Posts Tagged ‘life’

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).

Advertisements

Two years…

April 6, 2015

Nearly two years ago, my world was rocked. Shaken. Turned upside down.

I got a call on April 12, 2013 that forever changed my life. My brother called to tell me my mom had died in a house fire. I had to get him to repeat it two or three times because I couldn’t comprehend what was being said.

Mom died???

Traumatic is the only word that fits here.

The whiplash effect of that reality led to delayed grieving. At first, I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t “move past it” more quickly. Three months after my mom moved to heaven, I couldn’t understand why it still hurt so badly, why I still couldn’t sleep at night, and why I’d still burst into tears at random moments.

I had never lost anyone that close to me.

Two years later, I’ve learned more than I’ve cared to about grief. However, one of the greatest redeeming aspects has been how the Lord has used me to love on and encourage others who are grieving.

There’s comfort in knowing someone else has “been there”….and in many cases I’ve been the one to listen because, well….I’ve “been there”.

This past week-end, I went to my home town of Tyler, Texas. I hadn’t been back since my mom passed away. I had this urge deep down in my soul to go.

I had a vision in my mind of reading Psalm 23 in the grass where her body was last placed by fire fighters. Since she was cremated, I don’t have a grave site to visit, and for some reason this just made sense to me. On Wednesday before Easter, the Lord also gave me the idea to take communion in there, too.

I was on a mission…and I was going to complete it.

So, I headed out to Tyler on Saturday morning, and met my brother at mom’s town home. I didn’t know what to expect, but upon seeing it I was flooded with peace. It actually made things better to see life all around…to see azaleas in bloom, grass growing in the yard, and trees well past budding their leaves.

momstownhomeYes, the blue sky and all the green “life” around it brought a source of joy and strength. There were some structural changes with the remodel of the town home. It was the only one on the street that didn’t have a covered porch. You could tell on the exterior brick wall that one used to be there. A faint line told a story, but most people wouldn’t notice.

sittingingrassIt was good to see that all the glass blown out by the windows had been either cleaned up or buried in the soil. There were no more clumps of ashes…only newly planted monkey grass and blooming flowers declaring LIFE over the lot. Yes, this was a much more pleasant scene than the last time I was there.

I quickly found “the spot” in the grass that I had been drawn to in my mind. I had this desire, this need really, to sit where my mom’s body had been placed. I guess at one point in my life, we had been joined together with blood and tissue, so the fact I was craving that kind of “nearness” shouldn’t be too surprising.

I felt like I went from being 37 years old to 37 WEEKS in utero in that moment. I just wanted my mom.

After settling down, I was able to read Psalm 23 with my brother, and then we got ready to take communion. I had brought a loaf of bread, a small bottle of grape juice, and in true East Texas fashion, red solo cup shot glasses from which to drink the juice! It’s all I could find at the store, and didn’t want to buy a huge sleeve of little paper Dixie cups!

Just as we were getting ready to take communion, the front door opened. A man and his dog came outside, and the look on the man’s face and tone in his voice confirmed what I knew in my heart: We should have asked for permission first.

I had decided as we were walking up to the town home, that it would be awkward to ask permission beforehand. I told my brother that “we could just do our thing and leave.”  Well, apparently we took a little too long, and “awkward” may have been our better option. Oops.

The man showed us NO MERCY even after my brother explained why we were there. He asked how long we’d be there, then proceeded to walk his dog down the street. About three minutes later, he walked out the front door again and asked why we were still there. I explained we were just about to take communion so we could leave, but he started yelling about how he had told us to get our stuff together and get off his lawn (*let’s just say I left out a few colorful words here*). My brother and I said in unison, “You never said that.” He told us he thought we “should have gotten his nice hint…” Oops again.

His wife came outside and asked if we were drinking on their yard. I had my Welches grape juice bottle and held it up as I explained we were just drinking JUICE and taking communion. Although, I’m sure the little red solo cup shot glasses were a little suspicious. Should’ve gone with the Dixie cups. My bad…yet again!

communion

The guy started yelling again and my brother stood up at that point and yelled, “Do you not have ANY compassion for another human being?!?!” I stood there with my mouth open for a couple of minutes, and then offered my apologies for not getting permission first. I explained, through tears, that it was going to be awkward either way and they agreed.

And then there was a total shift. I think heaven came down and intervened because they both started apologizing to us profusely. Turns out they had just woken up and there had been a shooting behind their house last week. So, I’m sure it was alarming for them to walk out and find strangers having a Kumbaya moment on the front yard (although, my brother and I had to be a little less alarming than some gun wielding crazy person. I’m just thinkin’)! They offered us water, and told us we could come back every year and sit on the yard and remember our mom! Ha! It actually added some comic relief.

The couple told us to take our time, and they wouldn’t bother us again. So, we finished having our “moment”.

feetingrass

Before heading off to lunch, I stood there in the grass one last time, and took a picture of my feet in the place that last held my mom’s body on earth. And just like I can rejoice because “He is RISEN,” I can rejoice in knowing that my mom is in a place of eternal joy with the very One who defeated sin and death. This picture reminds me that sin has lost it’s power, and death has lost it’s sting!

It makes me smile, and long for my home in Heaven.

Hallelujah! What hope we have in Jesus!