Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

No shirts, no shoes, no service…

I saw an article recently about a woman who was refusing her floral-arrangement service to a same-sex couple who wanted to get married.  Instead of the couple going on their way to find a business that would do so, they took a stand against her and her beliefs and took it to court.  They “won.”  Now she stands to lose her business, her home, and savings all because she stood by her belief in what God says about marriage.  What makes this even more perplexing is prior to all of this mess they were “friends.”

They “won” on the merits the owner violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.  Let’s put aside the fact, God’s law trumps any state law.  What happened to her rights as a citizen of these “United” States under the protection of the First Amendment of the constitution?

She didn’t take a stand against their choice of being gay, she took a stand for Christ and what she believes in.  How is that any different than their choice?  They took a stand against Christ and she stands with Christ.  But instead of the mentality of just moving on, nothing to see here folks, they took their “friend” to court.  What a shame.

Growing up in humid, sweltering weather, businesses around town would put up their “no shirt, no shoes, no service” signs.  Didn’t like that?  Then, you didn’t get in the business.  Pretty simple, very straight forward and if you did test the waters, you were asked to leave and shown the sign.  It was the right of the business owner what they would allow in their store.  No different from those businesses that have a dress code.  If you want to be part of that society, you play by their rules.  If you don’t, then you will simply go someplace else because you don’t want to conform.  Everybody has a choice.

You want to go to college, you’ll find a way.  You don’t want to go college, don’t go.  You want to smoke, go ahead and do it, you don’t, then don’t.  It’s called freedom of choice.  Now there’s a law banning folks from wearing their pants down to their knees…and while I’m sick of seeing people’s underwear, I totally disagree with the law stepping in and mandating how clothes should be worn.  What’s next?  I guess you better cover up the cleavage ladies and nix those coochy coo high slits in your skirt. But seriously, you should just make those wardrobe changes out of self-respect. Just sayin’  My blog…my choice…don’t like it, don’t read it.  See how that worked.  Or, you could get all fired up and lash out irrationally..your choice.

Where does being offended stop?  What gives you or me the right to inflict our life style on someone else.  You won’t find a societal “norm” these days because we’re all over the chart putting ourselves, our wants, and our perceived rights in front of anyone who doesn’t agree.  I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted from trying to move right, when someone keeps pushing me left.  Can you say bully?  We take our stand against bullying, act all shocked and indignant against those bulling headline stories and then we turn around and bully as hard as we can to convince someone our way is right.   Go ahead…take a good, long, hard look in the mirror and say it….bully.  How does it feel?

How can we begin to love one another, when we can’t even respect one another?

When I was knee deep in my sinful ways, I found plenty of people, just like me.  When I decided to follow Christ…guess what?  I found plenty of people just like me. Point being I made the choice.   You have a choice.  There are consequences for every single choice we make and they don’t just affect the one making the choice.  That would be you.

We make our lives easier or harder by the choices we make.  We make life harder when we inflict our choices on someone else and in walks offense.  This business owner made a choice to follow Christ.  The customers made a choice to follow Satan.  She didn’t ask them to follow Christ, but they asked her to participate in Satan’s party.  She said no.  That was her choice.  In walked their offendedness. (new word…grin)  It’s simple…you don’t like it….move on….take your party someplace else.  Life can be pretty amazing when we take our offended glasses off.   I know….I wore them for years.

I sure don’t get things right all the time….I mess up more times than I care to count, but I do know that when my choices affected others negatively and I took pride in forcing my choice pill down someone’s throat, it didn’t take long for those relationships to go sour.  I may not agree with you, you may not agree with me, but how you choose to live your life only becomes my problem when I let it.

God didn’t tell me to tell you how to live your life, because that’s not my job.  He told me to tell you about Him and the love He has for you and what He’s done in my life.  He said, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” ~~John 15:12 (NIV)  Guess what….that’s a choice.

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Be Careful Little Eyes…

First off, let me just say I am in no way any kind of expert in the topic of porn.  I am however well versed in the way it affected various stages of my life.

Growing up I can remember a magazine that sat on the back of the toilet in our home.  I want to say it was called “True Story,” but don’t hold me to that title 100%.  To this day, I still can’t get out of my head the article it contained about a married couple and their German Sheppard.  I’ll just leave end that one there.  I believe it’s called bestiality since it involved an animal.

When my brothers hit their later teenage years, every year for Christmas they would get a copy of Playboy in their stocking.  So, I guess since I was the only girl, I felt left out, so, hey….where’s my copy of Playgirl?  I would have to get one of those on my own since my parents felt girls shouldn’t always be treated as fairly as the boys.  However, I would have to wait and get my first glances into Playgirl magazine through a girlfriend who had a copy of the magazine and let me tell you, once was enough for me.

As you can see, just little of bits and pieces of pornography have been introduced, but some 30+ years later, I’m still affected.  Be careful little eyes what you see…

After I left home and went into the military, I was at my first duty station and my boyfriend at the time asked me to meet him at our friend’s home. It was my first winter in an all warm climate and I remember walking into the home and staring at the Christmas tree which looked so out of place.  I was used to boots, sweaters and jackets and here they were dressed in shorts and t-shirts.  After realizing everyone was laughing, I wondered what was up.  They pointed to the television which had a porn movie playing.  What?  I think I stared at the movie for a couple of seconds and wondered what was so funny and why on earth would they want to show that to someone? I left.

After I got married, I remember my husband bringing up swinging and or trading sexual partners with another couple.  What?  Ummm….how about, no.  I found that thought very distasteful and totally against the vow of marriage and since I’m not enough for you, let me just try on adultery instead.  (Oh, yes I did)

That marriage didn’t work out.  Let’s move ahead to another marriage and let’s just say, when you don’t want to deal with something, like having sex with your husband, you’ll revert back to what you thought worked in your life.  Here honey….please accept this copy of Playboy and “leave me alone.” (the latter part of that sentence being said in my head.) I thought I was the cool wife allowing her husband to visually stimulate himself.  I was a little bit naïve in thinking this would not increase his sexual appetite.  Don’t judge me.  I’ve done enough of that for all of us.

The magazines would lead to movies, and with the internet, well….you can well imagine.  But, I was ok, with the porn as long as it wasn’t on the computer.  What?  Yup, like I said, a little naïve.  The hubby hid that part well.  But there was the day my son wanted to look at a room design his father did in PowerPoint and I was all too happy to look that up for him.  Except I opened the file and instead of a room, it was a very graphic picture of a woman’s parts as they say “down under.”  I couldn’t get the picture closed fast enough.  Can you say, the mental image is still there, I can even tell you the color of the skirt she was wearing.  Well, that is, what you could see of the skirt.

Up to this point in my life, 35+, I had never (ahem) pleasured myself.  I didn’t understand why anyone would need to do such a thing since, well….men were everywhere.  They had to be good for something right?  And I said that very phrase to more than just a few friends.  When you have a skewed view on love, relationships, and the opposite sex, negativity kinda runs rampant in your mind.

But, I would eventually make my way into an adult store, buy some trinket my friends assured would “do the trick” for me and because I was so fed up with sex…this is the ironic part….fed up with sex, so let’s buy a sex toy.  What?  Let’s just say….I never went back to the adult store and said trinket was thrown in a drawer because I just couldn’t get past the whole idea of it.  Never could bring myself to use it.

Ahhh, but said trinket did not stay in the drawer.  Said trinket found its way back out because I had told my husband that I bought one and wouldn’t he be so proud of me that I finally learned to “take care of myself.”  I did explain I didn’t care for said trinket and I put it in the drawer.  So, one day, there in the bedroom with my husband and I in the middle of…you know…I heard a noise…and husband thought this would be a fun way to change things up in the bedroom.  GASP.  What?  I was appalled.  (are you getting any of the irony in this)

I’ll never forget the night an argument that ensued very loudly about how my husband thought I was committing adultery.  I was shocked and I argued vehemently that it was not me, but him who was committing adultery every time he opened one of those magazines, or watched a movie or hit the sites on the computer.  Ooooh, let me tell you what, it was like I had opened Pandora’s Box. I didn’t even know I felt that way until the words flew from my mouth.  It was ugly and hateful and it was just another nail in our coffin.

Pornography didn’t ruin our marriage, but it sure played its part.  Adultery didn’t ruin our marriage, but it too played its part.  We were caught up in desperate attempts to fill our selfishness because we couldn’t get what we wanted from each other.  I will never forget the first time my husband walked in on me “pleasuring” myself.  I felt dirty…worthless…guilty and I tried to cover it all up with pride.  I put on my justification pants and paraded around with my “how dare he judge me” crown.  How’d that work for me?  Not so good.

And I would be remiss if I left out the countless hours I lost myself in the world of romance novels.  They’re called fiction for a reason.  Trying to take a made-up man of perfection and stack your very real life man up to a fantasy, well, let’s just say, your real life man won’t stand a chance.  You will pick the fantasy every time.

I’m not here to tell anyone else what to do.  I can only tell you that sexual immorality played a significant part in my life and in no good way.  But, it didn’t just play a part in my life, it affected families and friends but more importantly, it stood in between my relationship with God.

God is very specific about sexual immorality and how we’re to steer clear of that mess!  And you know what?  He was right.   Just the little bits I saw, led to so much more and yes, I even found myself at a few male strip shows and the local strip clubs.  These were all things I did because not only did I stop caring about who I was, I cared nothing for who God made me to be.  To be honest, I thought it was pretty trendy to check out the strip clubs.  Shoot, I even thought I could get up there and show them gals a thing or two.   Of course, you can always do things better than someone else when your drunk.  Right?

“But, the fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control.”  ~~ Galations 5:22-23.

Those things….those sexual immoral things….can’t offer any of the fruits God wants us to have in this life.  That life….that sexual immoral life….is nothing I ever want feeding my soul or my eyes again.  The cost was too high and while I’ve been forgiven, there are things I can never un-see or undo.  And to be honest, I don’t know that I want to.  Sometimes I need that reminder the hard walk of sin created in my life.  Not to beat me down, but to see how far God has raised me back up from the dead.  Thank you Lord Jesus! Hallelujah!

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