Category: Women in Touch

My Boss Is Not a 3-Year-Old!

On March 27, 2009, I walked out of the Lexington Herald-Leader with my eyes filled with tears and my heart torn to pieces. I’d just been told that I was being laid off after almost 10 years of employment with the company.

I was devastated, angry, hurt, confused and I felt worthless and unappreciated. Being a journalist — and working at the Herald-Leader — was a huge part of my identity. I “grew up” there — it was my first job away from home and the folks there were like family. In a decade, I had gotten married, had a baby and was promoted from reporter to editor.

For days, I cried. For weeks, I was angry. For months, I looked frantically for another job.

Over the years, I found peace with it all. I realized that being at home with my daughter, who was 13-months when I got laid off, was a godsend.

Still, I wondered what was next for me. I wondered when or if I’d ever return to work. I missed having a job I loved and a paycheck of my own.

As time drew near for Michaela, now 3, to go to preschool, I started to get restless. At times, I doubted and questioned God. I was impatient. I wanted answers and I wanted them, like, yesterday.

But God had something wonderful planned for me. He was teaching me to trust him, to wait patiently on him. He was showing me that I was not in control.

As they say, good things come to those who wait.

I am proud to say that for the first time in 2 1/2 years, I am an employee (and my boss is not a 3-year old!). I start work on August 8 as the volunteer coordinator at Lexington Habitat for Humanity, a Christian organization that helps disadvantaged people become homeowners. The organization and its mission is awesome, my co-workers are great people, my new boss is supportive and one of the best in her field — the perfect place for me to start a new career.

I fell in love with the organization and staff while working there as a volunteer over the past few years. How could I not love a nonprofit that has prayer meetings, pays tithes, changes lives and neighborhoods, and cares about the environment. Oh, and my hubby, the warehouse manager at the ReStore on Southland Drive, is one of my co-workers.

I couldn’t have asked for a better job at a better time. I mean, my mind couldn’t have dreamed this one up.

God is just that good, folks. He has a plan. He may not always consult with us about it, but he has a plan. He can rebuild, renew, restore, recondition, restructure and restart our lives as he sees fit. The process may not feel good, but it sure feels great when he’s done!

Look for a call from me, my friends. Habitat loves its volunteers. And it’s my job to get them more to love.

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Because I Asked For It!

We went to the grocery store yesterday and Michaela went about her usual routine, picking things off the shelf and throwing it into the cart.

She does it with a straight face, without asking first, without a doubt that we will buy anything she points to or picks out — toys, colorful cereal boxes, candy. When I tell her she can’t have something, she doesn’t even flinch, she keeps right on with her “shopping,” like Michael and I are just along for the ride.

The sad thing is, she usually gets whatever she wants. Her daddy is a big sucker, and she knows it.

When I was her age, I wouldn’t have dreamed of acting so forward. My mom always read us the riot act before we even went in the store: “Don’t touch anything. Don’t look at anything. Don’t even open your mouth like you might ask for anything. If you act a fool, I will, too.”

And that was that. There were 11 of us and I remember people used to stare at us — all marching like ducklings behind my mom — and tell their kids to take notes. We used to be horrified by the sight of other kids running around and touching things. Sometimes, my mom would lean forward and say “Don’t get any ideas.”

But while I am sometimes appalled by Michaela’s sense of entitlement, there’s something admirable about it. She approaches things with purpose, with expectation, with authority and confidence. There’s no tantrum, and no debate. If I say no, she looks at her daddy and puts it in the cart anyway.
Oh, to have that sort of confidence in God! To ask for something, to pray for something, then sit back and wait for it to happen, fully confident that in due time, it will. To point out what I want to God and walk away knowing it’s mine.

It reminds me of a song by gospel singer Jonathan Nelson, Expect the Great. Some of the lyrics:

Expect nothing but victory

That’s the promise of our king

To do exceedingly, abundantly

Above what you ask or think

In other words, God is able to do anything, far more than what our little minds could imagine to ask for. The Bible tells us:

In Matthew 7:7 — Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

In Psalms 37:4 — Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

In Mark 11:24 — Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

You can’t get a better guarantee than that.

Yes, somethings we want aren’t good for us and God is working on our best interest when he doesn’t oblige. And sometimes, we have to be patient.

But it’s in his nature — heck, it’s in his contract with us — to provide for us. We are the king’s children. We are the head and not the tail, the lender and not the borrower.

So today, let us learn not to beg, borrow or worry. Let’s tell God exactly what we want, and like Michaela, walk on like it’s already done.

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Peace in the Midst of It All

A few weeks ago, I stood in my bedroom, clutching my belly and crying — and praying like my momma used to pray when she was expecting an answer from God in the next minute. You know, one of those God-you’d-better-get-here-fast-and-I-mean-in-a-hurry prayers.

I wasn’t playing games.

I didn’t quit know if I was losing my baby or if I was going to go into premature labor. All I knew was that I was hemorrhaging and needed to get to the hospital fast.

I was at home with my 3-year-old. Michael, my husband, had gone to work about an hour before. I had already called my doctor, Michael and my mom. But for the life of me, I couldn’t get my brain to work. I needed to get dressed, get Michaela dressed and get to Central Baptist Hospital, but at that moment I was too overwhelmed to move.

And so I prayed. Like a crazy woman.

About 30 minutes later, my neighbors took charge of Michaela and got me to the hospital, where Michael was waiting.

I was terrified that I was losing the baby. So you can imagine how relieved I was when the nurse hooked me up to the monitor and I heard the baby’s heartbeat.

Thump-thump-thump-thump-thump-thump.

It was the sweetest sound.

A doctor came in and did an ultra sound. He saw the source of the bleeding — an abruption of my placenta, the organ just outside the uterus that supplies nutrients through the umbilical cord. I squinted at the screen. And there, in the far corner, I caught a glimpse of my baby boy.

He was kicking and squirming like he was having a day at the park.

In the midst of all the turmoil and danger to his life, he was happy and healthy and having a great time.

Amazing.

And it wasn’t the first time that happened.

Earlier in my pregnancy, a nurse had trouble finding his heartbeat. After about 5 minutes, I realized something was wrong. She frowned and said she needed to send me over for an ultrasound because she couldn’t find a heartbeat.

Instantly, I panicked. I had several friends who first learned they had lost their babies when a doctor couldn’t find a heartbeat.

I whispered a prayer.

A few minutes later, though, my baby boy popped up on the screen. He was leaping and swimming around like a little fish, oblivious to the world.

If only we could be that way. If only we could be calm and happy and clueless to the cares of this world, knowing we are safe in the arms of God.

It reminds me of a hymn, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”

The lyrics, in part:

What a fellowship, what a joy divine
Leaning on the everlasting arms
What a blessedness, what a peace of mind
Leaning on the everlasting arms

What have I to dread, what have I to fear
Leaning on the everlasting arms
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms

We can learn a lesson from my little prince.

Lean on God. Trust in Him. He never fails.

He will give us peace in the midst of the storm, solid ground in sinking sand and an umbrella in the rain.

Oh, what blessed peace!

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I’m Being Patient, Lord, But Please Hurry!

By Risa Richardson

My baby girl has no patience. She wants everything right now and exactly her way or she has a fit. If I tell her to wait, in her little mind it’s the same as saying “no.” She got that from her momma.

I hate to wait for things. I hate to wait for people. Waiting is no fun at all. Perhaps it has to do with me being a bit of a control freak.

But lately, God has been testing my patience. He’s been dangling blessings right before my eyes, taunting me and teasing me, making me beg, making me pray. Like a little kid, I cry, I pout, I stomp my feet and cross my arms and declare that I don’t even care anymore, but really I do. To me, a blessing delayed may as well be a blessing denied.

I always say God has a great sense of humor. And I can just imagine him, shaking his head and rolling his eyes at my dramatics, the way I do when Michaela gets impatient.

“You’re gonna get it, child,” I say. “Just wait a minute. You pouting and acting out isn’t gonna get it to you any sooner.”

I’m a fine one to talk, I know. They say good things come to those who wait, but I say impatient, controlling people get the good things a little sooner.

But that’s not always true.

When we rush things, or don’t follow God’s plan and timeline, it never turns out right. We’re as happy as a kid on Christmas, but in the end, we realize that time would have made all the difference. It’s like the rude guy in the sports car who speeds around you on the highway, only to discover that traffic has slowed because there’s a cop up ahead.

God rewards patience. The Bible tells me so:

In Ecclesiates 7:8—Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

In Lamentations 3:26—It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

And Psalms 37:7—Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.

But it’s tough. Especially when you know the blessing is coming, but you don’t know when.

Modern technology has ruined our patience with God. DVR allows us to fast forward through commercials and now we think we can fast forward through life, skipping the parts we don’t like. The microwave allows us to cook a meal in minutes, so we forget that the best things are simmered and slowly seasoned. Facebook and Twitter allows instant messaging, so we don’t understand why God doesn’t always reply to prayers in the blink of an eye.

And so, here I am, still waiting. My faith is strong, so I know God has things under control. But my patience is short, so I want it NOW. I want to know the outcome. I want to know everything will work out in my favor.

And so, I pray:

Dear Lord, I am being patient. I have no choice. You are in control. But please, please, please hurry!

Amen.

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When God (Truly) Orders Your Steps

By Risa Richardson

 

One of my favorite things to do is order things. Food, clothes, shoes, household supplies, gifts. You name it. I love ordering it.

 

Of course, as the mother of a toddler, I love the convenience of it. I can sit at the computer — in my pajamas and with Michaela in my lap, no less — and order her summer clothes in a tenth of the time it would take me to get across town to the mall, fighting traffic and my urge to get a million other things I don’t really need and dragging a 3-year-old.

 

Beyond that, I love the excitement of waiting on a package and opening a package of goodies from hundreds of miles away.

 

Sometimes, I’m disappointed. The color or the size isn’t quite right, the discount wasn’t applied or something is missing. But most companies have a decent return policy and I can fix the issues with a quick call to customer service.

 

This week, my good friend and my hubby’s spiritual mentor, the Rev. Jim Whittington, made me think about ordering in a whole new, spiritual way. During his sermon at a special service in downtown Atlanta, he talked about a scripture that I’ve heard many times but never really thought much about.

 

Psalms 133: 119: Order my steps in your word.

 

In this verse, David is asking God to guide him as he walks though life, dodging deadly pitfalls and learning to trust in God. He invites God to steer him in the right direction, to lay a clear path before him.

 

But it’s interesting how he puts it: ORDER my steps, he says.

 

That means: “Lord, I don’t know what’s on the menu for me. In fact, I don’t care. I just want you to place an order on my behalf and help me to accept it and move on.”

 

Powerful, right?

 

I’ve heard of people who let their dates or spouses order for them. Sometimes, Michael might order my drink for me if I have to run to the restroom or if I’m busy getting Michaela settled, but usually he orders water when I want lemonade or lemonade when I want water.

 

Rarely would I ever let someone order something significant on my behalf. Heck, sometimes I even walk around the restaurant to see if I see someone with the dish I want to order to make sure it looks good. Or I might even call a customer service line to make sure I know the exact dimensions of a product.

 

But I am learning that when it comes to my life, I have to trust God enough to let him do the ordering. I have to place my life in his hands. I can tell him what I want, but I still have to leave it up to him.

 

It’s not easy, but it should be. When I look forward, my path seems so crooked, so overgrown with doubt and challenges. There are forks in the road, and I have no clue which way to go. There are people on either side of the path giving me advice about what to do, but often their advice is confusing or flat-out wrong. I wonder how in the world I will make it through the test and trails and pitfalls along the way, and I wonder what challenges are just beyond the bend. It’s like traveling in the desert with no map, no campus, no GPS.

 

But when I look back, I realize that the path is straight, at least at the times in my life when I let God lead me. Somehow, the crooked places are straight, the overgrowth is cleared, the dark places are filled with sunshine, the muddy places are dry and the potholes are filled.

 

A good example is when I got laid off from an awesome job at the Lexington Herald-Leader. I was devastated. I was angry. I questioned God. I was bitter. I though that journalism was my career path, that I would always have a good job and make decent money. But that wasn’t what God ordered. He ordered a different path, one that included me being a stay-at-home mom, going back to school and doing some totally different with my talent. Every day, the path is clearer, but he still keeps the map out of my reach. He wants me to trust him.

 

Life is like a puzzle with no picture to use as a guide. There are all these pieces and you have no clue where to put them. But when we let God order our steps, it all comes together.

 

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The Truth About Lying

What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.
And what a sad day it was when my baby girl lied to me for the first time last week.
I could almost see the devil, dressed in red and leaning on a pitchfork on her right shoulder, telling her to do it. It only took her a few seconds to decide to ignore the angel on the right shoulder.
It was the first time I saw her struggle with whether to lie or tell the truth.
It was a sad day.
Here’s how it all happened:
Michaela loves books. She has a bookcase full of them and sometimes she will come running to me in the middle of the day with a stack of them for me to read.
I love it.
But what I don’t love is when I go into her room and she’s got a pile of books in the middle of the floor. So I’ve been trying to teach her to take down one book at a time.
“Take one down, then put one back,” I always say.
One day last week, I went into my bedroom and she had a stack of books on the bed. I told her to go put all of them back on the shelf and pick one that she wanted to read. I walked away.
A short time later, I walked back into my room and discovered she had one book still on the bed and another one stuffed under her shirt, trying to hide it from me.
“Did you put the other books away?” I asked, wondering what she’d say.
She looked at me, squirmed, then looked away and said, slowly, “yes, mommy.”
It nearly broke my heart. Here was my little baby, who had always told mommy the truth. But the Devil convinced her in those few short seconds that:
1.) her will to keep two books at a time was stronger than her will to please her mommy;
2.) that her mommy couldn’t possible know that she had a book stuffed under her shirt; and
3.) that she actually had the option of telling a lie.
Wrong on all counts.
“I can’t believe you let the Devil make you lie to mommy,” I said. “You are not smarter than mommy. You will have to live a long time to be smarter than mommy and by that time, I will be way smarter than I am now. You can’t lie to me and get away with it.”
Then I caught myself. How could this be? I was –gulp!– turning into my mother. She used to say that exact same thing to me so many years ago.
And I remember thinking exactly what Michaela was thinking:
1.) that my will to do what I wanted to do was stronger than my will to please my mother;
2.) that there was no way she could know I was up to no good; and
3.) that telling the truth in some cases was, if nothing else, simply detrimental to my backside.
It took me years to realized that my mother was right. In my defense, she wasn’t always right, but she was more right than wrong. In fact, I’d be a millionaire if I had a dollar for every time I gambled my mother was wrong and found out she was right.
But back then,I thought I knew better. I was young and invincible, and I was definitely smarter than my mother.
Too bad I didn’t realize that my momma could see right through my lying and scheming, just like I could see a huge book protruding from Michaela’s t-shirt. And too bad I didn’t realize how many mistakes and tragedies I could avoid if I just listened to my wise mother.
What’s even crazier is that I still do that with God. Here’s this great, big, powerful, all-knowing God, who knows everything about me and yet I think I can fool him. He has the master plan for my life, and he knows the mistakes I will make before we even make them. Yet I think I can convince him that I’m doing all I can, that I’m living as best I can, that I’m the best Christian I can be, when he knows better.
The Bible tells us that God knows even the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7), that he knows the secrets of our hearts (Psalms 44:21) and that sees everything we do (Proverbs 15:3).
We can hide our flaws and pain from our closest friends. We can pretend to be more than we are to our families. We can lie to our spouses. We can cheat on our taxes. We can even fool our parents sometimes.
But we can’t fool God.
And I’ll tell Michaela like my mom used to tell me: If you can’t fool God, you sure can’t fool your mommy. Why? Because your mommy talks to God every day and he tells her things.
Wink, wink.

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Easter: It’s Not About the Bunny

 

By Risa Richardson

I ran around town frantically on Monday looking for the cutest Easter dress I could find for my baby girl.
Her Uncle Sam and (hopefully) soon-to-be Aunt Ashley gave her a gorgeous dress for her birthday, but to my dismay it was a size too big.
So there I was, dashing like a maniac through the mall the week of before Easter, comparing prices and colors and sizes and grumbling about the lack of variety.
Finally, I found a dress at Sears. And it was on sale.
Exhausted, I went home and took Easter inventory.
Beautiful pink dress with a satin bow and sparkles and a coordinating sweater. Check.
Ribbon and bows and barrettes for her hair. Check.
White shoes with a princess heel. Check.
Oversized Minnie Mouse Easter basket. Check.
Toys and candy to stuff the basket. Check.
Practicing her lines for the Easter play at my parents’ church. Check.
Arrangements for her annual Easter egg hunt with her Aunt GiGi. Check.
All done.
I sighed with relief. Until it dawned on me that I had failed to do one important thing — explain to her the reason for the holiday.
I go all out for Michaela’s holiday celebrations. Every single one is celebrated in a major way. I’m setting grand traditions that I am sure I will one day regret. And after every holiday, I promise to scale back and be more sensible.
You see, we didn’t celebrate most holidays when I was growing up. All we got for Christmas, Easter and Halloween was a lecture (or sermon) about why we didn’t celebrate those days. They were too commercialized or not biblical or not financially sensible.
But one thing I can give my parents credit for is that they made us more aware of the reason for the seasons, so to speak. Now I must pass that lesson to my daughter.
I’ll have to make it clear to her that Easter is not about pretty dresses because some little girls don’t have new clothes to wear.
I’ll have to explain that Easter is not about eggs and candy because some parents don’t even have money for basic food supplies let alone chocolate bunnies and Honeybaked Hams.
I’ll have to explain that while we make a big fuss about the material aspects of Easter, it’s really all about God, a man who loved her so much that he died for her thousands of years ago.
He didn’t just die. He was crucified, nailed to a cross, beaten and stabbed.
And it wasn’t that he had to die. He chose to die. In fact, he planned to die.
I don’t want to take the fun of Easter for my baby girl. I want her to eat her jelly beans and flaunt her new dress and enjoy ham and sweet potato pie. But I don’t want her to forget the sacrifice Christ made for her.
She can’t comprehend some of the details of the Easter story, but she does understand what love is, so we’ll start there.
Often, when I tell her that I love her, Michaela says,”I love you, too, mommy”.
And then I say, “I love you more.”
And she says, “I love you more, mommy.”
And so on.
But for this occasion, I’ll add: “And Jesus loves you most of all.”

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Princess Power

By Risa Richardson

Michaela, dressed from head to toe in her princess finest, struts into the room with her hands on her hips and her eyelashes fluttering and declares “Mommy, I a princess!”

“Awwww, look at my baby,” I always say. “You look so pretty!”

“I a princess,” she repeats, as if to say no duh, mom, princesses are supposed to be pretty.

Last week, I took her to see Disney on Ice at Rupp Arena and she squealed with delight at the sight of Jasmine, Ariel and Mulan. Seeing Cinderella in that beautiful carriage nearly sent her over the edge.

In the past year, she has blossomed into a huge princess fan. Her room is filled with princesses, she wears new princess dresses for days at a time and she thinks any woman in a formal dress on is a princess. Recently, she pointed to one of my wedding pictures and said, “Mommy was a princess.”

So sweet.

And its no wonder the child wants to be a princess. She’s mesmerized by the Disney princess movies.

The theme is always the same: Some beautiful girl overcomes some form of adversity and is discovered by a handsome princess. She’s always dolled up in the finest fashions, her hair long and glistening, her eyes wide an bright, her voice soft and sweet. She’s loved and adored by all — at least in the end — and she gets carried away by a prince and lives happily ever after.

While I have issue with some of the story lines, I have chosen to let Michaela believe in magic for the time being. They say it’s an important part of her development. Real life will hit her soon enough.

Then again, I sorta like the princess influence. You see, it’s not about the pretty dresses and shoes and hair. It’s about the confidence, the character, the inner strength and beauty, the belief in miracles and magic.

It’s a lesson I’m happy Michaela is learning early in life and one I hope doesn’t fade with time.

Growing up, I was surrounded by strong-willed women. Prime example: My mother, who raised 11 children with my dad and has been a solid rock in her lives.

My mom didn’t raise me to be a princess, at least not the meek-and-mild, waiting-on-a-man-to-rescue-me type. She raised me to be strong willed and independent. So if I were Tiana, I would have convinced my friend Charlotte’s rich and powerful father to invest in my restaurant. If I were Cinderella, I would have run away from home and started a successful cleaning service. If I were Rapunzel, I would have climbed out of the tower, then either cut my hair and donated it to Locks of Love or used it to heal sick people.

You get the point.

But I can still be a princess. Think about it: My heavenly father is a king. In fact, he’s the King of kings and Lord of lords. He rules the world and everything in it belongs to him. When I ask him for something, I ask with authority and expectation according to John 14:14. According to Proverbs 18:21, I have the power of life and death in my tongue.

I am royalty. It doesn’t matter what I wear, my education, my family history and my economic status. I am a queen and a princess. I am somebody special. You may not know it or see it, but there is greatness within me.

I love that song by Donald Lawrence, There Is a King In You.

It goes like this:

You come from royalty
And aristocratic dynasty
The goal of the enemy
Is that you don’t know who your are
There’s power when you speak
So be mindful of words you speak
I know that life has challenged you
But the king in me speaks to the king in you
You were born to rule
There is a king in you

Embrace that, my friends. Act like you are the princess (or prince) God made you to be.

When times get rough, when you feel like the pauper and not the princess, when you feel like the ruled and not the ruler, or when your self esteem takes a dive, remember that you are royalty.

Take a lesson from Michaela. Toss your hair, flutter your eyelashes and put your hands on your hip. Now, with with the fierceness of a supermodel, the sass of a diva and the grace of a princess, say it with pride and confidence:

I Am A Princess!

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Getting it out: Priceless


By Risa Richardson

Talk about pain.

I’m telling you, I experienced pain last week that was second only to the contractions of childbirth.

And it was all because of a stupid tooth. But who know a tiny tooth, and any even smaller cavity inside the tooth, could bring your whole body down.

At first, I tried to ignore it. I took a few Advils and told myself it would be over in the morning.

My husband told me to call and make an appointment, but I told him I could handle it, that it would go away soon.

I was wrong.

Very wrong.

You see, I had a cavity that needed some serious attention about a year ago. At the time, the dentist told me to get it taken care of soon, but I had just dropped my insurance and I was balking at the roughly $100 it was going to take to fix the tooth.

Then it cracked and the price went up to about $300.

Still, I couldn’t bring myself to spend the money. These days, money is tight. And now, after years of flashing my insurance card like a badge of honor at doctors offices all over Lexington, I’m one of those unfortunate folks with no insurance. We still have insurance for Michaela, but it became less of a priority for me and my hubby.

And not having insurance certainly makes you think twice before you go to the doctor. First of all, the cost is outrageous. Secondly, the moment you say you don’t have insurance, the receptionist or office manager immediately cops an attitude and starts huffing and puffing as if you just declared that you’re a loser.

I digress.

Anyways, on Monday, the tooth cracked again. On Tuesday, I was fine, but thinking about calling my dentist to make an appointment for the next few weeks. On Wednesday, the swelling began. On Thursday, the pain began and my husband gave me the ultimatum I usually give him — you call or I’ll call. I called and got an appointment for Friday and a prescription for antibiotics. Friday morning, when I got up to get ready for my appointment, the whole left side of my face was swollen about two times over, from my chin to my eyebrow.

It wasn’t pretty. Three hours later, the tooth was pulled. The kind folks at Beaumont Family Dentistry gave me a free Xray, and the gracious office manager at Kentucky Center for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery put me on a lenient payment plan.

The cost of getting the cavity filled: About $100 or so.

The cost of getting the cracked tooth fixed: About $300.

The cost of getting an infected tooth fixed, minus the cost of the pain meds: $583.

The lesson I learned about not taking care of a cavity as soon as possible: Priceless.

And the lesson I learned about how little things in life can bring you to your knees: Also priceless.

I mean, really, how many of us put things off until they hurt other aspects of our lives?

Like homework assignments.

Like mechanical or home repairs.

Like bills.

Or, perhaps more important things, like apologies. Or forgiveness. Or broken relationships.

In the beginning, the problems seem so small. We figure we’ve got time to take care of it. Life happens and time passes and sometimes we even forget about the problem for a moment. We think, well, maybe that person is over it by now. Or well, if they cared they should call me first. Or maybe it’ll just pass over.

Time does heal some wounds, but some wounds grow deeper with time. They fester. They seep poison and contaminate healthy tissue.

In the end, we learn that the cost of a little preventative care or a small fix is far less than the cost of a major repair, especially when there is pain involved.

So take the advice of a woman who is still recovering. Take care of it. Today.

If it’s a tooth, call the dentist.

If it’s a bill, call and make arrangements.

If it’s an apology, make the first move.

If it’s forgiveness, grant it with grace.

You’ll feel a lot better when you get it out.

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‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus


By Risa Richardson


It’s a sign of these economic times, I know, but I had my first job interview in almost two years a few weeks ago.

It was a part-time job, but one I thought would help me merge back into the workforce flow and wean myself and my daughter off of my stay-at-home-mom stint.

I found out today that I didn’t get the job.

But I’m okay.

You see, two years of being unemployed has taught me some lessons about life and about God. I now know that God’s clock is not in sync with mine. He works things out days, weeks, even years after I expect or beg him to, but never a second too late.

So people have been asking me for years what my plan is for getting back to work. My new response: I’m trusting God.

You see, I’ve got this “trusting God” thing down to a science. Let me share my five-part process.

Step One: Pray.
Step Two: Listen for an answer.
Step Three: Pray again.
Step Three: Make sure you’re not ignoring the answer.
Step Four: Sit back and relax.
Step Five: Repeat the first four steps.

So far, that has worked for me.

Prayer is the key. I know God answers prayers. The way I see it, getting laid off was an answer to my prayers. Of course, it wasn’t the answer I was expecting, but it was the answer God gave.

You see, for months after Michaela was born, I would weep whenever I had to leave her with her sitters. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust her caregivers — they were the awesome. Her Aunt Jenny, who Michaela fondly calls “GiGi”, cared for her from the time she was a few days old and spoiled her rotten. One of my neighbors, a former daycare owner we fondly call Auntie, was also a godsend. I remember times when I thought Auntie could read my mind because just as soon as I started missing Michaela, she would send me a picture or a video that would cheer me up and help me make it through the day.

Still, I wanted to be at home with my baby. I would cry and talk to God about it on my way to work every day.

Little did I know, God had a plan. And on March 27, 2009, I was laid off. Don’t get me wrong — I was devastated. I loved my job and the people I worked with.

But after a week of mourning, I realized that God had simply answered my prayers.

And now, I suppose he’s holding me to my request. For two years, I have applied for hundreds of jobs and last week was my first interview.

It’s amazing how God works. I’ll never figure it out. All I can do is trust him.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to enjoy my time at home with Michaela. She’ll be going to preschool this fall and I’m going to miss our special time together snuggling, cuddling, having tea parties, watching princess movies and getting in and out of bed whenever we please.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus.


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