Prayerful Review of My Week
I don't have to be to work until 9:15, and I have already done my attendance from last week (usually I wait until the last minute and do it right before I go to teach the next class but got smart and did it last Wednesday). So, I am going to spend some extended journaling time.
By the way, here is a handout I developed for the Examen based on Trevor Hudson's adaptations and from reading A Simple Life-Changing Prayer by Jim Manney:
Things I am grateful for:
George being home more
Peace in our home
Who He made me to be (more about that in the life-giving section)
The 34 Week Online Retreat for Everyday Life from Creighton University! (http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/cmo-retreat.html)
Friends who pray for me
Friends who encourage me
God who listens and speaks to me
My new spiritual director, Fran! (What a God gift!)
Encouragement from D.J. and Cynthia regarding Renovaré Institute (women who have gone before me)
S from Afghanistan who could find hope in Psalm 23 and tell me things she is grateful for
(I will stop now because so much of what I am grateful for will be fleshed out in the "life-giving" and in tune with God's plan section)
Where have I felt most alive and responsive in the past week? Hudson writes, “This is often a sign of where we have lived in tune with God’s dream for our lives in the world.”
Going through the Online Retreat. At first, the review of my story in Weeks 1 & 2 was really difficult, but I persevered, and I also referred back to the timeline I created after reading The Making of a Leader by Clifton, and this helped me so much. God has healed so many of those painful things that have happened in my sovereign foundations, but it was good to review them (Week 1) and then see the hand of God in them (Week 2).
Psalm 23 - praying through it with our Kingdom Community. God's presence was so real and powerful. What a lovely group of seeking believers/followers of Jesus and only in their 20's!
I felt so in tune with God by investing more time in my relationship with S in Afghanistan. I felt led to send her Psalm 23 after our group prayed through it and prayed for her. She said it gave her such hope. She also wanted to hear the Creation Story, and it did not work to send her my prerecorded one so I recorded it on the fly through Facebook. It was fun! It is always life-giving for me to tell God stories! Her response at the end of the week of talking was, "Please help me to know more and more our God." YIPPEE!
So here is where it would be good to write about what was life-deadening first before I write this, but let's focus on the positive and work back, shall we?
Aki Hill (my former university basketball coach) invited us to sit at her table for the 45th anniversary of Title IX sports. So we are sitting at the table, and she leans over to the former VP for Student Affairs, Dr. Joanne Trow, and her husband, Clifford Trow, former Oregon Senator (famous people and Dr. Trow was the head of my graduate program) and proceeds to tell them a story about me, Little Carol. I thought, "OH DEAR!" She told them how I came into her office in the middle of our basketball season and told her how she was hurting my feelings. I am laughing as I type this because it is so what I would have done back then. I cannot quote her exact words, but she said something to the effect that this was a turning point in her life! That I helped her to see the relational aspect of being a coach. That it was not all about winning. In past talks she has given, she has said that it is all about LOVE, and she credits me for teaching her that. I guess I have never really realized that until Saturday night. She has told me that I was her "ground" in her first year of coaching and that I was "Coaches Sweetheart." She elaborated this week that it set her on a new trajectory in her philosophy of coaching.
I remember at 19 thinking that basketball is not what life is all about, and I could see through the transitory nature of a "perishable crown" like it, and apparently I helped her to see that too. What is so amazing is she went on to be way more successful in the future with this new philosophy.
That year, I learned to be a servant, as I played back up to a future All-American and Olympic Gold Medalist. She was the star, and I was her "practice meat." Big Carol said something about me to all the current athletes that wanted to come up and shake her hand at the banquet. That I, Little Carol, had to live in her shadow, but I said I did not mind. And I really do not, it was another one of those crossroad times that I wrote about here earlier this week (or did I just write it in my journal - I cannot remember) where I realize that God was having me learn servanthood. I was going to do my best to make Big Carol better as an athlete (and she lets me borrow her gold medal when I have given talks on servanthood). Valuable lessons learned at a very young age. I am so grateful.
So, the three of us took a picture, and I posted it. All these famous OSU athletes from years past, added their comments, and Aki wrote,
"I needed both of them(big Carol, and little Carol)."
Big Carol led us to win the regional championship that year (and future championships in subsequent years), and I did what I mentioned above. We all have our roles to play in this God-given life.
Which led me the next morning to read this quote in my online retreat (and posted here yesterday):
I woke up that morning to a snub. It was an online snub, but it was a snub. It was after my spiritual director, Fran, suggested that we pray that God make it really obvious about whether I should continue with a major commitment that I made. The homework and content of this commitment has been a joy, the relational aspects of it have not. I realize that online communities are just not my cup of tea because the rules are so different than if you were face-to-face. When you are an uber-relational person. That is hard. It had been a week of snubs and feeling alienated and isolated for being who I am, but I thought maybe I was just imagining it. This particular thing that happened on Saturday made it really obvious that I was not imagining it. It was deadening, and I beat myself up all day for being so "sensitive." My poor husband! His emotional reaction was to have me quit because he does not like me feeling hurt all the time.
How good of God to give me an answer to my wrestling from the morning that night! He showed me through Aki's comment that He made me sensitive for a purpose and reason (I have always seen it as a liability rather than an asset - other than the flip side of it is great empathy for others), and that I am not going to get rid of it because it is a part of who He made me to be, and at least in Aki's case, my sensitivity was life-changing for her. (I am still sort of blown away about that, but it helps explain the many comments she has made to me over the last 39 years. I had never heard her articulate it to another person before.)
I had to repent of arguing with the Potter about how He made me. It was a precious time that I cannot articulate here.
There has been more to my Examen with George this week, but I will stop here as this is getting quite long.
It was good to journal my thoughts.