What a ride I’ve been on these past three years! A crazy, topsy-turvy, loopy, up and down and all around, frightful, thrilling, out of control–but buckled in–ride. Almost two months ago to the day, my sista-friend and I decided to go to Valleyfair amusement park to celebrate the spiritual adventure we’ve been on in the past year. As we entered the amusement park–two 30-something moms brought together by autism, but bound together by God’s healing and grace–we decided to approach everything we did that day through a spiritual lens. It was a day that I will never forget.
It was supposed to rain that day, even talks of severe thunderstorms or a tornado watch. But, we decided to brave it anyway. Ominous clouds would come, and then they would go–a lot like life. My friend didn’t want to ease into the rides. We stepped through the gates and she said, “Let’s go on the Wild Thing, and we’ve gotta sit in the very first car–that’s the best way to experience it.” As we waited for the ride to start, I felt like a school girl, all nervous and giddy and a little scared. That thought creeps into your mind, “The only thing between me and death is this little strap and this bar across my lap… and if we get stopped on this ride at the top because of mechanical failure, I will die of a heart attack.” Alright, here we go. I couldn’t put my hands up the first time we rode the Wild Thing. Or the second. Or the third. Or the fourth. But I did on the fifth!
We literally did every single thrill ride in that park, including the Power Tower, and the newest “Steel Venom” ride. That one had me so scared-thrilled that I opened my mouth but I couldn’t even get a scream to come out! There is something so vulnerable about your feet dangling as you’re hanging 185 feet in the air.
On every big ride that we went on, I realized that the scariest part was that “moment”–anywhere from 3-10 seconds where you have climbed to the highest point and then been left suspended think about why you ever decided to get on this ride in the first place… and THEN they shoot you, drop you, jolt you through the rest of the ride. The “pause” is where the real fear can come in.
Remember how I decided to look at everything with a spiritual lens on this trip? I got to thinking about how often we become decisive that we are going to go on a spiritual adventure, we get buckled in, we’re excited for the unknown, we’re making the climb, and then we have a “moment” where fear grips us. On a roller coaster, you can’t get off, but you can get off the spiritual adventure because of fear. Rather than power through when we suddenly see the challenge we may have ahead, we want to go back, escape, retreat to a comfortable place (even though comfortable doesn’t mean safe anyway).
It reminds me a lot of Peter, who had extraordinary faith to step out of that boat and onto the water. He must’ve had a moment where he thought, “This is amazing! I’m doing it!” When his eyes were on Jesus, he was part of a miracle. When he looked around and saw the wind and the waves, he freaked out. He began to sink. How many times does that happen to us? We’re actually doing it when our eyes are on the Father and his promises, and then we get distracted by the sight of something scary, and we start to fail. It’s all fear’s fault. Fear is just faith in the wrong guy. That’s why “do not fear” is found 365 times in the Bible–one for each day!
Surprisingly, my most fearful moment at Valleyfair actually had to do with water. I really worked every angle to get out of this, but my friend wanted to go over to the water park. I kid you not that the scariest part of the day for me was being in my swimsuit with no towel, going up stairs and waiting in lines in front of all those people. I felt so exposed. I remember thinking that I NEVER would allow myself to feel this way again because of this weight that I had put on. Autism weight. Of all the things I had surrendered to God, I didn’t know how I could let go of the comfort of food. But that moment brought me to a final place of “ENOUGH”! I decided then and there that I will not allow myself to be a victim anymore, and I AM NOT POWERLESS!
In two months, I have lost just shy of 30 pounds on the HCG diet, and food no longer has a hold on me. It is amazing what has happened in my life since I surrendered that idol over to God. I will lose a total of 75 pounds by next September. That’s my goal, and I know I can do it now.
Josiah also had his 5th birthday, and I was okay. In one year, I have come very far on this ride. Looking back at the post on his 4th birthday reminded me of that. Truly, to God be the glory. To sista-friends, I am grateful. For giving God all of my “Plan Bs,” I am looking to be challenged, joy-filled, and thrilled–coming to a greater knowing that I can depend on his strong arm no matter what crazy twists come my way.