Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

Romanticizing Adultery

How do you romanticize adultery and make it acceptable? Let’s take a look.

☺️Guy meets girl.
☺️Guy dates girl.
🥰They fall in love.
💍Guy gets engaged to girl.
👗👔They may even move in together before marriage.
✈️🚙❤️‍🔥Girl takes a trip home and runs into an old flame.
💍Remember, girl is still engaged.
😍Girl starts feeling romantic towards old flame and begins questioning her life. Yet, she’s still engaged. Why was she hanging around him to begin with?
🤔Guy she’s engaged to shows up unexpectedly and doesn’t understand what’s changed.
💔Guy and girl get disengaged.
🥰🔥Girl begins new life with old flame.
😒Other guy, well, good luck, dude.

You can also reverse this if the guy takes a trip home and runs into an old flame.

This is pretty much the premise for the majority of romance films. It’s got to be the unhealthiest way to go about finding romance. But, let’s keep perpetuating that unhealthiness. Because a little cheating is okay as long as there’s a happy ending, right?

Emotional cheating is still cheating. It wrecks relationships on the daily. Running from one person to the next without some form of healing is bad mojo jojo.

Nothing worse than dragging your unhealed baggage from one relationship to the next, expecting another unhealed person to make things all better.

You see we only think of adultery as married people fooling around on each other. But let’s see what God has to say about it. Buckle up folks, it’s about to get turbulent up in here.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” ~ Matthew 5:27-28

Of course, “You shall not commit adultery” is one of the Ten Commandments. But, adding lust into the picture changes the game.

Oh, and to the women, don’t be fooled. Lustful thoughts aren’t solely the man’s fault. Soap Operas are notorious for perpetuating adultery. Yet how many of us who’ve watched them, cheered for the adulterous relationship to prevail based on the heat a couple put off? Girl, don’t I know it!

Adultery is not acceptable in the eyes of our Lord. We’ve made it acceptable and too easily accessible.

Here’s a thought. Why not just break up with the person you’re with before stepping out on them? I daresay, cowardice. Better to see if what you’re lusting after is better than what you have, before you wreck it. Been there, done that.

But wait, there’s something even worse. How about we murder the unsuspecting person being cheated on for ill-gotten gain? By the way, that’s another Commandment. Thou shalt not murder. But hey, it’s better to kill them than to break up or divorce them, because then you get all the toys. After all , what’s the harm in breaking one more Commandment? Go broke or go home, right?

I can attest, there’s so much harm created in your being by this type of adulterous mindset, behavior, and acceptance. Not just in you, but through you. You may not realize the damage now, or a couple years from now, or even 15 years from now, but one day I guarantee, it will wreck you.

One day, the bigger picture will play out before you when you least expect it, and it will eat you up from the inside out. That’s the thing about unrepentant sin. It will have its proverbial day in court. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of when.

Have you ever heard the term, “guilty pleasure?” If you’ve ever committed adultery, and moved past the guilt and shame of it, then you’re in the clutches of that guilty pleasure.

You’ve allowed the serpent of your soul to comfortably curl up and take residence and it’s striking its venom into everything morally good. It’s job, to move you as far away from God as possible. To deaden the good God created. Until all you see is the path of destruction, sin cost you.

Single people desperate for a relationship, who set their eyes on a married person, are not off the hook either.

Hebrews 13:4 reminds us:

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Did you get that part, “by all.” Not some. ALL. So, that means if your single, your sin is the same if you’re going after someone’s spouse. Yikes, right?

Friend, let me remind you of this truth. Whatever sin has done, God is still greater. There’s still hope to be found. It’s in the finished work of Jesus Christ. By His mercy and grace alone, can you run…seriously run, to the Father, confess to Him, repent, and stop sin from having its way with you.

You may have moved from God, but God never left you. He may have allowed the sin you so desperately wanted to consume you, but He was still there. I’ve said it before, free will, is a gift. How you use it, is up to you. God will never tempt you into sin. That’s not His way.

Despite your sin, God loves you. Loving Him back, means you turn from sin. God is holy, and righteous. Sin is not acceptable to Him. It’s an abomination in His sight.

I can attest His love is so much better than any sin feels. His love is so great, He daily gives you the choice. So, what’s it gonna be? God’s already made His mind up about you. He gave us this promise about His love found in Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romanticizing adultery or any other sin, doesn’t make it acceptable to God. The only person that can stand against it, is you. But, you’re not alone, for greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world. Now that’s some good news! Be blessed!

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The Want of More

Scrolling through the radio stations I stopped when I saw Pat Benetar’s name pop up. Love me some Pat Benetar. It took a minute for me to recognize the song, “All Fired Up,” but as the song played on, bits and pieces came to mind and next thing I knew I was jammin’ in my car alongside a rock star. 

Back in the 80s I never really cared for the meaning behind song lyrics. If it had a good beat, and I could dance to it, I dubbed it good. Singing along was a bonus. The chorus of this song caught my attention. 

“I believe there comes a time when everything just falls in line, we live and learn from our mistakes, our deepest cuts are human made.”

As I sang and bopped my head along in unison to the beat, I couldn’t help but think of Adam and Eve. Isn’t that where it all started to fall apart? The garden of Eden. Everything was perfect. And yet, the want of more, and then acting upon that want, ruined it. For everyone! Generation after generation suffer from the effects of more.

“We live and learn from our mistakes”. Do we? Has the want of more gone by the wayside? Are we content with what we have? Do we still covet our neighbor’s stuff? Do we still idolize money and power? Do we place things above people? 

Look around, do you have a plethora of something and yet, you still want more? I can say I have an astonshing amount of crafting items, but, everyday something new and shiny seems to come out on the market, and I must have it. Do I need it? No. No, I don’t. 

“We live and learn from our mistakes”. If we truly lived and learned from our mistakes, would “the deepest cuts” still be “human made”? I’d like to think that as we grow older, we grow wiser. But it seems as one generation starts to “get it,” the upcoming generation is seemingly following in the same footsteps, and we just keep the circle of sin going. 

People are still trying to climb over one another to get the promotion. People are still pushing the sexual envelope. Things that were once hidden are shoved into eyes that have no business seeing perverse and immoral sexual acts and violence. 

I can’t seem to find a tv show that doesn’t shove sex, adultery, murder, excessive violence, alcoholism, drug use, and cussing as the norm. Over the years, it’s only gotten worse. And this is entertainment? We’re literally teaching people how to sin, better. Awesome.

I guess these days you could call me a prude. I’m okay with that. I don’t need to see people grinding away on my tv screen. What’s being promoted here? Do you ever stop and ask yourself that question? Of course I can turn the tv off, but does ignoring the televised acceptance of soft porn make it go away? No, it doesn’t.

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “if you give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile.” The same applies to the enemy. We’re instructed not to give him a foothold. Yet, daily we give him miles and miles to do his fiendish work.

Do you know who pays the biggest price for the things we do? Our kids. We’ve become so self-obsessed that our kids are being raised by influencers instead of parents. People who want to look good on-screen for people they don’t even know. Yet, their own kids are standing right in front of them begging to be seen. My heart is broken.

The other day my 6-year old grand daughter was approached by another child in her class. He wanted her to play “let’s make babies” and have her lie beside him. What? Are you kidding me? Where does another child learn this type of behavior? My heart is broken.

As I type this out, all I want to do is backspace the entirety of this message for fear of retaliation. But, I think that’s the problem. We’ve succumbed, we’ve settled, and we’ve stopped fighting for what’s right, because it got too hard. “It is what it is,” has become our legacied mantra. We’ve been lulled to sleep by sin. My heart is broken.

Now more than ever sleepy Christian’s need to wake up and not only talk about the love of Jesus, which is amazing and wonderful but the heartbreak of sin cannot be ignored. It needs to be called out. Not shoved under a rock. Our kids are suffering for our lack of conviction. And if your heart isn’t broken, then I have to ask why not?

This was not how I envisioned this message going. I had something totally different in mind. But this isn’t my blog. It belongs to the Lord. What I type here I give over to Christ. I’m done worrying about what you all may think of what’s on my heart to say. My grand child’s future is at stake and I’m going to do everything I can to stand up for what’s biblically right and sound, not what’s immorally accepted as today’s norm.

6-year olds talking about making babies by lying down with one another is unacceptable. No, I’m not over reacting, you’re under reacting. Because if this doesn’t cut to your core, then I have to ask, why not? Ignorance is not bliss. It’s ignorance.

The funny thing is, this behavior is not new. Don’t take my word for it:

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” ~ 2 Timothy 3:1-7

We’re warned. And instead of backing away from it, we’re embracing it. What do we do? How do we stop the downward trajectory of mankind? We repent. We change our ways and turn back to God. It sounds simple, right? Yet, instead of running to Him, we run from Him. And that my friends, breaks His heart.

Ever since Adam and Eve committed the sin of more, God put a plan in place to right the relationship that was broken. He sent Jesus to overcome sin and death. He’s ALWAYS making a way. Do you see it? Again, don’t take my word for it.

Look! I’m doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness.” ~ Isaiah 43:19 (CEB)

Jesus’s death on the cross made the way for us to have a personal relationship with God. He has specific plans for each of us to bring Him glory here on earth. We have a choice. I’m just so thankful God’s not limited to our small mindedness. I’m even more thankful that His love is greater than our sin.

Friends, It’s never too late to run to Christ. Just ask the thief hanging on the cross next to Jesus. (Luke 23:40-43) Now that’s the kind of more we all gain from. More of Christ, more like Him. That’s where the real power is and always will be.

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What a Waste

Every time I see a Whitney Houston movie or hear one of her songs, I always think, “What a waste.” Hear me out before you attack. I’m not calling her a waste. On the contrary, that woman was phenomenal. If you really listen to her voice, the passion, the depth, the incandescent beauty of her range, it will bring you to tears. On the outside looking in, she was beautifully flawless. It’s no wonder she was nicknamed “The Voice”. She had one problem. She was human. There’s not a single one of us that doesn’t suffer from the same thing. We all have our stuff. Being human comes with a price.

Whitney had an extraordinary gift and the world ravishes those who take center stage like she did. Everybody wanted a piece of her. She did the work, and those closet to her, rode the wave of her success, not caring one iota of how it affected her. Greed knows no bounds.

I don’t know how true the latest movie made of her life is, but if you haven’t watched, ”I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, I highly recommend it. I cried. I sighed, “What a waste”. What I mean by that is, what a tragic loss. Yet, it’s so much more encompassing than that.

All the money, fame, awards, accolades, fandom, and things this world has to offer, wasn’t enough. Or maybe it was too much. Her way of escaping the reality of it all…drugs. I wonder if her dealer ever felt any kind of remorse over his choice to provide something he knew at any time could kill her? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, choices matter.

Portrayed in the movie on the night of her death, Whitney was working on her comeback. She had gone through an intense rehab program, and was doing seemingly ok. But, no one really knows what’s going on deep in the places no one can see. For whatever reason, Whitney chose to get high that fateful night. There’s no way she could’ve known that decision, would be one of her last. If she had, would she choose death?

Addiction has no boundaries. It knows your weakness and its satisfaction is your destruction. It’s appetite is insatiable. No one sets out to be an addict. It happens. Everyone who becomes an addict has a story. Like you and me, they are a living, breathing, person. Someone’s child, sister, brother, family member, and friend. Have you ever heard a child say, “I wanna be an addict when I grow up”? Probably not.

If you’ve never been addicted to anything, I daresay callousness will keep you from ever understanding or having compassion for those who suffer from it. Be careful looking at others through disdained colored eyes though, addiction comes in many forms besides drugs and alcohol.

Your addiction may not look like those who suffer from the ill effects of drugs and alcohol, but it’s still just as detrimental to your soul. Don’t get me started on porn and sexual immorality, and the far reaching, gut wrenching, dastardly, heinous, and vile paths of destruction they leave in their wake. Like I said, be careful throwing stones from inside glass houses. Haughty eyes looking down on others doesn’t lessen your own sin.

Escaping addiction is not a simple choice. Contrary to what so many think, you can’t wish it away. It takes intentionality. It means looking hard at yourself and realizing you’re worth so much more than what you’re doing. Sometimes, it’s seeing your loved one dead on the floor and that image burned in your brain to keep you from returning to its evil clutches.

More than that, it’s a surrender. I’ve heard stories where God removes the want of a particular addiction from a person immediately. I’ve heard other stories where family members pray for years for their loved one. But, we can’t change people. That job belongs to God. Understanding His ways, also not our job. I guess my point in all this is compassion reaches so much farther than contempt and arrogance.

The night I planned to take my own life, I hit my knees in full surrender to God. My life didn’t change overnight and I for sure didn’t know what I was doing. The mess I’d made of my life through my bad choices had to change. Surrender was my only option. Bit by bit, step by step, from glory to glory God restores what the enemy stole.

There are days I still wonder what the point is, what does it matter, and who cares, but because God gives me another day, I press on. Lord, use me. Help me, help others. Who needs to hear from you? I don’t do this perfectly, but God doesn’t expect perfect. That alone gives me space to breathe and be the clay He wants to mold.

I don’t necessarily know who you are, but if you’re reading this, you’re not your addiction. You’re so much more interesting than that lie. You have a story. You have purpose. You have things to do that were planned for you long ago by the Creator of the universe. It’s never too late to begin again as long as there’s breath in you.

At the beginning of this story, I said I always think, “What a waste,” when it comes to hearing or seeing something about Whitney. Again, not because she’s that, but because of the tragedy of it all. But even after death, God is still able to use her life as a testimony, beyond the grave. Friends, God is a God of abundance, not waste.

Romans 8:28 reminds us that God is always working. He uses it all.

And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV ~ caps emphasis added)

Whitney’s life was not a waste. It was a beautiful and tragic reminder of the good and evil in this world. If we’re honest, isn’t that what being human is all about? Isn’t that why the Apostle Paul tells us to:

…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” ~ Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV)

Stand your ground my friend! You’re part of a grander plan in place to defeat the darkness in this world. No, you are not a waste, you are more than a conqueror. And no matter where you are in this moment, God is still working, and He still loves you. Emphasis on still. It means He never stopped. Now it’s up to you. Choose wisely.

Much love and grace to you!


A New Decade

A loud noise interrupts my peaceful morning. Excuse me! Don’t you know it’s my birthday? I’m guessing not. The sound is coming from a wood chipper and chain saws. Several men dressed in brightly colored vests are diligently working on the removal of two very large trees from my neighbor’s yard. The larger the tree limb, the louder the wood chipper noise.

I decided to watch these tree whackers do their job. They took great care as they worked their way up the tree felling those large limbs, while giving them plenty of room to make their way to the ground. Then the ground crew got to work, and into the wood chipper they’d go. From tree limb to sawdust.

I don’t know if trees feel pain. I’m guessing if they did, that was a lot to bear all at once. I thought to myself, I’m so thankful when God prunes away the things that need to go in my life, He doesn’t do it all at once. Like those lumberjacks, God also takes great care when He leads me through the pruning process.

As I stated earlier, today’s my birthday. Not just any birthday. The beginning of a new decade birthday. Age is just a number, right? I sure don’t feel 60 years old. I have peace with this number. I know, 60 is an age not granted to all. But here I am. God blessed me with another day and has walked me through a lot of pruning. A LOT of pruning. And, there’s still more to come.

Best part about my birthday? It’s also the first official day of Spring. I can almost hear the tulips and daffodils tapping on the ground to make way for their glorious entrance. That’s right, I said glorious.

The older I get, the more appreciation I have for this thing called life. There’s a lot less I find important. The simple things in life really are the best. I no longer put so much pressure on myself to perform. I figure, if you want to be in my life, you’ll be there. Begging someone to be part of my life, is no longer part of who I am.

Other people are not in charge of my life. Giving someone that kind of control robs me of who God calls me to be. I found people pleasing to be exhausting and a thief of precious time.

Worrying about what others think, gives them way too much power. The sad part is, you only find out just what a waste of time it was/is, when you realize those people weren’t even giving you a second thought. They were literally living their life while you wasted yours away, worrying about what to do based on a perceived outcome. Y’all this took me sooo long to learn.

Learning is a gift. Don’t ever stop learning. Don’t ever think you know it all, because you don’t. What a beautiful gift God has given us…to share, learn, love, and grow with one another. He graciously gives us what we need for each season and He lovingly prunes always what needs to be thrown into that wood chipper. Hanging onto things longer than necessary, leaves little room for things to come.

I have no idea what’s in store for me in this new decade, but I trust the One who created me to do what He planned for me long ago. So, I’m going into it with my hands, heart, eyes, and ears wide open for what God wants to do. He’s the only one who knows me through and through and remembers all I’ve forgotten. He knows all the things I have no clue about and yet, He’s ready to show me things when it’s the correct time.

So, on this first day of Spring and my birthday, let me remind you, God’s not even close to being done with what He’s started in you. He’s not mad at you. He’s not cursing you out. He’s not forgotten you. He absolutely loves you with an everlasting love. He sings over you and He has things meant just for you. Get ready my friend, because God’s always up to something new! And He always finishes what He starts. Much love to you!

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I Can’t Hear You

Do you remember being little, putting your hands over your ears, shouting obnoxiously loud, “I can’t hear you!” and then making all sorts of vocally misconstrued cacophony at your targeted nemesis? You know, the person who refused to listen when you told them you didn’t want to hear something? Heck, maybe you’ve even done this as an adult. I know I have.

This morning, I got myself around to workout. I’d love to say I’ve been consistently working out, but, I can’t. So, like the lyrics to the Whitesnake song, “Here I go again”.

The first routine started and the instructor repeated the words to the song that was playing. “Where are you”? It only took seconds for me to see where I was. I got a strong visual of myself sitting comfortably crossed legged, looking down in dark, muddy waters, swirling my hand around. I stopped the workout and I stood there in disbelief.

Tears welled up in my eyes and I asked God, “How did I get here… again”? But, this was different. It wasn’t a place where I’d been feeling shame, or guilt. No. This place was a safe place for me. I didn’t feel alone. I felt peace.

The water swirling around by the motion of my hand was receding water. I wasn’t overtaken by the water. I was actually, ok. I wasn’t fearful. I wasn’t kicking and screaming inside my soul. I wasn’t pushing against what God wanted to do in me. I was being still. I was waiting. More importantly, I was shutting the world out, and allowing God to heal my innermost parts.

So this, at least for me, is what it meant “to be still” AND “know He is God”.

A little over a year ago, I moved into a new to me home, subsequently resigned my position at work, and became a mostly empty nester. There were no Bible studies happening in my home and it was pretty much, me, myself, and lots and lots of time. In that time, came tears, pushing against the life as it was, and letting go of preconceived notions of how my life should look.

For the first time, I could sense and feel the anxiety I didn’t even know I had. The constant pushing of my soul to do more and be more. Reaching for something yet holding onto nothing. All for what? Acceptance. Validation. Love. In this place, even though I knew it, my heart had yet to grasp it. Performance based love, is a terrible taskmaster.

Unlearning years of performance based love is a journey. Oh, how I wanted it to be a sprint. Learning to say no to something or someone, over people pleasing, is both hard and freeing. Hearing “No is a complete sentence”, was a game changer for me. I can more easily recognize the nerves bundling up inside me when someone or something is trying to bulldoze me into submission. I have a right to stand up for myself. I have a right to be who God made me to be. And it’s ok, and I’ll be ok, if someone walks away.

Another game changer for me … “You can’t care more about someone’s problems, than they do”. Maybe, switch out “worry” for “care”. God never said to worry over someone’s else’s life. He said carry each other’s burdens. That pretty much means to bring a form of relief. Worry, is not relief.

Speaking of worry. During this time, I saw my life as a form of punishment for all the things, I wasn’t doing “right”. It caused me great angst and grief. This is also tied to performing. How could I be loved by God when I was doing everything wrong? I daresay, that’s the wrong question. Why, couldn’t I receive the love God was freely giving? That, was the question that flipped the punishment script.

When you view your life as a punishment, you do “life” differently. You cocoon in the comforts of this life. Binging television. Eating what you want. Marathon sessions of couch sitting. Like you could win the gold medal at this event. You say things like, “What does it matter”? “This is as good as it gets”. Worse still, you slowly back away from God, and scoff at His promises for your life, believing they’re for anyone else but you.

But, I’m here to tell you, even in this place, God doesn’t stop pursuing you. He’ll send people into your life to speak, truth, and honor. He’ll set you on people’s minds and they’ll reach out to you in ways you never saw coming. His people will testify of the troubles they’ve walked through and came out the other side and you’ll be in just the right place and the right time, and instead of bouncing off you, His truth will settle in you.

Then, you’ll know that you were never alone. He was with you. He did not forsake you. He literally loved you through it and He kept His promises.

Separation from all the things, will show you, who or what you’ve been placing your trust, hope, and love in and who’s voice is louder, the worlds or Gods. In this place, at least for me, I found God wasn’t silent, He was doing work I couldn’t see. He was going deeper than I knew I needed. He was healing things I long shut out and minimized.

If the world’s voice is overwhelming you, it may be time to cover your ears and shout with obnoxious enthusiasm, “I can’t hear you”. Then get quiet, and let God do the talking. Remember, God doesn’t want just pieces and parts of you. He wants all of you. And when He knows you’re ready, He’ll make it known in love. Not in punishment or condemnation.

If you’re ready my friend, He’s waiting. He’s been waiting. And what He has for you, will absolutely change you and the way you see Him, and the way you see yourself. Dare to believe because God is good, so are you.

Much love and peace to you!


Red The Cat

Well, I guess since I can’t shake the visual from my dream last night, I’ll share with you all. Fun, right?

I was in the woods. I was with somebody but not sure who it was as I didn’t see them, I only heard them. We came upon a BIG cat. I named him, Red. Poor critter was struggling to get a matted, worn looking sweater off. He rolled on the ground, pawing with all his might to get that thing off. You could tell he was getting weary from the struggle.

After a discussion with the voice, I decided to approach Red the cat to help get the sweater off. I was surprised he didn’t try to scratch or hiss at me. I worked slowly and talked calmly to Red as I first pulled one paw out, then the other. I gingerly reached for the collar and slipped the sweater off, only to find pajamas that encompassed his entire furry being.

Red trotted off before I could further assist. End of dream. But, Red and his pajamas are still ingrained in my brain.

As I reflected on my dream, my first thought was, pajamas? Really? And how did I not see the pajamas under the sweater? I mean it covered his entire furry body. But, it was the sweater that had my full attention. The details of the pajamas only appeared once the sweater was removed.

My second thought was, why didn’t Red stick around so I could help him with the pajama removal? And what was Red doing in the woods seemingly alone, and not surrounded by a loving family?

By now, you know I took this dream to my Heavenly Father and asked Him what I could take away from this dream and new new furry friend, Red.

Being in the wilderness is no fun. It feels lonely and isolating. Jesus might know a thing or two about being in the wilderness. He spent 40 days and nights there and when it was over Satan came to Him and tried to tempt Him into sin. It didn’t work. In the end, Satan fled and Jesus was attended to by angels.

The reason for His wilderness time was made clear it the first verse of Matthew 4:1.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Jesus was sent into the wilderness for a specific reason. To be tempted by the devil. Yikes!

Now let’s tie this all together. I believe Red is symbolic of the work Jesus does when we find ourselves in the wilderness. We don’t always see what’s happening, but in this place is where we struggle to let go of the things that no longer serve us.

My furry friend Red, rolled on the ground and pawed at the sweater but he couldn’t get it off own his own. He needed help. Had I tried to help before he was ready, we both could’ve gotten hurt. It wasn’t until he was weary from the struggle that I could help.

Jesus doesn’t force us to let go of something that’s not good for us. But, there may be circumstances that happen around you, that lead you to where He wants you to go. Sometimes, that place He’s leading you to, is the wilderness.

In this place, He can slowly and tenderly attend to you. He can show you the things that you’ve allowed to replace Him. He can show you buried pieces of yourself that needs healing. He can show you that He never left or forsook you.

Just as I reached out ever so gingerly to help Red remove that worn, matted sweater, Jesus lovingly helps remove that outer matted, and worn layer that needs to go.

But, don’t be surprised if there’s more than one layer that needs to go. Red trotted off in his pajama’s because he felt relief from that shed sweater. What’s under those pajamas? I don’t know. Maybe it’s his fur, maybe it’s another layer.

What I do know is, God won’t quit halfway through the process. Nope! He’s in it for the long-haul. But, don’t take my word for it. The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 1:6:

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

I don’t know what season of life your in my friend. But, if you find yourself in the wilderness, don’t try to rush through it. There’s precious work being done. It’s not a punishment, it’s a refining process because of God’s great love for you. He’s got something meant just for you that He will use for your good and His glory.

And do you think that I chose the name Red by coincidence for our furry friend? I don’t think so. It was after all, the red blood of Christ that was shed for the saving of your and my life. And maybe if you think talk of the blood of Jesus is yucky, then let Red the cat help with the visual until you can embrace the blood of Jesus being your saving grace.

May you find rest for your soul today! May you feel the love Jesus Christ has for you. May you see the works of His hands all over your day today. And may you seek to know Him as He knows you; intimately and personally.

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The Cost of Fame

Death. It’s inevitable. You can’t buy life. It’s one of those things that just happens. I’m not sure why the death of Lisa Marie Presley caught me off guard. It’s not like I followed her career or knew much about her at all. I guess somewhere in the back of my brain I always felt sorry for her. She had to share her famous daddy with the whole world. All too soon, he was gone from her life. Later in life, her eldest son committed suicide. She was devastated.

Like her dad, she had become addicted to prescription opioids due to an injury. She overcame. But, it’s the pictures of her as a young girl that capture my attention. Look at her smile. She has no clue what her life will become. She’s just living in the moment. As the little girl, she’s just happy to be with her daddy. Or so it would seem from the image captured here.

Lisa Marie Presley and her daddy, Elvis Presley

We all know what pain looks and feels like. Moving forward and away from the pain takes guts. It’s daring to believe in hope. That better things are coming. I don’t know what she believed. But everyday someone famous teaches me that money and fame can’t buy life. It can’t buy happiness. Celebrities are no different than any other human who walks this planet. They become famous because we make it so. We put them on pedestals and we idolize them.

Lisa Marie became famous the day she was born. The daughter of the King of rock-n-roll. She didn’t ask for that title. It was simply inherited. I wonder if anyone ever asked her how she felt about that?

Watching the interviews of her from the red carpet at the Golden Globes awards, the last night she’d ever see, they asked her “who” she was wearing? And all sorts of questions about the movie Elvis and the actor who played her father. It all seems so unimportant. As if the dress she wore, and who made it, was the end all of the be all. We make that type of information important. Why? We buy into the celebrity lifestyle by coveting what we think they have.

Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Lisa Marie’s death is tragic and sad. But no more so than any other person’s death. I don’t think this side of heaven treated her like a celebrity. Pain was still a part of her story. She couldn’t buy her way out of it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, when will we see that money is not power. That money can’t buy us long-lasting happiness. That we can’t take money with us when we die. Money makes a poor idol. It steals from living a stress-free life and keeps us locked in chains and deceives us into thinking we always have to have more. Why? Because we want it all.

On the outside looking in, celebrities have it all. But from the inside looking out, it’s what you don’t see that’s dangerous. I’m not saying money is bad. I’m just saying the reasons behind money can be deadly.

Today’s a new day. We have no real idea of what’s in store. Lisa Marie’s public death is a stark reminder you can be walking the red carpet one moment, and dead the next. What you do with the gift of today is your business. As for me, at least for today, I gonna stop putting so much pressure on myself to be an idea of me. I’m gonna embrace me so I can love others better.

Rest in heavenly peace Lisa Marie. Please join me in praying for peace and comfort for her family.

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Silly Love Songs

The past few days, the song “Silly Love Songs” by Paul McCartney & Wings, has been running around in my head. Which is odd because I don’t really like his music. Yet, here we are. Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics:

“You’d think that people would have had enough of silly love songs
But I look around me and I see it isn’t so, oh no,
Some people want to fill the world
With silly love songs
And what’s wrong with that?”

The song was written by Paul and his wife Linda. It’s said it was written in retaliation to music critics who accused Paul of writing, well, “silly love songs.”

It would seem songs, and movies about love are always in high demand. Who doesn’t love a happy ending? This time of year we’re flooded with cheesy love stories. Despite knowing the overplayed plot of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back, we still tune in. We cry, we laugh, we get all sentimental and we long for the unrealistic tv version of love. Simple, silly, cheesy, love.

However, if you’ve ever been in a relationship, you know they take work. There’s no play by play book that covers every human interaction. For sure there’s similar experiences but no relationship is comparatively exact to another. We know there are highs and lows. We know things get blown out of proportion and feelings get hurt. We know they end. Sometimes we’re so devastated by the end of a relationship, it takes years to fully recover.

Even so, we long for that “silly” love connection despite knowing how awful it can make us feel. Why? Because we all love the idea of love. Can I let you in on a little secret? Love is anything but silly. Are there silly moments? Of course. But what happens when we bump up against the truly hard stuff? Do we tuck tail and run or do we press in and persevere? Allow me to share a story with you.

The beginning of a love story begins with a birth. I mean, we’re all were born at some point, right? In this particular story, this birth, no matter how long ago it happened, the purpose is the same. It never changes. It’s all about love. Not love, the sqishy, ooey, gooey, feeling; love, the action.

Once upon a time, thousands of years ago, a baby was born in the city of Bethlehem. But, not just any baby. No, this baby had a specific plan and purpose on his life. A purpose so big, only he could fulfill it. This baby, was sent specifically for you.

Let me show you.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.” ~ John 3:16 (GNT)

Do you see that word “everyone”? That means, you. Everyone does not exclude you, it includes you. God didn’t say, “except that one,” no, He said “everyone.” So can we now agree that God sent His Son for you?

Ok, let’s keep moving forward. The baby born in the city of Bethlehem was named Jesus. Maybe you’ve heard of Him? His mission, to save the world. Read that again. To save the world. Cue the theme from “Mission Impossible”. Who’s in this world? You are. It’s no accident you’re here, despite what you may have been told or how you may feel.

Let me show you.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” ~ Psalm 139:13-16 (TLB)

Can we now agree, you’re no accident? Not only are you not an accident, you’re marvelous because you’re His workmanship. Not only are you marvelous, you’re wonderfully complex. All those things about you, you think are too much, not enough, or over the top, are part of your complex make-up. You are everything He thought of and put into action. I know, crazy, right?

As I mentioned earlier, the mission of Jesus was to save the world. Every single encounter we read about in the Bible is significant and completed with great purpose. As Jesus grew into the man He was purposed to be here on earth, He didn’t bypass the broken or the sick, or the downtrodden or the sinners. No, He went in search of them. Why? The answer is simple, yet so complex. Love. Not silly love. Agape love.

A grape ape what? No, no. Let’s try it again. Agape love. It’s a Greek word. This love is not a feeling. This love is all about action. It’s the highest form of love. It’s sacrificial and it puts others first.

Let me show you.

“If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.”
~ 1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The MSG)

So, you see, you can write, listen, and sing about silly love songs. You can watch all the silly love movies, but you won’t be filled. There will still be a longing for “something” more. I know, because I bought into the lie that silly worldly, selfish love would make me whole. But, it never did.

It wasn’t until I understood that while I was still neck deep in my pit, covered in sin, that the Savior of the world, chose to sacrifice His life for mine, because of His great love. And friends, there’s nothing silly about His love for you. He’s very serious about His relationship with you. But, that’s something you’ll have to experience for yourself. Because He’s not a stand-offish God, He’s personal.

And it’s not Santa Claus, who sees you when you’re sleeping, or knows when you’re awake. Nope, it’s God. But don’t take my word for it.

Let me show you.

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
~ Psalm 139:1-12 (NIV)

Nothing silly about that my friends! God sees you. He hears you. And most assuredly, He loves you. He’s not forgotten you, nor has He abandoned you. He is always, always, with you. Your mission…believe it or not. He leaves that choice in your hands. He will never force His love on you. Because His love is a gift, freely given to everyone. And yes, that still includes, YOU!

May God bless you and keep you, make His face shine upon you, and give you peace!

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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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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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Fresh Grace for Today

God's mercies are new every morning, great is His faithfulness. Lam 3:23



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