Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Tilt-A-Whirl Trust

In life there are defining moments that leave everlasting imprints.

I recall one from my childhood that has both puzzled and inspired me often through the years . . .

Growing up in a small town meant nothing too exciting ever seemed to happen, but one day a carnival arrived, including amusement rides set up in the parking lot of our only shopping mall. Adding even more delight to this momentous occasion, my best friend Michelle’s dad (our pastor) volunteered to take us both to the new McDonalds on the way. He was such a cool dad, he let us tweens sit alone and eat our happy meals unattended. We felt so mature . . . we declined the free toy in order to substantiate our grown-up status.

Crossing the parking lot, we soon were caught up in the energy of the fair, enjoying a few rides before finally ending up at the strawberry ‘tilt-a-whirl’—a knockoff version of the teacups from Disneyland. We hoped to get a berry cart to ourselves but alas, they invited two random strangers to board with us.

C’est sera, sera, (whatever will be, will be).

All four of us screamed and hollered as we pulled on the circular disc that controlled the spin of the cart.

And then it happened.

The life impacting moment.

My mature happy meal was not so happy with this ride. Or perhaps it just wanted to be more intimately involved in the moment. No matter, it was coming up to take a look for itself.

Oh how I begged it not to. How I prayed the ride would stop or that I could control the urge, but who was I to argue with an angry cheeseburger?

Finally releasing the contents of my stomach to the whirling universe, I closed my eyes tight to keep myself from the visual.

Round and round we spun . . . out and around it spewed.

As I prayed and sprayed, I could hear something.

A loud joyful something.

My pastor was laughing and praising God. I kid you not.

The ride finally stopped and I opened my eyes.  Miraculously, Michelle and I were spotless. Not a drop of vomit had hit us. For a moment, I thought maybe it wasn’t as bad as I imagined.  And then I saw the poor young girl on the opposite side of the cart. She was covered. My passionate prayers had somewhat been answered, centrifugal forces had worked to our benefit . . .  but clearly to her detriment.

I jumped off the ride and limped towards the laughing man of God.

At the time, I had no idea what was so funny, and even more puzzling was why on earth he had been praising the Lord throughout the horrific ordeal.

Thirty-eight years later, I have a better understanding.

When life’s sickening moments hit, I recall that day and strive to praise God when it makes ‘no sense’ . . . in the natural sense. I’ve come to realize that is when our testimony is magnified, when we praise Him through the trials.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:4-6 (ESV)

In his commentary for this passage, David Guzik says,

Paul's joy wasn't based in a sunny optimism or positive mental attitude as much as it was the confidence that God was in control. It really was a joy in the Lord.

My pastor could not jump on the ride to save me, nor could he control the vomit flying through the air, but this one thing he could do, he could rejoice with thanksgiving to the One who was in control. To let those around him see his peace in the storm. I have no doubt he was praying earnestly for me and his daughter, but while doing so, he walked in the joy of the Lord and let his light shine.

All these years later, I have not forgotten that crazy day. The impact of my pastor’s reaction has far outlasted the embarrassment I felt as a young tween. Here was a man who knew God. Who walked with Him and trusted in his control over things uncontrollable—like the shower of a half-digested lunch. Oh to be so close to the Lord to be able to laugh at life’s foibles!

There are few people who truthfully walk this way; who absolutely—naturally—break into praise and laughter when hit with trials; Pastor Ron Dowbush and Chuck Smith are two who come to mind. I wish I could testify that I too had this natural default; I’m praying and growing . . . it’s a journey.

As I study the Word, searching for glimpses of God, I am transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Seeing His character, I am learning to let go and to trust him more. He is worthy to be praised—sometimes even with laughter—through the storms of life. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand . . . even on the Tilt-A-Whirls of life.

Lori Dixon ~ Writer/Speaker/Servant of Christ. Lori is working on a book that addresses the conflicts that sometimes occur between ‘church ladies’- she would like to hear from you via the following anonymous 5 question survey (click here). You may also email her at to say hello.

Photo: Andrew Schmidt

Monday, 9 September 2013

Announcing Semi-Finalists in Tyndale Momentum Writing Contest « RE:WRITE

So excited!  Waiting to see where the Lord takes this book . . . . it's in his hands.

Announcing Semi-Finalists in Tyndale Momentum Writing Contest « RE:WRITE

Now I just have to breathe for the next few weeks!

Eleven years ago I walked away from talks with Tyndale; God redeems.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Dear Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Woolsey . . . From One of 'Those Girls'

The last few days have been all abuzz with a post from Mrs. Hall, a concerned mother upset about what her young teen boys were viewing on social media. Her approach is zero tolerance and censorship of any half-dressed girls.

Good for you. Your house, your children, your rules.

Then another mother, Mrs. Woolsey chimes in with a rebuttal, chastising the harsh penalty and making mention of the hypocritical semi-nude pictures of the Hall boys in the same post.

Good for you. You’re standing up for the young girls and encouraging second chances and grace.

I have a slightly different issue, but first let me say this; Mrs. Hall should be applauded for instilling communication and interaction between herself and her kids. Fostering an atmosphere of openness is key in addressing issues and she is clearly determined to do her job as a parent and protect her kids.

As for Mrs. Woolsey, she too loves her children but believes we need to pour grace on the young girls and is ready to offer forgiveness. She doesn’t say whether or not she would encourage or demand her young boys to ‘unfriend’ a young girl who continually posts inappropriate photos, but I do get the impression that common sense would come into play and that she would protect her sons as well.

But, as I read both of these opinions, I started to cry.

Yes, cry.

What about the hearts of these girls? The ones who pose and post sexually provocative photos on social media . . . who will address the big elephant in the room?

The why.

Ten years ago we blamed Britney Spears for leading our young girls down the sleazy fashion path, encouraging tweens to dress way beyond their years. Then it was toddler beauty pageants and Honey Boo-boo who was targeted for encouraging the sexualizing of children. Just last week, Miley Cyrus’s behavior had parents jumping up to cover the eyes of both their sons and their daughters. Yes, Hollywood does impact and influence our kids, but I don’t believe we can just blame T.V. and shut it off. (Although we did years ago and I highly recommend it).

So, what was it then that had me in tears this morning? I cried for the girls who Mrs. Hall accused of lacking modesty. Yes, to be sure, some girls are absolutely modeling pop culture examples, but a lot of these young girls are just acting out what they’ve lived.

Their selfies that are meant to capture attention and get ‘likes’ usually have their eyes looking right into the camera. Their eyes haunt me. I see myself as a teen:

Notice me, like me, use me . . . but ultimately rescue me. I will let you do whatever you want and give you whatever you demand as long as it will result in you ‘loving’ me for even just one more day. I know that you will probably leave—they all do, but for now, come see me. Something inside of me grows with each hungry look. Every rude, vulgar comment that I pretend to be disgusted with actually just validates and feeds the beast within. The lie that was planted in my heart so many years ago . . . the first time he touched me . . .

That I am worthless.


A throw away.

I want to be different, to stop feeling this way, but I am addicted and harassed to no end by these crazy, inexplicable desires. I crave this attention. I need to somehow heal the hurt that happened to me as a child. But this drug of touch that I hope will result in finding someone to protect me for life, only perpetuates my brokenness. On one hand my sexuality empowers me but at the same time I am a slave to it. It was awakened far too early and I don’t know how to put it to rest.
Birthed with the loss of my innocence, this cycle of dysfunction is spiraling out of control. Now by my own ‘choice’. But did I ever really have a choice?

Don’t judge me because I am a ‘floozy’ or a ‘hooch’ . . .  or the other hurtful names you call me. I don’t show any discretion or dignity because I was robbed of it before I could understand it was mine to defend and to cherish.

Find me. Love me. Help me. Kill this beast within.

Until I find true healing, I will continue on this self-depreciating and destructive path  . . . .

Studies show that somewhere between twenty-five to fifty percent of women have been sexually abused in their childhood. And those numbers reflect only those who report it. Many don’t.[i] My abuse started at such a young age, my first childhood recollection was one of shame. It continued for over a decade. Once the darkness was brought into the light, the abuse stopped but the damage and resulting behaviors and beliefs continued. Such was life in the seventies. Shhhhh. Don’t tell. Move on.

It wasn’t until adulthood that I finally got the proper counseling I needed and the beast of abuse was slayed.

So you see mothers, do stay involved in your children’s lives and shield them while you can, but please, please don’t put up walls of protection so high that you can’t see the hurting young children on the other side. Look beyond the skimpy outfits and behaviors of some of these half-dressed girls and instead of shunning them, love them. Accept them. Pray for them. Give them a chance to know a warm, loving healthy woman who can model the virtues they so lack.

And for those of you who like me were hurt and the beast still lurks within, I encourage you to check out Healing Hearts, an amazing online or small group study that will help you to find truth and healing. For teen girls there is a brand new study as well, First Love.

Check it out and reach out. It’s all well and good to protect our own children, but we can’t forget about the others out there who need us too.