, but as we sat at the top and the seat swayed back and forth, I'm saying to myself... WHAT WAS I THINKING???
Let me say that the only saving grace of this entire fiasco is that because we got ON first- we got OFF first. The ride started and we went up and down and round and round and one way, then the other and I can honestly say- I thought he was going to die. I held on to him with a death grip and just kept saying "Hold on baby- just hold on!"
When we finally had our feet planted firmly on the ground, I looked down at him and he looked up at me and said "Nana, we just about fell out!"... I said, "yes honey, we just about did" I don't mind telling you, this was probably one of those times in my life when I was really, really, really scared. I was shaking as we walked away and thanking God we had lived through it.
I've been reminded several time since then when I recall the memory of that evening- you can't do it yourself! None of us can. We can try, we give it our best effort, but we really can't do it ourselves. We need to rely on God. We need to prepare ourselves for battle against the enemy, stay as close as we can to Him and hold on for dear life! I have to ask myself if God sometimes feels like I did when I was trying to hold on to Mayson and make sure he was safely out of harms way- I'm sure He does. I'm sure He's been with me on my wild ride of life and He's said "hold on baby- just hold on"
I've done things in my lifetime that could have cost me my life. I've been reckless and out of control. I've been so caught up in the thrill that when the danger approaches so fast- I'm totally not prepared. I praise God that I have parents that prayed me through those wild years, because I might not be here today if they hadn't. I know how much I love Mayson- how much I love ALL my grandchildren and the thought of him or any of them being hurt breaks my heart. I know I can't always be there to protect them- but praise God we have a Savior that calls down his angels to protect us during those hours of need. God loves us and He never leaves or forsakes us. He's with us 24/7- isn't that awesome?!? Think about it,... we're NEVER alone- His Spirit is always with us- IN US, protecting and guiding us to a safer path.
It'll be awhile before I'll try that little stunt again with Mayson- or anyone for that matter. I guess my age is mellowing me out some because it wasn't nearly as thrilling as I thought it was going to be- at least not the good kind of thrilling. I'm ready to slow down and enjoy my life a little more, bounce my grand-kids on my knee more than swing them through the air on a silly carnival ride.
God tells us in His Word that we can't do it by ourselves and give us the Handbook and the tools through prayer to face any and all wild rides that life can dish out. I'll always be thankful that He's with me and that I can't to do it myself!
Father, I thank You for always being there with me- through it all- the good and the bad, the calm times and the scary. I praise You as my Savior and Protector. Thank you for Your Word and for the promises that it holds for my life. Help me to remember You're only a prayer away. - Amen