“A Love Letter To A Prodigal Child”

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Dear Prodigal Child,

I dreamed you came home today. Oh the joy in my heart as I hugged you in an emotional momma moment. You know those moments…the ones with the tears and the kisses…and the antidotes of all the dramatic, annoying things a momma can say in a moment of pure ecstasy.

Your eyes were dancing with exuberant bliss….a pureness I haven’t seen since you were an innocent child and full of so much happiness.

I know the past has been confusing and disappointing. The enemy has chosen you to sift…… and sift he has child.

I wish you truly understood, the numerous attempts to snuff you out is because he doesn’t want you to reach God’s purpose for your life. He comes to kill, steal and destroy…but by the grace of God, you’re still standing child.

And be encouraged, because God will restore what the locust has stolen from you.

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The world fooled you with its pleasures, leaving you bruised, unsatisfied and isolated.

No matter how long you have traveled the wrong way, you can always turn around.

Jesus can fill all the holes in your heart….even the ones you are running from.

You’ve been gone for too long child.

So many nights, prayer replaces sleep. I hate to admit, sometimes worry replaces peace. I know you belong to the Father, but the enemy taunts me with fear.

Thank goodness, the Father reminds me that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and He loves you more than I ever will.  It’s so hard to wrap my mind around that because I would die for you child…. until I remember …..He actually gave his son to die for you. I could not give my child’s life for another.

Your earthly father continues to fatten the calf for the day when you return home. Oh the celebration we will have.

Momma will make all your favorites, the prime rib, the fried chicken, the mashed potatoes, the fried corn and the homemade macaroni and cheese.

I’ll even make the chocolate cake you love, along with some hot, chocolate chip cookies.  Remember how sweet those warm cookies taste with a glass of cold milk?

We’ll call your siblings, your cousins and have a big party and play games like we used to on family night. Dad will build a fire and let you have the recliner you love. I bet there will even be a good movie on the tv we can watch together, like we used to.

Your pup will be so glad to see you, he misses wrestling and playing fetch. Remember how excited he gets when you come through the door? Why at the sound of your voice, his little paws sound like he’s tap dancing on the wood floor.

Oh child, the thought of your arrival delights my heart to the point of rapture.

We’re waiting precious one and while we wait, we are praying and anticipating the victory you will have with Jesus.  And beloved, upon your arrival, you no longer have to look back.

The past is the past, because with Jesus….. His mercies are new every day.

Isn’t that cool?

Just think of the dreams in your heart?  It’s not too late child. All that potential He gave you is simply simmering beneath your soul. He wants to unleash the supernatural power of heaven to restore and replenish you.

He loves you so. Oh how He loves you…..it may be hard to fathom ….but He does….and He has two nail scared hands to prove it.

Come home child. We all miss you…we all long to sit and laugh with you. Your momma misses you so……but Jesus misses you most.

Love,

Momma

  If you have a loved one who has traveled far from home, may this love letter encourage you to never give up on your prodigal….so keep the faith…..and keep praying…..the Father has his eye on your prodigal.

Love to you all,

Melanie        

Honored to link up today with the precious Suzie Eller at #live free Thursday – if you are not familiar with Suzie’s writing – consider yourself now blessed to have been introduced. Her writing is anointed and cuts straight to my heart.  This post was partly inspired by my new pastor, Jeff Laborg.                                                                                          

“Gratitude For Our Broken Places” Day 5 ~ Five Days Of Thanksgiving ~ Drawing Closer To The Giver

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We stood hand in hand in a big circle around the room.

Bright eyes….

Hungry souls…..

Grateful Hearts.

Over 30 women from different walks of life.

All with a story…..

Battles survived….

Heartaches endured….

Some with loss still waging war on their souls….

Yet they were grateful.

I stumbled into this group on accident.

I was asked to share a devotion at KARM’S Serenity Shelter.

I came away changed.

How these women press on is nothing short of a miracle out of GOD’S playbook. 

My heart was so excited to return this month to celebrate Thanksgiving.

A precious sisterhood of women from our church have been going for months to love on this magnetic group. And yes my heart is now knit to these special women who have been serving faithfully.

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I’m hooked.

We do simple activities, play games, eat, laugh and pray with them.

This month we took a THANKSGIVING tree to hang ornaments of gratefulness on.

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It struck me it could easily be a TESTIMONY tree.

Reading the ornaments made my heart swell…..much like the Grinches crusty heart did when the “Whos” showed him unconditional love.

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I find myself thinking about these ladies all the time.

We go to love and encourage them….

We come out loved on and encouraged.

They are so grateful we come.

It’s ever so obvious they love us too.

Cassandra came in late from her job having missed the opportunity to share what she was thankful for earlier.

As we stood holding hands for prayer to end our evening, she spoke with humble eloquence.

“I am thankful for a second chance. Ladies, we have all been given a second chance.  Because we belong to JESUS, we get another chance at life. HE lives in all of us girls….HE is inside of us. I am so thankful for that.”

The humility in her voice as it cracked literally split my heart.

Earlier in the evening I prayed with four other ladies ranging in age from 20 ~ 55 years old..

The prayer requests were not of the material means….instead they consisted of….

Restored relationships and Salvation for their families….

Freedom from addiction for their families….

Requests for favorable results for upcoming educational testing, court dates, custody hearings.

They weren’t ashamed to share how long they had been sober…clean…..drug free.

I marveled in their humility wrapped in gratefulness. 

Their stories are not pretty by any means….

In fact their stories are shocking to someone like me who lives in a bubble.

Yet they shared….unashamed of their brokenness….with ugly details….ugly facts….ugly consequences.

Transparency is key to humility.

Transparency is necessary in GOD’S eyes. 

I can’t help but think about the ugly details in my life…the ugly facts…the ugly consequences.

I am not so brave to share such things with my sisters.

Why?

The LORD whispered in my ear…

     “It’s because of your pride, Mel.”

Pride keeps GOD at a distance in our lives.

Pride breaks down truth.

Pride hinders the SPIRIT’S desire to work in and through us.

Is there a broken place in your life GOD worked for good?

Are you ashamed to share it?

When we hide our broken stories….

We deny GOD’S glory.

We deny HIS work in our lives….

We cheat GOD….

We cheat ourselves…..

This THANKSGIVING can we lay down the pride?

Can we allow GOD to work through our ugly, sordid brokenness?

Can we let go of the shame of our weaknesses and let GOD do HIS work?  HIS will?

Can we ignore Satan’s attempt to silence our stories?

Can we start living transparent in JESUS CHRIST?

We keep too many struggles secret…..yet we probably all struggle with the same things…. doubt, greed, jealousy, hate, bitterness, lust, selfishness, insecurity ….and the list could go on and on.

In this 5 day series of THANKSGIVING I have challenged you each day to do draw closer to the GIVER by thinking different…being different…engaging GOD in a different way.

I can think of no greater way  to start engaging GOD ….than laying down our pride and letting HIM have HIS way with our stories.

Instead of being ashamed of your places of brokenness…..

Be THANKFUL for the GLORY GOD has worked in your life….

And pass it on.

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Start sharing what you have overcome…

What God’s done in your life that no one can see on the surface.

The truth will set us free…..

But GOD wants to use our truth to set others free as well.

Happy Thanksgiving friends….

May you engage JESUS in a way like never before.

Love,

MEL

To worship our LORD please click this link from the Elevation Worship Team.  Ask GOD to give you the boldness to share the broken places in your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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.”

 

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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!

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“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

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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.”

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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.
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“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

"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!

 



  

"Rainy Days and Monday’s Always Get Me Down" A battle for the mind and how to win!!!

Disappointment looms in the air today…….someone I love very much is struggling ……….I have friends that are down……..there is sickness…..aggravations…..regret……debt…….a heavy fog of grief.   Heck…..there’s a bunch of adult men that get paid millions to chase a ball around that are pretty blue today.

Monday’s are notorious for being bad days but I really hate to blame Mondays.  Mondays get a bad rap.  I think we are all just snapped back to reality after a two day euphoric reprieve.   Having the weekend to relax and forget our troubles is a welcome relief  until the clock goes off at 6:30 A.M. Monday morning and you’re catapulted back to the real world……it’s even worse when the rains coming down in buckets outside your window.

Days like today make me think of my daddy that’s in Heaven……my little boys that are big boys now.  I think about sunny days playing at the pool……..friday night movies……..cooking pasta so they could have a food fight outside.   I think of my mamaw Millsey in heaven as well……. she was my prayer warrior and understood my heart and my hurts growing up.  I’m tempted to mourne for the past when in reality….I wouldn’t want to bring my daddy or mamaw Millsey back from Heaven….they certainly wouldn’t want to come back……and while I miss the little boys that I so relished….this period where my nest is emptying is really a sweet place….and a divine appointment from God. 

In the past I have wallowed in my melancholy……sometimes the mindset would set in for a few days.  While it’s sweet to remember in order to escape……the LORD doesn’t want me to linger there to the point I loose sight of the future or it causes me to sin.  But gosh dang it…..when I think about the future…..it’s so overwhelming at times.  Fretting over worrisome problems, disappointments or things unsettled doesn’t help my state of mind.

So how do I handle these vulnerable…..worrisome…..nerve wracking….anxious…..melancholy……and dreadful days?

         You know…..that day where your heart is just raw…..unsettled…..aching in a sense?

We all have them for whatever reasons our lives warrant.  Concern for a child….worry for the future…..anxiousness for a problem…..health issues…..deadlines…. consequences from sin…..job pressures…..and the list goes on and on and on. 

            The important thing to ask when our emotions are tender…..where do we turn?

 Do we open the fridge?  Do we turn on the TV and let the noise drown out our thoughts? Do we hop in the car and go for a little retail therapy? Do we shut ourselves off emotionally from friends….church or family?  What do you do?  I have to confess that I have done all of the above in the past…….but finally…..I started to face those fragile times in my spirit because I wanted to deal with them…not push them back where they kept popping up…..causing me to digress to “stinking thinking.” 

 One day I finally talked to God about it…..”Okay Lord….I’m here at this uncomfortable place with this thing that I can’t change or fix…..what do you want me to learn from it?……what about this situation is causing me not to have truthful thoughts about everything and everyone involved…..including you Lord?”

When we get in these melancholy moods…..or mental states of depression or  negativity….it’s usually because we have allowed satan to use our problems against us.

I’ve always been a fixer….but it seems GOD has given me things in the last few years that I can’t fix in my human flawed state.  Have you got some problems that only God can handle or fix?  I used to pray for relief from things blatantly out of my ability to make better…….but now I do these little steps to get my mind in tune with the LORD’S.  I have found that I can face my problems a lot better when I have a GODLY mindset.

Step 1 I make myself write down a simple list of all the good things in my life that I am grateful for.  You will not believe how much better you will feel afterwards.  Seeing in black and white the good things I have to be thankful for….raises my spirits to another level.   Once I get to this point….my “stinking thinking” starts aligning with the “voice of truth.

Step 2 I rebuke satan and all the “stinking thinking”….. lies…..discouragement and negative things he tries to whisper.   You see….if you have accepted JESUS as your saviour….you have been bought with the blood that he sacrificed for your sin.  That blood gives you authority over satan and any devices, lies or problems he can throw into your life.  Claim the blood of JESUS and tell satan to go back to pit of lies and stay……he has no authority over you if you have been been redeemed by JESUS 

Remember satan is cunning….he comes to kill, steal and destroy your life (John 10:10) and your loved ones…..and the place he starts……. is by seeking to control your mind.

  Don’t let satan control your mind or thoughts through the problems you face on a daily basis!!!

Make a point to get rid of your “stinking thinking” because it’s from satan…..it will never be from GOD!  Any negative thought that comes into your mind is from the pits of hell!  

GOD will never give you negative …..condemning thoughts!

 THIS IS CRITICAL TO REMEMBER IN HAVING VICTORY IN YOUR THOUGHT LIFE!!!

 Step 3 The next step…… give it all to JESUS……every hurt…..problem……weakness….inadequacy… …..negativity……every burden……desperation…..past joys…..past sins….Give it all to HIM……pour your heart out to JESUS in honesty and humbleness.  

If you have a problem concentrating in prayer……that’s a ploy of satan’s as well so I suggest you sit down and write your prayers…… emptying your heart out to God.  Sometimes it hardest to pray and focus when satan has compounded your problems or hurts to a state of overwhelming thoughts.  

I have written my prayers so many times…..but it helps me focus and zero in on what the real problem is……which is usually my “stinking thinking.”  Oh the sweet relief when I give it to HIM…….it’s that very delicate vacuum of time…..where I have just confessed sin……given HIM my problems….and I am perfectly clean…..at least until I fall again…..but gosh….that sweet little space of time….where all is right between me and JESUS…..oh it’s priceless.

Finally sweet friends…..remember this……

                    “GOD IS FOR YOU!”

GOD is on your side!!! Though John 10:10 tells us that satan comes to kill, steal and destroy our lives….the rest of the verse says that HE came to give us abundant life!

      “The thief cometh not, but for to steal and to kill and destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

HE has come to free us of all our burdens……set the captives free……heal the hurts……break the chains of bondage…….we weren’t meant to carry all this baggage……..that’s why HE died for us.  

When we become entangled in our “stinking thinking” because of our problems…..friends….that is NOT ABUNDANT LIVING!!!

Oh how I am so thankful to have a saviour to run to when the weight of the world is on my shoulders.

The next time you fall into one of those ditch’s that satan dug for you….just give these simple steps a try…..I promise you…..JESUS will pull you from the plunder.


I pray that this message…..goes out to those struggling with burdens that entangle to the point of “stinking thinking”…….oh how I pray that you find relief in that sweet delicate place…..where JESUS meets you one on one….and all is made right between you and your precious saviour.

Remember………

            GOD IS FOR YOU!


                                             “I know that you are for me”  by Kari Jobe