My Unsavory Surprise

DSC_0101I was sitting at the dining room table, checking email on my phone, when the black blur skittered up my purple sleeve and across my shoulder. The tickle of eight scurrying legs traveled up my neck, across my cheek, and onto my hair.

 

 

Quicker than a frog tongue snapping up a fly, I hopped to my feet and did the one-arm-slap-myself-dance. My flailing swats sent the spider flying off my person and onto the tablecloth.

 

I cried out for help as I watched my dime-sized attacker zipping down then up the table leg and under the tablecloth at lightning speed.

 

Enter husband to the rescue!

 

After a minute/felt-like-and-hour search, the pencil eraser sized spider was curled up on the carpet.

 

Hmm. It looked much bigger when it was invading my personal space.

 

Alan looked at me and shook his head. “You’re going to be hurting after hopping around like that.”

 

I chose silence. But in my mind, I seethed with sarcasm.

 

Why didn’t I think about that, Honey? Maybe it was because I was being attacked by a spider the size of a nickel! At least that’s what it felt like at the time.

 

Yes, like a fisherman’s tale of the morning’s catch, the spider got larger every time I thought about it. And the more I thought about it, I realized that by reacting to unsavory surprises I caused myself pain more times than I would like to admit. In my overreacting, I often hurt others more than I hurt myself.

 

In 1 Samuel 25, Scripture shares an example of David reacting instead of responding to an unsavory situation.

 

David sent some of his men to ask Nabal for supplies. He was shocked when the rich man refused to help. After all, David and his men had asked nicely, even though they had the power to take what they wanted by force. They had protected Nabal’s shepherds and their herds. David expected a little gratitude. Nabal was anything but grateful.

 

The Bible says that David immediately reacted to Nabal’s refusal in anger. He gave the order to slaughter Nabal and every one of the men under his charge (vv. 21-22).

 

Thank goodness God is always working behind the scenes!

 

Nabal’s wife, Abigail, became the voice of peace. She reminded David that hasty reactions can result in painful, long-lasting consequences (vv. 26-31).

 

David pondered Abigail’s words, which is a beautiful expression of his humility considering how women were viewed in his culture during the Old Testament times. He chose to respond by trusting the Lord to handle the situation as he proceeded to live in obedience and faith (vv. 32-35). And God continued to bless David.

 

When we’re surprised or upset by circumstances like David, it’s tempting to react without considering future consequences. This can lead to regret and a long list of apologies required.

 

God gives us the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the church to guide us in wisdom and truth.

 

But it’s hard to hear anything, much less honor the Lord, when we’re reacting to situations based on our feelings alone.

 

We can avoid much pain and hardship when we stop to think about how our actions might affect others. When we listen to wise counsel and pray before we make decisions, we can avoid reacting in anger or fear.

 

Will I respond calmly the next time a spider plops onto any portion of my body?

 

Probably not!

 

But, I will ask God to keep my spirit calm and focused on Him so I can respond with wisdom instead of reacting to my feelings the next time I’m surprised or hurt by the unsavory surprises in life.

 

What helps you to respond instead of react to bad or difficult circumstances?

 

How did you deal with the collateral damage after your negative reaction caused painful consequences in your life and/or in the lives of someone you love?

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Celebrating the Inspire Victory Book Launch

Inspire Victory Book CoverInspire Christian Writers is celebrating the launch of Inspire Victory during the month of May, 2014.

I’m praising God for the privilege of serving through this awesome ministry opportunity.

My short stories, Never Alone and The Apology, and one poem, Amazing By Grace, have been published in this year’s anthology.

Praise the Lord!

 

 

Inspire Victory - Book Launch - 2I pray God will use every writer in this anthology to inspire readers to rise up with victorious praise in all circumstances.

 

 

 

Please help us spread the word so we can continue spreading God’s Word through the art of storytelling and poetry.

 

Inspire Victory - Book Launch - 7You can order your copy at Barnes & Noble or Amazon today!

Thanks for your support.

 

 

 

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Why God’s Presence is Enough

God will meet you where you're at Hawaii by LEP ask Em first Aug 2013“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, NIV)

Over the last two years, God blessed me with the privilege of encouraging two amazing women through their chemo treatments.

 

 

One, Louise, went home to Jesus after a valiant battle with throat cancer. The other, my sweet sister in Christ, Yamilett, recently celebrated her last day of chemo.

 

I never wondered why God was giving me the opportunity to sit with these women during their chemo treatments. It didn’t occur to me that He could be preparing me for the news I received on January 21, 2014.

 

My mom was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia.

 

In a matter of hours, my life changed forever. I was no longer the supportive friend of a cancer patient.

 

Cancer hit home.

 

Throughout my mom’s healing journey, she continues to assure us that she feels God is with her.

 

For my dear friend, Louise, God’s presence was enough to keep her caring spirit focused on others as she blessed us with kind words and a radiant smile until the day the Lord called her home.

 

For Yamilett, God’s presence is enough to fill her with hope as He empowers her to persevere in her fight against breast cancer, inspiring others with her story and her artwork.

 

For my mom, our family’s faithful prayer warrior, God’s presence is enough to provide peace and infuse her courageous faith as she prepares for her bone marrow transplant.

 

The lives of these three amazing women of God, and the countless examples of genuine faith in the Bible, have taught me that God’s presence is truly enough no matter how unbearable our afflictions may feel.

 

As I begin my twentieth month in my own healing journey, these testimonies of God’s mighty presence and the words of Psalm 46:1 bring me comfort.

 

“God is . . .” Yes. God is constant and unchanging. This is a continual promise, an assurance that doesn’t lessen with the intensity of hardship.

 

“. . . our refuge and strength . . .” God is personal. This is a total package promise, an affirmation that reminds us Who is in charge of protecting and providing for us.

 

“. . . an ever-present help in trouble.” God is always with us. This is a proclamation of relationship, intimacy that can satisfy our deepest needs even when we don’t receive everything on our list of wants.

 

After declaring the promise in verse one, the psalmist explains the impact of this powerful truth.

 

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:2, NIV)

 

God’s presence trumps our fears.

 

Circumstances may make us feel like everything is crumbling all around us. Our life may feel like a raging storm. We may feel weary from the continual aftershocks that keep us falling to our knees.

 

But, when we focus on our ever-changing feelings, we can forget to tap into the power of the ever-present God Who is, Who was and always will be with us.

 

“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.” (Psalm 46:4-5, NIV)

 

When we surrender our life to Christ, repent, and receive Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, we become the “holy place where the Most High dwells.”

 

The Holy Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, dwells within every follower of Christ. We can trust Him to help us because God is incapable of breaking His promises.

 

Hallelujah!

 

Lord, please help us feel Your constant and mighty presence. Keep our focus on Who You are and what You’ve done, instead of on who we are, what we’ve done, or what we feel incapable of doing. Please fill us with Spirit-empowered courage, peace and hope as we remember You are always with us, always working and always in control. In Jesus’ name, amen

 

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When is it hardest for people to feel comforted by knowing God is constantly present during difficult circumstances?

 

How can knowing God is with us help us during seasons of affliction?

 

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Photo by Lauren Pfahlert

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I’m Back, But the Journey Has Just Begun

20140326_122313“I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1-2, NIV)

 

 

 

It’s been twenty months since I started my healing journey, which has included multiple surgical procedures and injections to control daily high levels of pain.

I’m currently recovering from my second shoulder surgery and preparing to receive a nerve ablation in my upper thoracic back.

Though this season of physical affliction has been difficult, God has been using this learning opportunity to deepen my faith!

I look forward to returning to a more consistent blogging schedule and sharing what the Lord is teaching me as we continue to encourage one another and nurture our spiritual growth.

Thank you for subscribing to my blog. I pray for you and enjoy reading your comments.

In His service,

Xochi E. Dixon

 

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