Homemade Happiness

I have this in the center of my kitchen table. Our kitchen is kind of the “hub” of the house. This table sees a lot of activity throughout the week. This table gets family meals, single-man breakfasts (when my son is headed to work at the crack of dawn and no one else wants to get up), late night homework binges, random board game ambitions and Sunday afternoon chillin’-on-FB-and-WP time.

I found this trivet, as they call it, and I knew I needed to sit it in this spot as a constant reminder to myself, our boys, and anyone who enters our home, of its vital truth. Too often, in today’s society, especially in the realms of media, we hear so much of what will bring happiness, what will bring fulfillment, what will bring an inner peace to one and all. Some claim more money, materialistic endeavors, fame, fortune, popularity, and even more political based ideas and agendas, will bring you all the happiness you need.

Yet, I wish I could scream this phrase from the rooftops and write it in the sky for the world to see. Happiness IS homemade. Happiness is found within rather than “without.” In all actuality, happiness is never truly found…

You see happiness is simply a feeling that will come and go with the trials of life. It is an emotion that will rise with the next success story and plummet to the depths in the next failure. Happiness does not last longer than the event with which it enters.

Oh, but JOY does! Joy is that homemade “happiness” that doesn’t just rise on occasion or fall with common mistakes. Joy is birthed within one’s very soul, and it can sustain the midnight hour of grief, sorrow and pain.

So many mistake happiness for joy, because it brings a smile to your face and a spring in your step. Others replace joy with the temporary seduction of happiness, because a greedy heart is satisfied or a fearful mind is momentarily calmed. Yet, this kind of happiness dwindles when the storms of life roll back in with the tide of broken hearts. This kind of happiness dissipates as the rocky road of despair and doubt settle in for the long haul.

No, joy comes from a deeper source. Joy is a state of being that, often times, can’t be described in mere words, but rather, it must be experienced. Joy like this is only found in the One who gives life, the One who brings all things good, the One who knows every intricate part of you and me and who has unfathomable, unforgettable plans for each of us.

Yeah, He is the only One who can give you this kind of JOY. He is the only One who can give it, because He IS that joy, and that joy is Hope in Him!

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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.

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! ❤️

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.*

A Trade Off

Sometimes, I have to remember that I don’t have to continue in my weakness, thinking somehow, it’s going to magically turn into greatness. When the Scripture says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13) that’s what it meant!

I am only strong when I admit my weakness and allow Christ to rule and reign in my heart AND in my actions! I am only refreshed when I throw my weakness into His greatness! I am only encouraged and able to carry on when I release my pride and stop pretending to be strong and realize I am only strong because of Christ living inside of me!

Thank you, Jesus, I don’t have to muster up some pretend faith to be a valiant warrior when I am just a truly, the warrior is a child. Thank you for trading my weakest moments with Your strongest power! Thank you that you are able! You are faithful, and You are strong! ❤️

Freedom of Forgiveness

I saw this post on FB today, and I thought it an awesome subject upon which to post. This is so very hard, sometimes, but it is so very true. The quicker we learn this lesson, the better, and the key to unlocking its truth is in the freedom of forgiveness.

I have found the quicker you can truly forgive someone who has hurt you, the less like them you will become. Over the years, I have watched family members, friends and acquaintances who have “claimed” forgiveness was in their hearts, but as you listened to them talk about the certain person or circumstances, all you heard was bitterness flowing from their souls. As I’ve watched these year after year, I have seen how, slowly over time, they have become more and more like the person who hurt them, the one whom they haven’t forgiven.

You see, the unforgiveness you harbor within your heart will fester and soak in anger and disgust. Eventually, that unforgiveness takes hold of your soul and buries a root of bitterness deep beneath the surface. Once the root of bitterness takes up space, it will consume and override rational thought, peace and even at times, your own sanity.

Learn to let go. Learn to forgive. Learn to show mercy and grace. It doesn’t mean all is well at the snap of a finger, and it surely doesn’t necessarily mean reconciliation is on the heels of the forgiveness. Some things just get lost in the pain, brokenness and years.

Yet, it does mean your heart can heal. It does mean you can grow and learn and dream once again. It does mean you can grasp hope, embrace love and be consumed by an inner peace that will no longer be easily shaken.

Fear or Fire?

When troubles come, what do you do? Do you cower, shivering in fear? Do run away and hide? Do you stand, paralyzed by indecision and doubt? Do you run to the flames, ready to encounter what comes?

How you endure the heat will often times dictate who you become when the embers cool. What wisdom you to use to conclude your decisions will often determine your promotion or your failure. The whys of your choices will always impact those who follow.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

The Voice

It’s steely nails claw at my flesh as I pull away.

The cloak of darkness lies thick against my skin.

It’s weight so heavy, I can hardly breathe.

It’s burden so deep, I fall to my knees.

The voice calls from afar, but I can’t hear it above the screams.

The invitation comes to my soul, but I shield it with the shadow and pain.

The longing drifts in, taunting, haunting, but I look away past the cage.

The voice calls in the distance, but I can’t hear it above the heart’s rage.

I cry out, hoping he will hear.

I run, searching for the freedom.

I stumble. I fall. Always two steps behind.

Always dragging back to the days that unwind.

When will this turmoil end?

Does He not see my torment and suffering?

Does He not hear my heart shattered and bleeding?

When will the rescue come needing?

The voice calls to me once again.

The invitation is sent deep within, I am tempted to shun it thrice more.

The longing gently woos the mind, guiding me through the mire.

The voice whispers but to my soul, it is an echo across the chasm of my desire.

Ever near. Ever drawing me back.

He promised to never forsake.

He promises to never leave.

All I must do is believe.

Penned – MG – 4/25/18

How Do you Start the New Year?

Regrets or Do-Overs?

Remorse or Recommitment?

Sorrow or Joy?

It’s all in your perspective. What will you do with the past? What will you make is the future? Your choices in these few things can and will determine your tomorrow.

Choose cautiously. Choose wisely.

Kingjamesbibleonline.org

Friday’s Friends #23

Today is Friday, and it’s my favorites day of blogging, because I get to share with you a new “friend!” My sincerest apologies for missing last week! I didn’t realize there was no posting until it was way too late to post. 🙄

Twittersanonymous is an inspiring blog that’s been around for quite a while, but I do hope you’ll jump over and check it out. She has encouraging words and kindness flowing throughout. I believe you will leave there feeling refreshed and inspired. 😊