Life As I Have Seen It
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Life As I Have Seen It

Warming up the Lake

by Samantha Evans on 09/18/17

 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor; If either one of them falls down, one can help the other up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)?

Well, we weren’t lying down but we were together. We were nipple-deep in a frigid lake, kicking at sunfish that were nibbling on our toes. The sky was sheet metal, the water was ink and the air was arctic.

There were fifteen of us—guys and girls, ranging in age from 18 to 50, and we were posing for a picture. The weather had been disastrous all that week and on this day, we had finally given up waiting for a “warmer day” to swim. Just before we’d bee-lined it to the shore, we’d been corralled for a family photo.

I don’t recall what the hold-up was, but there was a slew of technical difficulties and every time someone tried to leave and get out of the water, he or she was stalled with the frantic promise that it would only be one minute more. But it wasn’t just one minute more. I remember thinking the process was taking so long that it would have been faster to acquire an old-school camera from the 1800’s, along with some silver nitrate, to capture the image.

The longer we waited, the more we shivered, and the more we shivered, the closer we huddled into one another. Finally, my uncle Jim could wait no longer. “I just warmed up the lake,” he said. Before I had time to be shocked and utterly disgusted, one of my cousins said, “me, too.” Usually the declaration of warming up the lake was exclaimed as a warning not to get too close. It was much too late for that.

When in Rome, right? One by one each of us “warmed up the lake,” declaring it for affect. These declarations happened as snapshots were finally being taken from shore. At least none of us were shivering anymore.

There’s a joke that you should be careful around a writer because anything you say or do will be used against you in print. However, I have this odd feeling that if my family knew I was going to print this story, it wouldn’t have stopped them.

There is strength and wisdom in numbers. Law enforcement uses it. The military uses it. Customer service uses it-- “this call will be monitored for quality assurance.” We live in a world of checks and balances. Yet in the church, we are very tight-lipped about our lives and the struggles that we are facing. Have you ever said, or heard someone say, “my faith is private”?

That statement simply isn’t true. It is the scaredy cat response to the threat of a spiritual interdependence. The truth is that we are terrified of someone getting too close to our filth.

While Jesus walked on earth, He spoke fervently of His followers as parts of a unit. In John 15 He speaks of the vine and the branches. God created us to be interdependent. Our gifts compliment one another. We are incomplete without each other. So often, we enter into church or our small group, and instead of talking—really talking—we fake. The true struggles that burden our hearts remain carefully unexposed, like a festering wound just below the surface.

The heading on my website says “Speaking Truth with Transparency, Humor, and Love.” True friendship, true freedom, true love and acceptance cannot happen if we are not real with the people around us.


1.) What are you hiding? What is it that you are afraid of others to see?

2.) What value is there for you in exposing your weakness to someone else? What value is there for the listener in you sharing your story?

3.) In John 8:31-32 Jesus says “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” How does that apply here?


When it comes to the transformations of our hearts, and ultimately, our lives, God’s presence is evidenced in the outcome. The ugly before Christ shines a beacon on the new after Christ. Without exposing the old, the bad and the ugly, there is no proof of the God’s goodness in the newness of our transformed life. There is no healing without an ailment to be healed from.

If we are not sharing ourselves, sharing our stories, then we are gypping God of His story.

While I cannot recommend literally swimming in each other’s filth, I want to suggest to you that no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, you are not as alone as you feel. True friends will not only love you despite your brokenness. They will love you for the strength you display in your transparency. Let the world around you see the real you, and let them see the Christ that shines despite your brokenness.

There is strength--and warmth--in numbers. 


Front: Clint and Sam Evans
Back: Friends Eric Sprinkle and Scoti Domeij

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I'm an author. Yet, every word I have ever typed has been typed with one hand. Due to mild cerebral palsy, my right hand isn't much more than a prop to help me look normal. In "The Gift of Suffering" I share my story, and challenge others to follow my example in being vulnerable in the midst of brokenness.  
"Often times when Christians ask, 'why do bad things happen to good people,' what they're really asking is, 'why do bad things happen to God's people?' I have a theory, and you may not like it..."
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I spent six months in a body cast. Yes, you read that right. Hear the story of how my loving God brought me through it all in "The Gift of Suffering Part 2."
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The door at the back of the plane opened and people started disappearing. The goggles that Tandem Man passed over my shoulder provided zero comfort. He pressed me forward toward the opening and my camera man nonchalantly hung sideways outside the door of the plane. The absurdity of his casual air momentarily distracted me from reality. 

Then I looked down. 13,000 feet down. 
-Excerpt from Adventure Devos

The greetings at the Colorado Christian Writer's Conference closely resembled a college freshman orientation. During one of these introductions, I pointed to the name tag on my collarbone. "Hi. I’m Sam.” 

The man pinched the fleece at his collarbone and, finding it nametag-less, said, “Hi. I’m North Face. Nice to meet you.” And that, friends, is the moment that Eric Sprinkle and Sam Evans became friends--and near-future co-authors.

The day prior, I awkwardly trudged through the MSP airport wearing Minnesota winter boots (vastly different from winter boots) while 80 degrees outside, but redemption came when 42 inches of snow fell in Estes, in 36 hours. The snow didn’t bother me. It was gorgeous and I’m from Minnesota, “where people help people get stuck cars out of the snow for fun,” adventurer extraordinaire Eric Sprinkle noted. I shrugged. With great boots comes great responsibility. 

I was curious about home, but had poor cell reception. “I tried to call, honey—honest.” Besides, my soul craved quiet  and quickly shoved curiosity into a snowbank.  Roads closed, trapping some people in while keeping others out. The sheer amount of snow forced the clock’s rotation to slow down. 

I hiked out the next morning before the sun rose on the white forest. In that stillness, I felt God sifting me. Ugly corners of my heart required attention and I was God’s captive audience. 

When was the last time you stepped off the page of your Choose-Your-Own-Adventure life and granted God an opportunity to speak to your heart? Adventure Devos is about taking a breath to locate God in your adventure. Because, if you learn to find him in the stillness, it will be much easier to match his pace within the chaos. 


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