Speaking the Truth in Love

At a dinner party many years ago, the host asked us, “why do you two still seem like newlyweds?”  I quickly answered, “it’s because my husband is the only person who can really tell me the truth about myself. He’s the only one who can speak the truth in love to me and I don’t get upset.”

Today, my dear husband still speaks the truth to me. Sometimes I accept it and sometimes I don’t. After all, I’m only human.

There is one voice, however, that can speak the truth in love to me and I unconditionally accept it. Well, after some period of stubbornness, that is. The voice comes from the Holy Spirit. Oh, please don’t stop reading and count me as a lunatic. I don’t actually hear audible words from the Almighty. (I wish I did. It would make knowing His direction for my life that much easier.) Instead, the words come into my heart. They might come from a friend, my husband, a radio message from Dr. Charles Stanley, the women in my Bible study group, or often from reading the Bible during a quiet time. But I know where the message really comes from.

The truth is always there if we’re open to it. This morning, after listening to Dr. Charles Stanley’s radio message, I was struck by something He’s been trying to show me for a long time. As a recent college grad I relentlessly pursued a job at a prestigious magazine and publishing company in Washington, D.C. After a long period of unsuccessful attempts, I gave up, and miraculously the Lord led me to another opportunity with a different company where I happily worked for over 20 years. Now during the past year I’ve been reconnecting with former colleagues at that original coveted company. And there has been no job forthcoming. In fact, when I checked my LinkedIn messages yesterday, I found that one of the jobs I had applied for was filled by a former colleague. He’s someone with impeccable credentials and I’m nowhere in his league. That’s not to belittle myself, it’s just the truth.

This morning, I realized that in addition to speaking the truth in love to me, the Lord has a great sense of humor. Today I have before me an incredible opportunity to develop my own business from home. This is a tremendous blessing because I still have a child in elementary school. Why would I want to repeat a former desire to work somewhere — where they obviously don’t want me — when I have the chance to do something different for a few individual companies? One of which is a group that has a mission to help other unemployed adults like myself? Yes, I think God is laughing at me. In a kind way.

So today, with this course correction, I can hear the truth about myself. It’s spoken in love. And it’s telling me to stop living for myself, and live with the purpose and passion that He has kindly placed before me. The place where I’m supposed to be. Right here, writing to my family and friends, assisting some start-up companies, and guiding others in their quests to learn new technologies to find employment. I hear you Lord, and thank you for the truth given with a dose of humor.

Seeing Through New Lenses

A dear friend recently stayed overnight at my home. It was a luxurious time for long conversations and reminiscing. I always thought she was either an adamant agnostic or potential atheist so I talked gently about the extraordinary ways God has affirmed His presence in my life.

“Oh, of course, that’s what you saw because you’re looking at life through your lens as a Christian,” she said. She said this gently too, as if not to unravel a 40-year friendship. Because of my deep affection for her I didn’t blurt out, “if you could allow His light into your life you’d see the same things.” But I didn’t. I simply told her my stories and she seemed interested. But it didn’t go any further.

Yes, my lenses are not her lenses. It’s similar to the new eyeglasses on my face. I had waited a long time to update my trifocals, so much so that I was horribly disappointed when I put them on. Everything at the edges seemed worse than before. Distortion and discomfort were now my fields of vision.”If you can try to be patient for a few days,” the optician said, “you’ll probably find that your brain will make the adjustments, the accommodation for this extreme change in your corrected vision.” Noticing my alarm she also added, “and if it doesn’t work for you we’ll call your eye doctor and see if we can downgrade the strength in one of the areas of vision.”

She was right, of course, and within a day I was singing the praises of these lenses and my brain had indeed submitted itself to this new way of seeing. And this reminded me of the Lord’s promises. He promises to be our light, our new way of seeing in Isaiah 60:19,”The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

He doesn’t promise only light and clear vision and happiness, though. We know that in this life we will have hardship, pain, and struggle. But he does promise that He will guide us, He will bring us light, He will use us to help others, and He will always be with us, and with submission that He will correct our vision.

If that’s what He promises in living life through the Christian lens, then I’m in. And I will ask for His guidance to reach the friends and family members who do not yet know Him.