My birthday was last week and I had a ball. (see photos below – and, yes that’s a tiara, cuz – that’s what happens when you take a dare at 50 and it starts a tradition!)
In the afterglow of a day of celebration and indulgence, I’m taking a timeout to look ahead. How do I get to this time next year wiser, healthier, better off than I am right now.
We are all works in progress.
Progress being the operative word. If we are not making progress we are stagnating or worse yet, decaying.
Mirriam-Webster defines progress this way: to move forward: to develop to a higher, better, or more advanced stage
Listed antonyms of progress are: decline, descend, deteriorate, weaken, decay, or relapse.
We are either progressing or decaying.
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.
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.”
How much screen time do you use?
A notification came up on my phone today and apparently my smart phone has been keeping track of how much time we spend together. I couldn’t believe the number of hours it tallied! It was nearly the equivalent of a full-time job!
Whaaat? Stupid phone! That can’t be right, can it?
But then, I started doing the math. A quick check of Facebook in the morning. A YouTube video or podcast while I get ready for work, as I meal prep and when I do the dishes. A bit of scrolling social media here and there. My digital crossword puzzles and Solitaire games at night to relax – and it all adds up! Combine that phone screen time with my Netflix and NFL addiction and boom – I am spending more time with my screens than I am with my husband.
Is it time for a digital detox?
According to Courtney Carver, we spend an average of five hours a day with our devices. Dr. Sylvia Hart Frijd said that the constant use of our phones is rewiring our brains. What we call multi-tasking is actually training us to be distracted and making it harder for us to stay on task with thoughts and projects.
As usual, I was in a rush. I seem to have 2 speeds: asleep and hurry.
I was late getting home, and in my flurry to get out of the garage and into the house, I shoved open my car door with too much enthusiasm and it clunked into the lawn mower with a thud.
“Dang it! That’s gonna leave a mark,” I hissed. Sure enough, I was horrified to find a looooong, angry, black mark scarring the car door. DOUBLE CRUD! How am I going to explain this to Mr. 4-Ever?
I have already wrecked this car twice. Every time I say to my man, “Honey, I need to talk to you,” he jokingly responds, “Robyn, did you wreck the car again?”
Shifting the blame.
When the heart breaks.
My heart breaks as I listen to the news of killings in our country and around the world. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, when someone you love dies, it blows a hole in your heart, leaves a vacant chair at your table, and changes your life forever. My experience being widowed twice in four years gives me the expertise to say you can easy the agony of someone’s grief.
9 ways to ease the agony of grief.
Look for the person who is grieving. Smile at them. Talk with her or him. Don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say, or you feel uneasy. Push through the feeling of awkwardness; they need you.
The bad news is …
From my home office, I could hear the racket. Loud, clunking arrhythmic noises were coming from something big and mechanical. At first, I thought the washing machine was out of balance and trying to walk out of the basement again but I quickly discovered my central air conditioning unit was the source of the noise.
This is all kinds of bad news! It was 90 degrees outside and there was a lot more summer on the calendar. I shut it down and called the repair man to look at it. His assessment?
“Call the sale office. You need a new unit,” he told me.
“There’s no way to fix this one?” I ask hopefully.
“This unit is 22 years old. It’s served you well. Let it die in peace.”
“I see. Well, can you estimate what it would cost to replace?”
Without a moment of hesitation, he said, “I’d guess close to $3000.00.”
Bad news = Big prayers
No one wants to admit it, but we all have to face down stinky stuff in our lives.
What do you do when the computer swallows up your documents? How do you react when you discover your secret stash of Oreos has been raided? 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.
Sin is delicious. I wish it weren’t so, but it is.
Just this past weekend I almost dug brownies out of the garbage can. The willpower I had to toss them in the trash at 6pm was completely gone at 10:30pm and I wanted those brownies in the worst way. Who cares that I’d have to rummage through the garbage can outside with a flashlight? So what if I had to scrape a few coffee grounds off of them? I thought, Tomorrow, I’ll resume my “eating plan”, but tonight, I’m bingeing on brownies! If Mr. 4-Ever hadn’t caught me in the act, I’m sure I would have written this blog with fingers covered in gooey chocolate.
I never meant for this to happen.
I work with so many women who get caught up in things they never dreamed would hook them.