Lesson 3: Money isn’t everything. (People are thirsty.)

Last year, we worked on some projects around the house. The most expensive project was to get our home painted. After getting several estimates, we picked the company and scheduled the job. 

We’ve had our house painted twice before, and usually they finish completely in 1-2 days. So, I made sure to take a before picture because I expected it to be done quickly. 

Only, it wasn’t going as planned.

They started late, and instead of having an entire crew show up, we had two people show up. It was a husband and wife team, and I will call them Jake and Joanna (not their real names). On the first day, they power-washed the house, and on the next day, they started replacing the boards and painting. 

Day after day, they backed into our driveway, emptied their van of supplies, and started working while his radio blasted music from the ’70s and ’80s. After an entire week, we were concerned and a bit frustrated, mostly because we had no idea it would take this long. One day they didn’t get to come because of car trouble and some of the other days it rained. 

Have you experienced similar frustrations regarding a big project or expense?

After a few days, I came home around lunchtime, and they were sitting in their van to escape the heat. I lifted my hand to wave and headed to the front door. Right before I went in, I sensed that still small voice saying, “Bring water to them.” 

WHAT? 

Instead of getting water and bringing it to them, I turned around and went to the van, and asked if they wanted any cold water. He said, “No, ma’am, that’s ok.” 

So, I asked again, “Are you sure?  I have plenty of cold drinks inside.”  She shyly mentioned if I could bring some water, that would be great. I went inside and grabbed cold water bottles, orangeades, tea and got as much as I could carry out to them. 

He smiled big and said thank you.

My husband heard from the paint company owner, and he explained why it was taking so long. They were expecting a crew, but it didn’t work out. They should finish soon. His explanation seemed to satisfy us.   

Later that evening, as the painters cleaned up, my husband and I went outside to look around at the progress.  

Jake looked up at my husband and said, “Your wife saved us today!”

We both looked puzzled as he went on to explain, “Today was the hottest day, and at lunch, we realized we forgot our cooler with all of our drinks in it, and we were really thirsty. But, your wife brought us cold drinks. We loved that tea!” 

Thirst.

Do you know that moment when you feel tiny? If I could have fallen to my knees right then, I would’ve.  But instead, I went inside and grabbed more cold drinks for them to hydrate on the way home. 

God, forgive me. I was so worried about money and getting the job done quickly. I lost sight that there may be a purpose in the inconvenience.  

God whispered, “Bring water to them.” 

What if I missed it? What If my frustrations got the best of me?

God forgive me. It is just money, and people are thirsty. I honestly don’t care how the house looks. Please help me love them and love them well. 

The next morning, the wife knocked on the door and said, “Jake brought something for you – it is on the porch.” 

I went to look, and it was a beautiful plant in a watering can that he had painted. He told my husband that his mom had passed away last year, and this plant was a piece of hers.

I was so moved by it. I loved it, and it was such a sweet gesture.   

For the next several days, I waited to hear their van back into our driveway. I made them a casserole for breakfast and picked up cold sweet teas for them. I brought them drinks and made them brownies. 

On their last day here, we wrote them a Thank You card with a tip inside along with this verse: 

“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
 

The Blessing

I miss the sound of their truck backing into our driveway. I miss that music blasting into my window, and I love my freshly painted home. I miss Jake and Joanna, and I’ve even tried to google them.  

Thankfully, I have their beautiful plant to remind me of one of my favorite lessons from 2020:  Money isn’t everything (People are thirsty).

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in. Matthew 25:35 NIV

Have you experienced a time where that still small voice whispered and you moved? What did you learn? I’d love to hear your story!

I am sharing the lessons I learned from 2020 that I am bringing into 2021. You can click on the links below to read:
Lesson 1: The sky is not falling. (Don’t be afraid.)
Lesson 2: Go for it! (You have nothing to lose.)

JOY in the WAITING

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My word for 2018 was JOY so I bought a necklace with the word “joy” on it to remind me that no situation, person or event could steal my joy. I wanted to remember each day that Jesus was the source of my joy.

Some days I lived and understood that better than others, but there was a moment where I truly experienced indescribable joy. If joy could cover me from head to toe and penetrate every fiber of my being, this was it. 

I didn’t win the lottery or slap my knee with a deep belly laugh.  In fact, if you were with me that day, you wouldn’t have noticed anything different about me.  You would have missed the absolute dance fest party I was having on the inside.  I was in a room full of women and girls and I wanted to stand up and scream at the top of my lungs – “NOW This is JOY!”

I experienced true joy when I completely let go and surrendered a situation to God and waited for Him to come through for me.  

I came across a poem my daughter had written, and it broke my heart. I felt the pain in every word and I ached even more because I had no idea she was struggling or hurting! I knew she had written these words, but I didn’t know what to do with them.   

At first I thought maybe I should just go and wake her up! I wanted to ask her who in the world said these mean things to her? What made her believe these awful lies about herself? I wanted her to see and believe the truth.

I wanted to fix this, but I felt like God was telling me to wait.  

I couldn’t sleep so I just laid there praying throughout the night. Even as I prayed, I would think of ways to handle it and even offered my suggestions to God, but I sensed Him saying, “Wait. You just wait.” 

I could not stop thinking about it because it triggers me to think about protecting my daughter. I struggle with thinking I have to control keeping her from harm. With waiting, I had no idea how it would turn out. What if waiting didn’t work? I finally texted two friends to join me in prayer.

“Wait, you just wait.” I kept hearing it, and I knew I simply had to wait and trust that He was working behind the scenes and would answer my cry for “Help!”

He answered in ways I never could have imagined in His perfect timing.  

A few weeks later, we were at our Mother/Daughter Bible Study and I was surprised to see her raise her hand and offer to share what she had learned from the lesson.  She said, “I am not sure if this makes sense, but sometimes I feel like a Lego in a bubble. My bubble is school, church, family, friends, and soccer.  As long as that bubble is going well, then I am safe inside… but I can’t always depend on that bubble, because eventually if one of them falls apart then the bubble is gone and the lego will fall. Instead, I need to let God be my bubble. He is what keeps me safe and secure.  He holds me together.  

I sat there beaming as I listened to her share her heart and perspective. The whole time, I was thanking God for helping me to wait because He did far more in her heart than I could have ever accomplished on my own. I could hardly wait to text my two friends to tell them how God answered!

 “Waiting” is hard for me. My silent screams for help went on throughout my childhood and no one stopped the abuse. A very big part of me believes I have to control my circumstances, or else there will be disaster. For me, “being in charge” is not just a title. It truly feels like life or death at times.  

But Jesus is showing me something new. He is teaching me that I can let go of that “need to be in control” and trust Him. He is showing me there is joy in the waiting.  My word for 2019 is wait, and I am learning to practice it with joy. I am learning to let go, and wait.   

Waiting on God is not easy, but it changes everything.

Are you in a season of waiting? Do you struggle with wanting to take matters into your own hands when you sense God is asking you to wait? I would love to pray for you as you wait and I’d love to hear how God moves. Please feel free to comment below or email me at journeypink@gmail.com.  Psalm 27:14 encourages my heart as I wait. What verse encourages you?

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all:
Don’t give up; don’t be impatient;
be entwined as one with the Lord.
Be brave and courageous, and never lose hope.
Yes, keep on waiting—for he will never disappoint you!

Psalm 27:14 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Refreshing Joy

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“The last time I doubted my calling was … just this past Monday.”

I shared this with the ladies in our Bible Study group. It is a safe place filled with grace, love and encouragement.

I explained that I was in the dumps, exhausted and overwhelmed. I was simply tired.

Tired of waiting.
Tired of hurting.
Tired of hoping.

When I feel worn out, the enemy is not too far away with that mean question ringing loud in my head:

“Who do you think you are?”

Then the dominoes of doubt start to fall onto each other:

“God’s not going to use you.”
“What you have to say is already being said.”
“No one wants to hear it.”
“If it is this hard, why bother?”
“Did God really say….?????”

“Again, who do you think you are?”

When these doubts swirl around me in the pit, I sink.

But, just this morning as I approached my office, there was a gift wrapped in tissue paper by my door. I picked it up and opened it to see a lovely smelling candle. There was no note so I sat it on my desk and went to make coffee.

When I made it back to my desk, I looked up and saw the word JOY in gold on candle.

JOY CANDLE
Your love has impacted me and brings me great joy and encouragement, for the hearts of the believers have been greatly refreshed through you. Philemon 1:7 TPT

My eyes were a little misty. JOY is my word for 2018, and this was such a sweet and timely reminder.

Who in the world left this at my door?

I texted a few friends and they all said it wasn’t them.
So I texted some more. No luck.

As I started to review the scripture verses for our lesson, one the of the ladies shared the song, “Reckless Love” in our group chat.

As I played the song and read the verses, the tears washed away the lies that were suffocating me.

Verses like:

“Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you” Acts 18:9-10

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.” Acts 23:11

Oh, to be like Paul. He had plenty of opposition, but he kept running the race. He was able to say, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” Acts 23:1

The struggle is real, but God is bigger than the struggle.

I shared with my sisters in Christ how God refreshed my heart with a surprise candle, the timing of a song, and the truth of His Word.

I was still dying to know who gave me that candle so I could at least thank them! My sweet sisters encouraged me to just receive His love, and ask Him to bless the giver.

The next morning, I found out the candle was a gift from a friend who lives all the way in Indiana.

My heart was FULL.

God delivered true meaning to the song Reckless Love in real time.

He reached down and drew me
from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay.
With a gentle hand, He pulled me out
To set me down safely on a warm rock;
He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.
Psalm 40:2

Click below to listen to the powerful song Reckless Love by Cory Asbury – where he shares the story behind the song.  As you listen,

  • Think of all the ways He has pursued you.
  • Remember those He sent to encourage you just when you needed it most.
  • Reflect on the times He used you to strengthen and refresh others.
  • Who can you encourage today?

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The Path to Joy

We were looking forward to a fun evening together as a family. We were going to get to see a sloth! There was popcorn, face-painting and even the red carpet.

We went to the movie premiere for Amazon Arising – Joy in the Jungle. The movie took us on a journey with Jungle Jen as she traveled to remote areas in the Amazon to share the love of Christ.

Things didn’t always go as planned, and her days could be quite complicated. The weather didn’t always cooperate, and yet with each complication or delay, she persevered.  She kept her eye on the prize. She trusted God to provide and protect. It was an incredible testimony of faith and passion.

After the movie, Jungle Jen spoke and she encouraged us to do whatever God is calling us to do.  She told us to stand out and follow our passion. Many people came forward for prayer.  As the prayers were lifted, the musicians sang their three songs from the movie.

That was over a month ago, and I am still amazed at how much that experience has impacted me.  I have listened to those three songs on repeat. I’ve thought about how Jen kept going, in spite of all of the bumps in the road. Her journey was not easy, and yet her joy was contagious. She was living her passion and she loved it.

She found joy in the jungle of the Amazon. Where do you find joy?

Where is my joy and do I relentlessly to pursue it? When I experience pushback or an inconvenience what is my response? What if it is risky? Am I willing to stand out and be uncomfortable for Christ? Do I get off track when things get complicated? Are my eyes on the prize and do I trust Him to provide and protect?

My One Word for 2018 is JOY and my verse is Psalm 16:11 NIV:

You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

As I was listening to the three songs, and thinking about all that was stirring in my heart – the lyrics came together and echoed this verse for me.

Papa’s Song by Susan Valles:  “Go and tell for me my child”

Rain Down by Laura Stavlas:  “Soak me in the wonder of your presence”

Anthem by Melanie Sykes:   “Joy is rising up now”

The Path to Joy is to follow Jesus.  

Instead, You direct me on the path that leads to a beautiful life. As I walk with You, the pleasures are never-ending, and I know true joy and contentment. Psalm 16:11 VOICE

Where is your Joy? 

If you get the chance to see “Amazon Arising – Joy in the Jungle” don’t miss it! You will be inspired! The next screening is on February 11th in Wilmington, NC at Myrtle Grove Baptist Church at 6pm.

For more information visit Jen’s website:  https://www.standoutministries.com

Movie Trailer:

The Songs:

Anthem by Melanie Sykes 
Rain Down by Laura Stavlas
Papa’s Song by Susan Valles

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