Tag Archives: pride

Whatever. Just Do….WHATEVER.

Grabbing my phone on the way out the door for choir, I noticed the “missed call/voicemail” alerts.  I recognized the number of a friend, but it was uncommon for her to call. Hmmmm.    Retrieving the message, I heard a strange uneasiness in her voice as she wrestled to come up with the right words.

“Lorretta…” Pregnant pause.
“Um… I was wondering…. I mean, do you still…”
Her question dangled over the phone line for an uncomfortable moment.
Then suddenly, “Please call me back when you get a minute?” Click.

Curious? Yeah, me too.
I quickly dialed her number to discover whatever in the world was wrong. Finally answering, I could tell she was still so nervous!     I had no clue.


Rambling through the background in her mind, she finally summoned  the courage to ask if I still did “THAT”. “THAT” being the reason she needed my help. And well, since I did still do “THAT”,  I replied I’d be happy to help but inside I was thoroughly bemused by her embarrassment— for herself (maybe?) needing my help with “THAT” or was it for me—the one willing to do“THAT”?     I still don’t know.

Fact is, I did “THAT” then and I still do now.
On occasion.
In fact, I’ll do “THAT” twice this week because I didn’t have time last week.

Yes, I’m here to confess that I engage in what is likely the world’s oldest “occupation”:
I clean houses.  Whew!    I’m so glad I got “THAT” off my chest!

Another confession:  It was not a proud moment when I decided to take my first housecleaning job. But the fact is, as business owners, media missionaries and “self-unemployed” artists,  we needed a little extra at our house to make ends meet. Plus I needed the added flexibility of naming my own hours so I could keep home schooling, volunteering and GreenPeas-business-ing. Let’s face it: there are very few situations nearly as accommodating as this (without having to constantly salespitch your entire friend base). Besides, I get to catch up on all my ministry podcasts while I vacuum and mop!

So, gradually I’ve gotten used to the idea of mentioning that I do “a little cleaning on the side” and I have no problem stating as fact that it’s the way God helps me provide for my family in this season of life. Still, this look-back at my friend’s discomfort and realizing my own, I recognize that there is a certain level of stigma against the idea that someone might choose to earn money this way. I felt it at first, until God gave me peace and helped me to swallow a HUGE chunk of my “I’m-Too-Educated/Good-For-THAT” attitude (also spelled P-R-I-D-E).

A Proud Man

I remember when it happened too. Working  in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya a couple of summers ago, we were filming a ministry series for a water and AIDS hospice project. Our days were packed with one location after another interviewing and filming various people associated with these projects. It was wonderful. Sometimes, we were graciously invited into homes for a bit of hospitality. On those occasions, there was always time to share and pray (whether there was time in the schedule– or not!) and we were always left blessed.

At one home, our guides introduced us to a kind-faced woman and two younger girls. She was the local “church mother” who also trained up Christian house girls. As young Christian women they struggled with the stigma because it was not considered a very honorable profession. Not what they wanted to be when they grew up. However, it was the best they could hope for without a skill set or education. Then, remembering our conversation from the night before, our guide asked if I’d share about my experience with “THAT” line of work.

What I could say? 

True, we had shared our testimonies and desires to use our business/ministry to work full time on the mission field—how we did whatever we could to keep things afloat and in passing, I mentioned I did THAT.  Obviously, the Holy Spirit had orchestrated this divine encouragement opportunity and I was ON.

I wasn’t prepared to say all wish I’d said that day. I remember explaining I was glad to have work allowing me time to do church ministry and to work with my husband. I told them how it freed me up with time to teach my children and provide for my family. Truthfully, how it had been a way to serve God through some difficult times in my life and through it I tried my best to bring Him glory.

As I spoke, I knew in my heart our situations were radically different. I was working for extra money and they were likely working for all they’d have and not much more.  Lack of education and opportunity was not my issue as it was for them.

Still more humbling was the look of confusion and really— surprise on their faces because in their wildest imaginations, no white woman from America would ever have to do THAT. Surely not.
We are rich.
All of us.
Well, that’s always a kick in the pants, isn’t it?

I’m pretty sure I mumbled some other well-meaning encouragements hoping they’d understand it was possible to serve God proudly in their places of employment. Of course God was reminding me at the same time how clever it is that He doesn’t waste ANYTHING from the willing.


I needed to remember this NOW. I’ve been feeling discouraged– not despairing but wondering about the whole missions thing and how God wants us to answer the call we said yes to 15 years ago. Just being honest. It’s a big, fat question mark.

These remembrances alongside something I heard this past weekend are helping to resharpen my focus (again).  A young woman was sharing a recent experience and she said:

“Sometimes we are praying so hard for God to move us out of a situation that we almost miss what he wants to do with us where we are.”

No great mystery— just a whole lotta truth. Sheesh. More truth was piled on from 1 Corinthians 10:31 where Paul is teaching about idolatry but the word “WHATEVER” is what got me. It’s found again in Colossians 3— twice but particularly in verse 17:

Colossians 3-17

Just do whatever.
Right here, right now.
All of it for Him.

I don’t know about you, but it gives me a lot to think about as I work and wait— doing THAT or whatever it is He asks of me— for His glory.

Lorretta signature

Linked up with Holly!

a FAT slice of humble….cake.

We have just sprinted through the birthday/holiday portion of our family calendar, officially ending with February 15th and our youngest son’s birthday.  My iBoy is another year older!


As I was pulling through my recipe files looking for the requested “plain yellow cake”,  I was startled by the memory of another “plain yellow cake”  I volunteered to make almost several years ago. And I cringed.

Oh my.
Yeah, I remember that.

The story goes something like this:  3 kids and many gray hairs  ago…

I thought I could decorate cakes for extra money. I learned the basics, loved to bake and like most things (then and now); what I lack in true talent, I’ll make up for with enthusiasm! At least, that was the plan.

What didn’t factor into my delicious money-making plan was the “three children” part of my story. Some reading today have way more children and have done just fine. God bless you. That was not me.

It may or may not come as a surprise to learn that I thought I could handle it all, or at the very least,  bluff my way through anything.

It was a relative breeze going from no children to one child. And child number two was not that big of a change either. So, hey, I got this thing!

Enter child three…..whoa Nelly. I can’t explain it but, this third child triggered a veritable vortex in my world which sucked me down and held me under for quite a long time.

Long. Time.

All the things I used to do with ease and grace…were not easy and seldom graceful. People, I was a wreck. Nothing could prepare me for the assault on my pride, intellect and vanity to discover inwardly that I could not do it all and, what little I could do, was not going to get done well.

But I’d never confess it.

I expected life to get back to “normal” but there was no such place to get back to. “Normal” had changed it’s address and left no forwarding number!

Cake. This story is about cake. The moment of my undoing began one morning as I sat in the middle of “Mt. McLaundry . I was trying to nurse child three to sleep for his morning nap, propped on a pillow held against my knee, while  attempting to match socks. The phone rang. It was son #2’s Preschool Director asking me what time the cakes would be ready for the graduation ceremony on Friday.

Silence. Shock. No awe.

I’d completely forgotten about the 2 half-sheet cakes I had been hired to make for graduation… now only 2 days away.

Quick!  Bluff! RECOVER! Hanging up, with happy assurances they’d be there…I went into instant panic mode. How could I forget? Shoot, HOW could I remember?!?

Abandoning my tenuous foothold on “Mt. McLaundry”, off to the grocery store I went to buy supplies before the afternoon carpool run. So much for nap time.

Bah. I could do this. I would do this.

People. I was an un-holy cake-baking terror for the next 24 hours. On a mission to preserve my reputation (more like salvage my ego), I undoubtedly wreaked family destruction in the process. Those cakes got made by glory.

Step one done:
Frost and set. Check.

The cakes were placed in the  garage/office area allowing the  frosting to “set” while I mixed up the decorator icing; one on the workbench and one on the chair. Check.  Husband would keep an eye on things. Check.

Who knows how long it took.  All I recall is the “NO! Don’t sit….” followed by “Uh-oh”: the “shot heard round ” my world  that night.  My dented cake and middle son’s frosted backside was all it took to take me down…..down….


I didn’t cry; I howled. Fists banging and screaming, I collapsed in a heap. Ugly cry time. No time, money or ingredients  to start over.  Bondo.

I quickly whipped up another batch of frosting and filled that moon-crater with as much as it would hold.  A huge, disgusting glob fleshing out a whole corner. Mmmm. Then decorated with lots of squiggly stuff everywhere and acted like it it never happened…the end. I wish.

The cake…was edible if not rather hideous and gaudy. I think it turned everyone’s lips and fingertips yellow. For some reason, there was a lot left over…maybe because my son kept telling people about the “hiney cake” and showing where he sat. Nice.

I found this picture and had to laugh! Oh my goodness. So funny and so terribly SAD! Look at that cake and….look at that poor girl!

6See it in her eyes? Pride? Fear? The die-hard people pleaser so far from God and so afraid to fail.  Miserable and lonely most of the time. So unsure of herself and too afraid to ask for help.

That was me.
Could be still
if I’m not careful.


Not that I’ve come SO far since then…it’s more, that I’m gradually turning toward home. Maybe accept the challenges as well as my limitations and desperate dependency on God, who I’ve since come to know not only as my Savior…

but as my Lord.

So I can remember this event with humor and compassion, extending grace, love and mercy to that poor girl 13 years ago and love the girl in the mirror now.

 I can also choose to see with new eyes, and extend grace and mercy to the struggling women around me…

  • some fearful of failure,
  • some lonely and young with children,
  • some newly married and  learning what love really is,
  • some broken from the “whatevers” of life.

That’s where the healing is and the power of God’s redeeming, restoring 3. Over time, as God redeems,  these memories soften and what once could have been a source of shame and bitterness is now a sweet source of strength. I’ve learned “humble cake” is really not so bad. I don’t mind sharing!

Dancing with my mouth full,Lorretta signature



And it’s true;
I ain’t got no alibi.

So…I had to wait a few weeks before I could legitimately write this post because it was just too…..um… revealing.  I had to wait because to tell you the truth,  I just wasn’t finished being ugly.

Yep…I was being what we in these parts of the South refer to as “UGLY”. There’s simply no prettier way to say it.

It wasn’t my appearance, although I must confess I certainly didn’t look too attractive either. In fact, even when I caught my reflection in the mirror I felt the need to give myself a good scolding and look away. It was *that* bad.

No..it has been my stinkin’ attitude. Ugly. That’s the bad news combined with the good news because not only was my attitude just plain wrong…God was able to keep me in that place just a hair past long enough to help me sort it out and BEG him to crucify me at this point. Beg him people, so I could begin to die to my ugly, sinfully covetous and jealously judgmental attitude.

{So that I could get out of there and be legitimately free}

The truth is I really do want to honor and serve the name and fame of Jesus Christ. Day by day I am striving toward a place in my relationship with God so that hopefully, there’s a little less of me hanging around in my skin being replaced with a little more of Him. It takes choice work. It takes daily, moment-by-moment inner coaching and coaxing-by-the-Spirit work. But it’s happening.

Only here’s the problem;
while it’s true that daily I’m slowly “dying to myself”,
I ain’t dead yet.

And it’s equally true that while I am walking and working out my salvation for the decided glory of God….I am also a glory thief. Ugh…I hate saying that but it’s the truth.

Seriously….I really DO want to glorify God in all I do but dang it…I have consistently tried to skim some of that glory off for myself from time to time. And lest you think that’s the tiniest bit OK…check out the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Yeah.

So God lovingly called my bluff. He walked into my mess, flipped on the switch, flung open the shutters letting the light in and there I was again; caught with my hand in the cookie jar, crumbs on my lower lip, trying my best to look innocent.  But there was no denying it: glory thief.

Oh but that’s what God did alright! He put me in a place so close to some of the spoken and revealed desires of my heart…so close to parts of my calling… and so close to the testimony I’ve been holding up… and try as I might,

I. could. not. have. what. I . wanted;
the credit I thought I “deserved”.
The glory I thought was mine.
I tried to dress it up by playing it down but it is what it is:

Because I was fine with not getting the attention and glory I thought I deserved…um…until someone else got it instead. Whoa Nelly! Yeah. That’s when things got a little “cloudy” in my testimony.

I was jealous of the position and place of another person in my life. I wanted my share of the “limelight”. Rather than lovingly encouraging , applauding and exulting in the success and glory of another, I got angry. I pouted. I cried. I sulked, behaved badly and was…well…ugly!

This was not a pretty moment in my life.
Ah…but it got GLORIOUSLY Beautiful!

From the midst of my horrible little ash heap I looked up to the heavens and said, with all my heart these two words:

{I surrender.}

And I really did.  In my heart I knew I not only needed to, I *wanted* to release this place to God. It was robbing my joy, it was distracting me from my true purpose and calling and worse; it was destroying a close relationship and keeping me from enjoying the fullness of God.

In that moment,  God took it from me and filed it in his ever-expanding file drawer labeled “FINISHED”.  This would be the same “It is finished” file created at Calvary where His Son, Jesus took my sin upon Himself and paid my disgusting debt. My sin, my debt…my forgiveness…this is the GLORIOUS Gospel!  Oh praise Him!

As with the many other “little crucifixion” moments I’ve had in my life, the purpose God has in taking me to this place is three-fold:

  • First, to reveal my heart to me. (not always fun)
  • Second, to reveal God’s heart to me and for me.
  • Thirdly, and most importantly, to grow and mature me in my walk and make me more like Jesus.

So what is your “IT” place? What self-constructed ash heap are you struggling from? What do you need to release to God so that FINISHED can be stamped across that file once and for all?

Surrender it to Him. He’s waiting.

And surrender  my friends is a truly beautiful thing

“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:13-18

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