When You Grump At the Courtesy Caller

Well, I did it again. I went off for a week and had a whooping-good time, and got behind on my home budget system. Some of my bills went past due, and the fees started hitting and piling up.

Sigh.

Today, a bright-faced (she sounded bright-faced) courtesy caller from Charter Internet called to thank me for my recent payment, and to inform me that my new balance was $77.14 and would be due on the 28th.

Wait, what? My monthly bill is $64.99, and the balance sounded too high, but I was going from memory, so she started pulling up my account records, and I logged in, also. We sorted it out, but not before I told her how it sucked that they sock it to poor, innocent people who go out of town for a week and live life in the hamster wheel upon returning, and are just minding their own business.

Right.

I was courteous in tone, mind you, but in my heart, I was absolutely furious. And at that bright-faced caller, who is someone’s daughter or sister or wife or friend and who is just trying to make a living at a calling center.

Double sigh.

I quickly asked God’s forgiveness in my heart, based on Jesus’s sacrifice, and apologized to her, and she kind of stammered that she was just being, you know…courteous in calling. And she really was. She offered to call me near the 28th to remind me that my payment was due.

I told her thank you, that I had a system, but that I just got off kilter because of a trip out of town, coupled with crazy life. I told her all of this was certainly not her fault.

And to think that the only eternal thing I have dealt with this morning so far was that caller…

She wished me a good day, and I thanked her and wished her the same, and hopefully, we will both have one.

Here is the point: Yes, I have a system, but obviously, it needs improvement. And the only one who can do that is me. I’d better get started.

So why did I get angry in my heart at that cheerful caller, who was just doing her job? It doesn’t matter how courteous I sounded on the outside. I got mad at her because I was born with a sin problem on the inside. It’s my default button, every day. And before Jesus came to this earth to offer Himself as the solution to that problem, there was no answer.

Thankfully, now there is, and I know and follow Him. So the answer to my ugly problem is always just a prayer away.

Thank You, Jesus, for being my Answer.

18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

Matthew 15: 18-19, ESV

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A Mother’s Day Story

This is s story about me and my mom.

It’s really only a tiny slice off the story, and it’s deeply personal. But I share it to steward it, to offer hope to other broken wrecks out there, and because the pain of the story is gone. Not the sadness, mind you, but the deep, gouging pain.

Here is what I did on the evening before Mother’s Day this year, in that glorious golden hour.

And that’s my story for today.

(I almost walked away without photos, but now, I’m thankful that I didn’t.)

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Song lyrics here.

Dear Mom,

So many Mother’s Days come and go…and I get busy and don’t come by. But I always think of you. Life dealt you some cruel blows, Mom. I don’t blame you for anything. Sometimes sad things just happen in this broken world.

But Mom…I found Jesus…or He found me. And He filled up all my holes. And Mom, He healed me. I am whole. And much of it happened on walks right here, but much of it is still happening, and it’s just so beautiful. I’m hidden…and safe in His love.

No-one will ever replace you, Mom, even though your situation rendered you pretty much unable to mother, but Carol has really been God’s gift to me in so many strange and wonderful ways.

I just wanted you to know that I’m okay, and that I am taken care of…and that I am here on Mothers’ Day to honor you. To honor your memory.

I know that you are gone, Mom, and that you will not get this card, or these flowers, but somehow it feels right to be here writing it and leaving a rose on your tombstone. And somehow, I’m trusting God to get the message to you.

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Lessons From the Pit

Some things can only be learned from a low place, at least for me.

It’s hard to share, because:

  • pride
  • snippets come that I connect later
  • I understand before I can articulate

But this time, there was one, full-circle thing: silence.

That day-in-the-pit, I couldn’t bear any sound. All I could do, even at the park for exercise, was to walk, and nothing more.

I did not open the game I play. I did not listen to music. And what I experienced was revealing.

To my surprise, a world opened up in true, living color, bathed in sound and life. And I’d been missing it. I didn’t even notice it was gone.

You see, I’d had my head down, in the mesmerizing (but make-believe) world of Pokemon Go for so long, I didn’t even notice that I’d sort-of left the real world. I’m struggling to explain this, but even as I passed people at the park on my exercise days, my senses were surrounded with full-spectrum sound, of praise music, yes. But my earphones are so good, that they blocked out even the responses of fellow humans after I’d said, “Good morning.” They silenced the sound of birds and water flowing and cars passing and conversation and life.

This lesson should have been obvious to me, but to my shock, it was not.

And if my mission field is really between my own two feet at any given moment, as Jill Briscoe said at IF Gathering this year–if it’s really in the orbit of my everyday life, then I’m missing a lot. In fact, I might be missing everything.

I don’t even know when this happened. And as I famously lament my lack of time and my struggle to complete assignments that I believe are God-given, I wonder how it happened.

I don’t know…

But the lesson was that it did.

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The Thing in a Nutshell 🌰

I don’t have to worry about a troublesome situation in my life because of who God is.

But I worry about it because of who I am.

So today, I’m going back over some of the reasons why I don’t have to worry. Thank You, Holy Spirit.

❤️

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A Song of God’s Majesty and Love

A Praise of David.

145 

1 I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.

Psalm 145: 1-3, NKJV

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A Handful of Corn Chips

I am a fragile human, and I hate that. I hate it even as I say it, but it’s true.

Recently, I found myself in a deep, low place–physically, mentally, spiritually. If I don’t pay attention to routines I follow, I get there before I know I’m in trouble.

This won’t make sense, but I always thank God later for knocking me down. I don’t even know if He did it, but I thank Him anyway, because I usually learn some truth I desperately need from the low place. To quote C.S. Lewis:

“If our religion is something objective, then we must never avert our eyes from those elements in it which seem puzzling or repellent; for it will be precisely the puzzling or the repellent which conceals what we do not yet know and need to know.”

From my dark hole, I was crying out to God, because I’d tried all sorts of things to no avail. And one of the symptoms of those lows is a brain fog from which I cannot see much of anything.

“God,” I said. “You created this body and everything connected to it. You know what’s wrong. Spirit, please tell me what to do.”

And unmistakably, through the mist came this odd thought, as clear as a bell ringing on a moonless night:

“Go eat some corn chips.”

(I am not joking.)

“WHAT?” I snapped, shaking my head, and squinting upward.

“Go eat some corn chips.” (It came again.)

After a momentary ponder, I did just that. Somehow, I got down the stairs and dropped onto the bottom stair in the mudroom, which is near my pantry shelves. I had a bag of corn chips in my lap, and I munched until I was full.

And then, I trudged back upstairs to get ready for bed. By the time I’d taken my bath, to my utter surprise, I felt better. And by morning, to my complete amazement, I was back to normal, just in time for an important appointment I would have had to miss in my former state.

You see, what I forget in my hurry is my very real problem with low blood sugar. This issue has plagued me since I gave up sugar (for the most part) in 2011, and further since I gave up gluten (for the most part) in 2013. Those are stories for another day, but suffice it to say they were accidental discoveries that help me stay healthy and functional most of the time, which is a small miracle for someone who, as a young mom with three children, had a near miss with an MS diagnosis.

If I don’t eat for a certain period of time, and if I tax my body while hungry, both of which I’d done for three days, like heat exhaustion, the low blood sugar issue creeps up on me before I know what hit me. And then, the lack of energy, despair and brain fog all contribute to confusion in which I forget what to do. Fortunately, these incidents are rare.

The sure solution is to eat some good, old-fashioned carbs, which is usually a lot of fun, I might add.

To me, the moral of this story is that God cared enough about such a small detail. He cared about a handful of corn chips.

I certainly don’t deserve that kind of love.

And to quote Jill Briscoe, “Such grace.”

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NOTE: If you’re wondering where my husby was in my hour of need, he was away on a three-day business trip to Arkansas. 😁

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The Nearness of You

(God) is my only good.

I’ve been taking comfort from that phrase lately via this song:

 

 

After telling some friends about the song, one of them pointed out this scripture to me:

28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.

Psalm 73:28, NASB

Thank you, friend.

❤️

 

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Hard Things

Today, I’m thankful for hard things. From my knocked-down position, I’m learning some things I needed to know. And I’m seeing things I need to see.

Face down, where mercy finds me first…

And sometimes, I need to be able to become broken bread and poured out wine to be exactly where God wants me.

Looking down.

 

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Looking down today, I saw an artful sculpture created by a child on a playground. And it made me smile.

 

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