Thursday, October 22, 2009

Dear November:

Dear November,

I have been thinking. I'm not really ready for you to show up just yet, so if you could delay your arrival just a few days, that would be awesome. Don't get me wrong. I love the cool weather you bring, and the chance for snow, and amazing food and warm drinks to enjoy, but I am just not ready to welcome you into my life again. It's not's me.

Jamie F.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

This week, I have been on the road…a lot. I have had quite a bit of time by myself to reflect on life, to pray, and to laugh at random things that have happened recently. I have had the opportunity to reconnect with old friends. Since Saturday at 4:00, I have logged 1,006 miles on my car. Between here and there, I have found so much to be thankful for.

-People who pray for me.
- A mom who understands.
-The chance to experience the amazing fall colors while driving south through Kentucky and Tennessee.
- Friends who are better at math than I am (thanks, Yvonne.)
- College students.
-New friends.
-Football season.
-My GPS…without which I would not have gotten through Atlanta in the rain.
-Friends who let me stay at their house while passing through.
- A place to lay my head and relax while in Florida…even if I’m surrounded by Auburn Tigers items.
-Air conditioning. It's still in the 80's in Florida.
-Sleep. When I travel, I tend to get very little of it, but I’m thankful for what I do get.
-Opportunities to share with people about what God is doing in Uganda.
- Reading a book with a 2 year old…who will be 5 before I know it.
- Being able to say goodbye to dear friends in person I thought I would not be able to see.
- Those same friends who took me in for 6 months after my life turned upside down.
- Our invitation to take our needs (and the needs of others) to the feet of Jesus. And how He doubtless intends to intervene.

What are you thankful for this week?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I'm thankful for:

1. Baby girls. They seem to be EVERYWHERE in my life these days. 3 friends from college had baby girls in the last 2 weeks. A dear friend is due at the end of this month. Pink, bows, and more pink!

2. My dear co-workers (and friends). I always have such a great time at work. We laugh. We move stuff around. We put out Christmas stuff. It's the little things.

3. Cars. Just imagine! It wasn't that long ago that the car was a "new fangled" thing.

4. Plans that come together. Even if it is the last minute.

5. Lint rollers.

6. A new Christmas album with my FAVORITE Christmas song on it...sung correctly, and with all the right music-y stuff going on.

7. Sleep.

The end.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Hope For the Next Generation

August 21, 2008 was a day that, perhaps, holds little or no significance to most of us. But for 8 American runners at the Beijing Olympics, it is a day they will not soon forget. It was on this day that the highly favored men’s and women’s 4x100 meter relay teams laced up their shoes for what should have been a seamless race that would send both teams into the finals.

From the outset, both races appeared to be going as rehearsed. Each runner ran his or her 100 meters flawlessly. The baton exchanges appeared perfect. Until the final exchange. In a confounding sequence of events, both the men’s and women’s teams were disqualified as the last runner prepared to take the baton. In both races, the baton fell to the ground, and a collective gasp was heard around the world.

A relay race is won or lost in the “exchange zone.” Quick feet and trained legs help, for sure. But if the baton is dropped or is passed incorrectly, the result is disqualification. I am coming to realize this is true of our lives as well. How we do life in the exchange zone is crucial as we live out what God has called us to do. There is much at stake.

Judges 2:10 is a great example of how the baton was passed successfully to one runner (Joshua), but was dropped somewhere in the next exchange. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.” Scripture does not tell us exactly what happened. But somewhere along the way, as Joshua passed the baton, it was dropped. May this not be true of us! We have all been given a baton. And it is our responsibility to pass it. Not Hollywood. Not the music industry. Not our government leaders. The baton is in the hand of the church of Jesus Christ, and it is our responsibility alone to make sure it gets from our hands to the hands of those coming behind us.

A few weekends ago, my friend Esther Fleece, who works at Focus on the Family, was in Washington D.C at the Values Voter Summit, and was given the opportunity to talk about this very issue. Her official job title? Focus’ assistant to the president for millennial relations. Translation? Someone who is very passionate about the condition of young people, mostly in their early teens to late twenties. She is someone who understands the importance of passing the baton to the next generation. She is aware of the issues facing our generation, and knows the statistics. She is familiar with what is true. But she stands on something far greater than what is true. She stands on the Truth. The Truth that says our God is good and loving. The truth that says our God is compassionate and gracious. That He is still in the business of redeeming what’s broken.

Esther sat down with her boss Jim Daly, the President of Focus on the Family, and had a candid conversation about why it is important to reach the next generation. She raised a battle cry for those ahead of us to be willing to sit down and answer the tough questions. To be mentors. To walk alongside us and believe in us. Our generation has seen its share of “role models” crash and burn before our eyes. Sports stars, politicians, musicians, and even church leaders. We are desperate to be taught. And as Esther says, “The good news is, we are teachable.” She shared staggering statistics about how the Millennials will form the voting majority in 2020, with the numbers reaching 103 million strong. 103 million people who have grown up with tremendous brokenness, with the cards stacked against them. 103 million who have been dubbed the “hopeless generation” by some. How many of those 103 million have accepted truth as relative and have their moral compass determined by their peers or pop culture? What better time than now to believe in our generation? To believe greater things ARE yet to come. To believe the tide can be turned. Perhaps we aim so low because no one has given us anything higher to aim for.
Truly, I cannot do the conversation justice. See it for yourself here:

After hearing this conversation between two people who are zealous for the hearts of young people, I was convicted. I realized that so often, I find myself accepting the actions and brokenness of my generation (and the one coming behind) as the status quo, without spending time on my knees to see the status quo change. Sometimes, I’m guilty of losing sight of the exchange zone because I am too worried that other people are running their race faster or are more skilled than I am. Or, worse yet, I’m too focused on my own race, forgetting that in a relay, how we run as a team is far more important than how I run my individual race. And, sadly, in some cases, I've dropped the baton altogether.

Perhaps what went wrong in Joshua’s day was that people stopped talking about what God had done. About what He was capable of. Perhaps the next generation thought it would be too hard to trust God to be huge on their behalf, so they dropped the baton. Maybe they got so immersed in what they were doing that they forgot a generation was coming behind them. We cannot know with absolute certainty what happened. But I am absolutely certain of this: I do not want to see this happen in our generation. I want to live with intention, believing better things for my generation, and the one to come. To carry my baton, remembering the legacy of those who handed it to me, and to live in such a way that the exchange zone is a place of triumph and victory instead of failure and loss. If I know anything about Esther, I know this is her heart’s desire as well. And I have to believe we are not the only ones. For this reason, I have hope for our generation, and the one that will come after us. It is my prayer that when our generation has finished the race, that a generation would come behind who knows the Lord AND what He has done for His people. May we pass our batons well.

***To read more from Esther, in her own words, go to this blog. And, if the video link above is too tiny, click here to see it a bit larger.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Some weeks are better than others. Some weeks, I find that looking for things to be thankful for is like looking for Waldo on the last page of the Where's Waldo books. You know, the page where EVERYONE is wearing striped shirts, blue pants, and is walking with a cane? In other words, it's hard to see past the petty-everyday stuff to see things I should be thankful for. And in the wake of tragic events around the world, I begin to snap out of my slump and come back to reality, and find that I have oh-so-much to be thankful for.

This week, I'm thankful:

-for the opportunity to share about God's heart for the nations. What a humbling thing.
-for friends to watch football games with.
-for a boss who is so gracious and understanding.
-for new donors (champions, as WGM would like us to call them) who began supporting me in September.
- for e-mail.
- for phone calls from old friends.
- for a 15 month old who has started calling me 'Aunt Mamie.'
- for an amazing lightning storm on the way home from babysitting tonight.
- for the smell of fall both in the air outside and from a candle burning inside.
- for 80's music.
- for the Word of God, and how it is living and active. How I find new truth each time I open it.

What are you thankful for today?