Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

You Deserve

Rant alert! I don’t know what it is about those two little words, “you deserve,” but they get under my skin like a bad bug bite’s venom. It’s right up there with the word “karma”. Nope, I don’t easily agree with them. In fact, I wrestle with those words, every time I hear them.

I remember when I went to the car dealership to trade my 2007 vehicle in. The salesman almost lost the deal when he told me, “I deserved” a new car. The vehicle I got came with a new car payment. My 2007 vehicle was paid off. So, I guess “I deserved” the car payment as well? He for sure didn’t congratulate me on that part.

Have you ever read the story of Job in the Bible? Job most certainly didn’t deserve the pain and suffering he was handed. But God permitted it? Why? Because He knew Job. He knew Job wouldn’t turn against Him and rebuke Him in his suffering.

Did Job deserve to be blessed double for all his suffering and pain after he proved his faithfulness to God? Did Job suffer any less or more than others suffer? Did Jesus deserve to die on the cross and suffer the worst kind of a criminal’s death?

Do people only deserve good things because they do good things? Do good people deserve to suffer at the hands of evil doers? Who really gets to decide what any person truly deserves?

I can’t answer these questions. If it were up to me, anyone who commits a heinous act would be put publicly to death. You know who would already be dead then? Me. I’m guilty of committing heinous acts against other humans and God. I’m guilty of breaking almost all the commandments. Yet, I’m still here.

I venture if you spent any time on planet earth, you’ve committed heinous acts as well. It’s human nature to sin. We ALL fall short of the glory of God. No one is immune to sin.

That young man who killed all those children in Texas, in my opinion didn’t deserve to die. To me, he got off easy. He deserved a long prison sentence so he could live with what he’d done until he reached a ripe old age. I wanted to see him suffer a lifetime of pain. Pain that goes deep and runs wide. But, that wasn’t my call to make.

On the other hand, I have empathy for the young man who must’ve dealt with far more pain and suffering in his short life that he thought killing innocent children and adults was the answer to his problems. How much hurt, hate and pain must he carried in his hardened heart? No clue.

I don’t believe for a second those children, parents, teachers, faculty, staff and families deserved what happened to them. Yet, it did. The carnage and trauma caused will take years to heal.

Where is the justice for those left behind? Those that have to deal with the consequences of the senseless murderous actions of one man will try to make sense out of what happened. They will try to wrap their minds around the fact their loved ones are gone. That the last time they said good-bye was literally the last time they would say good-bye, or I love you, or have a good day. Most assuredly the voices they’ll never hear out loud again will echo forever in their minds.

Do they deserve that? No, no they don’t.

It’s easy to place blame when these things happens. It’s how we try to make sense out of the non-sensical. We come together and grieve, but then we start shouting and pointing fingers at one another. Whoever shouts loudest is the one who wins? Right? Be careful with that theology. It’s typically the quiet ones stirring a pot you didn’t see coming to a boil until it’s too late.

The truth of the matter is, we will NEVER know what really happened, what transpired that day or what was going through the killer’s mind. All we know is the fallout.

But, there will be plenty of folks who will try to convince you to believe what they want you to believe. They’ll fill in the gaps with their “best’ guesses. It’s no longer about doing good for the people. It’s about, greed, and power, and money. All things rooted in evil when they become the focus of our existence. Idols in this day and age don’t have to be golden calves. They’re anything you give power to.

It’s easy to blame God when things don’t make sense, don’t go our way or when tragedy strikes. How can a good God allow such things to happen. God didn’t put the gun in that young man’s hands. Once again, God gave us free will, the choices we make HAVE consequences.

On this side of heaven we don’t see God’s bigger plan or the restorative plan He no doubt already has in place. It’s in times like this we either walk by faith or sight. We either believe who God says He is and His Sovereignty or we don’t.

Job chose to walk by what He knew about God despite his crappy circumstances and despite what his friends and wife said. Job had no clue what God was truly doing or that God would double all that was taken from him and make the latter half of Job’s life better. The justice God serves up will most likely never make sense to us. Our finite minds truly can’t handle that kind of sovereign truth.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

God never leaves us alone to deal with the things other humans are capable of doing to us. I daresay it’s when we leave Him out of the picture and take justice into our own hands that we suffer catastrophically more than if we’d have left the avenging to Him.

Count the cost. Count your blessings. Give thanks to God in ALL things because God’s not the bad guy here. We are.

Lord God, we give thanks that You are still in control and still on your throne. Lord, I beg You to hear the pained cries of your people. I believe you are close to the brokenhearted and You are giving comfort as only You can give. Your children are in deep pain and groaning from the tragedy of recent events. I boldly come before you and ask an abundance of love, comfort, mercy, and peace over the families who are left behind to deal with the travesty of evil being ever present in our world. Greater though are YOU than he who is in this world. Whatever You are already doing, I trust that it’s a plan for good and that restoration is already in progress. I pray this nation turn from its wicked ways, and turns back to You. I pray the idols of greed, hate, lust, power, and money are shattered and Your Kingdom comes on earth as it is in Heaven. May it be Your will that’s done and may we repent and submit our evil ways to You. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

1 Comment »

Its Done Me Wrong

The other day I was watching TikTok and a reel came on with Richard Marx. Good Lord, talk about a blast from the past! Richard’s a singer/songwriter that sprang up in the 80s and recently joined the community of TikTokkers with a compilation reel of his hit songs.

I smiled as I listened to the songs but was sorely disappointed when I didn’t hear my favorite song, Hazard. It’s a haunting tale of a young boy who moved to a small town and the town folk found him less than desirable.

In this sad-ish tale, he managed to find one person in town who he gelled with, Mary. Mary loved sunsets, hanging by the river and being with him. That is until Mary goes missing and everyone looks to the “boy” as the reason to her disappearance. I say boy only because the song alone doesn’t allow for you to know years pass by and the two are now grown.

Once again, based on the song, you get the impression the boy, despite his cries of innocence is found guilty in Mary’s disappearance. Look at these lyrics from the bridge of the song:

“I think about my life gone by
How it’s done me wrong
There’s no escape for me this time
All of my rescues are gone, long gone”

The song video tells a different story. The villain in this story is actually the local town sheriff. And in the video, the accused man is actually seen walking away from the town, leaving it ”all” behind him.

The things of this life have a way of getting deep into our souls. When allowed to sit too long, they twist and turn our insides until we feel like the person in the song…”there’s no escape,” and nothing good is ever going to happen. Our mantra becomes, “this is as good as it gets”.

That’s how I felt when I left my hometown years ago and went into the military. I couldn’t wait to kick the dirt of Elmira off my shoes and leave it all behind.

God had other plans. 32 years or so after I left, I moved back to Elmira. The circumstances that brought me back are unimportant now. It’s in the past. Suffice it to say, I made some bad choices and once again, Elmira left a sour, bitter taste in my mouth.

Had I not returned to Elmira, I would’ve not gotten to spend precious time with my dearly departed brother. How I miss him.

I remember whining to God for the umpteenth about Elmira. How could this be part of His plan for me when He knew how much I hated it?

His answer; it’s not Elmira you have a problem with, it’s what happened to you here. That was kinda like a gut punch, taking the wind out of my sails. He was right, Elmira did nothing to me but in my eyes, it had done nothing for me either. Elmira was not the problem.

Dang it. Now I knew I had work to do. It was time to transform my thinking. (Romans 12:2)

As long as I was blaming a city, how could I forgive the life things that happened here? How could I escape from the clutches the negative strongholds had on my hardened heart?

One by one, as I drove or walked by places I would say out loud, “you didn’t defeat me”. “Lord, help me forgive what happened here. Lord, show me where you were in this?”

On my own, I would’ve kept holding onto the bitterness of the hurt and pain form these hurtful incidents.

It’s hard to turn beauty from ashes when you won’t let go of the ashes.

The hard things of this life when allowed to take up any kind of residence changes you. It’s why forgiveness is so vital in keeping our souls moving forward.

Unforgiveness cripples our forward momentum and keeps us in an invisible prison. Stuck inside this prison we become victims to the schemes of the enemy. It’s a perfect playground for him to keep you in the darkness of pain and suffering as he replays the events like a vinyl record skipping on the same note.

Whenever I read Bible verses about weeping and gnashing of teeth, I’m reminded the pain and suffering of unforgiveness go hand in hand with this. I know whenever something from my past creeps in, my teeth clench as my face changes and contorts to the distasteful memory.

Being brought back to Elmira was not a punishment from God. It was a blessing. No, it most assuredly didn’t feel like a blessing each time I visited or drove past a hurtful place. However, each time I invited God into the mess, I opened myself up to the possibility that God would fulfill His promise and redeem/restore another part of my story.

I’m still working through parts of my story that didn’t have that happily ever after ending. Instead of dreading those parts now, and as crazy as this may sound, I look forward to working it out with God. I want all the ashes gone. They serve me no good purpose and the weight of their pain is too heavy a burden for my heart.

Friend, I don’t know what’s caused you deep pain and suffering. But, know you weren’t alone when it happened and you’re not alone now. The first step is acknowledging what happened. Invite God into that mess and allow Him to walk it out with you. It may take several times. Don’t lose hope in the process Hang onto hope like it’s your best friend.

One last thing. Whatever your “its” done me wrong is, I daresay, and with boldness and godly confidence, this is not as good as it gets, the best it yet to come!

Leave a comment »

Right On Time

How is it dreams can be so realistic they make your heart hurt? That’s the kind of dream I had last night. Someone from my past had deeply hurt me…again. Sigh.

On top of the person from the past, dream hurting me, let’s just add a new person into the dream mix too. This new person made a promise and broke it in a hurtful way.

I tearfully confronted her. She got indignant. I plead with her to help me understand why she broke her promise. Instead she cried tears of anger and said something to the effect that when she cries, the talking needs to cease. She started walking away. She was done trying to justify her actions.

I stood there in disbelief for a few moments before I started walking towards her. I asked her to wait. She turned towards me but then crumpled down, weeping. Hugging her knees she repeated that when she starts to cry, the talking needs to cease.

All I could muster up as I looked at her were the words, I love you. I woke up feeling gut punched and sad.

I laid in bed for a few more minutes processing the dream. Have you ever tried to make sense out of your dreams? I don’t usually get too far figuring them out. But I did resonate with a part of the dream.

The woman broke a promise.
She knew she did wrong.
She got indignant about it when confronted.
She wanted to ignore the pain she caused.
She crumpled up.
She cried.

That woman sounds an awful lot like me. And the one who kept chasing after the woman who did the hurting and showing compassion despite being hurt, sounds an awful lot like Jesus.

Lord, help me.

It doesn’t seem right that you’d tell someone who hurt you, “I love you”. It doesn’t fit in the world’s standard of karma’s coming for you. You’ll get what you deserve. It’s today’s version of an eye for an eye.

But Jesus. He got hurt. He had emotions. He was fully God, yet fully man. He felt pain, sorrow, joy, anger, and love. He was betrayed. Falsely accused. Ridiculed. Whipped. Spit on. Given a death sentence. There’s not a single thing we’ve experienced that Jesus didn’t go through. The circumstances may not be the same, but the results are.

Jesus being a man and being among us is a way for us to relate to Him being human. To understand just how much God wanted a relationship with us.

When we do wrong against Him, it’s easy to be indignant in our sin. It’s easy to carry on like we did nothing wrong. Especially when society screams for us to do things this or that way.

It’s easy to turn and walk away from Jesus. I know. I did it for years. But, not once, did Jesus leave me. He was always there. I can look back and see the people He placed in my path. His people. His children.

And when I was done, walking away from Him. He called my name. I crumpled down in a heap of tears and pain so deep in my soul that I couldn’t even speak. I didn’t need to. He spoke.

Let me show you one of the many love verses Jesus has spoken into my heart:

And when I passed by again, I saw that you were old enough for love. So I wrapped my cloak around you to cover your nakedness and declared my marriage vows. I made a covenant with you, says the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.” ~ Ezekiel 16:8 (NLT)

Did you catch that first sentence? Don’t miss that He passed by “again”. He waited. And when He saw I was finally ready to accept Him, He made a covenant with me and called me His.

I always thought I came late to the Christian party. But, it was always going to be His time. The time in between, we were writing my testimony for His glory.

Maybe you think it’s too late to give yourself over to a Savior who loves you. Maybe you think you’re too “far gone,” or maybe you think, not even Jesus could love you after what you’ve done. Let me assure you, none of those things are true.

He’ll keep pursuing. Why? Because He wants all His children in Heaven with Him. He doesn’t want a single one to perish in the pits of Hell.

I’m ever so thankful Jesus never left me. Yes, there were things in my life that were permitted. Yes, they caused me great pain, but every day, He works in me to bring about His redemptive story. And He will continue until the work is done.

He’s true to His Word. He will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus loves you, this I know. Not only because the Bible tells me so, but because I’m living proof. Pssst….so are you.

Be blessed! God’s doing new things! Do you see it? I hope so.


1 Comment »

Closure

I don’t know what closure means for you. I’ve heard people say they can’t move forward until they get “closure” from a life situation.

What happens if the closure you so desperately want never happens? Do you stay stuck where you are forever in wait mode? Never moving forward?

Do we always wonder about the “one that got away”? Or the bully that changed the way we see a certain aspect of life? How long do we fumble around in the darkness of non-closure? How many days, weeks, months or even years have you waited to get things “settled” the way you want?

I had a friend who told me on the heels of my last divorce that she wasted years of her life after her divorce. She was sad. She didn’t want to be divorced. She wanted things the way they were before the divorce. She warned me, sternly, not to do the same.

When my brother died, my mother told me not to waste my life like she had done. When I asked her what she would’ve done differently, she said she didn’t know.

From what I can tell, the only person in charge of closure is ourselves. We have the power to close the chapter, without the apology, without being paid back, and without anyone’s permission.

It may be easier, said than done, but don’t you think your life moving forward is worth it?

Frank Sinatra sang these lyrics from the song “My Way“;

Regrets, I’ve had a few“.

What happens when regret takes over our present day living? I daresay regret turns into resentment, which turns into bitterness and finally anger. It’s a slippery slope down to the pit of depression.

Life is seldom the way we plan. When people get married, do you think on their wedding day they’re already planning on getting divorced?

What about your dreams as a child? Did you become what you dreamt you’d be? Seldom does a person take their first sip of alcohol think they’ll become an alcoholic.

What about remorse? It’s a kissing cousin to regret.

All of these things are a road block to moving forward. When we stay stuck in them for too long, we forget how to enjoy life. Not only that, we forget what it’s like to take the small forward steps. Somehow life got too big. Suddenly, everything became overwhelming and the next step became the whole staircase.

Staring at the whole staircase is daunting. We forget each step represents moving forward. Trying to jump from the bottom to the top, will no doubt cause a fall.

This is as much for me as is it for anyone you who happen upon this blog. I know the pain of all the things I’ve mentioned here.

I guess for me it’s a longing for an easier time. But, those easier times, had their share of trouble too. It’s like I’ve carried them all with me and without them, I don’t know who I am. As if my identity is wrapped up in all the things I did wrong, over the things I did right.

Truth of the matter is, my identity is not tied to any of them. That’s the performer in me still seeking worth. But, my worth doesn’t come from my performance. I know all this in my head…but how do I get it into my heart?

I stay the course and stick with Jesus. He’s the giver. I’m the receiver. He’s the Vine. I’m the branch. He tells me to forget the former things; He’s doing a new thing. But, I have to open my closed fist, let go of what I’m clutching onto, which threatens to kill, steal and destroy me, and release the former things.

You all know I love me some claymation Christmas shows. Do you remember “Santa Claus is Coming To Town“?

I love the part where Kris Kringle teaches the evil warlock to “put one foot in front of the other” in an effort to change from evil to good. When the evil warlock goes to take his first steps, he’s really shaky. But, then he takes another step and another, and with each step he becomes less shaky. With each resounding step he was leaving his past behind.

Maybe that’s the key. Sing your way through it. Sounds a lot like praise Him through it. The “it” being whatever’s not right in your life. I love to sing. I love to give praise to Jesus. It settles my heart. It allows for God to move and replenish my weary heart.

No, we may not always get the closure we want, but Jesus always makes sure we get what we need. In His time, in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

Ephesians 3:20 says:

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” (NIV)

That’s the beauty about God being a creator, He never runs out of ways to show us His glory.

1 Comment »

By Our Love

Palm Sunday was a big deal growing up especially at the Catholic church. Each person that attended church on that Sunday got a palm branch to take home. A reminder of how Jesus was exalted that day. Some churches still give out palm branches on this day. Maybe you’re familiar with the story from the Bible about the laying of branches down as Jesus rode in on a donkey or maybe you’re not. Let’s look at the story from the Bible together from the book of Mark.

“Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

“Hosanna![a]

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” ~ Mark 11:1-11 (NIV)

A King who rode on a donkey atop a cloak. Not a royal horse. Not a royal robe. Yet, He was given what seemed to be a royal “parade.” He was cheered and hailed. But, it didn’t last.

How often do we give our hearts to Jesus, yet turn tail when it get too hard? Or it doesn’t look like what we thought it would be to follow a Savior who willingly gave all?

I know in my walk with Jesus, I’ve had questions. I’ve been skeptical. I’ve allowed doubt to rule over trust. But does that stop Jesus from loving me? No. I know I can go to Him with every single thing that’s on my heart.

I also know what it’s like to walk through life without personally knowing Jesus and there’s no way I want to go back there.

Jesus never made Himself out to be better than anyone. Yet, He most assuredly was. He didn’t flaunt who He was in anyone’s face. Although, He could have. He simply did as His Father asked.

The love He has for me, is like none I’ve ever known. Most times, I can’t comprehend it. It doesn’t make sense. There’s not even anything I can compare it to because I’ve not witnessed that kind of selfless love nor do I think I’ve ever been able to offer that type of love.

In a world that’s all about tit for tat, and what’s in it for me, how do we, as followers of Christ, make a difference?

It’s simple. Yet, ever so complicated. Sing it with me, because I bet you already know the words:

“And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love”.

And where does that come from? Good question:

“”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”” ~ John 13:34-35 (NIV)

Love. It’s a four-letter word that holds more meaning than I can even begin to imagine.

Love suffered, died on a cross, and was buried.

We think love is a mushy, poopsie, whoopsie, feeling, when in fact the very definition of love is Jesus. There was nothing mushy or poopsie, whoopsie in the way He displayed His love for us. It was filled with excruciating pain beyond this gal’s comprehension.

Love in action will most assuredly look more like sacrifice, than googly eyes cast in our direction. Just as easily as someone can look at you with googly eyes, they can shoot mental ” fiery darts” at you with those same eyes.

I’m sure we’ve all given and been the recipient of the “look”.

As we head into Easter week, I pray you know that Jesus knew what was coming for Him. He knew He would be betrayed, yet He washed the feet of His betrayer. How crazy is that? He knew His disciples would desert Him. He knew and He didn’t run from it. He stayed the course. Blows my mind.

Once we begin to comprehend what and who love is, then, and only then, will the world know we are Christians, by our love, by our love.

1 Comment »

Pedestals

I’m over it.

If you blame Chris Rock, for Will Smith’s actions then you’ll start to understand why Adam blamed Eve because he ate the forbidden fruit and why Eden blamed the serpent for the choice she made. Each one had a choice. Each is equally responsible for their own actions. The blame game is nothing new. Sin is sin.

If Will Smith can see he did wrong and apologize, why is the public still looking to blame Chris for what Will did or for that matter blame Jada for an eye roll?

Chris made a tasteless joke.
Jada rolled her eyes.
Will deliberately walked on the stage and slapped Chris.

It’s doesn’t matter why and the why in this instance is nobody’s business.

Public opinion is dangerous and careless. Having all the facts you think you have doesn’t make you right. Just ask Jesus. Crucify a sinless man and let a criminal go.

Putting celebrities on pedestals is something that’s easy to do. But, it’s also nothing new. Satan himself once an angel in heaven named Lucifer attempted to be higher than God. He put himself on a pedestal and was thrown to earth.

“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.” ~ Isaiah 14:12-15 (NIV)

Did you notice how God knew what the angel Lucifer was thinking? When God says He looks at the heart and for you to protect it, He’s not kidding. Lucifer’s plans were in his heart and God saw it. You don’t even have to commit the actual sin before God knows it’s going to happen. Blows my mind how intimately God knows us.

Moving on. The fact of the matter is, Will Smith is human and he had a public melt down. How many celebrities do we need to watch fall from grace before we understand, they’re no better than us? That they’re flawed humans with raw emotions just like the rest of us? Did all his wealth keep him from falling? Nope, it sure didn’t.

But, what intrigues me is how quickly the public opinion that raised him up, so easily tore him down.

He’s supposed to be a model for others to follow. He’s the Prince of Bel-Air. He should’ve know better. Really?

When our hand-picked idols fall off their pedestals, it hurts. We put our trust in who we think they actually are, knowing nothing except what we’re fed about them.

The fact that we think we need to follow another human being is a deeper calling from Jesus to follow Him. People are flawed. Jesus has never changed. He is exactly who He says He is. He knows we need to follow and believe in something. And every single time we put our faith, trust, or hope in anything but Him, we’ll be disappointed and scurrying to find something to replace what’s disappointed us.

Will Smith doesn’t deserve the stones thrown by hands that sin daily. Our smugness alone throws the pile of condemnation upon him. And no matter what anyone else does to Will, there will be no one harder on Will, than Will himself. We’ve all been our own worst enemy at some point in our lives. Who does anyone think they are when their celebrity fails to live up to their expectation?

The hard truth of the matter, is no one is perfect, and that goes for celebrities and any other person, place or thing we’ve elevated.

The best thing we can do for Will is to surround him in prayer. Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes us. Prayer reminds us, God is still on the throne, still doing what He does best; being God.

May we all be so fortunate to have God fearing, praying people in our lives.

Leave a comment »

White Flags

If I had a white flag, I feel like today, I would whip it out and surrender. It’s just one of those days where I wish I could “make the world go away.”

Everything seems too much, too overwhelming, just too _______________________, fill in the blank. You know what I mean?

Let’s take a peek at what the symbolism for white flags mean, shall we? There may be people who legitimately don’t know or care, but here we go, just the same.

I googled “white flag surrender” and after skimming the sites it brought back I went with the History Channel. I’m only going to post an excerpt from the page:

“In more recent history, the white flag has become an internationally recognized symbol not only for surrender but also for the wish to initiate ceasefires and conduct battlefield negotiations.”

I knew it stood for surrender, I didn’t know it included conducting battlefield negotiations. Interesting. See, there’s so much I don’t know.

You know who you can’t negotiate with…ever. Satan. That means you can’t play in his playground and expect not to get hurt. Why? Good question.

Because he’s the father of lies and he only comes to kill, steal and destroy. He’s a master manipulator who only has one thing in mind for you. Your complete and utter demise. He’s a real pisser that one. Yep, I said pisser. Feel free to look that up should you need to, but know it’s not good.

But, the funny thing is (not the ha ha kind of funny, the ironic kind of funny), we all choose to play on his playground every day. Every. Single. Day.

No one is free from sin. It’s not to say we don’t try to stay free from sin, but somehow or another. Maybe you don’t believe me. That’s ok, you don’t have to, I’m a gonna show you what God says about it:

 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” ~ Romans 3:23 (NLT)

Do you see that tiny three letter word ALL? All means all. I know, I say it a lot, but once I saw the word “all” jump out from the pages of Scripture at me, I can’t unsee it.

But, there’s good news. Don’t go all willy nilly on me thinking, might at well keep sinning because clearly we all suck. Even though we all sin, God, put a redemptive plan in place for us to surrender sin. Just a fancy way of saying, God made a way for us to repent through Jesus.

“Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” ~Romans 3:24 (NLT)

Wait, there’s more!

For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,” ~ Romans 3:25 (NLT)

See! Good news!

Yes, we all sin! But, we don’t surrender to sin. We don’t give up the fight to turn from our sin and overcome it. We don’t wave that proverbial white flag and give Satan an all access pass to ours lives.

If we were as lasered focus on eradicating sin out of our lives as we were on how we look, we might stand a chance on being “sinless”. But most likely, we’d find something else to make into an idol.

Speaking of idols and flags, what do you think pledging our allegiance to a flag does for us? Can the flag save us? Can the flag heal us? Can the flag forgive us our sins? Can the flag stop the wind and the waves?

Just some random thoughts I had the other day and how we get all twisted up over an inanimate object. Now, before you get all up in arms over my statements, please hear my heart. I love the USA. I love our flag. I served in the military and I’m proud of our armed services.

But the flag, truly, is just a flag. Yes, it has significant meaning and history behind it but when we use it a divisive tool, what good is it doing. What was I doing in the military? What or whose freedom was I protecting? I didn’t take an oath to protect a flag. I took an oath to protect the country.

God is the creator of ALL things. That includes the creation of the flag. How you view it, is up to you. Just remember, when you’re in trouble, that flag can neither provide for you, nor save you. That’s God’s job. Yet, we always try and find things to try and replace Him.

Psssst…let me let you in on a little secret…He’s not replaceable. Not for our lack of creativity and trying.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, the battle for our hearts is always under attack. What we give our hearts to clues us in to where our true allegiance lies.

I desperately want to honor God in all things. No, I don’t always get it right. The beauty of that, is God sees my heart. He knows my motives behind everything I do. He leads me and it’s my choice to follow.

So, here’s my white flag Lord, I surrender, because there’s no way I can do life without you. The cost was too high when I tried.

Love, Trish

Leave a comment »

Anticipation

If you’re even a smidge like me you read the title of today’s story and you thought of the Heinz ketchup commercial with Carly Simon singing, anticipation. Welcome to my brain.

I think it’s safe to say we all need something to look forward to. Some may call it hope, or expectancy when we’re looking forward to something.

The opposite of looking forward to something is commonly known as dread. Especially when we’re in a season of life we don’t understand, don’t want or didn’t ask for. Dread is not a good motivator.

I have quite a few friends in a difficult season. It’s heartbreaking to watch your friends travel a hard road. How thankful am I that in my hard seasons, God always made sure I had people in my life who had gone before me to help me walk through the valleys.

I’m not saying I’m thankful others went through pain so they could help me. I saying, even though my friends went through painful times God didn’t waste their pain. He used it to help me and I’m sure many others.

Healing is ever so important for that very reason. Healing helps us move forward. Healing releases us from the pained filled memory so we can begin anew.

It’s hard to anticipate new things for our lives, when we hold onto the pain because somewhere along the line, pain became comfortable. The known feeling of pain, became easier than the unknown feeling of “what’s next”?

What’s next could be worse, right? And who wants worse? So, we stay stuck in the comfort of our pain. And who knew pain could become comfortable?

It’s not easy to get back on the “this thing called life” train when we’ve been derailed by the “life” that’s been thrown our way.

We’re not given much grace to grieve our painful experiences when life is still happening all around us. Reba McEntire sang:

“I guess the world didn’t stop for my broken heart.”

The world sure didn’t stop.

It’s why we’re still expected to perform and to slap on the “I’m fine” face. Maybe that’s where you are today. Maybe inside your screaming while painting a smile on your face. If so, I’m really sorry. If no one told you it’s ok to feel your pain, please know feeling and processing through it, is better than ignoring it.

The Lord says that “joy comes in the morning.” With it, the promise of a new day and a new way through the wilderness. Joy isn’t the same as happiness. Joy comes from a deeper, spiritual place. Not from people, places or things.

For all the things that bring us happiness can be taken and easily flipped to unhappiness. That’s why we warned not to build up earthly treasures for they can be taken.

I had a friend who once lived her life with the ideology of “waiting for the other shoe to drop”. She was anticipating dread.

Her brother passed away and it flipped her world upside down. Now she lives in anticipation of a full life as long as she’s here on earth.

No one has the secret sauce to each and every hard life situation. How we get through the hard things is walking them out with others.

And when that’s not working, the Lord says for ALL to come to Him. People may not always know what we need, but God’s already got things working in place to get you where you need to go.

Psalm 5:3 reminds us to talk with our Heavenly Father:

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (NIV)

We have a part in this. We lift our voices to the Lord. We lay out our needs. Then we wait. How do we wait? Expectantly.

But, that takes trust. If you don’t trust God, the waiting will be more like dread. Especially if we think God hates us. Which He absolutely, does not.

We can’t anticipate what God will do in answer to our prayers, but we can wait with anticipation that a good God will answer with His best. Maybe you need a reminder of just how much God loves you. Let me leave you with Psalm 139 (MSG)

1-6 God, investigate my life;
    get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you;
    even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back;
    I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say
    before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,
    then up ahead and you’re there, too—
    your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—
    I can’t take it all in!

7-12 Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
    night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.

17-22 Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
    God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
    any more than I could count the sand of the sea.
Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!
    And please, God, do away with wickedness for good!
And you murderers—out of here!—
    all the men and women who belittle you, God,
    infatuated with cheap god-imitations.
See how I hate those who hate you, God,
    see how I loathe all this godless arrogance;
I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred.
    Your enemies are my enemies!

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Leave a comment »

Stick Art

Yesterday, my granddaughter and son came for a visit. I love when they come over. It reminds me how precious life is and to not take these moments for granted. Lena and I have some pretty great conversations. Her 5 year old logic is pretty insightful at times. Then there’s the times I look to her Father for clarification and we both sit there with a confused daze on our faces.

It was a beautiful Spring day. After all the cold days, the warmth of the sunshine felt amazing. I was still running errands when Lena and Justin came over. I pulled my vehicle into the driveway, Lena was digging a hole and her dad was overseeing it. She came running to the car when she saw me pull up. We hugged and she went running off.

Justin and I sat at the patio table while Lena happily played with sticks. She started picking up sticks and planting them in the ground. She was very particular about the sticks she chose for her project. She even did some pruning on the ones that didn’t quite fit the way she wanted.

Although, she totally missed seeing the sword her dad and I saw in one of her hand-picked sticks before ripping off the offending branches. Simultaneously, Justin and I started to say something about the sword stick but her little hands were faster than our reactions. She didn’t care. She kept pressing on.

This morning as I sat down with my coffee, Moose and my devotions, I was reminded of Lena’s carefully and thoughtfully constructed stick creation. I wish I would’ve take a picture. But, alas, I did not. And we all know woulda, coulda, shoulda’s, don’t change, what is.

Lena spent quite some time on that creation. After it was just the way she wanted it, she left it alone to come help me spy dog poo so I could pick it up. Moose got entangled in the stick art masterpiece and Lena ran over to help him. The sticks came a tumbling down. She didn’t care. She went off to the next project after helping Moose.

As I reflected on the Lena/stick events from yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of how God carefully constructs us. How He lovingly places gifts and talents where He needs them. How he prunes our “dead” branches that no longer fit in our lives. I thought about how when we fall apart, He doesn’t get all bent out of shape, He just leads us to the next thing.

I thought, how awesome is it, God can have a little girl build a stick creation and remind me how He uses ALL things to accomplish what He needs.

This all came after a pretty rough night with Moose. I took him outside for his last evening potty break. When we came back inside, I went to brush my teeth and he jumped on my bed. I didn’t see him do it, but he peed right where I sleep. Insert curse words here, because, yep, I used them.

I was tired, a bit grumpy and now let’s add anger to the mix. I showed him his mess, I reprimanded him, and then I put him back outside. I ripped the bedding off and threw it in the washer. I was HOT! I muttered under my breath, kept saying things I know better than to say, and then I grabbed Moose from outside and put him in his kennel for the night. Grrrr!

I didn’t sleep well. Night sweats from menopause don’t help. I didn’t care for my own behavior. I cried out to God and said this was too hard. Moose is more “work” than I wanted. Trying to break his 2 year old bad habits is hard. He barks way too much, and potty training him is…well, hard. He still barks at Justin’s every move when he’s here. Sigh.

This morning, God blessed me with another wake-up. I got out of bed and went and got Moose, he wagged his tail and jumped up to say hi! He didn’t stop loving me because I got angry.

Guess what? God doesn’t stop loving us when we get angry. He understands our emotions. He continually loves me through the pruning process. Last night’s angry escapades showed me I had some work to do. After all, isn’t that what God’s amazing grace is all about?

We’re always so hard on ourselves an God is constantly giving us grace. Shouldn’t we receive that grace and begin the day anew, just as He intended?

Never underestimate how God shows up in your life. When I said He uses ALL things, I mean, ALL things. Sticks, dogs, emotions, and the list goes on and on. His majestic imagination and creativity are endless.

Question is, are you looking for Him to answer how you think He’ll answer? If so, you may be missing what He’s trying to show you. Be on the lookout, stay alert, and know our Heavenly Father is always working in ways that we can’t take credit for, because there’s no way we can out wit God.

That alone is something to be thankful for!

Have an amazing day, friends. xoxo

Leave a comment »

Singing Waitress

I thought when I began this 40 day writing journey for Lent, I would be closer to knowing what to better focus on. That’s not happened…yet.

A friend commented she thought I’d continue to write daily after the 40 days are up. Hmmm. I’m not too sure about that one.

It’s a challenge to daily come up with something to write about. To be honest, I don’t really know what I want to dive into today. I guess I’ll talk about my lunch date with my mom.

I picked mom up, and off we went to a local type bistro. My mom always does at least one sudden intake of breath and reaches for the dash when she’s the passenger in my car. Like I want to get in an accident or something.

Nothing worse than being a passenger in a car. It must be that lack of control we think we have when we’re driving.

We went to a small type bistro. It’s fairly quiet which makes t’s easier to converse. They had music playing in the background. Both the waitress and I were singing to the song Landslide by Stevie Nicks. Love that song! Love Stevie Nicks.

The entire time we dined, the waitress was singing. It was awesome. There’s just something about somebody throwing all caution to the wind and being joyous.

When she brought us the check another waitress came by just as I was telling singing waitress to always keep singing. Clean up waitress, was like, no you just didn’t, don’t you encourage her, we’ll ban you. Everyone laughed.

I gathered up the check and went to pay. Singing waitress asked if I was coming back next week and suggested we do “show” together. I exclaimed how fun that would be and I was all in. Clean-up waitress was like, what’d I say earlier? Don’t you encourage her.

We started talking about the song we could sing together. She suggested Madonna but then said we’d work on it. As my mom and I were leaving, I heard singing waitress say, “I really like her”. It put a smile on my face.

On the way home I saw a truck with the word “Mickey” on it. I totally know the song we could do now. Sing it with me; “Oh Mickey you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow my mind, hey Mickey, hey Mickey”. I can picture it now. Maybe I will go back next week.

Life’s too short not to have fun. I hope you had some fun today. Laughter is a beautiful gift from our Heavenly Father. He’s pretty awesome at gift giving. It’s a shame not to use them.



Leave a comment »

#UNFILTERED

IN SPEECH. IN CONDUCT. IN LOVE. IN FAITH. IN PURITY.

His Love is Enough

This is My Story...

Just Love

My journey through the process of understanding true love- as God intends.

Living With Eyz2God

One Day at a Time...

Saved By Grace

An imperfect woman with a perfect Jesus