Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Check Engine Light

This morning I found myself in an angry mood. Like how is it even possible to be angry without anything even really happening yet?

As I’m talking it out with God, while trying to listen to a “Gratitude devotional,” (did you catch the irony there), I berated myself for even being angry. Like, my anger was something to be stuffed down and swallowed so it could continue to fester in the dark.

It was then my Heavenly Father asked me why I was being dismissive of myself? Wait, what? So, I had to sit with that. Anger stuffed down, will find its way out. Most likely, someone close to you will suffer the brunt of your unchecked emotion. Then you have that to deal with.

On the show, “The Big Bang Theory,” Penny never pays any real attention to the “check engine” light in her car. She just keeps saying “it’s fine” to anyone who points out the light is on. Eventually, her car gives up. It sputters and spews, as smoke fills the engine area and then it completely dies.

Consider your emotions as your check engine light. They’re telling you something. They’re letting you know, something requires your attention. Ignoring or dismissing them, will not make them disappear. You either deal with them, or they’ll deal with you.

In dismissing my anger away, I was telling myself, I wasn’t worth my own attention. That I didn’t really matter. That it was just an extension of my constant state of ungratefulness and I just needed to get over myself. But, it wasn’t. It went so much deeper than that.

So, as silly as it sounds, I apologized to myself for ignoring the “silly” check engine light. I sat in it. I processed it with God and now I’m sharing it with you.

If God thinks every detail of our life matters, why would we think any less about our own lives? Why do we ignore what we’re feeling? Where did we learn to do that? Acknowledging our emotions is simply giving ourselves permission to look under the hood. It may be a minor adjustment or something that goes deeper than a quick glance.

Either way, daily maintenance is critical to how you keep your heart in check.

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us; “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV)

When was the last time you checked your engine? I daresay, you’re well being depends on it.

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What Happens Next

Did you ever have someone pick a fight with you but you didn’t even know a battle existed? Have you ever faced an enemy you had no real understanding as to why you were thought of as the enemy, just to find out it was because you were being you?

What happens next in that moment is crucial. You can turn to people pleasing mechanisms to try to gain their affection which will inevitably cause you to resent them.

You can ask others what their take on the situation is and see what suggestions they offer. Keep in mind, most friends will be biased to your presentation of the situation. Which is typically one sided.

You can get angry and retaliate causing an even bigger rift. Ya know, cause that always works out well.

You can reactionary text the person. Here you can easily hide behind the screen and say and approach things in ways you never would during an in-person conversation. Most likely “tone” will be inserted and a text argument will ensue. No one comes out feeling better after these. They are the epitome of immaturity and fruitlessness. And now you have written documentation so you can rehash the situation or put it in your weapon arsenal. Ya know, cuz that’s healthy.

You can sit and stew and think about all the things you want to do or say. You can twist your imaginary mustache planning and plotting all while snickering devilishly. Picture Snidely Whiplash from Dudley Do-Right.

Or, you can pray. You can ask God to show you what you need to do next. Praying might not change the situation but it will definitely help you process with the One who understands you best. He alone is able to handle ALL of you. Let’s face it, we all got stuff. But, He alone will love you unbiasedly through it. He alone has the ultimate answer.

Relationships take time. Trying to rush through them to be only what you desire is not a relationship. It’s a dictatorship. You’re better off with just being an acquaintance. This way you can fake it till you make it and never have to be vulnerable or authentic. Putting on a constant show to garner one’s attention or affection is draining and caustic. It’s like playing a game of roulette. Who will I be today? Sounds exhausting.

Thankfully, God is faithful. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s my constant in the storms and the One I can safely find refuge in. Knowing that I’m fully accepted by Him, helps me be more authentic and vulnerable.

Let’s face it, pretending to be something we’re not only gets us so far. Eventually the facade falls away and we “lose” it. Typically blaming the other person for our own lack of authenticity and self-control.

It’s not easy being “real” in a “look at me” selfie world. But, if you can find it in you, to be more self-accepting, you may just be more accepting of others. Because in the end, isn’t that what we all want? To be accepted and loved for who we are, and not what we bring to the table?

Just my musings for today. I hope you find space in your day to appreciate you and know how very loved you are. You’ve been through a lot. Maybe it’s time you gave yourself the grace you’d give another. Speak kind words over yourself and watch how your mind and body respond. Because being your own best friend is so much better than being your own worst enemy.

Be brave my friends! It’s a new day, and sometimes the biggest obstacle we’ll face, is the one staring back at us in the mirror.

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Call It Something Else

This quote keeps coming to my mind: “Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” I don’t know who originally said that, but when you google it, all kinds of things come up for it.

Maybe it’s the word, “sin” that has such a negative connotation to it, that most people don’t want to think (count the cost) before they leap into the things they know God said was bad for us. Or maybe they’ve never heard about God.

All I can say is, the word “sin”, isn’t the problem. It’s the action of sin that causes the damage. Think about the worst thing you’ve done and reflect on what it cost you. My own sin broke my heart to the point I wanted it all to end. The pain and long suffering was devastating on my soul.

Yes, I’ve asked for forgiveness. I’ve repented (changed my ways) and I know I’ve been forgiven. Yet, my battle field still tries to take up space. Some days it hits me out of the blue and next thing I know, I’m reduced to tears, berating myself once again for the pain I not only caused myself, which is bad unto itself, but more so the pain I caused others.

Knowing what I know now, I want to shout from the mountaintops, ”Don’t do it.” Don’t do that thing that will cause you great and long suffering pain. And while I’m able to warn others, and sometimes I get that opportunity, I also have to tread lightly because I know at any given moment I’m still prone to my own acts of sin. And in the end, people will choose, what they’re going to do.

Sometimes I don’t know what’s more heartbreaking. The heartbreak of others or my own. Watching your own loved ones suffer knowing you can’t fix their pain, is gut wrenching.

All of this to say, God will never lead you into sin. He gives us free will to choose. It’s a gift, yet it can seem like a curse when we make the unwise choice to enter into agreement with Satan.

But, today’s a new day. God’s mercies are new, and He’s doing a new thing. That’s good news! So, wherever you are today, know your gifts of free will and self-control can help lead you out of sin or keep you from sin. And if you don’t like the word sin, maybe call it something else if it helps you move away from it.

In a book I recently read by Matthew Perry, he called his sin “the big terrible thing.” If you read his book, you’ll see just how far that sin took him, just how much that sin cost him, and just how long that sin held him. And you’ll hear the heartbreak he caused himself and those he loved.

One last thing…your own sin will never just be about you. It’ll bring others along for the ride in ways you may never know about. You’ll leave a sin trail of collateral damage that can be years or even generations long.

Stay vigilant. Guard your heart and armour up. The devil is prowling and looking for someone to devour. I pray it’s not you.

Be blessed my friends. Make wise choices and flee from the enemy’s antics and devastating shenanigans. Remember, “…greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world”! (1 John 4:4)

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Lighting Your Own Fuse

It’s been quite awhile since I had trouble falling asleep. Trying to understand another’s person motives late at night, is not peaceful. The conversations I play out in my brain help me process, but based on the information I have, it’s limited to what knowledge I currently possess. Rather then letting the hamster of my mind run frantically on the wheel of make stuff up and blow things out of proportion, I did what I know to do. I grabbed my journal and I prayed.

As I prayed the Lord brought to mind the story of the two women who fought over a child. Gotta give a shout out to google. I typed what I knew in the search bar and voila, the information I needed presented itself. So, I clicked on 1 Kings 3:16-28 and spent time with it. Let’s take a look at this story, shall we?

A Wise Ruling

“Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us. “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.” The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours. But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king. The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’” Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other. The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him! But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.” (NIV)

Quite the dramatic story. While this story is about 2 women and a child, I believe it can relate to almost any relationship. It’s about laying aside what you feel is in your best interest for the greater good. Hmmmm, sounds a lot like what Jesus did for us. He cried out to His Father to take the cup that was sending Him to the cross, but followed it up with, not my will, but Your will be done. Luke 22:41-43

Jesus knew what was coming, but He did it anyway. What would make someone do something so horrific as to die on a cross for others? Love.

Back to the story of our two women. What would make a woman give up her child to save them from being cut in two? Love. What would make a woman decide cutting a child in two would be best? The very opposite of love.

Nothing good ever comes from the mindset, “If I can’t have them, no one will.” Or “It’s my way or the highway.” There’s always something deeper going on under the surface of these two mindsets. And it usually stems from unhealed trauma.

I’m no expert, but I can attest to being both of these women. Control of any narrative made me feel “safe”. Growing up as a child in a home ruled by alcohol and addition, taught me that the only thing I could control was me and anyone who was in my path. If I could control everything that happened around me, I was okay. No one could “hurt” me”. At least, not that I’d let them see.

Unfortunately, that created a lot of chaos, discontent, and drama. Is it any wonder that eventually I would turn to alcohol to help me cope? I was literally my biggest problem. But, I made every thing and everyone else the problem. And I hid behind the lie the enemy calls “control”.

How many nights did I lie awake trying to manipulate a situation I needed control over? When the person I disagreed with, twisted, I’d turn. When they tried to speak, I spoke over them. When they tried to explain, I’d listen just enough to gush my desires over theirs. When I thought of a new way to present my case, I lay in wait for just the right moment to let loose the cracken. Nothing made me feel so satisfied as when I proved my point. But at what cost?

Maybe you can relate to either being that “controlling” person or having a “relationship” with that type person. If you’ve been that person, maybe, like me, you’ve processed your hurts and you’re working on being the victor of your story instead of the victim.

The victim will always point to the ways they’ve been hurt and make themselves the center of attention by being the martyr of any given situation, as they slap down the pity card. The pity card, is the last ditch effort to get you to agree with what they want. When that doesn’t work, they flip the script and make you the problem.

Their goal is to nag you to death until you’re so exhausted, you just give in because you just don’t want to deal with the constant barrage of the never ending dripping faucet. And when they get what they want, they go for the next jugular. Because winning = control = safe.

The victor will recognize their hurts are a part of their story, but not who they are. They rise above the chaos because they know peace is a gift. They now understand control can be a weapon of mass destruction and self-imploding still sends out deadly shrapnel and injures those they claim to “love”. They know that “cutting the person in two” is a loss they can’t bear. They lay their life down for another.

The woman in our story who attempted to manipulate the situation by swapping out the dead baby for the living one, wanted things her way. When the King wasn’t in agreement with her, she wanted everyone to suffer, like she was suffering. No doubt this woman must’ve gone through a lot of pain knowing she was cause of her baby’s death. But instead of processing through her grief, she jumped into action and caused undo stress and chaos by trying to weave a web of deceit. Thank God, a wise ruler saw through the deception and gave the baby back to the mother who loved the baby enough to let him go.

Okay, let’s wrap this up. There’s a fruit of the Spirit called self-control. It’s not called others-control for a reason. It’s not your place to control another person’s life to make yours feel complete/fit your narrative. If there’s a “dead baby” in your life, you need to deal with that or keep letting it push you around while it wreaks havoc over everyone in your sphere of “influence”.

Every human being on this earth has been given free will. Every person on this earth was created in Christ’s image, not yours. Sorry, not sorry. Every time you try to control another human who disagrees with you and you fight back with deceit and manipulation, you lose! So the theory of winning = control = safe, is blowing your life up. You’re lighting your own fuse. I know, the truth hurts. But, you have a choice.

If you’re exhausted from the fight; from the constant spinning of your mind, there’s someone waiting for you. He’s the good Counselor and Shepherd. He wants nothing more than to spend time with you and give you rest. His name is Jesus and what He wants for you, won’t be found in deceit or manipulation. No, what He wants is found only from His love for you. But, it’ll cost you something…letting go of control so He can show you what safe truly looks like. I’ll leave you with this invitation from your Heavenly Father…

“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

Notice He doesn’t say to go to everybody and your brother for that rest. Yet, we do. Totally guilty of this. But, in he end, I know where my help comes from. The maker of Heaven and earth. He truly has all I need. I pray if you don’t already know this, one day, very soon, you will.

Have a blessed day my friends!

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7 Out of 10

7 out of 10 was the looks-based rating a guy I once dated gave me. His friend, gave me an even lower number. Rude! I’m not quite sure what he was hoping to accomplish by sharing this information with me, but years later, here I am, with this memory popping up in my brain.

In case you don’t know, in 1979, a romantic-comedy simply entitled “10” was released. It starred Bo Derek and Dudley Moore. I never watched the movie, I only saw the trailer. The premise of the movie, was about a middle-aged guy who had “everything,” but one look at Bo Derek, and nothing else mattered. I wonder how that made his girlfriend feel? Errrgh.

One of the quotes from the movie trailer said something like, on a scale of 1-10, he was about to meet an 11. (paraphrase)

Humans love to rate things. Which is great when it comes to things you’re going to spend money on, but not so great for rating other humans. It’s a comparison trap. A trap that so easily entangles us and leaves us in a state of coveting.

Here’s an example. I had very dark, wavy hair. So dark that when the sun hit my head just right, it looked like I had blue highlights. Since dark hair was on my head, it was also on my legs and arms. Like a ridiculous amount on my legs and arms. Was my hair awful? No, it wasn’t. But it also wasn’t blonde and straight. You know, like Marcia Brady from the Brady Bunch. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. That’s the hair I wanted. Seems sister Jan wasn’t the only envious one.

Have you ever become so focused on one part of your body that wasn’t what you wanted, you forgot about the rest of you? Which by the way, in case you need a reminder, is pretty amazing. I wish I could’ve told my younger self, it’s not all about the hair. Oh, I could nit pick myself with the best of them.

As you can imagine my dark-haired self being compared to the blonde bombshell of 1979, took what little self-esteem I had, and tossed it out the window. But, I think my then boyfriend thought being a “7“ was some sort of compliment. That I should take that defining number and hold my head up high. Look out world, here comes a “7”. I know, right? Did you feel the electricity fill the room? Yea, me either.

I don’t believe my then boyfriend meant any harm. It wasn’t his fault I didn’t know my true worth. It wasn’t his fault I allowed the world to define who I was. And it most assuredly wasn’t his fault, that I didn’t like things about me. He only heaped hot coals on top of my self-loathing smoldering ashes.

Back to present day. I woke up feeling anxious. It seems to be a constant these days. I don’t want anxious for me. So, I pray. I make it out of bed, let Moose out, and grab my coffee. I decide to listen to one of my meditation apps. It tells me to repeat, three times, “I am safely held inside the love of God.” Here comes the tears.

Then I sit and just be. The memory of 7 out of 10 creeps in. Awesome. Ok, Lord. Why did that memory pop up? What do you want me to address? I hear (not audibly), “disapproval”. So, I ask, “in what way?” More tears as I realize that I’ve put up a barrier between myself and my Heavenly Father because of the way I’m viewing His disapproval rating scale of me. Only this scale, isn’t a number based on the way I look, it’s based on the way I behave.

In my head, I know God doesn’t, nor has He ever rated me. Sometimes it takes my heart time to catch up to my brain. The anxiousness I prayed about and asked God for a revelation was based on my performance. Yep. I know. We’ve been here before.

Now, I can be anxious over the fact that I’m still believing God’s approval is based on my performance, or I can thank God for His mercy and grace so I can move forward (as my app reminded me), being safely held inside the love of God.

I’m choosing the love of God. I’m choosing the safety of His arms. Friend, the things of this world are constantly shifting, and ever changing. It’s imperative we stick close to the One who never changes. I cannot be reduced to a number, unless I give myself over to that way of thinking. And, neither can you be reduced to a number.

Spend some time figuring out what you’re allowing to define you. What makes you feel inadequate and most importantly, what barrier stands between you and God? Ask Him. He’ll be faithful to answer.

I’ll leave you with this. While a “barrier” may stand between you and God, understand that nothing can separate you from God’s love. But, don’t take my word for it. Take His.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~ Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)

While my then boyfriend may have had good intentions, his looks-based rating scale gets a 0 out of 10. I’m not here for anyone’s approval. Don’t like what you see? Just keep on moving. Contrary to popular belief, you can actually control the things that come out of your mouth. Silence truly can be golden.

I hope you all have a fabulous day. Be everything God created you to be. I guarantee, that’s where you’ll find, peace, love and joy.

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Dear Empty Nester

Ok, you’re on your own. There’s no one to really look after or do things for. You feel like your purpose is gone. You literally don’t know what to do with or for yourself because you’ve been taking care of others for what seems like forever.

You feel like your “purpose” is gone. I know. I repeated this part about purpose because it’s important. While you knew this day would come, you don’t feel prepared to move forward. You somehow feel guilty for not having anything to do. You’re anxious because you can’t stop feeling like you should be doing something, but you have no clue what that something is. Yikes!

Getting yourself out of the house feels like a chore. So many “why bothers” come hurling at your over anxious brain and it debilitates your forward momentum. You’re exhausted and you’re peering over the edge into the abyss called, “What now”.

You holler into the abyss and nothing comes back. You’re frustrated with yourself. You may even be a little angry and disappointed. But, none of this will change the fact, that just as seasons change, so do the seasons of our life.

And I’m not gonna lie, this one has been hard. Nothing will teach you faster about what you put your worth into than becoming an empty nester.

But, as I sit in the quiet, I’ve learned it’s not the time to make huge life altering decisions. This is the time to be still and figure out who you are again. Do you even know what you like? Do you even have a clue what brings you joy?

We carry a lot of titles that try to tie themselves to our identity. They deceive us into thinking we’re more important than we are, and without them we’ll be nothing. It’s why so many feel so lost when they retire. We become the job. Forgetting that before the job, we were someone.

You have a choice. You get to decide what’s next. You get to discover who YOU are, what YOU like, what’s worth YOUR time. Because suddenly you’re very aware of time and how it stops for no one.

And that’s a lot of you. You’ve not had to sit with just you in a long time. The person you face in the mirror every morning is all you got. So, whatcha gonna do with all that? I’ve been asking myself this question for months.

Let me share a little of what I’ve learned.

  1. Give yourself grace to be a human being over a human doing. It’s ok to not be going at mach 10 speed.
  2. Be kind to you. You’ve been through a lot and your soul needs tending to. Crying is inevitable, so have kleenex in every room.
  3. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Getting to know you will be a challenge, but it’s crucial to understand the culmination of you, up to this point.
  4. Journal. Get the yuck out and you’ll begin to see what you’ve been carrying. Just be honest about all of it. All. Of. It.
  5. Get outside, everyday in some way. Look up. It will remind you, there’s a bigger world out there, outside of yourself.
  6. You’re worth taking care of. Make a good meal for yourself. Go for a walk. Dance. Listen to music. Sing. Meditate. Take a course of some sort. Talk with God….a lot! Get your hair done. Get a pedicure or manicure. Get a massage. Move your body.
  7. Don’t isolate! It’s important you don’t sit with you and your own thoughts for too long. Let’s face it, we can be our own worst enemy.
  8. Be a good friend to you. Speak life over yourself. Remember life and death are in the power of the tongue.
  9. Volunteer
  10. Above all else, guard your heart. Everything you do flows from what’s in there.

Being an empty nester, doesn’t have to mean your life is empty. This is the time for discovery. You’re an amazing person who maybe forgot about you because everyone else took good chunks of you. God still has good plans for you. You’re not forgotten. You’ve got more gumption and courage for this new phase of life. Most importantly, YOU are not alone. Trust me, if I feel like this, I know others out there do as well. You need something to do? Let me know. If you need to chat, gimme a holler.

You may just find this empty nest life to be the very best thing you never knew you needed. Wipe those tears off your beautiful face, and get back in the game. Your life isn’t ending, it’s just beginning! ❤️

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Not The Glue

“Honor your father and mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” ~ Exodus 20:12

This post won’t be pretty because I’ve struggled with this commandment. I’ve wrestled. I’ve beat myself up with it. I’ve laid awake over not being loving enough. I’ve tried time and again to stuff the ugly feelings down, but they kept rising back to the top. Why wasn’t the forgiveness working? Was there something wrong with me? I went back to the relationship time and again, only to feel like a failure because, truth be told, I don’t like her. I feel sorry for her. I try to put myself in her shoes, but they don’t fit. Whatever she went through at the hands of my father made its way down to all of her children. Not just at his hands, but hers too. When you try to appease an abusive man, and you have kids, the kids suffer too. I guess it’s hard to protect your kids when you can’t even protect yourself.

I used to think, I was the glue that held our “family” together. That’s a lot for one person to take on. I don’t know why I have such a strong desire for family. Lord knows I’ve done my part in screwing things up, yet, it’s still there. Maybe it’s because when your family is so messed up, you desire something stable. Something that hugs and loves you. Something that lifts you up, and encourages you to keep going. That’s not what we got in the family I grew up in.

I’ve accepted that. I can’t change any of it. It’s in the past. But that doesn’t mean the past doesn’t try to seep in and take up space. I don’t recommend ignoring those thoughts. I do recommend giving pause and asking God why it’s coming up. Healing is trying to happen here and it’s a chance to grow bitter or get better. Journaling helps. Like, if you can’t talk about it, you can get it out of you by writing it out.

Forgiveness comes in all shapes and sizes. Crocodile tears, gulps of air in between heartwrenching sobs, whispers, shouting, faces etched in pain and anger, and in surrender. Surrender means you’ve placed the broken relationship in God’s hands where it belongs.

Broken people can commiserate together, but I don’t believe they can heal together. Battle wounds suffered on each person is separate. They may look similar on the outside, but the toll they took looks very different on the inside.

I kept returning to the scene of the crime expecting a different result. After all, she’s my mother. The title invokes respect, right? People innocently remind you, “she’s the only mom you’ll ever have,” and they base it off their experience with their mom.

You should be careful trying to guilt a wounded person to accept an abuser back in their life. It may not be what you mean to do, but sometimes good intentions do harm that you can’t see.

There’s an episode of the tv show “Mom” where the daughter has a podcast called, “The mother of all problems” where she speaks about her experiences growing up with an alcoholic mom. Her mother hears the show and wants to confront her daughter. The mom goes to her daughters apartment and the daughter pulls out her podcast equipment and the mom explains her side and how she’s doing so much better now and helping others. When the podcast is over, and they’re wrapping up the visit, the mom desperately wants to reconnect with her estranged daughter but the daughter tells her no, that she’s better without her mom in her life for now. The mom leaves devastated. I used to wonder how the daughter could be so harsh. I don’t wonder anymore.

In this scenario, it’s not that forgiveness didn’t happen. It did. But, healing takes time. It’s totally possible to forgive someone and not have a direct, hands-on relationship with them.

Even though the mom was now doing better, the daughter was working through her trauma and the experiences that brought her pain. She didn’t wish her mom ill, she just wasn’t ready to jump back into a full on relationship with her. In this case her mom was her abuser. Why would anyone encourage a relationship with their abuser, just because of their title?

It’s totally possible to forgive someone while you’re healing. I may not like my mom, but I love her. I have empathy for what she went through at the hands of my father. I have compassion for her pain. I also understand, that it wasn’t just my father who wreaked havoc in our lives.

I have forgiven her. I want nothing but the best for her. But in this season, the best I can do for her, is love and pray for her from a distance. The Lord knows my heart.

Do you remember when I said I thought I was the glue responsible for holding my family together? I was wrong. That was never my place. God reminded me, He’s the Savior, not me.

My responsibility is love. In this tender place, while I learn about love from my Heavenly Father, I get out of His way, because it’s never been about me. It’s always been about Jesus. But, don’t take my word for it, take His!

““Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” ~ John 14:6

Honor can happen from a distance. In that distance, make no mistake, Heavenly work is being done. And from all my experiences, that’s the work that matters most. The best part, the burden is lifted from me, and placed in the very hands of the One knows far more than I ever will, the Creator of all.

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Alcohol’s Dark Side

Don’t you love Facebook memories? It’s crazy to think how long Facebook has been around. The other day this particular memory popped up from 11 years ago:

“What an irritating, make me wanna do unspeakable things to people I don’t even know kind of day!!!! Good thing there’s wine in the world =)”

You can tell it’s older because there were no fun emoji’s back then.

11 years ago wine was my go to comforter. What I wrote in the post made me giggle. I have no recollection what happened that day. But I no doubt consumed more wine than I should have that day. More wine than any person should drink in a day.

By the grace of God, I was rescued from the grip alcohol had on my life. Since that Facebook post, two of my loved ones died from the clutches of alcoholism, and another is back in the boxing ring, laid out on the floor, passed out. He would later wake up in the emergency room. Please pray! God knows.

There are people who can recreationally consume alcohol and go on their merry way. Others, become addicted. For those who have never been addicted your opinion about what alcoholics should do is just that, your opinion. Your experience is not the same. Your knowledge comes from what you think, based on your own experience with the substance. Thank God, you never became addicted. Have mercy on those that do.

It’s not an easy thing to talk about. No one starts their day thinking, “I can’t wait to be an addict”. It creeps up on you and by the time you realize it, you’re in its clutches. You deny the addiction. You hide the evidence. You sneak sips or gulp the drink of choice down and I daresay, hate yourself in the process. Yet, you drink it down anyway. You think you’re being clever, yet, your loved ones know, and they pay the price alongside you.

The addiction comes with the high cost of shame, guilt, self-loathing, and thoughts like, “nothing matters, no one cares, my life is over.” Truth is, you’re exhausted from the pain that’s consumed your life. You cry out to God, “kill me” and “I can’t do this anymore”. Your cry is a death song.

But God! The second you cry out to Him, He moves. Make no mistake, God is not in the business of killing, He’s in the business of saving. He’s a Savior! He’s the Alpha and Omega! He’s the Way, the Truth and the LIGHT! He knitted YOU together in your mother’s womb, and He made you with precision and loving kindness.

It’s your enemy, Satan who comes to kill, steal, and destroy. He’s the one whispering in your ear you’re worthless and nobody cares. He will do anything he can to bring you low and crawling around like a serpent in the darkness.

When you cry out, at God’s command, people move. He already set in place who would help and fight in the gap for, and with you. They are His people, putting themselves on the front lines of faith, knowing that God has a plan, a good plan, and in tandem they fight on their knees, and worship the goodness and might of God and their battle cry is “Not one more lost to this disease, Abba Father” and they ask the Good Shepherd to bring His lost sheep home into His embrace. Why? They’ve experienced first hand what God can do/has done in their own lives.

Do you know the parable of the prodigal son? The Father didn’t stand there waiting for his son to return home. No, instead, as soon as he saw his son, he RAN to meet him and embraced him in a hug, despite his son’s running off and squandering his fortune away.

You can read the parable here.

Your cry may be a death song, but God’s action is saving grace. What you do with that, is your choice. The struggle to get where you are, has already been won. Not by anything you do, but by everything He does. You simply can’t out do or out run the goodness of God.

If you know someone in the thick of the battle of addiction, please know, they already know how sad their life has become. No one keeps drinking themselves into oblivion because everything is sunshine and rainbows. Because let’s face it, life is challenging. How you walk through it, is made up of your daily choices.

Everyone talks about the fun and glamour of alcohol. No one talks about its catastrophic effects on your body and the ruination of your life. Maybe it’s time to talk about the ugly truth and bring the LIGHT into the darkness.

If you’re addicted to alcohol and reading this, know I’ve prayed for you and for God to make Himself known to you. I’ve prayed for the saving of your soul and for you to know the great love He has for you. I have faith, it’s why you’re here. It’s why you’re still reading this post. So, this is where I let His Truth speak into your soul:

““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.“. ~ Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

For those addicted, cry out to Jesus! Invite Him into the battle, because ultimately, the battle belongs to the Lord. The burden is too much for us on our own. Just remember, He’s your Savior, not your destroyer.

For my brothers and sisters in Christ, armor up, the front lines are calling.

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Walk The Walk

If you know me, you know I love the movie Top Gun and it’s sequel. I really liked how they merged the two movies together. One of the lines that carried over to the sequel was Maverick saying that up in the air, in a combat situation, there was no time to think or you’d be dead. (Paraphrasing) Pretty much he was saying in the situation, he acted on the knowledge and skills he’d learned through living and honing those skills.

In the original movie, in what I’ll call the simulation room, they played out his encounter with a mig on the screen and broke down and critiqued his maneuvers. The civilian liaison said that while the outcome was a success, he did it wrong and then they showed what it should’ve looked like via the “text book” instructions.

I don’t know who wrote the text book, but I know the book wasn’t in the air. How could a text book give every possible scenario to any situation? Pretty much when it comes to technology, the minute the book is printed, it’s already older than the current day technology. Is that to say the book is now irrelevant? Hard to say. I’ve not ever flown a plane.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, experience is key to the knowledge Maverick used to fly his plane. It was by practical performance and living through the experience that gave him the wisdom he needed.

Yet, there will always be someone who thinks they know how to do things better by telling what they think over having the actual experience. Where is the knowledge garnered from if you’ve not experienced it?

I had a friend who said that everyday he got behind the wheel of a car, he played out scenarios of how he’d handle a traffic incident should it happen. Have you ever been in an accident? It happens in seconds. What you do is based on so many variants, and in those moments, what you know to do, based on your experience can be crucial. But, not everything is controllable.

And that’s the scary part. The uncontrollable. It’s in those moments we try to control the variants by pushing our opinion around. All that is, is a desperate attempt to control a situation that feels out of our control. We hold on so tightly to what we think should happen, we’re willing to cause a verbal or even physical confrontation. Despite not having any practical experience in the matter.

The phrase “talk the talk” is just that. You’re talking about something you really know nothing about. “Walk the walk”, means you’ve put in the work, you’ve experienced the work, and you know first hand the battle you walked through.

When we try to define or box up another’s persons life through our opinion, we belittle what they’ve walked through. We talk about things we have no knowledge about and we try to make our opinion their new accepted reality, because it’s what we selfishly want. We get frustrated because they aren’t listening. But, who’s really the one, not listening?

Trying to control a situation with your opinion is a fool’s folly. Just take a look around social media and you’ll see it.
Proverbs 10:11-14 reminds us,

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense.
The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.”

Imparting wisdom is not opinion. It’s a telling of what a person actually walked through and came out the other side. Maybe, just maybe if we stopped talking long enough and quit trying to manipulate things for our gain we’d live a way more peaceful life.

Eventually, and practically speaking from experience, trying to control something that’s not in your wheelhouse will exhaust you. If you’re always putting your best interest first and what you want ahead of others, you’re already behind.

Living selfishly means the only person you look out for is yourself. And don’t be fooled. They know how to cleverly disguise manipulation through doing things “for” you, but later using those very same things against you. And when they see they can’t control you, they’ll go after someone close to you. Be vigilant, my friends! Those red flags, don’t ignore them.

Living unselfishly means, you look for ways to help someone else succeed, to make their day better, so in turn, your day is better. Easier said than done, but so much more rewarding.

Ok, I’ve rambled on long enough. If you made it this far, I hope you have a beautiful day. It’s new. It’s filled with possibility and all kinds of gifts from your Heavenly Father. ❤️

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Where Are You?

Where are you? That was the message I received last night when I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I started to type a humorous response but then I looked at the question again. It didn’t fit the narrative of our conversation.

That proverbial light bulb went off over my head, my eyes widened, and I said….”no, it’s not tonight.” I ferverishly searched my emails for the event ticket and there it was, plain as the nose on my face. The event was happening and I was late.

Thankfully, I had most everything ready. It was a birthday wine and design for a friend. Like a madman I jumped off the couch and started gathering all the things. I quick put Moose in his crate and headed to the event.

When I arrived, I said, “Why is everyone so early”? Ba-da-bum Truth be told I was 40 minutes late. Ay, caramba!

The instructor came to my station and got me started on the painting. Despite my being late, it was really a fun night.

You know you’re making progress when something that used to bother you, doesn’t seem as important as it once was. Back in the day, my being THAT late would’ve caused a melt down. I would’ve been sullen and overly apologetic and beat myself up the rest of the night.

But, this night wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about my being late. It was about celebrating a friend’s birthday. So, I brushed off any bad feelings and had a great time.

This might not seem like a big deal, but this is what celebrating the small victories in our life looks like. While I painted away in an effort to catch up, mistakes were made. BUT, those mistakes can still be part of the overall prettier picture in progress.

The point being, don’t discount your mistakes. Instead use them as stepping stones to rise above what seems to be catastrophic. We all tend to make small mistakes into bigger ones by over thinking the mistake instead of seeing the outcome.

Yes, I was late. It wasn’t intentional. There’s no reason to stay stuck in “beat myself up” mode.

So, when my friend asked “Where are you?”, she had no idea how that simple question would effect how I’d process the rest of the evening. It kept me present, and in the moment, so I could enjoy the gifts in front of me.

Stay present my friends, it absolutely matters where you are! ❤️

Pumpkins! I’m ready for Fall & all things Pumpkin Spice. Painted at Wine and Design in Corning, NY
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