God causes the growth

Ugly Christmas sweaters at church

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (AMP) I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth. So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth.

Today my oldest son turns seventeen. He will be a senior in just a few short months. Last week we went to watch him wrestle for state (his first time making it to the qualifiers after four years of trying). He had to step out after the second round due to a possible concussion. Ari fought two really tough competitors. In his first match, the guy was a senior and had placed second the year before, and was undefeated so far this year. Ari lost that round. In his second match, Ari and the other wrestler collided right off the start, head first. Then they pulled back and did it again. It was a tough one, it looked like a brawl from the stands. When done, Ari had a mark under his eye and it was starting to swell. The other kids head gear had got him. Since he woke up with a head ache the next day they took him out. It was a little disappointing for him, but he said he is looking forward to doing it again next year.

So today I am reflecting on how we got here. On this day after thirty two hours in labor, and twelve days after his due date, Ari was born weighing eight pounds and twelve ounces. He was (and still is) beautiful. We had some struggle moments when he was a baby and in his toddler years, really we should have known he was going to be strong willed when he spent the full forty two weeks in the womb. There are some really great moments too. We taught him a few words in sign language before he started talking. He could tells us he wanted to eat, some milk, if he wanted more or if he had enough food. Meal times were when we got to sit together, since I worked full time. It was not until he was almost four that he would be able to stay with me all day.

Then he started going to school, kindergarten. That was my very first parent/teacher conference about behavior. I got to have one of those, within the first nine weeks of school, every year for seven more years. There was one year the principal called me so much that I would make a sigh before I answered the phone. On top of all of this he was a straight “A” student!

When Ari got into eighth grade, he tried out for wrestling and fell in love with the sport. We tried putting him in soccer, in baseball and football. He did not enjoy them, but we knew he needed an outlet. He was passionate about wrestling though. Guess what? I have not been called in for a parent/teacher conference in four years!! I love wrestling. I will take him every where to train. I will get him to any club that had it going on. I will hire a personal trainer to teach him foot work.

What is also amazing is that he honors and respects his parents. He will get up from what he is doing in his room and help me with things around the house, happily. At church, he puts the signs out and makes sure the duplication process for the CDs is ready to go. He hands out the CDs after service. We sit down every school morning, along with his brother, and we read a devotional and pray before they walk out the door. What is most important is that he not only does these things because we ask, but he sees his parents do them. He sees us spending time in the Word daily. He sees us serving in the church. When we do service projects in the community, I do not drop them off, we serve together.

What is most important is that he not only does these things because we ask, but he sees his parents do them. He sees us spending time in the Word daily. He sees us serving in the church. When we do service projects in the community, I do not drop them off, we serve together.

In my beginning verse, it says that I get to plant the seed. From what you read above you would think that now I have the perfect son. He still has his moments. He still can be rude, disrespectful and a jerk. Actually two weeks ago we got into a really big discussion on how his communication needed to be improved. He had all electronics taken away for two days (that included his cell phone). Then when he got it back, he binge played on his XBox and came out of his hole an emotional wreck. Fun stuff, right?! Like him, there are days that I lash out at the people I love too. He needed grace in that moment.

He still needs our guidance. Ultimately though, he is God’s. He will be leaving home in a few years to start his life on his own. I pray that we have laid a good foundation for him. I pray he grows. I want him to grow and mature in God. I want him to succeed. Although we may want them to, my goal is that he will not NEED me (it would be selfish of me if I did not do this). I need to point him to Christ. I need to show him where real growth and success comes from. Before a match we thank God that it is through His strength that Ari gets his power source. Ari has done his part in weight training, practicing endurance and learning technique. Now he can rest, and not feel anxious, in how God puts it all together through him when he wrestles. What a difference that perspective has made in his wrestling this year.

If you know how that feels hit the like button on this post. Let me know your struggles and celebrate the successes with you. If you need prayer you can message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Football and reflection

As I have said before we live in Alabama. My husband and I moved to Alabama when we married. I was raised in Columbus, Georgia…where we are is roughly thirty five miles from where I grew up. We love living in this small town! We are right in the middle of college football country!!

I did not grow up watching college football, but my husband did. He grew up in Belize, Central America. His parents were missionaries and they would come back to the United States to itinerate (raise money to go back and live on the mission field). On one such session it was Iron Bowl weekend and the host family were big Auburn fans. The Iron Bowl here is a rivalry game between Alabama University and Auburn University (two big college teams in the same state). My husband, not being raised in the states, did not get exposed to much college ball (he may have been eight at this time). The other family’s kids asked who he was going for Auburn or Alabama? Having been born in Alabama, he said Alabama (not realizing both teams were in Alabama). They won that year and he has been a lifelong fan since. It started a love for college football for him. Our boys have been raised on it.

I am telling you this because now my youngest has a passion for football. He has been playing full contact since he was five years old. He is now thirteen and plays travel ball with a team called the Opelika Dawg Pound. He opted out of his first year of middle school football because this would be his last year to be eligible to play with a team that he was there at the conception of. Our children know what loyalty is. This year has not been easy for him. He loves to be on the defensive line, he loves to hit!

This year he played center, that is an offensive line position that snaps the ball between their legs to the quarterback. This is a skilled position, that takes effort. Most of the time the guy across the other side of him is almost twice his size ready to knock through him to get to the quarterback. So not only does he have to make sure the snap is not crazy, he also has to push the other team’s player away from him to keep him from his quarterback to make the play.

This weekend were were in Chattanooga, Tennessee for the Choo Choo Bowl. Our boys got up and on the road at five thirty in the morning, only to play their game at five thirty in the evening. This was along day for our boys. Eli had some high snaps that day (but he was not aware of it). It was not until the end of the game that one got a little wild and the quarterback missed it. The quarterback let him know then. We lost our first game and the chance to be in the championships. Eli got in the van defeated. He blamed himself for the loss. How heartbreaking for a mother to hear her son sobbing because he felt the weight of the team on his shoulders. His dad told him his snaps were a little high. Eli said no one told him…but he still took responsibility. So the next game Eli adjusted. His snaps were perfect. Our team dominated the next two games and we walked away in third place for the weekend. The first game was not lost because of bad snaps, but he knew he did not do his part. He adjusted!

How heartbreaking for a mother to hear her son sobbing because he felt the weight of the team on his shoulders.

I am a boy mom and when I read about sons being born in the Bible it makes me weep. I was reading Luke last week The first chapter talks about the conception of John the Baptist and Jesus. Elizabeth was Mary’s aunt. Elizabeth being greater in age, it was a miracle for her to be with child. Zachariah was in disbelief when the angel of the Lord came to him to tell him about this child that he was made mute until after his son was born. Actually it was eight days after he was born that he was able to speak again:

Luke 1:65-80 (MSG) A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighborhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone heard about it and took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his had in this.” Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, ‘Blessed be the Lord, God of Israel; he came and set his people free. He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant, just as he promised long ago through the preaching of the holy prophets: Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand; Mercy to our fathers, and he remembers to do what he said he’d do, What he swore to our father Abraham – a clean rescue from the enemy camp, so we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live. And you, my child, “Prophet of the Highest,” will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways, present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins. Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.’ The child grew up, healthy and spirited. He lived out in the desert until the day he made his prophetic debut in Israel.

When I read this I wept. This was a child born to proclaim and prepare the way for Jesus. Such a heavy weight for a child. I wept knowing how his life would end, his head placed on a platter for a snide and vengeful woman. No matter what the end was for John the Baptist, he was focused. It makes me think of Philippians 1:6 (AMP) I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will (continue to) perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus (the time of His return).

What has this weekend taught me? Whatever part I play in the purpose God has for me is important. If I am not where God told me to be, doing what He called me to do, with the people God called me to do with, I am out of my place. This week starts Advent. It is a time to reflect of the birth of our Lord, Jesus. I remember the joy of holding my sons for the first time. They are teenagers now, I still wonder what God has in store for them. I look at their personalities. I take joy when I see characteristics that reflect Him. Take time today and look for things that reflect Him! Look for daddy moments. “Through the heartfelt mercies of God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us.” How wonderful!