After a full five months “in space” (or in Houston, and in “time-out”)… I attempted a re-entry this last week into the real world. We traveled from Houston to Atlanta after “tube removal” and enjoyed Easter with the family. Then as there was our eastern Summer Conference in Atlanta…I decided to pop down and surprise the Diamond meeting on Friday with my/our appearance. It was very rewarding indeed for me and although I was “hurting”… and risking a calorie deficit….the emotional stimulation and reward of seeing all those friends was worth it and I am sure happy to have made that decision.
With Hans Nusshold and Mitch and Deidre Sala as primary speakers for the Atlanta weekend…they were in good hands…so we left before the actual event began, but were happy to have reconnected and “tested” my ability to function in the normal world.
With this “success” under my belt…and knowing so many top N21 Crown Ambassadors from around the world would be there….I wanted to attempt the Miami Founders Council as well. Knowing it was at the Ritz Carlton, and I could get some good “service” from them as well as the superb company staff, we boarded Dornan- Air on Sunday for Miami-South Beach.
I soon discovered at my first appearance around the company management and top leaders that they were happy to see me upright and smiling….but it was clear they fully expected something different than they saw! I think they envisioned Jim 2.0 to arrive on a medical stretcher, with nurse in tow, and tubes flowing from whatever medical devices I needed. I think they had all visualized me as pale and weak and sickly and tired and maybe able to stay for an hour or two and maybe one day at a meeting. After my weeks in Florida, and my precious Lord’s grace and mercy and the power of His healing…I apparently shocked them in my healthy look. Tanned, smiling and ready to engage in the next discussion or meeting or activity…but always with peanuts or a protein shake in my hand…. ;-))
I think a few were quite surprised, as I seemed and looked less “sick” than I “should” after all that radiation and major surgery only four weeks prior. But such has been the story of God’s blessings on me through this journey. Of course…..I did have a few issues and challenges that were not visible while I am “in public”, but I was fully able to engage in the assorted meetings, and actually went from morning to night as much as possible to catch up on all the assorted global issues and discussions. What a stimulating and helpful thing for me to experience. I am grateful. My God continues to encourage me.
I was reminded once again of just how many people have been praying fervently for months and how special this family is. I received a very warm welcome from many “cross line” leaders… and special hugs and smiles from our own N21 leader/qualifiers who were so very happy to see me “vertical” and ready to serve or lead the discussions and catch up on their lives and mine on a personal face to face level. I was humbled by the warmth and outreach of all global company executives.
Nancy and I had a nice private dinner and chat with Doug and Maria DeVos Monday night and many rewarding visits with other key people after my seemingly long “absence” from the scene. At the business meeting….Rich DeVos made a surprise appearance, and even he was equally surprised to see me there. We had chatted on the phone just a week or two previous and he did not expect to see me. As always….Rich’s presence was the high point for all. Whenever he “opens his mouth” or enters a room…we are all frozen in respect and love. This is a man that has truly inspired millions and indeed been singularly responsible for my life and much of my values. what a treat it was to see him there and listen to him reminisce about life and the beginnings of Amway and why they did certain things and how he thinks. A privilege to listen to every word. It was as always a magic time.
We hugged everyone goodbye at a magical evening of food and music on the waterfront at a museum/mansion, and I departed Friday with Nancy to Sarasota…..to “recover”! I am so glad that I decided to go, as it was so heart-warming and encouraging to see so many people I love and respect… and then encourage them also that I might be retuning soon to a full status of contribution….however….as Jim 2.0, and with renewed passions and refined goals.
We have enjoyed many phases of life so far. Early struggles and limited success….the unexpected challenges that almost took us out of the game altogether…..the eventual rise to “success” and financial stability …the launch of N21 and our international expansion,…..the amazing favor of God in our life and blessings beyond expectations, or even our imaginations….and then my recent “interruption” as the Lord prepares me for the next chapter. All under His divine and loving care and design.
I have had many months to reflect and pray and listen and ponder…and now I am excited about where He will take me (and hopefully many of you along as well).
I read recently some wonderful and important scripture that impacted me once again:
This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.(Ephesians 2:10)
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6)
What a delight to know the same God who created the universe and all that is in it… also wants us (and allows us) to trust Him for our needs and honor Him with our achievements. We each have been given certain talents and opportunities and each of us is fully unique and never to be duplicated. He has a purpose for our lives and we can rest in that.
We also should be careful (me too!) that we do not become prideful or boastful or arrogant when we are allowed to succeed, or when we use His gifts to prosper or gain favor or advantage. Yes….it is necessary for individuals to apply themselves, work hard, think right, and follow principles of life and leadership that God Himself lays out in the Bible. However, we must remember that His desire is that we glorify Him, serve His purposes, grow in knowledge of Him and in Christ-like character, be obedient to His commands, and love one another! That is success to our creator/father in heaven! So…..I love knowing He has a plan for me and I am excited to live it out and discover with you where He will take us. I only desire to hear someday…”Well done, my good and faithful servant”.
Here is a great summary; “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Rejoice…pray…and give thanks! Sounds right to me!!
I have work to do, character to refine, gratefulness and forgiveness to embrace, passions to fuel, and a purpose to complete. Thanks for helping me to do that better. Your prayers and support and encouragement continue to keep me lifted and feeling loved and valued. I want to do the same for you as I get back to seeing you and to whatever my next goals and activities are.
I got a taste of “re-entry” this week and I thank you all for remaining the amazing family of winners you are. I hope to get stronger and to continuing this journey together.
Unless the LORD builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.