Tuesday, November 17, 2009

my league of extraordinary gentlemen...

This has been a really good couple of weeks...and that always leads to really obvious realizations for me. This week's?:

I have some pretty amazing men in my life.

1. I have a Daddy that has set aside special time for me since I was little. Tea parties at my Little Tikes kitchen, picnics in my playhouse, rides on the riding lawnmower, our exclusive Bourne trilogy dates, encouraging notes in the mail, pre-ordered flowers that show up halfway through his Africa trips, long phone conversations on anything from flirting to finances to faith. He's such a good daddy. He loves the Lord. He loves me. He takes care of me. I've realized lately that my relationship with him is an exception to the rule...not many girls have a relationship with their father like the one I have with mine, not many girls have a dad that doesn't complicate their view of God as their Father. I'm so blessed to have him.

2. I have a brother who graciously let me hang around and claim his as my best friend until I found another one. Poor guy, put up with his ten-years-younger little sister for a looooong time. He's taken care of me, hurt with me, protected me and prayed for me. He's my brother...and everything that comes with that.

3. My great-uncle, referred to by all of us as Uncle Buddy, was an amazing example of faith. He was funny, lovable, and fully committed to the Lord. He was crazy about his wife, and when she passed away, he couldn't wait to get to Heaven and spend eternity worshipping God with her.

4. I have the greatest brother-in-law ever. Seriously...jackpot. He loves my sister. He loves our family. He loooooves the Lord. I have known him for....65% of my life. He's pretty much just my brother...no in-law needed. I used to be horrified of him. He was sooooooo tall and sooooooo scary. He's still tall....but he's not so scary anymore. He's pretty good at the brother stuff too. When I was ten he sent me flowers after one of my surgeries. A couple summers ago, when I was literally trapped in an uncomfortable situation, he'd call periodically and check on me, reminding me that if I needed him to come get me, all I had to do was call and say "The eagle flies west on Tuesday"...and he would come. His love for connecting students to the Truth and the life found only in Christ is contagious. He's shown me how to serve God even when your situation's not what the way you wanted or expected.

5. This summer I, along with two of my friends, Brittany and Lindsay, invaded the Kiser space! Chris and Becky were so generous to share their home with us for the summer. They were an answered prayer for all us! If you haven't heard me talk about how much I love Becky...you don't know me at all :), but Chris has become such a great influence in my life as well. I got to see firsthand the way he loves the Lord, loves his wife, and loves his friends. I was so encouraged and challenged by the man of God that he is to be more intentional in my relationships with people. He challenged me to take small choices seriously and to use all of my time to its full potential.

6. I have a small, but priceless, handful of friends that I am blessed to call my brothers. I trust them and know that when they say they're praying for me....they are. I know that when I'm frustrated with one of them...or they're frustrated with me...we'll figure it out. I love them and lift them up as my brothers. They love me and take care of me as their sister. I always wanted "brothers" like this...and I'm so blessed to have them. And when I get those texts that say "I'm praying for you sis," it makes my day....because I know I can believe every word.

So yes....I have some pretty amazing men in my life...

They paint me such an intricate picture of what a man of God looks like. They constantly provide encouragement for me....silently reminding me that my patience isn't pointless. They reassure me that I won't be compromising anything by someday submitting to my husband, but instead gaining so much more. They challenge me and protect me, reprimand me and build me up. They each add so much to who I am.

In a world where so many women resent, and even hate men....

that's not my opinion at all.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's a safe place!

I'm not much of a risk taker...

I'm not a risk taker at all.

If it looks like it could break me, I don't do it.

I thought that only applied to skiing, skateboarding, bungee jumping, etc., but I was wrong.

I'm that way with everything.

If it looks like it could hurt my feelings, I don't do it.

If it looks like it could scare me, I don't do it.

If it looks like I could fail, I don't do it.

If it looks like it could hurt my heart....I don't risk it.

I'm not a risk taker.

I'm a chicken.

But I long to be brave.

When the college catalyst at church confronted me about leading a girls' small group this semester, my anti-risk taker walls went up. No thank you. Pass. Maybe later. That's not for me. The question for discussion that Sunday night in college group? Where are you risking in your life to show God and people that you trust Him? Oh.........but.........well........ok. So I held my breath and took the risk.....absolutely horrified the whole time.

I was scared that no one would pick my small group...but girls did!

I was worried that no one who signed up would actually come...but they did!

I was scared that they wouldn't keep coming...but they have!

It's been almost two months, and we're still working through Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. These girls still read, they still come, and they're still as amazing as they were on day one! Last night we met and went and to Starbucks to hang out and talk about our chapter. We hadn't been there two minutes before one of the girls (who tends to keep her information completely to herself) randomly and unprovoked, leaned forward in her chair and gave us a thirty-second summary about the emotional struggle she's had for the past few days.

I was shocked. I couldn't believe what was happening. I had hoped and prayed from the beginning that this small group would be a place where these girls felt comfortable enough to say what they needed to say, to ask for prayer, to be honest with each other. There was no guarantee that this would happen....it was a risk. We all took that risk together...

and it worked!

We have a safe place!

I'm not an official risk taker.

I'm still a chicken.

I'm no where near brave.

But I might be one tiny, little bitty, baby step closer