It’s Just a Game

The other day as I watched my daughter play basketball I could tell by her facial expression that something wasn’t right. She’s a fierce competitor, one of those players people enjoy watching because she plays the game. She learned at an early age that no matter how you’re doing, you are always a good sport; a gracious winner and a gracious loser.

Her coach had the girls playing zone and my daughter was guarding the other team’s biggest player who dwarfed my daughter quite considerably. No worries there, my daughter isn’t intimidated by size, she knows how to adjust her game and handled the other girl really well.

As the game progressed, my daughter’s quickness and ability to anticipate the other player’s moves frustrated her opponent, so much so that the her opponent began to play rough, not the normal pushing on each other, she took every opportunity to throw her elbow into my daughter’s side, scratch her with her fingernails, knock into her with her knees and rear-end, and anything else she could think of that would physically bother my little girl.

With the full on physical assault taking place and no whistle from the referee, my ball player once again stepped up her game and continued to outplay her opponent… and that’s when the verbal attack began. As time began to wind down, and the score sitting so close that either team could win, I could see by my daughter’s expression that she had had enough. At the time I didn’t realize that the 11 year old girl my daughter was facing had been using profanity toward her and that was her breaking point.

Even though the outcome of the game wasn’t in my daughter’s team’s favor, my little girl hung tough and didn’t let off until the buzzer signaled the end of the game. I’m proud of my daughter. She handled herself with class on and off the court.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Who Am I to Judge

Why are people quick to judge? We hear it every day… we read it every day… we’re a society that’s quick to judge. Why is this so? It’s easily justified as opinion or discussion regarding the situation. After all we’re entitled to our opinion and our opinion doesn’t hurt anyone, correct?

To judge someone else’s actions and the outcome created by their actions is human nature. We’re all guilty of it and without a second thought are part of it. Intentionally we’re not being malicious. We find ourselves caught up in the moment, it’s a discussion with coworkers or friends, and we all have an opinion after all, what we have to say is important.

The other day as I read through the news, an article that had created a lot of buzz was a group of minors being caught by law enforcement with alcohol. Everywhere I went I was surprised at the various opinions people shared that knew nothing of the situation or who was involved.

After the course of several days of hearing stories of when others were that age, how those youngsters were only doing what teens do, what’s wrong with law enforcement don’t they remember when they were that age, and on and on… I could only smile to myself. I never once heard anyone say that maybe this was God’s way of stepping in to keep His children safe. If, just IF one of those youth would have been in an accident due to their intoxicated state and a life was tragically lost, then the tune would have changed to where was law enforcement. And through all of the talk and the opinions I never once heard anyone ask where were their parents?

Romans 2:3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?

Incomplete Puzzle

I’ve been asked several times since my last post what I’ll share. The next question I heard was why haven’t I shared. There isn’t an answer as to why I haven’t shared; but, I haven’t felt the peace and comfort that comes with writing. With all of the daily commitments, I’ve found myself observing, listening, reading, and just taking everything in.

It’s been a quiet time… the weather has changed, I’m battling a cold, busy at work, busy at home, financial stress with the upcoming holidays, no different from anyone else. What’s missing though is the peace I feel with His Word. I don’t have an answer as to why I haven’t spent time reading His Word. It’s a part of my routine, but somehow that piece of the puzzle is missing.

I was in church Sunday, I heard the sermon, but yet I didn’t listen to what was being said. Too much noise in my mind, I wasn’t open to what was being said, and why not? I enjoy church and look forward to the weekly sermons. I always learn something and walk away feeling refreshed, ready to tackle another full week of activities.

As my morning routine began I felt as if the noise had subsided, I realized that my spiritual vision had faltered. He doesn’t send me daily reminders to spend time with Him, it’s something that  I normally do as part of my day.

I found myself skimming through 1 Samuel this morning, and am  processing the literal concept 1 Samuel 15:34-16:21. It’s a good feeling as I work to complete the puzzle.

 

A Heavy Heart

Death is a part of life, one is part of the other… it’s difficult to talk about loss and yet so easy to boast about gain. Accepting the good is easy, acknowledging our accomplishments is rewarding. On the other hand I find myself stammering for words when another life is gone.

My thoughts turn to The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s such an engaging story, difficult to put down and yet emotionally stimulating on numerous levels as it’s narrator is Death. Death has no gender and is simply referenced as “it”. As daunting as it was to read Death’s words I felt compelled to learn more about what “it” had to say. With every word I read, I tried to suppress my emotions, after all it’s just a story of a young girl living in Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, but it is written about one of the most difficult topics ever, the Holocaust… so much pain, suffering and death.

Accepting the loss of a loved one, a friend or even those that touch our life isn’t easy. It doesn’t matter what their age or how they died, the fact that they’re no longer with us is difficult to accept. We’re afraid to let go and if we acknowledge our feelings we may lose them, correct?

I’ve always been taught that it’s healthy to grieve, that it’s a process, something everyone does differently. I should acknowledge my feelings so I can say my goodbyes knowing that God has been there all along. What a comfort there is in trusting God to handle everything allowing me to rejoice in life and be comforted with fond memories of a life that has left this earth.

Romans 14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord, and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

Always Brightens My Day

Each day I look forward to a visit from a very dear friend… someone who always brightens my day with his smile and a story that he shares. My dear friend has lived a life that I will never truly understand. At a young age he served our country, has worked hard his entire life, he’s an honest man, and he’s thankful for all of God’s blessings.

Today my friend greeted me with his cheerful hello and asked if I was working hard, followed by a chuckle. My laugh preceded my daily answer of ‘don’t I always?’ This makes him laugh more as he steps into my office. I stop what I’m doing to spend some time with him. I never know what he’s going to share with me, it doesn’t matter; I’m always excited to hear what he has to say.

He asks if I have ever been to Belgium. I haven’t and inquire about his time there. As I listen, I try to picture him as a young soldier during World War II as he traveled to a foreign land to serve his country. Unfortunately for me, the only visual I can put together doesn’t truly depict what he experienced. I can see in his eyes that his memories are clear and he talks as if he was still there. He’s gracious enough to only share the good with me. On occasion he’ll talk about someone he served with and share a story or two about their time together.

Even though his visits are brief, I cherish each one as I thank God for bringing this amazing man into my life.

John 15:13 Great love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

What makes us happy?

If I was rich I would be happy, correct? If I had a rewarding career I would be happy, correct? If I had a nicer vehicle I would be happy, correct? And the list goes on and on…

What defines happiness? Have you thought about what really makes you happy?

The other day as I ran along the trail I was focused on the view. It was serene… the sunlight filtered through the trees and danced along the ground, the crunch of the fallen leaves beneath my shoes was hypnotic and with each breath crisp cool air tickled my nose. It was peaceful, just me and Mother Nature.

I began to think about my life, my family and how good I feel about myself. Without hesitation, I thanked God for His many blessings and realized how happy I am with what He provides and how He answers my prayers even when it’s not what I expected.

Psalms 37:3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shall you dwell in the land, and truly you shall be fed.

What frightens you?

Something frightens everyone… yes it’s true even if you’re not willing to admit it. People share their fear of heights, spiders or snakes, but how often will someone share their real fear, the fear that holds them back?

As a society we’re taught to not burden others with what really bothers us, what keeps us awake at night, what truly holds us back. We’re taught to only talk about the good in our life, what greatness He has blessed us with so that no one knows what weighs us down; after all, you wouldn’t want people to hear you complain.

So many times I settle in to write and I find myself distracted, I’m always thinking of something else that needs my attention. At times I ask myself if I’ll find time to finish my novel, and then in turn ask myself why I’m not.

The other day as I was running between the numerous weekend activities I found myself writing in my head. I effortlessly pieced together the next chapter of my novel, but yet the ideas that flowed in my mind never made it any further. As always, I told myself that if I had been in front of the computer or had my notebook with me then I would have penned this amazing chapter. Was I being truthful?

I pondered what holds me back from writing. My thoughts turned to the first story I wrote, I was a second grader. I wrote about an adventurous turtle complete with my artistic take on how this little turtle looked throughout the story. I tried to remember how the story formed or if I struggled with this second grade assignment; the only thing that came to mind was my teacher’s encouragement to continue writing, and so I have. Over time the variety of pieces I’ve written have benefited so many others. It’s always been easy to stand quietly in the background satisfied with how well my pieces turned out while others receive unearned accolades. And then I realized… I’m afraid to have this task SUCCEED!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had success at what I do; however, if I would truly complete my first novel and it finds it way into a publisher’s hand… LIFE CHANGING! Oh my, a frightening thought indeed.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.