Monday, April 20, 2015

Are You a Shark or a Water Lily?






I’m a water lily, but I’ve learned how to swim with the sharks.



The neat thing about water lilies is they don’t have to move much.  They like the still, quiet water, like a pond, and they just sit there looking pretty.  Their real strength is underneath, below the surface.  Their root system under the flower attaches itself to the soil beneath, sometimes as deep as six feet.  Some girls get water lily tattoos signifying “purity of heart.”



Sharks, on the other hand, are good swimmers.  They keep moving to breathe and stay afloat.  They have sharp teeth and they’re sensitive to motion and attracted to blood.  They appear out of nowhere and circle their prey!



I wanted to be on the church’s Women’s Ministry Board because they planned fun activities for the women in the large church I attended.  They organized shopping trips to New York!  They planned spring teas, prayer meetings, fall retreats, Bible Studies, support groups and mom’s meetings in the park.



They chose me!  They gave me work to do in an area I love—communication!   



Summer arrived, the time for planning the fall retreat.  We girls on the board piled into a large van and headed north scoping out resorts that would be a good fit for our women’s gathering.  We spent long evenings together praying and brainstorming. 



The president asked me if I completed a rough copy of the retreat flyer.  I proudly placed my doozy of a draft on her notepad with copies for all the board members.  Then it happened!  She took out her red marker scratching out all my superb verbiage, changing my font, scribbling in the margins and basically asking me to start all over and recreate my masterpiece in her image.  Everyone agreed.  On to the next order of business….



I opened my email the following morning.  Surprise!  I read the letter of apology from Mrs. President with copies to all the board.  She couldn’t sleep that night because she tore into my first flyer attempt like a shark chewing its prey. *My interpretation.*



I’ll admit sometimes things offend me, but I expected, as a writer, to redo it and redo it until everybody approved my copy.  However, I wasn’t going to tell them that.  God was dealing with these bullies and it was an opportunity for me to have some fun.



I replied:  Thank you, Madam President, for your apology and I humbly accept it though it is not necessary.  I am happy to make the changes and take no offense.  Everyone’s input is valuable to me.  It’s a privilege to serve Jesus with accomplished women—seasoned women of God and I respect each one of you.  I perceive that you see me as delicate; perhaps a water lily, but I assure you ladies I am not shatterable and I can swim with the sharks!



“You’ve Got Mail!” notifications streamed in all morning at my desk.   The board members’ hilarious replies kept me smiling from ear to ear as they gave it right back to me.



God used me and my sarcasm to crumble walls. *My interpretation.*



I knew I passed my initiation test because I received long, loving hugs from each lady shark at that church the following Sunday morning.  Our relationships, always good, reached a new level: vulnerably great.



And for the rest of you:  Don’t be so quick to judge a feminine water lily.  We’ve got a strong support system, underneath, where you can’t see.  


This post links to:  Tell Me A True Story   

and:

;Holly Barrett



Everyday Jesus


Monday, April 13, 2015

The Seminar






I’m usually preparing and planning but this time I procrastinated and pouted finding myself traveling alone to a Christian Women’s Seminar in Phoenix, entitled “Getting the Victory.”    I arrived early and asked a friendly gal how to find the registration desk.  That’s how I met Billie.



Billie and I became friends quickly.  She gave me a tour of the facility so I could navigate the workshops that would be featured after lunch.



I liked the cafe where you could hang out and I bought Billie a cup of coffee. We chatted about our personal lives, house pets, and our late mothers!   We laughed at our similar upbringing!  Billie kindly shared her notes with me since I missed the first night’s teaching.  I liked how she articulated scripture.



I tore into my registration packet like a wee child at Christmas, grabbing at all the workshop choices.  The one about Possessing Your Promise has my name on it, Billie,” I said.  What are you choosing?” She replied:  I wish these conferences offered something for the recovering homosexual.”  



My mind left in a fog at that point.  How should I address this?   I wondered if Women’s Ministries are missing a need here.   What should I say next?



I focused again and now I hear Billie continuing to talk about not believing she was born that way and quoting scripture to back her stand.  She told me that The Word of God is her benchmark, but, oh, the temptation is a colossal conflict. 



I observed my new friend.  Billie wore baggy, over-sized sweatpants and T-shirt, athletic shoes and cap.  I wore my signature color, pink.  My toes and nails were freshly polished with Boom Boom Hot Pink from Sinful Colors.  And I was able to get into my jeans with the sequin design on the back hip pockets.







It doesn’t matter that we’re different.   She was as comfortable with me as I was with her.  It’s ok to be mismatched when it’s God’s appointment.  Billie and I may have different styles and issues, but the truth is we are both flawed women.  Our battles, though diverse, cry out for God’s grace.

  
A while back, my prayer sister, my confidant---the one I tell my secrets to, raised her left eyebrow asking me if I know the ______commandment and can I say it out loud.  You know you’re in trouble when they ask you to recite a commandment.  I am in no position to judge anyone. 



Billie and I hung out that day.  We worshiped God in the assembly along with a few hundred other flawed women lifting up our voices and hands to a holy God.  The precious blood of Jesus Christ covered us like a safety net as we praised the One we love.

We said goodbye and exchanged emails.  Let’s go to next year’s seminar together! Don’t forget me, okay?”  


How could I ever forget you, Billie?

I get it that Billie tensed when I hugged her goodbye.  She barely answers my wordy emails.




I can’t imagine the loneliness of this trucker’s life, going home to an empty house with no one to share dinner with, or touch.  I pray for her often.  The Lord trusted me with this friendship and I won’t let Him down.

 

I learned from my weekend: 

  • People long to be accepted
  • Human Beings are flawed
  • We all need God’s grace in our faith journeys
  • Victory comes through Jesus Christ, not us

 


Monday, April 6, 2015

From Perfection to Poo-Pourri






My ideal candlelight dinner party didn’t end up perfect like I imagined.



In my head, I planed something outstanding.  I would start early in the week and by Saturday night when my guests arrived, they would applaud my homemade manicotti accompanied by homemade sauce along with the beauty of my table setting complete with my finest dinnerware and polished silver.



Lori and Brian were prompt and I creviced in Brian’s hug.  My invitation made him feel loved in the thick of appointments during the week with the VA giving him the run around as they treated the newly diagnosed tumor on his liver.  I embraced his exhausted Lori, weary and warn these days, and invited them to grab a seat at my altar of perfection in the dining room where I lit the candles and we sipped our sodas waiting for my kids to join us. 



When Amy and Mark arrived, we chatted as we dipped crusty bread in olive oil and spices.  Tom served his delightful platter of antipasto and then we dug into my homemade pasta entrees.   It was an evening that transcended them all.  I made a pot of coffee and served it with my homemade Italian Cream Cake, the piece de resistance. 



Our stunning Amy looked and spoke with elegance, but she never fools her mama and I bristled when I opened her beautifully wrapped gift.  Boisterous crackles filled my dining room when I held up a box of winter, summer, spring and fall Poo-Pourri, the spray for the toilet before you go to the bathroom.  I’m a clueless country girl and it made it all the funnier.  Tom pulled up the commercial on his desktop and we all gathered around his big screen, holding our sides with laughter.  See it here.



The night ended too soon.  We all hugged goodbye.  When I placed the last plate in the dishwasher, Brian knocked at my back door.  It had been constantly raining all evening and as his van pulled away in the soft mud, he got stuck.  I mean really stuck!  It took the guys over two hours to get his van up and going.  I knew they would figure it out; my goodness, they survived the war zone in Viet Nam.



PRAISE GOD WHO RESCUES US IN THE MUD

This is my story of the perfect intimate dinner party gone bad.  I am, again, reminded that perfection does not exist and that my friends and family are the tools that God uses to make me laugh and release me, and keep me humble and free from my fantasy that, well, I am royalty.



As we sojourn together in this life, I’m remembering it’s not about me.  I’m just a country girl with a vision and I thank the Lord for those who love me with a rich and rewarding love but won’t let me get away with anything!


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