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Inspirational Articles by Lygia Lovelace


Roller Coaster Rhonda
by Lygia Lovelace


She never liked roller coasters when she was a little girl, not really. They were too unpredictable! When she would go to theme parks or carnivals with her brothers, they always tried to persuade her to ride with them. But she would refuse. What was fun about it anyway? Going up, then down at breakneck speed? Well, that just wasn't for her. She was called Cautious Rhonda.


As she grew older, she came to believe in Christ. She didn't know much at first, but she was so excited about her new faith! She loved reading the Bible; she loved going to church. She asked a lot of questions until she gained a reputation in Sunday School…Inquisitive Rhonda.


As she grew older in her faith, she began to teach others, and serve in the church. She even shared her faith wherever she went, and she was determined to raise her children to know Him. Her husband had full confidence in her and praised her often. He was well-respected in the church. She was known as Faithful Rhonda.


No one really knows what happened with Rhonda. It seems that as her children grew, there were more problems in her life. (This is often the case, you know.) She became a worrier. Her children made mistakes, and she became discouraged, and more than a little indignant. Her faithfulness to the things of God dwindled…she stopped reading her Bible every day. She quit serving in church. She just told everyone that she was too old to serve so faithfully -- she'd "been there, done that", and it was time for the younger generation of church-goers to take up that torch and get busy. She enjoyed criticizing the church and the new pastor, and never even considered doing more than attending an occasional fellowship or luncheon.


She neglected her prayer time. What good does it do anyway, she thought, my prayers are mostly unanswered…


I pray for my children, but they don't follow God.


I pray for my husband, but he never changes.


I pray for my friends, and even my church, but I see no results…


So she became Lazy Rhonda as she began to sleep later most mornings, ignoring her early wake-up call to pray and read her Bible. She rolled her eyes and refused to go to church anymore during the week. She was just too busy, too tired!


She even slept in occasionally on Sunday mornings. The pain in her joints was just too much for getting up on Sunday. After all, she had to get up early every other day. Why not relax on Sunday?


But then something happened. She couldn't really explain it. One Sunday morning, when she did actually get out of bed and go to church, the preacher said something that made her heart sit up and take notice! She fingered her Bible as he preached, and actually felt the Spirit calling her to return to its pages. Gradually she began to pull herself out of bed and take a few moments each morning to read the Words that God had so lovingly written to her. She felt a turning in her heart. She felt…different: more peaceful; stronger, yet lighter! She even began to take her eyes off of herself and encourage others! She prayed for her children, her friends, her church…and she was much nicer to her husband.


She became Refreshed Rhonda.


But then, as the days went by, she grew tired again: tired of the problems that came her way, tired of the way others aggravated her, tired of her husband, tired of the new music at church…


So she stopped reading her Bible. She hardly prayed anymore, and most people avoided her, because they never knew what mood she would be in…


That's when she became Roller Coaster Rhonda.


My friends, do you know anyone riding that roller coaster? It's not a fun ride, let me tell you. I ought to know -- I've bought a few tickets to it myself. First you are up on a mountaintop, praising God, being faithful to Him, seeing with spiritual eyes the problems that come your way, then, somehow, and without warning, your car dips down at breakneck speed into the depths of discouragement, or anger, or frustration, or discontent, or indignance, or whatever… and you are pummeling back to earth with no sign of rising again.


You know something I've noticed about riding that roller coaster? When you are tumbling down that steep incline, from zero to eighty miles per hour, it's impossible to take the Word with you. You are too busy hanging on! Your mind is whirling, and you consider it impossible to think on the things of God, on His daily miracles, or on the commitment that you once made to Him.


And those closest to you begin to wonder about your relationship with God. Your children wonder why you want them to be more like Christ when you yourself are so miserable. Where's the difference in that, they ask?
And your husband just misses your laughter and the fun you once had.


Your friends tiptoe around you, afraid of saying something wrong.


Your church family barely recognizes you anymore, and your pastor wishes he could help you-if he could just figure out what was actually wrong. And in truth, he's a little afraid of you…


Almost every night, the children and I walk. We love the outdoors and the exercise! We've mapped out a trail around and through the Children's Home campus where we currently live.


It's best to go there just as the sun is going down. There are quaint little village street lamps that begin to light up the path, one by one, as the sky grows darker. We walk through the lighted path and enjoy the peacefulness -- the quietness of the close of day. While the walk is strenuous, the way is restful.


One day, as we were walking along our path and passed the playground area, I glanced down at the seed pebbles that act as flooring for the swings and the merry-go-round. There were baby plants popping up everywhere in those rocks! The children were fascinated! We stopped our walk long enough to dig out one of the little baby saplings from the rocks -- its stem and root system was attached to an acorn! There were actually plants growing in the impossibilities of seed pebbles!


Oh, they won't last, I explained to the children. They will spring up quickly, but when their roots begin looking for a true anchor -- a firm foundation -- then the plants will begin to die. There will be no mainstay to hold them.


Our three little boys took pity on those shoots. The next day, they took plastic cups with water in them. Carefully they removed the young-grown plants and placed them in the cups.


Fascinated with their compassion, I just watched. Some of the cups, the boys left in the sun, on the sidewalk.
"We'll get to them later," they said.


One cup, they left inside.


And then Jonah took one little growing sapling, acorn shell attached, and planted it, right at the front of our garden, between the peppers and the tomatoes.


Now, we actually have a baby tree in our garden! The cup of acorn shoots left in the house died long ago…they really shouldn't have stayed so long in one place. They grew stagnant and lifeless.


The cup left in the sun is now full of scorched, withered stems. The heat of life became too much for the tender, vulnerable sprouts. They lacked foundation, stability, and fortitude.


Just like Roller Coaster Rhonda.


Have you ridden any roller coasters lately? This is not God's best for your life, you know. He desires for you a consistent, even, fun ride. But it is also a narrow journey.


When emotions control me and circumstances dictate my moods, then I have bought that ticket. Sigh. I soon become an unpredictability to my family and all of those around me. I've lost my joy, and I become bitter instead of persevering in my prayer life and in my walk with the Father. And that's no fun at all.


It hurts my witness, and it saddens the One who gave me life.


Get off the ride. It's just not fun anymore, is it?


No more Roller Coaster Rhonda.

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!
Nehemiah 8:10


You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

Copyright © 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com

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