I Am Not An Olympian

By Kristen Entwistle

Watching the Olympics this week has been a lot of fun.  I love watching Michael Phelps swim butterfly – it’s just so beautiful.  Watching Katie Ledecky absolutely crush the competition and prove that she is the best distance swimmer in the world.  Watching April Ross and Kerri Walsh-Jennings dominate in the sand.  Watching the American women’s gymnastics team make history.  Watching Usain Bolt run – he makes it look so easy.

It’s amazing what these athletes are able to accomplish.  How good they are at what they do.  It makes me want to better – watching them.  It makes me want to swim faster, run faster, train harder, be stronger.  And it also makes me feel a bit disappointed with myself – that I’m not that good.  That I don’t swim that fast, run that fast, or can even do a handstand.

But as I keep watching this year’s Olympic games, I’m remembering that it’s not about how good I am compared to everyone else – whether in sports or in life.  It’s not about how fast I am compared to Katie Ledecky, or how much money I make compared to my former grad school colleagues, or how my children behave compared to others, or how many books I sell or how many Facebook followers I have.  It’s not about that.  At all.

I may not be an Olympian, but I am still loved by the God of the Universe.

I may not make the most money possible, but God provides.

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I may not sell many books or have 300,000 Facebook followers, but I do what I do for the glory of God, not for the recognition of people.

God has given me unique talents and gifts, and those gifts don’t make me an Olympian or a best-selling author, or the richest person. It makes me…well, me.  And I am a child of God, loved beyond measure, forgiven and free.

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Headlights

By Kristen Entwistle

I was driving home late last night, down one of those two lane country roads in Indiana.  Turns out, there’s a lot of those roads, and I’m pretty unfamiliar with them right now.  You see, I just moved here, and I’m still learning my way around.  I don’t know which roads twist and turn or which ones are likely to have horses and buggies on them.  I don’t know which ones have stop signs every half mile, and which ones go on forever.

Most of these roads have a ditch on either side of them and people who drive like maniacs.  Oh, and people who blind you with their high beams.

As I was driving down that two lane road last night, it was a little scary – not being able to see more than a hundred feet in front of you and not knowing what’s up ahead.

It’s kind of like life, isn’t it?  God gives us these glimpses of what He is calling us to do, these rare moments of certainty where we can see a hundred feet in front of us.  But we can’t see what’s coming.  We can’t see that there’s a sharp turn or a stop sign up ahead.  That cancer is going to hit us seemingly out of nowhere or that a close friend is going to die unexpectedly.  But we can’t see the good things too – the new baby, the extra money that just showed up in the budget – all we can see is what God illuminates before us.

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Occasionally we get a glimpse of what’s coming when there’s a house light on, or a gas station.  But not very often.  Most of the time we’re still in the dark, with only our headlights.

Walking in faith isn’t easy, and it’s certainly not without its difficulties.  But we’ve got a God who can see all the twists and turns and stop signs because He built the road.  He knows what lies ahead for us and He guides us through it.

We may end up in the ditch sometimes, or make a wrong turn, but still He shows us the way, one step at a time.

Immeasurably More

By Kristen Entwistle

I was cleaning out my desk the other day and found something pretty amazing: God’s provision.

I’m packing up my apartment to move a few hours away, and so, naturally, I was cleaning out my desk – you know, throwing away old papers that I really shouldn’t have kept in the first place, getting rid of the things that I just threw in the drawer over the last four years…and I came across some old cards.

I tend to keep things…probably longer than I should. But be that as it may, I’m glad that I kept these.  They’re cards from very dear friends that were written as I was graduating college and moving to Michigan.  I opened them up and started reading them…smiling at the memories and laughing at the inside jokes from long ago.

And as I opened each card, the same thing kept staring me in the face.  Each of these people who were so dear to me had written similar things, among the jokes and stories and laughs.  Each of them had said that they were praying I would find a good, Godly church in Michigan.  That God would bring me good friends at all of the right turns in my life.  That God would provide.

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And He has provided – all of those things.  More than I could ever have imagined.

He brought me to a church, where I have been able to serve and love and grow, where I have been blessed with a family of God that is so dear to me.  It’s been a place where I have seen the kids I watch grow up and change and learn.  Where a Sunday doesn’t go by that I don’t get a hug from at least one of my little ones, brightening even the darkest week.  Where I have been encouraged to lead and to write and to serve.  Where I have been loved.  Where I have walked life with some amazing people – the hard times and the good times.

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God has not only brought me good friends – He has brought me great ones.  Friends that I am going to miss terribly, but who will remain friends for the rest of my life.  Friends who challenge me, encourage me – friends who have changed me for the better.  Friends who let me love their kids – and who love me.  Friends who share life with me – and I with them.  Friends who pray with me and for me and let me pray for them.  Friends who have shown me the love of Christ.

When I read those cards four years ago for the first time, I trusted that God would provide through the prayers of my friends.  But I didn’t know until now, reading them again, just how much He has provided.  So if you’re wondering if God is good – let me remind you.  He is.  If you’re doubting that He can provide what it is you need – let me remind you.  He can, and He will.  If you’re in the middle of a trying season, and you’re hanging on for dear life – let me encourage you.  He’s got you.  He’s not gonna let go.  He will provide – and He will do immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine.