Divine Appointment # 34

Business travel lost its glory many years ago. Boarding a return flight on a Friday afternoon from Fresno after a long week found me going through the normal mindless steps of boarding not knowing I had one more appointment this week waiting for me in 22C. 

Sitting next to me in 22D was a  light haired woman perhaps close to 40 years old wearing a blue hoodie and casual wear. Her face was friendly and her mannerisms kind. After a little small talk about my business travel I asked her what had brought her out to Fresno. She told me about 19 year old Son who was “finding his way” in California. I learned they were from St. Louis and she had been out to help her son get set up. It so reminded me of my three sons. Each heading out as they each had come of age in their own unique way. 

As I continued to talk with my row 22 seat mate, I felt like I was peeling an onion back one layer at a time. I sincerely hung on every word she shared and as her story unfolded I could feel my heart opening up for a mother who was hurting for her child. She shared the details of her sons struggle with substance abuse as well as the surreal experience of moving him into a halfway house. Her strength and sense of resolve emminated to the point that I shared the many strong women in my life that I am thankful for specifically, my wife to whom I affectionately refer to as “The Hammer”. I prayed with my seatmate, we wept abit and I felt a strong sense of the Holy Spirit and a sense of peace. 

As we continued to fellowship, she shared eecent encounters where she felt Gods presence. God had been  leading her out of her comfort zone and as she faithfully followed, she would find God presence waiting for her. These encounters she called Divine Appointments. I had never heard of divine appointments and was intrigued. I was impressed with her level of recollection of each of these appointments. In Divine Appointment #22, I was running around the block………

I was unprepared when she gave me one of the biggest compliments of mylife, “Raymond, thank you for being my Divine Appointment #34. 

I leave you with a prayer request for this young man  that he may find his way, find peace, and that the his hero in the blue hoodie will have her son back, God Bless them, Amen.

“In Sheep’s Clothing”


Recently finished a good read, George Simon’s “In Sheep’s Clothing”.   Luckily for me, this is not a book report as Mrs.Van Zant, my 7th grade English teacher would definitely be looking for more content. I did however want to share Simon’s well defined potential outcomes and my take on potential outcomes if you chose to continue a relationship with a manipulative person.

1. You lose/They win
The ultimate prize for the manipulator. You have been defeated and are under their control. Why would the manipulator change any behaviors? The manipulative person  has exactly what they want. The outcome: you continue to be bound by the unhealthy social contract you signed with your submission to the MP. Standby for the next round of torment. Although you may not deserve it, you are asking for it.

2. You win/ They lose
Talk about petting the cat backwards! In my experience manipulative people tend to be parasitic in nature slowly drawing life’s blood from their host. Much like ripping a full tick off a of dog, the head will likely remain and burrow ever deeper toward ones soul. At all costs, this outcome is nowhere to be found in manipulator’s  playbook.

3. You Lose/They lose
Disturbingly this IS acceptable as compared to the “you win /they lose” scenario. To lose control of their targets(and control is what this is all about) is to lose everything. A sobering example is murder/suicide where the, “if I can’t have you(control you), nobody will” plays out.

4. You win/They win
Ding! Ding! Ding! Simon proposes and I have to agree that allowing the MP to win at least at some level will allow them to “turn tail and run” with some dignity intact. It will also show what mercy and compromise looks like.

If this Manipulative Person is someone close to you, perhaps a relative. A sibling or parent, it might be worth honestly looking at your own tendencies as well. Perhaps Together you can recognize mutual unhealthy tactics, making these unhealthy manipulative habits the target rather than each other. This truly would be a Win/Win