Thursday, September 26, 2019

Thursday's Thought on... not happily ever after

Now I don't know about you, but I like stories that have happy endings. Good guy ends up with good girl, bad guy gets justice for his rotten behavior... happily ever after and all that stuff. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy that mid-story plot twist that brings in an added element of drama as much as the next gal, but in the end, what I want is "and they lived happily ever after."

In case you didn't know, there are a TON of movies that have terrible endings. There are tons of books that don't have happy endings.  You may be surprised to find out that not all the stories in the Bible end with "and they all lived happily ever after." You would think that, of all the things we could read, the Bible would be full of happy endings.

While the big picture of the Bible (the revelation of God and restoration of Man) totally has a happy ending, the stories that make up that bigger story aren't all hearts, flowers, and happily ever afters. For example, Bathsheba and Tamar have TRAGIC stories. Their lives cause me serious anxiety because... well, I like hope. I find comfort in knowing that God is FOR me, that He SEES my hurt and He will MAKE IT RIGHT.

Thing is, life just isn't always like that.  Right? Are you nodding along with me yet? Cancer doesn't always go into remission. People don't love you back. People leave. People lie. The bad guys don't always get caught. We lose jobs. We lose children. Our hearts ache and our palms sweat and our stomachs knot and, honestly, sometimes, no matter how hard we try, things don't work out in the end.

Such seems to be the case for Bathsheba and Tamar. They suffered more pain at the hands of men than I care to think about.  Go ahead and read their stories here and here. I'll wait.

Goodness, those ladies did not get anything close to a happily ever after.... at least not by my definition. When I read their stories, I am BROKEN. How could a God who loves us allow such things? (and we all know that this kind of horror still happens every day) Before you get upset and decide that God is 'wrong", let's look at something... 'cause this is one of those situations where "God's ways are not our ways." Even without a "happily ever after,"  these ladies got more justice than you or I could have EVER handed out or ever dreamed up and delivered!

While it may not have seemed like it at the time, it is quite obvious that God Almighty saw what was done to Bathsheba and He did make it right. In Matthew 1, where we are given the lineage of Jesus, check out verse 6 here. Do you SEE that???? I've heard it before, but a Ladies Small group lesson recently highlighted, bolded, and italicized it for me. God calls David out... right there for all eternity. "Bathsheba was URIAH's wife." Wow. Not only is her story recorded so that forever and ever we know that her fate was David's doing and not her own, God notes her true place... as Uriah's wife.

And what about Tamar? Her story is recorded as well. Anyone who reads Tamar's story sees her innocence. Even though the men in her life failed her miserably,  her story is recorded for all time. the evil Amnon did to her is recorded and the injustice she suffered as a result is recorded as well. It is as though God wanted to make sure that her side of the story was told.

Maybe these stories needed to be told for Bathsheba's and Tamar's sake. Maybe they needed to be told for you and for me...

Maybe we need to be reminded that life doesn't always have happy endings, but that doesn't negate the ultimate happy ending we will have when we meet Christ in heaven and spend eternity there.
Maybe need to be reminded that GOD sees the truth and is very present in our lives even when we feel like He is far from us.
Maybe we need to be reminded that God's ways are not ours and His justice is perfect and better than anything we could dream up... we just have to trust Him.

Just my thoughts,

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thursday Thoughts on... fear

Several weeks ago I shared that I have a very real fear of failure. While writing that post, I realized (and shared) that "success" was not something I considered to be an option. When considering possible outcomes to any given situation, my goal was to fail in the least painful way. This realization gave me hope. 

Maybe I fail because I choose to... and maybe if I choose to succeed, I will.

Around this same time, a dear friend approached me about buying into her online business. The business has been very good to her. VERY good. Like, "she just quit her regular job to do this full time" good. I was just on the verge of agreeing to join her, when someone pointed out that I'd never put that much effort into marketing my art... and that if I did, I might be just as successful.

With all this in mind I committed to give painting 100%.  For me, right now, this comes in the form of doing "Paint With Me by Southern Breezes" classes/parties. You know the drill... I walk you through a painting and when we are done, you have a work of art all your own. 

I have shamelessly marketed weekly classes on social media. I have shamelessly asked people to come to a class (only when I think their completed painting would make them happy).  The whole process has been more uncomfortable than I can express. 

I woke up Sunday morning with only 2 people signed up for this week's class. I was SICK. I almost canceled it. I REALLY considered just calling it quits all together, but then reminded myself that I was gonna give 100% until the end of the year... just to test this "I fail because I quit before I have a chance to succeed" theory. I prepared myself to make the best out of a 2 person class. I made the conscious decision to follow through, to NOT quit, to not chicken out... to just follow the plan... this week that simply meant hosting a paint class with 2 people. 

Would you believe that by Tuesday morning I had NINE people signed up for this week's class??? I kept getting messages and emails that read something like "is there still room in this class? can you please fit me in?" and "I know I missed the deadline, but could you let me know if you have a cancellation?" and "I forgot to message you earlier, can I still come to the class tonight?"

Y'all... my poor little defeated heart SOARED! 

I know that sometimes we have to cut our losses and get out of something that isn't beneficial. However, let's not confuse "this isn't beneficial to me" with "I'm scared I'll fail."  Failure is not fatal and we won't know if we can succeed unless we try...REALLY try.

Just my thoughts..

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Thursday's Thoughts on... the luxury of being too busy to write

When I don't write, one of 2 things has happened... I've gotten really depressed or I've gotten really busy.
I've been really busy these past few weeks.... and I haven't written... because I have the option to write or not write. No one is gonna be upset with me if I don't post something here every Thursday. I'm not sure anyone would even notice... which is a good thing... I think.

I was thinking about this on Sunday morning as the hubs got up to preach and it hit me... he CAN'T have a week where he just doesn't "feel it." He can't have a week that he doesn't seek a message from God... cause, ya know... that's kind of his job.

Of course, I am tempted to add a little "but it IS his job and he can work on his sermon all day for 5 days at work," and I SUPPOSE this may seem true for anyone who isn't in the ministry... but for those of us who are, we know that "Sermon Prep time" is not honored by the typical church member.... or anyone else except other preachers... and maybe not even with them. 

Not only that... but honestly, on weeks when I have nothing to say, it wouldn't matter if I sat at the key board for 27 hours straight... the screen is still gonna be blank. So on weeks when I have nothing to say... i say nothing.

A preacher does not have that option. He doesn't have the option to skip a week. He doesn't have the option to be too tired or depressed or stressed out to write a sermon. He doesn't have the option to be "too busy" to write a sermon. 

I've been married to "the Preacher" for almost 23 years.  I sit on the pew every week like most of you and totally take the sermon for granted. Today I am amazed that he is able to prepare a sermon week after week, no matter what life is throwing at our church, our family or him personally. 

Makes me respect him a bit more and appreciate him a lot more. I hope these thoughts help you see the effort and sacrifice behind YOUR pastor's sermons... and will encourage you to let him know that you appreciate what he does to deliver God's Word to you each week.

Just my thoughts,