Well...I have just spent the last week being a part of something very very cool and exciting.
My son, Tyler, plays on a travel baseball team. They played over 60 games this Spring and Summer and earned a chance to play in the 9 yr old World Series in Kansas City MO. There were 37 teams from across the country that were invited to play in this tourney. We were so excited about going but also realized that we may be good in West Tennessee but maybe not so good compared to others across the nation.....you just never know. Anyway, we got ourselves ready to hit the road and just knew that we would have fun regardless and hope to walk away with an experience that they would remember forever!!
We got to Kansas City and participated in opening ceremonies last Sunday night......OH MY GOSH!! This was a sight to be seen. We felt like we were straight out of Major League Baseball. Not because we were so good, but because it was just so cool and they made the kids seem so important. They had skills competitions and home run derby and all sorts of neat stuff going on that night too.....i must say that Tyler did win one of the competitions and we were ever so proud. But.....at that point, i begin to think about the importance of needing everyone on a team....no matter your skill or your award. I began to think about how different these 12 kids are on his team. And as time went by, I began to think about how different all of us parents and families are. And as more time went by, I began to see just how different our big team was....kids, siblings, families, coaches, players, etc. You put us all together in a hotel for 7 nights and you really learn a lot about all these people. We laughed, cheered, ate, swam, played, traveled, and cried together. We are all so very different, but also very much the same.
I could see that our team played well because every single kid was needed.....one persons weakness was another ones strength. The kids stayed focused and listened to their coaches. And when anyone was down in the dugout.....another child or two would pick that other kid up and encourage them. We as parents did the same thing.....when we could see another parent down, we would encourage and pick them up. Not everyone can make the perfect play or the perfect "at bat." We are not perfect people. Instead of looking at another person and criticizing them or getting frustrated if they aren't "performing" the way we think they should or can.....we need to encourage them and pick them up. A team does just that.....no team can function well when we don't appreciate and recognize strengths and weaknesses. We need to embrace our gifts, but also encourage one another when we feel tired, worn out, or defeated. We cheered so hard and so loud for our kids this past week. Even though we are so different in so many ways....there was one thing in common.....our kids and our love for them.
Even in church, we are all so different and gifted in many different ways. We all have the common thread of Jesus in our hearts. He will keep us connected, on the same team, and encouraging us as we travel down the road of life.
We cannot function only thinking of ourselves.....we have to keep focused on the team we are on and who we play for. We must realize that noone is perfect and when someone falls, we should pick them up in love. We should cheer each other on keep focused on our Coach at all times.
I'm glad to be on your team, His team, our team!! There is no "i" on this team.
We are in it together!!!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
posted by Fran at 1:09 PM
Thursday, July 19, 2007
How in the world do I begin to describle this journey with you regarding FUMC's VBS this year?? It is just such a personal journey between me and God, but at the same time, you were all there and had your time with HIM too. You have heard me say 100 times that HIS thumbprint was all over this from the beginning. Well....HE showed Himself so HUGE to me this week that it was one of the sweetest experiences I've ever had. There were times when I felt His presence so near that I was afraid to get distracted because I thought He might be gone.
On Monday, we had about 65 kids in grades pk-2nd learning all about service and getting them involved in the things needed for Wednesday and the lemonade stands. At the closing of our day on Monday, we did a foot washing with all the kids, but I had the 1st and 2nd graders with me. We did this in the Sanctuary and it was the most genuine, heartfelt thing I've gone through yet with this age group. They washed each other and said..."I will serve you so you can go serve others." This is essentially what Jesus told his disciples as he washed their feet. How could he ask us to do something that he was not willing to do himself?? I think our precious kids understood what it meant when Jesus called us to serve and love others at the end of this day.
On Tuesday, our older elementary kids, youth, and adults had a chance to meet the Reams family and their precious son, Chandler. This is a new family to my life and has touched my heart deeply. They told their story and Chandler shared with us what its like for him to have cancer. We were all blessed by their visit and they truly inspired us all. They are a beautiful example of faith and endurance.....thank you for coming to see us!! Chandler, you have some mighty cool new prayer warriors for you!! We love you!
Well, Wednesday came and I knew that God was with us from the moment I woke up. I felt the day coming together perfectly as each hour went by!! I almost cried when I saw the 1st lemonade stand go up at Kroger out north!! We had balloons and these adorable children all wearing their tshirts and getting ready for the big day!! I praised God as I went back to the church. I had the honor of being at the downtown location just outside the New Southern. We had lots of kids helping and they worked just as hard as anyone. We were hot, sweaty, hungry and thirsty, but we never gave up.....they worked hard right up til the end!! I know you all did! Part of me was sad to see it all be taken down....i have these memories of kids running up to me yelling at me telling me how much money someone had given them. They were thrilled over every dollar that came their way! I heard story after story from so many of you about how God had been at work within your own family, yourself, and the amazing people that gave us their money on Wednesday. Its just almost too much for me to grasp. When I think of how we all pulled together....the kids, the adults, the youth, the staff at church.....it was a TEAM effort and I truly believe that everyones heart was blessed this week.
Wednesday night I went to the movie in Lexington to see Evan Almighty. There were a couple of times that i think Maggie Rheney knew I might have been crying. If you have not seen this yet, please go see it with your kids. Morgan Freeman does a fabulous job of being "God." He said some things that affirmed our choice for VBS this year. He talked alot about random acts of kindness and the importance of changing the world one step at a time....one act at a time....one person at a time. I knew at the end of the movie...God saw our day, our week, and this last month all the way through til the end of the day. He didn't just "little bit" bless us.....He "big time" blessed us!!! He smiled so sweetly on our hearts and on the hearts of others. I pray that someone along the way saw what we did and found some hope in life through Jesus. He transformed my life and I will do anything I can to be His servant and let others know how to live a life with Him as the center.
We did a great thing with our kids.....and even if you weren't able to participate, I pray that you will use this as an encouragement to teach your children the importance of giving back and being a servant. We can change the world. I give God all the glory and praise. It wasn't me....it was all HIM. We just all happen to be the vessel for this fantastic plan.
Oh...and we raised over $5,000 for St. Jude!! Glory to God!! You have blessed me.....Jesus blessed me!! Its an honor to serve you, your children and Christ's church!
posted by Fran at 5:34 PM
Monday, July 16, 2007
It has been entirely too long since i've written and I have SO much to say about so many things.
I may be all over the place here so hang tight!! Lets see.....last Wednesday I had the opportunity to visit St. Jude with a friend and her son. Chandler goes every Wednesday to receive his chemo and I was able to go through the whole day with him and his family. I still don't think I can articulate how amazing that day was for me. Of course it changed my life. I am a changed person forever. I think I saw Jesus 5oo times that day....He was in the parents, He was in the kids, He was with the staff, He was in the many hugs I saw, He was in the worries I could see, He was in the tears that were shed, He was EVERYWHERE!!! The visuals alone from the day were almost too much to bear. It was alot to take in. St. Jude is a fantastic, beautiful, most amazing, kid friendly, and full of life, energy, and hope place I've ever seen in my life!!! HOW CAN THAT BE??? The sickest kids are there!!!
Life is truly precious....Life is truly a gift.....and Life can be changed in a heartbeat. I saw healthy life and I saw very sick life in the face of many children. It was almost too much to see their little bodies sick and overwhelmed with cancer. This place had family written all over it though. For St. Jude to have so much sickness in it, there was so much hope and love too. Everyone was so friendly and hugged and loved and laughed and cried and encouraged and took the time to really talk to you. I mean really talk to you. Noone was in a hurry. I think they understand how precious and sacred "life" is. Why does it take an illness or sickness or even death for us to really grasp the sweetness of health and life???
I cried, I laughed, I prayed and I loved my time at St. Jude. There is not enough space to write all the special, intimate moments I saw between families. I'm telling you....Jesus is alive and active in that place. I hope that when people see our church or our homes or our families that they see some of these things that I have described to you.....I don't want to wait until a tragedy occurs before I really grasp life and take the time to enjoy the people that are placed before us.
Maybe that is what I took away from my experience there.....treasure life and treasure each other and treasure God!!
Ok...on another note....i am just completely exhausted!! I shouldn't even say those words when I reflect on the tiredness of those families at St. Jude and all that they endure. But, I can say that we should ALL find rest and comfort in just being with our Lord. I have been reminded that even when that good nights sleep is nowhere near....ask God to come in and give my mind and body some rest....Let Him restore me and carry me through. Maybe the clock won't allow the rest to happen so I bet our great big God can help me out. I pray that I remember to ask Him when I'm that tired!!
Its a busy time of year for us all....I pray for you to enjoy your life....slow down....and be intentional about everything you do...there is no point in hurrying it all along. Its the relationships that matter and its how we impact those relationships that matter.
Have a fantastic week....I'll write more from Kansas City....I'm going to the 9 yr old world series there with my kids and hubby. I'm sure there will be lots of interesting things to report on while
I'm there. Blessings to you all!
posted by Fran at 7:26 PM
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Let me just say....I have been a little more "filled up" since I wrote last. Isn't it funny how we come and go out of these funks??? Is that me and what in the world determines if I'm going strong or if I'm movin at a snails pace??? I think it might have something to do with alot of stuff....one being, where am I with God today and have I thought of Him at all??? There are just days that don't come easy for me and days that its all I do. Maybe since today was Sunday and I had Jesus on my brain from the moment i woke up? Maybe its because I have alot going on with church right now so I'm more "involved" than some days? Maybe I need the calendar to say Sunday every day. That is just how my week has been. And I think with it being Summer that has caused me to be in a spiritual funk too. I'm such a creature of habit....I LOVE Summer, but the un-structure kills my spiritual discipline. The kids are everywhere all the time!! :)
I hope to have a Jesus-filled week. I pray that we all have some spiritual discipline because I can sure tell when its gone. We all suffer around here! Spend some time with Jesus.....Til next time....
posted by Fran at 10:14 PM
Friday, July 6, 2007
I sit here tonight having tucked all my kiddos in the bed and wonder....what am I doing as a parent to really teach them the good, keep them from the bad, or try to steer them from the ugly? Some days are sure easier than others....I must confess that today was a very lazy day on my part and I was not as "on" as I should have been. I let things slide that I shouldn't have and I guess its ok to be tired and not be as "on" as I should be. But, now its late and I have them tucked away for another day and I really wonder...."Did I do a good job today with them?" Thank you Jesus for another day tomorrow....I'll pray for more patience, more energy, more wisdom, and more love! With HIS love and HIS filling, I can have a better day....for myself, for my husband, and for those precious kids!! Here's to another day....