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Eighty-degree sunshine is a love language all by itself, but throw in two of my children and lunch outside of a Chick-fil-A and it was a recipe for mom-hood fun. Christine, JR and I were enjoying each other’s company while we soaked up the vitamin D and sandwiches, when a car pulled up and the driver asked if I knew where the Walmart is. I told her I didn’t.
The truth is that we were on our way home from a dental specialist for my daughter, so I didn’t go to that area frequently, nor do I go to Walmart much. The woman drove on toward the building, clearly disappointed with my answer.
While she drove, I pulled out my iPhone, and searched to find the Walmart just ½ mile down the road. If the woman circled back toward me, I was ready with the answer.
She DID circle back toward us, and rolled down her window, but before I could tell her the answer I had found, she broke into my beautiful day and shouted:
“I got the information I wanted from the officer inside, but you disgust me. I am from New York, and it tells me a lot about North Carolina schools that you stupid people don’t even know your area!”
I sat stunned with a million “comebacks” in my head, while she drove away, not waiting for my response. I laughed.
“Did she call US stupid?” asked J.R.(age 7).
“I think it tells me that schools in New York teach people to be mean!” laughed Christine (age 8).
I was glad the lady had rolled up her window before I had had my chance to reply, since it probably would have involved similar thoughts to my kids’, plus maybe some other cursory comments. (…if I could have stopped laughing long enough to respond!)
Lack of self-control looks silly on people.
It’s sad to me how easily labels flowed into my mind, fortunately not out of my mouth, but equally sinful.
She had attached my ignorance to the state of North Carolina. My heart responded by attaching her rudeness to her state, the place she shopped, the kind of car she drove, her hair color, her skin tone, anything that was different than my own. There must have been a cause for her rudeness. Haha! How did my sunny picnic succumb to those stormy thoughts so easily?!
It reminded me that we attach labels by nature: sinful nature. My children didn’t need to be taught “the art of comebacks” to mirror her labeling. They did it naturally. And unfortunately, so silently did I.
I heard a story recently of a soccer player who was going to take out a disagreement from the field in an off-the-field location, so the opposing team’s player would know he meant business. His teammate said, “You can’t do that. A referee could see you and disqualify our team from the tournament!”
The boy replied, “Well, I’ll change into plain clothes first, so they don’t know what team I’m on.”
In a high-calling, there are no “plain clothes.” The One who knows our thoughts and actions doesn’t assign labels for what shirt we wear, car we drive, state in which we went to school, or even knowledge of our local shopping. He cares about the thoughts we have of people He created, and if we love them as we love ourselves. I’d like to be proud to wear the shirt of His team.
Really, the woman was frustrated, maybe late, maybe needing medication that Walmart provided at a discount :), and it came out with lack of self-control. (Haven’t I been there?!)
But she showed me a window into my thoughts where I need to work as well.
After all is said and done, I want to be proud to wear my uniform for Christ, and never take it off.
Gotta go – I need to add “know where the nearest Walmart is” to my homeschool curriculum!
Blessings and smiles,
Matthew 25:40 (Jesus speaking): “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'”
Matthew 5:21-22 (Jesus speaking): “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
One word “Awesome” 🙂 thank you!
Refreshing perspective and great thoughts. Thanks for sharing Terri! 🙂
I am so excited for all of your amazing posts to come out in book form. I love the bar you set for yourself and the way you hold yourself accountable to it. I am not quite to your level yet, because I really want to have a conversation with that lady. Thanks for your wisdom and example!
Awesome and boy does that touch my heart and make me think about all the mean things that came out of my mouth without thinking. I really need to work on my come backs.
Terri, your desire to find the location in the first place in case she came back shows your servant’s heart! (from a New Yorker 🙂
I agree with Pat – also from a fellow NewYorker! 🙂
Great teaching Terri of how whatever (good or bad) we do unto others, we do unto Him! Thank you for encouraging us to look at the motive of the heart. Way to mirror Christs’ love & allowing Him to use you to “work it together for good”. Proud to be a part of this community! God bless!
Another New Yorker chiming in about how your servant’s heart and deeper look at your motives is such an inspiration to all of us. I’m solidly with Pat & Jeanette on this!
Bless you, Terri, for laughing instead of getting angry, for not saying what popped into your mind, and then for sharing it all with us, making us see deeper into our own thoughts, words and actions.
Pat, I was thinking the same thing!
It is amazing to me to stop and think that I would be full of those thoughts as well. It’s amazing you have grown so much as a women of Christ that you could hold your tongue! Now I will keep praying that mine comes as well! Thank you for such an amazing insite into what could have been such a bad day destroyer 🙂
I am having a struggle with this and the bigger trials going on in the world! So if I can try to use this in my “little” world, maybe it will extend into that bigger world! Love ya Terri!
“I will greet this day with love in my heart, and I will succeed.”
We lack so much love… we’ll keep praying and keep working on bringing out own thoughts under the His control. You are a blessing!
Terri, the timing of this letter to Lindsay is perfect. Sometimes those we love are not very lovable…yet we are called to love them as He does!!! That includes our thoughts and how we let their behavior affect us. Thank you!!!
In His joy, Juleen
Your stories are so remarkable and perfectly illustrate your points that if I didn’t live with you and see most of them first hand, I would never believe they are real! Great job turning this into a teachable moment while I was busy trying to think of what you could have said back to her!
Love you babe!
We read your blog together as part of home school today and we already know where the closest Walmart is as well, 🙂 My oldest just started Kindergarten (here at home) and your blog reminded me that I want to add learning the fruit of the spirit to our curriculum. Thanks!
Also, we thoroughly enjoyed you in Milwaukee this past weekend! You two are informative and fun!
The Ulrichs enjoyed your talks in Milwaukee as well! I love, love, love your ability to constantly seek the lesson in “normal” circumstances. How very “sensus plenior” of you! Oliver DeMille would be proud! 🙂
I admire your quality of vulnerability as you write of your own unkind thoughts, however justifiable, are wrong. It makes me see more clearly areas that I, too, need to work on. What would I have done in this situation? Since laughing for me, is often a defense mechanism when I am shocked, hurt, or angry, and I am not as witty as I often wish to be to “comeback”, I would probably have done the same, but in my heart be burning with anger and disbelief.
I pray that I learn the art of allowing myself to be vulnerable to others the way you have done so people can relate and learn lessons from my experiences as well. I tend to not show my vulnerabilities to make me believe that I am OK and I have it together.
Thank you for the laugh and the lesson!
Terri, awesome post! Don’t worry, it’s not just New Yorkers 😉
This reminds me of when I was driving home and I must have done something to make the person in front of me mad because she literally slowed down so I could pass her and proceeded to follow me home, pulled into my driveway, got out of her and went ‘New Yorker’ on me. I was having a great day and when that happened I started getting defensive in my head for something I really shouldn’t have had to defend. Needless to say she said what she needed, jumped back in her car and drove off. I wasn’t sure if I should be mad at her or sad for her. I am thankful that the LIFE/TEAM led me to Christ because now I know to offer grace to people who are having a bad day rather than join them. As always, your stories teach me so much about the true meaning of life. Thanks Terri!
Terri , such a story! Love how you handled it . Your a leading servant lady , So thankful for you ! By the way Our beautiful baby girl was brought into the world yesterday afternoon ( no name yet, lol ) , I sit here in the hospital waiting to go home to “normal conditions ” like sleep , your story settles me to read . Love you , Georgia
Whenever I see a new post from you, that’s the FIRST thing I click on! Your posts always give me something new to think about. As I read your story, I was imagining you sitting there with your kids and enjoying your family time. Obviously, this woman doesn’t know your heart like we do in TEAM/LIFE and had she just held her tongue a moment longer, she would have experienced your desire to help this stranger and brighten her day!
There are many lessons in your story; children have better comebacks than adults do, stereotyping is often wrong, patience MAY get you the right information (if you can hold your tongue), when we get in our car, we act differently than if we were face to face, an angry person is often a disguise for a hurting person, homeschooling can provide many teachable moments, seek to KNOW rather than ASSUME before opening thy mouth! (It IS kind of funny that it was a WALMART she was looking for, and we refer to Sam Walton so often in our business!)
Finally, thank you for being so honest and transparent about your thoughts. We are all growing into better children of God because of the lessons we learn. I think this children’s song is relevant for today: “Oh be careful little tongue, what you say” (“Oh be careful little mind, what you think”)!
Thanks for the lesson and the laughter!! Nancy Crumback
Very good. Amazing what we learn from silly situations. Thanks for sharing.
I’m so glad you laughed!!! I’m sure you were shocked at first. But how else can you respond to someone like that? I’ll bet you said a prayer for her too. She sure put a stain on New Yorkers, and willingly at that! And for her to assume that you were a North Carolinian showed a lack of…..something! Good thing you have a high EQ and AQ and all the other Q’s!
I enjoyed meeting you last week in Milwaukee in, of all places, the ladies room! It was after the seminar and my husband was standing outside the door waiting for me. When I came out he said, “Wow! That was quite the group in there!”, as other leading ladies also entered and exited. (I think he felt a little left out.) Thanks for coming to the Midwest! And thanks for sharing another great post. God puts you in these situations so we can all learn from you1
Terry, Thankyou again for such a wonderful reminder that we quickly seem to judge others for the same things that we tend to do. I am grateful for the grace awarded to me and challenged to show that grace to others. Your example really hits home. You are truly fantastic at relating stories to principle’s. Thanks. Jaqua.
Your silence in the situation shows your amazing quality (through Jesus) to be such an inspirational mask of God. Thank you for being so transparent and honest. You are clothed in HIM. (Ephesians 6:10-18) May you continue to be a blessing for His glory.
PS Here in our little WI town, we have only 1 Wal-Mart and my 4 homeschooled children tell me when I’ve made a wrong turn while driving to it! 🙂 I guess we have that one covered! Now if I may only show them a living example of my role model, the Proverbs 31 woman, as you seem to effortlessly exemplify. Thank you for your silent encouragement.
Beautiful!!! You showed him–and Him!!
Yes it is crazy how fast those comments come into your head. I always think of something Jackie Lewis said once, no one ever got ill from swallowing their words! I hear that in my mind all the time!
The situation isn’t as amazing as your humble and inspirational reaction. I pray to be as self evident of my own growth in self control, even the silent thoughts kind! Thanks for sharing your experiences and those verses.
Isn’t it just amazing what kind of comments we get every single day from individuals? I do not understand people sometimes when it comes to if they are having a bad day why is it that they feel like it’s their responsibility to make everyone or at least try to make everyone else day just as negative? But, that is why we grow ourselves so that we know how to react to comments and let things like that not get to us. I want to thank you both for just being amazing leaders by being the examples for us to follow.
This made me laugh so hard for some reason! Some people amaze me with the things that make them so mad! I once had a woman cut me off, stop the car and told me I should probably not be behind the wheel when having my head placed in my butt( only the word butt was not used). I cracked up laughing and was in shock at the same time. I still to this day have no idea what she was referring to… which makes the situation even funnier. I must have cut her off or something, but honestly did not even notice, so maybe my head was in fact somewhere else, my daughter was 9 at the time and as she walked away from my car said “mom, that woman needs Jesus, huh?’ lol I was reminded at that time why we pray for people like her. You are one of the sweetest people I have ever came across in my life, and I must admit, it was reassuring to know that your thoughts can go in the gutter as well sometimes!! Thanks for sharing!!
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