God, I thank you for the respite from daily toils and cares You gave us last week.
And I thank you for the fall . . .
All five of us got to get away, way up north, just over the border of Wisconsin and into the western tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Big Powderhorn Ski Resort was our destination—an annual family tradition for years now.
Downhill skiing is one of our favorite family activities. Everyone is now able to ski every slope together, even the steepest—the black diamonds.
Before I get into trouble with one sixteen-year-old who we call Mr. Lime on the slopes, I’d better emphasize that ONE of us doesn’t SKI.
Heaven forbid I should include him with the rest of us lowly skiers when I tell folks what we’re doing on vacation. I get corrected every time—politely, of course . . .
“Mom! I’m not a SKIER! I’m a BOARDER!”
But of course you are, my dear son! Why, not too many years ago, you were riding that electric, magic carpet up the bunny hill with your two, very small SKIS tied together at the tips! Yes indeed, dear one, you have an abundance of hormones needing to EXPRESS themselves on the slippery slopes of life—on a BOARD!
I think this in my head. But of course, what comes out is this . . .
I shake him off with a flick of my wrist, imagining Taylor Swift shaking off all her ex-boyfriends.
Like I was NEVER sixteen before!
Up at 8 the first morning, we dress in approximately ten layers with only our nose tips exposed, strap on our skis (and board), and take off for the heights via red steel chairlifts with minimally padded seats so the chill races right up our spines. And we’re paying for this pleasure?
We get to the top and I look down. Way, way down. Like—what the heck am I thinking?!
Each passing year, I do become a bit more leery of falling. In my younger years, I did the moguls and the double black diamond runs of Colorado, not caring much if I fell. There’s ample soft powder out there to cushion. But here in the Midwest? It’s thin cover, mostly crunchy.
I’m not one to push my limits or my luck, being that I’m not all that naturally coordinated and I’d rather keep all my bones—and life—intact. These days, I cruise the blue runs at a pretty good clip but take it a bit slower on the blacks.
I was off to a great start.
Hips swaying in even rhythm, side-to-side.
Yep, I’m lookin’ good . . .
I thought this to myself, not caring one iota what anyone else thought, which was probably something like . . .
“Good God! She looks like a stiff, over-stuffed sausage sashaying her way down the slope!”
Amazing how ski clothes can make one 120-pound 55-year-old woman look like she’s pushing 300 (pounds, that is) with an unidentifiable gender.
Oh yes, I am HOT!
So what if I’m dressed in ten layers of clothing while that little spit next to me leaving me in the snow dust as he cruises past me at 70 mph is dressed in only a HOODIE covering his TORSO with neck skin exposed and his neck skin doesn’t crinkle and wiggle like a turkey’s—like MINE!
Be still, my soul.
I hear a voice from on high . . .
Ye will be getting a new body SOON AND VERY SOON, oh ye who believes, complete with a taut neck. And ye shall not think ye looks like an old turkey for all eternity. Consider the lilies of the field . . .
As far as I know, lilies just wilt. They don’t wrinkle and flap. But who am I to argue with the Creator of lilies and turkeys . . .
So I keep movin’, cruisin’ . . . (Taylor’s singing to me, inspiring me to “shake it off”).
I manage to STAY STANDING, even when the freezing rain IS POUNDING . . .
And polishes the slopes with ice.
(Hint: One skis better when skiing to a song in their head—even if it is TAYLOR SWIFT—who this skier only knows of because of one 16-year-old BOARDER who thinks Taylor’s kinda cool—mostly because of all the “cool dudes” she has dated. GAG ME! Well, except for Harry Styles . . . He’s sort of a Mick Jagger-mouthed throw-back—hey, hey, hey, Hanna? Kinda cute?)
Ahhh! Sometimes I DO meander while skiing—and writing.
Then came the last day.
It all happened so fast . . .
We start down Blunder—a steep black diamond run, rightly named. The light’s flat, making it difficult to judge the terrain. I find my groove at the top and attack the slope confidently.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, some packed ice catches my right ski—outside edge.
I don’t just FALL.
I tumble. Down and over and over I go, my brain smacking hard against my skull, thankfully protected with a helmet.
Both skis fly off my feet.
Both hot-pink poles disappear from my hands.
And this 55 year-old body slides like she’s just been rubbed all over with TurtleWax—like a human bobsled of sorts with no driver.
There she lays, face down—until she flips over, spread-eagle, perfectly still.
And then she starts laughing hysterically—like a loon—hurting but feeling exhilarated. She’s bumped and bruised, for sure, but she’s alive and free. In fact, she’s freer than she’s ever been before.
She laughs so hard she can’t sit up for a minute as family members ski down to see if she’s conscious and all the strangers who whizzed past her without falling look back up, concerned by her lack of movement. At least till they see her move. Then they take off, leaving her in the snow dust.
So why was this loon of a woman laughing? Because she had a spiritual epiphany—right there on that steep slope of life.
Because there is something freeing about letting yourself free-fall and trusting you’ll be OK.
Call me stupid—doing something so dangerous at my age. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat. And I WILL do it again, as soon as I can. Because, though I don’t yearn to live dangerously, I do long to live free . . .
I long to live free of worry—of fear—of self-imposed limitations.
All of us humans struggle with worry. That’s why the Bible talks so much about the subject and how to overcome it.
Most of us try oh so hard to hold on to our edges—trying oh so hard not to fall flat—to be oh so careful—to live only within the parameters of our self-imposed comfort zones so we never, ever risk falling, tumbling down, ending up a laughing stock to someone, left behind in the snow dust by the more successful, at least on that one particular slope of life.
But I laid there laughing. I no longer cared about me compared to anybody.
I was FREE—no skis, no poles, no edges—just flat-out free!
I was able to laugh with thankfulness!
Our God had kept me safe when I was completely out-of-control.
No caring what anyone else thought.
Just me and our God.
I laid there, completely relaxed in my spread-eagle position, and wondered about falling.
I wondered how God felt about me, right then and there.
I spent the whole rest of our vacation contemplating falling.
This God, the one in whom I believe and have staked my entire life, temporal and eternal . . .
How does He feel about my falling—about your falling?
How does He want me to live with all the things in this life that are beyond my control—beyond your control—all the things that can and do hurt us so?
He wants us to let go.
He wants us to abandon ourselves . . .
To surrender ourselves . . .
To the One who knows us and loves us more than we could ever even imagine.
He wants us to tumble into His mercy, new every morning, forever and ever.
He wants us to rest, spread-eagle, in the slope of His arm.
He wants to stroke our worry-prone heads and tell us . . .
“Fear not. I am with you always.”
He wants . . .
So badly . . .
For us . . .
So why don’t we?
Why DON’T we trust?
Why DO we hide and close ourselves off from True Love?
Because we’ve been hurt . . .
Because we’ve had trust broken, again and again, by the broken.
We want humans—someone—anyone—to be our God—our perfect love—and we always find out THIS:
WE ALL FALL DOWN.
We all fall short of perfect. (Romans 3:23)
So some of us go on.
Maybe we hope.
Maybe we try again. Until we’re hurt again. And then the layers add to layers, hiding us behind our smiling masks—the FAKERS.
We are searching souls looking for God—for TRUE LOVE—in all the wrong places.
And what do we do instead of seeking God—instead of coming near the ONE who loves us perfectly?
We project all our pain onto our perfect God, soiling Him with ourselves—as if we could.
We project all the broken WE are—all the broken THEY are. We project all the UGLY and FEARFUL onto some BIG BLANK SCREEN we put up in front of our faces to block us from GOD.
And we call our projected image?
We call it . . .
But this is NOT God.
God is holy.
God is wholly perfect.
God alone is worthy of our absolute trust.
Because God is absolutely trust-worthy.
I’ve never been able to prove otherwise, though I’ve tested Him, surely, so many years.
And still . . .
He loves me . . .
With an everlasting love.
He is full of mercy . . .
For He knows of what I am made.
He made me and you—from DUST! (Genesis 2:7, Psalm 103:14, Ecclesiastes 3:20)
The same dust from which He made the stars.
But He didn’t breathe a soul into stars.
He breathed a soul into ME.
And YOU . . .
And every other human being who ever was—or ever will be—born and unborn—on this swirling sphere we call Earth.
All because of LOVE.
All because of a deep desire for RELATIONSHIP, even while we are still so horribly flawed. (Romans 5:8)
A perfect God loves imperfect me—because God can’t help it. It’s who He IS.
It’s what we all want.
It’s what we all seek.
So why don’t we reach out and accept the great gift of Jesus, every—single—day?
Because we think we have a better way?
But I think it’s more because of this . . .
Because we think we’re unworthy of such a perfect love.
Deep, deep down . . .
We know how flawed we really are.
So how could FLAWED be LOVED by PERFECT LOVE?
I get it.
I live it.
We are—all of us are—completely—absolutely—entirely—100% UNWORTHY of TRUE LOVE.
We are all terribly flawed and undeserving.
But here’s the good news . . .
Here’s the gospel!
We don’t have to TRY anymore to become WORTHY of LOVE!
Because You, JESUS, are TRUST-WORTHY!
You, Jesus, came and died to PAY for what we all keep trying to PAY!
We pay by trying to punish ourselves when you’ve already taken our punishment!
It is done! It is finished! Our payment for all our problems is complete!
You said it! (John 19:30)
But we keep trying to pay the already paid . . .
We pay by hiding and telling ourselves we can’t accept a gift so great . . .
Until we fall.
Until we come to the end of all our abilities to stay standing and we wonder how we’ll stop all the falling and come to a still place where we can rest . . .
That’s what it takes for a lot of us.
Anybody but me?
So how small do I feel in the grand scheme of things after considering my fall?
And finding myself small is the very best thing EVER!
God alone can work ALL this falling for good.
For me. For you. For ALL.
Will we ASK Him? Will we LET Him?
Or will we keep shutting out True Love in our life? Will we keep searching in all the wrong places, never finding?
The greatest good is coming to realize that we already have the greatest good—JESUS—the One who DIED so we might LIVE—not just someday in some heaven so far away—but RIGHT NOW—RIGHT HERE.
Jesus loves us like no other. Jesus loved us like no other.
Love lays itself down for the beloved.
Love trusts in the falling.
Love waits to be raised by a holy power.
More powerful than I is the ONE who overcame death—who died for you and me.
So what about this little one on the great slippery slope of life—the one with nothing left on her feet or in her hands—the one flat-out?
She is seeing more and more how poor she is in spirit . . .
And the more she sees her poverty, the more she sees her riches . . .
All because of Christ who loves her with the LOVE we all want and desperately need.
My soul finds rest in God alone,
My salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Might you consider sharing this post with someone who needs to know they are perfectly loved already?