I know that the hours before us will be filled with chaos and craziness, with the hard and the hilarious, with stressing and with blessing. But I look forward to the third Saturday morning in April every year. A team of volunteers from across the city combine forces in the pre-dawn hours to prepare for the impending stampede of athletes about to descend upon us. We hear the thunder of the Kentucky Derby Marathon runners closing in like the horses on the track at Churchill Downs. But we are ready for them?
For a couple of decades my hubby has looked to me as his official FCA Water Stop Coordinator. With a local Christian radio station blaring life-giving music and 50+ volunteers overflowing with enthusiasm, the FCA Water Stop Team prepares to give out 16,000 cups of cold water in Jesus’ name to those racing through Downtown Louisville. At first the small packs of elite racers flash by us following the pace cars. But soon a flood of runners fills the streets, spilling over the curbs. For a full hour, as they sprint non-stop by our water station, our job is to hand out as many cups of cold water and words of encouragement as possible. An hour later, the streets go from crazy to calm. As we clean up, we all smile at the fun we had in the midst of the frantic. Yes, it is the craziest service opportunity you’ll always love!
While I’m not writing this blog to recruit you as a water station volunteer (although I’m sure we’d have a blast together), I AM writing this to inform you that…
…YOU ARE A WATER STOP COORDINATOR TOO!
As moms and grandmoms, aunts and mentors, God has shoulder-tapped YOU to coordinate a specific water stop area. Each day folks are racing through your address, your classroom, your office, your kitchen, your carpool, or your sphere of influence in desperate need of refreshment. Life is a race and we can have an eternal impact as parents on how our next generation runs and finishes the race God has set before them.
When I was a rookie Water Stop Coordinator, I certainly expected that our primary job was to fuel and encourage the thousands of runners who crossed our station. I quickly discovered that we also had another crucial responsibility. At the “Annual Mandatory Water Stop Coordinator Training” we are instructed on all the details for proper set up and sanitary clean up.
However, in these days of increased terrorism and crime, we are also trained to be leaders in safety. A representative from the Department of Homeland Security is always present to outline the many precautions we must take to avert any harm, especially at high profile events like this one. And at every annual presentation the spokesperson ends with the same emphasis. “Please, if you see anything out of the ordinary, report it! Bring it to our attention, for the good of everyone. As citizens who care about Homeland Security, if you see something, say something!”
If you see something, say something.
This simple yet powerful phrase speaks of our defensive and offensive strategy in promoting “Homeland Security” whether it is for Derby Marathon racers OR the next generation running in this race of life. Like the training I received prior to coordinating our Water Stop, God’s truths set the table for us to serve our HOME-land with soul felt security!
Water Stop Mommas PROTECT Home-land Security.
As Water Stop Coordinators, we tell our teams to work with their eyes wide open! We look for any odd behavior, any non-authorized people or vehicles that enter our area. In the same way, as Water Stop Mommas, we must actively WATCH for anything suspicious or potentially dangerous in both the seen and unseen realm, in both things outside and inside our children.
When Water Stop Mommas see something harmful…
…They say something promptly: Quick verbal responses are crucial whether we see a car approaching our little ones as they cross the street or we see a toxic relationship careening into our teenager’s path. The saying “timing is everything” applies to our timely responses when we see danger on any level. Frequently, potential dangers will be disarmed because a Water Stop Momma takes proactive protection seriously.
When Water Stop Mommas see something harmful…
…They say something personally: Sometimes the suspicious behavior or potential danger is more personal in nature. It may be an attitude that is needing adjustment, a compromising habit that is being formed, or a situation that is growing sinful. Pulling our younger teammates aside to say something privately provides dignity to deal with the situation in a God-honoring and child-honoring way.
Water Stop Mommas PROMOTE Home-land Security.
As a team of volunteers at the Water Stop, our primary offensive job is to fuel the runners with water and encouragement for their race. Our focus is, “If you see something, say something! If you see someone keeping a fast pace, SAY SOMETHING! If you see someone pushing through the pain or walking when weary…then SAY SOMETHING!!!” Our cups of water and Powerade will help them physically for a moment. But our words of encouragement? They can fuel their spirits and can linger a lifetime!
Acts 13:15 fills our hearts with this cup of living water, “If you have any word or encouragement for the people, come and give it.” My paraphrase of this verse? “If you see something good, say something good!”
When Water Stop Mommas SEE something helpful…
…Say something promptly: The saying “timing is everything” also applies to our timely encouragement. Proverbs 15:23 “A man has joy in giving an appropriate answer. How good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment—How good it is!” When you see something good, say or text to it to that person or child immediately! That is most likely the moment they need the encouragement most!
When Water Stop Mommas SEE something helpful…
…Say something personally: As a teacher by vocation, one of my mom’s “catch phrases” in both the classroom and our home was, “Catch them doing something good!” She actively looked for the good in each of her students and was intentional about speaking her encouragement. That same “see something good, say something good” carried over into every “stop” in her life. Whether it was a great dad moment from her spouse, a display of unselfishness displayed in her child, the consistent discipline of a fellow mom, the pretty lipstick of the cashier, or the hard work of the garbage man, when she saw the good, she said it! Unlike personal matters that need to be voiced privately, these sighting of positivity are best to be spoken publicly!
We too can make huge splash of refreshing encouragement every day if we will try to catch our kids doing something good, being something good, or saying something good! When we reinforce the goodness God is growing in them, their personal homeland security will increase. They will become more and more secure in who God says they are!
And guess what? Now my own daughters say something encouraging when they see something. Another one of my mom’s famous “catch phrases” rings true. In parenting, “Far more is caught than taught.” Caught from above, now our daughters even speak frequent words of encouragement to their own momma too!
Water Stop Mommas PROCLAIM Home-land Security.
Just as my grown daughters are learning faithfully to SEE and SAY, you and I have the same privilege and responsibility! As God’s children, let’s be moms who look for what our amazing Father is doing! Psalm 96 repeats, “Each day proclaim…and publish His glorious deeds…Tell everyone about the amazing things He does.” When we see something glorious and godly, huge and holy that God is or does, let’s be quick to say something! To proclaim Him…promptly, personally, privately and publicly!
When Water Stop Women SEE something holy, they SAY something
During the pre-dawn hours on another third weekend in April, a team of women met despite the dark, the cold, the chaos. They met to prepare. No. It wasn’t to prepare for everybody in a road race. It was to prepare some body who would empower everybody for this race of life. In Luke 24:1-9 a pack of women walked to the tomb of Jesus. There they SAW something out of the ordinary and they immediately began running to SAY something!
They knew this news changed everything for everyone. As women who cared for the whole human race, they saw Christ’s resurrection and they boldly said something to everyone they met. Through the cross and the empty tomb, Jesus now lives making our earthly and eternal Homeland Secure so we can live with Easter eyes! We can live every day with eyes wide open to see what God is doing and mouths wide open in proclaiming His praise to all those who run through our Water Stop areas. As Water Stop Mommas our job is simply handing out one cup of Living Water (Jesus) and one Word of His encouraging truth at a time!
Well, moms, although I’m not a runner, I actually have participated in a few road races. (Okay, so it was only for the cute t-shirt!) Nevertheless, my favorite part of each race is always the finish-line because the pain is behind me and the snacks are before me! But my second favorite part? The water stations! Seeing a water stop gives me the encouragement to pick up the pace so I can finish the race ahead of me. God is looking to your home, your church, your life to be His water stop to a world dying of thirst. A world in need of His Living Water! And your job as water stop moms? If you SEE something, SAY something—to protect, promote and proclaim God’s Homeland Security for our next generation.
I hope in some simple way this post has been a water stop for you today. Being a mom is a marathon and I pray that these truths have filled your cup with encouragement for the next steps ahead in your race. The parenting race will be filled with chaos and craziness, with the hard and the hilarious, with stressing and with blessing. But very soon, the pace will go from crazy to calm. And we will all smile at the fun we had in the midst of the frantic. Yes, being God’s Water Stop Momma is the craziest service opportunity you’ll always love!
Want more Water Stop refreshment? Are you like me, a mom who desires greater “homeland security” but the only thing overflowing is our homeland calendar? In our fast-paced culture, it seems normal to keep running on empty, doesn’t it? But for us to work most effectively as God’s Water Stop Girls, we must keep refreshed ourselves. We must live out of the overflow. Heart of Womanhood Bible studies are written as a fueling station for moms, daughters, grandmothers of all ages to protect, promote and proclaim the Homeland Security that only our God can provide. Check ‘em out at HeartofWomanhood.org. If you like what you SEE, then SAY something to other mommas too!