Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Things Change

If you live in the northwest, you have probably heard the saying that if you don't like the weather, just hang around a bit and it will change!  The web-footed ducks here in Oregon definitely keep winter clothes around all year and some keep the shorts and flip flops going all winter.  One must be prepared for all weather at all times because it changes!

That's what I want to talk about today....that things change. 

Not many people know that Troy Aikmen, former quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, wrote a kids book called Things Change.

As a young woman I was very taken with Troy Aikmen of the Dallas Cowboys.  While on a first trip to NYC, he was the guest at the Regis and Kathie Lee show.  I actually got to see him but my efforts to get an autograph or photo were thwarted by my excitement of seeing him.  As I jumped up and down and waved at my friends over at the coffee shop across the street, I completely missed my opportunity for any interaction!  Later in the show Troy went out into the closed off street to pass the football with Regis.  The staff came hurrying back into the studio saying they had to throw Troy into the closest cab as the crowd outside mobbed him!  (Personally, I understood their emotion.)

Anyway, that book has some very poignant messages in it, not just for kids but for all of us.  For example:  Did you know that Troy Aikman was born with club feet?  He had to wear casts on his feet and legs for the first couple of years of his life, having them changed at intervals to allow for growth spurts.

He also was not a football player but a baseball player.  He had been raised in Oklahoma and played baseball, but something caused his family to move during that critical middle school period, and when they moved, the focus was all about football.  The stress of making new friends and changing your primary sport at that age, well, you can only imagine.

But he made the UCLA football team and eventually was drafted to the Cowboys.  But more angst awaited him as his team went 1-15 his first season as starting QB.  To make matters worse, he was injured and did not play one minute of the one game that they won.

Now if we stopped the story there, we would say, gosh, how did he get through all of these extreme circumstances?  Why didn't they just give up on sports when he was born with club feet?  When his family moved and he had to give up baseball, why didn't he just kick the dirt and throw a fit?  Why didn't the embarrassment of the first year in the NFL cause him to quit?


The very next year following that dismal rookie season, Troy lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl win and was awarded the MVP of the Super Bowl game!

I have had what feels like continual ups and downs in my life.  Some of the downs have been extreme.  I have had a failed marriage, a failed attempt at business, a broken heart or two and at times, errant children.  I have felt the sting of judgment from others who did/do not know my full circumstances or the effort it took just to breathe some mornings.

I may have been crazy, but all I knew to do was to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  And it did cause some to question if I even cared about the failures that were so obvious in my life. 

You know, in the gracious south, a mother teaches her children:  "Don't stare.  They know where their problem is located."  I definitely knew where my problems were located because every where I went, there I was!

But as far away from God as I would get sometimes, I always ran to Him in my despair.  I knew who the author and finisher of my life was...and I called out to Him during many anguished moments when the hot tears poured and kept my pillow wet late at night.

Though the road has not been the one I thought I would travel, it is still full of experiences, learning and becoming closer to what God wants.  And I can truly say that I like myself so much better than I ever have.

I read one of my friends posts on Facebook that simply said:  " goes on."

It does.  The river keeps flowing.  You can choose to row or not, it's up to you.  But even not rowing is a choice that you make.  To let the current carry you wherever rather than deciding your get to make that call.

Yes, others watch you flounder.  Some are kinder than others about it.  I find that the ones who are kind and cheer me on understand that we all have a past.  (Remember that verse, For ALL have sinned and come short?)  Through it all, I personally have come to revere two precious words:  Mercy and Grace.

I recently found some songs/cds that I had not heard in a while and was listening to them this morning.  One phrase stuck out:  Mercy triumphs over judgment.

That is the God I love.  That is the God who loves me.

Don't give up.  Don't lay down.  Life goes on.  Things change.  Ask God for the strength and direction to row.  His mercy endures forever.

Dear God,  Thank you again for the quiet and small ways that you speak to our hearts.  I love hearing a song or reading a phrase that causes You to fill my heart with words of encouragement and hope.  Thank you for being with me at all times.  Please let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight.  Amen. ~Me