character

Time for Investing

Investments are a very important piece of an individual’s assets. We research and ask questions about investments because we know it is important for our future. We only have so many years of earning power. As we age, we understand the probability that our bodies won’t have the ability or stamina to maintain a full-time job. Therefore, we take a little of what we make now, to invest for a time to come. We do without a percentage of our earnings, to tuck away, to allow and grow, to use later. Brilliant. Except for when things don’t go as we plan. One of my favorite movies is Cinderella Man, the story of James Braddock, a boxer who exhibited the utmost character in a time of detrimental circumstances. You may be familiar with his story. If not, you’re certainly familiar of the history, the time in October 1929 known as Black Tuesday, when the stock market crashed and the country experienced the ten-year turmoil known as The Great Depression.

Our generation counted it’s own financial losses a few years back. The recession of 2007-2009 had a great negative impact on countless people’s investments. We watched the government step in with the Troubled Asset Recovery Program (TARP) bailing out the banks and the auto industry. The housing bubble and credit crisis provided this generation it’s own experiences with unwanted investment outcomes.

We track portfolios of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, cash equivalents, certificates of deposit.  We keep records on our 401K and Roth IRA, we watch our stock tickers, we manage our brokerage accounts, we keep tabs on the Wall Street Journal. We work to insure a strong financial future, but how much attention to detail do we invest when it comes to our relationships?

Just like our financial investments there are life investments we must work to build, work to grow, and work to protect if they are worth any value to us. But what happens when a relationship experiences it’s own “crisis” or it’s own “Black Tuesday?” Do we walk away? Count it a total loss? Or do we fight for what we’ve already got in it? Do we fight for what could be recovered, for what could be re-invested?

In every single detail of our life, we must know, there is an enemy on the prowl. This enemy seeks to devour (I Peter 5:8). We know his intent is to steal, kill and destroy (John10:10). But the better news is, we know who wins! We know greater is He who is in you and me, than that loser thief who is in the world I John4:4. (Okay, loose translation on that last one, but stay with me.) The point is, identify the source of the attack. Call it for what it is and face it head on! We are overcomers! Mighty Men (and women) of Valor (Judges 6)!

People are not disposable. They’ll hurt you. They’ll bruise you. They’ll mistreat you. And I’m not talking about strangers; I’m talking about people we have RELATIONSHIPS with. An offense doesn’t have the impact coming from someone we’re not close to, as it does coming from the person we are. So how in the world do we handle those situations?

Again….can’t repeat this enough—know the source. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father, and the serpent would love nothing more than to destroy it.

Be strong and courageous. Don’t close the door. Don’t walk away. Who wins if you call “uncle” or tap out? People you love are worth fighting for; relationships are worth saving. And it takes a strong, courageous spirit to commit to resolution. Remember what the Lord spoke to Joshua after the death of Moses. Joshua was commissioned to lead the people across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. Three times the Lord told Joshua to be strong and courageous, Joshua 1:6, 7 & 9. Three times! Why did the Lord repeat it? Because it wasn’t an easy assignment. And it wasn’t a simple suggestion. It was a command. When we are faced with having to do something difficult or challenging, remember Joshua 1:9, “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I highly recommend reading The Bait of Satan. This book about forgiveness points out how the enemy uses offense to bait people. So guard yourself against offense and walk in forgiveness.

Embrace the storm. Another quality point from the book is the concept that when a tree is planted it has a shallow root system. Much like the beginning stages of relationships we form. Storms stimulate the tree to send it roots down deeper for stability. When we face a disagreement or an argument (the storm), we know what the outcome of the relationship can be if both parties refuse offense and reject bitterness (a stronger, deeper more genuine relationship).

Finally, remember, there is life and death in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Guard your words. Resist the temptation to share your hurt with any other than the person you need to seek resolution with.

There is a relationship management system far greater than any we can implement for our finances. Seek God’s face. Get in His Word. Pray for wisdom and understanding. Relationships are a very important piece of an individual’s assets in life. Your mutual funds aren’t going to celebrate your life when it’s over at your memorial service. Your IRA isn’t going to tell your children the stories of love and compassion you intend to leave them.

Yes, we only have so many years of earning power. Invest wisely.

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My Voice

It is a regular occurrence for me to sit down and write to a faithful group of people who follow my blog.  These people know my heart and my intentions.  They allow me the privilege to share my life and my take away lessons from the experiences I encounter. I encountered an individual who jumped to conclusions and made a hasty judgment on me.  This person used his authority as a means of intimidation; not receiving any of the words I spoke in attempt to bring clarity to the situation.  In an industry driven by customers and cognizant of customer service, a polite manner was furthest from the approach.  Bold words were spoken and a crass tone used by this employee.

I was Completely Misjudged that day.  As I do, I sat down to share my life with my readers.  So often people are misjudged or mistreated and yet have no voice.  Now that I have used my voice, it seems that maybe I should not have shared the name in which I was so boldly instructed to get right.

While some were quite displeased with me sharing my experience, others were glad for the attention brought to the matter, as they had experienced very similar encounters in that same store.  My sharing my experience provided a level of accountability.  My Pastor use to say, integrity is how you act when no one is watching.  How differently would the interactions have been had it been known that the experience would be written about and shared?

I am so grateful that those who truly know Heather Meadows knew my heart and read my words.  That is why when I was at work, taking care of sick babies today, my manager called me in her office to confirm just that.  Despite a phone call to our human resources department, in an attempt to attack my job, my human resources department read my blog, contacted my manager and found there to be no negative reflection on my hospital through what I shared.  My manager reaffirmed that I hold the values of my organization and provide excellent, compassionate care and service to my babies and their families.  It matters how we treat people, at all times.

Even though there has been the generous support of my family, my friends, my faithful blog followers and my place of employment to leave it all as I said it, I have edited the post because this blog is about me offering encouragement through my life experiences.  Monday was a huge life experience for me, as I’d never been perceived as a shoplifter.  It wasn’t about revenge; there was no name-calling or slams, it was about my incredibly unpleasant experience and my desire for this man to know that’s not who I was, since he wouldn’t receive those words of explanation from my own mouth.

I’ve learned that I will never take an item that I own, that is my property, that I have proof of ownership without first checking it with customer service.  It’s something I’ve done countless times before and never thought a thing of it, but will from now on be mindful to do.

But I still ask, what has this assistant store manager learned?

I would never speak to one of my baby’s families in such a way and I would hasten the opportunity to apologize if it were offered to me.

For that reason, Assistant Store Manager’s Family, I apologize that my words hurt you.  I believe professionalism and excellence is our own responsibility when we are at our place of employment.  Maybe this situation will help yours to improve that.  Out of consideration for you, I have removed his name from the post and deleted all the comments since many of them included his name

Proverbs 18:21

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Pursuing His plan, His love and His character despite the unpleasant bumps in the road.

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