“If we are going to hold a seed in our hand…make sure it will be one that will bear much fruit, fruit that will last.” -Kelly Minter, Nehemiah Bible Study
A senior manager called me into her office for correction. Little did I realize I was about to fall down a slippery slope. She influenced me with her superior title and position. And so, I followed her authority.
“Christine, you are being too soft and too nice. I want you to call your agents on a group message. And I want you to yell at them for underperforming. You need to use cuss words. Get mean and get mad.”
My cheerful chin fell lower on my face. I was at a crossroad of disappointing people. Would I disappoint my boss, or my agents?
“And, Christine, when you make that call, I want you to copy me on the message. And also copy the owner of the brokerage. Do it today or you will lose your job tomorrow.”
Obedient to her demands and motivated to keep my job, I made that call. On a group message with 250 agents, I cussed them out for not meeting expectations. I used words that were washed out of my mouth with Irish Spring Soap when I was a child. Apparently, this was “leadership.”
The next day, one of the agents walked into my office and closed the door. He was a retired police officer and old enough to be my Dad. “Christine, we all talked about that call you made. We know it was not your true voice or even your words. In fact, we think (name of boss) told you to make that call and to cuss at us. And we are disappointed that your character is changing because of her.”
He was correct in his assumption. And thankfully, called me out.
Disgusted with my character transformation under the leadership of my boss, I quit my role as Sales Development Manager. I found comfort in being myself and standing on firm ground. Shaking off people approval, I discovered it was okay to be myself. Made in the image of Christ.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
LIVING FOR TODAY
I am living for today when I seek to please God, not man. People can never be satisfied no matter how hard I work to fit into their box. It’s my choice to allow the character of Christ to reflect in me. Wherever I walk and whatever I say, may my words magnify the One who is my love. May His Fruit always be upon my lips.
“One day you feel like you are on top of the world. The next day it feels like the world has fallen on top of you.” -Barb Roose, Surrendered Bible Study
He walked into my life, head hanging low. Making eye contact with this young man would require the clockwork of time. Childhood abandonment was imprinted deep into his heart.
Emotionally orphaned, his birth Mom left him behind in his native country and relocated to America. One of eighteen children, he was fathered by a man with sexual addictions.
After seven years of separation, birth Mom married an American from the registered sex offenders list. Then she brought three of her sons to America. Living united in the land of the free.
Trust would challenge his stronghold of abandonment. He wanted reassurance that he was truly loved. He tested people and relationships. Pushing hard. To see if they would leave.
“I sent you a son,” said the Spirit of God.
A reminder, God sent His only Son to overcome abandonment by the world. Though He laid down His life, healed the sick, disempowered demons, and crushed Satan… the world abandoned the Son of God.
Except for the remnant. Those who saw love in His heart have experienced transformed lives. They picked up their cross and followed Him. Never abandoned by God.
For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)
LIVING FOR TODAY
I am living for today when I break free from a stronghold of abandonment. When Truth embraces my heart and anchors to my soul. I am loved wherever Jesus resides, regardless of my foreign country, toxic parents, or downward eyes. Jesus does not forsake my trust.
My best friend lived two doors down the street. She saw the ambulance and firetruck in front of my house. After the emergency team drove away, she pounded on my closed door. Still hyperventilating, I confessed a weakness I could no longer hide. My prayer closet was now a war room.
After sobbing through a long story about low platelets and a rare blood disease, she boldly said: “Chris, you’re a private person. Get over yourself and tell people what’s going on so they can help you.” So I told her my husband turned purple… head to toe, unknown cause. He was in critical care. His platelet count was ONE.
Before this, my neighbors only saw Living Room Christine. I typically greeted them with the smell of clean furniture and fresh baked cookies. It was unconventional for me to greet them with a messy home. And heart.
Getting over myself, I dumped my misery with each sob from my mouth. She heard… “he’s going to live… no longer dying… they moved him out of intensive care. He will be home soon.” Actually, it was on the downside of my crisis when I finally opened my heart.
Then I understood God planted me near Christian neighbors. When they heard my story, they started bringing meals. Mowing the lawn. And saying words that cut to my heart: “We’re praying for you.”
The day my husband came home from the hospital, neighbors placed Welcome Home banners across the lawn. Multi-color balloons decorated the garage door. My three-year-old daughter cheered like a happy toddler. The baby in my womb wiggled a bit.
This is the first of many war room moments. God’s heart and tenderness became more visible in my life. Leaving the comfort of my living room has helped me overcome enemy attacks from Satan. Here I learned to get over myself. And trust God again.
The good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light. (1 Timothy 5:25 NLT)
LIVING FOR TODAY
I am living for today when I trust God with all my heart. Pouring out my feelings helps me accept weakness and embrace comfort. My spiritual war should not isolate me from people who are called to love their neighbors. Confession, weakness, and getting over myself brought me into peace with God.
As a younger person, I was blinded with lies. Sunday Morning sermons told me I was a worthless sinner, unworthy to sit in a pew with saints. Weekends with young men told me I was valued for being physically attractive. Finding balance each week, I was lost somewhere between sinner and saint. Truth was hiding from me. Because I had no desire to seek it. The world told me I was free to be me.
Setting my identity in world values, I found acceptance. The more I looked like the world, the more rewards I gathered on my shining-star chart.
My interior soul was crushing from the weight of being me. Self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-focused as a young adult, I had no room for Jesus in my heart. -Christine Abraham
A worldview mindset presented me with false identities. I was a prisoner bound with self-imposed chains. In bondage to pleasing others and pleasing self… I grieved my Groom.
Jesus loved me and watched me self-destruct. When the Groom reached out His hand, I turned away from His love. What kept me from accepting myself as His Bride? Shame.
I was unable to set myself free from shame. Seeking my identity in my education, career, friendships, and intimacy. These chains could not be broken until Jesus- my Groom- showed the Truth and set me free.
I am living for today when I live as the Bride of Christ, loved, and treasured for who I am. By letting go of worldview identities, my heart opens for an identity in Christ. My chains are broken when Truth conquers lies.
“Our love for people doesn’t end when they pass away. More often our feelings deepen as we realize how much they mean to us and how dearly we miss them.” -Liz Cutis Higgs, Women of Easter Bible Study
Over the past two months, I have prayed for a friend who lost TEN family members and friends to the stillness of death. With my thoughts and prayers, I delivered sympathy cards to a frequent address: her heart.
And then, grief found me and pounded on my door. The stillness came first. Like stars in the night sky.
In the beginnings of grief, we start see what we missed. The regrets of being a better spouse, daughter, or friend will suddenly become mockers of the heart. They wound a soul already opened by grief. God, I pray, please fill this grief with a soothing balm.
In my grief, I need the voice of Jesus guiding me towards joy. He leads me to a quiet place beyond the Valley of Death. He shows me the distance to Heaven is a breath away. He reminds me His love is immeasurable, like the stars.
When I look towards my dark evening sky, I remember. Somedays, those stars are bright and twinkling, just like the person who passed away. There will be cloudy days, where my feelings take shape. They may appear in clouds of witness or clouds of despair. And both are heavenly. During the tornados of my grief, when it feels dangerous to me, Jesus whispers above the noise “Draw near.”
Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. John 16:20 NIV
LIVING FOR TODAY
I am living for today when I keep my heart on Jesus. Above my grief, above my disappointment, and above lonely skies. I am living for today when Jesus steps beside me in my grief. He anchors me to Scripture as a soothing balm. In the pages of my Bible, my heart finds a quiet place to rest.
Have you ever traveled on unfamiliar roads and began to doubt if you were headed in the right direction? Well, that is exactly what happened recently on our family trip home from Illinois to Georgia. At the on-start of our ride, my husband and I had placed our home address in the GPS and were following the directions.
As we began to travel down the road, daylight disappeared and night drew near. At this point, the GPS redirected our route, and we found ourselves driving on unfamiliar roads. My husband became very agitated and uncomfortable with the new directions. He kept saying, I’ve driven through these States in the past and have never driven on these roads before!” “Are you sure we are going in the right direction?” In an effort to calm his doubts and fears, I placed our home address in the GPS twice over, and received the same directions. I assured him that the final destination on the route was to our residence. Despite my reassurance, he continued to express his mistrust of the directions, and his desire to drive on the roads he was familiar with. I was determined, however, to follow the GPS, and encouraged him to trust the directions and stay the course.
As all of this was taking place on our ride home, I was reminded of how God redirects our journey in life. There are times when we have plans to go in a certain direction, and while comfortably traveling on the route, something happens that disrupts our plans. At this point, we come to realize that God is interjecting His will and the path he desires for us to take. When God redirects our route in life, our responsibility is to submit to His plan. We must trust that His way is the best way for us. In the end, His purpose and plans for our lives will prevail, and we will reach the final destination He has purposed for us.
Today, my prayer is for trust. Dear heavenly father. Help me to trust you in the midst of unfamiliar territory. When I am redirected by you in life to travel on unfamiliar roads, help me to follow your guide. Give me the fortitude to stay the course, recognizing that you know the best path for me to take. Help me to never doubt that you are near on my journey in life, even when others all around me are filled with anxiety and express fear. Help me to follow your direction, by embracing the wisdom in Proverbs 19:21 that reminds me that in life “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Heavenly father, I trust the path you have ordained for my life, and willingly submit to your will. Amen.
“I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8
LIVING FOR TODAY
Living in trust is remembering that God never directs me on a path where He will cease to protect and provide for me. On a daily basis, I choose to follow His guidance for that day so that I will be productive in the things He has purposed for me to accomplish. I intentionally live with my heart open to God’s redirection, and choose to trust Him, even in the midst of doubt and uncertainty. I rely upon the leading of Holy Spirit, who guides me on the right path. I am grateful for His gentle nudging and whispers to go right when I’m tempted to go in the wrong direction. I am living each day by “Faith over Fear,” trusting God to safely guide me to my final destination.