I had weeks of back-to-back speaking engagements. On a trip to Colorado, I remember thinking, “Wow, this is great! My flight got booked with some breathing space. I’ll get there early, take a nap, shower and feel so refreshed.” I arrived at the Denver airport only to discover that my connecting flight was canceled, and I was stuck in the airport for five hours. I would have to dress for the event in the airport restroom and step off the plane and go immediately to my speaking engagement. My heart sank. How was I ever going to get the rest I needed stranded in an airport?
I walked the terminal and prayed. I spotted an empty gate; one that had a door that opened to the outside with fresh air streaming in. With a little ingenuity, I created my own lounge chair by placing my suitcase under my legs and my purse under my head. I began to read a book by A.W. Tozer about the character of God. The book was packed with verses, and I just devoured it. As I read, some birds hopped into the terminal and began to feed on the crumbs of tourist food. I thought of the verse, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26).
I smiled, read the final page of my book and drifted off to sweet slumber – in the airport! I awoke an hour later, refreshed and thankful that those who wait on the Lord gain renewed strength.
Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of 46 books including Devotions for Women on the Go, and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience. She and her husband Bill co-direct Love-Wise, helping people with their most vital relationships. When she is not speaking or writing, you may find her kayaking to get her mail from her home on a live aboard boat in Southern California.
. . . let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18 NIV)
We have a goal to visit the countries that represent the 15 or so languages our book Men Are Like
Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti has been translated into. Because of our desire to cross cultures, we have often been accompanied by translators. They take what we are saying and reword our thoughts and intentions so that a clear message is accomplished. To do this, often they do not translate word for word, but adapt to carry the main concept so the listener gains the heart or meat of the intent.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could each have a relationship translator? Someone who steps in when we are misunderstanding each other? Good news, the Holy Spirit can be that translator! No one knows your mate, your child, or your friend like God, who created him or her! The whisper of the Spirit can help you look past the mis-statement or the poorly worded sentence into the heart of intent of your spouse, child or friend.
Love gives the benefit of the doubt. The Apostle Paul puts it this way in Phil. 1:7:
“ It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart”
“In my heart”, means you carry the person “inside” in a way that is “open minded”. When the Apostle Paul wrote this he was complimenting his friends. The Bible Knoweldge Commentary explains: “It did not matter whether Paul was under arrest . . . or free; his friends at Philippi shared with him in what God was doing through him. . . .. Paul praised them for their concern . . .
That is a good place to be in a marriage, dating parenting — or any relationship. When you carry each other on your heart, you assume the best about the other person and his or her words. When you quit carrying someone “on your heart”, it becomes all about behavior. The problem with a behavior based relationship is that no one can behave well enough for long enough to keep a relationship going just on perfect behavior. It is much better to carry your mateloved one on your heart, giving him or her the benefit of the doubt, believing they too want the best for your relationship.
Next time your feelings are hurt over specific words, go a little deeper, look to the heart of your loved one or friend. Assume he or she is concerned for your best interest. What does he or he have on his or her heart concerning you? And are you carrying them on your heart?
When is it appropriate to use your trauma, personal drama, family emergency – or other catastrophe to sell books? Some might say, “Never!” —but then only presenting the rosy, perfect, polished side of life isn’t very authentic.
Recently, my husband’s brush with death in a traffic accident, a ministry friend’s early step into heaven and a leader’s home fire all caused me to ponder, “When is it good or a part of God’s will to post on tragedy and turmoil?”
Here are a few questions to ask before your post (especially if sharing a story will result in a profit of any kind, including books sales, it is best to double -check your heart):
Is this my story to tell?
Post unto others as you would have posted unto you paraphrases the Golden Rule of Christ’s words in Matthew 7:12. If this is not your life, recount the facts and feelings in a way that you would like someone to do for you. Share your own personal feelings, how God is speaking to you, what you learned while keeping the details of the story private to protect another already going through a challenging time. If it is your story, as was the case with my side of the story (of the near tragedy of my husband Bill’s truck being hit and hurled into a concrete highway divider by a speeding teen driver), then I was free to share my point of view, my feelings, and I did link to our marriage books. Because the principles in those books would help another couple in a comparable situation, we both wanted to use this pivotal moment to teach and train. (Read the full story )
Have I asked permission?
“…serve one another in love…” (Gal. 15:13 )
Even though I had plenty to share from my point of view, because someone else was also in the story, after our emotions settled and the crisis handled, I felt it necessary to ask Bill, if and when he might be comfortable with me sharing the account. I penciled out what I thought was appropriate at this juncture and ran the text by him for approval. One never wants to add to another’s pain and drama when they are already experiencing pain and drama!
Is this the right time?
“it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time… “ (Proverbs 15:23 )
There might be a need or a desire to share an announcement or a statement. In these cases, if the ministry or the person themselves has shared, it is best to directly quote their testimonial. Ask yourself “Will sharing the information lessen a person’s trauma, help meet his or her need or help reach or inform the audience he or she is trying to reach?” For example, when a ministry leader was killed overseas and his ministry was wanting to get the word out so people could pray for his wife, family and his ministry, I instantly shared the post because it was clear that was the result wanted. In my post, I did inform my audience a little more of the bio, including a few of his books, so people would recognize and know whom I was talking about.
What is my motive?
“Search me God and know my heart…” (Psalms 139:23 )
Sometimes people rush to be the bearers of shocking news simply because they gain attention because they might have an insider’s view or a seat behind the scenes. Nothing hurts someone already going through a private tragedy in public view more than having friends divulge information he or she might have wanted to keep private. Ask yourself, “Would the person at the center see the sharing of this information as a betrayal?” Also ask yourself if you are the best person to share the news, or if there is someone better suited, better prepared, better equipped or better at handling these emotionally charged events. Many professions are well trained in handling these kind of raw life moments: pastors, doctors, politicians, law enforcement or military leaders all have as part of their training elements of crisis management. It might be God will ask you to be the silent servant behind the scenes that helps a family member or leader as he or she interacts with the public.
What is the desired outcome?
“Set your affections on the things above…” (Col. 3:2)
If you sense a green light on all the above questions, then before God ask, “Lord, what do you want to see happen in the lives of others who might read these words or hear this video?” Is God wanting people to come to know Him personally and be prepared for eternity? Is he asking you to rally help or aid? Does the person or family in crisis have an economic need that they have asked you to share? It there a moral or Biblical truth that needs highlighted? Before you write, before you speak—pray.
Pam Farrel is the very grateful to God wife of Bill, who was at the center of this story – and whose tale has a happy ending. (Fortunately, miraculously, my husband survived). Together the Farrels write, speak and travel the world encouraging, equipping and inspiring people to live “Love-Wise.” They are the authors of 45 books including the newly revised, updated and expanded version of their best seller, Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti.
You learn a lot about yourself and why you hold on to things when you move! We are downsizing significantly to a simplified #midlifeadventure home. Yes, we will have an office and perhaps a smaller lakeside cabin one day, but for now my time has been spent sorting, selling or finding a home for all the “things” that have made our house a home. And for two authors, the THOUSANDS of books we own are a big part of what makes our place “home.”