Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Holy Wink

Have you ever been in a crowded room – maybe a party or family gathering – separated from your husband? The girls all around you are busy gabbing, sharing stories, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. For just a moment, you look across the room and see your husband watching you with that knowing smile on his face. You smile – and he winks. That warm, fuzzy feeling just crawls all over you. You might even blush.

Sunday morning I was talking to Tina about an upcoming baby shower for a sweet family in our church. Since we are a new, fast growing fellowship, it’s difficult to know everyone by name. So I thought I’d put a picture of Kathy on the invitation so everyone would recognize her. As I talked, the plan started taking shape. No, even better … I’d get a photo of the entire family, including her son, Zachary, and her husband, Gator. Oh, and I’d want a black and white picture. Yeah. That sounded like a great idea and Tina agreed.

Ten minutes later, I stood on the sidewalk out front, greeting folks as they arrived for service. I heard my name: “Miss Kim! Miss Kim!” I turned to see Zachary running toward me. “I have something for you!” As I leaned down to give him a hug, he thrust a photo in front of my face.

Zachary. Kathy. Gator.
Great picture.
In black and white.

Yep. My Beloved was watching me across the room. He was listening. He was aware of the rough week I’d had. He was aware of my aching back. He was aware of the physical exhaustion I felt. Even though He had not specifically answered my pleas to deliver me from my situation, He did something better.

He winked at me.

He whispered to my heart: “I am listening to you. I do pay attention to the details.”

Across the distance, He caught my eye and in an instant reminded me Who He Is, and Who’s I am.

It’s been a few days since that happened. And I’m still warm and fuzzy.

God is so cool.

Simply Amazing

Sometimes, I think God is chuckling to Himself as He watches me furiously run round and round in a frantic tizzy.

He created me, so He is intimately familiar with my control-freak nature. And He is constantly testing me, stretching me, teaching me to let go and let Him.

This whole unemployment debacle is just the latest in my lifelong lesson of realizing that I am not in control, that I can do nothing without Him. I have prayed my guts out over the last two weeks. Hmmm. This might be something He’s interested in me doing more often, huh?

I’ve sent out resumes and applied for about 748 jobs, but not gotten one good bite from any of them. I had one emotional meltdown on Monday, but managed – with constant prayer – to pick myself up and keep on going. Doesn’t matter how many jobs I apply for. The only thing that matters is the one job offer.

A request for a letter of recommendation from one of my former employers resulted in a lunch meeting – purportedly to give me the letter. Halfway through our conversation - catching up on what’s been happening in our lives over the last ten years - I was offered the chance to return to work for them again.

I was expecting a “pity party” lunch. And I got a job offer. The job offer. Isn’t that just like Him? Above and beyond anything that we can ask or expect.

I felt immediate peace, but asked for 24 hours to think (and pray) about it. I laid a fleece before the Lord – because this decision was too important to make any mistake about. I awoke the next morning to the Answer.

So, my unscheduled “vacation” comes to an end as I return to work next week.

The really cool thing about this situation is: my former employers wanted me to come back to work for them. They weren’t actively seeking a new employee, but when they became aware of my sudden availability, they quickly sought to re-hire me.

It was all God.

That’s why there were no other bites on the resumes and applications. God was already working this out in the background while I rushed around, spinning my wheels, stressing out, fretting how to pay bills that haven’t even become due yet.

The day I was informed that my position was eliminated, I added a new verse to my scripture memory spiral notebook: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7 NIV). Beth Moore quoted this scripture on her blog that night and – aha! - I realized this verse was for me right now. I committed it to memory and reminded God of His words frequently during our conversations over these last few days.

Don’t you think God gets a kick out of us reminding Him of what He said? At least He knows that we’ve been paying attention.

Thank Jehovah-Jirah, my Provider, that He has provided me a job – smack-dab in the middle of this economic mess – doing exactly what I love to do, working for some awesome people.

Thanks for all who offered up prayers on my behalf. We serve a God who hears, who sees, who cares … and who answers prayer and blesses His children.

He never ceases to amaze me.

I think He likes it that way.

Dirty Laundry

My black lab, Jasmine, is absolutely enthralled when I separate the laundry. On Saturday mornings, she sits and watches eagerly as I pull each item of clothing from the basket and separate it into the appropriate pile. Nose gently reaching out, she thoroughly sniffs the clothes, taking entirely too much delight in breathing in the smells of yesterday’s journey.

There are people that are equally enthralled with other people’s dirty laundry. They gleefully investigate each morsel of someone’s journey of yesterday and memorize it so they can vomit it back out again to listening ears. There’s just one problem with vomit. It stinks.

I can hear Don Henley singing …
Dirty little secrets, dirty little lies
We got our dirty little fingers in everybody's pie
Love to cut you down to size, we love dirty laundry
Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down
Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em all around

The tabloids make me nauseous. Go to any news website or TV channel and – in order to actually get any news - you will have to work your way around the celebrity “news.” Who cares how many babies Angelie wants to adopt. Or how many pills Lindsey has popped. Or that Brittney’s back in rehab again. Or how many women Tiger slept with. Wasn’t one more than his wife more than enough?

Oh my soul! Don’t we have more important things to ponder?

Why are we as a people obsessed with others’ undoing?

The Pharisees were obsessed with dirty laundry. They had tattle-tales scattered all over the countryside to dig up and bring back tasty bits of gossip – all so they could call out the offender in public … which made them feel pious and righteous.

Hey, wait a minute! Isn’t that why we do it?

To feel superior? To fend off our own feelings of inferiority and filth?

When the Pharisees brought the adulterous woman before Christ, they quoted the law of Moses and then dared Jesus to refute the law. After writing interesting tidbits in the dust for a while, Jesus agreed – on one condition: “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”

I'm thinkin' it got pretty quiet.

And I wonder what He was writing in the dust?

Perhaps He was listing the hidden sins of the Pharisees. Maybe that’s why they skulked away without a word.

I have a past that has been forgiven by the Creator of the Universe. What right do I – of all people – have to point a finger at someone else? Indeed ... do any of us have that right?

As my husband always says, “when I point a finger at you, there are four more pointing back at me.” (That kinda sounds Forrest Gump-ish, doesn’t it?)

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:1-6 (NLT)

Hmmmm…. Was Jesus calling the Pharisees “pigs”?