Dealing With The Voices Of The Past

Featured

I tripped over a memory today and lost my balance for a while.

You know the type of memory….a voice from the past that comes back around to hurt? It reminded me of a devastating experience. Horrible words, overwhelming circumstances …a flood of tears.

Along with the memory came the voices provoking the details.

Before long, the memory exploded like a glorious Fourth of July fireworks display. Only the emotions accompanying the fireworks are anything but glorious.

The emotions reveal insecurities…feelings of being unworthy, unwanted, unloved.

I entertained the voices. I listened, and since I didn’t shut them down immediately…they continued.

Then suddenly I realized what was happening….and I cried out to JESUS.

I went to the Word of God. Reading three different translations…I grasped my failure. God opened my eyes clearly.

“This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life or death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.”   Ephesian 6:12     The Message

life or death fight

We Christians can be guilty of being too casual about the enemy’s intentions.

Our attitude must be that of a soldier tiptoeing through a mine field.

Because we don’t palpably see him….we forget about him.

We must get smarter than the Devil.

soldier tiptoeing

We must watch for the traps…deceptions…the dangers.

When it comes to the Devil and his schemes, we must live on the defensive but pray on the offensive.

We must be wary of our weaknesses before he uses them against us.

We must assert truth to our situations when he whispers lies.

We must affirm the word of GOD when he hurls the accusations of the world.

We must prepare ourselves for the life and death battle to finish well.

We must prepare for the battle…every day.

Any negative thought, past sin or  hurtful memory that comes to us…..is of the Devil. God will not bring up your past, or feed the hurt. Simply refuse to listen or think on it.  Instead replace it with scripture, prayer, worship, and truth.

When the Devil tries to dig up your past, immerse yourself in truth. Believe who you are and take authority over his ploys.

Be a fierce soldier and put on the armor of God before you take your first breath of the morning.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.                                                                                                                                 Ephesians 6:14-18

Suit up soldier and use your battle plan, don’t let the enemy gain any ground.

So I tripped over a memory and lost my balance for a while….and then I remembered who I am.

What have you tripped over today?

devils schemes

“When The World Beats You Up”

Today has been one of those messy days of grace for me.

My mindset has been fractured all day….. cracks were exposed in places of faith I previously thought were strong.

My emotions were fragile just enough to let me drift off to the abyss of pessimism.

Hindering oppressive thoughts drained into my soul….taking me back to long ago when I felt no grace.

I thought I was beyond the point of wandering back to the valley.

Somehow I stumbled right into a thicket of obscure dejection. I let man’s actions make me think I was less….unimportant….invisible.

Funny how the enemy knows what days the physical body ails….making it hard for the spiritual consciousness to keep up.

Today I felt as though I was a middle school girl being bullied all over again….bullied by life….bullied by another’s sin.

I am a child of the King…… why do I let the world hamstring my heart at times?
I know better!

How can we be on the spiritual mountain top for months only to be pushed off by the enemy in one short span of time?

There is shame in this weakness for me.

After all…I thought I had passed the faith test….bought the t-shirt…..walking bow legged from so much truth poured into my soul.

How did I let this happen?

I turned off the light way earlier than usual to sleep this melancholy hangover off. Tossing and turning side to side…. trying to get comfortable in my slumber.

I started to pray…..wrestling with words…as well as my comfort…..but I couldn’t find physical comfort…for my spirit was in battle.

Then I clearly hear HIM say…..

“Work it out in words child….tell me exactly what haunts your heart tonight.”

So I turn on the lamp…I reach for my lab top…and tell HIM just what a rotten day I had.

I tell HIM I am mad at myself for listening to the enemy’s lies.

I tell HIM I’m sorry I didn’t filter my mind….I didn’t fall back on the truth.

I tell HIM the pain I feel by hurtful actions and attitudes.

Immediately….I start to feel peace…slowly soaking up the bitter spew of GOD-less thoughts.

I literally can feel strength seeping back into my aching frame.

Truth is pulsating through my spiritual veins again!

I am an overcomer!

Regardless of what emotional lava that has spread over my mind today.

No matter what suppression man may fling my way….

No matter the landmines of doubt the enemy made no attempt to disguise….

HE has reminded me…..

“Greater is HE that is in me….than he that is in the world!”

The Living GOD is in me!

THE LIVING GOD IS IN ME!

And HE will fight my battles!

And soothe my wounds!

The Living God will go before me in all my steps….and tomorrow?

Well tomorrow will be another day…a new day….to take my stand in the truth of HIS faithful righteousness.

A new day to be “HIS” love…..even when I am unloved.

A new day to experience his mercies….for they are new every day.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:22

photo (8)

Don’t let the world consume and beat you up my friend….

Don’t let the enemy exploit the fragile places of your heart.

Remember who you are….and whose you are!

For you are a child of the one true King…..JESUS CHRIST!

And you are an OVERCOMER!

Press on OVERCOMER!

Press on!

“Letting Go Of The Hurt”

My heart was as hard as stone.

I had built a wall all around my fragile emotions.

I didn’t trust anyone….nor did I want friends.

I allowed circumstances to poison my heart toward all people.

I withdrew from relationships and checked out of the only social scene I participated in… which centered around church.

My husband accused me of being unfriendly.

He would go out to eat with friends….I would not.

My job became more demanding requiring me to travel….I stayed tired so it was a good excuse.

I allowed myself to only care for my immediate family.

Thank GOD I did not give up on church.  HE kept me engaged with the drama ministry I served.

My broken heart kept me desperate for GOD.

broken heart

In the midst of my internal pain, I knew GOD was the only solace for help.

I lived in this fog for about 6 years….disillusioned with loyalty….friendship….trust.

As time passed….I smiled and put on a good front…but I kept my distance.

Let me just say….distance is never good.

Distance just keeps us farther away from facing the root of our heartaches.

The LORD did many things in my life during those dark years of living in isolation.

First HE showed me how deceitful my heart was.

the heart is deceitful

I was so weak in reality….I believed the lies my feelings were telling my mind.

Not everything I felt was true.

Second HE helped me see….I can’t fix others…but I can fix my heart if I will listen and obey HIM.

HE forced me to identify the true root of my heartache…and I finally surrendered my brokenness to the only one who could restore.

You see….sometimes we spend more time looking at others hearts instead of looking at our own.

It’s so easy to pray for GOD to fix another’s heart isn’t it?

HE showed me regardless of whether certain people in my life are loyal….trustworthy….or not….HE will always be loyal…. and trustworthy.

I’ve learned not to judge all people from the hurtful experiences life throws my way.

Just because someone betrays or lets me down today….doesn’t mean a new friend will do the same tomorrow.

When I realized GOD wanted me to have friends whether I wanted them or not….I knew I had a spiritual problem.

HE let me waller in my misery until I felt the need for GODLY friendship.

HE created us for companionship…to bear one another’s burdens…to encourage….to be accountable….to love.

GOD started speaking to me about letting go…and letting others in.  One day I found a great quote by C.S. Lewis….

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art….It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”

 

friendship

 

We don’t need friends to survive…..

but we need them to be able to walk the path GOD has planned for us….

because HE knows the rocky roads we will encounter…..

the great fogs we will get lost in….

and the deep valleys that will threaten our existence.

HE knows the value of the friend who will listen…guide and pray for us.

I grieve because I isolated myself from so many.

I grieve because I probably appeared apathetic….maybe even arrogant.

Heartache changes us…..makes us become something GOD does not want us to be…..

Bitter….

Hardened…

Alone.

So I send these thoughts out to the big blog-o-sphere with this encouragement for you to think about…..

If you have unbelievable hurt or betrayal you are carrying around….

if hurt is causing you to isolate yourself from others…..

and pain is making you view the world through the lies of feelings….

Friend….give yourself a gift….

Let it go.

You don’t want to get to the end of your life and realize…..in the grand scheme of things….the situation really didn’t matter in regard to eternity.

Are you going to care about this hurt when you are with JESUS one day?

If you know JESUS….the answer to that question is NO!

You don’t want to get to the end of your life and realize…you lost precious memories and experiences you could have had with new friends….family….or restored friends.

You don’t want to get to the end of your life and realize…..

Your heart was as hard as stone…..

And that stone heart made you cold….apathetic…unapproachable….unfriendly….judgmental….lonely.

You don’t want to get to the end of your life and realize….

You have regrets….and should have done things different.

You don’t want to get to the end of your life and realize….

It could have been so much different….if only you had let go of the hurt.

Letting go is a gift you give to yourself…..

And the great gift is…. you are no longer allowing hurt to jade your heart or rob you of peace and joy….it means you value your life and existence more than the negativity in your life.

Letting go is an act of obedience to GOD.

GOD’S blessing will come to you when bitterness is excavated from every layer of your heart!

Letting go of the hurt…is the beginning to restoring you.

letting go of the hurt

Tell me friend…….what do you need to let go of today?

 

 

 

 

“A big blow up over Smurfette’s passing” Its a true story….I can’t make this stuff up!

I mean no disrespect by my post today.  If you are a parent of boys you will appreciate and understand our method of mourning the late Smurfette. I had sent out the text of Smurfette’s passing in a group text to my sons, nephews and the rest of the family.  We were about to have some fun as we do so often in group texts. “Sad day….Lucille Bliss has passed away” my text read.  “She touched all of our childhoods in a very special way.”

The first reply was from my level headed, middle child, Aaron,….yea…the middle child….usually the child most easy going…yet he wanted to squelch the fun.  “Lucille Bliss the voice actor?” he asked.  “Yes son, Lucille was the beloved Smurfette,” I said.  “Smurf in peace,” my nephew Andy texted immediately. “She died last week mom,” Aaron replied.  I texted back….”You’re a wise guy Aaron, and thank you Andy for your smurf respect.  “Its a smurfing shame,” Andy shot back with speedy text agility. “You obviously understand the dept of loss we have here son unlike Aaron,” I replied to Andy.

“My phone is beeping like the roadrunner, did one of the smurfs die?” asked my husband.  My sister being the funeral home professional she is replied, “Wonder what funeral home she will be at?”  I’m pulling my truck over to have a moment of silence,” Andy replied.  Another said, “She was also in Cinderella and the Flintstones….among other things…and I do care, this makes me totally blue!”

The message was followed by Andy’s question, “Did she go peacefully or did Gargomell’s cat finally catch her?” One pledged to wear blue for the next two weeks in her honor. Andy texted he would be dropping off Kentucky Fried Chicken at Papa Smurf’s on his way home from work.

I could go on and on at the replies and gestures my group text had inspired but frankly it would take a while.  This group discussion of mourning Smurfette continued for hours throughout the day.  It was great fun needless to say.

With each new quip of humor or sarcasm we all got a good chuckle….until my phone rang and I answered it thinking it was my brother-in-law.  It was not.  On the other end of the phone was an old man not the least bit moved by Smurfette’s passing…. nor was he amused at our display of grief over his phone texts.  I accidentally keyed in one wrong digit resulting in adding the old man to the conversation instead of my brother-in-law.

Ooops… he was not a happy camper and wanted to know how old I was.  He was appalled adults could text such stupidity…and amazed so many were involved.  He thought we were a bunch of kids but when he found out we weren’t, his attitude soured even more.  “Do you work lady?” he asked me.  “Yes sir, I have been working all day,” I answered him.  “Well how did you get anything done with all that nonsense going on?” he asked.

Now at this point I was starting to get offended.  It was none of his business how or if I worked, how old I was or my work ethics….and if he was so annoyed why did he entertain it for over 8 hours?  Why didn’t he pick up the phone and call me the first hour or the second?

While we all thought the stream of texts were hilarious he was offended we had wasted his time and bothered him all day.   Not only was he clearly annoyed, hateful and rude but he was also void of any sense of humor.  I mean who couldn’t get a laugh out of  “smurf in peace” or “I’m totally blue.”

I started feeling a little annoyed.  Life is hard, sometimes boring and when you can get some cheap thrills from the Smurfs….well I don’t see why you can’t indulge a little for heaven’s sake!

I wanted to call the old man a party pooper or goober head….. and hang up…..but I refrained.  I heard that voice in my head ….”What if you were in his shoes Mel?”  Well if I was in his shoes I probably would have joined in….but no….he was having no part of it.  He let me have it and I was tempted to let him have it back…….until the HOLY SPIRIT reminded me of a shameful situation from long ago ….so I held my tongue.

I apologized for aggravating him and assured him it would never happen again….of which he then informed me it had happened several times.  He relayed to me stupid pictures, stories and comments I have passed back and forth to my crew over a period of about a year.

I was a little embarrassed by this revelation…..Oh dear….he was also privy to certain intimate conversations about things only my family knew about….even prayer requests I had shared.

Suddenly I felt a little violated….like he had been stalking me for months.  It was kind of a creepy feeling. Oy vey.

I managed to regain my composure after I picked my jaw up off the desk….and again I apologized to him for bothering him with months of my foolishness. To say I was embarrassed is an understatement.

How about you?  Have you ever been made aware of something you did or said that offended or annoyed someone? If so….how did you respond?

Thankfully I responded in humility to the old man. I was embarrassed to the point of being humiliated.  I kept saying….. I’m sorry sir……it won’t happen again sir…..we were just having some clean, innocent fun sir…..but I can’t say I have responded CHRISTLIKE in other situations.

In the heat of attack its so easy to respond defensively.  I’m ashamed to say I remember a specific time I catapulted the blame back, trying to pin fought on the other as well.  I engaged in the blame game resulting in verbal warfare….all because I did not respond in the right manner. I literally felt like a failure in the days to follow.

I grieved every word I hurled at the other party.

I am supposed to be a long suffering Christian full of love….how did I bark back like that?

Every action results in a reaction….with each blow the situation can get uglier and uglier….and destroy our testimony.

There is no going back when a spray of ugly words collide with the human heart.  The mind doesn’t easily forget while the heart deals with the damage.

Words matter.

Its a horrible feeling when hurtful words are set in stone.

If only we could go back….we would have handled it different right?

Words matter…..reactions matter…..being CHRISTLIKE in all conflict matters.

The Bible has much to say about the tongue, the temper and the wrong way to handle conflict.

“Do not let your speech cause you to sin.”   Ecclesiastes 5:6

“A fool always looses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.”    Proverbs 29:11

“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles.”  Proverbs 21:23

But its the scripture in Matthew 12 that makes my heart hurt…..

“And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgement.  For by your words, you shall be justified, and by your words, you shall be condemned.”  Matthew 12:36-37

How many of my words justify me?

How many condemn me?

Oh goodness….what a heavy thought to bear.

If GOD’S GRACE didn’t cover me….I’d come undone.

Did the old man over react? Probably.  Did I deserve his berating, verbal rampage? Obviously he thought so. Did I respond in a way that was pleasing to the LORD?  I think I did this time….but only because I remembered condemning words from my past.

I was so relieved to delete the old man’s phone number …..but even more relieved there were no condemning words I couldn’t delete from my memory.

Oh GOD….make me quick to hear…..slow to speak….and slow to anger….so that I may be right with you.      James 1:19-20

RIP SMURFETTE

words matterlucillebliss

"Rubbing Your Nose In the Past" He wants you to forgive yourself!

Well….I’m having one of those days where satan is absolutely trying to mess with me.  It actually started yesterday.  You ever feel like you are just so sinful….and unworthy…..and a disappointment to GOD?  Unfortunately I have many times.  I loose my temper…..I think a bad thought….I get stubborn and harden my heart.

 Its hard to lay our sin down sometimes…..but even harder to believe that GOD forgives us the first time we ask….so we keep reminding HIM and asking for forgiveness again and again….when really….if we are truly repentant….HE forgave us the first time we asked.

Anybody out there keep asking GOD to forgive you for something you’ve already confessed?

Satan is the one continually rubbing our nose in our failures……NOT GOD! 

Grace is such a beautiful concept that has always been so hard to graft to my heart.  I think insecurities…..child hood experiences…..even church experiences can have something to do with that as well….after all….Christians are hard on each other.  We want to recall or remember when our sisters or brothers wrong us…..yet we don’t want them to remember our offenses.

Feelings are liars……they make us think things not true….they make us believe the worst sometimes….when GOD has only feelings of love for us…..HE thinks only good for us.

I wish there was some kind of magic filter that I could just install in my psyche that automatically screened out all the feelings and thoughts that cause me to beat myself up….over and over.   “I shouldn’t have reacted that way…..I shouldn’t have said that…..I failed again.”

For instance…..when I felt GOD telling me to start a blog…..about three years ago….I kept telling myself….”Who do you think you are…speaking for GOD?”  Many of my friends know that I am a playwright for church…I even struggle with writing plays that are effective for the kingdom….I don’t feel worthy……up to the task…..clean enough……yet HE fills my head with all these beautiful pictures and stories that translate into characters on paper.

I fought the blog thing for a long time…..until GOD spoke to me and said….“Just share your struggles…..as real as you can.”  Relief is finally what I felt…because I no longer feel the burden of speaking for GOD.

  I am just trying to share my heart…..as real as I can….through words.  

Am I perfect?…..HEAVENS NO!!!  Do I struggle with sin?….ABSOLUTELY!!!!  All I can do is share how GOD takes this stubborn heart and prunes….jars…..grieves…..disciplines…. tenderly to the point of submission…. helping me think the way he wants me to think.

You see…..GOD just doesn’t want us to beat ourselves up over and over because of our failures……and as Christians….HE certainly doesn’t want us to keep beating up our brothers and sisters when they fail us….that’s just a tool of satan.

So when I fall in the ditch that satan has dug for me…..somehow GRACE sends just a bit of light….enough for me to stop….and realize…..GOD’S not rubbing my nose in my failures…..satan is. 

I deal with my stinking thinking and ask GOD to help me think his thoughts.  I recall some of my favorite scripture that encourages me…….

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
                                                                                                                                       Psalm 103:12

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  1John 1:9

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they are red like crimson, they shall become as wool. 
                                                                                                                                        Isaiah 1:18

These are just a few of the many verses I love and write out from time to time just to let the words seep deep into my heart.  I encourage you to get alone and look up every scripture where GOD tells us HE forgives us….over and over. 

One of the tools I use to straighten out my stinking thinking is putting those thoughts through the Philippians 4:8 test.

      “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable….if anything is excelling or praiseworthy think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

Put every thought of self loathing…..unworthiness……failure…….absolutely every thought that rubs your nose in your past……ask yourself…is it true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable?

Remember GOD doesn’t want us wallering in our past failures….but Satan does!

ALWAYS BE ON GUARD OF SATAN’S TACTICS TO MAKE YOU FEEL LESS! HIS MIND GAMES ARE STRAIGHT FROM THE PITTS OF HELL!!!!

I pray that someone …..somewhere out there in the big “blog o sphere” that totally confounds me…..will get the message….HE loves you….HE forgives you…and HE forgets it……and…

HE wants you to forgive yourself!