Our next-door neighbor came to our house requesting for my father. My mother said he wasn’t home. Mom was reluctant to keep the door ajar since the woman was never pleasant. She was boorish to my parents that their old car’s muffler was rambunctious, or mad at me for sticking my tongue out when passing her house going home from school (I had to stick up for my parents). I was six or seven-years-old at the time.
What transpired impacted me most of my life.
“I understand your husband is not making it. I wanted to see if you wanted to sell your house so we can expand our pre-school.” My mom thrust the door closed before, and said “No, thank you.” in her Long Island accent.
My parents just moved from New York to Pennsylvania. They were young with three kids and my father working through college. The house purchased was a wreck on the outside. Flaying green paint from top to bottom cosmetically ravaged it after Hurricane Agnes flooded the town years earlier. The owners were old and never fixed it. Not aesthetically pleasing for sure and it was made known to mom and dad, they didn’t fit in.
I discovered from an early age that people can be ruthless. That maybe I would never “make it” in life. It’s a maxim that irked me for years. Later, I met several incredible people who were athletes, entertainers, politicians and thought leaders. They were humble, compassionate, good to me, regardless of tax brackets. Not all people are maniacal. God showed there was a better life ahead. Not necessary to become rich, but successful in Him.
Here’s the deal. People can’t dictate the favor of God on your life. They can’t control your purpose, dreams or talents. In the end, if your driveway consists of an embattled car or a less than the perfect house, so what. There’s a bigger picture than material possessions or status. God provides and loves to bless people.
The episode that happened in that snobby suburb infused character, drive, ambition and “being no respecter of persons.” God shifted a poor start into a great finish. God transforms the “not making it” to crossing the finish line. We need to speak God’s word and pray over experiences trying to reshape our self-worth. We operate under the law of favor — the power of Jesus. We are approved. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord,” Isaiah 54:17 said.
My parents eventually moved on and in their careers. I did as well, and yet, sometimes that phrase is haunting. The power of words good or bad can shape a person regardless of age. It’s immensely powerful. We can see the consequences of people in abusive conditions. Inadequacy and self-loathing are the fruit of any form of verbal abuse or an off-the-cuff remark.
Words are paramount. Choose them carefully. Proverbs 12:18 explained it plainly: “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
By the way, you can make it!