Pam Taylor - Christian Life Coach

Grumblings. A 4th of July Story.

Every year since I moved downtown, I’ve dreaded the 4th of July. It was high on my list of things I had to just “get through”. Survival of the fittest mentality took over…which meant THEY always win! And I always lose!

“THEY” were the carnival people. They came into our town in the dark of night and disrupted–no, prevented–my sleep for literally the entire night. They set everything up only one block from my apartment building. By morning I could see the Farris Wheel through the trees and the merry-go-round at the end of the alley, along with all the fast and furious rides looming and blocking the sky from my view. Let the festivities begin!

It’s a really big deal — 4th of July Independence Day here in this town. The town doubles or triples in size the week of July 4th. All week long the loud music blared and destroyed my peace. And it got even louder after dark, when I wanted to sleep. In my mind, I felt I had a right to have my town back. It didn’t feel safe when they were here. The carnival brought a lot of strangers to town. People arrived from far and wide.

Every year I grumbled. Every year I murmured. Because even the day they left town they would tear everything down and pack it up all through the night. Another night of absolutely NO sleep. Grumble! Murmur!

Every year I felt superior, but I didn’t call it that. (I’m not sure what label my Pharisee mindset put on my feelings to justify them). I just knew that my comfort was infringed upon and sleep was impossible. (Oswald Chambers said, “Pride is the deification of self.” OUCH!)

Then…there was a change…I was stunned…God turned my murmurings to gladness! Let me tell you how that happened…
Last year — 2011 — something changed. I changed. Actually, God changed me. Unexpectedly…without warning, God showed up and showed me His heart. And then He showed me my heart in comparison! UGH! It was not a pretty sight!!!

He gave me His heart for the people that actually BLESS our town with the carnival every year. What’s going on here?? What did I just say?? Let me tell you how that mindset shift happened…

The youth of my church (Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake, IA) made yummy & nourishing individual breakfast meals for the set-up crew on the morning after the all night set-up of the carnival. And the youth let me help them put it all together into bags. Then, we went to the carnival area and hand-carried a meal to each person individually…along with coffee and/or bottled water. I had a blast! We all had a blast! It was so much fun! And…The carnival crew were so grateful.

The youth and youth leaders taught me…no…they modeled something to this “grown up” (I use the term loosely). They modeled TRUE Christian love! It was their vision and hard work that made it happen.

I have more stories to tell you sometime about that week! It was a week of mental shift, spiritual growth, and a transformed mind!

I will tell you that I have some new friends & mentors since that day. And I will tell you that they (the youth, youth leaders, and the carnival crew) modeled grace and mercy and true caring for “one another” for me. I learned a lot that week and it has stayed with me all year and you know what? For the first time…I can’t wait to hear the all-night-sounds of the carnival setting up, because that will mean more opportunities to learn what it really means to truly live in Christian community.

Yup! Last year I also discovered that the Carnival is owned and operated by Christians who run a “tight ship” and that they purposefully model and mentor the Christian walk to their employees. (BTW, we are again making breakfasts in a bag to take to the hard workers that bring the carnival to our town for the 4th of July. Can’t wait!)

I’m so glad that God is a patient Father because I have a lot to learn! ‘Scuze me while I go wash the egg off my face. I’ve been busted by God! Again! and you know what? It FEELS like LOVE! Here’s what God says about it…

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit in without thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-informed maturity in you.” (Romans 12:1,2 THE MESSAGE translation)

God the Father loves us enough to take the time to mentor us toward maturity. And when we are His, that feels like LOVE!

I don’t want to grow old without growing up, do you?


  1. Good one, Pam!!! It fits so well with my philosophy of life. I believe that if we let ourselves know others no matter what their cultural origin is, we’ll find that we are more alike than different.
    Spending the time to move beyond preconceived “notions” makes us connect with all kinds of people. I have no question in my mind that this is what God wants us humans to do. I think this is the key to bring peace to our world. I know it is one of the keys to bringing peace to my soul.
    And so I bounce about this life unencumbered by fear of new and different people and with my love scattered all over the world. It is so easy for me to see God’s joyful spirit everyplace and enjoy this glorious world. I know He loves to see us smile.

    Comment by Ellen

  2. You make some good points here Ellen. Thanks for adding to the value of the post!

    Comment by Pam Taylor

  3. Wow Pam, love that story! It shows how much God loves us and His grace for our lives. It also inspires each of us to think outside of the box in order to connect and show God’s love in unique ways. Praise God a big thumbs up to the youth at Zion for coming up with a Divine plan to live out the gospel in such a beautiful way.

    Comment by Dawn Edwards

  4. Dawn, Yes you are so right! On all that you said here! What a gloriously grace-giving God we have. And what a great bunch of kids at Zion! They lead the way in creative ways to walk out the Gospel!

    Comment by Pam Taylor

  5. What a beautiful post Pam. I happen to be one of those people who LOVES carnivals. Although, I have not had the “priviledge” of living within a block of the sounds of setup. Surely that may have impacted my delight! For me, something comes alive with carnivals… it presents me with an excuse for being a kid again; for sheer laughter; for joking around with family or friends on the bumper cars; for eating a few things I would never allow into my normal diet…. to simply spring free of the normal routine of responsibility and allow my spirit to feel like a child. I am delighted that God has blessed your heart with the freedom to enjoy the carnivals. I only wish I could be there with you to enjoy it together… I’m sure we’d have a grand time of joy in the LORD!

    Comment by Kathleen Fischer

  6. Kathleen Fischer, I love your comments! I can actually “feel” your delight with carnivals in your beautifully crafted words. You’ve given me even more to consider … as God readjusts my thinking and brings me more into alignment with His heart! Thanks for your perspective!

    Comment by Pam Taylor

  7. Pam – Thank you for sharing. I must say I, myself, have never thought much about the workers – other than to say they were simply workers. This project brings a whole new perspective into how we treat people. Thanks, Pam!

    Comment by Kirk

  8. Thanks for posting, Kirk! Wow! How cool that the article gave you a new perspective. 🙂

    Comment by Pam Taylor

  9. Hi Pam,

    Every person is precious – yet like you, I often have to relearn this lesson the hard way.

    Thanks for the vivid reminder God individually God loves each of us in spite of ourselves 🙂

    Comment by Kim Avery

  10. @Kim Avery, I am so glad that He is patient to re-teach so we can re-learn the lessons. Yes, “in spite of ourselves”! Amen!

    Comment by Pam Taylor

  11. That’s what I love so much about God – how He changes our heart and not our circumstances. Nice post.

    Comment by Kinsey

  12. Kinsey, I LOVE that! “…He changes our heart and not our circumstances…” That’s exactly what happened here! What a wonderful journey He walks us through. Side-by-side with Him!

    Comment by Pam Taylor

  13. Spiritual growth to spiritual maturity is a life long lesson Pam. Mindset matters and God is patient in revealing what we need to know at the appropriate time.

    Comment by Kim Hawkins

  14. Yes Kim Hawkins, we do indeed have a patient God.

    Comment by Pam Taylor

  15. Awesome story! Knowledge brings compassion and breaks down prideful barriers we didn’t know we had erected. Great lesson for us all!

    Comment by Cheryl Thomas

  16. Great points, Cheryl Thomas. You are so right!

    Comment by Pam Taylor

  17. Loved your post, Pam. Love when God does those shifts in us. So needed. And the more sure I am that I am right and am entitled to whatever, the bigger the shift is that God does. How wonderful that now you look forward to something you dreaded. Only God can do that.

    Comment by Anne Peterson

  18. Hi Anne Peterson, Thanks for stopping by to comment! Yes…it is so true that only God can shift our thinking so much that we can learn to love what we once dreaded. Amazing God!

    Comment by Pam Taylor

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Filed under: Holidays,Spiritual Life — Tags: , , , — Pam Taylor @ 4:20 pm

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