Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

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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Everything I Ever Did

Can I be totally vulnerable and honest about something? Before I was a mom, I was woman, and before I was a woman, I was a child. Shocking, I know. During my formative years I saw a lot of things I shouldn’t have seen. I carried those things into every single relationship I had.

I didn’t know what love looked like.

I knew what damaged, fractured love looked like. Love in action in my home was ugly, hurtful, and once in a while, you got a glimpse of good and hope. But those moments were few and far between.

As I grew, I made vows to myself that I would never have “those” kind of relationships. If relationships stopped being fun, then color me gone.

In my effort to keep those promises to myself, I put on selfish love and thought that would make for a better kind of relationship. It was gonna be all about me, what I wanted and needed. I would do what I wanted and thought someone else needed. But, it was still to my satisfaction and the accolades I would get from them.

I would be that person who treated someone like dirt under my feet in a effort have them break up with me so I wouldn’t be the one at blame for the break up. Then I could say, look at what so and so did to me. And with a gasp of shock add, can you believe it?

After all, I only wanted a break, I only wanted to find myself, and I totally need you to understand that I need this in order to be better….for you. Can you say narcissistic behavior?

In all honesty, I didn’t want or need anything from them any longer, they had served their purpose as far as I was concerned. These were all excuses because I wasn’t brave enough to just say I was done.

I dunno, maybe I got some sort of sick, twisted satisfaction over having someone hang on for me while I got right with myself. But, I never did get right with myself, I just kept on keeping on. How sad that makes my heart now. If I ever did that to you, I’m so very sorry.

I know all the games, because I played all the games. We talk about things like worth, respect and honor. But those things are not one sided. When done out of love, these things are a beautiful back and forth dance done with humility and hope that loving one another is more than just empty words and actions.

When someone shows you their true colors, please believe them but don’t forget to look and accept your part in it. There are two sides to every story. We can all agree that the people and things in your life that you love, will change you. But you cannot deny your part. After all, you were there. And you can either let that change make you bitter, or grow you in wisdom.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the woman at the well. If you’ve never read it, please go read John 4. Seriously, do it now.

As this unnamed woman sat at the well with Jesus, He spoke to her and she learned so much about who He was and who she was. So much so that she dropped everything and went into her town telling her story. John 4:28-29 depicts it like this:

“Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.”….

Did you see that, “He told me everything I ever did.” Not what the other people in her life did, but what she did.

I believe this woman whose name we don’t know, can be any one of us. I know, she was me. That woman at the well is my sister, my friend and mentor. She sat with Jesus, she listened to Him, she questioned Him, she received what He had to say, and then went out unabashed and shameless into a town declaring that she had been with a man who had told her everything she ever did. Crazy, right?

The chains we carry, or that carry us, will not be broken until we face them, question them, and then make a choice to break them.

It wasn’t until I stared myself in the mirror and accepted that I was also to blame, that I could begin again. As long as I was blaming others for my misery, I was never going to accept, forgive, and then conquer the learned behavior that broken love taught me.

Was this an overnight process? Umm, no. I had a lot to unlearn, a lot to forgive, and a lot to confess. But in this process, I was, and I am never alone.

Just as Jesus was with the woman at the well, He is with you too. It’s not Him who moves, it’s us. How do I know? Because His word says,

“…he will never leave you, nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

So are you ready to face you? Are you ready to let Jesus in and show you everything you ever did so you can truly be free? Get ready then, because I guarantee it’s a ride like no other, but it will be so worth it.

Freedom isn’t free my friends, it comes with a cost. Just ask Jesus, because He knows all about it, and He can tell you everything He ever did for you. But, don’t take my word for it, take His.

I’ll leave you with this, if you’re reading this, Jesus is calling. Will you answer?

 

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Torn Between Two Lovers

Now, if you know me, you know I love to sing. I once had a friend tell me that when I was going in for a CT scan, they would find a jukebox in my brain. HA! 

Songs pop in and out of my head constantly. From the moment I wake up, till I go to sleep. Maybe you too? Today, I wanna talk about a song that was all about having your cake and eating it too and asking others to accept it. 

“Torn Between Two Lovers” was a song recorded by Mary McGregor back in 1976. That’s right, I still remember the lyrics from a song from 1976. I would say this song would have been classified as a love song. 

There’s just something about a good, sappy love song,right?  But, this wasn’t really sappy, and I wouldn’t really classify it as a love song all these years later. It was more of a selfish, all about me and my wants song. 

The song lyrics and melody played over and over in my head and sprung forth from my mouth, as I sang, oh so beautifully – ahem, from the sound stage that was my bedroom. I would totally ignoring the rude audience that were my brothers who would scream for me to shut up. Rude, right? La, la, la, I can’t hear you! Ha ha ha

Let’s take a peek at some of the lyrics, this song shall we? Go ahead, sing along if you remember the tune. You already know I’ll be singing.  🙂 

There are times when a woman has to say what’s on her mind
Even though she knows how much it’s gonna hurt
Before I say another word, let me tell you, I love you
Let me hold you close and say these words as gently as I can

There’s been another man that I’ve needed and I’ve loved
But that doesn’t mean I love you less
And he knows he can’t possess me and he knows he never will
There’s just this empty place inside of me that only he can fill”

Ummm, what? 

Wait, it gets better. 

Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool
Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules
Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fool
Lovin’ you both is breakin’ all the rules”

Soooo, you know what you’re doing is wrong, but yet, you keep choosing to do it anyways. Ok, got it. Continue.

“You mustn’t think you’ve failed me
Just because there’s someone else
You were the first real love I ever had
And all the things I ever said
I swear they still are true
For no one else can have the part of me I gave to you” 

This is where that famous saying, “it’s not you, it’s me” comes into play. And it’s true here. It really is her and what she felt she lacked. Her answer, let’s get another guy to fill the gaps the first guy was clearly lacking. 

Ok, let’s wrap this up, because once the chorus gets sung again the pièce de résistance (she said in her best French accent) of this song comes into full focus. Are you ready for it? 

“I couldn’t really blame you if you turned and walked away
But with everything I feel inside, I’m asking you to stay”

Ummm, what? 

Notice she didn’t say she was gonna kick the other guy to the curb. She didn’t ask for forgiveness. She never even apologizes. She simply explains herself and her actions and asks him to be ok with the third wheel being in the mix. 

Sadly, we never get to hear his answer. Or if she told the other guy about the first guy. We’re just left with, here’s a girl, loving 2 guys, explaining why she needs two guys and for the two guys to be okay with it. 

Spoiler alert! Anyone who has ever been in a monogamous relationship, who thought they were truly in a monogamous relationship, is not okay with this cavalier attitude towards relationship. 

This is why it’s so very important what you allow to speak into your life. I’m not saying in any way, shape or form, this song is the reason I felt it was ok to ever cheat in my relationships, but it was definitely one of the seeds that gave me the illusion it was acceptable. 

Inevitably, ultimately and irrevocably, I made the selfish choices to do what I did. 

If you’ve ever been cheated on, I’m so sorry. It was a choice you didn’t make, but had thrust upon you and it no doubt turned your world upside down. I know, I’ve been there.  

If you’ve ever been the cheater, I’m so sorry for whatever happened in your life that you felt the answer was more of what you already had over addressing the true matter of your heart. I know, I’ve been there. 

Please know that if a person cheats on you, it’s not about you. I can’t say that enough. So, I’ll say it again. It’s not about you. It’s 100% about what’s going on in their heart. 

They may try to pin it on you, they may twist the words to justify it, but rarely, when they’re in the thick of it, will they take responsibility for their actions and claim it’s an issue with them. Because they won’t see or refuse to see it’s an issue with them. That’s how they justify what’s going on. I know, I’ve been there. 

How else could words like these be justified:

“I couldn’t really blame you if you turned and walked away
But with everything I feel inside, I’m asking you to stay”

They can’t. Those lyrics, are all about self, twisted to make it seem like they’re the victim. 

It’s a matter of the condition of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 warns us:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  (NIV)

Did you see that, EV-ER-Y-THING you do, flows from your heart. 

Here’s a few examples. If you’ve ever had a broken heart, you cry, you grieve and your countenance is usually sad. If you’re excited, your heart beats a bit faster, your eyes glisten, and maybe your palms sweat. If your adrenaline is really kicking, from something good or bad (like being afraid), your heart beats to the rhythm of what’s going on, your breathing gets a bit more labored and you feel like you want to bust right out of your skin. And in its’ final curtain call, if your heart stops beating, well, you know that ending. 

Every choice we make, every decision we act on has a consequence. It’s never just about one single person. When it comes to cheating I daresay it’s all about how much worth you place on yourself and where you get it from. 

I wrote about that in this post What’s In Your Treasure Chest

But, no matter what the excuse is for cheating, it will always come back to it being a matter of your heart, your choice, your decision. It’s all about you. 

So choose wisely because I can say the consequences of the thing that makes you feel temporarily awesome will inevitably rip your guts out. I know, because I was there. 

There’s a saying, “once a cheater, always a cheater.” It’s what someone or society labels you when you cheat. But they don’t just call you a cheater, they wrap you in an “always a cheater”  blanket and stop looking at who you really are. 

If said aloud or enough to yourself, it will take root, and if you’re not secure in who God says you are, you’ll believe the lie and start acting out what those believe say you are, forgetting whose you are. 

How many times have your heard someone say, “I’m such a _________. It must be true or they wouldn’t say it.” You can fill in the blank with any number of things. Failure. Loser. Mistake. Cheater. 

It was in this place, where I piled guilt upon shame upon disgrace upon self-loathing, upon disgust, upon regret, upon hate on myself. It’s no wonder I didn’t want to be around myself or think I had anything good to offer this world. How could I? 

But God! 

Proverbs 19:21 says:

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”  (NIV) 

In my heart, I wanted to take away my pain by ending my life. As you can see, I’m still here, my plans failed and His purpose is prevailing. Yay! Thank you Jesus!  

Your lot in this life is not found in your failures. It’s about getting up after the fall. Jesus didn’t remain dead after being crucified. I mean, you can’t fall much harder than that. 

No, He rose up and kicked death square in the face so that we could know victory. But before we know what victory looks like, we will fail. We will have trials. We will face persecution. We will come up against opposition. But, those things are not the end. 

Today, let’s grab hold of some serious truth. This is one of my favorite truths to hold onto when I think things can “never” change. 

Isaiah 43:19 says:

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” (ESV)

Friends, don’t give up. It’s not over yet. This is absolutely the first day of the rest of your life. Everything else is the past, and you are not your past. You are very much here, and in the present and God is most assuredly making a way in the wilderness. I know, because I’m there. 

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What’s In Your Treasure Chest?

When I was a little girl, I adored peeking into my grandmother’s jewelry box and playing with the baubles inside. I can still “see” and “smell” what I considered to be my personal treasure chest. 

The black leather box had a top that flipped open as well as several drawers that had delicate silver knobs on either side. Each drawer was lined with red velvet and the smell was like no other. 

Since my grandmother didn’t have pierced ears, she had those clip on style earrings.  When no one was looking I would take them out and carefully clip them on my ear lobes and pretend that their very existence on my ears made me oh so glamorous.

I’m not so sure she appreciated me trying on her troves of treasure or that pieces would come up missing from time to time. But, if she did mind, she never said. Or maybe she did say, and I don’t remember. Either way, the memory of her jewelry box brings a smile to my face. 

As I was driving to work today, a song by Mercy Me called “Dear Younger Me,” came on the radio. I’ve heard it many times before but today a line from the song stood out to me:

“My joy, my pain, would’ve never been my worth”

So here’s a peek inside my brain. As I sang along to those words, “my joy, my pain, would’ve never been my worth,” my soul was arrested with the thought, where are you placing your worth?  

As I dug a little deeper into that question, a visual of a treasure chest popped into my brain. This brought me to a paper I had written for a college class about topics I’d like to write about.  One of those topics was a story about my grandmother’s jewelry box. And voila! Here we are.

I remember lifting the lid to that jewelry box. I remember the jewels inside that garnered my full attention. I remember the anticipation I felt even though I already knew what was in there. I’m sure my eyes sparkled with the reflection of the treasure I held in my little hands.

But, I grew up. I stopped going to the jewelry box. I was no longer captivated by its contents. The things in there were familiar, dull, and lifeless. Yet it sat there, year after year, unappreciated.

The treasure trove once my place of temporary joy and wonder is now long gone with the passing of my grandmother years ago.  

It’s kind of like life, isn’t it? We find things that bring us joy and happiness for a moment and for a while we’re enamored with it.  We get the “thing” we wanted or lose the weight, or have the big wedding. We study hard and get the job we wanted so we can buy all the things we think we’d be missing out on if we didn’t have it in our lives. 

And yet, there’s still an emptiness. 

Once again, things become familiar, dull, and lifeless. So we search for the next shiny treasure that will bring us temporary happiness. It’s easy to kick things and people to the curb when they’ve served their purpose and we have so many other options available. 

So the question of where are you putting your worth is not a surface question. It’s a let’s get real with ourselves question of the heart. 

Is your worth found in people’s approval? The way you look? The amount of money you make? The material things you’ve collected? You’re job title? Maybe you’re basing your worth on societal standards. Only you know the absolute truth. 

There are so many things of this world we consider treasure. But they are all things that will one day fade away. I’m not saying it’s bad to have those things. It’s really only when we put our faith, trust, and worth in them that we can get in trouble. 

The harsh reality is, houses burn down, people steal your stuff, companies fold, things and bodies quit working, loved ones die, and accidents happen. 

When those unexpected things happen a hard downward spiral begins and you’re faced with the question, “what do I do now“? Sadly, some never make it to the other side of that question because they tied their existence to a thing or a person and their hope was lost. 

Having been at the brink of that dark precipice, many times, I get it.  

After retiring from a career I held 29 years, it was tough trying to figure out what to do next. My treasure was found in seriously numbing my senses with alcohol. 

After years of singleness and dating my treasure was to find the perfect mate. 

When marriage got too hard and I felt unloved, unwanted, and not enough. My treasure was found in men who made me feel “loved,” “wanted,” and “enough”. 

When menopause hit and I couldn’t lose weight the way I used to, I was beside myself. My treasure was self-loathing and disgust. 

When my body betrayed me and I couldn’t work out the way I used to, my treasure became excuses. 

When the reflection in the mirror started showing my age in years, my treasure became longings of days gone by. 

As if any of this was all there was to life on this earth. In all of that, I was so wrapped up in self, I couldn’t get past myself. I was always in my own way. It mattered not what any good thing anyone said because I bought into the lies that I was not enough based on unattainable societal standards. 

I was the picture of smiling on the outside, while slowly dying inside. 

I literally could not accept myself because everyone and their life looked better, shinier, happier, healthier, and more complete. My treasure was in the wanting. Have you ever been there? Maybe you’re there now. 

Can I just say, if you’re still reading this, you’re story is not over, it’s just a new chapter. It’s not going to look like the rest of your life for a reason. Times change and time most assuredly doesn’t stand still. We’ll either get stuck in what was, or we grab onto what is, and hope for what could be. 

I’m not gonna say some of the things that brought me down don’t come back and haunt me, because they do. But now I know better than to latch onto the lies that tell me I’m not enough and sit in my woe is me pot for days on end. 

These lies stole years from my well-being. Maybe you as well. If that’s true, I’m so very sorry for all you’ve been through. 

But today is a brand new day my friend. It’s full of God’s faithful love, faithfulness, and mercy. (Lamentations 3:22-23) When God says you the apple of His eye, (Psalm 17:8), then you’re the apple of His eye. When He says He takes great delight and is singing over you (Zephaniah 3:20) then take hold of that truth and run with it. When God says He’s got a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11) then believe it. 

Can we just agree that God’s Truth should never be harder to believe than the enemies lies? And yet, here we are, letting the thoughts of the one who only comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) take our thoughts captive. Let me just say he’s not the boss of you, unless you allow it. 

The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23)

Did you see that…self-control. We have that. Plus all those other attributes. But, it’s up to us to exercise them. One last thing on this treasure topic and where we place our worth and then I’m off to seize the day. 

Matthew 6:19-21 says: 

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (bold emphasis added)

So, let me ask, what’s in your treasure chest? 

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The Choice You Choose

The hard fact of the matter is, you may not like it, you may not agree with it, but it is their body and it is their choice. Please, hear me out. Your right to believe in something does not give you the right to stomp all over someone else’s choice and make them feel less than because you believe your choice is better.

Screaming louder does not make your choice superior. Nasty quotes and making fun of things you wouldn’t choose, or name-calling is a form of bullying, allowing for division and pompous “knowledge” to rule over compassion.

From choosing whether or not to go to college, choosing a career path, getting tattooed or pierced, who to vote for, pro-life or pro-choice, having sex before marriage or not, to eat the donut or not, and so many more, are all choices an individual makes. You and I both know that choice conviction comes from God, not man.

Need an example? Read John, chapter 4 or 8. Let’s look at John, chapter 8. Here we learn the penalty for adultery is death by stoning. Could you imagine being hit full force, over and over with stones laced with hatred and “righteous” indignation, until you died? Umm, no, thank you. I’ll take a hard pass on that one!

But, that was not the case in this story. Two people decided to commit adultery anyways. They both made the choice and agreed that the act of committing adultery was worth dying for.

No matter the law, or what anyone else may have said, in the end, despite knowing the severe penalty it was their choice. They wanted what they wanted and they went for it.

Maybe like them, and dare I say me, you’ve made dangerous choices that weren’t in your best interest. Choices, no doubt others didn’t agree with or wouldn’t do. Choices others warned you about. Choices deep down you knew were wrong. So.Very.Wrong.

But if someone made the “wrong” decision in your eyes, what was your choice? Did you fight fire with fire or did your words/actions help put out the flames? Ugh, let me just say, I’ve fought fire with fire. But, I’ve learned that tactic only causes division, heartache, and regret.

Friends, God didn’t call us to shame and condemn one another. When did any of that ever make a relationship better? You could actually push the person to do exactly what you’d rather have them not do by being so crazy zealous over what you think they should do.

All you have to do is look back over your life and I bet you find a decision you made was because someone “forbade” you to do it. And you got all puffed up and under your breath, you muttered: “I’ll show them.”

Just so you know, that’s probably proof you shouldn’t make that decision. Nothing good ever really comes from, “I’ll show them.” Oy to the vey!

When did we get so wrapped up in trying to live other people’s lives, we forgot how to live our own because we knew in our knower, we “knew” what was best for them?

Why would I think I’m so good at telling others how to live their lives when my life can be such a mess? Maybe because it’s easier to put our focus on others instead of cleaning our own house?

In all honesty, I think we truly have the best of intentions when we want our loved ones and others to learn from our mistakes. I mean, experience must count for something, right? Seeing others fail must make a positive impact on our choices, right? That would be awesome, but it’s just not always the case.

A lot of my family members were alcoholics. I witnessed the devastation from it. I knew my chances of becoming an alcoholic were higher than others. I was educated on the effects alcohol has on the body and brain. However, despite being armed with all that knowledge, I still drank copious amounts of alcohol for years. That’s right, years. So.Many.Years.

No one made me do it. I chose it and many suffered from those choices. I can’t change it. It’s part of my story. But, it doesn’t define me. And no one can make me feel worse about my choices than myself.

The result of condemnation from myself is bad enough, but pile on condemnation from others and my little “woe is me” pit, will quickly escalate into a cavernous pit of self worthlessness and defeat. It’s the perfect place for the enemy to come in and keep talking me down.

Is that what we want? To help the enemy kick a person when they’re already so down on life they might not find their way back? What proverbial stone are you picking up and launching via your mouth, just because someone made a choice you wouldn’t? And don’t think that disapproving scowl goes unnoticed. That’s just adding insult to injury.

If we truly trust God, then can we have faith that while we “know best”, He actually knows better? That in fact, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:16) and not you. That what we should choose instead of slapping people with our churlish tongues is to pray for them while we love them through it? Not berate them through it?

And since we trust that God knows better than our best, maybe we should ask Him how we can help, not further hurt another.  Actually, pray for God to show you, your part in this process. Psalm 51:10 is an awesome prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me.” (bold emphasis added) Notice, you put the focus back on you in this instance and off of them. Lord, how can I help and not hurt?

Y’all, hate, bitterness, and rage are harsh taskmasters. All kinds of unhealthy emotions and physical and mental unwellness are tied to it.

In a world of “what have they done for me lately” (Totally just sang that Janet Jackson style) maybe start asking “what can I do for them?” Because in the end, all the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s and what-ifs, will never change the choice of what is. And when someone leaves this earth, you won’t worry or regret that you coulda, shoulda, woulda done something more.

We’re really only a choice away from what someone else chose. Every choice has a ripple effect. They’ll touch more than just our own life and we may never know how what we chose to do, say or act will impact another. But whatever they choose to do from what they’ve seen, learned or heard will be their choice.

So, share your stories. Share your failures and your wins. Share love, hope, and give great encouragement. Share your faith and your fears, and do unto others as you would have done to you. Share your gifts and give abundantly and don’t worry about the outcome. God’s got that part. Just do what you know to do with love and I guarantee you won’t regret it!

But that’s my choice, what’s yours?

Peace and much love to you my friends.

 

 

 

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The Bold Blondie

Jillian Lancour

#UNFILTERED

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

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