Tag Archives: dan webster

More First Year Reflections

I spent the morning at Middle School Schedule pickup.  It was an amazing reminder of how far God has brought me in the last year.  This time last year, two somewhat timid middle schoolers and their very nervous mom stood in long lines and filled out forms, knowing no one, missing old friends and unsure of what our new community and new school would hold.

Today we spent the entire morning at the school confidently talking to other nervous parents and new students about their schedules and what a great experience the last year had been for us.

As I continue to reflect back on this last year, I see God’s hand working in our lives almost everywhere.  My goal this year is to continue to remain disciplined to staying as close to God as possible.  But even the simple distractions of everyday life can pull me away from that.  The house is not clean enough, the bills need to be paid, pick up the drycleaning and the kids and make sure dinner is planned. My personal goal of training for a half marathon has required hours a week of walking and running.  And then there is social networking (which I really need to give up this year) and blogging, which I love.  It is my creative outlet.

The fun part about blogging is that I have absolutely no idea who reads what I write.  I don’t pay for the sophisticated tracking programs, so my blog stats just come in the form of numbers.  40 views.  That means 40 page views, not even unique visits.  Occasionally, someone will send comment or a note and it usually surprises me to find out who is actually reading what I write.  I was also surprised to look back on my year to find out I had posted almost 50 blogs since last August.  Granted some of them were just reposts of the good writing of others, but it has been a rewarding experience to write through all the things that God is doing in my life.  And my prayer is that He also uses this blog to touch the lives of others along the way.

This past year I’ve read some great books:

Character Makeover by Katie Brazelton

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

Leading on Empty by Wayne Cordeiro

Primal:  A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity by Mark Batterson

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day: How to Survive and Thrive When Opportunity Roars by Mark Batterson

Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would by Pete Wilson

Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

The Real Deal: Becoming More Authentic in Life and Leadership by Dan Webster

For someone who has not picked up a book for pleasure reading since college, I have really enjoyed the renewed love of reading God has given me this year.

As for the next year, I want to leave it flexible enough to be open to what God holds.  And for those of you who know about my addiction to volunteering, I have done better in Florida.  I am serving as president of the Band Parents Organization as well as teaching at church (an 8th girls Lifegroup (otherwise known as Sunday School) and a class of 3 year olds on Sunday mornings).  Luckily, our church has 7 services, so teaching 2 hours still give me a chance to attend any one of the other 5 and not working 40-60 hours a week, gives me plenty of time to rest up.

My books on the “to read” list for this year include:

Love at Last Sight: Thirty Days to Grow and Deepen Your Closest Relationships by Kerry and Chris Shook

Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible by Steve Furtick

Water into Wine: Hope for the Miraculous in the Struggle of the Mundane by Kelly Minter

At least one other Francine Rivers novel

At least one book by Andy Stanley

Increasing Your Personal Impact by Dan Webster

I have a few other personal goals for the year that involve spending time with my family traveling, continuing to enjoy my long walks/runs, yoga classes and making it to Costa Rica at least three times this year to help support the work of the Brook Ministries (http://www.thebrookministries.org/).  I just love the work that they are doing for pastors in both the US and South America.

This year has been a year of regaining perspective.  Sometimes we work so hard and so long (often driven by the examples we’ve had set for us by others for most of our lives) that we lose perspective of the life that God has for us.  It has been such a blessing to have this last year to regain at least some of that perspective.  I imagine that it will take many more years of focused time with God to get even close to where He wants me to be, but I have to admit that it has been an enriching journey.

Frisco has been tough to let go of.  Much tougher than I anticipated.  I loved my life and my friends in Texas and often when old work or community projects surface that I was incredibly passionate about, I get pretty emotional about not being able to be there to help “steer the ship.”  But I am learning (slowly) that I need to let go of the old and trust that God is in control and He is much more capable then I am of taking care of all the projects and friends that He gave me such a heart for in the first place.

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Appreciate Forgiveness

One of the things that has always been difficult for me is unforgiveness. When I was a child, it used to eat me up when any of my friends were mad at me.  In my dating relationships, I hated being in a fight.  I would bake brownies and pick out the best Hallmark make-up card in hopes that it would remove the conflict from the relationship and bring things back to the harmonious state in which they belonged. I have apologized for many things that I probably didn’t need to just to know that it would make things better.

In recent months I have come to understand why conflict is so hard for me.

First, I am a woman. My husband and I (along with several other couples) have been working through Dr. Emerson Eggerich’s, Love and Respect video series. It is a great series that I highly recommend for all married couples, but one big learning for me was that men and women instinctively handle conflict differently. Most men tend to deal with conflict by avoiding it (or getting as far away from it as possible) while most women want to talk through things in order to feel it is resolved.

Second, I am an INFP. Myers-Briggs. My personality type not only avoids conflict, but is incredibly unhappy with conflict in their lives (spousal, kids, friends, even a good fist-fight in the airport bothers me). My instincts tell me that conflict is just not good. It’s not natural.

So one thing I have struggled with throughout my life is messing up and not knowing if I’ve been forgiven for it.  Not knowing if the conflict is ever resolved.

As I have worked through Dan Webster’s “Real Deal” workbook, I came across a verse that hit me with a different perspective than ever before:  Psalm 51:4

Against you, and you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.

The setting for this verse is David crying out for God’s forgiveness as he realizes how out of step he is with God’s will for his life. This verse falls in the same Chapter of the Psalms that contains “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. (v.10)”

I realized as I re-read this verse that the forgiveness I most take for granted is God’s. I know God loves me unconditionally and now matter how far I travel from His will, no matter how much I hurt Him, if I genuinely seek His forgiveness, He is faithful and He promises that His forgiveness will be there.

Verse 4 reminds me that maybe that is what I really need to be concerned about. While I can ask forgiveness from others, there is no guarantee that they will forgive me. After all, people are human and while I know some pretty amazing humans, none of them love me or care for me as much as God. If I’ve done all I can to reach out and sincerely seek their forgiveness then maybe I need to remember to be thankful for what I do have.

The forgiveness of a great and mighty God, who will always be with me and who has a plan to use my life for His glory.  If I don’t let the small stuff like conflict and worry sidetrack me.

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