Life Lessons of a Survivor – On my 50th Birthday

I celebrated my 50th birthday yesterday. And although I feel absolutely fantastic, it’s a little surreal to realize that I have been on earth for half a century. Wow..

Just to give you some perspective, I was born at the peak of the civil rights movement. When I was as in third grade, Columbo was the #1 crime drama, my brothers went nuts over the original Batman television series starring Adam West (Tuesday and Thursday nights on ABC, same bat-time, same bat-channel), sneakers were a choice between Keds and Converse and no one had even heard of Levis.

Time has moved so fast that it seems like just yesterday that I experienced my first kiss, went to prom and was over the moon about turning 21. And so I’m shaking my head now, as I take that bitter-sweet glance over my shoulder at the fleeting years…surveying what I’ve done, who I’ve become and what life has taught me.

In retrospect, I’ve indeed suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. But I have also laughed till I peed my pants. I have seen the rise of good and its certain fall, the rewriting of history and events that mere words can’t explain. Years ago, I would never have believed possible some of the things that I have endured since my youth. In fact, my life has been a case study in survival—like running with scissors—fast, dangerous, exciting, terrifying and exhilarating all at once. I’ve known life, death, struggle, revival, joy, then pain, then more struggle, life, death and on and on; I have lived the fluidity of life’s cycles, it’s here today gone tomorrow scenarios and all the perpetual inflection of change. And I’m still standing, because I keep getting up!

Through this, I have learned that nothing in this world is permanent, nothing at all. As the world around us changes, so must we. It’s the way that Heaven works to achieve its lofty goals. We can’t control how and when God intervenes in our lives to complete His purpose, all we can do is surrender to it and hope that we don’t hinder the movement of God’s Divine Hand. (His will)

And what has His hand revealed to me over the years?

1. Love hard – The alternative is ungodly
2. Spend time with those you love– You never know when the clock will stop
3. Never confuse your career with your life – One is paid in dollars, the other is paid in time (eternity)
4. Give people a break – you don’t know their story.
5. Embrace your every experience – the most rewarding journeys answer questions you never thought to ask
6. Loosen up and surrender to change: it will break you if you don’t

AND FINALLY

7. Be real – God can spot a fake an infinity away

So, there you have it; my musings upon turning a half-century old. It all boils down to the art of resisting the impulse to pray to God against His own hand, and instead, simply flowing in agreement with it.

Sure, I’ve got a couple dents in my fender from all the twists and turns. But truth is, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it any other way. You see, thus far, my life has birthed in me the spirit of a true survivor—not because I’m still alive, but because I’m living.

My first half century has been a wonderfully wild and exciting ride. And as for the future, yes, I pray for the best, as we all do, but I know now that I have no idea what that best is. And so, while my hope is that I continue learning, my prayer is this, “Holy God, may Your Great Name be honored in my life, and may Your Will be accomplished here on Earth, as it is in Heaven.”
What more than this can any of us ask?

So, thank you all, both near and far who are wishing me a Happy Birthday. The greatest birthday present I can ever receive is knowing that I am loved, and I that I am by God’s hand, passing on wisdom that I myself have received—the lessons of a survivor. I cannot ask for anything more.

I pray for all of you… God’s richest blessing for your life!
Leslie Haskin

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Are You Positioned to Recieve from GOD?

Demaryius Thomas, Eric DeckerLast night my friend, Harvey told me that he loves playing flag football. It reminded me of a time when I was a young girl—how I loved playing football with my brother and his friends. We’d gather in the courtyard outside our home and choose up teams. I was never first choice because even though I was fast, I struggled with catching the ball.

My brother Lawrence often got frustrated with me because he’d have to explain the rules of catching over and over again. He’d yell at me to put myself in line with the ball and then just “receive it.” He’d say, “That’s why they’re called receivers Leslie.” Needless to say, I didn’t get in the game very often.

So here I am, XX years later, still not in the game, but I finally know the rules. I know that I must get my shoulders in line with the ball and keep my eyes fixed on it… focusing on it alone and NOT being distracted by all the movement around me. My arms must be extended so that I can receive the ball through a focus created by my hands and I catch with soft fingers that are strong, powerful, slightly bent and straight.

My brain went right away to the parallels of receiving God’s best in my life.
I think that in order to experience a truly supernatural life in Christ Jesus, we need to correctly position ourselves to hear AND receive from Him. We must get our lives in line with His word, focusing on God alone and NOT being distracted by the movement around us so that we CLEARLY hear that still and small voice of the Holy Spirit. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the (“rhema”) of God.” “Rhema” is the revealed word – a word that God has brought to light, which is specifically directed at you.

As good receivers, our position is on the offense and our goal is to defeat the opposing team by first receiving from GOD everything that He has directed toward us… even in a crowd, above our worries and in spite of the enemy’s accusations. And so perhaps, it’s not enough for us to just know the rules – perhaps we should get in the game, position ourselves for a good catch by doing what He says – whenever He says it…despite the chaos around us…otherwise, we just get tackled and drop the ball.

I don’t know. Just thinkin…

Does your life reveal a “Spectacular” God?

I was reading an Oswald Chambers devotional the other day that started with some very pointed questions like “Is our attitude today an attitude that comes from our vision of God? Are we expecting God to do greater things than He has ever done? Is there a freshness and vigor in our spiritual outlook?”

As I read those questions, I realized that in many ways my life lacks luster in exhibiting the objective of God—fulfilled, exuberant, expectant, spectacular and confident in the road that He has placed me on. I was not asking nor expecting anything extraordinary from God. In fact, I realized that at times, I’d reduced Him to “human-like” characteristics and even fallen into the “if it be thy will” prayer…. just in case my faith fails me.

But I’m bored with “safe” and “just in case.” I’m bored with prayers that lack luster and shy away from great and enormous expectations of God. I want more from life than that. I want mountains to move and cancers to disappear. I want families alive and thriving, talking donkey heads, open seas and thunderous rolls from heaven. I want miraculous!

John 10:10 says, “Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly.”

In Hebrew thought, we are not mere vessels and the world is not a container, spaces to be filled with things. The world is an event in God’s purposes… the temporal manifestation of His conversation with us on the way from beginning to beginning… and we are sojourners filled with His breath of life.

Otherwise, what is this life that the Christ offers? Surely it is far more than being stuffed with a bunch of divine ideas, learning scripture and filling ourselves up with theology that make us fat with revelation but goes nowhere.

I say that if we live as God has purposed for us, than living must be Christ Alive in us—manifesting miracles; passionate, vibrant and awesome as we travel toward the way back home. Life must be filled with hope and great expectations. It must be…. in a word….spectacular…right?

“I don’t know. I was just thinkn’”

My Life As a Christian – Into The Twilight Zone

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Every year at the end of December, I plop myself down in front of the TV and for two days, I live only between the commercial breaks of the Twilight Zone Marathon. Ah, yes, The Twilight Zone… chocked full of intrigue, entertainment, and that pure, honest-to-goodness 1960’s cheesiness that we all know and love. Add that to the fact that everything is so much cooler when it’s in black and white, and I’m hooked.

I’m sure I’ve seen every episode of the Twilight Zone at least five times. Every one of them start with the main character; good or bad, trying to make the most of living in a flawed world by doing his own thing…when all of sudden, “wham” he slips into a new dimension and nothing is as it appeared to be.

Suddenly we see supernatural forces working behind the scenes in this person’s life and then the drama happens; a completely unexpected conclusion unfolds. Sometimes it’s a better result than the person planned and other times, well… not so much.

Either way, I’m always beside myself with glee as the music plays and revelations open up.

Hmmm…. sounds familiar doesn’t it?

I wonder if our lives are by that same design. I wonder if life happens while we are off on our own courses of actions, doing our own things in an imperfect world and asking God to bless the plans that “We” have made. I wonder if suddenly in the middle of all that we do, God speaks via interruptions of change… in both disaster and healing, blessings and curses (Isaiah 45:7); ….”BUT” all to “HIS” perfect end.

Perhaps, just like any episode of the Twilight Zone, though the twists and turns that we experience are not necessarily the ones we pray for, they are the ones that we need…to take our vision to another dimension … to open up new revelation for ourselves and for those watching.

I don’t know… I was just thinkin.