The Coach Who Believed in Me

Ever had a coach that made an impact on your life?  One that you haven’t forgotten over the years?

basketballMy favorite coach of all time was my 9th grade JV Basketball coach, Kevin Creekmore.  I was excited to make the team and ready to play.  However, at first, I didn’t see much playing time. I was frustrated because I wasn’t getting to play.  I didn’t know what to do.  My mother told me that I needed to go talk to him and ask what I could do to get more playing time.

I remember being so scared to ask him why I wasn’t playing much and how I could change that.  No one likes to have to ask a coach why he doesn’t play you. It could only mean one thing…you aren’t that good.

I knew that I wasn’t as great a player as some of my friends on the team, but I really loved basketball and wanted to play.  I don’t remember the actual conversation I had with him, but what I remember from that conversation was that he actually cared.  He wasn’t a coach that dismissed the weaker players because they weren’t as good.  He cared about each of his players and wanted them to get better.

That season I spent extra time in practice.  I practiced with the team first.  Practices were hard and I remember one rule that Coach Creekmore had:  no across the court passes.  If anyone did, the whole team had to run guts (or suicides) at the next practice.  There were several times when that happened and no one was happy! Those were so hard!

After practicing with the team, I stayed after practice and Coach Creekmore worked with me on shooting and doing extra drills.  I worked hard.  I wanted to improve and do better.  It paid off.  I got more playing time.

I don’t even remember what our team record was.  Did we win more than we lost?  Who knows.  What I do remember from that season, though, is a coach that believed in me.  He cared enough about his players to work with them to help them improve and be a better player.  He taught me to believe in myself and be confident, which is something that I was lacking as a 14-year old.

I still struggle with confidence in some of the things I do today.  These past couple of years I have lacked confidence in doing what I think God is calling me to do, which is write and speak.  I haven’t felt good enough to do these things.  I am not great with words or even know much about how to write a good story.  And when it comes to speaking in front of others, I always talk too fast and get so nervous.

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Thanks to Proverbs 31 Ministries for this image and reminder of Hebrews 10:35.

However, God has shown me in the past 6 months to trust Him and to have confidence.  One Scripture that he keeps putting in front of me is Hebrews 10:35:  “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” 

When I read that Scripture, I am reminded that when God calls you to do something, God will also provide you with what is needed to do those things.  I am reminded to have confidence in myself all the while believing God will provide.

Believe.  That is a very important part of having a relationship with Jesus.  You have to believe that He died for you, that He loves you, and that He forgives you.  You have to believe that He will provide for you and you have to trust Him.  And then you have to be confident in yourself and in the gifts that God has given you.  When we do believe and are confident then we can rest assured that God will bless us and that we will be “richly rewarded.”

Are you lacking some confidence today?  Do you need to believe and trust in God? Write down Hebrews 10:35 on an index card and tape it to your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or somewhere that you will see it many times during the day.  I have it hanging in my office so that when I am writing or preparing a speech, then I am reminded to be confident, believing that God will use me to speak to others about Him.

I am grateful for Coach Creekmore and the way he reminded me to have confidence in myself and also in God.  He was a Christian man who led us in prayer before games and he also was the leader of our FCA at school.  He was a coach and teacher that I highly respected.  I know that he is still coaching and teaching today and am quite sure that he has made the same impact on many others as he did to me 25 years ago.

What coach or teacher made an impact on your life?  Share with us!

 

 

Duke Basketball Days

Duke has done it again.  On Monday night they clenched their 5th National Championship title in Men’s Basketball.  What a heart stopping game, too!  My house was filled with loud screaming and yelling as I cheered for Duke to pull ahead.  Somehow my children slept peacefully through all my loudness.  I couldn’t hold it in.  I had to yell for my Blue Devils!

Seeing them win another National Championship brought back so many memories from my days at Duke and the adventures of being a Blue Devil.  The two years I spent at Duke earning my Master’s degree were some very memorable years.

Divinity School was awesome and I learned so much.  I guess the one thing I didn’t really expect to happen while I was there was my transformation into a Cameron Crazie.  If you go to Duke and you love basketball you will become a crazed fan!

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Graduate campout. Our home for a weekend in September. The Divinity School flag flying high in our tent area.

Graduate students have the opportunity every fall to spend a weekend “camping out” on campus in order for your name to be put into a lottery so that you “might” get season tickets to the Men’s basketball games.  The odds of your name getting drawn are not good so what most people do is get into groups and then split the tickets.  Of the two years I was there my name got drawn both times as did most of my friends in my group!  We got lucky.  So, we all got to go to a majority of the games.

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Campout fun with Div School friends

 

So, what do you do while you camp out?  You get to hang out all weekend with your friends and have fun!  Cooking, sleeping, playing games, and of course, studying, made up the camp out fun.

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The long lines to “check-in” when the air horn was blown.

The key to making sure your name is in the lottery is “checking in” every time that loud air horn is blown.  You never know when that air horn will go off, either.  Sometimes it was in the middle of the night.  Sometimes it was back to back and other times it was spaced far apart.  You really couldn’t leave all weekend because you didn’t want to miss out on having your name not in the lottery.  I think you could miss once, but more than that and your name wasn’t included for the ticket lottery.

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Duke tradition is to burn the Quad benches every time we beat Carolina and when we win the National Championship

For two years I was turned into a Cameron Crazie.  I found myself yelling and screaming at games, getting together with friends for the away games and watching them at someone’s house, screaming at the tv (and sometimes jumping through the fake window that divided my living room and kitchen because I was so excited), spray painting my hair blue, going to the “burning of the benches” in the Quad every time we beat Carolina, getting excited every time I saw a player on campus, getting pictures made with my favorite players (Mike Dunleavy was always my fav), and just having a blast! Those were some fun times.  Check out the fun pictures at the end of this post.

 

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After we just won the 2001 National Championship

 

 

I was fortunate to be in school in 2001 when they won their 3rd National Championship.  My friends and I gathered with tons of other Duke students inside Cameron Indoor Stadium to watch the championship game vs Arizona. The excitement inside that stadium was amazing and when we won it got crazy!!  I remember running out of the stadium and through campus to get to the Quad where they were burning the benches and dodging fireworks that were being shot through the crowd.  Duke fans are crazy!!  So awesome to get to experience something so cool like a National Championship while I was in school there.

The funny thing about all of this is that I considered not even going to Duke. I had some thoughts in that last semester of my undergrad that I didn’t need to go to seminary to go into the ministry.  I didn’t need a degree in Church Ministries to become a Youth or Children’s Director.  I’m glad those thoughts were short lived because I absolutely LOVED Divinity School and learned so much from my time there.  And I had I not gone, I would never have become a Dukie!

Bottom line from all this:  know that God has a plan for you and never doubt or second guess that plan.  You just have to be brave and be willing to take that first step into the unknown.  God will not let you go.  And you’ll even get to experience some “bonuses” from taking that step (like going to Duke basketball games).

If you went to school at Duke, what was a favorite memory for you?  I would love for you to leave a comment below.

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Blue Hair!
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Alycia and I with Mike Dunleavy
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Friends on Coach K Court


 

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We’re Number One!

 

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Friends at a Duke game

 

God Sightings

I just had to share this picture with all my readerssky with cross to let you know how amazing God is. Last night I was walking at our local park while my daughter had soccer practice.  I had my ear buds in listening to Chris Tomlin’s “Jesus Loves Me“.  At the part right where he says, “Jesus, he loves me“, I looked up into the sky and saw a large cross made out of the clouds.  Look at how cool this picture is!

Jesus loves us so much that he was willing to give up his life so that we could live forever.  He took our sins upon him and washed us clean.  As Chris Tomlin’s other song “At the Cross” says:  “At the cross……where your love ran red and my sin washed white, I owe all to you, I owe all to you, Jesus.”  What powerful words!  Yes, we owe all to Jesus.  He washed us clean.  We have been forgiven!  It doesn’t matter what we have done.  Jesus has taken all of our sins upon him and we are forgiven.

I can’t help but cry when I write these words because I am so thankful that Jesus is my Savior.  He is our gift from God, our sacrifice, so that we can live forever with him.

The park where I was walking last night has a big circular drive all the way around the field.  When I saw the cross last night, I had to stop and take a picture.  By the time I got back around to where I was when I took the picture, the cross in the sky was gone.  God had put the cross there at the exact moment I needed to see it.   It was a reminder that Jesus loves me.

My hope and challenge for you is that you open your eyes.  God is here with us, but sometimes we choose to keep our eyes closed.  Our lives are busy and we forget to look for God.   We must keep our eyes open to see the Lord each and every day.  God has not left us.  He is here.  The cross in the sky reminded me yesterday of that and also of his magnificent love for me.

How have you seen God today?

 

PB&J Before Breakfast

Ever had a PB&J before breakfast?  I have, but I didn’t even realize it!

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Some of our girls doing their PB&J before breakfast on our retreat. Writing down their favorite Bible verses and a prayer.

This past weekend I took our 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders on the Scream Retreat.  The speaker this past weekend told us that we needed to have a PB&J before breakfast. What? Why in the world would I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before breakfast?  I really don’t eat them much and I sure wouldn’t want to have one before I even eat breakfast.

He went on to say that PB&J stands for:  prayer, Bible, and journal.  Oh!  Now that makes sense!  I have never heard it called that, but I like it!  Yes, I do that (well, for the most part).  I get up around 5:30 every morning, take a shower, and then go to my quiet room.  I invite the Holy Spirit into the room and just sit for a few minutes. God tells us to “be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)”.  Then I praise God, ask for forgiveness, thank him for all the blessings he has given me and spend time reading His Word.  I read Scripture and devotionals. Some of my favorite devotionals are from Proverbs 31 Ministries (I get their daily devotions via email), devotions from my friend, Bill Finesilver, via email; The Upper Room (a United Methodist devotional), and right now I’m reading the Women in Leadership devotional.  One devotional I’ve never read but really want to get is Jesus Calling (I know many of you probably have read it and I hear it’s so good).  Then after reading I spend more time in prayer: praying for others and for things going on in my life.  I cherish this time with God, but sometimes I miss it because of the craziness of my life.  I really hate when I miss it, too.  I try my best though!

The one part of the PB&J that I don’t do as well now is journal.  I used to keep a journal every day before I had kids.  Now, I don’t do it so much.  I started journaling when I was in college.  My grandmother died when I was in college and when we were going through her house we found some journals of hers.  Every day she wrote down a Bible verse and a prayer.  So, I started doing what she had done.  I would write down a verse that I read for the day and then write down each person that I prayed for and why.  That way I could go back and see how God answered my prayers for them.  I need to get back into the habit of doing this because it was so cool to see the ways God works in the lives of others and myself.

Do you have your PB&J before breakfast?  I challenge you to get up early and spend those quiet morning hours with the Lord.  I know it will make a difference in your life.

I’m Just the Children’s Director

I’m just the Children’s Director.

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My wonderful church

This has been my response to several questions asked of me lately when I have been at the church.  Visitors who come during the week or maybe even church members have asked me some questions that I don’t know the answer to.  Our church is a medium-large size church with lots of ministries.  There are so many different programs and ministries that flow through our church and out into the community.  Because I work with the children and much of my time is spent with them, I don’t always know the ins and outs of every ministry of the church.  I do feel bad when I cannot answer a question that pertains to the church that I work in. However, I always try to find out the answer!

In reflecting back on my response, I realize that I’m not JUST the Children’s Director. There is nothing “just” about what I do.  I plan, lead, and teach the children in our church, as well as equip and minister to the volunteers of our children’s programs. My hands and feet are moving throughout the week to make sure that God is glorified through all our programs for our kids and that they are learning so much about him.  I also make sure our volunteers feel prepared for their classes each Sunday.  I try my best to make sure I am up-to-date on the happenings of the church and its ministries (which I usually do at our church staff meetings).

No matter what ministry you are in (or what role you play), you are never “just” the director, the teacher, the cook, the bus driver, the greeter, the usher, the janitor, the secretary, the counter, the worship leader, the counselor, the chaperone, or even the pastor.  You are important.  You are serving because God called you to it.  You have a desire and a strong passion to serve the Lord and you are obedient to His calling. What you are doing is being the light of Christ to those around you.

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”   Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

You are called to serve the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.  Do everything for the glory of the Lord and remember that you are not “just” anything. You are a child of God and a servant of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  To God be the glory in all you do.

 

 

The Busyness of Ministry: How to Stop and Seek God

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Our snowy backyard this morning. If you look closely on right, you can see our cat. Think she likes the snow!

Last night it snowed here in Georgia.  And I mean it snowed pretty good (well, for the South at least).  At our house we got about 3 1/2 inches of snow (some parts of our county got 6 inches).  Some of you who live where it snows a lot are probably laughing at this amount.  For us Southern folk, this is a lot!  We aren’t used to so much snow.

I woke up early and made my way into my “writing room”, as I like to call it. The house was quiet and I sat there just staring out the window at all the snow.  It was so peaceful.  No sounds, well except for our heat that was running (which I am grateful we still have).  There were no sounds even from outside.  No dogs barking.  No birds chirping.  No loud trucks on the roads. Complete silence.  I did my morning devotion and then just soaked in the silence.  So peaceful and I loved it.

In ministry, we sometimes get caught up in all the activities, to-do lists, planning, and stress that we forget to be silent.  We forget to stop and listen for God’s voice.  You might think that because we are doing ministry then we are doing God’s will.  That’s not always the case.  Sometimes we do what we think is best and not what God wants us to do.

So how do we stop all the busyness of ministry and focus on the will of God and his voice?

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My writing room

1.  Find your quiet place   What is the place you love to go and just sit and be still before God?  For me I have a couple of places.  One place is my writing room in my house.  It has big windows in it and I love to look out over my backyard and spend time with God.

Another place is the Sanctuary of our church.  I like to go in there first thing in the mornings (not every day but some days).  The lights are off, the sun is beaming through the stained glass windows, and there is pure silence.  I read the Bible and my devotions.  Then I put in my ear buds and sing (if you walk by and hear a loud sound, that’s me).  It’s so peaceful and easy for me to listen to God’s voice.  I love the silence of the Sanctuary.

Find your quiet place.  Make that your place with God.

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Our peaceful Sanctuary in the early morning

 

2.  Spend time in His Word     You want to know what God’s will is?  Then you have to open up the Bible and read.  This is the Word of God.  He speaks so much throughout every book.  And yes, it still applies to us today.  Carve out a time each day to spend with him.  Keep that time sacred.  It’s like an appointment with God.  Don’t cancel on him.  He wants to see you and hear from you.  Having a set time each day helps you to make it a part of your day.

3.  Seek Him    God seeks after us every day, hoping that we will hear him speaking to us.  But, often times we don’t hear him because we are not seeking after him as well.  Jeremiah 29:13 says:

“You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”

Are you truly seeking the Lord?  Scripture clearly tells us that we need to seek God with all our hearts.  Are you spending time with him daily?  Are you thanking him?  Are you praising him?  Do you sing to him?  Do you pray?  Are you serving others?  Are you serving Him?  Do all you can to seek Him and I know you will find him.

4.  Let Things Go    When we are in ministry we feel like we have to do more and more and more to have a great ministry.  In reality, the less we do the better.  Let go of some things in your busy schedule.  Maybe this means delegating some responsibilities or maybe it means totally cutting something out.  Before you let go, seek God and listen to know what his will for you is.  Don’t just let something go because you want to.  Listen and do the will of God for your ministry (and for yourself).

Being silent is hard, but it’s so important for us in our daily walk with the Lord.  Elijah didn’t hear God in the wind, earthquake, or fire.  He heard God in the silence (1 Kings 19:11-12).  God speaks to us every day.  Are you listening for God’s still small voice?

Energized to Serve Him

I am a morning person.  I am probably that person that all you non-morning people hate. How can you get up so early?  Why are you talking?  Why are you so happy?  Why are you singing?  Please stop!  Nobody likes a happy morning person.  🙂happy sunshine

I have been married for 11 years.  My husband and I are total opposites.  He’s that non-morning person.  He really hates waking up. He would sleep till at least 10:00 am every day if he could (but unfortunately he has to get up around 5:30 am).  He just really despises waking up.  For the past 11 years, we have learned to be respectful of each other in the mornings.  That means don’t talk.  I smile at him and tell him good-bye, but that’s about it.  He just can’t function that early.

I don’t know why I am so happy in the mornings.  I just am.  I have always been able to get up in the mornings, though.  My parents say that I went to bed by 8:00 pm as a child and got up early with no problem.  Yes, of course, I wish I could sleep later, but I don’t have a problem getting up at 5:30 am every day.  I love the early mornings because they are so peaceful.  I love having my quiet time with the Lord.  I get excited to see what God has in store for me each day

We all should wake up everyday energized and ready to serve the Lord.  Why, you say?  Well, why not?  God has given us another day to live.  We are alive so let’s be excited!  Yes, I know it may be hard for some of us, but we should try our best to be energized!

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My wonderful family that God has given me.

I wear many different hats in my life:  mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, Children’s Minister, soccer mom, cheer mom, writer, speaker, and many more.  I do so much and I love it.  People often ask me, “How do you have the energy to do all that you do?”   My mother says that God gave me the gift of energy.  I somehow keep going and going and going and going.  Only God can provide one with energy to do all that I do.

I have a water bottle that a family at church gave to me one year for Christmas.  On it is a quote from Charles Stanley.  It says:  “The awareness of God’s presence energizes us for our work.”  Are you aware of God every morning when you wake up?  Try something for me this week.  When you hear your alarm clock, turn it off and then sit up in bed.  Before your feet even hit the floor, go to God in prayer.  Give him praise.  Thank him for another day.  Thank him that you are alive and breathing.  Then, be still (but don’t fall asleep).   Be aware of his presence as you sit in silence.  This should make you feel ready for the day.  Ready and energized!   Let’s go, Lord!

I found a great Scripture that fits perfectly into serving the Lord:

“That’s what I’m working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.  Colossians 1:29 (MSG)

I know it’s hard to be excited in the mornings.  I get it.  Just try to make sure you start the day with the Lord.  I promise this will help you.  Tell God you are ready to serve him and to help you see him in every part of the day.

What makes you energized to serve the Lord?