Thank You, America

It seems to be a phrase that is ridiculed more than appreciated these days, but today, I will proudly say, “Thank you, America.” I don’t care who you are, or where you have come from, if you live in this country, and if you call yourself an American, then, you should say the same…and even though, it may not be a popular sentiment, even if you are not an American citizen, you should still say the same.

Too many in today’s culture take so much liberty in bashing the bad of this country. Too much joy is taken in attempting to destroy the history, and the heritage and the legacy upon which this nation was built. If someone stands for patriotism, freedom and anything “American,” too many snarks and ridicules can be made, and everyone is simply expected to accept it as some sort of tolerance and penance for years of a presumed “superior conceit.”

I will never attempt to argue the perfection of America, nor will I say it can do no wrong, but if you cannot take pride in the country in which you preside, why live there? Just as a mother has to admit the foolishness of her child if that child is to grow beyond the wrong; yet, it should never negate the love and protection that mother holds for her once newborn babe. Seriously. I could stop and restart a whole new blog on that little soapbox right there, but I won’t. Not today.

Today, I’ll just stop and say, “Thank you, America.” Thank you for every hardworking man and woman who seeks to serve and make this country a better place to live. Thank you for all those who put their “hand to the plow” and never look back, always striving to leave a better community for the next generation. Thank you for every person who hopes and dreams for a better tomorrow and instead of tearing down all shreds of goodness from yesterday, he or she digs deep to find a ray of sunshine within the clouds of gray. Thank you to every American who continually takes the next step toward life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; so, our children may dream and pursue those aspirations of their hearts just as our forefathers did so long ago.

Thank you, America, and God bless you!

Happy Labor Day to all! ❤️🇺🇸❤️

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It Is Time

I’d like to ask our modern culture and our “evolved” Christian believers, when did we get to the place where Truth cannot be spoken for fear of offenses and Sin cannot be confirmed for fear of judgement? If we are a follower of Christ, Truth is absolute and irrevocable, and sin is sin, not “grace-filled” or “judgement-filled.” It just is, because God deems it so.

When did we get to the point where we care more that we not offend someone than we do about their very souls? When did we get to the point where we work so hard to preach grace that we forsake the reality of sin, hell and an eternal death? If we read the Bible, from the front cover to the very last page, God is so very clear.

We’ve come to the place where we’d rather argue, too often quite hatefully, with our brothers and sisters in Christ over the possible offenses taken or not taken over an issue rather than the merits of truth. We’d rather drum up dissension over the intentions of someone’s words rather than seek His Word for His truth on the subject at hand. We’d rather slash the hearts of our fellow kinsmen, and in turn, wound those who are listening and trying to find their own answers, rather than speak with love AND truth and let the Holy Spirit bring forth His conviction and mercy.

It sounds too much like the arguments of old when men and women would argue over the color of the pews and the length of the choir robes while their babies were battling issues of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It smells too much like the wayward youth of decades past who fought so hard for their independence and their owns rights that they forsook the ancient boundaries set before them to show them the only way. It looks too much like the sly dealings of darkness who always brings forth confusion, contention and chaos in order to distract, disengage and devour those who are most vulnerable and afraid.

Wake up, Church. Lift up your eyes. Look upon the One whom we have pierced! Gaze upon His torn flesh, His stripes, His pierced hands and feet. He was wounded for OUR transgressions! He was bruised for OUR iniquities! It was not for someone else. It was for our own prideful stance. It was for our own arrogant words. Not a one of us is not guilty. Not a one of us is worthy of the mercy and grace He gives.

It is time for us to stop claiming our own opinions and laments as Gospel. It is time we stop doing what is right in our own eyes. Lives are at stake. The innocent lie within the balance.

It is time we all repent. Moses stood between the children of Israel and God’s burning wrath. Moses stood between the children of Israel and the armies of Pharaoh. Moses cried out to God for their lives to be saved. Moses was their hero. Yet, he could never have brought them to freedom had they not listen, followed and obeyed him! He was not God, but He did show them God, and they chose to receive.

Whose hero will we be?

Whom will we follow?

Fight. Win. Share Your Story.

I found this pictured quote posted the other day, and it seems I’ve shared it a gazillion times this week. It’s such a simple statement; yet, it seems so profound. Everyone of us, whether you’d like to admit it or not, has someone within reach who has walked the new and painful paths we must face throughout life, often times, that person is even within your orbit of living.

Whether it be sickness, terminal illness, relationship heartbreak, job loss, death of a loved one, divorce, tragedy, or whatever, there is someone out there who can relate. Especially now, with as much access we all have in cyberspace, the ability to reach out to someone who at the very least has a slight understanding, is exponential. There are resources upon resources to find knowledge, personal experience testimonies and short groups for any every dilemma one might face.

In many ways, it seems to be easier now than any other time in history to overcome what dilemmas and trials might come. Yet, our suicide and trauma rates seem to be higher than any other time in history. I have a theory to this, and please forgive me, I’m not an expert, and I’m definitely not trying to trivialize any pain or conflict you may have experienced in a particular scenario. However, I do hope this theory will resonate: more often than not, we hav become a society that focuses too much on “me and mine,” rather than, realizing there is a whole new generation coming behind us who need the wisdom, the testimonies, the experience and the legacy of both failures and achievements that we can give.

Understand, I am not stating this from of “high and mighty judgment,” never realizing the pain of depression, sorrow or suicidal thoughts or tendencies. I have been to low points in my life that I’d rather not share in this current post. I have

If it had not been for the grace of God, the prayers of those who knew and loved me, and the self-fortitude and remembrance in my own heart and mind of my higher calling and purpose, I assure you, I wouldn’t be writing this today, and you could be visiting me in the cemetery on a sunny day.

I can attest to the truth of this quote. You come through those hellish nights, and you persevere through those grueling, sun-scorched days of pain in order to help someone else along the way. Or at least, you should, because it is through your testimony of grace and endurance that someone else can find their strength to hope for a brighter tomorrow.

So, push on, broken one. Hum until you sing again. Struggle until you find your fight. Strive until you thrive. For there is some lost soul searching in the dark for just one clear footstep to help lead them out beyond the storm.

Yesterday or Today?

I saw this quote while at lunch the other day, and it triggered me to purpose and a challenge of heart. It made me think of so many I know who constantly live with regrets, remorse and shame. It reminded me of my own tendency to return to what could’ve been, should’ve been, and would’ve been, had it not been…

It brought me, once again, to the recognition that yesterday is what it is, today is here, and as long as there’s breath in your lungs, everyone has a shot at tomorrow.

The question is not whether today will come, rather, the question should be, what will you do with what you have received?

Use it well. Make the memories. Cherish the moments. Savor what is yet to be.

And as my husband loves to say, “When it comes to living life, ‘Drive it like you stole it!'”

For He Is Your Cause

I see you standing there as you patiently wait for the end of his game.

You have things to do, responsibilities to fulfill; yet, you wait to show you care.

You and he are alone in this world, but you fight to make it a good one for him to grow, to succeed.

You have no promise of another to join you in this cause, but that is no matter.

For he is your cause and your reason for this time.

I see you crying in the shadows as you receive another blow that knocks you to your knees.

You never scream. You never retaliate. You simply take what life might give. You make it the best you can, and you smile…for him.

The love from those who birthed you strengthens your resolve, but this fight is yours alone to consume.

You win it for him, to impress upon his memory the reward of dedication, faith, and love.

For he is your cause and your reason for this time.

I see you resting there in the Father’s arms as you gain purpose for the journey.

You will soon soar with the eagles as he begins to find his wings and fly.

You will soon, once again, charge the enemy and slay the dragons for the victory of your own dreams.

Yet, for now, you patiently wait as his game grows momentum, knowing one day, it will come to a close.

For He is your cause and your reason for this time.

Penned MG 6/4/16

*I wrote this for a friend a few years ago when she was going through a difficult divorce. She became a hero in my book, as I watched her deal with her own pain privately as she fought and clawed for the protection of her child and for the protection of her own sanity through the storm, all the while holding steadfast to the only anchor that holds: Jesus. ❤️

No matter what storm of life you may be walking through, He is the anchor that holds. He is the refuge and solace for your soul. He will walk with you through the fire, and He will hold your hand through the deepest, darkest of nights.

Sometimes, You Go Back

We are constantly pushed forward. Always looking ahead. Never glancing back. Leaving it all behind. Never to return…

A few days before Mother’s Day, my husband reminded me of this old song I sang in church years ago. It’s a song about being thankful and satisfied with all the blessings we have in life. He said, “You need to download that song. It was a really good song.” Often, he has a way of rekindling the embers within my heart that I’ve let lie dormant for too long…

On Sunday morning, this same man who knows my heart so well, made references in his sermon of what kind of person I was when he met me, of how he married me because he not only loved me, but he liked me even more, and several of the reasons why. All of these moments of reminiscence put me in the mode of deep thoughts throughout day…

So, on the evening of Mother’s Day, you would have found me sitting on the floor of our bedroom, searching iTunes for all these old school songs from my childhood and teen years, making myself a new playlist. Now, when I say old school, I’m taking “child of the 80s” throwbacks. If you’re younger than me, you might have never heard of these. If you are of my age or older, you probably know the ones I’m talking about…

Songs like: Steve Camp’s “Do You Feel Their Pain?” and Amy Grant’s “Father’s Eyes,” Rez Band’s “Shadows” and “Silence Screams,” 2nd Chapter of Acts’ “Which Way The Wind Blows,” and even Keith Green’s “Summer Snow.” Yeah, I was definitely walking down memory lane. Reminders of childhood. Reminders of days gone by, lost by the years, forgotten by past sins, neglected and packed away by the demands of the here and now.

As I’ve listened to these old tunes all through the week, reminiscing of the days of old, I have come to realized there are moments when you must go back. You don’t go back to stay. You don’t even go to hang out for a while. You simply step back to those moments and pick back up the precious values and pieces of your life that you were never meant to leave behind.

Sometimes, we leave behind treasured shards of our person that were broken, shattered or severed from our heart because of evil, tragedy or abuse. Just because we are wounded, God never meant for us to leave the good with it. Just because we lost ourselves to sin, busyness or just the chaos of life, doesn’t mean He meant for us to leave the love and grace He gave to us in the beginning.

Sometimes, we must step back and snatch those cherished things away from our buried past in order to become the complete whole person He desires for us to be today. Sometimes, we must remember in order to move forward. Sometimes, we must reminisce in order to live on.

However, a note of caution when you do this. It can be very tempting to stay in that place, to just remain in the days of old, to never return to the daily grind, thinking somehow it will be easier and less painful than the growth demanded in present day. Yet, if you remain, you realize that truly those things don’t fit you anymore. They are like an old jacket discarded, no matter how much you move and struggle to make it adjust, it’s too tight across the chest. Your heart has out grown them, because He desires new things for you, bigger and better things for you now.

Pick up what you must and move beyond quickly. Return to the present to be the stronger, wiser, and more complete warrior whom He has destined you to be! He has incredible plans ahead! Get ready! 😊

**Note: I do not own nor possess any of the linked songs or videos above. These are tagged from a simple google/YouTube search.**

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.

Love Me Challenge #6

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Hello Future Self,

I pray this letter finds you well and full of life. I hope you have kept the faith and fought hard to keep it. I pray you have shared it with all those around you, leaving stepping stones of legacy all in your wake.

I do hope you have taken good care of your body, physically, mentally and emotionally. If you haven’t, there’s not better time than the present! Get busy living, or get busy dying! The moment you refuse to grow and change, you begin the slow decline of holding on and awaiting death. Don’t do that! LIVE and live life to the fullest!!

Always cherish those God places in your life, for you never know the moments which could be their last. Don’t live in the regrets of the past, just recognize what could’ve have been done differently, accept the mistakes for what they were and simply push forward to the promises of tomorrow. His Word is true, and it will never return void; so, hold onto it as a lifeline.

I know you will be a feisty older woman, full of beauty and grace, not because of some wealth you have obtained, nor because of some miracle of less wrinkles or aging than the next person. You will be a woman full of beauty and grace, because you will remember the Proverbs 31 woman and always seek to be more like her. Her beauty came from within and so does yours. Her grace came from above and so does yours.

For yesterday, today and tomorrow, “…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matt. 6:33 Keep this as your life’s motto and all will be well. Added to this, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them…” These two Scriptures will take you on into eternity with so much grace and will leave behind a beautiful legacy for generations to come.

My prayer is for you and your man to still be madly in love and be living a joyful life here on this earth, but if those circumstances are different, I know you will be clinging to Jesus’ hand and trusting Him to take you onto glory when you will see him again.

“May The Lord bless you and keep you…May The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; May The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26

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My rendition still stands:

Love fully      Laugh deeply     Love freely

 

 

What Will You Choose?

What are you choosing today? Are you choosing life, or are you choosing death? Are you choosing joy, or are you choosing sorrow? Are you choosing peace, or are you choosing chaos?

You might say, “Well, you don’t know my circumstances. I can’t choose anything! I am a victim.” Yet, I have to disagree. You may not have control of your circumstances, but you do have control of YOU! You can choose how you handle those circumstances, and you can choose how you react to whatever you are facing.

Just as you cannot control or change the wind and the storms that come, you may not be able to control or change bad things from happening around you or even to you. However, you have complete control over your emotions and your actions. You can decide, right now, how you will react to those bad things. Will you “flip out,” refusing to be consoled or comforted? Will you become angry, lashing out in anger? Or will you take a deep breath, step back and assess the damages, and approach the situation with peace and wisdom? Will you handle the chaos with the kind of strength and grace that helps someone else along the way?

You have the ability to choose today. Choose life. Choose peace. Choose joy. Your choices not only impact those in that present situation, but they can impact others for generations to come.

What will your choices leave behind?

Paving Their Path

 

Once a child reaches the age of accountability, every child must make his or her own choices, and every child is responsible for what he or she does. However, I have found that we, as parents, do have a part to play in helping to pave the path they choose in life. We can’t make their choices, and we can’t be accountable for their decisions. However, we do have the ability to make those choices easy or hard to find.

You see, our children walk down their own paths into the destiny of their own choosing. They will be faced with the good and bad consequences of their actions and with the fruit from the seeds they choose to sow. However, we can pave that path with the “asphalt” of faith, the guard rails of love and the road signs toward joy and fulfillment, or we can lay down layer upon layer of rock, rubble, nails and thorns from the bitterness, foolishness, enablement and even pain of our own lives, layers through which our children will have to fight and claw just to find those good decisions they long to choose.

 

When we live as good examples for our little ones, make good decisions for our own lives as we try to raise them the best way we know how, and strive to correct in front of them the mistakes we are sure to make along the way, their paths will be lined with the good substance they need to not only survive this life, but it also will build the foundation upon which they can thrive through this life!

If you realize your children may have a rocky road ahead, I have good news for you! You can begin TODAY picking up the stones of hatred and anger that have been thrown along their path. The rocks and rubble of foolishness and enablement can be pushed aside. The nails of spite which have been dropped and the thorns of pain which have been sown can be picked up, cut back and removed as you reach out with repentance, forgiveness, truth and love.

This process can only begin with a right relationship with God, a daily seeking of His Word and a continual reaching out to your child with loving kindness. It may not be an instant reconciliation, but with Christ, it can be an instant healing within your own heart and mind. He can help you to clear the path and to make things right again. He can guide you and your child to a better way.