People are not always who they seem. When I first met Louise, I thought she would be a tender elderly woman who would nurture me in the new area I felt God was moving me. I needed skill in public speaking and joined an organization that was supposed to help. She seemed like a great mentor. All you had to do was look at the twinkle in her eyes and quick smile upon her lips to know she would offer encouragement, and probably bake you some brownies in the process.
It did not take me long to realize, however, that I misjudged her. She was not a lenient, soft-spoken matron but more of a “get in shape!” coach. Although not unreasonable, she did have high expectations and sometimes took too much ownership in an organization that she had belonged to for almost as many years as I had been alive. Her manner of mentoring was the difference between having your mother coax and coddle you with the story about the little choo-choo engine who “thought he could” to having the fitness trainer at the gym demand you “quit being a wimp” and sweat, squat, and groan to do one more rep.
Ultimately, did I learn from Louise? Absolutely. Of course, there were others in my group who were more sensitive in their approach, and I learned from them as well. But God knew what I needed, and brought the right balance into my path for such a time.
When you look around at your own life, are there individuals that God could be using to mold and shape you that are not really what or who you expected? Instead of looking for an opportunity to separate yourself from them, perhaps you should ask what God would like you to learn from them?
Please know that I’m not talking about tolerating or condoning a bully. If someone’s goal is to demean, discredit, threaten or hurt you, then remove yourself from their influence and seek the Lord for further direction on handling the situation.
Louise passed away several years ago, but I will remember the lessons she taught me for a lifetime. And, I will remember that sometimes God brings people into your life to get results quickly. I am thankful I cooperated instead of walked (or ran) away!
During this time, the Lord opened the door for me to be teach Sunday School and to lead sessions at a couple of our women’s conferences. Louise took away my excuses and forced me to improve. The process was sometimes painful, but I thank God for bringing her into my life. Thanks to His orchestration, she was instrumental in preparing me for those roles.
Louise was right where He wanted her, and I was right where I needed to be.
God may bring a Louise into your life for a season of growth or even to hone skills that you do not know yet exist for a purpose that is in the future. Think of Joseph in Potiphar’s house, and then Joseph in prison. He ultimately became second in command to Pharaoh and “over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:41).
You’ve heard people say, “Who God calls, He equips” and that is true, but He doesn’t always equip us in the way we expect.
Let God work in your life, and do not resist. While it may not make sense with your eyes, there is a greater purpose. Be patient and continue to seek the Lord for growth. Your season is coming!
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