A couple of weeks ago our church began a new Bible study called Run for God that couples spiritual endurance-themed devotions with training for a 5 K which we will run together in April. The response has been overwhelming and in our tiny town our group looks like this:
It is a given this picture delights me. It represents young and old, church members and community members, and those whose bodies hurt and don’t hurt. The former outnumbers the latter if our groaned laps are any indication. I hear a splinter cell Bible study is being formed called, “Eating Cheez-Its for Jesus”. It has legs. Flabby, cellulite-ridden legs but I’m becoming more and more comfortable with those because, y’all. My shins are ruined. It’s my fault for running in bad shoes on concrete for the first week. Luke’s knees are also a wreck so you can’t even imagine the whining that is going on especially on Saturday mornings when we meet to train at 7:30 a.m.
Luke and I are also trying to eat a little more healthy during this process. How’s that going? On our way home from running last night he said, “Pull in at the store so I can get some ice cream. Ummm, not to eat. To put my knee in.” So we soaked our knees in butter pecan and chocolate syrup and felt instantly better.
But here’s the thing, you can’t be a big baby when an 85-year-old woman is not only showing up for the Bible Study but running. Mrs. Green has always been an inspiration to all of us for many reasons but it is confirmed now that she is the stuff of legend. We have developed a code word for whiners, “I.G.” which are Mrs. Green’s initials. So basically, take your ibuprofen and suck it up because if I.G. can do it, so can we.
Which is the point of this entire experience for me thus far. We are better together. We do things in community we can never accomplish alone. We bear one another’s burdens, share our ankle braces and compression socks, spur each other on when we want to quit, and run the race set before us shoulder to shoulder.
Church together is a beautiful thing, shin splints and all.
(I love you, IBC. Can’t imagine the race with anyone but you.)
Remembering those whose lives were taken 13 years ago this somber day. In my little neck of the woods, the skies are gray and drizzling. It is appropriate.
On September 11, 2001, I was pumping gas at Dodd’s Service Station when Mr. Dodd himself asked me if I had heard about the plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I had not so I walked into his office where the regulars were gathered around the television. In my naivete I wondered how a pilot could have made such a horrible error when the second plane hit in front of our eyes and the realization of intention vs. accident began to sink in. The ‘terrorist’ word was uttered and all innocence with it’s proclamation. We were a nation under attack.
I broke the bewildered fellowship and drove to Chattanooga with lump in throat and legs shaking while listening to frantic newscasters speculate on what was happening and if it was over and where these people may strike next. I arrived at Sam’s Club, stepped out of the car and stood stunned and motionless with many others as the deafening engines of airplanes being grounded from every conceivable direction to the local airport felt like the end of the world. I fully expected a Boeing to land right on top of us and had that been the case, I don’t think I could have moved from that spot such was the shock. That pause – that moment when time stopped and perfect strangers turned eyes to the sky and joined in fear and grief and sobs – remains one of the most surreal moments of my life.
For posterity’s sake….do you remember where you were that dreadful day? Feel free to share it here but more importantly, don’t ever let die those details nor fail to share them with your children. Our freedoms are a rare gift and will become rarer still if we fail to recount the cost. Praying today those who lost loved ones feel the comfort of a God and nation who will never forget. Praying God will thwart the evil ones who sow this madness, that He would shine on them and turn them from their wickedness. And perhaps most of all, I pray He comes quickly and crushes the True Enemy under His beautiful feet.
Well, this past week I’ve been working on a post filled with much seriousness and intrigue entitled, “The Not So Mysterious Will of God”. I am convinced we make this process much harder than God ever intended. The epicness of the content is debatable but the length is not. Because this topic had come up in a teaching I did recently and also in three separate conversations with people I love I felt somewhat compelled to just write the thing out for whomever may find some biblical principals and thoughts on discerning God’s plan for our lives needful.
The writing was about 3/4’s complete when Luke (not at all aware of the teaching or the conversations or the typing) announced to me in the bathroom a couple of mornings ago that he had been leaning toward teaching on the subject one Sunday morning sooner than later. So, dang. Because we share the same brain, 24 years of marriage, and 98% of our theology I’ve decided to put that post on the backburner so I won’t steal his sermon thunder when it arrives at a theater near you. I’m anxious to hear what he has to say and then perhaps present a McKay Mashup for all who will be perched on seat’s edge and biting your nails to the quick in anticipation.
So instead of discerning the will of God I will tell you about Sydney’s science project a.k.a. which kid’s parent can bring the best Pinterest experiment to life and somehow convince the teacher the kid actually had something to do with said creation.
This is where I give props to great friends. By virtue of having so many children we don’t know what to do, Luke and I are often at the mercy of other loving adults to somehow help us get them raised. Such is the case with Syd’s friend Abby whose parents, Todd and Amy, are life-long friends of ours from Georgia who ended up moving to our same tiny town. They either a) missed us so much they followed along or b) found a great deal on a farm. Either way, I am so grateful they remain in our dailiness and don’t seem to mind being surrogates for Syd.
With that said, Abby and Syd decided they wanted to be submit a joint project for the Science Fair. I signed the permission form with the condition that this would be HER responsibility and not another Mom Competition like the solar system or Colonial houses of the past. She agreed and told me she and Abby already knew exactly what they were going to do. I was optimistic until she explained their idea had something to do with giving Abby’s horse various feed to see which made it healthier.
Maybe I’m skeptical, but the science on that one seemed a little subjective if they were counting on the shininess of the horse’s coat to be the main indicator. And if we wanted to get objective, well, horse poop would be involved to which I say, nay. There are some things in this life that I just will not be manipulated to do. The Facebook Coldwater Challenge would be one of those. Digging is horse dung for some evidence of vigor and vitality would be the other.
So the girls regrouped and decided on nice, predictable self-inflating balloons. Todd and Amy took Syd home with them so they could get the experiment done and documented. Unfortunately, it was a beautiful day and I’m pretty confident the girls weren’t exactly as focused on the task at hand as they were the Call of the Wild. Amy texted me about her love of science projects and of the diligence our children were showing in getting the job done. I texted her back that I was perfectly fine with her applying her love to my child’s backside if she needed a little motivator to finish. All was rainbows and unicorns again when the girls were turned loose to ride horses and roam pastures.
Then came my turn for the next work party to put the presentation together. The girls would have been perfectly happy to slap the white paper on the board and call it a day. For the love. Where did I get a girl with no appreciation for coordinated scrapbook papers? Where did I get a girl who is content to cut paper with a straight line when we have all manner of decorative-edged scissors to give it extra pizazz? I presented all the fabulous options to the girls and do you want to know what they said? “Flowers, stripes, and polka dots have no place in Science.” Clearly, they have been blinded by it.
Since there was no compromise in sight I pointed my scalloped scissors at them both and ordered them to cut and tape each piece exactly as directed. Being a dictator is exhausting but it completed the work. I opened the door, set the captives free, and texted Amy a picture of the masterpiece:
She replied with this:
So the project is safely submitted and the Fair is Monday night. That is when I get to stroll the aisles and compare my parenting skills to the other moms who took time to cover their white presentation boards with colored paper or – the ultimate – used glitter which may have no place in science but certainly has one deep in my heart. The pressure is just too much.
To reiterate the wisdom of Amy, I really will think twice before agreeing to a project next year.
It doesn’t take rocket science to discern that is God’s Will for me.