Is Loyalty Dying Among Christians?

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When I look back on the people that have come in and out of my life … the enemy wants the losses to overshadow those who remain loyal friends.

We know when people pull away … when they are for us or not.

It’s obvious by their speech, actions, and heaven forbid … even in their Facebook activity (that’s a truth said in jest by the way).

It’s difficult when we realize the loyalty we give … is not always matched. And that’s okay because we know too well how human we all are.

But loyalty – that true kind that eptiomizes God in every sense of the word … has been on my mind for some time. Recently in a meeting with one of my pastors, he hit on the subject -reiterating how important loyalty is for Christians to practice.

Loyalty comes in many forms.

There is loyalty to God that says … no matter what … I’m going to be faithful to you Lord.

This determined faithfulness to His statutes and commands, compels us to do the right thing … even when we don’t feel like it.

There is a persistent, unwavering commitment to our spouse that hangs tough when life is less than perfect.

In fact, this kind of loyalty builds character. It’s a determination much like a tenacious hound dog that won’t let go of a bone.

There is a loyalty that a mother hen gives to her children.

A mother’s devotion will take on a herd of bullies even if it means being smashed like a bug in the dirt. NOBODY messes with my hairy, man, babies … and that goes for my daughter-in-law and grand-kids as well.

Then there is the sibling allegiance – like the kind my boys have.

They may aggravate and irritate each other but by golly … nobody’s gonna’ mess with any one of them … or there will be a hellacious problem.

There is steadfastness to an Alma Mater … our favorite learning institute …  or die hard dedication to our favorite sports teams … and even to our preferred hobbies.

Then there is devoted constancy to the church … to God’s man in the pulpit … and to the body of Christ over all. This kind of loyalty guards against fickleness or offense.

Loyalty is vast in variety, but the one that’s wrestling in my heart of late … is the loyalty of a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

It’s a beautiful picture of walking through life’s valleys with those you value during the hard times and even the good times.

And as I’ve tried to wrap my flawed brain around what loyalty really is and means in regards to friendship … I keep thinking about what loyalty isn’t. Those descriptions are much easier to name and recall for obvious reasons, aren’t they?

You see, we all can find a reason to abandon someone … when it’s not convenient … when we’ve been hurt … when there’s no apology … or when we just want to sit on the fence and not get involved.

But the truth of that is… we can still be loyal in neutrality if we desire to. And perhaps we don’t realize when we’ve walked away from loyalty? Or, maybe we justify it by flawed reasons?

Then for some reason we think loyalty is about shifting the relational balance and standing in one’s corner. But that’s not true loyalty. It’s not about taking sides … it’s about faithful friendship, period.

But as I search the bible looking for examples of what it means to truly be loyal … I keep hearing the Spirit say … “It’s all about the love, Mel.”

“It’s all about the love.”

That’s a thought that makes me think … well if it’s all about the love … then the people that abandon us never really love us, is that right God?

Maybe … probably … maybe not.

So, if we don’t feel this love to the core … then either we don’t love like Jesus loves … or we allow the enemy to draw our intentions away … making us abandon God, and each other.

In fact, I believe the loyalty we give is equal to the love we have in our hearts. This truth is making me examine some wounded places deep in my soul.

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We can always find a reason to walk away … whether it’s a righteous one can only be determined by the Holy Spirit … but the flawed words of man should never pull us away.

I’ve finally realized, if loyalty is all about love … then I need to adjust my love meter, I guess.

The truth is … there are times when it’s easy to be loyal, right?

Like when it’s not costly or when it’s righteous … when we feel it to our core. I guess that’s the love part the Holy Spirit uttered to me.

But the point is … we are all so stinking flawed … we blow it in this love and loyalty thing.

If there is anything God has taught me at all in the last 12 months … loyalty matters because it’s a reflection of God’s Covenant love.

If you’ve never studied God’s Covenant love … then you will never understand true love or loyalty.

So … I want to love better, period.

And loving better doesn’t mean that I dive in without boundaries … but it does mean that I love … without judgement … without hypocrisy … and without giving up the desire to want God’s best for those that abandon me.

Loving better means I don’t take sides and I sure as heck don’t wag my tongue.

Loving better means I forgive … and I move on to heal.

Loving better means I don’t look back.

And finally, loving better means that even if my love and loyalty is not reciprocated … I love anyway … without offense.

Loyalty may be a dying character quality to the world … but Christians can show the world a better way – if we truly love what’s important … and what’s most important is God … and each other.

Lord, May our love be evident to you and each other … by our loyalty to do what’s right.

love mel

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The Truth About Social Media #pocketsofjoy

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“I got off social media, the devil was using it against me.” This message came from a sweet, young mom of two littles. I shot back, “I’m proud of you, you are a wise, young woman!” And she is. My friend gets how the enemy can lie about perceptions. She totally understands that this comparison game on social media is one big hoax, 90% of the time.

Don’t get me wrong – social media can be fun and a tool for good. I love seeing special moments in friends and family’s lives. But outside of the real moments of life, Satan has used social media to wreak havoc in our lives with this comparison sham, and it ain’t pretty, pardon the Tennessee slang.

We see the pictures posted of what appears to be the perfect person, in the ideal setting, smiling ear to ear, and making us all feel less than perfect, right? I don’t have to tell you that comparison messes us up, we know that.

My sweet, young, mama friend said that she felt like a failure when her kids were screaming and she was cleaning house like a slave – and then the glossy pictures with  perfect, behaved children on the fun mom outings pop up. Needless to say, she was defeated.

The real truth behind those types of pictures is that nobody’s life is perfect – It doesn’t matter who we are – there is a mess in our lives somewhere – or a difficult circumstance we are enduring.

I really became aware of this last fall when a friend told me that we had the perfect family. That we seemed to have so much fun. I realized she perceived my life to be different from what it really is. So, I just point blank told her. We are far from a perfect family. We do have fun with each other, but we have situations that are hard for us.

For example, my husband’s PTSD from his time as a combat soldier in Vietnam. My sweet daughter-in-law, Kayla, recently said; “No one would believe how he is behind the scenes if they didn’t see it for themselves.” My husband is a charismatic, fun guy when he’s in public; however, there is a deep sadness that comes over him sometimes when he is alone with his thoughts. As a result, my children have lived life in ways that most kids will never face.

For this very reason, I am more aware than ever of the pictures I post.

Losing our precious Paula and Ronnie in a tragic wreck on January 30th has left our lives in a mess frankly. The same is true for our grandkids, they’re really feeling the loss of their parents in a messy kind of way that we will never get. That fact is, we’re all broken in ways that we will wrestle with for years to come.

So, I’m not going to pretend that my family is all that when we are not, nor have we ever been.

But the Lord gave me a scripture that brings great comfort and truth during this time:

“When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”  Psalm 94:19  

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Here is the truth that I can sink my heart into … and it’s never been more true in my life than of late.

The cares of my heart are many, but God consoles through tender moments just for me.

The pictures I post are merely “pockets of joy” wrapped in imperfections.

They are moments that have been ordained by my heavenly Father to console and cheer my soul.

They are precious times when we laugh in the midst of our pain.

They are sweet, sweet memories that I cherish afterwards for days.

I wish we could all just get wise and honest about those pictures that we post in the moment. Yeah, it’s a good moment and a blessing … but it doesn’t mean life is perfect.

So, don’t let the enemy trick you into thinking, posting, or believing in something that isn’t real. Be real, share your “pockets of joy” and savor the memories.

Here’s your challenge … live your “imperfect joy moments” with the hashtag #PocketsofJOY

love mel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why All the Hurts Lord?

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Tragedy and loss have a way of reordering life.

Some days we feel as though we’re starting over … like we’re learning God’s ways again. It’s silly to think we ever had them figured out. Like that’s gonna’ happen, right?

I think we get comfortable doing this faith thing and stupidity along with a little spiritual arrogance sneaks in.

My husband and I have been walking with the Lord a long time. We’ve faced countless hard trials … but none like the one our family is enduring in this season of life.

What our sovereign God allows sometimes is gut wrenching, especially for those we love the most. We’re seeking Him hard these days.

I find I’m desperate to see something tangible come from all this hurt. God’s word reminds me that we’ll be tested. He puts us in the direct path of the storm to see what we’re made of.

This testing thing is a hard pill to swallow when three precious kids are involved.

And then there are new hurts and realities that just seem to pile up daily. You’ve  heard the old saying that you find out who your real friends are in tough times? We are finding this a harsh reality as well.

The Devil has compounded our grief with deception, manipulations, and sin messes. The ripple effect of others sin has multiplied our hurts. What’s in the bucket is gonna’ come out … especially when it’s turned upside down.

I keep asking God, what is your purpose Lord? Why all the hurts? Why all the losses?

I’ve been doing a bible study by Dr. Tony Evans called “Detours” … it’s no accident God led me to this book. Dr. Evans explains the why’s of God’s purpose like this:

“We would never plan chaos and detours into our lives on purpose. And yet that seems to be God’s go-to mode for testing, training, and preparing us. The perspective we take toward personal detours will influence the impact they have on our lives.”

In other words, if we bare down in anger, bitterness, or abandon God, the impact on our lives will be even more tragic.

Detours are critical crossroads in our stories. We either choose to submit like an old hound dog that turns belly up or we bite back.

How we react will show the world if we are walking in God’s will … or not. And sadly, God gets no glory if we waste our hurts on sin.

Just days ago I stood in church singing one of my favorite worship songs … “He’s a Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin.

As the chorus led us to the bridge … simple words wedged in my throat … “You’re perfect in all of your ways … You’re perfect in all of your ways, You’re perfect in all of your ways to us.”

In that moment, it hit me … I’m singing to my good, good Father who has allowed unimaginable pain and loss to turn my family’s world upside down.

I’m not gonna’ lie – for a split second, it was hard to form those words in my mouth … and from my heart.

Losing one person that you love is dang hard – but losing a second person at the same time almost seems cruel … like God is trying to break us, right?

But that’s not what our good, good Father is trying to do … ever.

Though our detours don’t come with clear explanations, God does have a plan. He’ll use every stinking hurt we go through … if we are willing to let Him.

Detours come to test us, develop us, and to help us clean up our sin messes. In this challenging process, brokenness strips us of pride and self-sufficiency.

And it’s in this fragile place of complete dependency on God that we are humbled … so that He can get His greatest glory from our broken story.

There may be a momentary sinful tendency to bristle at the Creator receiving glory from our pain; however, this alternative will only bring us more heartache.

Plain and simple, this is where the rubber meets the road.

Is our faith in God stronger than the pain we feel?

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Do we really trust Him?

I won’t understand this loss until I bow at my Savior’s feet one day, but I don’t want to look back and see my detour extended or exacerbated by unforgiveness or sinful reactions.

He’s been faithful before so I choose to trust Him with my pain, once again.

Maybe you’ve hit a detour and you’re at a crossroads in your story?

Perhaps you’ve gotten lost on your detour and you’re miles away from God?

You can always turn around … no matter how far you have traveled.

Won’t you trust Him with your pain and let Him guide you safely back into His mercy? There is no sweeter place to be, especially when we are heartbroken and disillusioned.

And yes, I still believe to the core of my very being – He’s a good, good Father … and He’s perfect in all of His ways.

love mel

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

When Mamas Cry #JOHNNYSAWYERSTRONG

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When Mamas cry … surely heaven gets out all the buckets, right?

And surely the good Lord knows how long that Mamas gonna’ cry, and how many buckets she’s gonna’ need?

I reckon the angels are pretty busy when Mamas cry.

In my big imagination I can see the stealth, precise movement of angel wings as they swoop in and switch out the buckets … carrying them back to heaven for safe keeping.

These blessed tears of pain manifest a deep dependence on the Holy Spirit: because being in the presence of the Spirit strengthens a Mama’s heart. Heck we are all changed when we’re in the presence of the Holy Spirit.

But oh how God works through the tears of worry that birth a hungry faith.

The bible says there is a time to cry. (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

Mamas don’t pick those times … the heart does all the picking.

Mamas cry at the silly things too. The first day of school, the first time a heart gets broken, and the first time we realize our babies don’t need our help anymore.

But sometimes the biggest tears are those that bring the biggest fears. These are the most precious tears because they beg for a stronger faith and learn how to rest in a sovereign God.

God made us to cry so it’s okay to just boohoo when we’re at our Mama’s wit’s end. A good cry clears out all the cobwebs of anxiousness and lets the soul breath in the prince of peace.

God knew we needed an emotional release in this complex Mama makeup that’s wrapped up in our babies.

Even Jesus cried and He didn’t have no babies. (John 11:33,35)

So it makes sense that He knows the heart of a Mama’s cry and what He needs to do for her.

Oh you rest assured that God don’t waste a Mama’s tears. He’s just storing them up in His glory pools. One day He’ll release them like a broken dam and His glory will burst onto the scene to do its work.

Yes, He works through every tear a Mama cries.

So think about all those precious tears you’ve cried Mamas. Nothing so precious to you will ever be forgotten by your Creator … on no … He sent His son to die for those tears.

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There’s a couple of sweet Mama’s I know that’s been using up heaven’s buckets lately. They are precious friends to me. One’s a grand-mama who’s taught me a lot about Jesus. The other is her daughter. These girls sure do love Jesus.

But right now they are crying because their precious, 7 year old, Johnny Sawyer, received a diagnosis of MLA / Leukemia last week.

There’s some hard days ahead of them but these Mama’s are warriors. But even warriors need some help every now and then.

I got a lot of friends out there in cyber space and it would sure be nice if  ya’ll would pray for my sweet friends. Here is a link that will share more of their story. I promise … you’re gonna’ fall in love with the Dyers.

You can also find Johnny Sawyer’s Facebook page at this link. Go visit, like it … and please share it.

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I don’t take this sacred place that I share my heart with you for granted. I just love these sweet Mama’s so very much and they’re just flat out heartbroken right now … they are desperate for our prayers.

If you are a Mama who knows what its like to have endless tears … will you pray, please?

Thank you sweet friends. I’m so thankful for you … and for a Heavenly Father who cares about every single tear that each and everyone of His children cry. (Psalm 56:8)

love mel

Seven Take-Away’s to Remember from 2016

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

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

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

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

  • God knows I attract crazy.

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

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

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

  • People with opinions, ignore them.

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

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  • My dog is my best friend.

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

  • Glory hogs will always be glory hogs.

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

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

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

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

For example, “No Shave November.”

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

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

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

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

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

love mel

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The Porter Boys

When You Need a Reason to be Thankful

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Everywhere I’ve been this week I see Christmas decorations. In the stores, in yards, and even Facebook is splattered with pictures of Christmas trees going up.

As much as I love Christmas, I couldn’t find it in me to take down my fall mantle. It has a set of broken pilgrims that stand tall and proud. If you shake the mantle … the male pilgrim’s top half will topple over, making him look like he’s been sawn in half by a magician.

I know … I need to superglue this universal symbol of gratitude together but somehow … I feel led to leave him broken. He reminds me of how I feel sometimes … broken … but still showing up and taking my place as God would have me do.

I purposely don’t want to forget the raw places that keep me close to God. I may whine at times … but the truth is … I need to see and be reminded of how desperately I need God.

Just as I write these words to you today … I sit here in mismatched pajamas … Indian style on my bed. My bible is laid open to Psalms 71 (a new favorite), there are about 10 used up tissues scattered about because I have a vicious cold.

The heating pad is on my lower back at the moment because I landed in the doctor’s office yesterday, doubled over with intense pain. It seems I have a rather angry kidney/urinary tract infection because God gave me two urethras. What a blessing right?

I’m miserable, physically, head to toe on this special day … but yet I am most thankful.

In my younger days, I am ashamed to say that I couldn’t always find gratefulness when life wasn’t all sunshine.

How about you?

Is there a situation in your life today that is swallowing up the goodness of God?

Are you wondering this morning how you were dealt the cards you are playing with?

Are you confused at how God allows the good and the bad … even from difficult people … into your life?

Yes, our infinite God allows places in life that we don’t understand … but HE is ever understanding about our plight.

Unfortunately, some of these difficult places we find ourselves in is of our own making … yet some are trials.

God wants us to learn the truths of His faithfulness through our mistakes and the trials … but sometimes we choose to check out on God in the middle of the test.

Sometimes we are walking through the wilderness and we decide to camp out for a while.

Bitterness, anger, and depression often stall us.

Just like the children of Israel, we can complain, blame God or someone else … but the truth of the matter is … we are responsible for checking out on God.

We are the ones who take our eyes off God and put them on self.

Trust me … I know.

I’ve done it too many times in years past.

So today on this Thanksgiving day … I challenge you to take your eyes off of what it is that’s stealing your peace.

Shift your focus … if only for an hour … to our faithful God who wants you to see Him today.

Make a list of the good things in your life. Then make a list of how HE has been faithful to you in the past.

I challenge you to spend some time in prayer thanking Him for all good in your life, past and present.

It’s time to shut down camp and move on.

We can choose to wallow in our circumstances or we can be grateful for what “is” good in our lives.

It’s simply an attitude adjustment my friends … one that replaces misery … with a faith in the one who created you and knows all about you.

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”                                                                                                                     1 Thessalonians 5:18

So what is your “everything” dear one? Will you get alone with God and figure it out today? You might just be surprised at what He shows you.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends. May you see our loving God through all of your circumstances today!

love mel

Why God Allows Change

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Change can turn our world upside down if we’re not careful. Trust me, I know. There was a time in my life when God allowed change to become my normal. I fought it tooth and nail just like an unruly toddler.

But looking back I can see God’s hands were lovingly moving all the pieces of my life around … and it was for my good.

Today I am humbled to once again share a part of my journey in a guest post over at (In)courage. If you are not familiar with this beautiful place where women connect and share their hearts then today is your lucky day!

What is (in)courage?

Founded in 2009 by DaySpring, the Christian products subsidiary of Hallmark Cards, (in)courage is a vibrant community where thousands of women have gathered since then to connect, share stories, and spread encouragement.

Sign up here to receive free daily notes from (in)courage, sent right to your inbox!  

I promise you will love this place to connect with others and our God … this site has certainly been a beacon of light for me in recent years.

But don’t forget to click over right here and read more about the year that God totally changed my world … for my good and His glory.

Change is messy my friends … but our Heavenly Father knows that change can bring us closer to Him if we will let it.

love mel

Tweets:

Why God Allows Change, by @MelMel27http://www.incourage.me/?p=181625

At critical crossroads of melancholy, we must remember our faith in God is our future. http://www.incourage.me/?p=181625

Our Heavenly Father knows that change can bring us closer to Him if we will let it. http://www.incourage.me/?p=181625

Every season God brings into my life is lovingly filtered through His fingertips. http://www.incourage.me/?p=181625

Change is good for us even if it is wrapped in circumstances we don’t understand. http://www.incourage.me/?p=181625

 

 

 

 

Reflections of Motherhood On a Special October Day #Sweet Memories

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The waves lapped the shore as we sat side by side on the sand. Sitting with my first born, we were soaking up the beauty of the ocean. All defenses were down as he relaxed in the sun and became the brilliant, talkative boy I remember. He and his brother were excited to have tickets to a medieval dinner show later that evening.

We found ourselves in a sweet conversation that I’ll treasure forever. It started with the subject of knights and their noble causes.

As he talked … I realized boys big and small, want to live out nobility.

To have a cause gives purpose.

He continued to tell me about Roman history, naming his favorite emperors and historic battles. And then he mentioned Constantine and the significance of the cross that was put on the soldier’s shields … taking me all the way back to the crusades.

His eyes danced as he relayed historic and symbolic meanings of Christianity.

Then I asked: “Would you have been a knight, son?”

“Well yea mother” he said. “I would fight for my faith, absolutely.”

Joy swelled in my heart. When sons and daughters grow up, taking their own paths, it’s a sweet blessing when they confess what we taught.

I struggled through the years with letting go and trusting God with my boy’s future: But in all my mistakes as a well-meaning mom, I see a hairy, man boy who isn’t perfect, but he gets what it’s all about and deeply believes his faith is worth defending.

I smile and remember the time he got a perm because he wanted hair like the knight, “Arthur” in the 2004 movie.

“Girls like curls” he said with a mischievous grin.

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The qualities of a noble knight are loyalty, generosity and chivalry … and my boy gets all these right. He is loyal to a fault, generous till it hurts, and he defends the weak fearlessly. He works in the medical field and is so compassionate that his patients fight over him. For all his human frailties … my boy has some mighty noble qualities.

I will forever cherish those two hours with my son that day. I saw him as a man … and not my little boy.

Too often we take this parenting thing too personal. We think our kids are a reflection of us … when they do good … and when they mess up.

But that’s just pride, because any good thing in our children is because of the Creator.

And even when they make a bad choice, it doesn’t mean we didn’t do our job as a parent.

A sweet friend recently said; “Kids do stupid things because their brains aren’t fully developed.”

How very true. So lighten up moms, our sons and daughters have to live and learn.

Our job is to keep pointing them to JESUS.

My boy immensely enjoyed the medieval dinner show that evening. He even decided to be knighted. When asked what proclamation should be put on his knight certification … he replied … “Because being a knight is awesome.”

And so as he knelt for the ceremony, the Lord of the Manor “dubbed” Sir James Matthew Porter, a knight, and proclaimed to the masses that he was granted all the rights and privileges of a noble man … “Because being a knight is awesome.”  He giggles like a little girl when we talk about it.

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So moms, embrace everything about your kids, big and small, quirky, normal, good and bad.

Feed their dreams, guide them through their messes and celebrate their victories.

Take every opportunity to view into their souls … because I promise, you will cherish it forever.

Wrap them in your prayers but leave their future to their creator.

And most important … give them unconditional love … just as our Heavenly Father gives us.

So on this October day 2016, I celebrate my noble son’s 30th birthday.

Happy birthday Sir Matthew. You are precious in my sight … as well as your Heavenly Father’s.

Gosh how I love you son!


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Aaron- my middle son, Matt- my first born, and the Falconer

Yes, Aaron humored his big brother.

The Sum of our Hurts #Relationships

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Relationships have a way of packing on the hurts. They add up with each offense, snub, direct or indirect injury, and pretty soon we find ourselves hiding in retreat.

Walls go up and we keep a safe distance. Then as time passes the enemy comes around to taunt with memories and regrets.

Pulling further away is the reaction the Devil is going for. He wants to keep us isolated for obvious reasons.

I’ve been so guilty of letting hurt feelings dictate my waning desire for friends. I’ve declared at times that I don’t need friends … but the truth of the matter is … God wants us to have friends.

Over time the guilt builds that I could have done more or I should have done this or that. But in truth … I know there have been times I have loved well.

It’s a vicious cycle that the enemy wants us to wrestle with. He wants us to walk away and give up.

He uses our imperfections to overwhelm us but kicks our victories to the curb.

These emotions can prick the heart and bleed for days.

At some point we have a choice to make. We can pull away even further or we can dig our heels in and refuse to lose any more ground in this relationship merry go round.

The Devil wants us to hop off at every turn, every slight, every instance someone withholds good from us … but the Lord wants us to hold on for love’s sake … even when the turning is infuriating, exhausting or disappointing.

The beauty of real love is endurance … an endurance that exudes a beautiful fragrance of acceptance no matter what happens.

We’re not always going to be treated right … we’re not always going to be loved … we’re not always going to give love with excellence … but the important thing is … we can’t stop loving.

The sum of our hurts should be viewed as a beautiful tapestry that gets more colorful and rich with every stitch.

It’s not a perfect tapestry that would win awards or bring a great price … but it’s one that will warm the soul … and bring a smile that proves it worth.

Relationships are a big barrel of emotions. Sometimes the good ones rise to the top and sometimes they don’t … but we decide which emotions fill the brim.

And we must never forget … nobody is perfect, nobody has it all together, and nobody can be everything to everyone.

We are flawed beyond flaws.

The Amish people are beautiful artisans. Every exquisite piece of art they carefully make is always given one simple and often unnoticeable flaw … they do this on purpose. It’s to be a reminder that no matter how beautiful a piece can turn out … there is only one who is perfect … and that is our heavenly Father.

Love forgets the imperfections … even when it hurts.

So look for the places of redemption in the relationships that make you ache.

Love without expecting love in return … and leave the rest up to the Lord.

If we will simply love … He will take the sum of all our hurts … and cover them with His perfect love … and He never disappoints because He is the ultimate friend.

Father, help us discern the emotions that can harm our relationships …and teach us to love with endurance.

love mel