Choose Peace and Find Favor

I hate getting lost. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, I know I’m in for a test. It seems like it happens when I’m in a hurry to get someplace. You know the feeling, I’m sure.

It was a Friday night and my son, Jon, and I were out celebrating his 30th birthday. We had just finished a lovely meal at a Spanish restaurant in Houston and were headed to a dance studio to take a salsa lesson at 9 pm. We had less than 30 minutes to get there. On the way to the car after dinner, I started to get excited about the evening. It would be the first dance lesson my son has had and perhaps I was more excited than he. I had found a coupon for free entry if we arrived before 9:30.

“This is going to be so much fun!” I exclaimed as I settled into his new Nissan with the homemade birthday cake on my lap.

Now, Houston is not exactly the easiest place to get around. The city is huge and so are the highways. Jon plugged in the address of the studio into his trusty GPS and waited. And waited. And waited. No response.

“I know where this place is,” he announced and pulled out of the parking spot.

“We’re looking for 59 north,” he said.

As we headed out of the city, it seemed we were going into nowhereland.

“I don’t see any signs for 59 north,” I said. After circling the side roads, we eventually hit a dead end. Jon’s tone was becoming firmer and the tension in the air was thickening by the minute.

“Doesn’t look like we’re going to make the lesson, so we might as well go home,” he announced. It was like someone stuck a pin in my balloon of anticipation and excitement.

“Ok, if that’s what you want to do,” I surrendered.

Then Jon says: “I think the enemy is trying to get us into a fight to ruin the evening. But he’s not going to get his way. Forget this GPS. I think I know how to get us there,” Jon stated with a renewed sense of determination. My hopes started to rise again as he found the way to a highway.

It was 9:20 when we pulled into the parking lot of the studio.

“Let’s take a few breaths,” Jon said and we both sat in silence for a few minutes collecting ourselves.

Peace must be fought for.

We knew we had avoided a close call and we both accepted that fact that we had missed the lesson.

“At least we made it in time to get in free,” I offered.

We stepped into the studio. The place was hopping with activity.

“I guess the lesson is over,” I said to the gal checking us in at the door.

“No, as a matter of fact, it is going to start in 5 minutes.”

Jon and I looked at each other in amazement. We both knew what had happened.

“That’s God’s favor,” Jon says quietly. “Because we didn’t get into an argument in the car,”.

I was grateful for both the unexpected blessing of the dance lesson and for the fact that Jon was so wise to have learned this lesson so young. It had taken me years to realize this.

So, next time you find yourself in a tense situation that is out of your control, remember to defuse it by surrendering. When we choose peace instead of conflict, we not only save our energy and our spirits, but God smiles upon us with favor.

Love to hear your feedback on this adventure and until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

Looking For a Sign?

Seems like single guys and gals both have the same problem – how to read the signs that the person they are interested in is interested in them. This has long been an issue amongst my single friends, so I thought I’d share an anecdote about it, and do what I can to help the situation. I’m all for couples getting together and sometimes we shy folk, (yes, me included) have a bit of a time deciphering the signs. Now, I’m going to tell you up front, I’m going a bit out of my comfort zone with this post, so please do write and let me know your thoughts, ok?

This past Friday, I decided to go to the west coast swing dance. Most of you know that I love to dance, right?

Lord, please let me meet some new people tonight.


As I entered the ballroom, everyone was smiling and dancing, glad to release the cares of the week. The lights were dimmed and the rhythm of the music electrified the air.  I noticed a few new faces and smiled to myself.

Thank you, Lord. I see some new people here.

It wasn’t long before one of the new faces asks me to dance and to be honest, he was quite the dancer. Cute, too and plus, he made me laugh. I’m starting to feel something.

So the second time he asks me to dance, he starts telling me how hard it is for guys to know when a woman is interested. My ears perk up. Then he shares that he only gets phone numbers from women he isn’t interested in. Now I start to chuckle.

Hmmmm. Funny I feel the same way.

“Well, I have to tell you, we women have the same problem. And I will admit, I have been told I need to send louder signals.” We both smiled at the absurdity of it all and decided to enjoy the fun of the evening.

As I thought about the conversation on the way home, I analyzed why men are so afraid to ask. I think it basically boils down to two fears:
1)  the whole fear of rejection thing
2)  the ‘She’s not interested in me’  mentality

Both of which stem from a basic lack of – dare I say – faith. You knew I was bringing it around now, didn’t you?

Luke 11:9 puts it this way “Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened to you.” This is a promise, kind of like an if-then statement for all my techie friends. If we ask in faith, God promises to answer. It’s a fact. This verse has been tested by yours truly over and over, so trust me, it does work.

Somehow many of us have a hard time asking for what we want. We feel we are unworthy. Or God is too busy to answer our prayer. Or some other lack of faith excuse. Just as we women want you guys to ask, God wants us to ask. How much more of a sign do you need?

Lastly, consider this: if we don’t have the courage to step out in faith and ask, the answer will always be no. So what will you do next time? Will you still be looking for a sign? Or will you take a step of faith and ask?

Hoping this post encourages some of you to have a bit more faith, and to step out of your comfort zone. What situation are you hesitant about? Asking for a raise? A date? More time with your beloved? Until next time, keep looking up.

Ariel 

How to Connect with God

Ever feel like God is “up there somewhere”, distant? Think He’s too busy for you and your “stuff”? Perhaps you go to church on occasion and pray from time to time when things get really tough. You believe God exists, but you don’t really know him on a personal level.

Know God on a personal level? Is that even possible you may ask? The answer is a resounding YES! It is not only possible, God wants to connect with you on a personal level. Yes, YOU! He is crazy about you and cares about everything you care about. In fact, He wants to help simplify your life. He wants to make things go well for you. He wants to give you your heart’s desire. But, like any good relationship and like the saying goes, it takes two to tango.

What is the key component of a good relationship? Communication, right? It all starts with talking. Well, it’s the same thing with God. He wants us to talk to Him: not just on sundays, not just at church, not just when we’re in a bind. Let me give you a quick example.

The other night, I was contemplating what to do with my Friday evening.

“Lord, should I go to the movie or to hear the music?”

Go to the concert.

No, I’m not crazy and no, it was not an audible response, but let’s just say, I have learned to listen to that still small voice, for the most part that is.

“But, you know how much I love to dance and I hate sitting there with no one to dance with.. and besides – it’s been raining all afternoon”. 

Silence. I don’t think God likes to repeat himself.

So off I go to the concert. The sun began to peep its face out and the skies began to clear. The music starts. My feet are a-tapping and my hands are a-clapping. You get the picture. Next thing I know, out of my peripheral vision, I notice this guy walking towards my chair. I turn to look at him.

“Would you like to dance?” he asks. Now I will tell you I have been to this event many times over the summer and this is the first time someone from the crowd has asked me to dance.

“I’d love to,” I replied delighted. I could tell the guy enjoyed dancing as much as I do. He was smiling from ear to ear and in his own world.

 

“Thank you, Lord,” I uttered to myself. “Thank you for sending someone to dance with me tonight and for keeping the rain away. Thank you for a fun evening.”

Now this is just a simple story but it kind of gives you the idea. When we are unclear about a decision, or need assistance – say finding a parking spot, deciding what to do or where to go, it is to our benefit to talk to God about it. In fact, there are several scripture verses that speak to this:

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your plans straight.” (Prov. 3:6)
“Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find.” (Matt 7:7)
“Pray without ceasing,” (I Thess 5:17).

I encourage you to start talking to God about the little things in your daily life as well as the big ticket items. God is interested. When we have an attitude of gratitude, it shows our gratefulness for our blessings. You will see more of God in your life because God wants us to know him. Why do you think he created us? Share a situation in which you connected with God or post a comment on your thoughts about this post. I’d love to hear your story.

Until next time, keep smiling and keep looking up!

Waiting for Love – For All My Single Friends

It’s February and the month of one of my favorite holidays, Valentine’s Day. My son says every holiday is my favorite, perhaps that’s because I associate holidays with love, in some way, shape, or form.

Are you waiting for love? Wondering why your friends are all married and you’re not? Tired of the singles’ scene and staying home alone on the weekends? Take heart, dear one, you’re not alone and I have some advice to share with you. Now Ann Landers, I’m not, but I have learned some stuff along my journey to faith. When it comes to waiting for love – STOP WAITING! Love is all around you. Open your eyes and see it. Open your heart and feel it. Love often comes in unexpected forms and sometimes we have to step out in faith to experience it.

This past weekend, for example, I braved the snowy Baltimore weather to go country dancing about 30 miles from home. My mother would have had a fit, but I was bound and determined not to stay home two weekend nights in a row. After inviting several friends to join me, I made up my mind to go alone. “I’m going to trust God to get me there safely and provide people to dance with.”

“Well, what are you doing here tonight?” was the enthusiastic greeting when I walked in. “You braved the weather!”
“Yes, I did,” I said smiling after my 50 minute drive in the snow. I try to live by faith and not by fear, as most of you already know. And God rewards faith. Not only did I arrive safely, some great dance partners showed up and I was in heaven the entire evening, especially when they played one of my favorite songs,”Pontoon”, and I was out on the floor dancing with a wonderful partner.

The moral of the story is this: stop waiting for love. Go out and find happiness. Be with people you enjoy being around. Do what you love to do. Smile. Love is giving, caring, and sharing. Do that and basically, BE LOVE.

You’ll soon find out that once you start giving and sharing love, it will come back to you many fold. Until next time, send me all the little ways you show love to others and I’ll post them. As always, keep looking up!

Expect the Best

Ever make plans and then have them fall thru? Expect someone to show up and they’re a no-show? Bummer, huh? Well, it happened to me this past weekend but I took a different attitude and was amazed at how it all turned out.

I like to plan. I check out the fun things going on in the area and put them on my calendar in advance, so I will have something to look forward to. This weekend I was looking forward to seeing my current favorite band, NOMAD, at a local country dance joint. I had made plans with some friends a few weeks prior and we were all very excited when the weekend arrived.

It was fun getting all decked out in my texas wear, jeans, cowboy boots and glitz.
We arrived at the place in plenty of time to have dinner and sat down to look at the menu. Looking at a sheet of the upcoming events, I had a funny feeling.

“This says Amish Outlaws are playing tonight.” I felt something distressing in my spirit.
“I’ll ask the waitress,” my friend said. When the waitress came by my friend spoke up. “Who is the band tonight?”
“There is no band tonight,” the waitress replied. “There must have been a mixup. We have a DJ.”
I looked at my friend to see her reaction. She kept a happy face, bless her.
We decided to pray right then and there.
“Lord, you know how much we were looking forward to hearing this band. We trust that you will work this out for the best.” We decided that God must have something better in mind for us that evening and He certainly did.

After we ate, we went out to the dance floor to get a seat. An acquaintance of mine came over and invited us to join her group on the other side of the dance floor. It turned out there were several single men there who were excellent dancers.My friend and I danced the entire night. In fact, we were both worn out!

“I can’t wait to come back here,” my friend exclaimed, dewy with perspiration.
I smiled and was so glad.

The moral of the story is that even though something out of my control happened that could have put a damper on the entire evening, turning the situation over to the Lord and expecting Him to work it out for the best had amazing results. We refused to let disappointment ruin the evening and replaced it immediately with faith.

Has something like this ever happened to you? Drop me a note and share the experience. Expect the best and you might even get it! Until next time, keep looking up!

Loud and Clear

If you’re a parent, you know how frustrating it is when your kids don’t listen, right? You keep repeating yourself and it seems no one is paying any attention.

Sometimes I think my Heavenly Father must feel the same way about me.

Here’s a curious thing that happened over the weekend and you tell me what you think. First, I have to give you a little background. Over the years, I have dated several men who have been good dancers. The dancing was great, but sadly, none of the relationships worked out and I have suffered great emotional pain as a result.

So there’s this guy that I have been dancing with on occasion lately who is a really good dancer. I feel like I am in heaven when I am dancing with him. Got the picture? We danced to this one song recently, and the moment made a lasting impression.

Well, the same song came on the radio over the weekend, and I started dancing around my condo dreamily. All of the sudden, the building smoke alarm system goes off chirp chirp chirping and snaps me right out of my revelry.

I knew what it meant immediately.”Stop thinking about that guy. You know where it will lead if you go down that path again. Danger, danger.” The message was LOUD and CLEAR. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed, but I knew that the message was for my own protection and well-being.

Now you might laugh and say it was just a coincidence, but I know the Lord. And there are no coincidences with Him. If you could have been there and heard that alarm go off, it would have scared you smack into obedience too.

Ever had something like this happen to you? What was the message and did you listen or ignore it and what happened then? God is still speaking to us today and He will use any method to get our attention. The question is will we listen and obey, or not?

Until next time, keep looking up!