The Pull-Up That Went Down

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Romans 15:5
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
King James Version
Public Domain

Other translations of this verse speak of endurance, encouragement, or perseverance in place of patience and consolation. All of these qualities are necessary to live the Christian life. At my CrossFit gym, I’ve learned they’re essential as well for the WOD.

The work-out of the day, or WOD, is revealed to the participants at the beginning of each session. I never have any knowledge about the level of challenge I’ll have to engage until I walk through the door of the facility. Very much like life, huh?

On that day when a toes-to-bar maneuver was listed in the WOD, I felt strong and assured. This activity helps train to perform a pull-up from an overhead bar. I practiced several before our time began and felt my completion would be probable. But, about halfway through the WOD my left wrist gave way and I found myself eight feet lower, flat on the mat. It happened so quickly. I felt stunned that I did not have time to brace myself from falling on my hip with the titanium joint. Yikes. I could hear my surgeon’s voice as I processed the damage.

The coach arrived in an instant, along with every athlete around my station, to assess the level of damage. I felt like a very old turtle on its back, surrounded by all the young faces. As the oldest athlete in the group and forty years older than my coach, I’m sure they all anticipated seeing me shattered like an antique vase. When I assured them I sustained no injury, they returned to their activities. The coach benched me till everyone finished.

The following weekend I reflected on the incident as I nursed a bruised behind. I thought about how we can fall so quickly even when we think we’re prepared and are up to the challenge. Our confidence can blind us to the ever-present possibility of slipping off the bar. We plan and God laughs.

I don’t credit my fall to the devil because it probably had more to do with the Carpal-Tunnel syndrome in my wrist. But the shock of the fall reminds me of how quickly life can change. The cause may be through the signature kill-steal-destroy tactics of the devil or it may be allowed by our Sovereign Lord. Change may happen just because…

When we fall, our Christian community is to rally around us, checking for damage and offering support just as my fellow athletes did. Sometimes they can help us up and ease the suffering until we find our bench. The Lord may allow us to sit there. And sit there. For a long while.

As I sat on the bench and watched everyone continue on, I sure wished to be out there with them. Yet, prudence prevailed and I hung there until our time completed. I feel very much benched in my life at this time, not from a fall or slip in my Christian walk, but because of life events. My Christian community continues on without me as I attend to life’s responsibilities from my bench.

It is the Lord, my Coach, who has benched me. I feel like it’s been a long fall from when I worked in my profession and actively engaged in the ministries of my church. Now, I have increased family responsibilities and strive to keep myself in the best shape physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As the family caretaker, my time is not my own. I’ve learned I must take care of myself or I will be ineffective in caring for others.

I would love to be back out there with my fellow workers. For now, I’ll work from my bench until He tells me it’s time to go back in. The pull-up that went down reminded me of the value of supportive people and the wisdom of sitting it out when you can’t go on. If you’re on the bench, wait it out till healing comes. And if you’re a faithful hard-working servant rushing by the bench, give encouragement and offer to lighten the load. The next seat on the bench may be yours.

Photo credit: Cartoon Businessman Exercise Set, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

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Bling Somebody

ID-100227003And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement.
(Acts 15: 31 NASB)

Death takes a bite out of the survivor’s spirit. In between the logistics of taking care of belongings, policies, paperwork, and memories, I’ve spent some time meditating on loss and grief. Mom’s hospice took care to distribute caring pamphlets for the bereaved but the one which I remember most is “Life after Loss” by Tim Jackson from RBC ministries. Almost anything associated with Discovery Series is a good resource and this little pamphlet was no exception. Mr. Jackson shared from his own losses of his parents and I easily identified with his emotions.

It’s a valley most of us will walk through. The silence without a loved one is at times deafening. But, the Lord has gifted me with His presence and grace to move forward. Mom is gone and I’ve got to get back to work!

Recently I had the joy of hearing from Donna Mynatt. Follow the link to her interview and book review of book one in my Cotton Springs series, Erased with Grace. (There’s a giveaway!) Find it at: www.donnasbookshelf.com. Donna and her daughter, Rachel Miller, are both authors and reviewers and belong to my AFCW group that meets in Middle Tennessee. Being around fellow writers inspires but fellowship with fellow Christians heals and soothes.

Blogging and writing have suffered in the past few weeks and Donna’s sweet words of encouragement have been like a balm to this weary traveler. My thoughts turned to good ol’ Barnabas, Paul’s companion during a missionary journey. During one Bible study I attended, the leader pointed out how initially the two were listed as Barnabas and Paul. Later, as Paul became bolder and stronger in his witness and presentation, the two became Paul and Barnabas. The presence of this son of encouragement prompted Paul to continue on without him and become a prolific author and church planter.

We all need a lift every now and then. More than an atta-girl, real encouragement works its healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m convinced many times I’ve missed an opportunity to infuse a helping hand into someone’s dark day. I know I can’t solve someone else’s problems but I can help bear the burden by sticking just a little joy under their cart. The Holman Bible version says in Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.” Is there someone close by who could use just a little bling at the right time today?

As you’re thinking of the person you will encourage, don’t miss a visit to Donna’s site and enjoy the scenery.(Read this.) She seems to be a positive, inspiring gal and I believe you’ll find an apple or two to snack on. Go ahead. Bling somebody!

 

Photo by mapichai. Published on 14 January 2014
Stock Photo – Image ID: 100227003, http://www.freedigitalphotos.com