The shot goes up. She turns. Making contact with her opponent, she lowers to the ground, ready to jump, anticipating just how the ball is going to bounce off the rim. She jumps for the rebound, grabbing at the ball with one hand. As she pulls the ball toward her, before her feet even hit the floor, she knows which way she must turn to avoid the defender, which hand she should use to dribble the ball out of there, and which of her teammates have already taken off down the floor.
She turns, dribbling the ball low to the ground with long, quick strides.
Her eyes are only on the rim ahead, but she still sees two teammates up ahead; one to the right, and one to the left.
Two defenders are up ahead too, back pedaling as she approaches.
The defender on the left commits to her, thinking she is heading for the basket. Having waited for just this moment, without even turning her head, she releases the ball with one arm, for a long pass to her teammate for a layup. The basket gives her team their first lead all game, and the other coach calls a time out.
Everything there took place in about 5 seconds. It happened more quickly than you were able to read the words, yet those were the thoughts, and the rationale behind her every move; my every move. That is a very familiar story to me from my playing days.
My husband would tell you that my super power is point guard vision. We joke that when it is activated, I can weave in and out of traffic, anticipating cars that will turn, or slow me down, and avoiding them, and red lights. On the weeks we drive separately to church, I, in my mini van, can beat him in his manual transmission Elantra, home on pure instinct and anticipation of what the other drivers might do.
It occurred to me while my husband was driving us to church this Sunday, all together in the van this time, just how beneficial this type of vision can be in our daily lives and relationships...if we will only turn it on.
We all have goals. We all have aspirations. We are all trying to get somewhere in this life. But when we do it with blinders on, we miss out on the rest. We miss out on the journey. We miss our teammates.
An adrenaline rushed 5 seconds can heighten all of your senses into feeling everything around you, and yet, so much of our lives we are trying to move as fast as we can, while tuning everything out. On the roads, we are in too big of a hurry to let other drivers in. We use excuses like, "Well, he didn't use his turn signal!" or "He knew that lane was ending this whole time!" In reality, we are all trying to get to the same goal; our jobs, our homes, our commitments, and we want to arrive there safely. That's the main goal; not the destination, but rather our health along the way. We tend to have blinders on to the rest of the world, as though our final outcome is all that matters.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as Children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.
We are children of the light. We have been called out of darkness! Yet, by the example we still set, we often remain blinded in so many ways.
The girl in the story above saw the goal. She wanted a basket badly. She never lost her focus on that rim, but she didn't shut her teammates out of her line of vision on her way. She knew exactly where they were, and exactly when to give them the ball in the best position for them to be successful.
We are all on a different path to the final destination. We can attempt our daily lives one on one, us against the world, with our eyes fixed on the end goal, or we can broaden our view, activate our peripheral vision, and see the teammates around us. Don't close yourself up in darkness, unwilling to fully experience the journey. In your hurry, you will not only miss out on the opportunity of relationships, but you will be turning off a light that others might really need to see their own path too.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
If God's Word is the light, and we are called to live as children of light, let's make sure that light shines on more than just our own path.
When I was a very little girl, around the age of 4, I absolutely loved the song, Broken Wings, by Mr. Mister. To this very day, I will tell you that this song is my all-time favorite song because of how much I loved it as a child. Also, there is something magical about the nostalgia that comes with listening to a song you once loved, and the memories attached to it.
For me, it was more than that. I have always been able to find a word from God, often within very secular songs or movies, never intending to minister, but I realized today that this must have begun at a very young age. With the vivid imagination of a child, who lived in a rural area where MTV was not a cable option, I had created an elaborate imagery in my brain, to this song, and it often played like a music video in my head as I would listen to the lyrics.
Take these broken wings
and learn to fly again
learn to live so free.
When we hear the voices sing
the book of love will open up and let us in.
Take these broken wings.
As a very small child, I could not comprehend the lost love between two adults, as this song sings of. The imagery in my head, which I still remember today, was that of a dragon. I cannot imagine that at the age of 4, my knowledge of dragons was much greater than that of love between grown ups, but that is what I saw. The other image which has never left me when hearing this song, is that of a large book, opened upon what looked like a pulpit. I don't remember thinking that it was the Bible at that age, but I do remember that as it opened, a bright light shown down on it, and the dragon flew away.
Someone with the gift of interpretation, might be able to discern what God was possibly trying to show me at a very young age. I cannot pretend to know in full. But I will tell you, that as an adult, this song still does not play out for me as the writers intended; as a tragic lost love between two people. Listening to this song and remembering the imagery from my 4 year old self, I get an overwhelming feeling of restoration.
Sometimes (often) we allow our brokenness to overtake our lives. We allow ourselves to feel defeated, and find ourselves stagnant in our spiritual lives, with broken wings, unable to take off. We cling to them, because broken or not, they are still our wings.
What if we were just to say, "Take them! Take these broken wings!" What if we sought God's healing and restoration earnestly? Throughout the Bible there are so many promises of healing and restoration! Yet we allow ourselves to stay broken, sometimes even blaming Him for our brokenness.
What if we sought Him earnestly? He promises to restore our hearts, but listen, that does not mean restoration as our worldly brains might think of it. The transition is not about perfecting our lives or our circumstances. He promises to restore our hearts. It is an inward change with an outward transformation. In doing this, our perspective will transform our circumstances. We will no longer be looking at our lives from a viewpoint of broken hopelessness. No, we will be soaring, with healing and restoration, with a completely transforming vantage point. We will see our circumstances with a life-giving hopefulness which only comes from allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our lives.
We have to learn to fly again; learn to live so free. There is freedom in the transformation of the Holy Spirit. There is freedom in God's Book of Love. Allow yourself to be transformed!
If you are a Christian, chances are you have read Proverbs 31. If you are a wife, or a mother, or a woman desiring or engaged to be married, chances are you have read this and thought, "How on earth...?"
I know I have often thought that this is a ridiculously high standard to be upheld. This woman is perfect. This woman does it all. This woman never sleeps. She makes everything by hand. She's a wife, a mother, an entrepreneur.
She is not real.
She is a standard of measurement, and not even for women. It is believed that Proverbs 31 was written as advice, from a mother to her son, who would grow to be king. He is named at the beginning of Proverbs 31 as King Lemuel, but some have speculated that it is actually advice from Bathsheba to her son Solomon.
When you look at this from the perspective of motherly advice, how much more sense does this make? Of course we have ridiculously high standards for our children. Of course we want absolute perfection for them. Also, we know that seeking those high standards has a natural way of weeding out that which is not good for them.
Reading over Proverbs 31 this weekend, I gained a new perspective, and a new appreciation for its importance, and I felt as though I was seeing it with fresh eyes. This woman we try to emulate (or not, due to fear of inevitable failure), was not only (very likely) designed to advise a future king in choosing wisely, but she has servants. (v 15) When I think about how much I could get done, how many patterns I could write, how many chores I could get done daily, how much more quickly I could grow my work-from-home business, if I had hired help...well, the answer is a lot. This is a well off woman clothed in fine linen and purple (v 22), with a respected city leader for her husband (v 23), and servants to help her each day.
Does this discredit who she is? Does this make her any less worthy of striving toward? No. Because we learn, at the end of the chapter, the most important thing.
Her virtue determines her value; not the ongoing list of her daily chores, not her business transactions, not her fine linens. In fact, later on (v 25) we no longer hear of her fine linens, and instead see that she is clothed with strength and dignity. This is a woman who fears the Lord. This is a woman who does all things for the glory of God. This is a woman who serves her husband, her children, and her community by loving God. As such, then this is a woman who took the commandments seriously.
Moms, even God and even...even the Proverbs 31 woman rested on the 7th day. Let that sink in. By all means, strive for those high standards. But remember, we will all serve in different ways. The Lord has given us each different skills and talents with which to serve. He has also given us a day of rest that we so often refuse to take. Take it. And thank and praise Him for it. It's not about the hustle. It's about the heart.
Sometimes my Monday Messages are hard to come by. Sometimes I pray and read, and read and pray, and it takes me a great deal of time throughout the week to decipher what it is that the Lord would have me say.
Then sometimes, they write themselves, and God makes it so abundantly clear. To be fair, I think He is always clear and consistent. It is my own brain that tends to fog things up.
A few weeks ago, we were preparing for an ice storm. It was supposed to be significant, and we were supposed lose power. I didn't realize how much of our preparing was being absorbed by our 3-year old daughter until she became very scared of this "ice cream storm," as I will now and forever refer to them, because that makes it sound so much more fun.
It never amounted to much, and we never lost power, but then last week, we were again talking in front of sweet Charlotte about a thunder storm we were expecting. She became extra concerned and so distraught that she couldn't seem to eat her dinner. She was afraid that this storm would enter our home. In an effort to calm her, my husband told her, "Storms don't have thumbs. They can't open our door." This seemed to work. She repeated this several times, as if trying to soothe herself.
"But storms have ears!" she exclaimed, as though that was fact, and a good indicator of the severity of the storm. She became very upset again.
My husband quickly said, "Charlotte, can you open the door with your ears? After dinner, I want you to try to open the door with your ear, and see if it opens."
She thought about this very seriously for a minute, and then agreed that ears can't open doors. Then, upon her own realization, she proclaimed, "But God stole the storms! God steals the storms from us!"
Do you have storms you need to hand over to God? Storms in your life you need to allow Him to take from you? He is waiting. The chapter of Psalms is believed to have been written when the Israelites were allowed to return to their homeland from their Babylonian captivity. To read it all, we come to understand that some of their storms were self inflicted. Some of the stress in our lives could have been avoided had we listened to God's whispers to begin with.
But He waits. He waits in the stillness for us to listen. He waits in the storms for our cries. When we rely on Him and Him alone, He can take those storms from us. That is not to say that he will restore our lives to perfection (which they never were to begin with), but He will bring peace, the antithesis of the storm, to your heart, your life, your storm. He will steal that raging storm within you, and replace it with faith, if you only ask.
Not every day, but some days, when I put Charlotte down for her nap, she still talks about the storm, she acts scared, as though she does not want to be left alone, and then she asks one simple question, "Mommy, can you pray to Jesus for me?"
In a very simple prayer, asking God to take away her fear, and keep her safe, she smiles, says, "Thank you, Jesus," and closes her eyes.
That is a child-like faith. That is the faith we are capable of if we simply allow God to take our storms. And what He replaces it with, is far greater than anything we could imagine...
As a wife, mom of 4, and business owner, finding time to spend in the Word, can be difficult, so I get it! Come join me each Monday for a simple message of hope, faith, and encouragement amidst some honest mommy moments.
Want the Monday Message sent to your inbox each week? Sign up here!