This Is No Joke
It was the last basketball game of my 8th grade season. We were undefeated to this point and on our way to finish this game in the same fashion. I was dribbling to the middle of the court and did a jump stop, a move I have made countless times in my illustrious grade and middle school career. Only this time it was different. I felt a snap in my knee and a rush of pain. I fell to the floor and I knew something was wrong. I got up and though my knee felt unstable, I went back in the game. After all, my team NEEDED me. I was the point guard, the team captain, a key part of our team. My knee kept giving and we would soon find out that with each twist I would tear more pieces of what held it together.
It took my doctor all of one minute to determine I had torn my ACL along with other strands of ligaments and cartilage. I was facing a major surgery and a year of rehab. But I had no choice. If I wanted to walk normally, much less make it back on the court it would have to be. I went onto have the surgery, and though I was afraid of the actual procedure, I was more afraid of never playing the same again. I was afraid of losing my spot on the team. I was afraid of not doing my part. After all, it was what I was known for. I was an awkward tomboy with a haircut that every sweet old lady over the age of 70 complimented me on. I was quiet and unsure of myself everywhere but on the court. There I knew I belonged. There I knew I was making a difference.
Following the surgery I had some choices to make. I could either sulk in the fact that I was entering my freshman year of high school injured, or I could work hard with what I had and show up regardless of my perceived contribution. I could sit on the bench and encourage my teammates. I could study the plays so when I did get back on the court there wasn’t such a learning curve. I could work hard at rehab and spend countless hours on the track alone, where nobody showed up to cheer me on. I could dig down deep and stand with my team regardless of ever getting credit for a win.
So that is what I did. It wasn’t always easy. But I showed up, I encouraged, and I trusted that being a part of the team was better than being on my own. That year afforded me a different perspective. It taught me to stop looking at the one and start looking to the sum.
This past weekend I was in Charlotte, NC at a conference called She Speaks. It is run by Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and NY Times best selling author. The purpose of She Speaks is to equip writers and speakers practically, and to inspire spiritually as we step into callings to make known the name of Jesus. I can’t say enough about these days from beginning to end. We should honor those that have gone before us so I can’t help but thank everybody involved in making this event happen. Every single session brought knowledge that I didn’t have before entering those rooms. I am eternally grateful for the willingness of those women to share what they have learned.
Saturday night ended the conference. With tired minds, stirring souls, and hearts filled with anticipation, 800 women entered the room that evening for the closing message. What would happen in those next couple of hours I’m certain changed the trajectory of the women in that room. From the moment that Lysa started speaking I could tell this message was heavy on her heart. She wanted us not just to hear, but to have these words penetrate our hearts and our minds.
“This is no joke” she said several times in that hour.
She spoke with urgency about our callings as Christians to make the name of Jesus known. She reminded us that our passion cannot be our words, but His word.
“We cannot be illiterate about the Bible or we will get lost at every turn.” Let that sink in.
She went on to explain that “the only way for us to be preserved is to be crushed.” The process of refining can hurt. But it is better to be crushed and prepared and have our character spared than to rush and force the disciplined work that Christ is doing in our lives.
Christine Caine reminded us the previous night that Jesus develops our character in the dark room to forge His image on us. That we need more lighthouses and less shooting stars. That we are not a product of time but eternity. That we must yield to divine order, submission and authority.
Lysa built on those reminders that night when she called us to something I fear we are losing in these days of rush. We fill our heads with knowledge and our time with duty, but in all our doing are we missing out on UNITY? Is it more about how much one person can do, or how much we can do as one? She pointed us to these verses:
“I’m praying not only for them,
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.”
One heart and mind. No matter our role, we are on the same team. In order to accomplish a few goals. Love God. Love others. Go and make disciples.
I had a choice to make when I was injured. I would be playing a different role on that team, but I was determined to make it count. I did so not knowing that one year later I would injure my right knee the same way I did my left. The difference is that this time I was prepared. I had felt the pain and had experienced the letdown. But I was still a part of the team.
That room may have felt like 800 individuals when we walked in, but leaving it felt like one big team. His words, not ours. Though I am confident that our words can point others to His.
“We are not a product of time but eternity,” Christine Caine said.
“This is no joke” Lysa TerKeurst pleaded to us.
I’m certain that this past weekend has changed me. It has informed me and it has urged me to be a part of one team. No matter the role I am playing. Lysa is right. This is no joke. Though much of the Bible is grey, these words are black and white. Love God. Love Others. Make disciples.
One team. Unity.