Safely Landing On God’s Leading

The big adventure.

When I married Adventure Boy (Craig) he came with an airplane, a motorcycle and a riding lawn mower. He said, “Babe-a-licious, (cuz that’s what he called me), it’s absolutely ridiculous for you to own a vehicle you don’t know how to operate. So, I’m going to teach you to fly!”

That sounded like more fun than it was. Part of the required training to get a private pilot’s license includes stalling the engine till it feels like you’re falling out of the sky, making dizzyingly tight turns without losing a foot of altitude, doing so many takeoffs and landings your ears permanently plug, and learning to navigate by triangulating topical maps.

But, then there was night flying. Oh, Friend, there is nothing quite like floating above the earth’s twinkling lights with the moon hanging above you. It’s quite glorious.

Following procedures. 

Nighttime landings at small airports require pilots to rely on their instruments and the runway lights to guide them down safely. If you come in too low or too slow, you splat. Too high or too hot, you overshoot.

If you execute procedures correctly, you’ll follow the path of white runway lights to safety. (Don’t follow the blue lights, those are just for taxiing.)

There’s no room for improv or personal preference. There’s no margin for bad judgement. You must do the training and follow the procedures to stay safe.

The same principles that get pilots on the ground safely hold true for landing safely inside God’s will and leading.  For a reminder about discerning God’s guidance or leading, click here for a quick review.

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God Speaks Through Nature

 

Birds of a feather

A widow in deep sorrow was sitting alone at the park. Months earlier, her husband of many years was killed in a car accident. She prayed aloud, “God, I’m so lonely and sad. The last words I said to my husband the day he died were harsh. I just want him to know I love him and I’m sorry.”

Just then, two cardinals landed on the sidewalk right in front of her, so close she could almost touch them. A gasp escaped from her lips as a tear rolled down her cheek. Cardinals were her man’s favorite bird. There they were. Not just one, but two. A pair. Mates for life.

What’s really interesting to me is “cardinal” means of prime importance. The one thing. The main thing. God wanted this woman to know the one thing – she was loved. He saw her need and answered her prayer. God whispered to her spirit. Her man knew she loved him and that she hadn’t meant those ugly words. And now she knew it, too.

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I Need Help!

Lessons learned in seasons of not enough.

Girlfriend, I have learned an important lesson in this season of not enough. Ask for help. Sounds so easy, but ugh, who wants to do it? I’m sure you’d rather be the one who comes to the rescue. The one who drops off the meal or writes the check or offers the good advice. I know I would. 

But sometimes we’re the ones who need the help. We mistakenly think joy comes only from giving, when in fact there is great joy that comes from receiving. We need to let others experience the joy of giving while we learn to receive the gift.

God gave us the greatest gift, eternal life through Jesus’ death and resurrection. And what joy we have receiving that gift! 

Call in reinforcements!

I’ve had 15 events cancel and more hang in limbo. UGH!!! I’d applied for unemployment but hadn’t heard anything back. No stimulus check in my mailbox.  With reserves low (emotional, social and financial), I needed help so I called in reinforcements.

I do not like being in this situation, but friends have paid for groceries, dropped money in my accounts, written sweet words of encouragement, lent me a listening ear and offered me great advice. While I have been sequestered in my home, they have prayed for good news in this time when I can’t share the Good News from a platform.

Immeasurable relief.

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Dealing With Delays, Disappointments and Doubts

We all have to face stinky stuff in our lives.

What do you do when the washing machine overflows? How do you react to a really negative post on your Facebook page? Can you keep your cool when your curling iron overheats and melts your hair? Imagine discovering that your car has been towed!

Delays, disappointments and doubts stink! 

In John 11, Lazarus is deathly sick and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are stuck in a stinky situation. When Jesus finally shows up, Lazarus is already dead and has been in the grave four days! 

The sisters are crying, the mourners are crying, even Jesus cries. They are still weeping and wailing at the cave/grave where a stone has sealed in the body of Lazarus.

Then Jesus makes the most remarkable request.

He says, “Take away the stone.”

Martha jumps in and says, “But Lord, by now there is a bad odor!” In response, Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

When faced with a big stink, it’s easier to leave well enough alone. To settle for what you’ve got instead of contending for all the good stuff God has for you.

At Jesus’ request, they do take away the stone and there is a stink!

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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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Creating New Normals

What is your new normal?  

In the midst of a nationwide quarantine, there are gobs of suggestions to ride out the days till life returns to normal.

  • Exercise
  • Scroll Facebook or Instagram
  • Watch television
  • Organize closets
  • Clean everything in sight.

One of the ways I’m coping with this crisis is by reading my Bible. It’s one of the best ways I know to connect with God, recall the myriad ways He rescued His people, redeemed dreadful situations,  conquered enemies and multiplied miracles.

Why the Bible? 

The Bible is engaging, historical, comforting, educational, transformational and entertaining but I haven’t always thought that way.

When I first started following Jesus in my 30’s, the ladies in my small group told me to read the Bible, but sheesh, such a big book. Where do you start?

My Study Bible has 2335 pages – not counting the maps or the concordance.

2335!

That is a lot of pages.

If the Bible intimidates you with its thees and thous and dosts or seems overwhelming just by virtue of its girth, take heart. 

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Your Path to Peace Takes Work

Get over it!

When little kids fight, they flare, they pout, they tattle, and they make up. It’s over! As we get older and get into conflicts, we tend to foster bitterness, hold onto grudges, and plot retaliation.

That is exactly the opposite of God’s desire for us. He created us to live in harmony with Him and with others. Hebrews 12:14-15 specifically says, “WORK (emphasis mine) at living in peace with everyone, … Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”

That’s right, we have to WORK at living in peace with everyone cuz we each have opinions and systems we believe are the correct ones. We all have soft spots and past hurts that we want to protect. When we bump into someone who triggers us, it’s super easy for an offense to grow, bitterness to take root and our version of justice to be meted out.

The right – but hard thing to do.

When an offense is blossoming or when bitterness has taken root the right — but hard — thing to do is have a conversation with the person you’re honked at. If you get used to having awkward conversations about little things, you’ll be practiced and brave enough to have a hard conversation when a bigger offense develops.

This past Christmas, as usual, I texted both my grown boys and reminded them to make sure they had Christmas cards in the mail to their grandparents. By implication, I figured they would recognize it as a subtle reminder to send one to me, too. If not a gift, at least a card. After all, I gave them life!

Well. Christmas came and went and nothing from my youngest. New Years was celebrated and nada from him. By mid-January, bitterness and hurt was taking root and I knew I’d have to talk to him.

The awkward conversation.

When he called, I told him,“I’m kinda down. Someone hurt my feelings.”
“Awww, that stinks, Mom. What happened?”
“You didn’t send me a Christmas card.”
Immediately, he said, “Oh, mom, I’m so sorry. It just got away from me. Do you want me to still send you one?”
Without any hesitation, I said, “Yes. Yes I do.”

The next week, I got a lovely non-Christmas card. Since it was mid-January, he had no choice but to improvise. The card had butterflies and blossoms on the front and a beautiful sentiment inside.

Mom, sorry I didn’t get this to you sooner. I love you so much and am very glad I’m your son. You’re the best mom in the world! Love you lots, Eli

One quick awkward conversation cut down a bitter root and restored the peace between us.

God’s plan for peace.

Friend, God knew conflict was going to happen to all of us, so he provided a way of restoring peace and harmony in our hearts and relationships. In Matthew 18:15, the plan is clearly laid out.

“If your brother or sister sins (offends), go and point out their fault (what has you so upset), just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”

The Message version says, “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.

Don’t ask 45 other people for an opinion. Don’t post the offense on Facebook or send an angry text. Call or sit down with them and have the conversation so peace can prevail. Explain what happened to upset you and come to an agreement to resolve the conflict.

Who do you need to be at peace with and is there a way to make that happen? Is there a hard conversation you’ve been putting off? May today be the day for your peace to be restored.

Prayer: God, I want to be at peace with you and your people. Help me to take responsibility for my part of any issue. Give me courage to have hard conversations the perfect words for peace to be restored. In Jesus Name amen.

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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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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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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