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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Field Trip

Updated: Aug 30, 2019

It’s World Cup time and I wowed my boys at dinner the other night with my soccer knowledge. I mean I knew stuff. Like Iceland made the tournament for the first time ever, and Italy, who always makes it, didn’t. I could rattle off the favorites; could tell you about how Messi’s arguably the best of all time, even though he chokes when he plays with his national team. And Ozil is a hot German star with a bad attitude. I’m telling you, I knew stuff. After a while Felipe and Jimmy were exchanging looks, and Nils asked the question. “Mom, how do you know all this?” Nonchalant, I answered. “A podcast I listened to while I was knitting last night.”*

It was priceless.

I’ve recently jumped on the podcast bandwagon. Partly due to recommendations, and partly looking for company on my morning runs. And so it is, I’ve been spending time with online voices, some familiar, some brand-new.

This past week I was listening to my old friend, Mike Howard, surprised when I heard him mention my name. One of his favorite bloggers – that’s how he said it. And I’m still shaking my head, thinking of all the brainy writers I know this guy follows, and me telling stories about being a mom, and Wow! Thanks, friend, for the shout-out blessing.

The silver bullet. This was the phrase Pastor Mike referenced in his #FORIOWA sermon, talking about love. It’s something I’d written when I told Luke’s story about his proposal, the same week I’d made my comment at our all-staff meeting. And what Mike doesn’t know is how this off-hand remark has been an epiphany of sorts in my current season. This silver-bullet love.

There’s another podcast pastor, and he’s been saying the same thing.** I tried to explain it to Kyle on Saturday, making our rounds to graduation parties. Just the two of us on a daylong date, and this seemed like a good time to process out loud the things I’ve been pondering these past few weeks. There’s life in the flesh, and there’s the life of His Spirit, and we can always choose. I tell my husband about how there seems to be this litmus test, this way of knowing which way we’re leaning, and for me, it’s love. My flesh self-protects; it’s easily offended. But not the Spirit. The Spirit loves.

We’re driving down the road, and I’m feeling this passion. It’s just like He taught me, there in His classroom, all those years! And Kyle knows what I’m saying, since he’s been there with me. God’s Seminary teaching, and me filling journals with what it means to live the life of the Spirit. He makes us holy, and His holy is real! His holy loves.

But those journals, they only tell part of the story. They tell the part about the classroom. God teaching, me ravenous, learning. Believing. But there’s more to the story, and no one knows better than my better-half. We’ve been on a field-trip. I tell it this way, remembering Beth Moore saying the same in a video study. Back during those sweet days of learning, I’d always wondered. Will this hold true when it’s put to the test? Will the Spirit be faithful?

And I have to confess. I’ve done some serious self-protecting; without question, times I’ve been offended. It’s true. I’ve said it out loud, but not until lately have I known what it means. Those field-trip days tested my love, my life in the Spirit. True enough. It was hard. And most days, truth-be-told, I slipped back to the flesh. I did. I’m confessing. But guess what? HE DIDN’T!! Don’t you see?!

I’m looking at Kyle and my heart is pounding. This whole time, even on days we didn’t feel like loving, even those times when we felt offended – He was still loving THROUGH US! And this, for me, is the epiphany moment. This looking back and seeing Him faithful, not just in Himself, but faithful in us. When our own flesh was weak – He still led us to love!

There’s life in the flesh, and there’s the life of His Spirit, and we can always choose. And this is the thing I share with my husband. Because it really does matter. It matters in us, in the depths of OUR spirits. Why live offended, if we don’t really have to? Yes, it’s true, He still will be faithful. But when I live in His Spirit, it’s ME who gets love.

*That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs **Dan Mohler on Knowing the Heart of the Father

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