You want to know what I did yesterday?
I watched this about one hundred and forty-eight times.
It never gets old.
You want to know what I did yesterday?
I watched this about one hundred and forty-eight times.
It never gets old.
I was so happy to know that so many of y’all could embrace my decorating woes yesterday. I knew marriage was going to take some work along the way, but I had no idea that part of the deal was learning how to decorate around what used to be an 800 pound animal.
But today I am totally shifting gears. Of course I have to give you a little back story because that’s what I do.
Four score and seven years ago, I was facing my second senior year as a student at Texas A&M. It actually wasn’t quite that long ago, but it feels like it. Especially because I aged twenty years last night alone as I helped Caroline learn her lines for the second grade Christmas program.
Anyway, I was a lost soul during that time. I’d had my heart broken, called off an engagement, continued to chase after meaningless things I thought might make me happy, and spent enough time at bar called The Tap that I had my own VIP card. And was proud of it.
But life was starting to wear me down. I was tired, confused, lonely and walked around feeling empty most of the time even though I had plenty of friends and the occasional class to keep me occupied. Not to mention, I was terrified about the future because most companies aren’t really lining up to hire the girl who graduates while on scholastic probation and I hadn’t met the right boy to marry and solve all my problems.
Around that time, my friend Jennifer told me I needed to go with her to a Bible study called Breakaway. And it is a sign of how desperate I felt that I actually said yes and agreed to go. I walked into First Baptist College Station that night with low expectations. I’d grown up in church and had been really involved in my church youth group once upon a time, but I had fallen so far away from all that. Honestly, I felt like I was too far gone. God couldn’t possibly want me now.
We sat towards the back of the sanctuary and I remember two things as vividly as if they happened yesterday. The first was the minute the worship leader began to sing, I began to cry. Like ugly cry. The second thing was a young guy named Gregg Matte walked on stage and began to talk about how we are called to be children of God and to shine like stars in the universe.
(That happens to be in Phillipians 2, by the way.)
But more than that, he talked about grace and mercy and how God loves us more than we could ever imagine. I don’t know that it was the first time I’d ever really heard about God’s grace and love, but it was without a doubt the first time I really grabbed a hold of it and decided not to let go.
Over the next few months I actually became friends with Gregg and all of his friends. They were unlike any group I’d ever known. They talked openly about their faith and made decisions based on what they felt like God was calling them to do. I loved spending time with them because, without even knowing it, they challenged me to be the person God intended me to be and to quit settling for less.
By watching Gregg lead his life, I learned what it means to seek God’s will for your life. I’d heard people talk about it, but I’d never seen it in action. Especially not with someone my age. I knew Gregg had graduated with a degree in Marketing but decided to stay at A&M and continue to lead Breakaway Bible Study. And this was at a time when the economy was actually thriving and big firms were waltzing into the business school and offering what seemed like fat sums of money to starving twenty-two-year-old college students. I’m sure there were people that thought he was crazy for making the decision he did, but he knew it was his calling. Breakaway ended up growing to become the largest college Bible study in the nation and there is no way to measure how many lives it has affected.
And, ultimately, Gregg not only pointed me closer to Jesus. He pointed me to my dear husband who likes to hang antelopes in our living room. After I moved to San Antonio in the fall of ’94, he suggested that I should get in touch with P because we were both lonely and friendless. And that’s how he ended up being part of our wedding party almost three years later, just two weeks after P had been an usher in his.
Gregg Matte is now the head pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church. He and his wife, Kelly, are dear friends to P and me even though our lives rarely allow us to ever see each other anymore. But they fall in that category of people you know are your people even when life is busy because they are the real deal. We have seen them live out their faith and face hard times and live with hearts that seek God with all that they have.
Which is part of why I am so excited to tell y’all that Gregg has written a book.
It’s called Finding God’s Will: Seek Him, Know Him, Take the Next Step. He sent me a copy right before Thanksgiving and it is just so good. He has always been one of the best storytellers and his voice rings out in this book. It’s such a great combination of personal stories combined with practical wisdom about how we can hear God in our lives and know where He’s leading us.
No matter where you are in your journey with God right now, Finding God’s Will has so much to offer. If you’ve walked with God for a long time, it will inspire you to seek Him more. If you’ve never known Him at all, it will show you who He is and what He’s created you for. It’s about living a life that matters, a life that says you want to make a difference, a life that God is calling you to, whether you’ve heard Him yet or not.
I cannot recommend it enough.
Seriously. You need to read this book. Or maybe you just know someone who needs to read this book. I happen to fall in both those categories.
Finding God’s Will by Gregg Matte is on sale for $13.59 at Amazon right now.
Oh! And what do you know! It’s also on sale online at Barnes and Noble or available at your local Barnes and Noble store.
My only regret for this post is that I can’t find the picture of Gregg fishing with P at the ranch about twenty years ago. I don’t know if the fish were biting, but there were plenty of mullets to be found.
Y’all have a great day.
I am sitting here right now trying to come up with words for the weekend and feeling an enormous sense of accomplishment because I managed to make a fire in the fireplace all by myself. And, yes, our fireplace is a real fireplace that actually requires things like wood and kindling. I would be lying if I said that the whole scene doesn’t feel a little bit like something right out of Little House on The Prairie, assuming that Ma Ingalls lit her own fire and then sat on her couch while she watched the lights twinkle on her Christmas tree as she typed on her laptop.
So, when we last spoke or you last read or whatever, I mentioned that I’d nearly burned my house down in an attempt to microwave some mac and cheese and also possibly broken three of my toes. The update is my house still smells like the seventh circle of sulphuric hell, particularly when I use the microwave, and I’ve downgraded my injuries to just one broken toe. I feel certain it is broken because I kind of want to throw something across the room any time I step on it the wrong way combined with the fact that it is a lovely blue color with some black thrown in.
In spite of my toe injuries, however, life must go on. Although it is going on while I complain incessantly about my toe. Which kind of reminds me of how I was at the Compassion Bloggers’ Reunion dinner after Deeper Still and was going on and on about how HARD AND STRENUOUS it was to work the merch table and sell all those $2.00 t-shirts. Then Shaun Groves introduced me to Dan Woolley who happened to be sitting two seats away from me. For those of you who may not know, Dan was the Compassion employee who was trapped in an elevator shaft buried under rubble for sixty-five hours after the Haiti earthquake last year.
This is why I should just stay home and work on my fire-building techniques. I’m really not suited for public gatherings.
Anyway, I’d promised Caroline a month ago that I’d help chaperone her class field trip to the Witte Museum and even though I was in a lot of pain and at a complete loss as to appropriate footwear, I knew that just like they say in the entertainment industry, the toe must go on.
(I am so sorry. I could not help myself.)
I hobbled my way around the museum looking at all the animal habitats and bug exhibits while Caroline basically acted like she didn’t care one way or the other if I was there. And I spent most of my time realizing that I’ve always been bored by most types of science and that my tall brown boots were a bad choice.
After the field trip was over, I went back to Caroline’s classroom because I’d volunteered to watch the class while her teacher attended the teachers’ holiday luncheon. Before she left the classroom, the teacher asked everyone if they learned anything at the museum that morning. Every hand went up except for Caroline. She said, “Caroline? You didn’t learn anything this morning?”
“Nothing I didn’t already know before I went.”
I’m not sure how we’re going to survive the next fifteen plus years of formal education.
Eventually all my field trip/chaperone/volunteer duties were over and it was time to get ready for the annual Christmas shopping weekend. Mimi and Bops picked up Caroline around 3:30 and I spent the next hour icing my toe and popping Advil in preparation for Gulley and me to hit the mall.
By the time Gulley got to my house I was all psyched up on the rush of adrenaline that comes with the prospect of shopping and temporary freedom from motherhood. I felt like my toe and I were invincible. And we were. Until I got to the entire other side of the mall from where Gulley and I had parked and realized I was actually in a lot of pain.
Poor Gulley ended up having to haul my large packages and her own through the mall as I pitifully hobbled back to Dillards. A lady in Sephora even stopped Gulley to tell her she felt sorry for her that she had to carry so many large bags. Which made us completely hysterical.
And that was the theme for the rest of the weekend. We were completely hysterical. I can’t even count the number of times I laughed until I cried. We covered topics from the PTO to her recent trip to Vegas to Brett Favre to our fear of sending text messages to the wrong person to playing blackjack to how no one is really sad when your pet dies except for you. There was also a moment on Saturday night when Sophie texted me to ask if we’d heard that Will Muschamp had left Texas to take the head coaching job at Florida. Gulley and I admittedly got a little high on schadenfreude.
I’m just being honest.
Anyway, by the time we finished shopping on Saturday we’d visited just about every store in the San Antonio area with a significant portion dedicated to the aisles of Target. We were exhausted but thrilled at the accomplishment of being finished with our Christmas shopping and headed back to my house to wrap all the gifts.
We wrapped and talked and laughed and eventually discovered that VH-1 was airing Top 100 Songs of the 90’s. I don’t think I need to tell you that it felt like the programming team at VH-1 reached into our very souls at that moment. And so we continued to wrap (and sometimes rap) as we listened to the songs that were the music of our lives as we survived college, found jobs, wore denim vests with wrap skirts, mended broken hearts, learned that wine shouldn’t come out of a box, discovered Ross and Rachel, and eventually met our husbands and got married.
My only regret of the weekend is that we finally wore out and went to bed around 2:40 a.m. after discovering that M.C. Hammer’s Can’t Touch This was number sixteen on the list. Gulley had already fallen asleep on the couch so she asked me the next morning, “What was the number one song of the 90’s?” And I had to admit that we hadn’t made it.
And now we’ll never know.
I’d be willing to be money that Sir Mix-A-Lot made it to the top ten though.
So that was the weekend.
It was good.
Now I’m going to go take more Advil and get some ice for my toe while I sit in the glow of the fire I built with my own two hands, several pieces of wood, and more lighter fluid than is probably safe.
Today is the Christmas Tour of Homes over at the Nester’s blog. I guarantee there will be tons of gorgeous homes to check out. I didn’t do a post because all my stuff looks the same as last year and it seemed redundant. However, here is my post from last year in case you’re new and are overwhelmed with curiosity.
There is a chance to win a $200 gift card from BlogHer as part of a new Chef Boyardee program. Click over to my giveaway page to leave a comment for a chance to win.