Sometimes God says no. In my 51 years of life, I’m positive God has said no to me a gozillion times. And I don’t like it, not one bit. I want what I want when I want it and no later. After all, it’s not like I’m asking for anything bad… I’m asking for good things like… well, I’m not gonna waste your time with all the good things I ask God to provide. So just trust me – they’re all good. But what if the “good” things I’m asking for – or maybe even assuming He’s going to give me – aren’t in His plan?
It turns out I’m not the first person to hear God say “no”.
God told Moses no, too
A long time ago, after Moses had spent 40 infuriating years leading the nation of whiny, petulant Israelites around in the desert, God put the kibosh on allowing him to lead them across the finish line into the land God was giving them. (Reading the Book of Exodus tells that whole story). Yeah, many years earlier Moses had a moment of disobedience and usurped God’s authority, apparently something God took very seriously, and He disallowed Moses from going into the Promised Land. What He did do was lead Moses up onto a mountain (Nebo) and let him set his eyes on the place where he couldn’t go. And then Moses died.
Fast forward over a thousand years later to the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36), located in the very place Moses was not allowed to go, and who do we see? Moses. Yep, there he is, 1400 years AFTER God told him he could not go into the promised land, standing on another mountain conversing with Jesus.
What’s the bottom line?
So, dear friends, a word of encouragement; just because God tells you ‘no’ today for something you greatly desire and have worked hard to acquire, doesn’t mean it will stay a “no” forever. God has a very specific plan and it will all be accomplished according to His will, not ours. And in case you haven’t remembered in quite a while, God is perfect. His decisions are perfect. He never makes a bad choice. Is that true of you?
Fiery personalities left unchecked are just annoying. There’s always a crusade to save the world of something – to right a wrong, to stand up for the weak, to do something herculean. And because the passion is so strong and fierce, there is a propensity to become frustrated with those who have not been wired the same. I know because that’s me with the fiery personality.
But Lottie Moon was the kind of woman who would’ve challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and press into the calling of Christ Jesus in the world. She would’ve lit a campfire under my butt. And I would’ve loved it.
Take 24 minutes of peeking into a life well-lived, a life with purpose, drive and passion for something out of this world.
Yesterday morning at church, as usual for the first Sunday of every month, we took communion (the Lord’s Supper) at the end of the worship hour. Sitting beside my husband and me were Cape and Barbara Caperton… 89 and 84 years old respectively. I have written about Cape before and you can read that post HERE.
The sermon was particularly profound and was all about hope and the glory of God… a subject I love because it fills my heart and resonates deeply within my spirit, so I was primed for the moment about to occur right beside me.
Time to Take Communion
As the communion plate was passed, Cape first served his wife by holding the plate of small bits of bread and tiny juice cups that represent the body and blood of Christ. Then I held the plate for Cape so he could take his own bread and cup. He easily took the bread, but when his fingers tried to get a cup, they pinched and pinched at empty cup spaces where others had already taken a cup.. he simply could not see the edges of the remaining cups to grasp one. You see, Cape has macular degeneration, a progressive, age-related vision deficiency which severely affects his ability to see up close, especially when the lights are dimmed as they were in that service. He carries a magnifying glass and a flashlight as assistive devices for this type of thing, but he needed both his hands to partake.
Afterward, Jamie and I took our share and passed the plate back to the middle aisle to the deacon serving our row. And then I started crying. My eyes are filling with tears even as I am typing this part. I cannot explain the emotional experience with adequate words… what was it that made me cry? As I sat there, I just saw an 89 year old man doing his level best to serve his wife the “elements” and then struggled to serve himself. The moment lasted only a couple of seconds as he was ultimately able to feel and grab a cup.
Adding to the emotion of the moment was that Barbara was taken off her chemotherapy treatment for cancer just last Tuesday and was told she had 3-5 months left. The doctors and nurses at UVA who have been treating her for 12 years hugged and cried and told her good bye. But you wouldn’t know that if you met her because she wouldn’t tell you.. she would ask about YOU and what’s going on in YOUR life. No whining. No complaining. No pity parties.
How serious are we about the Lord’s Supper?
And how many of us take for granted the Lord’s Supper? We partake or don’t partake with sometimes a very casual, passe’ attitude. Rarely do we “examine ourselves” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) as we should. How many among our church membership recognize this should be a priority for them on the first Sunday of every month and that their attendance is vital? Here’s a helpful article on the gravity of The Lord’s Supper. Would you have worked so hard to be present to participate as these two Christians did?
What are they leaving behind?
Once again, I was struck by the faithfulness of this precious, God-fearing couple. That old Steve Green song, “May All Who Come Behind Us Find Us Faithful“ is looping in my brain. The lyrics are outstanding. By the grace of God, I am being given a front-row seat to precious servants of God that deeply love God and His Church. They are showing me the way to live. I am following behind and finding them faithful, they inspire me to obey.
What are WE leaving behind?
Jamie (my husband) told me when we got home that he completely understood the gravity and emotion of that moment in church. Adding to the story, he said, “In just flash, that will be us.”
We’re pilgrims on the journey Of the narrow road And those who’ve gone before us line the way Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses Let us run the race not only for the prize But as those who’ve gone before us Let us leave to those behind us The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives
CHORUS: Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful May the fire of our devotion light their way May the footprints that we leave Lead them to believe And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone And our children sift through all we’ve left behind May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find
Coaches are much more like detectives than mentors, disciplers, consultants, or counselors. Think about it. Detectives don’t show up with answers; they don’t teach, model, advice, or guide.
Detectives question. Detectives probe and dig, they search for clues, they form hypotheses, and they work hunches. And through this process of intentional inquiry and clarification, they draw out answers. Through questioning they determine whodunit and why and how.
The analogy of a detective forms the core of our definition of coaching, and it’s the reason that our foundational scripture is Proverbs 20:5 – “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.”
Life coaches cannot possibly be experts on their clients’ unique life paths, or giftings, or life callings. They don’t have the knowledge their clients are seeking, so they cannot impart it to them through teaching, modeling, advising, or guiding. They must draw it out from the clients themselves.
After finishing my classwork and practicing my coaching skills on a bunch of willing guinea pigs, I AM NOW OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED TO BE A CHRISTIAN LIFE COACH! Imagine me striding (no, running I think) up to the stage with my prepared speech in hand. I’m giddy and maybe squeaking a little with the dumbest smile… it’s that smile that ruins a lot of pictures because I look like I’ve just won the lottery. Countless re-takes. It’s the overkill smile.
THAT is my current disposition.
I would like to thank Christian Coach Institute and it’s founder and president, Janice Lavore-Fletcher. Janice is an amazing woman with a deep and abiding faith in God. Her spirit of humility and compassion are very unique, it’s no wonder she has been so successful as a Christian life coach and instructor. A word of caution to any future students… beware when Janice says, “May I stretch you a little?” I also want to thank my classmates from all over the world who encouraged and helped me in this journey. A few in particular: Liz Hill (of Warrenton, VA), Renee White (Nevada), Rachel Mighall (UK), Pastor John Gay (Minnesota), Amanda Bailey (Florida), Gina Freels (Oklahoma), Marian Rutkowski (Florida)… there are more.
I also want to thank Monique Lovelace, who let me practice on a her a LOT. Errbody ought to know Monique… she is one cool chick who loves God and inspires me to be a better person. Thanks, Mo, from the bottom of my heart. I love you, dear friend. (She also comes to the Bible studies I teach and makes me feel smart.)
It would be a terrible oversight not to include my sweet benefactor and husband, Jamie Usrey, without whom I would have failed. He let me chase a goal and pushed me to finish. I love you! And I promise to try to make some money soon.
As my school and classmates know, there are probably hundreds of life coaching niches. I am still in the process of trying to find mine.
Now the shepherds hook is pulling me off the stage while I cling to the podium.