WOW!!! August 8th!! My heart is racing!
Why is my heart racing on August 8th? My oldest son started Jr High today! My daughter started 4th grade today! My youngest child started 1st grade today!
Perspective is an interesting thing, isn't it?
My oldest son started Jr High...I remember Jr High! It was where social classes seemed to begin dividing up, where my skin started changing and a new daily goal emerged - to catch the attention of the cute boy. It was where I became more aware of my wardrobe and my hair, who noticed me and why, was I in the cool-crowd or the not-so-cool crowd? Was I gonna forget my locker combo? Would I be late for class? Would I forget something in class and look or feel like an idiot? Will I keep making good grades? ... WAIT! I'm old enough to have a child in Jr High?! ;)
4th grad - LEAP testing!! Changing classes for main subjects, not just library or art or music. Higher learning and more expectation. No older brother at the school now - she's the oldest there. The challenge of making her own imprint instead of trying to walk in her big brother's BIG footprints that he left at the school. Living up to teacher's expectations of her because of who her brother is. Making a name for herself not just being known as his little sister. Leading, not just following. Continuing to set an example for her little brother. I am the middle child - and oh the pressures I put on myself as the oldest daughter and middle child. While many of those pressures pushed me to excel, will she excel or withdraw? She and I are very different. When does the identity in children begin to get questioned, for little girls in particular?
1st grade! He's the youngest in our family, but will be one of the older kids in his class. Will he be a leader? He gets frustrated so often when he can't do something he think he should be able to do well. Will he get frustrated as he's learning? Will he quit? Will he be nice to the other kids and make friends? Will he be shy in class? Will he be too talkative trying to make others laugh?
It's funny to think about the challenges I remember experiencing myself, as well as the ones I now anticipate for my kids. It's also very interesting to see that some of those challenges remain similar all thru life. Social classes, keeping the eye of my husband, looking nice, being "cool," forgetting important details, being late, saying something that makes me look like an idiot, not knowing something I should know, following in others' footsteps, living up to expectations, leading, personal pressures, excelling at whatever I do, setting an example with my life, being younger than some and older than some, being frustrated as I continue to learn, making friends, quitting ...
Can you relate to any of this right now in your life? I remember hearing something about relationships when I was younger that stuck with me. It may be puppy love, but it's real to the puppy. These issues we face at different times in our lives are so similar and yet so different. To a 7th grader, at a new school, with a new schedule, and new friends, it may be simply daunting to think about forgetting your locker combination or worse, remembering it and not being able to make it work. As an adult, we look at it and say - just go ask a teacher for help. That need for help might represent something to that 7th grader that could possibly dent his self-confidence. How does it make me feel when I have to ask for help? Does it "dent" my self-confidence? Do I let that lack of knowledge or know-how affect how I see myself? What about social expectations? Fitting in, looking just right, comparing oneself to others, being younger, being older... what about all that? Does aging suddenly solve those issues? I would gently say - HECK NO! I've dealt more with those things as I've aged than ever before.
Perspective - You've probably heard that life is not about the destination, but rather about the journey. I can buy into that! If that's the case, then maybe we should all try to keep our lives in perspective. The issues we face today and the challenges we face today ARE VERY REAL. The issues our children face are VERY REAL to them. The issues our neighbor faces or the child we teach, or the family we come across at Chic-fil-A are VERY REAL. We shouldn't diminish them because we can't fully relate to them, or because we now feel OUR issues are bigger than theirs or worse or whatever. Have some compassion on others in this life. Life isn't always about how YOU are affected by something else but it CAN be about how you can affect someone else - both positively and negatively. Take your eyes off of your issues to help someone else thru theirs.
And, when it comes to your own issues, find some friends you can be real with, those you can share your challenges with. Someone who can help talk you thru some of your concerns. Friends who can remind you "this too shall pass." Your issues and challenges are real right now, but the issues won't be there forever. And they may not all be as big or bad as you think right now. Maybe there's something else at work in your life. Maybe there's a reason something is happening. Or maybe despite something bad happening, something good can still happen out of it.
Jonathan and I have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of weeks helping our oldest son prepare for his newest adventure. We've asked all 3 kids questions about how they feel, what they are nervous or concerned about, what questions they have and so forth. The more we talk, the more we prepare together, the more we explore, the better they feel about starting the new school year. I'm still nervous for them, but they feel better. :)
So, if your heart is racing about something...
ENGAGE! Don't run away, don't diminish, don't crumble - ENGAGE! Engage in the lives of others. LISTEN to their story - they have one to tell. Sometimes their stories can actually help you thru yours.
HAVE COMPASSION! Recognize the issues in others' lives are VERY real - help them when you can! Take time for others.
SHARE! Share your story, share your faith, share your experiences. Take a risk - try to have a bigger perspective about this life and who's in it! Try to discover something new about your journey and what you might be challenged to do thru it. :)
thanks for being you ...
Many of you may remember that I used Wilma Rudolph as an example in the Equip and Engage swapshop. For those of you reading the blog that were unable to attend Strengthening Her Endurance, Wilma faced many challenges growing up, one of which was polio. Through her parents’ faithful care and her sheer determination, Wilma was able to walk and then, of course, run. She became known as “The Fastest Woman in the World." She is a role model to all that if you let challenges strengthen you, you can do unbelievable things.
A friend of mine knew that I was going to talk about Wilma and she wanted to know if Wilma was a Christian. She searched online and found this devotion by Wilma in a book called “The Goal and Glory." It has many devotions by famous athletes but I wanted to share the one from Wilma with you. Enjoy!
Wilma Rudolph — Guidance
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful.
The Lord preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling . . . .
~ Psalm 116:5-8
I found out comparatively early in life that it takes a lot of trying to get anything worthwhile accomplished.
When I was only fifteen, I went to Melbourne, Australia, to participate in the Olympics. It wasn't publicized at the time and it was just as well. I had been lazy in practice and in running too. I simply had not done my best. After the Melbourne meet, I had plenty of time to think about my attitude. I came to realize that you have to give your best if you want to win.
So when I went to Rome for the 1960 Olympics, I had already made that truth a part of my life. I had worked hard in preparation. I was in top condition and in the right frame of mind for the events to come.
During our time in Rome my coach and the members of our team got together for prayer from time to time. We felt that with God's help and with each of us doing his best, we could win. In a situation like this, it is a real temptation to pray to win. But we all asked God only to help us do our best. I personally felt that I had let my coach and teammates down in Melbourne. Now I wanted to win and do my best for them.
I asked God for special guidance in the opening event, the 100 meters. I ran hard and won. Later I paused and thanked Him for His being with me. My teammates and I came away with a record number of gold medals. But without God's help and His will in my life, I might have repeated my failure at Melbourne.
I feel I owe God a great deal for what He has done in all of my life. When I was about a year old, I contracted polio. The doctors told my mother that I would never walk. For over three years I made trips to the hospital for treatment and mother would get the same discouraging prediction. But my mother had great faith. Her faith told her to work with me and that with God's help, something could be done.
She worked with me daily, never giving up hope that I could be as normal as any other child. She took me and my brothers and sisters to church every Sunday. Every night we had family devotions. She instilled in all of us the love of God and the importance of giving Him our lives. If it hadn't been for my mother's efforts, I would never have walked, much less competed in the Olympics.
I don't know right now just what my plans are for future events. But I am running and keeping in condition every day. I don't want to do anything less than my best when I try. That day in Melbourne taught me that.
I've learned something else too. A Christian athlete is not a person who practices Christianity only on the track or playing field. God goes with me wherever I go, whether to the Olympics or to class or a party. He guides all of my life, day by day. He is in charge of my future.
There is nothing as important as having God close to you to guide and direct. Win or lose, I want to do His will always.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your mercy and loving kindness. I thank You for hearing and answering prayer, for giving direction to our lives and for standing by patiently as we learn to know Your love. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Wilma Rudolph was an All-American track star at Tennessee A & I College and an Olympic and World track champion. She went on to become a teacher in Tennessee.
I don’t know about you, but it seems I’ve been hearing the words "journey" and "path" a lot lately. There are all sorts of paths that we can take. I guess it is even safe to say we are all on a journey of some type. I think the biggest obstacle we can face on our journey is the choice to take that first step. Sometimes it is easy to take the first step. Journeys like college, marriage and parenthood are pleasure trips compared to the journey of weight loss, divorce, and the empty nest. No matter what path we are one we have someone that cheers us on. God calls us off the sidelines, gives us the much needed pep talk and pushes us to the starting line. He does everything possible to equip us, but we must choose to take that first step.
All it takes is one step. God’s path for you is filled with good things. Jeremiah 42:3 says “show me the way in which I should walk and the thing I should do.” He will show you and if you are careful to follow where he guides you, He will not let you off the path. Trust God to provide the strong shoes. Once you take that first step God promises he will lead you and guide you.
Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way.”
Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left."
In the Equip and Engage swap-shop , we learned that we are always equipped for the path we are on. You will be equipped with exactly what you need, not what someone else will need. Your path is YOUR path; it is as unique as you are.
Step on your path with purpose!
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