When I was a Child….

I love First Corinthians Chapter 13, in fact, it is the love chapter.

Today, I was reminded of the love chapter when I read a post on Facebook. A mother was praising her child for making the honor roll and, like most of us, she called the child’s grandmother so that she, too, could join in the excitement. However, granny was pre-occupied and could not have cared less. My heart ached when I read the story, because I was immediately reminded how insignificant I was growing up.

The social media experts had a variety of comments–mostly supportive; however, a couple had great advice, but they missed the love chapter. Essentially, they felt this was a great opportunity to teach the youngster not to seek external validation. REALLY???? There are some old, crusty folks who still seek external validation; to expect such mature behavior from a young person is unrealistic.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. 1 Corinthians 13:11

I won’t spend a lot of time nurturing grown people, but children–anybody’s child–gets my validation–at all times, because they are   C H I L D R E N and so worthy of love, attention and anything they need to develop into emotionally healthy adults.

Now, here is what really grates my nerves on this topic:

design

Unfortunately, women are experts in this area. The males in their lives can behave any way–childish, ignorant, selfish–anything will do. As long as there is a BODY, anyBODY will do–women are so desperate it sickens me.

Grow up–if anyone deserves your understanding, compassion and tolerance, it is your child and NOT SOME CHILDISH MAN or WOMAN.

But when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Nurture your children and send those over-aged folks back to their mommies.

Do you have any Blessing Blockers?

Any blessing blockers? Blessing blockers are people who stand as obstacles to your next blessing. It took me many years to learn how to navigate blessing blockers but, faithfully, by meditating on Luke 6, I can unblock the blessings.

blockers

First, everyone has at least one blessing blocker–at least ONE. Whether past or present, as the Lord tarries, blessing blockers will show up during your lifetime. Here are a few of my blessing blockers:

  • An ex-husband
  • Many co-workers (and I mean MANY)
  • A member of my church
  • A client

Just to name a few…..Let me tell you about the client, because she was a BIG blessing blocker.

I have contracted with one company for several years, so I have learned “who’s who.” One of the female leaders had a horrible reputation, but my “rule-of-thumb” is to not believe everything I hear and to form my opinion.  Well…..I should have listened to the rumor mill with her, because our time to work together was bound to happen–and it did.

During our first meeting, I quickly learned why people complained about her. Everyone introduced themselves at the start of the meeting, but I didn’t catch her last name so I asked her to repeat it. WRONG MOVE. She replied, “it’s only 5 letters, so it’s not difficult to remember.” WRONG THOUGHT: I can think of another 5 letter name for you….. But I digressed :)

As you can see, we were not off to a good start. That night, in my time with The Lord, I complained about her and told him I was going to decline the project, because I knew we would not get along. After praying, I knew I was to stay on the project, and while I wasn’t happy about it, I knew His voice; so I buckled in for the journey. I did not know how God was going to work the situation out, but I knew that on the other side of my obedience was a blessing. IF I could get past my blessing blocker.

I would love to tell you that the next day, after praying, she was a different person; but she was not. However, but I began to see her differently. When she would be nasty, I would respond lovingly (Luke 6–love your enemies). I began to see her as an obstacle to my spiritual growth, and I knew that if I did not “deal with her”, I would have to deal with the situation again with another person, because the goal was for me to grow spiritually.  I was determined to only take her test once, because I HATE mountain experiences (e.g., taking the same lesson over again because I keep failing the test).

Slowly, I began to notice a few changes. Her questions were not as sarcastic, and her answers were not as “snippy.” She even began to initiate non work-related conversations. As we got to know one another better, I learned that she had endured a lot of hurts and injustices; and while none of that justified her behavior, I was able to better understand….Hurting people, hurt other people.

It was a long and grueling battle, but here is what was on the other side of my obedience and endurance. This woman is well-connected throughout the organization AND God has given me such FAVOR with her that she wants to sign a multi-year contract. I am only a consultant with the firm so a contract like that is uncommon.

And just think….in my anger, I could have missed my blessing.

Who or what is blocking your blessing? Meditate on Luke 6, and I promise you will learn how to navigate around them.

Bless you….#Unblocked

 

 

High Standards from a Holy God

Someone commented to me recently that I have high standards. I had not given much thought to my standards but, once I did, I realized he was correct—I do have high standards; however, I have not always had them.

I distinctly remember the days, not too long ago, when I did not have any standards–none–zippo.  Not only did I not have standards, I did not set boundaries, and both are important. As you might imagine, life was difficult for me. People could do and say anything, and I would “take it on the chin.” Why? Primarily, because a spirit of rejection ruled my life; therefore, I would do almost anything for people to accept me.

As you might imagine, I attracted the wrong people—users, abusers, and people who would want to take advantage of me. It was commonly known that I would forgive, overlook and forget about offenses. The one exception was my daughter; as I was the total opposite with her. Not only do I have boundaries and standards for her; they are erected very high.  high standards

Now, I have the same for myself, however, my boundaries and standards came from a question God asked me.

I was in my daughter’s room when He asked a question that opened a floodgate of tears: “why don’t you let D watch certain movies?” I have had enough of His questions to know that He was setting me up, so I sat down before answering. I said, “because I don’t want her exposed to the language and X-rated scenes.” He continued, “and how do you think I feel about you?”

I      Was     WRECKED…..

You see, I know that He loves me far more than I love my daughter–I don’t even have the capacity to love as He does. And it is because of His great love for me, that I learned the key that led to my having standards and setting boundaries:

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us ACCEPTED in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

I learned that a person’s rejection of me only mattered to the degree that I needed their acceptance.  And once I learned that I have already been accepted and loved by the best–what more did I need?

And the same is true of you. God loves you and He accepts you and He longs to have an intimate relationship with you.

Talk to him right now…..He is waiting and He is always listening.

 

Prayer for the Lost

DECLARATION FOR THE LOST – PSALMS CHAPTER 22, VERSES 27-31 (MESSAGE BIBLE)

From the four corners of the earth, people are coming to their senses, are running back to God.

Long-lost families are falling on their faces before Him.

God has taken charge; from now on He has the last word.

All the power-mongers are before him—worshipping!

All the poor and powerless, too—worshipping!

Along with those who never got it together—worshipping!

Our children and their children will get in on this

As the word is passed along from parent to child.

Babies not yet conceived will hear the good news—

That God does what He says.

Amen!

worship

Are you a Future Friend?

Are you brilliant? If you are reading this you probably are because I, intentionally, surround myself with brilliant people. Personally, I could never be mistaken for being brilliant, but I have had moments of great insight. Here is my biggest insight to date:

The Quality of your Life will Reflect the Quality of your Relationships

Relationships can be complex but, like anything else, the foundation upon which they are built is vital.  I love new-construction homes; from the foundation being poured to the roof on top–I enjoy watching the entire process. All of the homes looked pristine when we moved into them, but a hair-line crack appeared over the door frame of one after a few years. Ultimately, the quality of the homes reflected the quality of the building materials, and the same can be said about relationships.

For simplicity, I categorized my relationships into four categories:

relationships

Although you might categorize your relationships differently, we probably have more in common than you think. I will prove it: one of these relationships was thrust upon us–we did not choose it. That’s right–our families–the others are totally our choosing.

Now, do a quick review of your remaining relationships:

What is the quality of your friendships? Whether you rate them good or bad, they reflect the quality of who YOU are and the direction YOU are headed. Ever heard of future friends?

Show me your Friends and I’ll show you your Future

What about your financial relationships? This group represents your current earnings potential.  Stop hating your job and “those people you work with.” They reflect YOU.

Grow YOU and your finances will Grow too

My life was a wreck–personally and financially. But when I got the insight that my friendships and finances were an ugly picture of me, I changed them both–radically!

What about your relationship with Faith?

I intentionally saved the best for last–my relationship with faith. Please do not substitute the following words for my faith:

  • It is not church
  • It is not the people in church
  • It is not going to church
  • It is not serving in church
  • It is not with a particular religion
  • It is not with rituals, regimes, or the self-righteous

While some of the above is inherent to my faith, my most intimate, fulfilling, and all-consuming relationship is with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a personal relationship where we talk daily. He listens, and I know that He cares. I am not as good of a listener as He, but He is patient with me. He is kind and gentle.

He always has time for me. He corrects me, but never rejects me. His love notes (The Word of God) comforts me. His overwhelming presence reduces me to tears and His strategy and precise timing causes me to burst with laughter. And He knows how to spoil a sister too!

I yearn to live with Him. I ache to, physically, be with Him.

It is the easiest of all my relationships. Jesus–my Drama-free KING!

Which relationship is easiest for you? Comment below, I’d love to learn more about your relationships.

Are you Beautiful?

Beauty is one quality that we all appreciate. We like visiting beautiful places, seeing beautiful things and meeting beautiful people. Yes, we all seek beauty and, fortunately, it is all around us to experience moment by moment.

beauty

I enjoy hiking because I find beauty in nature. Vibrant colors of flowers and leaves, old odd-shaped trees, and majestic waterfalls captures my attention and can keep it for hours. One reason that I love traveling is to experience the beauty of the world. Although I love traveling, I am not a great travel partner–particularly for those who like to take a lot of pictures of people (i.e., themselves). Yes, people can be beautiful too. In fact, many people think of themselves as beautiful which is why they fill up our social media pages with endless pictures of themselves. We are definitely a beauty obsessed culture.

Let’s take a quick test: Who would you say is the most  beautiful person you know? Male or female, young or old, celebrity or “common Joe”–no restrictions; who should win the most beautiful award? For the “selfie” kings and queens–yes, you can nominate yourself :)  When I asked myself the question, I was able to connect why I do not enjoy taking a lot of pictures of people….I do not see many beautiful people.  Please keep reading so that you hear my heart over my harsh words.

Beauty is certainly, “in the eye of the beholder”. Yes, I see a lot of people who dress nicely, appear to be well groomed with hair and makeup in place. They may even spend major money on apparel, shoes and jewelry to compliment the genes they were blessed. But have you ever met someone who was “drop dead gorgeous”, but when he or she opened his or her mouth, you quickly had a different opinion? Why? Did their physical appearance change? No! What changed was your perception of the person. You expected what was IN them to match the outward apperance–right?

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes.Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3

And that is my requirement for the person who receives the most beautiful award–he or she must be more than a shell.

I have another question for you–particularly for my sistas: how much time do you spend getting ready each day? Whether you answered 15 or 50 minutes, if you took as much time getting your inner-self ready, your life will be radically different this time next year. I am not referring to small changes which might be attributed to luck, but I am talking about such monumental changes that others will seek you out to learn your secrets to your transformation–the changes would be undeniable.

Who is up for the challenge?

 

 

Like LUST and Hip Hop?

As a child, I remember hearing about certain religious sects that did not own and had never watched television. I grew up primarily watching television, so I thought people who didn’t watch were weird. Little did I know that less than 40 years later, I would become one of the “weird ones.”

Fortunately, my daughter is not a big television viewer, and for that I’m grateful because much of the programming is trying to “program us.”  I’m grateful that my daughter is growing older, because it is allowing me to have more age-appropriate conversations with her, and I learn how her generation thinks.  When I picked her up from school one day this week, I asked how her day was, and she gave her typical response, “boring.” I asked, why? She explained that she did not really learn anything; the only thing everyone was talking about was something that happened on the show, “Lust and Hip Hop“.

In typical mom fashion, I grabbed the opportunity to teach. Who were the ones who liked the show, I asked? She named them, and I made my mental notes. Then I said, you did learn something today. She was perplexed. I explained that the young girls who liked the show and found it funny are the type of people she is not allowed to have as “friends”. Likewise, I explained, that the young boys who like the show are the type she could not date or marry, because the show is disrespectful to women and anyone enjoys watching is showing you his or her belief system.

Lust and Hip Hope

Yes, I re-titled the show, Lust and Hip Hope because they have no clue about what Love is.

Parents: If the above is applicable to your child, then YES, I am talking about your child. Hop on …. #ClassDismissed

 

Are you Thirsty?

If I told a young person that I was thirsty, they would look at me as if I had the plague. Why? Because today, to be “thirsty” means that I am desperate. And it’s true–I am desperately thirsty, but the source from which I drink is quite different that the world’s source:

Thirsty

When people find out that I’ve been celibate for more than 10 years, the first question they ask is “How?” It’s a daily decision–not a daily struggle–but a firm decision. Their next question is “Why?” Because I was created for His good pleasure–not yours. That answer generally ends further discussions :)

 

Do you prefer NO or SLOW?

It has taken me decades to appreciate those time when God told me “No” or those time when he was just really   s   l   o   w.

No and Slow

But today, I rejoice over when He says “No” or “Not now”. In His wisdom, he allowed me to see, in hindsight, the danger I avoided–some of which might have caused me my life.

A “No” might not be rejection, but it might be direction.

What are you grateful for?

a safe, close and trusting relationship where you are KNOWN and still LOVED