Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If You Stumble

A very good friend gave me a plaque for Christmas. She told me about it the day she got it. "I saw something today that made me think of you, so I bought it," she said proudly. Gifts like that are fun, you know the giver saw something of you in it. I like that.

When she gave it to me as part of my Christmas present, it was a very nice plaque. It said, "If you stumble, make it part of your dance." Now, I really liked the statement, but wasn't sure if that meant I stumbled a lot when I danced or not. She's known me for a fair number of years and watched me as I worked with my clogging dance team. Both her daughters dance with me and she was in a show with us once, too. I really think she was referencing what I tell my dancers. I always tell the team, "keep dancing, no matter what." I always stress the importance of entertaining the audience and having the confidence to keep going. Keep a smile on your face and the audience may not even notice your mistake and if they do, they will appreciate your effort, so like the plaque said, if you stumble, make it part of the dance. I've preached this to my dancers for as long as I've had the team. You know, sometimes you have to careful of what you tell others to do....especially when you're in a leadership role.

We were at a performance, a little girls beauty pageant in a small town where everyone knows everyone and family is rooted in the community. Every little precious contestant had their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbors, and teachers all at the pageant to watch the little darlins get all dolled up and strut their adorable lil selves all over the stage. We were the entertainment while the judges scores were being tabulated, so needless to say, no one moved and it was a packed house; standing room only.

I always talk to the team before a big show like this and we pray. "Remember, keep dancing, no matter what! If the music skips (this was honestly before tapes and cds, so we were using records on a record player), just pick it up and keep dancing." The prayer usually goes something like, "Dear Lord, please help us remember to glorify your name in everything we do. As we dance, Lord, please help us put a smile on the faces and hearts of those that watch us today, bring joy into their lives, Lord." Well....again, I really need to watch what I pray for.

Two of my dancers were going to do a duet together. They'd worked so hard on the number. They choreographed it and taught it to the team, and since we had a 30 minute show to fill, they were going to do the routine as a duet. They changed it a little, and I helped them - I knew the routine and the moves it took to make it a duet as well as they did. Back in the day, I could remember things a lot better than I do now.

Good thing I knew the routine, because one of the duet members got sick and couldn't make the performance. The other girl was devastated, she so wanted to dance"her" routine. So, me being the versatile director I was at that point, and oh so much younger, told her not to worry. I would dance the routine with her. It came time for us to dance. We switched our reversible skirts in the changing building, and waited for the prior number to be over. Then, she and I took the floor after I announced the she wrote the routine with a friend that couldn't make it and I was the "stand in". The child and her parents were just busting with pride.

"Wild Wild West" started playing and the first 8 beats were hip shakes....you know, just bouncing your hips up and down. We had on a fun belt with guns in the holsters and everything. The guns were part of the routine that would come out at some point. We started moving around, people were clapping, and crowd was getting into our performance. Between the two of us, we had enough stage presence to fill the park. We were bringing down the house. This felt really good.

Oh, wait....THAT didn't feel so good...what on earth..... Something around my waist snapped, gave way, or something. I bobbled a little in the dance, but kept going. The other dancer gave me a look, as she sensed the wrong step, but quickly recovered as I picked up the steps again.

But then, the unbelievable happened to this mother of three. I felt another snap around my waist. In that second, as I tried to keep dancing, I twirled, stopped, and my skirt kept twirling....all the way around and down to my knees. The only thing around my waist was a gun belt!!! I tied tried to stop the skirt with my elbow as I felt it going down in the turn..but there was no saving it.

As quick as I could, after recovering from the turn, I reached down and grabbed the skirt. On its way up, it got stuck in the gun holster....holy smokes! I miss a step, then a 4 count and now I'm up to an 8 count I've totally lost.

My poor 14 year old partner did everything she could to keep dancing and started calling the steps to me through her smile. I managed to get the skirt up, but guess what? It's time to twirl again! This time, the skirt didn't slow down, and didn't make a pit stop at the knees.....it went straight to the floor!

Did I mention there were grandparents there? I saw women covering men's eyes and mothers covering their children's faces in the flash of a second!!! The Ray Stevens song, "The Streak" had new meaning for me now, only it wasn't "Don't look ETHYL!" It was "Don't look FRED!!" I also heard at least one wolf whistle, if not more, in the midst of everything.

Now, if I followed what I'd told my dancers for years, I would have stayed out there and danced, but all sense of what I should do left me!!! I ran off the stage to the small building we had been lining up in and making our costume changes in. I left a poor dancer on the stage that DID practice what I told her and just kept going. I believe she got a standing ovation when she was done, and if she didn't, it was only because the audience was still in shock and couldn't move!

Before I go any further, you need to know that we wore bloomers underneath our skirts. The skirts were pink and black and the bloomers were black. They were plain, no ruffles on the butt or anything, so they just looked like underwear, basically, but they really weren't. We wore them over our hose and everything else....but to dance in them, stand alone, with my skirt around my knees, at my age, well, just wasn't happening. I'm sure my face was as red as the stripes on the American flag in that flash of an instant.

As I stood in the room trying to fix my skirt during the last minute of the song, I wondered how on earth I was going to walk back out on that stage and talk to those people! I considered just staying in there until Little Miss Whateveritscalled County is crowned, and everyone goes home. Then, I considered just changing into my street clothes and sneaking out and running to my car.


So, as I was deciding which of those two choices would best suit my humiliation at that point, I remembered something.

The team.

The group of children and adults that I said "The show must go on" to at least a million and one times. The group of people that depended on me to announce the shows, to coordinate the show, to give them that look of encouragement when they seem a little unsure of themselves, you know, me, the director, the leader, the guide.....I would be letting them down if I hid out in the room or just ran for the van.

I had to put aside my vanity and face my audience. So, I start getting myself ready to go back on stage....I just won't look into the eyes of the people - over their heads, just slightly..... try to picture them all naked......remember, they all put their pants on one leg at a time. Maybe Grandpa didn't see anything and his heart wasn't affected. Oh my! How could this have happened? What went wrong? What happened to me wasn't anything I did, it was just "one of those things" that sometimes happens. Do I make mention of it when I go back on stage, or just act like it didn't happen? The song is nearing an end, and panic is welling up in my throat. I had switched my skirt and pinned it 14 times by now. It was going no where. Do I tell Grandma that it won't happen again?

When the song was over, I walked back out onto the stage and thanked my little duet partner for continuing the dance and introduced the next dancer, who was an older teenager that never smiled when she danced, except for this one performance. I didn't make mention of the incident, as I thought that would be best for those with pace makers in the audience. I just announced the rest of the show and danced with my hand held firmly to my skirt, even though it was pinned. Yes, I missed some hand movements, but such was life.....and EVERYONE in the audience knew why, that skirt wasn't going anywhere!

Oh my word, did I catch if from the team when we were done!!! "I thought you said...." and on and on and on. I wasn't going to live this one down for a long time. Many of the parents recorded the show, and I fully expected to see it on America's Funniest Home Videos at anytime. I showed my dancers, though, that anything can happen to anyone at any given point in time. And while, keep dancing no matter what, might be a good motto, there are times when you just can't do it.

My dancers learned that I wasn't perfect. It was a hard lesson for all of us that day.

I'm not perfect. I don't do everything right. I do make mistakes. I am reminded of this just about everyday of my life. My children remind me, my spouse reminds me, my boss and coworkers remind me, and the songs on the radio even remind me, that I'm not perfect. In certain situations, I do have to try at perfection more than at other times, but all I can ever do is strive. I think sometimes, the closer I get, the further away I really am. When one area of my life seems to be in order and I've got everything together, another area will unravel uncontrollably and I'm left there standing with it all around my knees, just fumbling to pick it up and put it back together again.

That's when you have to do just that, though. Pick it up, and put it back together again, and ask God for help and guidance to make it all go back together right. Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." That's comforting to me. I don't have to be perfect, I don't have to make the path right or straight. All I have to do is trust in God, acknowledge Him, and He will do the rest for me.


It takes a lot of courage, sometimes, to fix things that have gone wrong, though. That day, the hardest thing I did was open that door and walk out there, fully clothed, and with my smile on. I knew everyone was embarrassed for me, and I figured some never wanted their spouses to see any part of me ever again, but I had to go back out there. It wasn't that I felt the need to "save face" as much as I needed to show the young people with me how to handle something like this with grace and poise. But, inside me, there wasn't a fiber of my being that wasn't petrified of the reaction I might have gotten.

2 Timothy 1:7 God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline." I prayed as I opened the door, "God, be with me, give me the words to say and help me avoid the ones I shouldn't say. Guide me, God. This is an embarrassing moment for me, and I need to come out of this with dignity and pride. Please, be here, at my side and show your strength through me."

Now you might not think that this was an appropriate time to call upon God the Father to get me out of this mess, but in my mind, at the time, He was the ONLY ONE that could get me out of this mess. He's never let me down when it was important.

And he didn't that day. I had people come up after the show and tell me they were impressed and amazed I returned. "Good for you!" they said. "You are excellent example for this young team of dancers," they said.

Years later, I saw the video of this actually happening. I was just as embarrassed and every feeling came rushing back to me that I experienced that afternoon, but by this time, I knew the end of the story, and I knew I'd rise above the sheer terror and embarrassment, with the help of God, and end the show with a spirit of power, love for the team, and the self-discipline to not flee.

By the way, my skirt was always pinned after that, and we never switched sides during a show again! I do learn!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I can remember watching game shows during the summer months when I was out of school. There were shows like Truth or Consequences, The Dating Game, Hollywood Squares, and the ever popular Let's Make a Deal.

I would watch Let's Make a Deal in total anticipation wondering if I would make the same choices the contestants made. I think the game appealed to me because there was no knowledge needed to become a contestant. People showed up dressed to the degree of bizarre trying to get on the show. If you were the first to have what the host asked for, you might be a contestant. A boiled egg, for example, might be the object he was looking for. The first person to him with the egg would become a contestant.

Once the contestant was selected, they would be presented with choices. "Okay, Miss Cindy Contestant, would you like to see what's behind door #1?" And they would show the door that was decorated with appeal ling bright colors, flowers, and it would be very attractive.

"Or would you like what is behind Curtain #2?" And they would show an old ratty, nasty curtain, dull brown, ugly that looked like it hung in a movie theater that was demolished and they took the curtain, shook it out, and hung it on the show.

They zoom in on the face of the contestant. So far, it seems to an easy choice.

"Or, Miss Cindy Contestant, would you like what lovely Miss Molly Model has in her hand?" And the camera zooms to a small box, just big enough to hold a bazillion carat diamond ring.

So. Miss Cindy Contestant has 30 seconds to decide. Everyone in the audience is screaming what they would choose at her. "Well, Miss Cindy Contestant, I need your choice," the host says impatiently.

You never knew what would be behind the door, the curtain, or in the box. Sometimes, the pretty door would have something like an old mule behind it, and the ratty curtain would have a brand new car behind it, and the box would indeed have a bazillion carat diamond ring in it. Other times, it would be just as it would seem, the nice gift behind the nice door, the gag prize behind the ugly door, and the obvious prize in the obvious wrapping.

The contestant never knew what was behind the door, and it basically just came down to whether or not they were lucky and made the right choice.

We are faced with choices everyday. But, as a Christian, we don't have to go to the doors with just luck on our side. God is there to help us make the choices. I, however, have a huge problem accepting the fact that God puts doors in front of me to go through. Do you have that problem?

It goes something like this:"Hello, God. Its me again, Lori. I want to thank you for all the blessings in my life (and I list a few). Lord, please forgive me for all the wrong I've done against you and my fellow man (and I list way too many). There as so many in need, Lord, so please help ( and I list what I can remember and ask Him to help those who have escaped my memory)." I continue, "Lord, I sense there is something you want me to do. I want to be in your will and do your bidding. Please make me your servant and allow me to do what is needed in your Kingdom. Show me the door to go through, just show me the way, and I will follow."

Ever prayed that? Ever asked God to show you the way He would have you go? Ever ask Him to present you with new opportunities and doors?

Ever just stand there when He shows you the door?

Ever get to the door and get within inches of the door nob and pull back and go, "Now wait, is this a door that GOD has put here for me to go through? Or is the door here for some other reason? Why is this door here?"

"Uh, hello, God, it's me again, Lori. Remember me? I'm the one that's been praying for you to please give me new opportunities to serve in your name. There's this opportunity that presented itself at church today and I'm just wondering if you sent it? Am I supposed to do it? Is this what you want me to do?"

Don't you know God has to just sit on His thrown sometimes and yell down at us, "DUH!!!!! What's it going to take to get through to you? I don't want to come down there and walk through the door for you! Show me YOUR FAITH!!! You asked, I answered. If I do it all for you, what will you learn? HEEEELLLLLOOOOO!"

I know He has to at least think that with me. He's thinking it right now, actually. I hesitate so much, when God puts everything right there for me, I still "don't get it" sometimes.

Do I honestly think that after sincere prayer to the One that knows me, knows my heart, and loves me beyond comprehension that He won't put me to work in his Kingdom? No. I believe He will. I believe that is His desire. And yet, I hesitate to go through the door, to open it, to see what lies on the other side. I am afraid to pick door number 1 because I fear what could be on the other side.

First, if it's not "of God", will I know it and be able to close the door? Second, and probably more scary than the first, if it is "of God" and I go through it, will I measure up to the task? Will I be able to do it?

So, while it's possible that Satan himself could be presenting me with Door #1 and I open it, my fear questions God's ability to get me out of there. Mistake.

And, if I think God is going to put me in a situation that I'm not ready for or capable of doing, I fear that I might disappoint Him. Again, mistake.

God tells us time and time again not to fear Him. If you believe God loves you, then you have no reason to fear him. 1 John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love, for perfect love cast out fear."

So, if you think God has placed a door in front of you, if you've prayed for it and now it's there, if you sense God working in your life whether you've asked specifically for something or not, go through the door. Walk on in. Psalm 56:10-11 also tells us, "In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise - in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can man to do me?" This goes along the line of if God is for you, who can be against you, and honestly, does it matter?

So, choose Door #1 if you believe that's where God is leading you to go. Don't be afraid to trust in His perfect love. If it's not right, He'll get you out of there, but chances are, it will be the right choice. That's the joy of being a child of God and having His divine intervention in your life.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go practice what I preach....Door number one, HERE I COME!!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Smoking Debut

The other morning, I got behind a school bus. Zzzzooooommm!!!! Back in time I traveled as I reflected on my school days. For some reason, I went back to high school and my first, and only, publicly smoked cigarette.


I was a freshman in high school and was highly interested in a young man. I wanted to get his attention. I knew he smoked and so I wanted to come out of my "goodie two shoes" lifestyle and impress him by smoking a cigarette with him one night at the skating rink.


So, I started practicing. Yes, practicing. I knew enough about smoking to know that you could look pretty stupid taking that first "drag" as they call it, coughing, turning an interesting blue/green color, and possibly passing out. I certainly wasn't going to impress this hunk of a 14 year old that way! A veteran smoker could also "inhale" and that separated the novices from the pros. So, I had to figure out how to inhale. I knew enough to know that you have to work up to inhaling and passing the smoke out of your nose. I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing.


Back in that day and age, (and yes, I used to walk to school uphill both ways!) you could buy cigarettes at any age and out of vending machines. I didn't have the nerve to actually go into a store and pay for them, so I ventured up to the neighborhood motel on my trusty bicycle and bought a pack. I got the long thin dark brown ones because I thought they looked slick. Then, I rode my bike down to the u-store-it units by my house.

The first cigarette was the hardest. I took a drag, a HUGE one, in attempt to force it down, and the instant the smoke filled my entire body, I just know I turned "Incredible Hulk" green!!! I looked at the cigarette as if it were an alien that has just invaded my body, my head felt light and my stomach, felt well, oh my word, SICK! I stood there a few moments convincing myself I wasn't going to die, took another four or five puffs (at puffs now, not drags....baby steps), and then uncontrollably, threw up right there on the spot. I obviously needed to go to the other end of the storage building next time! Good thing I didn't do THAT in public!!!


The second practice session was almost as bad, but I kept my cookies down until the trip home - lost them about half way home. By the 7th trip, I was able to take a couple of drags without getting too sick at my stomach, but I still got light headed every time. I never smoked more than one in a practice session. I would have to make up some excuse if the time allowed for two in front of my friends and "him". "Oh, well, I guess I smoked the rest of the pack earlier today! I'm out!" something, anything.

So Friday night came and I thought I was ready. I was meeting him at the skating rink. I was going to reveal my new, cool habit, and impress the fire out of him! I could hardly wait. My girlfriends mother took us to the rink and my mother was going to pick us up. The way the night went was the open skate for a couple hours, then then would be a break where they swept the floor and made all the skaters clear the floor. That's when I planned to make my move. I was counting the songs before the break in high, nervous anticipation.


So, the time finally came. BREAK. We got our table and my friend, the guy I was wanting to impress, his friend, and me all sat at a table. The guys pulled out their cigarettes. I reached into my skate bag, oh so very cool and nonchalantly, and got mine out. Oh my, were they impressed!!! They thought it was just way cool. I lit the cigarette and had it in between my fingers, just looking as slick and grown up as any of those women in the advertisements!


Now, my mother was never early for anything, much less an hour early!!! But this particular night, she walked in that early. Like the wind, she was behind me. I had no clue my mother was there, but the look on my friends faces told me that something wasn't right. She reached down, took the cigarette out of my hand, and walked over to another table, sat down and finished the cigarette.


My friends just sat there, mouths hanging open, wondering what was going to happen to me. I was just numb, but was already working on my defense in my head. What I didn't know was why we weren't supposed to smoke. We were 14, "teen" being emphasized in that word, which meant one thing to those of us that were "teens" and a whole other thing to those that were "parents". There wasn't anything illegal about teenagers smoking. Most parents, however, mine included, did not want their child to smoke. My mother had made my brother smoke/eat a pack of cigarettes when she busted him smoking a couple years ago. What he could not smoke, she made him eat. I was a little afraid of what she might do to me. I still got lightheaded smoking one, so to smoke a whole pack, nonstop, was not something I was looking forward to. I was certain I wouldn't survive the ordeal. I wouldn't live to be sweet 16.


My mother smoked like a freight train. It was just something everyone did in that day. The surgeon general was just getting on their high horse about the repercussions of smoking to your health. None of us wanted to listen to him though. People had been smoking cigarettes for years. But, truthfully, I hated it when she smoked. I hated getting her cigarettes for her, getting her lighter, and cleaning out the ash tray. I hated the smell, I hated everything about it.


Then why? Why was I so determined to do something that I disdained my mother doing? That's easy. Peer pressure. Boy pressure. The pressure to be noticed. The pressure to fit in. I would do something that I had no desire to do, just to get attention. Just how stupid is that? But admit it, you've done it at some point in your life, too. We all have. It's part of life. It's part of learning.

My mother knew my heart though. She knew I did not WANT to smoke. The ride home from the rink was a quiet one. My girlfriend hugged me before getting out of the car, as if to say goodbye. I'm sure my friends were placing bets on how much trouble I'd get in and whether I'd ever be allowed to see them again in my lifetime or not.

My mother never said a word about it.

I repeat, my mother never said a word about it.

I certainly wasn't about to bring it up. If she wasn't going to discipline me, I was pretty okay with that! When I told my friends she didn't do anything to me, they didn't believe me. They assumed that the punishment was so severe, I couldn't talk about it.

My mother never said a word about it, and I've never touched another cigarette. So, did she discipline me? Of course she did, and very effectively.

I think that my mother should have gotten "Mother of the Year" or something for that move. Had she made a big deal out of this cigarette, this attempt for me to fit in, the end result could have been very detrimental. Instead, what she did was take all the peer pressure to smoke off of me. My friends knew I'd been busted and thought I was scared to death to tough another cigarette. Who knows when she'd show up and bust me again?

Many times, throughout my life, daily, my heavenly father has had to step in and discipline me. He's had to gently guide me in a way that I would listen and understand, just like my mother did this time.

Psalm 103:8-12 tells us, "The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our inequities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

So, while my mother just simply removing the cigarette from my hand in front of my friends might have appeared to be one of the worst things that could have ever happened to me in the eyes of my friends, it was the best thing she could have ever done for me. Without anger, she impressed upon me her desire for me not to become addicted to something she knew was not good for her and didn't want me to fall into the same trap. In one move, she took every bit of peer pressure to smoke off of me.

God's love for us is so wide, we can't comprehend it. The way He disciplines us is with such tenderness, we know it's there, but it's a pill we can swallow. His intention is to make us better people, closer to His likeness, closer to Him, and He knows each one of us so fully and so completely, He knows exactly how extreme the punishment needs to be.

That same verse of Psalms goes on to say, "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." God knows everything there is to know about us. He knows what our choices are going to be before we make them. Like I said, my mother was never on time for anything, but THAT night, she was an hour early. AN HOUR!!!! I don't think it was chance. I was making a bad choice for my future and God interceded in my life and fixed things before they went too far.

I could have ignored the warning, but I was relieved at the warning and heeded it with eagerness! I was more than glad to put the "cancer sticks" as my children came to call them later in my life, down, forever.

I'm thankful that I have a Father that will step into my life and correct my direction when He needs to. As my children grew up, I knew that I wouldn't always be able to be there to discipline them, so I prayed that God would put people in their path that would direct them in the right way when I was unable to do so. I guess I never realized until somewhat recently, that God does the same thing with me. He puts people in my life to give me sound advice, to make me smile when I need it most, and to slap me into reality and help me stay on God's path when I need to. And in His own way, God talks to me and tells me what He expects of me.

So, my smoking debut was very short, about 10 minutes, but the effect of that debut has lasted a lifetime for me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Zit

You know, when you've had a bad day, a bad week, a bad month, or in my case, since it's only January, a bad year, you think not much else can make it worse, right?

Wrong.

I woke up four days ago and there it was. I flashed back to about 30 years ago. How I hate those flashbacks! Certain things about my teenage years, I have no desire to relive, and this was definitely one of them! Ugh!!!

At first, I said to myself, "Oh my, this is the biggest unicorn zit I've ever seen in my life!" Then, I realized that to be a unicorn zit, it needed to be in the middle of my forehead. I couldn't be that lucky. Definitely not the location of this zit. Not coverable by hair.

This was more of the location of a witch zit! Right on the end of my nose! Ugh. And talk about big!!! Humungous! Gargantuan size!!! It cash its own shadow! Wouldn't fit in a shoe box! Holy crap!

"God!!!" I called out, "can't you give me a break? Why today? Why does this have to break out today? I mean, really! I teach today.... I'm old-too old to have THIS kind of zit, for sure! I'm overweight. Its been a bad hair week, so I would assume today is going to be the same. This is just adding insult to injury, so not fair!"

Now, people are usually polite and won't say anything, but that initial face read tells you they saw it and are trying not to look at it. So I have to swear off of looking into eyes today......wonderful.

I figure, with my luck, I will come in contact with a typical three year old that will point and say, "Mommy, is that a wart on that ladies nose? Is she a witch?"

But you have no choice, after trying to cover it up the best you can with make up, you venture out. So, I patted the end of the nose for about the 27th time with the make up pad, called it good, and left the hotel room.

Now, as the day went on, I forgot about the monstrosity on my face. I'd gotten somewhat used to not making eye contact with people, so the looks of surprise on their faces eluded me. But, there's comes a point in everyones day when you can't avoid it anymore, you have to face it, no avoiding it, the mirror.

I washed my hands and looked up, and OH MY WORD, WHAT ON EART..... Oh yeah, there it was, big as the rock of gilbralter. The zit. Just gleaming, shiny, and a little red.......how have people looked at me and not just busted out into laughter?????

Now, I know what you're dying to ask; what you're waiting for me to tell you. As disgusting as it is, most of you have been there, done that, and know what I was going through. You know, from experience, what you did. You are dying, just busting at the seems to ask if I tried to pop it, aren't you?

As maturity has set in during my life on this earth, I have learned a few things. Check the toilet seat at 1 a.m. before you just sit down. Make sure to let the pizza cool before taking that first bite, no matter how hungry you are. Be careful while buttering bread, because if you drop it, it will land buttered side down. And, make sure the zit is ripe before you try to pop it, or you will have a big unsightly mess on your face!

Without getting to graphic details and just being plain disgusting, you know what a ripe zit looks like - we all do. Let me tell you, this one was riper than a good red tomato! I figured one good squeeze would easily force the poisonous insides out, and the healing process would begin.

Well, I've been wrong twice in this story now!

I pushed, I squeezed. I mashed. I tried different angles. My fingers hurt before I finally gave up. NOTHING! Absolutely nothing!This thing on my nose was really about to get to me. At this rate, it was going to be part of my anatomy for at least a week, maybe two. How gross is that going to be? I would forget about it being there, unless I had to blow my nose, (major OUCH!), or unless I had the joy of passing a mirror.

I recently told my youngest daughter that changing soaps, or going to a really good face cleaning regime would initially bring out all the impurities in her complexion. Well, dim wit that I am, I just recently changed my facial cleaner to a microbead soft wash. Guaranteed to have a lovelier, softer face in just 7 days! (They don't tell you about the experience from day 1 to that day 7 though!) I ran out of my regular soap and got this as a free trial once, so figured I didn't have anything to loose until I could get to the store and get some of my soap. Nothing to loose! Ha! Just a 5 pound zit on the end of my nose to gain!

Our Christian walk with God can sometimes be like that. When you start a new walk, try to geet closer to God, start a new Bible study, going to church again, or maybe even becoming a new Christian, those old imperfections we have surface right up to the top until we get enough of God in us to let them heal and wash them away.

We are washed by the blood of the lamb though, and God takes us with all those hidden impurities. He wants to work with you on bringing those immpurities to the surface and cleansing them out of your system one at a time. God takes you as you are, zit and all, washes you clean, and gets you ready to go out and glorify His name.

As you realize another imperfect trait about yourself, He works with you through the Holy Spirit, to fix the imperfection. Time and time and time again, He will work with you to make you more like Him. The first attempt to clear things up might not work, and you might squeeze and push and be impatient until everything falls back into place and you're healed. The key is to be patient. If you will just let things be, God will work in you and all will work out to glorify His name.

What man sees in you is not what God sees. He knows your capabilities and most important, He knows your heart. Work with Him, and even the worst zit in your life will go away.

Those impurities have to be brought to the surface and dealt with. Who better than the Master of all Creation to fix you, make you whole, and bring you into His radiant glory!I know there won't be any zits in Heaven. I know my aging, sagging body, will be replaced with a glorious new one and I will be zit and blemish free! I'm ready!!!