Posts Tagged ‘straight path’

It  had been a rough week.  My son had been in the hospital after a  hit and run for ten days, undergone two surgeries, and the returned three days after he was finally released because he popped stitches. Next, my bad knee decided not to support me and I fell, jamming a toe and severely spraining my writing hand. I felt angry, useless, and my bruised body now matched my heart.

But through it all, there were God-moments sprinkled in, like a soft misting rain on a hot summer day.  I kept humming the new song by Toby Mac- move, keep walking. Lift your head.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX1G71WK-FA

Then, to celebrate the fact we both were well enough to finally go to church, afterwards we went to our favorite local Chinese restaurant. This was the message in my fortune cookie:


A smile is a curve that can get a lot of things straight.

Straighten up. Smile, keep going, shoulders back. These orders, long ago said by parents, teachers and coaches, whispered in my mind. It is all about attitude.

I could have wrung my hands, moaned, “Why me, Lord?”, and shuffled through these events with my head down and shoulders slumped. But, God’s little hugs in the form of serendipity after serendipity (too numerous to mention here), friends’ comments and prayers, and even songs on the radio at just the right moment lifted me.  Even through tears and moments of anxiousness, I could find something to smile about.

We all can.

If we can wrap our faith around the concept that God loves us and will walk with us through all the times in our lives, good or bad, then we can retain a joyful spirit even if we are not feeling particularly happy at the time.  Mentally and physically exhausted, at the end of my rope time and time again I found a “NOT”. You are not alone. You  are not meant to handle this all by yourself. You are not cursed, but blessed. 

I feel blessed that God gave me the faith to reach out to Him, and to friends.  I don’t have to be strong alone. I don’t have to pull up my big girl panties by myself. I have a Lord who wants to bear my yoke and help me carry the load.  Because He provides the strength,I can do it. (Philippians 4:13)  I can straighten up and smile.

No matter what curves life throws, we can keep on the straight and narrow.  Just move, keep walking. Lift your head…to Jesus.  And smile.

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 For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low and the valleys filled up, to make level ground, so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God. Baruch 5 :7

ID-10082551This passage in my daily reading hit me in the way a punch in the gut snatches your breath. Scripture talks of making paths straight. What does that mean? I am learning.

Earlier this week as I headed for my apartment complex just south of one of the busiest malls, the traffic mimicked rush hour in Los Angeles. Trying to merge into the mess,  after waiting for several minutes my foot slipped off the brakes and my car edged forward to “kiss” the back bumper of the one in front of me. A very belligerent young woman jumped out and began to confront me.

I hate confrontation. Being raised in a family of perfectionist lawyers, I used to be the first to jump to defend myself. Then I’d stew for days over the injustice of being confronted. No, make that months, sometimes years.

But this time I profusely apologized and suggested we move to the parking lot to exchange information. She agreed, but as soon as I put my car in “P” she started in on me again.  The more angry and cutting she became the quieter and more calm I  became. She refused to tell me her name or give me her info, so I quietly took my phone to the back of her car and snapped a few shots of it, showing proof that no damage had occurred. Then I took some of her to record her ranting movements in case she claimed whiplash. The whole time she  scolded me to put it away and challenged why I  wouldn’t obey her.

I quietly and sweetly replied I did it to record everything for my insurance agent. Finally, I guess because I wouldn’t confront her or escalate the nasty mood she tossed in my face, and because I wouldn’t hop on her roller coaster ride of  anger and bullying,  she finally shut her mouth. She glanced at the cross around my neck, scoffed, and peeled out into the parking lot back into the snail-paced traffic. I bowed my head and prayed for her, my heart hurting that such a young person could already be so soured and skeptical, bitter and unforgiving. I asked God to touch her.

A whisper responded, “I just did, through you.”  I realized how the Holy Spirit had guided me into a peaceful state despite her emotional tirade. In the midst of biting verbal abuse, I remained like the old deodorant slogan- calm, cool and collected. No mountainous surges of  hurt and anger at her stabbing words. No blood pressure rises and plummets at her derogatory name calling. Over the past month I had begun to steadily read, study and pray more in the morning before starting my day. I guess it has altered my perspective.

God worked in me to level my emotions.  I walked safely that day, strong and upright, and gave God the glory.

ID-10056738We are entering what many consider one of the most stressful times of the year. Funny, how it began as a way to celebrate” Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Mankind”, isn’t it?  Yet with the holidays come  not only joy and frivolity, but economic worry, the unrealistic expectations of a greeting card time with family, and an onset of blues over the ones who are not here to join us this year.  Couple that with not eating right, over-partying, and dashing around to find the perfect gift for everyone, and it can become a time bomb waiting to explode.

Or not.

I hope you recall my tale when your day threatens to roller coaster. I pray you will take time out to let God level your emotions so you can reflect His loving light this season. Let Him lower your hills and fill your valleys with His mercy and grace so that no matter what, you walk confidently in a quietly in His shadow. May He make your paths straight and envelop you in His peace, despite the chaos swirling around you. And may that leveled attitude draw others to realize you have something they want. That is the perfect gift you can give this year.

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