July 12, 2011

Not Good . . . but Better!

It’s no secret I have a yen for home improvements but with bathrooms and front doors finished, and no plans for the near future, I've been getting a little antsy. So I set my sights on improving the space right here...my blog. Welcome to my spruced up corner of the blogosphere.

I’ve been writing here for more than three years—sporadically more than anything, but pressing on nonetheless. It's been a place I've pondered and processed and grew and shared. As I reflect on these last years—almost 300 posts and tens of thousands of words written—I see that while I've changed the look of my blog, God has changed me.

When I started writing here I was playing lots of tennis and having a great time with it. Much of my days were filled with tennis matches and drills and lunches with friends. Life was good and full and carefree. But tennis had become more than a hobby; it was more like a part time job (that I paid for). And something inside told me that God hadn’t put me on this earth to spend my days that way—that He had more planned for me.

I pulled back from tennis a bit, but continued to play competitively. And then in a match almost exactly three years ago from today, I went for a shot and hurt my elbow badly. The diagnosis? Tennis elbow. What should have gone away in 12 weeks lingered for months. I saw many doctors and therapists, and tried all sorts of treatments. Nothing worked. “Give it time,” most of the specialists said.

The fall tennis season started without me and I mourned the loss of a big part of my life. I looked for ways to fill my surplus of free time and started to write more. I started to focus less on myself and more on others. I discovered gifts I didn’t know I had. And my relationship with God became more intimate and personal.

When I look the last three post-tennis years, I am amazed at the places God has led me. How He’s changed my outlook and centered my thoughts on His work. His children. His purpose for my life.
Since I set down my tennis racket, I’ve:
  • Been to writers’ conferences
  • Joined a writers’ group.
  • Had stories and articles published (and actually got paid!)
  • Been on—not just one—but four mission trips. And have plans for more in the near future.
  • Developed a deep love for missions and Haiti in particular.
  • Joined the prison ministry.
  • Backpacked the Grand Canyon.
  • Confronted (although not conquered) my fear of public speaking. 
  •  Made close friends who have a heart for writing, for missions and especially for the Lord.

I don’t know why I hurt my elbow…or why it refuses to get better. Was it bad luck? An accident? Divine intervention? Perhaps. I do know that when one door closed, a wonderful path came into view. One I started on reluctantly, but now travel enthusiastically. On the road I’ve experienced God in rich and powerful ways. He’s opened my eyes and broken my heart to love His children. And He’s awakened a sense of adventure that is such a part of who I am now.

With the improvements God’s done in me, it’s fitting my blog reflects that change. I no longer see myself as primarily a thinker. A ponderer. An observer. Now I’m a do-er. A risk taker. An adventurer.

And with our awesome God as my guide I’m discovering I’m not so ordinary after all.

We may be happy and comfortable in our lives, but our plans are not always God’s plans, and the good things we do are not always the best He has in store.

Where is God be leading you from "good" to "best" ... from thinking to doing?

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
Haiti and Me . . . March 2010


Dan said...

Make no mistake, people. In her pre-tennis-elbow prime, Kelli was one heckuve a player. One for whom I had to bring my "A" game to beat. (Do NOT under any circumstances feed a short ball to her backhand...there, I warned you). I believe she will be again someday. And, I believe that day will be the day God says, "OK, you've completely learned your lesson that tennis - or anything else - cannot be your god. Only I can." Meanwhile, Kelli...continue to volley (words), serve (God) and approach (heaven).

Peggy said...

Hi Kelli and Dan......
Great post and comment and it was for our good that God winked and you got tennis elbow.
I am proud to be able to call you both my sister and brother in Christ and to share the adventures that your whole family has and the words that God places in your hearts and blogs.
Yes, Kelli you have changed, but believe me it is a wonderful change. See you both soon.
Blessings and Love....Peggy

Sue J. said...

It's been a great blessing for me to have stumbled onto your blog, pretty much from its beginning days. I think my first read might have been the time you forgot the tickets for the Open. But I remember how you mourned tennis for yourself...for a little while. God served up a "let"-you-have, but you stayed in the game.

Love how you describe your change--from thinking to doer--although I know you'll continue to think and ponder. You just won't be as hesitant to act, perhaps, because you know how the Spirit moves you!

Great new look!! If you take your website design classes to an online correspondence level, let me know :-)

Denise said...

I will note--very selfishly, of course, that I'm thankful you hurt your elbow! Otherwise, perhaps, I would've never met you--my dearly loved and much admired comma commando!

I see God in you and your blog in so many ways. Thanks for listening to his voice and for serving Him by serving all of us!

Cheryl Barker said...

Kelli, I love the new look of your blog and your more adventuresome approach now. Exciting stuff! May God continue to guide and bless you in your writing and ministry efforts. It's been wonderful getting to know you through blogging.

I'll give you a heads up on some things I think you'll want to take a peek at on my blog in days to come. I'll be posting some of Kristin's bridal portraits late this afternoon and then I'll do the wedding ones the end of this month and early next month. So much fun sharing photos like these! :) Didn't want you to miss them :)

Sassy Granny ... said...

I do the same thing: create & organize. I love puttering in the house, and around my blog. And I relish a good project!

You are among a growing number of bloggers that lean more-and-more in the direction of writing. I'm bit by that bug too.


P.S. I like the new "do" on your blog!


Wow, Kelli. I pray your elbow heals up . . . but that is an very cool list of the last three years.


nanette@momneverstops.com said...

Great post - God continues to amaze me at how he works in our lives (when we let him). Love the look of the blog and will continue to visit.

Wendy said...

Kelli, it is always a revelation to read your blog. Thanks for making time for writing in your life and then sharing your thoughts. And on behalf of so many, mesi anpil for making time for FFP missions in the DR and now Haiti.