Passing Through Rejection for Purpose

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An image of purpose in the mirror

‘Sometimes you have to encourage yourself, speak victory during the test.

Words from a gospel song

There are few of us if any that can go through life without being on the receiving end of rejection or the rage of others. However when we pass through these situations, we can be on the way to our God revealed purpose, while He protects and positions us, to build possibilities.

I preached a sermon on the topic of rejection in one of my seminary classes, taking the scripture from Luke 4:28-30 (NRSV) where Jesus dealt with this issue, called The Rejection at Nazareth. When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff. But he passed through the midst of them and                                          went on his way.

Yes, life does present circumstances where we face rejection. My mother Mary was someone who encountered this as well, especially being a single parent.  Even now for some of us the dis might be no response to our emails, texts or calls, no invitation to a meeting at the church, or the lunch gatherings at work. There are also times we’ll be denied the job we applied for, the relationship we desire, or gain the acceptance we want. If dealing with those plights weren’t enough, still we may encounter the rage of others because their perception is that ‘we think we’re something’ with our nice words or big ideas.’

In the text, when rejection happened to Jesus, but he passed through it and went on His way to fulfill his purpose. Because God had other plans for His only begotten son. Sometimes we too have to be rejected to get on our way to something better or bigger that God has in store. Once His plan is in place, we’re anointed and favored for the right season of all working together for good. Now we can probably look back and see how that person, situation or position was not for us or in line with God’s purpose for our lives.

Once Jesus passed through the crowd, He could then go about His Father’s business. For now he had GPS, God Provided Safety, for the completion of His destiny. Jesus didn’t try to get back at these folks, which He had the power to do. We too may encounter enraged people who will gang up on us to run us out of the relationship, family or church. But we can’t let their emotions or mold of us mess us up and divert us from purpose.

So think about how you will pass through those situations of rejection.  My mother did this from a place of sheer faith and determination, not letting doubters detract her from raising us the best ways she could.

And now I do as well, not letting naysayers or others keep me from doing the work God has purposed me to do. Yes, the struggle to do so remains but I stay tuned to my personal GPS, God Purposed Salvation.

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On Woman’s Warrior Pond: Personal Reflections on Service

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As an army reserve officer, circa 1998

Below is an article I wrote of my personal reflections on seeing a friend, fellow army officer and woman go off to war for the first time back in 1991…

With the acceleration of Operation Desert Shield in late November 1990, I had the opportunity to experience a combination of feelings that I hope not to have again anytime soon.  One of my dear friends, an Army personnel officer, was going to Saudi Arabia.  She was a wife, (her husband also on active duty was not going) and the mother of a nine year old son.  Feelings of disbelief, sorrow, and confusion tempered with pride overcame me.

I felt it hard to believe that this was happening in my lifetime, during my military career.  I had been in the army for twelve years, as an active duty officer and a reservist.  I had been through the Iranian desert catastrophe, the Beirut bombing, the operation in Grenada and Just Cause in Panama, but this was different.  A formidable opponent stood to inflict much harm and danger upon my fellow soldiers, sailors, and airmen.  I could’ve found myself headed for the Gulf as well.

To show my support and concern for my friend, I took her and her husband out to lunch prior to her departure.  It was nice, relaxing, full of laughter, reminiscing about the past and planning for the future.  I felt it was important to do all of those things, particularly planning for the future.  We played tennis and partyed together, and spoke of looking forward to doing those things upon her return.

After lunch, it came time to say goodbye.  We hugged, and I was hit with many emotions.  It was mid December 1990; preparation was under way for the most joyous season of the year, the country was on the verge of war in the Persian Gulf, my friend was leaving for a potential war zone, the possibility loomed that I may have to go at some point as well, and we were both women.

When the mass deployment of the military began in mid-August, America and the media were overwhelmed with the quickness at which all this happened, the enormity of the operation, and the technology involved.  There were constant reminders that “this is not an exercise, this is real.”  Sociological and demographic differences between this military operation and previous ones were immediately noted; two primary ones being that we are deploying an all-volunteer force and a significant number of them are women.  Documentaries and articles immediately appeared surrounding the effectiveness and willingness to fight of an all-volunteer force as well as prospects of women and mothers at war.

The firsts of this war were very real, piercing the minds of all Americans.  Concerns voiced surrounded the reinstitution of the draft, women in mass coming home in body bags and abandoned and psychologically impaired children due to the numbers of single parents and dual status military couples/parents stationed in the war zone.

As I watched the news, totally absorbed in the reality of this crisis, I cried often.  The possibility of death by the thousands frightened me.  The potential losses for families, spouses, children, and friends were looming.  The threat of terrorism here in the United States was real.  “War stress” had claimed me as well as Saddam Hussein’s propaganda war.

These are just some of the thoughts and observations that I have made during this international yet very personal crisis.  Questions as to my own future as an army officer have presented themselves.  Reevaluation of the goals of the organization I volunteered to be a part of, in conjunction with my own goals and beliefs as an individual, have occupied a portion of my special reflection time.

Where we go from here as a nation, as a military force and as women in the military is topic material for much congressional debate, legislation and general conversation by the public.  The impact of Desert Storm will be felt for many years to come.  It will certainly go down in history for many reasons.

 

 

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Bound Up in the Bog

 

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time,

O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your

 saving faithfulness. Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be

delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.Let not the

flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up,

or the pit close its mouth over me.

Psalms 69: 13-15

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I have a brother who is homeless. Having lived out most of his journey drifting in and out of shelters, jail and other unfavorable situations— his choices have accumulated into an ineffective yet settled way of navigating his avenues. People I’ve shared his story with always basically say the same thing: “Every family has one.”

As his sister, I pray for him and when I do see him make sure he has money to eat, as does the rest of the family. Through the years I’ve purchased bus tickets to get him to another shelter location if that was in his best interest. Other money has also been sent his way to help for clothing, jail bail or other incidents. It doesn’t feel great, but that’s all we can do. He has vices we can’t accommodate.

When our mother was alive she’d let him stay with her for a while, then he’d move on for various reasons. He won’t work and his life has been a quagmire of excuses. Asked why, he’ll say that growing up without a father is the cause of his position in life— his justification not totally without merit as there are acidic effects to some degree for anyone who shares this life fact. There are parts of that issue that affect all of us in some way as his siblings. At over 50 years old my brother has been unable to break out of that pattern of thinking and can’t seem to drag himself out of the hole he’s in. I have tried talking to him about making a change, as have others. We remind him that our mother isn’t here to throw him a life preserver any more.

The Salvation Army has a six-month effort designed to help their homeless clients eventually move into responsible living. Other family members and I have suggested to my brother to try and at least stay within that type of shelter program for his own safety and well-being. He would be fed and have a bed to sleep in every night in addition to the other skills services this Salvation Army program offers. He hasn’t stuck with it—gotten as far as four months. Then my brother returns to the streets for a while—gets tired and then finds another temporary shelter (sometimes). There are those that won’t let him return.

Having dealt with my own limitations, which have at times bound me emotionally, I do identify with certain aspects of my brothers condition. Unchecked, bad habits can take us down deeper and deeper—sucking us into an awful hole. But God’s power is stronger than that negative gravity. He has cables of love, grace and mercy that can pull us out of those bottomless pits. When it’s time, the wheels of His power go to work. I keep hoping for my brother—and for me. While writing this book, I shared with my brother this part of my story about his life. He was okay with it and wished me the best in my endeavor.

Praying for each other to be released from those things that keep us dangling over the muck, in the ‘acceptable time,’ helps the release.

 

Excerpted from my motivational autobiography, Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey in print and Kindle eBookhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B008FQDPYE

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Information Sources: Building Your Reserve

 

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“Those that don’t got it can’t show it. Those that got it can’t hide it.”
~
Zora Neale Hurston, Writer

  As we march forward in reaching our goals, professional and personal, there are stakes to put in place. Stocking these attributes constantly will keep us be built to last, whether we’re operating in a paid or volunteer situation or managing our lives.

  • A Little But Good Attitude

The rules and conditions will keep changing. There will be failures and setbacks.         It’s easy to become bitter. Staying focused and positive is essential to present              ourselves well and concentrate for the best decision-making. There may be times        to fight the –isms noted earlier. Gratitude, for whatever the situation, is necessary as well.

  • Get It Together—Organizational Skills

Rounding up all needed documentation, such as résumés (old and new), transcripts, evaluations, job descriptions, and letters of recommendation may be time consuming, but it has a huge return on investment (ROI). You don’t want to go on a fishing expedition when something is needed right away. Next, put them in some type of logical order. The same tactics work for tracking any financial expenditures, especially for tax purposes.

  • Who Knows You? References

Have you ‘done good’? Can anyone attest to that? Compile a list of people   who’ve known you in a professional setting, such as supervisors or co- workers. Also include those who can speak to your character. Include personal friends with a solid background; teachers, professors, or family friends.

This who-knows-you concept isn’t just for job situations. Many community and professional associations may also require references. Due to the worst of human nature (molesters, scammers, and the like) background checks, of the financial and character type, are now the norm.

Ensure that your social media presence reflects an image that’s aligned with who you are professionally, especially on LinkedIn. Recruiters and others, including plain nosy folks use Google to check out prospective hiring candidates. Censor your tweets and Facebook posts based on the type of opportunities or community positions you seek.

 

Excerpted from my book, For People of Strength, Soul, and Spirit: Seven Guidelines for Life & Career Success: Deborah L. Parker: 9781479237012: Amazon.com: Books

https://www.amazon.com/People-Strength-Soul-Spirit-Guidelines/dp/1479237019

 

 

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2016:Focused and Sweet

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Chopping and Assessing: Size Your Assignment

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Mary working in the soil

 

Men can starve from a lack of self-realization as much as they can from a lack of bread.

Richard Wright

One of the other necessary acts my grandfather, Joe, who was Mary’s father,  performed for his garden was the construction of poles for which the butter bean vines would grow. A wood source was needed for this effort. So this required him to venture into the woods adjacent to our house, with his power saw in tow, to use for cutting down a tree. After this massive focused labor, he hauled the tree back to the yard, then used his axe to size the pieces for the poles. So he drew from two implements in the tool shed to use in this effort.

The right chopping movements helped Joe shape the cut tree for its purpose, which was to harness those vines so they could sprout strong. He knew the ‘force was with him’ as he handled the axe, relentless toward his purpose. My grandfather knew he had the ability of physical strength in using this tool, but if needed he used the power saw again, to further bring muscle to this process.

Joe was on assignment, splitting up this timber. As he yielded the axe, he’d occasionally stop to assess if the sizes and numbers were correct—a fit of the poles needed for the rows. Once done with this part of the task, the leftover pieces of wood were stacked as fuel for the stoves or for him to use in rigging up something else needed for the house or yard. So the tree and the axe had multi assignment purposes to help my grandfather with his calling of responsibility.

How do we size up our essential abilities for the assignments in our life roles, careers, and community efforts?  Where do we go to find meaning in where we’re supposed to be—our assignment?

Oftentimes, we respond to a calling, whatever that looks like for each of us. As Dr. King also stated, everybody can serve in some capacity. Whatever that is for each of us, we should strive to be the best at it. How do we get shaped for our purpose?

We are all bestowed gifts through our DNA, our “delivered natural ability,” to be shared with the world. These assets or skills stand to make our actions complete and we tow them around. Coming from our innate talents, good and bad experiences, formal and informal education, these traits sprout forth as our achievements. All of these pieces shape us and eventually we whittle them down to what’s useful for our designed goals.

Parts excerpted from my  book: Tools to Cultivate the Promised Land: Working Wisdom From My Grandparent’s Garden
http://www.amazon.com/Tools-Cultivate-Promised-Land-Grandparents/dp/1489597581

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Don’t Let Up: Moving On After Disappointment

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My mother Mary with her two granddaughters at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in DC, July 2008

People disappoint. Situations don’t always turn out the way we’d like. Folks don’t always do right or treat you right. Family and others take advantage. Whether it’s a friend reneging on a promise, a client cancelling an engagement, a manager not following through on a personnel action or a family member not living up to expectations— these occurrences can sear your soul. Disappointment can shake the foundation of trust and sometimes dealing with it is hard.

It’s also difficult to explain these types of emotional jabs that come with the territory of our trek to kids, but we must try.

My youngest niece wanted to have a 13th birthday party in August of 2010 and posted her invitation on Facebook. Only a few friends responded ‘yes’ and when they saw that others weren’t coming, they withdrew their responses to attend.

She cancelled the party.

Upset, my niece then went on Facebook the afternoon the party would’ve happened and saw that some of the invited kids were online. She was very hurt, posting comments to that effect and lashed out angrily. If they were online that meant they weren’t busy and could have come to the party. The reasons why some of the kids couldn’t attend were probably varied, but it didn’t matter to her. This was a huge disappointment at a special yet challenging time in her life. Turning 13 is a big deal, marking the teenage transition. This disappointment added to the loss of her “Nanny’s sunset” a few months earlier—those emotions still tugging at her heart’s core—made this even tougher on her. I tried to encourage her and she put up a brave front. We also talked about her comments in reaction to the disappointment on Facebook. I pointed out that a forum as large as Facebook was probably not the best place to vent and suggested she put her special emotional thoughts in her journal instead.

How will we settle our spirits after disappointment?

Thoughts such as “well, it happens”, “this too shall pass”, “I may be down but not out” or “every dog has his day” may provide some temporary relief. In my niece’s situation, the venting of her feelings served a purpose—she got the emotions out. I also encouraged her to think about the lessons her “Nanny” had shared with her about growing up. I wanted to support her during this time of need soI gave her a birthday card with a monetary gift enclosed in memory of her grandmother and I took her on a day trip to Virginia Beach. She was elated over my gestures. We had a fun aunt-niece day at the beach. Nothing like playing in the ocean to wash our sorrows off— we both needed it. When we got back from our trip my niece wrote on Facebook about her “awesome time” at the beach.

After school started my niece took another step forward to shake off the birthday disappointment; she ran for and won an election for eighth grade class senator.

You go, girl!

When we feel letdown, wait for the energy to mount up and conquer. The sun will rise again!

Excerpted from my motivational autobiography, Navigating Life’s Roadways: Stories of Insight from My Odyssey and Inspiration for Your Journey in print and Kindle eBook http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008FQDPYE

 

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