Friday, August 19, 2016

And the Prize Goes to...

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:7-14 NIV

Like many people all over the world, I have enjoyed watching the Olympics on television. The athletes’ devotions to their sport is awe-inspiring and unbelievable at times. These athletes spend years training, staying focused on the prize set before them. Some of them will leave the Olympics with the coveted gold medal while others are proud that they have achieved the status of an Olympian.
Here’s a shocker, I will never, ever be an Olympian. That does not mean that I am not a champion though.

My family has accomplished some amazing things this summer though it may seem like nothing to the average person. But, we aren’t the average family. Jaycee is my oldest child, who is a sweet girl with Down syndrome. Jaycee is minimally verbal and has a history of heart and lung issues. Elijah is my compassionate son who just turned 7 and started guitar lessons this summer. Jason, my husband, works seasonally so he has spent most of his summer at home with us. Then there’s me, Evana. I spent my summer working 3 days a week and planning activities for the family.

Our family stresses the importance of acceptance and love. We attend church together and try to talk about God in our daily lives. We try to do new things in the summer that give our children different experiences in order to broaden their lives even though we might not always know how Jaycee will react.

With those things in mind, these are the prizes our family members would win based upon this summer’s performance:
Fastest person to push Jaycee’s wheelchair up a very long hill at a theme park: Jason…I’m not even a close second
Person who enjoyed Vacation Bible Schools the most: Jaycee, who signed “church party” every day in anticipation of Bible school
Person who managed to bowl in two lanes with one ball: Jaycee…that was something to see
Person who demonstrated the most patience at a theme park: Elijah…yep he was better than the adults
Person who demonstrated the least amount of fear on thrill rides: Everyone but Evana..Jaycee got annoyed by my screaming
Person who demonstrated the most self-control at the pizza buffet: Elijah..The rest of us got our money’s worth.
Person who best showed God’s heart in a conversation: Elijah, who in response to me saying we needed to pray for a person at bedtime later said, “We can pray to God anytime. Let’s pray now.”
Person who is the saddest to see summer vacation end: Evana…I am going to miss these easy-going days spent with my family.
I do not have medals to show for my accomplishments this summer. But, I do have wonderful memories and pictures to show our successes as we try to live our lives focused on our family and God.
What did your family achieve this summer? Whether it's big or small, acknowledge them, celebrate them, and thank God for the time you had with your family.
I thank you for the memories made during summer vacation. I realize that our family memories and achievements are often unrecognized by the world, but you see them God. You also know the cost of these achievements. Remind me that our prize and hope is found in you and walking out your purpose is the goal. Help us to keep focused on the prize you want us to have and let us not get weary in the moments that are difficult. Amen!

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