We walked all day! I couldn't believe how well I was doing, especially after my weak lung diagnosis. The fresh air felt so good. We got to take family pictures, and Ryane even had 2 professional photographers taking family portraits. It was such a gift and blessing. I prayed over our meal and asked God to bless Ryane's family ten-fold. I don't know if you've been to this farm, but it's huge and has everything fun to do all in one place! The hay ride was a blast, until the tractor driver took us into a pit of mud. This was on purpose by the way. The mud would have been fine if it weren't for the enormous bumps! The girls laughed as I sat myself on the floor and braced my arms on the hay.
I don't know what was so enticing about this, but it just lured us. Maybe it was the hidden treasures, the unknown, or maybe it was the caution tape that wrapped all the way around it.
It was a bamboo garden with a path. The bamboo was so thick, but it left this opening as you see to the left. It was much darker than this photo, so it looked enchanting and inviting.
The caution tape.
I mean, that meant keep out, right? Yes Sarah, out. We kept walking and there was another opening in this humongous outlay. I don't know what overtook us, but we just went right under that tape! But only after we saw an employee walk past and out of sight. It was sneaky, and rebellious.
She's my 10 year old, and she's kind of a rule follower. Matt and I not being very good examples, assure her it's okay. She's telling us not to go through, there's something wrong, as she walks apprehensively in the middle of the pack.
"Alright, guys. I'll see you in heaven." Man, this child cracks me up! As we get to where it's dark and even more enchanting, we hear, "Get out of there! It's full of...
There was nothing special in there. We could have probably guessed that it was just a maze full of bamboo. We all run out in horror! The girls and I are basket cases, as Matt tries to calm us down while pulling ticks off of everyones legs! Can you believe it? I've been scared to go outside the last couple of months because of ticks and mosquitos, and the one day I really go for it, we get in a mess of ticks. Well, I should say, we got ourselves into this mess.
The warning was there.
It was!! What made us so drawn to something so stupid? And then to find this! I think I'd rather have run into a snake!!
The enemy. Our adversary. The devil.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8
Did the devil make me do it? Well yes and no. He was in our ear whispering. "Look how cool that is. Nothing will hurt you. The caution is in Spanish, so you can't read it. Just go in real quick." Ha! Did the devil push me in? No. Did I push Lilli? Maybe. That hurts my heart and I'm embarrassed to admit that. I CHOSE to listen to his lies. We chose. And we were terrible role models for our kids.
Isn't this like our everyday life? God has big bright yellow warning tape that says, "Don't do it my child. You will get hurt." It was just like the first sin of Adam and Eve. Satan was in Eve's ear, and then they both disobeyed God. "Don't eat that fruit my child. You will die." But they CHOSE to listen to the lies of satan. And now we all die because of their sin. We all die because of our own sin, our own disobedience to our Father. Those laws, rules, commandments are intended to protect you and me. God is a loving God, but He's also just. In His justice someone has to pay the price for that sin. We could not pay for the sins ourselves, because we are evil and no one is good.
Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
So... God came down and did it for us. He became a baby, His one and only Son,
He died without ever doing anything wrong His entire life on earth. In His humanity, He walked the same life you and I walk.
He warned us. Through His Word, He warns us. The farm warned us. Don't go in here; it's full of ticks.
When we came out panicking, we had to urgently remove the ticks. That's what God does for us. When we, in our selfish motives, walk into sin, are dirty. It's miserable being dirty. When you go to Jesus and ask for forgiveness, then He will forgive you, and He cleanses you once again with His blood, the perfect sacrifice.
You see, Jesus died in your place. His pure blood covers all of your sins...
if you'll let Him.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:8-10
I see three different types of sinners in our journey into the tick infestation. You have the leader, the follower, and the innocent you drag with you. How sad for the innocent.
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
I'm certain by the context this is talking about stumbling a child out of faith in Jesus. But even still, Lord forgive me for leading my child into a horrible, dark, fearful place. Thank you Lord for warning us before (unfortunately we didn't listen), and also for correcting us when we were in there. What would have happened if the worker had not walked by and yelled at us!? Would we have seen the ticks on our lower legs? I'm trying not to think about it. But it makes a good point that God is constantly showing us grace despite our stupid mistakes.
God is warning us because He loves us. These dark places are full of heartache and dismay. If the devil is in your ear, silence him in the Name of Jesus. I tell my kids to look to the left and right or wherever and say, "In the Name of Jesus I have authority over you. Leave now." You will be amazed at the immediate deliverance. Do you do the things you don't want to do? Try saying this OUT LOUD. The devil can't hear your thoughts. He's not all-knowing like God. There's power in the Name of Jesus. Why do you think people curse in the name of Jesus? You don't hear any other religion being used for curse words. Why? Because those are satan's ministries trying to deter you from the truth.
Take Paul's advice to the church of Ephesus:
Living in the Light
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”
Please consider contacting Ryane Johnson! He's Matt's best friend of 20 years, and a wonderful friend. He's got a beautiful wife, Syliva and 3 adorable sons. Isaac is their newest addition to the family.