Confessions of the Preacher’s Daughter: My Useful Acquaintances

Recently, I’ve come upon several Facebook posts in my news feed and had a real-live-in-person actual conversation with another someone about how people they thought were friends could be so selfish and turn out not to be a friend at all. 

That’s a hurtful place. I’ve been there.

Betrayal is tough and can wound someone deeply; particularly when we would never expect that type of behavior from a friend. 

And so, I had to learn the difference between friends and a group that I have personally given the moniker “useful acquaintances.” 

See, some people I thought were my friends actually were not; they turned out to be mere acquaintances who called me when they needed me, were kind when they wanted a piece of my time, and invisible otherwise. I was merely a useful acquaintance to them. 

So, instead of being continually hurt, I had to set a boundary. I had to realize that it was *they* who were not capable of being a friend, and that I should not expect anything more from them.

Now. This doesn’t absolve me from doing the right thing by them; no, the Bible is clear on how my behavior toward them should be. This simply gives me the freedom to release my expectations. There is incredible joy in expressing kindness, acting in deference, displaying graciousness, and walking above the fray — even when the person on the receiving end is clueless. And God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that all along.

That didn’t come naturally to me. I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess that it doesn’t come naturally to you, either. In general, we tend to do certain things to get a certain result. We are wired that way. But that doesn’t always happen. 

It’s not that I want to be taken advantage of, either. Someone told me a long time ago, “Joy, you should toughen up. You’re too nice.” 

(Thanks???)

I had to learn some things.

I had to learn how to be kind without expecting anything in return; to treat them as I would want to be treated without expecting them to reciprocate. And that is in my power to do. Through Christ who gives me strength.

It’s a freeing place to be.

The truth is, we live in a fallen world and sin seems to be the default. It all boils down to one thing: ME. We tend to look out for number one at all costs. Why is that?

Growing up, I always thought that “sin” was a list of do’s and don’ts and that if I’d only done the minor stuff, that somehow made me better. 

I had to learn that sin is an attitude and posture of the heart. An evangelist with whom I travel often says, “It’s not a sin that will send you to hell; it’s your rejection of Jesus Christ.” What he says and what God had previously revealed to me is that sin is me sitting on the throne of my heart and serving myself — rather than allowing God to have that rightful place.

See, that space in our hearts will never be satisfied without the Lord filling it with His great love, purpose, and calling. It was created by Him and for Him — because He knew that was what’s best for us. That is ultimate freedom.

My job as a believer is to reflect the love of Christ for others to see. “Let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16 This verse immediately follows Jesus’s admonitions and promises in His Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5 is chock full of goodies and merits a full read, by the way!) But that’s a bottom line on this topic with no ifs, ands, or buts.

Micah 6:8 sums it up well: “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.”

“And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” Luke‬ ‭6:31-36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Diving Deeper…

Here are some great related verses worth memorizing:

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18

“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs‬ ‭18:24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew‬ ‭7:12‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Confessions of the Preacher’s Daughter: The God-Ordained “Hot Sign” @Krispy Kreme

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, simply because I’ve been incredibly busy just uprooting my life. 

This summer, we sold our home of 18 years. (For those who’ve moved after long periods of time, I don’t have to enumerate the utter mess this creates in your life. Or your carpet. GROSS!) So the story goes, we bought a great piece of land in 2007 and planned to build a house, but got stuck in the 2007 crash. That’s another blog. However, it leads us to fresh, hot, glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts in a most unusual way. 

We are so excited to get to build our home. In the meantime, we are renting a lovely house near the mall — and conveniently (?) right around the corner from our local Krispy Kreme. Besides, the house has a leaky basement to store our 24 years of unnecessary junk. Perfect!

Since we moved in several weeks ago, I have driven by that Krispy Kreme countless times looking for the tantalizing red glow of the “HOT” sign. Alas, would you know that God has spared my waistline thus far and that sign has not been on one single time in these weeks when I’ve passed it? Not even once! Drat. It’s become a family joke.

We’ve been getting settled into life in the new place, and it’s been a fun-filled few weeks with my daughter starting high school and my son turning 20. The mornings have been groggy, but I’m proud of my hard working girl for trudging through and facing her challenges with a can-do spirit — even when she went to use the restroom on Thursday morning and forgot that her phone was in her back pocket. Yep. Splash. “MOM?!” Yeah… Listen to the birds chirping and singing their “good morning” song — while the song on the inside is a bit less chipper.

Bless her heart. I didn’t yell. I didn’t even raise my voice. Poor kid was scared to death that we were going to be upset. Hey, that’s why they’re called accidents. Living a little has taught me more grace than I would’ve exercised in my younger days. Besides, my husband had done the same thing. My son even jumped in a pool once with his phone in his pocket. So, what was I going to say? Having done it twice before, I was confident I could get this phone back in working order. We went on and carried out our Thursday and Friday.

By now, it was Friday afternoon, and a 14-year-old girl had been without her phone for an entire 36 hours. And asking for mine. This could’ve been life altering. We planned to head out Friday evening to address the phone situation after dinner at home with my son and his girlfriend.

But first, my nails! Did I mention I’m close to the mall now? Okay, I’m still a little bit of an ’80’s girl and am slightly stoked about my new proximity to unnecessary junk to fill up my next basement. (Why?!…) And I really don’t even like to shop (totally not ’80’s), but yet, I love this convenient location!

My nail appointment took longer than anticipated and put me back at home and starting dinner much later than I’d planned. By the time we were done with burrito night, it was 8:45. Fifteen minutes would’ve been impossible before moving to mall heaven, but after licking my fingers from the last bite to stepping inside that store was all of about 90 seconds. (And yes, that included washing my hands. With soap!)

We talked through some options and decided to sleep on it. A new phone was a lot of money. We needed more research and a few more options. So, we got back in the car and headed back home. 

But wait! What is that alluring red glow from amidst the trees across the road? Is that? It WAS! Twenty seconds later, I jumped out of a running car, bounded into the house and announced, “GUYS. Get your shoes on. It’s an emergency and we have to leave RIGHT NOW. THE HOT SIGN IS ON!”

You have never seen such quick movement. That car was loaded in seconds, and within a minute, we were pulling into the parking lot of melt-in-your-mouth bliss. 

I was driving, and my son was riding shotgun. His girlfriend and my daughter were both in the back seat. As my son got out of the car, his feet touched something. He bent down. A wallet. 

“Mom, is this one of ours? Did this just fall out of the car?”

Well, I can’t see it. It looks similar to my wallet; same color and size. I look more closely and identify that it is not my wallet. I asked the girls. It wasn’t theirs. We carried it to the door; the glow of that glorious sign illuminating our path. 

I could’ve walked in and said, “Hey, did anyone in here lose this wallet?” However, I could just see a baker’s dozen hands going up in the air, “Sure, I did! How much money is in it?!” No, that won’t work. 

Being that we were with a non-family member and standing at the front door of the store with people all around, I felt comfortable saying, “Hey y’all, watch me open this wallet and let’s look for a driver’s license.” We couldn’t see one, but we did see a card with a name. We had a name!

We went in and quietly asked a few people, “Hey, are you ___?” None of them were her. Drat again.

There were two older, solid looking couples sitting at a table nearby. Maybe they were connected to the wallet. “Are there any Wilsons at this table?” That sounded so randomly stupid. “I’m sorry,” I continued, “I know that sounds bizarre. My son just found this wallet in the parking lot, and I’m trying to find who it belongs to — without announcing that we’d just found a wallet.”

The older lady said, “Maybe there’s something inside with a phone number on it.” So together, we looked through the wallet. No phone number, but this time, we found the driver’s license. The man identified the lady as just having been in the store just moments before we had arrived. 

Moments!

Maybe she was still in the parking lot looking around and I just didn’t notice her. Maybe she drove back and was out there now. The man said, “If you call 911 — let them know that it’s not an emergency, but that you found a wallet, they will send someone out to deliver it to the owner’s home.”

I handed my kids my purse and had them order while I stepped outside and called 911. 

Moments…

It hit me. If it hadn’t been me, I’m not sure that that little mama would’ve gotten her wallet back. Or maybe her credit card company alerts her of fraudulent charges later that night. Sure, there are still good-hearted people in the world, but there are plenty of dishonest people, too. I’ve been the victim of too many of them, unfortunately.

Moments.

The kids came outside with our order, ready to go home and eat their hot, sweet deliciousness in two rectangular boxes. They were visibly disappointed when I said that we had to wait on the police. But I knew that I had to make sure that wallet got handed off properly. The kids opted to forgo eating outside with the bugs and sit in the coolness of the car. We pulled into a parking space where we could look for the police car to drive up any minute. On a Friday night in metro-Atlanta? Who am I kidding? 

We got through more than half a dozen hot doughnuts and realized that there was no guarantee the cops would be arriving anytime soon. I thought about driving to the lady’s house. It was only about 15 minutes away; near where we’d just moved from. But what if they were headed to a movie, an event, or even headed out of town? Then, I thought about needing to get my son’s girlfriend home, which is 30 minutes in the opposite direction. There was still a lot of driving left to do, and it was already after 10:30. Hey! I could leave a note and the wallet with the store manager. That’s what I’ll do. 

As I pulled up to the door again, ready to give up on waiting, I saw her. I recognized her from the worry on her face and the distress of her body language. I smiled, jumped out of the car, and called her first name. She looked up and excitedly said, “Yes! Wait, did you find my wallet?!”

Hugs, smiles, laughs… relief.

Moments…

As we embraced and I shared about our adventure, the police car drove up — just moments later. Was it there for the doughnuts, or for me? It was there for me. A beautiful, female officer emerged from the car to join us girls. My heart was humbled and a little sad to hear her say, “That’s a model citizen right there. You don’t see that everyday.” 

Moments

My kids got to see those moments play out in real time and feel the reward of doing the right thing. The wallet lady, her husband, and their two bright-eyed boys in the back seat got to feel the great relief of their worry and see someone do the right thing, which is apparently far too rare these days. 

But most importantly, the Lord let me see the importance of the journey and that life is made up of moments just like this one. He reminded me once again that my steps are ordered. Even right up to the door of Krispy Kreme.

Trust him with your moments today.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:8 🍩



Diving Deeper…

The modern cliche says, “We are blessed to be a blessing.” But do we see our inconveniences, struggles, or even our loss, sufferings, and sacrifices as blessings? The greatest purpose for our suffering is for someone else’s benefit. Just as Jesus died on the cross, our losses and sacrifices are best utilized when we can bless others from that place. Beauty for ashes. Giving a gift is the great privilege of the giver; it cannot be earned or bought; that’s why it’s a gift. God’s great gift of love for us cost Him dearly, but just as the word says, “It is better to give than to receive, for in giving, we receive the greatest blessing.” 💝