in the middle

Do you have some situations in your life that seem to be unfinished?  Take a minute to consider that the day between Good Friday & Easter (today) seems to often get overlooked in light of the events on the adjacent days.  But this middle day is necessary & very frequently where many of us live at various times & in various situations.  If we think about it, beginnings and endings seem to get lots of attention, but the middle is the bridge & continuity between the beginning & the end.  Here are a few things to help you manage the middle:

  • Rest:  sometimes the middle is about taking a pause –  when Jesus was in the tomb on Sat, His disciples had the Sabbath, which was a day of rest & pause;
  •  Trust:  it’s important to agree that God gives us what we need when we need it, including the middle season;  when Jesus rose from the dead, there was a TREMENDOUS amount of activity so the Saturday pause was essential
  • Be present on this day:  I have no doubt in my mind that Jesus’ disciples were 100% traumatized by what happened on Good Friday & were most likely totally consumed with what had just happened (yesterday) or what was going to happen (tomorrow)
  • Faith:  Jesus told His disciples many times that He would raise from the dead after 3 days;  God’s promises are solid and reliable

hot topic: cross fit

“You can do it!!!!”  I like working out & stretching for new challenges.  As I’ve looked at some of the latest workout trend stuff, crossfit, it looks really cool!!  They say that the crossfit is about high intensity, constantly varied & functional movements.

To my way of thinking, these 3 ideas for crossfit coincide with what Paul said in Gal 2:20 about being crucified with Christ – crossfit:

  • high intensity:  Jesus’ crucifixion was possibly the most high intensity experience any human could endure & He invites us to live a crucified life with Him, surrendered to His leadership
  • constantly varied:  I find that following Jesus has lots of variety – serving, listening, relationships, forgiveness, faith, trust, doing dishes, loving, cooking and LOTS more!!!
  • functional movements:  in crossfit, they want to emphasize movements that we could possibly do everyday and the same is true with being crucified with Jesus, crossfit.  As we lived crucified with Christ, His life affects our daily priorities and how we engage to include His resurrection power through us.

To celebrate this Good Friday, let’s be truly “crossfit” :)

A Slow Trip

When I travel, I try to take the shortest routes hoping to spend the least amount of time traveling. For example, when I go to Angola with Saving Moses, I try to figure out a way to skip stopping in Europe so that my travel can be more efficient & more direct.
In contrast, I was reading in Luke 24 about how Jesus’ disciples were on the road to Emmaus & were unknowingly having a very engaging chat w Jesus. Once they arrived at their destination, they were enjoying Jesus’ company so much that they compelled Him to stay w them & share a meal. During the meal, Luke tells us that their eyes were opened & they recognized Jesus! As I thought about this, maybe they should have slowed down their travel / journey to enjoy Jesus’ presence along the way.
Slow down, Jesus is walking with you each day :)

a requirement to succeed

I was in 5th grade when I first tried to play basketball & I was 100% horrible.  Neither of my parents are particularly athletic nor did they have alot of athletic background or experience.  Furthermore, we didn’t have lots of sports stuff when I was growing up so my recess basketball games at school were the extent of getting some initial experience.  For whatever reason, I wanted to be good at basketball so I decided to keep trying even though I was awful.  I didn’t have much success at the beginning of my efforts, but I kept trying.  I had horrible shooting form because I wasn’t strong enough to get the ball to the hoop.  I couldn’t dribble to save my life & I was more uncoordinated than  any 5th grade girl in my class, but I kept trying.  When I entered 6th grade, I joined a school that had a girls basketball team & I shockingly made the Varisty squad, but was soon demoted to JV, but I kept trying.  Throughout my middle school years, I continued to play basketball & because I kept trying, I began to improve.  When I was in 8th grade, we had a freethrow competition to see who could make the most free throws out of 50 attempts.  I tried really hard & came in 2nd on my team.  I went on to play basketball in high school and kept trying to get better.  I continued to improve and was privileged to be on a team that went on to win the state championship :)

Moral of the story:  long-term success requires that we keep trying

Supernatural

There’s nothing supernatural about doing things in which you already have natural talent & ability. For example, to some people, my ability to absorb or pick up a language may seem supernatural but to me, it’s very natural because God has given me some talent in this area & it comes to me relatively easily.
The flip side of this is that those things at which I’m not as gifted nor talented are a struggle for me. For example, if you talk with me about business stuff (strategic planning, organizational structure, operational systems, etc), I’ll look at you like a deer in headlights. I know full well that when I “get” to put on the business thinking hat, I’m entering a supernatural zone, requiring God’s steady hand, help, wisdom & engagement. Just because we aren’t naturally gifted at something doesn’t mean that God doesn’t want us to be involved in such areas. Always remember that our “supernatural” is God’s natural :)

Likes and dislikes

Here’s some transparency:

  • I do like walking through garbage dumps in Cambodia to find helpless babies, but I don’t like figuring out stuff about makeup (mascara, blush, etc)
  • I do like studying biblical Greek and Hebrew but I don’t like office administrative work
  • I do like dreaming about helping babies in Somalia and the DRC with Saving Moses, but I don’t like the stupid hoops we have to jump through to get visas to help these babies
  • I do like giving the babies of prostitues a safe, clean and loving place to sleep (nightcare) while their moms work but I don’t like getting criticized for empowering prostitution

If you’re like me, our lives are mixed up with lots of things we enjoy and lots of things, not so much.  I find that if I embrace the things I don’t like as much (makeup, administrative work, visa applications, criticism), I will often get to see and experience things about God that I never knew.  Don’t miss the chance to know God better by rejecting things that might be inconvenient or uncomfortable :)

spread your wings

“Are you telling me that at 28 years old, you never want to get better than you are today?”  One time I had a coaching opportunity for a friend who was doing some preaching.  I made them practice all of their sermon in front of me in the room where they would be giving the sermon.  This person felt kind of silly going through their entire sermon in front of just one person, in a big empty room.  Nevertheless, this was a really good exercise and opportunity to practice & grow, even though they felt awkward.

So here’s my encouragement:  try new things, regardless of your agility.  Ultimately, when I try new things, I get to lean into the Holy Spirit for help & that’s the best thing I could ever do in my life on a consistent basis!  :)

hot topic: laughter

Life can be very serious & ever so often, we all need a good laugh.  So today’s hot topic is an attempt to provide some comic relief.  Here are just a few brief & funny traveling stories:

  • wrong week:  last year, I was scheduled to go to Dallas & had a 7am flight (which means that I leave my house no later than 5am).  When I got to the airport, I was having trouble getting the kiosk to print my boarding pass.  When I went to the airline person to help me, she ran my confirmation number through the computer & helped me to see that I was a week early – my flight was booked for the following week;  I chalked it up in the “practice” column.  Consider my husband’s surprise when I walked in the house less than an hour after I left, ready to take the kids to school that morning ,)
  • buddhist monks:  one time I was in the waiting lounge in the Calcutta airport & there were around 6-12 monks who were all seated together.  My friend dared me to jump in the middle of them so he could take a picture of me with them.  I took the dare & the monks scattered faster than cockroaches running away from light.  I learned that they had all taken a vow not to touch a woman & I almost caused them to break this vow with my silliness
  • chief safety officer:  I flew on a commercial plane once (oversees) when the pilot came out of the cockpit on an active runway to close the front door of our airplane – he seemed pretty casual about the whole thing

a fearless tribute to my husband

Have you ever been intimidated, afriad, overwhelmed, in over your head and just simply disheartened?  Sometimes I go through seasons, situations and struggles that could feel really overpowering – dying babies with Saving Moses, evil people masquerading as helpful, discouraging words from close friends and more.  I was recently in some of this kind of quagmire and my husband & I were talking about a few things related to these struggles when I remembered something cool from the New Zealand national Rugby team:  the Haka

I showed my husband a video of the Haka & it stirred up a few things in my heart:

  • nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37)
  • greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)
  • Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33)
  • Jesus holds everything together (Col 1:17)
  • this lite & momentary affliction is working in me a far greater weight of glory (2Cor 4:17)