The Great Sledding Adventure
By Aimee Perry
“Tell us a story mom, about when you were little.” Both girls sat on the bed, wanting to hear something wild. The problem was, I’d already told them all the wild stories I could remember. I looked around the room and spotted the October calendar. It was featuring a beautiful Alaskan wolf, running through the snow–and there it was…a memory, a story of my childhood, they hadn’t heard yet. Little did I know that this night, this story, would birth something in me that would change the course of my life forever.
And so the story began….
It was freezing that winter in Ontario. There was much snow, much more than a typical winter for Canada. The plows would come through and push it to the side of the road making snow walls. It was piled so high, even higher than my dad, who led the way. We were heading to “The Hill”, dragging our sled behind us. Mom was at home making hot chocolate for our return, after the great adventure of flying. That’s what it felt like anyway. The power of gravity is no match for a human. But going down that hill, you almost forgot you were grounded. In my mind, we were Kings who conquered “The Hill” flying through blizzards and dragons, and we wouldn’t be stopped.
When we got to the hill, we slowly tread upward. It was my least favorite part, but the reward was coming. Other kids were to our left and right, all climbing for the same purpose…to fly. Without fail, friendships that would bud on the way up, would be sealed by the time we reached the bottom. Something about the journey down the hill together, bonded us. We were “The Kings of the Castle.” And everyone else were “The Dirty Rascals”.
The second and third time down, we all started getting creative. What if we all piled on one sled and rode to victory together? We were onto something you know? What if…what if we could all stay on the sled all the way down. We had to try. After all, we were Kings.
Jason, my oldest brother would want the front, of course. He was a natural leader. He wanted to feel that death-defying view from upfront. Behind him, Joel (my younger brother) would jump in. Joel was the co-captain, by default. Jason wasn’t going to give up that spot unless Dad made him. 🙂 I might have thought I wanted a turn at the front, if I hadn’t of seen Jason’s face at the bottom of hill. His chapped cheeks, and blistered lips looked unattractive, painful even. No, I liked being somewhere in the middle. It was fun, and if felt safer.
(That says a lot about me eh? To be honest, I don’t like what it says. At this moment, I will not digress on a tangent though. I’ll save that for another day and continue…)
It didn’t matter how many times Jason and Joel would lead us down the hill on our little sled, piled-high with kids, we could never all make it down together. Inevitably, when you looked back at hill from the bottom, you’d see bodies strung all over it. It looked like a crime scene with sounds of groaning. If it weren’t for the break-out of laughter and some brave child saying, “Let’s try again,” there may have been a few more tears in my memories. It hurt getting thrown off that sled. Snow isn’t as soft as you might think.
Jason would always get the blame. The leader always does. Isn’t that harsh? Could he have taken a turn more carefully? Should he have slowed down in that one part of the hill, instead of whizzing through it? May be he should have, but he had a vision you know? Vision is a powerful motivator. He wanted to reach the bottom. That was the point right? Did he care that the others couldn’t hold on through the chaos-filled ride? I’m guessing the thrill of gravity along with the vision of reaching the destination, was compelling enough to temporarily forget about the others. After all, he was a young leader at that time. Today, He is my hero, and l would follow him down any ol’ hill! ...
I left the girls room feeling my Father-God continuing to press me with this story. I was sitting alone, thumbing through the memory again, when I heard an audible voice. It startled me and I immediately looked up thinking I would see someone talking to me. I didn’t see Him, but I felt His presence so tangibly. I grabbed my pen to write down His words, word for word.
“Don’t ever sacrifice my beloved for the sake of a cause.”
There it was… He was teaching me something vital. He wanted me to grasp this so I would be able to lead thousands upon thousands of people into His presence, without losing even one child. I saw the people. Tears sprung to my eyes. With the words He gave, came so many pictures, I couldn’t possibly recount them all.
The Revelation– If I get to the bottom of the hill, and half my friends are gone, I better never justify it. I can come up with stories that validate pushing one-off with blame or justify the loss of another for the sake of the destination, but reaching the destination isn’t worth it if we don't steward what God brings as He would steward it.
The “cause” of cleaning my house or writing this blog isn’t justifiable if I tell my kids harshly to leave me alone, so I can get “more important” work done. Even salvation, which is so important to God, is not more-so than the hearts of those already saved. Isn’t that crazy?
I’ve seen people justify terrible behavior, abusive behavior toward family, friends and fellow helpers, because of a move of God. Let me say this: the reasons to do so won’t hold up inside His Love, not when I do it and not when you do it. His purity will burn those excuses all up. Thank God for that. He is good and He is also fiercely protective over His beloved.
God was telling me something vital for my life. He was giving me wings to steady me through a “fear-of-man” turbulent time. He was honoring me to hold a sacred piece of His heart, and encouraging me to speak on behalf of that piece.
That’s scary. Remember, I liked the middle of the sled, but He was calling me up, into a greater level of stewardship, and thus leadership. Here, I couldn’t be afraid. I might get blistered, bloody and chapped, but it was worth it…for the sake of His heart. I saw the piece and it scars me still with beauty.
He desires me to stay connected with those on my sled, every single one. He desires for me to slow down on turns, and even stop on the hill, defy the power and thrill of gravity itself, if needed. He desires me to provide the kind of care that supersedes the cause. He is telling me even now, “THIS IS the cause.”
He wants me to see the Kingdom on earth in its fullness, while I’m alive. I do believe, if I heed this council, and become this word, I will be able to look back on my life and see we all have arrived together, safe and sound. We would then get to celebrate together. I can’t even imagine the beauty and joy, the unity and holiness of such a moment.
Have you ever went on a roller coaster with someone, or traveled the world with a friend? I have had these opportunities. Remember the joy of the shared experience? Remember reliving every twist and turn of the adventure? It grows more fun with every telling.
The greatest sound in my home, is my two girls staying up late laughing and talking in their beds, or the life on the intimacy between my husband and I. The most painful sound in my home are times of disunity, arguing and connection loss.
I’m pretty sure, the Father feels the same way. May we never justify the loss of His beloved, (loss of connection) for any cause. It just isn’t worth it! In the end, Love is the only thing that remains.
Aimee Perry is a children's author and song-writer. She and her husband, along with their two daughters, reside in Birmingham AL. There, they create original composition and scores for film and TV, with their company, Tradewind Studios. To learn more about Aimee Perry and her books, visit www.aimeeperry.com. To learn more about Tradewind Studios, visit www.tradewindstudios.com