Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Act of Obedience

Don't minimize obedience. One act of obedience changed the outcome of my day yesterday. Obedience (as listed in this picture) is defined as trusting the one that leads you by doing what you are asked to do. Seems simple enough, but trust isn't always easy. I was having a really rough day yesterday on the way to the gym so I started praying about what to do and I was led to go to the church to take of something else. I went there and I as my evening escalated mentally from bad to worse, I prayed and sought God about what to do next. I really couldn't think clearly. .and I needed some specific instructions. God led me to call a particular friend who brought my head out of the ozone and back on earth. She gave me sound advice and then we prayed together. She gave me specific instructions for what to do next and I had a choice. Trust her and do what I really didn't want to do...or sulk and handle things the way that I wanted to. I chose to trust her and left when she told me to leave to go do what she had instructed.

As I was leaving, someone (who I knew) had parked right next me and she waved and drove off. Her car stopped abuptly and she backed back to tell me that she was led to pray for me earlier..actually for me and my family. She mentioned that God told her to tell me to think about my wedding day....to think about how happy I was and how perfect everything was (and mind you it was absolutely perfect:-). I started to cry. She had no idea how fitting and timely her message was. I just hugged her and told her that God was so faithful and I just thanked her for stopping to tell me that. It just confirmed that God knew ahead of time what was going to transpire throughout the evening and He already had people in place to 1. give sound advice 2. to give further instructions and 3. to intercede for me in prayer.

However, had I not followed God's initial leading, I may not have thought to call the right person and I for sure may not have ran into that person in the parking lot. One act of obedience changed the course of a night that could have ended disastrously. Never minimize trusting the right people. That ONE thing that God is telling you to do may seem small and insignificant, but it could hold the key to your success in every single area of your life. God's preordained plan is equipped with everyone and everything you need to be "ok". Get on that path and TRUST me you may still have to go through, but you won't be alone.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You are here...

Going to a new mall can be a wonderful experience, except that you can't get to where you want to go quickly-because you don't know your way around yet. So, your choices are to wander around aimlessly until you happen to stumble upon it or use the mall map. The problem with option one is that you see so much along the way that you can easily get sidetracked with going in and out of stores that have nothing to do with your purpose there. Option two-requires humility. You have to face the fact that you don't know where you are or where you are going and you need to stop walking, get your bearings and plot a course.

With a stepfamily..or even as an individual you need to stop walking and get a map that includes both where you are and where you are going. It can be a life plan that you have worked out...or a list of goals or objectives that you wrote at the beginning of the year. At some point, you need to take inventory and be assured that you are on the right track.

When using the mall sign you need to know two crucial pieces of information or it will not be useful at all. You need to know where you are and where you are going. Most of us look for that red dot that indicates "You are Here". Knowing that information puts you in position to see where you are in conjunction to where it is that you are going. Knowing where you are is also important, because you may be closer or further from your goal than you think based on what you see around you. Coming to grips with where you are is important. You can't find where you are on the mall map and whine that Nordstroms is on the opposite side of the mall and just stand there and expect Nordstroms to move. It won't. You need to see where Nordstroms is..see what stores you will pass on the way, see what stores are near Nordstroms so you will recognize it when you are "almost there'....and frankly, get ta walking.

With my family, at the beginning of the year we started with writing individual goals for the year in many areas (faith, finances, family, education etc..). I wrote some specific goals for myself and seeing that the year is drawing to a rapid close, its time to take a look at them and see how far I have come and draw a mental red circle so I know- YOU ARE HERE. It does me no good to run around with dreams and aspirations for me and my family in my head and never get an understanding as to where we are currently. I may be closer....or further from where we need to be than I think. Either way, I won't sit at the sign and whine...I'll just keep on walkin'.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coloring in the lines

Extra-I love that term. I have been searching for a term like that for awhile. Extra, that is. I hear it used differently now and it so fits people and situations that are significantly "over the top dramatic" for no apparent reason. Nothing wrong with being different, big, significant or even being a little dramatic now and then...but to be "extra" is another level. It indicates waste...as in more than is necessary or appropriate. Its like coloring outside of the lines...you have more color and more "expression of you"...but you lost the initial purpose which was to enhance the picture. Now you have alot of "you"...but nothing or very little of what was intended.

I never want to be "extra"in the sense that it is meant now. Not necessary...or worse yet not appropriate for the situation I face or in my attitude or demeanor. I don't mind abundance. I love being significant...I am a part of many "big" things..but to be "extra" is out of order and doesn't fit where I am trying to go now.

I was one that colored inside of the lines. People say that it meant that I am unable to take risks. Ummmmm right- I went back to college, divorced with five school age children.. I married a man who was a widower with 6 kids, I quit a job out of principle without having another one...I have made risky, I call them faith moves throughout my life and have bounced back ok. Coloring inside the lines could also mean that you realize life isn't all about you. Surprise, Surprise... The artist drew a picture for you to interpret with color. Its a partnership...jointly you can have a beautiful thing. It's like working with someone on the job, or in ministry or even at home. Do what you are asked to do. Don't take it upon yourself to re-interpret what they meant. Don't be extra, be a team player. Suggest, offer, ask...but don't assume and scribble all over someone's vision and call it art.
When I hear the kids speaking about someone being "extra" it cracks me up. First of all that they recognize when people are being overly fake and out of bounds...is important. But more importantly...I hope they learn not to be sooooo deep, or sooooooooo over the top extra that they forget to be well-themselves...just real... No waste, and humble enough to know when to work with others and color inside of the lines.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Running the Business of Family

In a "spiritual gifts" test I took a few years ago, I found out that my gift was administration. I was a tad disappointed, I actually preferred something a little more sensational. However, God's wisdom is incredible and His foreknowledge of what I would need to run my family successfully was put in me before I was even born.

I have been a manager, administrator and/or a corporate Executive assistant in the career world for the past 15 years or so. That experience, plus my certification at Harvard (for free, mind you) has put me in the place where God has given me the tools necessary to run an orderly ship with structure, balance and grace. The lady in the picture is smiling, not because she has to handle all that she does...she is smiling because she CAN handle all the she does. She may be tired sometimes or may delegate an assigment here or there. She is not lazy, she is strong and a hard worker just like the "lady' in Proverbs 31. One of my mentors is a very wealthy, incredibly successful pastor who runs a successful publishing company and cosmetics business. She is the co-pastor (with her husband) of her church, a wife, mother, author of over 10 books and has her children in business for themselves. She told me that "laziness is defined as the monumental effort it takes to refuse to inconvenience yourself." Watching her success and the cohesiveness of her family, I have decided that my family is worth a little inconvenience.

So, simple things that I do in the workforce I use now to solve issues at home. For example, my husband and I were shuffling appointments, events, rehearsals and meetings with the other person finding out at the last minute or after the fact, what was going on. So now, we have a Monday morning-mini debrief over the phone (we are both at our separate offices)where I type out the schedule for the week and discuss it with him. I send him a copy of it via e-mail and he can add anything that was forgotten and send it back. This way we both see what is going on ahead of time. It also allows us to plan better. One week, I sent the schedule over and my husband saw that we were out almost every evening during the week, so he canceled an event that the two of us had so we could be home instead. Had we not seen the whole week at a glance, we may not have even noticed that we were gone so much.

We have cut our busyness down some, but we may still have some more decisions to make. I never want to be the type of mom that I have to hire 20 people to the things for my husband and my family that I want to do. No, its not always convenient-but its my job and other things can wait. I mean if I don't have an hour to do my daughters' hair or clean my own husband's underwear then doggone it I am just WAY too busy. I am all for calling in some help if you need it on occasion. But my family is my "company" and my priority. I never, ever want to be too busy to serve them. Some of the best memories of my childhood was getting my hair done by my mom or talking to her while she ironed and starched my dad's shirts. I wouldn't trade those teachable moments for anything.

I am the Chief Operating Officer and my husband is the CEO. We have God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit as the Board of Directors and our children are all Executive VP's of their world. My part of the success of our company rest on the ability to take the vision of the CEO, market it, structure it and make it happen. Sure I would love have an Oscar or a pulitizer prize one day...but one the best rewards of all will be hearing my kids tell their kids that..."My mom/stepmom rocked, she was always there for me, She took good personal care of my stepdad/dad and she ran our house with grace, love and constantly running vacumn cleaner."