Thursday, August 26, 2004

Deep Waters Confuse Some

Okay, just to clarify something I wrote in an earlier post. J (the one who is pregnant and throws up a lot) IS NOT MY WIFE JILL. So, everyone who thought we were expecting number four -- chill out. Three kids under the age of five is enough.

Of course, we said that before.... But this time we really mean it!

I remember when I was a kid going to beach in southern California. You could be strolling along in hip-deep water, enjoying your time. Then, all of a sudden, the bottom would drop out from under you, and you'd find yourself standing in water up to your chin praying that you'd have a few moments to get your bearings before the next wave came crashing into your face.

Judging from the email I've gotten from people lately, I may have done that with my blog here. Deep waters confuse some people, especially when we're not expecting it.

But life's like that. The roof never caves in when we're looking at it. It waits until we least expect it, just when we've dozed off to sleep. That's when things come crashing down around our ears.

I remember when I was single people would tell me that I'd find a good woman to be my wife when I least expected it. I always thought how ridiculous it would be to come home one night and have a woman jump out from behind the drapes: "Hi, I'm Jessica! You weren't expecting me, were you?"

Of course, one night I did come home to find Jill sitting on my sofa. Less than a year later, we were married. By the way, did I mention that JILL IS NOT PREGNANT?!

The thing about being thrown into the deep end of the pool when you least expect it is that you find out what you're really made of. It tests your mettle. And what comes out of you in those moments is what's actually inside of you. There's no time to think through a response. In times like that you become automatically authentic.

Take last night, for example. I spoke at a church on the southside of Atlanta last night. I had agreed months ago to close out a summer series for them -- had it written on my calendar and everything. But I forgot to write on my calendar what the series was about and what they wanted me to say.

And, as some of you know, I successfully managed to delete all of my email this week! That means that the original email was gone, along with the time I was supposed to be there and directions to their meeting place. I sent them a frantic email asking all my questions. The response I received in short order gave directions and time. But there was no mention of the topic at hand.

So, I guessed.

And I was wrong.

There I sat, listening to Ross introduce me and tell everyone how excited he was to hear what I had to say about..."Raising Godly Children In Times Like These."

If my life was being narrated by the King James Bible, it would say: "John's countenance fell, and he was sore afraid."

Suddenly, I was in over my head. And an amazing thing happened: God showed up. That's the only way I can explain it. I didn't panic. Well...maybe for the first few minutes, but once I started talking all the anxiety left. We had a really good time.

Normally, I'm somewhat meticulous in my preparation. If I have time, I even like to teach from a carefully prepared manuscript. But there wasn't time last night. There weren't even any notes. There was only the stuff I've crammed into my head and the passion God has planted in my heart to see parents take responsibility for the spiritual formation of their kids.

I guess the whole point is this: Until you find yourself in deep waters, you don't know what's really in you. And you don't know what God can really accomplish in you and through you.

By the way, I ended last night with the story about walking Amelia around the house while she was teething. This blog thing is coming in handy already!