by Joanie Butman
Last week was VIP day at my daughter’s place of employment, and I was invited. The staff is so youthful, there isn’t enough offspring to warrant a take-your-child-to-work day, so they initiated VIP day as an alternative. I was flattered and astonished by my daughter’s invitation because she turned to the proverbial ‘dark side’ earlier than most tweens. I resigned myself long ago to my role as embarrassing mom whose sole purpose was to ruin her life – something I became increasingly adept at until she left for college. It’s amazing how many times and how many ways you can ruin someone’s life. Simply waking up some days was sufficient. Sadly, after putting so much effort into perfecting that ability, it’s not a marketable skill.
Given our history, which is unremarkable for moms and daughters, I embraced my new VIP status with as much gusto as I approached her ruination. Upon arrival, I was presented with a water bottle with the following note attached.
This was going to be a great day!
And it was – despite the spin class I suffered through. There was nothing soulful about that experience. It was more like survival. The only joyful part was visualizing Jesus on the bike in front of me garbed in spandex. You see, I was praying the entire time for endurance to finish the class without vomiting or fainting from the heat or lack of air. God often uses humor to communicate with me and that visual was the encouragement He provided. Christ’s summons to “Come, follow me” took on new meaning in the context of sitting behind Him in spin class. I had to restrain the desire to act on my embarrassing mom tendencies, like telling the energetic, buff 20-something instructor to stop signaling me to stand up on my bike and work harder. It took divine intervention of epic proportions to prevent me from sending him my own hand gestures in response. Plus, I couldn’t release the handle bars for fear of toppling over.
There is a God, because my daughter’s invite was just another element of an answer to a long-ago prayer to survive the teenage years long enough to experience my daughter’s love again, rather than typical adolescent disdain. God’s loving response has been unfolding in new and amazing ways since the first day I uttered it.
Not wanting to jeopardize my current VIP status, I also had to resist doing playful things like adding to her note board or changing the title on one of her display books. While I get a kick out of myself, everyone else doesn’t necessarily appreciate my sense of humor. All in all, I think I left without doing much damage to her reputation. Score one for Mom.
VIP day sparked an idea for my upcoming 60th birthday. Instead of having a birthday party, why not host a VIP day for the myriad of people who have nurtured, pushed, prodded, shoved and sometimes dragged me towards the person I am today? The guest of honor would be Christ, of course, who is seated at the head of my table every day. It is He who directs my steps and brings other VIP attendees into my life at just the right time. Without Him, I am nothing. But with God anything is possible – even spin class.
That’s not to say that at the end of some days I don’t feel as if I’m spinning furiously getting nowhere fast. And even more frequently than in spin class, I am tempted to throw my hands up in defeat. Having God as your VIP doesn’t guarantee an easy ride – quite the opposite. It takes hard work to achieve and maintain spiritual fitness. You’ve got to work through the pain to see change – the same as all those hard bodies at spin class. At this stage of my life, I choose a gentler path towards physical exercise. My screaming body demands it. However, on my spiritual journey there’s a hard body in there waiting to be revealed. I just have to stay the course.
With God every day is VIP day – His and OURS, because our significance is rooted in HIM. Your own VIP welcome awaits you each morning. Christ yearns to share His soul with you in the truest sense, but He leaves the decision to us whether or not to accept His invitation. Will you choose to claim your Divine VIP status today?