In the last year, my provider-protector husband purchased a Glock handgun. I find it attractive that he makes decisions that prepare for the “what-ifs” in life and that he’s proactive in protecting his family. He’s been learning how to use it and how to become more accurate with his shooting; he is teaching Liz and Nate gun safety and shooting skills as well.
…and, he’s trying, patiently, to teach his wife.
I, myself, don’t like guns. I have nothing against my children or my husband or others using them. I think it is an important life skill to learn gun safety.
I just scare myself holding/using them. I don’t necessarily trust myself with or around them.
Nevertheless, Ben talked me into shooting his Glock at the gun range a few months ago. Oh, boy.
Nathan is an outdoorsman through and through. He would probably live in camo clothing if allowed. In his spare time, he fishes, hunts, sets very creative, ingenious traps in our backyard, hikes, climbs. He’s a boy’s boy. Ben has such a diverse skill set, that though he’s not necessarily a total woodsman, he can fit in with hunters and at the gun range without much problem. Liz is confident to approach shooting along with the best of them. Then there’s me…hmmm…
So when we were going by the gun range on our way back from an event, and the boys wanted to practicing shooting, I was content to just wait in our van while they did their thing; I wasn’t exactly dressed for shooting success in my church-y type clothing.
We drove up to the range…and I thought perhaps we had entered into Sasquatch territory. There was more hair, smell, and grunts that I had seen/heard/smelled since…well…perhaps ever. The boys walked confidently to an open booth, and I cowered lower in the van seat hoping the dozens and dozens of rather intimidating shooters were too focused on their targets to notice the person in the van who obviously didn’t belong on a range.
Then my husband, kindly and gently coaxed me out of the van asking me if I would like to try shooting once. He would like for me to at least know the basics…just in case.
How could I say no to those kind eyes? “Ok, Ben Davison. I trust you,” I thought to myself.
So off I shambled, through the dozens of daunting and competent marksmen and their oversized firearms to take my place beside my husband at his shooting booth. After first covering my ears with a pair of oversized muffs (that went well with my blouse and dress pants, I might add), he placed the Glock in my hand, and trying hard not to recoil at its touch, I listened timidly as he instructed me on how to hold it and how to aim.
And with much trepidation and while cringing, I pulled the trigger.
I have not idea where the bullet went, but I do know it didn’t land anywhere inside the substantial target just in front of me.
Then it happened.
Even through the muffs, I could hear a booming park ranger voice yelling at me. No joke, all 42,897 shooters stopped focusing on their targets and 85,794 eyes were glued on the idiot dressed for church that was being lambasted for shooting wrong. I guess in his own rugged way he was just trying to be “helpful” so that I didn’t pinch my finger while pulling the trigger. I’ve heard it said that introverts, especially, do not enjoy whatsoever being corrected in front of a group of people especially when they already feel like they are totally out of their league. I qualified for all the above that day.
I forcefully set the piece down and gave the ranger what Nathan calls my “look”. He says it is the stare that comes right before I morph into a werewolf.
The “look” that says: “You’ve just stepped over the line, Buddy, and I’m about to lose all sense of patience with you.”
I turned on my heels, stomped my way through the sneers of the shooters, crawled into the van, slammed the door…and sulked.
That showed ’em all!
My werewolf morph. ugh. It gets the best of me at times. And after the moon goes down, and my fangs withdraw, I chide myself for allowing it to overtake me once again.
And I ask myself as I contemplate this and other rather unpleasant weaknesses of mine if I will ever become more like my Savior. If I will ever become more like what He wants me to be and less like a hairy beast or a selfish narcissist.
God once again, gently, kindly, says, “Trust in Me, My child. I will lead you in paths of righteousness for My Name’s sake.”
And so I choose to hold His hand tighter and trust in His promises that He will indeed finish the work that He has begun in me. I trust Him when He tells me to keep my eyes on Him, the Author and Perfecter of my faith. I trust Him when He tells me that if I just will stay connected to Him as my Vine, that I will bear His fruit, but I can’t produce the fruit on my own. I try sometimes, but the fangs always eventually pop out.
I trust Him when He tells me that He shows me the proper path to take and that He is my Light and Salvation. I trust that He watches over me as I fear and respect Him and rely on His unfailing love. I trust that He will provide, direct, and uphold me with His righteous right hand.
I’m reminded again, how much I need my Savior. I focus on Him, He takes my burdens, and I can live in freedom and joy as He directs my steps.
This summer, our amazing and godly maintenance director at our school is retiring. Mr. Frank is an inspiration to students and staff alike and he will be greatly missed. He prayed with and for me as my dad was dying from cancer. He helped counsel me as I shared Jesus’ Good News with Dad. Today in my school mailbox, I found a gift and a card from Mr. Frank. The gift was a daily devotion book by Charles Spurgeon, and Mr. Frank’s card encouraged me to keep seeking…keep seeking the Lord and having a heart for His people, and to keep offering words of encouragement. Today’s devotion from Spurgeon’s book contained my favorite verse: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). And in that reminder today, from Mr. Frank’s kind gift, comes the Truth that God is telling me:
Don’t focus on your werewolf-ness; focus instead on His Kingdom…on Him. I can trust Him to make me what He wants me to be. And that trust leads me free to live with joy.
(Many good verses that contain God’s promises can be found here: Psalm 25, Psalm 27; Psalm 33 and 34; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 12:2; John 5.)
God also offers hope of the work He’s doing in us Here in a powerful devotion by Rick Warren.
And finally, His hope is found here is June 24th’s Jesus Calling by Sarah Young:
Hold My hand—and trust. So long as you are conscious of My Presence with you, all is well. It is virtually impossible to stumble while walking in the Light with Me. I designed you to enjoy Me above all else. You find me the deepest fulfillment of your heart in Me alone.
Fearful, anxious thoughts melt away in the Light of My Presence. When you turn away from Me, you are vulnerable to the darkness that is always at work in the world. Don’t be surprised by how easily you sin when you forget to cling to My hand. In the world, dependency is seen as immaturity. But in My kingdom, dependence on Me is a prime measure of maturity.
Verses to Reflect Upon:
Isaiah 41:10 – … fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (ESV)
Psalm 62: 5-6 – 5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. (ESV)