All hard work brings a profit...Proverbs 14:23
I sat in the bleachers again last night and watched my daughter play her last regular season volleyball game this year and I realized that volleyball and my Christian walk have some things in common.
As I sat watching the ball zing across the net and then back again, I realized that the sin in my life was like that too. I might think I resolve them and move on but sometimes, just like that little white ball, they come back again and I have to think and move quickly to get it out of my life. How quickly I forget our human nature leads us to sin and instead of wishing it would just go away, I should get more confident in planning my defense.
Sometimes the challenges in life resemble the speed of the ball coming across the net. Every now and again you can see them coming at you like a nice, easy high free ball. Other times they fire at you like a kill from above the net. Most of the time I can gather myself and make a good defense, but every now and again things hit you so hard you just go down and need a minute to recover. How quickly I forget each of those challenges, especially the ones that really pound me down are God's way of showing me how much I need Him.
I love the look on a servers face as she watches for the official anticipating that whistle to serve. In that moment all eyes are waiting for the approval of the one in charge...the whole gym is at a pause until that sound. How quickly I forget God has the whistle and it would serve me well to pause more often and wait for his signal before trying to manage everything on my own. He, just like that official can see everything involved and won't let something begin until it's all in order.
Ideally, the ball should be hit three times before going back over the net to the opposing side. One person can't be responsible for all three hits, in requires teamwork. How quickly I forget I'm not in this life alone. It's ok to ask for help and to depend on someone else. The greatest help of all also comes in a set of three...Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That's a pretty unstoppable defense when I think about it.
The whole game was a reminder to me about how we were not created to be solitary creatures. We were created to need and depend on and trust both man and God. The harder we work together, the better the outcome! I love it when the Father allows me to see something old with new eyes!
A Seed To Plant: Take a hard look at something that regularly
happens in your week and see how it might connect to your Christian walk.
Blessings on your day!
That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith as you are
being rooted and grounded in love. Ephesians 3:17
I really needed to stay home and catch up on the laundry. I really needed to check a stack of papers. I really needed to scrub the kitchen floor and write a couple blog posts. I really, really needed to plan for the class of 100 high school students I’m teaching Monday night. Mostly, I really needed to sit still for a minute and catch my breath after three crazy busy weeks. I was however, reminded that God had already planted a seed and encouraged me to make other plans for Friday night and Saturday. I was speaking at and participating in the Transforming Love Women’s Conference. As I rushed home from school and wrestled with my panty hose and got tangled up in my curling iron cord preparing to head off to the conference and take the stage Friday evening I was excited to go but I was being teased by the thought of sweat pants, hot coffee and my cozy flowered chair in the living room.
As usual, the Holy Spirit took over and confirmed that following the nudge of Christ is always the best plan! The conference was spectacular! Simply being in the presence of more than 1,100 other women of faith was uplifting and energizing! The music, the speakers, the Mass and the energy were so inspiring to my weary spirit! I’ve been speaking for many years but Friday night I had a first! I’m still surprised that the Holy Spirit put the words in my mouth but as I concluded my presentation I raised my hand and prayed a blessing over the audience…it just slipped out…not in my power point or my thoughts or my plans…it just came spilling out! I blinked and gulped and thought…oh my, that was something new. As the audience stood and clapped a Dominican Sister in the third row shouted out, in her thick New Jersey accent, “we need to bless Sheri”. The entire audience raised their hands and prayed a blessing over me led by the nun from Jersey. It was amazing! The theme of the conference was Transforming Love and little did I know a transformation would happen in me.
Saturday the energy and transformation continued! The conference center was filled with so many women looking for ways to live their faith, share their faith and love bigger, harder and more compassionately. During one of the
breaks I sat in the lobby and just watched and listened. It was good for the
spirit to see so many hugs and hear so much laughter and friendliness, it was a refreshing change of pace that leaves a mark…I’m still grinning!
There were so many great messages and examples from the day but the ones that hit my heart the hardest were the stories of God’s transforming love in the lives of some regular people. We heard from an absolutely beautiful woman named Amy who is a mother of 4. She is a tiny lady who stands like a giant in her witness of God’s amazing love. Amy was married to a police officer who was killed in the line of duty and she shared her story of God’s transforming love as she wades through her grief. Within hours of her husband’s death, she went to Mass and then sat before a news camera and demonstrated the ultimate act of God’s love and forgave her husband’s killer. Nothing but the love of God is strong enough to allow someone to do something like that. She amazed me and inspired me! A lovely and visibly peaceful woman named Eileen shared her story of betrayal, loss, wrong decisions, desperation and finally healing and peace compliments of the love of Christ. The third speaker came as a pair; husband and wife. This amazing couple lived every parent’s nightmare when their daughter and some of her friends were killed in a car accident. I sat tearfully listening to their story; it wasn’t about their grief but rather the public love and forgiveness they offered their daughters friend who was driving and survived the crash. They reached out to share God’s transforming love with her, in spite of their own loss, pain and grief. They simply did what they would have wanted done if it had been their child driving. The strength and love that flowed from them was overwhelming to my heart and my tear ducts! The common denominator to all their stories was God’s love and their message was not… “Look what we’ve done”…it was “look what God’s done to us and through us!” It was incredible!
I think the Lord is very happy when we go to church on Sunday; He’s happy because it’s what He expects from us…it’s spelled out right in the commandments but I think He wants more than that! He certainly gave me WAY more than an empty laundry hamper, shiny floor or pile of corrected first grade phonics and math papers! He had something far greater in mind for me this weekend…He wanted to SHOW me how amazing His love
is. He wants to show all of us but we have to go out and look for the lessons sometimes. It takes effort to go to a conference or a seminar. Sometimes it’s even hard to carve out an hour to listen to a speaker at church…but it can be so amazing if you do. We have to love Him enough to let Him show us His love by bringing His truth and message into our hearts. The next time someone invites you to go to an event and the topic is faith…please say YES! Say YES as quickly as you would if you had been invited to a ball game or a shopping trip or a concert…I guarantee you will be glad you
A Seed To Plant: Make a promise to attend some event that will deepen your relationship with Christ before the end of 2013…then ask the Holy Spirit to show when and where that might be.
Blessings on your day!
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord...Jeremiah 29:11
How many times do we hear the world tell us BE GREAT! Since the beginning of time, greatness has been important. I guess someone has to be in charge and have power but I'm not sure that makes them great. I'm not sure money, stuff or position are the best indicators of how great you are but it seems like we live in a world that uses those very things as the benchmark.
I found some perfect words to put this in perspective. I'm going to borrow these words from one of my favorite authors, Matthew Kelly. I hope he doesn't mind and I hope they touch your heart and serv as a reminder of the true definition of greatness.
"Do you want to be great? Born in a stable...served all men...was criticized for His attempts to live and proclaim the truth...and He suffered. He was the greatest. If you want to be great, be little."
A Seed To Plant: Ponder Mr. Kelly's words and see if you can find some ways to grow in greatness.
Blessings on your day!
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