Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Run Forest, Run!

Good Morning Everyone,
So the subject line probably serves to produce a picture in your mind. Unless you have lived in a different country, are opposed to movies, or otherwise were predisposed I'm guessing each of you has seen the movie Forest Gump. Well, if you have, you are quite familiar with this line "Run Forest, Run". For a moment take yourself to the part of the movie where Forest is playing football and they give him the ball and tell him to run. He zig zags up the field, past all the players, and doesn't stop at the end zone... he just keeps running.

Now imagine yourself at a flag football game coaching your 5 and 1/2 year old son and you tell him "Will, I want you to run through the sign at the end of the back of the end zone. Run as fast as you can. Don't stop. And, I'll see you at the sign." I didn't think he would take me literally, but sure enough. My son ran and ran. By the time he hit the end zone he was 10 to 15 yards ahead of the closest defender. And, he followed my direction. So much so that he ran into the sign! It was a very proud moment for this Dad and a life lesson on the innocence of allowing yourself to listen to instruction, trust, and let go. Often times we allow our minds to block our dreams. We focus on the rules, the structure, the impossibility rather than running through the sign at the back of the end zone. The analogy here for me is with what Our Heavenly Father often asks us to do. He gives us the course, provides the path, and is with us the whole way, but all too often we are stuck of why we can't instead of just how we can.

I share this with all of you this morning because I am the poster child for "why I can't" do what God asks of me. I make excuses, I ask way too many questions, I stress, I worry, I ponder, I process until I allow the opportunity to be great for God pass. I'm the kid on the flag football field that would say "Dad (God in this case), what if I'm not fast enough, what if they catch me from behind and grab my flag, that sure is far to run, Do you really think I'm good enough for this?". Some of that changed for me over the weekend. Stress had truly caught up with this Man of God. Worry consumed me and I reached a breaking point. I was physically exhausted and needed a boost. I needed a reminder. I got that reminder in the brink of time through my Son. By watching him trust, I gained insight on allowing myself to do the same.
God has given me great challenges in the past year, but more than that God has provided me great opportunity to show his love through my actions. I have stumbled, I have tripped, but I felt his arm on me leading me to my own sign at the back of the end zone. I'm not as good as I should or could be, but I'm good when I allow him to live through me. Today is a reminder for me to continue to do that as I type this to you. I hope you can gain a little insight from this non-dreaming conformist. If I can break the mold, so can you.

What is God asking you to do? What sign at the back of the end zone are you running toward? Will you trust him, not just on the surface, but trust him with your whole heart to get you there? Brothers and Sisters, this life is but a breath. I've often felt mine will be shorter than I would like so I will not stand idle. Please don't waste yours either. Let's not allow those questions and doubts freeze us... let's run toward what Our Risen Savior would have us do without abandon! Run (YOUR NAME HERE) Run! All in the name of Christ!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

Love and Peace to you... If I can serve any of you in anyway and at anytime don't hesitate to ask! I don't want my blinders to hold me back from being all I can for you!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Redefining Perfect

This morning on my run I was discussing one of my recent marathons with Kelly, one of the gals in my 5:30 running group. One of the points I made during the discussion was that although I've done 7 marathons, not one of them was completely perfect. However, they each were perfect in their own way. She agreed and said that is kind of the way life is at times. Such wisdom from my friend during a easy 4 mile run... Thanks Kelly!

The opening paragraph was to set the stage for a larger question: What is your perfect? Have you thought about possibly shifting your definition or do you keep it nicely tucked in place, protected from the outside world. Those of you that know me, really know me, know that I'm not extremely good at adapting to change. I need change to almost course through my veins and become a part of me before I embrace it. Yes, that's me... stubborn. Therefore my answer to the question above is I used to have a "perfect" and I reluctantly ... okay... almost kicking and screaming have decided "perfect" is what we make it, not how we define it.

I will explain a little further by sharing my perspective on my own life. I thought perfect was doing things right all the time, never failing, never falling. I thought perfect was not only running from your mistakes, but trying to bury them behind a wall that nobody could see through. I thought perfect was the smokescreen that many of us use to live our lives daily.

It took some time and a great amount of study to come to a different realization. I've learned that perfect is not only none of those things, but perfect is the exact opposite. Its falling, failing, making mistakes, mourning sadness, and allowing yourself to be raw. Perfect for me is knowing that I am broken and will continue to be, but I have a God that will not allow me to stay on the turf. He is the hand that no matter what I do or how often I do it will lift me up and allow me to succeed. What I'm really trying to say is that the only "Perfect" is in and through Christ. Here's a good definition of perfect for me today... Perfect for me today is having the challenges of two special needs children, having a crazy schedule that barely allows time for sleep let alone time for anything else; its living life the best I can with what I've been given and trying at all times to keep Christ in the center. Its not conventional, not practical, but its what God is directing me to do and in him I will not fail. Why can I say this? Read below:

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Is it time to shift your definition? Could be. Open your eyes, live it, embrace it... because you have "perfect" lives if you allow them to be so.

Love in Christ,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don't Fear the Wind or the Waves

"Oh what I would do to have the kind of strength it takes to get out of this boat I'm in onto the crashing waves. To step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is and he's reaching out his hand..." ~ Voice of Truth - Casting Crowns.

Do the song lyrics above stir any emotion for you? They do for me. Why you ask? Because believe it or not there was a time and probably still is when I would be afraid to step out on that much faith to grab the hand of Jesus. I so identify with Peter and his fear of "sinking"...

Matthew 14: 25-31

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

29"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

In that context, I will ask a rhetorical question: Why do we doubt? Is it because we don't believe, is it because we listen to the naysayers, or is it because we haven't seen enough miracles to truly have faith? I'm a fairly dense individual with regard to some things and am probably the reason they invented the rewind button, but can tell you that I get little reminders every now and then.

One of those came last Friday when we received a call from Henry's Help Me Grow Service Coordinator telling us that Henry had received funding to follow through with aggressive restraint occupational therapy to help him utilize his left arm. I'm sure all of you know this, but do to his Cerebral Palsy, Henry doesn't use his left arm for much. The therapy will force him to recognize its utility. Results with similar patients have been amazing so this is truly a prayer answered... especially since we never could have afforded it on our own. This in itself is amazing, but the timing brings chills.

Last week may have been one of the worst weeks of my life due to my own faults. It really had me "sinking" if you will. I was frustrated, impatient, and angry. Henry's therapy was a major load on my brain. We hadn't heard anything for quite some time and I thought it was lost in the shuffle. I allowed it and life to drive me down. Why?.... because I was trying to do it on my own. Just like Peter I saw the wind, became afraid, and cried out! And, just like Peter, Jesus reached out his hand to reaffirm my faith and to let me know that when I can't, he can.

I know I don't speak about little Henry near as much as I should, but can tell you that his entire life is a testament to faith and this recent funding breakthrough is just another example of an answered prayer. There was a time when we didn't know if he would walk or talk and to watch him run, talk, and jump around you now, you would be hard pressed to recognize he has CP. God is truly faithful. I pray that I can remember that more often in the future and I hope that he somehow uses me as an instrument to show others that its okay to be Peter as long as you recognize that our Savior will never let us sink... no matter how great the storm.

Thank you Lord Jesus for giving me the ability to discern the gift you have given me in my little boy and Thanks to all of you for the support you have given our family along the way!

Love in Christ,