Lord, I Want My Life Back!!!

Never saw this coming

School shootings. Terrorist attacks. And now this coronavirus. Lord have mercy!

Schools are closed, church is live-streamed and vacations are cancelled. Even if you’re confident that danger is far from you, personal change, challenges and crisis happen everyday. I’m not talking about inconveniences like toilet paper shortages or a long line at the post office. I’m talking about the shocking, heartbreaking, disturbing bombshells.

  • The marriage is over.
  • The job ends.
  • The car’s wrecked.
  • The money’s gone.
  • The diagnoses is pronounced

…and your life is irrevocably changed or altered in a way you didn’t expect or deserve.

Just say NO!

When it happens, there are two immediate and visceral reactions.
The first is NO!
You don’t like it, you don’t want it, and you don’t agree with it.
Just NO!

When NO doesn’t turn into YES no matter how much you cry, beg, plead or pray, the next reaction is often WHY? Why me? Why now? Why ever?

It seems fair to ask why. But do you really want to know why or do you just long for the lost to be found, the broken to be fixed, for the stolen to be returned. Really … you just want your life back! Am I right?

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How To Trust God’s Goodness Even When …

Goodness, God! What are you up to?

Quarantining an extrovert who depends on PUBLIC speaking to make a living? How is that gonna work? Can I celebrate God’s goodness in light of these circumstances?

Are you asking a similar question?

To answer, start with what you know to be true. I KNOW God loves me and called me to write of His faithfulness, proclaim His name and teach His Word. Ironic that now I have no place to do that.

I have to remind myself of God’s goodness.

I look to the Bible for hope and inspiration and I find that God doesn’t promise fame and/or fortune and/or pain-free smooth sailing.

He simply asks me to trust him and to be faithful as life unfolds. Even when I don’t understand. When I absolutely want to know more. Especially when the outcome looks bleak.

I question, 

Not with my eternal future but with my RIGHT NOW circumstances. If you question, look no further than your Bible.

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How I Kicked Trouble In The Teeth

Count it all joy?

Mr. 4-Ever and I had been in the car for 5 minutes of a 12 hour trip when a car pulled into our path and Dave had to make a quick adjustment to save our lives. Unfortunately, I was drinking a large bottle of frappuccino and when he made his heroic maneuver, and I spilled half the cold, sticky, sugary drink down my front. It splashed into my hair, dripped off my necklace, and soaked my top down to my bra!

Count it all joy?

Earlier that week, on a trip to Florida, I felt something hard in a mouthful of pudding. When my tongue kicked the hard thing out onto my hand, it was the crown from my front tooth! I was 1700 miles away from my dentist with a scheduled speaking event the next day.

Count it all joy?

The same week, an email from the publisher started with,
“Hi Dave and Robyn, I’m sorry to tell you that the truck carrying 5000 of your “The Widow Wore Pink” books to the distribution center caught on fire and ALL of them burned.

Count it all joy?

Girls! Do you have days, weeks or seasons like this? How do you face bad news and big inconveniences?

Stuff happens. And when it does, God’s Word says to count it all joy.

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3 Ways To Stop Beating Yourself Up!


Do you beat yourself up for making mistakes?

I was at the grocery store last week and purposely chose a check-out lane manned by one of my favorite cashiers. Alice is fast and friendly and packs my stuff like an engineer.

But as I looked over my receipt on my way out of the store, I realized she hadn’t credited me for a $5.00 coupon.

I wheeled my cart back to Alice’s lane and explained the sitch. Her face fell as she flipped through coupons in her drawer. “Is this it?” she said sharply as she thrust the coupon at me. “It is, thank you,” I said, “Sorry for the trouble.” As she turned away from me, she snarled to herself, “I do everything wrong!”

Whaaat the … ? Moments earlier, we’d had a very pleasant exchange. I’d chosen her. Smiled at her. Complimented her. Affirmed her. Then boom! It had all shifted over an innocent oversight. 

I was shocked, but then, it wasn’t all that long ago, I might have reacted the same way.

What you DO is not who you ARE.

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You Can Experience God

 

The holidays are over and the mailbox offers nothing but junk and bills. Winter storms and cloudy skies are the norm. It gets dark at 4:30pm! Flu bugs and close quarters breed bad moods, discord and discouragement.

I was sharing some bluesy feelings with my friend Marilyn* and she gave me some great words of encouragement.

When the days are dark, take heart. God is with you.

Now lots of people will tell you God is good and All you need is a little more faith, but when you are under the cloud of despair, you really need something more than a pat on the back and a platitude – even if it’s true.

What you need is an encounter with God. That’s what happened when the skies were very dark in Marilyn’s life.

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Restart Those Resolutions!

Are you on track or faltering?

I so wanted a different story to tell you but I’m already faltering in my New Year’s resolutions.

My first goal for 2020 was to abstain from chocolate for 30 days. Let me tell you how that worked. Girlfriend, it’s embarrassing! I fulfilled the letter of the law, I’ve had no chocolate. Instead, I had VANILLA pudding, strawberry shakes, and sugar laden coffee drinks.

My second goal was to exercise a little bit every weekday. Well, I sorta did this. But, a couple days, I counted grocery shopping or laundry as my exercise.

My third goal was to fast between meals (which is a fancy way of saying no snacking). This is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I legitimized that if I didn’t CHEW, it wasn’t eating. It’s amazing what you can smash up enough with your tongue to swallow.

Take thoughts captive. 

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The Universal Language Of Kindness

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

The beautiful thing about kindness is that everyone can do it. Anyone … in any season of life, whether young, old, male or female, rich, poor or even sick can show kindness.

Not to be confused with generosity, (which I generally associate with giving money) kindness requires nothing more than intentional action.

Kindness is more powerful than anger, selfishness or even hate. It morphs us into women who look, sound and act more like Jesus. When we clothe ourselves in kindness as Col. 3:12 directs, we affect people in a positive and lasting way. 

Contagious and courageous.

Those who are shown kindness will surely pass it on. Like a train of Dominos, when the first one falls, the rest follow. Taking the lead to demonstrate kindness softens hearts, quiets tempers and provides space for tenderness to grow. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. Matthew 7:12 

In close relationships, kindness can overcome the temptation to hold grudges, get revenge and act selfishly. Random acts of kindness toward strangers can break down prejudice, overcome greed and restore faith in humanity.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” – Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is put down a suffering animal. It’s tough to help pack up your best friend to move away from you. Being a listening ear or returning a lost wallet can be time consuming. Keeping someone company till the ambulance or locksmith arrives can mess up your schedule. 

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Try Something New

 

What’s new? 

A girlfriend I’d been wanting to know better called and asked if I’d like to get together and go for a walk. Alarms went off in my head. Meet for coffee? Sure. Go out for lunch? Yes! Walk? Mmmmn, no. “Walk?” I asked suspiciously. “Sure, walk and talk,” she replied cheerfully.

This is not a good idea, I thought. I hadn’t exercised in a long time. I don’t own yoga pants or exercise clothes. The closest thing to a walking shoe I own is a pair of Reeboks that I bought for an aerobics class I never went to in 1988. 

But I really liked this woman and wanted to spend the time with her.  It’s just walking, I figured. Surely I can try something new. I can walk!

Just to clarify, I asked, “Where would we walk?” I looked hopefully out the window as we talked, willing thunderstorms to come rolling in, but alas, clear skies.

“How about we walk around Reed’s Lake?” she said. Reeds Lake is a small body of water in the center of Grand Rapids. I only knew that because one of my favorite eateries was settled on its shoreline. Maybe I could divert her inside.

Another long pause on my part. Finally, “How far around is that?” “Just 4.15 miles.” The fact that my friend knew it was exactly 4 point 15 miles should have tipped me off that her pace was going to challenging. “We’ll go slowly and if you get tired, we’ll stop,” she said reading my mind. 

“Okay, sounds fun,” I lied.

I put on a pair of grey sweatpants that were actually old pajama bottoms and a T-shirt, laced up my venerable shoes, and set off to meet my girlfriend. 

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Tomorrow Is A Procrastinator’s Favorite Word

Tomorrow is my favorite time zone.

Full of promise and opportunity. If you’re a procrastinator, tomorrow might be one of your words in not favorite time zones.

I live in an old farm house with closets the size of your refrigerator. Consequently, I only have room for in-season clothes. Off-season clothing hibernates in the basement. Last weekend, I switched out summer outfits for winter layers.

And I discovered a problem!

My winter bottoms like jeans and slacks were TIGHT! Oh well, I’ll just back up the ice cream binging a bit and I’ll be back in those clothes in no time.

But, wait. Culver’s flavor of the day is my favorite Dark Chocolate Decadence. I can’t start today, I’ll start my regime … tomorrow.

I’ll start … tomorrow.

The next day, I remember we have company coming for dinner in and it would be rude to serve them rabbit food and no dessert.

Again I said, “I’ll start … tomorrow.”

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