My Girl Abbey

My Girl Abbey
Mother's Day 2015

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Taylor Lake gave me: Ben, and the importance of getting past the muck!'s thick, gooey, and disgusting.  Imagine thinking you were about to dig your toes between the sand only to find what is commonly described as "decaying organic matter." GROSS! When I was a teenager, I spent several summers life-guarding at Taylor University's lake. For me, it was kind of a big deal to take the job because I literally hated that lake! I hated the fact that to get out to a certain point of the lake, you had to walk through muck.( I could also spend an entire paragraph on the biting fish, but that is not the point! haha)  Did you know that lakes with a layer of muck are also prone to becoming a breeding ground for leeches?  UGH!

I took the job because when you're sixteen, the idea of getting a tan AND being with some of your best friends all day is pretty great.  I was sitting at the end of a dock on that lake when my love for children with disabilities walked up to me.  He couldn't swim, but he loved the water.  I always kept one eye on the lake, and one eye on Ben. He liked me better when I wore my black swimsuit, so I bought two and wore one everyday.  I didn't even know what autism was back then, but despite all his quirks and occasional outbursts, I had this unexplainable affection for him.  I genuinely loved him...and sincerely wanted to be among his favorite people.

I always went to great lengths to talk to him, even though he couldn't talk, and to get his attention.  Then one day it happened...I was sitting at the edge of the dock and he walked up to me and put his hand on my back. He stood there with me for a long time.  I looked up to see his mom crying.  Apparently, this was a big deal?  I had no idea what had just happened.  What had just happened was my life changing, that's what.

His mom explained that any form of physical contact like that was almost unheard of, and then asked if I would be their babysitter sometime.  I was so excited!  We formed a beautiful relationship that lasted the next few years.  I learned a lot about autism, a lot about Ben, and a lot about what it meant to parent a child with special needs.  I often think back to that time and how it was  a part of the preparation I would need to be Abbey's mom.  It's a tender and beautiful memory for me. I think about the lake, I think about how I was just going to keep my job at Ivanhoe's Restaurant and not take on a second one because of some muck.

Muck. Decaying matter.  It's pretty gross.  You know what, sometimes I still need to get through the muck in my life to come into God's best for me.  That lake had a pretty thick layer covering the bottom.  I can't help but think about how much more attractive  it would have been if they had done something about it. It's not any different for me.  My life has layers of muck that blanket the floor of my mind and heart.  Decaying matter....things that are breaking down and represent death just piling up. If I were to pick it up with my hands, I think it would have that same slimy feel and nasty would seep through the spaces of my fingers and sink right back down to the bottom.  A breeding ground for things that want to suck the life right out of me, and fill me with all kinds of spiritual diseases.

I know God's best for me doesn't include muck. It has to be dredged up and cleaned out, because left alone it destroys the beauty my life was meant to display. I'm thankful that I  don't have to do that on my own.  Listen to what Jesus says in John 10:10-11, "10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."  I don't know about you, but I don't want to be held back by one who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy me.  I want to be in the safety of Christ, who came to free me from sin and muck, and to give me life "to the full."  

Do you want to hear something crazy?  I have a dream sometimes that I'm with my dear friend Christopher who passed away.  As teenagers, we were lifeguards together at that lake.  He asks me if I want to take a swim and we dive in.  The bottom of the lake is covered with gems, jewels, and diamonds. I just remembered that while I was typing...seriously! I don't think the analogy will be lost on you, it's amazing what God has for us if only we surrender our whole life to him. 

1 comment:

  1. Sweet Kimberly,
    You have once again brought sweet memories flowing back. I also remember that lake and how much I actually loved going there because it always represented such happiness and joy (minus the horse flies, biting fish and yes...the MUCK!) I too remember lifeguarding there and I remember you with Ben. I remember him being there with his mom and seeing the connection that he had with you. I have often reflected on your words that you have said at different times that different things were preparing you for being Abby's mom. I have always known you were special and that God has given your and created you to be who you are so that she can be who she is. You are a great pair and GOd has blessed you in the midst of MUCK to in turn bless others!
    Thank you as always for sharing your heart and know that you are loved!