Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Running Bases

James is only eight ... far from the Big Leagues and seemingly just as far from T-Ball days. He's not the quickest player on the team. So, he has to make up for that in other areas.
Running the bases is hard to learn. Believe it or not ... there's a system to the game. A system to making each play and being where you need to be at just the right moment.
But, it's also a game of chance. At least, that's the way I see it from my seat on the bleachers. As I watch the kids bat, run to first, take second, steal third and slide into home plate ... I see it as chance. Where will the ball be hit ... how hard, how far, how high ... and, who will be waiting there to catch it, field it and through it in to the bases?
Last week, James was on 2nd base ... watching the batter on home plate. That's what the players have been taught. And, for the most part, they follow that guidance. Watch the batter, as soon as metal and ball meet ... RUN! Then, keep your eyes on the base coach. The base coach tells you where to go ... stop on the plate or round it and keep on RUNNING! James did that ... waited, ran ... and then, looked back. He looked back at second base. He was looking for safety. The ball was hit right down the middle of 2nd and 3rd base. James had to leave 2nd so the next runner could move up but he couldn't make it to 3rd ... not when the ball was right there and the baseman was waiting to tag him out. So, he looked back and turned around ... trying to find a way around the baseman holding the ball. No luck, he was out.
After the inning, James coach gave him some pointers ... reminded James of their practice and to not look back.
Don't. Look. Back.
Sometimes, I feel like James did in that moment. Stuck between bases. I want to move forward. I want to look directly into the eyes of the Base Coach and RUN ... I want to know what it feels like to slide safely into home plate ... but, something holds me back. Leaving the safety of the base I'm on, that's a little scary. I step off the base and run forward but then I start to worry. So, I look back. Instead of trusting the Base Coach, I let my doubts and fears steal bases in my heart ... in my life. I'm sure there have been times when I've missed out on blessings and maybe even some home runs ... all because of my fears.
What about you ... do you look back?
Philippians 3:14 "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

This post is from a very dear friend. When she shared this with me, I knew immediately that I needed to share it here on my blog.

The story I have for you is from this last weekend. I got one of those realizations that you often talk about. I was feeding my granddaughter a jar of green beans. We were not at her house so we did not have a highchair, we were just sitting on the floor where she usually does very well at being still while being fed. There was too much activity in the living room where we were sitting. Other people and a dog, especially the dog! So her attention was not focused on me (or rather the food!). She kept turning her head at the moment I was trying to put the food in her mouth and getting green beans all over her face. She was making a mess!

When I would wipe her face she would get so mad! I looked at my 9 month old granddaughter and said, “If you would quit looking away from me and pay attention, you would not be making such a mess of yourself!” no sooner than it was out of my mouth that I realized that God has told me the very same thing.

A few years ago, one of my more favorite parts of scripture is where Jesus walks on water, especially when Jesus tells Peter to come out to him. Peter is doing great until he sees the wind and the waves. He took his eyes off of Jesus and started to sink into the water. Peter cries out and “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith" he said "Why did you doubt?"

So if keep your eyes on Jesus…you will not make a mess of yourself! Just remember if you do look away from him, cry out to him and his hand will be there to catch you…immediately!

Matthew 14:25-31 "During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

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

"Come," he said.

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

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

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Storm

I watched from the kitchen window as a portion of my childhood split and fell.
The storm came from a seeming nowhere. It was Friday night, we had just been at the ballpark and enjoyed a game played by my eight year old son. The sky had been overcast but nothing to suggest a storm with 70 mile per hour winds was heading our way.
By the time we got into the house, sprinkles were scattering dry deck boards. Soon after, the winds came ... blowing everything out of place.
Moments later, hail made its precense known on my roof. And then ... the lightening. I'm not usually unsettled by storms. Most of them come and go leaving only a few tree branches here or there. This one ... it was different.
The massive oak tree in our front yard ... the one that shades my deck in the August heat and shelters our home from December winds ... it split in half. A mighty wind tore it apart and left a mess in my front yard. I watched it ... the wind tearing apart what I love. That tree was planted by my ancestors. It's given shade and comfort to generations of our family. Now ... now, it's not the same. This one half still standing, it doesn't look right all by itself. It's beautiful, large and healthy ... but it needs the other half to be a whole. The insurance adjustor came and left ... leaving the figures ... what is my tree worth and how much will it cost to remove ... to clean up what's left ... $150. The adjustor asked if I had any questions ... questions ... no, I'm just mad about my tree.
You can't put a price tag on shelter, shade, comfort ... history.
That's not all we lost this weekend. Saturday, a car accident took the earthly life of someone we hold very close. Theda ... a friend of our family and a portion of my childhood passed from here and into the sweet hereafter. There isn't enough space in a small blog to write all the moments she and her family touched. I knew her from church, when I was a little girl. Theda and her husband, Bob, were friends of my parents. We spent time at their home ... my sister and me ... dancing to Donnie and Marie Osmond records, sleeping on the "hide-a-bed" and eating popcorn.
Theda played piano on the day I was married. She and Bob came to my home and rocked my babies when they were newborns. Just this past February, I was ill and Theda brought supper.
And, now there is Bob. One half ... still beautiful and special but not the same. I feel as if the Dawes' were torn apart ... one fallen and the other remains. Just like Theda, Bob is a portion of my childhood. They can not be replaced. Nothing can make the empty space seem whole.
I know life is not about waiting for the storm to pass ... but, learning to dance in the rain. Over the past week, I feel like I have been waiting for a storm to pass. I can't imagine how her family is living through this storm.
I should have been dancing in the rain. Remembering all the special times shared with Bob and Theda .... their children ... all the special people from my childhood.
These are the reasons I am dancing in the rain ...
Donnie and Marie Osmond records playing while my sister and I danced on the rug in Bob and Theda's kitchen.
Slumber parties on my parents bed, watching The Wizard of Oz with Brenda and Alecia Peas.
Sunrise Easter Service at the Methodist church, all our friends watching in the dawning sunlight.
And there are so many more.
Why are you dancing in the rain?
1 King 19:11-12 "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper."