Have You Ever Wondered

If it was easy, we’d never grow, we’d never discover ourselves, we’d never follow the path that He’s guiding us on. How do we make the choices of love, careers, friends, and even our lifestyle. Some people seem to be born with the golden spoon, everything they say or do, flawless, money to spend, money to burn, the home that is worth millions, and a life that has others green with envy.While others live paycheck to paycheck, always working hard for every penny, never knowing if they’ll have enough for groceries, never enough extra in the paycheck to purchase extra or even pay for the unexpected whether it’s health, vehicle or home related.

How does this happen, how is this determined? I’ll never forget the time I listened to two men tell their stories of how they tithe. It was very interesting to listen to the older man, who had worked hard all of his life to provide for his family. He and his wife lived a comfortable life, their children grown and on their own; however, what was interesting is that this man didn’t feel it was necessary to purchase lavish homes, clothes or vehicles, nor did his family take lavish trips. Instead, he talked about loading the family into the station wagon, how his wife would pack food into the picnic basket and off they would go to enjoy time together, as a family.

Now the younger man’s story was opposite, he was a man of wealth, someone who craved a lavish home, clothes, vehicles and trips; not so much quality family time. The younger man most definitely hadn’t seen hardship nor a lack of income, he even took a moment to share that his wife always told him “not to worry, we’re very well off”. His story of tithing was not one of sacrifice or going without, his one was of his needs are first, everything else comes after.

Most of the audience reacted the same, truly not knowing if the younger man even realized what he was saying. I found myself walking out of the building in silence, not sharing my thoughts with anyone as I could only pray that God shed some light on this man’s life.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have.

 

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The Search

What should be a normal summer, it’s not. You’ve been given an unpaid vacation; one that you weren’t prepared for, one that you were thrown into. But how to keep things normal? There is nothing normal about this. Seriously, who yanks the carpet out from under another person without knowing a family is now in peril, that children’s lives have been turned upside down?

It’s difficult to not dwell on the actions of others that have sent your world spinning out of control; to focus on the task ahead is difficult, almost daunting. Now what? Where to start? Sure there are lots and lots of online postings from employers hiring. You’re diverse, quite the background, achievements and work experience; however, you know this will be a strike against you as someone with your skill level doesn’t find a job by accident, you have to know someone.

You put out feelers, make contact after contact with colleagues. You’re not used to asking for help and are worried at how this will be received. A few respond with keeping their ears open, how they’ll let you know if something crosses their desk, while others actively send you job postings they’ve learned of. It’s overwhelming, almost scary to think that you’ve shared with others what you’re going through.

Philippians 4:6-7:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

The Pain

The pain of having your job ripped from you is devastating; it leaves a hole in your heart. At first you’re in shock, not sure if this is really happening or if you’re dreaming. And then it hits, like a lightening bolt ripping through your being. Stunned, you ask why followed by what did I do wrong? The answer makes you hold back a scream, because someone you’ve never met, a person that sits in an ivory tower in a large city far far away has determined that not only you, but anyone that holds the same position across the country isn’t needed, that all of your hard work, success for the company and personal sacrifices have gone unnoticed; they aren’t important, you aren’t important.

You find yourself stumbling to safety, the safety of anywhere that isn’t here. Your eyes are filled with tears, your mind racing with the unknown… what now, what am I going to do, how will I pay my bills or support my family? To add insult to injury there isn’t a severance package, just a paycheck for forty hours; however, you were told that you would get paid for a full day even though you were being dismissed at 4 p.m. because the person you’ve never met determined to end things this way; to throw you away like garbage.

At first you wonder how you didn’t see this coming. You’ve learned that your supervisor along with the regional team have known for months that your position would be eliminated, and yet they said nothing; not even out of courtesy for your family. The pain grows thinking of how you trusted them, how you were never anything but honest with them, but yet they were not with you.

Now you have to scramble. You haven’t updated your resume for several years. Why would you since you love your job, truly enjoy where you work, and hadn’t thought of looking for a new position anywhere else. Thankfully you only need to add one position to your resume for it to be current, but where to look, and quietly you ask yourself who would hire me? How is my family going to survive?

Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Heavy Heart

Today I woke to hear that once again innocent people have been harmed. Without warning while going about their daily routine their lives were changed forever. My heart is heavy for those that lost their lives, those that were injured, and the families and friends that are affected by others actions. Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder.

It’s difficult to wrap my thoughts around the why, the who and the how. Why are there people in the world that spend their time thinking of ways to harm others, to show others that they’re tougher? Were these people bullied as children? Were their lives at home as children so miserable that they carry a grudge against the world, against people they’ve never met? Who are these people? What are they about and why is their only goal in life to harm others? How do they have so much time on their hands? How do they have so much power over others? Who has the time to sit around thinking of ways to show the world that they are bullies and will act without compassion or lack of respect for life.

Life is a gift, a gift from God. Our time on earth is precious and should not be wasted pursuing trivial or petty things. He is a loving God and what we do does matter to Him. He gave his only son for the lost, for sin, for us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Why are they so difficult?

We all know that person, the one we find “difficult” in one way or another. Have you ever wondered why you’re the one that deals with that person? Whether they’re selfish, argumentative, condescending or just simply rude, somehow they know how to create chaos, and drama surrounds them. They drain a person and their actions become tiring.

Why are we the one that deals with that person?  Is He asking us to handle something, is this an exercise to learn something, but what? It’s easy to respond, and not in a kind manner.

1 Peter 3:9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

 

The Threat…

Everyday I hear it… it’s real, not just words being thrown around. I’m never really sure if I should respond or just listen. How does it happen that one person has the audacity to subtly hint to others of the peril they face, and not because of their own actions, but due to those by others.

It’s baffling, and frustrating to hold on so tight as everything begins to fall apart. There isn’t a safety net. No one will pick up the pieces. No one will know about the threat. No one will stop the person doing wrong.

Psalms 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Don’t give in…

It’s difficult to not react, to not repay the wrong that is done to you, even when the attacks continue to come. For months I feel as if I’ve been in a battle, alone on the front facing many who believe that it’s their right to attack an innocent person as they cause harm to not only myself but so many others. Every day is a new battle, it’s tiring and it chips away at the strength it takes to champion and defend those that are innocent.

Prayer helps, it really does; however, the battle continues. I’ve asked numerous times why I’m subject to this, what is it that I’ve done or what am I supposed to learn… I don’t have an answer, I only know that I’ve suffered, my family has suffered as well others. But, seeking revenge or even the thought of retaliation isn’t an option; I’d suffer and not come through this as I must stay strong and move forward with good, not evil.

Romans 12:17-21: 17 If someone has done you wrong, do not repay him with a wrong. Try to do what everyone considers to be good. 18 Do everything possible on your part to live in peace with everybody. 19 Never take revenge, my friends, but instead let God’s anger do it. For the scripture says, “I will take revenge, I will pay back, says the Lord.” 20 Instead, as the scripture says: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them a drink; for by doing this you will make them burn with shame.” 21 Do not let evil defeat you; instead, conquer evil with good.