Seven Take-Away’s to Remember from 2016

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I’m sure glad 2016 is history. It was a rotten year for me. But the lessons learned have born a stubborn faith to blot out the bitter feelings I fought most of the year. That’s the way God does things; to taste the salt of our tears leaves us with the memory of what shifted in our spirits. There was a lot of shifting in me from 2016.

In short, I guess the good Lord told me to get over it all, especially myself. A whole lot of inner turmoil can come when the enemy sends a good distraction. Too many times we change the station in our brains to the poor pitiful me channel.

Seriously though, some things in my mind are of my own misery making and some of it is a reaction from the devil’s bullseye hit. I thought I’d passed the spiritual warfare test a million times ago but it turns out that 2016 was one big flunk for me. Dang it.

So at the risk of embarrassing my family … I believe transparency is a good way to bring glory to God and just down right infuriate the devil. After all, if we don’t share what we learn from tough seasons, we can’t help each other right? So here it is … my seven take-away’s from a hellacious year.

  • God knows I attract crazy.

I have PTSD from living with a husband who has severe PTSD, because he’s a combat soldier stuck in 1969. Seriously, I’m not kidding people, it was the worst year for PTSD since he quit drinking. Where’s the fix in that, right?  So the thing about this whole situation for both my man and me … grace covers crazy, even when I’ve lost my mind. So thank God for crazy grace and just know, He’s got enough for your crazy too.

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  • People have two sides, and unless you’re on their bad side, you’ll never see it.

Some do a good job of hiding the side that reeks while others don’t have a clue they need to hide it. Some are better fooler’s that’s all. It makes me laugh every time I hear the word “fooler.” My husband calls a baby’s pacifier, a “fooler.” But I got to thinking about the use of a fooler / paci. It’s to keep a baby occupied, to give them comfort and create a diversion. At times the clues are obvious for people with two sides, but sometimes we let the fooler entertain us… it’s just easier than dealing with the truth.

  • People with opinions, ignore them.

Especially if those opinions are about you. When someone slates an opinion about you and it’s not favorable or even remotely truthful … let ‘em spew. No matter what man says about you, it will not thwart God’s purpose for your life, period. Let God’s word define you … not man’s. And remember … faithfulness always out lives the enemy’s lies.

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  • My dog is my best friend.

Seriously, he loves me unconditionally … even when I forget to feed him. He’s constant, never fickle, and his opinion of me is pretty awesome. He loves me, period. If only we could all love this big and beautiful, right?

  • Glory hogs will always be glory hogs.

It’s best just to let the good Lord deal with that nonsense … and He will. Chuck Swindoll says; “Maturity means we no longer need the mother’s milk of public attention.” In the words of Forrest Gump … “That’s all I have to say about that.”

  • The only people that have a problem with truth, are the ones that don’t want to be held accountable.

Truth is an agent of change. Human nature hates change because truth exposes the worst. Eventually truth takes center stage and sings like the beautiful, exotic, lady at the opera. Slowly but surely, truth becomes the star. Thank God for some needed truth in my life in 2016.

  • Some things aren’t worth the battle, especially in view of life and death matters.

For example, “No Shave November.”

I have 3 hairy, man-boys who have been able to grow a Grizzly Adams beard since they hit puberty in 6th grade. This freak of human nature and hormones is a great source of pride for them. It’s been a source of contention for me, needless to say. This moma slicked their little heads down like Remington Steele (google it – it will be worth it), every time they stepped out in public. I ironed a crease in their jeans until they left home – they resent this too by the way. These little handsome dudes looked like they stepped out of a GQ magazine. Anyway, the beard and hair thing’s been a controversy between us for years.

But then my middle, hairy, man boy got very sick. For days he was terribly sick. In fact, when doctors finally figured out what was wrong (in a six-hour surgery that was only supposed to be two), Aaron’s body was in a critical state. The surgeon said he was hours away from organs shutting down. We were dangerously close to losing our boy, but God sent that crazy grace to cover him. Thank you Lord.

That night after surgery as he lay in the hospital bed, I sat beside him in one of those hideous chairs that’s supposed to recline like a roll away bed. They don’t by the way. Nevertheless, I watched him sleep, and lying on his chest was that big, beautiful, manly beard that the doctors and nurses all admired in post op. I was eternally grateful to see that rebellious display of facial hair rising and falling with each breath.

So … when this years “No Shave November” rolled around, I embraced it by ordering beard products for all three of my hairy, man boys. These items were Christmas presents but the fact remains … I let it go. Some things just aren’t worth the battle anymore.

With each lesson I learned during this unpleasant year, I count it all grace … that crazy grace. Grace that helps me see behind the frustrations, the pain, and the aggravations. It’s a glorious thing this crazy grace.  And don’t forget, He can cover your crazy too. 

love mel

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The Porter Boys

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“Fixing Our Hearts”

Everything in life flows through the heart

The walls of our hearts are so scuffed up and damaged….

Unaware we paint bitterness or anger over the damage.

Some of us let fear….

Apathy…..

Defeat…

And even hatred fall into rhythm with our heart beat.

If only we could see our hearts the way GOD sees them….

Maybe we would be careful to keep them soft…..

Surrendered….

Humble.

GOD wants us to be honest about the rubble in our hearts….

So HE allows the life jolts.

The truth is our hearts don’t harden overnight….

We make gradual choices to cover up the pain….

The secrets….

The resentment….

The pride…

The sin….

Everyday we decide to hide the hurt…

Or blame another…

Or push it far away trying to ignore it….

But what we are really doing is giving up the battle for transparency with GOD.

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Just like we tell a doctor about our sicknesses….

We must tell our Heavenly Father about the hard places in our heart.

When we let GOD have his way in the deepest part of our soul…

There is healing and peace…

Even when the tears and lasting consequences remain.

There is something so beautiful in that first moment of breath when I have just let go of a deep rooted hurt…and confessed my sin….

I feel so free…

So clean…..

So hopeful.

We can’t be hopeful or live the abundant life HE came to give us when we carry around the junk.

As long as we keep parts of our heart from GOD…

HE can’t fully use us…..

There won’t be any real peace….

And we won’t be able to hear HIM clearly.

We have no control over the circumstances paralyzing our lives at times…..

But we do have control over our hearts.

And we can determine that disappointment isn’t going to jade us….

Or break us….

Harden us….

Or lead us away from our faith….

Causing us to drift farther and farther away from the sacred closeness our Heavenly Father desires.

Everything in life flows through our hearts.

So perhaps its time to identify the hard places?

 

We can’t fix our hearts by ourselves….

Or another’s heart…

But we CAN surrender to the only one who can fix us…..

Are there places in your heart you need to surrender to JESUS today?

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Oh GOD….Help us surrender the obscure places in our hearts where we hide the things you want us to release.

Soften our hearts oh GOD….

So that we may be in your will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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.

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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.

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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.”

 

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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.

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