Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Put me in Coach

I watched a one minute video yesterday on someone's Facebook page.  It was of a bus driver that pulls onto a bridge and sees a lady hanging on the side of a guard rail ready to jump into the highway and oncoming traffic.  He pulls the bus over and asks very nicely if she needs anything.  He slowly walks down out of the bus and toward her, very calm and collected.  He asks her if she would like to come on this side of the guardrail.  She seemed to be in a distraught and confused state.  When she says yes, he helps her back over the guard rail and sits down on the ground with her and just talks until help arrives.

Later when he is being interviewed about the experience he says that it was meant to be, that he was supposed to be there in that moment to help this lady.  He says that he played football and:

"When you sit on the bench and the coach calls your number you have to go in and make a play and you gotta do what the play calls for and I think that is what I did."

The sports analogy is very interesting because many of us have played sports or watch sports.  How often in a game have we seen an injury happen or someone get into foul trouble and a player who doesn't play much comes off the bench and has an amazing game.  When all seems lost that player steps in makes a huge impact on the game.  They know what needs to be done and them make it happen.

I think this is a great way to think about helping others and stepping outside the box.  We go through our normal lives everyday and nothing extraordinary happens.  It's kinda like we are sitting on the bench waiting for our opportunity to make a difference to step up and be the hands and feet of Christ.  The question comes are we ready to take the field?  Are we ready to step up when we are called to do so?  Can we be thrust into the game of life and do whatever it takes in that moment?

Just like that player that sits on the bench and waits for his or her shot, we have to be ready.  We have to be ready for when we get called into the game.  We may not know when or where it will happen but when it does I know that we will know what it is we need to do. 

So make sure your water bottle is full, your laces are double knotted, and you have stretched thoroughly because you never know when you will be called into the game! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

When Life gives you Lemons...

I throw them at people!!! 

Ok no I don't, but don't you feel like that some times? 

Don't you feel like it would just be easier to throw the lemons at people?

I think we all do.  The expressions references lemons as the bad or unexpected things that happen in our lives.  They reference those things that happen and make you stop and say really?  Did that really just happen?  Did the opposite of what I want to happen happen? 

The rest of that express is make lemonade.  Which means to make something good out of the lemons that life has handed you.  It means take that sourness that life is throwing at you and make something sweet.

I think that I get my love the taste of lemons from my Dad.  I think most people grow up eating Oreos or Chocolate Chip cookies.  Sure I had plenty of those but I can distinctly remember my Dad always having Lemon cream filled cookies in the cookie jar growing up.  I loved the taste of that sweet lemon cream that was covered by that lemon cookie crunch.  I would eat way too many of them which of course made my Dad mad.

On top of that I would always drink the orange juice after school which didn't help anything because Dad always said that was just for Breakfast, but that is another story...

I quickly realized that I also loved the taste of lemonade.  The sweet and sour taste of lemonade has become one of my favorite things.  On top of that I was introduced to lemon meringue pie and this ice box pie that Coleen makes that is AMAZING!!!  I have even been known to take a lemon out of my sweet tea and eat it.  Needless to say, I love lemon. 

This weekend I was throw a bunch of lemons, I mean lets just say about 45 dump trucks came by and poured lemons all over me.  I was buried under a mountain of lemons.  It was a very hard weekend.  It felt like all I could see was the porous yellow skin of the lemon.  And although one lemon doesn't weigh very much, 45 truck loads of lemons is very heavy on your chest. It was hard.

Although the weight, sight, and smell of all these lemons was tremendous, I could still feel God.  I could feel him lifting me up and I could hear him as he tore those lemons off me.  He reached in and pulled me out and put me back up on my feet.  I stood there realizing that God would never leave me, but I looked around and there in front of me were still piles and piles of lemons.  Then it started to happen, God sent juicers.  He sent people, places, and things that started to juice those lemons.  He had people that I haven't talked to in years contact me and squeeze lemons.  He put me in places where the atmosphere wouldn't allow you to be squashed by the lemons of the world. Places were people were smiling and happy and filled with his love.  They too squeezed and juiced lemons.

After all those lemons were squeeze and juiced, he sent in people to sweeten the lemonade that had just been made. People that fill my life with love and caring.  People that don't allow the lemons of the world to drag them down.  These people swooped in without even knowing it and sweeten up my lemonade.

When life gets you down, and you are covered in lemons and you want to give up or start chucking those lemons at people, you need to remember that God is with you and even if the load of lemons is heavy and feels like it is too much for you to bear, God will send juicers so that you can still make lemonade. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It is always Darkest before the Dawn

I have a friend that I miss quite a bit.  When I worked at the YMCA there were basically two people that I would talk to every day. They were Shannon and LeeAnn.  LeeAnn was the Associate Aquatics Director at the YMCA and Shannon was my partner in crime with the children and teens.  Often my conversations with LeeAnn would center around tic tacs.  I don't know why I remember that but it is such a vivid picture in my head.

Recently LeeAnn was in a horrible car accident.  A gentlemen under the influence ran a red light and smashed into the side of LeeAnn's car as she was entering an intersection.  It was a horrible accident.  I found out about the accident by some facebook posts made by LeeAnn's fiancĂ© Ryan. 

I remember  waking up that morning and seeing the post.  I was in shock and disbelief that this had happened to her.   This is the post that I saw the morning after the accident:

 "Update on LeeAnn was in a car wreck were a drunk driver hit her. She has a fracture at the base of her scull, four fractures in her lower spine, a concussion and a lot of bumps and bruises. She just asked me to pray for the man who hit her. Please pray for us"

It was scary to read.  The part of the post that really hit me though was where LeeAnn told Ryan to ask for prayers for the man who hit her.  She was selfless in her thoughts even though she was in a ton of pain.  LeeAnn's faith has always been something that has never waivered.  She has always stood firm in her beliefs and this accident only showed how strong they are.  Instead of asking why did God allow this to happen to me, she praised him that she was alive, and that her wounds would heal.  She also asked for prayers for the person that was the cause of her accident because she was thinking about the pain and suffering that that man and his family would have to go through.

I think in the world we live in it is too easy to blame God for the bad things that happen.  We forget to thank him for the life he has given us and the world that he has created for us.  Instead what we need to do is when all hope is lost, when our world is at its darkest place, we must cling to the love of our Lord.  We must hang on until the dawn.  When dawn comes, that is when the light comes.  The light of the world who will shine through the darkest parts of our world and lift us up when we are down.

LeeAnn still has a tough road ahead I am sure but God will see here through.  Her family will be there for her and the light of the Lord with shine through her. I don't ever wish something like this upon you but I hope that we can all cling to our faith when the world is at it's darkest.