Take chances. Abandon all the rules. Ditch the recipe. Color outside the lines.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Born and Bred Beloved

Once again it is the time of year for the holidays.  I have not really ever been a fan of the holidays, too many people crowding the supermarkets, too much fuss over things of little importance, stress over how much or little food we have to cook, so many things that just seem to frustrate me.  The one thing about the holidays that makes it all worth it to me is family.  My family is far from perfect but there has never been a shortage of love in our home.  Growing up I was not always the easiest kid to live with. I was strong willed and stubborn, restless and firey, at times bitter and hard hearted.  I got into a lot of stuff that wasn’t good for me when I was back in high school; did things that, as I look back, I regret.  I know I hurt my family with some of the things I did and the paths I chose to travel down.  I stand here now, about to graduate from college.  I have weathered some rough storms in my college career, especially within the past year.  There have been many difficult choices I have had to make.  Many people look at me and call me things and judge the decisions I made as wrong… but my family… they are still here, standing by me.   It amazes me because really I think they have the least reason to trust me because I know I have hurt them the most in my life.  They have every right to look at me the way the rest of the world does, to assume the worst of me, but they don’t.  They continue to stand by me.  They love me with all they have and all that they are.  They have truly shown me what grace really is and what the word family really means.  For so long I convinced myself that I was alone and that the world was on my shoulders, but they never left me.  They have always been here helping me survive.  Sometimes behind me, pushing me to be better.  Sometimes, in front of me pulling to when I had no strength to get though on my own.  Most of the time though, they have walked beside me, rejoicing in my victories, laughing with me in my stumbles, encouraging me in my failures, and continually supporting me in all my endeavors.  Who I am, the person that I have become, despite my past and pain, is because of these people.  It is because of my family.  Dad has always been the one person that I know will hold me together in my darkest moments.  He has taught me everything I know about who God is and how much He loves me.  He taught me to be secure in who I am and to live every moment with passion and purpose.  Mom consistently challenges me to push myself to be better and work harder in all that I do.  She is so strong and holds our family together better than any one of us ever could.  She taught me how to be a woman, and not just about cooking or being a mom but I mean how to be strong and love deeply and sacrifice for those who mean the most to you.  She taught me what real loyalty is and to never ever back down from what’s right just to please the people around you.  My little brother, oh man, he’s inside and out better than I am.  Ever since we were little he has made me want to smile more and love stronger.  He taught me the importance of laughter and fun and to never lose that little kid in me.  He also taught me that you are never too young to make a difference in peoples lives.  I was always the fighter and he was always the kind soul, without him I wouldn’t know how to be compassionate.  They are my foundation that the person I have become is built on.  I love you all so very much and this Thanksgiving I have never been more proud and thankful to be a Hays.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

God is a Football Coach

As many of you know by following my previous writings and rants, I am an athletic trainer.  This means I spend 99.9999% of my life with football.  My best friend is a football coach and so I have recently been spending alot of time around football coaches.  He lives about 7 hrs away in the Panhandle of Oklahoma and a couple weeks ago I drove up there to visit him and interview with the Head Athletic Trainer there.  Pretty much my whole weekend was spent around football coaches and mainly him and the secondary coach that works directly under him.  This guy is pretty cool and definitely stole a piece of my heart when he asked me if I would be his big sister because he's always wanted one.  I feel for him, I think probably because he reminds me alot of myself.  Passionate, fiery, smart alec, scared of commitment, and a definitely hater of religion.  I think alot of that hate has come from two faced people too focused on religion to show him Christ and now he's turned off of Christianity completely.  Ever since that weekend I've been trying to think of a way to tell him who God really is without him being turned off by my sounding to religiousy (yeah I totally just made that word up!).  This is what I decided... God is a football coach.  He is constantly pushing us to be better and get stronger.  Yes, he gets onto us when we mess up but that's only because he knows how great we can be! Yes, that means sometimes he has us doing spiritual up downs in the mud until we get it though our head that we're not the ones in charge.  But, He also offers us grace and forgiveness and always gives us another opportunity to get back in the game and try again. He wants to have a relationship with every one of us and for us to know that he is right there to help us when we don't understand things or we get into trouble.  He holds the game plan in his hands and knows exactly what we need to do to win the game. I think it's an interesting concept... a little out of the box, I know, but God doesn't fit in a box anyway!  So next time you watch the Cowboys playing on a Sunday afternoon or your high school football team under the lights on Friday night, just remember you have a much bigger Coach and he can't wait to put you in the game.