Thorn In My Flesh

Have you ever gotten a splinter in your foot? I’m not talking about the calloused part, where it doesn’t hurt too much to remove. I’m referring to that tender place on the bottom of your foot, just below the ball of the foot. I had to remove a deep splinter the other day from just that spot, and let me tell you, it did not feel good, and my foot was sore for the rest of the day! 😖

However, by the next morning, it felt great, and I had all but forgotten the pain of the day before. Can I tell you, life can be that way, too. You’re walking along, minding your own business, and “Bam!,” something sticks you hard. It may not seem that big of a deal to those around you, most won’t even notice, but you do. You feel it deep within your soul.

What you do next will determine your healing and recovery time. If you allow that “thorn” to settle deep within your soul, it will fester and go deeper. Over time, it will become infected and eventually turn into a disease called bitterness.

You must remove it. You must get the offense out before it brings you more pain. You must allow that wound to be cleansed and bandaged to bring complete healing. The pain of removal may feel worse, sometimes, than the temptation to leave it alone; however, I can assure you, the removal and recovery is worth the temporary pain endured.

Let go of hurts today. Let go of offenses. Allow the Holy Spirit to pull those things out of our hearts and minds that don’t belong. Allow Him to apply His healing balm to bind up the would and let the healing begins.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

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Debris Clean-up

Terrible storms and natural disasters have wreaked havoc across our nation the past few months. Hurricanes, tornados, floods and even earthquakes. When storms like this hit land, there are incredible clean up projects that have to be set in place to get things back to normal. If the debris is left, it can cause delays, confusion, more damage and even injuries or death. Trees have to be cleared, power lines have to be restored, roads repaired, homes and bridges rebuilt. The restoration process can take a while, but it must be done if the people desire to live again. 

Storms in our lives will bring lots of debris, too. Anger, bitterness, rage, fear, pain, brokenness. Just as the disaster crews have to clean up the debris from physical storms, we must clean up the debris in our own hearts and minds from crisis that happen in our lives. 

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Maybe it’s a new mindset we need. Maybe it’s forgiveness we have to give. Maybe it’s self control we have to learn. Maybe it’s even time we have to wait for a wound to heal. If the debris isn’t cleared, it can often cause even more damage, not only to ourselves but, eventually, to all those around us. Whatever the debris is, if we want to be whole, and we want to live again, we must clean it out. 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 52:10-12

The great advantage we have is we don’t have to do this alone! Jesus is always waiting for us to call on His name. He is right there longing to soothe our weary soul and mend our broken heart. All we have to do is call on His name. All we have to do is lean on Him, and He will pick us up and carry us through! He will help us clear the debris and learn to live whole again. 

The neat thing that also happens when this is done, we can share our story with others, and their lives will be impacted and changed as well! “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.” Psalm 52:13 When this happens, not only are our lives cleaned up and changed, but those with whom we’ve shared our story are changed. Then, they begin to share, it starts a domino effect on the world around us! How exciting would it be to see many come to know Him because of our simple clean up?!

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4


How Do You Do It?

I watch as a mother holds the hand of her 12 year old battling cancer in a children’s hospital day after day. I look on as a wife says goodbye to her man of almost 60 years. I wipe a tear as I read a story of a family that’s dealing with the death of two grandchildren, a son and daughter in law, all in the same week, and I wonder how you do it?  

How do you survive in this world without the love of Christ to sustain you? I wonder how you make it through these darkened days of tragedy and pain. I can’t imagine living my life with no hope, no joy, no faith in a Higher Power than myself. 

Maybe you’ll think I am just weak, that I simply need a crutch to walk through this life…well, I have found I can’t even walk without holding His hand! When I am leaning on His everlasting arms, I realize I can climb a mountain or walk through a valley! I have strength, because it’s no longer my human strength that I am relying on. It is the strength of my Creator and my God. He laid the foundations of this earth, and He breathed life into my very being; so, why would I ever think my strength is better than His? 

To top it all off, He loves me so much that He died and rose again for me. His plans for me are good plans, and He wants to give me a hope and a future! Believe it or not, He longs to do the same for YOU, because He loves you, too! Why would you ever want to deny that kind of love or reject that kind of power in your life??

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.

When The Pain Sets In

Sometimes, your heart is bound up with so much emotion, words are hard to find. Your mind is so consumed with an avalanche of thought that you can not grasp even one. It’s like water droplets over a waterfall. 

Sometimes, the pain is so baffling, it feels as if time is standing still. Your destiny is too far to imagine, and your past comes in like a flood. It can be overwhelming… Suffocating… Constricting and condemning.

Sometimes, in that very moment, is when you need the reminder of His love and His grace. It is comforting… It is reassuring… It is strengthening and redeeming… 

He will heal. 

Only believe. 

Happy Mom’s Day

I usually have the Friday’s New Angle and the answer posted here on Fridays and Saturdays; so, I thought it might be appropriate to go ahead and wish all of you a HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! …and for those who almost forgot, here’s your chance to go get that card and gift! 😉

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I hope you have a WONDERFUL day, and even if you’re not able to spend it with your children or your mom, I hope you are able to spend it with someone you love! My prayer is your day is consumed with good memories, well wishes and lots and of love and joy!

However, for so many, this day is filled with dread, with tears and even a little anger or frustration for the mother or spouse who has already said goodbye in this life. When Mother’s Day rolls around for those in this category, often, the feelings can be so overwhelming they would rather the day simply pass on like any other and not be mentioned. For these, I say, “God bless you, and I pray you find peace today. I pray you find grace for your pain, and I pray you find joy in your place of grief.”

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Losing a mom is like no other loss one can experience. I have heard it described as losing your best friend, losing your right arm, or even losing a piece of your heart you truly realized you had until she’s gone. Probably the best description I have heard was from my mother-in-law, who has become like a second mother to me. She said (my paraphrase), “It’s as if, all of a sudden, I had a great big hole open up in my life. You don’t know what to do with it. You can’t jump over it; you can’t fill it in, and the pain of it is almost unbearable. Sometimes, you contemplate just jumping into the hole, thinking that will make it better…People say time will heal the pain…No, the hole is there for the rest of your life. It never gets filled back in with the passing of time; you just learn how to manage it and begin to walk around it.”

Miss-you-mom-died-cant-stop-crying-tears-smilesCan I encourage you today to take notice of those who may be grieving during this “fun weekend” we call Mother’s Day? Can I urge you to let your heart mourn with them and allow your arms of love to reach out? They need your words of comfort, and they need thoughts of grace. These days are not easy for so many, especially when it is the first (or even second) Mom’s Day they have gone without her…

 

With or Without Hope

Originally posted on APRIL 27, 2015. I thought it fitting for today’s daily prompt…

My heart was heavy today, thinking of all the brokenness in this world.
The weight of it resting upon my shoulders like a wet, woolen blanket.
Tears filled my eyes as I pondered the wounded, the shattered, and the lost.
Heaviness so intense, I could hardly breathe.
Air stagnant with heartache, weariness and emptiness.
So many wandering in this place. So many without a face.

I drove by this house sitting beside the road.
Abandoned, dark, damaged and alone.
People driving by, hurrying to destinations, never stopping to see, never caring to know.
Shoved off to the side, barricade built, weeds and trees rummaging to find a home.
Broken down roof, shattered windows, busted doors, all haunted by lost potential.

The broken lives of those lost are a lot like this old house.
They take the abuse, receive the ridicule, accept the blame, wondering all the while if anyone cares as they wander aimlessly in the dark.
Others are like those who moved this old house.
Hard working, simply pragmatic, fighting to succeed at the task.
More are like the ones who vandalized it.
Kicking, biting, clawing, shattering the dreams of a once well made life.

Can you see them? Can you see yourself? Who are you? Where are you going?
Do you feel that all is lost? Do you wonder if there could still be any life inside?
I am here to tell you. I am here to help you see.
If there is still breath in your being, there is still hope.
If there still a beating of your heart, there is still a chance.
For your life is never so lost that He cannot see you.
You are never so far gone that He cannot hear.

See that foundation?
He placed it there in your heart before you were even born.
It is that longing you feel to find something of worth, something to adore.
It is that deep inner desire to be more than you are today.
He placed it there.
It is His drawing of your heart to bring you love, hope and life beyond your dreams.

He can rebuild a life broken.
He can mend dreams that have been shattered.
He can give hope to the hopeless.
He can bring life to the lifeless.
All can be renewed if you will just let Him in.
Let Him see the abandonment, the pain, the desperation.
He can change and transform.

All you must do is believe.

Daily Prompt: HOPE
Hope

Scarred

SCARRED
Originally posted: OCTOBER 11, 2014

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I stand here in shock, not knowing what to do;

I cannot believe the feelings I’ve caught here from you.

Memories from the past overwhelm my weary mind,

But now, in chains, these memories they do bind.

My hands to you, we were reaching for the stars.

My dreams, our friendship, now you have scarred.

The distance you’ve placed, this I do not understand.

Between us, our sisterhood, is it now banned?

The anger, the jealousy, I pray it does not last.

So many questions I’m left with, only not to ask.

This brokenness and pain, I wish I did not feel.

They all say it takes way too much time to heal.

As I stand here with this bleeding heart,

I pray that one day we have a brand new start.

God can cleanse, forgive and always can mend,

But it takes you and me with this friendship to tend.

Penned – MG – 7/7/99

Daily Prompt: Scar
Scars

With or Without Hope

I’ve read several posts lately from those who are grieving and who are lonely. I’ve been there, in that lonely place, struggling to survive the pain…

These posts make my heart sad, not because the bloggers are heartbroken or grief-stricken, but because so many  grieve with no hope. For without hope, we have no purpose in the pain. We have no future beyond the pain. Without hope, it is all just meaningless and worthless. Without hope, life doesn’t seem worth living.

Yet, where there is hope, there is life beyond the pain. There is a purpose through the pain, and there is some semblance of meaning that we can try to grasp. There is something more that is worth holding onto.

It doesn’t mean we will never experience the pain, only that, deep down, we have a knowing that we will live BEYOND the pain, because there is something MORE for which to live.

Hope is a powerful thing. Without it, life is just a survival game.

Hope causes our spirit to fight. Hope causes our mind not to give up. Hope causes our body to push forward behind normal limits.  Hope causes us to thrive.

…Thriving is so much more fun than simply surviving.


“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

Give It Up!

Sometimes, we just have to give it up! Now, I’m not talking about your faith or your salvation. I’m not talking about your marriage or that commitment you made that has gotten difficult to continue, but you know you must. No, I’m speaking of matters of the heart here. Those emotions that we should have laid down a long time ago. I’m talking about those thoughts and feelings that keep bubbling up when you least expect it, and they keep wrecking your peace, your joy and your future. 
You’ve been holding onto the past, your pain, your anger, and even your fears for so long that the holding on has become a ritual. It has become a routine, a part of you, as if it’s your right arm or hand. We all do it from time to time. We hold that thing close and cater to it, pamper it and even excuse it, until it become a part of us. Then, when we are confronted with Truth, with the need of letting it go, we buck and baulk like we’re being asked to cut off a vital organ! The Word says, in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Truth comes to set us free from the bondage and strongholds that keep us bound and held back from a better life. Truth brings healing and freedom. So, how can we do that when that pain, or that emotion, has become a part of us?? We simply obey. We have to obey Him when He urges us to let go. 

We need to be so in love with Jesus that it doesn’t matter WHAT He asks of us, we are ready and willing to obey. We can’t obey Him simply because of our own goodness. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” We don’t just have a “good heart” …even though that is definitely propagated here in South! (I hear moms and grandmothers say all the time, “I know they’re a rascal, and they cheat, lie and do drugs, but they’ve got a good heart!”…yeah, right!) 

We can’t obey simply because we work harder at it. It’s not a matter of works. If we only work to obey Christ out of our “dutifulness,” then, we’ve turned the cross into a bloodless stick. He didn’t die for us simply for us to do better. He died for us so we could love Him, to have a relationship with Him, and, ultimately, to restore us to our heavenly home. Hebrews 7:25 says it like this, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” He died for us so that we might be reconciled to Him!

If we continue to hold onto these wounds, these pains, these sins of our past and refuse to let them go and allow Him to heal us, we will continually miss His best for our lives! We need to realize when He asks us to let go of something, it is not to harm us or to bring us pain and agony. It is to bring us healing and freedom in Him. It is to bring about HIS best for our lives! …and we need to realize it wouldn’t hurt so much to let go had we not let it grow attached in the first place!! (Ha!)

Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to choose freedom today! I will choose Truth and Liberty this year! It’s time to give it up, to lay down our will and our way, and to seek God’s complete truth for our lives!! Let’s give it up! 🙂