Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Escaping Yourself

Have you ever watched the movie “Never Been Kissed”? It’s like a girl’s worst High School nightmare come to life. If I see it’s on TV, I give the remote a rest and settle in.

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it, but I still cringe and say…”Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it.” She doesn’t listen. She does it.

If you’ve not seen it, it’s basically about a reporter who’s sent back to High School. Her assignment? Get in with the popular group and get the salacious goods on them. Simple, right?

No, not simple. Our heroine finds out all too quick she has her work cut out for her. She was not part of the popular clique in High School and her brother is quick to remind her of that fact when he learns about her writing assignment. He was even so loving as to remind her of the nickname they gave her. Josie grossy.

After a painful flashback her brother gives her a pep talk and she’s ready to seize the day! Or not.

After many awkward trials and embarrassing tribulations, her brother comes to her rescue and he goes back to school too. He has no problem getting into the popular group on his first day. He knows how to speak their language because once upon a time, he was popular too.

So what does her brother do when he’s “in”? He talks her up. He says a bunch of things to make her appear “cooler” than she is. He even goes so far to say, he dated her and that her family is well off.

I’m gonna stop there. To know what happens next, you’ll just have to watch the movie.

Let’s just call what her brother did what it is. A lie. In fact, he told multiple lies. It’s all very innocent isn’t it? After all, he just wanted to help his sister with her job assignment. What’s the harm in that?

Remember, on her own, she wasn’t “good enough” for the popular group. It was only when they believed she was something she wasn’t, she became acceptable in their eyes.

I can relate to that. I’ve tried pretending to be something I’m not in order to garner the approval of someone. I wonder if you can relate as well.

Imagine putting on someone else’s clothes that are too small. No matter how much you try to wriggle your body into them, they don’t fit. But let’s say you actually manage to squeeze yourself into them. It doesn’t take long to realize, this look is not for you and you can’t wait to get them off.

At what point does a lie become so uncomfortable you feel compelled to tell the truth? How long do you think a lie can “live” in you before it changes you? And by change, I don’t mean in a good way.

Typically when one lie is told, another is sure to follow. Eventually you have a string of lies to keep up with and before you know it, you’re in a constant state of worry over who knows what. It’s exhausting.

Lies have a way of catching up to you. Either someone figures it out or you become so frazzled, you have to tell the truth. Either way, be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Why is telling the truth so hard? Why is being who God made us to be, never enough? Why are we so afraid of the person in the mirror?

It’s the person in the mirror, you can’t escape. When you wake up, you’re there. When you leave the house, you’re there. When you go to sleep at night, you’re there. You are literally everywhere, you are.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape you. Let me ask a simple question. When does self-acceptance start? It doesn’t have to be complicated unless we make it so.

Let’s begin with answering what makes you feel most like you? Not what everyone else thinks you need to be, but what speaks joy into your soul?

When we try to be something we’re not, we do ourselves and others an injustice. We rob ourselves and the world of that “thing” that makes us who we are. We can even hurt others in the process of pretending we’re something we’re not. Including ourselves.

Sweet friend, self-acceptance isn’t a weakness. It’s a knowing who you are and not letting someone shame you for it. It’s a strength! I daresay if someone feels the need to shame you, they’ve yet to accept who they are. Why else would they feel the need to attack you? Think about that.

Everyday I see someone caught up in societal chains and social media makes those chains stronger. Living life behind a screen is a futile way of living. Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with the popular trends? Have you spent hours trying to copy someone else’s look? Dance? Talent?

Have you noticed the minute if you’re able to conquer the latest trend, it’s already passed and you have to begin the next one? Consider this. Maybe someone needs what YOU have to offer. But you’re so bogged down with trying to be someone else you forgot how awesome you are.

Our heroine from the movie inevitably couldn’t keep up the facade she’d taken on. Her “self” beckoned to make a stand. To be heard. To be seen.

It’s only when she stopped being who she thought she should be, that she became everything she needed to be. The approval of others faded into the background and she lived her life.

Is your “self” beckoning to be heard? To be seen? Maybe it’s time to listen. I know a thing or two about shunning myself and wanting to be someone, anyone, other than me. But at the end of the day no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t escape me.

I allowed others to disapprove of me and I wore their disapproval like my armor. No one told me it was ok to just be me. I needed to be skinnier, smarter, quieter, louder, dumber, and the list goes on.

It seems everyone had an opinion on what and who I needed to be or look like. So I became a version of other people’s input only to find out, by their measure, I still wasn’t enough.

Just like our heroine from the movie, I couldn’t keep up. Something had to give. So when I was at the end of “me,” I came face to face with my Creator, Jesus Christ. Maybe you’ve heard of Him.

If not, allow me introduce you to the One who loves you, just as you are. He accepts you, even when you reject yourself. A little secret…you can’t escape from Him either. How do I know?

It’s one of God’s promises. The LORD God goes with us. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6) Where you go, HE goes. Who else can make that kind of promise?

If you’re tired of all the noise, may I invite you to come sit with God? He knows what your tired soul needs. He wants to refresh you and restore what’s broken.

You don’t have to accept His invitation. He’s secure in who He is despite being rejected daily. He’s so secure in his identity, He’s stays the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He won’t change for you. He knows what He stands for. Do you?

In a world that begs us to believe in everything it tosses our way, aren’t you ready for something that doesn’t shift with every passing fancy?

I know I was and you know what? Jesus, was patiently waiting. My life combining with Jesus is the BEST decision I ever made. I can say with bold confidence:

Jesus! He is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)

Have an amazing day my friends! Shine Bright!

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Love Saved You

“Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here.” ~ Psalm 103:15-16 (NLT)

Have you ever walked through a cemetery? It’s a stark reminder that life here on earth is fleeting. Last October I found myself walking through a cemetery in Auburn, NY. I was visiting some dear friends and felt the need to stretch my legs a bit. 

This cemetery has some old headstones. So old, you could no longer read the etched engraving. 

It was during my walk I came upon this engraved stone.

I nodded my head in agreement as I thought about my brother who had recently passed. My earthly love wasn’t enough to save him. Wounds still fresh, I stood in front of this stone and read the inscribing a few times. Tears slid from my eyes.

I continued on my walk thinking about my brother. Like I so often do, I asked Jesus to give him a hug from me and I blew them both a kiss. It makes me feel better. 

After I walked a bit, I decided I wanted a picture of that quote so I headed back. I read the inscribing once again and then it hit me; my earthly love didn’t save my brother, but there was a love that did! 

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16 (emphasis added)

So you see, love did save my brother and he now has eternal life with our Heavenly Father. Hallelujah! That’s reason to celebrate! 

Death is not easy for those left behind. In my mind, there should be a natural order on how things play out. But, I’m not the one who numbered my brother’s days or knew my brother before he was formed in our mother’s womb. 

My brother’s death shook me to my core. Friends, our days are numbered. We only get this one life here on earth. I’ve spent far too much time worrying about trivial things. I don’t know about you, but I can get stuck pretty easily in negative thought patterns. Where does that lead me? What kind of “life” does that produce? 

At some point, you have to ask yourself, are you living like you’re “living?” or, are you living like you’re “dying?” 

My brother died in between 2 very special days. My son’s birthday is June 18th and my best friend’s birthday is June 22nd. God knows me so well, He made sure I wouldn’t get stuck in grieving mode. Both of these special days remind me that I’m still among the living and there’s still reason to celebrate.  

June 20th may be the day my brother’s earthly life ended, but it’s the day his heavenly life began. Thank you, Jesus!  

Happy Heavenly Birthday my brother. I see you sliding down those rainbows! 

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Check Yourself

When I was in the military we had an Air Force Instruction for everything. AFI 36-2903 instructed us on dress and personal appearance. When I first joined the military it was actually Air Force Regulation 35-10. I share that tidbit because change happens. Basically, this told us how we should look by conforming to the standard set by our military leaders.

It was a reminder that we should check ourselves and make sure we were right before we looked at another and attempted to correct the way they looked compared to the AF standard.

If you decided to address someone else for being in violation you better make sure they couldn’t come back at you and say you were also in violation. Because, well, awkward!

Pretty much any building you went into had a full-length mirror to allow you to check your look. Some of those mirrors were conveniently placed just inside the doors so as you walked out, you got that last glimpse.

This instruction was all about outward appearance. An AFI could govern the way you outwardly appeared but it couldn’t govern your heart. And let’s face it, outward appearances can mask what’s going on inside. 

I no longer have to adhere to AFI instructions, as I’m retired. However, one of the things that still sticks with me is to check myself before I check another. But these days, it’s more an inward check. Let’s face it, outward checks are easy to do. But an inward check? That takes time. That takes revelation. That takes soul searching.

Matthew 7:3-5 reminds us to check ourselves.

“Why do you look at the small piece of wood in your brother’s eye, and do not see the big piece of wood in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take that small piece of wood out of your eye,’ when there is a big piece of wood in your own eye? You who pretend to be someone you are not, first take the big piece of wood out of your own eye. Then you can see better to take the small piece of wood out of your brother’s eye.” (NLV)

Bible Gateway

Bottom line, it’s not easy to do the hard stuff of inward work. But I promise it’s worth it. Getting to know you, how, and why you were created is an amazing investment of your time. Knowing your worth will change how you see yourself and those around you. 

Have an amazing day, friends! After all, it’s a do-over complete with God’s new mercies! 

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How Big Is Your Shield

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.  Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” ~ Ephesians 6:13-17

A few weeks ago I walked through the rotunda at Elmira College where they hold various events. That morning the tables were all on their edge instead of their feet. In order to get to the stairs I take to go to my office, I had to weave in and out of the tables in my way. 

These were 8 feet round tables. I could easily hunker down behind one and be protected. Given the size and weight of the tables, hunkering down would be the obvious choice over trying to pick it up and carry it around with me as I deflected the “flaming darts of the evil one.” 

What do you mean by “flaming darts of the evil one?” I’m so glad you asked. Allow me to paint you a picture. 

I’ve been invited to a party. No, make that a gala. It will require me to get a dress. No, make that a gown. Like the one, Cinderella wore to the ball. Can you picture that? Only, it’s going to be you in that gown. You’re so excited you can hardly contain your giddiness. 

The night of the gala, you dress up in your beautiful gown and you practically float on air. You head to the gala with hopeful anticipation that everyone will notice you and ooooh, and ahhh as you enter the room. 

Then the unthinkable happens. You walk in, and there’s someone wearing the same exact ball gown. You’re horrified.  

Seconds ago, you were blissfully happy, anticipating the evening, and now you stand there aghast, not moving because your feet feel like 500-pound weights. 

Cue the head conversation!

Look at her.
She’s freakin’ gorgeous.
She looks so much better in that gown than I do.
I think she’s actually glowing?
Is she glowing?
She’s totally glowing.
Gahhh, I so hate her right now.  

What was I thinking?
Look at me.
I’m not beautiful.
I’m a total frump compared to her.
I’m not glowing.
I should’ve known better than to come to this gala.
Gahhh, I can’t even stand to look at myself right now. 

Fiery darts. They just got thrown at you, by you. And now they’re trying to penetrate your heart. They want to take root and steal the joy you had before you saw that other person in your gown. 

Moments ago, you were the one floating on air. You were the one who looked amazing. You were the one who was glowing. And then you gave it all away on a preconceived notion that someone looked better than you. Who told you that? You did. 

So what happened?

I daresay, you thought the gown was the thing that made you feel and look that way. I’ll go even further and say, the gown gave you a false sense of security. 

But, it was never about the gown. You may have bought the gown, but at that moment you didn’t own the gown. The gown owned you. You gave power to the gown that it was never meant to have. 

Y’all this happens every day. We give our insecurity over to the things of this world in hopes it will make us feel secure. It might not be a gown. It can be any number of things. Let’s take a peek at a few, shall we? 

Why is my hair curly and not straight?
Why do I have dark hair when clearly blondes have more fun?
Why did he pick her over me?
What has she got that I don’t?
Why am I short and she’s got legs for days?
Why can’t I spike a volleyball like her?
Why can’t I be picked for the cheerleading squad?
Why are her boobs bigger than mine?
Why is her nose so small and perfect?
Why are her parents so awesome and mine are so awful?
Why can’t I be that smart?
Why can’t I be someone other than myself?
Why can’t I dance like that?
Why can’t I sing like that?
Why can’t I paint like that? 

I could go on for days here. Why do we do this to ourselves? We literally make our own lives miserable by forgetting all that we have to offer, all that we can do. 

As I’m typing this, my head conversation says, “what are you doing?” “No one’s gonna care about what you have to say.” “Just shut up already.” 

Let me ask you this. Of all the times you’ve questioned “why are they more than this, than me” ever been answered? I’m sure it has. With an even more demeaning answer. Maybe it sounds something like,

Because I suck
Because God hates me
Because I’m ugly
Because I’m fat
Because I’m skinny
Because I’m gross
Because I’m stupid
Because I lack any kind of talent
Because I have nothing to offer

Any of these sound familiar? And let’s not stop there, let’s pick on each body part as if it were our personal enemy. Forgetting all our bodies have brought us through. 

All those demeaning answers are fiery darts of the enemy intended to steal, kill, and destroy you. 

Maybe at this point, you’re thinking, “oh, stop being so dramatic”! To that, I say, let me show you what the Bible has to say about our enemy. 

John 10:10 says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” ~ NIV 

If we’re constantly focused on what we’re not, how will we ever rise to be who we are? 

When we allow our own defeating thoughts to take over, how easy do you think it is for the fiery darts from others to take root and then compound the self-defeating thoughts running rampant through our minds?

This is a battle, my friends! If we have to rely on how many compliments we get each day, or how many likes, or loves, or comments, we place our existence on somebody else’s whim. 

Is that really how you want to live this one life you’ve been given? By someone else’s definition of how you need to be? I pray not. It’s an exhausting way to live. It’s a lot of pressure to be someone else’s idea of who you ought to be.  

I remember years ago, on the man-made scale of 1-10, I was told I was a 7. You might think that number is pretty high on that scale. Not to me. All that told me at the time I was given that “award,” an award I wasn’t even seeking I might add, was very simply, I wasn’t enough. That I was still missing something. 

Years later, I still battle the number 7. I look in the mirror, I hear that inner enemy say…not half bad for a 7. How do you think that changes the perspective of how I walk out the door for the day? 

I constantly look around for what a 10 would look like (in my already skewed view) and when I see her, I compare her to me. And all the self-defeating thoughts come rolling in. Mind you, I have no idea what that gal had to go through to be a 10 that day. Good gravy! How’s a gal to succeed? 

I mean, how am I to live an abundant life through the eyes of lack? 

Good question! 

Romans 12:2 tells us to not be conformed to the patterns of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. 

The pattern of this world in my instance was a man-made visual scale of appearance. It all started as far as I can remember from a movie simply titled, “10”

I never watched it. I had zero desire to do so. But, I knew about it and from that moment on, every man and woman was assigned a number by another flawed human being. 

This was/is not a good pattern. We have to first imagine that the number 10 is given to someone by who? Or is that whom? HA! Another 10? A less than 10? Perhaps a 3? 

Where does it stop? I mean a 10 to one person could very well be a 9, or an 8, or even a 7. You get the idea. It’s such a flawed scale. And yet, I found myself sucked into the pattern which told me I wasn’t enough all because one person told me that. One person. 

And I was defined by that number for years. Sad, don’t you think? Me too. 

What I didn’t know to do back then was to kick that thought and any negative subsequent thoughts to the curb. Instead, I allowed it to feed my already existing insecurities. 

I can’t go back and change any of that. That would be self-defeating and a whole other barrel of pickles that I won’t go into today. What I can do any time the enemy rears that number 7 award my way is to throw it right back in his face. 

Now, I’m not talking about the person who said that to me. I forgave them. The funny part about that. He had no memory of ever saying that to me. So, here I was, holding onto something for years, that was nothing more than a second in his world. Crazy, right?! 

The enemy I’m talking about is Satan. The thief I mentioned earlier from John 10:10. He doesn’t want you to have an abundant life. He’d like nothing more than to keep you in a pit of despair. That’s who you need to throw that negative stuff at. He’s great at dishing it out and watching you wallow in it. 

And most days, we’re more than happy to give our promised abundant life into his hands. The sad thing is, we may not even realize it until years have gone by. 

It’s time to say NO MORE! It’s time to put on the full armor of God, pick up my shield and deflect those fiery darts. And when I find myself losing ground because I’m weak from the battle, I will take refuge under the wings of my mighty Savior. 

I was not created to be a number. Nowhere in the Bible does God say I’m a 7, or any other number.  

I was created as a daughter of a King. And, not just any King. The King of Kings. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I’m the apple of God’s eye! I’m His treasured possession.   

Pssst. You’re all those things too my friend! Renew your mind sister, and when you leave home, don’t forget your shield! 

Have a phenomenal day. Be you! The world needs that. 

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Go Away…

As I listened to the radio on my drive to work, a huge smile spread across my face as an old familiar tune played through the speakers. As soon as Donny Osmond started to sing “Go Away Little Girl,” I couldn’t help but sing along with him. 

If you could see me right now, you’d see I’m still smiling. 

Ohhh the crush I had on him when I was younger. With his poster hung on my bedroom wall, I’d dream about the day I would marry him. Well, that didn’t happen. He chose another. Rude, right? ha ha 

After the song was over, the announcer said, “No he doesn’t. He doesn’t really want her to leave, Donny’s just playing hard to get.” 

In this song scenario, my beloved Donny was already in a relationship. But there was another girl who caught his eye, who from the sounds of things, was a little too close for his comfort so he told her “go away little girl”. He even explained the reasons why he wanted her to go away. 

Did she go away? In the song scenario, we’ll never know. It ends with him repeatedly telling her to simply “go away”.  

Temptation.

By definition, temptation is:

“the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.” 

Me thinks there’s going to be some serious consequences to those who fall into the trap of temptation.

Make no mistake, I may have said “fall” into temptation, but you don’t fall. You choose. Whatever you decide to do when faced with temptation, is your choice. Your choice. 

When I was younger, for some reason, I knew it was wrong to want somebody who belonged to someone else. I had many crushes over the years.Donny’s poster came down, and David Cassidy’s went up. David’s came down and Starsky’s went up. The original Starsky, thank you very much. 

I think you get the point. I remember when Paul Michael Glaser, aka Starsky, got married in real life, I thought, welp, no more fantasizing I’ll be his wife. That was in 1980. 

Somewhere between 1980 and 1984, those lines of “you don’t mess with someone who’s taken” became so blurred, the line failed to exist altogether.

The consequences of my choices left me heartbroken and devastated. How devastated? 

So devastated by the culmination of my unchecked sins that I wanted to check out of this life. The pain was excruciating and I thought it was the only way out.

Looking back, I will say those temporary pleasure choices were not worth the cost. 

The first time you choose the temptation, whatever that may be for you, you may feel guilt, remorse, shame, and a slew of other bad emotions and then choose never to give into it again. 

Or, you may bury all the bad emotions and continue to choose the guilty pleasure time and time again. 

Either way, I dare say, you never truly know when, and for how long the effects of the choice you made will haunt you. All because you gave into temptation. 

You could argue that you had no choice, you had to do it. You could argue that the temptation was just too great. There was no way you could’ve walked away. You had to do it. 

You can easily “justify” the temptation in an effort to make it appear that giving into it was the only choice. 

You could even say, “no one could have overcome that temptation.” But what if I told you, you have an out? What if I told you, you have been given the authority to squash any temptation that presents itself? 

1 Corinthians 10:13 says: 

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

Stop! Go back, and read that verse again. What did you see? This is what I saw:

  1. Your temptation is no different from what others experience
  2. God will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.
  3. God will show you a way out 
  4. God is faithful  

That doesn’t mean you won’t have temptations, BUT, when you do, God will be faithful to show you a way out. So even if you do bite into the temptation, while you’ll have to suffer the consequences of your choice, He will show you a way to endure.

It also doesn’t mean you get to run around all willy nilly sinning all-the-day long because God will give you a way out. At some point you need to be responsible and use that gift of self-control God freely gives. 

Remember when I said that by my own choices I was left devastated and wanted to take my own life? Well, that was not God’s plan. He interrupted them. He gave me a way out so that I could endure, without ending my life.

He said:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Matthew 11:28-30

This beautiful exchange of my devastating burdens for His rest did just what He promised. As I stepped out of my darkness and into His light, I was slowly renewed and restored. He was gentle and loving as He guided me through my sins and into repentance. 

It was an exchange. I had a choice to stay stuck in my pit or grab on to the hand of Jesus, and hang on for dear life. Had I not received what God wanted to give me, I can’t say for sure where I’d be now. 

Moral of this story can be found in Romans 12:2 

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.

Make good choices my friend! You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble and heartache. Just because it feels good now, doesn’t mean it will feel good later. 

There are consequences to every choice, and you may never know how your one bad choice can affect generations. 

That’s right, generations. Ahhh, but that’s a blog for another day.

Have an amazing day! 

 

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Treasure

Matthew 6:21 says:

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Don’t you just love this time of year! The lights, the decorations, the gatherings of friends and family? It seems just about everywhere you look people are a bit more generous, kinder, happy, and loving.

Kids are doing all the extras, thinking if they behave just a wee bit more, Santa will be extra nice to them. My social media is filled with all things holiday-related. Are you smiling in agreement?

One of my favorite things to see are the pictures of kids going to see Santa.

I remember my granddaughters’ first visit to Santa.  She was all dressed up in her little Christmas outfit and they handed her over to sit on Santa’s lap and she looked up at Santa like, “who in the world are you“? 

Santa

It seems the first year visiting Santa can be a bit scary for most kids.  A lot of pictures you see are of them crying with expressions that say, “what have you done to me”? “I want my mommy”  Seems, they can’t get away from Santa fast enough. 

When emotions and reactions collide you just don’t know what’s going to happen. 

A couple years ago, a big wooden cross was brought in for our Sunday morning message. We were asked to fill out a sticky note for something we wanted Jesus to do in our lives and then take that sticky note and place it on the cross. 

I remember filling out my sticky note and getting in line to place it on the cross. Easy peasy! Let’s do this! Everything was going pretty good, But, that was about to change.

The closer I got to the cross, the more my emotions came bubbling to the surface and my reaction to the meaning of the cross grew. My knees started shaking, my heart started racing, and I was overwhelmed with an array of emotions. It was all I could do to keep moving forward to the cross.

It reminds me of that song “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.

“Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all”

Pretty sure given my reaction as I walked up to the cross, I’m just gonna pass out when I come face to face with Jesus. Ha! 

I digress, back to the story.

That day at the church service we were given an invitation to write something on a sticky note and put it on the cross; to give whatever we wrote to Jesus. To be honest, I don’t remember what I wrote; I just remember my reaction to the cross.

Walking up to the cross, I felt so unworthy to even approach Jesus with my need. I felt vulnerable, yet compelled to keep moving forward. By the time I was face to face with the cross, I was overwhelmed with gratitude as I caught a glimpse of what Jesus did for the sake of all mankind; for me, and for each one of you.

But, don’t take my word for it. Let’s read Luke 2:8-20

The Shepherds and the Angels
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch
Over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

I suppose the shepherds could’ve chosen to stay in the field and keep tending their sheep, but they didn’t. They were sent an invitation and they answered with: “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” (bold and underline added for emphasis)

Did you catch the shepherds reaction?

They didn’t dilly dally and check their social media to see what the other shepherds were doing. They didn’t check with others to make sure it would be ok to go. They didn’t wonder if they were worthy or not enough or too far gone to go see the babe. No, it says “they went with haste.” Haste means “excessive speed or urgency of movement or action; hurry.” So, that’s what they did. 

And when they had seen all they were told about, they went back to their flocks “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

The Lord’s invitation to come to see the baby Jesus is not just for the shepherds. Verse 10 says:

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” (bold and underline added for emphasis)

Great joy for ALL the people; not some of the people, not a few of the people, not certain religious denominations of people, not specific race or gender of people, but ALL the people.

And that’s no different today! He invites each one of us into a relationship with Him: 

Matthew 11:28-30 in the Passion Translation says:

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”

So who is this invitation for? Say it with me…ALL the people. Just as the shepherds had a choice to answer the invitation to come and see what had happened, we have a choice to answer the invitation of relationship with Jesus. 

Jesus is calling…will you answer?

In closing, Luke 2:19 says:

“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”

As we reflect on the Love sent down from Heaven during this season and the seasons to come, I wonder, what things you’re treasuring up and pondering in your heart? 

Remember, 

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours. May you know the abundant love, peace, and joy of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

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In Vain

A couple of women gave a testimony this past Sunday at church. While I couldn’t hear all of it, I believe I heard the words I was meant to hear. Words like disappointment, unbelief, and worry. 

I call those types of words, heavy. If heavy words are allowed to fester into feelings they will drag our souls down to places we weren’t necessarily built for. If we sit with them long enough, they can change the way we see and do things. Maybe you know what I mean.  

After church, I went to the store to get the fixings for Thanksgiving day. I heard a song by Elevation Worship called “Resurrecting”. I’ve heard this song a lot. Normally, you’ll catch me singing right along, but I was content to just listen to the words as they blared through the radio. 

When they got to the part of the song where they sang the lyrics “The tomb where soldiers watched in vain” it was like a light bulb went off.  

These lyrics come from the story in the Bible concerning the tomb where Jesus’ body was laid to rest after his crucifixion. You can read about it here in Matthew 27:62:66.

“The tomb where soldiers watched in vain.” For 3 days the tomb was guarded. I guess they thought they could stop what was going to happen. I wonder what they talked about? I wonder if they were worried, or scared, or prideful because of their position? So many questions. But two little words “in vain” were what grabbed my attention and set this brain into motion.

Whether that tomb was guarded for seconds, days, weeks, months, or years, the outcome was going to be the same. Jesus was going to rise despite their human efforts. 

Did you ever feel like you could’ve stopped something in someone else’s life before it happened? I believe the soldiers watching in vain thought they could stop people from coming to steal the body of Jesus. But I don’t believe they could’ve ever thought or imagined what was really going to happen. 

Last night I was watching tv. Have you ever watched tv and talked back to the characters in the show? I do it all the time and last night was no exception. As if my commentary is going to change how the show will go. Just like the soldier’s standing there in vain, so is my commentary. 

Back to my tv trash talking. As I was relating to what was going on, I started talking. In this part of the show, the woman having been cleared of any wrongdoing couldn’t let go of the fact she felt responsible for the death of someone. I was so over her feeling responsible so I told her “get over yourself already, you’re not responsible.” Geez, Louize! 

The moment the word “responsible” left my mouth, I felt in my spirit God said, you feel that way. Cue argument with God.  “Excuse me?” So, I let Him show me.

You see, I’ve been feeling “meh” for a couple of months now. I’ve been asking, where is this coming from? I already knew disappointment was a huge part of it. Disappointed from the way my life has turned out thus far. Disappointed my son is not in life where I think he should be. Disappointed the illness I’ve had for 2 years is still lingering and the doctors can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong. You see where I’m going with this? 

When you know what something is, you can start to deal with it. What’ the opposite of disappointment? For me it’s grateful. 

If you’ve ever tried to turn from disappointment and grab onto grateful you know it’s not as easy as you think it’d be. If you’re not careful, you can turn not being able to instantly be grateful into disappointment. Crazy, right? 

Anyways, back to last night’s revelation from my Heavenly Father. Five months ago my brother passed away. I still shake my head in disbelief that he’s no longer on this earth. I have moments where I just cry for a few minutes and then I remember my brother never liked to see others, sad. So, I stuff it down and put on a happy face. But the happy face doesn’t change that my soul is still sad. And that’s ok! It’s called grieving for a reason.

What’s not ok, is me thinking I’m somehow responsible for his death, or that I’m responsible for the choices my grown-up son, my friends, or family members make or have made. That type of responsibility is “in vain.” 

A child who grows up in a chaotic, dysfunctional home will take on responsibility at an early age they were not built for. That same child who grows into adulthood will carry the weight of responsibility into every relationship. 

It’s not uncommon for us to think we can fix everything if we pull the right rabbit out of the right hat. It’s exhausting to be the fixer of everything and everyone. It’s prideful to think anyone has that kind of power. More to the point, say it with me, it’s “in vain.” 

Top Gun is one of my favorite movies. If you’ve not seen it, color me flabbergasted and know I’m about to spoil part of it for you. Goose dies from a plane crash that Maverick was flying. Before the plane crash, Maverick and Goose were best buds. The dynamic duo in the sky. Maverick was described as being “larger than life.” 

After the plane crash, his demeanor changed. He didn’t want to fly anymore. Despite being cleared of any wrongdoing in the plane crash, Maverick still felt responsible for Goose’s death. I imagine he felt responsible that Goose’s wife and child would no longer have their husband/father in their life. He just took on a responsibility that wasn’t his. 

Just like I did after my brother died. All the “what if’s” came after me. After all, he was my baby brother, I should’ve been able to prevent this travesty. Except his life was never in my hands. His life was not my responsibility. I was not the one who created him nor was I the one holding him up. I didn’t breathe life into his lungs. I didn’t form him in his mother’s womb. I didn’t see every part of his life. I didn’t know all he struggled with on this earth and for me to think in any way that I could’ve prevented or stopped his death, is, in vain. I did not number his days. 

As those realizations hit me and tears streamed down my face, I knew I needed to say the words out loud. In order to release the burden I had placed on myself, I choked out the words “I’m not responsible.” Over and over, I repeated those words.  

I imagine I’ll be repeating those words until my soul truly embraces them. 

Maybe you feel responsible as well for something that wasn’t yours to take on. If so, may I suggest taking those thoughts to Jesus? A simple request to Him, “Lord, where is this “feeling” of “meh” coming from”? Why is my soul distressed?”  

He may not show you right away, but trust that His timing will be perfect. Remember to thank Him for His faithfulness to show you and that you trust He will do as He promises. Only when God knows your ready, will He reveal what you’ve requested. 

My friends, Jesus is the Savior of the world for a reason. He was built for it. He was sent down from Heaven by God to fulfill that very purpose. Even better, He’s the perfect person for the job. 

Deciphering what you’re responsible for and letting go of what isn’t, will allow you to live the life God planned for you. Holding on to what isn’t yours will make your soul weary.

Father God, thank you for another day! Thank you for being all that we need and for showing us the way to go. May we be aware of what is our responsibility and let go of anything that’s not planned for us. May we trust that even though we get off track, You’ll place us back on the right path. May we know that You’re in control and to worry about anything is in vain. May we trust Your ways are higher and You know more than we ever could. May we stay humble and seek You in all things. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

Have an amazing day, my friends. Be blessed! 

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Hanging By A Thread

I absolutely love Fall. Cue music; It’s the most wonderful time of the year and then substitute all things associated with Fall for the Christmas stuff in the song. I adore all the changing colors, hot apple cider, pumpkin spice everything…well, not quite everything, I mean let’s not go crazy here. Craft fairs, pumpkins, hayrides, crisp air, bonfires, sweaters, boots, scarves, and I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. I was made for Fall!

The other day I was walking with a friend and we happened upon a tree and it appeared as if 2 leaves were suspended mid-air. One tiny leaf was just a twirling and spinning and the other leaf was just sorta hanging out. I tried to get a picture but the background was all wrong and you couldn’t really see the leaves. Bummer, because it was really cool.

The very next day on another walk there was a bigger leaf seemingly suspended in mid-air. I did get a picture and small video clip but the leaf is not as twirly as the leaf I mentioned earlier. But, if you’re a visual person like me, you’ll appreciate the pics!

IMG_3560Leaf 2

 

I need to go back to the first 2 leaves that I mentioned earlier. On one side of the tree was the leaf twirling all about, and on the other side was the leaf, just hanging out. But, in the middle was the sturdy tree. The one that caught my attention first was the one twirling all about.

You may be thinking, what’s the big deal? It’s just a leaf hanging on by a thread. Ahhh! but, it’s so much more!

I’m in the stage of my life I guess I could be referred to as a “mature” woman. I prefer mature over menopausal. For 7.5 years as a mature woman, I’ve not had to deal with a menstrual cycle.  Yesss!

However, just over a month ago, I was about to have my mature world rocked by a familiar monthly “friend.” Are you kidding me?! Nope, this was no joke.

Having a menstrual cycle when you’re menopausal is not a good thing.  So, I did the thing. I called the doctor’s office and made an appointment, which led to an ultrasound, which led to a procedure called a “hysteroscopy.”

A hysteroscopy is a lovely little procedure that involves a tiny camera weaving its way into your uterus where they take a good close-up look-see around. This is not the type of close-up I like. No sir, it is not! If during the look-see they decide they want a sample to send back to the lab, they do a biopsy. Ummm…k.

This entire procedure is uncomfortable at best and painful at times. My doctor was awesome despite what was about to happen. He let me use my headphones and I listened to worship music. I bet he was just as shocked as I was when I began randomly humming during the procedure.

At first, I was like, why are you humming? And then I was like, I guess I’m humming. The humming got louder as I become more uncomfortable. I was even encouraged to keep humming by the nurse. Oh great, I’m the humming patient. Hahaha

When all was said and done, I’d say the cramping afterward was by far the worst part! Thank you, Jesus, it didn’t last more than an hour.

I was told the best and worst-case scenarios of what the next steps could be depending on the outcome of the results. I wouldn’t know the results until my next appointment which was a week out.

Let’s tie this whole thing together, shall we? Remember that leaf, the one twirling while hanging on the thread? Let’s call that joy. The other leaf, just kind of hanging out, not doing much of anything? Let’s call that worry. The tree which the 2 leaves hung from, let’s call that strength and the thread the leaves dangled on let’s call that faith.

From the way I see it, during the week I waited for the results, I had 2 choices. I could worry about what might not ever be or I could rely on the strength of the Lord to be my joy while holding onto faith that is unseen. I could sit, worry, and do nothing or I could keep living my life, one day at a time, knowing that God had me whether I was diagnosed with cancer or I wasn’t. I could just as easily frown as I could smile.

It’s not to say that I wasn’t worried or didn’t have fear. Because I did. I’m still human after all. But, I had a choice to make. Be consumed with all the negative or start speaking to my mountain.

I didn’t just speak to my mountain. I asked others to speak on my behalf as well. Still, others joined in and climbed that mountain with me. In my moments of weakness, I grabbed onto my strength.

Y’all, God is not kidding around when He says He never leaves you nor forsakes you. It was because of Him and His promises that His joy came shining through as I waited. And He didn’t abandon me in my waiting, He was there with me.

When the enemy tried to creep in and take hold, I kicked him back out the door. I let him know he was not welcome. Every day I have to tell Satan, he’s not welcome. Every day I pick up my sword (my Bible) and whack unabashedly at the enemy.

When my results day arrived I turned on some worship music. A song came on I had never heard before. Every Little Thing by Hillsong. I drank up the words and took them into battle with me.

I prayed once again to get the results before I went into the doctor’s office. I checked the medical portal again for any results and nothing. I was going to have to wait this out. Ok, Lord.

My mom was supposed to go with me to my appointment but she got the times mixed up and as I headed into the doctor’s office I said, well, if my mom’s not here, then I don’t need that support.

I got to the check-in window and they gave me the paperwork to sign. On the paperwork was the word “benign.”  Y’all, that was answered prayer on many levels, but the thing that just blows me away; I found out BEFORE I went into the doctor’s office.

When God says he cares about EVERY detail of your life, believe it! He not only cares, but he also delights in it! But, don’t take my word for it;

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
    He delights in every detail of their lives. – Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

When I got called into the doctor’s office I took a seat. Not only were the results benign, but he said I didn’t need any other procedures. Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus!

I left the building and went into my car and called my mom. As I told her the results, the tears fell. As I spoke through the tears, I realized just how tightly I was holding on to that thread. But that thread, it never broke. That thread of faith sustained me and carried me through.

My God, the one who loves me, and rejoices over me is the same God who loves and rejoices over you! Do you know Him? It’s my fervent prayer you do. Today, I pray one of my favorite verses with and over you. May you be enlighted to know in your heart:

For the Lord your God is living among you.
    He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
    With his love, he will calm all your fears.
    He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” – Zephanianh 3:16 (NLT) 

If you need a little hope today, I leave you with this song that I carried into battle the day of my results. Be well, my friends! Remember to be kind to yourself and others, as we’re all in this thing called life, together.

 

 

 

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Evidence of the Healing

So, I have a situation. Apparently I’m an overachiever in a medical area of one of my innards. However, in this case, being an overachiever is not trophy worthy. Dang. Having only won, one trophy from my son’s fourth-grade science project many years ago, you can imagine my disappointment. I won’t go into the details here, but please know that God’s got me and that for now, is enough. I truly have peace and know that I could easily allow my bully brain to push me around if I let it. But God’s word says this:

Take EVERY thought captive. Easy? Nope! Doable? Yes!

It wasn’t always like this for me. Many years ago, a friend of mine and our two sons decided to go rollerblading. It was her first time. It was not my first time, but to say I was still a little wobbly on my blades is an understatement. Our sons decided to ride their bikes. How smart were they?

I had asked my son to get my rollerblades from the garage assuming (you know there’s a problem already) he would also grab my safety pads and helmet. He did not grab the safety pads or the helmet, he grabbed just what I asked him to, the devil shoes on wheels.

It was a beautiful day; sunny, yet cool. We met up with our friends and the path we were on was a pretty straight shot except for the end of the path which had a pretty good incline. The boys took off on their bikes and we moms took off on our blades. It was going really well. We were talking and laughing and staying upright. All good things!

We were gliding along towards that incline and the boys were already at the top of it. My friend was just ahead of me at the bottom of the now-massive looking hill.

As the boys waited for us to join them on top of that mountain, for no particular reason (she said in her best Forrest Gump voice) I went down like that proverbial ton of bricks. Seriously, absolutely nothing was in my way. As I went down, I put both arms down at either side of me, with my hands pointing behind me and locked them in place as I braced for the fall. There was a thud when my butt solidly met the concrete and the breath came right out of me. Whoosh! It made enough of a sound that my friend turned back to look at me and then came skating back to see if I was ok.

I was not ok. I was dazed and I instinctively knew something was amiss with my being. I told her to go ahead and get the boys and I would just sit for a moment while I caught my breath and took inventory. You know, when you’re a kid, you pretty much get right back up and keep going. As an adult, you sit and take inventory.

I attempted to get up off the ground and that’s when I knew I hurt myself pretty good. I managed to get on all fours while trying to look dignified. I know, I know. It was in no way dignified. To this day, I still don’t know how I got upright on those skates. By this time, the kids and my friend were back at my side and we very slowly made it to one of the benches on the path.

Now, this part is pretty funny. Remember, this was my friend’s first time skating. We had the boys stay with me while she went back to go get her car. She had to go back nearly 2 miles to get her car. You know that saying, hindsight being 20/20? Well, that was us after she made it back with my then husband. Duh, we had bikes. I don’t think she ever went rollerblading again. I know I didn’t.

Off to the hospital we went. I had broken my right arm in 2 places. My breaks were located in my hand and wrist. You know that little knobby bone at the top of your wrist? Yeah, I broke that and I had a hairline fracture in the middle of my hand.  And it gets a bit better. It was my dominant hand. Awesome! After a couple of days in a sling to allow the swelling to go down, I picked out a beautiful purple colored cast that would extend from my hand to the middle of my shoulder.

After weeks of the healing process it was time for the cast to come off. My arm was weak. I was going to need physical therapy and my muscles felt like mush. My doctor asked me to move my wrist this way and that and it didn’t feel good.

But what he said next, rocked this girl to her core! I don’t know if this was to shock me into motivation or what, but he told me that I needed to get this arm better or it could go into Reflex Muscular Dystrophy, RSD for short, and worst case scenario they would have to cut the arm off so it wouldn’t affect the good parts of my arm. Open mouth, jaw hits floor, while mind tries to comprehend what he just said.

As I head to my car, which is a stick shift (of course it was) I’m still trying to comprehend what this man just said. With my cast on, I could push the stick shift around like nobody’s business, but with the cast now off, I couldn’t. I just didn’t have the strength. So, I would have to reach across my body and shift with my left hand.

I managed to get home and both my son and then husband was there. When my then husband asked how it went, I lost it. I started bawling, ya know, the messy, can barely talk crying while people look at you like, what’s wrong with her kind of crying.  I managed between gulps of air and a river of tears falling down my face to tell them what the doctor said. By the end of it, I had my arm cut off, my military career ended, and life over as I knew it.

But then this! Out of the mouths of babes, my son says, “mom, do your sign language”. Halt the brakes on my hysteria, head up, sniff, wipe the face, what? He reminded me, “You know how to do sign language, just start there”. You see my son was watching. He knew I was stronger than the sobbing mess on the floor, already giving up before I even started.

When I started I could barely touch each finger to my thumb let alone try to make a fist. But, I kept going. And each day, my wrist, my hand and my muscles got stronger. I went to my PT appointments and what I learned there, I did at home and at work.

Eventually, while my arm is not 100% like it was. It’s healed. Now, let’s wrap this up, shall we?

What I didn’t know then, is the love, the hope and the healing power of Jesus. What I knew how to do, was solely rely on me and the faith I had, was the faith of what I was capable of. It’s no wonder I was a balled up crying mess on the floor predicating doom and gloom over my life.

So back to my most recent medical diagnosis. I know all the things, the worst case scenario and the not so worst case. If I was still relying on me and my strength to get me through this, I guarantee I would be a balled up mess on the floor predicating all the gloom and doom because, clearly I know everything about all things. Worry would be my companion until my next appointment which by the way got rescheduled.

But what would my worry accomplish? What would it look like to those around me who now know I put my faith and trust not in my circumstance but in Jesus? The One who has healed me each and every time I’ve had a hurt, an illness, or a brokenness?

I know what it looks like to trust me. It’s not pretty. I can go to all the bad places easily and quickly, but, why? There’s no room for hope in that. There’s just darkness and when the darkness envelopes you, you sink into it. I don’t have time for that. I have a life to keep living right now! Despite what could be. And since I don’t know yet what will be, I trust the One who already knows. The one who numbered the days I would live and the hairs on my head.

Worrying covers my faith with my circumstances. That’s not faith. So, I pray, and I worship and I let God know I trust Him…even if. I don’t let worry consume me. I still have a job to do. I don’t have to beg God or make deals with Him. Oh, puh-leeease! Like you’ve never bargained with God before! Ha! Let me show you what I lean on now:

Psalm 147:3 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

John 11:4 – When Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness will not end in death, but (on the contrary it is) for the glory and honor of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 3:3 –  But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

Isaiah 53:5 – But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds, we are healed.

Do you see that? The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him. He took the punishment so we could have peace. Why? Because He loves us.

There are countless more verses I could share with you. And I bet you have a few of your own you rely on as He carries you through each and every day.

The evidence of my physical healing when I broke my arm will show up on an x-ray. You will be able to see how it healed. But you can also tell from the way my hand and wrist function.

The evidence of my spiritual healing shows up in the way I represent Christ by believing all He says is trustworthy and then living it out.

The evidence that Christ lives in me will be reflected in the way I live my life. It won’t be a talk the talk thing; anyone can flap their lips. It will be a walk the walk thing. Not just in the good times, but in the not so good times too. How awesome is that?

And now, just for fun, here’s a picture of me and my son; me with my purple cast and him with his newly chipped tooth. (used with his permission)

Broken arm with Justin

So, what’s a verse you rely on daily to get you through?

Have an amazing day my friends!

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The Wrong Shoe

I’m a hypocrite, I’m a sinner, and I’m a child of God. It took me A LOT of years to become un-christ-like, and putting expectations on myself to be an instant Christian is both defeating and unrealistic. I’m learning to walk this new daily journey with my Savior. I’m learning to savor the moments as I wait in expectation for Him to show me as I’m ready, when I utter the words, “What’s next, Lord”? I’m learning to trust on a whole other level in faith over fear. To be more connected in the way I should go.

The other day, even though I looked at my shoe, I still put it on the wrong foot. If you’ve also done that, you know it’s a pretty awkward and uncomfortable feeling. I laughed at myself, because well, 56 years old and still putting the shoe on the wrong foot. Ha!

As a child, I wouldn’t have cared. Just watch any child learning to put their shoes on and see what they do. Typically, they’ll put them on all willy, nilly and despite them being on the wrong feet, they just take right off. Me? I’d probably look like one of those dogs someone just put booties on before I fell over.

My point here is, I know better. I know what it feels like to have the shoe on the wrong foot. I know there would be consequences if I wore that shoe on the wrong foot for hours, let alone, days. It would most likely, result in some type of pain, somewhere.

Doing things against our grain, when we know deep inside “this is not for me,” will always end in some type of pain. Maybe not right away, but it’s coming. The longer we entertain the “this is not for me,” the harder it will be to end it. We do nothing more than prolong the agony of the inevitable. We sit in dread, we have conversations in our head that will most likely never come to pass and we second guess our very existence and worst yet, we settle.

We become comfortably, uncomfortable in the yuck. We say things like, “this is as good as it’s gonna get,” or “it is, what it is,” and my favorite, “I guess this is what I deserve.” All of these statements rob you of hope and any expectation that anything good can happen.

We become numb to our surroundings and wonder why we keep lashing out irrationally at the tiniest of things. It’s as if someone put an invisible pebble in your shoe and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to stop the pain or locate the source. You wonder, “Why is this happening to me”? You yell at God, “Don’t you see me writhing in anguish?” “How could you let this happen?” You may even say, “psshhtt, some god you are”, and then turn your back on him, forgetting the only reason you’re here is by His grace, mercy, and great love for you.

God gave us all free will. It means, we always have a choice. You put the shoe on the wrong foot and you either kept going, or you corrected it. Sometimes our biggest messes come from choosing to keep the wrong shoe on for far longer than we should.

Was it God’s fault you made that choice? Or is it too bitter of a pill to swallow knowing the only one to blame is you for ignoring all the signs?

Friend, God didn’t let you down, you let you down. Ouch, I know. Been there, done that, faced that, beat what negative crap came with that back down into the ground from which it came.

Obviously what I’m talking about here is what you choose, not what others choose to do to you. Having lived a great deal of my life with the shoe on the wrong foot, I know what it’s like to disregard all the warning signs. Why would I do that? I’m so glad you asked. Quite frankly, I wanted, what I wanted. The unfortunate thing is when I make my choices based on what I want, it may not be at all, what I need. I choose my feelings and comfort over necessity because I want, what I want when I want it.

Here’s a simple example. I love to craft and make my own hand made cards. There are hundreds of crafting companies out there vying for my attention. I could literally go broke buying all the glittery things.

But, let’s say I’ve decided to get out of debt. Getting out of debt is a good thing! It’s a necessity if I want to avoid paying high-interest rates or ruining my credit rating; pretty much just giving my hard-earned money away to someone else.

Again, because I want, what I want, when I want it, I impulsively buy way more crafting supplies than I need and I charge it, completely disregarding the fact I said I wanted to get out of debt. I can pretty much rationalize any choice I make, just ask me.

Confession time. I’ve actually purchased the same exact things, forgetting I already had them in my possession. And sadly, I’ve done it more than once. Ugh!

I made a choice. I got the stuff, but I also got the buyer’s remorse that came along with it. That’s not a good a deal. There’s a saying, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Sound familiar?

But was it God’s fault? Ummm, no. There are plenty of warnings in the Bible about the way we should go. As an example, let’s look at 1Timothy 6:9-10:

“But people who long to be rich soon begin to do all kinds of wrong things to get money, things that hurt them and make them evil-minded and finally send them to hell itself. For the love of money is the first step toward all kinds of sin. Some people have even turned away from God because of their love for it, and as a result, have pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (TLB)

These warnings are not so you won’t enjoy your life, they’re warnings to help keep you from regretting your life and stealing from the good and abundant things God so freely gives.

How can we get the good and abundant things God so freely gives? Great question!  You have a choice. Who didn’t see that coming? Ha!

Let’s go back to putting the wrong shoe on and how awkward and uncomfortable that feels. That’s how a wrong decision will sit with you.

It won’t bring you peace. It will make you question yourself, your morals and integrity. You may feel the need to hide or be sneaky in what you’re about to do. You’ll try to justify the wrong feelings away, but it will keep eating away at your peace. You’ll no doubt hate that you compromised yourself, and you’ll mentally beat yourself up for not having any self-control. And, it will most assuredly cause angst. None of these is a good thing.  #Yikes

When you make choices based on the leading of the Holy Spirit, (putting the shoe on the right foot) we produce the good abundant things that God promises; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. – (Galatians 5:22-23)

All of those are good things. And when we do good things, we feel better and are able to help others feel better. Peace and joy are infectious and you’re worthy of them.

So, the moral of the story, make good choices and put that right that wrong shoe. And even if things don’t turn out the way you thought or wanted, at least you will have done what you know good to do. And no one can take that away from you!

Have an amazing day. It’s brand new and if you’re still here, you have a purpose, you matter, and you’re already all you need to be!

Thanks for stopping by,
Trish

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