Archive | April 2015

It’s Not My Job

“Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.”  C. S. Lewis

So, something pretty wonderful happened yesterday. I had an epiphany. Actually, it was probably the Lord answering several prayers. 

Let me back up. I have a friend, Kay. Kay is pretty amazing. We’ve been friends for years. She’s taught me so much and I’ve taught her a few things, too. Kay is beautiful, brilliant,  kind, and generous. She’s the most politically savvy woman I’ve ever met. I often joke that when I’m unsure of a candidate or an issue, I call her and ask, “What do I think about this?” And she always knows!  She’s a gifted teacher.  She’s completely gracious to all. She’s … well, she’s amazing. We’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve argued. We’ve laughed until our stomachs hurt and tears rolled down our faces. We’ve traveled together. We’ve worked together. We know each other’s triumphs and failures. We know each other’s stories, families, secrets, and regrets. Kay is my dearest friend. 

And Kay is making a huge mistake. 

Maybe.

Kay is facing a life altering decision. And I’m firmly planted in the “DO NOT DO IT!” camp. There are others in the “DO IT. DO IT NOW!” camp. Both sides have reasons. I’ve agonized over this, fearing a wrong decision would ruin her life. I’ve shed tears. I’ve even (briefly) contemplated ending our friendship. I’ve had imaginary talks with her, along with many real ones. I’ve prayed. Oh, how I’ve prayed. Some of my prayers were more like demands and many were heartfelt cries for the Lord to clearly show her what is right, despite what I–or others–say. 

And it’s come down to this: deciding for her isn’t an option and it isn’t my job. Hmm. Now this sounds simple, but it was something the Lord had to gently, lovingly show me. He was much kinder with me than I deserve. That’s so like Him, isn’t it? 

So, here I am, Kay. I’m officially going on record. (I know she’s smiling as she reads this.) I’m done. I’m done trying to do a job that isn’t mine.  I love you. I will always love you and wish you well. I want good for you. In fact, I want God’s best for you. I will continue to pray for you to have His guidance, His voice in your ear. And, Kay, you know how hard this will be for me…I commit to really, really try to keep my voice out if it. Pretty much. Most of the time. (She’s shaking her head now.) My job is to lovingly speak truth to you and pray for you. It is not my job to try to change your mind. It is not my job to judge you. It is not my job to criticize or complain. Go with God, sweet friend.  I wish you MUCH JOY! 

And I wish you, dear reader, much joy in your journey. 

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” Luke 6:31

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”  John 15:12-15 




More Loves & Links

Friends, I have to share more of my favorites!! If you missed the first Loves and Links, check it out here

  • Castle!!! Although I can rarely stay awake long enough to watch it (I DVR it!), I love, love, love this show!!  Do you have a show you just cannot miss?
  • I wish I had my snacking under control. Sigh. Until I do, I sure like Trader Joe’s Roasted Coconut Chips. They satisfy my sweet tooth. 
  • I’m a beauty product junkie. I may need an intervention, but that’s a future post. 😃 I love Bliss Blood Orange Lotion. It smells fantastic, goes on easily, and is very moisturizing. However, be aware the yummy scent fades fast and it’s a little too expensive unless you find it on sale. Fortunately, I’ve found a few great deals on it lately. 
  • Words with Friends is my favorite waste of time. 
  • Pinterest is another favorite “use” of time. I’ve snagged some great recipes, product tips, inspirational quotes, and lesson ideas, so I’m not sure it’s a complete waste of time. You can follow me. I’m @jlbclarke. 
  • I love watching The Holiday. It always puts me in a good mood. 
  • Yum, yum, yum!!! I love eating salads and this vinegar is AMAZING!  It’s worth the expense. Truly! Just add a tiny bit of olive oil and enjoy! Check out the Seasons website for recipes and tips. 
  • Have you tried Gimme Brow?  It’s sooooooo much better than a pencil. If you love easy, well-groomed eyebrows, grab one today! 
  • I’m a jewelry girl and I cannot pass up a sparkly display. Like most of you, I wear a combination of “real” and costume jewelry. Try Sira Mara or Versona for  affordable, trendy pieces. 
  • I love having encouraging informative blogs delivered to my inbox. You can see my favorites here
  • My husband’s a proud Missouri boy and I’m a Texas girl, through and through. I can’t resist Texas tees, Texas jewelry, Texas bumper stickers…. You see where this is going. Grab some state love at Riffraff.  (Amarillo, Texas friends can grab a cute Texas necklace at Panache for under $30.00.) 
  • I love my church home! If you live in Amarillo, join us one weekend! If not, subscribe to the podcasts or log on here
  • Free stuff!! I love a bargain and I love FREE even more! When I celebrated my birthday last month, I received a free burger at Red Robin, a free entree at Abuelo’s, and a discounted meal at Hoffbrau Steakhouse. I simply gave each establishment my email address and I receive occasional emails, advertising specials. 

I’d love to hear some of your loves. Please comment below. As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

Undetected

It came unbidden, circling its prey. Silent. Unwelcome. 
Undetected.
It slunk in the shadows, biding its time. Stealthy.  Patient.  
Undetected.
It whispered sweet lies, tightening the noose. Deadly.  Insidious.  
Undetected
It dizzied at dawn, seizing control. Vengeful. Hateful. 
Undetected
It methodically ravaged, snatching her youth. Savage.  Sadistic.  
Undetected.  
It kept her sad secrets, clouding her vision. Determined.  Destructive.  Undetected.   
It appeared in the open, mocking her tears. Brutal.  Dangerous.  
Diabetes.     

This poem was one of the first blog posts I shared. You can read the full post here.  My mom “inspired” this poem. I’ll never forget when I first read it to her. She was silent for a moment, before whispering, “That’s exactly what diabetes is.” 

Friends, one of the many ways we can honor our King  is by taking care of our health. This is a struggle I am still wrestling with. Please take care of yourselves. Please get your regular physicals, complete with blood work. Don’t let her story become your story. 

Another Easter Resolution

 I love, love, love Easter season. When I allow myself to be still and absorb the enormity of His sacrifice, the horror of His death, the miracle of His resurrection, the beauty of His love for us…I am undone. I am completely undone. 

Last year I wrote about Easter resolutions. I’m making one again this year. I actually find it easier to do this now (vs. in January), because I’m so humbled and full of His love.  I want to bless and honor my risen Saviour. My resolution is to forgive –and forgive quickly. When faced with the cross, how could I not? If He can forgive me for my myriad sins, I can certainly forgive others. 

I’m thinking of a woman I know. She’s what one pastor calls a growth opportunity. She has hurt me in many ways. Oh, how I would love to know her story, because I’ve learned there’s always a reason for why we are the way we are. But, I don’t know why and I probably never will. I just know I have to forgive her. Some days it’s easy. Other days it’s an hour by hour battle. 

I imagine you have some “growth opportunities” in your life, don’t you? Forgiveness isn’t an option for God’s girls. Matthew 6:14 tells us, “… if you forgive people their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” If we want to bless and honor our King, we must forgive. Forgiveness honors Him and sets me free from bitterness and sin. It frees ME.  It does not excuse her (or his) behavior. It does not say what the other person did is even remotely acceptable. It simply says I’m not hanging on to the offense any longer. I’m giving it over to my Lord. I’m emulating my Jesus. And it’s hard!  Forgiveness is not for sissies, but it’s worth it. Obeying God is worth it. Letting go is worth it. Being free of the anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness is worth it. 

Will you join me in making forgiveness your Easter resolution? Please prayerfully consider it. As always, I wish you MUCH joy. Happy Easter!  He is risen!

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said….” Matthew 28:6 (NIV)