The Fair One Speaks

I debated on whether or not I should tell her, but I did. I told her I disagreed with how something was handled. I held my peace the best I could. We ended the conversation because in both of our eyes, it was going nowhere. I spoke to someone about it. She did, too.

Shortly after that I heard a familiar song and bible verse repeating in my thoughts–“He makes all things work together for my good.” It was comforting, and I believed it. I wondered how, but I didn’t think much about it after that.

The following day she walked into the room, and we greeted one another. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect. I figured I would just continue to respect her and forget about it.

Two minutes later she said, “I owe you an apology. You were 100% right.” I looked at her and wondered where this was going. It wasn’t the first time I had heard an apology from this individual. She had disrespected me several times after that. But I listened.

This time was a little different. She went on to say that she had a dream.

She explained the dream to me. She felt as if she was reliving the moment we had in the dream. Her friend (who was our coworker) in the dream had stopped her from speaking in the dream. She said it was as if she knew her thoughts before she could speak, and she told her that she was not responding to me the same way she was responding to her for the same reason.

I listened and thought about it. I knew there was more to it. So I looked up the meaning of our coworker’s name. It meant, “Fair, favored one. Son of the fair man.” I knew that the person whose name represented fair one wasn’t about her at all.

There was so much more to it. As I meditated on it, I realized this person represented my Savior, my advocate. He’s fair. And I realized that the message behind it was the importance of treating me like the “fair one; favored one. Son of the favored one.” Why? Because it is who I AM in him.

It reminded me of when Saul persecuted Steven, snd Jesus asked him why he was persecuting him (Jesus).

I had seen God touch someone’s heart through a dream. And it really encouraged me. I’ve had moments when I’ve praised and prayed myself through difficult situations. And there have definitely been moments when I’ve said to the Lord how unfair things have seemed in different situations throughout the years. I’m sure we’ve all had those moments. But even in the midst of all that, I’ve trusted in His faithfulness knowing that He’s not blind to any of it.

She said she felt like God was telling her not to mess with one of his. But I tried to explain to her he was simply opening her eyes to see things differently.

I didn’t go home worrying about a thing when it happened. There was nothing for me to worry about. Yes, I was upset. Righteously upset. But I let it go and moved on. When I heard the dream, it was like music to my ears.

Each experience teaches us something, and this one taught me that the fair one speaks for me. He fights my battles. They are his. His tenderness and his love leads men to repentance.

When you have a moment when you feel as though you need someone to speak on your behalf, remember the fair one speaks. His name is Jesus.

Parenthood

Parenthood. When they’re little, you feel like you’re their biggest hero. You give advice, and they take it with their eyes wide opened.

Then your babies grow and become more independent. And you wonder if they find you interesting in those few minutes of conversation at the dinner table or as they head out the door. It happens.

Sometimes we need a reminder that we’re doing a good job. I think every parent needs a pat on the back at one moment or another.

It was Saturday morning and my son had an appointment with the photographer for his Senior yearbook pictures. He showered. When I saw him about to dry his hair, I tried to stop him because he told me his hair product was like clay and stiffened quickly. It didn’t make sense that he would apply something like that to his dry hair. He said the barber had dried his hair before applying his hair product, and he wanted to do the same. My husband looked at him and said, “Your Mom has experience with this for years. Maybe you should take her advice.” He insisted on doing it his way.

When he was done, he came out with his hair flattened. I didn’t laugh. I just smiled, and I looked at him and asked if he wanted me to help him. He accepted. Then I smiled and said, “Don’t you love it when your Mom is right?”

He smiled and went with it. I told him to wet his hair, and we started over. As I styled it, he took out his phone to record it and post to his social media. At that moment, I really didn’t care how I looked. I was touched that he wanted to record it and post a message on social media which read, “Mom is always there when I need her.”

And then it hit me. All those doubts that sometimes ring in my ears about being a great mom were drowned out by 15 minutes of being there for my son.

Today, don’t focus on all the mistakes. Don’t compare yourself to the other moms and dads. We can do that at times. Just live the moment. There will be plenty of “Rescue” moments when we can just open our arms and show the love that never changes. That’s when they’ll be ready to accept it. And we can stand tall and know we’ve done a heck of a job.

FOR WHOSE SAKE?

I was asked to speak to a group of teens.  It was my first time doing that at this place. Sure, I had spoken to teens before.  But that was about God to the youth at church.  I think that’s easier.  Maybe because it’s where they want to be.  But this was different.

I was going to talk about my children’s books and about self-esteem.  I was excited, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I needed to stay focused.  Let’s be honest.  Teens don’t always seem interested.  At least that’s what we think.handmade-791693_1920

I was in a hurry.  Right before heading out the door, my five year old daughter handed me a book.  It was a  book I never read.  I didn’t even realized we still had it.  The title of it was, “For the Children’s Sake.”  That title was exactly what I needed to keep me focused.

When I arrived, there was no platform.  There was no microphone.  There were approximately 20 to 30 teenagers sitting at round tables.  Some were louder than others.  The oldest one (let’s call him Dwayne) I think was about 16.  He stood out to me.  He was a little slouched in his seat. He seemed somewhat uninterested. Dwayne had a hoodie on and earphones in his ears.  One of the leaders had to call his name out a couple of times.

Dwayne ended up winning one of my books. I asked if it was anyone’s birthday, and he said it was his younger sister’s birthday. I learned quickly that the last thing you want to do is give out a free book to a teen in a group before starting your speech. So.  I asked for it and told him I would sign it and give it to him at the end of the class.

I tried my best to keep them interested.  One kid started to tell me his dream out of nowhere.  Coincidentally, it went with what I needed to say, and I interpreted it for him.  It was funny.  Dwayne ended up pretty impressed with the interpretation and how it backed up my speech.  And honestly, I was blown away myself, but I didn’t tell them that.

When I was done with my 30 minute speech which at some point felt like it would last forever, I gave the book back to Dwayne.  I asked how his sister’s name was spelled.  And I dedicated it to her.  But then something happened.  Dwayne asked me to dedicate it to him, too.

It really caught me by surprise.  I Love Me: Building Self-Esteem and Happy Hearts was my second children’s book.  It was illustrated by my 8 year old daughter and me.  I didn’t think that he would be interested in it.  Elementary children?  Yes.  Middle school children?  Yes.  But Dwayne?  Nope.  It’s not what I expected.penny-may-i-love-me-cover-best-one-with-exclamation-point-joe-edit-2

And then I realized something.  Inside Dwayne was a heart that needed to be encouraged. He seemed cool on the outside, but he was a little boy on the inside looking for attention.  And that day he got it.  When I asked him about his dream, his response changed from “I think so” to “yes.”  I told him it was possible.  And I told him he would succeed.

I had volunteered my time. Sure I didn’t get paid.  Sure I felt challenged and uncomfortable at times.  Teens have that effect on us at times. I have two of my own. They’re great children, but they sure can make you feel like you’re not a part of their world sometimes.

But underneath those faces, there were hungry hearts.  I saw it in their eyes.  I saw it in their expressions.  I saw it in Dwayne. That day was a special day.  And there was a lesson in it for me.  The lesson had to do with my why.

My focus wasn’t on what I was getting.  My focus wasn’t on sales.  I didn’t have any that day. My focus was the answer to my why.  And the answer to why I was doing what I was doing  was for the Children’s Sake.   They are our future.  And that made it all worth it.

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If you ever feel like quitting, just think about the reason why you started doing what you’re doing.  And let that be your fuel.  If it’s for one, it’s worth it.   There are plenty of Dwayne’s out there that need us to keep moving forward.

 

FORGIVENESS (PART 2)

At first I tried to ignore the peaceful inner voice that told me to tell her the dream. But that didn’t work. So. I decided to tell her.  I started out something like this. “You know. I had a dream with you last night.”  She said, “Really?”  I said, “Yes.”  And then I said, “In the dream, I told you that you bothered me, and then I hugged you.”  She giggled.  And that’s when I heard that inner peaceful voice again.  This time it told me to hug her.  At first I thought, “You can’t be serious.”  But then I got excited.

I thought to myself, “Good, Lord. I just know you’re going to touch her heart.  I know you’re going to convict her.  You’re going to shake her up, and she’s going to say she’s sorry.”  So many thoughts were running through my mind.  I thought it was God’s master plan to get her to say she was sorry, and all along I was going along with it.

“So. You know what I need to do, right?” I said.  I told her I need to hug you. We hugged.

Then suddenly something happened.  That touch from God that I thought was going to knock her socks off didn’t quite happen the way I expected.  Instead, I began to cry my eyes out.  Suddenly, the love I had cried out to God for had flooded my heart for this woman. I thought to myself, “Great. Here I am expecting  God to touch and break this woman down and cause her to repent of her stupidity.  And here I am crying like a baby. First, God tells me to tell her the dream.  Then he tells me to hug her.  And then he tops it off with this.  I’m crying.”  It wasn’t even a graceful cry or a whimper.  There was no silence or slow tears gracefully being wiped from my cheeks.  Nope.  I was all out there.

Picture a desperate parent finding her kidnapped child and crying over it.  Just like that.  I was sobbing.

At that point, she said, “It’s okay. It’s okay.”  And all I could think was, “If you only knew how okay this isn’t.”

But what followed that hug was a tender and genuine love for her. I was convinced that she could have literally spat on my face, and I would have loved her and smiled without hesitation.

Approximately two weeks later, her sick daughter passed away.  And shortly after that, the grandson she lived with passed away in his sleep. Some might be reading this now and thinking it was God’s revenge.  I don’t believe that. God gives life.  I don’t believe a  loving God does that.  I believe he loved her and wanted to hug her.  And that he did.  Through me.

One morning, when I saw her walk into the room shortly after that, I noticed her steps were heavy.  I felt a deep pain in my heart.  It was so much pain.  I met her in her room and asked if I could pray for her.  She accepted. She was desperate.  God’s love and embrace felt so tangible at that moment.

What would it have been like had I not forgiven her a few weeks before that?  Would I have been able to do the same?

Forgiveness is freeing.  It’s not a feeling.  It’s a choice.  I believe that if we ask God to help us forgive, he can and he will.  And we can love with his love.

FORGIVENESS

She was a manager.  And she was a Christian.  Someone who came in Monday mornings talking about how good her church service was the previous day and how achy her body was from all her dancing and praising.  But there was another side to her.  She was a bully.

It was hard for me.  I was much younger and naive.  And I was clueless and fearful on how to handle it.  And to be honest, I didn’t even know it was bullying.  I just thought she was someone who knew how to ruin my day at work.  A thorn in the flesh?  I don’t know.   All I knew was that I needed to forgive her.

I really wanted to forgive her, and I wanted to love her, but it seemed so hard for me.  Day after day, I asked the Lord to help me love her.  That probably went on for days and weeks. Maybe even months.  Then one day I woke up from a dream.

I walked into the office early that day, and there she was.  We were the only two early birds.  That’s when I heard a whisper in my heart that said, “Tell her the dream.”  bullying-679274_1920