Just say, “NO!”

SOMETIMES, we just need to learn to say, “NO!”

We heard this statement many times on television through those anti-drug commercials of the 80’s. We heard it month after month, encouraging all to not give into the enticing voices of culture and drug dealers who would lie and say, “Just a little won’t hurt you!”

Yet, we seem to have moved further and further from the totality of this sentiment as we’ve become a “tolerant society” that seems more bent on pushing one agenda or another rather than actually saying, “No” to many things to which we need. We seem to have risen to a new level of “tolerance” where every cultural opinion must be agreed to, or we risk being called a racist, fascist or just simply a bigot. As I’ve stated before, just because I disagree with you does not mean I hate you.

I disagree with my husband at times; yet, he is my best friend, my confidante and my love. I disagree with my children, especially when their decisions will put them in dangerous situations; yet, I love them so much, I’d lay my life down for them. My loyalty may not run as deep for you or for those with whom I disagree and do not know personally, but it does not mean I harbor hate within my heart simply because of my disagreement.

Yet, because of my own experiences, life choices and personal convictions, you and I may not agree on all things. Ya know what? That is completely ok! You may live your life quite differently than mine, and that’s ok, too. That’s actually part of living, and that part of being an individual and having your own choices.

Being of different opinions is okay, too. However, when those opinions begin infringing upon someone else’s personal wellbeing, there should be a wake up call. When those agendas or disagreements come with an expectation of agreement and are followed with a demand of approval or a threat of consequences if not adhered, then, a separation and distance should be put into place for those involved.

Sometimes, we just need to find the courage to say, “No,” and stick to our decision. Sometimes, we need to find our backbone and settle into the boundaries we have set for a dangerous relationship or a rebellious child or a consistently wounding acquaintance and resolve to leave it there. Sometimes, we need to cut the ties with that toxic person in our life with whom only turmoil and chaos resides.

Sometimes, for our own sanity, peace of mind and personal wellbeing, we must look at the “appointment book” of our life and reply to their request,

“No, Thursday’s out. … Yeah, Friday’s out, too. … How about never – is never good for you?”

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Good Friday or Bad?

Today, many of us celebrate what we call, Good Friday. The day Christ died on the cross with the promise of rising in three days. The day the earth shook, the sun darkened, the veil was torn, and the believers were scattered with their dreams of majesty shattered. The day the Holy Lamb of God was beaten, bruised, pierced by those who hated Him and forsaken by the very Father God who claimed to love Him.

So, if all this bad happened on this day, how can we call it Good Friday? How can we join together to celebrate such a horrific, gruesome, unimaginable death? How can anything good be taken from such a terrible day that is forever written in the annals of time?

If you don’t know Him, I can understand why you’d wonder. If you’ve never realized His love for you, I can believe your confusion and doubt. If you’ve only heard of Him in storybooks and seen Him portrayed as “just a man” in cults and Hollywood box office hits, I can comprehend your skepticism, ridicule and even rejection.

But for me, I know Him on a personal level…

He was there before I even took a breath. He was there when I was in my mother’s womb, and her guidance counselor tried to convince her to “get rid of the dilemma,” because, after all, she was just 16. He was there when I was born six weeks (8 wks to today’s standards) too early and fought for life for those 10 days in that tiny incubator.

He was there when I was six months old, and my alcoholic parents split up. He was there when my four year old self waited by the door with packed bags for a father who never showed up. He was there when my twelve year old self received a “new daddy” who took us away from a comfortable, small town to a great big city with so many unknowns.

He was there when I met the man of my dreams and said, “I do.” He was there when our first child never grew in the womb, and we buried him under those great big oaks at my childhood home. He was there when our firstborn aspirated meconium, and we were told by a young nurse that it could be fatal. He was there when our second son fell off the changing table onto a tile floor while being babysat. He was there when I lost my precious grandfather to cancer, the man who had protected me, loved me and cherished me, the man who been my “Daddy” for so many years. He was there through all of the grief and sorrow.

The stories could go on and on with so much more detail, but I won’t bore you with my life story. I can just say, with 100% confidence, He was there. In my darkest days and in my happiest hours, in my finest moments and in those times that I wish to never be repeated, He was there.

He has always been there.

So, I call it Good Friday, because I know He was there hanging on the cross pouring out His blood for me for redemption. I call it Good Friday, because I know He rose just a few days later with the promise of victory, and heaven and eternity for my soul if I just believe. I call it Good Friday, because I am a witness to all that has come from His sacrifice, His love and His grace just in my own life.

I call it Good Friday, because often times, out of the bad, the horrific, the most unimaginable things comes such beauty and goodness and promise that you can’t call it anything but GOOD!

Watch and listen…

https://youtu.be/Is6weMrenls

Wisdom, Faith or just plain Stupidity?

Yeah, some will look at this picture and recognize at first glance this sign is stupid, that there’s no wisdom in trying to jump this chasm with no ramp or expertise. Others would come up to this sign and believe with all their being this is the sign that will bring forth their destiny; if there’s just enough faith, this will be the day of change! Still, others will see this and “throw caution to the wind” and go for it with gusto!

Often, the truth of wisdom is shown in the tenacity within the mundane, the fortitude through the process of change and the ultimate risk of doing something completely out of routine.

The proof of Faith comes when it is joined with wisdom and it brings forth power and anointing.

The reality of stupidity comes when the choices made bring about calamity, failure and destruction.

Which will you choose??

Comfy Cozy

Comfort zones are so… well, comfortable. They’re nice and cozy. They’re places of no discomfort, no pain, no adjustment, no change. They are places where it’s easy to do what you do, and you have no fear of failure, intimidation or rejection. Comfort zones are where you can set your course “steady as she goes” and not worry about a thing.

Comfort zones can also become the place of stagnation and mediocrity. If you remain in your comfort zone long enough, you’ll never grow, you’ll never be challenged, you’ll never have to face the fact that you could be wrong in your methods, your words or even your mindset and how you approach life. When you choose to stay here for decades upon decades, you can even begin to regress.

The huge oak trees never become massive shelters in the forest without the acorn moving beyond the comfort of the warm soil. The flower never becomes a beautiful rose or a lovely tulip that comforts at the graveside without the moving and sprouting beyond the tiny seed that once was. A child never develops a skill that can affect the world until he goes through the needed the process of learning, development, and training that causes him to step beyond where he began the process. Growth simply doesn’t happen without change.

Even so, you and I never become mighty men and women of strength, character and grace without those uncomfortable moments that draw us out from the shadows and force us to adjust to the new, the uncomfortable, and yes, the changes that come.

If we constantly refuse to adjust, we will constantly stunt our growth. If we constantly stunt our growth, then we may remain in that comfort zone, but we will have nothing to show for it at the end of our days. Once something (or someone) grows comfortable, unyielding, unmovable, and stagnant, what purpose and what value does it really hold at the end of life?

How comfy are you??

Why wait?

So, what will you do in the new year of 2018?

Don’t wait for tomorrow, for none is guaranteed tomorrow. We are not guaranteed our next breath. Make your decision. Make you plan. Make your choice. Get moving, and start today. You can do this thing! Just believe!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Start Today

Happy New Year’s!

New Years Resolutions…

Almost everyone has an opinion on them or at least some thought toward them. Some get all geared up to make huge resolutions, change of habits, altering routines, plans to transform their health, appearance, attitude and lifestyles. Some get just as amped up at the declaration to NOT make resolutions, because (in their opinion) “those never really work anyway!” I’m not here to argue either point, but I am here to tell you, TODAY is the day to make a definitive decision and tomorrow may be too late. My pastor has this phrase, “You will never become tomorrow what you’re not doing today.” Whatever you put off till tomorrow, you will just as easily put it off again the next day and the next.

Let me bring this point home to our hearts by a question or two … what is a goal you set or maybe something you thought at the beginning of 2017 that you planned to accomplish? Did you accomplish it, and if so, how long did it take? What if your reality for tomorrow was only determined by what you did today? What if you were going to be blessed tomorrow by what you give today? Or better yet, What if you were guaranteed to get blessed in 2018, and that blessing was going to come in the form of a pay raise in the exact amount of the giving, blessings, or accomplished things you did in 2017? What would that blessing look like??

So, if you’re plan is to lose weight, stop smoking, start eating right or even go to bed at a better hour, don’t wait for the clock to strike midnight tonight to change your ways. Do it today! Do it NOW!! As the old adage goes, “There’s no better time than the present!”

Health.com

There’s no better time to start than right now, and if you’re one of those who are adamantly opposed to setting resolutions, there’s still something to be said about setting goals and doing a little self improvement. Start there for yourselves.

Set a goal.

Chase a dream.

Start TODAY!

Embrace Your Grace

I received this wall art for Christmas, and it made me cry (For those of you who know me, yeah, I know that’s a shocker! 😂) This meant so much to me at this time, because my husband and I had just had a conversation a few weeks ago about this very thing, and I was trying to believe in my heart what my head knows to be true of this statement.

If you don’t know me (which, just read a few past blogs tagged “family,” and you’ll quickly understand), you may not know that my family is my world. That old adage, “God, Family, Country?” …yeah, that just about sums me up. I love my family, and I love spending time with them. It doesn’t really matter what we do. Yet, there are times, when I feel like I need to be a better mom for them. No, honestly, I feel like I need to be “Supermom,” and as much as I counsel other moms that this is a farce, and they should never try to live up to this fantasy, sometimes, I find myself falling into the mind trap as well.

A few weeks ago, that was the problem. I was feeling overwhelmed with a “to do” list and piles of clean laundry to be fold, and a ton of other “musts” to be accomplished. I was feeling down and out, because I “didn’t have time” to fix meals for our family, keep us on a good, healthy schedule, fix the boys’ lunches, keep the house “spit-spot” clean, and follow all the expectations that a “good mother” should follow. I was feeling like I don’t do enough for my little family, and I was unloading on my husband. He listened…and listened…cuz, he’s such a good man.😉

We got through the junk, and we talked about improvements that were actually needed, and then he put his arms around me and just hugged me. He said, “I love you. You’re a great mom to our boys, and I wouldn’t want any other woman as my wife.” Then, he gave me this piece for Christmas. … you see, now, the reason for all the tears? (Yeah, I told you he was great!) 😉

I told you this story to tell you this: if you’re a mom, and you’re struggling today with feeling overwhelmed, insignificant, less than, lonely, etc., there is hope. Don’t allow the “Pinterest Moms” and “Facebook Supermoms” of this world to bring you down with expectations and burdens that you were never meant to carry. Recognize that God wouldn’t have put you in the family you’re in and wouldn’t have made you the mom of the kids you have if He wasn’t going to equip you and help you to be who He’s called you to be!

Will you need to re-evaluate your priorities, agendas and goals from time to time? Yes. Do you need to make sure you’re keeping “the main thing the main thing?” Yes. Will you need to step back from failures and mistakes, forgive yourself, ask for forgiveness from others, and start anew? Yes. And will there be needed improvements along the way? Oh. My. Goodness. YES AND AMEN!!

However, if you’re never doing these things, you’ll never grow, and your family will never be challenged to be more. A beautiful garden never becomes truly beautiful unless it has a season of pruning.

Just remember, you have to find your own niche here in this world of “motherhood.” You have to do what’s truly best for you, your husband (if married), and your children. What works amazing for one family might just bring down disaster in another. What would never work for your family might work perfectly for mine.

None of us are clones, and God never intended us to be! Can we learn from each other? Yes. However, every family must seek God to find what is His best and become just that!!

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Themomcafe.com

Path to Purity

Too often in our society today, young people are taught to do what they want, when they want, and whatever they want. They are intensely guided to be whatever they feel like on that particular day, or even hour, and they are excused for any outbursts, irresponsibility and even wrath. They are coddled and cradled with every whim of desire. 

Please understand, I don’t say this out of judgement or anger, as some might want to claim, as any disagreement in this culture is also taught to be certain judgment and hate speech. No, this comes more from a heart of disappointment and sorrow. Too often, our young people today are deprived of strength, dignity and grace because of this mentality of neglect and immaturity. They are robbed of knowing true respect and honor from hard work, self evaluation and strong decision making for the choices presented in their lives. 

It seems there is more cultural pressure to remain a child well into the adult years, and then when this choice is made, they wonder why they don’t have the respect and honor from their elders that they so desire. They cannot see that, as an adult,  the lack of standards and values does not make you a more intellectual and affluent human being, but rather, it causes you to appear more childish and infant-like. Then they wander aimlessly through life with empty eyes and hollow hearts blaming all those around them for the pain and lack of life they live. 

This is a sad state of affairs I see before me, and although, I am not able to change the whole world, and I may not be able to impact all those around the globe, I can start within my own home. I can start within my own community, my own neighborhood, my church and my city. It only takes one small match to start a wildfire. It only takes one youth to change a nation. 

Let’s start right here, right now…

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119:9-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/psa.119.9-16.niv

The Salt Marshes or The River

I have a question for you…

Do you live in the salt marshes of Christianity or in the River of God’s glory?

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You can be a Christian and not experience the fullness of His glory. You can live a good, “saved” life, following His commandments, yet, never comprehend His overflowing joy and complete peace. You can go to church every Sunday, work the nurseries on Wednesdays, pledge your loyalties to every youth and world missions project and still miss out on all He has for you.

Although, I have to ask, “Why?” … Why would we ever want to live beneath His potential for our lives? Why would we ever be “okay” with second best or just comfortable with less than His best? Why would we ever settle for something He knows we don’t need or even detests?

Yet, so many of us do just that! We choose to live in the salt marches of Christianity, and we completely bypass the river of God’s glory. Sometimes, it’s fear that holds us back, or maybe it’s those past pains that blind us from the reality of His promises.

Often, it’s schedules and agendas which consume every moment and spin us out of control, shielding us from the clarity of truth. Too many times, it is the sin of our past, our present, or the contemplation of sin in our future, which binds us to the salt marshes and refuses to let us venture beyond what we’ve always seen, heard and thought to be truth.

It is time to break free. It is time to live in His fullness rather than the anemia of our fears and failures. It is time to move out, beyond the norm, and step into the river of His glory.

You will find He is waiting there just for you.

*Note: I do not own nor possess any part of this video. This is from a simple google search to YouTube.

Decrease Me. Increase You. 

You teach me through Your Word that I need a reformation. I need reproofing, and I need transforming to be more of who You desire me to be. Yet, I find myself, time and again, pushing against Your sovereignty. I find myself entangled in my own desires, my own selfish perspective.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

You draw out of my soul the ugly, the begrimed and the despised things. You point to the waywardness of my heart and challenge it to change. You mark those fleshly wanderings and call them to a duel. You refine and chastise to remove that wretched sin.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

You extract the waste that Your purity might flow. You entrap the filth that Your Spirit might invade. You ensnare all that is lost that Your anointing might abide. As the mire is expelled, Your holiness can thrive.

I wish that You would decrease me that I might increase You.

I find that as I yield my heart and surrender my will, You are enabled to dig deep within my soul. You eliminate all that is not like You. The fire refines me. Your love renews me.

I step back from the pruning to see there is so much less of me, and then I realize there’s so much more of You. ❤