I didn’t wanna do it

IMG_8850IMG_8854Nothing inside of me wanted to do it.  Nothing.  The only reason I discreetly slipped into my bathing suit was so I could later ease into the water and eventually brag, “I swam in a volcano crater lake.” (Good plan.)

And then Tom happened.

But first the back story!  During 2015 my husband and I have been coaching the World Race Fusion Squad.  This is a squad of 23 Racers who embarked on an 11 month/11 country mission trip back in January. Every few months we jet to wherever the heck they are for their debrief.

A debrief is where we spend 4-5 days simply encouraging each of the Racers via hanging out, drinking coffee, hugging, laughing, listening, crying, talking–you get the idea.  It’s a great job.

At the end of August we flew to Nicaragua.  This time, though, we went early to help the Racers host a five-day visit from their parents (the Parent Vision Trip).  Now their parents hadn’t seen their Racers for eight months, so we were really inconsequential for those few days.  All we did was tag along for the scheduled activities and chatted it up with parents.

On the day before the parents departure, we went to the Laguna De Apoyo, a deep crater lake–or, rather, an imploded volcano that filled with water!  It really is pretty amazing.

Now on this particular day several of us were seated at a laguna-side table with a fantastic view.  One of the racers, Kylene, slid next to me and whispered, “I am panicking.”

“Why?” I asked.

She quickly responded: “My dad wants to jump in the lagoon.

I quickly responded with glee:  “I think that’s great!!”

“NO! It’s not!!” she responded, not very gleefully.

“Why not?” She rolled her eyes at what seemed to be a ludicrous question. You see, her dad is Tom. Tom is legally blind. So she gave the obvious answer: “He might get hurt.” IMG_8823

I hesitated and then said, “Yes, he might.  But he wants to do it.” I turned to my seated comrades, “Hey ya’ll, Tom wants to jump in the water.  Let’s vote! If you think he should, raise your hand.” (All hands went up.)  “Then it’s decided.  Tom goes in.”

One of my lunch companions, Daniel, offered to jump in first to determine how far out he needed to jump.  Another one, Nathan, who happened to be a lifeguard in a former life,
offered to jump in with him.

I turned back to Kylene, Tom’s daughter and smiled, “then it’s all settled!  Your dad’s going swimming!

That news was not settling at all to her.IMG_8825

There were two platforms to jump from.  The tallest about 20 feet off the water, the other about 14 feet.  Tom opted for the latter. Daniel did the test ‘run and jump’ and then, with minor instructions, Tom and Nathan began to run.  The leap was picture perfect, the cheers were boisterous, and Tom’s grin was indescribable.IMG_8826

Kylene’s fears for her dad were valid.  She had seen her dad fall several times.  The former bank president began going blind only a few years prior and hated his red-tipped walking stick.  Therefore, he had walked full-face into more than one immovable structure and had been told by more than one stranger that he had blood on his forehead or running down his cheek.  She had not wanted it to happen one more time.  But today she wasIMG_8847 relieved. And proud–very proud.

And, unbeknownst to Tom, he was causing a ripple effect--no pun intended! First it was Joann.  Joann was fidgeting after Tom jumped in and then suddenly blurted out: “If he can do it, then I have no excuse!”  With that, she ripped off her hearing aid, grabbed her daughter’s hand and took off running!  More cheering!  IMG_8834

Then came a knowing glance as another couple, Rick and Carmen, stood up from their lounge chairs, took a deep breath and a few strides and then leapt.

Then, the first Racer called to me, “Hey, Mama K! When are you jumping in??”

I called back, “Uh, well, uh. I’m not a good swimmer.  I mean, I can hold my own, it’s just that I don’t like people to touch me in the water and I really don’t like drop offs and I have to hold my nose and…..”

I continued to ramble as the Racers ignored my weak reasoning.

Okay, the truth was that I was scared.  No really, I was scared.  I wasn’t scared of getting hurt necessarily.  I was scared of slipping before I even leapt and looking stupider than I felt.  And I was scared of looking dorky while I held my nose.  And I was scared of–well dang, nothing big.

And then there was Tom. Ugh.

“Okay.”

Kylene saying goodbye to her parents, Tom and Kelly.

I agreed to the lower 14′ platform that was increasing in elevation with every passing second.  My sweet husband agreed to jump with me (but not to touch me in the water).

I stood ready to run, but I was frozen. (Tom wasn’t frozen.) My husband said, “don’t think about it, JUST GO!”

I did.  I took the first step and the rest was easy.  Admittedly, it was actually fun.

Fear has made me miss too much.  But something in me shifted that day.

Thank you Tom, for helping me to see that I have unwittingly invented my own “red-tip stick” which I have been using as an excuse for resisting many adventures.  Thank you for helping me see.  

Really, thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That place.

I was a young mom and it was one of those days. Sick kids, a dirty house, carpooling, and an impending party–among other things, overwhelmed me. I stomped through the house with a basket full of dirty clothes on my hip.

That is when I first heard the voice: “stop and get on your knees.”

I tried to ignore it. “No!” I screamed inside, “I do not have time.”

I kept moving, kept fretting, kept pushing to get ten hours of stuff done in six hours. “I can do this! I’ve got to do this” partnered with “I can’t do all of this! How can I get all of this done?” 

I felt my skin crawling, my fuse shorten. My jaw was clenching to keep from yelling at my kids who were just being kids.

“Stop and get on your knees…”

“I. Don’t. Have. Time.”

More clothes. Empty the dishwasher. Return the phone call. Wipe the nose. Change the diaper. The washer stopped. “Oh, I have to go to the store. Remember the ice. I’ll stop on the way to the school.”

“Stop and get on your knees…”

“OH, OKAY!” I said sharply and aloud. He [God] wasn’t going to let up. So I put down the laundry basket and got on my knees and dug my elbows into the ottoman.

My obligatory prayer was discombobulated:I’m just doing this because you told me to. I have no faith to believe it will help because, the reality is, I just have way too much to do in too short period of time. I get that. But, I give you my day. There.”

(I wanted to add, “You happy now?” but that seemed a bit much.)

I got up, grabbed my laundry basket and moved on.

Then, I noticed, about ten, maybe 15 minutes later that I was calm. Very calm. Remarkably calm. How did that happen? How did my day, and my head which had been in the pit, turn and become calm and completely peaceful, and, well, quite okay?

I managed a “thank You.” And I meant it.

That place. That place where, I hear his voice and I know it’s Him. That place where it truly, it is only God and me. That place where I He knows me, warts and all, and he wants me just the way I am. There is where I am safe.

That place where He transforms me without me working;

or trying;

or even believing.

The place where He not only alters me, but alters the atmosphere.

I love God. I love God because He loves me.

I love him because He shows me secrets. Secrets that even children can understand. Secrets that even dumb blondes can grasp.

I love God because He has shown me the indescribable transforming power of the secret place.

And that the secret place is found on my knees with elbows grinding into an ottoman;

or in a car when He says, ‘turn the radio off’;

or a crowd when I close my eyes;

or on a chair when I push back from the desk;

or a long line when I choose to know He is standing next to me;

or in front of the TV when I shift my eyes away from the screen;

or a park bench where I breathe in. And breathe out;

or on a bed at 3am when all the other voices are battering my brain, and I chose to whisper to Him, “help.”

 I love God because he sees me and woos me and then meets me and still loves me.

And He shows me that oftenespecially when I purpose to go to that place . . . where it’s just me and Him.

“I like my new job” World Race Fusion: Country #1, Entry #3

Tim and chatting this morning. Note my newest nose injury! Was it from: a) Thai kick boxing? b) Tim finally getting fed up with me? or c) Me trying to speed walk thru a glass door?

So, Tim and I discussed it this morning.  We officially LIKE our new job.  It is, by our definition, the best job in the world.  We get to go globe trotting with young adults.  We get to give and receive love.  And we get a front row seat to seeing lives (that want to be changed) being changed by God.

Pinch me.

One of our many group hugs! Seth Barnes, the founder of Adventures in Missions, is the recipient of this particular one!

Last July, when we were asked by Deon and Rynette to coach the first World Race Fusion squad, our response was, “what is Fusion?”  (They quickly explained that FUSION was the new name for the squads that are a PURPOSED MIX of young adult Racers from different countries.)  OURS is the first.  We have three Koreans, one English, and 19 americans…along with a four rather eclectic squad leaders.

Our first, of at least four jaunts across the globe this calendar year, has taken us to Chiang Mai, Thailand.  We have laughed harder than we have in years, accrued too many stories to tell, and have obtained some very strange injuries, that we can only add to our squad’s growing list.  We have taught our squad as needed and have had many beautiful conversations with individual racers.  And, we have shared some stunning times of worship that have only reminded me how eclectic God really is.

We are also seeing God work in some really unique ways in the Racers’ lives.  Many stories stand out, but I have only asked permission, thus far, to share one.  She said YES.

All through scripture we find God asking his followers to do some really odd things.  Does He still do that today?  Read Jen's story, if you dare!

All through scripture we find God asking his followers to do some really odd things. Does He still do that today? Read Jen’s story, if you dare!

Jen was born with a hearing loss.  During our training camp, God challenged Jen in a way that made me shudder when she told me about her encounter with Him through her tears.   Here is part of her story:

I was trying to earn my way to heaven with my “good deeds.” I got saved when I was 8 and have been striving to know God more and more and somewhere along the way I allowed this “climb the ladder” idea into my life. It was something that I had personally made a part of my identity without me ever knowing it.

To read the rest of it plase visit her recent blog post at http://jenniferboeve.theworldrace.org/?filename=when-god-says-to-wait

The end of her story has yet to be written.  She waits and we pray.

My favorite blogging spot

Tim and I leave tomorrow (Saturday) to go back to Atlanta and the cold weather.  I will miss blogging from this beautiful and warm spot in Chiang Mai. I will miss our 23 Racers and our squad leaders. But I have great anticipation for our unique journey’s with God over the coming year.

Thanks for reading!