The Pages Talk Back

Over the last couple of days I have had to thank God for my work friends. Y’all, they are a hoot. Four of these ladies give me the best set of giggles. They inspire me. They encourage me. They remind me what it’s all about.

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One of my friends is deaf. Over the last year, I have become the person who interprets and lets her know what is going on. (Did I mention I do not sign?) When I started, I would write everything down. But I soon learned that people say a lot of stuff that is unimportant. So now I focus on the important things that people say. Yes, I edit. She doesn’t mind. Recently I have gotten enough courage to sign using the alphabet when she and I have private conversations.

She is amazing in that she remembers everyone we work with, even though she doesn’t know their name.  She will ask about the girl with the blonde hair. The other day, she asked about our friend Jesus’ friend.  At first I was a little throwed off because when I see the word Jesus and Friend, I think “we are all his friend.” But she meant the young man who worked with us.  She has some limited speech so when she vocalized it, she pronounced the J. I had a quiet giggle and answered her question.

I admire the fact that she works in hearing situation. She lives her life like everyone else only she can’t hear. The other day she walked passed me and I had ear plugs in to help cancel out some of the noise. She cracked up at the sight of them. She couldn’t believe I was trying to keep sound out.

Another woman I look for every work day is Ms. Positive. She is not the bubbly happy for no reason person. She is a woman with a deep seed of joy. She will tell you that she is 98 percent positive. The other 2 percent is not negative, it is just something else.  This sister has an amazing perspective on life and our purpose here. She spends her time encouraging others.

I used to sit a table over and listen to her talk to others. My favorite conversation was “poor was a state of mind. You are not poor.” But sometimes the conversation got so good, I had to join in.  She knows what she is here for and has goals. I love that.

My friend SK would be the one who makes me belly laugh. She has two daughters that started college this year, so everything I am going through, she is getting double. Let me tell you, that don’t phase her at all.  Somedays when she starts talking I hear Helen Reddy in the background singing, “I am strong! I am invincible! I am woman!” No matter what she encounters she says, “I am going to handle this.” And I see the same thing lived out in her daughters.

And finally, my girl T-Rae. She deserves to punch me in the mouth, but instead gives me a smile and says that is okay.  She is very sweet and forgiving. This morning, on our overtime day, our boss asked her “Do you know how to do XYZ?” She said “No.” I said, “Yes you do.” Because of that everyone else got to go home, and we had to stay and work.  She should have socked me in the mouth. I would have. (I really wanted to leave. I could have socked myself in the mouth.)

She is the mother of a boy and pours into his life. She is not afraid to voice views that are different than other peopel. She introduces me to stuff I have never thought about, like eating SPAM. (IKR) We have the liveliest discussions around child raising and pretty much anything on television. We often sit like Homey the Clown, reminding people that “We don’t play that.” Yet under the gruff exterior are two women who crack up laughing all the time.

Each one of these women have their own views on life and I have the privilege right now to hear it. I wish I could bring them over and we all have a conversation. It is like reading a living breathing book. And the best part is that I get to participate.

 

Stormy Days and Sleepless Nights

Rainy wet days are not good for getting my steps in, but lots of good came from the storm clouds this week. My dying rose bushes really appreciated the rain. There is something about the water from heaven that truly beats the water from the hose. The bushes find almost instant satisfaction and renewal.

I find the same type of satisfaction in the midst of a storm. While storm raged overhead, they also raged inside. I got to have conversations with different women this week that revealed how God worked through their storms. Like the dried out roses, some women were beaten and battered but at the roots they were nourished. They found strength in the struggle.

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This week something that was meant to harm me, turned into one of my most powerful moments.  I took that and empowered others. God is so good. I know many women going through right now, but let me tell you God is getting some glory through them. Several times I had to stop and shout because the Lord’s word does not return void.

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I can’t count how many times this week I have said, “Don’t worry, God has got this! Don’t be afraid. Trust the process.”  We tend to focus on the the dark clouds overhead, and not the impact the clouds have on our life. We only have one way of seeing a storm as something that is coming to destroy us. When all the Lord is doing is tearing loose something that has us bound.

But we need to pray to see the storm the way the Lord sees it.

He tells us in His word that His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8)

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What Makes The Difference For You?

Like many in the world, I have been consumed by the Olympics in Rio this past week. I have enjoyed watching the young and strong  compete against each other and the sense of national pride it gives to us who do not have youth and strength. Like life, there have been good moments and not so good moments. All of these moments have made a difference in these athletes lives.

My favorite moment was when Simone Manuel realized she had won the gold medal in her swim meet. That innocent moment of looking up after the race to see where she had finished turned into something epic. Instead of being there to be a part of the race, she was now ready to win the race because she knew she could. (photo by Doug Mills NYT)

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What makes the difference for you?

For me it is prayer. God taught me who, what, when, where and how. He gave me several amazing examples, but one that holds my heart is BSF leadership.  I remember many a cold morning on my knees praying with these sisters. I don’t think there is anything on this side of heaven like it. Then He strengthen my prayer muscles by having me exercise them. He taught me that to communicate with Him is the best way to live this life.

I have never really thought about being a prayer warrior until someone said something.  There are a list of people I pray over daily. Some are life timers, while others are just for a season. (the longer the list, the earlier I have to get up. enough said.) I revisit the list every quarter. Sometimes I move people off, but it is not God’s intention that they are off. For example there is one person I have been praying for, and I moved her off the list because it had been years since I have seen her. But every morning, the Lord brings her to mind. (His way of telling me she is still on the list.)

Another example is my oldest brother. For years I thought he was dead because we had not seen him in years, but prayed for him anyway.  I remember praying “Lord, he is with you. Why is he still on my list?” Turns out he wasn’t dead, and obviously needed those prayers.

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Tonight, I was having dinner with a fellow empty nester and she said, “You are a prayer warrior.” Kinda like Simone, I looked up at her to see what she meant. Then I got it.

Once you know you are in a race to win, you swim differently than when you are just glad to be in the race. I realized not everyone is called to pray like I pray, but I am going to treat it like an Olympic event. I am going to do it with all I got.

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