I can't stand the round-and-round of most amusement park rides, but after riding the mind-bender at West Edmonton Mall for the first time in 1993 - I was hooked.
It's such a rush, getting locked into your seat and slowly tick-tick-tick-ing up the long slow slope before the first drop.
And then you're off!
Up and down, round and upside down.... at times lifting out of your seat...coming to the very tip top and having full view of the park before the next sudden drop.
I used to love rollercoasters.
On our honeymoon over 13 years ago, my brand new husband and I spent the day at Valleyfair in Minnesota. Besides getting burnt to a crisp - which never fails to happen when you're as fair as I am - the most memorable part of the day was riding the Wild Thing.
We even got one of those key chains showing your face as you travel through a dark tunnel. It's still kicking around here somewhere...
It was so fun to experience the thrill of that kind of "safe fear" together and we joked about how we'd travel to all the Six Flags amusement parks and ride the biggest, baddest coasters we could find.
Yeah, I talk big.
The last big coaster I rode was in southern Ontario at Marineland. We were thankful at the time because my brother-in-law was with us and could hang out with the kids while we went together.
That was my last big ride.
As we whipped around the corners and loops I thought of my 3 little kids. They were 7, 5 and 2....and I couldn't help but wonder what would happen to these little lives if the tragic worse case scenerio happened during our ride. I tried to focus on the fun of losing gravity but I just pictured their pink cheeks in the morning, rosy from sleep and their sweet voices telling me all their very important stories.
The thrill of adventure no longer seemed important to me, what mattered was having my feet firmly planted on the ground.
Up and down, round and round. There have been times I have let my emotions run my life. There are still times that I struggle with being driven by how I feel, but as I watch my children grow I realize how important it is for them to have people in their lives that not only are consistent in their parenting (because don't we all know that) but that are consistent in their walk with the Lord and trust in Him.
Does that mean I should never doubt, or question or even secretly wonder?
I don't think so.
I do think it means that I need to build spiritual disciplines into my life that enable me walk with God even during dry or doubting times. And I also think it means I need to be (carefully) honest with my kids about how being on the journey with Christ isn't a smooth and easy road, but it's still worth it.
The satisfaction of feeling every feeling (and usually acting-or acting out- on it) has lost its shine; what matters now is that I take every thought captive and make it obedient to my Saviour. (2 corinthians 5:10)
And hey, I can always use the rollercoaster as a metaphor -especially now that my first born is hooked on them and tends to be a little up-and-down herself!
...with His help...
I will sing of your strength,
in the morning I will sing of your love;
for you are my fortress,
my refuge in times of trouble.
O my Strength, I sing praise to you;
you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.