God and Bowling Bumpers

Yesterday I drove from Austin, TX to Huntsville, AL in the pouring rain with two small children and no DVD player. And it was hard and good and long.

I forgot my auxiliary cord so I spent the day turning the radio dial, celebrating every clear, strong signal—no matter the station. I listened to Stuart Scott”s ESPY speech and an argument about the Seahawks’s chances next year. I listened to a sermon about light and to a guy who said immigrants ruin the economy. I listened to talk about GAZA and the Malaysian plane. Also to disco music and country music and songs about God.

I was listening to a song about God—to God, really—when my daughter London poured her crayons into a cup holder and stirred them wildly with her fingers. Loudly. So loudly. It was one of those chaos sounds that makes your skin crawl.

We’d been in the car for ten hours. We’d be in the car for six more.

And this sound was not stopping.

I was impatient and on edge and ready to pull over and leave the girls in the car and start walking. At the very least I was going to freak out about the crayon sound.

But then these lyrics came over the radio, a guy singing “let them see you in me.”

In the song, the speaker addresses God, asking God to shape him in God’s image. But in that moment, my knuckles white on the steering wheel, London stir crazy in the backseat, it was more like I heard God talking to me. I heard the lyrics inverted: “Let them see Me in you.”

And that was all the realignment I needed. I smiled at London in the rear view mirror. I asked her what she was doing—in my nice, asking-cause-I-actually-want-to-know voice. She said something about coloring. I told her I loved her. She smiled. The sound stopped.

And I drove down the road.

So often I hear God in short phrases like this one, in quick truths that re-frame the way I see in a moment.

When I watch my girls play I’ll occasionally call out to them. I’ll ask, “Are you being kind?” I’ll remind: “Don’t forget to share.” Or, my favorite, “Love your sister!”

I feel like God does the same thing for me, prompting me to make the right choice, reminding me of the life I’m committed to live. It’s like bumpers in bowling, His words keeping me out of the gutters.

I’m thankful for that. :)