Bouncy Balls, Bible College, and Buffalo Wild Wings.

I arrived at the church early that morning. I always did. Being that my father was the Sunday School Director, he felt obligated to drag our family to church not just early, but obnoxiously early. Me and my father made our way to where general assembly was held — him carrying a bin of songbooks, toys, candy, and other Sunday School paraphernalia, and I carrying his large black Bible and my one-of-seventeen Bibles that didn’t happen to be lost that week. I took hold of the heavy gray door that led to the gymnasium and pulled it open, trying to hide the fact that it took more effort than I was willing to admit. I held the door as my father entered then followed him in allowing the door to close heavily behind me resulting in a loud “thud!”  As was typical I made my way to find a seat to relax in until assembly started, but then I noticed something not so typical.

Off toward the back of the gym scampering about was a girl. More interesting than the girl though was the little round object she was scampering after: a bouncy ball.  Of course, I was too shy to go approach her. I mean, I knew her well enough, her dad helped out in “Super Church,” and whenever we did boys vs. girls Bible Drills we were the ones chosen to duke it out for that ever-coveted piece of candy. Other than that we hadn’t really talked much. The draw of the bouncy ball was too much to resist, so I mustered as much courage as a could and walked towards the back of the gym.

“Hi!”  I managed to squeak out.

“Hi!”  she replied.

“C’n I see?”  I asked, gesturing toward the bouncy ball.

She nodded and bounced it toward me. I caught it and held it up pretending to be more interested in examining the ball rather than the thrill of bouncing it. I bounced it a few times and then bounced it back toward her. She caught it then bounced it back at me. We bounced it back and forth for several minutes, and as we did I became more and more comfortable until my mischievous nature couldn’t help present itself. This time upon returning the ball, I bounced it just above her ability to reach forcing her chase after it.

“Oooops, Sorry!”  I lied, calling after her, chuckling at myself for being so devious. It was a short-lived triumph, for she soon retrieved the ball and bounced it the length of the gym back to me, quite the feat for a girl I thought. Mustering up all the machismo that a nine-year-old boy could, I slammed the ball to the ground bouncing it high toward the gym ceiling, then continuing to bounce wildly about the gym.

We laughed together at the chaos we were creating, which was cut short by the bellow of my father, “Settle it down!”

We traded embarrassed looks and resumed bouncing the ball calmly like we had started out doing. After a few more minutes my dad called out “Billy, come sit down. People are starting to show up.”

“Alright.”  I replied. I looked at the bouncy ball in my hand, gave it one more bounce, then tossed it to the girl.

“Thanks.” she said catching the ball in the air, to which I replied “No problem, Heather.”

Ok, so by now I’m sure you’re wondering by now what exactly this has to with anything. Well, honestly, absolutely nothing. I just thought it was more interesting than saying “I’ve known Heather a long time.”  And sure I may have filled in the gray areas of my memory with a little bit more colorful experience than actuality, but grant me a little poetic license here. Ok. Now onto the serious stuff…

Truth is I have known Heather a long time and we’ve been through a lot together. We grew up as children in the same church; we kept bumping into each other through High School at retreats and sporting events and such; we wound up at the same Bible college where we spent a couple semesters together; we both have a passion for Buffalo Wild Wings where we occasionally do some catching up.

Through the years we’ve had our high times and our low. If you haven’t read Heather’s post “this time last year…” you should, right now, don’t worry I’ll wait… Welcome back.

If she had listed out the bad influences in her life during that time, my name would have been somewhere toward the top. It is truly amazing to see the Lord’s Hand at work. We went quite a few months without seeing each other, things were just too busy. Little did I realize the Lord was in it…

I remember browsing through facebook posts and seeing Heather say something to the effect that she was shutting down her facebook because she needed to make some changes in her life, and I vividly remember thinking “Oh brother, Heather’s going through one of her “holy” phases again, we’ll see how long this one lasts.”  Being completely honest, I acted kinda bitter about it. I remember thinking, “After all the stuff we’ve been through how can she go back to all those rules and accountability. It’s ok, she’ll do the “Godly” thing, remember how stupid and empty it is, and be back before you know it.”  Although I’d never have admitted it, I was jealous. Jealous that I wasn’t strong enough to do what I needed to do. Through the next couple of months my conscience began eating away at me. God was at work. I started becoming more involved at my church, I started hanging out with different people, and I started listening to Christian music.

A few months ago, I noticed that Heather was back on facebook so I messaged her that we needed to do Buffalo Wild Wings again and she agreed, so we set up a time. We met up at the same place we had both been a year before, but this time there was no getting drunk, no taking the Lord’s name in vain, and no inappropriate conversation. There was, however, a lot of talk about the Lord. It was refreshing and amazing to see how God had been working in our lives.

So why am I sharing this with all of you today? It’s not to brag on myself, or even on Heather, but on our Lord and what he can do to the lives of wretched sinners. And I write this to publicly thank Heather for the encouragement her testimony has been to me.

Heather, have a speedy recovery… you are in my prayers.

Philippians 1:3 ~ “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

~                    ~                    ~                    ~

Bill is has been my friend for as long as I can remember, as he shared with you in this post; and I’m certain that the Lord is going to use him to do great things for Him. Bill blogs over at Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Holiness and although his posts are sometimes spaced out, they are always worth the read. I encourage you to take a gander over there and read some of his writings!
Bill, thank you for such a sweet post! I covet your prayers and I look forward to our next get-together at Buffalo Wild Wings!

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Posted on March 8, 2011, in "Guest Post" March, Guest Post and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love this post! I’ve really been enjoying this blog the last few weeks since I started following it, but this one (and This Time Last Year) is really refreshing. It’s nice to hear some back story. Because now I can see this blog through a whole other lens. 🙂

  2. Nice story, Bill. I enjoyed it.

    Unlike you, I’ve never met Heather in person, though she’s at least from the same state I was born in. (If you think of the state of Michigan as a teeter-totter, with the balance point at the Straits of Mackinac – which means you have to straighten out the two peninsulas a bit – the places we’ve lived are almost right at the two opposite ends.) Now, of course, I live over a thousand miles away – 20 miles so west of the Continantal Divide as the crow flies.

    I’m glad Heather’s doing this. I’ve been enjoying it And I’ll take a look at your blog too. (I and my family don’t have one, just a web site, tho you’re welcome to look at that.

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