I never wanted to own a beauty salon, but I spent 43 years behind a styling chair in countless salons where God was never mentioned except in crude language. I vowed that my salon would be different and it was. People confirmed their encounters with God’s Presence often when they came for appointments with my staff. It was a “Steel Magnolia” meets “The War Room” kind of place. Before those years in leadership, I worked in a boutique and as a cosmetics consultant/sales director for a major direct sales company. Later I managed an accounts receivable department for four years at an automobile dealership. These early jobs prepared me for ownership and management including many lessons about how I would lead if given the chance though I shunned every opportunity.
During my career, God helped me survive difficult circumstances and marital relationships. Some were consequences of my poor choices and others were situations beyond my control. God, in His mercy and grace, used every experience and today, I thrive only because of His Spirit at work in me. Of my accomplishments, my proudest trophies include my marriage to William, three adult children and six grandchildren. But apparently, God destined me for His domain of Beauty. I retired from cosmetology four years ago and I spend my discretionary time in the studio painting or at the computer editing my photography. I write occasionally.
In this post, I want to emphasize three words as I ponder the gifts and callings of God on our lives: transition, suspension and sustain. Since my last name is Word, God grants me creative license to use words. At our house, we challenge, teach and encourage each other with words. We especially employ synonyms to amplify deeper understanding and I’ll demonstrate as I go further.
Every life experiences transition. All humans face states of flux and instability during passages. Jobs, relationships, educational pursuits, births, serious illnesses, and eventually death involve process. Seasons change and even plant life endures dormancy and pruning. As creatures of change, we potentially respond in two ways: resist or yield. Speaking for myself, I naturally resist the very thing to which I should yield.
Generally, people know their most common reaction. We either rebel, refuse, ignore and ultimately delay God’s purposes with our kicking and screaming, and our lives become like suspended particles in liquid. Or we surrender, submit, and our collaboration with Holy Spirit sustains us through the process. This soul tension between resistance and surrender teaches us to trust God for the outcomes and His greatest works manifest as we obey.
The Biblical phrase, “glory to glory” perfectly describes a transition moment in the middle with a two-letter word, “to.” As Holy Week approaches, imagine Good Friday “to” Resurrection Sunday. Not much is said about that Saturday, and we can only assume the paralysis Jesus’ disciples felt as their hopes for deliverance from Roman rule died on Golgotha. While everything seemed suspended, the stone at the tomb merely served as a gateway from one reality to another, and Jesus Himself experienced this mysterious “glory to glory” transformation.
Are you held in suspension right now? Is your life disrupted? Your goals inhibited? Dreams hampered? Do you feel cramped, hobbled or trapped in some situation? Take heart because as horrific as Good Friday was, a victorious Resurrection Sunday arrived! The gifts and calling on Jesus’ life were irrevocable as are ours recorded in Romans 11:29. Irrevocable means irreversible, unchangeable, binding, permanent and carved in stone. Psalm 139 also reveals our gifts and calling as predestined and predetermined having been written in the book of days before our birth!
Sadly, some people live their whole lives in suspension, never knowing their life purpose, gifts or God’s calling. Last year when I attended the Global Leadership Summit, I heard John Maxwell speak and purchased his book, “Intentional Living.” I recommend it highly if “Suspension” is your potential epitaph.
In his book, Maxwell writes about discovering your “One Thing.” I know that I am a creative individual. I spent my professional life as an artist, albeit behind a hairstyling chair. But as a child, it wasn’t my dream to be a beautician, an artist, a nurse, or a number cruncher. I wanted to be a mother, and oddly enough, life assaulted me here in my “one thing.” I suffered a hysterectomy at 26 and later adopted two babies. Divorce from their father strained our relationships as did geography when they chose to live with him and his new wife 500 miles away. Patient, intentional pursuit of my kids transformed our distant relationships though I grew weary many times.
Today I know God uses my passion for motherhood to express the “Mother’s Love of His Father’s Heart” like a heavenly umbrella. Everything I do while nurturing family, life-coaching, mentoring or sharing art with kids expresses not only who I am, but Who God is in me. Motherhood is how He sustains me. Synonyms for sustain include strengthen, support, comfort, help, encourage, hearten, endure, or to give someone energy and hope. Holy Spirit ministers all these and more when I recognize and embrace the beauty of surrender.
You can know God’s purpose for your life. His purpose is the same for everyone in His Kingdom.
1. Give Him glory, thanks and praise for your life whatever the circumstances, no matter your failures and mistakes.
2. Live a transformed life, not merely a conformed, religious likeness. Godly sorrow brings true repentance.
3. Be a voice of redemption. God’s redemptive plan always uses people.
4. Be a voice of hope.
Share how He called you out of darkness into His Marvelous Light (1Peter 2:9). When you do, you grant hope for the mystery of Christ that rolls away the stone and inscribes “Sustain” across a heart’s door.