Mini-devotions written by Francie Taylor, challenging readers to examine their lives and improve their relationships while developing a closer walk with the Lord. Francie covers the "issues of life" affecting Christian women at various stages, providing encouragement to "keep the heart."
When I woke up for the first time in my new town, I said to myself,
"Where am I?"
Now mind you, this is not really a new thought for me, as I often wake up in conference hotels and wonder which state I'm in (other than the state of confusion). But now, I was really wondering about this strange bedroom with the lovely little armchair next to the closet. I didn't recognize a thing in the room, and that's when I remembered...
Sold in 36 hours
My new hometown doesn't feel at all like home, but I will give it time. It took months of prayer for the Lord to lead me to even consider moving, which eventually led to a position as editor for the Joyful Life Sunday school curriculum at Abeka Books in Pensacola, Florida. Decision day was January 31, 2018.
And then a whirlwind.
And then a huge moving truck.
And then I boarded a flight because in the process of planning this move, I had forgotten all about my car. (Who forgets about their car?) Thank the Lord for my Pastor David Clear and his wife, my sister friend Valerie, as they bailed me out by driving my car from Minnesnowtah to Florida, where we all enjoyed dinner together on my first night in town. Friends sometimes have to double as "keepers." I have some of the very best friends on the planet.
The time between January 31st and moving day on March 27th was a blur that I can only recall in part, as the focus on moving was intense and felt like being on a bullet train! Oh me of little faith, I was quite certain that my older home would not sell in a market surrounded by newer homes. My next door neighbor Andrea was also my real estate agent, and she had complete confidence that my home would sell and sell FAST. She put her head together with my sister friend Vikki, who specializes in staging homes, and before I knew it, my home looked like a model and I was getting nervous.
"I'd better speed up the packing," I thought to myself after returning from a conference and seeing the results of Vikki's home staging. I didn't recognize my own home! And I loved it, so now I wasthinking that maybe Andrea was right: this home would sell. Oh oh.
I never had a second thought about my decision to move to Pensacola, but I have had moments of high-level stress, like the moment I heard that the house had sold...a mere 36 hours after going on the market! Stress causes the thinking to stray into the panic zone. Thankfully, we can take our thoughts to the Lord and He knows how to settle us down."Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..."(2 Corinthians 10:5) I needed my imagination to stop running wild and start walking through the process of selling a home and moving across the country. So, I took my fearful thoughts "captive" and turned them over to the Lord. He replaced my panic with peace.
Moving is not for wimps or whiners. It is HARD WORK, and it doesn't end quickly. I wish it could be like dry cleaning: in by 10 and out by 4, but it's more like birthing a child without pain meds! I don't know what course my life would have taken if my Norman had lived longer, but I do know that he and I both greatly loved Florida, so my best guess is that he would have approved of this move and would have been packing boxes way faster than his pokey wife.
Pensacola is growing on me. I love the Campus Church, the ministry of Pensacola Christian College, and the people. And it is no secret how much I love "sea shells by the sea shore," so living this close to the Emerald Coast is no hardship. This move will be good for me, but I do not have a mistaken notion that this will ease or speed up the grieving process. I know better.
I was blinking rapidly to hold back tears as I walked into the church auditorium recently. Here I was, surrounded by over 6,000 people and yet I felt so very alone. I even had a family that invited me to sit with them and have lunch with them after church and yet, I felt so very alone. Only God will be able to heal this broken heart. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." (Psalm 147:3) I don't lack the presence of people. I lack the presence of my Norman, and he is irreplaceable. That knowledge doesn't trouble me. I will forever be grateful for the years we had together. Sometimes the memories bring tears, but at other times, I see his big smile on the movie screen of my mind and it comforts me. Everyone that knew my Norman loved that trademark smile.
My life feels like this at times
Keep the Heart will continue with a focus on books and Bible studies, as previously planned. I will also continue to teach at ladies' conferences around the country, although I have trimmed the schedule to allow me to do my best in both roles. I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I learn the ropes as the new editor of Joyful Life while continuing as Founder of Keep the Heart. I am now in double-full-time Christian ministry.
I guess that means I'm a double-delivery-girl.
"Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?" (Proverbs 20:24)
Sitting at what I was sure was the world's longest left-turn signal, I suddenly realized that I was being impatient for no good reason. After all, I was only waiting to turn left and then right...into the gas station. Not exactly like being late for an important date!
Wait hate. Many of us struggle with it, and the impatience is making life unnecessarily miserable.
Why do we hate to wait? I have some theories and good guesses, but it is possible that one of the biggest reasons why we can't even tolerate driving in a lane with a slow car in front of us is because we've been trained by our culture to expect everything instantly. Have you ever been "that person," driving and yelling "Move over, Pokey Joe!" even though your windows were closed and that other driver couldn't hear you?
Tap. Swipe. Send.
Wait-Hate is learned, and this impatience is very costly. Instead of praying and allowing God time to provide direction and confirmation, we mentally tap-swipe-send our prayer texts, and then we rush into our own plans, wondering why we feel so unsettled and unstable.
Here's a tough but necessary lesson to learn: we may think we know what's right and best, but God knows for certain, and He even knows our motives. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." (Proverbs 14:12) The word "death" in this verse also refers to "ruin," which is not a happy ending. I've never met anyone that said, "My goal is to ruin my life."
But when we fail to slow down long enough to pray and process decisions with careful consideration, the end result of haste is often painful at best, destructive at worst. Hasty decisions usually come with the hefty price tag of cleaning up the mess that we've made.
Do you have a big decision that you need to make? Join the club. Most of us have big decisions we're facing in a rotation. In fact, having a season in life when no big decisions are pending is like a mini-vacation. Most of the year is filled with the demands of choices, but occasionally, things are quiet and we're simply trying to decide if we want decaf or regular coffee. Ha. So very rare. (And I'll take regular with cream and maple syrup, thank you).
I'm writing this as I sit at the crossroads of several life-changing decisions, so in reality, you are reading a blog that I've written to myself. Waiting for a green light...
"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." (Psalm 27:14)
Waiting is more than tap-swipe-send. Waiting is patiently tarrying for God's answer. Pause. Pray. Wait.
"A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)