Lessons from the Stylist’s Chair

“Those who watch and wait for favorable winds never plant, and those who watch and fret over every cloud never harvest.” Ecc. 11:4  “Thinking ‘Here goes nothing’ could be the start of everything.”  Drew Wagner “Are we cutting today?” she asked as I sat down in the chair. Well, at least she asked, I thought. She has been known to cut first and apologize as an afterthought.  I looked in the mirror, not sure there was much to cut. “The pixie is in style,” she informed me in a “I-really-want-to-get-my-scissors-in-your-hair” kind of way. “Hmmm… is it?” I chuckled. My hair has been various lengths and shades over my 64 years.  As a child, I had a thick mane that my mother was very intentional about growing. By the time I was in junior high school, it hung well past my shoulders. The thought of cutting it never entered my mind -- even during my “I’m-Black-and-I’m-Proud-More-Power-to the-People” Afro days.  But as I grew older, an inch or two here for the health of my hair. A snip or two there for some kind of manageable style. Then came the day when I was finally ready for the big chop.  And once it was gone, I never looked back. Long hair was a thing of the past. But I’d never had it pixie short. “I could give you a long pixie,” she said.   Long pixie? Isn’t that a bit of an oxymoron? But it’s summer, mid-June and we’re already seeing “feels-like” temps…

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A Father’s Love

I stood in the hallway as my father took the call.   He sat on the edge of the bed and listened intently, occasionally asking questions.  His baritone voice sounded calm and collected as he said, "Thank you," and hung up the phone. Then I saw my father do something I'd rarely seen.  He fell across the bed and sobbed. His only son had died. My older brother, Phillip, had been born with brain damage.  He was born deaf and with a host of other physical and mental challenges.  My parents had tried to care for him at home as long as possible, but that became too arduous for them both physically and emotionally.  It was taking a toll on their marriage my mother had told me years later. A decision had to be made that my father resisted.  But eventually he conceded, and Phillip was placed in a long-term care facility in Columbus. I listened as my father wept and realized his tears were not only for the loss of life, but the loss of a lifetime.  This was his son, the one created in his image,  the one he'd prayed for, the one who would carry on the family name, his beloved.  The love was still so strong and wide,  so deep and long, so fierce and unchanging.    The fact that they had never been able to have that intimate bond that a father desires with a son had not lessened that love.  The fact that he'd…

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He Sent Me After Glory

“For thus says the Lord of hosts: “He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.”  Zechariah 2:8 It had been one of the most challenging seasons of my life. Nothing made much sense to me. While God was doing some wonderful things in and through me, my life seemed rife with contradiction. What I was living and what I had envisioned for my life seemed diametrically opposed. That which God had spoken concerning purpose and destiny and my day-to-day reality seemed completely out of alignment.  I questioned some of my choices (and I think those around me questioned them too). When people asked what was going on with me, I couldn’t begin to articulate it. I was confused and exhausted. So I made reservations and check into a hotel for a couple of days.   I wanted to sleep, to write, to pray, to listen. I wanted – I needed --  to hear anything from God that might make the comedy of errors that had become my life make sense. “This isn’t the life I chose for myself.  This isn’t the way I saw things going” I wrote in my journal as I lay sprawled across the king-sized bed. “You wrote that?” my pastor asked when I shared with him about my short time away. My pastor, John W. Stevenson is a gifted songwriter. He had recently spoken and led worship at a worship conference in…

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Reflections at the Foot of the Cross

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” -- Luke 23:34a  At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light, And the burden of my heart rolled away, It was there by faith I received my sight, And now I am happy all the day!” ― Isaac Watts I will never forget the day I gave my life to Christ.  It was a sweltering Sunday morning in June -- Children’s Day -- and our little Baptist church was packed.  I sat fidgeting on the front pew next to my father. I was eight years old and I had made up my mind. This was the day. And so when Pastor Lewis offered the invitation to discipleship as he had so many other Sundays before, I leaned over and whispered in Daddy’s ear, “I want to be saved.”  He smiled and nodded, and I nervously stepped forward. Pastor Lewis knelt down, cradled me in his arms and, after a series of questions, welcomed me into the family of God. I was saved! That was the first of many “salvation” moments.  My seeming inability to get it right made me think that perhaps it hadn’t "taken" the first time.   And over the years I’d rededicate my life to Christ and then rededicate my rededication. (I attended college in the 70s. Need I say more?) I spent time these days leading up to Resurrection Sunday reflecting on the greatest event in all…

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Go For It

"... I have come with the sole purpose for you to have life in its most complete form."  John 10:10b  (The Mirror Bible) “Go for it, Deb” the text message read. Go for it?  Seriously?   I’d only been  joking when I suggested I limber up my fingers so I could play the piano for our worship team at my friend's mother's homegoing celebration. Go for it?  I think not. You see, I don’t play. Well, I do play.  I play when I need to work out harmonies for our church’s worship team. I play when notes and lyrics keep bouncing around in my head, pleading to be set free.  I play in my yellow-walled writing/prayer room to enjoy intimate times of worship,  when I need to feel God’s presence and hear His voice singing over me. I play in the privacy of my home (and some times at the church. . . when no one else is in the building). I don’t play publicly. I used to play publicly (and actually was paid to do it. Go figure).  But, I haven’t played publicly for a long time – a very, very long time. I haven’t needed to.  I am surrounded by incredible musicians whose skill levels supersede mine to the nth degree. And I am very happy to let them do what they do.  That’s not false humility; it is simple wisdom.  I know what I can do well and gladly do it. But when there are those around…

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In the Reset

“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18  The smells of Thanksgiving  Day dinner wafted throughout my house, and I sat, waiting for nieces, nephews, and puppy to descend on my home for the festivities.  As I waited, I  reflected on the faithfulness of God and the myriad of ways He demonstrates His love to me.  My heart  swells whenever I think of all I have to be grateful for -- not just what He's done for me, but what He continues to do in me.   "Thank You" cascaded from my lips like a waterfall. I’m grateful for His mercy extended when I was at my craziest, living my life to the beat of the Isley Brothers -- “It’s your thing; do what you wanna do!” I am learning to be merciful because of His great mercy towards me. I’m grateful for His grace that enables and empowers me to discover and then become the unique individual He has always known me to be.  It’s because of His great grace that I am learning  to give grace to others, no matter where they may be in the process of discovery and becoming. I am grateful for His patience towards me in this process. I’ve not always cooperated with Him. But the Lord has always patiently waited, letting me know that long before  I  chose to trust Him, He’d chosen me. Letting me know that long before I fell…

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