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!'”

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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! ūüėä

**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 #5

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Dear Younger Me,

When you pick up this letter to read, depending upon your age, you may be a little girl full of so many hopes and dreams, it’s hard to see anything beyond the daydreams. You may be a young teen, so confused in the chaos and so hurting there in the silence that you think no one is listening or even cares. You may be a young lady who is desperately trying to find her own way in love, life and desires that you hesitate to slow down and listen too much to someone who seems a little beyond all the excitement of the present. You may even be a newlywed or young mother just trying to live up to all your personal expectations and those perceived expectations of others, never believing you could come close to meeting them.

Wherever you are when you receive this letter, my prayer is you will listen and listen big to these three words and sentences: YOU ARE ENOUGH, YOU ARE NOT TOO MUCH, and GOD LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN EVER IMAGINE!! If you can somehow bury these words deep within your soul and truly grasp the depth of their meaning, you will not struggle with the feelings of inadequacy, inferiority and insignificance that you would otherwise. If you can somehow rise above your own fears and doubts and pick up your sword of the Spirit and slash those accusing words of your enemy and fight this good fight of faith, you will not lose your courageous, warrior-like stance he so desperately desires to destroy.

Learn now to lean heavily on God’s Word for your confidence in this life. Learn¬†now to trust Him above all else and above everyone else in this life. Learn¬†now that life may not always end up the way you thought it would, or even as you believed it should, but with God by your side, it will turn out exactly as¬†He knew it would and exactly as He has equipped you to live through it!

So, stand up tall and fight like a girl! God is with you! He always has been, and He always will be! He will carry you through every storm you will face. He will cover you as every lighting bolt flashes, and He will guide you right through into the sunshine. He will bring you beauty for ashes and oil for mourning. He will bring you laughter for the tears and a beautiful joy in the morning. Always be real and authentic, never seeking the approval of man above the approval of the One who gave His life for you and never ever allow the persuasion of friends or the deep desire to belong to draw you away from whom He has called you to be.

He will provide for you all your heart’s desire, and one day, as you learn to trust Him with your whole heart, He will place a man at your side who loves Him above all else (yes, even above you, little one), and because of this love that He has for His Heavenly Father, he will fall in love with you more and more everyday. This man will treat you like a queen, and you will often wonder what in the world you ever did to deserve such a wonderful life. Always remember to return the loving kindness…treat him like the king that he is. Speak to that king within and always help him pursue his dreams, even when they seem way out of the ordinary. God created him in His image as He did you. He created you for each other to make each of you better than you ever would have been alone. You will balance each other in your polar-opposite tendencies, and you will create a beautiful tapestry of passion, purpose and pursuit of His promises to display His unconditional¬†love for others to see.

Oh, and one more thing, when you are blessed with those two wonderfully, energetic, full-of-life little boys, remember the strong independence¬†of one and the strong demand of your love from the other both mean the very same thing: they desperately need your love and guidance to become the men God has destined them both to be. Remember, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be real. You don’t have to “have all your ducks in a row,” you just have to love big and always be a mom full of integrity, grace and authenticity. They will always be very much like their daddy, anyway, and be able to see the truth of a person’s character; so, no need for anything less than the genuine “you.” ūüėČ Cherish every moment you have with them, because one day way too soon, you will turn around and realize they are about to be living lives of their own. Don’t hold on too tightly but never let go too easily, and always, always, always point them in the way of the cross. For He must become their ultimate goal and one true guide.

You can do this thing! I have faith in you! There will be many ups and downs, but this one thing remains true, your favorite Scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”¬†When you trust in Him, He leads, He guides and from your humble life, He ultimately gets all the glory¬†that is due His marvelous name! ūüôā¬†Keep being the beautiful, God given gift that you are to the world around you! He created you for His specific purpose, now go out and be YOU,¬†Mia! ¬†ūüėČ ‚̧

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My rendition:

Live fully        Laugh deeply      Love freely

 

 

All Things New

Watching the snow fall late Friday night, I was reminded of this Scripture in 2 Corinthians 5, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” Just as the snow appears to “wash” everything in a beauty of white, Christ’s salvation makes our hearts pure and clean again.

Salvation doesn’t cost us a thing. It is not something we can earn. It is not something that we deserve. Salvation is a gift from our Heavenly Father, and we simply must believe and accept it as our own. Salvation is freely given, and it’s freely received.

When we receive it, we are a new creation in Him. All things are past away. All things are made new. That means our past sins are forgotten and washed away by Him. Never to be remembered again. When we accept Him as our Savior, our Lord, we don’t have to return to those old habits, those old ways and those old lifestyles that brought sorrow, brokenness and eternal death.

We can have a second chance at a whole new outcome.

How about allowing a little bit of that snow to wash over your heart?

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.

Live For Today

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Honestly, it doesn’t matter where you USED to be, whether in the “glory days of sin” or the “past victories of spirituality.” That is all passed away, never to be grasped again. The important thing is where you are right now, this very minute, and where you choose to be tomorrow. 
Yesterday’s pain, nor yesterday’s manna will sustain us for today. His mercies are new every single  day for the washing of sin, the renewing of the mind, and the restoring/stirring of our spirit. His love runs deeper than all the heartaches of the past and His faithfulness stands stronger than any conquered ground you gained in yesteryears. 

So, why do we so often submit to the guilt of our past failures? Why do we so often take pride in our past spiritual encounters? 

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The Closed Roads of Yesterday

There’s a song I’ve been listening to this week that I just can’t seem to get out of my head. It has some incredible lyrics…

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt, leaving out what it lacked. The future feels so hard, and I wanna go back.

The places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I’ve learned. Those roads were closed off to me while my back was turned.  – Sara Groves

Her song is referencing the story in the Bible of the children of Israel who were delivered from their years of slavery in Egypt; however, once they found themselves wandering in the wilderness, they whined and complained, longing for their days back in slavery…

I think, too often, this is so true for our lives. When we are growing, transitioning from the old to new, sometimes, it can feel uncomfortable, even painful, to keep moving forward. The changes and transitions it takes to mature can cause us to long for those “easier” days of our past. They can even cause us to “glorify” those yester-years, forgetting the reality of what once was true. Yet, what we fail to realize is when we’ve grown past those days of which we’ve so beautifully painted, they just don’t seem to fit like they used to.

It’s just like many young adults growing into adulthood. They may long for those glorious days of their youth, but they can never really return, no matter how much they try to regress. They may act silly, playful, even completely irrational, but they’re only left looking a fool, because those childish acts just don’t fit, and they simply cannot become a kid again.

She says in another place, “…caught between the promise and the things I know…” It can be so difficult when we are trying to reach for the promise of our tomorrow, but the comforts of yesterday are screaming at us to return, and the present just doesn’t seem as great as we once envisioned. Sometimes, it can feel so tempting to back up, “take a breather,” and not work so hard to achieve whatever goal it is that we’ve set before us. However, can I tell you something? Too often, when we back up, when we turn around from where we’ve been headed, and we try to return to those more comfortable moments, those places that used to feel good, we realize even those don’t actually feel as good as we thought they did. Something’s missing; something has changed, and what has changed is US. We are no longer the person who used to fit into those experiences, those places from whence we came, and those roads of the past are simply closed.


 It’s just like an old jacket or dress from our early teen years that we try on once we’ve grown up and even had a few kiddos. We might be able to put it on, but the sleeves might be a little short, the ends might come a little above our waistline, or the fashion is one that just can’t quite make it to today’s standards. It just doesn’t fit anymore, because we’ve grown beyond the point when we could wear it comfortably. We’ve grown beyond when we needed it. In order to keep growing, we must put it away, or even better, we must get rid of it. We can cherish the memory, but we must press forward to a better purpose, a higher calling, a brighter promise!

If we’re going to continue growing, this is just how life is. We can’t return to those things of old, those things which we’ve grown beyond. If we are to be champions of the faith, we cannot return to our past time and time again. We cannot dabble in those things that cloud our vision and hold us back. We must press forward, and take hold of those things to come, even when they’re challenging, even when they are uncomfortable and make us long for those “easier” days. We must walk away from those closed roads of yesterday, and take hold of Jesus and allow Him to mold us, shape us and develop us into being who He has called us to be.

We must, also, learn to say with Paul, “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him…Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:7-9a, 12-14

Sara Groves – Painting Pictures of Egypt from 2nafish on GodTube.

**I did not take this pic, nor do I own this pic. Simply looked up and going through Google images.**

Troubled America

  

She was once such a lovely place to dwell;

Now, she is a reminder of everlasting hell.

She was once a place of freedom and peace; 

Now, she is a reminder of an angry beast.

 

I cry for this country and what she has come to be.

She will soon be a place that no one will want to see.

I pray that we open our eyes and see our ruined ways.

She will soon be a place of darkened, evil days.

 

Oh please, sweet America! Wake up and see your fate!

Open your eyes and do something now before it is too late!

Oh please, Sovereign Lord! Help us change what we have become.

Open our eyes and reveal the meaning of Your Only Son.

Penned – MG – 1/1/91

 

The Children of the Past

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They used to run and play in the sunshine.

They used to laugh and cry on the playground.

They brought a tear of joy back into our eyes.

They brought the joy of youth back into our hearts.

They had an air of innocence, not knowing any lies.

 

Where have all the children gone?

The sun is not shining.

The air is filled with gloom.

The wind is blowing fiercely.

The clouds are filled with doom.

 

Where are the children playing now?

Where has the laughter gone?

Where is all the joy that once was here?

Where has the innocence been?

Why have the children’s faces disappeared?

 

The children have vanished.

They no longer run in the morning sun.

The laughter is nowhere to be found.

The innocence has drifted from the air.

The joy in our hearts has been bound. 

 

The children spoke with tiny hands and feet.

They longed for the love and freedom of life.

They were never given a chance.

They were never given the choice.

They weren’t even given a second glance.

 

They have been stolen from this world.

They have been taken from the womb.

They were destroyed without a care or a moment spared.

No one cried for them. No one shed a single tear.

No one worried for one second. They didn’t even seem to care.

 

When will this world understand?

When will they really ever see?

They are killing our generation.

They are killing the Father’s gift to us.

His precious treasures of life and fun.

 

When will we all understand?

When will we really ever see?

We have let them destroy the girls and boys.

We are letting them destroy this nation.

It is up to you and me. We must stand and be their voice.

Penned – MG – 10/21/89