Monday, August 31, 2009

You Can't Move A Will

The Sabbath Day for Christians was yesterday. I had to work in the morning. Did not like the fact that I did not get to have a Sabbath rest. That's not the point of this post today. So, I'll continue. Where to go to church is still an issue with this little family of three. I long for the fellowship of CCC-N that we once had years ago. I long to have my son involved in a church. He likes the traditional Presbyterian church because it starts at 11:00 am (I love that too-perfect timing) and he likes that there is no one his age, just old folks. The old folks ignore him because he's a teenage a boy and they probably don't like teenage boys, or are dealing too much with the issues of old age to care about a teenage boy in their midst. Samuel likes this anonymitity. "Don't talk to me. Don't look at me." That's the vibes he sends out at church. Yet he participates in the liturgy.

Since I worked in the morning, Olin went to CCCN and loved it and said Duane was on fire for the first time in 5 or so years. Linda S's sister was there signing copies of her book about being completely healed of the worst type of terminal cancer. She is always a joy in the Lord.

So, we missed it--and Samuel had refused, just refused to step foot in that church. In the morning Samuel said he wanted to go to Rod Parsley's church at night. The evening service is small, only about 600 people or so if that. This is where you see the "church" part of WHC and their nuts and bolts worked out. It is a quieter, sweeter service. I tried to beg Samuel to go to the Hilliard Church so I didn't have to drive to CW. He insisted it was to WHC at night.

After I worked I went to a wedding shower (which I completely enjoyed--as I loved seeing Jen's smile opening gifts and hearing the stories her family and friends shared about her. Liz did an excellent job, and Tony's aunt's house is lovely.) I pray that Jen's wedding be a day of peace and joy and bliss for her and Tony.

I digress, there's a lesson I learned last night and I gotta share it:

So, off Samuel and I went to WHC. So away we go to Canal Winchester. We get there. The music is off the hook. Honestly, unbelievable music. Tiffany sang a song called "God is Able" and it was better than anything Aretha Franklin could ever do. She would win American Idol absolutely. But the whole thing was anointed. I had actual bumps from the top of my head down to my feet and Samuel seemed amazed at least what I could glance from my periferal vision.

God is Able to Do just what He said He would do. Don't Give up on God because he won't give up on you. He is able. Say it again. He is able. Say it again. He is able.

If you sing that long enough you will catch the truth in it: God is Able. Don't Give up on God.

But that is not my lesson I learned. Rod Parsley's mom got up and she gave "testimonies" from her life of bona fide miracles of healing in her body and her children's. She got off track and really she started telling her life story from the poverty and sticks of Kentucky to her journey to Columbus, to her journey toward Christ. (It was most fascinating. Even Samuel commented on how fascinating her story was from this aged, old lady with a hillbilly accent telling her crazy stories that you know were true.) Well, one of the stories she told was her daughter was doing drugs and drinking and ran off to Indiana to marry a man that Mrs. Parsley didn't want her daughter to marry. Mrs. Parsley fasted, prayed, fasted, prayed, she went out into a corn field and ripped her clothes and lay on the dirt among the stalks and cried out to God to stop her daughter from marrying that man. Well, her daughter married him anyway, and called her brother Rod and told him she got married. At that Mrs. Parsley became immediatly bitter toward God and said, "God, you don't answer prayer. You aren't faithful. I send my tithe into the church, but I won't set foot in a church again." She said this in such a way, I knew God speaking to me directly. She said God is so patient He understands our hurts and needs. However, this bitterness almost killed her, she said, and she turned to God again and He showed her that her prayers were wrong. She was praying wrong concering her daughter's life. She said that God showed her that the will of a person will not be moved by God. He will not touch someone's will and make them do something. He loves us and he gave us free will to choose. He will move around the person, and interfere in circumstances, and influence the person, but will not make them do anything.

That's the lesson I needed to hear. I'll explain later why.

Got to go to work. Bye.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Gate is Small & the Road is Narrow

I haven't written in a long time. Real estate dealings leave me emotionally drained, and physically spent almost every day. I've been working 70-100 hours a week. It aint' been easy. This summer I have been working on the same few deals over and over. They have so many problems. Every day I have more problems to fix. If it was easy, I wouldnd't have a job. If there weren't problems, there would be no need for a problem-solver such as my self.

I will spare you the details of the these deals.

The most draining issue with my business is I'm carrying the burdens of nine or ten people, actually more. These are my clients. If one doesn't sell soon, and if I can't work out the short-sale with the bank, my client will be stuck with a bank foreclosure, and having to make payments for years and years on a house she doesn't own anymore. If I can't get the price for a house that someone needs, they can't move their kids out of the horrible neighborhood they desperately want out of. If I can't work out the negotiations on a sale, the buyer will be stuck trying to find money under a rock to buy their dream home.

Carrying these burdens is a priviledge for which I do not complain. People call me when they have a baby and need more room in the house. People call me when they are getting married and starting out a new life together. People call me when their loved one dies, and the house needs sold to settle the family estate. People call me when they are getting divorced, when their spouse cheated on them and left, when they have lost their job and a paycheck. These are the roads I travel with my clients and for which I am grateful. These are the roads I travel, the work I do, the work I love. I truly love SERVING. It brings me pleasure.

However, there is a reason that Jesus Christ spoke about money and finances more than any other topic. There is a reason He said, "You cannot serve God and money." The thought of losing a penny, a dollar, a hundred dollars, a thousand dollars, makes people behave oddly. The thought that there is a possibility that someone can get a few more thousand dollars, or "one up" the other party causes people to act very strange. Clamor. That is what I have had to work with for over 3 months. Clamor. Clamor. and then, more Clamor. It began to take it's toll on my patience. As an outside observer, and yet still participating in the transaction, I see a side of people that is ugly. Greed. Pride. People will tell me it's called "principal." "I am not going to be nice to him now just out of principal," I hear that a lot. I call it self-centeredness.

On the phone this morning I spoke to our company's showing service. The showing service is a call center in Kansas where agents of all brokerages call to set up appointments to show our listings (houses). A lady I have never met, and whose name I didn't bother to remember, gave me a wonderful gift this morning. Laughter. I was stressed. I told her if I abuse her, please forgive me as I am being abused by my clients. She said the employees of the call center get that a lot. Then she said, If we all lived like nomads in the middle east, there wouldn't be any of this commotion going on in real estate. People arguing over who gets the firewood, or what day they get to move in. For some reason, I could picture people on ponies, packing up their tents and moving on. No you wouldn't care who gets the drapes, or the pot rack if you had to move every week and your entire house had fit on a pony! I got a big laugh out of that.

I told her thank you and said, "You know, even Christians that I'm helping start to lose their souls over a lousy quarter-sized hole in some drywall, or over $400 for a home warranty." I explained the behavior I see of people feeling entitled to whatever they want, and being angry if they are told no. They blame me, their agent, for not getting it for them. I told her I get this even from followers of Christ.

Then this nameless woman-voice gave me the zinger gift: "Mrs. Stevens, you HAVE to remember that the gate is small and the way is N A R R O W that leads to life and FEW find it! The way is wide that leads to destruction."

Wow. That helped. I must NOT judge those people who out of fear or pride or greed, reach out and start grabbing for everything they want, and everything they fear they will lose! That road is wide! That is the easy way! It is the narrow road that leads to life! Perhpas for this reason I was called to real estate, as I often try to put a transaction into perspective for people. In the scheme of 30 years, how much $400 hurt you? In the scheme of moving on with your life, what harm does a little drywall damage do you?