Letter #647: ‘Assigned’ Birthdays

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Dear family,

So many negative quotes out there about you. We get it…you can pick your friends while your relatives are assigned.

Every one of you has plenty of problems. Yes, even the Rother’s. Nobody is perfect. Regardless, I’ve never been more thankful for who I was ‘assigned’ to do life with. Thankfully the odds were in my favor!

I continue to be blown away with how different each of us are, but it still just works. We choose to make it work. Thanks for putting up with me guys! 🙂

While I’m thankful for my whole family, today I am specifically thankful for our middle sister Dana (the prego one above in the center!) who’s been getting the back burner since 1981! Sharing a birthday with Jesus is a quick way to be forgotten.

Well my friend, know you have not been forgotten! Regardless of when your birthday is, I sure am thankful for you. For the cute babies you produce. For always willingly voicing your opinion. For leading well and living with vision. For believing in and encouraging me to be me. For challenging me to get out of my comfort zone. For, as you phrase it, paving the way for me. And for so much more…

Sorry you share your birthday with the most important, life-changing man in history, but know you are loved.

Happy Birthday Dana!

The girl who lucked out when family’s were ‘assigned’

Letter #641: Anonymously Thankful

Dear anonymous donor,

Words won’t even begin to express my gratitude for your generous gift. I had no idea how funding my trip to Africa was going to happen, but I took one step of faith, signed up and trusted the details would follow. Your donation not only helped make me visiting Zambia possible, but it also has been used in a huge way to show me God’s faithfulness.

About a year ago, the phrase “immeasurably more’ entered my world. I have watched more than I could ever have asked or imagined happen before my eyes. You made it happen.

I will never forget the moment I received the news. I was driving to Oklahoma State’s Homecoming. My mom happened to be in the car with me and we were waiting for my dad in a Tulsa parking lot. I hadn’t checked my phone for a couple hours because a cell phone even being within reach while driving with my mom in the car is an unforgivable offense! I opened my email to find a late afternoon note from the Dream Camp coordinator entitled “Good News.’ I figured it had to do with the Gospel, but instead I opened to find this.

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Dazed. Confused. Speechless. Awestruck. You name it, I was experiencing it. After a few moments of silence, my mom noticed the shock in my face and asked what was wrong. All I could do was hand her the phone.

The craziest thing about this whole story is that I have ZERO idea how you even knew I was going and then figured out how to donate. You see, I haven’t personally told a ton of people about my trip. Not because I don’t want to, but mostly because I’ve been traveling and haven’t had extended conversations with too many folks lately. Yes, I wrote a blog post about going, but it never asked for anything. It barely even gave details. There was one link at the very bottom directing folks to be able to see a little bit more about Dream Camp but that was it.

I say this to say, you were determined. You did your homework to figure out how to donate. Nothing that I have said or put out in public gave specific direction. It would make sense for me to receive money if I had asked people for donations. I haven’t.

You are a catalyst to how the Lord is showing me how He will do immeasurably more than anything I could’ve ever asked or imagined. Never in my wildest dreams could I have come up with this scenario. I really did believe the Lord would provide, but I did not know how. I sure didn’t foresee this coming.

I decided to go to Africa about six weeks ago. It was one step, one I didn’t know what the following would look like. Your generosity has stretched my faith in ways I can never express. How many times have I failed to take the first step out of fear and lack of trust? How many times have I missed watching the Lord’s provision and Him doing immeasurably more in and through me because of it?

Thank you. Thank you for your financial contribution. For making my trip a reality. Most importantly, thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to grow my faith, trust and obedience to our God.

I will never be able to thank you adequately, but may the Lord bless you as you bless others in His name,

Lindsay

***A story I couldn’t begin to make up. I wrote this in an attempt to express my thankfulness and sent it to the Dream Camp coordinator to pass on to the donor. This story was too good not to share and Thanksgiving seemed the perfectly fitting time. More than 60% of a nearly $5,000 step of faith provided by someone I can’t even thank in person. God is so much bigger than I remotely give Him credit for. I’m excited to continue working toward as well as watching Him provide the other 40%. Here’s more info on where I’m going, Family Legacy’s Dream Camp.***

Letter #408: Thanksgiving Regardless

Dear Thanksgiving,

I’ve said it before, but I am a huge fan of you! I love everything you stand for…well except maybe gluttony! Besides the fact that Christmas and Black Friday do everything in their power to overshadow you, you are one of the few holidays left that hasn’t been completely commercialized. You have the ability to truly be engrossed in fellowship with family and friends without all the hubbub of presents. You also are one day we actually stop to consider all we have been blessed with and all we have to be grateful for. You are a great day!!!

On September 24th of this year, I began traveling for my job. I’m convinced I’ve been asked how I’m doing more in the last two months than my entire life combined. Maybe I’ve just been more aware. I hate surface answers to questions like these, so I started truly processing how I was doing. My answer has evolved into me being in a season of thankfulness. This season began far before you showed up which is the best part.

I’m thankful for the people in my life. For my job…for having one and for what I get to do. For traveling the country, seeing friends all over and getting to interview college girls while hearing their stories and challenging and encouraging them. For how I am being invested in by the people surrounding me. For how much I’m learning in every aspect of my life. For my health. For Christ and the fact that He plucked me out of my sinfulness and saved me from the eternal hell I deserve. For grace.

I could go on and on, but the best part of being in the middle of this season of thankfulness is that I’m in it without things being perfect. Reality: things will never be perfect, but we want them to be. The reality is I have zero stability in my life. I live in Branson, the Mecca of elderly tourism, and between camp in the summer and traveling in the fall I really only live there for six months a year. Naturally community’s a challenge. I also have no idea what my life looks like after summer. Zero stability.

None of that matters though. Thankfulness is still the word I would use to describe this season of life. I’m not quite sure I can explain how I’ve put aside the imperfections to achieve this, but I think as believers this is how we are to operate. “In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess. 5:18

May this sense of thankfulness remain regardless of circumstance,

Thanksgiving lover

P.S. How precious is the fall scene in Mama and Papa Roth’s yard?! Wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the wooden pilgrims!!

Letter #407: ‘I’ll Be There for You’

Dear Friends,

For 10 seasons you produced millions of laughs. You defied all odds. Shows don’t last 10 years. You did and are still going with re-runs on multiple channels. You were quite the success. You’re distinct. Every character in the show will struggle to shake the label of Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler or Joey for the rest of their careers. Central Perks, Monica’s apartment and that purple door with the gold frame on it will never be forgotten. And your theme song, I’ll Be There for You, is a classic because of you.

That song is iconic, likely The Rembrandt’s one hit wonder. While we can all sing along to the beginning of it, how many of us ever think about what it’s actually saying? Not me. As I was thinking through what I’m thankful for, my friends came to mind. Anytime I hear the word friends, I think of you. When I think of you, the “I’ll Be There for You’ lyrics begin to play.

So no one told you life was going to be this way.

Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, you’re love life’s DOA. 

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear, 

Well, it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year.  

But, I’ll be there for you, when the rain starts to pour. 

I’ll be there for you, like I’ve been there before. 

I’ll be there for you, cause you’re there for me too.

 What do you know?? What began as a theme song to some random TV show, turns out to be a smashing hit and actually has great truth to it! I always say my life’s a joke, and Lord only knows that nobody told me life was going to be this way. Not that it’s bad at all; it’s just way different than expected. Maybe the best unexpected of all…dear, lifelong friends who truly are “there for you’ just like the song says.

Laine, Valerie, my Branson roommate, Brooke and I at a Branson show...'The Miracle of Christmas!'

I am a firm believer in the importance of friendships. People you can laugh with, cry with, talk about absolutely nothing with and have life-altering conversations with. People who you can enlist to pray with you in the middle of a big decision. People you know are praying for you before you ever even ask. People who no matter where they live or how long it’s been since you’ve seen each other, it’s easy to pick up like no time has past. People willing to call you out when you’re not making the best decisions. People who over time basically turn into family.

Just a few friend pics from this past weekend...sorry I didn't get to highlight all of my sweet friends...come see me!!!!
We LOVE Big Cedar!!!
This pretty much just sums it all up!

Today I’m thankful for all the sweet friendships the Lord has blessed me with. New ones just beginning and old ones that have been around for years. I’m convinced friendships are important for the health of individuals. Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey, were never my friends, but you guys did life together for 10 solid years. You genuinely cared about one another regardless of circumstance. Thanks for the reminder of how thankful I am for my friends today!

“I’ll be there for you….,’

The one she’s thankful for her friends (if only one of your episodes was really about me!)