Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!


I’m so incredibly heartbroken over the latest senseless murders in Nashville. I’m so distraught in my soul that we’ve yet to discuss how to better protect our schools from people hell bent on killing children and adults for their own evil desires. I’m so sick of labeling the killers as this mental disease or another. I’m so sick of hearing we need more gun control. All we do is talk, talk, talk, with little to no action. All we do is feed the daily narrative. Mostly, I’m so sick and heartbroken of hearing how our children are being traumatized and murdered.

We’ve become a country of excuses and object blame. We’ve become pawns in the game of far left or far right. We’ve made enemies of eachother over politics, and people/children are dying because of it. We literally can’t agree on what’s most important. We’ve turned politics into an idol and placed a figurative elephant and donkey on a pedestal and bowed down to its’ perceived authority. How is that any different from years ago when the Israelites took their gold and turned it into a golden calf then literally bowed down to their jewelry and trinkets giving it praise and worship? As if polished jewelry turned into a calf somehow gave it god-like powers. It was literally a man-made statue. And don’t even get me started on how we still idolize jewelry today.

Unfortunately, murder is nothing new. It’s as old as time. We can argue all day long about gun control, but that won’t stop the murdering. We’ve proved long ago that when killing is the motive we can make a weapon out of anything. Evil will do what evil is intent on doing. Can you say Cain and Abel? God didn’t mess around when He approached Cain about the murder of his brother. He didn’t label Cain with this or that malady. He even warned Him not to let his anger get the best of him. Cain didn’t listen. He did what was in his heart to do. He murdered his brother over jealousy.

Audrey Hale was fully aware of what she was about to do. She even told a friend about it. Not her exact plans, but enough that her friend contacted the police. Audrey wanted to kill herself. She wanted to die. She wanted to kill. And she did. It was pre-meditated. Her labels don’t change the fact she knew what was morally right and wrong. Yet, we give her an out, based on her mental illness. We highlight her high functioning autism and her choice of transgenderism and blame her heinous action on her mental illness. I can’t help but ask the question, are we making an idol out of mental illness? Please understand I’m not attacking mental illness. I know all too well the effects. I’m just asking are we now using it as a common place excuse of accountability.

The only person who truly knows what happened to Audrey, is God. He knows exactly what brought her to the point of destruction. All we have now are best guesses and a supposed manifesto. All we’ll be fed is what the media wants us to know and then believe. Be careful what you choose to believe as “truth.”

What we do know from the video footage is, it didn’t matter the school doors were locked, the glass wasn’t bulletproof. But, you can bet your sweet patootie those political figure heads who tout gun control have bullet-proof vehicles, panic rooms/bunkers, and security details armed heavily with what….oh, that would be guns. This is not a message about gun control. Just simply pointing out the hypocrisy of this nation.

I love my country. I served in the military for my country. I love that once upon a time, immigrants looked to this country as a dream fulfilling sanctuary. I love so many things about this country. But, I would be remiss to talk about all the good and nothing of the evil that infiltrates and plagues it.

No, this is not my typical type of blog. I don’t normally want to talk about the evils of this world, because it’s easier to mourn and then sweep it under the rug than it is to face. It’s big and scary and most times so unbelievable that this is what our country has become, that hiding in my home feels safer than being out in the world.

But, you see, I’m a child of God and greater is He that is in me, than he who is in the world. (John 4:4) I do not have a spirit of fear. I have a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Hiding in my home serves no one but me. I’ve been called to serve. I’ve been called to fight the good fight of faith. (1 Timothy 6:12) It matters in whom your faith is placed. Have you checked your heart lately to see where and in whom your faith is placed?

God warned us that we would have trouble in this world, but to take heart because He overcame the world. Remember, God warned Cain before He killed Abel. He gave him a way out. Cain didn’t take it. The free will given to us is a gift. How we use it, is a choice. Our choices, every single one of them, matters.

I can’t begin to imagine the horrific fear, pain, and sorrow these families are experiencing. My heart is broken for them. My soul cries out for justice. I ask, if you’ve read this far to please pray for the families and community of this latest, senseless tragedy. Please also pray for Audrey Hale’s family. Despite what happened, they also lost their loved one.

Six lives tragically taken from this world. Six lives who will no longer suffer the pains and sorrows of this world. Six lives that woke up, went about their day with absolutely no knowledge of what was coming. Six lives, now safely in the arms of Jesus.

Evelyn Dieckhaus, 9
William Kinney, 9
Hallie Scruggs, 9
Mike Hill, 61
Katherine Koonce, 60
Cynthia Peak, 61

Rest in Peace


A New Decade

A loud noise interrupts my peaceful morning. Excuse me! Don’t you know it’s my birthday? I’m guessing not. The sound is coming from a wood chipper and chain saws. Several men dressed in brightly colored vests are diligently working on the removal of two very large trees from my neighbor’s yard. The larger the tree limb, the louder the wood chipper noise.

I decided to watch these tree whackers do their job. They took great care as they worked their way up the tree felling those large limbs, while giving them plenty of room to make their way to the ground. Then the ground crew got to work, and into the wood chipper they’d go. From tree limb to sawdust.

I don’t know if trees feel pain. I’m guessing if they did, that was a lot to bear all at once. I thought to myself, I’m so thankful when God prunes away the things that need to go in my life, He doesn’t do it all at once. Like those lumberjacks, God also takes great care when He leads me through the pruning process.

As I stated earlier, today’s my birthday. Not just any birthday. The beginning of a new decade birthday. Age is just a number, right? I sure don’t feel 60 years old. I have peace with this number. I know, 60 is an age not granted to all. But here I am. God blessed me with another day and has walked me through a lot of pruning. A LOT of pruning. And, there’s still more to come.

Best part about my birthday? It’s also the first official day of Spring. I can almost hear the tulips and daffodils tapping on the ground to make way for their glorious entrance. That’s right, I said glorious.

The older I get, the more appreciation I have for this thing called life. There’s a lot less I find important. The simple things in life really are the best. I no longer put so much pressure on myself to perform. I figure, if you want to be in my life, you’ll be there. Begging someone to be part of my life, is no longer part of who I am.

Other people are not in charge of my life. Giving someone that kind of control robs me of who God calls me to be. I found people pleasing to be exhausting and a thief of precious time.

Worrying about what others think, gives them way too much power. The sad part is, you only find out just what a waste of time it was/is, when you realize those people weren’t even giving you a second thought. They were literally living their life while you wasted yours away, worrying about what to do based on a perceived outcome. Y’all this took me sooo long to learn.

Learning is a gift. Don’t ever stop learning. Don’t ever think you know it all, because you don’t. What a beautiful gift God has given us…to share, learn, love, and grow with one another. He graciously gives us what we need for each season and He lovingly prunes always what needs to be thrown into that wood chipper. Hanging onto things longer than necessary, leaves little room for things to come.

I have no idea what’s in store for me in this new decade, but I trust the One who created me to do what He planned for me long ago. So, I’m going into it with my hands, heart, eyes, and ears wide open for what God wants to do. He’s the only one who knows me through and through and remembers all I’ve forgotten. He knows all the things I have no clue about and yet, He’s ready to show me things when it’s the correct time.

So, on this first day of Spring and my birthday, let me remind you, God’s not even close to being done with what He’s started in you. He’s not mad at you. He’s not cursing you out. He’s not forgotten you. He absolutely loves you with an everlasting love. He sings over you and He has things meant just for you. Get ready my friend, because God’s always up to something new! And He always finishes what He starts. Much love to you!

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The Way Out

I dreamt about you last night. You hadn’t changed a bit. It was as if time stood still for you. I woke from the dream and so many emotions hit me at once. I couldn’t fall asleep fast enough to make those feelings disappear.

In the dream I was hanging out with my friend. You came busting into my room just like you used to when I was growing up. You weren’t a tall man, but you had some girth. I’ll never know this side of heaven what happened in your life to you to make you so mean. But, you were good at it.

When you finished with your tirade of terror you simply left. My friend and I looked at each other in disbelief. She was visibly shaken. I said, typical, and off we went about our day.

You started terrorizing my friend and I with your abusive words. You shouted at us as if there was a busy intersection standing between us and you needed to be heard above the noise. Except, the room was quiet. My friend and I were frozen in fear. We made not a peep. We both knew better than to argue with a drunk. Your word spattering caused spittle to hit our faces. There was no more room left to back up into.

The next day you came back. Only this time, I was ready for you. I stopped you in your tracks. Seething inside, I got as close to you as I could. My face twisted in a mix of hurt and anger. I dug deep to get my courage up and I spoke with tears in the back of my throat, and false bravado on the tip of my tongue. There was no way you were gonna visibly see my pain.

I carefully chose my words, and told you, no more. You were not welcome here and to take your venomous hide and get out and don’t ever come back. For surely if you did, you’d find yourself behind bars where you belonged. Instantly, iron bars popped up between us and we glared at one another through the spacing. You turned and left the room. But, the bars remained. A noise from outside jarred me awake.

Funny thing about the iron bars in that dream. Until the offender left the room, I couldn’t tell who was behind them, until they left. That’s the thing about unforgiveness. The other person goes about their business and you’re left standing behind the bars. A prison of sorts that keeps you from fully living life.

The person in my dream, was my dad. He passed away years ago, yet the remnants of his unsolicited bouts of drunken rage, still creep in. It’s a stark reminder that some inner healing is still needed. I don’t think you can put a time limit on healing. I think it’s a slippery slope when we falsely believe that whatever the thing is that hurt you, should only take so much time.

I’ve heard if you’ve been in a relationship, and you break up, the amount of time to heal, is half the amount of time you were together. I’m not sure who said that first.

I can tell you, years ago I forgave my earthly Father. I remember crying for the person who I believed to have been so hurt, the hurt turned into rage. I cried for my family who suffered at the hands of that hurt. But, every so often, something crops up and I realize I need to forgive that piece.

That’s the thing isn’t it? The pain and hurt didn’t occur all at once. So why would we be inclined to think the remaining broken bits and pieces get put back together all at once?

No, it’s a journey. It’s not a marathon. It’s like those growing pains we experienced as our bodies grew. But, I can report that as I type this, I’m not crying. Im not holding back any tears. My insides don’t feel all twisted up inside and I have peace. I actually have joy. Despite the realism of the dream, my soul is at rest. That’s a huge win! H.U.G.E

The thing is, I had to work through ALL those painful things. Stuffing them down, glossing over them, and hiding behind humor, only delayed my healing. Facing them head on and getting them out of my system was the only way out of my destructive patterns.

I love when the Word of God finally clicks. Sometimes I read things in the Bible, and I’m like, what the?? But, since I know God’s Word doesn’t return void, is living and active, and will do what it sets out to do, and God is always working, I don’t dwell on what I don’t know…yet.

This morning, I finally got it. It’s not to say I didn’t comprehend what the apostle Paul wrote here, and each time I read it, but now I’ve experienced it. Hebrews 12: 1-3 says:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

I firmly believe the race marked out for me in this season of my life is healing. To stop the madness of performing for love and acceptance and constantly doing more to prove my worth. To calm my inner self and shut my brain down from flight or fight mode, with Jesus at the helm.

To say this has been hard, is an understatement. It was learning to say no, and be ok with it. To say no, and not worry about how it affected others. But, also understanding that saying yes in certain instances would’ve been more damaging to my soul. Understanding it’s ok to put me first was not going to break the world, and others would survive. Because, let’s face it, I’m not the one holding any one up.

There’s really only one way out of that unforgiveness prison. You can try to shortcut the way around, but you’ll be missing pieces of the journey. Eventually the pieces you try to avoid will come back round. So, my advice, persevere and work through it all. Every last piece. However long it takes.

Your healing is in your hands. No one else is in charge of it. No one else is responsible for it. However long it takes is your testimony. God won’t quit, so don’t you quit. Why? Because you’re life was bought at a price. Jesus persevered through death so you could live! And He promises that He’ll continue to do the good work He started in you. (Philippians 1:6)

He’ll finish what He started. Hang in there friend, there’s so much light at the end of the tunnel.


I Can’t Hear You

Do you remember being little, putting your hands over your ears, shouting obnoxiously loud, “I can’t hear you!” and then making all sorts of vocally misconstrued cacophony at your targeted nemesis? You know, the person who refused to listen when you told them you didn’t want to hear something? Heck, maybe you’ve even done this as an adult. I know I have.

This morning, I got myself around to workout. I’d love to say I’ve been consistently working out, but, I can’t. So, like the lyrics to the Whitesnake song, “Here I go again”.

The first routine started and the instructor repeated the words to the song that was playing. “Where are you”? It only took seconds for me to see where I was. I got a strong visual of myself sitting comfortably crossed legged, looking down in dark, muddy waters, swirling my hand around. I stopped the workout and I stood there in disbelief.

Tears welled up in my eyes and I asked God, “How did I get here… again”? But, this was different. It wasn’t a place where I’d been feeling shame, or guilt. No. This place was a safe place for me. I didn’t feel alone. I felt peace.

The water swirling around by the motion of my hand was receding water. I wasn’t overtaken by the water. I was actually, ok. I wasn’t fearful. I wasn’t kicking and screaming inside my soul. I wasn’t pushing against what God wanted to do in me. I was being still. I was waiting. More importantly, I was shutting the world out, and allowing God to heal my innermost parts.

So this, at least for me, is what it meant “to be still” AND “know He is God”.

A little over a year ago, I moved into a new to me home, subsequently resigned my position at work, and became a mostly empty nester. There were no Bible studies happening in my home and it was pretty much, me, myself, and lots and lots of time. In that time, came tears, pushing against the life as it was, and letting go of preconceived notions of how my life should look.

For the first time, I could sense and feel the anxiety I didn’t even know I had. The constant pushing of my soul to do more and be more. Reaching for something yet holding onto nothing. All for what? Acceptance. Validation. Love. In this place, even though I knew it, my heart had yet to grasp it. Performance based love, is a terrible taskmaster.

Unlearning years of performance based love is a journey. Oh, how I wanted it to be a sprint. Learning to say no to something or someone, over people pleasing, is both hard and freeing. Hearing “No is a complete sentence”, was a game changer for me. I can more easily recognize the nerves bundling up inside me when someone or something is trying to bulldoze me into submission. I have a right to stand up for myself. I have a right to be who God made me to be. And it’s ok, and I’ll be ok, if someone walks away.

Another game changer for me … “You can’t care more about someone’s problems, than they do”. Maybe, switch out “worry” for “care”. God never said to worry over someone’s else’s life. He said carry each other’s burdens. That pretty much means to bring a form of relief. Worry, is not relief.

Speaking of worry. During this time, I saw my life as a form of punishment for all the things, I wasn’t doing “right”. It caused me great angst and grief. This is also tied to performing. How could I be loved by God when I was doing everything wrong? I daresay, that’s the wrong question. Why, couldn’t I receive the love God was freely giving? That, was the question that flipped the punishment script.

When you view your life as a punishment, you do “life” differently. You cocoon in the comforts of this life. Binging television. Eating what you want. Marathon sessions of couch sitting. Like you could win the gold medal at this event. You say things like, “What does it matter”? “This is as good as it gets”. Worse still, you slowly back away from God, and scoff at His promises for your life, believing they’re for anyone else but you.

But, I’m here to tell you, even in this place, God doesn’t stop pursuing you. He’ll send people into your life to speak, truth, and honor. He’ll set you on people’s minds and they’ll reach out to you in ways you never saw coming. His people will testify of the troubles they’ve walked through and came out the other side and you’ll be in just the right place and the right time, and instead of bouncing off you, His truth will settle in you.

Then, you’ll know that you were never alone. He was with you. He did not forsake you. He literally loved you through it and He kept His promises.

Separation from all the things, will show you, who or what you’ve been placing your trust, hope, and love in and who’s voice is louder, the worlds or Gods. In this place, at least for me, I found God wasn’t silent, He was doing work I couldn’t see. He was going deeper than I knew I needed. He was healing things I long shut out and minimized.

If the world’s voice is overwhelming you, it may be time to cover your ears and shout with obnoxious enthusiasm, “I can’t hear you”. Then get quiet, and let God do the talking. Remember, God doesn’t want just pieces and parts of you. He wants all of you. And when He knows you’re ready, He’ll make it known in love. Not in punishment or condemnation.

If you’re ready my friend, He’s waiting. He’s been waiting. And what He has for you, will absolutely change you and the way you see Him, and the way you see yourself. Dare to believe because God is good, so are you.

Much love and peace to you!


Old Hollywood

I never thought I’d be one of those people who long for yesteryear. I was always the one who couldn’t wait for what tomorrow would bring. Seems those carefree days are behind me.

If I’m honest, I worry too much about what the future holds. I wonder if the decisions from my past will one day show up as a malady in my body. Every new spot on my body is an opportunity to fret. Then there’s that big C word that carries a lot of scary stuff with it. But, this is not really about those things.

The yesteryear I’m referring to is old “Hollywood” and the award shows that used to be the epitome of class and elegance. The women wore these majestic gowns that flowed and glistened. They rustled when the women glided across the stage. The men wore tuxedo’s that were sharp and stylish. Their acceptance speeches were pristine, filled with humility and gratefulness. That version of Hollywood made me want to be an actress. Not for the fame, but for the perceived glitz and glamour.

Of course I was a lot younger then. My eyes only saw what was shown through the television screen. Now, I can’t even bring myself to watch any of the award shows. Gone are the majestic gowns. They’ve been replaced by barely there clothing. It’s become a competition to see who can draw the most attention to their bodies. The men attempt to out- flash one another with their attire. Their speeches are mainly politically charged, filled with agenda and profanity. To me, these shows have become a waste of time.

Yet, people still give their attention to this gluttonous, ceremonial, sickophant, sideshow. Scrolling through my social media newsfeeds yesterday, the talk of the town was of course, the Grammy’s. Every post reminded me why I was glad I didn’t watch it.

I did however make the mistake of watching a clip of Harry Style’s acceptance speech. He walked up to the mic and the first word out of his mouth was “S!#&” or 💩. He actually said that word multiple times.

I watched it because “they” made it seem like the competitors in the category he won, was in such disbelief of his winning they walked out on his speech. Me thinks “they” twisted those headlines to meet a deceptive agenda. I can’t even tell you a single song Harry sings. I have no clue what kind of person he is. I only used his acceptance speech as an example of what the majority find acceptable. I won’t even go down the Sam Smith slippery slope slide. But, yikes!

Who allows this kind of stuff on television? We do. Every time we give it our attention. Every time we pay homage to it. Every time we
remain silent and accept this as the new normal, we give them license to be even more crude and toxic. We act appalled and still give it our attention. I have to wonder, why do we keep allowing dysfunction to be an idol?

I can’t answer that question for you. I do know this gradual descent into depravity has stopped being challenged and each year they push that envelope into more shockingly disturbing behavior.

It saddens me because it’s not all of them. We can find a minority doing their best to keep old, glamorous “Hollywood” alive, but they’re fewer and far between.

I know this is just my opinion, and you don’t have to agree with me. I’m ok with that. So, if you don’t agree, keep moving along, there’s nothing to see here folks.

All I’m trying to say is, it matters what we watch. It matters what we listen to. It matters how we speak. It matters what we think. It matters more than we know.

It may not matter to anyone this side of Heaven that I didn’t watch the Grammy’s, but I know it mattered to God. And since I know it matters to my Heavenly Father, that’s all that matters to me.

Lastly, I know longing for yesteryear is fleeting. I know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I know my hope isn’t found in the things of this world. So, I’ll keep pressing on till I’m called home, and I’ll keep this verse close to my heart:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2 (NIV)

To know what God’s will is for your life, you’ll need to spend time getting to know Him. It’s up to you to make that choice. And when you’re ready, He’ll be there.

Have an amazing day friends. Afterall, there won’t be another one like it.

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Dangle or Jump All In

I wrote the words below as a Facebook post in May of 2020, after a memory of my son popped up. He was a security guard on the Air National Guard base where I worked. For some odd reason, I had the post in my email and when I searched for something, this came up. Title and all. Which was weird because none of the words I searched matched this email. So, since I don’t believe in coincidences, I thought I’d share here. I’m hoping it encourages you.

Hard to believe this was 10 years ago. So much has changed. He said this was his favorite job. The base closed shop and moved across town to JBER. My Chief position got eliminated and retirement was on the horizon. I had no clue what I was going to do when I retired. People asked, “what’s next?” I’d answer, no clue, but God has a plan. Y’all, I didn’t even have a real relationship with Christ then.

My son the security guard working the main gate at Kulis Air National Guard Base

The thing that came next was a move back to NY. An amazing bed and breakfast owner named Cheryl Barber said I could come work for her at 10 Fitch Bed and Breakfast, so off to Auburn we went.

Through a turn of unfortunate events and my bad decisions, I eventually, wound up back in the city I said I’d never live again. Bloom where you’re planted has been a theme for me as I struggle in my heart to be in the town I grew up in, and couldn’t wait to escape. My mom said, my “roots” dangle. Makes me think of sitting on a dock with my feet kicking at the surface of the water. My tootsies test the water but I don’t fully jump in. Ya know what? Sometimes dangling is enough. 

Dangling doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, sometimes jumping all in too soon can have dire consequences. The world is made up of all kinds of folks. If I dangle in this season, it’s ok. God can use the danglers and He can use the all-in folks, and all the others in between. He’s not limited to who or what He can use. God has absolutely everything at His disposal. 

My point is no matter where you are in life, God’s got you. What someone else perceives about your life is a snippet shot of the sum of you. God sees it all. He’s the only one who knows your whole story. He’s not looking at where you live, He’s looking at how you live. My roots don’t have to be planted where I live to bloom, they need to be planted in Him to bloom. Let’s read Matthew 13:1-8 (ESV)

The Parable of the Sower

“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

What does that mean? Let’s read Matthew 13:18-23 (ESV)

The Parable of the Sower Explained

“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

And finally, let’s read John 15:4-6 (NLT)

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

So, dangle or jump all in! Just make sure you do it all with Jesus, where ever you’re at! Have a great day my friends! Jesus loves you

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Red The Cat

Well, I guess since I can’t shake the visual from my dream last night, I’ll share with you all. Fun, right?

I was in the woods. I was with somebody but not sure who it was as I didn’t see them, I only heard them. We came upon a BIG cat. I named him, Red. Poor critter was struggling to get a matted, worn looking sweater off. He rolled on the ground, pawing with all his might to get that thing off. You could tell he was getting weary from the struggle.

After a discussion with the voice, I decided to approach Red the cat to help get the sweater off. I was surprised he didn’t try to scratch or hiss at me. I worked slowly and talked calmly to Red as I first pulled one paw out, then the other. I gingerly reached for the collar and slipped the sweater off, only to find pajamas that encompassed his entire furry being.

Red trotted off before I could further assist. End of dream. But, Red and his pajamas are still ingrained in my brain.

As I reflected on my dream, my first thought was, pajamas? Really? And how did I not see the pajamas under the sweater? I mean it covered his entire furry body. But, it was the sweater that had my full attention. The details of the pajamas only appeared once the sweater was removed.

My second thought was, why didn’t Red stick around so I could help him with the pajama removal? And what was Red doing in the woods seemingly alone, and not surrounded by a loving family?

By now, you know I took this dream to my Heavenly Father and asked Him what I could take away from this dream and new new furry friend, Red.

Being in the wilderness is no fun. It feels lonely and isolating. Jesus might know a thing or two about being in the wilderness. He spent 40 days and nights there and when it was over Satan came to Him and tried to tempt Him into sin. It didn’t work. In the end, Satan fled and Jesus was attended to by angels.

The reason for His wilderness time was made clear it the first verse of Matthew 4:1.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Jesus was sent into the wilderness for a specific reason. To be tempted by the devil. Yikes!

Now let’s tie this all together. I believe Red is symbolic of the work Jesus does when we find ourselves in the wilderness. We don’t always see what’s happening, but in this place is where we struggle to let go of the things that no longer serve us.

My furry friend Red, rolled on the ground and pawed at the sweater but he couldn’t get it off own his own. He needed help. Had I tried to help before he was ready, we both could’ve gotten hurt. It wasn’t until he was weary from the struggle that I could help.

Jesus doesn’t force us to let go of something that’s not good for us. But, there may be circumstances that happen around you, that lead you to where He wants you to go. Sometimes, that place He’s leading you to, is the wilderness.

In this place, He can slowly and tenderly attend to you. He can show you the things that you’ve allowed to replace Him. He can show you buried pieces of yourself that needs healing. He can show you that He never left or forsook you.

Just as I reached out ever so gingerly to help Red remove that worn, matted sweater, Jesus lovingly helps remove that outer matted, and worn layer that needs to go.

But, don’t be surprised if there’s more than one layer that needs to go. Red trotted off in his pajama’s because he felt relief from that shed sweater. What’s under those pajamas? I don’t know. Maybe it’s his fur, maybe it’s another layer.

What I do know is, God won’t quit halfway through the process. Nope! He’s in it for the long-haul. But, don’t take my word for it. The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:6:

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

I don’t know what season of life your in my friend. But, if you find yourself in the wilderness, don’t try to rush through it. There’s precious work being done. It’s not a punishment, it’s a refining process because of God’s great love for you. He’s got something meant just for you that He will use for your good and His glory.

And do you think that I chose the name Red by coincidence for our furry friend? I don’t think so. It was after all, the red blood of Christ that was shed for the saving of your and my life. And maybe if you think talk of the blood of Jesus is yucky, then let Red the cat help with the visual until you can embrace the blood of Jesus being your saving grace.

May you find rest for your soul today! May you feel the love Jesus Christ has for you. May you see the works of His hands all over your day today. And may you seek to know Him as He knows you; intimately and personally.

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The Cost of Fame

Death. It’s inevitable. You can’t buy life. It’s one of those things that just happens. I’m not sure why the death of Lisa Marie Presley caught me off guard. It’s not like I followed her career or knew much about her at all. I guess somewhere in the back of my brain I always felt sorry for her. She had to share her famous daddy with the whole world. All too soon, he was gone from her life. Later in life, her eldest son committed suicide. She was devastated.

Like her dad, she had become addicted to prescription opioids due to an injury. She overcame. But, it’s the pictures of her as a young girl that capture my attention. Look at her smile. She has no clue what her life will become. She’s just living in the moment. As the little girl, she’s just happy to be with her daddy. Or so it would seem from the image captured here.

Lisa Marie Presley and her daddy, Elvis Presley

We all know what pain looks and feels like. Moving forward and away from the pain takes guts. It’s daring to believe in hope. That better things are coming. I don’t know what she believed. But everyday someone famous teaches me that money and fame can’t buy life. It can’t buy happiness. Celebrities are no different than any other human who walks this planet. They become famous because we make it so. We put them on pedestals and we idolize them.

Lisa Marie became famous the day she was born. The daughter of the King of rock-n-roll. She didn’t ask for that title. It was simply inherited. I wonder if anyone ever asked her how she felt about that?

Watching the interviews of her from the red carpet at the Golden Globes awards, the last night she’d ever see, they asked her “who” she was wearing? And all sorts of questions about the movie Elvis and the actor who played her father. It all seems so unimportant. As if the dress she wore, and who made it, was the end all of the be all. We make that type of information important. Why? We buy into the celebrity lifestyle by coveting what we think they have.

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Lisa Marie’s death is tragic and sad. But no more so than any other person’s death. I don’t think this side of heaven treated her like a celebrity. Pain was still a part of her story. She couldn’t buy her way out of it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, when will we see that money is not power. That money can’t buy us long-lasting happiness. That we can’t take money with us when we die. Money makes a poor idol. It steals from living a stress-free life and keeps us locked in chains and deceives us into thinking we always have to have more. Why? Because we want it all.

On the outside looking in, celebrities have it all. But from the inside looking out, it’s what you don’t see that’s dangerous. I’m not saying money is bad. I’m just saying the reasons behind money can be deadly.

Today’s a new day. We have no real idea of what’s in store. Lisa Marie’s public death is a stark reminder you can be walking the red carpet one moment, and dead the next. What you do with the gift of today is your business. As for me, at least for today, I gonna stop putting so much pressure on myself to be an idea of me. I’m gonna embrace me so I can love others better.

Rest in heavenly peace Lisa Marie. Please join me in praying for peace and comfort for her family.

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I’ve Got It

The other day at the grocery store, I had to reach quite far under the top shelf to get the big plastic wrapped container of 35-16 oz., water. Or is it waters? Either way, as I hoisted it up to walk it around to the front of the cart, a gentleman said, “Here, let me get that for you,” as he started walking towards me. Ummm. What? I replied with, “No thanks, I’ve got it.” He said, “Are you sure, it looks pretty heavy”. He wasn’t wrong, it wasn’t light. But, I reiterated, “It’s ok, I’ve got it”. Then we parted ways.

After the brief encounter, several things went through my brain. The first was shock that someone was offering to help me. Usually I help others get things they can’t reach. Then, did I look like I was struggling with the water? Then insult, because I am woman hear me roar, right? Then, awww, that was super sweet, you don’t find many guys who offer to help. At least that hasn’t been my experience these past several years. I’m not saying those guys aren’t out there because clearly they absolutely are. I’m just saying, I haven’t typically intersected with them.

Next up, over analyzing the situation. Why didn’t I put the cart behind me? Once I grabbed the water I could just turn and put it in the cart instead of taking extra steps around the cart? Gosh, was I polite enough when he asked? I would hate to be the person that stopped him from helping others because I was too gruff. All my fellow people pleasers raise your hands in the air and say, heyyyy, hooooo.

How many times have you offered to help someone, got turned down and then vowed to never do that again because people are just, well, too people-y? Then you turn around and help because that’s just who you are, and you know how good it feels to help someone.

Now let me give you some background. A couple weeks ago I was having dinner with a friend. I promise you, this is not about man bashing. Some women actually like to have doors opened for them, and to be let off the elevator first, but my friend and I have noticed these type things have gone by the wayside. At least in our cases. I don’t know all the reasons why, but I have a few guesses. Again, not man bashing, just an observation.

Days after that conversation, I was going to the post office to mail my Christmas packages. I was carrying 2 boxes. An older gentleman, in front of me was carrying 1 box. His one box was bigger than my boxes. When he got to the doors, he opened the one side…for me. At the same time, another gentleman was exiting the building, and he held the other door open for me. Both doors, wide open for me to walk through, by 2 different men.

Back to the other day and the water incident. This is the part of the story where I loop God in. He’s always weaving things together. Do you look for Him in these things? Any way, God heard my conversation with my friend. God heard me previously say, multiple times, how sick and tired I am of going to the store. These weren’t prayers. I was actually grumbling. Yet, beyond the grumbling was a heart cry. God separated the grumbling from the heart cry, and answered.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful I can go to the store and get all the things, but, it doesn’t mean I always like it. Those of you who always go to the store, I know, you get me. I’m not sure why I declined the man’s offer to help with the water, but it reminded me of how God will answer prayers and we either see it or we don’t. We either walk through those wide open doors, or we decline the help offered. You know, “I’ve got it”.

When God says His ways are not our ways, He’s serious. Remember, if we seek Him, we find Him. Do you know God? Because your relationship with Him will determine how you seek Him. I used to seek the judgmental, god must hate me god. Well, not so much seek as try not to catch his attention for fear of wrath. I mean who wants that kind of attention?

But, God cares about us. All through the Bible we find out just how much. He cares so much about this child who felt neglected about a simple door being opened for her, He sent not one, but 2 men to open doors for her.

It’s really rather simple, God’s in the details. He hasn’t forgotten you. Maybe though, you’ve forgotten who He is? Have you put Him in a box looking for Him to do your bidding? Or have you given Him the room to move using ALL the things He has at His disposal? Are you looking for Him in your day? Are you expectant for Him to move?

Truth is, He’s moving whether you see it or not. There’s always gonna be someone who wants to tell you how to have a relationship with God. That’s not gonna be me. All I’m going to do is share what He’s done for me. Because I don’t truly know you the way He knows you. I don’t see the deep desires of your heart. But, God does. And quite frankly, I’m still learning about my own relationship with God.

Your relationship with God is personal. He’s the One who knows what you need better than anyone. Not the stars, not the moon, not your horrorscope, (not a mistype), not even a psychic. I may have past experience with relying on those other things to help me navigate my life. They didn’t serve me well.

My point is simply this, God heard the cries of my heart and He answered. Why? Because He loves me. Guess what? He loves you too.

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Circling The Drain

Circling The Drain

I feel a shift. Not a big or mighty shift. But a shift, nonetheless. It’s easy to see big, drastic changes. But it’s the small steps towards something that gets easily ignored, forgotten, or even dismissed. When in fact, those tiny steps forward should be celebrated.

Perhaps this shift is a new thought that interrupts, and inserts itself into the “same old” pattern of thinking. This new thought brings hope into a desolate situation. Except, the hopeful thought gets tossed to the side because the “nothing good ever happens” thoughts over power it.

I call those negative thought patterns, “circling the drain”. It’s like at any given moment we can be sucked down the pit of despair drain, but instead we ride the rim, hoping something will change, but dismissing any hopeful thought or movement toward change.

What happens next? The “what if’s” join the circle. Nasty little buggers. The “what if’s” allow the imagination to run wild with every possible “this will never work” scenario. They snatch hope away like the Grinch stealing all things Christmas, until there’s not even a piece of tinsel left.

Hopelessness then comes creeping in like the thief it is. This is the scariest of places. Hopelessness has a language and feeling all its own. It deceives and destroys. It robs you and doesn’t think twice or look back to see if you’re ok, because it could care less about you. It takes and keeps taking, until there’s nothing left to take.

I’ve been hopeless. I’ve been overrun by guilt, shame, self-loathing, and low self-esteem. I’ve looked at the reflection in the mirror and mentally abused myself. Which led me to physically abuse myself. Not in obvious ways…at first. Eventually, the lies of the enemy piled so high on top of me, I couldn’t or maybe I just didn’t want to see a way forward. I just wanted all the pain to stop.

Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now. Words seem hollow. Simple actions are unbearably hard to achieve. Going through the motions is a chore. And if this is what life looks like, you no longer want any part of it. Whatever the reason(s), I’m so sorry.

The theme song to the tv show MAS*H is entitled “Suicide Is Painless”. I beg to differ. It’s anything but painless. It’s gut wrenching. It’s hope deferred. It’s dark, twisty, and hell bent on destruction. Suicide is not a stigma, it’s not selfish, and it’s nothing new. It has no rhyme or reason and anyone can be its victim. Race, religion, status, popularity, rich, or poor doesn’t matter. Suicide isn’t glamorous and it won’t “show them,” a thing.

I can’t make any promises, but I can say, from my own experience, that suicide is not the only option. There’s still ”life” to be had. There’s still more. But you have to decide your life has meaning and purpose. You have to decide to step away from the rim of the drain. You have to know, deep down, below the darkness, there’s still a light shining. Even if it’s a flicker, it’s still there.

You have to fight for you because yes, you are worth it. Let me repeat that..YOU are worth it!

Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Seasons of life come and go. This moment in time is not your entire story. It’s just, right now. And right now, is all any of us have. In the blink of an eye, shift happens and life begins beyond this moment. Because time nor the world, my friend, stops for no one.

I guess what I want to say is, there’s always hope. You may have to dig to find it, but it’s there. Name one thing you can be grateful for and focus on that until you can think of the next thing, and then the next. There’s always, always something to be thankful for, as cliche as that sounds. If you weren’t supposed to be here, you wouldn’t be reading this.

And if no one has told you lately that you matter, please hear my heart when I tell you, YOU matter. And what I mean by that is, the world would not be a better place without you, nor would those left behind be better without you.

You are an intricately made, wonderfully complex, deeply loved person of effect. You, my friend, are a world changer. It all begins with a ripple. Remember always, greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world.

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