Friday, March 22, 2013

Ohhh.....That Mouth!

I'm betting, like me......

your mouth gets you in trouble from time to time.


My mouth has gotten me in trouble....many times.

This week, in fact.

When I should have.............paused.

I blurted.

I'm going through the most unusual season of time right now.

In my walk with Jesus.

I know that He's always with me.

But right now.

He seems to be speaking to me --- everywhere I turn.

Through....His word.    My circumstances.    Other people.  

Speaking directly.....with laser precision....into what I'm facing.

I must say.

I LOVE that.

I know He's always attentive to my circumstances.

But right now.

I'm very aware of his presence in my life.

And He seems to have a word for me just as quickly as I
have need to hear it.


In trying to encourage a friend this week.

When I should have.......paused.

I blurted.

My blurting was not timely.   It wasn't appropriate.   It may have even
done harm.

I knew it immediately.   But it was too late.

The very next morning.

During my quiet time.

I was reading out of "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young.

And because He wanted to give me a word about my mouth.

This was in my devotion for the day.

"Pause before responding to people or situations, giving My spirit
space to act through you."

Yep.     Okie Dokie.

You need me to talk less and pause more.


Okay, I replied!     I hear you!

I got it!

Lesson learned.

And just like He does as well.

He gave me an opportunity a few days later.

To show Him that I actually did listen.

That I actually did receive his timely word.

This time, someone blurted out to me.

It wasn't so pretty.

What did I do?

I straightened my shoulders.

Took a deep breath.

I considered my options.

And paused.

And in that pausing.

I let the Holy Spirit speak to me.    Just like He wanted me to.

I paused.

Because, once it's out.

You can't take it back.

"Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can 
ruin everything."   Proverbs 13:3.

That's my word for the week.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Simple Joys

"Don't take yourself so seriously.  Lighten up and laugh with me."  
Sarah Young, "Jesus Calling."

This has only happened to me twice that I can remember in the twelve years!

And you cannot imagine my excitement!

I drive from my home near the Abbeville/Greenwood line across Greenwood 
on the 72 By-Pass to my office 20 minutes away every weekday morning.

In my little manual transmission Ford Fiesta.

There are FIFTEEN red lights on my path.    Count them.     15!   

Well.   Be still my heart!

Last Friday morning as I was driving to work, I did not hit a single red light!   

I had the green lights all the way to work.

Yes!   through 15 green lights -- all the way to work!

I know!  It was the BEST thing ever!

About half way in, I noticed it ---- and since it's only happened once before in all
these years, my enthusiasm started building by the time I drove through the light
near Starbucks.

Then came the one near NewSpring.

Followed by the double lights back to back at the old Gary Russ Chevrolet and
Bojangles.  (If I was going to catch one, it had to be here!)

My heart started beating in anticipation!

Yeeeeessss!  I got the green on the North Emerald Road light near Bi-Lo!

Just one more to go!

And sure enough --- as I approached the National Guard Armory, it too turned 

I pumped my fist in the air in victory!

I grinned from ear to ear!


What fun!

I felt special all day.     I even imagined a special favor had been cast upon me!

Ok.  Bordering on over the top now.   (smile)

The simple pleasures of life.


Friday, March 15, 2013

A Reformed Fixer

I'm a reformed fixer.

Which is somebody that used to feel compelled to fix things.

Not just people, but mostly.

It was in my nature when a problem came across my path to fix it.

Or certainly try to.

My repair of choice was people.

One of my kids had a problem, I wanted to fix it.

My staff had trouble, I wanted to fix it.

A friend had issues, I wanted to fix them.

God started working on me in this area.

If you've ever been a fixer, you know the drill.

There's a certain amount of pride in stepping up to fix other people's

I know it was true for me.

I could see what needed to be fixed so easily.

I'd jump in and fix away.   Invited sometimes.

Sometimes not.

Over time, I started noticing.

The weight of the troubles I was trying to fix.

I wore them.    I carried them.    I held onto them.

It was unhealthy.

It was exhausting.

I was wearing myself out working things out for people.....
or at least in my mind, trying to.

I just remember one day, I sensed God saying over me.

That friend of yours is not your responsibility.

Her troubles are not yours to repair.

Not mine?


God did not intend for me to fix the people in my life.

I know.   That sounds totally messed up to even say out loud,
much less write.

But it's true.

He finally got through to me.

It took some practice stepping away from my fix it mentality.

I had to bite my tongue many times when someone tried to lay a problem at
my feet -- accustomed to me stepping in to fix it.

I had to close my mouth when the temptation came to correct somebody I
thought was doing it all wrong.

But a wonderful thing happened.

I became free.

Free of the perceived responsibility I tried to shoulder.

Free to enjoy family and friends without righting all the wrongs.

Free to trust God to work out the troubles and problems I once felt
compelled to fix.


Let me say that again.    Free.

Now, I didn't wash my hands of people I cared about -- mind you.

I still try to encourage.    But, instead of jumping in to fix -- I point
them to the one who can.

I'm visual.   The very best visual I've seen that describes this was demonstrated
by a friend, Jake Beaty in training care team volunteers at church last weekend.

Jake held his hands up clinching his fists to describe our tendency to "hold onto"
our problems or the problems of others.

This approach of clinching or holding onto the problems I thought I could take and fix
was exactly what I was doing.      Clinching tightly.

Jake then opened his hands and held them - palms facing up to demonstrate
the better way of presenting those problems before God.

Palms open.   Offering them to Him.


Open my hands and allow Him.

To fix.

To cover.

To take.

Concerns.  Troubles.  Failures.  Problems.  Issues.

Palms open.  

It's a lesson I'm finally learning.

Oh, I still find myself wanting to close my fists around something from time
to time.

Then I remember the visual.    Clinched fists.

And I literally open my hands.

Palms up.

And offer them to Him.

Reformed fixer.    That would be me.

"Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about what happens 
to you."                  1 Peter 5:7.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Letting Go

My girl is gone.

That would be my oldest girl.

Oregon bound for a new job with her man.

She pulled out of my driveway three afternoons ago.

It felt strangely familiar.

It was the same driveway we stood in just nine months earlier
when she left her wedding reception a married woman.

This time.

I knew she wouldn't be back for a long while.  

And yes, I'm happy for her.   Yes, I'm excited for her.
Heck.  I raised her to do this very thing.  

But, to be completely honest.

It just feels strange.

It's one of the hardest parts of being a parent.

This business of letting go.

I definitely didn't get any training on this one.

Or.......did I?


Truthfully, I probably did.

There was that time in kindergarten when her ridiculous teacher
wouldn't let me walk her into the school anymore.  Seriously!?  I thought
the woman had lost her mind.   She's  5 years old & can't possibly walk
into this place by herself!


So, in fact......she could.   And did.

And I complied.    

There was that time when she was 10 and I let her go to Camp
Marietta for a week.

Then, there was her first overseas mission trip.......freshman year at

First job in Charlotte....

So, yeah.

I guess my training has been underway for a while.

You love, you invest, you nurture.

They grow up.

And you let go.


I'm missing her already.

I missed her as soon as I lost sight of her car.

It's just the strangest thing.

Very strange.

Letting go.