I grew up on a cattle ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Even though I had acres on which to roam, I spent most of my playtime under a large tree in our back yard where my father had lovingly hung a swing that thrilled this little girl’s heart.
I loved what I felt in that swing. Whenever I was upset about anything, I would run to my little refuge. There I would talk to Jesus, who soon became my very best Friend. I would swing for what seemed like hours, singing simple love songs that sprang from my heart.
On some of those occasions, little-girl dreams would surface, and I would imagine having my own real playhouse. I pictured exactly what it would look like, perched “just so” in the big grove of trees across the dirt road. Yes, I did ask Jesus if He
would please build that playhouse for me, because I knew He could do anything. In fact, many mornings I would wake up and run straight to my swing to see if Jesus had built my playhouse during the night.
In all those years of running, I never discovered the miracle playhouse, and yet that disappointment never stopped me from swinging!
I continued to swing and sing, telling Jesus everything in my heart. Perched on that swing, I felt like I had no cares in the world. I continued to swing and sing, telling Jesus everything in my heart. Perched on that swing, I felt like I had no cares in the world. Oh, the thrill of swinging as high as those ropes could carry me, the wind rushing past my face. The higher I
soared, the more freedom I felt. Those precious moments put a smile in my heart all day long.
To this day, I love to swing! I feel drawn to every swing I pass, not just by the happy memories, but more by the lessons I learned. The one for which I am most grateful is this...
the Friend of my swing
is not a God of magic…
He is a God of RELATIONSHIP.
What if God had answered my playhouse request? Would I have then asked for another poof of magic? Would I have learned to focus all my future requests on the addictive world of possessions? Perhaps I would have felt that I was the one in control, attempting to grab whatever I commanded.
I am so grateful that the God of my swing had far more valuable lessons in His plan. He knew my life’s road would demand
radical trust. So, as I continued to swing, HE lovingly engrained that habit in my young heart.
Years later in Uganda, when we were crouching on the floor with our two small children, listening to machine guns firing all around us, I knew I could trust My Father’s protection. Years later, when my husband was beaten in a riot, and our vehicleand offices firebombed, I knew I could trust God to bring good from the pain.
My swing not only taught me to trust in God’s protection, but also to trust in His ways. Many of my most cherished dreams did not play out the way I had envisioned, but, through those numerous disappointments in my life, I never stopped swinging!
My life has been filled with boxes and moves. I’ve had the privilege of living in seven countries and teaching in many others. But in each new residence, my first task is always to find
the best spot for my swing. Even though it has no visible ropes or wooden seat, My Father always meets me there. And just as it was on the ranch, that swing becomes my place of peace, security, and freedom.
In my swing I have learned that life is all about relationship. In the same way I trusted the ropes that held my childhood swing, I rest securely in the Arms that hold my life. The more I trust, the more freedom I feel, the higher I soar, and the more of His wind I feel in my face. That kind of TRUST still makes my heart smile, because…
In the swing of life…
it is not about the dreams…
it is about the Relationship!
On our Nebraska ranch, the tree from
which my swing hung.