Thursday, January 26, 2012

Something Scary

Last weekend I did something I honestly never dreamed I'd do. I can honestly say the thought never once crossed my mind that I would ever try something quite so frightening. But, I did it.

I took my turn on the flying trapeze.

It's ok if you need to stop and read that sentence again. I'll wait.

For those of you who know me well, you have probably discovered that I have an intense fear of heights. I abhor ladders. And, if you're asking me to walk across something I can see through, you may as well ask me to land on the moon. Did you know that trapeze class incorporates ALL 3 of those things? I bet you didn't.

But, you see, I have this friend who always comes up with crazy ideas and loves to push me outside of my comfort zone. And, she thought trapeze class sounded like fun.

Unbeknownst to this friend, I've recently made a little promise to myself not to let fear stop me from trying new things. I want more adventure in my life and I'm tired of being paralyzed by the "what ifs". Enter Amy...and trapeze class.

When we arrived at the facility, the advanced class was in progress. Watching those young folks "fly through the air with the greatest of ease" did nothing to quell my fears. I watched them scurry up the shaky ladder and blithely flip off the edge of the net. None of that seemed like fun to me. Not even a little.

But, I did it.

I couldn't feel my legs for about an hour afterwards because of all of the adrenaline and emotion running through my veins, but I am so proud of myself! I couldn't believe I was able to actually climb the ladder, jump off the platform, swing on the trapeze and flip off the net.

This may seem like a small thing to you, but to me it was enormous. So, thank you, Amy for pushing me to do something I never thought I'd do. Thanks for taking the plunge with me. I'm hoping this year is full of adventure as I learn to let go of my fear and step out in faith.

Here's a little video of my trapeze adventure for those who may be interested:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Something Manly

I'm currently reading the book "Wild at Heart" by John Eldredge. It's a book that talks specifically about how men were created to reflect the glory of God and teach us about His character. It's been an interesting journey into the wild heart of man.

Eldredge states that there are three deep seated desires in the heart of a man. He must have a battle to fight, and adventure to live and a beauty to rescue. It's been interesting to dig into those three things and see what God has called man to be. I am also reading this book's counterpart for women, called "Captivating", by John and his wife Stasi Eldredge. In "Captivating" the couple states that the deep seated desires of a woman's heart are to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to have a beauty to unveil. Reading these books together has been a beautiful journey into how we are created in unique, yet complimentary ways, to display the face of God to the world.

In "Captivating", the authors talk about the wounds that women can receive from men who do not use their strength appropriately. Sometimes strength is used aggressively and a woman is wounded by a man who physically or verbally abuses her. But, sometimes, the strength is passive and not used to stand up for or fight for the woman. Sometimes she is ignored, or not defended, or not seen. When there isn't balance to strength, it wounds.

A few weeks ago, I was given a beautiful display of strength used appropriately. We have a project, a remodel, that has become overwhelming. It had become a drain on the financial and emotional resources of my family. It needed to be tackled, but we did not have the strength.

And so, the men showed up.

My Dad's father, his brothers, my brother, and men from my church all came together, pooling their strength and resources, and made a huge dent in the project. They came through for me and my family. It was a truly beautiful thing to watch. I am blessed to have such men in my life.

Sometimes, that is what we need to see of the character of God. He shows up for us. He comes through for us. He uses His strength for our good. He doesn't sit by and watch as we sink, nor does He yell at us to try harder. No. "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17)!

I am so grateful to the men who showed up that day to show me how strength comes through. Each of you reflected the glory of God that day and my heart is forever grateful!

Many thanks to:

Bob Solly (Grandpa)
Robert Solly (Uncle)
Tom LaSalle (Uncle)
Deno Trentman (Uncle)
Dan Solly (Dad)
Daniel Solly (Brother)

And the men of Word of Life Free Methodist Church
Kevin Bowers
Bob Britton
Tom Gridley
Michael McBrayer
Jeff Minor
Greg Nitchman

I pray that the Lord gives back a double portion of what you give out as you use your strength to show the rest of us who He is. It means so much to have someone show up and come through. I'm more grateful than I have words to express!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Something Beautiful

All too often, I don't take the time to stop and blog unless I've been processing some deep truth in my life. More often than not, blogging helps me finally distill my thoughts into truth and belief. I share here, quite frequently, the struggles of my journey.

But, I've come to realize that I don't project a full and complete picture.

When I only take the time to talk about when life is hard, I lead my readers to believe my life is always hard. That is simply not true and is, in fact, far from the reality of it.

My life is full of joy, happiness and people who love me really well. The story that God is writing for me is nothing short of beautiful.

I had a taste of that "something beautiful" this Christmas and New Year's. I had the opportunity to take time to travel to Illinois to be with Nick. And, while I missed my family and spent my first Christmas without them, it was filled with so much joy I could hardly take it in.

Some of you know the details of my story and how the Lord is working in my life. It's been so beautiful to see how He can redeem things I believed were lost. This trip was a gift to me from a Father Who loves me very much.

Nick's Christmas gift to me was "Experiencing Life Together". Because we live far apart, we don't get to experience much life together at all. So, we were intentional about getting out and taking on life together. We baked cookies, bought and decorated a Christmas tree, put together puzzles, watched old Christmas movies and worshipped together at his church. And, the whole next week, he took me to several places in Chicago. We explored the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Brookfield Zoo at night and he even got me out on "the Ledge" in Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). It was a week of seeing the wonder of the world and living together in it. It was really something beautiful.

I wanted to take the time to share these things with you. And, although I don't really make New Year's Resolutions, perhaps I should. Perhaps I should resolve to share more of the joy of my life instead of only the difficult pieces. My life is full of beauty and love. And, I serve a God who is weaving redemption through every part of my story...and yours.

Click here for pictures
So, hopefully I will have more beautiful things to share with you in 2012! I hope it's a blessed year for you all!