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 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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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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What Do You Want To Ask God?

 

Do you ever wish you could ask God a question? Maybe clarify what to do about a specific situation taking place in your life? Would you like direction toward your calling? Perhaps you’d like relationship or parenting or employment guidance. 

The Bible is flawless, but what if your situation isn’t specifically addressed in it? I’ll talk more about this next week, but to get you started, what do you do when you want to know:

  • Whether to stay in your job or take a new one across the country?
  • If you should buy this house or that one?
  • Is homeschooling really be the right path to educate your children?

None of these issues are specifically addressed in the Bible. 

The only reasonable solution is to ask God to direct you through listening prayer. And he will. Priscilla Shirer says, “Do you really think God loves you enough to die for you but doesn’t love you enough to talk to you?”

I’ve created a quick video on listening prayer to teach you how to hear from God. Watch it then do the exercise. When you’re done, leave me a comment about how it went, and what you heard.

 

 

 

 

Your Presence Is The Best Present

 

A rough start to the holidays.

My holiday season has gotten off to a rough start. I’d planned to serve Thanksgiving dinner at 12:30. At noon, the turkey wasn’t close to cooked.

Not even close, I tell you!

Mashed potatoes and stuffing, sweet potatoes and green been casserole waited impatiently in warming ovens.

Tick.
Tick..
Tick.

At 3:30pm that bird finally surrendered enough breast meat to give each person a sliver.

Arrgh!

Girls, it was the ugliest looking plate of food I’ve ever served on Thanksgiving. Tasty, but ugly.

Interestingly, holding dinner hostage gave us all time to really catch up and interact. To connect. It was relaxed and fun for everyone. Everyone but me!

I should all over myself.

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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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Say Yes To Jesus!

That’s why they call it Good News

At the close of a retreat last weekend, Camilla* came to me surrounded by her posse. All weekend I had talked about transformation and invited the audience to take one step closer to Jesus. Camilla wanted to know what her next step with Jesus should be.

She said, “I’m not all that close to Jesus, what do I do?”

“That depends. Tell me more. Have you received Jesus as Savior and gone cold?” I asked.

“No,”  she said, “I haven’t ever done that.”

I paused.

“Are you ready to do that now?”

The women standing around her held their position, their encouragement, and their breath.

“Yeah, I think I am,” she said. “What do I do?”

I said, “Put your hand in the air and say, ‘I say yes to Jesus.’”

She tried. The words got stuck. Her eyes leaked. Her face reddened. Then after about three minutes of trying to choke it out, she put her hand in the air, and stammered, “I say yes to Jesus!”

We all whooped and shouted and hugged her.

The process begins with the first step.

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Don’t Give Up Too Soon!

Don’t give up too soon.

It was 17 years from the time God called me to write my story to the time “The Widow Wore Pink” was finished. My literary agent pitched it to umpteen publishers. The book was rejected over and over. It felt like I was rejected over and over.

Whispers from the enemy said, “God can’t be trusted. He set you up to be disappointed.”

I could have given up with a sigh, It’s not meant to be. Or, It was never meant for publication – just family legacy, or (my personal favorite) It’s too late. You missed it. 

But, God …

When it was finally in print and released for sale, I knew I’d experienced a little miracle. That book has gone places and changed lives of women I will never meet. It has opened doors for me to speak that would otherwise slam shut in my face.

Don’t give up too soon. Don’t give up short of your gift arriving, your promise being fulfilled, your healing coming to pass or your deliverance delivered.

God does not make things easy. He makes things possible.

When we come up against hard things, we need to lean into God. As we wait, He builds our character. He builds our trust in Him. He provides fresh testimonies of faith when we trust Him to deliver what we cannot manufacture.

If we never bump into anything hard, we become sloppy and soft. We’d never grow, or experience miracles, or appreciate favor balls from heaven without hard stuff in our lives.

If God was a genie in a bottle instead of our loving father in heaven, we’d never even speak to him except to make a wish. And what kind of faith does that grow?

When all seemed lost

  • On the beach of the Red Sea (Exodus 14)
  • In the fortress of Samaria (1 Kings 6-7)
  • On the 6th day marching around Jericho (Joshua 6)
  • In the belly of the big fish (Jonah 1) 
  • On the road to Bethlehem (Ruth 1)
  • The day after Jesus was crucified

Biblical heroes and heroines in the Bible were tested in their faith and their fortitude. And were rewarded abundantly.

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Be Prepared Like First Responders

Where were you on 9/11/19?

Did you see all the replays and death counts and photos of heroes? I used more than my share of tissues crying over lost lives and shattered dreams.

First responders run toward danger and smoke when everyone else is running out. I know this cuz my kid’s a firefighter in a big city.

He is aware of the danger but executes his job courageously having been thoroughly trained for every conceivable contingency.

Even the photos you see of fallen heroes are part of their training. Eli called me the day his was taken.

He said, “Mom, I had my death picture taken today.”
“What? Your what?!?” I asked, not believing what I’d just heard.
“My death picture. That’s what the guys call it.  We have our picture taken in front of the flag wearing our dress uniform. If we die in the line of duty, that’s the picture they put on my casket and use in the media.”
“Oh.”

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