Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hope in A Jar...

When I was about 23, I worked for this uber posh, high end retailer. You know, the ones with big suited security and the sales person snubs you if your vintage Speedy bag is smaller than hers, and a pianist playing music at the escalator for no one in particular, oversized chairs in corners that no one would ever be lounging in.

I worked at a cosmetics counter with a $500 eye cream, which happens to be manufacted by the same company that mass produces the stuff they hawk for 20 bucks at walgreens.

I learned early on in my career, that the best way to thrive in a multi billion dollar industry...

was to sell dreams as shamelessly as possible.

Afterall, I mean... I'm saying, I was commissioned. Its a cut throat world in those swanky stores.

I once told a lady I was 41 to get her to commit to the eye cream that promised to take her from "that older lady" to "Johnny's hot younger mom" in two weeks.

She approached the glass counter, wearing an outfit from the juniors department or from her granddaughters closet. Its the standard daytime look, 300 dollar jeans and a 120 dollar tee shirt. Despite the loose skin at her elbows and neck, her surgeon had done well. The only off mark were the breasts, they were hard and made that painful looking gap in between her liver marked cleavage, (which to be fair, at her age, had been done before the invention of the tear shaped under the muscle procedure). She has big Yurman bangles, and even bigger Tiffany rings. I look up and give her a half smile.

She smiles back. "Excuse me is this your counter? I was wondering about this new age prevention cream I saw in Allure..."

I wait for it, and on cue, she reaches into her Jimmy Choo bag for the snippet from the magazine.

I light up a bit. The clipping always means half my job has done. The right person... had paid the right hypeman to say the hottest starlet had never been nipped plucked or tucked she just bathes in this magic potion...it goes into the mags..and presto! the marketing gods have spoken.

Now all she needs is to hear me confirm what she already believes.

She studied my face for a moment. I don't mind, I had taken extra care that morning with my makeup.

"Well, your super cute. How long have you worked here?" She asked as she looked for time on my face.

"Oh.. this store? About a year. For the brand? Oh, around ten years now." I wait again.

"Ten years! Honey, how old are you!"

Now, I leaned in very close to her. "Shhh, I'll be 41 on the 18th." I whisper this as if I was calling out my social security number, which is what I had seen women of a certain age do.

Apparently it brings you into the club. It also helped me keep my tactic from the pretty asian girl at the other counter. She was only a few thousand dollars from my sales record.

"Why, I know you women of color don't age as quickly, but I mean, you look like a teenager!" She is literally about to grab my face.

Well, I have my secrets. Lots of water, sunscreen and of course the elixir serum, it helps the moistizer penetrate deeper."

So... do you use this one?"

"Oh, everynight! The trick is consistency! Don't skip nights. And pat, don't rub it on. That makes more lines. The eye area...its very delicate. You have no oil gland there so it will dehydrate faster. Those fine lines...those are "dehydration lines" sweetie, your too young for "wrinkles, honey." As I finish my spill, I watch as she takes it all in.

I don't push the issue. With these women, it was always better to let them set the pace for how excited you were. The more I seemed to not care one way if she was there or not, the better.

This is what they come to spend 420 dollars more for with me than they would in the corner drug store. I sell them the dream in a jar, I listen as they tell me how much younger his new girlfriend is, how they only had one lift. I ooohhed, and tisked and agreed at all the right times. You cant get that from the girl who will bag your eye cream with your half gallon milk in Wally world. No...these women are paying for the "experience".

I don't need to do any more, but just for good measure I pull out the last card.

"Oh, and between you and me, I don't bother with the fancy cleanser. I use the regular old clean and clear from the drug store. Its like 4 bucks."

She writes the name down on her folded magazine page, that is now a balled up wad in her hands, she'd clinched them closed and hadn't opened them ever since I told her I had a teenage son graduating from high school.

"Wow! Well, I mean, if you use it... and your 41! Girl you look fantastic!"

"I swear buy it! You want to see my ID? Let me grab my satchel.."

"Oh. no honey! I believe you. I mean, you didn't even sell me the high dollar face wash! Thanks for the tip. I'll take three jars. Oh, and don't forget my elixir serum."

I smile broader now. "Sure thing. Are we putting this on the amex today?"....

I know what your thinking. What if she actually said 'yeah, let me see your id'? Right?

She wasn't going to ask. they never did.

It didn't matter how rediculous the story. People want to believe the lie, part of what made me a top sales person was I understood the idea that if they came in, they wanted to be sold. They were always looking for the confirmation that they were okay. They needed the hope in the jar because there was not any in their lives.
The more desperate we become in supericial pursuits, the more often the enemy can fool us with counterfit.

What lies do you buy into in your life? Do you allow people to sell you dreams?

Housewives After Dark, Pt 3/ Finale

So humbled by how easily one can fall, how easily the enemy had come in and stolen my peace and taken so much more in the process...

I reexamed the areas of my life I was still holding onto. I was holding onto dead friendships, dead relationships, grudges, dead ways of thinking...

I was holding onto the idea that I knew anything at all. I stopped writing for a while. For a while I stopped talking. (I know!)

I started listening.

I heard alot. The things that I held onto, I kept out of my people pleasing obligation. Relying on man and not God. Relying on myself and not God.

I told God I wasn't strong enough to cut ties with the things and people that held me back, that watched me drowning and had no authority to save me...I told Him I was nothing and I was not strong enough. I told Him that I understood that only He could do that for me, only He could remove my scales...

...and like the Almighty delvers, the scales fell away, one by one, and along with them, came clarity to see exactly what lived in those bags I was holding onto.

I now understood, why the Holy Spirit had not allowed me to go home to Texas and write "Housewives after Dark" or return to the arms of the enemy...

I understood why I had to be the student first and not the teacher.

I understood my fights with my sister Tone about my consistency in the written word of God, His gift to us in this life.

Because all things, as is written "work for the good for those who love Him..."

And Indeed they did.

The Father, all knowing, knew that I as I came into a maturing walk with Him, I would need to be ready to resist the painful cries of the enemy, as he was losing his claim on my life.

I opened bags that said "you are nothing to me and never were."
I opened bags that said "God doesn't love you who would...your crazy"
I opened bags that said "you are evil...I am waiting on the real you to come out..."
I opened bags that said "how are you and the Devil doing? Is he still chasing you?"

Those are quotations of things that were said to me. Really.

By the very same people I was willing to separate from God for...

Only but God... could we see that the things we hold so close, want to destroy us. I am thankful He heard me say...

I could do nothing without Him.

Oh, and a sidenote on those "carnal minded sinner quotes" me and my friends were spitting to one another to justify the god we served (clearlynot Christ)...

Reading the Word is so important. The most favorite thing for Carnal minded Christians as I was, is to say, well "God knows my heart."
But the Word says clearly "For the heart of man is wicked above all things, who can know it?"

Oh and let us not forget "only God can judge us"..."remove the plank in your own eye..."
most of the time when we say this it is because someone who loves us is giving correction, and I most of the time it is not even in an area that they are still struggling. If I am about to sin, and I have a saved girlfriend who has been through the pain of this same sin and has turned from it tells me her testimony...that is not "judgement."
She isn't "throwiing a stone" at me. Without proper understanding of what is going on in the ENTIRE context of what was written (the pharrisses were using the adultress they brought before Jesus to stone, as a pawn in their plot to destroy Him.). (John 8:1-11)

So we cannot allow immaturity in His word allow us to "pluck" a word or two to justify bad behavior. No we are not perfect but He expects maturity from those who love Him.

Without a mature, consistent look at prayer and educating ourselves on what He actually says, we miss the bigger picture. Glorify Him in all you do. Be the imitators of God He called us to be.


Housewives after Dark...Part 2

The reason we as sinners are offended by the Word of God... is that it means we must obey His Word. That is when it stops being about us, and about fulfilling His purpose for our lives.

For Jesus himself said if we loved Him... we would obey his Fathers commandments. (

Believing is only half the battle. Walking in love meant I had to make real sacrifices, real WORK...

Obedience...that is the work. To die to ourselves, that is the work...

Well...I aint never been a fan of too much work.

So as the things I had worshiped my whole life, met my new walk, I was being asked by The Holy Spirit to release those weights...

but, I was being a hoarder, and reluctant to let you of what I still wanted.

So I kept some of them and thought I was going to keep on stepping in His grace.

Well ...that didn't work.

I tried to walk on ice that was thawing, holding dead rotting flesh....

the hole I fell through, nearly knocked me out the game.

I sank even farther than I knew I could...

And no one was there, none of my "no stones" buddies... could reach me in that cold dark hole I was drowning in.

I mean, to be fair, lets assume they were even praying for me?

The Word also said "He hears not a sinner..." so if the manner of life in which they lived didn't add up, they could not stop my sinking as they are standing on the same thin ice, carrying the same dead weight. If they reached in to save me.... would they not fall through as well?

Surely, I knew who could pull me up. But still, I didn't want Him..

Obstinate like a toddler, I refused to reach up for His hand again.

I didn't want to be one of those "hypocrites", using God as a little dingy of a life boat when I was drowning, when He had offered me a luxury yatch to begin with...and all that He had asked me to do was put down the filth I was holding, and come on aboard...and still, I had turned away.

The binding spirit of pride...wasn't going to allow me to go and admit to God that I was nothing without Him...or to the Body of Christ, that as I had foolishly ignored the correction and wisdom that would have kept me out of the water...that they were RIGHT and that I was dying for my corruption...

So I stayed there in my shame...and I stayed there...until it was a choice between dying there and just surrendering...

I came out of the water, but I had stayed in too long... some of my extremities were permanently damaged, frostbitten with gangrene. And I take that in Grace ...

for I know now.. that it is His Grace, that even allows me to walk at all...

Housewives After Dark... Part 1...

Recently, I had an offer to colaborate with a close friend on a literary project titled "Housewifes After Dark".

The basic premise, was to examine the secret lives of women with families that participate in extramarital activity when the kiddos and hubby are put bed. Not a cautionary tale of the dangers in this, but rather a glorification of the lifestyle, totting it as essential to balance in life.

I wish that I could tell you that my immediate response was to say, "absolutely not! Girl we cannot speak death into the lives of sanctity and wholeness of marriage!"

Sadly, that is not what happened. I said none of these things.

I didn't speak that truth because the idea, didn't immediately convict me.

No, conversely...I was intrigued. This friend and I, we practiced this way of dealing with the life as "no stones allowed", meaning that we lived by "to each his own..." and never passed judgement on others lifestyles, or our own. Live in the momemt...

Anytime we acted in self indulgent behavior, we excused one another, cosigned and sometimes co piloted self destructive behavior.

If ever approached by anyone else about wrong doing ,there was an unspoken way to deal with them. Flip it back... to them. They are the one with the problem. They are the hypocrites that want to control others with their self righteous indignation. Hurt others before they hurt you. Don't own mistakes, for who are they to judge us???
"God is love, and He made me who I am...right girl?"
"Amen, chic, I mean He knows my heart, right!"

As with everything, this lifestyle came full circle. The enemy of God has one mission: to destoy Gods plan for our lives.

Then last year as some of you know, I came to know Christ. I was super on fire... and puffed up, still on milk trying to feed others prematurely what had not even fully manifested in my own walk...

I was impatient and naive, took the freedom He granted me as MY OWN triump, and not a testament to His amazing and miraculous ability to heal...

That was when it got sticky.