Jumping to Conclusions

jump-to-conclusionsAs we pulled out of the parking lot of the strip mall, Gaylon and I were excited to head to the celebration of Tucker’s second birthday.  We had barely gone a block, when my car stalled right in the middle of the road.  Several warning lights came on, and the car choked when I tried to start it again.  My husband got into the driver’s seat and was able to drive the car, but at a snail’s pace.

Eventually Gaylon figured out what the problem was, but wanted to get the car back to Alabama to have it fixed. That would be another forty-eight hours.  We discovered that if we started off driving very slowly, and never went too fast, the car could be driven.

As we drove the hilly roads of North Carolina, we were much slower than other cars.  People blew their horns, passed us angrily and we were even given the middle finger of fellowship.  Finally, we decided to drive with our flashing lights on until we could build up speed, and until we could correct the situation. Our warning lights were trying to say, “There is more going on here than meets your eye.”  People jumped to conclusions that we didn’t know how to drive, or two old people on the road or … whatever.  How quickly people judged us without knowing all the details.

How many times do we find ourselves jumping to conclusions about others without knowing all the details?  We often make judgments based on how things appear, yet there is a very good chance that there are details we do not know.

There is no way that we can know the motives of another, nor can we know all the circumstances surrounding things we see.  More often than not, what we think we know, we really don’t.  As we walk through life with others, before we “go-off” on someone, blowing our horns angrily, and spewing our opinions, let’s remember that only God is all-knowing.  Contrary to what we might think, jumping to conclusions is not a beneficial form of exercise.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:18

The Rest of the Story


Gone at the age of 36.   He was in the prime of his life and about to become a father for the first time, but never got to meet his son.  The first few months after the death of our son Bryan were brutal.  There is no way to accurately describe the emotions and pain.

Like it or not, after a loved one dies, we have to keep moving.  I don’t mean that we will forget the person or the pain – trust me, you wish you could lose the sickening pain, but we have to keep living.  Part of that living is taking care of business.  After a death, one has to immediately be concerned about business matters.  It’s just part of the process.  As a mother, while I grieved deeply for my son, my attention was more drawn to his wife and unborn child.  We wanted to do everything we possibly could to help them with life, which meant lots of prayer, and assisting any way possible.

Bryan and Sarah had purchased a boat the summer before his home-going, and it needed to be sold.  People worked together to clean up the boat and get it ready for sale, and then to list it in several places.  I thought, surely because we serve God, it will sell by tomorrow afternoon. Not!  So we waited, and waited, and then guess what, we waited!

Sarah was having a baby shower in Virginia, and Gaylon and I were to attend.  As time grew a little closer, my husband realized he had a schedule conflict.   Gaylon was to perform a wedding for someone who worked with the company where he is chaplain. There was no way to change the wedding, and no way for Gaylon to accompany me to Virginia.  With tears streaming, I asked God, “Can’t you do something about this? Where are you during this pain? Can’t you keep these plans from getting so messed up?”  End of story.

That is the true story … but wait … let’s get the rest of the story.

That spring weekend, I drove to the shower, and Gaylon stayed behind to officiate the wedding.  While at the rehearsal, my husband was talking with someone, and they mentioned that they were looking for a boat.  Gaylon began to tell them the story of Bryan, and the boat that Sarah needed to sell – a boat that was five-hundred miles away.   As they continued talking, the person stated they wanted to buy the boat.

Gaylon called to tell me the good news, and this “faith-filled” woman of God said, “That man is not going to drive to North Carolina to get a boat that he has never laid eyes on.  I will believe it when I see it.”  (Just call me doubting Thomasina!)  In less than a month, the boat was sold and on its way from North Carolina to Alabama.

My problem was that I immediately put “THE END” on the story of an unsold boat and messed up plans.   I could not see God working in my messed up plans, but God was positioning us to receive the miraculous selling of a boat.  God was still writing the story.

God is the author of “the rest of the story.”  God has the wonderful ability of messing up our plans to position us for a divine answer.  Perhaps you are asking, “Where is God?”  I asked the same question.  The answer for me was, “I am at a wedding in Alabama working on your behalf.”

When you think your plans are messed up, it might be that God messed them up so He could write the last chapter.   Just wait … the rest of the story is being written, and it will be a much better “THE END” than the way you would write it.

“Since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!” – Isaiah 64:4

The “In-Between”

the-in-between-episode-02We frequently hear that God has a beautiful plan for our lives.  Once we become aware of that, we are often not prepared for the “in-between.” “In-between” is the time span from when I believe and receive God’s promises for my life, and the time when I see it come to fruition.  There are many types of hindrances that come “in-between,” such as difficult family members, financial woes, unexpected heartache or difficulties at work. Most battles are lost in “in-between.”  Too often people give up “in-between.”

The men and women of God in scripture were victorious because they kept believing God, and walking with God, even through the “in-between.”  A few examples:

  1. Noah kept building the ark for years and years, though he had no converts, and plenty of jeers and sneers.  He just kept building while “in-between.”
  2. Joseph had to deal with pits, Potiphar’s wife and prison before receiving the promise.  He just kept trusting God’s word “in-between.”
  3. Paul received a promise that he would go to Rome.  Before he arrived in Rome, he faced imprisonment, shipwreck and waylay on a strange island.  Paul just kept serving faithfully “in-between.”
  4. Mary received the promise that she would birth something of the Holy Spirit. “In-between” there were questions from people, Joseph who wanted to break off their relationship and a trip on a donkey only to give birth in a stable.   Mary willingly endured “in-between” so God could birth something through her.

In-between” can be difficult, and might cause us to wonder if God will do anything at all.  It is so easy to quit “in-between.”  Don’t quit, and don’t give up!  God is preparing every step for victory over each hindrance that you find “in-between.”   You can have full confidence in God.

I’ve had a lot of “in-between” time, but I refuse to quit.  Like the Psalmist, I declare:

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:13-14

Messy Living

MessyJoseph, our two-year-old grandson is fascinated with our master bedroom and master bath area. None of us knows why, but the boy gravitates to that area every time he is at my house.

One day while visiting, Joseph left the living room, and I did not hear him for a bit.  I walked down the hall to locate Joseph, and there he was in the master bathroom.  As I looked in the tub, I could see that Joseph had thrown all kinds of things in the tub.  He also found some artificial grapes and was enjoying pulling them off the vine.  Joseph was being very messy.   Though I had a bit of a mess to deal with, I did not kick Joseph out of the house and tell him to never return.  I love Joseph and I understand that his maturity level requires mentoring.

Thanksgiving floods my heart as I remember great leaders who mentored me, when I was a messy Christian.  I can still name the mentors who helped me to not be so messy in my walk with God: Gaylon Benton, Iverna Tompkins, Mary Ann Brown and June Evans greatly impacted my life.  They were fathers and mothers in the faith for this child.  A father, mother, or mentor doesn’t simply provide temporary insight but steady counsel.

Mentoring is more than just developing a cross-generational friendship.  It is also more than a counseling relationship.  The goal is not to just get to know another person better, but is to know Christ in a more intimate way through the blessing of walking alongside a more mature believer.

Do you have a spiritual mentor, or are you simply continuing to walk a messy Christian life?  Do you have a spiritual father or mother you can learn from?  If not, prayerfully seek for a person to fill this role for you.  Of course, you have to decide that you no longer want to live a messy life, and you want to learn the ways of God.

Are you a spiritual mentor?  Who do you know that is young in the faith that you can speak into their lives? Who is struggling in an area that God has given you victory in? Speaking from a woman’s point of view, though not all desire to be developed in the faith, I can say that many young women in today’s churches eagerly desire a mentor. Often they have difficulty finding a more mature woman willing to step into that role. Older women often feel unqualified.  What does it take to be a mentor?  Perfection? Formal training? Grandmotherhood?


Being a mentor to another woman requires a heart for God, experience in life and a love for people. You don’t have to teach a book of the Bible to another woman.  It is being available to listen, pray and instruct.

Joseph watched as I removed all the stuff from the tub.  He is learning that he needs to outgrow messy living, and I am willing to help him.

Are you ready to outgrow messy Christian living?

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17