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Lora’s Lesson

If you had asked Lora she would have told you that there was nothing wrong with her. In her eyes she was perfectly alright and in no need of change. But if you asked those close to her they might have said, “She can be cold and prickly.” Or “Sometimes she seems rather hard.” Only one person really might have understood her. One who had been so close at one time that instead of calling each other friends they referred to one another as sisters. But Lynn had been out of the picture for over four years now.

Lora was a conscientious employee and worked very hard for nine years but in the past four years she had become more and more cantankerous, and critical, often blowing up over minor mistakes by fellow employees. In fact lately the other employees had started to avoid her. She’s noticed that she was spending more lunches alone. Puzzled by this, she couldn’t put her finger on the reason why. She had always seen herself as gregarious, outgoing and a lot of fun, all of which were true as long as you didn’t cross her. It was sometimes very tricky to pinpoint what she’d done. She was very charismatic and cut you with humor while smiling all the time. While you’re left wondering what just happened?

Lora didn’t always abuse her charisma. In fact it is was what attracted Lynn to her in the first place, as well as her humor, playfulness, compassion, loyalty and empathy. Lynn’s heart broke when their friendship fell apart. She has been hoping that they could find a way to reconcile. Her nightly prayer was; “Lord, I know what I did was wrong and I have asked Your forgiveness, which I thank You for giving me. Father, I have tried to speak to Lora to apologize and ask her forgiveness but she won’t take my calls; she returns my mail and refuses to open the door when I go to her house. Lord, please soften her heart that she would be willing to accept my apology and that our friendship would be restored. I so miss the old Lora.”

The two women had been friends since that first day of first grade. They met on the play ground when bullies were taunting Lynn a spunky and feisty Lora came to her rescue. This sealed their friendship. Not that Lynn needed defending but even at that tender age Lora had a tender heart coupled with a take charge streak.

Time went on, and when the girls reached high school they blossomed into beautiful, popular, young women. They were both on the girls varsity volleyball team. Lora was of course the team captain. They were also very involved in the drama department. This is where Lynn shone. She got the lead in nearly every production, and Lora was always there to cheer her on.

In her junior year, Lynn fell madly in love with Curtis Madding the varsity quarterback. They started dating in November and things started getting serious by Christmas. She started feeling pressured to go all the way. Curtis had big plans for New Year’s Eve. When he let Lynn in on the scheme she felt half exhilarated but mostly terrified. She had visions of how the night would go; dinner at a fancy restaurant, going dancing afterwards, and then a romantic intimate encounter in the hotel room. Things were going just as Lynn had imagined. They had a lovely dinner at “Pierre’s” the most expensive restaurant in town. Curtis had arranged for fake ID’s for them and Lora and her date Tom. So after dinner the four of them met at the “Club Venice”. Lynn was apprehensive about this because she had seen Curtis overdue on alcohol before and really didn’t want to be around him when he was drunk. As she suspected the first thing Curtis did at the club was to order a beer and chasers. She went to Lora and said, “I’m getting scared, Curtis keeps drinking and he is getting more and more aggressive, and demanding. I tried to get him to stop but he pinned me against the wall. Can you and Tom please give me a ride home?” Lora was distracted by the party atmosphere had no desire to leave so she replied, “Oh, Lynn don’t be such a baby. It’ll be okay. He’ll probably just pass out and sleep it off” Lynn pleaded, “Do you have your cell phone or can I use Tom’s phone to call my dad to pick me up?” Lora responded, “No I didn’t bring a purse with me I knew Tom would be taking care of everything and I’m not going to bother Tom with your hysteria! Honestly, buck up everything will be okay, you’re such a worry wort.” Lynn walked away feeling deflated and abandoned. She realized she was stuck, that Curtis was her only way home, perhaps she could reason with him. Deciding to numb her fears she ordered a rum and coke. She was still nursing it when midnight hit and Curtis pulled her toward him and gave her a sloppy French kiss then said, “Come on baby it’s time to go.”

He grabbed Lynn’s arm hard and dragging her out of there, much to her dismay. Before she knew it she was in his truck on the way to the motel. All the way she kept telling Curtis, “Please, no! I don’t want to anymore! I’ve changed my mind! Curtis, please take me home! Oh, please, please, no!” Curtis replied only once, “Look you stop being such a tease! I’ll take you home when the evening is over and it’s not over yet you bitch!”

They pulled into a sleazy motel on the far side of town. The parking lot was almost deserted. Curtis told Lynn to keep her trap shut or there would be hell to pay. He threatened her that while he got the key if she tried anything he would make her life a living hell. “You know that there is no way you can out run me,” he terrorized, “so don’t even try.” Once at the room, she was in such a state that she didn’t even think to lock her door before he came around opened the door and jerked her out of the truck. Again dragging her this time into the motel room, she cried, “No, no, no, please no!” Once in the room Lynn continued to try and reason with him, “You don’t really want to do this Curtis. Please think about it.” Curtis replied, “You knew that tonight was the night. You’re nothing but a tease. I held up my part of the evening. I gave you all the romance you wanted; an expensive dinner, dancing and now it’s your turn!”, as he threw her on the bed and covered her mouth to muffle her screams. Lora cried through the whole ordeal. When it was over Curtis said, “Get yourself together and I’ll take you home!” The hatred and coldness in his voice scared Lynn. She sat in utter silence all the way home. Nothing was said by either of them once the truck stopped in front of her house; she just jumped out of the vehicle and ran into the house and upstairs to her room.

Thank God mom and dad weren’t home yet, they were still celebrating. Lynn was not ready to face them. She got her night clothes and went to the bathroom for a long hot shower. She scrubbed long and hard to get the scent of Curtis off of her and wept the entire time. An hour and a half later she was in bed still weeping more softly now than when she was in the shower. She wasn’t sure how long she lay in bed trying to muffle her sobs with her pillow. Eventually she fell into a fitful sleep.

The next morning Lynn awoke in pain from the forcefulness of Curtis and exhausted. Her mom told her that Lora was on the phone, Lynn responded, “Tell her I’m not interested in talking with her.”; realizing this might make her mom curious. She added, “Tell her I’ll call her back later, I’m just too tired still.” She was conflicted, Lora was her best friend and she desperately needed someone to talk to but Lora was also the one that had bailed on her last night. She couldn’t help but feeling angry at Lora. “How could she leave me in his company? After all, she’s seen what he’s like drunk. What would make her think last night would be any different and I told her about the plans for the evening? How could she not know what happened was going to happen? I hate Curtis and I never want to see him again and I think I hate Lora and I don’t really want to see her!” Lynn spent the majority of the day in her room in bed. She had come down to have a light breakfast and lunch for she truly wasn’t hungry and was only keeping up appearances. Mom had made some comment about her still being in her pajamas at breakfast, so Lynn dressed not wanting to arouse suspicions.

Later in the afternoon while Lynn was still lying on her bed in bounced Lora. Lynn’s mom had let her in not knowing anything was wrong and told her that Lynn was in her room. Lora was all excited, completely oblivious to Lynn, “Tom asked me to go steady last night isn’t that just great? I couldn’t believe it when I heard it! I even said, ‘What?’ Can you believe it? How embarrassing! But he said it again and it was true after going out only two weeks he wants to go steady! Jeez that man moves fast! And he made it the best night ever! When he came to my door he had a single red rose – isn’t that romantic? Then he took me to the “Quiet Cannon” it had a beautiful ocean and starry night view. After dinner we had a delicious dessert a chocolate mousse that had so many layers of flavors in it, it was amazing! I’m sure I could taste hints orange and maybe some raspberry as well, dark chocolate blended with real whip cream and whatever else they put in it. It was stupendous! Then of course we met you and Curtis at the Club and danced the night away. We didn’t see you leave but when the club closed we went to a scenic point and talked and talked. That’s when he asked me to go steady with him. And of course I said yes.” Lynn had been ignoring Lora and her borage of words, for that’s all they were to her. Finally Lora realized that Lynn was not acting herself. “Hey, what’s with you?” asked Lora. Something broke in Lynn and she was no longer sad and stunned, now she felt rage. “I asked you to take me home and you wouldn’t!!! And, and, and, oh, why couldn’t you have listened to me and done what I had asked?!?! You were so in to Tom that you totally ignored me!!” She screamed. Luckily for Lynn the rest of the house was empty: her mom had gone shopping, her younger brother Georgie had gone to his friend’s house, her older brother was with his girlfriend and dad had gone to his Brother Bob’s house to watch the games, so only Lora was privy to her screaming. “What has you so upset? What on earth did I do? As I recall we were all having fun.” said Lora dumb founded. “Don’t you remember me asking you and Tom to take me home? That I was afraid of Curtis and his drinking? You basically told me I was being hysterical and a worry wort!” yelled Lynn. “I vaguely remember something to that effect but I was having so much fun I wasn’t ready to leave. Plus Curtis didn’t seem all that bad to me. I don’t know what you’re in such a tizzy about!” replied Lora. Lynn could barely contain herself, “I told you that Curtis had plans for last night to be THE night! It wasn’t romantic like I imagined it – far from it! It was horrid! I begged him not to, but he wouldn’t listen to me! No one listened to me last night! It’s like I was mute and invisible! Lora interrupted, “Lynn are you telling me that Curtis forced himself on you?” Lynn shook her head tears started rolling down her face. Lora continued, “Let me make sure I understand you. You are saying that Curtis raped you right?” Lynn went hysterical at the sound of the word, the one she had been trying to force out of her mind, to no avail. Lora ran to her friend to comfort her. She had no idea how to soothe her, with this retched revelation. She had never known anyone who had gone through such a horrid thing, so she just held her and stroked her hair as she wept and sobbed. Lora did some weeping herself. “I’m so sorry Lynn that I didn’t pay more attention to your needs last night. I’m so sorry that I had a part of what you were put through. It makes me sick just thinking about all you’ve been through.” commented Lora. About 30 minutes into this Lora had a practical thought about protection but decided this was not the time to mention it. Another 30 minutes later Lynn was again spent from crying and looked a mess. Lora decided it was time to leave her room. The house was still empty so she suggested they go down stairs to get something to eat.

Lora felt as at home in this house as her own home, so when her companion just plopped herself on the kitchen barstool and her head fell into her arms, Lora just started perusing the pantry and refrigerator for something to eat. “Hey, what about some Tostitos or Pringles?” asked Lora. Lynn mumbled, “No.” Thinking she had found another good option she asked, “What about some pizza and coke?” Again Lynn grunted, “No.” Not to be defeated Lora asked, “How about some hot coco and some cookies? At this Lynn perked up. “I don’t care about the cookies that much but hot coco sounds scrumptious. Do we have any whip cream and any leftover candy canes?” asked Lynn. Lora scrounged around and replied, “Well I found the whip cream but we may be out of luck with the candy canes. Wait a minute I have an idea!” She ran to the living room where the Christmas tree was and there hanging on it were the needed candy canes. She came running back saying, “Eureka! I found them!” While enjoying their coco Lynn seemed relaxed enough to ask her some tough questions, so Lora took a deep breath and dived in, “Lynn I know you may not want to think about this let alone talk about it but have you decided if you are going to press charges or not?” Lynn suddenly felt like a caged animal, she dropped the candy cane she was using to stir her coco. It is not that the thought had not occurred to her but so many other thoughts came with it: everyone would know, how would they react, especially my parents, there would be a trial, and could I really go through a trial, would I be made out to be a vixen? She finally replied, “I have thought of it and all the repercussions and I’m not sure I can press charges.” “Is it that you’re afraid that you’ll be the one put on trial? Or is it that you don’t want your parents knowing what happened to you?” asked Lora. “Those and so much more, it’ll be public knowledge. You know that all of Jefferson High will be taking sides on who to believe, not just the school the whole community will be taking sides. I don’t think I can go through all of that. He’s too popular and more likely to be believed than me. I think I just want to forget about it and go on with my life. All anyone will know is that we broke up in the New Year.” said Lynn. Lora dared their friendship some more, “Lynn, did he use protection?” she asked tentatively. “Nnoooo!” Lynn wailed. “And yes I know full well what that means! What will I do if I am pregnant?!?” she continued to wail. “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.” assured Lora. “We’ll just wait and see if you miss your period and if you do we’ll get a pregnancy test.” “But what if it comes out positive?” cried Lynn. “Then I’ll go with you to Planned Parenthood and they will let you know what your options are. I understand you don’t need insurance or parental permission there.” Lora said trying to calm the panicky Lynn.

Four weeks later with a positive pregnancy test Lora and Lynn found themselves at Planned Parenthood. They did their own test on her and it confirmed what the girls already knew. They talked to her about the option of abortion and gave her pamphlets on it to take with her. They learned it would be $350 for an early abortion and it would cost $400 if she waited pass nine weeks. She would have to make a decision quickly she had limited funds from her after school job and after 12 weeks it increased by a $100 every 4 weeks. “I’ve got $200 in Christmas money and $70.28 saved from working but that leaves me shy almost $80. I have to make car and insurance payments and gas. If I use the car to get to and from work that will only leave me with a grand total of $290 in my bank account. I can’t afford an abortion and I can’t bear the thought of going through with the pregnancy. It’ll be a constant reminder of that night! Everyone will know that we did it even if they didn’t know how it really happened. They will think I actually enjoyed it! They’ll expect me to love this thing! How can I do anything but hate it and what it represents?!?” bemoaned Lynn as they head for the car. Lora hurt for her friend and offered, “Don’t worry Lynn no one has to ever know what happened. There is no need for your secret to get out. I’ll never say anything to anyone. You can count on my solemn promise and our friendship. As for the rest of the money I have the additional $60 you need. So you see everything will be alright. Would you feel better if we went back and made an appointment right now for four weeks from Monday? We will have the money that we need by then.”Lynn replied, “Yeh, let’s go and get this over with.”

Afterwards, Lynn felt dead and empty inside. She was feeling awful before the abortion but she never imagined that she would feel even worse afterwards. When she tried to explain it to Lora all she got was trite sayings that did her no go. The only person she could go to with this retched pain was totally oblivious to what she was going through. She finally gave up and buried her feelings as deep as she could. It became something that Lora and Lynn never talked about again.

They both went to the local University and there met Diane. They all took the same general education, biology class. They would meet in study rooms in the Library. Diane had a natural talent for biology where Lora grasped it fairly well, but Lynn struggled with it. Diane was intelligent, wise, discerning, compassionate, thoughtful, funny, a good cook, pleasant to look at, an excellent listener, and she was rather popular. In dorm life those that were intelligent, listened and could cook it lent themselves to popularity. Diane also had a deep abiding love for God. It was her discernment and wisdom that kept her from being black balled for her beliefs. She knew when to speak and what to say and when to listen and pray. This became an endearing quality in her. Diane had a very special affinity for Lora and Lynn. All three lived in the dorm and quickly became inseparable. Diane could tell that something was deeply disturbing Lynn but despite all her prayers for an opening she never found the right time to ask Lynn what weighed her down. The Sisters Three, as they grew to call themselves, graduated college. Lora had interned with a prominent advertising firm and had a job waiting for her upon graduation. Lynn had majored in education and was hired as an English teacher at a Jefferson High School. Diane had majored in nursing with an interest in psychology. Sisters Three would have weekly lunches varying on Diane’s schedule at the hospital.

Lora and Lynn frequented bars in an attempt to meet men. One night Lora met a guy named Rob. There was an instant connection. Lynn was not nearby when they met. She was busy talking to another man, Rob walked by and Lynn gravitated to him immediately. She couldn’t help the feelings she was having even as she saw Lora interacting with him. She decided staying clear would be the safest thing to do. The feelings were so intense she couldn’t risk getting to know him.

The next day was their weekly lunch. Lynn ventured to ask Lora how her evening went. “At first I thought it was going places but my date Rob turned out to be a disappointment. “Just a one night stand?” Lynn inquired, “What made him such a disappointment? And if he was a disappointment why did you sleep with him?” Lora responded, “As you know I am not ready for any kind of commitment. This guy is looking hard for Mrs. Right and I don’t want to be Mrs. Anybody. I’m all for living for the moment and having fun. He doesn’t want to do that so he’s not the guy for me.” Diane ventured, “Did you find this out before or after you slept with him?” Lynn was so grateful for Diane’s question, she wanted to ask that herself but thought that might give too much away. Lora responded indignantly, “After of course! What do you think I am? What are you getting at Diane?” Diane asked God for wisdom, discernment and love, took a deep breath and responded, “I believe when you are intimate you give part of yourself away and one day you may look back and find you’ve lost too much of yourself.” Lora turned away from the others, looking out the window, a solitary tear rolled down her check. Pondering Diane’s comment she connected the feelings of emptiness with long forgotten pieces of herself.

Knowing that Lora had no feelings for Rob Lynn mustered up her courage to ask Lora if she could pursue Rob. “Lora I know this may come as a surprise to you but when I saw Rob last night I had very strong feelings for him. I didn’t come and introduce myself because I knew the feelings were beyond my control and if I got to know him there would be no denying them. You were engaged with him and I wasn’t going to cross girlfriend boundaries. Now that I know that you have no interest in him, I’m asking for your permission to pursue him. I’m hoping that this will turn into something great but I don’t want to step on your toes.” Lora answered, “Lynn, I have no interest in the man, if you want to pursue him that is fine with me. I have his phone number would you like me to set the two of you up.” “Would you? That would be great! You can give him my phone number.” said Lynn. Their relationship never clicked it was one sided on Lynn’s part.

As close as “The Sisters Three” were their dating practices were very different. Lora was a casual dater, occasionally she would get serious about someone, but usually it was one or two dates and on to the next guy. Lynn was an old fashion girl. Yes she went to the bars with Lora but when she found someone that she was interested she hoped and prayed that he would notice her and waited for him to make the first move. In contrast Diane wanted a man who loved God so she did her looking at church, took her time and observed the man’s character to see if it was something that she desired.

Sisters Three were at a bar one night, this really wasn’t Diane’s thing but she enjoyed the company and was the designated driver incase Lynn decided to drink. At their table they had a great view of the majority of the patrons of the bar. Lynn immediately noticed a man with an enchanting smile, luscious deep brown hair meticulously coiffed. His eyes danced as he laughed at the joke he had told the woman he was standing beside. He was dressed in Florshiems (reminiscent of her father’s favorite shoe), dark jeans, a lavender dress shirt with a v-neck lavender sweater that had yellow trim accents on the v-neck and cuffs. As Lynn drank in the sight she couldn’t help but think that this was not only a man that knew how to dress but was very assured of himself, two qualities she found very attractive. She checked herself in her mirror, was she presentable enough to catch his eye? Oh, how she hoped that he might notice her. Much to her dismay later in the night Lora set her sights on him. She flirted enough to get him to come to their table. Lynn wished so that he would notice her and he did but only after being entangled by Lora, she could be possessive when she wanted.

He introduced himself as Kenneth Randolph. Lora had commented, “Please join us. That’s a rather peculiar last name is there an interesting story behind it?” putting her hand on his forearm. “Well,” started Kenneth, “some might say it’s interesting. My great great grandfather fought in World War I. He was found in Germany by the Brits, unconscious with no dog tags; no helmet, only an American uniform on. They took him to one of their hospitals and all he did was mumble Kenneth Randolph. They figured this was his name and wrote to the American Authorities to see if they could find his family – none was ever found neither was any recruit by the name of Kenneth Randolph. He spoke perfect English in his mumblings and never any other language so no one even considered that he might be a spy. When he finally awoke they greeted him as Kenneth but he had no recollection of that name or for that matter any name. They worked with him for nearly a year trying to help him to regain his memory, but, he finally gave up and took the name Kenneth Randolph. My dad wanted to honor all he did for our country and all he lost in the process so after all these years I’m the first to bear his name” “How thoughtful and loving of your father.” said Lynn. “It looks like you work out. Where do you go?” quipped Lora. “I go to the YMCA near my place” responded Kenneth. “Well, it has given you a great physique.” flirted Lora.

Lora continued flirting with Kenneth and after 30 minutes of this Lynn could see that it was useless to think she could get his attention. She did question herself, “Did he really look at me and smile? Was that a wink he gave in my direction? Surely I must have been mistaken. He’s flirting with Lora, if he were interested in me surely he would approach me rather than continuing with her.” Lynn couldn’t take any more of this, it was too painful, so she turned to Diane and asked, “Would you mind taking me home? I’m ready to call it a night.” Diane responded, “Sure Lynn no problem. Bye Kenneth nice to meet you. See you soon Lora.” “It was nice to meet the two of you.” Kenneth said. “Bye.” Lora gushed. Kenneth watched as the two left, he couldn’t help but feel this night had somehow gone terribly wrong.

Realizing that Lora may have no way home Kenneth asked, “Did the three of you come together?” “Yes” smiled Lora as if he had fallen into a trap. “I guess you’ll just have to take me home.” Kenneth responded casually and cautiously, “Taking you home would indeed be the gentlemanly thing to do. Shall we go?” Lora was beside herself with her good luck. This scheme hadn’t always worked but when it did it was always to her satisfaction.

On the ride home the conversation going on in the two minds couldn’t be more different. Lora was thinking, “He’ll open my door. We’ll walk up to my condo and I’ll invite him in for a night cap and then the fun will begin.” Kenneth was thinking, “I hope she isn’t expecting anything. Although some flirting is fun this girl is just to forward for me. I can’t wait for this evening to end. I’ll take her home; make sure she gets in safe and leave.”

Once at her condo he opened the door to his car for her and walked her up to the front of the high rise complex. He stopped at the door and thanked her for the evening. Lora was stunned, “Don’t you want to come up?” Not wanting to be rude Kenneth rationalized, “It’s getting late. I just want to go home.” Lora wanted more from Kenneth than just a night of innocent flirting, “Well, don’t forget to take my number so we can get together again.” Lora handed Kenneth her business card, turned it over and wrote her cell and home numbers on the back. Kenneth thought boy this girl is pushy she isn’t even letting me make the move, she is not the girl for me, so he just said, “Thanks,” turned towards his car quipped, “I had a nice time, bye.” and got into his car and drove off.

As Kenneth was driving off reflecting on the evening he realized that although he had enjoyed the compliments Lora was giving him and the flirting they did all evening he couldn’t help but think of the sweet Lynn who had gone home with quiet Diane. How was he going to get in contact with her without going through Lora? 

Continue reading “Lora’s Lesson”

Journey From Bondage to Freedom

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I’m in bondage. Fear has taken ahold of me. I’ll be honest with you readers it has been quite awhile since I have been able to go to church, mostly for health reasons but that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t be listening to the tape of the service and even longer since I’ve read my Bible. Some Christian Right? I known overwhelming fear and while watching “The Fighting Temptations” twice yesterday with two different friends, (I thought the movie would be a blessing to them, but I think it blessed me the most).  I needed what it shared, my church and being in the choir was the first blessing it gave me, remembering the joy for it. But then when my friends were gone came the real blessing facing hard ugly truths about myself, and this to share with you, also terrifies me, but I know honesty and transparency is what is required. So as my stomach churns, I progress.

Phillipians 4:6-7  “In nothing be anxious, but in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” 

The Bible makes it very clear that we are not to fear! That we are to put our trust in the Lord. It is that simple. He promises peace if we just trust, pray and thank Him, easier said than done.

I did say that I’m in bondage and yes that as I sit here I realize I have been most of my life. Fear has been the main underlying storyline of my life that, and a general feeling of unworthiness. This last week I’ve been drowning in fear.

Letting myself fear is a sin of not putting my trust in God the creator of the universe. How can I be so arrogant? Could it be that I feel unworthy of His love? His grace? His care? How can I say I put my faith, my salvation in His hands, yet I don’t trust Him with my health issues, with my families issues, with my friends? Do I really believe God to be the God of gods and the Lord of Lords? The Holy Father of the Son of God Jesus Christ who died for my sins? If I do how is it that this magnificent God is not worthy of my trust?

Matthew 6:25-26 “This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the sky: They don’t so or reap or gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?”

You would think that these two verses, especially the last sentence would calm me and put my mind at ease; to know that the God of the universe thinks I’m of more worth than the birds of the air. I wish I could honestly tell you that the nerves in my stomach the overwhelming fear of the unknown has been comforted, it has not.

Matthew 6:27 “Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?”

Makes worrying seem rather futile doesn’t it? I know it does to me logically as well, but that doesn’t change the truth of what I’m really feeling, anxiety/fear/worry still.

Matthew 6:28-30 “And why do you worry about clothes? Learn how the wildflowers of the field grow: they don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was not adorned like one of these! If that’s how God cloths the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t He do much more for you – you of little faith?”

There it is again He will take care of us with not just adequate care, or good care, but adorned by God. He clearly tells us all over His word how much He loves and adores us. Yet my sin, my shinning folly is staring back at me from the words I’ve just typed, ” – you of little faith”. I’ve been out of a Bible study and of my own studying of the Word, away from church, and only talking with God for a very long time. I know our relationship needs more than that my faith has lessoned. I’ve fallen. My God help @me! Save me from the fear, the worry that permeates my being. Help me put my heath issues in your hand!

Matthew 6:31-34 “So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

There is the answer on how to actively stop worrying! First we must make the decision to obey God by letting Him know what’s our my heart. Phillipians 4:6 “in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God. ” We need communicate with our Lord, pour out whatever it is that is weighing us down, He wants to know it all. After all He already knows it – He’s waiting for us to let Him in. As I type this I realize I haven’t really been letting my Lord in. Father forgive me. Even better when we take everything by prayer and thanksgiving, making them known to God it will eliminate the worry!

Now before you call me crazy let me try to explain if it isn’t clear. When we give  our worries to God and thank Him for answering our answering our prayers (in advance) we have no need to take them back, thus causing us to worry that day. If we are tempted to take the item back we are commanded to pray in everything by prayer and thanksgiving, to let our requests be made know to God, it doesn’t say that there is any time limit. That we can only come to Him once a day, no! Our Father knows our frailties and loves us. He never slumbers or sleeps, available 24/7, 365, praise Him!

Better yet, that promise goes on to, Phillipians 4:7 “And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” Not only will God eliminate worry He will replace it with a peace that surpasses all understanding! How does that sound for a promise? All we have to do is come to God in prayer and thanksgiving. He is such a gracious Father. There is no way that we can comprehend His peace but to experience it is a blessing of being a child of the King.

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Once we’ve poured our requests to Him, He commands us not to worry, Matthew 6:34 “…don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  As the promise gives us peace, the command keeps us in the present. As Matthew 6:34 says, tomorrow (and as for that the next day and the next have/ [mine]) has enough worry for itself. The promise helps us stay in the present taking our requests to the Lord. The command protects us from living outside of the promise, which is what I was doing. Lord forgive my foolishness!

Joy – A Fellow SoJourner!

Project Love – Accepting Love

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Well readers by the title you can guess why the post regarding Friday was so late coming out, I’ve been sick. It started on Friday, was horrible yesterday, slept most of the day, and seems to be getting more tolerable today. A friend of my assured me this morning that it only lasts 4-5 days. I’m on day three so I see a light at the end of the tunnel and who knows maybe I will be spared of having to endure another day or two. One can only pray.

I live alone and needed help so I called a friend and she got me some much needed supplies to get me through this. Her help was so greatly appreciated! This time it was my opportunity to accept love. I had been able to do nothing much other than sleep and wake the entire day. By the time she was there I was feeling very ill and not sure if I needed to go to urgent care or not, however, the food and drinks she brought did wonders! She did all of this even though earlier in the week someone had knocked out one of the windows of her car and she had been waiting for the guy to come and repair it. It had been hours since the time he said he would be there so she came to my rescue. “Love…is not self-seeking,…” 1 Cor. 13:4a-5b She indeed was doing anything other than being self-seeking! Such kindness and thoughtfulness was overwhelming! I felt so cared for and so loved and unbelievably grateful for her kindness and selflessness!     

Who knew that when this started 4 days ago that it would begin a lesson on accepting love. I have never felt worthy of love. My youth group used to go to a concert/service where there was an alter call every Friday night and every Friday night I would feel compelled to go down to the alter to ask Jesus into my life. I had the misguided impression that God would sooner see fit to allow Hitler into heaven than me a 13 year old. I know now that if Hitler should’ve accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior he would be my brother. Which (forgive me Lord) still is a difficult thing to wrap my head around. (I definitely still need a lot of work.) One of the reasons why I’m so excited about #projectlove because I know it is going to do a work in me and I hope that it does a work in others. As far as the alter calls were concerned I finally realized with the help of a friend that I wasn’t trusting my Savior. So I decided to put my faith in Him and never ask Him again. However, when it comes to accepting love I still have a hard time. I have difficulty believing that I’m deserving of it. I married my ex-husband because I thought no-one else would want me and I better get it while the getting was good, which to be honest it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong I did care for him just not like someone that should marry. I told myself I did. Which was a lie. When I watch, really watch, people who are in love they know all about their beloved! I couldn’t even tell you what beer he liked. I would bring a different one home each grocery trip. There were a number that he drank so I’m not sure if he liked a few and I just never learned them or he just didn’t have a favorite and drank whatever was available at the time. I know not very present on my part. Not a very proud time in my life.

I have learned that I am worthy of being loved first by my LORD and then others (not necessarily a husband). The challenge for me is the head knowledge of knowing I’m worthy of being loved and accepting the love. Which when I think about it is odd because although I am truly happily single for 28 1/2 years. Yes, I got married and divorced at a young age, all I’ll say is both are in my 20’s and no it wasn’t a really short marriage. Receiving love or maybe rather believing that it is real has been difficult for me the majority of my life if not all of it. As with all stories it starts with my past, which wasn’t a pretty one. But praise God, He has brought me out of all of that and blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. I’m still in the process of accepting love. This is something that I have been working on for decades now and I am much better than I was when I was younger yet I may never be done with this lesson, until I die. I know for certain that if I do complete this lesson a new one will be waiting for me. It seems as though this particular onion has many layers.

We can be certain that God loves us time and time again in Ps. 52:”8 (NIV),  Hosea 11:1 (NIV) , Malachi 1:2(NIIV), 2 Thess. 3:5 (IV) all speak of God’s love. Of this we can be certain that God does love us! There is no and if’s or buts about it Ps. 61:7 (NIV) “May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.” God so loves us that the maker of the universe & every cell & atom in it (just try and wrap your head around that), who placed each one in prefect harmony, wants you to be enthroned in His presence! How’s that for being excepted?!!! It makes me down right giddy. And of course there is always John 3:16 “For God so loved other world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I don’t know of any father that would do that. Here it is Father’s Day and we can be certain that no matter what kind of father you had or if your father is no longer with you, you do have a Heavenly Father that loves you unconditionally! Yep! Just as you are warts and all! No matter what you do He is in the business of forgiveness. All we need to do is ask and accept His love.

My hope for you is that if you struggle with accepting God’s love or the love of other’s that you would be encouraged and open yourself to accept what you do truly deserve and that we may journey together at accepting love.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

      

Project Love – Goodbye (So long?)

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Well readers when I started this project I thought that being loving would require acts of sacrifice on a daily base, but as of today that is not the case. Yesterday was the last day I would be seeing a very dear friend for a long time. She’s moving to take care of her mother-in-law (why has that word by made into a dirty word? Most every mother becomes a mother-in-law they can’t all be bad!). Knowing that she was going to a much colder climate than where we live and being I make scarves I made her three. I have also written two short stories one is on this site Lora’s Lesson and the other I don’t believe I have shared with you as of yet.  Anyway, I also gave her both of the two short stories and a testimonial that you can find on this site titled “Jesus Loves Me”.

There is a large group of us that are going to miss her and we were celebrating her yesterday. Showering her with gifts, well wishes, Mimosa, goodies, tears,embraces, and love. Love came so easy, so did the flowing tears from everyone.

Yes it hurts to have her leave and I don’t want her to go but that is self-seeking. I Cor. 13:4-5 “Love…it is not self-seeking,…” I know that this new adventure will be challenging, rewarding, difficult, a blessing and at times be emotionally stressful. So although this feels like goodbye and hurts terribly I’m going to retrain myself to see it as it is so long. She promised she would be visiting once things got settled. 

When we love someone it is difficult to see them go or even to let them go. To not do the “natural thing” be self-seeking is not easy. However when you think of all of the advantages that they we be experiencing more time with a loved one, new opportunities, obeying God or if you prefer being faithful to Him. It is far easier to take yourself out of the equation and be excited for them and with them. Thank you PaPa for this lesson in love. I use the expression PaPa with all the respect of Father or Abba Daddy. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie “The Shack” I got the expression from them. It suits my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He is my PaPa, my Abba Daddy, my Father, my Lord and my God. I would never think of doing anything to disrespect Him! For I love Him dearly! It is because I love Him that I can love anyone else.

I’m learning that when someone leaves the area it is important not to let them drop off the face of the earth! I now know that part of this project will be getting reacquainted with beloved friends that have moved away. I know that I must contact them and let them know that I still love them and think of them although I have been delinquent in keeping in touch with them.

I hope this encourages you.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ!

 

Project Imitate Christ – Project Love

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Do You ever have a time when God tells you to do one thing and you do another? Well that happened to me yesterday. I had initially decided to calls this Project Love, however someone I care about influenced me and I changed what I had felt led to originally do. So from now on this project is and forever will be the PROJECT LOVE, #projectlove.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to display love.

First I must tell you a little about myself so you can understand. I have been dealing with breathing problems. These seem to be exasperated with heat and humidity. Being that I have had a problem with a thing called conversion disorder, which is when your body creates physical symptoms to force you to deal with psychiatric issues, this is what my psychiatrist thought I had when I mentioned the problems to him. However, even if it was conversion disorder the first thing you do is rule out actual physical issues. My primary doctor first thought that it might be a cardiac problem. I have been to the cardiologist and he has cleared my heart, for which I am eternally grateful, especially since my father died of heart disease. So my doctor sent me to the pulmonary doctor for a pulmonary function test better know as a PFT. I finally found out that from my doctor not the pulmonary doctor (his office sent me to my doctor) that I have moderate restriction of the lungs. This is actually a relief I’m not not dealing with issues. I’m not sure if you can follow that but there is something very comforting about knowing you are working through your issues. Anyway my doctor sent me back to the pulmonary doctor since there is nothing my internist can do for me other than ask me if I was on oxygen.

I tell you all of the this because, back to yesterday I walked in from a hot humid day into the lobby of an office, greeted by the blessed crisp of the air of an air conditioned lobby! Something I love! I sat down (at a proper distance) and to my left there was a man with a woman sitting on either side of him. At a glance it now looking back on it as though there were having a meeting own the lobby. However, when they ask me to “Do them a favor” I moved beside them, he gentleman quickly corrected me and said, “”No we were wanting you to go outside.” I said, “Oh, okay.” Despite the heat and the lack of shade or breeze I was not self-seeking and although it was difficult I praised God because I had prayed about just this! An opportunity to display love! God also spared me it wasn’t all that long before the gentleman came out saying that they had decided it was easier for them to move them send me out. Thank you Lord!

If your wondering why I moved towards them when they asked me to help them I was wondering the same thing. Then God brought to mind that the last time I had heard that sentence was at Disneyland (of which I’m at regularly) wanting me to do a survey. So, my only excuse for my behavior is that I thought they wanted me fill out some sort of survey for the office. Although now that I think of it I can’t imagine what for!

I’m not sure how God is going to use this love project in my life or in the lives of others, but honestly I think I’m going to be the one that is blessed the most!

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ!

Project Imitator Of Christ

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We all know and have seen the signs of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” but how many of us actually live as though we are His beloved? I know this has been a lifelong challenge both loving myself and truly loving others as Christ would, so often I have felt like a fraud. So I’m going to share with you a project that I’m taking on of self improvement. I will be looking for ways to show my love of God to God and others. I imagine that this will make a change in me.

I will be living out to the best of my ability the love of God and Ephesians 5:3-6, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person or – such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance ian the kingdom of God.”  These things of the world are accepted by the world but not by God. He is the only constant in life. Whatever He says today or yesterday remains because He is consistent. As I work on these goals, to love and be loving, and to rid myself of greed, impurity, obscenity, foolish talking and coarse joking  (for these things cannot remain in one who is loving God) I will be keeping you posted on my progress. 

Joy  – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

A Fellow Sojourner In Christ! 

 

 

God Supplies

Sometimes you don’t know what is it that you need or should be doing until it is thrust upon you. That is my story. I was content living in the Assisted Living even though I was 45 at the time. Rather young to be living among those not in control of their bodily fluids or very confused. I was none of these. To be truthful I was in a wheelchair commuting for an hour or more to college to get my degree in Psychology.

I had been doing the commute for about 2 years when a girlfriend from church told me that I didn’t belong in an assisted living and that I should be living on my own. I explained to her that I couldn’t afford to live on my own, that’s when she told me about her company Donahue and their affordable apartment in a very urban Southern California city closer to the college I was going to. She brought me an application to church the next Sunday. When I saw where it was located in the heart of city (the business district) I was not interested. I had sent in the application and l had been told it would be told it would be a 1 to 2 year wait, I was fine with that. She later called saying that she just found out that Donahue had a property in another city in So Cal and I should apply to that one as well. I made the appointment filled out the application and was told that this one would be a wait of 3 to 4 years. It was out in the middle of nowhere, with one bus stop in-front of it. Since this one was even more undesirable than the first I prayed that there would be another option.

I typed in Donahue on to my computer hit return and there I found it a complex in the same city as my college. I made an appointment to get the application and talk with management. When the Access bus dropped me off at the site I was thrilled! I was literally two blocks from the university. No more buses for me I could roll there. The apartment was on a prime intersection that consisted of on the north east side are Panera, Office Depot, Burger King, Dollar Tree and Smart & Final…, on the south east is (my bank) B of A, .99 Store, Goodwill, Subway,… on the north western corner is Starbucks, Yogurtland, Papa John’s, Chipotle,…on the south western corner is CVS, Mongolian BBQ, Donut Shop, Barber Shop…On top of all of these amenities (as if that wasn’t enough) the complex was beautiful and there is a bus stop in front of the complex. I immediately knew that I wanted to live here. This is where I belonged. I had an overwhelming peace about it.

I completed filling out of the application while I was still there and when I handed it in I was told that it would be a 6 month to an one year wait. Once I heard that I started praying, telling God I don’t care how long I have to wait if it is 7 yrs I’ll wait it. I told him I didn’t want to live anywhere else and all I asked is that when he made it possible for me to move in there could he allow it to happen during summer or winter break so I had enough time to get used to living on my own and doing for myself. At the assisted living they were doing my medications, my meals, cleaning and even making my bed. On the ride home I took a step of faith and called the other complexes and told them that I no longer needed to be on there list. This gave my friend the impression that I had an apartment. I didn’t but by faith I knew that in time my apartment would be in that complex, of that I had no doubts.

Not even one month later I got the message to put in my 1 month’s notice. God had answered my prayers far faster than I ever imaged!

God supplied what I didn’t even know that I needed! He is that good!!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!