“Me in Three Words” Challenge

Me in Three Words Challenge

Yesterday, I was listening to a webinar where the host challenged us to e-mail five of our friends with this request: “Describe me in three words.” The original purpose of this exercise was to help listeners narrow down the focus of a book or blog or talk in order to write in our own voice—not someone else’s. Since completing the challenge, though, I have realized this is an amazing method anyone can use to monitor where they are on the path to becoming the person they’ve always wanted to be. 

*** If you take the challenge, let me know by commenting below. ***

The result of this exercise is to learn how others see you and experience you. Don’t be shocked if you’re surprised with some of the responses. The fact is, we are often “stuck in the past” with distorted images of ourselves which no longer match our current life situation. Over time, with great effort, we change. We grow. We mature. We develop. We blossom.

Oftentimes, “new” friends see character traits in us that we can’t fathom in ourselves. They see us for who we are, not who we used to be. This can be a refreshing shift in perspective, or possibly a snap back to reality for those of us who think we are doing better than we actually are. Reality checks, though sometimes painful, are super-necessary in life—especially for the person who wishes to become the best, most authentic version of himself or herself.

“Describe Me in Three Words”

Do you recognize yourself in their words, or are they sharing something with you that you thought you’d lost years ago? Do they see the real you? Are you ready to embrace that person? Or possibly do you need to change the reflection? You’ll never know unless you ask. 

All I did was ask, and I kept it very simple. Here’s the email I sent:

Dear ____________,

I was listening to a webinar yesterday, and I was challenged to write to five friends with this request: “Describe me in three words.”

Will you do that for me? Pretty please?

Thank you,
Laura

I encourage you to give it a shot. First start with five of your more recent friends (people who have known you less than five years). After that, if you’re feeling brave, move to long-term friends (people who have known you at least 5 years). And if you’re still feeling brave, email your family (but only if your relationships with them are healthy—no need to reinforce negativity or dysfunction). If you think someone is going to be insulting or sarcastic, don’t bother adding them to your email list for this experiment.

Three Words Can Change Your Perspective!

Taking this challenge was scary, but I’m glad I did it. My friends’ responses showed me that I’m on the right track for becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be…and that’s a good thing, considering I’ll be 50 next year!!! Finally, I’m getting there. I haven’t arrived, for sure; however, I’m on the right track, and on some level, that is comforting. 

Identify your themes. Look through the list of words you’ve received and group similar words/concepts together. For example: If one friend uses the word “compassion” and another friend uses the word “compassionate,” then you would group those together. Another example: If one friend says “contemplative” and another friend says “deep thinker,” group those together. Once you have the words grouped by theme, take a good look and see which themes occurred most often.

My top three themes were: 

Compassionate ~ Studious ~ Deep Thinker

The “compassionate” description surprised me more than “studious” and “deep thinker”—although I never knew my friends thought of me as “deep.” I have to testify that if I have any compassion in me, it is from the Lord. And I would also like to mention that “compassion” was not on my husband’s list of three words for me!
*cough* *man flu is real* *cough*

I hope you take this challenge and start with your newest friends! Then work backwards if you feel like it. The goal is to start off the year with a more objective, realistic view of who you are rooted in truth.

*** If you take the challenge, let me know by commenting below. ***

You’ll find the results are definitely insight-full.

Human Trafficking Awareness

Triad Ladder of Hope

Human Trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world. North Carolina ranks #5 in the United States and Charlotte ranks #1 for locations where human trafficking thrives. It must be stopped. 

This past Sunday, my LifeEd class had the opportunity to hear directly from the founder of Triad Ladder of Hope, Sandra Johnson.

Triad Ladder of Hope is a local non-profit, faith-based organization dedicated to eradicating the exploitation, sale, and enslavement of men, women, and children. For more information, please visit their website at http://www.triadladderofhope.org.

Click here to listen to what Sandra had to say:

Triad Ladder of Hope

Sandra also HIGHLY recommended that we watch the movie “Priceless” which is based on a true story. Here is the official preview:

Think Tank Needed to Strategize a Solution

We need a new solution. Race relations.

A black man with a gun died yesterday in Charlotte because another black man with a gun shot him. This is an emotionally-charged topic for which there is no easy solution, but I cannot remain silent. The more I process these issues, the more I am learning about myself and my core beliefs. Here’s one of them: It’s okay not to be perfect. We all make mistakes and stupid decisions from time to time. Some people make a lot more mistakes than others. Some learn. Some never do.

The question is this: Who or what circumstance determines that one’s mistake is his (or her) last? What gives one human the right to make that determination for another human? And, to quote my late friend Keith Chesterman, “Where do you draw the line?”

I really struggle with this, because I believe God can take the most messed-up life and flip it to something extraordinary. I’ve seen it—for real! I’ve seen drug sellers and addicts transform into law-abiding citizens who are making a positive difference in the world, who love their families, who have completely turned their lives around. In fact, one of them was my Sunday School teacher when I was a teenager. I knew him when he was coming out of the drug scene, and I watched God completely transform his life, his marriage, and the lives of his family. I know it can happen, and I hate to see someone robbed of that opportunity.

I wrote the following blog post last night while I was watching rioting live-streaming from Charlotte on Twitter. (The post has since been updated.)

I had a WONDERFUL group of amazing and hard-working women over to my house tonight (September 20, 2016). Moms with children of all ages who have taken the road less-traveled to home educate at least one of them. I’m so blessed to know them, to learn from them, and to be able to encourage them now that I’m in my eighth year of this journey.

Sadly, while we were busy swapping homeschooling stories, another AFRICAN-AMERICAN CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES was shot and killed by police in #Charlotte. What the heck is going on?! This is ridiculous! We have a JUSTICE SYSTEM for a reason! According to the Charlotte Observer:

Police said they approached the man [Keith Lamont Scott] after he got back into the vehicle. The man got out again armed with a firearm “and posed an imminent deadly threat to the officers, who subsequently fired their weapon striking the subject,” police said in a statement. “The officers immediately requested Medic and began performing CPR.”

Scott was not the person officers were searching for to arrest on the outstanding warrants, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney told reporters at the scene.

This man, now D.E.A.D., was NOT even the man they were looking for! And apparently, there are questions being raised about whether or not he was armed in the first place.

Police said they recovered the firearm Scott was holding when police shot him shortly before 4 p.m. Police were also interviewing witnesses. [HOWEVER,] a woman who said she is Scott’s daughter claimed that the man was unarmed when he was shot. (Charlotte Observer)

While I join the rest of the world waiting for official details and body camera video—and I hope they release it soon—I wonder how I would have felt as a black man being approached by police today: the day after Terence Crutcher was shot and killed in Tulsa with his hands in the air near his broken down vehicle.

News Update September 21, 2016:
Police are confirming that Keith Thomas Scott was in possession of a firearm, and he did not comply with repeated requests to drop the gun.

Here is a link to the brief with Charlotte’s Chief of Police: http://www.nbcnews.com/video/charlotte-police-claim-keith-lamont-scott-had-handgun-prior-to-fatal-shooting-770135619660

Here is a link to the timeline of how events unfolded on social media and in real life:
http://www.nbcnews.com/video/police-chief-clears-up-some-rumors-in-charlotte-police-shooting-770211907505

Blog Update September 21, 2016:
Again. We wait for further details regarding the Keith Lamont Scott story, but my conviction remains: LEOs should not shoot-to-kill.

“We need to create a ‘Think Tank’ to strategize new solutions and a new protocol for the innocent.”

I UNDERSTAND that police have a really tough job, and I SUPPORT and RESPECT law enforcement. I’m GRATEFUL for protection. BUT, I do NOT support the shoot-to-kill response.

I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how a suspected TERRORIST who KILLED people —and was trying to kill more—was taken ALIVE while these other men were shot dead for reasons TBD…like, really. I don’t get it. Is it just a difference in officer training? How are some restrained and others seemingly not?

I have almost been shamed into silence by my law enforcement friends. These are men I know in real life whom I love and respect. But when I posted on Facebook about the shooting of Philando Castile, my timeline exploded with debate, and at one point, I was told that rather than speak out against this type of violence—and it is violence—I should keep my uninformed opinion to myself and instead do a ride-along with a police officer just so I could personally experience what they go through on a nightly basis. I guess the idea is that I would be transformed by this experience and conclude that since they have a tough job, I should trust them implicitly. That will never happen, because it’s not who I am. I’m an INTJ Rational, and I don’t categorically endorse anything or anyone. Ever.

Aside: As an INTJ, it’s in my nature to be skeptical of authority figures—especially authority figures who expect to be treated a certain way just because of their position (even though they may have worked very hard to achieve that position). According to 16personalities.com, “Authority figures do not impress INTJs, nor do social conventions or tradition, and no matter how popular something is, if they have a better idea, INTJs will stand against anyone they have to in a bid to have it changed. Either an idea is the most rational or it’s wrong, and INTJs will apply this to their arguments as well as their own behavior, staying calm and detached from these sometimes emotionally charged conflicts.” And, yes, I realize that is as much a weakness as it is a strength.

The fact is: I am not a child. I’m a grown-up 48 year old woman, and a ride-along is not going to change my conviction that police should not be shooting-to-kill suspects. We have a justice system for a reason. Don’t get me wrong: I am grateful for the men and women who have taken an oath to protect us. I really am. I know they face a lot of CRAZY out there in the real world…in the ‘bad’ neighborhoods…but they are not immune to FEAR. Especially in dangerous, or perceived-dangerous, situations. And acting out of FEAR, while life-preserving for one could be life-ending for another.

Is there a solution? There has to be.

I would like to see a think-tank made up of people from different backgrounds and ethnicities work together and strategize a solution to this madness. I’d like to see them/us come up with a protocol for how to handle these unpredictable and quickly-escalated situations—one that yields an arrest (or not) without resulting in the permanent, physical, and irreversible death of the suspect.

OR …

If there is already a protocol in place, then re-educate the public.

“We need to create a ‘Think Tank’ to strategize new solutions and a new protocol for the innocent.”

My question is this: How should I respond when an officer starts out by treating me as a threat and assuming I’m a criminal when I know have done nothing wrong? But I also know that if I don’t comply, I could be injured. But if I do comply without speaking, am I agreeing with the false accusation? Am I allowed to question what is happening without being perceived as defiant? Do I comply with no opportunity to question the situation and/or defend myself? What about my personal integrity and sense of injustice that is rising up in my core? The desire to assert my innocence? What would be an acceptable way for me to present myself in such a way that the officer would give me the benefit of the doubt and lower his or her weapon versus assuming the absolute worst possibly resulting in my death? These are the questions we need to be addressing. 

UPDATE: September 21, 2016
As facts about the Keith Lamont Scott case come to light, each side is seeking evidence to support their views. What happens if we learn that Scott was breaking the law by possessing a gun in the first place? What happens if we learn that he was waving it in the air? What happens if we learn that he was in cahoots with the guy they were looking for? Would any of those facts change my opinion that he should not have been killed? No.

I believe in a system of justice for citizens of the United States that involves arresting suspected criminals and bringing them to court for a hearing followed by a jury trial, if necessary. Taking a man’s life because he refuses to comply with orders is wrong. Shoot to injure. Shoot to maim. Do not shoot to kill for non-compliance, a bad attitude, or even a verbal threat.

I’m wearing all black all day on Friday because the only way we’re ever going to find a solution to this problem is to work together. #weneedasolution

National Blackout

I wish we had eyes to see the way God sees:

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

Come, Lord Jesus! #Maranatha #BlackLivesMatter *


*Use of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag does not indicate support of the Black Lives Matter organization.

Armor of God: Garments of Vengeance

Laura Zielke

When you are raised in the Christian church, you learn about the “Armor of God” at a young age. I’m guessing it’s because little children love to play with fake swords, and pretending to be a Roman soldier is very cool. Besides, there’s just something about imagining yourself “girding up your loins” that sets your mind spinning.

Child: “Mama, what’s a loins? Do I has some? Where is them?”
Mama: “Um, hold on Honey.” (Mom rushes to Google. Yay! A picture!)

I’m sure it was a parent who created this extremely helpful “How to Gird up Your Loins” infographic:

How to gird your loins

Hey, don’t “dis” the poster. This handy little guide provides you with a creative way to answer your children’s loin question while at the same time avoiding “the birds and the bees” conversation for a while longer! 🙂  But I digress.

The Apostle Paul, while under house arrest in Rome, wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus. In this letter (Ephesians), he opened their eyes to spiritual warfare and instructed them to “put on the full armor of God.” He then elaborated on this directive by listing seven pieces of armor as well as the spiritual significance of each one. Here they are (along with a free coloring page for anyone who would like it):

Armor of God Coloring Page
Click to download a free coloring page
  1. Belt of truth
  2. Breastplate of righteousness
  3. Feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
  4. Shield of faith
  5. Helmet of salvation
  6. Sword of the spirit
  7. Prayer

I’d like to thank Priscilla Shirer for sharing her realization that there are actually SEVEN, not six, pieces of armor listed in this passage. I recently began her new Bible study entitled “Armor of God,” and during the first video teaching session, Priscilla shared a couple nuggets of information I don’t recall noticing prior to this. The first was the seventh piece of armor, prayer, as listed above. She rightly taught that “Prayer activates the armor.” She also pointed out while Paul may possibly have used a Roman soldier as the visible model for his list of armor, as an educated Pharisee, he also—most likely—was basing his thoughts on a passage in Isaiah. Say what?!

As I turned in my Bible to Isaiah 59:17, I was surprised to read, “He [the LORD] put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head” (emphasis mine).  So, when Paul instructs us as Believers to put on the full armor of God, he literally means that we should put on God’s armor! In other words, somehow, God is allowing us access to His armor.

As I was reflecting on God’s armor, I made a connection with something we’ve been studying in our home school. We are in the middle of a literary analysis course, and more specifically, in the middle of a chapter entitled, “Exploring Epics: An Introduction to Epic Literature.” You’ll never guess what one of the most common literary conventions of epic literature is? Wait for it… Wait for it…

ARMOR!

That’s right! Armor. In this chapter, the author explained how important armor was in the olden days: “Before the days of weapons of mass destruction, a hero had to depend on his weapons and armor for victory in battle. The better armor a soldier possessed, the better were his chances for victory (or survival) in battle…the armor and weapons of a man represented more than just his status in society: it often represented his very identity” (Literary Lessons from The Lord of the Rings, Student handbook, pg. 152). She also noted that the kings, princes, and heroes had the BEST armor.

Now, I’m not equating the armor of God to mythical armor in epic literature. Not at all. I share this information to help us, first of all, remember the importance of armor to people in Bible times, and second, to recall who owns the best armor. Why? Because, friends, we have access to GOD’S ARMOR!!! Just marinate on that for a moment:  WE—the redeemed children of the most high God—have access to HIS armor! On a spiritual level, then, we are invincible! (But only when we put it on!!!) 

As I reflected on Paul’s list of armor and compared it to Isaiah’s list, I noticed something…

Armor of God meme

I had to laugh when one of my friends shared this meme (above) on Facebook earlier today. I snickered because, well, it’s Kristen Wiig—the woman is hilarious! But I also grinned at God’s timing: I’d already been pondering about the “missing pieces” of God’s armor and doing a little digging on my own. Rather than comment on her timeline, I decided to write this blog post.

So, is the armor of God incomplete?

If you reference only Paul’s list of armor, you might come to that conclusion, as it seems to be missing…well…pants! But when you factor in Isaiah’s, it is clear that God’s armor is complete. Isaiah 59:15-17 says:

The Lord looked and was displeased
    that there was no justice.
He saw that there was no one,
    he was appalled that there was no one to intervene;
so his own arm achieved salvation for him,
    and his own righteousness sustained him.
He put on righteousness as his breastplate,
    and the helmet of salvation on his head;
he put on the garments of vengeance
    and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak.

According to the prophet Isaiah, in addition to “righteousness as a breastplate” and “the helmet of salvation,” God also possesses “garments of vengeance.” But guess what? We do NOT have permission to wear those—God alone retains the garments of vengeance. Not only that, but He makes it abundantly clear that those garments are HIS and not to be touched. It’s not our place to avenge anything. He is the sole and perfect Avenger. We are told:

It is mine to avenge; I will repay.
Deuteronomy 32:35

Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.”
Romans 12:19

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:18

This much we know for certain:
We have free access to God’s armor and weapons—just not all of it. We have access to what we need, and we must trust God to take care of the rest. 

As Peter said, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3).

In other words, through His Spirit, we are perfectly fitted out to fight the good fight here on earth. When we put on the full armor of God, we are clad with truth (belt), righteousness (breastplate), the gospel of peace (footings), faith (shield), and salvation (helmet). We also have two weapons at our disposal: the sword (Scripture) and prayer. But vengeance? No. The garments of vengeance belong to the Lord.

An Open Letter to My Favorite Christian Women Authors: Enough!

Enough

Dear Favorite Christian Women Authors,

I love you! Thank you for following God’s calling on your life and writing amazing, best-selling books. Your words have positively impacted my life in many ways, and God has used you to draw me closer to Him. But I can’t follow you on social media anymore—at least for a while—until I catch my breath. I’ve had enough. Let’s just blame it on your publishers, so we can stay friends, ok?

The last month has been overwhelming, and I need a break. Although I will miss the numerous updates on your recent book launch, encouraging quotes from your new book, inspiration for spiritual growth, and cottage-like photos with pretty script letters, I’m out. For now.

In the past month alone, I’ve participated in multiple book launches with you amazingly organized and talented women who love to write. You’ve dominated my newsfeed with pre-launch, launch, and post-launch posts, and I just can’t take it anymore. #stillafan

I think I passed the fangirl tipping point when two of you launched your instant NY Times Best Sellers on the very same day followed less than a week later by another book launch from a fellow authoress and a few days later, another one…with more on the way. You’re connected to each other through a complex web of agents, editors, and publishers, and often tour together as part of incredibly successful women’s conferences, cruises, and conventions. When you really want to see your favorite authors succeed, it can be overwhelming when a publishing tsunami hits the marketplace.

I think my burnout began when I, as someone who aspires to do this myself someday, became caught up in the excitement of each one of your book launches. I decided on my own—yes, I take full responsibility for allowing my schedule to be hijacked—to follow your instructions and help you have a successful book launch (as if I have that kind of power!).

So, I did what you asked: Prior to each book launch, I joined your unofficial launch crew. I shared your upcoming book…and quotes from your book and pretty graphics about your book (a.k.a. ads) and links to your website on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. I also visited your websites multiple times while participating in your launch contests, so I could help you get the word out. Thanks, Gleam!

I watched your pre-launch live interviews online, and then joined the live launch parties to celebrate your achievements right along with you in real-time. Then, I watched your post-launch interviews with the media, and sat in awe as I observed you sharing each other’s books on Instagram. Oh, and let’s not forget the most important part of the launch process: I handed over my hard-earned cash to purchase your book, and I’m reading it now. (This was actually my favorite part, to be honest, since I love books! In fact, that’s why I started following you in the first place!)

But our marketing relationship didn’t end there like I assumed it would. Instead, it grew.

Somehow, I ended up on the post-launch crew (I’m still completely unaware how this happened, as I was in a state of zombie-like alertness after the previous weeks of launch and pre-launch activities) where I was encouraged to:

  • “Start a book club!”
  • “Join my Facebook group!”
  • “Join my online Bible Study!”
  • “Tweet!”
  • “Share!”
  • “Watch us live!”
  • “Join us this week for ____________.”
  • “Download my app!”
  • “Be part of the amazing experience!”
  • “Sign-up for this extra-special email campaign, so you can get  the most out of my new book!” (Which turned out to be another form of advertising with “Buy Now” and “Have you bought the book yet?” buttons)
  • “Come see me speak! I’ll be at the [ *Insert modern, memorable conference name here complete with eye-catching graphics, fancy logos, and headshots of other speakers* ] Conference.” No, it’s not free. It’s expensive. It’s out of town, and you’ll need to get a hotel. And food. And arrange for childcare. But it will be worth it!!! Girlfriend time!!! And, besides, we want you there, so PLEASE COME! You will leave changed. Your life will never be the same. You’ll really miss out if you don’t join us. We’ve lined up an all-star cast of amazing speakers joining us (who also have books and t-shirts and coffee mugs and jewelry and food). But wait! There’s more! Lest you begin wondering if we’ve lost our ever-loving minds—it’s not about us! So, while you’re at our event, we will have opportunities for you to invest in some very worthwhile ministries where you can donate to sponsor a child, donate towards justice, donate to help refugees, donate to help against the fight against human trafficking, and donate to other ministries that need your financial support. Whatever you do, don’t forget your Bible (and your wallet)!

Enough!

Gosh, I feel terrible saying that. But it’s where I am this morning: Enough already!

I love you ladies! I love your ministries! I want to be like you when I grow up! (In fact, I’m wondering if I’m not shooting myself in the foot with this post. I mean, I really do want to write and speak and teach just like you!) You’re smart, beautiful, talented, and tech savvy. You love the Lord with all your heart, and you’re living out His calling on your life. Your passion is inspiring, and it makes me want to hear and read everything you have to say. I want to apply your wisdom and teachings to my life so I can be a better wife, mom, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, dog owner, blogger, teacher, church member, and, yes, a better American! Really! You rock!!!

I hereby declare 2016 as “The Year of the Christian Woman Author.” Oh, how I wish I could be your biggest fangirl…but I can’t. Not right now.

You see, I’ve got piles of laundry to be washed, dirty dishes in the sink, toilets to clean, and a not-so-little guy that is being neglected while I’m on social media reading, sharing, and re-tweeting your latest posts and cheering you on as you run the race and fight the good fight.

I need a break. Thanks for understanding. 🙂

There are so many of you doing the same thing at the same time that your stylish social media photos are a blur to me. They all look the same: white background, a few plant leaves, some burlap, words in a handwritten scripty font, and maybe a Photoshopped, size-zero, young model with long brunette hair holding something pink, purple, or red for balance and aesthetic appeal.

I’m starting to feel like a target. 

I know that’s not what you want to hear, and it’s definitely not how I want to feel.

The truth is: I feel like your publishers are targeting my demographic with pithy phrases and catchy clichĂŠs packaged into cute info-graphics whose sole purpose is to tug at my heart (and purse) strings. Although your goal is to help me embrace that “I am enough,” somehow, their plan is backfiring!

The noise of new book releases has been so loud that it’s sounding like a gong or clanging cymbal (cf. 1 Cor. 13). I do not feel the love; I feel the laser on my forehead.

As someone who has been in advertising and marketing for almost twenty years, I recognize these carefully-crafted corporate campaigns for what they are: targeted advertising with sophisticated strategies of permission marketing with the goal of achieving larger pocket share. Thus, the target on my forehead.Enough!

Guess what? I’m not made of money! Or like my dad always said, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” I don’t have the means to buy the books and the bling and the blog-cessories. It’s not in my budget to attend all the conventions, conferences, and cruises. And I can no longer afford to spend my precious time following your fabulous Facebook feeds anymore. Not for a while, anyway.

I need to sort things out. I need space. Margin. Time to reconsider my personal priorities.

Please don’t get me wrong: I think you’re great, and I’m glad you wrote your book! I am reading it, highlighting important phrases, and it’s having an impact on my life. But the amount of hours your publisher is asking me to invest in your project has exceeded the limitations of my free time, and it’s now cutting into the time I should be spending on my own priorities. It’s time for me to set some boundaries.

I’ve decided to unfollow you on social media for a while. Until I have the chance to catch my breath.

You might be wondering how I’m going to invest all this newly freed-up time: Well, first, I’m going to clean my living room. Then, I’m going to sit on my comfy, chocolate-brown recliner in my sparkling clean living space and re-prioritize my life. I’ll carve out alone time and pray to remember what my “first things” are, and then, I will put them first again. I will schedule my priorities; read the Word; read your books; listen for God’s voice; seek discernment and clarity in my own life. And then, I will implement some much-needed change in my life. So, thank you for helping me clarify what I need to do. Like I said, you rock!

I’m guessing (and hoping) that once I have my priorities in proper order, I’ll be back on your virtual marketing team again. And by that time, you’ll probably have another book ready to launch. I will join the publishing party, only this time, on my own terms—my own schedule. I’ll say my best yes (or no), and we’ll celebrate your success again! (And maybe, someday, we can celebrate mine, too!)

So, ta-ta for now! I will miss you, but I know this is what I need to do today.

#unfollowing #stillafan,
Laura

Praying for Relief from Fire & Rain

Laura Zielke

Please join me in praying for relief from natural disasters, for everyone in harm’s way, the people who are reaching out to help them, and an end to the reign of terror by the group that shall not be named.

Why pray? Wouldn’t it be better to pray for the floodwaters to evaporate and the fires to spontaneously turn to glitter? Maybe. I don’t know that God works like that, though. What I do know is that when natural disasters strike, followers of Jesus Christ will rise up, reach out, and do whatever they can to help the people in need–without gender, race, or sexual orientation bias. They just want to help…as do first responders and people of other faiths and athiests. We pitch in to help each other, because we value life. And life is so much more than things.

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27, NLT)

Pray for Relief from Fire & Rain
Click to enlarge

I pray that God will help people who need to be rescued hang on long enough to be rescued. I pray that God will give stamina to fire fighters, water rescue crews, and average citizens who are rising above and beyond the call of duty to help thousands of people in desperate need. I pray that the water will recede in Louisiana. I pray God’s blessing and favor on everyone affected by the flooding–that they will be able to rebuild and be in better situation than they were before. I pray the fires will be extinguished in California. I @Prayat12 every day for mercy on our country during this insane election season. I pray for the end of the reign of terror under the group that shall not be named. And most of all, I pray for you, my friend, that you will recognize God’s hand moving in the midst of the storm–whether it be a rainstorm, a firestorm, or a lifestorm.

God never said life would be a cakewalk, but he did promise to see us through it to the other side.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13, ESV)