Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Two Cents…

October 29, 2017

Last Thursday, I shopped at a Dallas area grocery store that has a kosher market. I posted a picture on social media that included all my incredible finds! I filled each frame of the collage with some of my favorite items from Israel. I had a blast, and couldn’t believe I was in America! But there was one image (more like video) that didn’t make the posted frame, and it’s been reeling in my memory non-stop.

I was in the self check out lane when I realized I didn’t have my rewards card with me (you know, the plastic card that gives you all the discounts, etc). self checkoutSo, I asked the guys who were checking out in front of me if I could use their card. One of them smiled, and came over right away to offer a helping hand. Or so I thought. He was friendly at first, and proceeded to punch in his telephone number so I could get my discount. That’s when things changed. His smile faded and he looked at me with total disgust and said, “You know, it’s really ridiculous that you don’t have a discount card, by the way…” Once I picked my jaw up off the ground, I managed to say, “I rarely ever shop here. There’s not one of these stores near me.” He smirked and made some kind of chuckling sound as he rolled his eyes and walked away.

I bagged up my items, laughed to myself as I walked to my car, and whispered, “God…did that REALLY just happen?!” As I got in my car, I prayed, “Oh, NO…I will NOT pick up an offense from this! But God…I really feel like there’s a lesson for me here. Will you help me see it?” I continued to pray all the way home as the offense kept wanting to rise up in my spirit. That’s when the Lord spoke to my heart. He said, “Leigh-Taylor, this isn’t about offense…or even what happened in that moment. It’s about how you and most others want to have the last word. You feel the need to add your two cents.”

two cents

I thought about that for a moment. I reflected back on how this guy could’ve just blessed me with his smile and his rewards card, but instead he had to insert his opinion. And that whole encounter based on the negativity of his “two cents” threatened to steal the joy I had felt moments earlier over my imported Israeli finds. And the raw truth? I, too, offer my opinions more oft than I should. Let the teachable moment begin!

I got home and started putting groceries away, when my mind drifted to the biblical account of the widow and her two mites. Since I had heard the words “two cents” from God, I thought that train of thought seemed logical. So, I went to that passage of scripture in Luke 21. I had been thinking maybe there was something about that story God wanted to drive home…but I kept reading, and that’s where I found the treasure He wanted me to unearth. Luke 21:14-19 says: So make up your minds not to prepare ahead of time to defend yourselves—for I Myself will give you speech and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute….by your endurance, you will gain your souls.” stand firm

In that passage of scripture, the disciples had been asking Yeshua (Jesus) about the end times, the destruction of the temple, and signs they should be anticipating to let them know the time was near. There are so many parallels to the season we’re in and the instruction and wisdom of Jesus to warn us against the need to defend ourselves. In my example above, I felt the need to defend myself against why this guy thought I was being “ridiculous” in not having my own rewards card. In return, I answered out of my own strength, and the need to prove my case and defend myself. Just as I was being critical of the man for giving me his unsolicited opinion, it dawned on me as I read the scripture that I had done the exact same thing…given my two cents…from a place of defense. Words have power. And if we will wait on the Lord and allow Him to defend us and allow Him to give us words at the right time, we don’t have to worry about losing anything. In fact, we stand to GAIN everything!

So, dear ones, rest today. When others give you their two cents, throw it in the bank and collect the interest by keeping your mouth shut. Trust that God will go before you and give you the words you need, and that He’ll let you know the right time in which to release them.

That’s just my two cents… (smile).

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Good (Grief) Friday

April 14, 2017

Good Friday. It’s here, and it makes us uncomfortable.

Why do I say that? Because everywhere I turn I read, & have even sent texts today that proclaim, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’!”

In the words of Jesus in the meal He had with His disciples in the Upper Room, I don’t see a “rush to get to Sunday’. Instead, I see an explanation of what was to come & the commanded words “do this in remembrance of me”. upper room

I sit with those words. I let the reality of death set in. I hear the whips of the strips of reeds bruise His flesh, and strips of leather with embedded shards of glass break open His flesh. I cry tears of grief and sadness, and I dare to stay in the place of grief, and remembrance for a while.

With the recent unexpected and sudden loss of my father, this particular Easter season carries more pain. It was our favorite holiday to celebrate together. I feel the urge and desire to want to rush through to Sunday. I want the Resurrection, and I want it NOW! But there’s silence that shrouds the air on Saturday just as the grave clothes remained on the body of our Jesus.

I just watched The Passion of the Christ. I’ve only seen it once before, and it was in the theater on opening week-end thirteen years ago! I swore I would never see it again. I told myself I didn’t need to see that again. I didn’t need to hear those sounds again. And I didn’t need to go “there” again…to that place of death.

communion

But don’t I? Don’t you? Don’t WE?

Our rush to get to Sunday echoes our current state as a society of how we tend to hurry through grief. We don’t “feel all the feels” because it’s just too painful. We hurry the process when even in death Himself, Jesus didn’t. We talk about the events of Friday afternoon (Crucifixion), and Sunday (Resurrection), but we leave Friday night, and all day Saturday in the realm of declared unimportance. But the truth is “unimportance” translates to numbness, denial, anger…and all the feelings about grief we don’t want to experience. We tell ourselves we don’t have time to deal with those feelings in the moment, and that we’ll come back later to feel them….but we never do.

And besides, why deal with grief and the pain of the silence of “Saturday” when it’s all about heaven (Sunday), right?

Well, I would say wrong. It’s all about God. He is the “maker of heaven and earth.”

And He, too, is the Designer of the process. And that process involves grief, silence, and sitting in those dark places that leave us wondering: What’s going to happen next? What do we do with ourselves now? Where is our hope? Do we really have any faith left? Why is God so silent…does He not care?

grief

In the midst of our pain & suffering, God meets us there. Both of my parents died on a Friday night, and a month ago when I lost my dad I asked God to reframe Fridays for me. He showed me that they both entered His eternal Shabbat (Sabbath) rest on a holy day. Even now as I type these words, I realize that’s what Jesus did, too. He paved the way for us to enjoy that rest forever. What a gift!

So, yes, I recognize the goodness of Friday every week, as well as this one called Good Friday which precedes Resurrection Day (Easter). It truly is the hope of heaven that sustains every believer in Jesus as we make it from Friday to Sunday. I just hope the grief of Saturday….the time in between…isn’t lost in celebration, but that it’s remembered with integrity.

It’s Good Friday, and Sunday’s comin’…..but so is Saturday.

hope

 

Tasty Tuesday!

January 4, 2017

tasty-tuesday

I’ve had this idea for a couple weeks now to have a feature on my blog where I highlight a meal (recipe with pics, etc), & call it “Tasty Tuesday” (& run a feature on Friday & call it “Fearless Friday“). The only problem regarding today’s post is I ran late getting home following a meeting I had in Dallas. So, I considered doing a feature at a restaurant instead of cooking tonight. That way, I wouldn’t always have to prepare a “homemade” meal on Tuesday nights, I could mix my attempts with the pros! However, I really didn’t want to eat out tonight since I went grocery shopping yesterday. Ugh… Decisions, decisions.

And then it happened. I was tempted to feel like a failure on freaking JANUARY 3rd of the new year! Wow…the enemy wastes no time in bringing discouragement in the form of doubts & those pesky little things called “feelings”!

Well, I dug in my heels, and said, “No. I’m not going there.” And I decided I’d assess the food situation at home.

pbh

Hot Mess Express!

My sole purpose in wanting to create “Tasty Tuesday” & “Fearless Friday” is to bring encouragement as we all learn to operate out of a place of fun, creativity, and courage. I knew right then I just wanted to drop the facade of perfection I can lean into, & just have FUN with it (while taking care of my hunger pangs….”hangry” really is a thing, y’all)!

fancy

Gettin’ Fancy

Tonight, I made a peanut butter & honey sandwich, sliced up a pear, & added some veggie stick chips. I poured a cold glass of milk, & set my table. But I took it a step further….instead of using a paper plate or ordinary dishes, I used my CHINA! I also cut the sandwich into triangles to make it more “fancy”, and I found myself laughing while plating it all like a Master Chef…haha! The lemon lavender cookies were the perfect sweet ending, too.

cookies

Lemon Lavender Cookies

And not just because Disney made a popular song out of that phrase, but because you’ll gain your life back, or find one you never knew existed…one that YOU were destined to live! And you’ll even have FUN making it fabulous!

Tonight, I’m thankful for the sweetest honey found on Whidbey Island, WA…it truly made my sandwich EXTRAordinary. And I’m also thankful for God’s help in taking the negative thoughts captive…the muscle of self discipline I’m learning to exercise is growing, and that’s both empowering and faith building.

 

Here’s to TASTY TUESDAY, & all the new beginnings & fresh revelations of 2017!