My Home is a Hardee’s in McDonough, GA

Hardee's

Hardee’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our youngest daughter, Kara, is a sophomore in high school, but in the last week of her 8th grade year, she and I, unwillingly, and at the mercy of my GPS, went on an adventure that left me extremely frustrated. Kara, on the other hand, I believe, actually enjoyed the incident. Ever since that day it has become an ongoing inside joke at my expense each time we travel. Honestly, I really don’t mind laughing about it now; but at the time, it was not funny at all!

Just to fill you in; that particular year, Kara was in Honor’s Chorus, and they were traveling to perform in Tifton, Ga. which is not very far from where we live, and I well-know the way there without the use of my GPS. I did, however, follow the school bus, since I did not know the exact location of the school where they would be performing.

I had planned on Kara returning with me to her school after their performance to meet with one of her teachers to catch up on some work. Leaving the school in Tifton, which did seem to be way out in the middle of nowhere, I wasn’t at all concerned about finding my way back. Clearly, I had my GPS if I couldn’t remember all the turns that we had taken.

Kara asked me if there was a Wal-Mart close by. I told her to input that information in the GPS. We started to head to Wal-Mart, but decided it was out of the way and would take too much of our time, seeing as her teacher would be waiting for us at her school. I told her that I remembered passing by a Walgreen’s on the way. We could just stop there.

After deciding not to go to Wal-Mart, we then changed our destination to “HOME”. I wasn’t exactly sure where I was in Tifton, and was not familiar with the particular area at all, but had my trusty Global Positioning System.

Not thinking anything at all about where “HOME” might be, I followed where my GPS was leading me, straight to Interstate 75. Now, for those of you that don’t know, normally to get to Tifton, I don’t take I-75, but I thought, after arguing for a few minutes with my wonderful navigation system, I would follow where it was guiding me and, hopefully, it would have me exit to my usual route before long.

My husband called and said that there were tornados reported in Albany,GA, which is approximately 40 miles from Tifton. In asking our location, I told him we were on 75. He asked, “Why in the world are you on 75?”  I explained to him about not knowing the surrounding area of the school, and how we had entered in the location of the nearest Wal-Mart, but changed our mind, then reset our destination to “HOME”, and this is where it led us. I told him how I had argued with the GPS, but it seemed determined for me to go this way, so I was looking for our normal course. He just said to be careful.

It started raining really hard. You could barely see the road signs. I tried to watch for the exit signs but visibility was minimal. I proceeded to drive at a slow even pace, thinking a few times that we may have to find a place to pull over. Finally the rain let up.

As Kara and I were riding along and talking, I realized nothing looked familiar to me. It seemed as though we had been on the road for quite a while, but I attributed it to the sluggish-moving traffic.

After stating my concerns of not recognizing anything at all, not even the names of any of the towns, we decided to pull off at the next exit. Kara asked, “You want me to check and see where “HOME” is?”  “Why would home be any different than it has ever been?” I said. “It has been the same place for the last 15 years”, I told her. “I don’t know.” she said.

She proceeded to check and found that “HOME” was Hardee’s in McDonough, Ga. “What the Heck?” Excuse me, but I don’t know how in the world that even happened. We live in Southeast Georgia, almost to the Florida line if that tells you anything.

Now, my daughter, Amber, was at UGA in Athens, for three years, and we would go and visit her. My dad and stepmom do borrow my GPS at times. I guess in the midst of all of this traveling and switching back and forth, somehow our home address got changed. Don’t ask me how, but it did.

When we finally got to a place to get something to eat, we found out that we were in Cordele, Ga. We had been headed to McDonough the whole time. In other words, we we had been traveling in the opposite direction since leaving Tifton.

Kara loved it. I was not having a good day at all. I was trying my best to get her back to the school so that she could get caught up on her work.

Although I knew my destination and my usual route, I allowed myself to become misdirected and distracted. I lost my focus of where I was originally supposed to be going. I ignored the quiet, calm, familiar voice of the Holy Spirit, that I sensed trying to get me to stop for a moment before leaving Tifton and check my GPS to find out WHY it was leading me on a different route. I was in such a hurry to get Kara back in time to finish her work that I became more focused on the task at hand, not Who gives me the strength to accomplish the task. That, I believe, is where I went wrong.

How many times in life do we start out doing what God has called us to do, then somehow wind up going in the opposite direction? We may continue doing good, and God can definitely still use us, but just think how much we could be missing out on if we fail to be still and quiet, and wait on Him, and listen for His direction.

Peter got distracted by the storm when Jesus called him out of the boat to walk over to Him. Peter was certain where he was going as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but as soon as Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to lose sight of his destination, and began to fear, doubt, and eventually started to sink, until Jesus stretched out his hand and grabbed hold of Peter. Matthew 14:28-33

For those who would like to stay in the center of God’s will, it can be true in life, whether in our professional careers or our personal relationships, we may set out knowing our original destination point, feeling certain we are still headed in the right direction, we might get deterred or distracted, oftentimes by circumstances that may arise or even by individuals that may be a part of our lives.

Ocean Hiking TrailIf we feel that God has called us to a specific purpose, our vision can become distorted and our hearing unclear when interrupted, maybe not intentionally or purposefully, by individuals that enter into our lives and possibly even family members, and cause us to veer off our initial path. But we can regain our focus if we stop and take our eyes off of everything and everyone else, return our focus on God.

Erwin McManus writes in his book Unleashed

“Yet even with all the noise pounding inside your head, you will still clearly hear the voice of Christ and His call if you listen carefully enough.”

Isaiah 30:19 promises us “Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go, whether to the right or to the left.”

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Isaiah 48:17

James 4:8 tells us that if we “Draw near to God He will draw near to us.”

In Hebrews 13:5, God says “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So many wonderful promises in God’s Word for His children, and He honors each and every one.

“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind.” Numbers 23:19

You are not called to live the same life as everyone else, your life is unique before God, your path is yours and yours alone” Erwin McManus – Unleashed

May you follow the path that God has for you, and if you get off course, just “Be still, and know that He is God.” Psalm 46:10

May you all be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )

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I’m Not Lisa

About a month ago I received a message on Facebook that read “Hey, Lisa, how are you? Hope you’re doing well. I would like to know about yourself and about your family. Tell me more about your life. What do you do? What’s your hobbies?  Looking cute, nice smile. I hope you always smile as now in your future life. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care.  Keep safe.”

Lisa Simpson

Upon first reading the message on my phone; I did not notice that it was addressed to Lisa. I just read it as if it were addressed to me, Sheri. As I read it the second time I realized that it was, in fact, addressed to Lisa.

So, was this message intended for Lisa and sent to me? Was this message actually intended for one of my daughters in the picture with me? Hmmm. But where did the name Lisa come from? I have no idea.

One thing I do know for sure is; I’m not Lisa.

This reminded me of a time when, Jamie, first asked me to sing on the worship team while Dana King was out. Anyone who knows Dana, knows; those are mighty big shoes to fill. As I sat with Jamie about to let him hear me sing for the first time; I said, “Well; I’m not Dana.” Jamie replied, “I don’t want you to be Dana; I want you to be Sheri.” Whew; that was a relief!

Several months ago it was brought to my attention that someone close to me had made some decisions that could adversely affect the rest of their life if they continued on in the manner in which they were going. Prior to this knowledge; God had laid it on my heart to encourage someone who I barely know. I felt that specific words of encouragement, at a specific time, were meant for this person. After learning, though, that such a thing could be happening with someone very dear to me without my knowledge; I doubted my ability to hear God’s voice correctly. How could I trust myself after neglecting someone I care so much about?

It was the last few weeks of school. I was driving to pick up my daughter, Kara. I was angry and disappointed with myself. How could I even think that God could use me to encourage someone with whom I had such little contact with, when someone exceptionally close to me was sinking so deeply right in front of me; and I couldn’t even see it? Why would God not show me this if I could really hear His voice? Maybe if I had been paying closer attention this would not have happened.

I’m literally explaining aloud to God as to why there is no way He could possibly use me, seeing as to how I have failed those closest to me. “I should have seen the signs, God!” “How could I not have noticed?” “Did you try to tell me and I wasn’t paying attention? Did they try to tell me and I wasn’t paying attention?” I am so distraught over this. I know if anyone were to see me rationalizing to what looked like thin air; they would think I am absolutely nuts!

I have cried so hard for so long that my eyes have begun to swell. By now I am to the point of sniffling quietly. There is no other sound in the car. I feel that I hear the word “CD”. At first I ignore it; because I have no faith in anything that I hear at all anymore. I am so discouraged. I feel that I hear “CD” again. I finally give in. I push the “on” button on my stereo and these words to the song “You Are So Good” by Jamie Nunnally begin to play “You’re not looking for perfection. Your desire is connection. So, now I’m changing my direction. You’re calling me. You’re drawing me closer. God Almighty, Lord of Glory. You are so good to me, so good to me.” (Just so you know; this is not at the beginning of the song. This just happened to be where the song started playing.) I begin to sob, not cry, sob.

“Ok, God”, I say, in between my sobbing , “so I don’t have to be perfect; and you just want a relationship with me. Is that what You are saying?” ”I’m trying to hear Your voice, but how can I trust myself if I am letting those down who are closest to me? I’m trying to let You use me, in whatever way You will. I just can’t seem to get things right. I’m sorry”, sobbing even harder now. “I’m really trying.” I’m so sorry.” Jamie’s song is still playing, I begin to try to sing “You are so good to me, so good to me.” “Your thoughts are higher. Your ways are better.” My voice is cracking and my nose is completely stuffed up. I am so glad I am alone in the car. I continue to try to sing, “Your love is deeper. I’m bound no longer.”

Joyce Meyer says in her book, “The Love Revolution”

Cover of "The Love Revolution"When I fail, I ask God to forgive me and start fresh; and I believe that is the best policy. We spend far too much time feeling bad about ourselves because of the mistakes that we make-and that is a waste of time. Only God can forgive us and He is quite willing to do so if we will simply ask Him. If we aggressively think about what we can do for others there will be no room in our minds for wrong thoughts.

I wish that I could tell you that after that moment in the car; I had no more doubts whatsoever; but in all honesty; I can’t do that. I still struggled. I would feel confident one moment of what God was asking me to do; then in the next; I was struggling again with doubt.

The following week, as I continued to seek God, in some quiet time alone with Him; I felt drawn to a specific page in Joyce Meyer’s book “Battlefield of the Mind” which read,

Cover of "Battlefield of the Mind: Winnin...

Cover via Amazon

“Here is another good thought to think: I believe God. I believe He is working in me no matter what I may feel or how the situation may look. The Lord has begun a good work in me, and He will bring it to full completion.” (Philippians 1:6  Philippians 2:13) It is in this manner that you can effectively use your weapon of the Word to tear down strongholds. I recommend that you not only purposely think right thoughts, but that you go the extra mile and speak them aloud as your confession.

Remember, God is delivering you, little by little, so don’t be discouraged and don’t feel condemned if you make a mistake.

Be patient with yourself!”

Just as Jamie didn’t expect me to be Dana; and I am definitely not Lisa; God doesn’t want or expect us to be anyone but the person He created us to be. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

When we fail or make mistakes, and we will; He doesn’t want us to waste time feeling condemned. Romans 8:1 We should just ask for and accept forgiveness and allow God to bring healing.

Quite honestly, I believe my fear and lack of confidence to pursue what God was asking me to do stemmed from my quest to attempt to do things on my own, in my own strength rather than rely totally on God. No, I’m not perfect; and if I wait until I reach perfection to do anything for God, then it will be too late. Jamie’s song “Now Is The Time”, written with Jim Courtney, that is on his new CD Hope Remains, just released today, inspired me to “Make today the day! To step aside and leave my independence and pride! And make it all about Jesus!”

John 15:5  For apart from me you can do nothing.

May you make today the day that you stop putting things off and make it all about Jesus! May you not allow any situation, circumstance or person cause you to doubt who God created you to be or the purpose in which He has called you to. And may you be extremely blessed,

Sheri Haskins : )