September 2014. It was another rush job. The designers were sending over three samples of red brick and they wanted me to do variations of whitewash and aging on them. The samples arrived late. The mortar wasn’t even dry yet but they still wanted me to finish them so they could pick them up the next day. This was a tough one.
I was under pressure to work quickly. I got three fans out to dry the mortar first. Then I started to mix my colors. When somebody pushes me in a situation like this, I want to push back. But I told myself, Jesus is with me. It’s okay. I can do this.
Then the project manager told me they were coming for the pieces two hours earlier than planned. For a few minutes there I mentally lost it. What? I thought. They bring me the pieces late. They aren’t even dry enough to paint and now they want them completed two hours earlier? I started to get angry and then a strange thing happened.
I felt a meekness come over me. I didn’t even have to try to overcome anger or any of that. My old nature of rebellion just disappeared instantaneously as an overwhelming meekness enveloped me. It wasn’t me trying to be meek. It was genuine. It clothed me inside and out and it felt really true and good. It was like an atmosphere of meekness, through and through, beautiful, elegant and powerful. This isn’t me, I thought. But I didn’t have the time to ponder it, so even though it felt alien, I went with it.
I finished up the samples before the deadline and I’m sure it was the Lord helping me on that one too. I told my project manager he could call the guy to pick them up and I followed him over to the job site with my touch-up kit.
I was so calm and peaceful in this new air of meekness. I walked onto the jobsite in my typical outfit: a tee-shirt and painter pants that used to be white but now were about 75% covered in paint from various past jobs. My boots were also paint-spattered. I had on my hard hat and my safety vest which didn’t fit because they only come in one size, large. I found a place to sit on a dusty stack of bricks but I felt like an elegant powerful queen in a gorgeous dress and beautiful crown. The meekness wasn’t weakness. It made me feel great and free.
The designer arrived and picked the sample he said he just loved. That made me happy, but not nearly as happy as this new meekness I was experiencing.
It was great to feel genuinely calm inside, in contrast to the uproar I usually felt in these hurried, stressful, last minute situations. Some part of my soul had changed. The old me: sharp-tongued, rebellious and angry. This new meekness had to be the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23, part of the new me, the Christ in me. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
Romans 7 talks about the two natures we have in us, the old one and the new one. Only God, through Jesus Christ can deliver us from our old nature (Rom 7:24-25). I had tried my best in the past to be meek under stress but even with my strongest efforts it wouldn’t last very long, and it definitely wouldn’t be true meekness.
But with the miraculous working of the Lord Jesus Christ, the rebellious angry nature of the old Carolyn was replaced by the true and wonderful meekness of Jesus Christ. That’s the new nature God intended for me to have. It had nothing to do with me changing myself. It had everything to do with the Lord working in me to change me into my real self in Christ. All I did was have to desire to be more like Him. and the spirit of Christ in me changed my soul. It took time but the change came and here it is a year later and the meekness is still here. It’s for real.
Almost every morning Jane and I add this little phrase to the end of our prayer: “I can hardly wait to see what the Lord is going to do today.” It’s an exciting life.
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