I have a friend, we’ll call her Tracy…mainly, because that's her name, and she gave me permission to share this story.
Tracy’s job between now and June 6 is to get me in "mother of the bride" shape. This is no small task, mind you. I really can’t think of anything I dislike more than exercise, except maybe surgery without anesthesia. Though I haven’t tried that, I’m pretty sure it would beat out exercise for my least favorite thing.
Anyway, the other day, as I pulled into her driveway and parked, Julie, another friend was headed to her car.
“She’s in A MOOD,” Julie informed me.
I felt a panicky feeling begin to rise up in me. What does ‘in a mood’ mean, exactly?
“She almost killed me,” Julie continued as she climbed into her car.
“Well that’s just great,” I thought to myself. Julie is in much better shape than me, so I knew I was sunk. There was no way I could survive if my friend who runs for fun almost died.
As I headed to the front door, my mind began messing with me. When I reached the front door, which is a big, heavy door, I realized that the doorknob was higher than the normal knob and it was gia-normous too… which made me feel intimidated and small - like Alice in Wonderland.
When I opened the door she was standing there, smiling.
“Are you in a mood? Because Julie said you were…” I started.
“What? No,” she assured me as she waved me off with her hand and headed for the stairs. AND I followed her.
As we made our way down the stairs to the basement she said, “You’re really not going to like me after today.”
Well, there it was!
And the hot flashes started.
I am in that delightful stage of life where my internal thermostat is struggling. There are a few things that set the hot flashes off. One would be heat, which is problematic because I live in the south and I own a blow dryer. And the other is anxiety, which I was in the full throws of.
Now listen, I have known Tracy for all of my adult life. I have never picked up on any “sinisterismness”. She has always been friendly and kindhearted. I have never been afraid of her…until now.
For the next hour, she made me do things I would never do left to myself. She wanted me to strengthen my core. “I don’t think I have one,” I told her.
She would say things like, “I know this is hard…you only have 50 more.” Evil I tell you, just evil. And she smiled the entire time.
She corrected my incorrect posture, showed me how to do certain things, and explained how each exercise was beneficial to me even though I was convinced each one was going to kill me.
She told me to do things that in my mind were just too stinking hard and then wouldn’t let me not do them.
Just a little side note: exercise also brings on hot flashes.
At one point, she opened the door to let some cool air in. My mind screamed, “RUN”, but the rest of me said, “It is just so not going to happen.”
To Tracy’s credit, she was very encouraging. She would say things like, “Good job”, and “I know you can do this.”
When I got in my car to drive home, I had two thoughts.
1. “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”
2. “Where is my ibuprofen?”
As I drove home another thought occurred to me. Just as I need Tracy to come along side me with my physical conditioning, I also need friends to come along beside me with my spiritual conditioning. I need to put myself under strong Godly instruction. I need to seek out those wiser than me and learn from them. I need to surround myself with friends who are also in training. The Bible calls those kinds of relationships iron sharpening iron relationships.
I had asked Tracy for help, and she was doing exactly what I had asked her to do, and she did it well. Truthfully, if it weren’t for her presence, I would not have finished. Okay, while I’m being honest here, I would have cheated on counting the reps, too. It’s true. Sad, but true.
As much as we desire to follow Christ, the truth is, there are times when we face things that just seem too hard. There are times when we just want to do what we have to do to get by, or we just flat out want to quit.
We need sisters standing beside us encouraging us. But we also need them standing beside us lovingly pointing out when our spiritual posture is not correct or when we have become lax in our training and conditioning. Not so we feel beat up, but so we become stronger and healthier in our spiritual walk.
I am blessed to have such sisters.
If you don’t, let me encourage you to consider finding some for yourself. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Seek out a wise Godly woman.
2. Ask her to help you – just like I asked Tracy.
3. Give her full permission to speak truth into your life – even if it is hard or it hurts.
4. Trust her, listen to her, follow her guidance.
5. Meet with her on a consistent, regular basis.
6. Let her see your weaknesses and struggles. Drop the mask.
You will be amazed at the transformation.
Have a great week!
“Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’. Anything more than this is from the evil one.” Matthew 5:27
It was candy on the candy aisle at the store. She was only 3 years old. There it started…”Mommy, can I have some candy?” I replied, “Not today.” And right there, in the aisle, in front of other shoppers, it began…”Mommy, pleeeeeeeaaassssseeee!” As I looked around, I started feeling the pressure. Just give it to her. It is only candy. Everyone is looking. I guess I need to spare everyone else the drama of the pending “fit pitching”! What am I to do? I already said, “No”. In that moment of pressure…I caved. I did not feel good about it. I just wanted to help everyone in the store feel relief.
On the way home, I prayed. “God, what am I to do? How am I supposed to handle these situations? Have You given me directions on how to respond in moments like this? What does this look like as she gets older?” I was reading my Bible a few days later, and my Father in heaven put the answer right in front of me…
“Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes' and your ‘no’ be ‘no'. Anything more than this is from the evil one.”
Is it that easy? NO! It is not easy, but it is the answer! It is not popular sometimes, but it is the right thing to do. I have learned how this looks, as she has gotten older. When I say ‘no’, I mean ‘no’ and my children know it. My children have learned that when I say ‘yes’, I mean ‘yes’. “Yes, you can go over to your friend’s house.” “Yes, you can go eat/bowling/baseball game with your friends.” “Yes, you can go to Africa to serve those in need.” “Yes, you can go shopping with your sister.” “No, you cannot go to that party where I do not know the parents.” “No, you can not drive to that location late at night by yourself.” “No, you can not stay out that late with no plans.” “No, you can not go that house with that boy without the presence of parents.” I have learned that when I do not waiver between ‘yes’ and ‘no’, my children don’t question my intentions for them. They no longer beg…they trust. They no longer pout…they respond immediately.
How would I benefit, if every time God told me ‘no’, I responded immediately…as if He has my best interest in mind? What regrets would I not have, if when God told me ‘no’, I simply walked away from what I was asking Him for? What if every time God told me ‘yes’, I praised Him for it? What if I realized that God does not waiver, because He is not evil. Wavering and not trusting comes from “the evil one”. I don’t want anything that “the evil one” has to offer my children and my Father in heaven feels even more passionately about me!
Father, please help me start rejoicing in good that you have for me and trusting You when You tell me “No”. You love me so much more than I can imagine!
Here we are…2015. How are your New Year’s resolutions going? Anybody bailed yet?
I’m not one prone to make New Year’s resolutions because I’m not really good at remembering what I resolved to do or not do. It’s really kinda sad. I get caught up in the emotion of the moment, declare my resolve, and then I get distracted with, well just about anything, and I forget until the next New Year. Then I remember that I failed.
A long time ago, as all my friends were avowing what their New Year’s resolutions would be, I came up with a most ingenious idea. I resolved that I would no longer make a New Year’s resolution. There. Now I had a resolution I could keep. While everyone around me would eventually either berate themselves for not being able to stick to their resolutions or make excuses as to why it was impossible, therefore, not their fault that they didn’t stick to it, I would just smile and enjoy my success.
But two years ago, as I sat at my computer waiting for Parkingspacefaith.com to hit the Web, I found myself breaking my longstanding resolution to not make a resolution.
As I sat waiting for Ken Lewis, our website administrator, to launch PSF, I began to think back over the journey that had brought me to that moment - all the little things that God had orchestrated. From the first tugging to do something for His glory to the realization of what He was actually calling me to do. I remember the overwhelmingly confused feeling when I felt the pull to build a website. I had no idea how to go about building a website. For crying out loud, I am the one who is usually threatening to throw my computer out of the window.
Then to complicate things further, God sent me three precious friends to help. Carolyn, Grace, and Lisa, who by their own admissions, were more computer illiterate than I was.
Four women doing something that they had no idea how to do…
Isn’t that just like God? He gives a seemingly impossible task – one that is not within our range of ability and then He waits for us to surrender it to Him completely. I guess He knows that if it were within our realm of capability, we would take off on our own and completely mess things up. God began working out every little detail. He sent the right people, with the right gifts, at the right time. He left no doubt that it was His hand.
God often calls us to “God sized” tasks. The problem is, we often dismiss them because they seem beyond our ability, not in our area of expertise, or they aren’t in our area of “giftedness”. Oh yeah, and there is usually a little issue of time…not enough of it.
Please, all of these I consider to be valid arguments, and make no mistake, I have used them all. However, I don’t think God finds them acceptable; at least He hasn’t for me.
You know, I found it scary yet freeing to be called to a task that I was incapable of doing because really, the only thing God required of me was a willing heart. He did the rest.
Now that I think about it, Moses didn’t have the expertise or ability to part the Red Sea, but it parted. Peter was not a gifted teacher nor did he possess a superior intellect, but Christ used him to build His church. And, I guess if a few fishes and loaves can be multiplied to feed thousands, God is quite capable of multiplying our time in order to fit His purpose into our schedule. By the way, there is the option of eliminating some things from our schedule in order to have more room for God’s plan for our lives.
So that night in 2013, I resolved to embrace the “God size” tasks more willingly. Whether it involved Him working through me to do something for His glory or working in me to become something for His glory, I knew that it was God who would “equip me in every good thing to do His will.” (Hebrews 13:21)
Now, two years later, God is still taking care of the details. He is still equipping us to do His will. He added a few more to our count, Robert Coker, Melanie Moseley, Sarah Kathryn Marlowe, and Chris Reardon. Because of them, we have a new website, and we can be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
We are excited about sharing 2015 with all of you!
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