As a freshman in high school one of the things I looked forward to most was playing volleyball. I had watched my sister play in Jr. High and fell in love with the game. I played basketball and softball and loved sports but playing at the high school level was a whole different ballgame.
Volleyball is a fall sport where I grew up so that means before school started for 2 weeks we had practice twice a day, two and a half hours each time. I loved morning practices, we actually got to touch the volleyball, we learned basics, we drilled skills, plays and learned to play as a team.
The second two and a half hours of the day was in the heat of the afternoon and it was nothing but conditioning. We didn’t see a ball the entire afternoon. We ran stairs, we did sit ups and push-ups, we jumped rope and we even did Jane Fonda’s workout. The true torture was the sprints!
Coach Schuler became one of the people whose influence significantly impacted my life. She was the person in charge of our afternoon conditioning. She knew how to push and motivate me beyond anything I could imagine I was capable of.
She ran us so hard there were people that were throwing up. Even that was not a reason to quit, they had to be back to the line by the next set of sprints ready to start or we all had to run more. She timed us every day and challenged us to run faster than we did the day before.
There were many times that I thought there is no way I can keep going. Coach would say hit the line, ready set go and I would do it.
By spending time under Schuler, I learned that I really didn’t know the limits of my physical body. She knew I could do more than I ever dreamed I could.
Learning to understand that I am capable of so much more than I think I am has made a big impact in my life!
I didn’t think I could handle the heartache of having my mom diagnosed with terminal illness(Alzheimer’s Disease) when I was 16. I didn’t think I could handle my marriage coming to an end. I often think I can’t handle watching my dad struggling with Alzheimer’s today.
But I have found that God knows what I can handle even when I think I can’t!
Trusting Schuler to push me physically beyond what my brain thought I could do helped to build a foundation of understanding that I do not know my limits. Not to mention I can trust God to push me beyond where I think I can go. Because He knows me even more than Coach did. He created me.
When I am trusting Him I know I can do all things! I trust Him and I praise Him, even in the middle of times where I don’t think there’s any way I can do what he’s asking me to do.
Have you experienced a time where you were able to do more than you ever thought you could? How has that helped to grow your Faith in the Lord?
Have you ever jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire?
I loved my job.
It really was a job that had a lot of things I really loved. I knew that I was making a difference and that was so important to me.
But I felt frustrated, unappreciated, confused, and stuck. I had hit a glass ceiling where I was. I was told that I would not be promoted, I was too young. There was nothing I could do about that.
It was time to move on.
I started the job hunt. It didn’t take long to find another job. It seemed like a dream.
1 application, 1 job interview, 1 new job.
I jumped right out of that frying pan into my new job.
It started off great. I really liked being in charge. I was getting the hang of the new responsibilities and felt like I was making a difference.
Then the crazy started.
When I say crazy I mean crazy. I was the director of a national chain child care facility. After just 3 weeks on the job one of my employees hot lined another employee for child abuse.
It was a one day investigation in which I was told that they were not able to substantiate the charge. I had to tell the parents of 100 children what had happened that day. It went much better than I thought it would.
The next day the employee who made the call did not show up on time to work, I wrote her up. She did come in just in time for the news crew to show up.
I did not want to be on the News.
I have never dreamed of being on the news that was for sure. The parents withdrew their child and I was hoping it was going to settle down.
The next day I was contacted by a local detective. I had to go to the police station to make an offical statement.
Another thing I that was not on my bucket list. This is the point in which I began to think that I had jumped into the fire……
I also was accused for creating a hostile work environment. The story of the fire goes on and on.
Since school was a challenge for me never, never, never give up was deeply ingrained in my character. I was determined to make it work. I was the boss. I could make it right, I just knew I could.
I was so stressed……I could not sleep, I could not eat.
I prayed constantly, asking the Lord for wisdom. I wanted to do a good job. I wanted to be able to be the leader the staff needed. Both the stress and the Lord’s presence were intense during this time.
This intense period of time only lasted for 3 months. I finally heard the Lord clearly, not that He had not been talking I was just struggling to believe I was hearing Him right.
It was His will to step out in faith and walk away.
I resigned and trusted for the next job to come along. It did.
When I look back on this time I remember it as being a bitter sweet time with the Lord. The refining fire was intense but the dependence on my Lord brought me to the place I needed to take another leap of faith and make an even bigger change in my life.
Have you experienced the refiner’s fire? How did it grow your faith?
Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God.
Daniel 3: 28
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There is always a silver lining, right?
To me the silver linings are the blessings which the Lord gives us in exchange for the sadness, heartaches and concerns we experience in this fallen world.
Sometimes we make bad choices and experience consequences for those sins, other times we experience pain because of someone we love and their choices, and sometimes the heartache is just the result of this fallen world.
Below is a list of heartaches I have exchanged for the beauty of Hope given from the Lord.
Hope after my mom’s terminal diagnosis………..a closer relationship with my Dad.
Hope after being fired and run out of town…………God helped the church stand up and heal from people who were controlling it and were not listening to Him.
Hope after being a coach of a basketball team who never won a game all session long………..leading in character rather than competitiveness.
Hope after more debt than I ever imagined…………..paying it off one payment at a time.
Hope after my husband had an affair……………I am valuable and important to God, something I had totally forgotten.
Hope after leaving one job for another that was worse………….allowing God to help me discover how He created me and how that relates to my work.
Hope after a saddle pulmonary embolism (blood clot)……………realization that God saved me, (He was the only one who could have) He has more for me to do here on earth.
Hope after divorce……………God blessed me with a husband who loves and cherishes me, He also made me a (step) mom.
Hope after letting go of a business I loved…………finding coaching and a new way to minister to others.
There are many more complete statements I could share with you as I am sure you have a long list yourself.
BUT There are also others statements which I have not heard the Lord reveal the part after the ……s. yet.
Hope after infertility……………………..
Hope after miscarriage………………
Hope after watching my dad disappear with Alzheimer’s disease……….
I know God is faithful. I will be able to complete these statements someday because He Loves Me. As I walk with Him, I become more like Him, and I can see these things through His eyes. The silver linings. . . .
What silver linings have you seen in your life’s pain?
to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, a mantle of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” “Then people will call them “Oaks of Righteousness”, “The Planting of the LORD”, in order to display his splendor. Isaiah 61:3