Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Cracked Goggles

I can't stop thinking about a video clip I saw of Michael Phelps' swim coach last night while I watched the Summer Olympics. Bob Bowman said he had purposely created chaos and caused many things to go wrong on competition days through the years so that Michael would be prepared to handle anything. He said he'd stepped on Phelps' goggles right before a race so that they'd fill with water. (Phelps went on to win a gold medal in Beijing with goggles filled with water.)  He'd even hidden his goggles before. He'd also caused them to get a late start to a competition so that Phelps would feel frazzled by the time they got there. Bowman had made Phelps miserable at times so that he would become steadfast and unshakable. This obviously bore good fruit, seeing as how Michael Phelps won his 19th Olympic medal last night and officially became the greatest Olympian of all time. 

Curtis and I have definitely had some curve balls thrown our way this year. Some of them have been directly related to our church and others have been more personal. The hardest ones have been a combination of both. There have been times when I've thought, "Lord, what is going on here? Why are such weird things happening to us all the time?" Please trust me when I say that some of these things have been weird. I've always had a weird life but a few of these situations have been BEYOND. God has repeatedly reminded me of the words in 1 Peter 4:12, which says, "Dear friends, don't be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you." 

When I saw the interview with Bob Bowman I was deeply affected by it. It was obvious that Phelps' coach, who loved him and had his ultimate good in mind, had done him a huge favor by allowing him to go through all sorts of crazy trials. In that moment I thought of the most recent things we've gone through and I felt God's love for us. It was an incredible reminder that our Father is purposeful and loving when He plots our course. The minor irritations and the major tribulations are given to us - for us - to help us finish (and win!) our races.  

"Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing," (James 1:2-4). 


84 comments:

Megan said...

Love this. So true and such a good reminder! Thank you!

bethany said...

I LOVE this. I'm teaching a lesson about adversity to the women in my congregation this next month and I'm totally using this interview. What a great comparison, Amanda.

Barbara Head said...

Thank you, Amanda, for this very worthy word. I have very close loved ones going through some VERY tough times. I have had to put my face to the carpet to give it over to God. I am not "the fixer" but my Almighty Awesome God is. I needed this to set me on a course of sincere and tough prayer.

AnnieBlogs said...

I totally agree, Amanda! I was so so moved by that story.

thehickmanhappenings said...

Thank you for this. The "combination of both" resonates deeply with me right now. I always appreciate how you write from the most honest place.

Shelley said...

Just what I needed today. Thanks...

Denice said...

Wow! This post definitely spoke to me this morning. We've definitely had some cracked goggles around here, too. Thanks for the perspective.

Esther Burroughs said...

Excellent article. Well taken for all of we mothers.

Erica said...

Love this! And I love your heart to see the Lord in all things!

Emily said...

So true, and we all seem to have those weird trials in life that we don't understand. I am thankful for those hard times now! Such wonderful learning experiences.

Trina said...

Awesome awesome post! I love analogies that make you think like that!

Mitchell 5 Family said...

Amanda, thank you for this reminder. This spoke volumes to me as a military wife in the midst of another move taking us from the US to Okinawa, Japan. During a military move, there are so many things that fall into place in a specific order and lots of times for frazzled moments when you think God surely is not on my side. He is testing me to remain steadfast and faithful to His plan for our family. He sees us on the other side, the finish line. He is already there...that is my comfort, my peace, my rest. Blessings!!

Immeasurably More Mama said...

Thank you for this reminder. :)

Alicia said...

This was a great post love! God is so good TO US. Thankful we're on the same team and get to be more than conquerors together! Love you!

Kathy said...

Very encouraging! I appreciate you sharing about Phelps experience. I didn't know that about him. It's helpful to see the comparison of his athletic training to our spiritual race we run. Thanks for the reminder to not be surprised by trials and the unexpected!

thegypsymama said...

Amen, thought very similar thing watching that interview last night. Blessings on you Amanda.

Brittney said...

Thank you for this. I shared it with my friends because it is a great parallel.

sarah {on the brightside...} said...

That was a very interesting interview. What a wise coach to do that... And I love the way you related it to life & faith is Christ! Wonderful! :)

Kelly Bowman said...

Amanda, thank you for sharing this word. I am in a season of learning to live life with "cracked goggles" so I will learn to trust God. Through this season He is bringing unexplainable freedom from a life filled with fear and anxiety. God is going to use what you shared to minister to so many. Thank you for your transparency.

Linds said...

I never made the correlation last night when we watched his interview, but you are so right! Thanks for the reminder!

Bethe said...

In my 18-month marriage to my minister man sometimes I feel like I'm plugging leaks - fixing the cracked goggles only to find that my swimsuit is taking on water (or my hair is turning green from the chlorine). But praise Jesus for those sweet moments of reassurance when we need it most. My prayer right now as I face a future filled with unknowns is: "Righteousness will go before him, and will make his footsteps into a way." (Psalm 85:13)
www.tryingthebestican.blogspot.com

Karen said...

I can so relate to what you wrote! Thank you for sharing!

Kristen Maddux said...

Wow, Amanda. That is such good stuff right there. Thanks.

Sue said...

What a great analogy! Thank you!

Cooking Up Faith said...

Saw the same on t.v. last night and have been thinking about it all day too. To me I thought - God is our coach, He is going to allow some difficult situations, all to prepare us for our race towards eternal life with Him!

Allison C. Lee said...

YES and Amen sister. Is weird the new normal for Christians? I'd say so. Love every time you post. Thank u Siesta.
Be blessed!
Allison

Dionna Sanchez said...

I saw this last night too, Amanda, and loved it. I was thinking how I wanted to somehow apply the same principle to my girls - so that they can be ready for anything in life. I often do "what if" games with them so they think of what they would do if certain circumstances happened to them.

However, I did not think of it in the way of our Lord allowing certain things to happen to us so that we are more ready for anything. And I love looking at it that way - so thank you for that perspective.

PS. I hope the "weird' calms down for your family somewhat. :)

TCobb said...

Yes! I've been thinking about that clip since I saw it last night...how God does this with us...and how I need to do the same with my children. Love, love, love your reflections here.

lavonda said...

I sat there completely impressed last night watching his coach tell that story. What a tremendous analogy to how God prepares us for things. It's so easy to see when we look at someone else's life, but in our own footsteps seems so frustrating. I will definitely think of this the next time a curve ball is thrown our way.

You have a fabulous way with words Amanda.

Greg & Kim said...

There is this one lady whom I esteem...She said "You can't miss the training." It's the in between the harvest that is the most important....Not verbatim, but look her up. Her name is Miss Bethy Moore!

I love it that you shared this today. My heart is grateful for you.

My man became an elder this year and when I say we got whooped and pummeled, I mean we got whooped and pummeled...

Those words above from Miss Beth were soothing to my servant, church loving and battered heart.

Love to your family, Amanda.

Kim Vest

Spicy Magnolia said...

Fun to see a post of yours! It reminded me of something a friend of mine told me a number of years ago. During her courtship with the man she intended to marry, they prayed that God would give them some trials and difficult things to go through during the time they were dating. It would allow them, she said, to show their true character and to see if they could handle hard things well together.

I thought, "who in their right mind would pray such a thing?" But there's a lot of wisdom in it, too. It showed how that there really can be a beautiful purpose in trials and in shaping our character. It stuck with me. That said, I have not ever prayed for such a thing in my life. :)

Love to you and yours!

ann said...

You taught me something today! Thank you, & I love the purity of your heart. Also, I know you already know you are on God's mind, but I wanted to tell you that I was reading your last entry & felt compelled to pray for your marriage. I wanted to let you know that bc I don't know you at all, so I hope it encourages you to know that God put your marriage on the heart of a stranger who had no way of knowing you guys were facing trials, except that the Holy Spirit was going around sharing His prayer request on your behalf ;-)

Kelly said...

When my husband taught our daughters to ride their bicycles, the first thing he taught them was how to wreck, knowing it was inevitable and wanting them to be prepared for it. I couldn't even watch, but in hindsight, I now see his wisdom, and wish I had allowed him even more freedom in letting our girls face the hard stuff. Love this interview and am so glad you shared it. I think I needed to hear it tonight.

Christen Price said...

I was impacted greatly by that video too! Thanks for your take on it :)

Melissa said...

Love

fuzzytop said...

Great insights Amanda! Blessings to you and Curt.

Adrienne

Erin said...

Amanda, this is my second favorite blog post, right after the Spoils of War post that you wrote. I can relate. I can relate to weird. I can relate to weird but with God speaking the whole time of my sanctification and me trusting Him and my sharing in His sufferings. Basically of Him knowing what He's doing, even though to me it looks somewhat destructive - a lot like purposefully breaking someone's goggles. It feels stifling and handicapped and closed in, when I want the open spaces. But I know - I know - but don't often feel - but I know, I believe, that He will bring me into a spacious place. (Psalm 18:19). Last night I was walking the dog and thinking about His dealings with me this past year and I thought of King David, anointed king but not yet king, and hiding in caves from someone who wanted to kill him. I could relate to his hemmed in feeling. But David did become the king eventually. Anyway, blah, blah, blah - just wanted to say I relate! I relate to hard and I relate to weird! But one day I'll be in the open spaces again.

Amy said...

Thank you for this word today!
Amy

Deidre said...

Amanda, I have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. I missed that interview, but what a wonderful picture of what God does for us through the trials and chaos. I am in such a place. Thank you for posting this!

(Oh, and I think of you and Curtis often. I was fortunate to be able to attend your church the weekend of SSMTC and his sermon on prayer that day is seriously never far from my mind. I think of it OFTEN! So, I whisper a prayer for y'all when God reminds me of it).

Leigh said...

Coming over from Kelly's Korner and I'm so glad I did.

I saw the video piece on Bob Bowman, as well and was inspired by it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts: I'm inspired anew...thank you!

His Doorkeeper said...

Melissa, Don't think I have posted a comment on your blog before but I think you wrote this post just for me tonight. I had a "down" day yesterday and was asking God pretty much the same questions. I know in my heart He is faithful and we try to be faithful to him but there are days in the ministry when you just wonder why people are the way they are despite them claiming to know Him. Oh the hurt!

Thanks for your insight and your much-needed words to my heart.
Blessings!

Laurie said...

LOVE this post!!!!

Rachel H. said...

I saw that interview but never thought of it this way...until now! What a great reminder of our God and His powerful ways of reminding us who He is!!

Rachel said...

What a great comparison! I watched that interview and thought, "What a great coach and teacher he is!" Now I'm thinking what a great coach and teacher GOD is in our lives! Thank you!

Leslie said...

Love this, I just read this right before I watched him win #20. I shared it on FB...thank you for writing. It encouraged me greatly in some situations we are walking through right now. Perfect timing, and perfect encouragement.

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

I think I am owner of a pair of cracked goggles at this season in my life. Three days ago my oldest daughter gave birth to our 5th child - my 8th grandbaby - and later that evening i found out my precious sister, Cari, has Myeloma. A cancer of the bone marrow which is never cured but only held in remission. She is only 52 years old and this is just devastating to me. I have currently been memorizing the book of James and am on the last 9 verses. That has been such a help to me during this trial as I started teaching the JAMES study the Sunday before I found out about my sister. I know that God is the one who is control and even though I feel like my goggles are cracked, He is still on the Throne and I am putting all my faith and trust in Him.

Mercy Triumps - Praise the LORD!

Angela said...

Hi there :) I found your blog through Kelly's Korner and the name got me hooked. I just hit the follow button and I can't wait to read more.

Corrina said...

What a wonderful analogy! And truth. He knows we can handle it and He knows we will be better for it in the end and He told us to expect it!

Jennifer said...

Loved this post! Something I needed to hear today :)

Jennifer said...

Loved this post! This was something I needed to hear today :)

Jessica @ This Blessed Life said...

I came over here after seeing this link from Kelly's blog. This is so well written - thank you!

Cynthia said...

Thank you for sharing this. I read the part about coaching to my almost 20 year old son. What a great lesson in life!

StacieLeigh said...

Great post and thank you for sharing. I saw the same clip and thought it was great!

My husband and I were out talking last night. This year by anyone else's standards has been a total disaster in our lives. It's felt like we're watching everything fall down around us. People keep telling me it will be ok and everything isn't really falling down...

I disagree. I think I'm standing in the middle of the wreckage of my life. There are bricks and mortar scattered around. But it's God. He loves us so much that he's torn down the life we built for ourselves so that He can give us the lives He has for us.

There have been so many times this year when my natural eyes read: disaster. When I could not fathom where God was and what He was doing. But as I turn around and look with hindsight He's been freeing me from the walls I built trying to protect myself... all my monuments to my dependence on myself.

I never learned what trust in Him was til the alternatives were gone. He has loved me enough to shake my world to bring me back to him. I couldn't understand in the moment but I'm so grateful!

Not So Newlyweds said...

I needed to read this post this week. Thank you :)

Linda said...

Passing this along. It is a good reminder to not give up trusting God during our trials!

Momma said...

17 years ago my husband, a pastor, and I were called to start a new church. It is the most difficult and most rewarding thing we have ever done. When I saw that you and your husband were starting a church, my heart went out to you. I knew you would experience so many ups and downs. But what God starts, He will finish. Prayers and perserverence to you both.

Molly said...

Thank you for writing this. I used to follow your blog and I'm not sure how I lost it! I am really going through some trials right now and those scriptures helped.

beachstork said...

Thank you so much for this post! I've had a similar experience the last few years...knowing that all these hardships have only caused me to press further into God. The funny thing is, the closer you are to him the less they seem like hardships. What once was a big deal, really seems pretty small when you already come through a trial and prevailed. Great analogy with Phelps; I often think God uses physical challenges to reveal spiritual ones.

Jen S. said...

Reading what you wrote really put things into perspective for me. I've had some trials this past year too....some also very weird.
I've trudged through though, and learned from every single one.

Have a great day!

todell said...

Came here via Kelly's blog. Thank you, I needed to read this.

Cathy said...

This is THEE perfect reminder I needed today. Thank you!

Amber said...

Oh girl...I need to stop looking for goggles that don't crack. And instead embrace the cracks. I'm going to try. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

The Yarbrough's said...

Hey...I found you through Kelly's Korner. Awesome post. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing. God Bless. :)

Blue-Eyed Bride said...

i love this so much. what a great reminder and such a good analogy. thanks, amanda!

Kathy Cheek said...

Sometimes I find myself squinting my eyes trying to see...what it is God is doing, because I know He is doing something I can't see, but I know He is working His purpose. And those weird things that happen, and the timing that seems off, I remind myself His ways are not my ways, and though hard to understand, His way is best!

mare ball said...

Just finding your blog. I just wrote something similar on my blog...how life is challenging and hard and relentless, and sometimes we just get tired of it all. I tell myself that Christ TOLD us we would have trouble. We should not be surprised, but we are, b/c we want peace. Ultimately, we just want peace. And we won't find it here. So, yes, life is disappointing. It actually helps me to remember that this life is temporary. Someday, we will be home and at peace.

Emily :) said...

I needed this. So much. Thank you.

MAT said...

Your post has given me goosebumps! It's so easy for me to question "why?" during hard times and it gets me down, it's a true challenge that I fight continually. I'm so thankful for this post, there is a light in Him always! Even if we can't always see it! Thank you!

thenewbec said...

Wonderful insight.

Christine said...

Wow! Love it! God has been walking me through some things the last few days (1 Peter included!), and your post really serves as yet another reminder. (Don't you love all the ways God will use to drive a point home?)

I had not seen the original interview so I super appreciate your sharing this.

morgan823 said...

Awesome, awesome, awesome!! I needed this!!!

Sarah said...

Wow. This was so perfectly written and so, so, so true. What a great connection between the Michael Phelp's story and our lives as Believers. Thank you so much for sharing, Amanda!

Mommy Dot Com said...

I have wanted to comment on this and am just getting around to it.

Loved this post. It helps me so much to put so many things we have gone through ministry wise into perspective.

Recently we found out we would be starting a church in the projects. My husband has never even been a deacon or anything and I've pretty much have always taught children's church but there is a need so we are responding by faith.

It never once crossed my mind that we would ever do something like this but it will be so much easier to have church there then to bus kids in like my family has been doing. We start the first of September. Please pray God will send the laborers. We will be operating 5 days a week. Besides church we will have a feeding program, tutoring and mentoring. Lots to do!

Thankful for the cracked goggles now. I have a little more endurance in me!

soda said...

Hi Amanda. I just randomly saw this. What a good lesson to everyone, and I believe God is gracrious to all of us. And is amazing that I read this blog on the other side of the world. Thanks!

Doctor Dani said...

Loved this post! Thank you so much for sharing!

annalee said...

I listened to this interview when it aired too with my jaw dropped and in awe of the way the hard situations and details along the way prepared him to overcome.

thanks for taking it a step further for me and making me realize why this interview stirred so much. what a mighty connection and lesson.

LOVE your heart and growing alongside you.

Lanita Anderson said...

Thanks for the great blog and the great reminder of God's love and provision for us! I love the stories of your family, especially your children, but I have to say, this was one of my favorite postings and really made me stop and think!! I may have to borrow that to use in my ladies Bible Study group!

Carol said...

Dear Amanda,
Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts with us. I haven't been on checking the blogs lately but just happened to check today and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

melinda said...

Beautifully written and poignantly true.

So very sorry for all of the weirdness the enemy has tossed in your path. Praying that the One who walks on top of all of it will keep squashing it down until it's no longer bothersome.

You are precious. Please keep writing:)

katiegfromtennessee said...

Hey Amanda, thank you for sharing, I had not seen that interview.

Marissa Burt said...

This story has been running through my mind since I first read your post yesterday.

I started reading your blog via a lproof blog link back when you were pregnant with AB, and I was pregnant with my second son. Since then, we have moved across the country to WA state, where my husband is a church planter. All that to say, I resonate with so much of what you post given similar life circumstances, stages of child-raising, and all the rest. And this post in particular! What a string of unexpected and odd trials we've experienced individually and as a family!

Your reflections paired with 1 Peter 4 feel like one of those "aha!" moments for me - one I imagine I'll look back on as a perspective-changer. After I read your post, I was out for a morning walk, where I was listening to the words of Psalm 18:28ff, and I couldn't help but think of all the challenges as a providential training ground. Such a good reminder of the Lord's goodness!

Ronda said...

Love, love, love!

Judi said...

Amanda, I apologize for hijacking this thread (and to the rest of you as well). I hadn't checked your blog for quite a while and the comments for "Unglued" are closed. I just have to tell you that I have been there and done that. It is easy to say that now, from my vantage point as an empty-nester, but there was a time when I came unglued frequently over parenting issues. I was a single mother, which meant I had no backup support.

Regularly, my daughter pulled the stunt of saying she felt sick just after the church service started. She was older than Annabeth, I think about 7 or 8. The first time it happened, I quickly took her to the restroom. Nothing happened, but I thought it best to go home. That meant I had to miss the service, but I wasn't about to risk having her throw up in the sanctuary. Once we were home, she was fine. It didn't happen every Sunday, but on a fairly regular basis. I asked her what was going on and she insisted she really did feel sick. It was so frustrating that I cried over it. I realized she was doing it because she didn't want to sit through the sermon; well, too bad. I needed that hour of fellowship. I also hated myself for allowing my daughter to gain the upper hand.

Suggestions from friends were to ignore her, leave her in the church nursery, take her to her father's house before church, let her draw or read a book during the service. I couldn't ignore her because it made me a nervous wreck. What if this one time she really was sick? She was too old for the nursery, and her father worked on Sundays. I really didn't believe in children being allowed to color or read during church. My parents had very strict standards on proper behavior at church. We had to sit still, be quiet, and act like we were paying attention.

After months of this, I took drastic action. When she started her spiel, I took her to the restroom and left her there. "What, you left a small child alone in the church restroom?" It was just outside the sanctuary and I sat in a pew near the door. I told her if she was sick, she could sit there until the service ended. If she felt better, she could join me. That solved the problem and she never again complained of feeling sick during church.

Again, sorry for hijacking.

Fran Plott said...

This is beautiful. I am coming to understanding and appreciation of my life's trials and errors...this greatly helps!