When You Really Want to Read Past the Christian Jargon

“It would be okay if I got a shot today,” he announced this morning, hopping on one leg and peering at me with his head cocked sideways.

Above Photo: David K, Creative Commons cc license

“Oh! Well, good job. I don’t think you’ll need a shot today, though. It’s just a dentist check up,” I assured him.

Daniel shrugged and resumed playing, “But I could,” he said. His fears had dissolved since last week.

Lemon juice and coconut mix with garlic, fresh ginger, and onion to hang fragrant in the air now from tonight’s Vietnamese Lemon Soup, and the onions still prick my eyes. Bath splashes and seven year old boy noises emanate from the bathroom, and my seventeen year old is downstairs typing away on high school homework papers. Last week was a different story.

“I don’t want a shot!” he had begged, and it made sense. None of us really like getting shots. I held his hand, tried to talk him through it, and his big sister had chimed in. “Want me to go first, Daniel? It goes by really fast!”

Swinging his hand as we stepped over grey and white snowbanks and crusty plates of ice, I had tried to squeeze comfort through my skin to his.

“Can I pray with you, bud?” He had nodded and I prayed, talking aloud across the parking lot. Although peace slipped in then and he had calmed, anxiety still flared up throughout the visit, especially when the nurse brought in a silver tray of vaccines.

Two minutes after we had persuaded him to climb up on the brown leather seat, where he had squeezed my hand and tried to negotiate a release, he suddenly stopped, confused.

“It’s done,” the nurse said, and we exchanged conspiratorial winks.

“OH! Already? That wasn’t too bad. Morgan, that wasn’t too bad. It was fast!” He slipped off the high bench and rubbed his fingers over the round green camouflage sticker.

And the picture seeps into me now… I have been reading Galatians chapter five and six this week, wondering what it looks like to “live in the Spirit,”wanting to see practically how that’s done. I really wanted to get past the Christian jargon to the details of what this revolutionary new way of living can look like. Sometimes I get tripped up. A later line in the chapter caught my attention, though, and gave me an image I’ve been mulling over all week.

“…Let us get in step with the Spirit.” Get in step with. An image flashes in my mind of my husband walking hand in hand with me. Inevitably there is a moment when he skip-steps a pace or two to get his legs into rhythm with mine, until we’re walking, lefts together, rights together, in steady cadence.

“Let us get in step with the Spirit” and I picture my seven year old’s fears, my hand in his, and our striding into peril together, the words on my mouth speaking comfort, truth, strength, and direction for him.

And I can look back and see God at work in my life, striding along, guiding me over obstacles and perils, breathing his truths that bring comfort, strength, direction, and relationship with him. 

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  1. Unknown on February 26, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Great thoughts. I always get a lot out of the moments and wisdom you share from your life. May we all be in step. Good job, mom.

  2. Bill (cycleguy) on February 27, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    I'd hate to think where I would be without the Spirit influence upon my life. I know life is much much better when I am in step with Him. Thanks Jennifer for the encouragement.

  3. Jennifer Dougan on March 1, 2016 at 3:01 am

    Thank you, Floyd. I enjoy your writings as well.

    Jennifer Dougan

  4. Jennifer Dougan on March 1, 2016 at 3:07 am


    I agree. Whew, we need him, huh? Thanks, Bill.

    Jennifer Dougan

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