Sunday, October 31, 2010

The In-Between of Two Halloweens.

This is my fall picture for the one or two devoted readers I have out there in Blog World. Yet, if I am completely honest, this picture is for me. Sorry, but hey, honesty is the best policy right? You know the scene in Mary Poppins where they can jump into the chalk drawings and make it a reality? Well, I wish I could jump into this picture, climb the fence, sit on the rail, feel the breeze against my face, and just think. It seems picturesque (pun intended).
So, here we are at another Halloween. I personally love Halloween and always have. Yet, once again, if I am completely honest, the past two Halloweens have been more of an emotional roller-coaster for me. I posted a few weeks ago about everything happening for a reason and there being a time and season for everything. Well the In-Between of Two Halloweens has made me realize this even more.
Last Halloween, I was at home for the weekend and thought I would get to spend my night passing out candy to all of the adorable trick-or-treaters in my neighborhood, and I was SO excited about this. (I am a grandmother trapped in a 19-year-old body I know, I know.) Yet, soon after the first few trick-or-treaters, my dad got a call from the hospital about my grandmother, and the doctors told them they needed to come as soon as possible. I tried not to worry, but is this ever a comforting call? So, I kept passing out candy and smiling as my mom and dad left, but not much time had passed before they were calling my sister and me and telling us we needed to come too. I was a nervous wreck the entire way to the hospital and was not ready for what I would come face-to-face with when I got there. I can still picture waiting outside the room and my heart in complete turmoil. I can still picture walking into the room, and tears instantly filling my eyes. My goofy grandmother, who played soccer with me in the halls as a kid, helped me successfully knock a few picture frames off the wall, and caused me to bend over laughing when all 4'11" would come sprinting at me trying to kick the ball and completely miss, now looked so lifeless in the hospital bed. I tried to hold her hand, but that sent the faucets full blast. I had to leave the room and spent the rest of the night crying on my best friend's shoulder in the waiting room. I was weak. It was a time of weakness.
Now, let's fast-forward to today, this Halloween. Once again, I was visiting someone who had my heart in his hands. Last Monday, I walked into Mr. Miller's hospital room, and yet again, the tears came rushing forward. The once bright-eyed 83-year-old man that beat me mercilessly in dominoes every single week, constantly joked about finding out my ring size, and told me that 83 and 19 weren't that far apart, looked so lifeless and tired. But this time was different. I didn't have my family with me. I didn't have my best friend's shoulder, and unlike my grandmother, Mr. Miller was staring back at me watching me. I knew I couldn't cry because that would just upset him even more. As I tried to look away and wipe a mischievous tear, I saw another plaque on the hospital wall (if you read my post about the other hospital visit you know what I am referring to). Once again, this plaque perfectly applied to my current situation:
"Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might."- Ephesians 6:10
My heart stopped again. I wanted to cry harder, but of course this was not an option. I wanted to say, "Be strong? God I cannot be strong right now. It's impossible." This wasn't an option either. So with His encouragement again, I stopped the tears and held Mr. Miller's hand and was strong when I thought I couldn't be. Today, on Halloween, I went to see him again, and my sweet friend looked so weak again. Again, I felt the tears coming. Be strong. So I sat on Mr. Miller's bed and did the unthinkable- I acted just like my dad. I took that 83-year-old hand in mine and made him look me in the eyes and repeat "I will get better. I want to get better." I did not let him quit saying it until he said it loudly and confidently. Then the Jamie McKenzie moment came tearing through as I told Mr. Miller he had to growl at me. If you read the post about my dad, you understand the growl thing. So, I sat on nursing home bed holding my friend's hand and smiled as he growled at me. I am sure it looked crazy from the outside view, but I was being strong and forcing Mr. Miller to be strong too. It was a time for strength.
Honesty one more time. I am ready for this emotional Halloween to pass and hope next year's Halloween's only concern is how much candy I will consume. Yet, if it's not, I will be ok because I have a God who is constantly sending me reminders and encouragement (even through hospital decor). I will be ok because when I am weak I have family and shoulders to cry on, and when I am strong, I can help others find their own growl as well. Finally, I will be ok because I have learned there is a time and season for everything, and I will be ok thanks to the In-Between of Two Halloweens.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Letter to Me"

So when you read the title, did you start singing Brad Paisley's "Letter to Me" in your head? If so, then you and I are on the same page- congratulations- kidding, but seriously this is my very random inspiration for a blog post. We all have received letters from others and have all written letters to others, but have we written letters to ourselves? If I could send a letter back in time to my six-year-old self, what would I say? What would I want to know before I started the adventure called life? I could ponder on this for days and rewrite the letter a thousand times, but I think this is the nutshell version of what I would say:
To the world's clumsiest girl,
Get ready to fall. Get ready to fall A LOT actually. Don't worry, I am not referring to just embarrassing falls though- although those are endless- be prepared to fall into the most amazing family you could imagine. Get ready to fall into friends that paint your childhood with the most priceless memories. Get ready to fall into a world that you don't understand and that challenges you on a daily basis. Now, I know you're only six, and you still haven't mastered tying your shoes- don't worry that day FINALLY comes- but listen up there's a lot to remember. On your first day of first grade, don't tell your really sweet teacher that you would have rather had Mrs. Beeman for a teacher because you don't know it yet, but this teacher will introduce you to writing and will encourage you to continously do it which you will still love fifteen years later. When you're in third grade and you really like the boy on the playground, don't tell him "you play ball like a girl." He won't really like that too much. In sixth grade, just don't get up to do the mock cheerleading try-out. Your round-off is just not ready for its debut quite yet, and your face becomes acquainted with the gym mat fairly well. When you're thirteen and you think that boy placed the stars in the sky, I promise he didn't and avoid him. It will save you from crashing into a locker door, falling on the floor of your school hall, and papers flying everywhere as your whole school watches. When you're in the 8th grade, don't try to be a germ-freak and kick the toilet flusher with your shoe. You don't need to helplessly watch your shoe swirl around a school toilet and then limp back to the class barefoot and have to explain to your teacher why you are barefoot which she broadcasts to the classroom. When you're fourteen, don't pick up that McDonald's cup. It's not that boy's coke. It's actually a spit-cup, and you feel sick to your stomach for days. When you get your permit, make sure you drive all the way past the median. You don't want to watch your mother scream and see headlights coming straight at you as you pull into oncoming traffic. Miraculously, your parents still let you get your license, but at that first soccer game your Sophomore year, turn your music down. You really won't like the huge dent you dig into your sweet car as you side-swipe a school work-van and not realize it until you see the van wiggle in your rear-view mirror. Don't get hot chocolate at high school soccer games because at one, a friend knocks it out of your hand as you watch it land perfectly on your other friend's scalp. Your junior year, don't complain about going to the concession stands for your friends multiple times in one game. You meet one of the best friends you'll ever have because of this. At your high school graduation, make sure your heels aren't too big because it will fall off as you're leading your class out of the auditorium and roll down the stairs behind you as the entire room burst into laughter as you walk out with one shoe in one hand and diploma in the other. Your freshman year of college, tape your key to your forehead- you'll lose it a million times. Also, hold onto your Mardi Gras date party date a little tighter when he's spinning you around, or you'll find yourself falling flat on your butt on a bar floor in front of everyone. Your Sophomore year, just don't go to your sorority house the night they have Spaghetti at the beginning of October and definitely say heck no to roller skates. You really don't want to talk to a male nurse about female functions do you? Didn't think so. Ok, so I think you're set. The rest I will have to write later, but brace yourself. It's a big world. Get ready to fall into it all.
Wouldn't it be nice if you could send a letter like that to yourself? Prepare yourself for the bumps, the detours, the rainy days, the heartbreaks, the disappoinments, the embarrassment. Make sure you didn't miss the best opportunities of your life, the dances, the smiles, the laughter, the priceless memories. We all know we don't get these letters, but if we could, would we? Yet, if I held this letter in my hands, I think I would crumple it all up. For what would life be if it wasn't for the bumps, the detours, the rainy days, the heartbreaks, the disappoinments, the embarrassment to balance the dances, the smiles, the surprises, the laughter, the priceless memories. Each day of my life has molded me into the person I am today. I wouldn't trade it for anything. So, that's all I would say in my letter.
To the clumsiest girl in the world,
Get ready to fall. You live by standing up after the falls. You live by who catches your falls. You live by perspective when you hit the ground. Yes, get ready, because life is falling.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"You're the Scum Between My Toes"

"I hate your stinking guts. Love, Alfalfa."
You know we all have people we want to write that EXACT letter to. Those people who get so far underneath your skin that they go way beyond the epidermis layer (there was my geeky science reference for the day). But you KNOW that PERSON. The one who has that terrible Grinch-like smirk that completely nauseates you, that person who knows exactly how to push your buttons, that person who is as low as a group of people doing the "How Low can You Go" part of the Cha Cha Slide, that person who you know has horns hidden down there somewhere underneath all their hair, that person you wish you could go Carrie Underwood "carved my name into the side of his four wheel drive" or Gretchen Wilson "Redneck Woman" on them. But you can't. You know you can tell me all day long that there's no one in your life like that, but we both know you're lying. Don't worry, I'll forgive you for that. Moving along, I will admit that I have a few people in life I would absolutely love to hand-deliver, maybe even say to their face, the "scum between my toes" letter. But once again, I know I can't. So I just tell myself I am the bigger, better person. Well God came yanking on my high-horse reigns this past
Have you ever felt like you're being directly preached to? Where you start squirming, feel like the preacher's eyes might burn a hole straight through your body, wish you could have Dorothy's ruby-red slippers and disappear, and the rest of the paranoia experience. Well, I experienced this last Saturday at the Campus Crusades retreat. No, the speaker wasn't looking at me burning me with his eyes, but I was being tapped on the shoulder and heart by someone a LOT bigger who was saying "Hey, Stubborn. Listen up." The speaker was talking about how we needed to pray for our enemies and show compassion to those we could really care less about. I probably giggled internally thinking that I would rather have shots all day long than do that (I am terrified of needles). Then the speaker hit a line drive straight into the heart of Shelby McKenzie. He said,
"Do you not realize if it had not been for God's intervention in your life, you would be just like them?"
I was in shock. SHOCK. Are you kidding me God? I am NOTHING like those people. They are low and heartless and cannot be touched with a 10 foot pole without the risk of infection and are like Scrooge who almost destroys poor Tiny Tim's Christmas. I am SO much better than that. They are like a burlap sack, and I am a brand new Louis Vuitton handbag. That was pretty much the equivalent of what was running through my haughty mind.
So Shelby's pride was sitting on its throne until the guy's thought repeated itself in my mind. "If it had not been for GOD'S INTERVENTION, you would be just like them." Well, I immediately said "THANK YOU GOD for saving me from that wretched and awful destiny." (Yet once again, bad heart and sarcasm). Then, I though of Ephesians 2:8. "For by GRACE you have been saved through faith. And this is NOT BY YOUR OWN DOING. IT IS A GIFT FROM GOD."
Hello reinforcement of dethroning Shelby's pride. We are only good through God, His presence, and the salvation He offers. Like the verse clearly says, it is NOT of our own doing. It was a gift. Therefore, if it had not been for the gift of intervention, we, indeed, would be those people. THAT PERSON. So, the next time you encounter your Grinch-like person, don't send them your Alfalfa letter. Realize instead that if it had not been for the gift of Jesus Christ, we would all be the scum between the toes. Realize you are no different and no better than THAT person. Realize that they need prayer, and although it may take the Jaws of Life for us, we have to show compassion to these people. After all, God showed compassion to the scum between His toes.
Thank you God for loving my stinking guts.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Will You Dance with Me?

Boys lined one side of the gym. Girls lined the other side. The Great Wall of China, the Nile River, and the Grand Canyon separated us from one another. We didn't dream of trying to mingle. Oh yes, I am referring to a sixth-grade dance. I was talking to my friends, giggling, in my complete and utter comfort zone when I heard girls whisper and start pointing. Apparently, a boy was bravely making his way across the Great Wall of China, the Nile River, and the Grand Canyon to the girls' side of the room as everyone else watched in horror. I turned around just in time to see that, oh yes, the only boy who is making his way to the girls' side of the room WOULD BE MY DATE. My twelve-year-old heart began to beat wildly as I wished with every inch of my body that I had Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. WHY was he coming over here? Everyone was watching, and of course, he was heading straight towards me. Don't get me wrong, I loved my date. He was a great friend and usually highly intelligent (I suppose he had a brainfart when he decided to walk across the room), but I certainly did not want to be the only boy and girl talking. When he reached me, I am sure my face was the brightest shade of red on the color wheel, and with absolute horror, he said the words "Do you want to dance?"

"DO I WANT TO DANCE?" Was that even a logical question? I was only twelve years old. The only thing I had ever danced around with before was the vaccuum, a broom, or my friends when we made our 1000th Nsync or Backstreet Boys dance routine. Did I want to dance? SURE, let's dance in the middle of the Great Wall of China, the Nile River, and the Grand Canyon while NO ONE else is dancing and EVERYONE is watching. Grrreeaatt idea. That'swhat I should have said. Yet, I couldn't say no after he had voyaged this great, long distance to come ask me, so with the world's population of butterflies residing in my stomach, I weakly said "sure." Yep, that's right folks. SHELBY MCKENZIE, the girl who would two years later fall on the floor at the middle of an eighth grade dance (these were much more lively than 6th grade) trying to bust a move, the girl who tried to do a hitch-kick for a cheerleading dance and literally landed flat on her back trying, and the COLLEGE FRESHMAN whose date party date spun her so fast she fell flat on her bottom on a BAR FLOOR, was the FIRST person to break the ice and dance at the FIRST DANCE. You should be real impressed if you haven't caught on yet.

So, as everyone else watched, my date and I made our way to the center of the room. When we got there, I thought the terror was over. I looked up at my date (he was much taller than me unlike the rest of the boys in sixth grade who were shorter than their dates) to see how he intended to start this ceremonial dance, and then these words came,

"Shelby, I DO NOT KNOW how to dance."

YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DANCE? I was enraged. This was an almost as tragic as Nsync splitting up- I wish I could disappear straight through this floor right now-why in the WORLD would you ask me to dance with you and be the only person out here if you have no idea how to dance- ASHTON KUTCHER WHERE ARE YOU, I WILL GLADLY SAY I AM BEING PUNK'D-situation. Once again, these were the thoughts I had running through my head, but once again, I couldn't have this breakdown in front of the entire sixth grade. So I took a deep breath and said, "just put your hands here, and slowly move back and forth." So right there, in the center of the room, my date and I started the first dance, and of course, we were at complete arm's length apart and quite possibly could have just been touching each other with our fingertips. Thankfully, some of my date's friends follwed suit soon after we began, and others started dancing, and at the end of the night, I do believe it was a success. If you are laughing right now, you are welcome for the Lucy moment. I'd love to share my painfully humiliating experiences with you again just to make your day a little brighter.

So, what's my lesson from this day of the life of Lucy? Although most of you think you have never and will never experience the situation I just described, I promise you at some point in your life you will. No, you won't be twelve-years-old, and a boy won't be gliding across the room to ask you to dance. However, when you're in the middle of your comfort zone, God is going to come gliding across the room, and He is going to ask you to dance. You, like me, are going to panic and wonder if he's really serious. You can't be the first one to step away from the comfort zone. You're only "twelve-years-old." (Fill in with your own personal justification) You're not capable of doing what He's asking. What will everyone else think and say? Please just ask someone else. But, He IS going to ask you, and most likely, if you say no, He's going to ask again. Who knows, maybe He's asking you because he knows others are watching, and He knows people will start dancing if you do. He also may be asking you to dance so you can teach other people how to dance. The point is, you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and go to the center of the room with God when He asks you to dance.

Secondly, just as my date made his way across the Great Wall of China, the Nile River, and the Grand Canyon to ask me to dance, God voyages across even longer distances to reach you. The segregation of the room did not stop my date from coming to ask me to dance. Likewise, no separation is going to stop God from seeking you. I don't think that registers with us sometimes. God, the creator of Heaven and Earth, is WILLING and DESIRES to voyage past the Great Walls of your heart, of your sins, of your doubts, of your fears, of your resistance to be with you. He voyages past the separation as long as the Nile. He bridges the Grand Canyon through the cross and comes just to meet with you. If you don't feel humbled and honored and completely in awe of that thought, then I don't know what else to say to you. I know I take that for granted all of the time, but when you think about it, it's life-changing (literally).

So, as you go throughout life living in your cozy little comfort zone, be ready for when God comes asking you to dance. I hope you don't miss out because it just might be the best experience of your life. And more importantly than that, live in the peace and love that comes from a God who will travel any distance just to be with you. Just to dance with you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"The Spitting Image of my Father"

"Rosemary's granddaughter, the spitting image of my father.... it's all a part of me, that's who I am."

From a very early age, I could easily tell that I did not resemble my mother, and my older sister was an exact replica. My compassionate, compassionate sister realized this as well and mercilessly tried to convince me that I was adopted from Africa (this is really a post for a completely different day). So that left dear old dad for me to resemble, and although we were both the same skin tone and had the deep brown eyes down pat, I vowed that I was nothing like my dad. I mean, he was just a goober. I was much cooler than that. Oh, how time tells you differently.
Yes, throughout the past few years, I have come to realize that I am 100% Jamie McKenzie's daughter and "the spitting image of my father." Yet, I am not referring to an external spitting image but an internal spitting image. There's three aspects of my father that I encompass to the bone. His extreme goofiness, his tough facade but huge heart, and his passion for prayer.
First of all, I am Jamie McKenzie made-over in the sense of goofiness. For crying out loud, my blog is named after Lucille Ball, and I write about "Lucy Moments." Obviously, I am extremely goofy. I can still see my dad dancing around with his obnoxious Auburn Tiger whenever Auburn would score a touchdown when I was little. I see him picking me up, spinning me around, shaking me upside down, and making me growl at him before a soccer game when I am eight years old. I see him, the man with no millimeter of vocal abilities, singing "Layla" and "Don't Stop Believing" when he would drive around and his obnoxious need to control the radio at all times (which I also inherited). People can often poke fun at him, but he has learned to handle it like a champ. Likewise, I am the girl who dropped a shoe in the school toilet my first day of eighth grade, ran into a locker door staring at the boy who I thought was responsible for hanging the moon when I was thirteen, and face planted outside of a Casting Crowns concert in Jackson my sophomore year of high school. Yes, I am just as goofy as my sweet dad.
Secondly, my dad tries to come across as tough, but he has one of the biggest hearts in the world. He might have a temper at times, but he would give you not only the shirt off his back, but his pants, his shoes, and probably even his socks. I smiled last Christmas when we were playing with a family friend's baby, and just when I get to hold her, my dad comes up behind me, practically takes her from me, slowly twirls around with her, and starts talking to her. My other personal favorite is how he rants and raves about our sweet dog, but when he thinks no one else is watching, he will share his peanut-butter crackers with Ellie and talk to her in the mornings. I try to say I didn't get this from him, but I know that I also can put up a tough front and have a temper at times. I try to be a fighter, yet at core, I am the one who in secret is sharing crackers with a dog. Yet, my dad's tough front has also taught me to fight for the important things in life and to never compromise who I am, so even toughness has its perks.
Yet, I cannot even think of my dad without thinking of prayer. The most fond memory of my
dad, so far, is rather simple but has meant the world to me over the years. Every single morning when my dad would drive me to elementary school, he would make me pray. Now, the toughness I just mentioned would come out as I yelled at him and asked "Why aren't you closing your eyes? I have to close mine." Oh, how smart I was to think my dad could drive with his eyes shut. Yet, every morning, we prayed, and this has been a constant theme with my dad. No meal is started until a prayer has happened. I can never leave to go back to Oxford until he has prayed. Two of these times fondly stand out in my mind and are making me tear up as I write this. The last memory and time that I ever saw my grandfather (my dad's dad) alive, we were about to leave Alabama to come back home. I was halfway out the door, and my dad called me back in to pray with my grandfather. The three of us held hands as my dad and I prayed, and less than a month later, my grandfather was gone. I would not have this beautiful memory if it had not been for my dad's faith. The second was one night last year when my dad came to eat with me. We had already said goodbye, and I was about to drive off when I saw my dad come running and knocking on my window. If you know my dad, you know he does NOT run, so I knew this must be important. I rolled down my window, and he said, "I forgot to pray for you." My heart broke instantly. As soon as I rolled my window up, I burst into tears. From a very early age, my dad taught me the power and passion of prayer, and for that, I will be eternally grateful (literally).
Now that I have recognized I am a spitting image of my earthly father, I should also strive to be a spitting image of my Heavenly father. I mean is that not our goal in life and purpose in life- to be the spitting image of Christ. Now obtaining this completely is impossible, and we fail on a daily basis. Yet, I think my three characterizations of my dad could apply to this as well. We should show the world the "goofy side" of our Heavenly father. So many people have a misperception of Christ as restrictions and rules and boundaries. Yet, God is the one who created laughter. He created smiles. He even has a sense of humor. Trust me. Also, although God is tough and disciplines like a father, he is the heart of humanity. He is love. He gave more than the shirt off his back. He gave his SON. Finally, God wants to teach you the power and passion of prayer. He wants to hear you pray every single day. He wants to talk to you. I love my dad more than anything in the world, and God knew exactly what he was doing when he planned for Jamie McKenzie to be my father. However, I hope that one day when I get to those big gates, I hear my other Father say, "Well done, thank you for being faithful and striving to be a spitting image."
Who will you be a spitting image of?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pearl Bump Fever

When I was in high school, we were rather limited to what we could do for entertainment on the weekends. Yes, there was high school football games, the movie theater, and the INFAMOUS McAlister's parking lot (yikes), but what did you do during the winter or on a less eventful weekend? Well you see, my friends and I were fairly easily amused in high school, and we discovered THE Pearl Bump as we lovingly labeled it. Yes, right before you left Pearl High School to turn back onto Highway 80 there was a HUGE (or at least we thought it was) bump, and when we were bored on the weekends, we would all pile into someone's car and go zooming over the bump. (See my picture above :) ). It was even more fun to take someone who had never been and watch their confused expression and alarm when we all began to reach for handle bars or prepare for the launch and to watch as they would helpless fly a few inches into the air and slam back down into their seat. For all you parents who might be reading this, no one was harmed in the process- I promise. Now obviously, we did not get as much air as the lovely DOH car above, but if you loved the Pearl Bump as much as we did, it felt like you were flying every single time.

Here's my Lucy moment for you: Now as you can probably tell, I was extremely fond and proud of my Pearl Bump. So were all of my other retarded friends. Yet, I think you had to be in close connection with the bump to fully appreciate its value. So one night in high school, I was hanging out with a boy that I had a crush on at the time, and I felt the absolute need to show him the Pearl Bump. I ranted and raved about how WONDERFUL and hilarious it was and how I could NOT wait to see his face. I mean you would have thought I was taking the boy to see the Superbowl or the World Series I was so stinking excited, and clearly, I built his expectations up a little too high. As I raced towards the intersection with a huge smile on my face, I am sure the boy thought I had absolutely lost my mind considering the light was most likely turning yellow or red but that NEVER stopped you at the Pearl Bump. Then, we RAMPED (more like eased) over the bump, I screeched with excitement, and he looked at me like Elmer Fudd would look at a two-headed Bugs Bunny.

"That was it?" "That was the thing you have been so excited about this whole time?"

Yeah, he didn't like the bump too much. I was, of course, devastated. How could you not like THE Pearl Bump? I was in shock. All I wanted was for others to see my excitement and share the same excitement as well.

In life, I feel like we have a lot of Pearl Bumps. We have things that we are so passionate about and so excited about, and all we want is for people to share the excitement of the Pearl Bump with us. Basically, we want everyone to get "Pearl Bump Fever." Yet, no matter how hard we try, some people just don't get the excitement of the "Pearl Bump." They don't see the fun in it. They don't want to miss out on the bigger, more risky bumps. They don't want to be bored. They don't want to be limited to just one bump.

This is the hard part in life- when people don't share your same excitement. When you try so hard to infect others with your excitement and to let them see that the life of "pearl bumps" has so much to offer, yet, they still choose a road with bumps that have a lot more consequences than flying off your seat a few inches. They feel like they will be bored with the pearl bump excitement and trade it off for an excitement that is only temporary and leaves not just the gas tank empty but the soul as well. It's extremely hard to watch people abandon the "pearl bump" for their wrong perception of excitement, but you just have to keep your "pearl bump" light shining.

In life, God is the "pearl bump." Those who find Him and are, like I said earlier, in close connection with Him are the ones that find His irreplaceable value. They are infected with Pearl Bump Fever and just want everyone else to share the same excitement. They screech with elation while others who don't fully understand are the Elmer Fudds. Those who find Him completely and fully know that no other road can ever give you in a lifetime what the Pearl Bump offers in a single day, but to those who don't understand, the Pearl Bump seems restrictive and boring. Yet, when you reach the end of your life and you look back on the roads you traveled, do you want to see a life full of the Pearl Bump and the endless excitement that it offers and the eternal joy that it pours out, or do you want to look back on the risky roads that seemed to offer so much more joy and excitement but that left you with dents in your fender, holes in your tires, and no fuel in your tank? Will you listen to the voice who calls out to you and says "Hey, I love you. Follow me, and you will never want again"? Or will you hear the roar of your own selfish engine that says "You have all the time in the world to figure that out. Make that right choice another day. Come joy-ride with me a little while and worry about that later."
Which road will you choose?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jenny Judy Program

Oh, hermit crabs. Who did not harass their parents endlessly on beach trips with the "please, please, please let me get one- I swear I will take care of it and feed it- which really means I am only six years old and have no idea how to tie my shoes much less provide for an animal-but it's cute and I will pout the entire way home if we don't get this- I won't ever ask Santa for anything again" argument. Well if you didn't, which you're lying and probably bitter because your argument wasn't successful, I did. I was thrilled beyond belief I am sure. So excited that I branded my hermit crab with the name....

.... Jenny Judy Program.
Most six and seven-year-old children pick Sparkles, Princess, Booboo, whatever else is simple and not complicated. I pick Jenny Judy Program, and that was a TRIPLE name. I really don't recall why I chose such an incredulous name, but that's besides the point. The point is, that was such a BIG name for such a SMALL hermit crab to handle. This is probably why she loathed me and decided to pinch my little fingers whenever she got the chance. Once again, besides the point.
My point is that in life, at times, we are ALL Jenny Judy Programs. For those of you who are not very creative-minded or are confused, hang tight, I promise I have an explanation. We all have burdens placed in our lives that are so much bigger than ourselves. It feels like more than we can handle. We all come to crossroads in our lives that are so overwhelming and hold consequences that are so much bigger than our current small steps. We all have big storms in our lives that make us feel like a small ship in the middle of a vast sea that is tossed and tumbled by every single gust of wind. We are a small hermit crab labeled with the enormous name Jenny Judy Program.
Situation sounds pretty hopeless right? Here's one more lesson from J.J.P for you. When you feel small and are overwhelmed by the bigness around you, pull out your pinchers. What does that mean? FIGHT. Be a J.J.P. When you're taken out of your comfort zone and prodded and poked and tossed in a thousand directions, pinch until you find your way back home. Conquer your burden. Find the path most suitable for you. Fight the storm and don't be discouraged by the howls of the wind. Yet, this still isn't enough sometimes is it?
Guess what? You're in luck. Unfortunately for Jenny Judy, she did not have any reinforcement when her pinchers weren't effective enough. However, you and I do. There is a God who takes away every burden. There is a God that guides you through every crossroad. There is a God who calms every storm. He pulls out his pinchers and fights for you when you can't fight any longer. He looks out for the Jenny Judy Programs of the world. (That's you and me!)
I received a sweet reminder of this Tuesday night. I was a Jenny Judy Program with a heavy heart when I walked into Campus Crusades. Yet, the music started, and it was one of my favorite worship songs. I began to feel a little sense of peace. The song ended, and the next song was another song that completely just spoke to my heart. By the third song, God had put a smile on one of His Jenny Judy Programs. I now knew that it didn't matter if my pinchers weren't good enough and if I felt overwhelmed in my J.J.P. world because I had someone a lot bigger than me guiding me and encouraging me. It took away the "Jenny Judy Program load."
So, quit fighting struggles that are bigger than you. Hand over your Jenny Judy Program problems and prepare to be completely encompassed and loved by something else that is a lot bigger than you and your hermit crab world.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Slaps on the Wrist, Blessings,and Reason

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven." -Ecc. 3:11

This is the constant echo of my day today, and it has always been one of my favorite Bible verses. It says to me that everything happens for a reason, and the past five days of my life have proclaimed this verse in so many different ways. So this is what the blog is about today. I hope you can find inspiration from it and accept it in your own lives as well.

1) Friday morning, I was in the shower and started feeling dizzy. Yet, I am stubborn as a mule and HAD to wash out the shampoo and conditioner. So I finished washing my hair, and when I stepped out of the shower, my world was literally SPINNING. I reached for the door, but instead, I fell into the door, knocked our shower rack off of the door, sat on the ground, heard my roommate yelling my name, and I assume I tried to stand up. The next thing I know, I am waking up underneath my sink in my bathroom (I obviously hit my head either on the sink, the towel rack, or the good old tile floor on my way down and completely knocked myself out),wondering how I got there, and looking down to realize I am stark naked and fully exposed to anyone who opened the door. It is never a delightful situation to realize you passed out, to not know how long you have been out, and to be laying NAKED for the whole world to see "Shelby's Anatomy." I wearily crawled to the door, and when I opened it, my roommate was staring in confused concern. I immediately burst into tears because I knew where I was going. I was going back to the hospital.

I cried the entire way. I must confess, I wrote all about giving your messy plate of spaghetti to God, but I was not ready to hand over my plate anymore. I could not practice what I was preaching (or blogging). I was not ready to accept the possibility that something might be wrong. I was not ready to say, "Hey, I trust you with everything. Here is my completely broken and terrified plate." I honestly don't think I have ever been so scared in my entire life. As I sat in complete fright and anger and confusion in the ER for the second time in two days, I looked over at the walls, and this is what I saw hanging on the wall,

"My help cometh from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth."

It was a huge slap on the wrist. God was yelling out to me in the middle of my storm, "Hey, chill out. Have you forgotten who I AM? I am right there with you. I made Heaven and Earth, and you think I can't handle a clumsy girl knocking herself out on a bathroom floor? I got this."

There is a reason that sign was in that emergency room.


There is a reason I was placed in myKindergarten class fourteen years ago. I think over the years, we fabricated the story into an event that most likely didn't happen, but according to our story, I walked up to a little girl in a sailboat dress and asked her to play with me. She responded by slamming my fingers in the toy box and introduced herself as Maidee-Parker. Ever since, Maidee-Parker has been a dominant figure throughout my life. I've always heard God sends you the people you need in life, and He definitely did this through my sweet Kindergarten friend. I know this picture is goofy, but I felt that it represents our friendship. If we have been friends for fourteen years, of course it is common knowlegde we have had bumpy times, but when you are Maidee Parker's friend, she puts you in her box and does not let you go. She protects you and fights for you when you can't find the strength to do it for yourself. For the past five days, Maidee Parker fought for me when I was scared out of my mind. She comforted me; she made me laugh. She cried with me. She stayed in the ER two different times for over five and a half hours with me. She reassured me. She put me in her box. There is a reason Maidee-Parker was put into my life.

3) There is a reason God made love the strongest emotion, and there is a reason He gave love hand-in-hand with free-will. Love was made into the strongest emotion because it conquers everything. It conquers walls. It conquers burden and baggage. It conquers others' opinions and cast judgments. It conquers trial. It conquers fear. It conquers selfishness. It conquers pride. It conquers the heart. But, there's a but. Isn't there always a but? Love comes and conquers at free-will. One must find love on their own terms and has to enlist in its numerous battles on their own desire. They cannot be drafted into battle. It's a choice. God set up this kind of love when He sent His love to conquer the World. In a sense, He held a boomerang in His hand. We were the boomerang. He threw us out into the world and knew that if we discovered His unfailing love, we would come back to Him. Likewise, when you love, you're throwing a boomerang. You don't know if it will come back, but if you have love, you have to set it free no matter what the consequences are. If love is found along the way, it will come back. That's the free will of love- the course it takes.
So what have I learned from two concussions, a fear that I have never experienced before, a friendship that most would envy, a rough weekend, and a God that calls out to me through it all?
That there is definitely a reason for everything.