My friend Jane who is a chaplain with the police, had spotted the study set of videos and book on my counter top at cell group the week before: Game Plan for Life by Joe Gibbs, the 20th and 26th head coach of the Washington Redskins ( 1981-1992, 2004-2007.)
"Why don't you borrow it and watch it first?" I had said, thinking that it might be a great resource for her work. Besides, I had also bought the audio book to listen to. Now I was curious. What was on page 69? It's hard to look up a page on an audio book.
Brenda had first noticed the book advertised in a magazine under our coffee table and thought it looked interesting for her fiancé Kevin who coaches women's University softball (yes, they just got engaged!) She doesn't have a credit card so I offered to order it for her.
When I looked into it on-line it looked so good I got carried away and ordered the whole set, thinking it would be a great resource for ministry to men.
The next Thursday, Jane strode into my kitchen and flipped open her Bible to the fly leaf, where she had written the quote:
Once we are at rest in God's unconditional love, we are free to love others without preconditions. Most human conflicts arise when one person demands something of another that the second person is unable to provide. We tend to look to others to provide for us the peace, satisfaction, and contentment, that is, the love--that only God can give." Joe Gibbs, Game Plan for Life, p. 69Jane's bright eyes peered up from beneath her baseball cap, searching mine to see if I "got it." I did. So much so that I handed her the special brown journal in which I write Bible verses through which God has spoken to me in a profound way at various times. It is precious because it was a gift from my team. "Would you mind writing that out in this?" I asked.
Pen in hand, Jane went off to write, while I did the final dinner preparations...
On Friday Brenda arrived home from a week in Las Vegas where she had spent most of her time by the pool reading The Game Plan for Life, while Kevin was at a conference. So far this "book for men" had a bunch of female readers.
Saturday morning found us at the kitchen table catching up. We made tea and began.There was much to tell about her trip, but then we got to the book, which she had almost finished. She had so many people come up to her at the pool, wanting to know if the book was good, when they saw what she was reading. Several of them had been planning to read it themselves and she was able to tell them it was worth it.
I caught her up on my journey. She already knew how the book, In the Eye of Deception had given me valuable insight into the patterns of behaviour I learned in childhood and which I wrote about here recently.
I had decided to change these patterns now that I was aware of them and had. But since then I realized that the qualities forged in dysfunction, were not negative in themselves, although they could be used dysfunctionally.
In fact, Susan had commented to me that she was "missing" me in our group relationships since I stepped into the shadows in an attempt to break with tradition! I recognized that when not used as an automatic reflex, these sensitivities could be all be turned around and used as helpful strengths and should not be wasted after all it cost to form them.
Brenda nodded in understanding and agreement. Although so different in personality we share some traits of relationship.
I asked if I could look at her copy of the book, since Jane still had mine. I wanted to show her the quote and look up another that had struck me when I heard it on the audio book. She went and got her book, its dust cover all water spotted.
The story I wanted to find and reread was the second last chapter in the book, by Dr. Tony Edwards on Purpose. I told the story to Brenda. He used the analogy of sand. On a beach, sand costs nothing, but when placed in a bag and sold in a hardware store for sandboxes it costs $25 a bag. If stuck onto paper it sells for $5 per sheet. Make it into silicone and sell it as chips and it is even more valuable. The value comes from having a purpose. Dr. Edwards said that we are like the free sand on the beach until we understand the purpose God made us for.
I decided to look up page 69 and read beyond what Jane had written in my precious brown journal. I found myself in awe of what I read, for the quote Jane wrote out, continued:
Knowing God and receiving his love are the most important things we can do. They are the keys to loving ourselves (being content with our gifts, abilities, and purpose in life.)I said to Brenda that I had to write all of this down. "You should, Mom," she said. And we got up, she to go grocery shopping and I to start my list of Saturday chores.
Later that day, Brenda came home with her groceries and handed me a bouquet of yellow roses.
"Brenda, you have no idea what these mean to me," I said.
And I told her how over 30 years ago I had a dear friend, Cecil Cunningham, who was the chaplain at Pine Ridge, an institution in Aurora. One day he had visited and I must have been feeling a little insecure because he came back later with a bunch of yellow roses, and simply said, "Belinda, you are okay."
The yellow roses that Cecil gave me that day have been passed on by me many times over the past three decades, each time to someone who needed their drooping spirits lifted and to know that they were loved and they were okay.
"Mom, I stood for a long time deciding what colour to buy and these just seemed like the right ones," said Brenda.
God's special message of love, through Brenda and the roses. I am content in what and who he has made me and what, by his grace he will make me. It is enough.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
5Let your [a]character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] [b]Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor [c]give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [d][I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor [e]let [you] down ([f]relax My hold on you)! [[g]Assuredly not!](A) 6So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?(B