Monday, February 23, 2009

Bang, bang...I surrender.

My pine-straw playhouses always had cinder-block ovens, and these ovens were where I learned to cook.

The specialties of the house were mudpies--mudpie chicken, mudpie cornbread, mudpie chocolate cake and, of course, mudpie pie. In a bowl borrowed from mama's kitchen, I'd mix up dirt from the nearby driveway and water from the hosepipe at the back of the house. Then, I'd roll this muddy mixture into little balls and pat them flat to bake on my cinder-block oven. Funny thing...I never could get my little brother to try one.

To this day, I can't pass a cinder block without a flickering desire to make a mudpie.

These days, as I look out my kitchen window, I don't see a single pine-straw playhouse or cinder-block oven. What I do see are castoff-plywood bunkers where my youngest son has created his own airsoft battlefield. (I'm sure the neighbors love us for this!)

As some wise someone once said, "I used to be so smart when it came to parenting...and then I had children."

When I was pregnant with my oldest son, Garrett, I had decided I was going to be one of those know...the ones who don't allow violent cartoons (like Road Runner), toy guns, etc. (OK, I know what you're thinking..."Yeah, right.")

Well, morning I'm in the kitchen with Garrett (who's never even seen a toy gun at that point) who's sitting in his high chair eating cinnamon toast. I'm standing at the sink loading the dishwasher when he says, "Hey, mommy, yook."

So, I turn around and see that he's eaten his toast into the shape of a small gun. He's pointing it at me, head lowered, eyes narrowed, saying, "Bang, bang."

At that very moment...hands raised in surrender to a cinnamon-toast gun...I realized I was fighting a losing battle (no pun intended), and that something in little boys (at least in little Bowdle boys) just inherently knew about and loved playing with guns.

Since the morning of the cinnamon-toast ambush, we've had bubble guns, we've had cap guns, we've had Star Wars guns, we've had water guns (even water cannons). We've had potato guns (built by the 40+year-old Bowdle "boy"), marshmallow guns...and now...this craze known as airsoft guns.

Sorry, neighbors. The only good news I can give you is that I promise to try and confine them to our backyard.

Actually, when this airsoft craze first started, I didn't think to mention to the boys that they needed to stay in the backyard...that is until one of our neighbors looked out his back window and saw, in his words, "a bunch of wild teenagers in militia gear, carrying guns." He started calling all the neighors, warning them about the clear and present danger in the neighborhood..... OOPS!!!

So...that's why I now have a plywood-bunker-filled backyard. (But those geographical boundaries seem to have no effect on those miserable little pellets--they're EVERYWHERE--in our yard, in our driveway, on the sidewalk, in the road, in my house. (I even found one in the peanut butter.)

I'm convinced that one of the reasons God loaned me these wild and wonderful boys is to help me finally realize that I am in control of NOTHING!

And, that's a VERY HARD LESSON for the control freak who is me.

I think that's one reason why I loved those pine-straw playhouses so much. I could usually control everything that happened in them (except, of course, not being able to make my little brother eat my mudpies).

And, even on the rare occasion when my meanie little brother decided to kick down the walls, all I had to do to put everything back together in my perfect little pine-straw playhouse world was to grab a rake, chase him with it and then rake that straw back into perfectly controlled straight lines. isn't meant to be lived in pine-straw playhouses, and control over what happens to us in our brick-and-wood, real-life houses is, quite simply, an illusion.

Take today for instance. I took my youngest son, Jackson, to check out a magnet school for the performing arts. Within seconds after we walked through the door, we found ourselves in "lockdown." We were escorted to a conference room and told, "Just sit here for a few minutes, please, until we can figure out exactly what's going on."

So, I'm sitting at this conference room table with all the recent news coverage about school shootings playing in my head. And, I'm trying to figure out the best strategy for being able to protect my son should the need arise. never did. I was told it was simply a matter of mistaken identity.

But...that just goes to show you....there is no such thing as control.

And...after this illusion of control has been blown away...
all that's left is Trust...
Trust in the character of this God who is our Father...
this God who loves us too much to live without us...
this Father who sent His Son to die and defeat death for us...
this God who now lives in us...
this God who has called us out of our illusions of control...
and into this journey of surrender to Him...with Him...toward Him...
this journey matter how many valleys we travel through...
or dangers we meet along the way...
we know it will end with the words...
"Well done, good and faithful servant." I've said's a I must confess that I still have a whole drawer in my kitchen dedicated to the one little piece of control I cling to in my airsoft-pellet-filled life.... goggles....lots of least ten pairs.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—
most of which are never even seen—
don't you think he'll attend to you,
take pride in you, do his best for you?
What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax,
to not be so preoccupied with getting,
so you can respond to God's giving.
People who don't know God and the way he works
fuss over these things,
but you know both God and how he works.
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.
Don't worry about missing out.
You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.
God will help you deal
with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
(Matthew 6:30-34 The Message)

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