The Nail Salon…

This is a story that bears repeating. This is a story that sounds too strange to be true, but because it happened to me, I know that it did. This is about that day at the nail salon…

Our relationship was rocky. His employment had been off and on for the two years I knew him. He had been laid off for months now and it scared me. I’m well aware I could lose my job today, any of us could. But, as a single mom to two girls, steady employment is high on my list. I just couldn’t relax and get excited about the future without it. We needed help.

So, he gets hired at a job fair for a well known company in the area, Praise God!! Hired on the spot. Now, to take the tests required and start working. Problem solved and prayer answered, right? ….Drug test, check. Written test, taken. Never in my mind did I consider him not passing this written test. I mean he’d been in this field for most of his working life. I just thought it was a formality. So, when I got the news he didn’t pass, my heart sunk. Now, I KNEW the problem must be him. I mean, why couldn’t he pass? I couldn’t live this way. I was less than compassionate, I was just mad and confused.

I asked God if this was His sign. I know He wants what’s best for me and the girls. All I heard in my spirit was “wait”. Three hard days went by and I waited. I didn’t end the relationship, I waited and remained honest with him and God that I was highly bothered and frustrated with this situation. Everything else seemed to be coming together, except this job situation. And, I just couldn’t overlook it.

On the third day of waiting and wondering, I left work early because my last patient “happened” not to show up. I didn’t have my girls that day, so I “decided” to get my nails done. When I pulled into the parking lot, I “chose” a salon I rarely went to. Still don’t know why, just decided to mix it up. Meanwhile, I’m texting with a friend about her love issues as well. She asked if I would mind talking instead of texting as she just wanted to hear my voice. I told her sure, but that I was heading in to get a pedicure so I couldn’t talk loudly as not to bother others. The staff “happened” to sit me beside a woman in the salon.

I was sharing my heart with my friend about this test that he didn’t pass. I must have sounded extremely distraught. So much so, that the lady sitting next to me tapped me on the shoulder while I was talking and said “I’m so sorry to bother you, I work there and that test had an 85% failure rate, it’s the talk of the company right now.” WHAT?!? I quickly let my friend go to get more information.

She went on to tell me that employees currently employed there had taken and failed this test. The problem was not him, it was the test! I would have never known, he would have never known had this encounter not happened. Not only did she ease my mind about this test and my guy, she told me to have him call her directly since her department was hiring. So excited and thankful, I shared his name and said he’d call her first thing in the morning. When she heard his name, she said she knew him! Not only did she know him, he trained her at a previous job!

Needless to say, he called her the next morning and the ball got rolling. It didn’t roll smoothly, it took six weeks to get a start date. But, start he did. He just finished his first week as a direct employee at an amazing company that he may very well retire at. Not only are the benefits amazing, he is starting at twice the amount of money he would have made had he passed that ridiculous test.

If my patient had shown up, if I had to go straight home, if I had gone to the salon I normally go to, if I hadn’t been talking on the phone instead of texting, if I hadn’t been sat next to her, if she hadn’t reached out to ease my mind in compassion, if she had been wearing her earbuds that day (which she told me us she usually always does when getting her nails done), if she hadn’t have tried a brand new salon to her that day…..so many ifs.

Looking back, God told me to “wait”. My standards were on point and I do believe a steady job and ability to be employable and maintain employment is and should be on our lists as single ladies. I’d want it for my daughters’. If I hadn’t have waited I wouldn’t have experienced this or had this story to share. So share I will. So each one of you will know that when God moves, He moves. Even in nail salons…

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Water to Wine

This is not a post about whether or not the water Jesus turned into wine was fermented or not. This is not about whether drinking wine is right or wrong. This is about how Jesus still turns water to wine in our lives. Bland to fully flavored. Clear to richly colored. Tasteless to sweet.

I love how His first miracle was at a celebration, a wedding reception. He didn’t shy away from celebrating with his friends and family. He didn’t shy away from grieving with them either. He entered in, and when asked, He changed things. Sometimes over time, sometimes in an instant.

When He touches the heart of a homeless person, He turns water (hopelessness) into wine (care). When He rescues and strengthens an abused woman, He turns water (shame, worthlessness) into wine (dignity). When He comforts a grieving parent, He turns water (despair) into wine (comfort). When He provides financially, He turns water (needs) into wine (provision). When He helps us forgive, He turns our water to wine. When He dusts us off and reminds us who we are, He serves us His best and welcomes us to the table.

We all know water is the best and healthiest beverage we can drink. When we need water, we thirst for what our bodies need most. Clean drinking water is a gift from God. Many don’t have it and I thank God for it. But, when Jesus takes our stories (water) and uses them for His Glory, He miraculously makes wine. He still turns our water to wine. He is still in the business. He was and is still able. Oh, how sweet and all-powerful He is.

Paper Bag Moments

roller coaster

Have you ever had a moment that blows you away? Not in a negative way, but in a positive way? The kind of moment that you dreamed of, but didn’t know would ever come true? The kind of moment that left your mouth wide open and a personal dream realized? I call them my “paper bag moments”. The moments when God shows up and shows off.  The moments that take your breath away. The moments when you just KNOW that He is looking and smiling down on you. The moments when all you can think is “Oh, how He loves us….me!”

The assurance of God’s presence in our lives should blow us away daily. When He acts out on our behalf in our personal dilemmas, issues, concerns, and fears, it blows us away personally. He wants to blow us away. He wants us to KNOW that He cares for our personal struggles and is fighting for us. He wants us to KNOW that He is very much present in our daily lives. He wants us to KNOW He is still very much a miracle worker. He wants us to KNOW that in those moments when the pain feels like more than we can bear, He is not only with us, but He feels it too. He want us to KNOW that He is a loving Father. Even in His discipline, He wants us to KNOW that He is showing love. He is drawing us to Him, not pushing us away.

I have had many “paper bag moments” recently. Moments associated with love, family, and ministry and they seem to keep coming. Moments when I feel like I really could use a paper bag to breathe into. I cherish these moments now. God says, just breathe, because I’m about to BLOW you away. Oh, how He loves us!

Life’s journey is like a rollercoaster. It goes up, down, and sideways. After a long downward plunge, the ups can make our stomachs leap into our throats. The excitement can feel scary because it’s so unexpected. I am reminded of how many times God says “Do not fear” in the Bible. When the ups come, throw your hands up and Praise His name! Just like when the downs come, the best thing for us to do is hit our knees and cry out. But, either way, don’t forget to breathe! He is WITH us in the good times and in the bad.

Here’s to more “paper bag moments” in all our lives. To God be the Glory of our story!