When You’re Waiting To Hear God’s Voice

Waiting

Well, I have to admit I’ve tossed around several ideas for a post this week and I just think the Lord has decided to leave me hangin’ on this one. I usually have a couple of ideas rolling around in my head and by Sunday or Monday I have a pretty clear picture about what it will be. Not this week!

 

Started one. Had several good points. Even wrote an outline and then BAM….nothing. Absolutely nada! Rein! Nanimo! ‘Ayin! NOTHING!

 

I’ve said before how I feel the Lord leads me to a topic to write about each week and so far it’s worked out great, at least for me. Well, not this week!

 

I even tried to find a way out. I thought maybe I could just tell you all it was a crazy week and I didn’t have the time. Nope. That was the enemy talkin’!

 

Then, as I was debating Him (like we can “debate” Him! Ha!) about what I was suppose to write, I finally heard, “Remember when Pastor Matt spoke during 21 Days of Prayer and he talked about how he and his wife waited until I spoke to them about having children? Do you remember the ‘ah-ha’ moment you said you had when he told that story? Well, that’s what you should write about.”

 

Really? I’m writing a blog about LISTENING to Your voice, not about what to do when you don’t want to talk to us. (She says with a droopy head and sad face.) Plus, that story Pastor Matt told took YEARS to unfold! Are you really gonna make me wait years to hear from you? It was not sounding good folks! I was getting a little worried.

 

Then I thought about Pastor Matt’s story and had a lightbulb moment. I realized there are things we can DO when we’re NOT hearing from God and we need to know those things just as much as we need to know what to do when He IS speaking to us. So, here goes…..

 

I said, “Okay. If that’s what you REALLY want, then, ok, I’ll write about it.” I created the cute opening graphic in about 10 minutes (Canva, my new addiction for creating graphics!). Wrote this opening in another 5-10 and then nothing. (Hear the crickets? I do. Okay, it’s the fan circulating above my bed. Same dif!) So, I’m going to bed.

Sleeping dog

Good Morning! Well, I got a good night’s sleep, rolled over at 6 AM to have my pre-prayer time. (I LOVE those first few moments when I wake up and immediately have a few moments with the Lord! I give Him thanks for another day and ask Him to nudge me out of the bed for that first cup of coffee.)

 

First cup of coffee in hand and I got an idea for the president’s message for an art ed organization’s newsletter that I was suppose write last weekend. Ugh! No words of wisdom for the blog post this morning Lord? Nothing?

 

Actually that’s not totally true. Before I went to bed last night, I did hear/read about checking your heart when you don’t think you’re hearing from Him. Point 1. Then during our prayer time this morning, Tom said something about struggles, failing, and learning. Point 2. And then I was reminded of things He has shown me before. Point 3. BAM! Three points to share!

What CAN we DO while we wait?

First, watch and listen to this awesome song by John Waller! I forgot it was in the Fireproof movie. Love this song!

imgres

 

Three things we CAN DO:

1-Check Our Hearts

Yes, I “Googled” hearing God’s voice (don’t judge!) and one of the first things that resonated with me was checking our hearts.

Ask yourself:

  • Where am I with Him right now?
  • Have I been steadfast in my prayer life? (We just came out of 21 days of prayer! What the what?)
  • Have I truly been “purposeful” in my prayers?
  • Have I STOPPED and LISTENED for His response during my prayer time?

 

2-Analyze Our Struggles

Think back over times you’ve struggled and what you learned from those experiences.

Ask yourself:

  • When have I struggled to find solutions to issues in the past?
  • What happened in the middle of that struggled?
  • What happened at the end of that struggle?
  • What did I learn from that experience?

 

3-Learn From Lessons

This is similar to analyzing your struggles, but this point looks at a time when you learned something brand new, not when you are struggling with something you already know. Look at times you’ve learned something new (either from the Lord showing you something or another person teaching you something) and what you learned from that experience.

Ask yourself:

  • When did I learn something new?
  • Why did I learn it? (Work requirement or personal growth?)
  • Who taught me this new thing? (The Lord himself or did He connect you with others who knew how to teach you?)
  • Once I learned this new lesson, how did it help me in my life?
  • What can I do now that I’ve learned this new thing?

 

So here’s what I found when I asked myself these questions:

Checking my heart: I have been consistent with my prayer life, but I have NOT been purposeful and I have NOT stopped and listened.

You’re probably thinking, “If you’ve been consistent then how were you not purposeful?” I think we can get in a routine where we’re just going through the motions and maybe that’s what I’ve done, even through the 21 Days of Prayer. I was so consumed with getting the art prompts out I was just going through the motions of praying. I didn’t really dig in and pray with a purpose. And I couldn’t see that until AFTER the 21 days were over!

I also think when we’re waiting, we can pray for breakthroughs for others. When we pray for others, it makes our issues seem so trivial. Can I get an Amen on that one!

Analyzing my struggles: Past, and present, struggles tend to get me down, at least for a little while. In the middle of a struggle I often think there is no way out, but I’ve learned to seek the Lord’s will. If He’s going to supernaturally “fix” the issue, great! But if He’s teaching me something, I need to take note and realize what “it” is. What does He want me to learn as I’m in the middle of this struggle?

 

Learn from lessons: I realized this whole blogging thingy has been my “newest” lesson. (Along with a new ebook platform at work! All computer/techie stuff. Not really my thing.) I feel like He led me here and directed me every step of the way, so maybe He IS releasing me to fly solo for this post. If you’re really paying attention, you’ll see He led me to and through this post too! 

 

During my Googling last night (is that really a verb?) I ran across something new. (ah-ha! A new lesson!) It’s something called the Dark Night of the Soul or the Dark Night Psalms. Evidently the Psalms 13, 42, 46, 59, 77, 88, 92, 143 are considered the “Dark Night” ones. It’s basically a time when you don’t think you’re hearing from the Lord and you’re waiting.

 

Although I ultimately did hear from the Lord during this struggle of writing a post this week, the Dark Night Psalms will be a great reminder for the next time I’m waiting. The Soul Shepherding website describes these times as feeling “spiritually dry and distant from God”. The author also describes it as a time of “trial” where God is working to deepen our journey of dependence on Him.

 

Light bulb moment! That’s EXACTLY what He’s doing in me! I need to dig in and not just go through the motions. I need to really look at my past struggles and what I learned by surviving all of those. And, I need to search through the lessons He’s leading me through RIGHT NOW and understand what He’s trying to teach me.

 

Ta-da! Post written and hopefully with some helpful tips. You may not be where I am at this moment, but maybe you’ll remember this post and my three ah-ha points to get you through your next Dark Night of the Soul. Come on girl, you know you’re gonna have one! We all do as one time or another.

 

What do you do when you think God’s leaving you hangin’? What do you do while waiting? Tips? Ideas? Prayers? Would love for you to share what you do. Please leave us a comment below.

 

If you missed our 21 Days of Prayer and Art Challenge, jump over and see some of the cool artworks and prompts we created during August.

 

And if you want to receive these God-led posts  straight in your email, then be sure to sign up over there on the right side of this post.

 

Until next week……I will pray for God to lead me to another topic and another post. I will also pray for you as you go about your week, the struggles you will face, and for the blessing coming your way!

Isaiah 30:18

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.

Lamentations 3:25

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

 

The Seesaw Effect of Faith

Seesaw Effect

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. ~Ephesians 5:15-16~ (NIV)

 

Well, I wanted to begin this post by giving you a “formal” definition of exactly what the Seesaw Effect really is, but good Lord, I couldn’t find one! Evidently a lot of industries use the term (business, medical, etc.), but no one has a simple explanation of what exactly it is. (Forget the medical journal definition I tried to read! Geez!)

 

So, here’s the Kelly interpretation of the Seesaw Effect: Something of equal parts, balanced in the middle, with the ability to go up or down when one side is counter-balanced by the other. Ta-da! How’s that?

 

Okay, why am I even trying to define Seesaw Effect?

 

I was reading my daily Jesus Calling devotional the other day and the author, Sarah Young, made an analogy that immediately formed a visual in my mind. She wrote, “As your thoughts center more and more on Me, trust displaces fear and worry. You mind is somewhat like a seesaw. As your trust in Me goes up, fear and worry automatically go down.” (If you haven’t read Jesus Calling devotionals, Ms. Young writes as if Jesus is talking straight to us.)

 

I immediately saw God, in all His glory, low on the seesaw (actually thought He might be laughing and enjoying the ride) and me high on the other side, light, worry-free, and enjoying myself as well. What a fun vision!

 

We Are NOT Equal

The physical properties of an actual seesaw say that when one side is heavier or larger, it has to go down because something of smaller mass is on the other side. We tend to think of our lives like the first part of my definition: “something of equal parts and balanced” and that’s just not true. We can’t be equal to the Lord. If we truly believe that He is in charge, that He has our best interests at heart, and that He will make lemonade out of what seems like a bunch of lemons, then He has to be bigger than anything in our lives.

 

Letting Go

As we draw closer to Him through prayer, worship, and how we live our lives, the Seesaw Effect will take hold. It took awhile for me to see it (because I’m a worry wart!), but once I began to let go of some little things in my life (like worrying what others thought of me), the teeter-totter started to go down. I let go and He took over.

 

I’m in the process of doing this with our finances. If you read the post a couple of week’s ago, I took the Ultimate Faith Test and tithed the entire 10% of our income (even though I didn’t feel like we really could afford it). This has been a biggie for me! I kept trying to push off my side of the seesaw, to make it go up (me in control) and realized I can’t. If I truly want to trust Him, then I have to give Him EVERYTHING.

 

Childhood Memories

My fear of using a seesaw as a metaphor for God and me probably has to do with being stuck high on a seesaw when I was in elementary school. I can remember a girl, much larger than me, holding me hostage on the seesaw on our school playground. There was nothing I could do! I had no control, BUT I had to TRUST she would let me down easily. I honestly can’t remember if she did or didn’t (she must not have let me fall since I can’t remember any broken bones), but the point is I was NOT in control, she was.

 

The same thing happens with God. When He is in control, we have to TRUST Him and have FAITH that He is working on His plan (a much better plan) for our lives. He will show us that plan in due time. In the meantime, He is teaching us many, many lessons.

 

We are learning how to be better stewards of His money and being accountable to each other and our financial accountability partners, while He lays out our perfect plan.

 

We continue to pray for guidance concerning our finances, but we know He’s got our backs and we’re excited about what’s coming our way. When we truly give all things over to Him, we will get excited about what He’s going to do!

 

Where are you and the Lord on your seesaw? Are you high or low? More or less? Please share in the comments below.

 

JOIN US!

If you are still learning to listen to God’s call on your life, sign up to receive the blog post straight to your email each week and receive my free download Learning to Listen to God’s Call on Your Life.

 

I hope you are praying and even making some art during August and our 21 Days of Prayer and Art. Jump over to Creative Awakenings and see what we’ve been up to. Join us on Pinterest and Facebook to see examples and others sharing their artworks with us. It’s not to late to join! We’re only halfway through the 21 days!

Digging In

Digging In_2

Just a quick message this Thursday. We’re in the beginning days of the Creative Awakenings 21 Days of Prayer and Art Challenge, but this is when the enemy starts trying to attack. BE AWARE! 

After going through a couple of seasons of 21 Days of Prayer with our church, Tom and I realized the enemy attacked us EVERY time! And he’s already tried this time, but he’s NOT going to win. Boo-yah!

Once we became aware of what he was doing we would dig in and rebuke the devil, we would ask others to pray for us, and we would focus, focus, focus on what we were truly praying for during that time.

This time he’s attacked us while dealing with our finances, but I’m happy to report that after a rough meeting with our financial counselors on Tuesday evening, we had a heart-to-heart talk (that’s putting in “nicely”) with each other and went right back to praying together and digging in, seeking what the Lord wants us to do financially, and already feel like a small victory was won.

Being aware of what’s ahead can always help you prepare to be on the offensive, rather than the defensive. So dig in, hold on, and get ready to be blessed beyond anything you could possibly imagine!

Don’t forget to join us in Creative Awakenings through August 22, 2015 for some really cool art, lots of prayer, resources, and scripture. Also find us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram (whenwelis).  #creativeawakenings

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

The Ultimate Faith Test

Ultimate Faith Test

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?  And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” ~Luke 16:10-12~

 

Just let me tell you, this post almost didn’t get written this week! I’ve fought the Lord about this topic for a week, but He won, so here goes……

 

Because I am working on the Creative Awakenings Prayer and Art Challenge (check it out here and join us next week if you haven’t heard about it yet!) and I chose “debt” as my issue to pray about for 21 days, the Lord just kept putting people and signs dealing with money in my path all week.

The Topic We Try to Avoid

I’ve wrestled writing it because it deals with money, debt, and tithing. Things most of us don’t like to talk about and I REALLY don’t!

How Did We Get In This Situation?

Let me back up and explain why this is such a painful subject for me. Two years ago I took a HUGE pay cut (about $11K to be exact) to take the job at Troy and Tom began his construction business about the same time, so we’ve struggled to make ends meet ever since. I know God is teaching us a powerful lesson and He’s got big things planned for us, but WE HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE BY HIS PRINCIPLES or things will not change. We will always struggle.

 

We have been blessed beyond blessed since 2013 (parents who still help out occasionally, extra jobs here and there, unexpected money from complete strangers, etc.), but we are still deep in debt and struggling.

 

We give every month to our home church, but it’s not a total tithe (in other words, it’s not 10%). We have it drafted the 1st of the month, so we are giving the “firsts” of our earnings, but it’s still not 10%.

 

We have closed all of our credit cards and turned that debt over to a debit solutions company (GreenPath Debt Solutions if you need some help – they are awesome!) and we are working with money management counselors from our church (great to have as accountability partners), so we are getting things straight. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

 

So, when I finally realized what the Lord was trying to tell me, I thought, “Really? Geez! Things in my life are SO good right now, everything EXCEPT our money situation. Why do I have to talk about THAT subject this week?” It feels like a big, black cloud hanging over me all the time. Why would I WANT to talk about that? I don’t!

Ultimate 2

*BTW, because I have learned to listen to His voice, He usually gives me a heads up each week about what to write about, so although I knew it was what He wanted, it was NOT what I wanted. Selfish, I know.

 

Seeing The Signs

Then, low and behold, all sorts of signs started coming my way last week, but I almost missed them! I wasn’t focused on money last week, so when the signs started coming my way, I initially didn’t recognize them as the Lord speaking to me. I served at our church’s GROW Intensive with a friend from years ago. While catching up, she shared how she and her husband counseled couples getting married or married couples who needed help. Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, money issues came up. (Sign #1)

 

She recommended Robert Morris’ book, The Blessed Life, and told me once I read it I would never think about money, nor tithing, the same again. I LOVE Robert Morris’ messages! Love them! So, I went home and found the book, ordered it, and then found his message by the same name on his church’s website. I binged watched all SIX videos of his series in one night! I was in tears by the time I finished. My friend was right, I will never think about money or tithing the same, but I also knew something had to change. BTW, did I say I LOVE Robert Morris’ messages!?!?! (Sign #2)

Blessed Life

But, I still didn’t want to write about it. Ugh!

 

Then, while trying to juggle money between two banks (technically one bank and one credit union) I was pinged with an overdraft charge at the credit union. Not that I haven’t done this before, but I had never done it at the credit union. I received a call from the credit union shortly after I deposited money we had unexpectedly received. (Sign #3) I was scared to death to call, but I was also curious. I knew I had deposited enough money to offset the overdrawn amount, plus some, so what could they want to ask me?

 

Well, the credit union lady, Ms. Pam, talked to me about an overdraft protection plan they have, but it’s a little different from a regular bank. She just wanted to know if I would be interested in talking to her about it. I told her a little about our situation and how I was trying to get all of our money to them and not the bank. She took off the two (didn’t realize there were TWO!) overdraft charges from my account and got started with the paperwork. I thanked her profusely and as soon as I got off the phone I broke down crying. (Sign #4)

 

When I went by the credit union to sign the papers, Pam proceeded to talk to me about how she had taken a $50K pay cut when the company she worked for closed and she came to the credit union. (Yowza! I thought $11K was a lot!) She also offered to look into refinancing our condo for a short time (we’re looking to sell in the next couple of years) and just took time to really talk to me. No judgment, no conviction, just kindness and compassion. (Sign #5) BTW, I balled again when I got out to my car! Crying is always a sign for me that He is working on my heart about SOMETHING.

 

Then I started Robert Morris’ book, The Blessed Life (a must-read for all Christians), and started underlining almost every other sentence. (Signs #6, 7, 8, …..) Did I tell you how much I LOVE Robert Morris’ messages! Wow!

Takeaways

There is no way to relay everything he says in his book, but the biggest takeaways I have, so far (still got a few chapters to go), are the following:

 

1-The Principle of Firsts – The principle of firsts comes from the Old Testament Law of giving of the first born, first crops, tithe, etc. The Law has always been a Principle God wants His children to follow, so He can bless us. It held then, it still holds true today.

Jesus was God’s firstborn. He was born clean. Jesus was born a pure, spotless lamb. BUT, every one of us was born unclean; therefore, Jesus was sacrificed to redeem us. Jesus was God’s tithe! (paraphrased, Morris, p. 31)

When we give Him our firsts (which are really HIS anyway!) so He knows we are putting Him first in every part of our lives.

2-Giving to the Lord’s House FirstHe doesn’t tell us to give to a foreign ministry or local charity; He says to bring the firstfruits to His house.

The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. ~Exodus 23:19~

We must give our tithe (the FIRST 10% of our income) to our local church (the church where we are members or call “home”). Anything above that is considered an offering.

3-He Will Bless the RestWhen we give our firsts to Him in FAITH, He will surely bless us because the firsts are what’s holy. Giving our firsts is the trigger that allows us to be blessed beyond our wildest dreams!

For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. ~Romans 11:16~

Again, if He sees us giving Him our firstfruits, He will know we are doing it in faith and will then entrust us with more blessings.

I’m Taking the Test!

There are many more ah-ha moments all through the book and I’m sure I’ll have many more before I’m done, but here is what I’ve heard Him say to me this week: “You’ve done a good job in giving faithfully, but you have not given me everything. I need you to give me the entire 10%. Test me and let me show you what being blessed really looks like.” Wow! Really? I’m barely able to make the bills and You want me to give you $110 more? Ouch, that hurts! But, what if I do and we’re blessed even more? What a testimony that would be!

 

What we’re doing is obviously NOT working, but we’re trying. At first I felt resentful and sick at my stomach at giving the entire 10%, but then I realized by NOT giving Him ALL of our firsts, we don’t stand a chance of truly being blessed. We want to honor Him as THE #1 PRIORITY in our lives, so I’m taking The Ultimate Faith Test and I’m giving the entire 10% on August 1, 2015. (Still a little sick at my stomach, but feel excited that He is teaching us a lesson about faith, grace, and humility.)

 

Plans Going Forward

Going into 21-Days of Prayer with our church and the Creative Awakenings 21-Day Prayer & Art Challenge, I plan to do the following:

 

1-Tithe 10% of my paycheck on August 1 (and the 1st of every month thereafter)

2-Go on a spending fast & only spend money on food, gas, & “essentials” (anything that we HAVE to have – household supplies, meds, etc.)

3-Intentionally pray and create art every day

 

The Lord tests us and asks us to test Him (at least when it comes to tithing), so if you’re struggling with tithing, your time, your talents, and your treasures, I first challenge you to rethink how you think and how you could take The Ultimate Faith Test with me and give Him ALL of your FIRSTS (first earnings, first part of your day/week, first of your best talents, and firsts of your earthly treasures).

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have enough for it.” ~Malachi 3:10~

 

My prayer for you this week is that you all will seek His voice and obey his commandments and principles in every aspect of your lives. I pray that He will bless you and your families beyond your wildest dreams.

 

How has the Lord blessed you in your life? Do you find it hard to tithe? If so, why? Would love to hear from you.

 

BTW, please join us in the Creative Awakenings tab beginning August 2, 2015 for the 21-Days of Prayer and Art Challenge (Prompts will be posted August 1). We are praying big and creating small works of art for 21 days straight!

 

*Also, because school is starting back next week (on the road again!) and the 21-Days of Prayer & Art Challenge will be in full swing, I will not post a “full” post during the next three weeks. I will be posting in the Creative Awakenings tab during this time, so join me there.

 CA-2015

 

 

Worldly “Manners” Reveal Heavenly “Grace”

NOLA ART

The Alabama Girls – Connie, Tammie, Kelly

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. ~1 Corinthians 10:31~

 Please read ALL the way to the bottom and see our newest announcement and prayer and art challenge to start August 2, 2015!

Well, first, my apologizes for not posting last week. I had most of the post written, revised it in the car on the way to New Orleans for an art leaders’ conference, only to not have Internet in the hotel room. We could have gotten Internet (for a hefty cost), but when you spend most of the day in meetings elsewhere in the city, we didn’t see the point of spending more money for Internet. So here we go….

While pondering last week’s post (now this week’s post) I read a devotional in The Upper Room (July/August 2015, July 12) talking about how to behave in the house of God. The author of the devotional made a great statement that got me thinking, he said, “I am always in church because my body is God’s temple. If we are walking faithfully with Christ, we will reflect that holiness in our speech, our love, our faith, and our purity – wherever we are”.

As I traveled last week, I thought about how I reflect my holiness when I’m in unfamiliar places or when I’m in a place where I don’t necessarily know everyone.

I realized a lot of what we see and do are seen as worldly “good manners”, but often could be revealed as Heavenly “grace”. Christians struggle, on a daily basis, to live in the “world” while trying to maintain some degree of “holiness”. We tend to have a lot of outward signs that show we are Christians: Cross necklaces, WWJD bracelets (even When We Listen bracelets!), fish magnets, bumper stickers, etc. People then tend to see our stuff, rather than us and when we mess up, oh, Lordie, we’ll hear about it! Well, maybe we won’t hear about it, but I can guarantee I know what they’re saying, “You know she wears that cross necklace all the time and then she cusses like a sailor!” Come on, you know they we do! 

So, while traveling last week, I consciously took note of worldly good manners, random acts of kindness, whatever you want to call them and tried to see how my daily interactions could reveal heavenly grace to others.

 

Here are just a few things I noticed about others and myself:

-Before leaving for NOLA, I helped someone I know, who sorta wears on my patience, with a technical problem. How did it make me feel? To start, I was a bit frustrated, but it made me feel better once I helped and they thanked me.

-I hugged some ladies I barely know, to let them know how much I appreciated them.  How did it make me feel? A little awkward at first, but good once I did and they hugged me back.

-While driving, I let a woman cut across the road because no one would let her, then she waved profusely at me as she crossed.  How did it make me feel? I felt really good when I saw her smiling face.

Those are little things, but they’re daily stuff you probably do everyday as well.

 

Then when we arrived in NOLA, things got a little cra-cra. Only the Alabama girls could find themselves in such predicaments!

We (the 3 Alabama gals and the Kentucky prez and her husband) headed out for a day of sightseeing in NOLA. Before we could leave the hotel, one of the other drivers in our makeshift convoy had car trouble, so we stopped to help. We got her car started and headed out to join the rest of the group.

To make a long story short, we made a wrong turn in the French Quarter putting us in the parking lot of a train depot and loading docks. Before we could get turned around and back across the tracks, a train, a very long train (267 cars +!) came through the yard and stopped! We were literally stuck on the “wrong side of the tracks” for about an hour!

Unable to get to our tour of historic NOLA homes, we decided to find the fun in our predicament. We started noticing the cool graffiti scrawled all over the train cars. We took pics of the cars and made goofy pics of ourselves around the port-a-potty.

 

NOLA port-a-potty

NOLA Grafitti

 

We were not the only ones stuck waiting for the train. A sales rep there to serve the Port Authority’s copy machine was stuck. A Port Authority employee making inspections was also stuck. So, we decided to strike up conversations with them. We exchanged pleasantries and laughed about our situations. We learned how PVC pipe is made (the warehouse and loading dock held huge bags of the powder resin used to make PVC pipe), so we learned something new.

In short, we made lemonade out of lemons.

We eventually caught up to our group and of course, were the butt of many jokes the rest of the week.  What struck me about the response was not the joking, because come on, it was funny, but it was people telling us they were impressed by our “graciousness” in how we handled the situation. That struck me as odd because that’s just us, we all have very laid back personalities and rarely get upset over things, but still, it stuck with me.

 

Predicament #2

On the way home from NOLA, Tammie (our trusty driver) noticed the tire light came on signaling one of the tires was low. We stopped to check it out. Needless to say, it was extremely low and she found a nail logged in the tread.

Not wanting to take a chance on it blowing while on the road in the heat of a Southern summer, we started talking about what we should do. Out of nowhere (okay, he was parked next to us) a guy came around our car to ask if we needed any help. He was actually there helping a family member getting their car towed.

He took a look at the tire and said we should have it checked out. He and the tow truck driver told us where to find a tire shop so we thanked them and set out to find it.

We got to the first tire shop (I say first because you know this story can’t end that easily!) only to find it closed an hour earlier. Seeing a pattern here?

We then found a Auto Zone, asked them where to find another tire place, called them and found out they were open until 7PM (on a Saturday none the less!). As we pulled into the packed parking lot, we noticed every parking space was filled and every garage had a vehicle being worked on. You guessed it….we were in line for about an hour.

Again, we decided to make lemonade out of the lemons we were served. We took our laptops, books, and phones in to entertain us and make more goofy pics while we waited.

 

NOLA Tires

 

Actions Speaking Volumes

I tell you all this to reiterate the point of this post: without even realizing it, we were walking out our faith wherever we were. We met some awesome people along the way. People willing to step out of their own predicaments to offer us help. People stuck just like us willing to join in our laughter about the situation. And people just using good manners in their day-to-day activities.

We three are believers, so it helps when you’re surrounded by fellow Christians, but it also offered us several opportunities to share our grace with others in places we never dreamed we would be.

And because I was working on this post, it really made me think about how we were treating others and how others treated us. I found myself wondering if the people who were showing us “good manners” were believers. There was no outward sign they were, but their actions spoke volumes.

This week, I am serving with my church’s GROW Conference. This is a conference where pastors and church leaders come from all over the world (Literally! I met ministers from Texas, Michigan, South Africa, AND Germany just last night!) to learn how to grow their churches and their memberships. You would think I would be the one doing all of the random acts of kindness, but I have a feeling I will be blessed as much as others this week.

So, here’s my challenge to you: Take a day (or if you’re really ambitious, try it for a week) and purposely do things that would be considered good manners or random acts of kindness to whomever you meet. Write it down sort of like I did above and write how it made you feel. You might be surprised how often you do things for others and how often others do things for you.

 Question: Have you showed your “grace” to anyone lately? Has someone else showed you “grace” in a way you remember? PLEASE share your stories with us below.

****Excited to announce an upcoming prayer & art event*****

Go to the Art Stuff tab and see the announcement about the first Creative Awakenings 21-Day Pray Challenge to start August 2!

Creative Awakenings pic

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Also go to the Art Stuff tab and see pics from the 1st Prayer Painting Workshop at the Vine and Branches Baptist Church in Castleberry, Alabama. 

V&B 17