Our Arena Football season has come to an end, and we walked out of the Tampa Bay Times Forum holding a trophy. And not just any trophy, but the championship trophy. We barely won, 8-6. But a win is a win, and we took it home when it counted! Well, I say “we” but what I really mean is Cody. Cody is my 5'9″ 13 year old, beast of a center. He has perfect snaps every. single. time. and will protect his quarterback no matter the cost! Ok, now I'm done bragging. (well, maybe.)
Cody's team had two weeks to prepare for the final game against the only team that ever beat them–by one point. Week one, Cody was sick, sick, sick and couldn't get out of bed, much less practice. The rest of the team practiced twice without pads. Week two, the Tropical Storm Andrea messed it all up for us Floridians, so there went one more practice out the window, and then a few hours of walk through. With the BIG game coming up, this wasn't exactly the hard work that was needed for the BIG win.
The team we went up against practiced in pads four days a week for two weeks. They were focused and ready to win the game. But they didn't. The team worked hard, and it didn't pay off–not with a WIN, anyway.
That's what we tell our kids, if you work hard you will be successful. If you do the work you will win! Practice, sacrifice, do what you have to! But sometimes, it doesn't work out that way. Sometimes the other team is just better.
I think of that in my life, when I find myself envious of someone else's _______. It's hard for me to swallow the reality that the someone else is just better. That's just the way it is sometimes. We want to always win the trophy, publish the book, get the job, be the best mom…and we want that for our kids. But to tell them that they will always win–to tell ourselves that we will always win–is missing the point.
Life is never about the trophy here in this world, it's about the rewards in Heaven. Of course we don't want to wait! But the waiting will be worth it. Even if you don't ever get the recognition you deserve, or the trophy you worked hard for, just remember that God sees. God sees!
You Are Loved.
In August Michael and I will celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary. It's really amazing to me that time has flown by the way it has. Considering everything we've been through, we really haven't had time to watch the clock.
We married each other while residing in separate states. Soon after, we lost a court custody case, both of our jobs, our house and our plans for the future all within the first two months of marriage. I was struggling with being very, very angry at God. Naturally, when your pissed at God and don't have a ministry anymore and your husband has forfeited his 15 year career just to be with you, you get pregnant!
Difficult pregnancy, lots of baggage, confusion about the future, living on grilled cheese…we packed and moved to Florida. I joined a rather unhealthy church staff, and then lost my grandmother. In the midst of that grieiving, my soldier was deployed. I was church-less, somewhat friend-less, familyy-less and husband-less. I was a terrible soldiers wife on so many levels.
But my husband….well, he's a super hero. He's stayed faithful and committed to our family. He works hard and loves the Lord, even when he struggles with his faith. He's pushed through his own post-war struggles and in some ways is still trying to recuperate. In some ways we are all trying to find our footing again. Regardless of his own struggles, he supports me and my ministry.
Sometimes he believes in God's calling on my life more than I do. And most of the time, I need him too. I'm easy to walk away from challenges, and details and trudging through the mud, but he's a soldier. He pushes me to be better than I could ever imagine myself being.
He sacrifices so much for our family. Our home has become a Youth building, our couch is beyond disgusting. I won't even tell you about the caprpet. He works countless hours for this. In fact just last week he stayed awake for 48 hours straight just to work so that I can do ministry and be here for my kids.
Then there are the times he just gives me these sweet surprises. Some women want flowers and jewelry, and even though I'm not opposed to the occassional bracelet or cute ring, nothing compares to the little things he does for me. And to me they are so romantic and, sexy, if I may say so myself.
I check my phone, I get this text. It simply says: Hebrews 13:21.
With great anticipation, I search my Bible app to find these little words that melt me:
May he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.
And with that priceless little text, I fell in love with him just a little more.
I pray that you have someone in your life to support you, love you and encourage you to be all that God created you to be. It doesn't have to be a spouse, just someone who sees you how God sees you. If you haven't found that person yet, no worries. God has a plan for you. Just be patient, knowing God always wants the best for you.
You are loved.
But not to Oklahoma. I wish I were, but right now I’m sifting through the events that happened in my mind and heart yesterday. Everything in me said: Go. For some of you who know me, you know I always dream big, and want the impossible. It’s crazy to think that traveling a few hundred miles is “the impossible” but for us it truly is. Well for now anyway.
I’m still determined to go, and I thank the handful of you–well the two of you–who offered to support me financially. Not sure when I will head there, probably in July some time. Like my sweet friend reminded me: the rebuilding will go on much longer after the media leaves. I plan on being there, because Jesus told me to go, so I firmly believe God has something for me to do there. In the meantime, I will bask in the revelations of yesterday:
1. God is speaking to me–in a loud, clear voice, and I am listening. After feeling as if I’ve been sitting in a silent white-walled room. alone. for a few months now, it was refreshing to feel the quickening of my spirit.
2. My family lives in a bubble. We like our bubble. We are comfortable in our bubble. We get angry when someone tries to pop our bubble.
3. My marriage is too focused on surviving the craziness of our family and our world, and needs to take time to adjust our eyes and our hearts.
4. I was hoping someone else’s disaster would save me from pushing through and doing the difficult task of changing my parenting and my perspective. I was hoping this tornado would cause some sort of upheaval in my own spirit, in the souls of my family, and save us in a sense.
5. This is all a process. I hate process. God is taking me through another process. UGH!
So many stories and blogs of people helping those in need, but in a sense the victims of the tragedy are helping me. They are helping me to change my perspective of the significance of this life we live. Each of their stories empower me to make change. Their resilience encourages me to take a stand against apathy and laziness, as they strive to rebuild their lives, literally from the ground up. Their dependence on their faith and their public acknowledgement of God in midst of the storm reminds me that nothing is able to knock any of us over, even if the most precious is stripped of our lives. He is there.
Tonight I will gather 25 or so teenagers in my living room and we will discuss how we will make a difference in the lives of the people in Oklahoma, and in the process God will make a difference in ours.
It’s not over….it’s all just beginning, and this is just the first step on a new journey.
You are loved,
He looked up at me with his big brown eyes, “Mom, will you color with me?” Who can say no to a sick kid with brown eyes? Not this mom. So we spread out the crayons and self-containing paint brushes and smelly makers. (Score! Remember when smelly markers were the coolest thing ever? And only the coolest teachers had them? Well, now WE have them, so if that makes me cool, then so be it.)
After drawing a few hearts and flowers I started this project. Dots. Small dots. Lots of dots. Dots that take forever.
By the 11th red dot, I was over it. As I was entering into my time machine, transporting myself back to the days of rainbow bright and unicorns, these dots reminded me of how much I HATE hate hate process. Before I even started this little piece of art, I envisioned the finished project. But actually doing the work is a whole other cup of tea.
I hate process. There. I confess. But I made myself finish. And the whole time, I felt the pain of Jesus trying to turn that switch on my heart. And it’s not a flip switch. It’s a turn-one (and yes, that’s the official and proper name for it). By the time I picked up the yellow (lemon) marker I was pushing myself to the finish line. Trying to enjoy every dot, every size, every moment of creativity. In order for me to learn to love the journey, I have to take myself on the journey, over and over, I have to walk that road.
So today I forced myself down another road, to teach me to enjoy the process. And I hated almost every minute of it.
I loved the finish product but by the time I sanded the first plank, I had to remind myself of the beauty of the journey. That there are moments of frustration, and moments you have to force yourself through. Even when you don’t feel like it, you have to take one more step. And each “one more step” brings you closer to the end.
I’ve decided that I will regularly push myself to learn how to enjoy the journey. Even if it’s forcing myself to make colored dots on a piece of paper, I will force myself out of my comfortable, and sometimes unproductive bubble. If I want God to teach me something new, I have to do things differently than I’ve done before. Are you willing to do the same ?
You Are Loved,