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  • Writer's pictureSue Bowles

Firehoses and Water Fountains

You’ve probably seen it before in a movie or a cartoon. The fireman jumps out of the truck, grabs the carefully stowed hose, and runs to the nearest fire hydrant, leaving the hose trailing behind until it gets to the source. He feverishly affixes the hose to the hydrant, secures the seal, and grabs the wrench to twist the knob that will release the water flow. And then….wait for it….you can tell the water is flowing as you watch the water travel through an empty hose, gathering steam, looking for its escape hatch…and the water EXPLODES out the other end! I would use that analogy to describe my spiritual journey right now.

fire hose

Life has exploded – in every GOOD sense of the word! I love the line in Remember the Titans where Gary tells his girlfriend ‘sometimes when something unexpected comes along you just have to run with it.’ That’s what I’m trying to do.

These days I am at a loss for words more than probably any other time of my life. It seems no matter what I try to communicate I just can’t find adequate verbage. It’s kind of like trying to follow a drop of water as it shoots from a firehose. Yeah….good luck with that!

You see, in the weeks and months since the October 2015 Disappointing Messiah retreat I have found a life I once only dreamed of, wished for, watched others live, and told myself would never be reality in my life. I was wrong. And I am SO GRATEFUL to be able to say that! Not everyone who reads this will ‘get it.’ I get that (like that play on words?!). But maybe someone out there will be challenged and encouraged to hang in there another day, seek Him with another prayer, reach out to another friend, and find hope and grace along the way.

I. Am. Free! I never thought I’d be able to say those words, no less MEAN it! Now that doesn’t mean I’ve arrived and it doesn’t mean I don’t have areas of my life that God still needs to touch and heal. What it DOES mean is that I am no longer shackled by fear – of others’ perception, judgment, or opinion. Those things no longer rule my life, actions and decisions. And when they did it wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice. It just became my way of surviving. And now that the chains have been broken the water is flowing more freely. And it feels like a firehose ready to go off!

There are times I don’t know how to contain it! No matter what I do it just doesn’t seem to be enough to adequately express what God is doing on the inside. And now is one of those times.

  1. the Word is coming alive for me. I jump-started my time with the Lord just reading Psalms to just get back in the habit and settle in. Recently I jumped to 1 Corinthians. I’m only in Chapter 6 and things are just popping off the page. It’s like the library just opened its floodgates of knowledge and observation and imparted a morsel in me. Things I blew by in the past have become stop signs along the way. Insights and mental flow charts come as easy as a painter paints. It just makes sense! It ties together! And it pierces the heart. Just this morning the Lord pushed the next button of areas of my life that are not in full submission to Him. Ouch. I’ve known it – mentally – for a while. Now I know it emotionally and in my heart and I have a lot of things I need to pound out before Him….Lordship issues in the nooks and crannies.

  2. my boldness has increased exponentially. I am more bold in what I say – prayerfully with grace but not with fear (I recently told someone I was going to go so far as to say I believe God wants to use me in big ways – national ways – and that I want Him to build me back up to be a leader. I didn’t say it in a haughty way…just a confident, self-assured way. And you know what the response was? “Let’s pray for that.” And we did. Right there!

  3. I am in step with what the Lord is doing in my life and I don’t wonder ‘why me?’ anymore. It’s instead ‘Wow! Me!” I have confidence in what I believe I hear the Lord telling me and directing me to do. I seek counsel to confirm when needed. But I have confidence in the truth that God can – and will – and DOES – speak directly to me and I don’t feel like I don’t trust my radar and seek input on things. I know God speaks to me – and that I hear Him. I still seek input as needed but I don’t mistrust myself.

Those are just a few examples of the fire hose I am running in right now. And yet I still know the value of taking a sip of water from a cool water fountain.

Slowing down is critical.

Bending down to drink deep is beautiful. What I mean by that is I bend down – I bend my knees, raise my hands, and bow my heart – before the One Who created me, loves me and is absolutely crazy about me. I submit to Him, His leading, and His rule in my life. Not perfectly, but I desire to grow in that day by day. And then I drink deep. I am surrounding myself with friends who believe for me the same things I believe God is doing in me, and how He wants to use me, and how He wants to work through me. I am surrounding myself with folks who will help me ‘chase Jesus’ and encourage me to run after Him, regardless of how crazy it may sound. And we drink deep from the fountain. From HIS fountain. We dig into the Word and each others’ lives. We are real and authentic and can just ‘be.’ There is just something to feeling – knowing – experiencing – others coming alongside you. Interests may be somewhat different but we still come alongside each other. And we watch to see what God is going…and we do our best to join Him.

And I drink deep from the Word. Tonight I start attending a class where we dig into some basic theology and then in the weeks ahead make it practical – how do we live out the Christian life in the midst of all the crazy things going on around us? Drinking deep from the fountain while running in a fire hose.

This crazy ride I am on feels like I am riding a wave in Hawaii…and I am just riding the crest of it. Following wherever it takes me. And enjoying the view – a fresh perspective – a new angle. 

Focused on where I am going and not the crazy water around me.

Sometimes this ride feels so new I feel like a neophyte learning how to surf happy to hold up my hands for a second,

keep my balance, and say “Look Daddy – Abba! No hands!” And that’s the way it should be – hands outstretched toward Him in trust, faith, and love, knowing He has me and is taking me on a great adventure.

The water is great – coming from a fire hose or a drinking fountain. C’mon – enjoy the ride!

At church last week we sang “Abba – I Belong to You” and I just wept. HE IS my reality! Give it a listen. The song was written from the prayer Brennan Manning talks about.

And as a side note, Color Green Films has released the movie “Brennan” and it is now on a national screening tour. Dates are being added each week and YOU can bring it to your town or church. Just comment or email me and I will get you the info and help get it scheduled. Abba is SO real to me I am committed to helping spread the message that “God loves us as we are, not as we should be, for none of us are as we should be.” I would love to share the firehose with you. I hope you will join me.

More musings on fire hoses and water fountains can be found at (Jennifer Grashel) and (Leisa Herren). They are two of the wave riders on this crazy ride with me.

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