Last November was an election like no other! The voters’ voices were heard, the protesters concerns were noted and now, the ballots are counted, the Electors have voted and… ta-da! (or uh-oh) Inauguration Day is almost here!
Now, if the election went your way, well, all that is just groovy! But, if you didn’t want Trump to be the president, well then Inauguration Day may flat-out depress you.
It’s so easy to get discouraged, isn’t it? Life hits us hard and trials last too long and we just get worn out trying to stand firm in faith. Or, sometimes we are in the thick of doing good, serving God and it just seems like progress is slow, our confidence is low and discouragement is high.
I’ve felt discouraged for both reasons lately. I’ve felt overwhelmed and under-qualified to rise to the demands of ministry. I’ve fallen into a confidence crisis and just plain felt defeated. And, at the same time, my sweet Dad has been in the hospital, fighting pain and infection. My mom is worn out caring for him and instead of things getting better, they just seem to get worse. As soon as we see some progress, the next day, his fever spikes and our hope deflates. It is just downright discouraging.
One of the most treasured things I own is broken. But, I still love it.
Here’s the back story:
In college, my friend Tony broke up with his fiancé – or maybe she broke up with him — I never really knew for sure. But, what was for sure is that the jeweler wouldn’t give him his money back when he returned the engagement ring. Bad for brokenhearted Tony. Good for supportive friend Jennifer!
So thankful for another opportunity to share Fresh Grounded Faith with my southern sisters! Last weekend we were in Warner Robins, Georgia and were so welcomed by everyone. Such a blessing! The weekend didn’t go at all like we expected- right before we were set to go onstage to begin I received a call that my father was in very serious condition in Florida. I can’t even begin to describe the emotions surrounding that… feeling a responsibility to fulfill my commitment there at FGF, while at the same time my heart was being pulled to my sweet Daddy.
There aren’t the words to express the love and support I received from all involved- our staff that was there with us stepped up, Stormie O’Martian, Meredith Andrews, and Karen Abercrombie filled in any gaps, and the church volunteers and attendees were mighty prayer warriors that weekend. God was so faithful to help me hold it together Friday night, and I was able to get to my parents the next morning. I’m so thankful to be able to report that my Dad is stable and improving. Your continued prayers for his complete recovery are so appreciated.
Conflict happens. When your ideas or plans or perspective bumps into someone else’s ideas or plans or perspective, crash… conflict. Right? The result is often hurt feelings, resentment and stress. We all experience conflict; it’s just part of being a human.
But, can we be honest? There really are some dear souls in our lives who seem to create conflict. They just plain rub us the wrong way! I call those dear souls sandpaper people! So, what do you do when that sandpaper person rubs you the wrong way?
Would you describe yourself as balanced? Okay, stop laughing! Few of us have achieved balance. I stress myself out just thinking about it!?! I could write a book called Stressed Out: How I Achieved It While Seeking Balance!
I’m just not balanced enough to write a book about balance, but I know Someone who did.
We’ve all got stuff, you know? We’ve got hurts, questions and disappointments in our lives.
I’ve got stuff. Blindness is a constant, unrelenting, challenging loss — emotionally, spiritually and even physically. I’ve asked God for healing probably a million times… but, so far, healing hasn’t come.
My friend’s got stuff. Her daughter is fighting addiction — some days she’s better, someday she’s worse. My friend has prayed for her daughter a million times too. And, so far, healing hasn’t come.
Rose was a widow who lived in West Palm Beach, and when I was in college, many of us students visited her. My friend Mike told me how one evening he popped in on Rose at dinner time and she invited him in. They visited a few moments in her kitchen until he noticed her kitchen table was set for two. “Oh Rose,” he said, “I didn’t realize you were having a guest for dinner. I will scoot out.”
She put her hand on his arm, stopping him and told him she always set two places at her table ever since her husband died over 30 years earlier. Mike assumed the second place setting was to remind her of her late husband and he commented about how sweet it was that she remembered him in that way. Rose quickly corrected my friend saying, “Oh, no. I set a place at my table every evening for Jesus. I sit with Him, listen to Him and expect Him to be with me. This is my way of showing Him.”
As a third grader, our class project was to grow grass in milk cartons. I remember starting the project by cutting the tent-like top off the small milk carton so all that remained was a little box shaped planter. Then, I filled it with a bit of dirt, some seeds, some more dirt and a little water. The teacher then let each of us take home our small waxy paper planters and told us to sit them in a sunny place and water them every day so they would grow.
We had to write down everything we did to tend to our little sprouts in a journal and at the end of the month; we were all to bring back the grassy evidence of our hard work! I remember placing my little stump of a flower pot in the window sill in my bedroom. Like the budding Type A that I was, I checked it constantly and watered it when it felt the least bit dry. Tiny sprouts appeared and I recorded it in my “Growth Journal.” It was really growing! By the end of the month, I had a luxurious tuft of green that any golf course in America would covet!
After showing my teacher, I was allowed to bring it back home and keep it. I was so proud of my success and determined I would continue to tend to it so back to its window perch it went. I trimmed, watered, tended, watered, missed a few days, forgot, remembered and then ignored it and eventually…I had some dusty hay in a cut off milk carton! So much for my Type A tendencies — they hadn’t matured yet!
In 2006, I was a guest on the Dr. Phil Show. Oh my gosh, girl! It was a fantastic experience full of surprises and expectations. I expected to have a pre-interview with a producer. I expected to have a totally interesting and slightly intimidating experience on set. I expected to have my make-up professionally done there in the studio. I expected cameras, questions and lots of nerves! I didn’t expect to talk to Dr. Phil personally offstage though. And if I did get to meet him, I expected him to be hurried and professional but not as engaging in private as he was on TV.
Well, most of my expectations were correct. I pre-interviewed with a producer. There were cameras, professional make-up (thank you, Lord), lots of questions and even more nerves! But, what I expected from Dr. Phil personally was not what I got! I expected him to be hurried. And, even though he was in a hurry, he wasn’t rushed. He was warm and casual. I expected him to be more guarded or distant in person than he seems to be on TV. Nope, he was so engaging and genuinely personally interested in me. I was totally thrown off – he was not who I expected him to be.