So this first part was type up this morning while I was waiting at the airport:
What a wonderful weekend I had.
Unfortunately we lost the game on Saturday by one point. It was such a close and intense game the entire time, and to come out on the short end was not fun at all, but we will continue to learn from our mistakes individually and as a team and keep striving to persevere and fight. I know I can speak for myself, I had a few shots that I would have loved to have had back, but you can’t make all of them AND with any sport, there is always something you can continually improve on.
I left Saturday night after the game to go to Ankara and visit a friend that I had met from my first year playing in Ankara. I waited to disclose my location until I made it back safely to Samsun. As many of you know, there was a suicide bomber attack at the US Embassy in Ankara a few days ago. There was one other person killed besides the bomber, but thankfully it was not any worse than that. Although, one life lost at the expense of someone who is trying to do something devastating is not good either. I am thankful that while I was in Ankara, the Lord kept me safe. I was debating whether or not I would go, but after purchasing tickets prior to the bombing and checking in with my friend to see if it was okay, I felt at peace with still going. The reality is, we live in a dangerous world wherever we may be. Thanks be to God that with each passing day, we draw closer to His coming and His awesome plan of redemption for mankind.
I had an opportunity to worship with fellow believers on Sunday. I have to say that was one of the highlights of my trip. I had not gone to corporate English speaking worship since before I left the States back in September. Yes, I have listened to numerous messages online, and have also joined in with worship via my computer, but there is something special about being in the same room with fellow Believers – it gives me a taste of what Heaven will be like. As we were all lifting our voices to the Lord, I couldn’t help but stop and take it all in…this is what Heaven will be like…a continuous praise to our Eternal King. One of my favorite worship songs is “In Christ Alone”. We happened to sing it yesterday, and wow the opening lyrics to the song really struck me: “In Christ alone, my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.” Who or what is your light, your strength, and your song in your life? What a blessing and a privilege I have to call Jesus all of the above and He is so so much more than even those.
I had a neat opportunity to listen to a friend bring the message yesterday. The topic of his message was on “Blessings”. He took us through the book of Genesis and showed how the words “blessed” or “blessings” are used countless times throughout the book. How neat to see that despite man trying to be deceptive and impatient the Lord continued to make His blessing known and continued to pass it down from generation to generation. Not only do we see this theme of “blessing” in the Old Testament, but it can be found in the New Testament as well. God’s gift (blessing) must be asked for, waited for, and shared. I really liked what the pastor said, “God gives a blessing to the blessed so that we can go out and bless!” God’s ultimate desire is to bless the world. The “gift” that God desires to bless us with is His GRACE - GRACE that we can only receive when we ask Him into our heart and life. Have you done that? Have you allowed the Lord to bless you with His grace? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do so today!!
The rest of my Sunday was spent relaxing. I went out to eat with a lot of the foreigners from church, and then I went and hung out with some other people at their house. The rest of the afternoon was spent at Starbucks and then going back to my friend’s house I was staying with to relax and chill. We ordered Chinese for dinner and then watched a movie as well. After the movie a teammate of mine from my first year in Turkey came over. It was late by the time she came over, so we chatted from about 11:00 p.m until 2:00 a.m. Mixed in there we skyped my sisters which was an absolute blast! We had a lot of great laughs for sure :)! By the time I found my way to bed, the clock was quickly approaching 3:00 a.m. I was thankful to catch a few zzz’s before waking up a little after 6:00 a.m. to pack my final things and then take a taxi to the bus station and then once at the bus station I was on a bus for about 40 minutes to the airport. I got to the airport with plenty of time to grab some breakfast and chill a little bit. You know me, if I can I would rather get there early rather than on time or late. I flew out of Ankara at 9:15 a.m. and got here into Samsun around 10:15 a.m. I am going to chill here at the airport until another one of my teammates flies in from Istanbul (where she was for the weekend). My American teammate is going to pick us up a little after noon and then we are going to head to the gym and chill there until practice. Today practice is at 2:30 p.m. Here we go for another week!
May we all realize that we are extremely blessed people. My prayer is, if you do not realize this that you would take the time to talk to someone and ask them about the Lord and all that He offers to us.
May this week be filled with many blessings and may we take the time to recognize and receive those blessings that the Lord wants to give us.
3 keys to being blessed:
Now onto the present :) So, I was at the airport until about 12:45 p.m. and then all of us foreigners on my team headed to go eat at a restaurant before heading to practice. I had a delicious chicken crepe with mushrooms which was great. Practice consisted of shooting today. I did some jogging, some sprints, and some core work before calling it a day.
This evening I can tell my body is feeling it a little bit, but I have had an awesome evening. I did some laundry and then Tanja came over and we ordered pizza from the restaurant downstairs and then we made some peanut butter cookies. Tanja had been wanting to try making cookies homemade so we did...it was a lot of FUN!!
I will probably go to bed earlier tonight, but we will see. Nothing until 5:00 p.m. tomorrow which is nice because I will be able to sleep in :). Tomorrow evening we are scrimmaging a boys team which should be fun!
BRING ME YOUR WEAKNESS, and receive My Peace. Accept yourself and your circumstances just as they are, remembering that I am sovereign over everything. Do not wear yourself out with analyzing and planning. Instead, let thankfulness and trust be your guides through this day; they will keep you close to Me. As you live in the radiance of My Presence, My Peace shines upon you. You will cease to notice how weak or strong you feel, because you will be focusing on Me. The best way to get through this day is step by step with me. Continue this intimate journey, trusting that the path you are following is headed for heaven.
“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” Psalm 29:11