Underdog? Top Dog? My Dog?

Underdogs.  It is the seventh game of the 2011 World Series. Each team has won 3 games and so the winner of this game will take the title of World Series champions. It is the top of the 9th inning and with a 4 run deficit, it is not looking too good for the Texas Rangers.   I am disappointed. 

It’s not that I have been a life long fan of the Rangers. And I don’t have any particular dislike for their opponent, the Cardinals.  I don’t have any money in a pool that would make me a wealthy woman if they won. I can’t really name more than two players on their roster, and I haven’t watched any of their other games this season. The only reason I have vested an interest in the fate of the Texas Rangers during this, the seventh game of the 2011 World Series, is because I like to see the underdog win. 

The St. Louis Cardinals have won the world series 10 times and a win tonight would bring them to 11.  The Texas Rangers?  Zero. Zip. Zilch.  And that is why I am rooting for them. 

I have a feeling that I am not alone in loving the underdog.  Remember Rocky Balboa, Rudy, and one of my all time favorites, Forrest Gump?   Underdog. Underdog. Underdog. 

Maybe it’s because the underdog is so relatable.  I can certainly relate.  Doesn’t it sometimes feel like there is always someone a little smarter. A little funnier.  A little more attractive.  A little more financial fit.  Oh, who am I kidding?  Replace “someone” with “many” and  “a little” with “a lot”! Now that’s more realistic! 

I know, I know.  We shouldn’t compare, and I usually don’t.  We all have our own lives to live, and I am living my life.  But I wonder sometimes if God could really use an underdog like me for His purposes.  I only need to take a look at His words to see that, yes, God too, loves an underdog. 

There was Gideon, who came from the weakest of the Israelite clans and who was the least among his own people.  Yet God made Gideon a mighty warrior who battled for freedom.  And there was Moses, who was not only an underdog but also a murderer who went from being a prince to being relegated to keeping track of sheep.  Yet God made Moses a mighty leader who led his people out of bondage.  And there was Jesus, who was wrongly accused and despised to death.  Yet God made Him the Savior to sinners ~ the sacrificial lamb, the way out of bondage and into freedom for all who follow Him.

 No. I do not have a Messianic complex, nor do I have delusions of being anything like Gideon or Moses, both great men of faith.  Any delusions I have lean more toward the vanity kind ~ like thinking I can get my girlish figure back and reverse the effects of gravity. No, I am not suffering spiritual delusions of grandeur.  But I do believe that God can use an underdog, like me, for His purposes.  I believe this not because of anything I can do on my own, but rather because of what He can do through me.   

 But to be used by God, I must be aware of the opportunity when it presents itself.  I must be willing to trust Him and get in the game.  The underdogs didn’t come out on top this year in the World Series. The Texas Rangers weren’t able to make up that 4 run deficit.  So are they out of the game of baseball?  Ludicrous! I can guarantee that when the 2012 season rolls around, the Rangers will have their spot in the schedule.  Likewise, I will miss opportunities, I will try to do things on my own power, I may even take myself temporarily out of the game. Thankfully, God is merciful and allows me to try again.  And when I remember to rely on His wisdom, His guidance, and His power, then God can use an underdog, like me, for His purposes.  Are you an underdog that God can use?

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.   2 Corinthians 9:7-9



To Everthing There Is A Season

 Seasons. Like it or not, they change. Even here is sunny, Southern California we have two and a half seasons. It’s true, there isn’t a very dramatic change from one season to the next, but don’t try to tell that to someone in the So Cal while they are on storm watch because we might get an inch of rain. 

This past weekend we transitioned into a new season. There were no real weather changes to speak of but rather a new season in life. Our daughter got married and it was the most beautiful wedding that ever was. Sorry Kim Kardashian and Princess Kate, but if People magazine had known about this wedding, we would have heard nothing of yours. How dare you accuse me of being biased? Just ask my husband…or the groom’s parents…or anyone else who was there. 

Everything went off without a hitch. The venue, a gorgeous Tuscan inspired winery in the Georgia mountains, was idyllic. The weather, while not sunny, was temperate and from what I was told, a photographer’s dream ~ no shadows, and no squinting. The ceremony, precious. The groom, tears. The family, inspired. And the bride….words can’t do justice, but breathtaking comes to mind. 

It was truly joyous and wonderfully blessed. So why, at times, did I feel blue? We love our new son-in-law, so that wasn’t it. Perhaps it was because we came back from the wedding and within 24 hours put our son on a plane to Australia for 6 months. But, this too, was a good thing, a phenomenal opportunity and adventure for our son, so that shouldn’t cause the blues. 

Maybe the cause of the blues is the realization that the season has changed. Whether I like it or not, whether I am ready or not, I am inexorably moving into another season. Certain clothes are put away, never to be worn again. My internal clock is making adjustments as I move to a new phase in life. There is a sudden and subtle realization that I am moving on a time line that will one day have an end. 

My blues don’t last long, a twinge here and there. A momentary wistfulness as I remember my babies when they could be cradled on my hip. I know in my heart that every season has its blessings, even when we are on storm watch. So I will sit under the Son’s lamp and allow the rays of hope in the new season to lift my blues. I will try to remember to embrace each day of this new season because seasons change, the time line continues to the end, and each day I am given on it is a blessing from above. It won’t always be easy, but I will try.  How about you? Will you embrace the changing seasons in your life?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…
Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

What Are You Going to Wear?

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Clothes. At my age, clothes are a good thing, as opposed to being naked. I’m just saying. But sometimes clothes can be a real nuisance. We are 6 days away from a big event, a real celebration, a once in a lifetime occurrence, if I can be so presumptuous. Our daughter is getting married. I have been excited and looking forward to this day for a long time, but I hadn’t really taken seriously my role as the MOB (mother of the bride). Oh, I remember early on the comments of friends:

“Oh, you’re going to be the mother of the bride! That’s a big deal! Make sure you look good ~ don’t want to reflect badly on your daughter!”
“You know her fiancee is going to look at you to see what he is in for 30 years down the road…”
“Don’t skimp on your dress! This is a one time event, you want to look good!”
“I spent $500 on my dress and didn’t blink an eye!”

Oh sure, I heard them, I nodded in agreement while secretly thinking about all the other things I had to do on that day.  And days went by.  And people would ask.

“Did you get your dress yet?”
“Have you gotten your dress yet?”
“Got a dress?”
“What dress did you get?”

Pretty soon I got the idea that I was supposed to be getting a dress ~ and it must be a big deal because everyone kept asking. Silly me, I thought this was supposed to be all about the bride and not the MOB.

Unlike many women, I am not a big shopper. God didn’t give me that gene. Every once in a while, maybe twice a year, I will get the urge. I will make an all day event out of it. When I get going, I really embrace the process. But in between, well, not so much. So this dress shopping thing was not something I was particularly looking forward to. Plus, I was always waiting for those certain number of pounds to just fall off so I would look spectacular in said dress. Let’s just say the poundage falling off was wishful thinking and the day had come to get the dress.

It was a magical day, spent with my B2B (bride to be daughter) and with her amazing style, we found the dress. The one that made me look as though the pounds, at least some of them, had fallen off. And the proper undergarments with the right amount of Spandex would take care of the rest.

“Have you gotten your dress yet?”
“YES I HAVE!” Did I just shout? Sorry, just so excited.

But now I needed shoes. And undergarments. And jewelry. And something to wear for the rehearsal dinner. The dress I wore to the bridal shower? Oh come on! Even I know that won’t work ~ everyone has already seen it! And something to wear to the BBQ for out of town guests. And shoes for the rehearsal dinner outfit. And jewelry. And shoes for the BBQ. And jewelry.

“Mom, your bag weighs 49 pounds!”

“Oh, that’s close, isn’t it? Okay, how about I put some of my stuff in a carry on? Josh, your bag feels half empty! Dude, take advantage of every inch! Gosh!”

My son just shakes his head and walks away. My girlfriend comes to pick us up to take us to the airport. I am feebly trying to explain why I, alone, by myself, have to check one bag while the men each manage with a carry on. And then further explain about the overflow in another carry on.

She understands and we commiserate. Hey, I am the MOB. I am going to an out of town wedding….for my daughter! It’s understandable. Justifiable. It’s a wedding celebration ~ we want to look good. Then she said it.

“Boy, I am so glad we don’t have to worry about what we will wear to the Lamb’s feast. The wedding of the Lamb and His church!”

Ahhh….perspective. Simplicity. Grace. Acceptance. Love. A robe white as snow, pure, exquisite and bought with a price. MOB dress….$250. Jewelry…$20. Shoes…..$15. Salvation by the blood of Jesus…PRICELESS! What are you going to wear on judgement day?

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.    Ephesians 2:12-14