A Midweek Escape
I managed to do it. As if I was six years old and sneaking a cookie from the cookie jar, I cleared my responsibilities midweek no less, to escape to the mountains to ski. With stealth planning, I covered my bases. After handling my urgent to do list I made sure someone could see Ian out the door and even planned for contingencies in my absence.
The weather did not disappoint. While the rest of the country was in a dangerous deep freeze, the southwest showed off its vanity with cloudless blue skies, white snow capped mountains and ideal ski condition temperatures. I picked up my friend Martha and we headed out of town to ski Santa Fe.
But… “Just in Case”
The previous evening, barely able to sleep with anticipation, Doug and I chatted and prayed. I shared with him my reluctance to get too excited. Maybe it’s because of my Calvinist roots, but I can’t seem to help it. I hold everything loosely even short term plans and feel the need to be prepared for that other shoe to drop. I call it “Just in Case” living.
“Do you realize it has been 48 hours without any major drama. Forty-Eight hours.” As the words left my mouth I thought to myself, Debbie that was foolish. As if fate had influence on my future.
Let the ski day begin
Finally. We boarded the chair lift. As we continued our non-stop conversation, I couldn’t help but think, this is just too good to be true. How am I so lucky?
Anticipation was a ten, as I looked at the near perfect conditions below. And then, with my phone on silent, I felt the familiar buzz. Then another buzz in case I didn’t feel the first one. Now at the top, colder and a bit windy, I took out my phone so I could fully enjoy my virgin run.
Are you kidding me?!
I couldn’t believe my eyes. Within ten seconds of each other I received “oh no” texts from each kid. In his typical you’re not going to believe it style, Ian’s text was short and troubling. It read…”Mom, I did a bad thing.”
And Becca, the low maintenance, rarely needs me kid, all the way from Madrid said, “Mom I’m in a predicament and I need to call you now.”
Quickly I fired off a “contact dad” text to each of them which came back with a notice, “message send failure” due to sketchy cell service. Are you freaking kidding me? Martha, calmed my panic and suggested a prayer. In that moment, grateful for her, I was out of options.
I skied down that first run trying to enjoy it. But the texts ignited my imagination and distraction was unavoidable. My mind tried desperately to read the tea leaves. What bad thing? What predicament?
I decided I had a simple choice. I could trust God and my contingencies and enjoy my day or try to get involved ineffectively and ruin my day.
After a few warm up runs, Martha and I split up. I was in search of perfect moguls which were not her cup of tea.
Whatever is true…
Alone on the lift, I used the time to pray. God, please reassure me. God, please protect my kids. And please God, help me to enjoy this day.
One of my favorite scriptures came to mind.
Philippians 4:8 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Without recalling every adjective in the verse, I started at the beginning and I reviewed what I knew to be true…It is true that God nudged me to take a mental health day. Also true that cell service was undependable. It is true that Doug supported my escape and is a capable back up. And of course God is sovereign and I am not indispensable.
With a calmer spirit, I decided this predicament was by God’s grace. This was a test. Yes I trust Him with the big stuff. Do I trust Him with the little stuff? Or what about the uncertain stuff, with the stuff I don’t know whether it’s big or little?
A slice of heaven
It wasn’t long until I was “in the bump zone.” I discovered a run littered with Debbie sized moguls — moguls big enough to get lost in ecstasy, but small enough to maintain a good speed, keep my line, and remain in control. Imagining I was 20 years younger and with no lift lines, I was in heaven.
The chairlift did much more than transport me to the top of the mountain. Only in hindsight, I realize it was from the chairlift that I recognized His grace.
Grace from the Chairlift
Practically, the chair lift provided much needed rest. I am not always sensible when a break is needed from mogul skiing. Likewise, I am not always sensible when I need a break from life. Instead I often muscle through. Muscling through on the moguls is downright dangerous. Muscling through life can be dangerous too. In my experience, muscling through life leads to resentment, relational damage and a lack of joy. Rest is not a luxury. Sabbath rest is His design.
2. PRAYER then PRAISE
Skiing alone, the chair lift held me captive and gifted me time to pray. Without intention my prayers drifted from help me, help me, help me, to thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you God that I live in this part of the country. Thank you God for the glorious sunshine, for my supportive husband, and for my body that is holding up to be able to enjoy this. And thank you God for my kids who are learning contingencies and having to lean on you. Time spent with Him causes transformation.
Mogul runs are very different than cruising runs. It’s all about your focus. To ski a mogul run well, you first choose your line. Then, with skis pointed downhill, your eyes look to the next two or three bumps. If you look beyond that, bad things happen. While intently skiing the moguls, I couldn’t look up. From the chair lift though, I was forced to look up. The view was spectacular. And so it is in life. Look too far ahead and you lose your way. With your head down, plodding through, how easy is it to forget to look up? It’s only when you lift your gaze that you gain much needed perspective.
Proverbs 16:9 . “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
Psalm 19:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Proverbs 3:5,6 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
The “Oh-no” texts
After our invigorating ski day, Martha and I packed up to drive home. Now eager to get down the mountain for cell service, curious to solve the mystery of the interrupting texts. What bad thing? What predicament?
Becca’s predicament was a flight ticket purchase error that had twelve hours for resolution. And worst case, she’d lose a ten euro refund.
And Ian’s bad thing? You won’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. After helping him to glue hair on a mask the night before I cautioned, “don’t touch it til it dries.” Ian’s bad thing… he touched it and our twenty minutes of effort fell off. #artistproblems
Over dinner Doug, Ian and I shared a good laugh over Ian’s ‘demand attention NOW’ text and my ‘jump to conclusions’ reaction. We joked about what things in the future WOULD warrant such a text.
Both of my men were especially gracious to endure my enthusiastic ski day re-enactment. And now with a full understanding of the oh-no texts, and a physically exhausted body, my heart was relaxed and full.
As if God knew all along, there was NO crisis. In the end, my circumstances were kind-of a test. Like it is for each of us every day. I love how practically God led me. Because of Him, my day was exceptional. Had I NOT received the interrupting texts I may have skied on without Him. Or had I not chosen to trust, imagine my frustration to have squandered the day.
Hitting the pillow especially hard that night, the Lord had my undivided attention. As I thanked Him, yet again, I heard Him say… one more thing Debbie… this “Just in Case” living has got to stop. Trust me.
Dottie Sandusky says
Tks Debbie I so needed that. I will sleep well after reading that.
Amen Dottie. Thanks for sharing.
Betsy Everett says
You are brave to have such trust! I have had similar situations in the past and not sure I was able to trust like that. A lesson for the future!
It was a near miss, that’s for sure. But thank you.
Karen Chalmers says
Fabulous lesson & reminder to us all how wonderful, caring and loving God is.
Here’s to many more mental health days!!
Indeed. Thanks Karen.
Marybeth Barkocy says
Absolutely perfect post! Thanks for writing and sharing God’s wisdom and some humor through your words. I am so glad you took a day to have fun. Skiing bumps is my favorite too!
Maybe someday we could enjoy them together! Thanks Marybeth.
Dennis WIlson says
This is always where the line of testing comes, the everyday life issues and Satan is relentless in trying to have us doubt the Lord’s Sovereignty. Only when we get to the point of utter despair/helplessness/hopelessness and realize there is only the Lord to turn to are when then in a position for Him to come in and provide His Grace. As Paul said “I die Daily”
I agree. It’s the little stuff, the daily living. We think… this is too insignificant to trouble Him. I’ve got this. Thanks for your comment, Dennis.
Berta Pitzer says
Trust is my “Word” for the year so this blog fits right into what he’s showing me about trusting him in the little/the big/the mundane/the future so that I can LIVE in the present. Every day he gives me reasons to trust him and I get to choose. I love your dramatic demonstration of trust! So glad there was no cell service so you got your day off!!
Berta what a powerful word to choose. It colors everything. Trust! Thanks.
Sometimes it is hard to wait and let our children resolve their own problems. Very glad this worked for you!
I have to believe that if it didn’t go exactly as it did… it would still have been in His hands. But ohhhhhh soooooo hard.
And so you pointed to the prayer I need to pray today, the reminders I need to cling to before I take over and make a mess of everything. Praise God!
Oh yes… Jesus take the wheel. My hourly mantra. Thanks Dorma.
I love the metaphor! God puts us in the chair lift and raises us up up up, showing us wonders along the way. We then have the choice of whether or not we LOOK up, for it’s only then that we can receive His abundant blessings. I don’t ski but maybe I should just go and ride the chair lift and contemplate His glory.
YES YOU SHOULD! The view is to behold!
Vickie Everitt says
I believe I laughed a little too much on this posting! I saw myself in so many of your points. Like, Doug being a capable backup! Really, how many times do I feel I need to text our sons right back and assist with whatever needs to be done…as if my husband can’t help…( a little more difficult as he is sometimes out of state or country), but, is it really a crisis each time they text? No. It is sometimes, just conversation, sometimes need for emotional support(as one is seeking employment and the other looks at graduate programs while working full time and studying for his GRE), and yes sometimes a specific need like, does our insurance company cover towing. I have been there every step of the way but, even when I’m not available, they haven’t made terrible decisions on their own and many times surprise me with their ingenuity to resolve something(I’m sure God had something to do with that too)! Trust! As mentioned previously by you and others is so necessary. God has got everything covered. Even when we get off track by a poor decision, he rescues each of us! I do need to move on with my plans regardless of everyone else’s needs. Because after all, God has a plan for me too I must fulfill or I’m not doing my part to give him glory!! Thanks Debbie! It’s a joy reading your posts and getting to know you through them!
Yay… Vickie. Praise God for our reliable back ups. So thankful you’re enjoying my blog. Thanks for your comment. Someone said to me onetime… if we are always rescuing our kids, why would they need God. OUCH. But still… the struggle is real.
Kathy Day says
Dear Debbie: I loved reading about your spectacular day. You blessed me with joy. Love, Kathy
Awww… how sweet are you. Thanks Kathy.
Martha Nail says
It was a slice of heaven. A chance to see some of God’s glorious creation. A chance to share and a chance to praise.
We need these times to refresh and renew and appreciate God’s world.
Young at Heart Skiier
Young at heart ⛷. You did amazing. U inspire me. I hope to make it to the ski free reward someday. Thanks for your company!
Wow, don’t know what else to say! You have opened our eyes to real life with anGod who provides! Thank you. I was so impressed by your truth in sharing and the answers that God provided, though not obvious, very real.
You write so well, itisa pleasure to read and reread your blogs!
Thank you Pam. It has been a blessing to hear from you and others who can relate. Wonderful to hear how purposeful my articles are.
Anne Kole says
Thank you Debbie! And I am glad you had that wonderful day in the mountains! A mental health day is SO important, and it is wonderful that God chose to remind you to trust him. Sometimes that is just hard, especially when it involves our children! I know God was working not only in your heart, but in the lives of your kids. Thanks you for sharing with your keen insight, faith, and humor.
Thx. Here’s to more mental health days.
Kaye Mathews says
Your lightness and joy at having a ski day to yourself comes through in your writing! I remember that you ski circles around me, friend. You go!!
You reminded my that my mama bear “fix-it” instincts kick-in too even before I think to pray and trust God – ugh! I want to make things right myself and control the solution even when they are 30 years old (not 3!). God is helping me trust him more and it looks like this might be a lifetime project :).
No more circles Kaye. But it does “take me back”. Amen to facing the lifetime project. Debbie
Gina Cooper says
I so appreciate how the Lord speaks through you to me! 😉
Thank you, Debbie!
Awww, thank you friend. Debbie