When GOD surprises you

I love to surprise people with little gifts. Though my primary love languages are quality time and words of affirmation, I do tend to express my care and appreciation for people through small gifts. And I giving them to them the most when it is completely unexpected.

We’ve all been told NO

I won’t imagine that I am alone in that I have prayed so hard for GOD to move in something or to provide something and HIS answer has been a soft, loving NO. (And sometimes, a firm NO).

I can think of so many instances when the answer from GOD was ‘NO’.. but there is one that has been my biggest and hardest No. January of 2009, I learned I was pregnant. I was estatic, as I had for so long dreamed of having a little girl. Having had complications with both of my sons, I was sent to a high-risk pregnancy doctor 2 hours away. Using a special ultrasound, he smiled as he refered to the wee one on the screen as ‘she’. A daughter. Prayers answered, right? A week later, I would go back to the same doctor because I was having some health issues. A second ultrasound was done. Immediately, the doctor’s face was pale. I watch as the fluttering of a tiny heart ceased.

The next morning, I would go through surgery to remove the baby from my womb. The nurse lovingly explained to me afterwards that I would have less than a 15% chance of ever conceiving again.

I didn’t understand GOD’s no. Wasn’t I a good mom to my boys? Wasn’t I a decent wife to the boys’ dad? I remember asking lots of hard, painful questions in the months to follow. It has only been in the valley of the last three years, that I have begun to see that God’s no was to prepare me. Perhaps some day, GOD will allow me to minister to another young woman who loses a child. Already through that no, I have developed a deeper compassion and concern for those who are in mourning or are walking through grief.

We do get “yeses”

GOD blesses us. Oh, how HE richly blesses us.

GOD gave me a Christian Daddy. My Daddy and Grandmothers had heavy influence on the woman I have become.

I could list a hundred thousand things that GOD has blessed me with, and barely scratch the surface of HIS goodness. One answered prayer was in my current job. I came to work for my company on September 2, 2014. That very first week in the building, I told my dad that I had found a department in the building that I wanted to work in. I was told by supervisors in my workplace that getting into that department was very difficult, and that it usually took 4 to 5 years to even get a chance.

Just over a year ago, GOD gave me a great big yes by giving me a job in that department- after having only worked for my company just shy of 2 years. And GOD answered a bigger prayer. Because of romantic relationships that I had been a part of, I had become very very isolated. I didn’t have a single person that I could have called a friend. GOD not only gifted me my dream job within my company, but GOD also placed me among ladies that would become my friends.

And Then, GOD just might say “Not Yet”. “Wait”

It is hard sometimes in our flesh to surrender to GOD’s timing. We have read GOD’s Word and know full-well the Word of GOD says:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV)

In our flesh, we grow inpatient with GOD’s timing. We start to think that GOD has forgotten. But, no. HE hasn’t. Sometimes HE has us to wait to prepare our hearts and minds for what HE has in store.

April of 2016, I became engaged. And through that, suffered a great heart ache. A lot of emotional abuse and emotional pain. But GOD was saying NOT YET.

I would have to walk through pain. I would even walk through tremendous depression and despair.

GOD was getting me ready. I didn’t know what for. Or I should say, who for.

I met Steve just as I was beginning to start truly allowing myself to heal from my hurt. And what a surprise from GOD Steve has been. Instead of looking down on me for my past, he has lovingly found beauty in my ashes. I never ever expected to find a kind, gentle Christian man like Steve. I thought men like him were extinct. I thank GOD that my Wait has led me to the relationship I now have with him. (Visit Steve’s blog at http://www.courageouschristianfather.com/)

 

Weeping in the Garden

Through tears, I look up into the morning sky. I am full aware that I have not just stumbled a bit. I have failed. I have disobeyed GOD.

Realization

It is the Holy Spirit Who convicts us, burns our heart with full awareness that we have done or said something against The Holy and Righteous GOD. And Oh, how my heart burns with that realization.

It isn’t my first time failing HIM. Though I make attempts to serve and obey GOD and do pour myself into HIS Word (but not nearly enough), I fail. I try to do some ordinary thing in my own feeble morality and I find myself in the dung heap.

Confession

I have failed. I won’t go into a lot of details but I have failed by recently disrespecting to people that are Christians. To make it worse, both of them are men of GOD that I look up to.

Disrespect is never okay in any case. But as a Christian, I know better than to treat any of my brother or sisters in Christ Jesus with disrespect. Increase the weight of this flaw in that my disrespect was also toward two men of GOD.

Petition

I have asked both of these men to forgive me. It was a humbling experience, admitting to these two men my wrong doing, admitting my disrespect for them, and asking their forgiveness.

And I have asked and am asking GOD. I do have the weight of what I done to lay upon GOD’s alter of mercy and beg for HIS mercy to remove the filth of what I have done.

Restoration

The confession and request for forgiveness are all well, but they do nothing if my heart and my life do not show true repentance.

I can break a vase, and stand looking down at the shards. I can admit to the vase I broke it and that my breaking of it was wrong. I can even ask the vase to forgive me for breaking it. But I do not display repentance until I take actions.

I’ve decided to spend today meditating on my flaws and asking GOD to help make me a better person. I need to control my words, and carefully weigh out each word before I say it. And in my time of meditation today, I need to kill out any desire (though sometimes hidden) to do anything other than to treat others (particularly my brothers and sisters in Christ JESUS) with anything other than respect.

So I am in the Garden weeping, knowing I have denied my Savior three times – like Peter.

 

 

It’s Monday, and Sunday is over

The alarm dishovels my sleep and I wake knowing three things: it’s Monday, it’s time to get ready for work and Sunday is over.

Sunday, it’s so easy to be focused on God and His blessings, His magnificent mercy. Sunday, it’s easy to meditate on God’s Holy Word and furl His praises loud. 

But Monday? Monday means our weekend break is over and we return again to the mundane March of work and life. 

Monday means bills come, doctors appointments need to be made, and the faucet is leaking.. again.

Providence in Prayer

Pray. Stressed? Pray. Rejoicing? Pray. Had to ask your child for the thirtieth time to finish getting ready? Pray.

It doesn’t have to come on bended knee or in some ceremony. It can be whispers of, “Lord, I need You” as you restart your computer for the 3rd time. Prayer is simply conversation with God Most High…our Father.

Yes, I do know not everyone was blessed or is blessed to have the kind of Daddy I have. I can talk to Daddy about anything and I do mean anything. There are only two rules for when I talk to Daddy: (1) whatever I say or talk about I must say respectfully & (2) I must be willing to listen not only talk.

Prayer is the same for me. I talk to God about anything and everything. My pain, a sick friend, a lost watch, a family mourning, my want for a queen sized bed, forgiveness of sins or just in thanks. 

But I can’t just talk. I must listen. I must cup the ears of my thoughts to His Holy Scriptures. I must bend my heart to the words from a Godly Pastor. And in listening, I must obey.

I was only 12. Daddy had told me so many times to be careful around the cellar. One hot day, I didn’t listen to that. In pure fiesty stubbornness, I was playing in the cellar until I felt the distinct singe of metal cut through my foot.

I thought it would be fine. Until I could clearly see the peppering of rust on the lid I had embedded into my foot. I would have to tell Daddy.

Lovingly, my Daddy took me to get a tetanus vaccine and have the two inch gash flushed out. But once I got home, I got a whipping.

Mondays (And many other days) need prayers

Daddy didn’t love me any less because of that moment. Quite honestly, it taught me that maybe just maybe Daddy did know best.

God is much the same. Yes, we will rebel and end up peppered in sin. But GOD is faithful to forgive when we repent and come talk to Him. More than my precious Daddy..or your Mom or Aunt or best friend… GOD truly knows best. 

Sunday is over and Monday is upon us. And God is waiting to hear from you, HIS son..HIS daughter. HIS child. 

Life can be brutal

I *had* a different blog post planned today. But, a loss this week drove me to write this instead. As always, thank you for reading. 

20160708_162429

I remember hearing a saying growing up. You probably heard a version of it, but not likely this:

When it rains, it pours. And when it pours, we drown

Being a Christian makes life no easier than being a non-Christian. And to be frank, sometimes being a Christian can actually make it harder. When it all comes down to bare bones, I am just a human. I have losses, heart ache, bad days, aggravations, and sorrow.

Along comes a Song

Know this: Music is a part of my wiring. Somewhere amongst the DNA GOD wove me together with, are quarter notes and stanzas.

When I hurt most, I find myself baptizing myself in music. Often, the lyrics and melodies GOD will use to grant seeds of peace and hope in my hurt.

So, here I am. Broken again. Feeling utterly overwhelmed by circumstances that I cannot see escape from.

This song has been on repeat for a few days now. May GOD use it to impart seeds of peace and hope in your heart. Click the link below to listen to it on youtube.

Remember Me, JESUS

 

 

 

Growing Where I’m Planted, 2017 Edition

There have been two recent catalyst that have spurred my desire to begin to grow here, where GOD has placed me.

(1) a blog post by Brad Lomenick (http://www.bradlomenick.com/2013/05/30/no-more-sideways-energy/) In the post, Brad wrote about sideways energy. After reading it a few weeks ago, I found that I had unfortunately become highly proficient in the use of sideways energy. I have been directing so much of my energy and my talent everywhere instead of forward, toward a joy-filled life. It was one of those sickening moments where you paint yourself in remorseful tears.

(2) The Ending of a Relationship.

2016 ended with me being rather unsure about the future of my relationship with the guy I was dating. He had said he wanted me to marry him, even bought me a ring.. but something just didn’t set right in my heart.

I had doubt. I doubted whether this guy, who had repeatedly lied to me and had even had some issues with the integrity he carried at work. And in a singe of Grace (though I didn’t know it or feel like it was at the time), the guy cleaned out my bank account, and I ended the relationship.

My Garden, Now

In reflection, I look at where I am today.

Watering

To water my garden of now, I need to be sure that my sideways energy isn’t infecting the the seeds of my now.

I have begun to truly love being in my current city, and to learn more of its interesting past (a post for another day). I have been making an effort to participate in local activities and to simply just pray over my little community.

I have always loved my job, though I admit it has some very hard days. I am making an effort to swallow some of my protective nature and to get to truly know and interact with the people around me. I have spent a lot of the last 3 years there just staying to myself, for a lot of reasons. But how am I to share the Hope of JESUS CHRIST by staying to myself??

The search for a new home church is one that I am very focused on. For three years now, I have sat to the side thinking that I cannot serve because of my past. The devil doesn’t mind us going to church. he only minds us BEING the church. I need a place to not only worship and be taught, but I need to be serving. Pray for me as I seek that place.

A long distance relationship. Wow. Now, there is something that I would have told you I would never do. And to my surprise, it has been a huge blessing. Steve encourages me, prays for me and with me. He also isn’t afraid to call me out when I am allowing the garbage of my past or the lies of the devil creep into the garden of my mind. I recently decided to bury all of my past relationships and their hurt and pain and leave them in the cemetery. A pastor that I love dearly recently said, “Why do we search for life in the graveyards of our past pains”. If I continue to dig up the corpses from my past relationships, I risk the possibility of losing out on this relationship with Steve. GOD forbid! Only our Sovereign GOD knows if Steve is my ‘for now’ or my ‘forever’. Either way, I need to be a good caretaker of this beautiful relationship that GOD has blessed me with this year.

And Joel. Lest I leave out that curious, playful, cuddly little guy. How, possibly, could I water that? By being a good “hooman” (pet owner) to him and for simply enjoying him. GOD has been using that little black kitten to help me process some of my anxiety. I pray that GOD will keep me accountable in my caretaking of the little guy, and that I will share many years enjoying his antics.

What of you? When is the last time that you evaluated where are you in your life? How can you better care for the seeds of your current life, so honor GOD and to be a good steward of the things and places HE has planted you in?

 

Who Am I?

The first day of college, I was asked by my professors to write an essay on one thing: Who Am I?

I thought I knew then the purpose of that exercise. I thought it was a simple writing assignment in which the professor would get a decent grip on where we were in our writing journey and what areas we most needed help on.

I dragged out my 3 ring binder from the top of the closet. Here is some of what I wrote, nearly 20 years ago:

“…therefore, this is not just a paper- another sheet before your eyes.
It is ME, professor
What I am
My joys and tears I cry.
It is a sliver of my hardships; a record of what I have survived”

And I think of a song..

I can’t ask the question Who Am I without also thinking of a song that my Daddy often sang.

Song, Who Am I (made famous by Elvis Presley, written by Charles ‘Rusty’ Goodman)

Came to dwell among the lowly such as I
To suffer shame and such disgrace
On Mount Calvary take my place
Then I ask myself this question
Who am I?
Who am I that The King would bleed and die for
Who am I that He would pray not my will, Thy Lord
The answer I may never know
Why He ever loved me so
But to that old rugged cross He’d go
For who am I?
When I’m reminded of His words
I’ll leave Him never
If you’ll be true I’ll give to you life forever
Oh I wonder what I could have done
To deserve God’s only Son
To fight my battles until they’re won
For who am I?
Who am I that The King would bleed and die for
Who am I that He would pray not my will, Thy Lord
The answer I may never know
Why He ever loved me so
But to that old rugged cross He’d go
For who am I?
But to an old rugged cross He’d go for, who am I?
(Source: azlyrics)

So Who Am I, then?

I could answer that by saying I am Mom and Daddy’s oldest daughter. I am the oldest of my siblings. I am a Kentuckian (with a Georgia peach heart). I could also say I am a Customer Service Representative. Or that I am a mom and a friend.

But is that really Who I am? Those are pieces of me, but not me.

I could say I am a survivor of abuse. I am a divorcee’, twice. I am a Grad-school drop out, and a I am a lower-middle class citizen. They may be true, but yet they are not me.

Who am I, then? A writer? A blogger? A photographer? A Snoopy Collector? A bookworm? Again, all pieces of me but not who I am entirely.

Hey Internet, help me out..

I’ve long collected notebooks of quotes that smack me in the face. I was browsing around Saturday evening when I first came across this quote:

Quit letting who you were talk you out of who you’re becoming. – Bob Goff

That hit me square in the mouth.

I am NOT my Past

It is easy to let our past circumstances or the family or places we are from to become some kind of definition for us. They are merely trail makers. They tell me only, “You have come this far.”

They don’t tell me or you- where I am today and where I am going.

Rest In Peace

I have been living in the definitions of my past. And they have kept me from living.

So at church yesterday morning, I decided to visit one of those things (more on that tomorrow, okay?) one last time. I let myself look long and hard at a very painful part of me that I have been letting cripple me. I kissed it, told the memory thank you for what it taught me..

and I pulled the plug.

I cannot and WILL NOT let who I was keep me from who I am becoming.

Who Are You?

So, I ask.. Who are you? What circumstances and things have you allowed to define you or to hinder you from enjoying life?

 

Walked Through

prints

People Can be Mean (or rude, or cruel, or fillintheblank)

I work in phone Customer Service. 40+ hours a week, I get to talk with and try to help people from all over the United States. SOme are very polite and will even thank me for my help, while others simply want their question answered and will hang up. A few others might be short and a bit rude. And yes, I will get those very, very few that will yell and cuss.

I went into the workforce nearly 25 years ago. When I started my Daddy took the time to pass some of his wisdom along to me. One of those things that he told me was this:

“Be Kind. You never know what someone has just walked through, is walking through, or is about to walk through.”

 

We all Hurt

Isn’t that true? We can all sit and tell our stories and memories of hurts. And hurt-people can sometimes hurt people.

Ever have a bad day and snap at someone unintentionally? We probably all have. I know I have, at least.

Ephesians 4:32 states, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”

Daddy was right (yes, I admit it). We don’t know what people are going through that may have created the reaction that we see or hear. But we can choose to be Kind, and show them love and grace through Christ JESUS.

 

Song Reflections: I will Sing of my Redeemer

Story behind the song:

Near the end of 1876, Philip P. Bliss and his wife were traveling to Chicago to sing for the evangelistic services led by Daniel W. Whittle at Dwight L. Moody’s Tabernacle. But a train wreck and fire en route claimed their lives. Their trunk, which was spared, contained this hymn text by Bliss. (Source: I Will Sing of My Redeemer)

Redeemer?

If you grew up in church as I did, this song is one that you probably sang regularly. Though I learned the words early in life, I didn’t understand it’s meaning until later in my life.

In 2008, I would attend a Precept Upon Precept (https://www.precept.org/)Bible study on Redeemer.

Redeemer, which stems from the word gâʼal (meaning to redeem), means that we are bought back. (Source: Blue Letter Bible)

GOD created us, to worship Him and have fellowship with Him. But we are also the creation that sins. CHRIST JESUS, GOD made flesh, willingly and lovingly spilled HIS blood to purchase us back from death of sin into Life in Christ (and life more abundantly).

Get that for a moment. CHRIST paid that Ultimate Blood price to buy us back, and HE didn’t force us to worship HIM. We are still given free will.

Lyrics

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.

Chorus: 

Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer,
With His blood He purchased me,
On the cross He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.

I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.

I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant pow’r I’ll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin, and death, and hell.

I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His heav’nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be.

(Source: hymnal.net)

Thank YOU, LORD

Jesus, thank YOU for buying me back from the darkness into Life in YOU.

Have a Listen, and sing with me to our Redeemer:

I Will Sing of my Redeemer

Grasp

originally published January 2009, on a previous blog

I love watching a young child learning how to walk. I love the way they wrap their tiny fingers around the large fingers of their parents. It would seem, at first, that the child has the tightest grip; but any parent knows that it is the parent who grips tighter, to keep their child safe.

In your grasp

What are you holding on to?

I’m not referring to the remote control or computer mouse in your hand, although they may have something to do with it.

What ideas, thoughts and memories do you carry around with you so tightly that they have begun to embed themselves into your skin?

Maybe it is the memory of a loved one. Perhaps it is the hateful last words that you spoke to a friend, on constant replay in your mind. Do worries and fears shadow your every thought?

In my grasp

I admit: I have a death-grip on my worries about money. I can barely remember a time in my life that the sickening fear of poverty has not been with me.

I have found, though, that my money fears have not made me richer. Worrying has not balanced my checkbook or wrote out a budget. Pacing floors has never put a single penny into my pocket. It does not matter how tightly I hold on to my money fears; the fears are not helping me get by.

Giving up our grasp

So, let go.

No, you won’t fall. No, the world will not discontinue its’ revolving.

Like the wee child holding onto his parent, we will not fall when we let go of our grasp. We have a wise Father that holds onto us.

“My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand.”
~ John 10:29

If we have surrendered our lives to The LORD JESUS CHRIST, then we are in HIS grasp.

If you have not surrendered your life to The LORD JESUS CHRIST, then what is stopping you?? What good has the things you are clinging so tightly to really doing?

Do We need our Vision Checked?

glasses

Originally published November 2008, on a previous blog

Has the church of today lost its’ vision?

In Matthew 28:19-20, JESUS tells the early Christians (the early church):

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father, and of The Son, and the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all these things whatsoever I have commanded you:…” (KJV).

Are we going?

Where is the church going? Are we going to church, to Sunday School, to Bible Studies, to Small Group Bible Studies? Are we going to our family, friends, neighbors, enemies, communities, cities, states, nations with the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST? The commission that JESUS gave to us during HIS ascension was for us to go. Stop and see where you (as a member of the body of CHRIST) are going.

Are we teaching?

Is the church teaching and what is it teaching? Are we teaching children and adults to stand firm on the truth of GOD’s Word? Are we teaching children and adults to read and study and apply the truth of GOD’s Word? Whether or not we like it or realize it, our lives may be the only Bible Lesson that some people get. Are we teaching them to “observe all things”, as CHRIST said, or just the things that are most convenient? Are we teaching new believers and seasoned believers anything that can deepen their relationship to CHRIST JESUS?

Are we Baptizing?

Are we sticking people in water without them having true understanding? Are we getting people wet and leaving them without guidance in their lives? Are we going into the church ourselves with “Clean hands and pure hearts (Psalm 24:4)

What are we doing instead?

Instead of witnessing to non-Christians, are we isolating ourselves from those who need to hear about CHRIST? Instead of ministering to others, are we only promoting and ministering to ourselves and our own families? Instead of studying GOD’s word, are we proudly proclaiming that we know it all? Instead of teaching others about CHRIST, are we teaching them how to backbite, gossip and be political? Instead of leading others to a deeper relationship with CHRIST, are we driving them away from the church and GOD HIMSELF?

Regaining our Focus (correcting our Vision)

~Focus on bringing GOD the glory.

~Focus on bringing others (everyone you come in contact with) to a relationship with CHRIST JESUS. If they already have a relationship with CHRIST JESUS, then Focus on helping that person develop a deeper relationship with CHRIST.

Focus ourselves to building up GOD’s church, not tearing it down.