I love men.
With that said, and after hearing of another unfortunate divorce of another Godly couple I must say this:
Men, if you want to be married realize that it requires you to work and for you to be worked on (first and always). Realize you are well able, equipped and mandated by the Lord to work well at your marriage (first and always), have your own personal “kinks” worked out and also work well at your career, in ministry, on your sermons, on your golf game, toward your investments, on the court or field, on your physique, or in whatever other area God has called you.
You can do it all…at the same time! Why? Because it’s God’s desire that you prosper in be in good health, EVEN as your soul prospers (3 John 3:1) . For you, dear, sweet man, it is not an either or. It’s an all of the above. You deserve it all. The Lord loves you enough to know that a healthy marriage, and a successful personal and career life are what you need in order for you to fully, truthfully, and successfully do what He created you to do. And let me tell you, He created you to do BIG things, boo! But the key is you have to surrender to His will, surround yourself with the right kind of people, stick with the program and stay away from patterns and practices that don’t work even if that’s how your father, spiritual father, or father figure did it.
Listen, man! You can do it! I believe in my whole heart that you can be a successful husband, father, son, boss, employee, teammate, mentor, brother and friend. Won’t you believe the same? You absolutely can do it all as long as you move with a purpose to work at it (whatever your “it” may be) as unto the Lord. You can reap the benefits of balance. You can be (genuinely) honored at home and in the world. You can live at peace and have a wife and children who respect, adore and like you by choice. You can have a family that cherishes you while having a career that celebrates you.
I’d like to say “thank you” to my Aunt Ann Turner, Uncle Bill Turner, Aunt Laura Smith, Uncle Bennie Smith, Cousin Hazel Dukes and Uncle William Johnson for all they’ve done for my family and me, but also for instilling in me, especially recently, that it’s never too late to inspire. Sometimes, even in my 40’s I feel like it’s not too much more to do or offer. All of these loved ones, who are in their 80’s or 70’s are SIMPLY AMAZING, and the epitome of love for the Lord and love for family. They continue to live life and make a difference every single day.
From my Aunt Ann’s oh-so-classy lasting impression she made on me as a child the time she literally filled my grandparents oven with Chick-fil-A sandwiches because, “darling, she wanted her entire family to experience that southern fried delight”, to the near daily text messages, phone calls, stirring devotionals, comical emails or facebook chats Uncle Bill and she share with me, even while battling serious health challenges, they are my inspiration.
From the above-and-beyond service to ministry, educating future leaders at home and traveling around the country to share the love of Jesus, then taking that same love and extending it to family and friends through hosting functions that rival the best of a party planner, to being present for functions and events even if they travel alone, to being go-to fixtures in times of trouble and celebration my Aunt Laura and Uncle Bennie are a picture of God’s selfless love. Their open affection for each other with known words of affirmation and actions of love are a pattern of a Godly marriage that should be followed by all. They are my inspiration.
What can you say about an 82-year-old woman with more spunk, class, influence, drive, commanded presence, purpose recognized and sincere love for family than a dozen 30-year-olds put together? My cousin Hazel Dukes is my great-cousin, and at 40 years older than I, I’ve come to love and respect her even more. She’s gracious, generous, intently bold, funny, stylish, loving, important, business oriented, but family focused. Spending my 40th birthday with her she reminded me, as I tried to keep up with her walking the streets of New York, that you’re as young and useful as you feel and choose to be. She is my inspiration.
My Uncle William Johnson has recently returned for an extended visit with his family “down south”. He has been a joy to reconnect with. He’s a quite, and insightful man, whose presence is felt through his crisp, clean suits, genteel hats, and southern charisma that lingered even as he moved up north decades ago. He’s a gentleman’s gentleman. What I’m learning about him as an adult is that he reminds me of my grandmother. The twinkle in his eyes when around his family far exceeds any physical challenges he may be having. His doting about delicious foods, funny observations, asking about other family members or remembering a little nugget about us far replaces anything that he may be experiencing. He is my inspiration.
I may not say it often, or often enough, but I hope and pray they all realize how important they are to me, now and always. I’m so grateful to have them as trailblazers for my journey, and honored to watch in awe as they still make the most out of life and make our lives better.
We all know that gas prices have not gotten the “you need to drop, and drop fast” memo. Prices in Birmingham, Alabama are downright shocking! With that said, one day after work I needed to fill up.
I’d already written a blog post about my car of just five months and trying multiple times to take it back. Seeing gas prices shoot up certainly didn’t sit well with me. (See the blog post below.)
With just 90 miles left in my tank, and not quite home I pulled into the recommended gas station the dealership suggested shortly after I purchased the car. My car requires premium gas (Gasp!!! I know, right!), but can use mid-grade from only a few special gas stations. So I pulled into the widely known gas station and noticed the mid-grade price was $3.83. Immediately, I thought, “Nope, not gonna pay that”.
I decided to reapply the gas cap, hop back in my car, turn the air back on, buckle back up, check for a text before I pulled off, find a song on the radio, wait a minute to inch into traffic, sit at a red traffic light braving the Highway 119 traffic, and head across the street to a lesser known (in other words “cheaper”) gas station with hopes of their premium gas prices being better than the mid-grade gas station. My thought was if their regular gas was nearly $.15 less than most then surely their premium gas would be too. Low and behold I whipped my car into an available lane only to discover that their premium gas was $3.99. What the what?!?!?
After all I did to get to the cheaper gas station I ended up having to reapply the gas cap, buckle up, squeeze past a man with his hood up, inch back to the traffic light, brave Highway 119 and go wayyyyyyyyyyy back across the street to where I should have stayed. I should have known to just stick with what was right and recommended for me, especially if that meant it would keep my car in tip-top condition. Why did what was working for me no longer seem to be working just because of the minor (and temporary) inconvenience of a few cents in increase? Why is it often that same way in life?
The moral of this story is: The gas isn’t always cheaper on the other side, and if it is, the cheaper kind may be MORE expensive in the end.
Wow! Things in this world are changing! For some, it may seem like no help is in sight. We know through Psalm 121:1 that we can lift up our eyes to the hills, from whence cometh our help, but sometimes it‘s hard, to lift up when life seems to be weighing down.
So, what’s it going to take to get God to move on our behalf? He loves us. We’re created by Him to be like Him. He promised to supply all our needs . He guarantees healing. So what’s the hold up? Could it be that while we are waiting on God to move He’s really waiting on us?
Most of us have heard the acronym TLC. For some it stands for tender, loving care. But I believe it must represent Teaching, Learning and Changing. TLC is what it’s going to take for our breakthrough and new beginning.
In order to not “be conformed” to this world, and the wild and crazy things happening in it there has to be TEACHING. Teaching can be tough as it often challenges the basis of what we thought we already knew, and you know we think we already know. After teaching, must come LEARNING. You can possibly remember people from grade school who took the same classes and had the same opportunities but something happened to cause them to have to repeat. Could it have been lack of learning? Just because there’s teaching doesn’t mean there’s learning. Learning says WE have to do whatever WE have to do to take the responsibility to retain and recite what you have been taught. God forbid we have to repeat a few classes. After teaching and learning comes change! CHANGING can possibly be the toughest leg of this tripod but boy, oh boy, once you get it, you’ve got it! Changing says that we surrender to God’s newness in our lives, forsaking the old and positioning ourself for His best for us and through us. Changing says we are ready and willing to be new!
So the next time the troubles of this world are weighing down don’t give up try a little TLC…Teaching, Learning and Changing!