Month: August 2016

open hands

With the close of the  2016 Olympics, I have my evenings back. More time to do whatever I did before the athletes paraded into my life.  No more late nights in the Olympic Zone and counting medals. This geography geek is putting her map away. FYI: Bhutan is in South Asia and has never won any medals.

I enjoyed learning tidbits about little known countries, like Burundi. Mentioned by ABC News as one of the countries with snazzy outfits, Burundi (FYI: south of Rwanda in Africa) entered the arena with each athlete wearing a traditional African attire featuring animal prints and carrying a wooden staff. They completed their look with neon  Nike shoes, combining traditional with modern. The 9 Burundi athletes returned with one medal, a nod for Best Looks, and tons of country pride.IMG_9781

Choosing to sacrifice my sleep time, I enjoyed women’s beach volleyball.  Looking beyond their ridiculously tiny uniforms, I was amazed by their athleticism on display in the big sandbox.

I noticed many of the female volleyball players stood waiting to receive a serve with open hands, palms up. The American, April ‘the Boss’ Ross would take her stance with open hands, palms up, and wiggle her fingers too. She was ready and waiting for whatever was coming her way.IMG_9780

 

Do I come before God with open hands, palms up, and fingers wiggling? Does my Father see me ready and willing to do His work? Does my stance convey the message, I am here and I am ready to be used by You?

Too often, I fear God sees my hands, tightly closed, like fists.  He sees me clinging to things that don’t really belong to me. I, like the selfish seagulls in the movie, Finding Nemo, declare to God, “Mine. Mine. Mine.” I foolishly and arrogantly believe all I have is mine. I am so wrong.

My family, my belongings, my life, my next breath: all from God. Everyone and everything in my life represent the blessings and perfect gifts from a loving Father.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Only open hands are ready to receive all the blessings and perfect gifts from a loving Father.  Only open hands can be used by Him to give and receive blessings. Only open hands can embrace a loved one and can reach down to pull up the fallen.  Only open hands can serve another. Only open hands can clap in praise and wipe away tears.

The open hand is blessed, for it gives in abundance as it receives. ~ Biddy Mason.

 Only open hands are ready to return a wicked volleyball serve as the beach volleyball players demonstrated.

What can I do with open hands? When offered in love,  everything!

Then, with a wink in His eye, I will hear my Heavenly Father say, “Mine.”

 

 

 

I didn’t know

Dear God,

I didn’t know the new boy in my eighth grade science class was someone very special.

I didn’t know IMG_9732 in tenth grade he would become more interesting to me.

I didn’t know our separate college years would deepen our bond.

I didn’t know there was a ring hidden in the drawer one December night.

I didn’t know a wedding could be planned in six weeks.

I didn’t know our first married year apart would strengthen our marriage.

I didn’t know 2 amazing blessings would result in this union.

I didn’t know loved ones would be gone too soon.

I didn’t know the tough challenges we would walk through.

I didn’t know family and friends would be such valued treasures.

I didn’t know daughters could also be dear friends.

I didn’t know the adventures ahead of us.

I didn’t know 2 wonderful sons would join our family.

I didn’t know we would be blessed to be involved in children’s lives around the world.

I didn’t know the path we would walk.

I didn’t know I would say ‘I do’ 33 years ago today.

But You did.

I say thank you with all that I am.

Krista

back stories

For the remaining 14 nights, you will find me in front of a TV.  Drawn by the lure of  Olympic-size competition, I will arrive with  snacks to watch toned and muscular bodies in action. With regular season football still weeks away, I will receive my sports fix via the race for medals. I will be mesmerized by superhuman feats of athleticism on display. Why does anyone even attempt to do back flips on a 4-inch wide beam? 

Focus. Toughness. Strength. Perseverance, Determination. Endurance. Resilience.

All show up every night; all exhibited in a wide array of colorful uniforms.

What makes a  person work so hard and practice so long while striving for perfection? Each athlete has an overachieving, internal drive force that keeps me tuning in for more.

During the opening ceremony, one commentator made an insightful comment. He said that for many of the athletes this single event of entering the arena to thundering applause and celebration was their Olympics. Most would not make it through preliminaries, most would not achieve a personal record, and most would certainly return home empty-handed. So before the cauldron was lit, most had achieved all they possibly would in the Olympics.

In addition to the drama and cheers,  I enjoy learning about the individual. Tell me about the person. I am curious about their journey. Their back story doesn’t need to focus on whether they set a personal record  or awarded a medal. Yes, I will see what they are capable of but who are they and what is their back story?   What did they and their family endure to arrive on this world stage? What did they sacrifice and was it worth it?

Terrorism, in its ugly form, has touched many people and nations. Freedom to live, work, practice, and train have been infringed upon. Yes, each athlete has a back story; we just aren’t privy to all of them. Occasionally, Bob Costas may enlighten us with a human interest story but with 11,000 + athletes competing in these  Olympics, there are  11,000 + back stories.

Tell me more about Laura Graves, the hairdresser from Boston. What motivates a hairdresser to purchase a horse that she saw on a sales video?  Why did she nickname him Diddy?  How did their journey unfold in Florida where they train in hopes of an equestrian medal? Curious stuff.

By telling me their back stories, these media-inflated gods and goddesses become more real and human. They are not to be worshipped, but they can be admired.  By telling me their back stories,  I hear their struggles and I don’t feel so alone in mine.

I was dialed in on night 3, when David Boudia and partner, Steele Johnson,  were competing in the 10-meter platform synchronized diving competition. One could say that Boudin’s back story is one of drugs, alcohol, and the contemplation of suicide. That is all true. But the climax to any good story is the most exciting part. It is when the conflict of the plot is resolved. That occurred when David accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior.  The red  blood flowed from the cross and covered all of David’s back story. His life was never the same.

At the end of the night, David and Steele  celebrated their silver medal performance. With a microphone in front of them and the world listening, David put his back story front and center. On national TV, he told the world his identity is in Christ alone. He is more than a medal. David and Steele both openly shared  whose they are.

It’s totally freeing when I stay in tune with scripture. I don’t have to worry if I miss a dive. I go into competition and it’s like, ‘Praise God no matter what.’ If I do well, that’s awesome. I praise Him. If I don’t do well, praise Him even more. Competition looks way different now.           ~ David Boudia

When the cauldron is snuffed out and the Olympics rings go dark, the athletes will travel home.  Hopefully, they will carry David’s back story with them. Perhaps they will pause to consider their own identity, whether they have a medal around their neck or not.

Now when David stares down a dive from 10 meters high, he knows the climax to his back story carried him there.

That is all he needs to know.

Don’t store up treasures here on earth where they can erode away or may be stolen. Store them in heaven where they will never lose their value and are safe from thieves. If your profits are in Heaven, your heart will be there too. Matthew 6:19-21

Let’s Walk Worthy!