Category Archives: Family

Missy Franklin on Mondays

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This is Meredith, circa Summer 2005 (wasn’t she flippin’ adorable?!). She practically lived in that little blue pool that summer. In fact, I’d venture to guess my oldest child is part amphibious. She’s loved the water her whole life. That particular summer, when we would go to the ‘real’ pool, she would swim back and forth between John and I for as long as we would have it. For as long as I can remember, she has been the first kid in the pool and the last one out. She would swim so long her toes would be sore, and her fingers were little white prunes. So last summer, when Missy Franklin captured the world’s heart with her darling smile and swimming prowess during the Olympics, it came as no surprise that Meredith decided she wanted to be a competitive swimmer too.

The catch was, we were on vacation when the local swim club was going to hold tryouts, so we had made arrangements to tryout when we returned the next week.

Did I mention it was an Olympic year, and Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin had taken on a near cult-like following? Well, it was an Olympic year, and the Phelps/Franklin cult were flocking to the nearest swim teams in droves.

Yep, you can guess where this is going……

And…because of the OVERWHELMING turnout, the local swim team was busting at the seams, nearly tripling the size of their team overnight. They were forced to turn kids away because they simply could not handle one more swimmer.

So Meredith was not able to join the team. (Ok, before you get all defensive, hear this: the swim club takes VERY good care of their swimmers, and it was a matter of SAFETY that Meredith and others were turned away. Difficult to swallow, but important nonetheless.)

It was an understatement to say our little girl was crushed.
She cried. Oh my gosh, she cried.
I cried. Oh my gosh, I cried.

No swim team.
No swim meets.
No medals.

As a parent, I think the toughest thing you do is watch your kiddo go through something you can’t fix. In my head, I completely understood, totally agreed…I would never want any child’s safety compromised in a swimming pool. But in reality, I was beside myself. I’ve never seriously considered bribery until that week…I mean, I hate laundry, but I’d wash every towel in the joint and scrub the floors if they’d let her join. Or pool vacuumer…surely someone needed to vacuum that monstrous pool everyday. Anything. I’d have done anything.

But it just wasn’t to be.

A couple of weeks later, Meredith was still determined to be Missy Franklin, so we decided to let her take some private swim lessons. Not gonna lie, I’d have hired Missy Franklin herself if I could have. But Missy was busy being a superstar/high school senior/international role model, so we settled for weekly lessons with Miss Kaitlyn at the local YWCA.

Thank you Lord, for Miss Kaitlyn.

For months, the highlight of Meredith’s week was Monday from 4-5pm. Kaitlyn worked with Meredith on her strokes, refined her skills, taught her how to breathe, to flip turn.

Here’s the part that gets me.

Not once – not even ONCE, did our nine year old pout or cry that she wasn’t with her friends on the swim team, or getting to compete in the swim meets. After the initial shock wore off, she never uttered one single complaint.

{I wish I was more like her sometimes.}

She just kept taking those lessons with Miss Kaitlyn. Kept pretending she was Missy Franklin on Monday afternoons, waiting for the next tryout to roll around.

Might we all be so good at waiting.
{Heck, I’m competitive at the grocery store’s check out lines, not to mention real world issues. It’s a problem. I know.}

When things don’t go my way.
The repairman doesn’t show up when he said.
A house doesn’t sell as quickly as I thought it would.
Kids take their everlovin’ time getting their buns in the car.
The super cool mom you know at school dons her new wardrobe. (How she does it, I just don’t know. It’s awesome.)

Refuse bitterness. Fight envy.
Reject the temptation to pout, cry or throw a tantrum.

It’s hard sometimes…especially when we see others around us succeeding.
When it seems everyone else is on easy street.
When others are getting what we think we should.

In the waiting, might we allow the Lord to grow us.
Like Meredith on Mondays, her skills refined, arms strengthened, knowledge deepened.

It isn’t whether or not we have seasons of waiting. It’s what we choose to do with that time that matters.
For it is in the waiting that we grow the most.

Last month, the local swim team had open tryouts.
Meredith made the team.

Which brings me to this weekend.

After nearly ten months of waiting, our little girl, got in the water yesterday morning for her first swim meet. She swam two races, a 50m freestyle, and a 50m backstroke. {I would love to tell you she won the races, but she didn’t. It doesn’t matter.}

Y’all, I’ve never been so proud of our daughter in my life.

There was a sweetness in yesterday that I don’t know if I can put into words.
Because the waiting had not been tainted by bitterness or jealousy, there was pure joy in it.
I really tried to keep my composure, but I must confess, my heart was bursting on the inside.
Not because she made the team.
Not because of the time she posted.
But because I had watched her grow up in those ten months.
Because I saw overflowing joy in a young lady who had patiently persevered in the waiting.
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Needless to say, it was worth the wait.

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Hold Them Tight

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In the quiet of the morning, I sit.
Dawn is coming.
The oldest, brings me a hug, sleepy and snuggly, this morning, like every morning.
I stroke her messy hair, hold her tight.
Maybe a little tighter than normal.
I fight back tears for those who woke this morning to devastation and heartbreak.

For the momma’s who won’t hold their babes again,
won’t give morning kisses,
won’t pack the lunch.

The daddy’s who lost the sunshine’s in their life,
won’t coach the soccer team this fall,
won’t walk her down the aisle someday.

For those grieving,
waiting…

Incomprehensible.
Devastation.

At the end of yesterday’s post, I mentioned a sweet story I would share today about Deo Pneuma. But as I was writing yesterday’s post, I was unaware of the tornados in Oklahoma. It wasn’t until after posting, I came out of my office and saw the news.

So instead of the story today, let’s stop for a moment instead and listen for some clarity.
In this life wrought with human frailty, uncertainty…
Might we ask…
Where are the unforgiven places in our life?
With whom do we need to reconcile hurts?
Are there people in our life that need more attention, intentional direction?

Better put…
Who are you mad at?
Who hurt you?
Are you paying attention to the ones in your life that matter the most?

My mom text me last night to tell me she loved me, and to give the kids a hug.
I cried.
Momma/daughter stuff can be hard, friends.
My mom and I are no exception.
We’ve been through the ringer, just to be honest. (It’s nothing she wouldn’t tell you either.) But the other thing we would testify to is that the Lord has allowed healing where we never would have thought possible. By the grace of God, what was once pain, hurt, and division, is slowing blooming into a healthy friendship.

Real life beauty from ashes.
And I give thanks.

Life is fragile.
Hold the ones tight you love.
Tell them. Don’t assume they know.
Forgive.
Apologize.
Love like there’s no tomorrow.

love,
kris

Day 9: rest.

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Hi guys!

I’m hopping on here for just a minute today. It’s been a little bit since I’ve posted, and I do hope your Thanksgiving was blessed. Ours was one I won’t forget for a long time.  It was different from our usual gathering, and has been something I’ve had to chew on. I love those we broke bread with. But this year, for a number of reasons, our table was smaller than usual. And, to just be blunt, I missed those who were not at the table. Family is something not to be taken lightly, y’all. Even though they drive us crazy sometimes. Grin.

So, with the absence of several faces from the table, I’ve been thinking about the dynamics of my family of origin. I’m not sure if anyone can relate, but our family is what one might call a bag of mixed nuts. Key word, nuts. Ha. We are so different, yet so similar…and frankly, there are times when we all want to simultaneously wring each other’s necks. Not mine of course…they all love me….ha! (Heaven don’t strike me now, I’m only kidding!) But in all seriousness, we come from some messed up lineage. And some really burdensome baggage. In an effort to be respectful, I won’t go into detail – but let’s just say, we’ve been putting the FUN in dyFUNction for years.

Then it all came together for me this morning. That darling, yellow-haired, 4-legged child of mine woke me up early. Dang I love that dog. Anyway, when I couldn’t go back to sleep, I turned on the coffee pot, and opened up the Word. Sometimes, it’s just good to sit a spell before the world starts spinning too fast.

I read the book of Jude this morning, and it really grabbed me. And not necessarily for the words. Jude tells us he is James’ brother….James….as in Jesus’ brother, James. Which would mean…he was Jesus’ brother also.

Huh.

We know James was Jesus’ bro. He was, by far, one of the greatest Jewish leaders after the Resurrection. But it is generally believed (by scholars much smarter than myself) that James didn’t accept Jesus as Messiah until after the Cross. And now here we have Jude.

Jude?

Nevermind that Mary must have had a mouthful trying to call those three in for dinner….”Jesus! James! Jude! Jenny! Jeremy! Jesse!” (Ok, I may have exaggerated a few extra names. You get my point.:) Don’t you know Mary had already been through enough? Angel visitations, virgin birth, running from a crazy king, hiding out in Egypt, and finally settling in at Nazareth to quietly (hopefully) raise a family and a few chickens. Then, 30 years later, after the dust has finally settled a little, and the ladies had quit talking about her (as much) at the local watering hole, Jesus’ ministry begins.

And here’s what got me thinking – I love that the Lord would allow a slice of Jesus’ earthly family to be included in the Holy Writ. And then I tried to imagine their family before the Cross.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it may have been strained.

Ya know, their oldest brother, the one who had been soooo perfect all his life, was suddenly garnering the attention of thousands. And performing miracles! What?! Put yourself in those younger kid’s sandals. They probably knew all about mom and dad’s strange beginning, but I just sense they didn’t have a grasp of what had reallllllly happened (I mean, would you?!). They weren’t there. And by the time they got to be adults, they just might have been tired of all the hoop-lah about JESUS. So it doesn’t surprise me that they couldn’t accept him during his time on Earth. They were fleshly, they were human. And they KNEW him. They knew his breath stunk when they woke up next to him on their mats. They saw him grow up. They knew he liked broccoli better than carrots. They. Knew. Him. Or they thought they did. And in their finite minds, there was no way that their stinky big brother was the Messiah.

Blessedly, Jude and James come around. They recognize, they bow. And to me, that’s one of the greatest proof’s of Christ’s deity. For the ones who knew him best, his family, to recognize him as Messiah. To come full circle to the Lord’s work here on earth.

Full circle.

Oh how I have prayed for that exact thing. To see a full circle come about in our family, that only Jesus could orchestrate.

I sat for a few minutes and wrapped all of this around this wee brain of mine. Our family has been through a difficult time lately. Not nearly as difficult as seeing my eldest brother being beaten and hung on a cross – but still, it’s been terribly strained.

I think the Lord allowed a glimpse of his family life to give us a little encouragement. Family can be hard, y’all. Some of you will not understand – you’ve got a tight knit, emotionally healthy, spiritually strong family. And for you, I implore you, fall face first before the Lord in thanksgiving. THAT, my dears, is a blessing from the throne.

And for those of you, like me, who have some baggage, some trials, some wounds, in the arena we call “family”, I give you this. I don’t know your story, I don’t know your exact hurt, but I am so sorry. There are wounds within my own life too profound, too intimate, to share in a public forum. Maybe yours are too. You too know the feeling of having the wind knocked out of your sails. And family hurts sting a little deeper than others, I think, because they are the ones who should love you the most.

I sat across the table from a family member for 2 1/2 hours this week, after a long period of separation. In His tender mercy, the Lord sat at the table with us. I believe it was because we both begged him to show up beforehand. And truthfully, it was hard to own up to my part of the problem. I am certain it was for her also. The flesh is a mean beast, for sure. But as the Lord would have it, we were able to talk. Honestly, and yet, fruitfully. We both admitted later, we wanted to puke on the way to meet each other. Grin. It was a time of reconciliation and forgiveness that has been needed for longer than I can remember. I’m still in awe of what the Lord did there. Forgiving those who have hurt you is not easy. In fact, wallowing in the bitterness can be easier at the time. And trust me (or just ask that darling husband of mine), I’ve wallowed. I’ve sulked, pouted, cried. But mark my words, choosing not to forgive someone will ultimately destroy you from the inside out.

Bitterness and joy can’t exist in the same place.

Wounds take time to heal properly. But the words, “I’m sorry” do more for the hurt than anything. If you owe someone those words, give them. They’re life-giving. If someone owes you those words, for lack of a better way to say it – be forgivable. In other words, don’t make it harder on them than it already is. Give them the grace they need to be able to put themselves out there. No one wants to apologize to the guy who will cram an “I told ya so” down their throats.

I took the liberty of imagining what the conversation with Jesus and his family looked like after the Resurrection. When the full circle moment came. The tenderness of what my mind’s eye holds is spectacular. I can almost feel the emotion James and Jude must have felt when their eyes were opened. There had to be hugs. Full frontal hugs,  (not those pseudo-manly bro slap/hugs) and whole-hearted, genuine slaps on the back. I just bet there were tears of joy, possibly mixed with a little regret of time lost. And I bet Jesus didn’t utter one sarcastic “I told ya so”.

Well, as it turns out, I’m just not short-winded. I don’t mean to be so chatty…it just happens. I must close. Lucy the Wonderdog has been giving me pleading looks of “TAKE ME FOR A WALK!” for 30 minutes now. So, you, get out there today. Ask the Lord for courage, extend a little more grace and mercy today. Especially to your family. Press in to the Lord, boldly ask for the full circle. Even if you can’t imagine it yet. It’s gonna be worth it.

Blessings,

kristi

Because we all need that full circle moment