Friday, November 7, 2008

High low points or low high points

We play a game at dinner which began as a way to structure conversation. Since it worked, we still do it. When all else fails for conversation starters with my now- teenagers, they will almost always play at High point Low point. It's easy. No board required, no dice, no pieces to chew or lose under the sofa. (I like the Food for Talk resource too if you prefer to spend money on the desperate attempt to get family to talk for food!*!*)

Here's how the low budget version works. Everyone shares their low point of the day. For Reid this is often, "I didn't get a star in Math" or "I didn't earn music today." Good to know. For Allie it might be, "We had three tests and you were late picking me up," revealing what bothers her most.

Then everyone shares the high point of their day. For my bottomless pit, always ravenous, celiac husband, it might be the meal I just served. Mine might be finding a comment from a non-relative on my blog! Yesterday, Allie reported that her high point and low point were one in the same. She wasn't just copping out to save time and get back to her ipod. In fact, her drama class is challenging her beyond her comfort zone. At the same time, it is surprisingly engaging and fun. 

This tied right in to my current Beth Moore study, Psalms of Ascent, which is awesome. Our assignment for Psalm 126 was to draw a timeline of the psalmist's record. In the first 3 verses he recounts the highest highs when God's work in his life seemed too good to be true. Then, leaving space between the lines for the lowpoints of fear and insecurity which coincide, he concludes with promises of what God will do again. He is confident that the Lord turns the limbo into a great harvest when we wait. 

Psalm 126 
The Message by Eugene H. Peterson

A Pilgrim Song

1-3 It seemed like a dream, too good to be true, when God returned Zion's exiles. 
We laughed, we sang, 
we couldn't believe our good fortune. 
We were the talk of the nations— 
"God was wonderful to them!" 
God was wonderful to us; 
we are one happy people. 

4-6 And now, God, do it again— 
bring rains to our drought-stricken lives 
So those who planted their crops in despair 
will shout hurrahs at the harvest, 
So those who went off with heavy hearts 
will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.

In my own application, I'd take it one step further. There is something intrinsic to the lowest points of life, the hardest, biggest challenges we face that is actually a prerequisite to the highest highs. Allie's example was a required drama class which had her in trepidation of taking risks, not knowing the "right" answer, making a fool of herself, and blushing ten shades of red. It was the hardest point in her day. But from it came the highest point of glee and accomplishment because she mastered it, signed up to audition for a main part, and broke out of her shell!  

Don't we all crave transformation? God brings it on through trials. In more of a macro lens, I spent the lowest 6 years of my life tearfully praying on the stairs of our condo. Plagued by shame and stymied by our infertility, I was in constant pleading with God for a baby. Little did I know (or trust at the time) what the Lord had in mind for us. In short order, once His perfect timing had come, He allowed us the incredible, ecstatic, highest point of my life: the blessing of adopting beautiful boy-girl twins! Jim and I walked on air for quite some time. Like a dry seed, our greatest trial contained the potential to burst forth like green sprouts in damp, rich garden soil but only when we gave it over to God, the master gardener. And only after we waited.

Life is full of highpoints and low points. The two pictures flanking the cover of today's Wall Street Journal show it clearly; the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat recur relentlessy from birth until death and from continent to continent. It is what universally unites humankind. Only the particulars vary from person to person.

I think maturity comes from experiencing enough low to high swings that we gain an ability to anticipate them. I am grateful that my daughter has made this association relatively early in life. The ultimate would be to embrace difficulty trusting full well the Father in heaven who "will do it again" and transform, do it again and redeem, do it again and turn the lows into highs. He promises that in Psalm 126 and there isn't one promise in Scripture that he's broken.

If I could load mp3's on my blog, I would put Chris Falson's "Like A Tree" here.  Arrgghh! Reid is home sick today singing, "I'm OK When Things Don't Go My Way" off the Kibbles CD segueing into "Feelings...make a frustrated face." Appropo! How does he know?

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.  
2 Corinthians 1:19-21

He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."
Jeremiah 17:8

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  James 1:1-3

photo credit:


  1. Haha I really enjoyed reading about your dinner-talk!In my family, with three TALKATIVE teenage girls, no one else ever even got a word in edge-wise! So our challenge would always be asking the BOYS about their days...

    I love families! Thanks for sharing yours!

  2. This is a wonderful reflection. I do believe that God brings transformation and maturity through trials. I used to look at great women of faith in my life and long to be like them... until one day I realized that every last one of them had been through heartache and trial. Now I know I can appreciate the low points in my life because it is "achieving" (2 Cor. 4:17) something greater for me.
    "Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us..." Romans 5:3-5

    I also hold on to the fact that the lowest lows are prerequisites for the highest highs. Thanks as always.

  3. Here's hoping this gives you something to mention the next time you play the game (since you and I are not related. lol).

    I refer you back to a post by JoyMama titled "Maybe" for more on responding to ups and downs.

    Praying to live in God's will, Barbara

  4. Good for Allie. I loved this post.