My love for being on the water was birthed as a young girl growing up where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. Swimming, sailing, water skiing — Ah! Bliss!
My grandparents had a big home right on the Bay. They lived on the ground floor and rented out the upper two floors plus two more apartments in a “garage” building out back. The courtyard had an outdoor shower — a somewhat-futile (!) attempt to keep the apartments a bit less sandy — and also a picnic table and a tetherball for guests to use. When we kids weren’t on the beach/in the water we would often be batting around the tetherball.
It’s a simple game… one person hits the ball in one direction, the opponent hits it the other way. Whoever is the first to wrap the ball, which is attached to the pole by a long rope, around the pole is the winner.
This song was new to me when I listened to it earlier this week. But the image of being “tethered to [God’s] heart” has been swirling around my mind ever since then…
Lately it seems my life has been batted around in circles like a tetherball — somedays making progress, fixing my attention upon the Lord, having a (basically) good attitude, being encouraged and positive. But other days… feeling my “opponent” is going to emerge the winner.
The “detour” we’ve been on these past weeks had an additional S-curve thrown in when my husband tested positive for COVID several days ago. Now, in addition to caring for my father-in-law (downstairs) I’ve been running up and down the stairs to care for my self-quarantining husband (upstairs). And I thought I was tired before!
True confession: during this time, I’ve binge-watched a Netflix series and pigged out on ice cream and chocolate — not the best ways to deal with stress, but there were those moments when I felt overwhelmed and at the end of my physical strength, times when I felt I deserved to indulge!
When I would think about being “tethered” to God … being “entwined with [God]” those thoughts would help keep me going during this crazy time. That imagery encouraged me to think of how firmly I am “attached” to God — not because of anything I do or don’t do, not whether I’m tired or refreshed, not if my attitude has been good or raunchy– but simply because of being His child, born of His Spirit when I was a university student.
In those childhood tetherball games, I remember how sometimes the ball would wind in one direction, unwind, then wind again — umpteen times! The victor finally emerged when the ball was no longer moving, but rather had wound so tightly that it was one with the pole.
The songwriter goes on to say:
What more could I desire
What greater thing to treasure
I’m convinced there’s nothing better
Than living in Your love
Caught up in the wonder
Of being in Your presence
Of knowing such a friendship
To be with You, my God
And everything I am
God, I throw into Your handsPhil Wickham, “Tethered”
May that be the state of my heart... firmly entwined with my Savior, being one with Him, no longer being batted around by who-knows-what (!!!) in this life. And may we come alongside one another to help still the back-and-forth batting of “balls” that can knock us off our “game.” And by doing so, may we together have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life.”