Praise Him in the Hard Times…

It is so easy to lose focus right now. The Pandemic and all the things that go with it; working from home, teaching your kids at home, and balancing a full-time job all presents challenges. Also, there is racial strife and political tensions. For sure, 2020 has beedon't be afraidn a year that none of us could have predicted.

I was listening to a Pastor who had me raising my hands and praising God. He caused me to look deeply at Mark 5. Thinking of Mark 5, my attention turned to the famous story regarding the woman with the blood issue was healed after many years of being ill. I thought about how she had probably decided that she was not worthy of anything good in life. I wonder if she had written any life of happiness would ever be hers. I think of her desperation to touch Jesus, may have been a final act. Maybe she thought, what the heck, and just reached out and took a chance. That act of faith caused Jesus to heal her. Jesus met her desperation.

Keep in mind that Jesus was on His way somewhere else. He wasn’t supposed to be taking His precious time with a person who no one knew. She wasn’t a prominent person. In fact, He was with a prominent person, a synagogue leader, a CEO, who was taking Jesus to see his sick daughter. Wasn’t this guy much more important than this person?

As I listened and pondered the scriptures, all I could think about was how important that woman was to Jesus. After years of disappointments and let-downs, eventually, Jesus showed up. Amid people pushing and pulling and crowding her out, Jesus passing by got her motivated enough to reach out for him.

A desperate prayer

Now, think about the high-level synagogue leader. What about him? He was desperate too. He probably wanted Jesus to hurry through the crowd to get to his daughter. The girl is deathly ill, and if Jesus did not get there soon, she would be gone! I am sure he was exasperated when Jesus stopped and interacted with this woman. Oh, my and when Jesus finally finished, it was too late! The news came that his daughter had died. Wouldn’t you be upset with Jesus? I would.

As I looked at both of the people in this story, I saw myself. I recalled the days when I was desperate, and no one helped. I remember being overlooked, and those less qualified kept getting promoted over me. I was upset that Jesus didn’t step in and override those in authority who forgot me. After the initial shock and embarrassment of being sidelined, I kept reliving the disappointing experience in my head and many times feeling humiliated. That experience is probably closely related to the woman who had seen tons of doctors. No one did anything to help her.

Then there is Jairus, the synagogue leader. He was the authority in charge. He had control over people and processes. Yet, he had to wait on Jesus. He had

don't be afraidno control over what Jesus would do or when He would do it. Jesus took His time going to Jairus’ home, and his daughter died. Jairus had to be so upset with Jesus. He had to have questioned why Jesus did not care about him or his situation enough to hurry to get there.
That’s been me! I bet it’s also you. Haven’t you called for Jesus to hurry up and come to help you, and He stayed? Have you pleaded if He didn’t do something soon, you would be destroyed? Have you prayed and prayed about how you had been treated at work, and if Jesus did not intervene, your career would die? If He did not help you, heal your illness, your marriage, or your children, your life would be over? Of course, you have.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. I know that right now is the time to look at the words of Jesus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” I cannot recount how many times I had to tell myself to stop fretting and to believe. When promotions escaped me, I had to say that it wasn’t for me; He had something better. When I was ill and did not think I would live, I had to tell myself not to be afraid; God had more life for me to live. When I felt desperation, humiliation, and shame, God gently reminded me that He was in control. He told me to hold my head up because I could trust that He would never leave me or forsake me.

He did not forsake the woman with the 12-year blood disease. He did not leave Jairus with deep regret and resentment. He did not leave me, and He will not leave you.When we feel stressed because of restrictions brought on because of the Pandemic, when jobs are lost and stressors set in, when you feel forgotten and feel that no one sees you or cares, Jesus does. He knows what to do about the Pandemic and all the other things upsetting our world. He knows, and He cares. Just trust and believe. Don’t forget to praise Him in the hard times.

Overcome your Obstacles

It’s Resurrection Month!

happy resurrection dayDuring the entire month I have experienced one stressor after the other. In fact, I think sometimes we forget just how challenging life can be.

On Monday, I attended an early morning meeting. On Friday, I was told that someone said I was dismissive of an administrative assistant at that Monday morning meeting. On Tuesday I was busy re-doing a plan that I had worked on almost the entire month of March. During working meet the deadline of getting the plane done, I had to get up, get in my car, drive to another building with 3-inch heels on trying to get from the parking lot to the elevator and up to another luncheon meeting.  On Wednesday my entire morning process was blown because I had to rearrange my morning to be at another meeting that lasted 4 hours. By the time I got to Thursday, things were turning around for the better and Friday would have been great had I not heard about my dismissive behavior to an Admin on Monday! I haven’t told you everything that happened last week either.

I share a glimpse of my week at the office, but I said nothing about home.  Because I was dealing with the news of illnesses on three different fronts, out-of-state and out-of-the-country.  Oh, did I mention I picked up either a cold or allergies? I was coughing profusely, with stuffy nose and headaches too. This week on for an entire week, the week before.  Oh, but this week my husband picked up the same systems. In the midst of chaos and stress, you have to stay positive and encouraging to others, especially when they share good news.  How in the world can anyone manage the ups and downs of life without faith is a question I always ask. Not only can life be challenging, it can be overwhelming!  What do you do when it seems as if everything is closing in on you? How do you handle a spouse’s blowup or a child’s misbehavior or a boss who has lost confidence in your ability to do your job? How do you handle what life throws at you?

I don’t think you have to have all the answers, you just have to know who the source of your answers is. Who do you turn to when life seems out of control? Many times we want to find a confidante to tell all our problems to.  There is certainly nothing wrong with sharing with a “trusted” friend, but even doing that can cause problems when they decide not to be your “trusted” friend anymore.

There is someone that you can trust fully and He will stick with you through thick and thin. He will never leave you and He is an expert on any topic.  The Word of God says in John 14:14, “If you ask ME anything in My name, I will do it.” So, during this past week, I had to go back to Jesus multiple times and ask for His help to get through personality changes, coldness, suspicions, and fear.  I had to “press-in” during prayer each morning and I had to wait.  During my time of waiting, I had to remind myself that He will hear me, but what was most important was I had to believe that He was going to do something. It didn’t happen right away, but what I prayed for eventually came. So I say to you, whatever is going on in your life; whatever stressors you are facing, pray, let go, and let God handle it through Christ. Remember John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

Happy Resurrection Day!

A Leadership Reality

reality-check-roadI have studied Leadership for a very long time.  Not only have I studied it, I’ve been in leadership since my early twenties.  When I was a young adult, I can recall thinking that I could do the job of those who were in charge. When I was a lower-level manager, I thought I could do the middle manager’s job.  When I was a middle manager, I couldn’t wait to be the senior level manager.  I remember climbing the leadership ladder as if it were yesterday.  Here I am today, with the same enthusiasm for leadership but a whole lot wiser than I was as a young manager.

I started this by saying that I have “studied” leadership for a very long time. I want to emphasize the word “studied.”  You see, what experience teaches you is that there is a big, big difference between studying leadership and actually “doing” it.  I mean leadership in real life can be a lot more than challenging. Leadership can be thrilling, but many days it is crazy! It is especially crazy at the top.

You may one of those people whose goal is to make it to the top of the organization.    There are two tops, however, and all organizations have them. One of the “tops” is where you are a senior leader like the other senior leaders and you deal with the daily grind of your division. The other “top” is where you are a senior leader who is an insider. That’s where all the wheeling and dealing really happens. When you are an insider, you are exposed to the true character and values of the organization. In fact, this is where your character will be exposed (if only to you) and your values will be tested.  It is here where you have to make a decision about what you will or will not do.  I know, you say you will never compromise your values, right?

When you are an insider, you are exposed to the true character and values of the organization. In fact, this is where your character will be exposed (if only to you) and your values will be tested.  It is here where you have to make a decision about what you will or will not do.  I know, you say you will never compromise your values, right?

Those who survive in the real world of leadership and maintain a positive attitude, as well as hold true to their values, are those who are grounded in the ONE who is greater than themselves.  Positive Faith comes from having an intimate relationship with your Maker.  When I get overwhelmed and feel that I am just about at the end of the rope, I turn to scripture.  Here are a few that may help you when you feel the pressures of compromise or when you all of a sudden look up and wonder what have you gotten yourself into.

Positive Faith comes from having an intimate relationship with your Maker.  When I get overwhelmed and feel that I am just about at the end of my rope, I turn to scripture.  I find that scripture helps me when I feel the pressures of compromise or when I, all of a sudden, look up and wonder what have I gotten myself into. These are a few scriptures that I would like to share with you:

  • Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. …
  • Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
  • Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength

I love leadership and I love being a leader. I have a lot of experience in it.  I want you to love it too and I want you to know how to prepare for days that may test your core. You can be the leader God has called you to be in your organization where being a leader may equal compromise. How? Be grounded in your faith and let that faith inform your values and ultimately your behaviors.

When You Are Scared…Trust…

trustI talk so much about how important it is to go for the gold and to never give up. I am especially good at encouraging others to be all that they can be.  I tell you to take your turmoil and turn them into your testimonies of victory. I truly believe in all that I just said to you, but today I want to take a different approach to encouraging you. I want you to just Trust.

Recently, I visited a place near and dear to me. I saw my friends and just loved seeing and interacting with them.  I saw people who make me feel like running the race and never giving up. I saw people who I have known at least 15 years and others I have known less.  One thing that has actually kept me warm inside has been to reflect on these people as I left them behind.  They are still committed to Christ after sicknesses, deaths, hardships and trials; they are still there, serving Him and His people day after day.

What also struck me while I was visiting was the people I met who were going through very difficult struggles in their lives today; struggles with their health and not knowing what to do next. Scared and afraid that life as they had known it would not be the same anymore.  There were those who had family members struggling with personal issues so difficult that it disrupted the entire family structure and there were others who had to juggle several crises at the same time. I can only imagine the desperation they were going through. Losing your good health; being able to move about freely without aid and now you can barely get up from a chair.  Losing a family member, whether to death or to their desire to separate from the family for extended periods;  these are all scary things to deal with.

How can you be positive when you have so much to deal with? How can you stay “up” when everything in you and around you is telling you to stay “down?”  How do you move forward at all when you want to crawl under the covers and never come out? I tell you how, start telling yourself to just take one day at a time and trust God.

I believe the enemy wants you confused about so many things. First, if you are a Believer, he wants you to question God.   When you lose faith and start questioning God, it won’t be long before you start blaming God. Once you begin blaming God, it’s impossible to hold onto your faith, believing that God cares for you (yes, little old you). We begin to think that all the things happening to us, does not matter to God.

Second, we start to pity ourselves and wonder why these things are happening to us.  That too creates negative images in our minds; we are not strong; we are not good enough; we are not smart and the list goes on. There are plenty of voices in this world that will try to tell you that you aren’t good enough, but the voice of God always says that you are loved. When you stop hearing Him and listen to what others say, it is easy to become disillusioned and down.

If you are feeling lost or insignificant in this world, I challenge you to turn to the words of God. He will remind you that you are neither lost nor insignificant. He loves you and cares about all those things that are burdensome to you. You do matter to Him and everything that affects you, matters to God.

“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.”                                                                  (Isaiah 41:13)