Friday, February 10, 2012

Band-aids, Moving and Believe

I want to tell you a little bit about moving or at least my experience with it. You know that feeling right before you pull off a band aid that’s been stuck to your skin for a few days? You hesitate just for a minute because you know pulling it off quickly will hurt, but if you tug slowly it will hurt even more. For us this time it was fast with the pain coming in a flash. I still can’t make sense of it, except to know that it wasn’t up to me and I’m really okay with that.

A few months before we got the official announcement that we were going to move, the winds of change were already blowing through our house. For whatever reason I just had a sense that something was about to happen so when Grant came home in February last year from his sales meeting and told me his boss wanted us to move I was not surprised. We looked at each other and tried to make a decision about how and when to do it and instead decided to try and push it off. We weren’t ready, nor were we interested in yanking our kids from their home and their friends. And yet the feeling never left…I knew it was coming.

And then one Friday morning in April Grant came to me as I was typing away on my novel and all he had to do was look at me and I knew. It was time. Within a few weeks our house was listed, and within a day of the sign going in the yard it was sold. The band aid had been ripped off and I think honestly it took a little bit of my skin with it.

I won’t lie to you, even though I felt confident it was the right time and we were excited, we were also scared or maybe even a little terrified. At least I was.

We didn’t tell Zach and Kayla, not for a few weeks. They watched us toil around painting walls, fixing sprinklers and cleaning out closets and never asked a question. It was hard to keep it from them, until it wasn’t and we sat down one Sunday morning and told them we were going to have an adventure which included leaving the only home they remembered behind. Needless to say they were not initially excited about this adventure. But by the grace of God they followed our lead, listened to our prayers and trudged along with us into the unknown.

I’m happy to say that my worst fears have not come true. Within days of arriving we met some people who have become great friends, and they introduced us to their friends who are now our friends too. Zach and Kayla have been blessed with some great kids and have also gotten plugged into small discipleship groups with amazing Christian leaders. Grant is happy to see his co-workers at the office, and I just started tennis lessons with a new friend. Life is good and we are happy and incredibly thankful to the angels God sent who bought our house. They will forever be that to me…angels who God sent at the perfect time.

Looking back I wasn’t sure I wanted the band aid to be ripped off so quickly. I wondered if it would be better to linger, to think about it more, to just tug a little at a time so that we would have time to catch our breath, get our bearings and know for sure where we were headed. But in the midst of not knowing what to do, God did. When we weren’t sure what to say to Zach and Kayla somehow the words came. Even in my worst parenting moments there was a common thread that we were in this together. United, unified…a family, one. I love that.

I’ve spent the last seven months watching my children navigate new school systems, new teachers, new friends, and new activities. Everything is new to them. There have been tears and words of frustration. There have been victories and challenges and yet they settle into their beds every night asking me to pray over them, seeking the very same comfort that I seek. Every morning they get up go to school, heading into this world of new, this place, and this unknown. I’m proud of them. They amaze me.

I’ve watched Grant navigate new routines at work. Create the beginnings of what I know will be an oasis in our back yard and never forget to hug me and kiss me and listen when I’m feeling sad or unsure. I’ve watched him comfort our children, talk them through their fears with wonder and continue to be amazed by this man who never, ever gives up.

And I’ve watched God bring me through heartache with relationship challenges, knowing that my focus has been on getting the family settled and He’s provided me with moments of wisdom and is teaching me to not take myself so seriously. I’m learning that in so many ways this move wasn’t just about the change in geography but so much more. We are restored, united, unified…a family, one. And so much more.

I'm wondering if you've found yourself in a situation where you never expected you'd be and yet you know even though it might be scary that it's what's right and good. Exactly where you should be. I'm wondering if you find yourself right now, looking, seeking, wondering where you're headed next and perhaps are perplexed, lost even...unsure of what to do.

If that's you I'll not simplify it or waste your time with useless tips on how to get through. But I will say this to you, for me it comes down to one simple word that carries me through, especially seasons like what we've just experienced.


What carries you?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are you safe?

This is a great post from my fellow coach and mentor Jerome Daley. He is an encourager and dear friend who does an amazing job of putting things in perspective. Take a look!

Are We Safe?

"When it rains, it pours!" Everyone knows the expression...which is typically translated to mean, "The crap has hit the fan, and I'm catching the brunt of it." Sometimes it just feels like we're hit by a run of bad luck. (Oops, Christians aren't supposed to say "luck.") You know what I mean.

Over the last week, both our cars had to be taken to the shop. During the same time, we called in a repairman to take a look at our hot water heater. The deck was stacked for it to "pour," right? But guess what? It didn't.

In fact, this unlikely scenario played out in such a way that I felt uncommonly blessed and cared for by God. I was convinced that the transmission had gone out on the old car. Again. And that it would cost me two grand to replace it. Instead, it was a bad wire that cost $100. At the same time, the new(ish) car had inexplicably stalled and wouldn't restart. The good news? It stalled safely in the mall parking lot. My neighbor just happened to be home and available to take me to pick up the other car at the shop so I could pick up Kellie and the kids. The roadside service (which I had let expire) was able to be renewed and used on the spot. And it was just a defective battery which was still under warranty. $0. Oh...and the hot water heater that I feared was kaput re-lit and was perfectly fine.

OK, so it doesn't always play out this way. I know. I get it. About the same time I was juggling all these small potatoes, I learned that cancer had returned for a relative who only has six months left to live. And the question I found myself mulling is this: How safe are we in this world really?

How Safe?

As Christ-followers, we know that God is sovereign in the world. We also know that, because sin is in the world, a lot of bad things happen. And I often watch folks try to reconcile this painful paradox in one of two ways:

  1. either they claim Psalm 91:10 that "no evil will befall you" and believe that if they do all the right stuff, they will be buffered from suffering...
  2. or, alternatively, they claim that "it's all good." Because God is good and God's in charge, everything that happens in the world is good.

If one of these mindsets is working for you, then by all means stick with it. For me, though, it's really important to acknowledge that first, everything is not good. Just because good may come through a bad event, we need to be able to be honest about something being bad in and of itself. Death is bad. Sickness is bad. Poverty is bad. Let's not pretend otherwise.

So what about all the scriptures that appear to promise safety? For me, it's important to distinguish between a principle and a promise. The Psalms (and many other places) are full of principles that help us understand the good character of God. These are not promises that we will only experience good things--just ask King David; but they do point us to what (Who) is utterly reliable.

So back to where we started--are we safe? I say yes...and no. We are not necessarily safe from cars that break and bodies that break. If circumstances are your definition of safe, then hang it up. Circumstances are fickle. But we are safe if our definition of safety is relationship. Specifically, relationship with a good and powerful God who regularly breaks into a broken world with unexpected and undeserved kindness while we wait for a place with no tears.

Heavy topic. Real life. Peace and purpose to you this day!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Believing, Anything is Possible

When I was 14 I loved reading Teen Magazine. Like any young teenage girl who grew up in the 80's I loved reading about The Bay City Rollers, Lief Garrett and Sean Cassidy. It was a girl obsession of mine to try and figure out how to apply blue eye shadow and red lipstick and I could count on Teen Magazine to instruct me.

One afternoon I discovered a contest called Win A Week In Beauty Paradise. All I had to do was send in a photo and write in 25 words or less why I should win the trip to Rancho La Puerta Mexico and stay in a spa for an entire week of pampering and fun. It wasn't hard to make up my mind and so I sat for awhile trying to pen all the reasons why I should win. I can't remember exactly what I wrote but I think it was something about how exciting it would be to meet new people and to have a fun adventure. I had no misgivings about any chances I had at being a super model. I stand about 5'4 and photo shop is definitely my friend. But it was exciting to believe that maybe, anything was possible. Without telling a soul I sent off my letter with my 8th grade photo, heavy on the blue eye shadow, my hair in a bouffy bob and complete with red Izod polo shirt. And forgot about it for the next six months until the afternoon I came home from school and my mom handed me a turquoise envelope addressed to me. The return address said Teen Magazine.

Yep, you guessed it. I won. I ran around the house whooping it up for about fifteen minutes while my mom stood with her arms crossed and her toe tapping. She didn't believe it, thought it was a scam and proceeded to ignore the flurry of phone calls that came from the magazine editor who tried to convince her it was for real. She did come around pretty quickly, and I think it helped that she got to come along, but I understand her hesitation, especially in this day and age. A few weeks later me and my mom and two other girls with their parents traveled to Tecate, Mexico where we enjoyed a very fun time at the spa and got to have our picture placed in the magazine. For any 8th grade girl it was a dream come true. Heck, it still makes me smile almost 30 years later.

I still believe anything is possible and sometimes that's what gets me through the day.'s a simple thing and yet oh so powerful.

What are you believing for today?