Thursday, August 30, 2012

What is called for when the house, the mama and the kids fall apart

"Dear Friend,
You are so upset over all these details.

There is only one thing worth being concerned about.
Discover it and I won't take it away from you!"

I love you", Jesus.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Lessons from the Olympics

photo credit
An Olympic junkie emerged the night Mary Lou Retton scored a perfect ten on the vault and brought home the gold in 1984. 

I love the Olympics. I leave on the TV all day long and cheer for beach volleyball, rowing, white water rafting and synchronized swimming. I stay up all night watching the Fab Five go for more gold on my DVR. I cry at every competitor's story and during commercials, especially the ones that talk about hard work, sacrifice and mothers.

Like most of America, I am obsessed with Michael Phelps’ quest becoming the most decorated Olympian in history. I cheered (and cried) when he was crowned with his career finishing 22nd medal and 18th gold.

An intriguing strategy
An interview with his coach, Bob Bowman, revealed some strategy for coaching the champion. Bowman says that by far, it isn’t Phelps’ swimming that’s his best asset. It’s his mental toughness. Bowman said that this past year he worked on developing that even more by focusing on helping Phelps overcome adversity.

Before every meet for an entire year, the coach watched for opportunities and arranged for some unexpected inconvenience. When Phelps forgot to get his goggles out of his bag, his coach pocketed them instead of giving them to him. When Phelps left his goggles laying on the ground, his coach stepped on them so they would fill up with water during his race. The night before one big meet, Bowman arranged for their car to show up an hour late so they’d miss dinner.

Frustration or confusion?
I wondered if Michael Phelps ever felt betrayed when it seemed the very one cheering for him, the one credited for shaping his talent, was trying to sabotage his success.

Or did Phelps understand that these trials in lesser meets would ultimately prepare him to withstand the pressures and unexpected surprises that would surely greet him in London?

An artist, not an athlete, identifies
Totally intrigued by this philosophy, my mind started twirling and God began to speak. 

The Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems [even when we don’t understand them]...And we know all things work together for good for those that love God. (Romans 8:26 & 28)

The mutual admiration and respect coach and swimmer have for each other is obvious. Twenty-two medals, 18 of them gold, are evidence that ultimately Phelps trusted in his coach’s plan to fulfill his destiny.

The question is, do I trust my Coach even when He allows or arranges adversity on the path to my destiny? Do you? Tweet this now

Romans 8:22 says, “If we keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened yet, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.” defines wait as a verb, the act of continuing in expectation.

So today when I run out of gas, run late, burn dinner or find my six-year-old in his birthday suit lathered in soap shaving his entire body (yes, it really happened), I will trust that my Coach knows what He’s doing allowing these silly trials in my life. Because whether it’s cancer or heartbreak there is surely coming a battle for the gold.

Just click on the comment button to share your current trial, whether it’s routine or Olympic-sized. I’d love to pray for you!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Unprotected Places

It’s barely August but football season is well underway here in Texas. My boys just finished the first week of practice in full pads.
Hunter is learning that big boys hit harder than little boys and wearing shoulder pads and a helmet makes everything just a bit more awkward. Catching is suddenly harder because the helmet blocks his vision. Throwing harder because his shoulder doesn’t have its full range of motion under bulky pads. Running is slower because pads and cleats are heavy. And tackling and blocking, well they’re just downright painful.
He spoke wise words to me after his first padded practice. He said, “Mom, every time I get hit it hurts. These pads don’t cover my gut and that’s right where the guy’s helmet goes every time. I mean, it doesn’t hurt very long. It goes away fast but it sure makes it hard to get back up.”
Isn’t that how the enemy usually gets us? He hits us right in the gut. Our unprotected places. We blow up over wet towels on the bathroom floor. We complain about yesterday’s dirty dishes in the sink or the stale bag of chips left open on the table. We get busy and forget to fill up the car with gas. We lose our car keys and forget to pay the water bill.
Little things. Things that knock the wind out of us as they slam into our guts. Things that don’t keep us down long. Little failures that point out our weakness. Tiny sins that keep us separated from God in our prideful humanness. Oh, we don’t stay down too long but we are certainly hesitant to get back up. Those little annoyances hurt making it difficult to get back on the line ready for the next hit.
Ephesians 6:13 says:
That is why you need to put on God's full armor. Then on the day of evil you will be able to stand strong. And when you have finished the whole fight, you will still be standing.
We aren’t promised an easy battle or a fight without being knocked to the ground. If we fight fully armed learning to use the weapons God has given us, we are promised to be left standing when the fight is over. 
The punches hurt but we can get used to them, prepare ourselves for them, learn to block them. Hunter’s coach has told him all these things. His favorite coaching line when helping boys up from the pile and slapping them on the helmet is this, “You’re still alive; get back up!” 
As the boys get used to the punches and survive the hits, they learn to love the game. They look forward to football because when they’ve become comfortable instead of awkward in their pads, they are left standing at the end of the game. Standing dirty and beat up but so, so proud.
I don’t know what your unprotected places look like. Mounds of laundry and a sick toddler? A sharp word with your husband before he headed out the door early this morning? The constant bickering the end of summer brings to your kids? The list of red numbers in your checkbook as you buy the never ending list of back to school items? Terrible morning sickness for the last eight months?
Wherever you're at in this battle, girlfriend, would you join me in taking a lesson from football today? 

Being knocked to the ground stinks but it won't kill you. Get back up; when the fight is over you will still be standing. Tweet this now

And if you leave me a comment explaining your own unprotected place, I promise to pray for you today.

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