Originally written: 2/11/17
First off—watch/listen to this awesome inspiration!!
Exactly one week ago, I decided to ask the teacher in the classroom next to mine if she would go to a Premier Jewelry spring fashion show with me in Houston. I met her my first year teaching, but then she left, and now she has returned!
I have decided that I really like this lady, she is a fantastic teacher—she plans ahead, has awesome activities, stays late, avoids drama and negative talk, she loves the organic and self-sustaining lifestyle that my hubby and I are trying to embrace—and she is a self-starter.
She has had a rough time in the last few years but he has pulled out of whatever emotional turmoil life has tried to hand her and she started a small farm with her husband. They were making bank with two large greenhouses, and selling their produce every weekend at local farmer’s markets. I think it’s safe to say that she doesn’t know how awesome she is, nor does she realize how much I admire her gusto! I think we are alike in many ways, but I think I could be more like her… (See upcoming post on Modern Mentorship)
SO—I invited her to this fashion show. Her response:
“Well, I dunno—I don’t usually do those kinds of things, I mean, I guess—I never do anything, so okay.”
LOL. I didn’t care about the past, I was just totally jazzed that she agreed. Yay!
Saturday arrives. We plan to make our own breakfast shakes and meet at my house to head to Houston! All is well, we are on time, fresh-faced, and happy. We have great conversation, and I learn so much more about her than I ever knew—in fact, even though I love to talk, I recall doing a lot of listening—which is so good for me. She is such an interesting person, that I didn’t even realize I was being a good listener. It’s really not practice if it’s that easy—[so I am going to challenge myself to find a terrible person to listen to and then work really hard at developing my listening skills. In fact—I know just the person. Uh-oh!? >>>>BACK to TOPIC!!]
As the Lord would have it, our journey to avoid the toll roads took us right through her old home town. I thought, this is great!? I drive, and she fills me in on cool stuff about a place I’ve never been!? I learned about her family, kids, the local baseball field, I saw where her 1st husband was buried. It was a fantastic and relaxing 2 hour journey. And THEN… we arrived at the location of the Fashion Show.
Parking lot— empty.
I called my local Jewelry Lady and to my chagrin, found that the jewelry party is scheduled for NEXT WEEK! ————Oops.
How embarrassing!?! My friend is so organized and hard working—and I thought I was too. But here I am carting her all across Texas and then—nothing. I felt so ignorant, and immature for having made this novice mistake. But — in my current struggle to achieve a more transcendent state of positivity
I chose to believe God must have had another plan for our hanging out—and jewelry, was not part of that plan—–this time.
(EVEN if jewelry is ALWAYS part of MY plan… 😉
So, we went to REI, where she was so patient for me to try on about 15 pairs of climbing shoes AND harnesses, (click links for the ones I actually use) and then we went to eat Mediterranean food from the Pita Pit. (Fab-u-lous, Mmmm—I want some right now) and then on our way home we stopped in a neighborhood I had no idea even existed, because she wanted to show me “Something”.
That something turned out to be a house she built. Like, herself. Debt free. (With little to no help from her hubby, or contractors.) It is WAY cool. It’s not done yet but it’s pretty close. THEN, she took me down the road to a house she used to own, which she also built. THEN, she showed me the field behind it that she still owns, which is where they intend to move their green houses. THEN, she showed me a small rental house she owns, next to a trailer that her dad used to live in, which is ALSO hers. And on the other side of the trailer, a small Airstream RV (Vintage type, really cool.) which, she proceeded to tell me that she bought for her mother. It’s so small and dainty.
The Airstream makes it possible for her mother to get around and lead her own life without much danger of falling. (Though her mother informed us that she had recently fallen.)
Now–in the backyard of these two mom/dad properties there was another house, very small, where I found out her sister was living with a roommate. Also, HERS. She joked that she had a “monopoly” since she has three “hotels” on one property.
Throughout all our talks I had never come to realize how much of an entrepreneur she was. She shared her thoughts, her struggles on the time management part of developing each house, and then she told me about some of the people she has helped because she has been able to use what she has to provide for others.
I. was. and. am. still. impressed.
It got me thinking about two things.
How her struggles have led her to be super resourceful—like the woman in Proverbs 31. She does all that she does to bless and care for her family, and the extra overflows onto the others around her.
How God knew that I needed a friend, AND an inspiration. Not jewelry. And he knew I didn’t know how to find those things for myself. So, he graciously orchestrated this outing for me. Divinely Appointed.
I read a book in high school called: “The Prayer of Jabez for Teens” (I have since read the original adult version of the same book, you can find it here.) It is a shorty-book, but it is written in a straightforward and easy to comprehend way, and is power packed with mind blowing truths that helped me to understand that God wants to bless me. AND that I need to be ready for him to do so—even if it comes from a weird place, in a strange time, or from an unexpected person, or calendar fluke.
Jabez was a character in the bible, mentioned only once. In the middle of a LOOOOOOOONG list of other so-and-so’s who begat who, and then begat another, and another…but then it randomly mentions Jabez—and tells his short story. And then it continues right back into the begetting—and the genealogy of the so-and-so’s. Which has to make you wonder:
“What was so special about Jabez, that he got this spotlight right in the middle of the chronology of time and genetics?”
His mother named him a word that meant “born of pain” so already this little guy had a name that anticipated failure… then we find out he had a limp—but he was still recognized as “more honorable than his brothers.” (I Chronicles 4:9)
I think we have all faced various struggles of one kind or another—since we are all human. Others speaking “pain” over our lives, or seemingly permanent deformities that we think discredit us from God’s overwhelming grace or abundance. If this is true for all of us, then that makes me eligible to become more like my teacher friend, or like Jabez!
All I need is the impetus, the forward momentum, and the direction of the Lord to get the job done. That’s all any of us need, really.
Well, Jabez prayed a prayer that changed everything for his family. And for me too. (You should read it, so that you understand the depth of his short prayer, but if you choose not to, that’s cool—I am going to tell you the prayer right now. Just so you can be thinking on it.)
Here it is:
“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
‘Oh, that you would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory,
that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain!’
So God granted him what he requested.”
That’s it. That’s all it says.
And in my mind, this is it, the perfect prayer. It’s not flowery, it’s not droning, and it doesn’t make a show out of any particular gut feeling. It has a sense of dramatic intent, but it isn’t whiny or pretentious. It’s just true. Valid. And a gritty request of a man who wants to live a good life, pleasing to a good God, and he wants to be good to other people along the way.
I want that too.
The Prayer of Jabez for Teens talks specifically about asking God for “Divine Appointments” I did that as a high schooler and ended up making an online friend from North Carolina through “The Prayer of Jabez for Teens” website, who prayed for me, kept my confidences, and who ended up marrying one of my actual friends in Memphis. Because of that “divine appointment” we finally got to meet and still to this day we talk off and on. How strange!?!
God is so good. And he’s not always ‘mysterious’ like “they” say. Sometimes his plans are just plain weird, surprising, or simple—but they are SO good. Psalms 37:23 says,
“The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
We should make a conscious effort to remain open to them.
I think we should begin to pray this prayer for ourselves. (Only if we really mean it though…)
Bless us, indeed! Enlarge our arenas of influence, our land, our blessings, our confidence, our pocketbooks…please keep your mighty hand upon us in everything we do and say, and guide us away from the lusts of our evil natures, so that we would not cause pain. Grant us this request as you did with Jabez. We really do mean it. –Amen
So—– let’s do this!