Monday, May 23, 2011

Sandbagging and the Still Small Voice

Have you seen this video? 

If you’re the type who doesn’t like to click on videos, I’ll summarize.

It’s about a man who lives smack dab in the middle of the Mississippi floods.  Faced with two choices, fight or flight, he decided to stick around and take a stand for his house.  He did it by building a moat around his property and then sandbagging the moat.

Very cool.

I’m not really sure of the engineering of the whole thing. There’s never been a lot of activity on that left side of my brain, after all.  All I know is that as of the time of the filming, his house was standing, in the midst of all that flooding, on solid ground.

I saw that video on Saturday night, and I couldn’t get it off my mind. To say that I was impressed was an understatement. I was impressed with his courage. I was impressed with the folks working beside him.  More than anything, I was impressed with their tenacity.  Even as the video was being shot, boat loads of sandbags were arriving still.

It wasn’t enough to surround the house. They were determined to keep on sandbagging as long as absolutely necessary. 

Even though I live hundreds of miles from the mighty Mississippi, I relate to that man. My house is just standing in a flood path of a different sort. It’s a moral and cultural swell that looms all around me, threatening to sweep my house away in its snake- infested muddy waters.  

And just like that man, I have two choices, fight or flight.  

It probably won’t surprise you that I tend to gravitate toward the flight option. It’s my nature to rush off to some moral high ground and barricade my clan away from the world.  I sent my daughters to Christian school and obsessively monitored their friendships and pastimes.  I surrounded them with prayer breakfasts, and youth groups, and all sorts of churchiness.

But there’s one big difference between a cultural flood and a literal one. Cultural flood waters never recede. They just keep rising. The flight option doesn’t work so well.

You had better learn how to sandbag.

I was still thinking about this yesterday morning when our youth pastor stood to give his sermon, and in one of those Holy Coincidences, he finished what God had started.   Oh, he might not have used the term sandbagging, but he spoke of it nonetheless. He drew his sermon from  Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

Hear, O Israel: 
The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
  Impress them on your children.
 Talk about them when you sit at home
 and when you walk along the road,
 when you lie down and when you get up. 
Tie them as symbols on your hands 
and bind them on your foreheads.
 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates...


I like to think that we’ve done a lot of sandbagging over the years. God knows that these energizer bunnies have tried. Honestly?  I 'd like to think all that yakking has left us sitting pretty behind a moat, beyond the sandbags.                                                                     
But we aren’t.

The flood waters are muddier than ever and even closer to the property line. I can see them from where I stand, and frankly, Satan has tried his best to give me a spirit of fear.

But God has given me a man in Arkansas.  

And then he gave me a wonderful young pastor to remind me that the book of Deuteronomy is not the telling of the law; it's the retelling. It 's the first of many reminders that  as long as we have breath, we have sand bags to fill.  

And that's what I heard from the still small voice this weekend.
How about you? 

Sharing this with Jen and the others at Finding Heaven


Janette@Janette's Sage said...

I need to say "Ditto" our pastor went down these same streets this weekend. I have sandbagged also through the years, but seen how many times the flood waters have come over anyway...but then again that is why we need a Savior. His death at the cross was because I couldn't fulfill the as the flood waters rise and come over the banks, I want to be faithful in putting up the fight (usually on my knees) and then trust that all things work for His good for those who are called according to His purpose.

Great, great word...your talent always amazes me and speaks straight to my heart. Now I am going to go get my sandbags.

Red Couch Recipes said...

Debbie, what a beautiful post. I loved hearing what your mind had to say today. I have also done a lot of sandbagging; hope my kids are listening. So far of the two that flew the coop one listenend, one didn't. The one who listened has a sweet life, the one who didn't, not so much. There are three left in the nest and I pray that I have done enough sandbagging for them and have taught them how to sandbag too. I hope that man is able to save his home! Have a great day. Joni

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

I feel like shouting Amen...from the TN corner...but my dogs might get upset!!! The water is rising all around us...from every direction and fighting just isn't a natural thing for me to do.It is not the literal water but something with more devastating effects. I have to fight myself in order to fight all of these evils coming at us.

no spring chicken said...

This is fabulous. As long as the Lord is talking to you, keep it coming! Tenacity, yes. We all need to fight the good fight without growing weary. We need tenacity. And we need friends with tenacity. I don't think this has ever been a word I would have used to describe myself, but in light of your sandbagging analogy I am happy to claim it and determined to maintain it!

Blessings, Debbie

Jennie said...

Ohhhhhh - you gave me chillbumps with this post! SO appropriate. So applicable. (And for those of us with more than our share of nerdy, left-brainedness, that is absolutely awesome.) This is one I want to share with everyone I know! For me, just when I take a moments breather and pat myself on the back for all of my hard work, *that's* when the worst wave of flooding comes yet. Honestly, this might be one of *my* favorite posts ever. Great work!

elizabeth said...

If you were standing here I'd give you a big old hug because we are kindred spirits...warrior mamas, (warrior nana too in my case, against the rising tide. Love you my blog friend.

Marydon said...

What a powerful write ... TY for sharing.
Have a lovely week ~

Kim @ Stuff could... said...

This is powerful and the sandbagging also! Thanks for sharing this video.

Crickit said...

Wow! Props to the man who build the moat around his house. Pretty amazing video! You are right about the cultural swell that we all feel! Here is to continued spiritual sandbagging for all of our loved ones!

Chatty Crone said...

First of all what an amazing video and idea.

I love the way you related it to your life and to our life and to the way we should live.

A lot to think about...

Sonja said...

sandbagging... what a wise word Debbie. And yes, we too have sandbagged through the years... and still the waters will come. You are so right, we fight or take flight.

I just love the way you make a point, there's a lot of wisdom in your sandbagging!


Ryan and Melanie said...

what a great post and analogy. It's so easy to try and stay safe in the bubble isn't it? But you're right. We need to learn to sandbag. Love that!


"Ima" said...

I really needed this tonight. Thank you. I would type more, but the tears are clouding my view. :)

Jen said...

This is beautiful, Debbie. First, I'm so glad you are back at SDG -- and here you are with such a powerful, amazing message. Sandbagging - this is yet another amazing visual to carry with me as I go through the trenches of parenthood. God has given you a mighty talent. A mighty one, indeed.

Ms.Daisy said...

Sandbagging is very hard work but over the years it pays a big dividend when your children and grandchildren follow the right path. Not saying that we don't have to keep on keeping on however, for to me it is an ongoing job.


southerninspiration said...

Cool post, my friend. It is hard work to fortify the things in life we love against all the forces of this world!!!


BECKY said...

Wow blew me away with this one. What an incredible analogy! And you are sooo right. The enemy has tried, even as recently as Saturday morning, to give me a spirit of fear about my wonderful 12 yo daughter. Thankfully, his tactics are familiar and he hasn't come up with anything new. He encountered my sand bags, and backed off...til next time...and I have learned there is always a next time with him.

He is met with the armor of Christ, and cannot prevail against it.

I think this is one of my favorite spiritual posts ever! Thank you so much for sharing!
Hugs and joy in the victory we have,

Dayle said...

Bless you, dear Debbie. Satan presses hard against our homes, now more than ever. He knows his time is limited. Those verses in Deuteronomy are some of my favorite. The best you can do is know you did the right thing while your children were under your charge, and pray for them daily.

If you want to see some incredible photos of Mississippi residents who built dams around their homes, go here. I've never seen anything like it.

P.S. If the link doesn't show up, I'll email it to you. It's worth a look.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

Yes, a friend had sent me the link to this video, amazing. Thank you for the spiritual post


Sherry said...

That was a wonderful analogy. I wouldn't haven't thought of it. I tend to be the hang back and watch the wonder of the world kind of spiritual person. I never feel I have to fight about it because God has given it me and I accepted. He is there and always watchful. I talk to Him and he listens and we have a special relationship of Guidance and devotion. No stress, no fights, just love and acceptance. Maybe I am too relaxed about it. Maybe my children would benefit more from a "fighting" type Mother. I just hadn't thought about it before. You always have the most thought provoking post. Your such a good writer. I stink with words, much better with pictures. I am always setting back and observing, that is what I am good at. That teacup was at TJ Maxx for only $6.99. I was surprised! You just can't find chintz for that price.

Anonymous said...

Oh my...this is so true.

The cultural waters never recede. They just keep getting higher and higher.

My husband and I have learned to sandbag but to also keep a lifeboat for emergencies.

Mrs. M.

Garden Lady said...

This is good stuff...sand bagging, it's a job that never ends

Pamela said...

This is just a beautiful reminder. My youngest daughter just graduated and it's been a lifetime of flight and sandbagging. We offer our offering of sincerity to God, knowing He can take the times we fumbled and work it for His good in her life. Now it's trust time and I believe that may be just as hard!


Kelli said...

Your words today were honey for my heart and gave strength to a weary mind!!! Your gift of writing exemplifies who lives in you and I am grateful you share it. I simply say THANK YOU and continue to let your light shine.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Having relatives in that part of the world, I saw that same sandbagging, too, and was amazed. I love what you came away with, Debbie, in terms of the spiritual implications.

Speaking of which...

I'm late visiting from my post last week (still recuperating from that old injury which has kicked up again and has been hurting), but despite my tardiness, I still wanted to thank you for your sweet comments. I appreciate them and you more than you know.

Love you much...



Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

wonderful analogy ... I try to remind my children that we are IN this world but not OF it. It is so easy for them to get out there and get caught up in the craziness but a good foundation will hold.

Denise said...

I tried to leave a comment yesterday but I'm guessing your computer gremlins attacked my computer and they would not post a comment. Go figure. Anyway, this was a fabulous post. I ALWAYS love what you see in "the world" and what spiritual analogy you create. You are so talented and I really appreciate being able to benefit from your gifts.

FrouFrouBritches said...

First of all, I can't believe I haven't seen that on the local news here. WOW! That's amazing! Second, you are totally correct. We must be constant sandbaggers because the flood waters never recede! Fabulous analogy.

I saw Denise said her computer wouldn't let her comment yesterday. I had the same problem. Wonder what's up with that! Thank goodness it let me comment today!

Angel said...

This is a perfect analogy for what I've been feeling lately. And, like you, I would like the flight option. :) Thank you for sharing this wonderfully thoughtful post. Your words spoke right to my heart.

saltbox treasures said...

Hi Debbie,
I'm happy to be a sandbagger! You have such a way with words :)! We've been on vacation. Hope all is well. Always appreciate your comments. Hope you have fun making paper flowers. Would love to see some pics whenever you make them.
Have a great day!
~ Julie

Sharon said...

Debbie -

I know I'm woefully late in responding to this post. I think perhaps the Lord had me wait until today...

It was just *timelier* -

I saw that video about that man in Arkansas. What an inspiration. The thing that spoke to me most about it was this - he never thought that the sandbagging was in vain. He had hope.

I think that's the message for me. So often I just look at the floodwaters, and don't even bother trying to fight it. That's true with personal things, and with cultural things. The *opposition* seems so much stronger.

What an inspiration this post was - (with a little needed conviction in there, too). Satan threatens all of us with rising floods. But, we must sandbag with all our might - I think I'm going to fill up my sandbags with Scripture!!

xoxo to you!


Carol said...

What a wonderful encouragement. Thank you. I continue to sandbag as Chickie flies the coop. I have released her to our Heavenly Father, Who has cared for her since before He formed her.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

EXCELLENT post, Debbie! Amen and amen!

Denise at Forest Manor said...


This is so true, and it's so good to hear from someone who shares the same concerns that we do. Sometimes I ask my husband, "Are we the only ones who feel this way?" And he always replies "No". But it is true that the cultural flood waters never recede, and they do seem to get muddier and muddier. Loving our children as we do, we want them to share our values and we want to protect them from those who don't share our values. That's when we remind ourselves that this is the reason it's so important to have Faith. I'm sure you've done a wonderful job; I can tell by your posts that your girls really love their family and the Lord. Thanks for sharing this insightful post.



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