Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Transparent musings

I didn't think it would be this hard. 300 people at $25.00 a month is all it would take. Surely, folks can appreciate that ministry takes money. That's less than buying one cup of cheap (super cheap) coffee a day, one over-sized candy bar in the check- out line of Wal-mart fifteen times a month, or a $5.00 meal Dairy Queen meal special just a little over once a week. Seems to me many of us (including me), if we're not careful, can mindlessly blow twenty-five dollar bills pretty easily--and never really miss it. So theoretically, if it requires just 300 people to promise a relatively modest commitment per month, why is my upcoming FCA ministry not yet funded?

Now, please don't get me wrong. I am not complaining nor am I trying to have a pity-party, woe is
me session. Sixty-five individuals, families, or businesses have joined this team that is scheduled to take on the challenge of ministry to women coaches and their teams. Some of those sixty-five have given selflessly and sacrificially, being in ministry themselves. Every amount given, large or small, is accepted with humility and a pledge to use the funds with all integrity. I fully understand that of the countless worthy fund-needing ministries out there, my FCA ministry is but another.

I am absolutely convinced that God has led me to this point. And, if God is really in this, then He has already made it possible. At the moment, I just can't fathom how. I suppose it's like playing a huge scavenger hunt game with my Father, doing what I can to find the chosen ones who are temporarily holding onto the ministry-appointed funds for safe-keeping.

But it's hard. It's not natural for me to ask people to support my work as a missionary atop a sports-platform. I've studied the biblical examples and find support of missionaries a viable means to an end. I understood this reality even as a little girl. I gladly gave part of my own baby-sitting tithe to missionaries that spent time with our family while traveling on furlough. I still give. I'm comfortable with that. I like doing that. I've just never had to ask others to do this for me.

I fear that in the asking, people will see me ask for my needs before they clearly identify the needs of the coaches and athletes I wish to help. I'm afraid I will inadvertently make the message about me rather than God's work. I don't want that to happen. The goal of ministry is "to present to athletes and coaches, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church."  The values taught are integrity, serving, teamwork, and excellence. All great stuff and worthy of funding.

My simple desire is to be the hands and feet of those busy doing something else God-appointed. But this is the deal: Long ago God wired me to be passionate about athletics and the lessons begging to be learned. He gave me a heart for coaches and the influence they can be to their teams. He installed in me a deep desire to challenge, motivate, and inspire women, young and old, athlete and not, toward a mature faith walk. I must pursue this.

I'll be transparent. I'm a bit discouraged. $40,000 stands between now and the level that allows me freedom to begin focused ministry. I feel like I'm running out of friends and acquaintances to ask to join with me (although I am enjoying the widening ripples of meeting friends of friends of friends). In some cases, folks who said they would help have gone silent. I hesitate to make too many follow-up calls, not wanting to be pest-like or squashed outright like a bug. I wish I was independently wealthy. Having unlimited funds would allow me to jump right into the work of ministry. But wait. Maybe that self-reliance would be more of the problem than a solution.

Over lunch a friend matter-of-factly stated, "I'm glad you have to raise support. It keeps you on
your knees." I guess she's right. To leave salary behind and look to ministry ahead is a faith-leap right off the proverbial cliff. Once over the edge, there is nothing I can do to avoid hitting the rocks below. I don't like free-fall and the deafening roar created by the wind whizzing by my ears. Nevertheless, I know God can (and will) make the catch and plunk me back on solid ground. It's just a matter of His timing, not the deadline I set for August 1.

Bottom line? I need courage to believe, faith to continue, trust to experience God's faithfulness. Dare I think the next person with whom I share the vision could be the miracle I've been praying for? Or will I need to wait and see an army of teammates step to the line? Only God's timing will tell.

If you are interested in learning more about the journey that brought me to full-time ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, feel free to read more: For such a time as this, Run the straights. Appreciate the curves The clock is ticking.. Linked by two X's Let go!

If you would like to be one big miracle or one of many soldiers, it's easy to set up automatic giving by going to this link or sending in a blank, voided check along with your request to Central & Southwest VA FCA ● PO Box 662 ● Forest, VA 24551. (While payment by credit card is welcomed, a bank draw is financially more prudent as no fees are taken against the payment amount.)




Thank you for your commitments to this ministry.



I pledge to you my earnest service and integrity in ministry for the glory of God.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Birthday mishap revisited

Years ago but on this day we were sitting in our lawn chairs at “church.” At the time, our start-up fellowship was meeting in a three-car garage, worshiping without the trappings of a formal sanctuary. Our church had just suffered a split and I was preoccupied with a bad work situation. I didn’t have it together.

Sitting in that hot garage, I glanced over at Seth. To my surprise, tears streamed down his face. To coin a phrase, “Oh dear, what could the matter be?” The matter was this: we had forgotten Seth’s eleventh birthday. The young boy was distraught. He could not be consoled regardless of heart-felt apologies. No “Happy Birthday” upon rising, no special breakfast, no unique gifts. It was just a lot of nothing.

Seth eventually got over his disappointment and to this day, it is one of our long-standing family jokes. So, as the sun set last night, I made sure to get in the first birthday greeting in anticipation of today. I certainly did not want him to think I could forget his birthday. . .again! On the way home from work, I made a stop to pick up some plaid shorts as a gift. I was relieved he liked them; he can be pretty picky. Whew. Another birthday without incident.

Kids are wonderful. Each has their unique personality, sense of humor, strengths and weaknesses. Seth has been “busy” since conception. In utero, he made like a chicken trying to peck his way out. As an infant he refused to sleep longer than twenty minutes at a time and was a front-runner to be a poster child for colic.

After him, no more kids for me. Maybe Leah thought the same thing after Judah’s birth. Perhaps he was difficult as well. “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘This time I will praise the LORD’. . . Then she stopped having children” (Genesis 29:35).

At four, Seth rode his motorcycle through the woods as fast as he could, standing on the seat like a pipsqueak Evil Kinevil. In school, he was the center of attention. And now, as a young man of seventeen, he is an outgoing, know-no-stranger kind of guy, full of wanderlust and enthusiasm. His camera is a constant companion.

I thank God for Seth. He’s a special kind of kid.

“and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, "God has granted me another child.” (Genesis 4:25)


Daily challenge: Little kids are like kittens: cute and easy to love. But don’t be blind to the beauty in your big kids.


Postscript: Today Seth turns 23. I did not forget his birthday.

Adapted from the July 14th selection in "Pace Yourself: 366 Devotions from the Daily Grind"

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Let go!

Let go! Throw your head back and lift with your legs at the top of the arc.”


Hannah, spry and fearless, did as instructed when launched from the tiny perch cut into the nearly vertical cliff. Secure in her climbing harness and hooked onto the rope, she flipped upside down, soaring over the jungled canyon one hundred feet below. She was gleeful despite the fact she held onto nothing. Legs extended, arms outstretched, peering at the ground as it rushed beneath her, she flew falcon-like through the air. Her teammates watched from the steep hillside, amazed at her prowess, agility, and strength. When Hannah dismounted, it was with bubbling-over joy.

And then came JoAnna. This was not her first trip along the zip line course. However, when it came to the swing in the dense Costa Rican jungle, she denied herself the experience on each of her prior adventures. Only now, surrounded by a team of young women urging her on, did she relent. She survived her fright and flight, though not with the unfettered style and grace of Hannah. JoAnna held on tight, knuckles white and fingers cramping. When JoAnna dismounted, it was only with great relief.

Both these women started the challenge with the same tools: secured, quadruple-checked harnesses. Both these women had the same outcome: survival with no injury. But what about their perception of experience? Hannah relished leaving the cliff. She embraced letting go. She sought the exhilaration tumbling through the air brought her. JoAnna, on the other hand, let the fear deprive her of flightful fancy. She chose not to trust the safety measures and allow herself complete joy.

God sometimes asks us to take a flying leap. Though He promises His control, and despite the assurance of safety, we refuse to let go. Like JoAnna, we needlessly clutch our own insecurities, missing the joy of the journey.

God, give me the courage to let go, trusting you completely. Let me feel safe in your love and grant me joy.

“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.”
Proverbs 11:18 (NIV)