Hey, Kids, Let’s Hang Out At The Tire Store

A couple weeks ago I noticed the truck tire was low. A neighbor also noticed and pointed it out to me the next day. By then it was even lower.

A few years ago I would have felt like this – and anything like it – was an inconvenience in MY day.

I mean, it’s not like any regular day I’m going to say, “Hey, family, let’s go to the tire store and just hang out there for a couple hours.”

But what if –?

What if we treated most things WE call interruptions as God redirecting us?

 

Think about this.

How many times (and in how many ways) do we as parents help redirect our children?

How much MORE would God want to redirect HIS children to something He sees that’s better for us or toward someone He wants us to talk to?

 

When God gets my attention by a flat tire (and I’m not saying He MAKES flat tires happen but He IS God and He surely could do anything to redirect me in “MY day” toward HIS Will) then what if I change my perspective to see this as a possible Divine Appointment?

Sometimes we’re so upset about that silly flat tire and we totally miss the new contact God just put right in front of us.

“Okay, God, lead us. Please guide conversations and show us who are we supposed to talk with at the tire store.”

Jesus said He leaves His Spirit, The Holy Spirit, with us. How does He guide us?

What does that look like in 2016?

Maybe, possibly, it COULD be that it looks a whole lot like a screw in the tire and a few hours at a tire store.

It’s not really MY day anyway.  ALL the days are HIS days.  And we belong to Him.

When we start to play OUR part in HIS Design, amazing things begin to happen.

How is He trying to get your attention?

 

God, please guide me today and show me what YOU want for me today.  Please take “my schedule” to show me what YOU want for me.  Please show me who to talk to and who not to talk to and what to say and what not to say and please even show me how to say it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Only God knows the inside of each marriage.

We saw a couple in a store one time. The wife started speaking louder and sounded pretty upset.

To my husband it seemed that she was upset without much reason. He didn’t see or hear anything before that so she probably was overreacting.

To me, it was obvious that she was exhausted from the broken communication between the two of them.

We neither one ever found out what was the reason for their argument that day several years ago.

But marriage has been under attack since Adam and Eve.

We want to blame.

That woman…

That snake…

Whatever has happened (and it looks different in each situation) HOW do you find the way to truly forgive and still live with someone who caused such damage?

The enemy wants to separate and isolate each of us and he does this in about a billion custom-designed, clever ways (including all those things we run to for imitation comfort.)

Here’s the best answer I can find.

 

“You want to make this a fight of flesh and blood.

But it’s not.

It’s spiritual with the powers of darkness.

The enemy is AFRAID of what YOU can truly become.”

-the movie King’s Faith

 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. -Ephesians 6:12

 

Prayer. And The Incredible Power of The God behind the prayer!

 

God, ONLY YOU KNOW the inside of each marriage. Please heal broken lives and hearts. Please revive and make stronger what has been under attack for so very long.  Please let Your words be spoken and let us see each other with Your eyes. In Jesus’ Name, please God, Amen.

 

[P.S. I’ve found this helps with more than marriage. I try to remember this now when I’m upset with anyone or any situation. There’s probably ALWAYS more than we can see with our eyes.]

[Note:  Forgiveness and staying daily in a dangerous situation are NOT the same things (though there are those who disagree.) God gave us wisdom and I believe we should use it. I do not EVER hope for divorce though I’ve been through it and through abusive situations and I do and will ALWAYS pray for safety for everyone.]

 

 

Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money.

Instead of stressing out about whatever I’m working on, I’ve learned to give it to God. (Well, most of the time I do that. I’m still trying to remember to do this more often.) THAT (only) took just over 40 years to learn…

When I send a note, write on the blog, write to a company, or answer an email, with my hands on the keyboard I say, “God, please let this be whatever You will make of it.”

If I’m building something, I can put my hands on the shelves or whatever I’m building and say a prayer over all the people who will use the shelves.

Parenting is a most important job!  Our kids are placed in our care by God and they are His. He’s given us the honor of parenting. (Some people desire to be parents with all their hearts and never get the opportunity. Please let your parenting honor God.)

When we pray over our children, we often place our hands on their head or shoulders and say something like, “God, please send the Holy Spirit with our children today and let them shine for You. Please send Your Angels to protect them and give them the strength to be the people You are calling them to be.” (Our kids have told us the days we do this are more peaceful and powerful than the days we don’t.)

Here are some other practical ways to do this every day:

If you work in a store, pray over the merchandise before you open that day, for God to bless the lives of people buying the products.

If your work honors God, then you’re on the right track.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

~~> Maybe having a job is actually more than just selling stuff and making money. <~~

If you mostly do phone work, you can pray over your phone before work or all through the day just asking God to send healing to the customers you’ll connect with that day.

You get the idea. It may sound simple. (And it is.) But when you put this into action, amazing things begin to happen.

The truth is: We don’t have to work SO hard to make something look how WE think it “should” look or to make it “successful.” WE can do our best and leave the results up to God without so much stress we sometimes put on ourselves.

What I mean is that we sometimes let stress take over something that could be a fun or great thing (like opening a new business) and not all stress is bad. Even good stress is still stressful.

It’s the same thing with whatever you do, whether it’s school, home, or wherever you are. And it doesn’t have to be some big spectacle! You can say a silent prayer in your head as you walk.

At the store you can pray over the people who drive the cars as you walk past them in the parking lot.

Or if you’re jogging you can pray over the people who live in the houses as you run past them.

The people you see or talk with every day are not the same people I see every day. They are crossing your path for a reason and you may be the ONLY Light for Jesus they see all year. Let them see Him in you.

Recently I shared that we were praying about moving to Alaska to open the homeless teen place God’s put on our hearts.

A teenage employee looked right into my eyes as if asking for something but not exactly sure WHAT that is, “I’m still learning HOW to pray.”

I said, “Just talk to Him.”

~> “THAT” moment mattered. If I’d said nothing then I’d have missed an important minute to share Jesus with someone who may be looking for Him. <~

I am confident that when God hears someone pray for the first time, He listens and is pleased no matter how we think it sounds.

 

Stayin’ Alive

I’m stuck.  I mean I’m not really stuck.  We’re just waiting on God.  Actively waiting on Him – but we’re waiting on His timing all the same.

We know waiting goes against life in 2015;  GET it NOW.  DO it NOW.  BE it NOW.  We COULD try to MAKE it happen but we’ve lived and walked with Jesus long enough to know that when we try to make something happen on our own, especially something like this, things just don’t go well.  And we could fail.  That’s okay.  We’re not afraid of failing.  If we fail, then at least we tried to do what we feel led to do to help kids.  (What is worse?  Failing?  Or not trying at all?)  Our goal is to help homeless teens by giving them a safe place to live for a while, teaching job and life skills, and leading them to have closer relationships with Jesus.  If we are trying to do God’s Will, He will go before us and make a way when we can’t see a way.

Some people are laughing at our faith. (That’s okay.  If people laughing at us was gonna stop us, we’d have had to stop as soon as we started telling people about all this that God’s put on our hearts.)

Some know this is for real and are praying with us. (Thank you!  This means SO much to us. Thank you!)

Some HOPE all this is real. (Guess people will have to watch and see what God’s doing. Fly or fall, we’re in this and there’s no going back.  God opens doors no man can shut and He shuts doors that no man can open.  We’ll keep walking in faith toward this homeless teen shelter work He’s been leading us to unless He shuts the doors and steers us another direction.)

We know it’s real.

I keep thinking about people wandering in the desert for 40 years and can’t help but think, “Isn’t that what so many of us do all our lives? We wander.”

I mean, sure we make plans and do stuff. We go to school and to work. We’re part of a church. We have a family – or not. Some stay single. Some get married (some, a few times.)

 

But we wander.

 

I wonder if our wandering isn’t so far from the stories about people wandering in the Bible:

“Hey, believe God is doing this.”

“Nope.”

“Okay, then. Have a good life – or at least as good as YOU think YOU can make it as you wander around aimlessly.”

Then – after all the doubters are gone from this generation, God will do great works that you’ll always wish you’d have gotten to see.

Today I prayed something like, “God, I’m feeling afraid; a little discouraged and intimidated by this homeless teen center quest You’ve got us on. I mean, we can’t quit and don’t even want to because this is the most amazing work You’ve ever done with our lives, but at the same time, the magnitude of this work seems so far beyond us and our abilities – and it is, FOR SURE – and the heartaches we’ll hear about are already breaking our hearts. Would you please send some encouragement?”

I was walking through a thrift store looking for fleece shirts for my family while I prayed this when I hear a song I’ve never heard before in my life.

Not joking. The song sings, “Baby, you got what it takes.”

That made me smile.

Then I was on an aisle all by myself when a woman walked just 2 steps past me and we spoke a moment about finding the right sizes. I said something about colors I hoped to find. She said colors don’t really matter as much. I agreed and said I know warmth is what matters most and told her that we’re moving to Alaska. She told me she goes fishing there sometimes. I said we feel God’s moving us there to take care of homeless teens.

THEN she told me they’ve made friends with a family in Alaska who also felt called by God to do work there (and have been now for a couple years) and they have 2 sons who homeschool and she’d like me to call her to have another family to talk with.  ((Thinking out loud about grammar stuff… Yes, I end sentences with prepositions sometimes.  I don’t even mean to.  The important thing is that it won’t keep me out of Heaven.))

(Coincidence? I think not.)

Ummm… so this brought another smile.  And some much needed comfort to my heart.

A little while later I’m thinking of dangerous situations we may encounter with people and animals in Alaska.

Not even joking.  The song Stayin’ Alive played over the speakers.

This made me laugh!

God is good and He hears our prayers. (And the even cooler part is that He answers.)

 

~~~

We are asking for prayers for finances, houses, buildings, donations (including desks, beds, clothes, money, vehicles, food, books, and everything else I’m not thinking to mention,) volunteers, and for God to keep leading us as we keep walking through the doors He opens.

Thank you and may God bless you so big that you can’t help but see Him.

 

I’ve gotta write about this amazing customer service!

Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.  Ladies, you made my Christmas extra special this year. And thank you, Erin, for telling us about this store. Thank you, Chloe, my daughter, for caring about me and being a noticer. Thank you for pushing me to go to this store (because we both know I wasn’t gonna.) You are one of my best friends (even if the world says parents and kids can’t/shouldn’t be friends. When you think about it… the world says a lotta stuff that doesn’t make much sense and makes life more difficult.)

When I receive good customer service I OFTEN write to the company or to an employer praising the great way an employee exceeded expectations. (And when I get crummy service I only occasionally write and am very careful what I say. Maybe the person was having a bad day. Everyone has bad days.)

My husband recently took me shopping at Torrid. Torrid is a women’s clothing store. They have cute jackets, tops, bottoms, shoes, jewelry, undies, bras, and even a few nighties to choose from. AND they have gift cards so you can give this wonderful gift to someone.

I visited there once before and received the same quality of service as this time.

THAT time I was just buying a bra that would fit me (because mine was squeezing me like a corset and I was barely able to breathe.) Thank you, Erin. You are my hero! (I know the correct word is “heroine” but I like the word “hero” better because it sounds cooler.) Because you took my daughter shopping with you for your birthday, she told me about Torrid and now I can breathe again. You made a difference in my life when you shared this amazing treasure of a place with my daughter.

THIS time I tried on about 50 items of clothing.

And they did not hurry me. Not even a little bit!

I just had to write about it.

From the moment I walked in I was greeted by a smiling face and she asked if I was looking for something specific. I was. For many years I haven’t found cute jeans that would fit me. She found a couple pair of jeans and then asked if she could reserve a fitting room for me. (They even wrote my name on the door.)

Every time I’d get a few more hangers over my arm, someone would ask if she could take them to my dressing room. “Yes, please.”

At one time I noticed a woman waiting with an employee near the 4 dressing rooms. 3 were occupied. My room was just holding my clothes in it (I wasn’t ready to try stuff on yet) but they were not letting anyone use my space. They prepared a place just for me! Of course, I offered the room to the customer and she accepted.

I believe every person working spoke to me and nobody rushed me. Since I’ve had kids, many days I have been rushed. That’s not fun. Somewhere in the middle of mommyhood, we realize we better sit down a while because we just really need to. As a mom and wife, I hurry to help my kids, my friends, my kids’ friends, my husband, church, school, and then don’t remember that I haven’t taken time for me to be refreshed.

This shopping visit did just that!

After I was there maybe 10 minutes, tears came to my eyes.

What’s THAT about? OHHH! I’m not being rushed, pulled on, pushed, guilted into, needed, volunteered, or anything but pampered.

PAMPERED! WOW! THIS feels GREAT! I could do this every day! (I won’t do this every day. But I will remember the feeling and take moments for me more often.)

(I LOVE being a mommy and wife. These 2 things are all I ever dreamed about being when I was younger. I absolutely love it. It’s okay to need time to re-energize and regroup. Any job requires that for someone to be able to give more again.)

The employees were all kind to each other. There was no “attitude” when they spoke to each other or to customers. There was a genuine respect in the atmosphere that many companies don’t have between employees.

THAT says A LOT by itself!

I wasn’t in a hurry. They let me keep adding clothes to the room.

When I finished looking through all the beautiful choices and was trying the clothes on, every once in a while one of the girls would ask if I needed a different size or how things were going. (They did this with everyone ~ and it was very kind.) Someone would trade out one size or color for another while I was trying on clothes.

It was like they were there to REALLY HELP me shop!

The girls were professional, fun, silly, friendly, real, polite, and would offer their opinions about an outfit.

I LOVED that!

Even if someone doesn’t like a certain style or color on me, I may still buy it because I like it but I really do appreciate their opinions about whether something looks good on me or not. (I’d always rather hear someone who cares about me or cares how I look tell me in the store if it doesn’t look so flattering than for a hundred people to think, “That looks awful on her,” after I buy it.)

It’s not a reflection of my worth or beauty if a certain style or color does or doesn’t look great. Every body is a different shape and it’s pretty cool that we have so many choices to find the most flattering patterns to fit our body shapes.

At Torrid, (I have to admit this) clothes are a little pricey for every season shopping for me, but they’re good quality and the experience, itself, was WORTH EVERY PENNY to me (and to my husband!)

After deciding on final choices (with the help of my family and 4 sweet employees,) they took the time to find if my mailer coupons or if the in-store promotions were better for me.

It was just a special experience from the beginning and it stayed that way until I went home. I listened to the way they talked with other customers. Every person was treated with respect.

Thank you, ladies, for making this Christmas (and bra shopping a few months ago) a fun and special time. Thank you for NOT rushing me. Thank you for actually caring about my day and for offering your opinions when I tried on clothes. YOU made my Christmas more special this year. I know wherever you work, you will shine and companies would be honored to employ you! Thank you, Gigi, Jax, Ashleigh, and Nora.

[Note: This is not a story about thrift stores but I have to mention how much I LOVE thrift stores. Most of my adult life I have bought my clothes and my family’s clothes (not undies or socks) from thrift stores and garage sales. It’s okay to spend money on clothes sometimes but it’s very fun to be able, when someone compliments my cute shirt, to tell people it was only $2 at a thrift store.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll be visiting Torrid again; maybe for my birthday!

Oh, and I did find some cute jeans, too!]

[Note Too: I find it degrading that some people call some women “plus” size. I believe it would be equally degrading if people called some women “negative” size. It sounds unkind either way to me. Like “You’re too much woman.” or “You’re not enough woman.” There’s a lot I wish would change about this world.

Torrid mostly “sizes” clothes in 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. And it’s a fun experience just to not see PLUS (or minus) on a sign.

We’re women and we’re ALL beautiful. Period.]

[Note Too Also: You know all those clothes we keep in our closets for 10…20…30… years kinda hoping to wear them again?

I cleaned them out.

THIS actually feels GREAT! (I’ll admit I never could bring myself to do this until now. Not really sure why that took so long. And any small step toward being healthier is better than looking a certain size.)

Try it! Say Merry Christmas to who you are NOW at the beautiful size you are NOW.

It’s actually a LOT of fun!! I never thought it would be. But it’s freeing! And once you really look at who you are and how beautiful you are NOW, no matter what size you are, it’s easier and easier as you go through the closet! I’m so excited for you! It may even turn out to be your favorite Christmas gift to yourself.]

 

Those Hypocrites At Church

Church people mess up. Christians mess up. We mess up JUST LIKE anyone else. Being a Christian does not make someone perfect.

I’m not even sure why anyone ever started thinking that way.

If we were perfect, then there wouldn’t be any need for Jesus’ Blood to cover us or for Him to have died for us.

Jesus is The One who is perfect; not Christians.

People are people.

People sometimes say, “Well, I don’t go to church because there are hypocrites at church.”

Yes. There are.

AND there are hypocrites at the grocery store, school, the gym, the office, the bar, and everywhere else you go.

The enemy WANTS you to give up on church and the whole idea of “church.”

You still go to these other places even though there are hypocrites there.

So please, please don’t let a church building be THE one place you stop going because of this.

YOU may have something to share with people that nobody else has shared.

YOUR presence in a church building could be the VERY thing in which satan is MOST afraid! He’s the great deceiver. If you don’t think this could be true, then why would he work so hard to keep you out?