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.

Unanswered prayers…

Every day, it’s the same, seeking something that seems to be out of reach… financial stability, health, career, relationships. Why do these escape my grasp? Why isn’t everything in order, just as I need them to be? Or is it these will be in order when He feels the time is right?

It seems crazy, doesn’t it? Life should be simple, a job that pays the bills with something left over to put into your savings, a career where the possibilities are endless, a relationship that grows each day, and never a worry about your health faltering. Sounds like the perfect life, one that most wish for but never find as all of the pieces never quite fall into place.

My favorite Christian author has written about unanswered prayers, hitting the nail on the head, so to speak, with her words. All too often we forget that there is someone to help, not always in the way we think, but how He sees us needing His help when the time is right. She points out that no matter how rough it gets, by singing God praises we will receive His blessings.

I had to process those words and apply them to my life…

Years ago I worked for a Fortune 500 company. I really enjoyed going to work every day, I did well. My position, my salary, and benefits were good, and I was excited about the projects I was assigned. Things were good, each month there was always money left over, I worked well with everyone, my career was on the right path; however, I was naïve and without warning I found my amazing career spiraling out of control. It seemed as if every corner I turned the path was blocked, and I struggled as doors began to close. I was distraught and couldn’t understand what had happened, who had I wronged?

Finally a friend pulled me aside and let me know that they couldn’t stay quiet any longer, that I didn’t deserve being treated so poorly. My friend shared the story of how I hadn’t done anything wrong to warrant my downfall, that a small group of coworkers, two women, three men and a spouse of one of the women had formulated a plan months ago to force me out of the company; they wanted me gone.

I was devastated; I had no idea that these people despised me so much that they were willing to ruin my career and financial well-being. It was difficult for me to grasp how people that I worked with each day could be so cruel to sabotage my life right in front of my eyes because I was being recognized for my work that contributed greatly to the success of the company. It was then I found myself praying, and praying, and praying. I needed help. I needed His strength. Each day I went to work with a smile on my face, acting as if nothing had changed. Each day I prayed that He would end the attacks. Each day I prayed that He would help me understand how I had wronged my coworkers in hopes that I could make amends.

Then the day came, the day I had prayed for. I had no expectations about His solution, I just knew He would take care of me, and He did. Without warning an executive in another division proposed how the value of my talents would benefit their area of the company. As I held back tears, I eagerly agreed to the transfer. I knew my prayers had been answered.

Work went well after my transfer. His generosity was humbling. Once again I enjoyed my work and was able to keep my distance from those that were not beyond harming others. As the months passed, stories reached my ears about the group that had caused me so much pain, they had turned on each other; I wasn’t surprised. Even though I only stayed with the company for a few more years I thanked Him every day for His strength and wisdom.

Matthew 21:22: And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

 

The Actions of Others

How we react to the actions of others reflects on who we are, correct? But… it’s not easy to stand by and take it when we’re being attacked, or who wouldn’t jump in and rescue their friend when they’re in need of help? Does it make you a bad person for not backing down?

The other day I was reading a nicely written piece about our actions, your actions, doing what is right, and so on. One line that really stayed with me was “we should always take the right actions even when it’s difficult”, you know, if you talk the talk then walk the walk. We all come across those that test us, and pray that our actions reflect who we are.

Just recently at one of my children’s sporting events, a group of parents and grandparents of a team that was participating at the same event displayed such poor behavior toward the opposing teams, their fans and others at the event that their actions adversely affected a child. The child, who did not know these people, was being bullied and even though officials spoke with the adults that were behaving badly, in their eyes they were doing nothing wrong.

Interestingly enough, the parents of the child that had become the focus of the poor behavior did something that made me take notice… they rose above all of the harsh words and walked away. I could only smile as this couple surrounded their child and calmly made their way to their vehicle even with the bullies on their heels.

I had the opportunity to commend the parents and their daughter at a sporting event the other day on their actions as I was very impressed. As we talked about the incident, I learned that several officials attempted to diffuse the situation and that this isn’t the first time that group of adults had bullied a child and their team has been penalized due to their fans poor behavior.

Even though the bullies weren’t going to give up, neither the parents nor their daughter were going to respond to the taunting. I was curious as to how they were able to keep their composer and not lash out. The mom’s response was simple, “what good would it have done to act as they were… what would that have taught our daughter.” If only more people would walk the walk.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Accomplishments

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the one where you’ve done a lot but accomplished nothing. Normally it’s not a bad day, just busy and nonproductive. When the five o’clock hour approached yesterday, I couldn’t believe how much I hadn’t gotten done even though I had been busy from the moment I walked in the door.

How does this happen? How did I put in a 10 hour day and complete a lot of a little? I didn’t even stop for lunch, just snacked on everything in sight because I had so much to do. I really had to think about all of this last night. I should have put the day behind me, but I kept replaying my day over and over. I wasn’t bothered, just shaking my head at not being able to let go of the day.

My first thought was a trip to the gym, which always makes me feel better, that would be the answer to letting go of the day. After shuffling children to and from their night time activities, I made my way to the gym where it’s just me and my music. What a good feeling to focus on nothing; however, all to soon that distraction from the day was over.

After arriving home, I just knew that spending time with my family before bedtime would put an end to the day. Who can’t relax and enjoy snuggling with your children as they read to you. I have a good friend who’s children are grown and gone so she unwinds at night with her dog in her lap and a good book that she shares with him each night. Spending time with those that you care about is a good way to put the day behind… groan, everyone’s in bed and still no peace.

This is silly, I didn’t have a bad day at work, so let it go. Nope, just can’t… I decided that I would look over the notes in my planner from the day to figure out why I was so bothered. As I read through my day, I thought about everything I had worked on, the phone calls I had taken, and the people I helped, and then I realized that I had had a very productive day. I had accomplished a lot of prep work for projects to move them forward, I made sure that people needing assistance had been taken care of, and I did all of that between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. I took a deep breath and smiled, even though I felt as if I had done nothing but spin my wheels all day, I had accomplished a lot; it was a good day.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

We all have a to-do list, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, we all know what needs taken care of in our lives. It’s easy to flow through your life making sure the dishes are done, groceries are bought, bills are paid, and so on; however, what do you really want to accomplish… think about that!

Years ago, too many to count, I became the person tasked with writing and writing and writing… it didn’t matter what the piece was, I was called upon to put together press releases, the monthly newsletter, copy for collateral, emails to clients, letters of recommendation, and more. What was disheartening was that no one appreciated my ability to research, understand my topic and assignment and how I could let the words gracefully flow resulting in works of art. Ok, not works of art, but amazing pieces that benefitted my employer, and with the types of projects I was assigned, I knew my work was top notch.

During my time of writing for everyone else I found that my love and enjoyment for writing would lead me down a different path, one that wasn’t going to be easy, one that I would put on hold time and time again, one that would take years to accomplish. It’s easy to go to work and know what you need to work on, add projects to your daily tasks and accomplish the work within the assigned timeframe. It’s not difficult to go home at the end of the work day and know what you’ve accomplished for your employer.

The day I began to pen my novel series, well, I didn’t realize what a long road it would be. I’m sure I’m not the only writer that gets excited when they have what they believe is the bomb of an idea for a story and can’t wait to let the thoughts in their head spill out for all to read. It’s a good feeling to know that once you’ve written, and rewritten, and tweaked, and started over, and stopped, and started again, and again, and again, that when you feel your work is finally ready for the next step someone will jump at the chance to represent your work… oh wait, now the difficult part begins, correct?!

It’s exciting to read about others who have made it, and you know their road was filled with bumps too. You can just hear their joy in the words they write as they proudly announce they’ve signed with an agent and their book is one step closer for the world to read or how they’re book is ready for all to read and they’re off to their first book signing.. how sweet that is! That’s motivation for us dreamers, knowing that one day too we will be there, that we will be an inspiration for others to not give up on their dream of being a best selling author, of inspiring someone to write, of inspiring someone to read…

2 Chronicles 15:7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.

THE STRUGGLES of MANY

All too often we’re caught up in our own lives, never really thinking of those around us. We’re quick to be too busy to talk, we’re quick to judge, we’re quick to gives ourselves praises for our accomplishments and judgmental when others don’t complement our hard work.

We’re all busy, correct? We’re all handling something in our life that causes extra stress or brings joy to our day; however, more often than not we put ourselves first.

For the last two months I’ve been busy, so busy with work, family, trying to stay ahead of housework, paying bills, holidays, rolling into a new year with school and work, my schedule, my spouse’s schedule, my children’s’ schedules, upcoming trips for school events, basketball, softball, baseball… oh my, have I forgotten anything???

In all of that chaos, I hadn’t noticed what was happening around me. My life is always fast paced and I’m very organized so normally I’m very aware of not only my life, but those that I care about, those that I’m professionally connected with, and my friends, but somehow I had fallen short.

It all began about mid-December, I was so inundated with work after several coworkers decided to take time off to be with their families during the holidays. For three weeks I was in early and out late, rarely taking time for lunch and thankful when my spouse or one of my coworkers would surprise me with something to eat. I found myself in the office on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day just to make sure that everyone that was working knew they were appreciated, and then the transition to a new company. I knew it was coming and had prepared in advance with what I needed to do; however, after being gone during some crucial days in December, my coworkers were not as prepared and I found myself in the mix of their work too.

I just knew that everything would settle down in January; however, it did not. Once again I found myself alone, trudging through the daily grind as a preplanned vacation, sick children, inclement weather, and so on… kept my coworkers away and once again I was “last man standing”. I faced each work day with a smile and a positive attitude, what else could I do. I wasn’t going to fail. When it’s a challenge, I thrive.

The dust began to settle after everyone finally returned to work, and that’s when I had time to reach out to people in my life that I hadn’t had time to connect with for weeks. Oh how my heart sank as I learned that an amazing person in my life had begun their fight against cancer, that two others were dealing with workplace bullying from their supervisors and they don’t work for the same business… oh my, I’ve been too disconnected.

Not too long ago I read an interesting take on Wearing Hope. I wish I had a copy of this piece, it really made me think. From what I can remember, it talked about Faith, Hope and Love being Spiritual Gifts, powerful but abstract. So how do we wear them?

Well, I’m definitely not going to do this piece justice, and the day I read this I thought to myself that I would never forget what I had read.. oops. So, I’ll give it my best try… we wear our faith and don it every day to live for Christ, our hearts are wrapped in faith and knows God’s love, we’re safe from sin and blows inflicted by life, our trust is tested every day and we are betrayed by those we call friend and at times even loved ones; however, we face these trials clothed in love and forgiveness, and we’re protected by hope as we focus on God’s salvation.

1 Corinthians 13:13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.