Tick Tock Buzz

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetMy son plays indoor soccer which is slightly different than outdoor soccer. The most obvious difference being that the game is played indoors. The pitch is within an arena, guarded by nets and a short wall. Our arena has a few bleachers but for that close up view you stand right behind the wall enclosing the pitch. My husband has his regular spot he likes to snag. It’s right next to the clock. I tend to roam back and forth with the camera but at this particular game the clock kept grabbing my attention.

What is it about time that affects us? We can be short on time, catching up with time, controlled by time, out of time, just in time and the time factors go on and on. The clock is always ticking in our lives. Outside of the physical elements of time there’s a spiritual tone as well.

I’ve experienced following the timing of God’s leading. Going where He’s led me to go and doing what He’s called me to do at the time He says. I’ve also experienced ignoring His timing. There wasn’t a dream, a vision or anything supernatural about knowing His timing. It was a simple knowing deep within me that “it was time”. I’m thankful for God’s faithfulness with me in the midst of my unfaithfulness when ignoring that “knowing”. Staying longer than I should have or moving ahead before His timing has never turned out well. God’s grace has been my saving grace.

Why do we stay longer than we should? I think there’s a certain fear and insecurity that comes with staying longer than we should. A fear of what will happen when we move on. A fear that all we have worked for will be either undone or forgotten. Dare I say that there may be a fear that we ourselves are forgotten? Then there’s the move from the old into the new. The new is the unknown and there’s a level of insecurity that comes with that. We are no longer the master of our domain but become once again the student.

Why do we move before it’s time? I’ve seen this happen when there’s a wounding. We want out of the birthplace of that pain and so we run. I’ve also seen this when there’s a need to control our destiny. We have the foresight of what’s to come and so forge ahead to make it happen now. Both of these, wounding and control, bypass the preparation needed for that new season and we find ourselves in the new but with weak shoulders to bare it.

Timing and our response to timing comes with multiple factors and complexities. I’m probably over simplifying it here. The bottom line is that time is important. It’s not just the tick-tock of a clock or the buzz at the end of a game. Time is a guide.

At the sound of the first buzz, my son and his team know that the first half has come to an end. I’ve never seen them try to hold onto the first half of their game. I never seen them clinging to the clock wailing and thrashing at the loss of that time. What I’ve seen is them pause, replenish, review the highs and lows of the first half and decide on adjustments for the next half of the game. The clock buzzes again and they hit the pitch fully engaged in this next part of their game.

So where are you with time? Are you trying to move ahead of it? Lagging behind it? What’s driving you to do this? Maybe you’re in the pause between the first and second half. How are you replenishing? What have you learned from that first half and what adjustments should you make as you move forward?

Brenda Renderos

Does Progress Mean Don’t Talk About It Anymore?

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I’ve had great opportunities in leadership. I’m a woman. For some, one has nothing to do with the other. For others, a woman in leadership is something. I try not to define my roles by my gender or ethnicity but I would be naive to think that they are completely separate. I’ve been blessed by opportunity. I’ve worked hard and I’m grateful. I recognize that our society has come a long way and I celebrate that but my journey is not the same for everyone and I would be selfish to forget that.

Conversations about progress can go a few different directions whether it’s about women in leadership, racial issues, education or politics. There are the ones that make no mention at all of any progress or efforts. There’s also the ones that say the conversation is pointless and ungrateful because there’s been some progress. Both of these directions lead us to dead-ends.

No progress? If we’re going to have a healthy conversation with any amount of encouragement involved then we need to acknowledge where progress, effort and heart have been present. I think the fear in doing this is that if we say what’s been good that somehow that makes what has not been good less urgent. I think it’s part of our human nature. We know how to file a complaint but how often do we stop to tell someone what they’ve done well?

No need? Strides have been made so why do we keep talking about it? Here’s the thing about progress. Progress does not mean that the job is done. Progress means that we’re going in the right direction. Progress does not mean finished. If done well, these could be great conversations. So why keep the talking?

  • Talking about the progress brings hope and encouragement.
  • Talking about what’s being done and why it’s being done can communicate purpose to those who may not see or understand why these things are done.
  • Talking about progress is an opportunity to celebrate the journey.
  • Talking about what is still needed helps us to not become complacent.
  • Talking about what is still needed doesn’t assume that everyone has had the same opportunities as we have.
  • Talking about what is still needed opens the door for others to jump on the change train.

One last thought. When we say that because there’s been progress that the topic or issue is not worth talking about, what we are basically saying is, “stick a pacifier in your mouth and be grateful for what you got”. Harsh? True.

Celebrate progress and keep the sleeves rolled up for the work to continue.

Brenda Renderos

It’s Just Locker Room Talk

This is in no way a political post!

The news the last couple of weeks has been centered on the moral issues of our presidential candidates and a video was leaked with some less than flattering words towards women. Within the apology to the degrading remarks was the statement, “It’s just locker room talk”.

I couldn’t disagree more but I get where this is coming from. Before we jump all over what was said, I’d like to challenge us to take a good look at ourselves.

We create, live in, and perpetuate a culture of this behavior. How? The way women are viewed is prominent within our media culture. That “locker room talk” statement is not the first most of us if not all of us have heard it. That’s because it’s said so frequently. When our young boys act a particular way, you’ll hear, “well, boys will be boys”. Look at our commercials and advertisements.

When I heard that statement made, yes I was disgusted. My disgust was against our culture. I’m not willing to crucify one person for what is a culture issue but as a woman, the mother of a daughter and the mother of two sons, I will speak up. What my kids heard that evening from their parents was this…

Locker room talk isn’t just locker room talk. It creates the opportunity for the talk to turn to belief and that belief to turn to action.

So how do we address culture?

1.  Have conversations with our sons and daughters. Ask them their views on what’s honoring and appropriate. Don’t argue with them, but have a conversation. It’s in these “along the way” moments that guidance comes.
2.  Look at what is allowed in our homes. How are women being portrayed in the movies, shows and music that play within our homes. Parenting can not be “do as I say not as I do”. What we do speaks loudly. It screams.
3.  When women are being spoken of in a degrading way, speak up. If as a woman that gets you kicked out of the “boys club” then so be it and speak up in that as well. To those men that I’ve known to speak up when this is being done, THANK YOU! You’ve honored us.
4.  Fathers show your sons how to treat a woman and show your daughters how they should be treated.
5.  Men, be a mentor. I can’t tell you how many young men have asked for mentoring and how difficult it is to find men that will step in. You don’t need to have all of the answers. Just walk with them. To those men that take time to speak into the next generation, THANK YOU as well!

As I sat reflecting on what I have done and could do to come against this locker room mentality, the list dragged on beyond the five above. While the individual was wrong in what he said, he was speaking out of being a product of his culture. This doesn’t excuse him, but our battle is with culture and culture starts with you and I.

Brenda Renderos (still an undecided voter)

When He Waits

I’ve waited before. I’ve prayed, fasted and waited for God to answer. That whole thing of God not showing up in our time-frame isn’t something I’m not familiar with. What I hadn’t experienced is waiting on God in the midst of gut wrenching physical pain. It was as simple as a pinched nerve but I had no idea how much pain a little nerve could cause.

After five months of doctors and medication nothing was helping but it was time to go to Thailand. I boarded the plane leading eleven others on an outreach trip and trusted that God knew what He was doing. My constant question was why would He call me to lead a trip like this but not heal this nerve? Why was God waiting? What was He waiting for?

I found myself at the bottom of a muddy mountain watching these tiny Thai women piling cinder blocks on their heads and trekking up the mountain. Our mission that day was to help them get the blocks up to where they were building a home for a family. This was it! This was where my physical limit would be reached. There wasn’t any way I was going to ask my team to work and I wouldn’t so I jumped in. I’d go as far as I could. Block after block after block went up. We finished the job!

Tired and sore that evening I could feel the piercing pain rising up. This certainly had to be it. It was it, but not in the way I was thinking. God had been waiting because what He was doing wasn’t just about me. The team prayed over me and the next morning there wasn’t a hint of pain. For the rest of the trip, there wasn’t any pain. No medication and no pain. For the first time in five months the mobility in my neck had come back. Pinched nerve was gone.

Why did He wait? He waited because He had a bigger plan. He was with me every day of those five months. He was with me every step up that muddy mountain. In every day and through every step He was showing Himself and speaking to hearts His desire to heal. My healing was physical but through it He healed others in different ways.

When God waits it’s not Him being unaware or disinterested. It’s not that He’s not hearing our prayers. There’s a larger plan in place. Lean on the truth that He promised never to leave us or forget about us. He’s in every day and every step.