Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Be careful what you ask for

I went to a retreat this past weekend with five other girls from my church in Fort Payne, Alabama.  It was in the mountains and there was rock climbing and rapelling and canoeing and zip lines and night hikes.  We had a worship service in a cave.  I have absolutely no words to describe it.  To hear 100 women singing with the natural acoustics provided by the cave....It is the closest thing I can imagine of what a choir of angels must sound like.

(This band is called Owing Adam.  They have amazing talent)

Women spoke to our group of women about women's issues.  One of the speakers was talking about how hectic our lives are (can I get an AMEN?).  She said that finally she had prayed that the Lord would just clear her schedule.  I thought --- that is the most ingenious thing that I had ever heard!  WHY haven't I ever thought of that?  It was such a weight lifted.  It was a breath of fresh air.  YES!  A prayer that was the answer to my prayers!

With that being said, we knew that August to December was going to be brutal in our house.  And so it is.  We walk around in a daze from the blur of our days/weeks.  We are both exhausted.  Papa is so exhausted he is not only walking around in a daze but doing it with the sniffles, so I spiked our good southern sweet tea with echinacea and elderberry and astralgus root.  Two gallons of immune boosting goodness so hopefully he will get to feeling better and to keep the rest of us from falling like dominoes.  Homecoming, tests, sniffles, hay, cheer practice, church, work, practice for festivals, football games, iffy heating element in the dryer, internet people coming on Friday, loading horses and tack for pony rides for a little boy's birthday on Friday.  Saturday is the opening day of bow season.  Papa will be hunting and then in the hay field.  I will be cheering for my cheerleader from 11-12.  Singing at a festival from 1-2:30.  Then we will be driving an hour away to watch our boy march at halftime at his football game because it is the only Saturday game he has and the only one Papa will get to see because he has class on Thursday night. 

Lord.......clear my schedule.

I have been repeating that prayer over and over and over and over.  So, guess what happened?  My car died.  As in, I am borrowing a vehicle to get back and forth to work.  DIED.  (We suspect it is the alternator.)  I guess when I asked for my schedule to be cleared, I should have been more specific. Instead, I just laughed and said, "Well, that's one sure fire way to do it."

Never doubt the Lord's sense of humor and timing.



Monday, September 12, 2011


I have posted several times about how crazy hectic our schedule is. With everything going on, Papa and I are on the go most of the time from 5:00 a.m. until 11:00 ish p.m. every day, and we stay exhausted. With that being said... 

I play in the church band with the director of our AWANA program.  It just so happened one Sunday that the AWANA meeting was right after our band practice.  He asked if I was going to the meeting and I told him that really didn't have any plans to.  

This is what was going through my head - I work every day, take classes two nights a week, play in the church band, go to cheer practice and football games, have to keep up with household chores, laundry, breakfast, lunch, supper, do homework, write papers... How in the WORLD could I possibly squeeze anything else into my schedule?  For real!

He said to me - "You have got to be here anyway...Come on, we will find somewhere for you."  UGH.  Okay, so I go to the dang meeting.  I am assigned to the TNT group.  3rd and 4th graders.  The biggest group.... with LOTS of rowdy boys, not to mention my daughter and all of her friends.  Now mind you, I am rather fond of these kids, but I am immediately panic ridden.  Sheesh.  I am internally whining.....why didn't I just ask to be put with the sweet little babies or something?

In the days leading up to this past Sunday....I have had this overwhelming sense of dread.  WHY am I doing this?  I don't want to teach AWANA.  I sing. I play guitar.  That is what I do.  That is my gift and contribution.  I do not and repeat do NOT teach 3rd and 4th graders.  We have plenty of teachers in our church.  That is what they do.  Not me..... you get the idea, right?

Last night we rounded up our 28 kids (more are sure to come, it was just the opening ceremonies last night).  I was staring at the faces of all these children thinking, "What have I done?  I must be out of my mind."  Then one of the other teachers tells the children that we are going to divide them up into classes.

What happened next shook me to the core of my very being.

Almost every single child in that room started yelling that they wanted to be in my class.  To the point that I felt really bad for the people who actually willingly signed up to teach these kids.  It was almost pandemonium.  We finally got them settled down and then they started chanting, "Geee-na!  Geee-na!  Geee-na!"  My face was flushed.  I was embarrassed. I felt ashamed.  I felt like I just wanted to weep in the middle of the class.

Have you ever had a moment where you knew right on the spot that you were being taught a lesson in humility and that the Lord was quite obviously putting you in your place?  As I choked back tears I made some lame joke about them thinking that I was going to be bringing them food every week or something.  I was then paired up with a lady from my Sunday School class, and we were given a class of ten girls, my daughter included.

I had argued with myself.  I tried to plead my case to the AWANA director.  I tried to reason with God.  I don't want to. I don't have time to.  I am not your guy.  Excuse after lame excuse and for what?  A room full of excited kids that wanted me to be their teacher.  A room full of children who showed me that I was where I was supposed to be, voluntarily or not.  I don't think I have ever had another in-your-face type experience of that magnitude.  Last night was not the 'still small voice' that we are told to listen for.  Last night it was LOUD and clear.

I had just told the AWANA director yesterday morning (concerning a completely different situation) that the Will of God was like a runaway freight train and our options are #1 - jump on and ride  #2 - get run slap over or #3 - get left behind..... and there was absolutely nothing that could be done to stop it.

I think I will jump on and ride.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Full Circle

It seems like just yesterday I was marching in my first field show in college.  I remember the smell and feel of the thick, soft, freshly cut and lined grass. I remember all the hours spent practicing and all the sweat and sunburn.  I remember the excitement and anticipation of lining up to take the field with my smile plastered to my face and my hair tightly braided in my sparkling uniform while the air was thick with the smell of grilled hamburgers and popcorn.

It also seems like just yesterday I cried with a heavy heart and then prayed, prayed and prayed for a tiny, sick, two pound baby in the NICU that God let me keep here with me and love for all these years.

Last night I found myself on that same exact field.  For the very first field show.  And I could smell the hamburgers and popcorn.  And excitement was in the air with the anticipation of the first show.  The first game.  The band lined up to march onto the field.  There were sparkly uniforms and plastered smiles.  Only that excited kid wasn't me this time.  It was MY excited kid. And this time I was a spectator watching from the stands.   And I was so excited for him.  And proud.

My my how things come around full circle. 

I sure do love that kid.

My cup runneth over.

~~ Gena