A few days ago, I wrote a post entitled, In Union, based on what the Lord revealed to me in the scripture above, and isn’t it funny how He ministers to us sometimes? You see, the revelation that I had planned to share with you regarding this verse turned into something else entirely, as I shared the new revelation He was giving me as I wrote. As I began to study this verse, I was captivated by its meaning…
Finally, grow powerful inunion with the Lord, inunion with His mighty strength!
I knew right away that the Lord was revealing something powerful to me about being inunion with Him, and I wanted to be sure that I fully understood what He was telling me. Therefore, I looked up the definition of union in dictionary.com, and read through each of the first fourteen definitions. As soon as I read the eleventh definition, I got excited, as thoughts exploded in my mind. Like multiple flashes from a camera, a revelation of the union God wants us to have with Him flashed brightly before my eyes… Continue reading In Union – Part 2→
I’ve always been a dreamer. I believe God created me to dream so that I could not only survive the pain of my youth, but also thrive, in spite of many obstacles. From the time I was a child, I was picked on and rejected by my peers, my teachers and my family. I lived in fear and loneliness, and you would think that I would be miserable, but I wasn’t.
You see, God blessed me with hope and dreams. I could be anywhere, in almost any sort of situation, and be able to imagine a better life and a better world. I would dream of ways that I could escape the situation I was in. And the Lord blessed me with perseverance as well. No matter how many times I got knocked down, no matter how many times I was beat or punished, I would still dream of a better life. I still hoped for something better, and I believed it would happen.
At sixteen, life was hard. In order to “teach me” how to drive better, my stepfather would take me for rides in our old green Pontiac Bonneville station wagon, and I would have to sit on his lap, while he gyrated and breathed heavily beneath me. I hated it. Like any teenager that age, I desperately wanted to learn how to drive, but the cost was much too high…
I had all kinds of dreams. I loved to sing, and I would envision myself on stage, singing to millions of adoring fans… I planned to start out as a cosmetologist to the stars, and then Donny Osmond, my true love, would come to me and as I styled his hair, he would fall madly, passionately in love with me, and he would rescue me and marry me, taking me on stage with him… I dreamed that one day, my birth father, my Daddy John, (a man that I had only seen a handful of times) would come swooping in, like a knight in shining armor and rescue me from the life I was living… I dreamed that my mother would stand up for me and leave my stepfather, taking my sister and me away, to start a new life…
Did any of those dreams that I envisioned at sixteen come true? No… not a single one of those dreams came true. However, I got something so much better. You see, three years later, when I was nineteen years old, after spending twenty-one days on the psychiatric ward of a local hospital, I went to work at the jewelry counter of a chain store called Ames Department Store. It was there that I met a hard working young man who became my husband just a few months later.
This young man was my hero… my rescuer. After dating for only five months, we got married, two days before my twentieth birthday. My mother and stepfather predicted that the marriage would never last more than six months… I’m also happy to report that none of their predictions for my life came true either.
You see, I have been married to that same young man, (who is no longer so young) for more than thirty-one years, and he is still my hero. Many times over the years, I have had to face changes, and my husband has been there by my side, encouraging and believing in me. When the Lord led me to go to school and get my associate’s degree in ministry, my husband, who does not yet know Christ personally, was with me, encouraging me to go for my dreams, believing that I could do it. When I told him of my dream to write a book recently, a dream that I had kept secret for many years, he didn’t laugh at me. He believed I could accomplish it.
I’ve faced many difficult times since I was sixteen years old, but I give thanks to God, who has given me hope in the midst of trials… I give thanks to the God, who has given me dreams for the future… I give thanks to the God, who has held me in the palm of His hand, protecting me and guarding me, ensuring that I would become everything that He created me to be.
Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. (Ephesians 3:20 NLT)
This week, we’re challenging you to explore how different narrative modes affect your writing.
Dear Dr. Phil,
Please allow me to express my sincere apologies to you one more time. I can assure you that when I was backing out of my parking place, I had no idea that there was anyone behind me, and I certainly had no idea that someone was you! I would never intentionally hurt or back over anyone, so you can imagine my dismay, when I heard the horrible thud, immediately followed by your painful shrieks.
Again, I humbly ask for your forgiveness. I know that I hurt you, but what you may not realize, is that I too, was traumatized. I haven’t been able to get a good night’s rest since that tragic accident. I keep having the same recurring nightmare of you flailing around on the pavement, wailing in the same horrible, high-pitched way you did when I backed over you with my car. It’s just horrible!
I’m so ashamed, and I feel really foolish for asking this, especially after the pain that I’ve caused you, but Dr. Phil, is there any way that you would consider helping me recover from this trauma? I really would appreciate it.
“Ladies and gentlemen, can you believe this? Can any of you wrap your mind around the horror I suffered at this woman’s hands? Or should I say her car?
“Picture this, if you will… I was walking across the parking lot after stopping off at the grocery store for a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, feeling rather pleased with myself, because for once, I had gotten everything on the list that Robin had requested.”
“Excuse me, Phil! Hon, excuse me,” Robin interrupted, raising her hand and wriggling in her seat as she sought her husband’s attention.
Dr. Phil looked over at his wife with raised eyebrows, irritation in his voice at this interruption, as he responded to Robin, “Yes, hon?”
“I can’t believe she would interrupt me in the middle of a live show after all I’ve been through,” he thought to himself.
Robin smiled sweetly, thinking, “He’s such a sweetheart, but bless his heart, he can’t remember squat.”
“I just wanted to make sure we tell everything accurately,” she said. “Because you actually didn’t get everything on my list. I also asked you to get me some Excedrin for my headache, but you forgot that.”
“Are you kidding me?” Phil expostulated loudly. “You interrupted my dialogue to tell me that? After all the agony I’ve been through?”
Robin’s sweet countenance fell, as she glared at her irate husband, “After all the agony you’ve been through? What about me? Do you know what this has been like for me? There I was, in the midst of a terrible migraine headache, and the police show up at the door to tell me that you’ve been run over! So I had to get myself together and rush to the hospital, while still in the midst of a painful migraine. And did you show any sympathy or consideration for my pain? No, you just laid there on the gurney, screaming and hollering and moaning and groaning, like you were going to die, you big baby!”
Looking straight at the cameras, Dr. Phil responded, “And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Men, consider this a learning experience, when your wife interrupts you in the midst of your work, remember to smile at her and agree, because if you snap at her, you could suffer for weeks, like I’ve got a feeling I’m about to do.”
“I’m sorry, Robin, you’re right. I did forget to get your Excedrin.”
“What a sanctimonious jerk,” Robin thought, as she smiled sweetly at Dr. Phil and said, “That’s okay, honey. I love you.”
“Now, ladies and gentlemen, as I was saying before, my wife reminded me of my forgetfulness, can you place yourself in my shoes? I was minding my own business, when this woman negligently throws her car into reverse and backs over me, knocking me off my feet, and leaving me in excruciating pain. And I have to tell you my friends, that’s not even the worst of it.
“I’m sure you’ve all seen the terrible pictures on the news broadcasts and all over the internet. Stupid paparazzi! Someone even recorded my screams of pain, and now there’s this embarrassing YouTube video that’s gone viral. How many of you have seen it? That’s what I was afraid of.
“And now, this woman has written a letter, asking for my help. What would you do?
“When I first read her letter, I was taken aback. I couldn’t imagine anyone having the nerve to back over someone and then ask that person for help. But there was something in the letter that just kept drawing me back to it, and the more I read it, the more interested I was in discovering what kind of person could be so stupid as to back up over someone and then expect him to help her get over the strain of it.
“Are you as curious as I was? Good, well then, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to ‘Jane Doe.’ By the way, just so everyone is clear about this, ‘Jane Doe’ is just a pseudonym we’ve chosen for the woman who almost killed me. Come on out, ‘Jane.'”
After the introduction I just heard, I questioned my sanity in asking for help from Dr. Phil. It seemed very likely that he was about to throw me under the bus (no pun intended) for accidentally backing over him. As I walked on the stage and saw the devilish gleam in his eyes, and that nasty smirk on his face, I quickly looked away. My heart was nearly pounding out of my chest. I looked at the curious faces in the audience, and then my glance caught the sympathetic look on Robin’s face. In her eyes I saw pity and compassion for me. It was obvious that she already knew something that I was just beginning to understand, as I looked into Dr. Phil’s eyes, which looked back at me with undisguised hatred in them.
It was that look that settled the matter in my mind. Dr. Phil wasn’t interested in helping me. He wanted to heap his vengeance on me, and it was very likely that I would be defamed and ridiculed at best, and painted as a wicked villain at the worst. As I quickly sorted the pros and cons in my mind, I made my decision and turned tail and ran.
I ran as fast as I could run off the stage, grabbed my purse from the green room, and ran into the parking lot, where already, a man with a camera followed me in close pursuit, along with Dr. Phil. There was no way I was going to let them catch me. “I’ll just have to live with the nightmares,” I thought as I hurriedly jumped into my car, throwing it into reverse. And then suddenly, I heard a horrible “thud” followed by the loud, high-pitched wailing of Dr. Phil. “Oh man! Can anyone say ‘Groundhog Day’?”
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NLT)
What a word Jesus spoke here! As I read this, I think about all of the people who lost their life savings in the Bernie Madoff scandal. For years and years, they were storing up treasures, only to find out that the one they trusted to invest their money was in reality, living off their money and investing in no one but himself. People were outraged, angry and saddened to discover they had nothing after all of those years of investing.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I don’t sympathize with these people, because I do, and I certainly don’t want you to think that I excuse what Bernie Madoff did, because there was no excuse for his lying and thievery.
However, I also have to point out that one thing I’ve learned in life is that if something seems too good to be true, it’s usually a scam. Also, while I sympathize with the people who lost millions of dollars, I’d like to pose a question. Is it possible that it was not Bernard Madoff who deceived them, but their own greed?
While I listened to people who had been cheated out of their life savings on television, I was saddened for them on a couple of different levels. Firstly, it pained me to see their hurt and fear, caused by the loss of their life savings. Where before, they had such confidence and their plans and goals for retirement set before them, now they were fearful of what the future would bring… You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail. (Proverbs 19:21 NLT) It seemed that their treasures were stored up here on earth, and thieves had broken in and stolen it, leaving them penniless and without hope.
This brings me to the other reason I was saddened by this scandal. Many, no most of the people I saw who were personally affected by this scam were filled with bitterness and anger, because they felt that Bernie Madoff had stolen their future and all of their hope. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT) How sad to think that their only treasure was the money that they had saved – the money that was stolen from them.
Beloved, what is it that you treasure? I realize that we all need money for paying bills, buying food, clothing and paying for a roof over our heads, but did you ever stop to think of what you would do if you lost it all? Who would you turn to?
I’ve had reason to think about these very things over the last few months, since I’ve been out of work on short-term disability. As soon as I received word that I would not be able to return to work until the doctor released me to full duty, I realized that I would not be able to pay for my car anymore, so I turned it into the bank that had financed it.
They were shocked, because I had a high credit rating, and I had never missed a payment, and they were very kind to me, but the fact remained that I could no longer afford to make payments on this car with no income. Now I have to tell you, I really liked my car. It was a 2010 Ford Fusion and it was loaded! It had leather interior, ambient lighting, sync – the works! It was the first car that I ever had that was exactly what I wanted, and I really, really, really liked it. And yet, as much as I liked my car, I can honestly tell you that I didn’t love it. You see, I enjoyed it while I had it, but it wasn’t hard for me to let it go, because that’s not where my treasure is. 🙂
The late Corrie Ten Boom once said to Chuck Swindoll, “I’ve learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me!” I like that, because it is true.
So now, I find myself having to trust in the Lord to supply for my husband’s and my needs, because I don’t have a steady income coming in now… But really, when I was working full-time, isn’t that what I was doing anyway? He was the one who provided me with the job and the skills necessary to do my job, so you see, my employer wasn’t the one taking care of me – God was.
And now, I really get to see how He is providing for my needs, and you know what? I’m not starving and we still have a roof over our heads. In fact, I’ve watched the Lord move people to help me, without me having to say a word about my circumstances. You see, He is my treasure, and though my circumstances seem bad, (my back is in almost constant pain and my finances are a wreck right now) He has been using this for my good. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.
You see, early on He told me that these physical issues I’m dealing with are not an attack from the devil. He is using this to answer my prayers. I was the one who prayed that I would be able to pay all of my debts off (and thanks to an unsolicited gift from someone who loves me, I hope to be entirely debt free in the next couple of weeks), and this is His answer to that prayer. I was also the one who prayed for more time to devote to Him, to minister full-time and to write a book.
Every one of my prayers are being answered, so I can’t feel sorry for myself because of the pain I feel, or because we don’t have any extra money. My God is providing for all of my needs. 🙂
Therefore brothers and sisters in the Lord, be encouraged, and don’t store up earthly treasures. They will only rot or corrode, or get stolen from you. Instead, Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth. (Colossians 3:2 NLT)… And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 NLT)