Divorce is a game changer. What I gave up when I was fifteen: relationship, history and football is precisely the areas God would like to redeem in me. Will I have the fortitude to make it happen? The verdict is still out.
We hold on... We hold on to judgements that subtly shape us. We hold on to comforts of this world that contain us. and We hold on to grips that limit us. Have we worked hard, practiced and developed a decent list of plays so that when game day hits, we are able to make the shot?
Early in this year's season, I ran across a little girl's list of the things she enjoys. One was watching football with her family. It dawned on me that at her age, I did too. If I think back to the pre-season game of my life, age 0-15, most Sundays included an NFL game of our family's favorite team. That loyalty to one team extended to my dad's five brothers and sisters, mom and dad. We knew the conversation when we got together would always, in some way or another, end with the highlights of last Sunday's games. So why did I give it all up?
Divorce. The abrupt, fiery end to my parent's marriage, penalty flag thrown, "delay of game" called, I left the field without so much as a field goal attempt. I distanced myself from my father... and he did the same to me. Self-preservation, I approached life much like my friend, Steve Martin in the 1979 movie, The Jerk.
Not needing anything or anybody... but is that really true?
Open to God's redemption in my life, I deliberately chose two teams to follow at about week 10 in the season. I tuned my dial to ESPN and set the DVR to tape. I jumped back in, two jerseys, two teams, I watched or listened to the games. It was like riding a bike, feeling familiar and comforting. On occasion, I had to be very intentional and stream the game because it was not televised in our local market. Head phones on, I drowned out the noise around me and focused.
Wrestling with faith is not easy. While my path has been steady and deliberate thus far, God has shaken up my foundation a bit this year. Balance calls. Yes- God wants us to draw closer to Him. He even calls us to drop our nets and follow Him. Easier said than done. As I have drawn closer to the heartbeat of Christ, I have muffled the sound of responsibility. Keenly aware, people need me to make "the shot" - consistently- in my personal, work and volunteer courts, have I dropped the ball?
So where am I going and where have I been?
Before starting this month, I looked back at the very first post (January 2014) and also reflected on a year's worth of entries. Three words came to mind: awkward, vulnerable and growth. Like learning to ride a bike, I wobbled back and forth in writing for this website but also in my faith. I didn't give up, however, I persisted "pressing forward" through the falls and skinned knees. Adhering the band-aids and brushing off the dirt, I got on the bike again... and again... for a full year of website development. I can honestly say there has been growth in me, and I believe, growth in my writing too.
If you have read any of my posts, you will quickly discover I love my jeep. I love it more now than I ever did. I love how I came to own the jeep, I love the license plate that defines my jeep, I love where it has taken me and I love the hope that grows in me because of it.
Except for a handful of tools and a manual, the jeep was pretty empty when I bought it. With the exception of one book that was in the glove box. It was a paperback on my spiritual hero, David. In August, I pulled the book off the shelf and dusted it off. Thumbing through the pages, one word jumped out, "Authentic". I like that word. Authentic... Authentic faith, authentic hope, authentic love.
As an INFJ, the J in my personality is the "driver" in my bag of clubs in a game of golf. When a female friend of mine went to a prominent Christian writers conference, and as a result, told me I had to be consistent when developing a website, I took it to heart. An example: it drives me nuts if I don't see an entry for every single month on my list of posts for this website. In faith, I have nice, neat, pyramid type boxes which God has, conveniently, messed all up, spilling the boxes upon my neatly swept floor. Now- I have to look up and hold on tight, as He leads me.
Authentic... he is growing in me the word that jumped off the page in August... awkward, vulnerable and growing but hopefully, building an authentic faith.
God is a gentle father. His timing is perfect. As we grow in Him, he doesn't stand back and laugh, or joke or say words to cause us to retreat but, with loving arms, calls us into light and embraces us.
A week or so ago, I woke up very early (maybe 4:30 am) to the brilliant light of the moon streaming through the sliding glass door of my bedroom. The morning was clear and cold. I gathered the thickest, biggest blanket I could find and headed to a lounge chair in my backyard. With my eyes up to the heavens, I pulled the blanket as tight as I could around my body. The weight comforted me. I pulled it tighter. Because it was cold outside, my breathe was carried away in a mist-like cloud as I spoke the word, grace. God's grace.
My faith is growing. Yesterday, gathered with a handful of high school kids, we prayed and spoke prophetic words over a visiting pastor to our classroom. We spoke what God had placed in his heart the day before. God is choosing to grow in me what I once feared as a little girl- prophecy. I pray I grow in wisdom too.
If you were to follow me on social media, you would know that this month I have been praying for three babies. I refer to them as: an unexpected surprise, an unexpected life and an unexpected miracle. Without revealing their stories, we are connected. Mine is the unexpected faith that is growing in me as a result of their births.
Early this week, I was holding one of the newborns and was reminded of the "burrito wrap" of our own children. Swaddled tightly, they fell asleep easily. As I rocked one of the babies, I received a text message from a mom that asked me to start praying for her as the delivery was not progressing and concern was looming. I pressed into the newborn in my arms, as I prayed and sang softly, God's grace covered us.
As a young girl, I dreamed of finding an abandoned baby in a basket left on my doorstep... loving it, holding it and caring for it, I poured out all the love deep within my heart that I could give. God is honoring silly dreams spoken as a little girl with a glimpse into his treasures... a castle just beyond the horizon.
Have you limited what God can do in your life? I know I have... so I'm getting out the football jerseys, practicing my free throws and dusting off the golf clubs in order to see how God changes my heart and, as a result, bears fruit in me.
A person who searches for depth and beauty in the simple things.