Sweet Talk and Google Malfunctions

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“Just so you know, I think about them all the time, and I miss them.”

“Ok.” I responded.  It was the safest response I could come up with. I have heard this before a few times. I miss them, I love them, I made the biggest mistake, this time is different. It gets old, and I tend to be a bit sarcastic, realistic, and harsh. In fact, this was the perfect opportunity to tell him all about actions speaking louder  than words, what a real father is, give him that deserved verbal lashing, and grin as I walked away leaving him to drown in his own blood that I had just shed… Instead I put on my smile, “ok.”

I thought tonight I would rant about being wise, not falling for empty words or empty promises.  Maybe steal that line from one of my favorite poets “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, and all he could whisper was sweet, empty nothings–
which meant nothing!” Maybe something about being “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Nah, forget that, how about we just focus on the shrewd serpent part, those doves are pretty over rated anyway.

That’s when Google started acting up. I like to look up some Bible verses, inspire myself reading similar topics that I either passionately agree or disagree with… Well, the wrong verse came up: “love beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” Ha! Wrong verse, bad job Google, plus I don’t love him so that doesn’t apply to this situation.

whispers: “Love your enemies…” grrrrrr

Another Google error found me paging through my Bible, landing in Luke 6 starting at verse 32 – red words. Jesus basically tells us that even really terrible people love those that love them, but we need to love others, give to others, and make sacrifices even when we know that we will receive nothing in return. He then goes on to speak the ever famous “Judge not least you be judged.” Hmmm… I was more in the mood for flipping tables and braiding whips…

Let’s be serious here, what does this guy actually deserve? How can I effectively protect my children and myself from him? What would make me feel good? What does he have coming for him? What about justice? “Forgive and you will be forgiven.”  “Be merciful just as your Father is also merciful.” Luke 6 started sounding more and more beautiful. When we can view those that wrong us, through heavenly eyes, we can see ourselves, and understand a fragment of the immense forgiveness the Father has gifted to us. Just as we are created in His image, we are called to forgive as He forgives.

 

 

 

Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22

*I would encourage you to read Luke 6 – especially verses 27-38.  Here is a link if you are looking to save page turning. 🙂  http://biblehub.com/niv/luke/6.htm

 

Did I Hear You Right?

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My whole life was falling apart. Our family was breaking. I was leaving my house that I had poured so much into, and had made a home. I was mourning a failing marriage – the loss of a husband and father. I was crushed, and absolutely devastated for my children. All I could do was put one foot in front of another. All I had was my two babies and my job. I needed to move away. I needed to continue to provide for my children.

Work was great. I threw myself into it, I was a top performer, I knew the job inside out and could do it in my sleep. Everything in my world was being changed, flipped upside down, wrecked. If only I could transfer my job from the location I was at, to the location I was moving, it would be ONE thing that I could keep the same – one less thing to worry about, and one constant. Normally a request like that was easily fulfilled, however this happened to be an abnormal time in the company where there was a hiring freeze – of course. 

Those days were hard. I was truly broken. Daily I would take steps to transfer, and daily I would find less hope. I prayed to God, begged God, pleaded, and cried to please let me hang on to this one thing. Ending a marriage, researching lawyers, packing a household and taking care of two babies was enough.  I did not want to job search on top of all that. 

I drove home from work that night discouraged. I finally let go. Tears flooded my cheeks as God pried my white-knuckled little fingers away from one of the only things I had left. I finally surrendered, I finally let go. God told me that He was more than enough. That night I began to look at other employment options. I leaned on God, trusted Him, and had faith that His way was perfect. I had peace.

The very next morning when I got to work, I was informed that there was a brand new position available. This position was only available in one store in the whole company nation wide.. It was a job grade higher than mine, and two miles away from where I was moving to. There was quite a bit of competition for the position, long story short, I miraculously got the job, which was a promotion, that came with a heavy pay increase. God took care of me in a way better than what I had dared ask for, but He required me to lose my grip and give up “my control” to Him before meeting my every need. He made me listen to his “no” before changing His answer to a “yes.”

As I learn (sometimes the hard way) to listen to God’s voice more and more, sometimes I become confused. You do the right thing. You listened to what God has told you to do. The message was beyond clear, there was no doubt in which direction He was leading. You may have been excited about the new direction God was so obviously leading you in, and ready to give 100%. Then, out of nowhere, God changes the direction. You begin to question the voice of God. If He was so clearly giving me a “yes” why is He now so clearly giving me a “no?” Would God tell us to do one thing, and then change the direction after we have surrendered to His will? Did I hear God right?

“…he stretched out his hands, and took the knife to slay his son.” I can only imagine the tears that stung his eyes, and the incredible sorrowful pressure that must have filled his chest. “But the Angel of the LORD called to him from the heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ So he said ‘Here I am.’ And he said ‘ do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’ Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided.”

 

 

I’m Waiting… (but not really)

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Waiting.  I hate it so much.  Whatever the outcome may be I want to know NOW.  I find myself refreshing my email constantly, running to the mailbox, and checking the screen on my phone just to make sure that I haven’t missed the bit of news I have been anticipating.  Really waiting for anything can be enough to make me go almost insane.  I find myself constantly preaching to myself via my own self talk; “Jacob waited.  Jacob waited for SEVEN years to marry the love of his life.  SEVEN YEARS!!  …and then he had to wait ANOTHER seven!  So really, time to work on that patience girlfriend!”  I have these conversations quite frequently not only with myself but also with some of the close ones in my life as they go through their seasons of waiting, whether it be for that new job, a solution to a problem they have, or whatever the case is, I preach Jacob to them.

Jacobs waiting has always blown my mind.  Four-teen years is quite frankly too long for me to wait.  However, I was recently given a new perspective that made four-teen years seem like, well like it did to Jacob; like a day.  We always hear “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”  I usually just roll my eyes, smile, and nod then  I hear these remarks.  That’s absolutely ridiculous.  I don’t care how I get there, as long as I get there, so therefore the journey is absolutely irrelevant for the most part. – ha

Then there’s Joseph.  He was take captive wrongfully at around 17 years of age.  He was then sold off to an Egyptian, and wrongfully accused, and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.  It wasn’t until approximately 20 years after Joseph was sold by his brothers that he was used by God to save a nation.  Joseph kept close to God during his wait.  Today we could expect to hear things come out of his mouth such as “I don’t deserve this, why would God do this to me? why do bad things happen to good people?” or my absolute least favorite “I’m mad at God.”  Joseph was blessed with grace as he kept God as his rock during these trials.  God did not leave Joseph hanging for 20 years, he prepared him for what was to come.  Joseph was able to tell of a deadly famine that would come, and ultimately save a nation.  In the words of Joseph himself after his brothers apologize he tells them what they have meant for evil God has meant for good.  It may appear that Joseph waited twenty years for God to use him, but he didn’t wait, he prepared, drew closer to God, became a recognized man of God even inside the prison.

Well twenty years definitely makes four-teen seem a little less.  …but what about eighty years?  Well that one seems to take the cake.  Eighty years of waiting????  Enter Moses.  Leading God’s people to the promised land.  Why did God not let his biological family raise him?  It wasn’t fair that his brother and sister got to grow up in the constant care and nurturing of their natural parents.  Why would God do this to Moses?  How could an innocent little baby deserve to be taken away from his loving mother?  He hadn’t done anything wrong!  Moses waited (prepared) eighty years to lead God’s people to the promised land, and then died before he could enter himself.  Moses had his share of doubts and questions, but he still kept close to the Father.  When I think of Moses I think of a man whose face shone from seeing God, a burning bush, the parting of the Red Sea, and the Ten Commandments.  Even these mighty men had their moments of weakness, but ultimately when we turn our faces upward God is glorified, and we are used.

My challenge to you, is to stop waiting.  Get out of the depth of despair, and look upward!  Stop waiting and start preparing.  Maybe you don’t have the answers, and maybe you don’t know why you of all people were chosen to go through certain trials, but guess what!?  God has a plan!  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.”  Turn your face upward, press on!!  For what man has meant for evil, God has meant for good.  Embrace it, embrace Him, stop waiting, and PREPARE yourself for great things!

Resolutions, Scoffers, and Conquerors

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The New Year is now upon us, fresh, clean, and not even a day old.  2014 still has that sweet smell of an innocent newborn, full of good intents and resolutions to be more.  The dreams vary from the ever popular tight abs, the new business ventures, or one of the favorites that I heard this year; “to be normal.”  There are two very vocal crowds this time of year: one crowd is high on ambition ready to make changes that will last a life time, and the second crowd is full of scoffers, refusing to make any type of change at least for the next month least they be put in the group of a resolutionier.

For anyone that has been to a  gym regularly, you already know the mayhem that ensues in January, all the parking spots are taken, the lockers are filled, and you might as well plan double the time for your regular workout due to the waiting that will take place at each station before you can get to YOUR spot where someone is improperly using the equipment.  You can’t wait until these few weeks pass, and you have your gym back.  What a hassle these resolution people are.

Unfortunately too many resolutions end the same way as described above.  Because of the evaporation of so many resolutions, the group of the scoffers was birthed.  A whole stereotype has been made, and failure has been stamped on the forehead of any individual that sets a goal beginning at the onset of a new year.  All that some see are the resolutions that fail.  The one that wanted to lose 20lbs last year, but instead put on 20lbs by the end of the year.  The new mother that planned on living more organically, but now McDonalds knows her order before she places it.  The truth is some fail.

But WAIT!!  Don’t stop there!!! Yesterday  I was encouraged to see one of my friends celebrating an EIGHT YEAR anniversary of her last cigarette.  I scrolled down my facebook page to see another friend reminiscing about his incredible year of physical transformation a few years back, and guess what; HE HAS MAINTAINED IT FOR OVER TWO ADDITIONAL YEARS!!  These are just two of the many that have made what appear to be life changes, with the opportunity of a new year, and a clean slate.  Did they attempt the same change previously and fail before succeeding?  Probably.  Failure comes easily, but success is most always preceded by failure.

So I challenge you to encourage others in their endeavors.  Maybe a New Years Resolution isn’t for you, but do what you can to make those surrounding you a success story.  Kindly partner with those in your way, misusing your equipment and crowding your gym.  Offer a spot, and tell them you will be looking for them next time you are at your overly crowded gym.  A discouraging word will only add to the reasons why one should quit.  Break your stereotype and be supportive.  To those with resolutions: Go get it!!  Be more!!!  Cheers to a fabulous 2014 full of growth for all of us!

© 2016 Leah J. Dillon
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