August 1, 2021
Do I love the two old fellas in this picture with all my heart? Yes. Do they both have a stubborn streak as wide as Chief’s rear end? Also yes. 😂
The quickest way to get Joe to NOT do something was to tell him to do it. I can’t tell you how many times I’d gently encourage him to take action, only to hear, “Don’t tell me what to do, woman!” He said I was bossy. I said he just needed a lot of direction. 🤷♀️
For example: I would sweetly drop hints a month or so before Christmas or my birthday. I mean…just in the spirit of helpfulness…you know? And I assure you that the sticky stuff on the envelope was still wet every time I opened a card or gift from Joe because he was going to wait until the last minute to make the purchase and sign the card..just to prove his point! So, in the true spirit of relentless stubbornness, this past October I sent him a link to those huge bottles of Chik Fil A sauce and asked if he wanted to get a head start on my list. Pretty sure he rolled his eyes when he saw it and said to himself,”Don’t tell me what to do, woman!”😂
Eventually I learned that the best way to get Joe to do something was to make him think it was his idea all along. He listened to the little voice inside his own head just fine…it was MY voice that triggered his stubborn streak! Bless us. Bless us both. 😂
This week Joe’s lesson is about stubborn procrastination and why we should pay attention to the gentle nudge when we feel it.
Do It Now
I want to talk to you today about procrastination.
2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
There is this idea in these modern times that there is no particular reason to be in a hurry to obey God. And I believe that there are folks who know full well what God wants them to do and they ignore it.
There are several examples in the Bible, such as Luke 9: 59-62. It reads:
“He said to another man, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family. ”Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
These men counter the instructions of Jesus with, “But first let me…”. How many times do we say that when we feel that the Lord is nudging us to do something? Christ expected these men to follow Him then—not the next day or the next week or the next month. If we know what God wants and we do not act on it, then we are hardening our hearts—and God doesn’t want that for His children.
In Acts, there is a story of Paul preaching. The Jews in Antioch spoke against Paul. Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s go preach to the Gentiles.” He and Barnabas shook the dust off against them and took off for the next town. So, that was it—the folks that rejected Paul and Barnabas lost their opportunity to hear the good news of Jesus.
When we refuse to obey the truth of God’s word, we are rejecting the Holy Spirit. If we reject the Holy Spirit, it is impossible to have the relationship with our Heavenly Father that He so desires, and that we need so much every day of our lives.
So, as we go about our week, when we feel that God is calling us to act, let us not say, “But first let me…” We should always be in a hurry to obey God.
Behold. Now is the time.
I work better under pressure. That is a lie I tell myself, because what I really like to do is procrastinate. But sometimes that gentle nudge is too much for me to ignore. Once in a while, I will take the time to listen.
I listened to several gentle nudges in the days and weeks preceding Joe’s death.
One example: Family Pictures. We put them off for FIVE years. Each year I’d mention them, and there would always be a reason to wait. It didn’t really make much sense to take them this past year. Cam was already a junior in high school…maybe waiting until we took his Senior Pics would make more sense. But when the “Fall Mini” special came across my newsfeed, I called my photographer without even thinking twice. We booked. Caegan got sick. We canceled. So, I thought maybe it had worked out like it was intended. Until the photographer called with a cancellation, offering a last minute chance to reschedule. NOBODY in my house wanted to spend Friday afternoon taking pictures. But I insisted. I couldn’t shake the voice inside my head…”The time is now.”
Becca Scott Reynolds (my friend and a fantastic photographer) sent me the link to our family portraits on December 3rd.
Joe went to Heaven on December 5th.
On Friday, December 4th, Joe and I attended the funeral of Jamie Rouse, a lifelong friend who also passed away unexpectedly. I almost sent Joe to the funeral without me. Work was so crazy last year, and I wasn’t sure I could spare the time. But something told me to go with him that day.
Before the service, we stood and spoke with Joe’s good friend and former business partner, Lynn Taylor, of Rouse Funeral Home. They joked about Lynn coming out of retirement one day to handle Joe’s funeral. Lynn laughed and told me to make sure his number was in my phone. So I played along and checked. It wasn’t, but I added it. And in less than six hours, I would need it.
Had I not listened to that voice, I wouldn’t have been in the truck with Joe that evening. We wouldn’t have gone to Village Steakhouse for supper. I wouldn’t have joked with Joe and said I planned to put him in a pink dress shirt when he passed away. That joke led to a conversation in which Joe planned his entire funeral. He named the pallbearers, the speaker, the music…about four hours before he went to Heaven.
We were almost home when Joe said he wanted to go see my daddy. I was tired. I wanted to go home. But I said ok. We had the best visit. My brother and sister both ended up sitting with us out in the shop. Joe and Daddy made breakfast plans for the next morning. And when I couldn’t hold my eyes open anymore, we went home.
Normally, I am asleep before my head hits the pillow, but on this night, I was still awake when Joe crawled in bed beside me. And, in a pure Christmas miracle 😇 I stayed awake. We laughed and talked for more than an hour. Y’all. I am not built for that!!But the last thing I remember is laughing, looking at the clock, and joking about it being after 11pm. And by 2:21 am, my sweet Joe had gone to be with Jesus.
I didn’t see the urgency in those nudges then, but I certainly see it now. People ask me all the time if I think Joe had any premonition of what was to come. I honestly have no idea.
But I do know this…
As part of a large, ongoing cemetery project, Joe had to set an enormous statue of Jesus. That statue sat in the yard at Joe’s shop for a good while. Scheduling conflicts kept getting in the way of placing the monument in the cemetery. This went on for weeks. But on Thursday December 3rd, Joe finally moved the statue to its permanent home. It was the very last stone he set.
This week, I received this picture of Joe as he put the statue in place.
So maybe Joe did feel that gentle nudge and maybe he listened to that voice. Maybe he heard, “The time is now.” Do you see where Joe is kneeling? My sweet, sweet Joe is literally kneeling at the feet of Jesus less than two days before he met Him face to face. Do you know how precious that is to me now? I look at Joe and imagine the voice of Jesus saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Well done.”
But sweet friend, as blessed as I am to have all those nudges in the days before his death, I am sure there were many more that I missed. How many times did I wave the urge away, so caught up in today…so confident there would be time tomorrow? When you look at me, when you read this blog, I hope you see all the ways Jesus has carried me through this storm. But today, I also hope you see me as the reminder that sometimes tomorrow never comes.
We know not the hour.
It’s so easy to say “But first let me…” when Jesus gently whispers, “Follow Me.” My precious, friend, don’t let that be your response. Just do it. Do it now. Pray the prayer. Make the call. Take the time. Schedule the portraits. Tell them you love them. Say I’m sorry. Say you forgive them. Mean it when you say it.
Behold. The time is now.
The week before Christmas, I was cleaning out some files in the office at Joe’s shop. I came across an Amazon package tucked away in a corner. I opened it to find 2 huge bottles of Chik Fil A Sauce. Ordered early. Say what?!?
Who could find a way to prove me wrong AND give me a gift EARLY after his own death? Who could make me laugh and make me cry and make me want to choke someone and make me want to hug someone all at once? My Joe and my Jesus, that’s who. My Joe and my Jesus. ❤️
Whatever it is, my friend. Don’t put it off. Do it.
Behold. The time is now.
-Words of Wisdom from The Book of Joe💗