“My Story” ~ What if Your Life Could Be An Awfully Big Adventure?

Read 4 epic stories and watch Big Daddy Weave sing "My Story" And then go live your story!

 An Awfully Big Adventure . . .


Wendy: So…your adventures are over.

Peter Pan: Oh, no. To live…to live would be an awfully big adventure.

~ Hook (1991)


Who doesn’t want to live an incredible story? 

Authors will tell you that without conflict, you don’t have a story.

I’ve got some epic ones for you today. 

If it takes conflict to make a story, I guess we’re all living a story because we all face conflict.

Some more than others.

But of course, that just means we all have the chance to live an awfully big adventure. 

Faith makes the difference.

It made a life-changing difference in these lives:

Tragedy to Triumph

Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliot overcame staggering tragedy as a boy, but is now living a story he could never have envisioned.   

When Tony was 4, his parents separated.

He then lived with his mom and little sister on the streets of Los Angeles for a bit.

When he was 9, he was in a car accident with his family. He watched his mother die in the road.

A little while later, Tony and his sister, Brandi, were separated and shipped to the other side of the country to unknown relatives after their father was jailed.

Tony didn’t let despair paralyze him, poverty cripple him, or losing everyone he loved turn him bitter. 

He trusted God instead.

Faith made the difference. 

Tony is now living an awfully big adventure surrounded by family and love in a dream job as the co-offensive coordinator of this year’s National Championship football team.

Go Tigers! 

Listen to Tony share his powerful story.

Disabled to Unstoppable

Nick Vujicic was born without legs or arms. Yes, I said without legs or arms.

He’d never live a “normal” life. Ever.

Nick’s parents refused to treat him as a lost cause.

He struggled, but ultimately refused to let bitterness rule his heart. He let hope rule it instead.

Nick chose to trust God for the grace to live a better story.

Faith  made the difference.

He’s now living an awfully big adventure and filled with love and joy. Without legs or arms. That’s not normal. That’s epic.

Listen to Nick share his miraculous story:

Pastor to World-Changer

Martin Luther King trusted God to write a different story.

Most around him set out to write the story themselves, but no one can out-write God.

He held to God’s Word about life, liberty, and the value of man, and God changed the world through his life and his faith. Even through his tragic death.  

His life and historic speech will never be forgotten. 

Martin Luther King preached love and faith, and his story is still changing to world today. Thank you, Lord, for this humble pastor.

Listen to King’s world-changing speech. In fact, listen to it often!

Little Guy to Big Hero

Clemson’s wide receiver Hunter Renfrow didn’t lose his family and he had all his arms and legs, but he still faced adversity.

All his life he’d been told he was too small to play football in the big leagues. Regardless, Hunter chose to pass up on scholarship money to play at another college so he could take a chance he might get to play for Clemson’s Coach Dabo Swinney.

He walked on to the team his freshman year and put in the hard work.

And he trusted God.

And his moment came in a big way. A movie ending.

With one second left on the clock against Alabama, the undisputed #1 team in the country, Hunter caught the game-winning pass and won the National Championship.

Watch the exciting moment when the “little man” became the big hero.

What a story!

After the game, he said, “My faith in God really got me through.”

Faith Made the Difference

Not every story changes the world, but the story God is writing for you will change you and those around you.

I haven’t faced violent prejudice nor had my life threatened by mobs of haters like Martin Luther King, but I’ve let God teach me to fully forgive those who’ve hurt people I love and me. And my heart is filled with peace.

I haven’t overcome astronomical physical challenges like Nick. But by Christ’s power, presence, and peace, I’ve overcome fears that have paralyzed me. And I feel like a victorious warrior.

I haven’t endured tragedies like Tony suffered, but by Christ’s grace and love, I’ve survived pain and loss that had crippled me. Now I’m thriving. 

I’ve never won a championship or overcome staggering odds, but I’ve trusted God and stepped way out of my comfort zone and have gone further with my writing than I’d imagined I could. And I’m just getting started.

Faith made the difference.

What’s Your Story?

What do you need God to enable you to overcome?

He can.

He will.

Trust Him with your story.

Sometimes God will change our circumstances in dramatic ways. Other times, He’ll simply change us. But, trust me, that’s just as big.

Changing us changes our story, and that can make for an awfully big adventure.

Christ is the greatest Author. He’s writing an awfully big adventure for you, but it takes faith to believe it and live it.

Listen to “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave, and consider your story. It’s not over yet:

Through the power of Jesus Christ, live your story.  

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Luke 1:37

What’s your story? Share in the comments. We need to hear.


What if your life could be an awfully big adventure? MY STORY by #BigDaddyWeave #MondayMusic #TrustGod Click To Tweet




Magnify the Name of the Lord to Minimize Your Stress

Magnify the Name of the Lord to Minimize Your Stress and watch Music Video Magnify by Messenger via www.JeanWilund.comOh the Stress!

Every fall I find myself stressed out, and I’ve battled it for too embarrassingly long. I suffer from Competition Stress Anxiety.

I just made that term up, but it sounds about right.

If you’re not into sports, this post is still for you because we all have something in life that stresses us out.

It might be of minor importance like mine, as in the I Just Moved to a New Place and Have to Make New Friends Stress Anxiety or the I Have Too Many Things to Do and No Matter What I Do the List Only Gets Longer Stress Anxiety.

Or it might be quite serious like My Medical Bills are Piling Up With No End in Sight Stress Anxiety or worse I Just Lost My Child And Don’t Think I’ll Ever Be Happy Again Stress Anxiety.

Insert whatever your stressor is into the blank:  ________ Stress Anxiety.

Trying to EnJOY But Can Only EnSTRESS?

Before and during the Clemson vs Louisville game, I felt my stress magnify to the point I nearly gave up football.

Before and during the Clemson vs Florida State game, my stress magnified to the point that even though we won, I did give up football.

For a day. Then reality hit.

My husband and I host football parties every game we’re not attending. We love sports, we love our friends, and we love to combine them.

I’m not going to tell my husband we have to give them up just because I magnify my stress. And I’m not going to hide in my room during the games and ignore our guests.

Besides, I want to be able to watch AND enjoy football.

See the word “joy” tucked in there? It’s not “enSTRESS.” It’s “enJOY.”

Lord, Help Me!

I need help only God can give because this is ridiculous! It’s just football, Jean!

So I prayed. A lot.

I prayed and asked God to help me remember that He is both loving and sovereign, and thus if Clemson loses, it’s ok.

God let Paul get imprisoned. It wasn’t fun, but it was purposeful.  

I prayed for God to remind me He has far greater plans for each of the players than just their win-loss record. It’s ok for them to lose because God will use it.

God let Joseph get sold into slavery by his brothers, but God allowed it because He had plans for Joseph to one day become second in command over Egypt. 

I prayed I wouldn’t lose sight of the fact that it’s just a game, not a real problem. Real problems involve cancer, unemployment, and life or death situations. Not football — unless you make your living playing football.

God led Israel to the Red Sea. He boxed them in with their enemy charging toward them in war chariots, ready to drag them back into slavery. That’s a real problem. That’s serious stress. 

I prayed. A lot.

And I’d have momentary success. Super-sonic fast fleeting success, but not lasting joy.

I’ve Magnified the Forest So Now I Can’t See The Trees

Yes, I know the phrase is “can’t see the forest for the trees,” but in my case, all I could see was the massive forest. I missed the beauty of each individual tree.

I could only see the whole season — we must win every game, especially the National Championship.

I couldn’t enjoy each beautiful tree — every hard-fought, well-earned win.

As I talked about my all-or-nothing mentality with God, I remembered a time years ago when I prayed and prayed for God to remove a negative mindset I couldn’t seem to change.

All day, every day I prayed and asked God to change my thinking to one that encouraged, rather than depressed, me.

I prayed and experienced similar fleeting success as my competition stress anxiety.

Then someone said:

You can’t stop thinking about one thing until you start thinking about something else

All my many prayers about my problem kept my problem on my mind. And that caused my stress to magnify and peace to minimize.

I now knew the solution:

Quit Praying So Much

As crazy as that sounds, I needed to STOP praying all day about my problem. It only increased my stress.

I needed to bring my stress to God once in the morning and then let it go for the rest of the day and then turn my prayers into praise.

It overcame my stress back then. It should overcome my Competition Stress Anxiety too.

No more praying, “God, I know it’s just football, and you’ll use a loss for their good and Your glory. . . Lord, help me to rejoice even if Clemson loses . . . Father, take away my anxious heart about whether we’ll win or not . . .

Instead, praise, “God, you are . . . ” and then let every amazing truth I know about God flood my heart and mind with no mention or even thought of football.

Praise Magnifies the Name of God and Minimizes Stress

Like the Israelites who marched around Jericho once a day and then returned to their camp, we need to march around our problems in prayer once a day, and then return to our day.

When stress is highest, praise needs to be higher.

We must stop worrying and praying about our problems incessantly.

Praise magnifies God’s name. It puts our minds in the right perspective.

The Proof is in the Praise

Magnify the Name of the Lord to Minimize Your Stress and watch Music Video Magnify by Messenger via www.JeanWilund.comI tried my Prayers into Praise strategy at the next game — The Pitt Game! Yes, the game Clemson LOST.

And guess what. It worked!

Each time my stress began to rise, I took a deep breath and began to praise God.

I didn’t praise Him for the Clemson Tigers. Or that He’ll use a loss for good.

I praised Him for being God.

I took my mind off of football and my stress and put it onto God.

I worshiped Him for being loving, powerful, sovereign, and ruler over all. I imagined what it will be like one day when we His people are in heaven worshipping Him in one voice. I let His powerful presence awe me.

As I praised Him in spirit and in truth just for being God, I magnified His name and felt my stress melt away.

It’s like the little minimize button on the computer that takes a big window and makes it small. The potential of losing — my source of stress — was still there but it was so small as to be almost invisible. Until something happened that clicked on the maximize button and my stress began to fill the screen of my mind. But then I praised — not prayed — again.

I praised God a lot during that game.

I was truly sad when we lost, but my stress level never rose near what it had been during the games we won, nor did it stay elevated long.

Try magnifying God’s name next time your stress level rises. Take your mind off your worries and focus on who God is, not what He can do for you.

Magnify by We Are Messengers

Listen to We Are Messengers sing Magnify, and let’s magnify God’s name together.

O magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.
~Psalm 34:3

Your turn: What helps you maximize your peace and minimize your stress?

#MAGNIFY the name of the Lord to minimize your stress #MondayMusic @MessengersMusic Click To Tweet




Which to Choose: Football or Bonsai Gardening? – Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to Christ Through Football

Fret over your football team so much you'd consider giving it up for bonsai gardening? You don't have to! Be conformed to Christ through football instead. via www.JeanWilund.comThis may be the year.

College Football has officially kicked off, and this may be the year that

. . . I rejoice whether my team wins or loses,

. . . I can watch an entire game without fretting,

. . . and I jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

Yes, I know. The last one is more likely to happen than the first two.

And the last one ain’t happening.

But it could.

And that’s what matters.

It could happen because God is in the business of transforming lives.

And that’s why I don’t have to give up football and take up bonsai gardening instead.

Last year I declared in my post I Can’t Watch! — Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to Christ Through Football that this fretful football fan would change.

And I did.

Two years ago, I couldn’t watch my Tigers play the big games. I watched movies at the theater instead.

Last year, I watched every game. Not every second of every game, but every game.

Progress. I scored a touchdown.

But I confess, I haven’t won the game. Yet.

I’m still a football-fretter. But the game’s not over.

Crockpot Growth.

Spiritual growth sometimes happens in microwave fast spurts.

But usually it simmers to maturity like a crockpot.

Not being able to handle a football game is a spiritual matter. Read more about it here in that post I told you about before.

Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to Christ Through Football.

I haven’t given up my goal to be transformed into a relaxed football fan, content and peaceful no matter the outcome.

But there will be times this season when that resolve will be tested, and I may consider giving up football to take up bonsai gardening.

What battle are you waging?

Is your battle as silly as mine over fretting about football?

Or is it serious? The kind that should send you down to your knees, like fear over your child’s cancer diagnosis or arrest?

Or do you struggle with issues that send those who live with you down to their knees, like fits of anger or bitterness?

No matter what you’re facing, it’s not too silly or too serious for God.

Never Give Up

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 15:57 ESV).

Whether we’re facing a goal-line on the football field or a drip-line in the ER, we can keep our eyes fixed on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 NASB).

God won’t just give us strength. He is our strength.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1 ESV).

Just Imagine

bonsai-316573_640Imagine what our life would be like tomorrow if we woke up, fixated on our all-powerful, loving God instead of our struggles.

We could facing losing a game without losing our joy or having to take up bonsai gardening.

We’d read the sports headlines and front page headlines without being consumed with worry.

We’d carry peace instead of burdens.

God is waiting to do this work in our hearts today. It starts with believing Him and His Word and walking in the truth we know.

This May Be The Year

This may be the year the Clemson Tigers win the National Championship.

Oh so close last year.

But even better, this may be the year we win the battle in our minds.

What victory will you enjoy this year?

Go For It!

And Go Tigers!

Which to Choose: #Football or Bonsai Gardening? Confessions of a Fanatic Fan Conformed to #Christ… Click To Tweet




Don’t Miss This Fascinating Interview with NFL Player Turned Doctor, Samkon Gado

Read the powerful story of Samkon Gado, who never let the facts interfere with the possibilities.

Read the powerful story of Samkon Gado, who never let the facts interfere with the possibilities.

When God wants to do something great, He begins with a difficulty. When He wants to do something amazing, He begins with an impossibility. 

Meet Samkon Gado.

Scott McCausey interviewed Samkon tonight on BlogTalkRadio.com. 

Click here for the link.

Did I make that link big enough? I didn’t want you to miss it.

Go to the link to check out photos, a short article about this great man of faith through whom God has done amazing things, and listen to him share God’s story.

Below is the post I wrote when my article about Samkon came out in Reach Out, Columbia magazine:

“YES! ABSOLUTELY!”

Those are the words that flew out of my mouth when Lori Hatcher, the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, asked me if I wanted to write an article about Samkon Gado.

Samkon not only graduated from my two oldest children’s alma mater, Ben Lippen High School, but he also played one of my favorite sports at the highest level (and made the NFL record books in the process). He then went on to study medicine, just like my father. 

Samkon did all of this because He trusted in God to do the impossible through him. He never let the facts interfere with the possibilities. 

A story of such powerful faith needed to be told, and I can’t thank Reach Out, Columbia magazine enough for letting me be the one to tell it.

Click the link below to read the article in Reach Out, Columbia magazine. 

SAMKON GADO: DOING THE “IMPOSSIBLE”

Then check out all their excellent articles by clicking this link to their home page:

Reach Out, Columbia Magazine

After you listen to the radio show, jump back on here and let me know what part of Samkon’s story impacted you the most.

Don't miss @CDSPEAKUP: Samkon Gado - The Impossible story of #NFL Player To Dr. #GodStory Click To Tweet




Facing an Epic Battle? This Could Be Your FINEST HOUR (Monday Music)

Are you facing an epic battle? This could be your Finest Hour Click to view music video FINEST HOUR by Wayne Watson. via www.JeanWilund.com

There’s going to be an epic battle tonight.

First there was David and Goliath near the Valley of Elah.

Then Aragorn and the Orcs in the Battle of Morannon.

Tonight, it’s Clemson and Alabama in the NCAA National Championship Game.

I mean no disrespect to Alabama by comparing them to Goliath and orcs. I only mean that Clemson is picked by most to lose.

Sure, on paper, it looks daunting.

Who am I kidding? It IS daunting.

But it’s no less daunting for Alabama to defeat undefeated Clemson.

They’re both facing an epic battle.

So. Much. Pressure.

Except, not according to Clemson’s coach Dabo Swinney.

“Football is not pressure. This is a game. That’s the message I try to instill in our players all the time . . . 

. . . understand through this game you have a chance to bring some joy to people who really have pressure in their life, who really have problems . . .

. . . when you have the cross as the foundation of your life, football ain’t going to bring no pressure. I promise you that . . .

That’s why it’s fun. This is a game. It’s fun.

(Excerpt from: WATCH: Dabo Swinney says there is pressure in this world, but none on his team.)

 

Real Pressure

The apostle Paul knew real pressure.

He was imprisoned, beat, shipwrecked, and faced death repeatedly.

But the unshakeable foundation of the cross didn’t fail him.

Paul continued to rejoice. The guy just couldn’t be kept down.

In the midst of his epic battles, Paul experienced his finest hour:

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia.

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.

Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death.

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. . . .

We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace.” 

(2 Corinthians 1:8-9, 12 NIV)

 

Faith Releases Power

Faith releases God’s power to work in our lives — to bring peace and power in the midst of pressure.

I don’t mean it releases power like a magic wand. Faith is simply agreeing with God that He’s able and willing to accomplish all He’s planned.

Our faith is proven when we face our battle.

Do we march onto the battle field despite the odds against us, confident that God is about to move?

Or do we grumble and complain about what’s going wrong?

Do we walk forward expecting God to work?

Or do we curl up, paralyzed and defeated by our circumstances?

Faith is a game-changer.

 

Sara’s Finest Hour

Every day Sara Frankl faced a real battle and her finest hour.

Sara developed ankylosing spondylitis, leukopenia, and Cushing’s syndrome.

This basically means that for the last several years of her life she faced severe chronic pain all day every day.

And she faced it all with joy.

Pain couldn’t shake her from her sure foundation — Jesus Christ.

Sara wrote:

I’ve come to understand that the only thing I can control is whether or not I open my heart.

Open it to embrace my circumstances.

Open it to be who He needs me to be in the here and now rather than assume happiness can come from the “If only…” and “When I get…”

 

This could be our FINEST HOUR

Football’s not pressure.

A National Championship game isn’t even pressure.

It’s a fierce, fun game, and I’m phenomenally grateful, win or lose, that my beloved Tigers are playing in it, but it’s not pressure.

I confess I forget that. A lot. God is still working on me.

No matter who wins the epic battle on the field tonight, the greatest battle both teams can win — that we all can win — is the battle of faith.

Depending on what we choose, today could be our FINEST HOUR.

Watch this music video of Wayne Watson’s powerful song Finest Hour set to The Lord of the Rings hero Aragorn battling creepy orcs. It’s the perfect fit for those of us facing our own epic battles.

Listen to Wayne Watson’s lyrics. Let them sink in. Then walk in them:

 

Pressure is powerless in the face of God. This could be your FINEST HOUR #MondayMusic #GodsPower Click To Tweet




Rivals for a Day, Friends for Life: Conformed to Christ Through Football (Thanks, Samoa.)

Rivals for a Day. Friends for Life. I don't have to hate your team to love mine. Conformed to Christ through Football.

Football’s back! Life is good!

But before we put on our school colors, we’d better put on Christ.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, . . .
Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.

~ Colossians 3:12-14 NASB

Don’t worry. I’m not looking for football players to pass out hugs and flowers on the line of scrimmage. But I do want them to let Christ rule their hearts as they square off.

The stands is a different story. We could use a whole lot more hugs and flowers there.

We fans need to stop acting like we’re on the line of scrimmage and that the other team’s fans just stepped on our puppy. 

We need to keep the mindset demonstrated this summer by the nation of Samoa and the Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Say his name three times fast. Actually just say it once and get it right. Not happening.

When New Zealand’s team, the All Blacks, arrived this summer for a rugby match, the Prime Minister and Samoans welcomed them with open arms and celebration.

The Prime Minister expressed that what made New Zealand and Samoa great rivals also made them great friends.

My daughter Carolyn got to see this phenomenon in person. She was in Samoa serving with a medical mission team when New Zealand arrived.

She described the streets lined with adoring fans, cheering and welcoming New Zealand to Samoa. She told me of the sign she saw everywhere:

Rivals for a day. Friends for life.

I watched a video of members of New Zealand’s team driving up in buses waving at the Samoan crowd who’d showed up in droves to greet them.

Several members of All Black expressed their appreciation of the kind welcome Samoa showed them. They added that the next day they knew they’d be set on beating them.

Rivals for a day. Friends for life.

Their shared passion for rugby and competition didn’t divide them except during the moment and on the field of competition.

Why must passion for our football team cause us to hate our neighbor’s team?

Put on your school colors and wear them proudly, but put on Christ first.

Rivals for a day. Friends for life.

In other words, 

I don’t have to hate your team to love my team.
&
You don’t have to hate my team to love your team.

 

Let's shake hands and leave the field as friends, not enemies.

I’m still going to cheer for Clemson to win every time we play your team, but I won’t hate your team.

Rivals for a day. Friends for life!

(Thanks, Samoa, for setting the example. You’ve proved it can be done!)

I LOVE MY TIGERS!Now repeat after me:

GO TIGERS!

I gotta cheer for my Tigers. Still not hating your team, though. 

What do you think? Can we adopt Samoa’s mindset? I’d love to hear from you. 


Rivals for a Day, Friends for Life: Conformed to Christ Through Football Click To Tweet