For Real?

I’m a girly-girl. There. I said it. I like to think that I’m a tiny bit tomboy, but let’s face it, I’m not. I like Mary Kay and all that goes with it. I adore shoes, and I love clothes. Most of all, I love handbags and I’ve had a particular one on my wish list for over a decade. It’s one of those things that would be nice to have, but my budget has never agreed.

Imagine my surprise a few months ago when a precious friend stopped by my house with a huge gift sack in tow. Inside the sack was my wish list vintage purse! You see, my friend is a woman of God who is a perfect model for how we’re to bless others when God calls us to do so. I’ve watched her for years and have even been a part of some of her acts of kindness toward others. But this time I was on the receiving end, and I was speechless.

With my treasure on my shoulder, I did my routine girly-girl thing – went to get my nails done. As usual, there was a lot of chatter in a language I do not comprehend and have learned to tune out. So imagine my surprise when I realized that the chatter appeared to be about me! I watched their eyes as they would look at each other and then look at my purse. I sat it down to fish out my wallet and out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of them nonchalantly rub the outside corner of my purse. Our eyes locked. She smiled. The other girl mumbled in their mother tongue. And then I caught on. I smiled and said, “yes, it’s real.” One grinned at the other with satisfaction, leading me to believe they had conflicting views on my bag’s authenticity.

Once in the car, I was embarrassed that my special gift caused that kind of scrutiny. Did they think I wasn’t capable of owning it? Did others passing by at the store look at me with judgment? Was I perceived to be something I’m not? Forget the purse — am I authentic!? After satan was done tormenting me with questions, I sensed that God was ready to use this as a teachable moment. My heart heard Him ask, “Are YOU for real, Barbara?” What? Why wouldn’t I be? Hello! I live and breathe God and church and reading Christian fiction! How could my heavenly Father ask me that?

Well, after I got over my sassy self, I pondered on His question for several hours. I knew He’d asked because He loves me and wants me to slow down and look at my life from time to time.

Is the face I present to the world really who I am on the inside?

Do I live for God 24/7 or do I take “time outs” for self-indulgence in things I know isn’t bringing Him glory?

Do I walk the walk when I teach about things of God to my Sunday school class and when counseling others and when writing devotionals? How about at work? At the gym? On Facebook?

Girlfriends, my “for real?” time with God was priceless. I think we all need a moment of self-assessment sometimes, don’t you? Life can get so crazy that we can end up off track and in a rut. It happens! But can you see the beauty in serving a Savior who cares enough to have a chat with us about our daily routine? He’s in the details. He cares. He’s not judging. He’s just doing what a good parent or friend would do – care enough to ask the hard questions while helping us with the answers.

So…how are you today? Are you for real?

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Do-Overs

Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they?  Did no one condemn you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.”  And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either.  Go.  From now on sin no more.”  John 8:10-11

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees made a daring attempt to set Jesus up for a fall, but instead Jesus used the situation as a life-changing lesson (John 8:1-9.)  Their first mistake was thinking they knew more than Jesus.

In my own life, there have been times when I’ve thought my way was the best way.  That attitude has found me like these men—with egg on my face!  Jesus is author and creator of all we’re to live by, yet we show our gratitude for His provision by thinking we know more.  Just as in this situation, He will be gentle in His redirection if we’re willing to listen.

Imagine how the woman must have felt standing before the Messiah—her chin touching her chest because that was as far as she could bow her shamed head.  Hands clasped in front of her with dust on her feet and her hair loose and tangled.  Jesus saw past all that.  We hear compassion in His question and response.  He did not condemn her either and sent her on her way with instruction for moving forward. A clean slate. A do-over.

Do-overs come with a responsibility.  Confession and repentance.  We have to lay the sin down, for good, and walk away in order to begin anew.  I’m grateful for do-overs.  Jesus wants to teach us through these moments, if we’ll let Him.

Ponder your gratitude for your do-overs. If you have unconfessed sin, talk it out with God.  Then, confess and repent.  Take time to praise God for sending His Son so that we can be forgiven and allowed a fresh start.  Express your gratitude by writing a praise to the One who does not condemn us.

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A Work in Progress

I’m in the process of redesigning my web page. Please be patient with me.  Now not only am I a WORK IN PROGRESS…my website is too!  :)

Thanks

Barbara

 

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