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Archive for the ‘Enlightenment’ Category

Our Provider

(Audio Version) I pondered if God would provide again.

He showed me a squirrel, sitting on top of the fence, feasting on a hickory nut.

I pondered if God would provide again.

He showed me two blue birds fluttering from tree to tree.

I pondered if God would provide again.

I saw a butterfly, lighting on a pool of water, with plenty to drink.

I pondered if God would provide again.

A bumblebee landed on a flowering bush.

I pondered if God would provide again.

And He reminded me.

 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not worth much more than they?” 


 Matthew 6:26

 Every day should be Memorial Day!  

 As we honor, and always remember, our military men and women,

let us also be reminded that

God is our Foundation, our Rock and Redeemer, an ever-present help in trouble.

 
“ Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

 How does He remind you?

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Moaning and Groaning

          It’s an identifiable sound that makes my heart skip a beat or beat a little faster depending on its source. I’m not sure I can even accurately describe it.  It’s not the sort of sound that comes from someone who just scaled a few flights of steps.  That’s more of a huff and puff heavy breathing.  It’s not the sound that you hear at the end of an exercise class.  That’s more of a “Thank God, it’s over,” but “oh how good I feel,” sort of sound. 

          This is a deep, intentional breath, followed by an exhalation, partnered with a frustrated noise that seems to imply something is just not going your way.

          I recently heard a teacher say, “Even a sigh is a sign of displeasure with your life.”  

            And I live in a house with a husband and son who sigh.

          Now, wait a second.  Let me get the PLANK out of my own eye and tell you I’m a complainer!  I’m also a people pleaser to a FAULT.  And, when I can’t please all the people all the time, I complain about the amount of effort I put into TRYING to please them.

          But let’s get back to the faults in my family. 🙂

          When my son sighs, my heart skips a beat as my mind quickly scans what could possibly be wrong.  I frequently discover he’s just frustrated because he wants to hurry and get his homework done…or his dad asked him to unload the dishwasher…or just because he’s bored and the weekend is almost over.

          The release of a deep sigh surely makes him feel better.  On the other hand, my pulse rate and stress level shoot straight up.  He walks away oblivious to any change in room temperature or Mom’s mood.

          When my husband sighs, my heart-speed accelerates.  It may be associated with 17 years as his soul mate.  His sigh translates into my displeasure.  Whatever it is, it freaks me out and puts me into a pint-sized panic until I discover the source of what I perceive to be his discomfort.

          He will frequently say, “Oh, there’s nothing wrong.  I was just taking a deep breath.”

          He’s sitting beside me right now and he just sighed!  So I said “Why did you just sigh?”  He replied, “ I didn’t know that I did.” OMG!   He recently had a total knee replacement and as I write this, we are at the doctor’s office.  My heart just raced through a whole scenario of possibilities…pain…impatience…frustration.  Nope he’s completely oblivious!

          IT MAKES ME CRAZY!

          I would have to be crazy to be telling you these things.  But remember, I’m a complainer. 🙂

          So that’s the situation.  I’m not sure how to change any of it.  I just needed a way to return my heart rate to normal, and writing sometimes works. 

We live in a society of people who sigh and complain.

But, God is aware of what’s going on.

2 Corinthians 5:4 says…

While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh…”

          My husband’s response to this post is, “Every time you complain, we sigh.”  I didn’t hit him in front of all the people in the waiting room, because you must have a  sense of humor to stay married this long.    I’m even going to quit complaining about his sighing,  just long enough, to write a little poem.  

          In the spirit of  Dr. Seuss with my best Eeyore voice…

Do you moan and groan?

Or are you quiet as a mouse?

Is it just the other people

who sigh in your house?

Are you a complainer?

This I can’t deny.

Could the drip, drip of my words

Be the reason that they sigh?

(Don’t tell  them I said this but NO!!!  I am NOT the reason :-))

And thank God, one of these days none of us will moan, groan or complain.

2 Corinthians 5:8 says…

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved


Coffee Connection

          The woman juggling two cups of coffee, while trying to wrangle a toddler out the door and back to the car, was way past caring about her appearance.  The faded blue sweat suit, picked and pulled by too many outings, was the least of her concerns.  She was jockeying for position with those dressed in business suits on manic missions of self-importance.  The coffee shop was all a flutter with a few retirees, talking way louder than they should, along with the teleporting career climbers, who were here to be seen more than they were in a hurry to be served.  They were purchasing the most expensive coffees and stopping to speak to all the right people.  A few loners straggled in looking less secure, and I guess this is the category into which I fit, or I doubt I would have been sitting there analyzing each person who walked through the door.

          A group of exercise singles made the grandest entrance as heads turned, eyes stared, and mouths dropped open.  These twenty-somethings looked fabulous.  The level of confidence, with which they carried themselves across the room and up to the counter, confirmed for everyone watching that they knew how good they looked.

          It was a room full of people and those not watching each other were all on mobile devices…talking…texting…surfing.  Everyone looked important.  And some even sounded important as they recognized one another and stood for an obligatory handshake or a shoulder touching hug. Of course, these connections lasted only until one of their mobile devices distracted them from the social encounter at hand.  Then, whoever was on the other end must have been really special, because the “in-person” connection was sacrificed – for the digital one.

          We all want a connection. We want to matter, to be important. We want acceptance.  We want a divine empowerment…an anointing to do the things we were placed on this earth to do.  But we look to other people to give us the “thumbs up” and confirm for us that they “like” the direction in which we are headed.

          Just last night, my son asked if his dad and I would be okay if he decided to become an agent for the FBI.  As a quick — “Oh my God, that would be dangerous” — thought flew through my mind, I smiled my best loving mama smile, and with a beating heart, said, “Certainly we would.”  Okay, maybe I’m not so certain, but I have a way of discouraging people from doing things I don’t want them to do.  So, for once, I thought it best to tame my tongue and let his mind go wherever God leads.  God has a plan and a purpose for my son’s life, as He does for all of us.  But while we are all out furiously searching for acceptance, approval and all the right relationships, God says simply, “Come to me.”  He has the answers, the solutions, even the formula for success.  We don’t have to have the latest cell phone to reach Him and he won’t stop talking to answer a text.

      

         

       

           Okay, this is where my husband and son might say, “Don’t listen to her.  She is always talking, texting, and on the computer.”  And, they are right.  But I’m usually preaching to myself when I’m writing to you.  So, to you and to me, let’s try to take some time this week just to sit in His presence.  Ask God what we should do next.  Ask Him where we should go, who we should see, what He has planned.  And then wait, watch and listen, to see what He tells us.  It will be far more valuable, far more insightful and far more tailor-made for our needs than any advice another person could give us.

          Author and teacher Beth Moore says in the study, “Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed”, that we can’t complete our calling on our own, it’s beyond our natural abilities.

          God is the one who has a plan for our lives and He alone has the blueprint for completion. 

Ask God for the kind of success that says to all those around you… 

 “It has to be HIM because, otherwise, there’s no explanation.”

 In 2 Samuel 7:8-9 

 God said to David,

“I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth.”

 When I read that verse, it says to me that He can take us out of the most obscure place, teach us to quit following the people who are all just following each other, and do great things in our lives.

God’s blessings are not reserved for the men and women of the Bible, He has plenty of favor He wants to pour out on us!

He’s the ultimate connection and He’s the one we need.

🙂

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

A Helping Hand

            There is a phenomenon of social interaction known affectionately                 as The Nashville Handshake.”  It does not include a toothless grin, as some might perceive our southern stereotypical status, but rather a shifting of the eyes beyond the person you are greeting.  It’s a casual glance to see if someone more important has entered the room…an effort to eye someone with celebrity status, power, prestige or possibly with potential career building capabilities. 

          It seems we weren’t the first to coin the concept.

Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes. And suppose a poor man in worn-out clothes also comes in. Would you show special attention to the one who is wearing fine clothes? Would you say, “Here’s a good seat for you”? Would you say to the poor person, “You stand there”? Or “Sit on the floor by my feet”?  If you would, aren’t you treating some people better than others? Aren’t you like judges who have evil thoughts?

But you have put poor people down. Aren’t rich people taking advantage of you? Aren’t they dragging you into court?  Aren’t they speaking evil things against the worthy name of Jesus? Remember, you belong to him.

            I suspect there are endless examples of why treating people with favoritism can backfire on the most well-intentioned person.  Three come quickly to my mind. 

          One happened several years ago when we became part of an “in group.”   It consisted of popular, powerful and wealthy men and women in the process of working to build a new meaningful project.  Okay, let me come totally clean.  We weren’t completely “in” the “in group,” but we were welcomed on the periphery where many of the volunteers spent their time.  We were comfortable there and had a seat up close to the sidelines when it came time to watch the show.

            There were actually two groups.  Group one consisted of the founder, leader and his administrative staff.  Group two was a much larger body of overseers and their wives.    I’m not sure who tried to impress who more.  There was a lot of “Here’s a good seat for you” kind of stuff going on.  Eventually the two groups imploded in a flash fire of self-importance and pride.  I don’t think anyone was ever dragged into court but there were a few dragged through the mud.  It didn’t matter which side you were watching, or whose version you were hearing, it was UGLY!  People were hurt, property was lost, reputations were severely damaged and the house divided could not stand.

           It’s been many years since then and from our current view, in the cheap seats, it doesn’t appear as if either side has ever really recovered.

          The second situation was somewhat similar.   But there were only two primary players.   The leader and the nemisis, who wasn’t a celebrity but was married to one.  We were way out of the loop, as were a lot of other people, until the walls inevitably came crumbling down.  Then, there was an effort to garner support, and those on the outside were invited in.  Pride and position, once again, proved to be powerful tools of division.   The person sitting in the front row seat” eventually won the war; the leader left and the doors closed.  One side seems to have survived while the other still struggles to recover and begin again.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

          God has warned us to watch out, yet we still cast our eyes on others, looking for opportunities that will be beneficial. Sometimes…we get burned. 

          The most recent example I have seen, happened in a family.   A house of cards, with enough smoke and mirrors to look like The Lives of the Rich and Famous, prompted a few people to turn their heads and look that way.  The favored were ushered in and given priority seating.  But things are not always as they appear.  When their silver spoon started to tarnish, they turned to bite the very hand that fed them.  I’d like to say those of us who were watching were surprised, but…not so much.  The Bible is right.   Some people will accept your hospitality and then turn on you when things get tough.

If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else for each one should carry their own load.

          I am not immune from name dropping and I have spent my share of time taking part in “The Nashville Handshake.”  God has blessed me with many opportunities and I have met a few powerful people.  I admit, there have been times when knowing the right person helped me get things done; but not one of those associations ever made me rich, famous or more important.   

          God is my provider.  He alone is my refuge, an ever present help in trouble and a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

          So, before I cast my eyes beyond the next person God places in my path… I pray that I always remember His words of wisdom:

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 

Who has God placed in your path? 

Do you see them, or are you looking past them?

 James 2: 3-4, 6-7, 8-11 and Proverbs 4:25

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

Silver Wings

           Light brown pigtails whipped in the wind as she sat in the backseat of the old ’66 Chevy Impala.  Dust from the gravel country road flew up in a cloud behind them, and the car outran it.  She had the window down, her arm propped up on the ledge, and a big smile on her face.  The backseat was all hers, and, from big rear speakers, the unmistakable voice of Merle Haggard, singing Silver Wings, drowned out all other sounds.

            She had never felt better.  She was still a kid, yet a little grown up.  In the company of her aunt and uncle, yet feeling she was out on her own.  She was a good girl, but, away from her parents, she was allowed to smoke and sneak a peek at a True Story magazine.  It was summertime and she was eleven.           

            It’s been a few decades since that day, but all I have to do is hear the sound of Merle’s voice, anytime, anywhere and the memories come flashing back.  Tears will always well up in my eyes, as I remember a time before life was tainted.  A time when I was innocent and full of wonder…where the world looked like a wonderful place from my eleven-year-old eyes. 

            The 8-track tape switched to Mama Tried and Merle told the story of a life so sad she couldn’t comprehend it; although she sensed what seemed like some sort of soul connection.  She empathized with his plight and she hurt for him.  But in that moment, while he sang of a “rebel child on a freight train leaving town”, she was still sitting safely in the backseat.  

            It was only a few years later when other people’s decisions would change her life.  She would go on to make poor choices of her own wishing, then, that silver wings would take her away. 

            Despite all I have done, I can’t comprehend the pain Merle Haggard pours into his music.  When I hear him sing, my heart still hurts for him.  

            Turning “21 in prison doing life without parolewas obviously not the end of his story.  He was paroled and went on to live a life, “…most men only dream of.”  He even received a presidential pardon.  But, apparently, none of it has ever been quite enough. 

            “There’s a feeling in my gut that says you haven’t written that one song yet, the one that’s going to live forever.  I’ll be satisfied only when I feel like I’ve written that song.” 

            Some might think a signature song like Okie from Muskogee would have been enough to fill the hole in his soul.  I used to think a successful career, the right award or the perfect person could do it for me.  But only God can do that for any of us.  He created us for relationship, and nothing will satisfy us, until we surrender to him.   

            Besides, Merle already sings a song with a message that transcends time.  He tells of a man named Leonard, who was… 

 “On his way to having what he wanted, just about as close as one could be, hey once he even followed Elvis Presley and he wrote a lot of country songs for me. But he laid it all aside to follow Jesus, for years he chose to let his music go, but preachin wasn’t really meant for Leonard, but how in the hell was Leonard supposed to know?  Well life began to twist its way around him, and I wondered how he carried such a load.  He came back again to try his luck in music and lost his wife and family on the road.  After that he seemed to bog down even deeper and I saw what booze and pills can really do.  And I wondered if I’d ever see him sober.  But I’d forgot about a friend that Leonard knew.” 

          It is never too late, we are never too lost.  God is always there waiting. 

“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” 

            All that we have done, no matter the magnitude, no matter how many times or how great the sin, all can be forgiven.  And, even after a life lived in rebellion, we can still come to him as innocent as that eleven-year-old child. 

He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     “Silver wings shining in the sunlight…silver wings, slowly fading out of sight.”

         

 

 

Quote taken from PBS American Masters Documentary: Merle Haggard “Learning to Live with Myself.”

Bible verses:  2 Peter 3:9 and Mark 10:14

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie. All Rights Reserved

Who Do You Want To Be?

          The question is raised almost as much as a single person is asked, “When are you going to get married?” or a married couple is asked, “Do you want to have children?”  My 13-year-old son is often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  I love waiting for his answer and anticipating what he might say. 

          Right now he wants to be a lawyer.  But that follows a few years of wanting to be a preacher like his Papaw, a rock-n-roll star, an NBA basketball player  or a FBI agent.  I personally think if he doesn’t settle on just one, there could be an interesting combination at work.

          Lately, I’ve been spending time with people who are on their second, third and fourth careers.  It seems sort of exciting that you can re-make yourself that many times.  So I started thinking…

          Who do I want to be if I ever grow up? 🙂

          What I finally came up with is a bucket list of character traits… rather than just a list of vacation trips I still want to take:

  • I want to be the person who listens, instead of the one who always talks
  • To be like the woman who doesn’t just think something good about someone, but actually takes the time to stop and tell them
  • Someone who smiles instead of frowns, because it’s just as easy to do one as the other
  • I want to fully recover from, and never return to, my “control-a-holic.” ways…because, given a chance or any encouragement at all, I will take the bull by the horns and run with it.  When God is in control, things run so much smoother.
  • I want to always remember that some of the wisest people I know don’t have college degrees, resumes or impressive bios
  • Give people the benefit of the doubt, because we all have issues, we all have baggage, we all have histories and not everyone has dug up the roots of their past
  • Be someone you can call on, count on and know I will be there if I can
  • A wife who lifts her husband up instead of finding ways to cut him down
  • A mother who adores her children and grandchildren
  • A daughter willing to tenderly take as much time for my parents as they did for me.
  • I want to pray for the needs of others more than I pray for myself
  • I want to live, love and laugh with all I’ve got!
  • I always want to remember that God has never let me down.  And, as long as I’m here, He still has a plan.

                            So if you don’t mind me asking…who do you still want to be?

 

“What we are is God’s gift to us.  What we become is our gift to God.”

Eleanor Powell

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

Some Smelly Socks

          A silly little saying can sometimes stick in my head longer than the words of wisdom from a deep theological study. 

           When I was a teenager, my friends and I had a catchphrase we would use whenever we were embarrassed.

            “I’m just gonna go crawl into my socks… and peep out.”

            It helps if you imagine it being said with a bit of a Southern drawl. 

           I most often found the saying useful after I had offered up my opinion and unsolicited advice to someone, then later found myself in the very same situation, reacting exactly as they had.  My sisters and sister-in-law can certainly testify here for all the times I questioned or criticized their parenting skills before becoming a mom myself.  And I fully acknowledge after this confession that some of my current friends are about to raise their hands in agreement that I should go get my socks.

           As a full-time mom for the last 13 years, finding time to read my Bible, study, pray and spend quiet time with God, has been a breeze.  The more often I relaxed on the front porch swing, in the big mama chair or in total hammock heaven, the more I thought everyone should be doing the same thing.  My working friends would drop behind in group Bible studies and I would think they were just slacking… succumbing to the pressure of a paycheck and giving God less time than He deserved.  But now, here I am, operating most days on four hours of sleep, praying in the car on the way to work, grabbing a quick verse from my new daily devotional and looking longingly at the Beth Moore study collecting dust on the headboard of my bed. 

           While I miss the time I used to have with my family, I feel far more desperate for my quiet time with God.  But He did try to warn me.

           Before I walked reluctantly back into the working world, I kept seeing and hearing the word “sacrifice” in studies, on signs and in sermons.  Now that I can look back and sort of understand what was about to happen, the words “self righteous” are beginning to appear.  The words came to me again this morning while praying on my way to work.  The Spirit was pretty clear on how little I really comprehend the stress, struggles and tight schedules of other people’s lives.  I felt sad and sorry, though I still felt a little entitled.  That is one of the problems with our flesh… and a good God doesn’t want us to stay that way.

             So, it’s a Saturday and I’m at work.  But when I get home, I’m going to find a pair of socks and, if you look closely my friends, you will be able to see me peeping out.

 

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

Matthew 7:1 

Yep I see that a bit more clearly now. 

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.  Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Hebrews 4:15-16 

In addition to mercy and grace, what I need is more time to do that study.  But in honor of all working women  I’m going to try to keep quiet about that for a little while.

🙂

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Behind the Firewall

Job 29:24

“When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it;

the light of my face was precious to them.” 

            When you pray for God’s provision, you can’t always predict how He might provide.  I am partial to those times when money just unexpectedly shows up in the mail.  But as soon as I start counting on that happening again, of course, it doesn’t.  If I am still able to muster up the smallest measure of faith, I eventually find that I am fascinated by God’s plan and so glad He didn’t follow mine.

            Thus, I recently found myself in a situation I had not expected.  Our city was just about to recover from historic flooding when tornadoes, straight-line winds and more flooding hit many of the surrounding areas.  It was one of the largest scale disasters ever recorded here and resulted in multitudes of rescue and recovery missions.  Federal and State disaster officials moved in and set up shop.  It wasn’t like setting up camp, but more like creating a major corporation.  It takes a massive machine to process the paperwork when thousands of people have lost everything they have ever owned. 

            But after several weeks of working it all out, the relief operation begins winding down, and that’s where this part of the story starts: 

            We needed money!  Not your normal bill-paying family financial infusion, but a big chunk of extra cash to pay for a new contractual commitment. 

            So I needed a job…or a check in the mail…and I got the job. 

            As the disaster workers began to wrap up the details in order to leave our area, a few locals were hired to come in and help out during the temporary transition.  What I expected to see inside the secure facility were a few hundred worn out and weary workers limping along until the last leg of their journey.  What I actually saw were some of the happiest people I have ever encountered. 

            “I think it comes from the top,” one employee suggested when asked for an explanation.  She must have been right because it wasn’t long before I witnessed the big boss walking around each room, calling every person by name and, not only allowing them to forgo all the official titles, but letting them use his nickname.  He was smiling, laughing and making sure everyone was having a little fun.

             It seems happiness is contagious and smiles apparently spread.  🙂 

            There is a passion in this place to help those who can’t help themselves.  And it comes with a sacrifice.  In order to assist survivors, the employees have left homes, husbands, wives, children and pets.  Most all of them are from out-of-state and have been on the clock for 12 hours a day… seven days a week… not just for a few weeks, but  for months.  

          They still smile big smiles; happy smiles…the kind where your eyes work into the equation and you can tell a genuine smile from a forced or fake one.   This secret society of public servants comes in all ages, races and religions, and I think they prove that with properly placed priorities there is provision.

            In the natural, their mind-set doesn’t seem to make sense.  How could they really be happy under these conditions?

               But, remember, they believe it comes from the top.

              They all take an oath of office to faithfully uphold the Constitution.  And, regardless of how quickly our country appears to be forgetting, they all still believe in serving “one nation under God.”

          In a world plagued with rising unemployment, they know their jobs are only temporary.  In fact, it is their mission, upon arriving at a disaster site, to work their way out of a job.  It’s how they help.   It’s how they measure success.  When the people no longer need them, they move on.  

          They can’t predict how God will provide for them the next time, but they trust He will have another assignment.  When they get the call, it will likely mean homes have been destroyed and lives have been shattered. They will drop everything they are doing and rush in to an area that everyone else is trying to escape.  

          When I took this job, I thought it was about money. We had prayed for provision and we believe God is answering our prayers.  But, now, I am far more intrigued  by God’s plan to provide a new perspective.

          I have learned that is it is not unusual for these people to be publicly criticized or ridiculed for what doesn’t happen in the recovery of a disaster zone rather than what does happen.  Hurting people sometimes lash out and hurt other people.  But these public servants seem to understand.  And, they keep going from one location… to another… always looking for the next person to help…still smiling…still happy… because it does come from the Top.  God has created us to find joy in giving, to find joy in serving, and to find joy in knowing we have made a difference. 

          At the end of the day, happiness is contagious and smiles spread.  When you pray for God’s provision, you can’t always know how He will provide. But you can always know that He will!   

Proverbs 15:15

“All the days of the oppressed are wretched,

but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.”           

Romans: 12:6-8

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.  If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage then give encouragement; if it is giving then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”   

 “The word joy is sprinkled all over the New Testament, not as something topping the cupcakes of worldly lusts or entertainment, but falling upon the hearts of men and women whose lives are caught up in who God is and what He is doing”  

~Kelly Minter, The Fitting Room

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

Age is just a Number!

          We have a saying around our house that “Pink is just a color.”  Our son spoke those words at age nine after discovering his 18-year-old sister’s pink kayak would navigate the river waters much smoother than the blue one he just “had” to have. 

            When I woke up last week as a 50-year-old woman, and laughed at the very thought of it, one of the first things that went through my mind was “Age is just a number.”  I flipped on the morning news and they were actually doing a segment called Minivan Mom turns 40.  I laughed again.  As I sat there staring at the television, I realized I was now ten years older than the woman being interviewed.   She had previously set a boundary for herself, based on what she was willing to do or not do, to stop the aging process.  But as the wrinkles worked their way around her face, she changed her mind, and was now  boasting that she would in fact bet on Botox.   

          Now, I’m a big fan of refusing to age gracefully and fighting it every step of the way.  But it seems we might need fewer miracle cures if we didn’t always worry and complain about how old we are, how bad we feel, what hurts, or all the things that are wrong with us.

            Words have power!

            Our son, who says “Pink is just a color,” also came to me one day and said, “You know Mom, ten people can say nice things to you.  But if one person says something mean or bad it’s all you really remember the rest of the day.”  So, so, true.

            Words have power!  

            But who speaks negative words over us more than we do?  I’m too skinny,  I’m too fat, my arms are flabby, I am such an idiot, I’m so forgetful, I’m getting old, I feel terrible, I have a headache, my back hurts, my knees ache…you know what I mean.  Don’t get me wrong, I have both feet in this boat too.  I do try to REMIND myself as OFTEN as possible that God spoke the world into existence.  His words have the Ultimate Power.  He didn’t just think “Let there be light,” He spoke it.  He didn’t just ponder in his heart, “Let us make man in Our image,” He said it.  All throughout the Bible, there are examples of healings by Jesus and the apostles where words were spoken over the people who were sick.  Jesus raised the dead with words.  In the Old Testament, a father’s spoken blessing carried so much weight that, once said, it couldn’t be recanted. 

            Words have power!  

            Now you may be wondering how a story about age ends up being about words.  I was sort of wondering that myself.  But a birthday has No Power over me.  It’s the words I say to myself that will determine if I’m a young, energetic, just getting started 50… or an almost ready for rocking chair retirement half-century. 

            Words have power!

            And I am here to testify, Age is just a number! 🙂

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,

Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.”

Proverbs 16:24

**Despite a wonderful, “real surprise” party thrown by my husband, son, family and friends, my mind kept returning for days afterwards to the fact the house hadn’t been cleaned for guests nor the lawn mowed.  I spoke those words over and over until I began to feel burdened by what “didn’t happen” rather than joyful for “what did.”  I am trying to take those thoughts captive and further tame my tongue.  After all, I did ask God that very morning to help me with my control issues. **

🙂

Have a wonderful week.  Say something nice to yourself, lift someone up encourage those around you.

“From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things…”

Proverbs 12:14 

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

 

Dear Abby Dear Abby

            Remember Dear Abby? 

            Ask Ann Landers? 

            Questions on proper in-law etiquette, noisy neighbors and philandering spouses peppered news papers all across the country.  The twin sisters could turn out a response in a couple of paragraphs and their opinions carried weight around the world.  

            It would be statistically interesting to see how many marriages were saved, the number of divorces finalized and apologies accepted based solely on the advice of the sisters.  If you could wait a few weeks and risk the overwhelming odds of your letter being chosen, I guess it was a logical way to learn what you should do.  Better yet, if you could just find your problem mimicked in someone else’s life, then you could piggy-back off of their solicited solution.  If Abby and Ann weren’t accessible enough, family members and friends have usually been willing to offer up advice.  Unfortunately, “Going to the phone, before going to the Throne,” (thank you Joyce Meyer for that quote) can get you in trouble.  While we can usually count on family and friends for their opinions, they are often pre-programmed to tell us what we want to hear…or they offer advice slightly slanted by their own particular experiences.  I am sometimes guilty of purposely selecting whose advice I seek, knowing in advance they are likely to give me the answer I want. 

            There are all sorts of examples on seeking advice in the Bible…some turn out well and others not so much.  Proverbs 24:6 says, “Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisors.”  I like that one.  It’s always seemed like a good idea to me, to ask around before getting yourself into a tight situation, especially to find out if you have anyone on your side.  And if you already have some ideas and plans formulated in your mind, you might want to pull up Proverbs 16:3  “Commit to the Lord everything you do, then your plans will succeed.”  Of course you have to get that “commit” part first.  It doesn’t work after the fact.  Then, there is the foundational fool-proof piece of advice Jesus gives us in Matthew 6:33  “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”   I have tested and tried that verse many times and am living proof that it is true and effective.

            But just yesterday a friend asked my advice on a risky decision she was about to make.  It’s easy to say “Go for it” or “Just do it” when you’re NOT the one standing on the edge of a cliff, grabbing hold of an old rope and preparing to launch yourself out over a pile of jagged rocks to the icy river below.  When I saw her apprehension, I should have told her to stop and pray about it.  But I egged her on.  I wanted her to do it because I had done it, and well, the kids thirty and forty years younger than us had done it.  Her success would carry a set of bragging rights for the two of us while the other adults sat safely in their kayaks watching from the shallow water. 

            So she jumped.  It didn’t go well.  I immediately found myself praying she would be okay as I looked down into the water and we exchanged horrified facial expressions.  A  few bumps, a couple of bruises, some scratches, scrapes, cuts, a little wounded pride with lots of “I should have known betters” and we floated on down the river.

            I suspect she might think twice about trusting my advice again on such life and death situations.  But if there is a next time, I hope I won’t miss the opportunity to encourage her to overlook my opinion, and take her question straight to the Top!

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;

He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22

            Of course, even if she had asked Dear Abby or Ann Landers, I suspect the sisters would have sided with me and said:

 “You only live once.  Jump!”

Who do you count on to give you advice?

Who counts on you for answers? 

These may be questions worth contemplating. 🙂 

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

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