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The Bottom Line - Girlfriends in God - March 3, 2016

March 3, 2016
The Bottom Line
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I thought I was so Godly … until we decided to move. If you want to measure your faith, just decide to pack up everything you own, put it in cardboard boxes, and move.

And if you really want to test the strength of your faith, decide to basically gut the house into which you are moving. Yep! That ought to do it!

Paint. I know a fresh coat of paint can make old walls dance with new life, but painting is also messy, time consuming, and the source of total chaos. Icky drop cloths are sprawled everywhere, paintbrushes have to be cleaned in a foul-smelling liquid, cans of paint must be lugged from room-to-room along with paint trays that are guaranteed not to spill … until they do. And don’t get me started on the whole taping thing.

New carpet. New carpet is a beautiful thing … unless those who install the carpet somehow got the impression we didn’t want said carpet in the hallway. A communication error they said. Really? And of course they had to order more carpet. An old piece of old carpet was put down in the hallway so our feet would not bleed from the carpet tacks. Now the only thing we had to worry about was not tripping and falling over the flaps of carpet in every doorway. But I did … trip and fall.

The 20-year-old appliances had to be replaced, but we found a sweet deal on an appliance bundle. However, when all of the appliances came, there was no refrigerator. No one knows why – no explanation – just an appliance bundle mystery. When the refrigerator magically appeared three weeks later, it was an inch too tall for the space we had carefully measured. My husband and a friend took down and trimmed the cabinet above the refrigerator … and it finally fit.

The bathtub had to be replaced in the master bathroom. The first time I used it, our daughter called my husband to tell him to tell me to stop taking a bath immediately because water was leaking on our son-in-law who was working in the basement at the time.

We needed a new kitchen sink. The first one delivered was the wrong color. The second one had a crack in it. The third one had a side that was in pieces. When the fourth one came, I hid in my study until the plumbers installed it and assured me all was well.

I could go on … I really could, but you get the idea. I wish I could tell you that I handled every glitch, mistake, and hiccup in this move with a sense of humor and a good attitude, but I didn’t. I could blame it on the fact that I was tired and in pain, because I was.

I have Scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis in my spine, which accounts for the severe back pain. I was also exhausted. After my last speaking event of the year in the first week of December, I raced home and packed like a crazy woman. Since we moved ourselves with the help of friends, time was running out! Our closing date was changed three times which meant our moving date landed in the middle of the week during which our Christmas services were held. Translation: Our church has 14 Christmas services and my husband is the Lead Teaching Pastor of our church.

I could blame my impatience during this move on many things and people would back me up. But God doesn’t.

I could justify my negative attitude toward people who did not do what they said they would do during this move. But Scripture doesn’t.

I moaned and complained at times like I was being persecuted in some way. How absurd! I was inconvenienced … and that is a far cry from being persecuted. And the Holy Spirit will not let me off the hook at all on this one.

In more than 40 nations around the world today – including America - Christians are being persecuted for their faith. In some nations it is illegal to even own a Bible. Followers of Christ face harassment, arrest, torture, and even death.

I have personally ministered in countries where men, women and children live each day wondering where their next meal is coming from. Some sleep on cardboard boxes under tin roofs while lepers huddle together in colonies. Mothers have lost their children to Aids, starvation, and disease. Clean water is a foreign concept as are clothes and education.

I look around … and I am ashamed. I try to assuage my shame with the fact that I went through every single item we own and donated hundreds of those items to our church’s thrift store. But I still have so much while many have so little.

The bottom line is this: I need to refocus and adjust my perspective. Do you?

Life is never going to be perfect this side of heaven. Never! If you are waiting for every problem to be solved, every circumstance to be just right, every issue to be resolved, you are in for a long wait.

Set aside your comfort.

Forfeit your convenience.

Choose to serve God to the fullest whenever and wherever you can … and while you’re at it, choose joy.

Let’s Pray

Father, please forgive me for my complaining spirit and petty whining about things that simply do not matter. Give me an eternal perspective. Help me focus on what does matter – my character – not my comfort.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

When you face a difficult situation, where do you first turn for help? 

What is your attitude about those difficult situations in your life?

How does that attitude need to change?

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