“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.

IMG_2431

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?

harden hearts

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Getting Past Life’s Mistakes”

Do you ever wish there were “do overs” in life?

Like the stupid decisions that led to shame…or pain…or loss?

Or the lost opportunities we couldn’t see the value in when we had the chance to be something different….do something important?

How about the conversations or remarks you wish you could take back?

And the regrets of ungodly actions?

The older I get….the more I think about the “do overs” I wish I had.

If only we had the wisdom and discipline to make all the right choices….our lives would go a lot smoother for sure.

But there is hope….

Even when we make the wrong decision….GOD is there…..

If we trust him.

In Lysa Terkehurst’s new book “The Best Yes,” she shares we can’t let our mistakes make us think our life is ruined or forever soiled.

Lysa says…..

“An error is an unintentional mistake; an end is a termination. When considering the potential outcome of a difficult decision, its important to distinguish the errors from the ends in our thinking.”

 

unnamed

Even when we mess up…it’s not an end….it’s a mistake we did not intend to happen.

We CAN recover from poor decisions…if we let GOD have control of the situation.

Yes we may have to face some uncomfortable consequences but GOD doesn’t mark us off as disappointments.

In fact …. here is the kicker…..my favorite quote of the whole book……

“My imperfections will never override GOD’S promises. GOD’S promises are not dependent on my ability to always choose well, but rather on HIS ability to use well.”

I don’t know about you…..but this truth just pierces me deep down and makes me want to cry like a baby.

What comfort it is to know my mess ups will never disqualify me from….

HIS love….

HIS mercy…..

HIS kingdom purposes….

or….

HIS ultimate will for my life.

There is so much anointed wisdom from this new book….and I want to leave you with one more quote from Lysa to think about…….

It’s not the activities or accomplishments we string together that make lives well lived as much as it is the hearts of wisdom we gain and use along the way.”

We are going to mess up on this winding….rocky path of life, but if we will let the mess ups (errors)…teach us wisdom ……we will learn to make wiser decisions in the future.

Friend if you are mourning a poor decision and your stuck in the mire of consequences……

Don’t get discouraged……

Don’t hang your head in shame……

Don’t think your life is in a dead end……

Remember…..you are in the redeeming process…..

And what GOD redeems……

HE always uses for HIS GLORY!

slowtherush-400x399

“We have to slow the rhythm of rush in our lives so the best of who we are can emerge. What has “rushing” stolen from you?”

Taken from Chapter 2: The Way of the Best Yes

http://thebestyes.com/

Are Life’s Struggles Karma…Or God?

It was only a box of diapers and a few bags of groceries but to me…it was gold.  The gift of love my sister provided meant my babies would be comfortable and their bellies would be full for another week.

The provision was just in the nick of time. I was in a dark place of life….a place where I was living day to day.

For me the period was in the Spring of 1990, just weeks before my husband found salvation. Some days all I could do was just exist in meagerness.

But God always came through…..somehow….some way….he sent the vehicle to show me mercy.

Mercy is a sweet gift isn’t it?

We don’t always deserve it.

We don’t always give it either.

Recently I was faced with the choice to give someone I know…. mercy.

By the world’s standards, this someone didn’t deserve mercy…..and a few told me so.

I kept thinking none of us deserve mercy……yet Jesus gives us mercy everyday…..not to mention what he did for us on the cross.

There have been numerous desperate times I needed mercy…and when it came…..I recognized it…..and I was grateful to God.

You see because I’ve needed it so many times…..I don’t mind giving it.

I can’t keep from thinking about the scripture in Galatians.

“Do not be deceived; God will not be mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.   Galatians 6:7-9  

 

reap what we sow

 

This familiar passage is both encouragement and a warning.

If we want mercy….we need to practice giving mercy.

But what about the other things we are sowing in our lives everyday?

We sow many things…..

kindness…..

hatred….

joy….

oppression…..

bad habits…..

dissension with others….

unwise choices……

love…..

sorrow……

good deeds for others……

wise choices…..

discouragement…..

faithfulness….

unfaithfulness…..

laziness….

jealousy…..

dishonesty…..

strife….

hope….

doubt….

and these are just a few……some actions we are not aware we are sowing everyday.

But it makes sense doesn’t it?

Just like the farmer who collects the harvest of planting….we collect the results good or bad from our season of sowing.

 

Hosea 8:7 says…..

“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”

 

sow the wind

 

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to reap a whirlwind.  Life is just to darn hard to reap a whirlwind!

But Dr. Charles Stanley says……

“We reap what we sow, more than we sow, and later than we sow.”

 

Reaping more than we sowed and later than we sowed sounds like we can be swept right up in a whirlwind doesn’t it?

The farmer knows he can yield much even from one seed…..

yet unlike the seasons of the harvest…

Life has its own seasons….and many times we have no control over those seasons.

So what are we sowing in our lives today?

Perhaps it’s time to examine our lives…..because tomorrow we are all going to be reaping today’s actions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“When Life Brings Unexpected Change”

Aside

Nothing stays the same.

Everything changes in this vacuum of time called life.

The babies grow up, the loved one passes away, the job ends, the divorce becomes final,  the friends come and go.

Resistance is the human reaction we all grapple with.

The seasons of life can bring great joy as well as great pain.

The good changes are easier to deal with, the scary changes with consequences not so easy.

With every change the uncertainty of life as we know it becomes a distance memory and if we’re not careful…..it can cloud or stall our future…..but be cautious because our faith is our future.

Don’t get stuck living in the past…….it can be a miserable place to exist …I know….I’ve wasted too much time living in the past.

GOD allows change for good….even though we don’t like how it comes sometimes.

We may face life events that seem catastrophic or heartbreaking….but if we are abiding in JESUS….HE will work it all for our good.

The fact that HE allows change….regardless of how it comes….. shows HE doesn’t want us to stay as we are….HE knows change can bring us closer to HIM if we will let it.

Its when we resist HIS change that we stumble and stray….getting lost in the foggy circumstances.

We can choose to stay the way we are….. where we are at……or we can embrace the change….and become more.

More like HIM is the change HE wants.

I know many are wrestling with big changes in your lives……but instead of dreading and fearing them….let GOD’S peace rest in your heart.

Take time to grieve or regroup…..but …don’t linger too long in the pain because that’s the place Satan uses to trip us up……the pain can cause us to become bitter, hardened….hopeless.

The bible says there is an appointed time for everything….for every event under heaven.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

If change wasn’t part of life there would be no long summer evenings on the porch….we wouldn’t have the splendor of fall to look forward to…..there would be no winter for the earth to rest…and without the rest….the spring wouldn’t bring new life.

The same is true in our spiritual life.

Fervently trusting JESUS will change the shades of our faith, making them more brilliant…..no matter what season…. be it the hurts and the joys…. seasons of change spin abundance from GOD’S heart.

Change hurts…. but somewhere along the path….the evolution of the heart finds a harvest of mercy, healing, joy and new life.

Hold on tight to JESUS… embrace the change….and see what HE does next.

Streams in the wasteland scripture picture

 

Longing for my Daddy

Aside

Nothing good happens after midnight…..

So my daddy told me a million times.  I must confess I tell my kids the same thing even though they’re now adults.

Be sure your sins will find you
out….was another one of his favorites.  He would be proud I actually listened to a few things he taught me.

He was the fun daddy, always willing to do something silly to make us laugh. The first with the quick comeback, the practical joker, and the ever amusing story teller.

He passed away unexpectedly two years ago.

The landscape of our family dynamic just isn’t the same anymore.

His passing left an incredible void in our lives collectively and individually.

His pictures are around us yet they bring little comfort. 

We find ourselves saying…”Oh daddy would have liked that….or daddy would get a kick out of this or that.”

Death leaves a major hole in our hearts.

I’ve realized there is nothing in this world to fill it.

We’ve gone on with life….the family gatherings consisting of many firsts without him. 

Grandchildren graduations.

Marriages.

Birthdays.

Holidays.

The longing in my heart will never go away as long as I live on this earth…..but knowing my daddy is in heaven is comforting to a certain degree.

One day…..after I enter heaven’s gates and run into the arms of my JESUS……

I’m going to have a good laugh with my daddy.  He’s going to tell me how peculiar Noah is…..what a good singer King David is…..and he will probably make fun of Moses’s speech impediment….if he still has one.

I am sure he is spending time with Johnny Cash and perhaps the king of rock and roll, Elvis…if Elvis is there? Surely he is…..a girl can hope can’t she?

One thing for sure….I know my daddy is having a good time…..and I wouldn’t dare bring him back…..because he wouldn’t want to live on this old earth again after living in perfection.

While I cannot wait to see my daddy…..

JESUS is going to be the main attraction folks.

Do you realize when we finally come into HIS presence we will be complete…..and completely fulfilled?

All the longings of earth…..

the heartaches…..

the disappointments…..

the wrongs….

the sickness….

the life altering events…..

the handicaps….

the financial losses…..

the oppression of man……

the deaths……

all the holes in our heart will finally be filled….complete…..perfect.

“He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4

Man …..that’s something to look forward to isn’t it?

My heart swells just thinking about that day…..makes me homesick for my final home.

If this Father’s day has you longing for someone….or something….take heart…this too shall pass away.

One day the longings of this old life will be no more and if we know JESUS as our SAVIOR…..our broken hearts will be made complete.

Birthdays, lake 2014 089

 

“Waiting Well” What do we do when GOD Is Silent?

It doesn’t feel good when someone gives us the silent treatment does it? I’ve been guilty of thinking GOD is giving me the silent treatment at times. I have enough faith to pray…..”Why aren’t you moving here GOD? Can’t you see what I’m going through down here LORD?”

I know HE can move and fix my problem in an instant so why doesn’t HE?  Then I seem to go through a cycle where I am up and down. One minute I’m trusting HIM and the next I’m bellyaching cause HE hasn’t moved.

I have failed the “silence during the test” class many times. It seems HE has been trying to teach me to “wait well” for the last few years. I once heard a pastor say, HE will keep putting us through the same lesson until we get it. I’ve been a real flunkie some days.

Then HE showed me the test isn’t just to learn to trust HIM but to learn to focus on HIM.  I’ve realized when I am praying and just sitting here waiting on HIM to answer…I can get pretty discouraged.

In the eighteenth chapter of Luke, JESUS was sharing the parable about the widow who kept taking her case to the judge to avenge her from her adversary.  She was persistent and the judge finally granted her request just because he was over her begging.

The LORD gave me two points to ponder from this scripture…..the first being….don’t give up asking.

JESUS shared HIS teaching of the Judge’s decision…..

 “Hear what the unjust judge said… shall not GOD avenge HIS own elect, which cry day and night unto HIM, though HE bear long with them?  I tell you that HE will avenge them speedily.”  Luke 18:7-8

In other words JESUS was saying….if this unjust judge would agree to avenge the widow….don’t you think a loving, just GOD will avenge you one day?  Give you relief?  Come back around to settle things on your account?

So even if HE is being silent….HE doesn’t want us to stop praying.

But it was the second part of verse eight that really challenged my thinking about what HE wants me to do during the silence.

“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall HE find faith on the earth?”  Luke 18: 8b

Shall HE find faith on the earth?

Sadly, I don’t think I have been very faithful in my waiting through the years.

Yea, I go to church, I pray a lot, I study my bible everyday.  I fervently love my LORD…..but when I’m in the trenches praying about a problem….I’m not necessarily being faithful because I’m more focused on praying for GOD to come through for me….instead of really focusing on HIM.

There is a difference.

Faithfulness encompasses prayer.

Faithfulness is humbling myself in anticipation should HE say no instead of grumbling about the discomfort I’m in.

Faithfulness is asking the hard questions….GOD is there something you’re trying to show me here? Some sin?

Faithfulness is repenting of the not so obvious…secret….character flaws….keeping me from truly being clean.

Faithfulness is growing spiritually.

If I’m not growing while I am waiting…then I’m just missing an opportunity to know my LORD better.

My associate pastor says…….

“If we are walking with GOD….growth is not an option.”

If I am “waiting well”….I will be growing spiritually.

What I am doing in the waiting period is significant to being faithful.

I confess for many years I have not waited well. My actions didn’t show faithfulness….my words didn’t reveal faithfulness.

GOD may have withheld HIS hand on my behalf but HE never withheld his love, protection, provision or faithfulness to me….yet I withheld everything HE deserved.

GOD’S silence is good for me.

I can’t believe I said it….but it’s true.

GOD’S silence has taught me to evaluate how I am waiting…..

What I need to repent of…..

What I need to submit to…..

How I need to serve HIM regardless of what HE does for me….

And how I should love HIM….regardless the answer.

But here is the key to all this…..if you don’t take anything away….remember this please….

If we don’t seek to know HIM better during the trials….the heartaches….and the silent times…..we will lose hope.

The bible clearly tells us if we seek HIM…..we will find HIM.

If we repent…..HE forgives us.

If we submit…..HE blesses our humbleness.

If we praise….HE dwells with us because HE inhabits our praise.

HE reciprocates our efforts.

Let me say that again….and let it sink in…

Our GOD….will reciprocate any efforts we make to know him better….including…..

Our submission….

Our repentance….

When we go to HIM with the desire to grow in HIM…..

To give him pure praise…..with no strings attached.

HE  responds by granting peace…..

Joy….

Blessing….

 And Hope.

And if HE doesn’t answer the way we want….. we still have an intimate relationship with our precious SAVIOR……. and HE will grant HIS SWEET GRACE to us in order to accept whatever outcome HE deems HIS perfect will to be.

I’ve come to realize…

When I am walking close with GOD….its easier to accept his will and abandon mine.

Don’t just pray for the giver of all things to give you relief or what you need……get to know the giver intimately.

If we seek the giver……we will be found faithful.

lf we’re faithful…we will be “waiting well.”

edited abandon will

 

“Really GOD? I can’t do that it’s crazy!”

“He’ll never change,” the lady told me.  “I’ve known him for over 20 years, he is what he is.  He will just break your heart,” she added.  “He will always be a drunk,” my loved one said.  I felt defensive, ashamed.  I started keeping the sordid details of my life to myself even amidst the turmoil in my heart.  What had been an exciting, three month courtship now resulted in a young twenty-two year old disillusioned bride.

I fell hard for this man. He was unlike any I had dated before.  Worldly, successful, funny and 15 years my senior. I felt safe with him, and there was no doubt I loved him.  My friends gossiped and marveled I fell for an older man. My family just about disowned me and did their best to intervene, yet something deep inside made me determined to marry him.

We were married 2 months when I found out I was pregnant.  This was the only child we had planned to have. Three months in I realized what appeared to be social drinking was really an alcohol addiction.  Confrontations led to dismal fights which led to declarations of cutting back or doing better.  We existed in a realm of illusory, he knew I wasn’t happy yet he tried. 

The drinking fractured our family time, our relationship, our outlook.  I started thinking about leaving, my adorable toddler gave me strength to insist we deserved better.  Then I found out I was pregnant, again.  I decided to keep trying but I had to have help.

I went to church but it wasn’t the right fit, I was gossip to those who knew me. It was hard getting myself together with a toddler in tow, to show up and make an appearance with a big smile on my face.  I didn’t see other wives hitting the altar because their husbands had issues.  Yet I had this overwhelming feeling I needed to be in church. 

The addiction continued to take its toll on our family.  In a drunken, angry state my husband quit a job providing a six figure income.  In the 80’s, this was a substantial salary.  Within months we found ourselves losing everything.  He agreed to rehab only after he came face to face with financial ruin. Soon he was offered a job in Louisiana.  It was a new start in a new place. 

He went ahead to find us a place to live.  Weeks later I came with our babies.  We were barely settled into our new home when I realized he was drinking again. I was heart broken, hopeless. 

GOD provided a Christian family next door.  I went to church with them, I felt GOD’S presence.  I saw hurting people on the altar, I let my guard down and shared my painful secret.  They prayed and taught me to pray for GOD’S will.  They shared with me it was GOD’S will for my husband to be a born again Christian and to be set free of his addiction.  I had hope.

We were in Louisiana just less than a year when the job was over.  The owner was selling out.  We were going back to Tennessee.   I was considering going my separate way when we returned home.  It would be an easy transition during the move. In the process of packing, I found out I was pregnant with our third child.  Yea….GOD has a sense of humor. I stayed.

The struggle continued to be heart wrenching, the finances were tight.  My first born was pretty sharp and soon picked up on daddy coming home drunk.  Thank GOD he wasn’t a mean drunk but a sloppy, affectionate, sentimental drunk. My feeble heart literally ached because my child could see the difference in a drunk daddy.

I remember crying out to GOD…..”I don’t know what to do, you have got to help me GOD.”  Our third baby was born and amazingly GOD led me to a new friend named Debby.  A vivacious, GOD fearing, spit fire full of faith.  What a friend.  She led me to a church with a pastor named Jerry.  An evangelistic, friendly, soul winner man of GOD. What a pastor. Jerry shepherded a loving, non-judging church family with real problems too. What a church. 

I started praying one night a week with Debby and another friend.  I learned to pray specific, I remembered the precious family from Louisiana who taught me it was GOD’S will for all to find salvation.  I believed and claimed this promise for my husband.  

We prayed it would rain on Sunday’s so he couldn’t golf and maybe go to church with me.  We prayed he would get hangovers….something he never did.  We prayed GOD would wrap his spirit so tight around my husband’s heart he would suffocate in conviction.  It rained 6 weeks in a roll and he attended church some.  He started puking his guts out after he drank and I so enjoyed listening to his gut wrenching bathroom sessions. I specifically remember thanking GOD for hangovers.

One night he sat down and watched a Billy Graham crusade on television.  I sat next to him on the couch as tears streamed down his face and he wiped them with his hand.  For 7 months, we prayed, we prayed specific, we prayed expectantly, we prayed in faith. 

Three days after we watched the crusade on television he was in his favorite local pub with all his golf buddies. It was a Sunday evening and my babies were loaded in their car seats as we headed to church.  The pub was on the way….GOD spoke clearly and said….”Stop and send Matthew in.”

“Send my baby in a bar Lord?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from GOD.  I literally sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes wrestling with whether to send my three and a half year old into a bar. Finally with a heavy heart, I stood at the door as my baby went in and asked his daddy to go to church with us. 

We settled into our seats near the front, liquor on his breath.  He wasn’t drunk but he had knocked down a few.  I remember thinking, I hope no one smells the alcohol on his breath.  The pastor brought a powerful salvation message directed at my husband.  I knew he was under conviction when the invitation started.  I looked at his knuckles white from griping the pew so tight.

The pastor offered one more verse, I was about to give up.  Then all of a sudden he turned to me and said, “I’ve got to go Mel, he’s calling me.”  He shot out into the aisle and hit the altar.  The pastor went and counseled him.  I waited and prayed but made it to the altar just in time to hear him pray the sinner’s prayer.

I remember my husband holding me on the altar after he asked Christ into his heart.  I remember the taste of my salty tears as we embraced each other for what seemed like forever.  I cried into his chest, he cried on my shoulder.  The entire church was rejoicing and praising GOD.  

GOD was so faithful to my family that precious night.  I relive it often.  He has brought us so far, replenished us financially, restored relationships, restored hope.  What the devil took….GOD replaced.

We will be married 30 years in January 2015.  He has been sober since giving his heart to JESUS on March 17th, 1990.  What rehab and a devoted, young bride’s love couldn’t do…GOD did. 

I have often thought about what would have happened had I not sent my innocent little boy into the pub that night? Crazy isn’t it?  GOD told me to send my baby into a bar?  I still scratch my head about doing so and I have never shared this detail of our story till now. 

We’ve read countless stories of GOD telling our bible heroes to do crazy things haven’t we?  So it stands to reason….why would he not tell us to do crazy things too?  Remember the leper, Naaman? Elisha told him through a servant, go wash in the muddy Jordan seven times and you will be clean. Naaman was angry Elisha did not come out to meet him and call on the Lord. He questioned the choice of waters stating there were cleaner rivers around. He went away in rage. If not for his servants convincing him to go to the Jordan and obey Elisha’s directives, Naaman would not have been healed. (2 Kings 5)

Its a beautiful story of stubborn obedience, similar to mine. I have learned through my 49 plus years, GOD’S ways are certainly not my ways. (Isaiah 55:8) He doesn’t do things the way my flawed mindset would do them.

If I had been the one who went into the pub that spring night in 1990, I don’t know if my husband would have responded with a yes. It probably would have angered him I showed up….especially in front of his buddies. The little wife had come to fetch her husband could have been his embarrassment….but seeing those sweet, little, expressive eyes with arms reaching up…speaking a tender, innocent plea…. I believe GOD used our baby to move my husband.

This reminds me of the scripture in Corinthians….

“But GOD has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and GOD has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.” 1 Corinthians 1:27

We don’t have a clue what GOD wants to use in our lives to bring him glory. Our ways are not HIS ways and HIS infinite wisdom will never be matched. It could be foolish things, the weak, it could be sickness, an addiction, a baby in a bar….but whatever he chooses to use…. we have got to be willing to do the things not making sense…. the crazy things…. if he asks us to.
old pictures 11574

“Choose to Endure! Overcoming Discouragement and disappointments in the game of Life”

Is there a recurring problem in your life continually discouraging you?  Is it a relationship? A job?  An inconsolable grief?  Your marriage?  A financial concern? A child? Is it sin you can’t seem to overcome? Are you drowning in the consequences of sin?

Discouragement is a key emotion Satan pulls from his bag of tricks.  I know the feeling of discouragement oh so well.  I grabbed the dangling, tainted carrot as recently as yesterday and found myself flat on my back.

Satan uses discouragement to isolate us from GOD.

A recurring discouragement for me of late is health issues.  I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish this weekend and nothing has been done.   I had errands I needed to accomplish but I didn’t feel like getting out….I even turned down a shopping trip with my sister….all because physically I didn’t have the stamina to go the distance. I thought I can at least work on a couple of writing projects….but my eyes were so blurry it hurt to even wear my glasses.  Nothing has been completed as per my expectations; therefore, it didn’t take long for me to get down in the dumps over my health.

So life happens…..it doesn’t go as we plan……and then………disappointment settles in our heart.

This isn’t where we thought we would be at this point in our lives right?

Why did this have to happen and change the course of my life?

The “what ifs and if onlys” bring no comfort as many of us can’t go back and change things…..we are stuck with a new path to navigate.

This perpetual state of discouragement is exactly where Satan wants us to live.

When he keeps us discouraged….he keeps us defeated…..hopeless….almost lonely in our state of misery.  We think no one could possibly understand how we feel….how we hurt….what we face everyday?

Some days it feels like we are just going through the motions….existing in a place where life may go on around us but we’re still stumbling around on the original path where it seems we lost it all.

Life is just plain hard isn’t it?

In all my physical misery yesterday…..I couldn’t focus.  I didn’t feel like doing anything….so nothing got accomplished and I ended up with a bigger to do list…..I ended up discouraged….thinking my health is slipping away from me.

Stealing our focus from GOD is what the Devil works so hard to do in our lives.

He will throw everything in our path until he hits us with the one thing ….that’s going to change it all.

How do we look up…when everything changes?  When we lose the job?  When we lose our health?  When we lose the loved one? When we lose it all?

How do we look up?

How do we keep going?

The bible tells us JESUS was a man of many sorrows….HE experienced our hurts….our fleshly feelings….our disappointments.

In my silly moment of doubt I asked…..how could HE have felt it all?  How could HE understand the utter feeling of deep despair where we feel we are loosing something precious or we’ve already lost it?

I’m ashamed of myself for asking questions like these…but I am so human…and GOD knows this of course.  So once again HE lavished HIS infinite mercy upon the silly child I am…. even with endless questions I have just like a three-year old…HE spoke very clear to me this morning.

When JESUS was hanging on the cross for our sin…HE cried out to GOD….HIS FATHER….

“My GOD, my GOD….why hast thou forsaken me?”   Mark 15:34

I can’t imagine the feeling of being abandoned while dying….can you?

Yet JESUS experienced the ultimate loss.

JESUS was separated from HIS father’s presence…as HE died…hanging by flesh torn hands….in unimaginable agony.

GOD turned HIS back on HIS only son.

JESUS was alone….utterly and completely alone……with all the sins of the world….yours and mine….ravaging HIS body with every drop of redeeming blood….. hitting the ground.

GOD smacked me on the head this morning….you silly child…..JESUS knows exactly how you feel…when your hurting….when you have lost your health….a child…..a job….a home…..a marriage.

HE knows all too well the feeling of loss.

You see the Devil wants us to doubt JESUS….so he sends us the life hurts that diminish our faith and throws us into a spiral of defeat….disappointment…..discouragement.

Satan wants to separate us from JESUS….just like the sins JESUS bore for you and me separated HIM from HIS father.

I now have no doubt……our SAVIOUR truly felt the loss of everything….and I feel comfort from this truth.

It’s in the times we are hurting the most ….we have got to cry out to JESUS….help me JESUS….HELP ME!  I don’t know what to pray or how to pray ……I don’t know what to say…..I don’t know how to go on….I don’t know how to live in this new place I find myself in? HELP ME JESUS, HELP ME PLEASE!!!

I have been so broken before, I didn’t have a clue what to pray or ask GOD to do in my life.

The bible says the HOLY SPIRIT will intercede on our behalf.

“In the same way, the SPIRIT helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the SPIRIT himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings.”  Romans 8:26

“Inexpressible groanings”……WOW!!  Words that can’t express the pain of HIS heart….that’s how much HE cares.

Friend you may feel distant from GOD because HE allowed a great loss to come into your life.  Don’t let Satan fool you…make you think GOD doesn’t care…or even worse….GOD is mean.

Cry out to GOD and ask HIM to help you put your eyes back on HIM when you stumble into discouragement.

Don’t let Satan keep you defeated…..don’t let him steal your purpose in life…..don’t let him make you bitter and feel distant from GOD. 

Chose to endure your trials…..your grief…..your disappointments….chose to lean on JESUS.

We will never understand in this life why we are dealt the cards we have to play with…..but we have to keep our eyes on the game (GOD’S purpose for our life)….and the game maker (our GOD) ….and in the end….. we will win!

“Behold we count those blessed who endured.  You have heard of the endurance of job and have seen the outcome of the LORD’S dealings, that the LORD is full of compassion and is merciful.” James 5:11

“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the LORD has promised to those who love HIM.”  James 1:12

Hang on friend….hang on….

“Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.”  Psalm 30:5

Cling to the hope of our future with JESUS…. and the promise that he is always with us….even in our sorrows!

Hang on friend…..JOY IS COMING so CHOOSE TO ENDURE!!!!

choose to endure

 

 

 

 

“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

“Hard Lessons of Motherhood”

Hey moms……did the precious child you carried for 9 hard months post his or her undying love and adoration on social media for you this mother’s day? Yes? No?  My daughter in law posted a precious message….. girls tend to think of these things first and I am grateful to finally have a thoughtful female in my brood; however, it was my middle son that made me burst out laughing with his twitter message of mommy gratitude.

“Happy Mother’s day to @MelMel27.  Only woman in the world capable of what she puts up with.”

While raising 3 boys has subjected me to many happy, mommy moments, lets just be honest….I have put up with quite a bit through the years…and it seems some days it is still ongoing.  Aaron’s post got me to thinking of not so happy times when I’ve been sure my boy’s were going to be the death of me.

To sit here and pretend we have the perfect family life with the perfect kids who have made the the perfect choices in their lives would be fake.  I’m getting too old and impatient to carry on a ruse as such, besides….I can’t fool GOD can I? None of us can….he knows what we hide and how we tend to share only the perfect parts of our life.  I’m too exhausted to sprinkle my social media pages with rainbows and choice tidbits of perfection.

Raising 3 boys has made me keenly aware of failure, sin and humility.  When they fail….I take it personal….but the fact is….my kid’s are sinners just like their mom and dad.  If being a parent don’t make you humble….I don’t know what will.

There are many victories on the long road of motherhood….but the truth is…..there are sad times, hard times, confusing times and times you just want to smack their little faces.

As I watch my boys in hairy, men bodies become adults, I am learning to resist intervening in their decisions, choices and mistakes.  My husband and I will give GODLY guidance if they ask or not, but  if we run interference….we may be hampering GOD’S will for their lives.  Our job is not to go behind them and fix it anymore….sometimes we can’t….therefore we have to let them walk through the fire.

Undoubtedly our kids are going to hurt, suffer and wrestle through the carnage of the effects…..the pain will be real….the lessons hard.  Our hearts may break while standing on the sidelines watching….but don’t just stand and watch…..fall to your knees and intercede on their behalf to GOD.

C.S. Lewis has a great quote about pain….

“GOD whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but SHOUTS in our pain; it is HIS megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Pain has a way of teaching lessons even an loving parent can’t articulate…..and lets be honest…they probably won’t listen.  GOD will use the pain in our kids lives to grow them…..guide them…..draw them to HIM…..and a funny thing happens in the process….HE draws mom and dad too.

Everything GOD allows us to go through in life is designed to make us more holy….more like JESUS.

To interfere when we shouldn’t can stunt our kids spiritual growth. While we want to spare them of pain….the truth is…..pain is what molds their character. This is an important lesson no matter how old your kids are.  There is going to be only one winner at the spelling bee…..only a chosen talented few will make the cheer squad or basketball team….he or she is not always going to get the job they want or even their dream girl or guy.

Life is not fair and there are going to be cheaters, bullies, prejudices, brown nosers and some people who will use them. There will be failures, irresponsible decisions, immaturity and sin with consequences along the way.

If this mother’s day has left you with less than warm and fuzzy feelings due to a child’s bad choice….or if you have a heavy heart because you child is in the midst of pain….. or possible danger……take courage!  Think of your big or little kid as an acorn….growing into an oak of righteousness.

So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that HE may be glorified.”                 Isaiah 61:3

Pray moms….pray….this is the most important thing we will ever do for our children since giving them life. Pray for their spiritual growth…and understanding in the midst of pain.

Resist the urge to fix things in their lives…..instead…pray….and seek GOD to be the ultimate fixer….and restorer.

Oh GOD….grow our kids….big and little….to be GODLY men and women.

scripture picture holy