Posts Tagged ‘rejection’

tearsJust survived a very busy, emotional, tension packed weekend. I don’t usually breathe a sigh of relief when Monday comes. In fact, it’s often the other way around – the sigh of relief when Saturday comes. But this weekend started on Friday when my granddaughters headed off to WSU to try out for the Crimson Girls Dance Team.

First you need to know they have been dancing competitively since they were three and they are amazing. Bethany graduated last year and has one year of local college under her belt. Bailey graduates this year.

The competition for a place on the team began Friday afternoon and for the next three days there were performances and cuts, performances and cuts. My cell phone was popping with text messages as their mother kept me updated. With each successful round, the competition got tighter and the tension magnified and my prayers became more frequent and more fervent.

I didn’t pray that they would make the team. I prayed that God’s plan for them would win out. I wanted Him to be in charge of their destiny. What I did pray was that they would either both make the team or neither make the team. I knew a split would be very difficult to deal with.

On Sunday, it was down to the wire. As I kept up my busy pace of setting up for worship. leading the team through our practice, helping to prepare for the barbecue being held after the service and just touching base with my church family as they arrived, I kept the phone close and waited for that vibration signaling news.

And it came – Bethany was officially welcomed onto the team. Bailey was not. Excitement on the one side, devastation on the other. Tears of joy, tears of sadness. My heart swelling with pride for one and breaking for the other.

As I got in my car after the barbecue, still trying to understand the results, I saw my memory verse for the week on my console. Psalm 56:8-9 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You record them in Your book. This I know, God is on my side.”

I thought I understood the verse but I realized God had just taken me deeper into His word. He does know every hurt and rejection we suffer, He feels every pain, He understands every grief. He hurts when we hurt. Our struggles are precious to Him. But in the end, in spite of how much we are going to suffer from the tragedies of this life – because He is on our side, He will not allow a result that leads us into danger or is not going to work for our ultimate good. Tears and disappointment today will keep us from the tragedy around the corner.

Someday we will meet Him and in His arms will be that precious jar of tears He collected. We will be enlightened and we will see that what seemed a muddy mess of hurt and weeping was truly one more step leading us down the path that got us closer and closer to our goal.

I’ve often wondered what He will do with that bottle of our tears when we finally reach heaven. I have this vision of Him dropping the jar and as it shatters, He and I will both be soaked with splashes of incredible joy. We will know the truth of His Word, “Consider it pure joy when you meet trials of various kinds…” James 1:2

For Bailey, the light won’t dawn today or tomorrow. But my most fervent prayer is that she will grow spiritually every day until she sees the beauty of every Word written between Genesis and Revelation; that His truth will come alive for her; that she will one day look back on this disappointment and be able to smile and say, “Thank you, God, for protecting me in that moment and lovingly moving me further down the path toward you.” In the meantime, not one of her tears will be wasted. The minute they are shed, He scoops them up and stores them close to His incredible heart.

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51HG9Gv9bIL._SX385_BO1,204,203,200_[1]I belong to a book review group through B&H Bloggers and am able to acquire books to read at no charge and post reviews. When I saw the topic of the book Cherish by Vicki Courtney, I thought of my young granddaughters and was led to check it out. So glad I did.

What a wonderful down to earth and easy to read yet deep book on cultivating relationships for teen girls. Courtney addresses relationships with friends, family, self, guys and God in such a simple straightforward way. Courtney poses the question “instead of just surviving relationships, why not cherish them?”

In the opening chapter she addresses what makes up a good friend (someone who doesn’t ditch you on your worst days, keeps a secret when she should, makes right choices and helps point you to God) and then turns right around and poses the question, What about You? The reader is encouraged to take a moment and examine how they measure up to those four points. I love how she addresses Friendship Fixers – ways to strengthen yourself as a friend and so much more in this chapter from when it’s time to end a friendship, how to survive girl drama, gossip, how to balance out relationships with Christian and non-Christian friends, and my favorite – how to be a real friend in a digital world. Courtney dedicates the final part of the chapter to how to recognize when a friend needs help and when it’s critical that you talk to an adult about a friend’s issues.

Throughout each chapter she splashes scripture and quick quizzes that just really make the book personal. The scriptures are presented in such a way as to not be preachy but to bring that “wow” reaction for how there is a Word from God on every topic.

On her chapter for family relationships she starts off with a bang, addressing the trust issue. Her nine points are perfect – everything a parent would tell a teen and find it falling on deaf ears. Courtney doesn’t lecture, just lists the facts that make sense (follow the rules, associate with people of good character, admit mistakes, etc.)The 25 things that will make your parents smile are great. and the section E is for Embarrassing – yep, sometimes we embarrass our kids! Courtney balances respect for parents with sitting down and having a conversation about how the parent can avoid embarrassing you again in the same manner.

She talks about divorce and unsafe home situations, getting along with siblings and blended families and even dealing with non-Christian parents when you’ve become one.

The chapter on self is beautifully done, reminding the reader how to find God’s truth about beauty and value in a world that’s a bit twisted in these areas. She even gives a great chart on what other religions believe so a teen can understand the differences. So much more in this chapter that is pertinent and appropriate for what teens face every day right down to coping with the death of a friend or loved one.

The chapter on relationships with guys starts with a bang by listing the actual responses from boys when asked: Describe the perfect girl, What do girls do that send you running, and Why do some guys act like they like you one day and ignore you the next. (My favorite response to that last one, “I think you are overanalyzing this – we are really very simple.” Spot on – we as females tend to deeply overanalyze, they as males tend to be pretty on the surface with things.) The reader will find real answers to why it’s important to dress appropriately, what sexual purity really means, why we date and questions to ask before you date a guy. I loved that Courtney covered abuse in a relationship and lies about sex because our girls, in their need to be popular and be loved, are so vulnerable to the dangers.

Finally, in the chapter addressing the relationship with God, the author makes it clear it’s not just about streets of gold and angel wings. She lays out the plan for a personal, close relationship with the One who can truly guard and guide the young girls journey through this life.

The book is contemporary and frank, beautifully written and easy to read. I am passing on my copy to my granddaughters who are just entering their teens and praying that they will glean from this insights that will ground them in a well rounded, satisfying relationships.

I would recommend the book to any parent, grandparent, or friend of teen girls. It would make a wonderful gift. And handing it off to a young girl would be an expression of love, show that you care, you understand the challenges in the world today, and you want the best for her.

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bth_MarywithBabyJesus[1]Merry Christmas to a world that has rejected the Christ part and embraced the shallow commercialism. If you really listen I think this is what you might hear, straight from the words of One who wriggled in a lowly manger, hung from a wooden cross, and now does His Christmas shopping by wandering among the crowds purchasing broken toys at full price and making them new again.

He might tell us He was cold on the night of His birth. The night wind came through the cracks of the stable wall and caused His tiny body, slick from birth fluid, to shiver.  But His mother knew. She quickly wrapped Him in what was handy and held Him tight against her heart, pouring her warmth and comfort into Him.  It’s where He learned how to hold us.

He might tell us He was frightened when He became separated from His parents and found Himself in the temple answering questions and sharing with the priests. But when He looked up and saw His mother and father enter, He felt strong and valued and secure. It’s where He learned to never stop seeking us when we go astray.

He might tell us He was disappointed many times over when He poured His heart into the people, touching and healing, teaching and caring, and then watching them walk away to never look back in gratitude or love. It’s where He learned to give, and give and give with no thought of payback.

With tears He might tell us of the fickleness of Peter, the betrayal of Judas, the horrible death of His cousin, John. But then with great conviction and wisdom He would say it’s where He learned that the ups and downs of life cannot overshadow the reunions in heaven or the hearts that change and go on to do great things in the name of His Father.

Rubbing the scars on the backs of His hands, He might say the pain of the cross was more agonizing then He could ever have imagined but the joy of introducing each newly redeemed soul to God the Father is so blinding He can’t see the cross behind it anymore. It was on that cross He learned how to let go of life and truly live.

For sure He would say that walking daily in a world that rejects His father, deliberately misinterprets His Word, kills His children, abuses His brothers and sisters, and allows His arch enemy to pollute hearts, souls and minds until they believe they are on the winning side is enough make a Savior want to wash His hands of it all and call it quits.

But then He would say there are diamonds sparkling in the filth, just waiting to be pulled from the mire, washed with His blood and placed in the mighty hands of God to be shining examples of what Christ can do. He would say that I alone was worth it all.  He would say that you alone are worth it all.  He would say that no matter how deep a diamond is buried, no matter how evil the environment His holiness has to enter, no matter how hard and bloody the battle, the end result – a child restored, redirected, and reconnected shines so bright His eyes are blinded to all it took to get there.

It’s why He still comes despite the cold He will experience, the loneliness He will be subjected to, the rejection He has come to expect, the pain that will nearly cripple Him along the way. He still comes to shop for broken people because He believes the buy of the century is one who can be gently repaired and put back on the shelf brand new.

 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?3 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” Matthew 18:12-14

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It’s so easy sometimes to get caught up in negativity when it comes to dealing with people.  As a Human Resource Director I come up against a plethora of situations that want to rob me of my faith in the human race.

Just today I was sitting at Starbucks with a friend and I heard myself say, “I’m so tired of everyone wanting something for nothing.”  On my way back to work I heard Casting Crowns’ latest song, Jesus Friend of Sinners.  I was hit so hard with the words I almost had to pull to the side of the road.

I am so thankful Jesus never says “I’m so tired of everyone.”  How many times have I disappointed Him in such a way that could have justified His brushing His hands of me and my constant failures?  Who am I to judge the human race by the few things I experience in my own little corner?

Jesus met men and women who failed miserably in their journey through life.  His reaction?  He always saw potential.

He called a dishonest tax collector out of a tree because He saw him as someone who could provide a good meal and some stimulating conversation as well as a small man who would set a giant example of restoration.

He spoke with a fallen woman at the well because He saw her potential as a prolific preacher of the good news.

He restored the dignity of a prostitute because He saw a woman who, once she raised her eyes from looking down, would never lose her focus in looking up.

I love that Jesus saw potential in me and chose to save me, to give me a ministry, to give me Christian friends who keep me grounded, to give me a thirst for His word and a hunger for His teaching. 

May each of us, in our gratefulness, stop looking at the bad news and remember that the good news seldom gets reported.  For every terrible crime there are a million honest people.  For every person who cheats there are a million who stick to the rules.  For every employee who takes advantage there are a million who believe in hard work.  Our job is to see potential and then follow Jesus’ example and find ways to bring that potential to the surface.

Every hard little apple seed could become an apple tree.  The potential is there.  Someone just needs to see it and believe in it.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  Mathew 16:18

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Once you are a mom, you truly understand how God made mothers unique.  It’s a bit like Clark Kent and Superman – same person but different.  Clark is a great guy, but when he morphs into Superman he can do things beyond explanation.  The same thing happens when you become a mother.  A new depth is revealed and it isn’t anything you learned or practiced or even knew you had before.

Once you are a mom you have an innate ability to find things like lost school books, lost socks, lost toys.  You know how to look in the unusual places like the refrigerator or under the steps or in the back corner of the closet.  But you also have the superpower to locate lost souls.  What mom hasn’t looked in a child’s eyes and known immediately that the world is coming to an end?  What mom hasn’t found the right measure of words, touch and encouragement to restore hope and determination?

Once you are a mom you have the ability to fix broken things like toys and handmade artwork.  But you also have the superpower to fix broken hearts.  What mom hasn’t dammed a river of tears with a soft spoken promise or rekindled a light in the eyes with a smile and cookie?

Once you are a mom you hear things like a cry in the night or a specific whimper on the playground, even the “mommy” called out in a chaotic crowd of children that you instantly recognize as yours.  But your superpower allows you to hear the soundless things.  What mother hasn’t heard the unvoiced fear of a child’s first step out into the world?  And what mom hasn’t tucked just the right note into a lunch bag or texted just the right words of courage for an unvoiced dread?  What mom hasn’t heard the unshed tears of anguish when a game is lost or an election goes the other way?  What mom hasn’t heard the beating heart the first time a boy looks her daughter’s way?  What mom hasn’t heard the unasked questions when a child looks in a mirror?  Am I pretty?  Am I strong?  Who am I?  What mom hasn’t answered those questions before they were even asked?

Once you are a mom you know just what lessons are critical to making your child into the best person he or she can possibly be.  But your superpower enables you to know that no matter what, your child is already the best you could possibly hope for.

Today I’m really missing my mom who passed away twelve years ago.   She read me like a book, loved me like no other human could, and encouraged me in ways I never realized until I became a mom.  My prayer is that her legacy lives on in me.

My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.  Prov 6:20

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Another rejection letter from a publisher, another disappointment, another talk to self about not giving up.  It’s a typical day in the life of a writer.  Still, each time bruises and causes a little soreness for a while.

I know the manuscript is good and I believe in it passionately.  My pep talk to myself reminds me that it just wasn’t right for this particular publisher.  I tell myself it’s an opportunity for improvement.  I remind myself that many well read books out there have a history of rejection.  Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 140 times.  Stephen King’s Carrie was rejected 30 times and he actually threw it in the trash but his wife rescued it.  Gone With The Wind was rejected 38 times.  It’s a tough industry.

When you are a writer, you can’t not write.  There’s always a story, a poem, a novel clawing to get out.  Although publication may be the writer’s dream, I don’t believe it is the writer’s soul deep goal.  The true, passionate longing of the writer is the pouring out of words, ideas, creative thoughts. 

As a Christian, I would equate writing with prayer.  The prayer warrior pours out her soul to God.  We know the prayer is good, we’ve put our best effort into it and we submit it to God, hoping to get the answer we want.  But that doesn’t always happen.  Often times it’s not the right fit with God’s plan just like a manuscript might not be the right fit for the publisher’s list at that time.

I honestly believe that while getting a prayer answered in the way we desire is our dream, conversation with God is our ultimate, soul deep goal.  We pray because we need to pour out our hearts to God.  We know He’s in charge.  We know He knows what’s going on.  And we know He has the right answer.  Our humanness makes us want to suggest a solution to our need.  Our spiritual side realizes we are being presumptuous.

Our job as a writer is to keep the words flowing, to believe passionately in what we write, to trust the agent or the publisher to evaluate our manuscript fairly and to accept the answer and move on.   Our job as Christians is to keep the communication lines open, to trust in God’s timing and God’s wisdom, and to accept His answers and move forward.

There is one great difference between writing and prayer of course.  I’ve never ever received a rejection letter from God!

Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!  Psalm 66:20

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