Dress for Success

“Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s chosen ones (His own picked representatives), who are purified and holy and well beloved by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, (and) patience (which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper. Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has freely forgiven you, so must you also forgive. And above all these (put on) love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness (which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony). And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts (deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state) to which as (members of Christ’s) one body were also called (to live). And be thankful (appreciative), (giving praise to God always). Colossians 3:12-15

dressI was far from anything that remotely looked anything like humble or patient. My temper was second to none. I could definitely hold my own. I had the lungs in the family as my brothers often reminded me. You never had to guess where I stood on any given subject or what I was thinking. I was not tame. One particular night when my brother was watching us, he stuffed my mouth with a dirty sock and locked me in a closet. I was obnoxious and didn’t know when to keep my mouth shut. No one was going to tell me what to do, how to dress or how to act. I was confidently “Mary Odum.” I was the representative in the family that didn’t put up with unfair treatment. There was one particular time that comes to mind when my sisters came and got me and said, “Mary, you’ve got to help us. Mom is not treating us right and we don’t know what to do.” I took the situation by the reigns, marched right to my mother and said, “we will not put up with this. We aren’t going to tolerate your behavior in this situation, it is unacceptable.” My sisters were quaking in their shoes but not me, I was going to stand my ground. I stood strong, clothed myself with confidence and went straight at the issue and that was the end!

I’ve changed through the years with how I handle my disposition and I approach life situations that need confronted differently, but it was definitely a process to get there. I had to clean out my closet, my heart. I will have to say, that girl is still inside of me, but time has taught me how to properly clothe her.

How we treat others is of upmost importance in the Kingdom of God. God doesn’t tolerate behavior that is hateful, judgemental, angry, mean, ugly or filled with bitterness and un-thankfulness. When we walk around in the molly grubs, with ungrateful hearts, and wear a face that looks like we ate a sour lemon, people will have no tolerance for it. If you are wise, you won’t tolerate it either. It’s just not acceptable. We cannot be raging tornadoes or Debbie downers and expect God to answer us! We can’t make demands and shout out anything that comes to our minds. How we clothe ourselves is so important. Flee from drama, gossip, and anyone who does not represent what they should be as a child of God. It should literally scare us to tolerate behavior like this.

We were made for so much more! We have what it takes to become powerful in the Kingdom of God and in the community around us. When we clothe ourselves with peace it will leave people and lives astounded. Our lives speak so loud without ever saying a word. Our lives are extremely powerful whether we realize that or not. Our actions and behavior are effecting people every single day. Our actions will either be powerful for the good or powerful for the bad but they can’t be both. We have the power to choose! God gives us that distinctive honor to choose how we dress both in our attitudes and in how we present ourselves to the world around us. In the scripture above it is written in the word of God to clothe yourself with perfectness and yet none of us within ourselves are remotely close to being perfect. The only way we can obtain this state of being perfect is deciding that every day we are going to give God the reigns of our life and allow Him to direct and administrate our wardrobes, our lives. He’s given us the greatest honor and privilege in the world to become “like Him.” We have to choose to be clothed like Him and give our hearts whole heartedly to him withholding nothing. When we make this decision, our lives are literally filled with unexplainable peace. We can walk into the most horrendous situations and be filled with peace. God equips us with everything we need to live the life we can only hope to have without Him.

It is said that Mother Theresa lived a life of giving her all, every single day. This comment about her life is noteworthy because at the end of her life she said she felt unfulfilled, empty and lonely. She didn’t have the peace that comes from Him. In one despairing letter to a confident she wrote, “where is my faith – even deep down right in, there is nothing, but emptiness and darkness – My God – how painful is this unknown pain – I have no faith- I dare not utter the words and thoughts that crowd in my heart and make me suffer untold agony.” (https://www.biography.com/religious-figure/mother-teresa). Mother Theresa worked hard many years of her life, advocating for very noteworthy aspirations, but left this world clothed without peace, without that perfect state of mind we are promised in Christ. The greatest thing we can ever do is get into the presence of God and ask Him to clothe us as Colossians 3 encourages us to do. When we do, we will find our purpose but more importantly, we will find the peace of God that He longs to give every one of us. When we find that, it will transform the world around us!

My hot temper didn’t get me anywhere, but looking back, I can see the mercy and hand of God on my life. He brought me to a place of humble appreciation for Him and gave me the discipline to surrender my temper. The trade brought me to a life of prayer, peace and perfect harmony. Choose to clothe yourself as God’s chosen ones, purified, holy and well loved by God. Then watch as He transforms your entire wardrobe to one that will be marked by tenderhearted pity, mercy and kind feelings towards everyone and everything life throws at you. You’ll be grateful you did! It works!

Authentic Reality

Her spirit spoke the moment our eyes connected, she was real. Her soul and heart were beautiful. And it was refreshing. Instant peace and soul spoken contentment. The kind of real you feel when your eyes tear up and from your heart and deepest emotion you feel it. You know what I’m talking about because all of us are given the chance to experience it; sometimes we have to search and stretch but we won’t settle until we find those priceless souls. I’m honestly tired of fake and the problem is, if I’m honest, “I can smell it a mile away” as the saying goes; my entire being resents and convulses at the thought of having to side-step around fake so I don’t have to face letting my facial expression show my disappointment. I hate it. Why? Because we don’t have to be fake. Its ridiculous. God created us, every single one of us, beautiful. What you have inside of you is priceless. Someone out there would give their arm and leg to have what you have and likewise you would give yours to have what they have. When will we settle into the reality of this amazing thought…we are all priceless, God gave each of us a gift or multiple gifts to light this world up. He gave His life for us to live life to the fullest, to have joy so you can know what it feels like to experience heaven on earth through His creation and all He has provided for you to live beyond your wildest dreams. Your life matters, every single day. Don’t ever forget it.

Just a Small Town Girl

The Old Button FactoryJust a small town girl wanting to encourage faith and hope in everyone I see.  With twelve brothers and sisters, I grew up number nine. Poor but so rich, I flew off for a college adventure in California and really never looked back…except to reminence once in a while of the fortune I had but truly never appreciated until I was much older. I think often of my small town and the friends I left there. Dayville was an East Coast town that didn’t seem to grow much more than a thousand. We lived in walking distance to a train track and old button factory that my brothers and sisters and I would frequently scour and dig around for rustic buttons that my mom would use to sew. The four seasons there were perfect. Spring time was beautiful, the budding trees were amazing, Connecticut was known for their tall full Oak trees. The summers were scorching hot, often I remember running bare feet across hot pavement to play kickball with all the neighborhood kids who had gathered to take on the Odum clan. At night we would use fans in open windows to give us a cool breeze. Fall left the hugest leaf piles a child could dream of, often we’d rake up a high pile and jump, burying ourselves in the rough brittle leaves, laughing and carrying on, and then creating the most human like scarecrows we could imagine. Winters left neatly piled wood on the front porch so we could keep our wood stoves burning, snow drifts would sometimes be waste high and the tobogganing down steep hills leaving us at the bottom of the hill in a huge human heap were a part of winter, as well as iceskating on the pond at Owen Bell Park. These are some of my fondest memories. But I flew off leaving those memories behind like a freight train headed on a mission to deliver cargo to a distant city. Life was sweet!

It Wasn’t Easy

Romans 8:2
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

The year is marked in history as 1776, the date signifying our freedom as a nation. Long ago men fought fiercely for our freedom. Blood was shed, lives were lost and families left devastated, the price was costly, but it was worth it. We live in a beautiful country today, so much to see and enjoy, all at the cost of freedom. All because men were brave enough to fight to set us free. It was worth it!

Christ came that we would be free indeed. He too had a tremendous price to pay for our sins. It wasn’t easy, it was pain wrenching, His heart broke and stung with agony. But he knew that the outcome would be like none other in all of history, in all of time, nothing would compare to it. We all know it wasn’t easy. Thank God for our freedom! He paid the price and it was worth it!