Blessed to be Broken

God's not finished with me yet!

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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Everything I Ever Did

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

I didn’t know what love looked like.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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I love you more than my phone…

Texting-and-driving

I saw you today.  But you didn’t see me.  As you passed by me in your truck you couldn’t have seen me because you weren’t looking head and eyes up, you were staring head and eyes down.  You don’t know me and clearly you don’t care about me or else your eyes would have been on the road, not in your lap.  You must not care too much about you either but you sure do care about what’s on that phone.

We aren’t taught to drive with a phone in our hands.  We’re taught do drive with 2 hands on the wheel.  If you took your mobile phone to your driver’s test and tried to read your phone while testing to get your license, you would fail.  Because texting and driving…is a fail. It’s also against the law in the state of NY.  But you already know that and have made a conscious decision that you don’t care about the law, you don’t care about you, and you don’t care about me…you care about the phone.  The phone is not a person.  But you treat it like it is.  The phone can’t hug you, kiss you, care for you; all it can do is distract you.  It’s your master.  It dings, you drop everything to see what it has to say.

I don’t care what you do with your phone when you’re not operating a piece of machinery. I care very much that you choose to use it when you’re driving.  Your attention to your phone while you’re driving tells me 2 things right off the bat about you. You’re full of pride and you think you can totally text and drive and be in total control.  This self-deluded thinking no doubt is from having done it multiple times and getting away with it.  You’re also selfish. Yes, selfish.  You care more for what’s on that phone than you do human life to include your own, otherwise you would be looking at the road, not your phone.

I wonder what it will take for you to put your phone down while you’re driving.  Clearly it’s not the law, you break that every day.  Clearly it’s not me.  Clearly it’s not you.  Clearly, if you have a family, it’s not them.  So I’m guessing it would no doubt have to be a tragedy of some sort to get your attention.  Maybe you’ll run over someone’s dog or cat.  Maybe you’ll hit another vehicle and cause a multiple vehicle wreck. Maybe you’ll kill someone..maybe that someone killed will be you.  Maybe when you’re in court listening to the family members of the person you killed sobbing, saying how much they miss their loved one, you’ll care.  For now, I guess we’ll never know.

What you do with your phone is none of my business until you get in your car and decide that the life of me, my loved ones and countless others are nothing compared to what’s on your phone.  I don’t know you, but I care about you more than I care about my phone…because in the end….it’s just a phone….it’s replaceable. YOU are not.  So today, even though I don’t know you, I love you enough to not text and drive.  Who do you love more than your phone?  If you text and drive, the answer is clear…you choose your phone.  You love your phone more than you love life.  Period.  I pray someday, sooner rather than later, you’ll do the same.  Please don’t text and drive.

Please watch the PSA….and if you’re first thought is..”that would never happen to me,” you might want to consider, Proverbs 16:18~~”Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (NIV)   You are not in control, you are not exempt from the consequences of your actions. Playing with fire gets you burned…don’t let texting and driving, get you or someone else dead.

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Choose Life

images

Every time I hear someone say…”I just don’t understand how someone could commit suicide,” I admit, I cringe just a little.  I guess for those who say that, they’ve never felt the desolation, the isolation, the…just make it stop, so it doesn’t hurt anymore pain.

Did I ever think for a second that I would find myself in such a place of darkness? No.  Did I say the same things about people who commit suicide?  Things like “it’s the ultimate selfish act,” or “there’s just too many places to seek and get help for anyone to get to that point,” or “somebody should have been paying closer attention…” yep, I sure did. So color me surprised when I was inches away from committing that “ultimate selfish act.”

What happened? How did I get to a place where I thought death would be better than living?  Years…it took years.  Too many years trapped in my own head with the same “voices” repeating my failures over and over.  Those thoughts squashed any successes I should’ve held closer and celebrated.

My actions caused me great pain, which led to great shame, which led to, in my head, believing I had only one way out.  No one knew.  I hid it well.  I for sure, didn’t go around talking about it.  I didn’t take any steps to prepare for it, didn’t prepare a will or write a note, it all just came to a head and I just wanted the pain gone.  I didn’t stop to consider anything else.  Nothing and no one else mattered.  The pain was just too overwhelming and I was tired of putting on the “I’m fine” façade.

At the time I was still in the military.  I attended all kinds of training about “how to” help someone or “how to” spot the signs of someone “in trouble.”  Maybe it was in that training I learned what not to show others.  I knew who I could go to, and I knew if I did what it could cost my career if I admitted such a thing.  I wasn’t going to be “that” person everyone whispered about when it came to my mental health.   How sad that I cared more about those things than I did in taking care of me.

Thankfully, my plans didn’t prevail.  God stepped in and showed me a better way.  God helped me see the person He sees and He’s showing me the person He created me to be.  This too has taken years, but I was a hot mess and there’s lots to reverse.  However long it takes, I’m in it all the way to see what He’s planned for me.  “For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the LORD,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I know whose waiting for me at the finish line….and until He calls me home I will continue to push forward where I’m planted, while He cheers me on.  So while I’m living for today, I want to live for my life eternal.  I’m not perfect, and I’ll make mistakes, but ya know what?  God already knew that and He gives me grace and loves me anyways!!  How awesome and amazing is that?!

Whatever you’re facing, whatever trial seems too much for you, is not too hard when you grasp onto the hands of Jesus.  Claim Him as your Savior and watch what He will do.  You won’t want to miss one second of what He has for you.  This life needs you and believe it or not, someone needs the gifts you have to offer.  Choose life my friends.  Choose Christ!!

Father God I just pray that for anyone reading this, they realize they are not a mistake, that you made them for a purpose and no matter what they have done, You are there with forgiving arms.  Nothing is wasted Lord and nothing is too hard for You.  You are the master and creator of ALL things, including your precious children and this precious child…(insert your name here).   I lift…(insert your name here) up to you Lord and  claim Your love, comfort and peace wash over and in them, right now as they seek you.  You love us so much Lord, You gave Your one and only Son to die for us, to remove our sins, and I pray this precious child understands You love them beyond anything they could ever imagine. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Rascal Flatts – Why

Choose Life–Big Tent Revival

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