Filling In The Gaps

It’s been amazing to me how God’s goodness has just followed me throughout my whole life. This doesn’t mean my life has been perfect, nor does it mean that it’s been devoid of pain and sorrow. That’s actually very far from the truth. However, looking back through the years, and even at the very beginning, His goodness was there, almost lurking in the shadows at times.

I can see His hand at work so many times, comforting me, shielding me, overshadowing me and even uplifting me to be encouraged and reminded of this. I hear often, from people who want to reject Him, ask the question, “If He’s so good, why do bad things happen? Why do people get hurt? Why doesn’t He rescue all from evil?” To completely, and theologically, try to explain the answers to these questions, it would take too long for this blog, and it might be too deep or too boring for some.

Yet, I will say this much, typically, these questions aren’t from true searchers who would actually accept God if they found Him. These questions are designed to set up rebellion in a heart and argument in a mind to the point of stubborn resolution that either there is no God or He’s just a deity that is too lofty for our minuscule life, and He never cared anyway. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and I’d have to contend that you are not a true seeker nor a very good reader. You don’t do any research or read anything to truly help you find the answers to the questions you ask. But I digress. That will be another post for another day.

We live in a fallen world, and just as a person being sick doesn’t make the doctor less of a doctor, dealing with the evil of a fallen world doesn’t make God any less God. Having bad things happen in my past doesn’t nullify the Sovereignty of my God nor does it mean He loves me any less. There are a ton of reasons bad things can happen, and I won’t try to pretend to have all the answers for the Whys. I will say, the more I focus on Him and on His goodness, I see more and more of Him intricately intertwined into every piece of my life’s tapestry, and for this, I am eternally grateful!

I see the godly men He brought into my life when my own father abandoned me time and again. I see the godly women He brought into my life when my own mother and I could never see eye to eye. I see the friends He brought in when another would wound and scar my tender heart. He has always filled in the gaps when the entities of this world left my soul wrenching in pain and agony.

God places specific people in your life to fill in those voids that others leave, those gaps where others have failed their purpose. Sometimes, we are too fixated on what was lost that we fail to see the refreshing fulfillment He places right before us. We have to get our eyes focused back on Him, and He will give us sight to see what we could never have imagined possible.

“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” 1 Samuel 16:1

Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:11

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The Pale Moon Rises

You said you loved me to the moon

I was your sunshine

I was your baby love

Then I began to shine

I searched to grow beyond

You grasped for the reason

You clung to the control

Then I moved into another season

You and I would never be the same

I walked away from your consuming flood

You sought love from so many facades

I could not remain as you drained the blood

You said you loved me to the moon

You told them I was your jewel

You made the endless promises

Then I realized you only wanted the moon to rule

Penned – MG – 7/15/19

Sometimes, My Heart Just Grieves

I’ve had several conversations over the past few week with friends who are going through incredibly tough seasons of life, and, as I think back through them all, my heart just feels heavy tonight. Many days, these conversations cause me to seek good, practical advice, Godly wisdom and a lot of scripture to encourage, admonish and uplift their weary hearts. Often, these stories told cause my spirit to rise up in righteous indignation over injustices done. I encourage them to fight, to never give up, to seek God, as well as, to seek their personal well being at all cost.

Yet, sometimes, like this evening, my heart just grieves over their losses and their pain. I wish I had a magical wand that could, somehow, make all the heartache, fear, doubt and turmoil just disappear. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

If you’ve not experienced sorrow yet in your life, well, just keep on living, because it will come. If I can give you a piece of advice, both for those going through the trial and for those who are listening to the story, find someone to lean on. Don’t ever try to carry your burdens (or theirs) alone. You aren’t meant to.

Especially, for those of us who call ourselves a Christian. God never set up the Body of Christ for you to walk through this life experiencing all the brokenness it can bring and travel that painful journey alone. Find yourself a good church family, a wise pastor, spiritual leaders, and pour your heart out. Let them pray for you. Allow someone to come alongside you and help carry those burdens!

If you’re the one always walking alongside helping to carry the weight, you’ve got to learn to lean as well. You can’t always lean on those hurting, because they may not be ready to help carry you; however, you can find someone stronger than you to lend a helping hand. You’re not Superman! (Sorry to bust your bubble!)

Learn to lean. It’ll help you stand stronger.

Learn to release tears. They will wash your soul and help you to breathe deeper.

Learn to grieve. It’ll help your heart be real.

Learn to take a hand. It’ll help you to walk steady on that road to eternity.

Video is not mine. Simple YouTube search.

Video is not mine. Simple YouTube search.

Listen to both and be encouraged today. 💗

Be True to YOU!

I found this quote on Twitter awhile back, and it struck a chord within my soul. We hear so much today, in social media circles and in pop culture, about “being true to yourself,” or “being the ‘real’ me,” and while these statements have an element of truth, the real place of authenticity is found when you are true to the most healthy, healed and whole version of you.

Too often, we can get caught up in a popular trend or the peer pressures of life that we lose the authenticity of our soul. [yes, even adults can have “peer pressures!” It just comes in a little different, more subtle ways.😉] We start becoming something or someone we’re not simply to please the crowd or to fit into the environment in which we live, work, or “play.” Or we get so consumed in a past wound, trauma or tragedy that we cannot release the pain, and we become someone we were never meant to be.

Let me be clear, I am not trying to trivialize or make light of any trauma or heartbreak you have experienced. Believe me, I have plenty of my own. Yet, I believe in this day in age, with all the psychobabble and selfish outlook that too many “in power and spotlight” (celebrities, talkshows, politicians, even some therapists and teachers) give to those who follow, we have less people seeking healing and renewal of their minds and bodies than ever before. We have too many in our culture who make excuses for their pain and use a blaming, justification or gaslighting approach to life; so, they don’t have to “own up” to their own struggles and wrongs. They can simply hold someone else responsible for their own actions and words, and they never have to change.

This should not be, and it makes for a very sick, dysfunctional and perverse person and, eventually, will lead to a very wicked and evil society. If you are going to be “true to yourself,” then, why not be true to the best you you can be? Why settle for second best or broken or damaged? Why not take a risk, push a little harder and work toward getting help, healing and resolution to those wounded placed in your heart and soul? Why not work on discovering a new, healthy, healed, whole you?

Is it too much work? Not if you want better than you have right now. Is it too hard? Actually, that’s a decision only you can make. However, I can tell you this. If health and healing is your goal, you will discover more strength, along the way, than you ever thought or imagined possible! Once wholeness is between the goal posts of your life, it will give you a thirst for accomplishment that you didn’t know you could possess, and that thirst will be unquenchable until everything else is laid aside for the “win!”

This may sound like a funny comparison, but it’s like being a kid when your granny is cooking a chocolate cake (or whatever deliciousness is your favorite), and you come in when she’s on her second batch. So, the house is consumed with the yummy smells of the dessert, and she asks you if you want to lick the bowl/spoon. You get just a taste of that chocolatey goodness, and it becomes all you can think about. You can hardly wait until she pulls that cake out of the oven, lets it cool and tells you it’s ready to consume. You become so anxious and impatient that she finally kicks you out of the kitchen in fear you will just jerk that thing right out of the oven and hurt yourself! 😂

That’s exactly how it is when you commit to being “you” in the true, healed and whole sense. You get that taste of strength, of peace, of joy and of renewal, and you won’t want to go back to the broken, desperate and desolate being you once were! You’ll long for that wholeness and become so consumed with the possibility that nothing will keep you from it’s revelation!

Are you hungry yet??

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (NIV)

He makes me whole again, steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth andrighteousness echo His name.” Psalm 23:3 (The Voice Bible)

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?”

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.

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.

Grief: It is a Process of Pain

One of the best articles I’ve read lately in grief is this one. If you are grieving due to anything other than a physical loss, such as divorce, abuse, neglect or estrangement, this article may not bring much healing to you, because your circumstances yield a much different needed response. However, if you’ve lost a loved one, and you’re walking through this painful journey, you may find some comfort and encouragement as you read through this widow’s pages.

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 Live

Grief isn’t fair. Grief isn’t gentle. Grief isn’t considerate, or gracious, or kind…or any of those nice words, really. Grief stinks. And that’s an understatement.

Grief makes you want to stop time, remove yourself from it, and retract minutes from eternity. It makes you want to return to simpler days, days where there were less cares, less tears, less pain.

Yet, life doesn’t work that way. Time moves on with or without you. The clock, living and breathing, keeps ticking until your heart doesn’t.

Demanding that it be any different is just as foolish as if I were to say, “I’m going to hold my breath until the sky turns green.” Demanding it to be different only causes you more pain, more regrets and more agony. Demanding others to remain stuck there with you only causes them more sorrow for the loss, more bitterness for your constraints and can even cause a dwarfism in growth for both you and them.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:4 says, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “(there is) a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

Time is the constant, grief is the variable and choice is the solvent in this equation called life. We can choose to drown in the river of grief and loss or dance in the torrential rains of grace.

Does the choice to dance make the journey through grief disappear? No. Does the choice to dance make the hours shorter or the days brighter? Maybe, maybe not. What I can assure you is when your perspective is focused on the dance more than the pain, it does make the burden a bit lighter, and it will cause the healing come in a bit stronger.

Dancing in the rain never dissipates the raindrops, and it never removes the moisture from your drenched hair and skin, but it surely will enable you to see the rainbow beyond the clouds.

I ask you, “What will you choose today?”