Daily Archives: November 14, 2012

The Rollercoaster

Photo courtesy of http://www.newyorknewyork.com/attractions/the-roller-coaster.aspx 

I got on a rollercoaster today.
It didn’t seem I had a lot of say,
For I never ran toward it in haste,
Yet suddenly I was strapping a seatbelt round my waist.

Then up, and up, and up it climbed–
My heart was soaring and so my mind!
At the very top a wedding march played,
Church doors swung open & the bride was displayed!

Just as I thought I’d burst with delight,
My jubilant heart erupted in fright.
Down and down and down we plunged,
Til we could’ve soaked up our tears with a 10-gallon sponge.

Whizzing past failure, swooping beneath bills,
I lost all sight of my original will.
My heart was consumed with anxiety and doubt,
What did we think marriage was all about?

Then just as suddenly we began our ascent,
Gathered extra money–even paid our rent!
Accepted into seminary, a new job for the wife–
Yes, yes!  Now this is living the life!

Laughing with friends, hosting parties all night,
Once more I could feel my heart racing with delight.
Security!  Stability!  Oh, to be young and free!
Wait…wait…wait…what’s happening to me?!

Stomach growing rounder, ankles swelling fast,
Plunging lower and lower–the freedom’s not gonna last!!
My tummy’s churning madly; I’m puking left and right,
Now suddenly I’m in a rocking chair, crying through the night.

Eyes so bleary, mind so crazy, body worn and stretchy,
The rollercoaster’s reached it’s low…and boy does it look messy.
Poopy diapers, spit-up rags, mommy always crying,
Whoever said it’d be sheer bliss surely must’ve been lying.

And then one day a little coo,
A giggle, a smile, a babble–who knew?
A night full of sleep and those first sweet words,
Motherhood, difficult?  Don’t be absurd!

She’s darling, she’s perfect, she’s utterly sweet!
Look!  Look!  She took a step on her two little feet!
Laughing all day, giving Mommy a kiss,
Life doesn’t get any better than this!

The coaster’s soaring high, the wind in my hair,
She is the greatest answer to prayer!
She’s mine forever and I’ll never leave her,
Wait just a minute…is that a FEVER??

Down, down we go flying in the blink of an eye;
What if it’s incurable…what if she dies??
What if she’s rebellious and my world falls apart?
What if some loser breaks her heart?

How much more can I take?  This coaster’s a bear!
I look left and right–are we getting anywhere?
And then I glance backwards and suddenly I know,
I’ve been on this ride forever and there’s forever left to go.

I stare at the track swerving up ahead:
Jobs, babies, trials…I’ll be riding ’til I’m dead!
“Stop the rollercoaster!”  I scream into the air.
It screeches to a halt and I scurry from my chair.

“What is this hellish ride?”  I demand to know out loud,
Glaring at the driver through eyes like darkened clouds.
“This ride is filled with turmoil; it’s insanity and strife!”
He calmly looks at me and says, “The ride is called ‘Life.’ ”

“I hate it!”  I yell.  “I can’t do it, I know!”
He pauses to consider, then answers kind of slow.
“Perhaps this isn’t the ride for you;
I’ll tell you what you ought to do.

Head to that line you see on the hill,
The passengers say that ride is still.
It’s calm and it’s steady; some even claim
They can sense joy on the parts filled with pain.”

“Yes, yes!”  I nod quickly.  “That’s the ride for me!
Oh, thank you and good-bye!”  I shout out with glee.
I pause and turn back, one thing left to say,
“Just tell me what it’s called, so I don’t lose my way!”

Already my heart is light; the peace I nearly taste
As he looks at me and says, “They call that ride ‘Faith.’ “


Assessing the Princess Obsession

tutugirlOne day, about a month before her birthday, I casually asked Aubrey what sort of party she’d like.  She stared at me blankly.  Because I’m not a do-it-yourself kind of girl, I thought of the limited party-plate selection at Wal-Mart, and prompted, “You know, like a Dora party or a princess party?”  Aubrey considered for a moment, then announced, “I want a princess party.”  Okay, done!  Immediately I thought of the $5 Ariel costume I’d picked up at a consignment sale for trick-or-treating.  Perfect!  The simplicity was satisfying—there were 86 billion princess party supplies at Wal-Mart, and she would get 2 uses out of her Ariel costume.

But in the weeks that followed, I began to have second-thoughts.  As Heidi’s birthday came and went, Aubrey grew increasingly excited about her upcoming princess party.  She talked about princesses, wanted to watch movies about princesses, and adoringly dressed the Polly Pocket princesses at her friend’s house.  My doubts grew.  But I’d already told grandma about the princess party, and the day after she heard, all 86 billion princess party supplies from Wal-Mart were deposited in my dining room, along with a few princess coloring books just for fun.  Before long, Aubrey knew all the Disney princesses by name and dress color.  Finally, one night, I voiced my concerns to Clint.  “You know, I’ve been thinking…what if we did a ‘God’s princess’ theme?  We could put up a big sign that says, ‘I know I’m a princess because my Father is the King of Kings!’”

“Sounds kinda cheesy,” Clint said.

*Sigh.  Back to the drawing board.  In the end, I’ve chosen to keep the princess party theme, although it will hardly be a “Toddlers in Tiara’s” extravaganza.  In fact, only grandparents have been invited, so there will be exactly one dress-up princess in attendance—Ariel.  But the whole ordeal has caused me to consider carefully the messages and media I’m encouraging in our home.

There is something beautiful and dangerous in the “princess” theme.  I never taught my daughter to find pink puffy dresses and princesses fascinating.  I doubt many moms do.  Nevertheless, the phenomenon lives.  Why?  Because it captures the female heart.  It speaks of our desire to be precious, to be valued and treasured and loved.  All of these messages I want to drive deeply into my daughter’s heart—you are precious, you are valuable, you are of incredible worth because God Almighty created You, gave His very life to redeem you, and pursues you even now.  You will never meet a King as mighty, nor a Prince as romantic as Jesus Himself.  In belonging to Him you will find all the worth your soul ever craves. 

But this is only one side of the coin.  The princess theme is also engaging because it caters to our sinful longing to make much of ourselves.  And that is the aspect of the princess obsession that I despise.   Not the desire to be special, but the desire to be the most special, the most beautiful, the most important, the most glorified.  As a mother who desperately loves my daughters, I see a powerful beast alive in the princess mentality, and it makes me want to don some knightly armor and rescue my daughters myself.  I want to protect them from the arrogance of entitlement, the addiction to self-glory as ancient as the Tower of Babel.  But the truth is, plastering a cheesy banner across my living room wall doesn’t make me a knight any more than fastening orange extensions into Aubrey’s hair makes her Ariel.  There is only One Warrior with the ability to protect my daughters, only One Hero with the capacity to satisfy them.  And my greatest hope for raising my girls in godliness is daily throwing myself upon His mercy.