Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Betta" Days

Anyone that has boys, knows that taking care of living things are not usually their best instinct...unless it's a tarantula, or a snake, or something else cool and dangerous.

So I wondered what would happen when my son's girlfriend gave him a Siamese Fighting Fish as a gift. To my surprise, he happily took on the task of caring for this little fellow.

For the first three weeks, that is!

Slowly his interest waned, and I, being the mother figure, would dutifully remind him of his responsibility. I eventually came to terms with the fact that the poor Betta's living environment was not getting any better. Once more I mentioned it to my son, pointing out the brown stuff growing in the tank. I warned that if he continued to sorely neglect the Betta, it would surely die!

But, a few days later I noticed even more brown algae forming inside the tank. The unhappy little Betta hid amongst the white plants which were now also covered in the offensive stuff. Apparently my threat of an untimely death had made no impact whatsoever on my son. A little disappointed with this revelation, I decided that my little friend should no longer be subject to such ill treatment, and promptly took matters into my own hands!

THAT, my friends, was my big mistake!

With great care I scooped the Betta into a clean glass jar, and put him on the counter, safely out of the way. I carefully moved the tank over to the sink, with the pump still attached to it, the cord dangling. I turned and began to move away from the counter, and then froze....

SPLOOSH!!

I stood aghast as water, gravel, fancy rocks and offensive plants covered my kitchen floor! To my chagrin and unbeknownst to me, the pump cord had skillfully wrapped itself around my leg, and as I turned away the fish tank tipped off the counter and onto the floor below. If that wasn't enough, the tank now had a big crack in it!

Meanwhile, the Betta sat on the counter in his temporary glass jar calmly observing my catastrophe...quietly mocking me!

Sigh...I try so hard!

I cleaned up the mess as best I could and quickly drove to the pet store to replace the little aquarium. Twenty minutes later, the Betta swam around happily in his new home, hopefully strong enough to survive the whole ordeal. I know I did, although I've had better days!

If perchance, he doesn't, I have a rain check at the pet store for a new one. They come free with the tanks. I hope this one lives though, we've been through a lot together!




Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bubbling Springs


My mind had gone completely blank. Why couldn't I think of anything to say? An hour earlier I was prepared. I knew exactly what I was going to say, but then they never asked. Now I couldn't think of a thing to say! It seemed as if someone had siphoned out my brain and left a big void in its place. I had nothing!

"Umm...sure," I said. "Dear Lord...umm...we love You, Lord and umm..."

Just then I became intensely aware of a bubbling inside. It started small, deep deep inside. It made its way up through my esophagus with increasingly larger bubbles, while steadily rising. Then, as if a dam had burst, it spewed eloquently out of my mouth. My mind kept on thinking and listening as my mouth formed and spoke out words, words that came from deep inside my belly, not from my mind!

I was immediately shocked and perplexed. What was I saying? What was happening to me?

Meanwhile the words just kept coming like a well-rehearsed play in which I was an observer, watching from the sidelines. This went on for a minute or so, and finally an "amen" filled the air, and an awkward silence followed. I slowly lifted my head and looked around the table, then down. I could feel them all looking at me...some with surprise, others with discomfort.

Later while cleaning up the kitchen, my mother innocently asked if I had memorized that prayer beforehand. I can't even describe for you how excited I was. In the 20 minutes since it happened, I could barely contain myself, but I didn't think anyone would understand. I wasn't sure I understood it! Now that she had asked, I couldn't hold it back!

"No, Mom! It just came out -- it wasn't me -- I'm not sure what happened -- the words -- they just bubbled up." Realizing I was ranting, I finally managed, "I think it was God speaking through me to all of you!" My mother just looked at me as we continued working. Nothing more was said at that time. However, that weekend was one I shall never forget. There were so many "God" moments. My mother watched me carefully while I was there visiting, and it wasn't a few months later, when she too searched for and found the God I had found.

Thinking back, I'm not sure what my exact words were anymore, but I do know it was AMAZING and it was a message of salvation, delivered at the dinner table in my parents' home. It happened shortly after I had realized there was more to being a christian than attending a church, or joining a club. It was when I realized that God wanted a personal relationship with me! That He loved me unconditionally! That He cared about me! I had discovered a relationship with God and I cherished it. I couldn't wait to go and read the Word of God. I prayed with excitement and thankfulness as I discovered precious nuggets and promises from Scripture. It was an exciting time in my life!

Since then, somehow my relationship with Him had become familiar. It's a familiarity that happens when knowledge creeps in and replaces the joy and child-like faith that was experienced at the first. Knowledge is good, but it should never replace personal experience.

My relationship with Him today is strong, so when you've lost your joy, you've lost something truly precious, unique and needful. So, I began a journey to rediscover that child-like trust that brings joy. I don't believe I was starting over. I think I was taking back something that had been stolen from me.

Has anything been stolen from you lately?

Seek Him with new eyes. Read the Scriptures and ask for guidance, look for the unanswered questions and seek to know the answers. It all makes sense, but you have to look! There's so much more there than you realize if only you'll look and drink deeply!


*In Dutch households they often pray before and after meals. The first prayer is to ask God's blessing on the food. The second is to thank God for His provision.