Chips In The Oil

Recently, I was talking to a guy friend. Former boyfriend actually. I asked him if he had met anyone interesting and he said “no, my life is pretty boring lately. Besides, I have changed so much. I used to manipulate women with my sad stories and am just too old for the games now.” “Sad stories?” “Yes. I used to tell women how poor I was as a kid and then they would feel sorry for me and I would get sympathy sex.” “Oh really?” I nonchalantly replied as I quickly ran a scan on my memory hard drive. “Yes, one story I told was how we were soooo poor that we could not buy potato chips so my mother would peel a couple of slices off of potato and drop them into the oil so we could have a couple of chips with our lunch.

I started to laugh knowingly. Embarrassed, he asked if he happened to tell me that story too. “Yes, actually you did.” “Did it work on you?”  “No, I recall I told you that I was sorry you were poor and offered to buy you the biggest bag of chips I could find to make up for it.” He laughed” Sometimes, you are just cold.” I just smiled and thought…Not cold, it just took you a little longer to suck me in.

Now I am talking about a lovely man who just happens to be a non-believer. He does not know how to act or think any other way than the flesh. If you recall I just asked him if he had met anyone interesting and I never asked if he was sleeping with anyone. Now I know some of you are thinking but I don’t know those kinds of men. I only know GODLY single men who would never play games. But just because you found yourself a single “Christian” man doesn’t mean anything until he repeatedly proves it by his actions. Don’t be so naive to think that some Godly men aren’t tossing a few slices in the oil and calling it Jesus.

I know some single Christian women who cry about not having a man but never venture out to find one. They basically drive to work and back home again. Now unless a man hurls himself onto your windshield how do you expect to ever meet one? It’s impossible. Reminds me of the homebody roommate I had years ago who developed a strange crush on the Dominoes delivery guy.  Yep. Ordered it every weekend for over a year. Big world out there when you decide to participate.

Or what about the single women who continue to throw their lines into a limited pond? You know the ones. They go to church on Sunday, Wednesday and any other day it is open. They attend every conference, talk, or workshop, and all fight over the same 5 single men who are not available because they are also on the hunt and you ain’t her!

Then one day these women start to panic at living life alone and they jump at the first sighting of something that LOOKS Godly. You say well that is certainly not me but then you find yourself putting on something nice and starting to hit the groups you have never been to. You have traded a past life of hitting the bars for a church crawl so you can soberly scope out the available Godly talent. You are determined not to spend one more Holiday alone. You look around the room and observe the pack for a while. You ignore the speaker because you are too busy categorizing every male in the place. Hmmm, married, taken, too old, too young, crazy, weird, homeless, potential stalker, and then you see someone who appears normal and available. You watch from afar and are suddenly mesmerized by how he raises his hands and voice in worship. His left hand is ringless and you are encouraged. He occasionally pauses to flip open his bible and you know the Lord is speaking words of wisdom to him. He is not easily distracted and listens intently to the speakers. Your heart races and you think oh I want a Godly man just like him! One that worships and reads his bible! I can even bring him to conferences instead of going with my girlfriends. We can volunteer together and start a ministry and and and….. Girl wake up. Let me slap you upside your head right now before you get caught up in the trance. As soon as he bags you or his ideal woman he won’t be going to any more conferences. I don’t care how Godly he looks as only time will tell if he is just playing your game. The “I know you all are looking for a Godly man so I will gladly play the part” game. Are all men like this? No. But take the time to check it out. Just sayin.

Next time you spot someone new take a breath and pause before you get all tingly because he appears to be the man you have been waiting for. Or stop when fear grips you and you feel like you will live the rest of your days alone. So ALONE that you will probably lie dead on the floor for days with your face half eaten away by your 8 cats before anyone thinks to check on you. Don’t let that fear or panic control you so that you plan to grab the next available guy that comes along just because you are afraid you have no other options.

You shake your head and say that is not me but we all know how it starts…ha! Is he single? Yes? Really? Oh my! Single AND a Christian! This must be the one. I know Papa God said I would meet my mate in church one day. He is kind of cute but I would definitely have to dress him differently and OMGoodness his hair! He does need a woman. I hope he has a job. No? That’s okay we can start our ministry right away. What? He does? A good job? Yay, God! DING DING DING DING DING!!!!! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! Now I KNOW he is the one. Why else would God have me come here on this particular night AND me having a good hair day? Single, Christian, and a job! Yes, I could definitely make this work!!!!!

Slow down Ruth and wait for your Boaz. God may have some work to do on him yet. Or worse yet maybe some work to do on you. Gasp! Be open to being led by God, even if it means having to get out of your house, church, or nearest revival center to do it. There just might be some lovely man out in the world who isn’t quite a Christian yet. Remember you weren’t always quite the believer you are now. Or it might be someone you would never think would be your type. Or someone you already met or see on a regular basis and I am not talking about the pizza guy. Might be someone who would be perfect for you if you just gave him half a chance to prove he is or could be the Godly man you always hoped for.

Do You

A friend commented once, “Well, a person can always tell where they stand with you. If you didn’t like me it would be glaringly obvious!” I was surprised as I always thought I had a poker face. This was years ago and when I relayed the story to my therapist, he laughed.

My. Therapist. Laughed.

Dr.L, “Oh, sorry…you’re serious! No, I would say that is not true. You wear your heart on your sleeve and your annoyance definitely on your face!” “”I do?” I laughed today as I thought about this. We can all be so clueless about ourselves.

As I get older I have just made peace with myself. I will never be blonde or petite. Never be patient. Never be calm 24/7. Especially not in a drive-thru. What you see is what you get …..for right now. But I am totally ok with that. Are you? With you? Ha! I hope you are all nodding; Why, yes. Yes, I am.

You might be thinking “New man! New man in Christ, Jeanne. Stop speaking that old you back from the dead.”

Oh my, close that pie hole, beloved! (See right there I stopped myself from using more fun and colorful words!). If you knew me years ago, you would see that a lot of me has changed. For the better.

Part of moving on from the old man is not continuing to spank yourself because you aren’t 100% perfect. And may never be! Stop going back and reliving bad stories about yourself. Unless it’s a testimony to give God glory or a good laugh because you aren’t that person anymore. Be thankful, FB and Return Of The Karens on Youtube wasn’t invented when you were doing stupid #$%$.

Aggh see there I go again….

Holy Hat Trick

It has been stressful looking for a car after mine was totaled in a recent accident. Thursday, I was even up all night looking at cars online. A photo listing kept popping up of a RAV4 that looked faded like it had sat out in the sun for a couple of years. it was also an odd color. Like the color of an old Eggplant. I could see what looked like dirt or dents on the hood and bald tires. That was probably why the car hadn’t sold and the price had dropped several times in the past month. I couldn’t understand why it kept coming up! NOPE. Unless it’s free, that ain’t my car. I imagined my friends asking me if I was in the witness protection program and sending me Eggplant emojis… 😉

I was so overwhelmed looking at cars that I finally gave in and set up an appointment to see the Eggplant as I needed to start somewhere. A saleswoman at the dealership emailed me back and set up a test drive for the next day, which was Saturday. As I was getting ready for bed, I was surprised when God started downloading a word for the saleswoman. I rarely get a long WOK or Prophecy prior to meeting someone. “God if this is you, I won’t remember all of this tomorrow!” God laughed “No, but I will.” Ok. I decided I would wait until we were done looking at cars as I didn’t want it to hinder any negotiations if I saw a car I was interested in. I just knew I wasn’t driving the Eggplant home.

When I woke up I didn’t want to go. I was tired and not excited about being trapped at a car dealer on a busy Saturday. I decided to text “Sherri” and change our meeting to Monday instead. Of course, God had other plans and He soon put my shoes on and drove me to the dealership.

As I pulled out of the parking lot to take the car for a test drive God said “tell her NOW.” I was too tired to argue with Big Sky Daddy and let it rip, “Sherri, I know this is weird but God told me last night that you really should be in the finance department so you can have better hours and make more money. Are you a single parent or have a lot of people you are responsible for? God wants to make things easier for you this year.” I went on to tell her that her coworkers loved her and that she was a bright light at work. She was a hard worker, went over and above, and was very direct. It was a lengthy word and I won’t bore you with the rest BUT…she starts crying! I am test-driving a car and the salesperson is CRYING!

She said, “how did you know all this?” I said, “God told me last night.” She said “there is no way you would know this! I cried on my way to work today and told my manager when I got in that there is an opening in finance and I want it. My daughter decided she is moving to Texas with my brother and leaving today. She is also leaving my two grandchildren with me to take care of. She can’t handle them anymore. They are 1 and 3. You don’t even know how much I needed to hear this today!” Now I started to tear up and took the next exit, “Wow. Ok, I’ll take the car. I know God set up this whole day for the both of us.”

So we went back and sat down to start the paperwork. Sherri kept telling me how blown away she was. Then she found her manager and asked me to tell her what God had said to me. The manager smiled and kept nodding her head. She is a believer too and remarked, “Yes when it comes to God there are no coincidences.” Then another employee got introduced to me and I gave him a word. I said ” Do you like your job? Because God is telling me that you are in the perfect place for you right now.” He smiled ” Great, I think so too. Besides, I was in car sales for a while and I sucked at it.” He then asked me if I was a psychic or if I gave readings. This is ALWAYS a fun one to answer.

I finally ended up in the finance office with two managers, one of them I’ll call Pete. “Pete,” asked me what I did now that I was retired. “Hmmm. Working on a book and I am in ministry. “Really?” “Yes” So Pete leaves the office and when he came back asked again, “Are you really in ministry?” “Yes” Apparently, the red hair must just throw people off as no one ever believes me 🙂. He left the office again and came back in and asked if I was a minister would I pray for him as he really needed it. “Ok, I’ll do it now”. Pete started to kind of freak out because he wasn’t expecting that. People always expect you to say yes, but forget later to pray. Why wait? 🙂 I winked at him as I assured him I wasn’t going to read his mail. Even though God showed me generally what was going on with Pete, He put these words in my mouth ” God is telling me that you regret moving here. You wonder if you made a huge mistake. But God is going to smooth everything out for you. No matter what it looks like now. You also need to stop worrying about money. God is also going to heal a relationship that you have been struggling with for quite a while this year.” Pete’s mouth dropped open and his eyes teared up for a heartbeat. It was so beautiful to witness. You can always tell when God has connected with someone’s heart because you don’t have to give out any more details. The Holy Spirit is a big boy and can handle it from there. Pete thanked me numerous times and told me how much he needed to hear from God today.

I finally got home at 5pm and sat for 2 hours unpacking what had just happened. I was more excited by Big Sky Daddy’s Hat Trick than I was about my new car! I wondered what God’s kids told their friends and family later. Sharing God’s love in action always has a ripple effect. Good reminder to share your stories.

Oh, and my car looks nothing like the photo. Clean and scratch-free, inside and out. New tires. Low mileage. MN Viking Purple. It is perfect and was waiting for me.

It was a God-awesome Saturday! This stuff NEVER gets old!

Bye Bye

Many years ago my very wise older sister Kathy stopped me cold mid-rant and said “Do you need permission?”

“What?” “Do you need permission not to involve yourself with this person any more? I give you permission to just stop subjecting yourself to this person’s abuse and end the friendship.”

I was dumbfounded at first. Then relieved! I ended it that day and said goodbye to the drama. I guess I just needed someone to say that it was okay because I couldn’t myself. Ever feel like that?

Why is it that we sometimes hang on to old stuff, new stuff or even someone else’s stuff that isn’t working for us? Why do we feel we have to continue to struggle to make things work? Or to fix things? Especially with people who are crazy-making companions at best? Sometimes it takes too much energy to pretend someone’s behavior is well…normal. I think because there is something inside of us that wants to complete something that we started. Cross the T’s. Dot the i’s. Finish off the chips. Make sense of it all.

Sometimes it is good for us to finish everything we started and sometimes it is just plain wrong. Can anyone hear me out there about this? God isn’t expecting us to fix anyone or any situation. Only He can do that.

You aren’t a failure if you can’t or don’t want to hang in there to see something through that was never your burden to bear in the first place. Sometimes it starts out good and we don’t see the crazy card until we are well into the game. Or sometimes we have invested too much of our own secrets or given up too much of ourselves to another person and dread what would happen if all of this ended. Abruptly. What would be exposed? So we hang on to something that should have been cut off years ago, worrying about our reputations and our other 6 degrees of separation and hang on to madness just to protect ourselves. But if you can’t fix something, you can’t also protect yourself if someone decides to GO there for whatever reason. I have people who still talk about me from years ago. Now, I just call it free publicity.

Don’t worry. I give you permission today to stop anything that isn’t working for you. I promise you God will pick up the pieces and make wrong out of right. If He is for you anyone who is against you will not win in the end!

I really feel like there are a couple of people who need to hear this today.

Life here on earth is way to short too throw pearls before swine. Give it up and give it to God. Tell the person you are taking a break. Giving it a rest. An indefinite pause. Time to let go of the lies, abuse and negativity. Time to let go of someone or something that is holding you up or holding you back.

Time to break the news. Even if the person you are breaking it to, is yourself.

Imperfect

Sometimes I wonder how I can even be in ministry. I admit I can be terrible. Especially when I am really angry or afraid. I won’t even be fully aware of spontaneously dropping F-bombs. Rapid fire, machine gun F BOMBS! 🙂 I like to blame it on my red hair. Or the devil. It definitely isn’t His spirit in me 🙂. My therapist told me a long time ago that I need to make peace with my sometimes “highly excitable personality.” Yikes. Why can’t I just be a new person in Christ and stay there?

I was recently in a car accident. It was a shocker because I didn’t see the other car. I heard a loud bang and then saw a grey blur of metal as the impact spun my car a 180. It all happened in a heartbeat! I sat in my car shaking. What just happened? I looked down and I had red marks across my chest from the seatbelt and my left thumb was already turning colors. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw that the other driver looked much older than me. Was she okay? I was shocked and sat frozen, unable to get out of my car and access the situation. I finally caught my breath and called 911 and told them there had been an accident.

Where are you located?

I am not sure. I’m really rattled. In Maple Grove. By Walmart. Across from Valvoline. By Starbucks. That side.

Where are you? Southbound? Northbound? What road?.

Uh Uh Uh, Southbound.

I started to hyperventilate. I couldn’t recall the name of the road even though I probably drive it every day. I continued to tell her the landmarks, a block from X highway etc. and she starts screaming at me!

SCREAMING!!!

MAAM! WHY DON’T YOU KNOW WHERE YOU ARE? YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF WHERE YOU ARE DRIVING!!! YOU NEED TO KNOW THE NAME OF THE STREETS YOU ARE DRIVING ON AT ALL TIMES!!! YOU NEED TO….

Her screaming was not making me think any clearer. I’m thinking, why are you yelling at me? Lady, you have no idea if I have a head injury or if my breast is cut off. Hmmm Maybe I hit my head and am worse than I realized! Now I am really panicked so I start screaming back….

Me: What the F$#@$!##@!!!!! I am rattled! I am trying to F@#$#@-ing tell you where I am and F@#$##……

OP: Stop yelling at me! Stop swearing at Me!

Me: You stop yelling at me!!!!! I’m sorry but aren’t you supposed to be the calm one? You aren’t helping this……

I mistakenly gave her the name of a street across the highway from me and she says “No you aren’t there you are on X !!!” Ahhhh….so she knew all along. 🙂 Ha! Maybe she was trying to find out if I had been day drinking.

OP: Are you blocking a lane?

Me: We are off to the side of the road and cars are going around us.

OP: THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM ASKING YOU!!!!!!! ARE YOU…..

This exchange goes on for a couple more minutes and then she finally screams “ YES YOU ARE BLOCKING A LANE!!!!! WAIT FOR AN OFFICER!!!!” Then hangs up on me. I’m thinking, don’t leave? I can’t even talk right now. I then decided to reach out for prayer so I could calm the F@$@#$# down.

We both were obviously not having a good day and she was just trying to quickly assess the situation. I cannot imagine this exchange if it was a murder scene or an abduction. Later, I told the officer that the 911 OP was a real @#$#@#. He just smiled. Hmmm, Maybe he knows her. 🙂 My sister, who showed up to help later said to me “ Do you realize when you said that he had his body cam on?”

OOPS. God is still working on this Redhead, but that doesn’t stop Him from using me. Or you.

Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Only Big Sky Daddy is perfect and He already loves and adores you. Even if you spontaneously drop an F@#$#%%.

Repent?

You are now a new person in Christ!

You are free from your past TO act like it! FREE TO ACT LIKE IT. Not.. SO you better act like it.

It’s an invitation …..not a beat down.

Doesn’t matter if bad memories of your exploits surface again. (And isn’t that usually the case when you feel good about yourself, things are going right or you’ve met someone new?)

Keep telling yourself you are NOT that person any more. That version of yourself was somebody else. Someone you used to know and who you no longer associate with.

Anyone brings up your past behavior just respond “I am not that person any more. Why are you bringing it up?”

Stop looking in your rear view mirror or in old journals unless you have a testimony or it brings God glory!

Every moment is a new start peeps. New you. New opportunities. Regardless of what happened a minute ago.

That is what it means to repent.

Someone needs to be reminded of this today. Whoever you are… I love you!

Fear?

The other day, my alarm went off, and as soon as I opened my eyes, I heard, ” My people live in fear because they do not know me.” Loud and clear! No mistaking who was speaking to me. Especially since I’m not a morning person, and I don’t even talk to myself that early.

I keep thinking about what He said. Not in a let’s get out the Bible and look at what has been written about who He is. Not that doing so wouldn’t be important, but I’ve been asking Him to show me who He is to me. I know He is love. That’s a given. We hopefully learn that when we’re 5. But who is He to me? What are my actual beliefs about Him? Not the ones I’ve been told I should have about Him, but the real ones. The honest ones. Maybe some really ugly honest ones.

If He can pull any string on this earth to send out angels, soften hearts, create opportunities, heal bodies and minds, and pull a rabbit out of His hat for any reason, why aren’t we going to Him? About everything?

What fears do we have about Him that get in the way? Or unbelief? What has happened in your past that makes you not trust? Or doubt?

Is it because of something man did? Or didn’t do?

Who are you equating God with?

Don’t bother trying to think about this on your own; ask God to reveal to you the truth. The truth of what is causing a barrier between you and Him.

He can handle it. You’re no surprise to Him.

Then ask Him to fix it. To heal it. To renew your faith in Him.

It’s time for us to get real and honest with God.

I’m tired of living in fear because I do not really know Him. Or who He is or can be in my life if I allow Him in. Totally, let Him in.

Are you?

By-eeeee

Many years ago, my very wise older sister Kathy stopped me cold mid-rant and said, “Do you need permission? “

What? “

“Do you need permission not to involve yourself with this person anymore? I permit you to stop subjecting yourself to this person’s abuse. I give your permission to end the friendship.”

I was dumbfounded at first and then relieved! I ended my relationship that day and said goodbye to the drama. I just needed someone to say that it was okay to do so because I couldn’t help myself. Ever feel like that?

Why is it that sometimes we hang on to old stuff, new stuff, or even someone else’s stuff that isn’t working for us? Why do we feel we have to continue to struggle to make things work? Or to fix things? Especially with people who are crazy-making companions at best? Sometimes it takes too much energy to pretend someone’s behavior is, well…normal. So why do we do it? Because there is something inside us that wants to complete something that we started. Cross the T’s. Dot the i’s. Finish off the chips. Make sense of it all.

Sometimes it is good to finish everything we started, and sometimes it is just plain wrong. Can anyone hear me out there about this? God isn’t expecting us to fix anyone or any situation. Only He can do that. You aren’t a failure if you can’t or don’t want to hang in there to see something through that was never your burden to bear in the first place. Sometimes it starts out good, and we don’t see the crazy card until we are well into the game. Or sometimes we have shared too much of our secrets or given up too much of ourselves to another person and dread what would happen if all of this ended. Abruptly. What would we lose? Or what would be exposed? So we hang on to something that should have been cut off years ago, worrying about our reputations and our other 6 degrees of separation and hang on to madness to protect ourselves.

But if you can’t fix something, you also can’t protect yourself if someone decides to GO there for whatever reason. I have people who still talk about me from years ago. Now, I call it free publicity.

Don’t worry. I give you all permission today to stop anything that isn’t working for you. I promise you God will pick up the pieces and make wrong out of right. If He is for you anyone who is against you will not win in the end!

Life here on earth is way too short to throw pearls before swine. Give it up and give it to God. Tell the person you are taking a break and giving it a rest. An indefinite pause. Time to let go of the lies, abuse, and negativity. Time to let go of someone or something that is holding you up or holding you back.

Time to break the news. Even if that person you are breaking it to is yourself.

New Beginnings

Allow God to create and begin something NEW in your life this week. Something new in you AND through you.

Regardless of what’s going on around you.

Tough year kids. Can’t go back. Or look back. New doesn’t go back. New only goes forward.

God lead me into your plan for me! A plan that feeds my soul, fills my heart and is life giving to others.

Amen!

Terrible Twos

Ever feel like you’re going thru the terrible twos again? Toddler tantrum deja vu? Not talking about your kids acting up. I’m talking about you, boo.

Lately, I feel like I am folding my arms, clenching my teeth, and I don’t care if I sit at the table all night. I will not eat your Brussels sprouts, and you can’t make me!

Then I remember I made them myself! I really really want those Brussels Sprouts, but I’d rather drive-thru Culvers. It’s familiar, faster, and a lot less work.

Kids, sometimes you have to stop and realize you aren’t fighting anyone. Sometimes y’all are just rebelling against yourself.

God isn’t growing you up. 🤫The devil isn’t plotting against you because you are God’s anointed 😇. It’s just YOU! You are fighting yourself and making it impossible to succeed. Especially when you want to change or do something new.

It’s hard to go the course when anything new feels strange. You expect the earth to stand still and make it effortless. Ha! There is a reason it’s called your comfort zone!

God has me learning some new stuff, and I feel like I have been kicking and screaming the whole way. Even though I want this and keep moving each foot in the right direction, it feels like wading thigh-high thru mud.

God is leading me down this path for some future reason. I know it and need to press on. Milk, cookies, and a nap? No time for that. I have to put on my big girl pants and press on.

Ever feel like that? Like why am I doing this? It isn’t even really that enjoyable. Or comfortable. It’s complicated and stressful. Then later, you realized you were glad you muddled thru. You’re not so dumb after all. And it not only challenged you but stretched you as well. Like Gumby 🙂 Ok. Well, maybe like Pokey.

Ask God to help move you along His path. With peace. With joy. With excitement. Even if it initially smells and tastes like Brussels sprouts.

Besides, eventually, you’ll figure out that God and bacon make everything better.

Press on, Peeps!