Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Broken ... or just Bent?
Is it possible to break a person?
How do we know when we've been broken?
Or do we just feel broken?

What if when we feel cracked, we're really being molded into something - someone - who is stronger?
What if we are being bent into the new shape God has for us to handle the journey ahead?
One of my favorite analogies has always been that of the broken vessel.
Each life starts out as a whole being, created with ultimate love in the perfect image of God, the Creator.
But sin nature begins to weaken us, creating stress fractures throughout our vessel. Giving in to temptation, choosing to act in ways that are in direct opposition to His Will for us, creates cracks from the fractures.
Eventually, our entire vessel - ourselves - our heart and our spirit - begins to crumble.
And yet, we are not finished. He is not finished.
Broken Vessel by Deborah Smith
His loving, forgiving hand is always there. Hovering just above us. Shielding us. Waiting for us to reach up and take hold.
And when we do, His love, His forgiving grace begins to pour into us, filling those cracks. Not repairing them - instead, strengthening them with His very presence.

And we become even more beautiful in our imperfection.

We become lanterns, living examples of the power of God, the perfect Father. Of His incredible, strong, and overwhelming love for each and every one of us.
Each. One. Of. Us.
He loves us so much that it's as if every single person is the only person in the world, the only one He has to give every ounce of His love to.

By it's very nature, forgiveness allows for a transformative healing - creating strength, wisdom, and joy where there once was cracks.

To quote the prophet Isaiah (61:1-3): "The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God; to comfort all who mourn; to place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes, to give them oil of gladness instead of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a faint spirit."

We are made for so much more than the pain this life brings.

We are His anointed.

Every single one of us.





By God Himself. 

Once we realize this, once we embrace this, once we own this identity, the knowledge is stunningly healing and empowering! The grace radiates from us, touching every single person we meet. Making their lives better. Bringing God closer to them. Pouring His love directly into their cracks.

I will leave you with one of my favorite songs, Beauty For Ashes, by Crystal Lewis with Ron Kenoly.

May you know that you are never alone. You are never broken. You are never lost. His hands are there. His arms are open. All we have to do is look up.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Taking off the glasses

This morning when I woke up, the first thought in my head was, oddly, "That saying 'When God closes a door, He always opens a window' is a bunch of crap! God doesn't shut doors, we do!" Granted, a very odd thought for the first one of the morning. As I'd had very weird dreams all night, though, it really didn't seem that odd to me. Oh, yeah ... and I'm me.
All doors are always open when seen through the light of God's heart. It's when we stray from His plan for our lives that things become cloudy. Shadows appear in doorways, blocking our vision. Most often, we respond with things like, 'Oh, well, I guess that wasn't meant to be', or, 'Well, I guess that wasn't in the plans' - when in reality, it is only our shortened sight that is not meant to be, that is not in the plans.

I am constantly reminded of a scripture that, claimed to be a favorite of many when searching for strength and inspiration, is more often than not taken out of context ... "We know that all things work for good for those who love God ...", and here is the part that is NOT quoted often enough ... " ... who are called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28)

Knowing that God orchestrates all things for good is a wonderful thing to have in our hearts, especially when our sight becomes fuzzy. But it is not enough. In order to keep ourselves clearly in the light of His plan for our lives, we must not allow ourselves to forget that it is WE who must remain steadfast and faithful in our actions.

When we begin to follow a calling that is aside from God's purpose for this life, that's when we perceive doors as being shut in our faces. As difficult as it may seem at the time to keep our hearts and minds focused on God's Will for us and not be deterred by all the bright shiny's that constantly pop up, in both the short and long term it's much easier than all the heartache and healing we put ourselves through by trying to squeeze through all those 'windows' when we could be dancing through the doorways.

"I have the strength for everything THROUGH HIM WHO EMPOWERS ME!" Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Today is the day I finally crack up ... Maybe ...

Here we go again lol. I don't know what it is lately, but it seems like everything is 'Go, Go, Go, Go!' At least that's how it's presented to me. I am trying to take it one thing at a time, and it seems that some people are not so happy about that. To them I say, 'Calm thyself! It will all get done in time!' Ok, fine. I don't say it. I think it. As I scramble around like a headless chicken trying to accomplish it all.
Yep, this little guy right here just about sums it up. That's how I feel, and I wouldn't be suprised it that's how I look haha.
On a bright note, I KILLED IT BABY on the trails last night. Or, as Ms. Ri said, YOU OWNED IT MOM! It was a bit hilarous, I started out as the villian when I told her she had to come with me and at least make a good effort to run the trails. She was extremely unhappy to say the least. Then she loved me because I told her we were biking the 1.25 miles and back. I was so proud of her for the most part because she actually ran at least half of the 1.5 mile loop we do! Except the part where she refused to run more than 1/4 of the way up ANY hills, even the small ones lol. Until I dared her to hit the short but very steep one that's just about halfway through. SHE KILLED IT, SHE OWNED IT! I was so proud of her, and she was so proud of herself! She actually thanked me last night AND this morning for taking her and making her run!!!! She is a stubborn one, but so amazing! <3
And now, I say adeiu, as this hectic day is currently hitting a level of frenzy that may quite possibly drive me to dumping mass quantities of Baileys and Kahlua into my coffee. Maybe I will just pull a 'one of my minions' act and flip out with a good old fashioned SWERVE for everyone! Muahaha! (No, but really, it's more of a GAA!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Like a tadpole swimming in concrete

I feel stuck. Frustrated. Like brick walls keep popping up, booby traps and potholes tripping me and holding me back from where I should be, where my family should be. It's incredibly frustrating. And what's worse, is that so much of it is 'confidential' situations, so I can't even have a glass of wine with a good friend and get it off my chest. Ok, that's not completely true. I can have a glass of wine with a friend. I just can't unload on them. I'd better be careful what I'm saying here or I will start getting a ton of offers for a stress-free glass of wine with a friend! (Hehe, because that would be just awful!)
What to do, what to do! I realize that this too shall pass, and in a few days or weeks or months things will have changed. Some will have been resolved, some will be better, some will be worse, some will be the same. So why in the heck and I letting it get to me like this?
Spring Fever. I have Spring Fever. EVERY year since I was about 10, I get Wanderer's Itch around mid-February. By March is it driving me nuts, and by April it's nearly unbearable. I want to get up and go. Somewhere new, something new. It's not that I want to leave my amazing life, I just need a change. Quite frankly, I want to get the heck out of Dodge and go buy a sprawling ranch in the Texas hill country! I want to grow my marriage, my family, my children, animals, fruits and vegetables. I want to live off the land and let the land live through us! I've always had this dream where I have my ranch and Palamino, Arabian, & Mustang horses, along with one Jersey cow named Eva and one Longhorn Steer named Moe. I cannot tell you why, that's just what I want to see in my field. I also want chickens and tons of dogs and barn cats. I want a little farmhouse on the edge of the property for my parents, and another one on the other edge for hubby's mom. I want to grow our food, make our own bread and pasta and ice cream. I want to work for my family with my family.
UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I realize of course, that this Utopian dream has about as great a chance of coming true as I have of ever getting people who chomp their gum to actually chew it like there's other people around who don't want to hear their disgusting, spitty, chomping and snapping.
I apologize for my short temperment today. Ugh. It just seems like it is SOOO busy right now, and until this week the weather has been so crappy that it's stirring people's agitation pots.
Apparently I'm one of those people lol. I think I will go home, throw on my running shoes and pound it out on the wooded trails. RAH!

Friday, April 5, 2013

About as Natural as Hamburger Helper

Last night I took an awesome walk with an awesome friend, and along the way we were discussing food and who cooks what in our families. She mentioned Hamburger Helper and it kinda stuck in my head. I was not 100% sure why until this morning when Apocalyptica's 'I Don't Care' trampled my brain and it hit me. Dealing with some people in our life who talk about what good people they are yet their actions are the exact opposite. It drives me nuts. Like intensely stressful, hair falling out, migraine causing crazy. Which is insane in an of itself to let someone else's issues drive me to that point. Certainly there are other factors involved which explain why I would be so concerned. But still, letting myself become such a bundle of anxiety means that there's no way in heck I'm being a good example to those around me. It doesn't make me a bad person or mean that I'm showing a bad example necessarily, just that I'm not showing how to correctly deal with stress.
So in the last 6 months or so, I've had an elephant sized load of revelations that of course I'm gonna tell you all about, whether you want to read them or not ...  
The first one was that I am not supposed to be afraid. No longer should I be living in fear of what they might do, or say, or think. That my strength is in the Rock of my Salvation, and because of that, Whom Shall I Fear? Seriously, I realized that my fear was being caused by the evil one (sorry, NOT caps-ing the first letters, he doesn't deserve it!). I realized that by fearing the consequences of everything, I was leading our family in a life of decisions that were led by God and then adjusted to fit the parameters of the fear. What the heck was I thinking?!?!?!?!? Here I am teaching our kids to stand up for themselves in righteousness, to be strong in what they believe, don't let anyone trample on who they are and Who their faith is founded in. And I'm sitting in the corner like Chicken Little worrying about what will happen if, how will it be handled when, what will the kids have do deal with ... Honestly, just writing this and running it through my brain, I am getting severely annoyed at myself. Like chewing myself out in my head annoyed. Sheesh.
The second revelation was that, if I no longer live in fear, I have the freedom to do what is absolutely right and when it's necessary to defend those actions, God will give me the words to say, silencing the attackers and sending them away. Now this doesn't mean that they won't talk and attack when I'm not there to hear it. But it does mean that those attacks will no longer be initiated or instigated in our home. The devil will NOT get a handle on my family through that avenue any longer. That in itself is another freedom. When these realizations hit me, I cannot even put into words the HUGE release I felt. It was as if I had been carrying around this giant burden and it suddenly was lifted off of me. I just felt such lightness, such hopefulness, such joy ... There's no way to explain the depth of it properly in words. Tears of true love and joy came, and I do not cry easily.
The third big revelation came when I realized that we are no longer under their control, and they cannot manipulate us or situations any longer. Sure they can try, and they may even succeed with those who are part of their lives and therefore believe them. But for those seeking the truth, they will not be able to warp or bend the truth to suit their selfish desires and arrogance. Again, it was wonderfully freeing. I have begun to almost see thorough them. What I mean is, when I see them, I no longer see their outward appearance, the mask, the facade that they put out for everyone to see. I see the sadness, the anger, the arrogance, the frustration, the lack of self-worth, that is causing them to succumb to Satan's temptations.
SIDENOTE: AGAIN, the music backs it up. Flyleaf's 'Again', Trapt's 'Headstrong', The Birthday Rumor 'Goodnight', blessthefall's 'Promised Ones' ... *Yes, I'm in a hardcore/screamo mood today. 
When we give in to the bling and glitter of the world, we say yes to Satan. Plain and simple, black and white, there it is for you. Like it or not. Living IN the world is fine. We reside here, but our future and our hope is in Christ, in the eternal afterlife of Heaven. I'm talking about living OF the world. The kind of living that leads to the 'Keeping Up With The Jones'es' mentality. When possessions become the focus, when looking good and looking like good people becomes more important than simply being good people. The Gimmie Gimmie mentality develops, and soon the focus is on what is appears one's life is. Jesus once instructed His disciples to '... be in the world and not of it ...' God has placed us here for a reason, and it's not to destroy the hope of our eternal future by falling into every material and earthly trap that Satan lays out for us. We become fake, fraudulent versions of who God created us to be.
This is how I see it. Either you are or you aren't. There is no trying or want to. Either you do or your don't. That's one of the strongest motto's we teach our kids. You either put all your effort into something or you don't. If you are going to do something halfway, then you might as well not do it at all, because half done things always have to be fixed or finished by someone else, meaning your laziness created more work for someone else.
So when it comes to life, you either believe in God or you don't. You either follow His ways or you don't. Being a so-called good person is not even remotely enough. If you're not following His example, if you're not working to bring others to Christ and to glorify The Father, then you're working against them. The Bible is pretty clear on this. This website lists several Biblical references to lukewarm people and their place in eternity based on their behaviour in this world: I was going to list several scriptures but this is way faster, sorry. *The hands are still recovering from the surgery and I've typed quite a bit already today lol.*
So at the end of this half a year of revelation, I have finally realized that I am free! The bonds of fear have been loosed. The bonds of a tied tongue have been removed. The bonds of an anxious heart have been evaporated. Anxiety, worry, concern - they have all been downgraded and put into perspective. There are times to feel those emotions, but they will no longer control our decisions. It's one thing to say God is the head of your house. It's another absolutely beautiful and freeing thing to believe it with your whole heart, to live it. Our house, our lives have always been in His hands. What's changed is that now I'm no longer trying to move His fingers where I think they should be!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lost in Translation

First off, let me say WOW! I was floored and humbled to see 67 views to my last post ... I pray daily that God will use my ramblings for others, so I pray that at least 1 of you were helped in some way by His Words through me!
Secondly, I apologize for being MIA so much. As some of you know, I have some super duper fun health issues going on. Last Thursday I got to receive a double carpal tunnel release surgery, so my hands have been bound and gagged and kinda hurting. Today is the first day I've driven since surgery, and it was only 2 blocks lol. At some point I get to drive the 13 1/2 miles to my Dr's office in Chartucky for my allergy shots. Let me tell you, if I can get there alive, you better believe I will be going to reward myself with a very large caramel frappe from the attached Evelyn Bay coffee & tea shop!!!
So I am really getting dragged down by this crappy weather. The mere fact that it might hit the 50 degree mark today had me so giggly it's not even remotely funny. So excited, in fact, that I wore a skirt, my amazing fishnet stockings that have flowers knitted into the pattern, and my incredibly awesome red 3 1/2" heels. Hubby tells me I'm a little nuts about the shoe thing because I have 3 baskets of shoes and about 1 3/4 is heels ... which leads me to my point today: how much crap is in your life? When  you discover it, what do you do with it? Do you ignore it, hang on to it, use it as an excuse to not move forward?
Naturally I'm talking about both material and spiritual crap. Maybe it's that pair of jeans you fit 4 years ago but, thanks to a devastating knee injury, you can't seem to lose that last 12# to fit into them no matter how much you under-eat and over-exercise. Maybe it's that memory box, filled with pictures of old friends, old loves, aka the past. Maybe it's that grudge you've been carrying around in your mental backpack toward that co-worker who snubbed you that one time. Maybe it's the pain you're hiding from your spouse because they caused it and you don't want to 'ripple the waters'.
*SIDENOTE: Again, God affirms the message through my music station - Dara Maclean's 'Suitcases' just came on!!!*
When our houses become cluttered with stuff, what do most people do? We donate stuff or have a yard sale! Personally, I'm in favor of donation. I've learned that yard sales are a TON of work and at the end there is still stuff left that ends up getting donate. Plus, quite often, the most dedicated yard-sale-scroungers are actually hoarders. So I'm really doing a service by not contributing to their issues by giving them more stuff to clutter their home with!
So when you're facing life crap that is mental, spiritual, or both, what do you do? Do you seek out the source of the issue and do your best to resolve it, or do you shove it in your mental backpack and 'forget' about it? As painful as dealing with a rough situation can be, allowing wounds to fester and grow is much more painful. We have a choice when we come face to face with life crap: take it on or turn away from it.
Given that we have THE Higher Power waiting around to help us at all times, it would be fair to assume that take it on would be the obvious and more often used solution. Sadly, this is wrong! Thanks to Satan and the thoughts of arrogance and inflated self-worth he plants in our heads and hearts, many people choose to turn away from it, creating a burden that they begin to carry around.
The longer that  something is left undealth with, the worse the situation becomes, and the heavier the burden becomes to carry around. At the end of the day, this only creates more pain and frustration for those involved.
The worst is when we let fear stop us. The fear of being wrong, the fear of being belittled, the fear of confrontation aka becoming tongued-tied, the fear of being revealed as less intelligent or less organized or less hardworking, etc. All of these are legitimate fears, but each one comes with many strings attached. At the bottom of each string is a tiny weight. When dealing with the fear along, that weight is  not too bad. But attach that weight to the weight of the situation we are afraid to deal with and suddenly we are doubled over struggling to bear the load our mental backpack now carries.
The heavier that load becomes, the more it affects our hearts. Once something has changed or hurt our hearts, it becomes a spiritual issue. Pain and anger carried around often lead to people isolating themselves from others, and from God. Separation from people causes loneliness, but even worse is the separation from God. By definition, Hell is The Total Separation From God. There is no access to Him, absolutely no way to talk to Him, to hear His voice, to feel the comfort of His love.
If you want to talk about scary, Total Separation From God is about the scariest thing I can imagine. What most people don't realize or refuse to see is that the further you are separated from God in this life, the closer you come to Total Separation for eternity!
Fortunately, there is an answer! Believe it or not, it's simple. Much simpler than carrying around the burdens and baggage of un-dealt with life issues. Simply choose to take it on. Approach the subject first within yourself, asking God for direction. Look at what the problem is, what is causing the problem, and what can be done to solve the problem, If it involves another person, then pray for His grace to fill you with love and kindness and the right words to say, then approach that person in love. We have all had to deal with those people who just choose to cause trouble, so we are all aware that speaking one-on-one with the other person/people may not always work. Still, we should always try it. You never know how much pain someone else might be carrying around, and how simply approaching them in love to resolve a situation may change their whole perspective and therefore their life.
After the situation has been broken down and all the people involved have discussed possible solutions, it is extremely important to take a few moments and forgive each and every person for their role in the situation, including yourself. Then we must in turn ask for their forgiveness toward us for our actions. Even when we don't feel we did something wrong, remember that the other people may have responded negatively to whatever you did, creating the conflict and indication that they strongly felt you did something wrong.
The surest sign of true humility is the person who is willing to forgive and to ask forgiveness when a rough situation has occurred, regardless of whose fault it is that the situation was created. Nobody is perfect and we all say things in the heat of confrontation that do not come out right or that we do not truly mean. Add to it that these words are spoken often in anger, frustration, or defensiveness, and you have a recipe for pain.
Life is too short to be tied to earthly burdens, and eternity is too, well eternal, to carry those burdens around. Make an active choice to not bury issues and situations. Choose to take them on headfirst, to resolve them as soon as possible, to forgive, and to ask forgiveness. Personally, I will take a little pain right away over a nagging, annoying, and heavy long-term hurt. Besides, there are the added benefits of building self-confidence, communication skills, an ability to speak in love and peace, and a mindset of putting others first that come with dealing with the life issues as they roll at us. Not a bad payoff if you ask me!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Red Dye #40

We've all heard the phrase 'Don't drink the Cool-Aid.' This week, God has been telling me very strongly exactly this. As He is clearly orchestrating my playlist this morning to tell me, I'm going to speak out for what I believe. The truth of God's Word.
Currently, the Cool-Aid is being colored red. Anyone who has a FB account has seen it - the red equality sign being posted by people. Ostensibly, it stands for Marriage Equality. Seems harmless, right? Not even close. This seemingly innocent picture in actuality holds a much darker meaning. It is not about Marriage Equality. It is about equal marriage rights for the LBGT communities.
I am by no means a bigot. Ask anyone that knows me, I'm fairly tolerant of other people's lifestyle choices. If you ask my opinion, be prepared to hear the truth from God, but presented in a loving and non-judgmental way. Each and every one of us is presented with choices in life, and we each will eventually pay the consequences for those choices, both good and bad. I strongly believe and do my best to live out that we are also called to present the Truth whenever possible to those living in UnTruth.
For those of us who claim the Truth of God's Words, supporting the LBGT communities lifestyle choices in any way, shape, and form, is a sin. Whether or not you personally like that or not is a non-factor. That being said, choosing not to support the individual person, aside from their lifestyle choices, is also a sin. What do I mean? Exactly this - refusing them access to the same necessities and even extra's in life that someone who makes heterosexual lifestyle choices has. Housing, a job, healthcare, clothing, food, transportation.
It is when we confuse equality with fairness that the lines become blurred. As an employer, it is wrong to deny any of your employees healthcare. However, that does not mean you should be obligated to provide access to contraception and abortions if it violates your moral convictions regarding murder. In that same sense, you should not be obligated to provide healthcare for your LBGT employee's live-in partner simply because the state does not recognize their union as legally able to marry. The government set this precident when it was formed and based on the Biblical principles God laid out when He created Adam and Eve. Not Adam and Steve, not Autumn and Eve. One man + one woman = One Union.
Holding this belief to be a part of the Integral Truth of life as God created it does not make me a bigot. It does not make me akin to the ultra-conservative mobs of the 60s who were against racial equality. It makes me a Truth-teller, not a hate-spewer. I support the person, I am not obligated to support the lifestyle.
Fairness demands that everyone receive the same thing, regardless of it's moral rightness or whether it's best for everyone or not.
Equality demands that everyone receive exactly what is best for them withing the species  God created them.
As humans, we are created to honor God, to bring Him glory with our lives. Choosing our own feelings and desires over His moral code is certainly part of our human urges. However, let's not confuse human urges with spiritual Truths. Adam and Eve were created in the image of God, without sin. When the serpent, aka Satan, the great tempter, entered the picture, he brought with him sin. When Eve gave in to that temptation to disobey God, she gave in to Satan's ever constant desire to be greater than God. In that moment that she disregarded God's instructions to her and Adam, she made a choice to, in her mind, be smarter than God.
Did it actually make her smarter than God? Heck no! The price of elevating herself to a level of arrogance and disobedience is still being paid today. Shame, pain, and death. Humans began confusing equality and fairness shortly after they were booted from the Garden of Eden. Example One: Cain and Abel. We all know how well that argument about fairness ended, with one brother murdered and the other spending the rest of his life attempting to run from God and the consequences of committing that murder.
God gave us a sense of shame for a very good reason - it is our moral compass. If something makes you feel guilty, if you worry about others finding out about it, if it makes you feel ashamed in some way, that's a HUGE alarm going off to tell you that it is morally wrong. The very fact that people are fighting so hard to gain acceptance for something that was considered taboo to even talk about less than a generation ago should be setting off warnings in everyone's minds and hearts.
Yet here again, we confuse equality with fairness. Fairness demands that anyone, regardless of their sexual lifestyle choices, should receive equal treatment in the eyes of the law and even, and here's the big kicker, with the Church, which is the very Body these lifestyle choices are in such abject discord!
When we, as the Body of Christ, begin to confuse acceptance of the person with acceptance of their sexual lifestyle, we knowingly committ a huge sin. We do not have to be ok with it to love the person. Example? We are not ok with someone molesting children, or wontonly murdering others, or committing adultery. Why then, are we ok with people making a lifestyle choice that is in itself against not only moral law but also the very nature in which we were created?
We are not only called to love everyone, we are called to stand against sin. Just as we say it's a hypocrisy to be Pro-Life yet support abortion and genocide in some cases, it is also a hypocrisy to say we are Christians and Catholics who fully believe the Word of God and still support any part of the LBGT lifestyle.
Just as it is important to make a clear and strong stand about mainting morality in our beliefs, it's even more important to display those in our daily lives. Little else will destroy the good done through a taking a moral stand quicker than allowing temptation to creep into our personal lives unchecked. We are all unperfect due to the entrance of Original Sin into the make-up of humanity. It's expected to falter now and then, but it's what we do with those falterings that determines whether or not our witness will stand True under observation. The stronger a person stands, the more they are subject to intense criticism from those under the influence of Satan.
So make a choice to love without compromising moral law. Jesus loved the sinners, those rejected for their moral shortcomings. Just as He was compelled to serve them first, to show them how to leave their fallen ways and follow the path of Righteousness, so are we. Equality in all situations, fairness in none. Support the individual, not their immorality.
It is not just important, it is essential to our Christian faith that we at all times stand for morality. Love the person, not the sin.