Friday, February 21, 2020

It's My Pleasure

OK. Sometimes I think I have entirely too much fun at work.
Like the other day, when a couple of women came in and were giddy about ordering waffle fries AND mac&cheese. One of them ordered the waffle fries, and the other was getting mac&cheese - and they were making promises about sharing with each other. In the beginning I was just having fun witnessing the enjoyment the two of them seemed to be having, but then I had an idea.
I said, "I know. You can use the waffle fries in place of forks for the mac&cheese!"
I honestly was not prepared for the level of enthusiasm displayed by these women in response to my suggestion. I mean, they thought I was brilliant! (I know, because they said so. *wink*) The three of us started laughing and talking about other means of replacing utensils. (Like chips with baked beans, grilled cheese for tomato soup...Ahhh, my non-Keto memories!) We were high-fiving each other and having a grand time.
And I was kinda sad to see them leave.
Then there was the young couple who came in for lunch with lots of questions. Early on I got the feeling that I could have some fun with them, so when Young Man asked if he could have two Chick-fil-A sauces (After I had just said, "Certainly!" when Young Lady asked for a couple of Polynesian sauces.) I looked at him with a straight face and said, "Uh, no." His jaw dropped, and Young Lady and I laughed so hard. She poked his side and said, "Ooooh, Karen got you!" In a matter of seconds, Young Man joined us in the merriment (As soon as he realized I was just teasing.) and I gave him the sauces. I felt a unique connection with them as we enjoyed each other's sense of humor.
And I was kinda sad to see them leave, too.
The thing is, whether I am being silly and teasing guests, or gentle as I help them with questions and needs, or motherly with little ones who are trying to place their own order - whatever I am doing - I can't help but be filled with thankfulness for this opportunity.
For the moment in time I have to be a light in somebody else's life.
It's a blessing.
And it truly is my pleasure.

By the way, I am going to be on vacation for a week - visiting my mom and dad in Florida, and speaking a few times while I'm there. Hence, I will NOT be blogging.
If all goes well, I'll be back here on March 2.
Until then, keep holding on to Him!


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

"Thank You" isn't Enough

Oh, my heart.
It simply cannot contain the gratitude I have as I am continuing to learn what grace and mercy have been given to us through Jesus.
My Precept group is studying the book of Hebrews this year, and yesterday's class - the sermon we watched after our discussion - opened my eyes to something I have not seen before.
In case you aren't familiar with it, Hebrews is a letter of exhortation written to Jewish men and women who believed in Jesus as the Messiah. It was a call to them (and all of us!) to hold fast to their confession of Jesus as Messiah, in spite of trials and tribulations. Hebrews is full of teaching that Jesus is our eternal High Priest of the New Covenant, infintely better than the priests and high priests and the Old Covenant of their fathers.
We are presently in chapter 9, and this past week's lesson found us studying the Day of Atonement. And it was the detail and regulation and ceremony and restriction of this yearly encounter with the presence of God which arrested my heart so thoroughly.
That is, we were reminded of the fate of Aaron's sons who spontaneously put themselves and an unauthorized offering before the LORD.
They were struck down dead on the spot.
(You may read their story in Leviticus 10.)
And, while one may hold them responsible for the consequences of their actions because they should have known better than to approach a holy God without being commanded to do so, I realized I probably would have done the same thing.
I mean, in Leviticus 9 they had just been visited by the glory of the LORD, and all the people were full of joy and were on their faces in worship. It seems reasonable to me that these guys would have been caught up in the wonder of the moment and just wanted to bring more offerings to God.
I would totally do that!
But Aaron's sons couldn't approach God. Their sins had not been atoned. They were not ready. Appropriate sacrifices and cleansings had not been made. The boys couldn't just go before God any old time. A way had to be made for them first.
And because it wasn't, a holy God consumed them with fire.

As I considered this scene I was simultaneously struck with fear and overcome with gratitude.
Fear because of the holiness of God and the seriousness of sin.
And gratitude because of the grace of God and the gift of Jesus.

Jesus is our High Priest who made one sacrifice for all people for all time. He doesn't continually bring offerings to God like the priests of old did. He IS the sacrifice. And His offering was sufficient to satisfy God's holy requirements.
For all.
And because of Jesus' death and resurrection, I can come into God's presence any old time.
Actually, all the time!
My sins have been forgiven through the blood Jesus shed. He has cleansed me, and made the way for me (for all of us) to have full access to God.
The love of God produces grace and mercy through Jesus Christ which allows me to be in His presence freely, and no matter how hard I try I cannot fully express the joy and gratitude welling up in my heart.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Overheard From the Backseat

Sunday evening my entire family was in the van, traveling to have dinner with the extended entire family. As we drove, I enjoyed listening to my kids banter back and forth and share stories about life.
And there was one story, in particular, which delighted me beyond all the others.
That is, one of my children (who shall remain nameless - to protect the innocent!) was complaining about roommate challenges.
Seems this child's roommate doesn't like to do dishes, or clean up messes, or much of anything else which resembles being responsible for one's living space. And this child of mine is getting tired of it. To the extent that this child recently said to Messy Roommate, "Before you go to bed tonight, will you please clean up x, y, and/or z?" And, apparently, Messy replied with some element of drama and said my child was taking Messy back to moments with Messy's parents.
In other words, my child sounds like Messy's mom.
Which on the one hand made me laugh out loud with a certain sense of satisfaction - knowing my child has an inkling of the agony I experienced over years of saying the same kind of thing.
And which - on the other hand - made me grin with pride at the notion that my child was paying enough attention all those years to not only care about cleanliness, but also to remember how to motivate a person to action.
I mean, I don't know if Messy actually fulfilled the clean-up request (Because, goodness knows, my child(ren) didn't always respond to my requests - even when I tried the non-demanding, nag-free, sound-as-relaxed-as-possible "before you go to bed" approach.) but it delights me to no end that my years of attempted training are producing some results. And, yeah, it's fun to see my child learning to navigate the pathways of adulting.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Friday, February 14, 2020

It's My Pleasure

Sometimes I feel rather momish when I'm at work. Looking after the needs of guests and co-workers, making sure they are well-cared-for and prepared for obstacles which might come their way.
That's why I always put a hand wipe in the bag when somebody asks for honey.
Because, you know, sticky hands.

Anyway, I was feeling particularly momish yesterday. The snow was falling steadily, and although folks were telling me early on that the roads were fine, as the morning progressed reports were changing. So I routinely asked if the guest at my window had a lot of driving ahead of them, we typically had a brief discussion about road conditions, and as I sent them on their way with yummy food I lovingly beckoned them to "Drive safely!"

Then there was the guest who gave me the opportunity to move from momish to sisterhood-of-moms-ish. That is, I was handing a chocolate milk out the window and I knew it was accompanying a kids' meal. So I called to the young boy in the back seat, "Oooo, chocolate milk? Who has the best mom in the world???" The soon-to-be-a-chocolate-milk-drinker smiled and said, "I do!"
"That's right," I said (also smiling), "and it's important for you to remember that."
At which point Mom looked at me and said, "Thanks. I need all the help I can get."
And I smiled at her, too, as I said, "I understand," praying a little bit of grace from the mom in the drive-thru would help make her day just a little bit more hopeful.

Whether my role is that of a need-meeter, saftey-cautioner, or spirit-lifter, it truly is my pleasure.


Thursday, February 13, 2020

Here's Looking at You, Kid!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my girl.
Except shortly into the incident I realized I was not accompanying a "girl."
Rather, she was a woman.
With responsibilities and maturity and a whole host of grown-up behaviors.
That is, Elizabeth showed me around where she works - let me see the things she's doing, explained processes and future plans, and gave me insights into her passions. She introduced me to her supervisor, and discussed a couple of issues with her while we were there. And as I observed my daughter talking about work-related needs and questions, I realized she was operating at a level I have never seen her on before. I mean, Elizabeth is wonderful and responsible and all that. I've known as much for a long time. But yesterday I got to see her doing these things with my own eyes. And suddenly I felt as though I wasn't just with my girl, but with another woman.
It was kind of strange.
And wonderful.
Wonderful to see my daughter respected and valued by another adult.
Delightful to witness her blossoming before my eyes.
There's just something so enjoyable about watching your child excel, and grow into the person God has created them to be.

As we drove between errands we talked about life and decision-making. I shared with Elizabeth how I have been praying for her and heard how she's been seeking God, too.
In this regard I had another opportunity to see how my girl has grown into a woman. I got to look at the beautiful work God has been doing - the work in which I once played a significant role, and which now finds me as more of an observer.
And while there is a tinge of sadness at missing what was, I realized I have a whole lot of joy in seeing what IS.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Come and Be with HIM

So yesterday we ended our Precept study time by listening to this song as we reflected on Jesus - our High Priest.
The One who fulfilled God's plan for our redemption.
The One who knows our every need, and meets each one of them perfectly.
The One in whom we confess our faith, the anchor of our eternal hope.
It was such a blessing and I want to share the blessing with you. I know you have the time - because you're here. So please take the next 3 minutes and 17 seconds to sit in His presence, reflecting on His love and enjoying just being with Him.


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

I Don't Wanna

"I don't wanna!"

At least once a week those are the words I hear coming from my husband's mouth with regard to doing his workout. And I immediately know I've gotten my cue to spur him on with encouragement to do what he doesn't want to do. To get up anyway, or get dressed anyway, or get out the door anyway - and go to the gym. He and I both know he's happier when he's done a workout.
So, I respond the same way, every time.
"That's OK. You don't hafta wanna. You've just gotta do it."
And here's where I admit that I am a frequent utterer of that phrase, too. When my alarm goes off and it's a workout day, I often roll over and groan, "But I don't wanna!"
And the other day when I found myself in that position - protesting to no one in particular, because Brian was already out of bed and at the gym - I had to provide the encouragement myself. But by the time I made it to my workout space, I was already thinking about calling it quits. So as I got down on my knees to stretch I prayed, I don't wanna do this, God. But if You'll help me, I can do it.
For the next 20-30 seconds I just kept repeating, If You'll help me, I can do it.
And there - stretched out on the floor, repeating my petition, being completely honest about my inability to carry out the task in my own strength - I realized I was in a position where I need to put myself a lot more often.
That is, it occurred to me that every time God is leading me to do a hard thing, whenever He is asking me to take an uncomfortable stance, or when I think I know a better way than the way He is guiding me - and I have a desire to say to HIM, "I don't wanna!" - I need to get on my knees and confess, I don't wanna do this, God. But if You'll help me, I can do it. Because I know, just like He has gotten me through every difficult thing I have ever faced before, so He will take me through each one I've yet to encounter.
God is faithful like that.
And when I surrender my weakness to His strength, oh, what a wonderful outcome HE produces.
Do you know what I mean???


Monday, February 10, 2020

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Say That Again?

Yesterday as I walked into the grocery store to do my weekly shopping I was met with a smile.
I returned the gesture, and was anticipating the usual greeting.
"Welcome to Meijer!"
As I passed the greeter I did, indeed, hear the expected words. But then she said something I've never heard her (or any of the other greeters) say.

"Enjoy your shopping."

If it's possible to do a double-take with your ears, that is exactly what I did next.
I thought, What? Did she really just say that?? Enjoy my shopping??? And I went on to label the greeting as silly.
Ridiculous, even.
Because I hadn't come into the store for enjoyment. I was simply fulfilling a duty. Collecting a list of items which would allow me to go home and fulfill another duty - making meals for my guys.
And she wanted me to "enjoy my shopping"?
I mean, really. What's fun about getting groceries???
Yet as I walked on, another Voice whispered to my heart, Why not? Why not enjoy shopping? What's so silly about finding joy in mundane things?And before I could do anything about it, I found myself agreeing with that Voice.
Then my spirit was saying, Yeah. Enjoy your shopping! What the heck. Enjoy everything!
Thus, my attitude changed on a dime.

I chuckled to myself as I considered how quickly the Spirit of God can convict mine. And I smiled at the thought that He knows what is best. That He knows exactly what my heart needs to hear.
Yes, Lord. Please keep telling me the things I need to hear!

And, as it would go - I did find joy. I encourage you today to enjoy yourself in every little thing you do.