Learn to Dance

I saw this pic the other day, and please forgive me, it hit me all wrong. Yes, I do understand the concept. I do understand that everyone wants to not feel broken. I do understand that being happy and free feels so much better than being heartsick and broken beyond repair. I get it.

I’ve had my share of brokenness. I’ve had my share of broken dreams, broken promises, broken images, and broken foundations in my life. I’ve had more than my share of tears shed through the years. I’ve experienced more than some and not as much as others. Brokenness is not comfortable, enjoyable, or even a bearable element of my soul.

But I cannot embrace the cultural trend that forgetting from where I came makes me more joyous, more loose, more free to live. I refuse to welcome the notion that to obliterate my past makes me a better, more balanced, human being. I will not accept the propaganda that tells me “a forgotten past brings a brighter tomorrow.” (*chosen words before seeing similar quote online. No correlation or reflection. Unaware of that author, quote or beliefs.)

When someone is hiking up a mountain, forgetting from whence you came will only cause you to lose your way back down the trail. When someone goes on a long extended trip, obliterating the road map will only cause you to never return to home.

When someone tries to erase history, history is never truly erased. What has been has been, and there is no way to live as if it never existed. That is just pretending, and pretending just makes you as a child.

Being a child is wonderful while you are of a physically young age, but once you have crossed the threshold of maturity, that immaturity only makes you look like an ignorant fool. (…and yes, those can mean two very different things.) So then, you have to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself the hard questions…

How old am I? How old should I be acting? Will I live my life in immaturity, ignorance and foolishness, or will I live in maturity, knowledge and wisdom? The choice is truly yours.

I choose to walk in integrity, maturity, wisdom and truth. I choose to embrace my past, my pain and my brokenness, even the shattered pieces that may always carry a shards of irreparable moments. I will carry on, even if I walk with a limp, and even if my scars are evident for all to see.

I choose to be full of joy. I choose to have peace. I choose to love and be loved. I choose to have life and give life.

Is it hard? Heck, yeah! Is it uncomfortable? Always. Telling you that’s it’s not would be returning to those childhood days of pretend and make believe. Life is so much better than the fairytales. Not because it never rains and not because there is no pain, but rather, because through the rain, I learn to dance, through the pain, I learn to sing.

And this song and dance is better than any mythical enchantment I could ever dream. This song and dance gives birth to a beautiful melody called life created by an unimaginable symphony of experiences and awakenings. Without these notes on the pages of my soul, I could never leave the legacy of song for my children, my friends, my family, for one who is ready whom I may never know.

So, I will choose to dance even when it’s raining and even though the storm brews darker. I will dance and sing, and sing some more, to bring a little memory of sunshine through the pain; so, the legacy will live ever more brightly for my children and those who are to come.

**Listen to this.

*I do not own nor possess this song, video or photos. These are all from simple Google search.

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Be the Fire

No one said this life would be fair. No one said you’d always walk along a path of daisies and roses. Sometimes, life just stinks, and you have to live through the pain and agony it presents.

Sometimes, this life is going to be set on fire, and you’ve got to decide whether you’re going to grab a bucket and put out the flames , stand your ground and walk through the blaze, or lie down and become the ashes. The choice is yours, and no one can make that choice for you.

You can be destroyed in the fire, or you can slow it to refine you, strengthen you and teach you. If you decide to lie down and allow it to consume, you must know that your life may not be the only one that is devoured. There may be children, grandchildren, friends and family. Often, we do not realize, we stand as a shield for those coming behind.

If you choose to walk through, the road may not be easy, and it may get hotter and more strenuous before it gets better, but there is one who promises you will not be diminished from the inferno.

His name is Jesus.

And He loves you.

With God by your side, the flames may lick at your being, and the temperatures may rise beyond comfortable, but YOU WILL MAKE IT. He will walk beside you. He will guide you, and when needed, He will carry you.

Give Him a chance. He will not disappoint. He is able. He is faithful. He is true, and His promises are unbreakable…inflammable…in-consumable.

When you choose to walk through the flames with Him, you become resilient to the wildfires. You become a pillar of stone that cannot be singed. You become the firefighter who rescues others from the flames.

Grief: Authenticity is Healing

Be real while you grieve. Let the tears flow. Let the thoughts ponder. Let the grief run through your veins like a cold hard rain that just won’t stop.

Grief is never easy. It is never fun, or full of laughter or delightful. Honestly, grief sucks. Grief can make you feel like running far, far away or hiding in a corner until everyone is gone. Grief can even make you feel like crawling into that casket and being buried right alongside that person you’ve lost.

All those emotions, fears, anger, doubt and pain, it all comes with the territory of grief. It’s not a joy-ride, and it’s really not for the weak and whiny. Those who succeed best through the traumas of grief are those who allow those feelings to glow like rain. Those who live through grief and are able to help someone else through the same storm are those who allow themselves to be real and never try to live up to someone else’s expectations or demands on the grief.

Those who become stronger because of the grief are those who, while their hearts are being ripped from their very being, extend a look of compassion to someone else who is hurting, reach out with a gentle hand to wipe away a tear from someone else’s cheek whose heart is ripped out, too.

These are the heroes of grief. They are not mighty pillars of stoic strength, never shedding a tear. They are not mindless minions, never feeling, never crying, never screaming from the pain. They are simply common, ordinary people who have chosen not to cause someone else pain because of their own, but rather, they have chosen to be a wounded warrior, linking arms with the fallen and helping him to safety while their own body is ravished from the bullet wounds of agony and pain.

Grief: Learning to Believe

Grief:

You never “get over it.”

You simply learn to live through it.

Walking the journey of grief is different for every soul on the planet. How a person processes this life event is as different from one person to the next, as day is from night, as black is from white. You cannot expect it. You cannot predict it. Death comes when it is time, and no matter if it’s sudden or prolonged, if we have truly loved, we are never completely ready for it.

It seems some would say, “Just get over it. You’ve got living to do.” Others would say, “Relish in it. Milk it for all it’s worth. Let no one tell you you can’t.” Some would declare victory in an instant: “Your emotions are vindictive of your actions; so, shape up, soldier up, and suck it up.” Still others would proclaim your justification in reacting in any given fashion you choose, no matter the damage to another, and proclaim your innocence in staying in that emotional depth and despair for the rest of your life, no matter the destruction that it brings to you, your family or anyone nearby.

After walking this trail of sorrow several times in my life and walking alongside those, too many to count, who were doing the same, I have concluded four things:

1. Grief comes in many different forms.

2. Grief is a process.

3. Grief is different for each person.

4. Grief cannot be measured, dictated nor contained.

When you experience grief, it can be the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-wrecking experience you’ve ever encountered. Nothing can prepare you for it, and no one can pre-determine your reaction to it. And sometimes, the only thing you can to do is learn to harshly suck in spurts of air through a solid, clinched jaw while you attempt to survive the next few moments of agony simply to (eventually ) fall asleep until awakened again by the same afflicting anguish of the heart.

I cannot tell you how to properly process grief. I will leave that to the “grief share” experts among us. I cannot tell you the appropriate actions and reactions you will need along this journey. I will leave that to the professionals in counseling and therapy. I cannot even tell you the time allotment for when the pain should lessen and when it will increase; even though, some of that measurement can be equated to certain dates on the calendar.

However, I have found one helpful source that will carry you through those grief-stricken days when no daylight seems to shine. I have found one solace that will stay faithful beyond the traumatic beginning moments, the doubtful, chaotic middle moments and can remain until your very last breath on this earth. If you can possibly believe for one second that this comfort I have found is able to surround you in your darkest hours and bring you a peace beyond measure, if you will but believe and grasp it, you might just be amazed at what is on the other side of your embrace. There is but one refuge, one rock, one sustaining, everlasting rescue that can be found.

His name is Jesus.

Some may say it’s a fallacy. Some may say it’s a hoax. Others may claim fantasy, fairytale or fable to be this truth. Yet, I can testify by my very being that what I say is inerrant, unfeigned and veracious. He is able. He is faithful. He will carry you.

Maybe you doubt my words. After all, you don’t know me. You don’t know my story. You don’t even know my God, but I challenge you to give Him a chance. Give Him just half a chance. I promise you, He won’t disappoint. Simply believe, and let Him surprise you.

Only One

I wonder how it feels to walk without shame. I wonder how it feels to run without guilt. I wonder how it feels to fly without regret and remorse as your wings.

Some seek solace in a bottle. Some seek refuge in a friend. Still others seek redemption in work ethics, rule setting or a religious embrace.

Tears shed for the years lost. Weeping is heard for the innocence stolen. Wailing is released for the lives bound by sin and disgrace.

Peace cannot be found in the chaos. Rest cannot be found in the confusion. Silence cannot be found in the clamor of opinions and directives.

Only One can bring Truth to shatter the veil. Only One can bring mercy to crumble the chains. Only One can bring justice to destroy the bondage.

One Name is Truth. One Life is Mercy. One look is Grace. One breath is Freedom.

Jesus.

Do you know Him?

Not Meant for You

This might seem a little strange to have as a post for Valentine’s Day, and I almost scheduled for Friday instead of today. Then, as I thought about it, I decided what a great post for such a day as the celebrated “Love Day.” I’ll tell you why…

Sometimes, we have to realize another person’s rejection isn’t because of us, but rather, because of them, Not because of who we are, but rather because of whom they are… Or maybe, whom they cannot be… Because he/she wasn’t meant to be in our future. I saw this image posted one day and thought this one tiny sentence says so much! Someone out there needs to hear this today…

Yes, sometimes, the removal of a person in our lives is because of a stupid action or dumb choice that we have made, and that will be another blog for another day. Right now, I want to take a minute to speak into someone’s life who is hurting, and you’re wondering how in the world it could have come to this. You are wondering how could that person have rejected you after you worked so hard, you loved so deeply, and you gave so much.

You keep rolling the memories back through your mind. You remember the sacrifices you made. You recall the smiles you offered to cheer their rainy days. You recollect the extra miles you walked just so they wouldn’t be alone. You reminisce the hurdles you jumped and the mountains you climbed just to remain faithful and true to the love you believed the two of you shared.

This brokenness you are experiencing, I cannot claim to feel as deeply. This betrayal and rejection that cuts like a knife, I cannot pretend to completely comprehend. I am not there, living in your shoes.

Yet, I can tell you, this season will bring more growth and more wisdom than you could ever imagine. I can share with you, there will come a moment when the breathing doesn’t feel like suffocation within your bones. I can say to you, there will come a day when the sun will shine again.

It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow, or next week, or even six months from now, but if you are able to find the Hope that I have found, His grace can and will be sufficient. He can bring beauty for ashes. He can bring joy for mourning. He can turn your gray skies to a brighter day and work all things for your good…the good, the bad and the ugly!

He can show you that the person who brought all this pain wasn’t rejecting you, he or she just wasn’t meant to be a part of your destiny. They weren’t meant to share the precious love you have to give. They weren’t meant to be there when you accomplish those life long goals. They weren’t meant to be a part of the rejoicing and celebration. They weren’t meant to take part in your eternal joy.

So, let them go.

It is not as much your loss as much as it is theirs.

As they walk away, take a deep breath and realize, your future is brighter without their shadow. 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Go out and celebrate! ❤️

Be Destiny Minded

I read this statement today somewhere today and I thought, “Wow. Yes, I receive that.” Sometimes, we just have to let people walk out of our lives and never look back. I’m not talking about your spouse or those in whom you should place investments of time, love and attention. I’m talking about those people who habitually bring pain and drama into your life. Sometimes, you just need to walk or let them do the walking to maintain your own sanity and well being.

Some people are just not meant to be part of your destiny, and you have to allow them to leave; so, you might be able to live. That’s not being mean. It’s not be heartless, and it’s not even being apathetic.

It’s being wise. It’s using common sense. It’s using the brain God have you to make a better life, not only for yourself but for your children, your spouse, and your friends who are close enough to be impacted by the crazy situation you’ve allowed yourself to live under.

Live for your purpose. Focus not only on the present, but focus on your destiny. Realize what and who is beneficial to that dream and to that end result. Recognize who does not impact these things for good. Let them go.

17 Years … Have We Forgotten?

Written yesterday, on the 17th Anniversary of 9/11…

Consumed with memories today…

I will never forget the feelings as I sat on the bed in a hotel room in Cleveland, Tn, on this day 17 years ago. We were in town for a funeral, and I was holding JGrizz in my arms. He was only one month old. My mother knocked on my door to tell me what happened, and I didn’t believe her until I turned on the news. I sat in disbelief, shock, fear and grief as I watched all of the events play out. It felt like a nightmare, a terrible, never-ending bad dream.

How could this be happening in our nation, America, the home of the free and the brave? It was so overwhelming; it was almost hard to breathe. We went to The Blue Hole (a beautiful rock filled area on the Ocoee River) later that day just to try to collect our thoughts and the gravity of what this horror meant for our country.

Then, just days later, I watched with pride, honor and respect as men and women began pulling together as communities, people of all races, backgrounds and walks of life began looking past themselves to something bigger: the rebuilding, the protection, and the defense of a beautiful nation. Firefighters, police officers, welders, construction workers and so many others would come in droves from all over the country, on the backs of big rigs, stop at red lights in NY and be cheered on by the business men and women who were waiting to cross the streets to try to carry on a “new normal” workday. The builders rebuilt and mended the broken walls while the New Yorkers tried to make some semblance of understanding of their, now, broken city. Hope was slowly seeping into every crevice, chasing away the shadows, as love ones were pulled from the ruble, as small miracles were found along the way.

Everyone went the extra mile, wanting to leave no one behind. Everyone worked hand in hand, side by side, to restore the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness upon which this nation was founded. Bravery, chivalry and just sheer, raw, unapologetic guts and strength were applauded that day and each day thereafter.

It was a horrific tragedy, an unimaginable crisis that brought this nation together that year, because the pain, destruction and new purpose for healing was bigger than any trivial opinion, any mindless political jargon, and any petty argument brought about by boredom and self-exhalation. Let us NEVER FORGET what happened that day and the days, months, and years that followed. Let us never be so consumed with the frivolous manic speeches of today’s media and the inessential accusations and fallacies that it takes this kind of world shaking for God to once again get our attention as a nation.

Pray now, church.

Let us NEVER FORGET.

*I do my own not possess either of these pics. Found in a simple google search.*

The Weight of the Broken

So many broken hearts all around me today. The weight of it all tugs on my own to weigh me down. My mind swirls with the endless possibilities, the various scenarios, circumstances, and outcomes.

One heart is trampled after years of devotion, self-sacrifice and provision. Deceit and lies run rampant. Another is captivated by mistrust and fear, threatening to become the self-fulfilling prophecy through the tears. Still another is full of anger, bitterness and rage while pretending to love and adore a fantasy fabricated within the mind.

Oh dear Lord, how do we help them? How do we stop the bleeding? Can we even intervene? The pain is so great. The brokenness seems beyond repair. Is there any glimpse of hope to be found?

The questions thrash about like tornadoes through my head. Twisting and turning without end. We look to a book, a counsel, a song or a situation to correlate, to somehow make sense of this unfathomable reality.

Yet, no answer can be found in the carnal. No solution can be brought forth in mere words. No ears have the capacity to hear the true heartbeat of the broken.

The only answer is Jesus. The only shred of hope is Him. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. There is no promise of reconciliation, or even redemption, without His mercy and grace.

It may sound too cliche. It may sound like just another punchline, but I have found He is the only source of Truth. He is the only anchor that holds. He is the only Rock that stands when the whole world falls apart, and you’re wondering if you can even take the very next breath.

I can’t even walk without holding onto His hand.

He is all I need. ❤️

In An Instant

Too often, we take for granted what we have right before our eyes. We get into a routine, and we expect everyone who’s in our little orbit to always be there tomorrow. We expect to wake up in the morning, and everything be the same.

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Car wrecks, terrorist attacks, earthquakes and floods happen in the blink of an eye. Breakups, broken promises, angry flare ups and heartaches may take days in the making but take only a moment to occur. Crushed dreams, destroyed relationships, words unspoken, volumes that can never be erased come in a split second.

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Are you ready to say goodbye? Do you cherish the one you’re with? Will you make the moment last? Could you build the memories of a lifetime?

We have no guarantees.

All we know can be gone in one instant.

Don’t be one day too late…

Penned – MG – 7/2/18