Are You Pregnant?

How many know that when a kid asks you this question…

And you’re not…

And you’re a guy…

It may be time to start eating less and exercising more?

Now she was just a little girl.  She had seen me leading worship for a while and I think was actually trying to be nice.  That doesn’t make it better.  It really makes it worse.

When I was a kid, I was always the smallest.  I couldn’t get bigger no matter how much I ate.  I started lifting weights and running and could not gain any muscle, any bulk to save my life.  I graduated high school weighing 130 pounds and looking like a concentration camp victim.  By the time I went into the army I had grown a couple of inches taller and now weighed a whopping 140 pounds.  I ate like crazy but still could not gain any significant weight, still was smaller built, wiry and tough but still one of the smallest guys in my unit.

Then I got married.

Weight gain is not the issue anymore.  Now I’m pregnant.

Life is so full of twists, turns, things that we don’t see coming, things that sometimes don’t make any sense.  We can try and try to change things, change who we are and end up disappointed, angry, bitter, depressed.

Or we can laugh.

And yes, I mean laugh when we lose our job.  We can laugh at injuries and sickness.  We can find the humor in devastation.  See the amazing miracles that make any of us survive.  We can even laugh in the midst of divorce, abandonment, great sorrow.

It isn’t an Effie Trinket style, “smile and the world smiles with you” attitude.  It is a choosing to see the blessing, the gift, the silliness, the ridiculousness that is life.

And really, I do look kind of pregnant.

“I am only a man…”

I’m not sure if it’s true, but the saying is, “the greatest trial of man is the praises of the people around him.”

I stopped at the library yesterday to read books and play with my grandson. He was having a tough day and just needed to get out of the house. While we were there, I saw one, then two, then several of the kids that go to our church. I am their worship leader so I often have children coming up to me, some that I don’t even know.

Children are such loving creatures. They were delighted to see me and let me know that they knew me. Their smiles were so beautiful as they let me know that I go to their church. We talked a bit and then they moved on to wherever their minds and a building full of books would take them.

I love to see them, to talk with them, hear their laughter, be blinded by their smiles, but I am joyfully reminded that I am only a man. In Acts 9, Peter refused the reverence of Cornelius with those words. And inside, I refuse the temptation to think that I am something more than I am.

As worship leaders, as ministers to the church, we can hear the affirmation of those around us and see ourselves as “above” them, more important, special, blessed by God. We are blessed to serve as we do. But it carries a weight, a responsibility that we can not carry and don’t deserve.

It is a great place to be where you love what you do. It is sweeter still to rest in the hands of the one who placed me there, knowing that it is His glory that is evident, not mine.

The Tree

I was rushing down the sidewalk last night, my head down, eyes practically closed because of the cold and bitter wind.  I had no idea that the thick branches of a tree were so close to said sidewalk and did not foresee the headache that those branches would cause.

My loving children laughed as I related the story, laughed at my bleeding, swollen forehead, laughed at my dazed and pained expression.  To them, it was one more in a slew of goofy, silly mishaps that their father had created.  And I laughed with them.  How do I get myself into these messes from time to time?

I’m not looking up.

I used to run with my eyes down, focused on my breathing, intent to struggle with each pain, with the weariness of movement.  I got slower and more discouraged.  Then one day I started to run with my head up, eyes on the horizon, on the surroundings, looking at those around me and the suffering I saw them going through.  My breathing slowed, pain evaporated, speeds increased.  It is so much easier, more enjoyable to run with your head up.

The tree reminded me.  The laughter pointed me once again to heaven, to my Savior.

My head still hurts though…