Ammunition

Truth or lies. A lot depends on what we listen to. And that’s especially true for people engaged in the hard work of substance abuse recovery. So our art workshop this week at the Lighthouse was an invitation for each woman to draw a picture of her personal rattlesnake naming the lies it speaks to her with forked tongue.

Rebecca immediately grabbed red and blue markers and earnestly began creating a fierce snake. When we began to share around the room some of the lies voiced were what we expected to hear – “I’m going to fail, I’ll never get my kids back, I’m a terrible mother, I can never be forgiven” and on and on. But I was most startled with Rebecca’s emphatic example of a lie she was struggling with – “The Lighthouse sucks!”  She anxiously added, “I know that’s a lie. The Lighthouse is a good program, but it’s just such hard work I’m tempted to give up.” I admired the honesty of her voiced struggle.

Before we began the second part of morning’s activity, we told them a story Beth Moore, a reknowned Bible teacher, had shared in a video associated with her study “Breaking Free.” She was teaching on the importance of being armed with God’s truth in order to combat the world’s lies. As only an exuberant extrovert with a Texas accent and big hair can do, Beth launched into a personal illustration both hilarious and inspiring.

She and her husband routinely retreat to their property in a very rugged part of Texas. One day she informed him she was going to take a long walk by herself. Being a manly man and a hunter, he promptly informed her he was coming with her. She countered that she wanted to walk alone. He strongly countered, “Beth, this part of Texas is full of rattlesnakes and my shotgun and I are coming with you!” With a bit more back and forthing, they came to a compromise. He would teach her to load and shoot a shotgun. The next portion of the video is wildly funny as she recounted her proficiency learning curve. She modestly acknowledged she hit the target, even if it was “a wee bit high.” Nowadays she walks alone around their property with an open shotgun over the crook of her arm, shotgun shells in her pocket ready to load when she encounters rattlesnakes. Then she brought the illustration home – there are snakes aplenty in the world waiting to attack us with the deadly venom of their lies. The word of God, God’s truth, is our surest ammunition. Then leaning low toward the audience she drawled, “When the rattlesnake lies threaten to kill us, we need to aim looow and blooow their heads off!”

That illustration inspired the second art activity for the morning. The ladies of the Lighthouse were going to make their own ammunition – shotgun shells filled with the word of God.  After an afternoon of gentle coaching by my art partner Lee about what shotgun shells REALLY looked like, I prepped piles of red paper squares, narrow red strips and gold circles to be glued around empty toilet paper rolls (gratefully donated by a friend). After each woman made her own shotgun shell, she wrote on narrow strips of colored paper favorites Scriptures and bits of wisdom, then filled her shotgun shell with these rolled up buckshot bits of Truth. This low tech, high metaphor ammunition is now a visual reminder to “aim looow and blooow their heads off” when the world’s lies threaten to attack.   

If you were to draw your rattlesnake, what would it look like? What are the lies it tells you? If you were to create a shotgun shell filled with the buckshot of Truth, what favorite Scriptures and bits of wisdom would your ammunition include? Are there rattlesnakes in your life where you need to “aim looow and blooow their heads off?”

I’m looking forward to your comments about rattlesnakes and shotgun shells.

PS – Rebecca had awakened with a nightmare about a red and blue snake the same morning I was inspired by the rattlesnake and shotgun story. (Up to that moment I had no idea what I was going to do for the art workshop, an unusual experience for me.) Two days later she could look at her dream from a different perspective because of the art activity we’d introduced. And I could revel in the graced serendipity of the Spirit.

7 comments to Ammunition

  • I think the lie that most often bites me in the butt is that I don’t have time to rest. The scripture that compells me are the promises of Sabbath rest and the rest offered by Jesus. My shot gun is loaded with my memories of being really busy but taking Sabbath and finding joy. I also find that I need others to carry a shot gun next to me and to remind me when I’m actually coaxing the rattle snake to my side because it looks like a friend.
    Great piece Lynne.

  • I think the lie that most often bites me in the butt is that I don’t have time to rest. The scripture that compells me are the promises of Sabbath rest and the rest offered by Jesus. My shot gun is loaded with my memories of being really busy but taking Sabbath and finding joy. I also find that I need others to carry a shot gun next to me and to remind me when I’m actually coaxing the rattle snake to my side because it looks like a friend.
    Great piece Lynne.

  • I think the lie that most often bites me in the butt is that I don’t have time to rest. The scripture that compells me are the promises of Sabbath rest and the rest offered by Jesus. My shot gun is loaded with my memories of being really busy but taking Sabbath and finding joy. I also find that I need others to carry a shot gun next to me and to remind me when I’m actually coaxing the rattle snake to my side because it looks like a friend.
    Great piece Lynne.

  • Barbara

    Love it! I’m passing this on.

  • cynthia hashbarger

    Very interesting concepts here Lynne……Well presented. Cynthia

  • Barbara

    Lynne–just now catching up on a few missed blogs, this being one of them. I love the rattlesnake and ammunition metaphor. I’d love to use the rattlesnake of lies with my Youth Bridge boys, but since some of them have been in trouble with gun offenses as well, I don’t think the shotgun part would be appropriate. Any ideas how I could adapt this to a more secular setting with a different second part?

    BPD

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