Friday’s Friends #17

Today is Friday, and this is the day I get to share a new blog with you. I always love this time, because there are so many wonderful blogs out there to be shared! These blogs have inspired me, encouraged me, or simply challenged me, and I hope for you, they’ll do the same. 😊

Joyouslyhopeful is a great blog where you’ll find encouragement and an incredible story of survival. She wrote Broken Pieces last year, and if I remember right, that’s how I found her blog. I love the picture in this post and the symbolism it gives. We are all broken pieces which make up His beautiful masterpiece. Her personal story is one of broken pieces becoming a magnificent masterpiece. 

I hope you will check out her blog today. Enjoy! 

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.**

It’s All Gone

When our words are cross 

Time stands still

All the joy is gone

And I can’t find my will

When our looks are stern

Clouds roll in

All the fun times are gone 

And the wages are sin

When silence is strong 

Darkness falls

All the laughter is gone

And the buildings are walls

When you’re not with me 

Life turns gray

All the sunshine hides

And I can’t find the day

Please come back to me…

Penned – MG – 5/11/17

Where Are They Going?

It’s our job, as mothers, to train them to be men, to live strong and free in this wild world. It’s our duty to equip them with the tools they need to be a man, a husband, a worker and a leader. 

We work hard to teach, give advice and impart wisdom for those short 18 years we have them within our home. It’s not easy. It’s not without failures. It’s not without mistakes. 

Yet, when we allow God to guide, and we allow Him to love through our tender hearts, they will follow the right path. Even if they stray, His Word will always call them back to the right Way. His love will always whisper within their souls…no matter where their little feet may trod…

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

GO!

I look at so many religions in this world and watch how they fervently make disciples of their beliefs. They go door to door. They call special meetings. They infiltrate and consume college campuses and schools, all to create more followers if their particular system. Yet, I see time and again, Christians hold back from sharing Christ’s story. They allow someone else to take the center stage of testimony. They allow the cares of this world to consume every minute of the day that the busyness chokes the Living Word right out of their lives. They allow the fear of ridicule to silence their stand. 

I know this to be true, because the same has happened in my own life. I haven’t shared this Good News as much as I should, as much as I am truly able. I fall so short in the area of “making disciples.” I often keep silent when I should just open my mouth to speak. It’s sometimes easier to “just keep to ourselves” rather than to possibly be counted with “those crazy charismatics of the cross.”

Yet, sharing His love isn’t that hard. It’s not that lengthy in time, and it’s not complicated. Just share your story. Just talk about Him. He will always show up, and He will take care of the rest. 😉

It is time to speak up! It is time to speak out!  He is a good God. He is a gracious and merciful King. He is a loving Father. He is a living Savior. He is the one true God. Let us GO and tell all the world!

Live Now…There’s Nothing New

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We toil, and we struggle to get the work done in a day. We hurry here and hurry there, scrambling to stack the hours into weeks and weeks into years. We are constantly busy with something new, something pressing, something important that must be done right now, in this moment. 

Then a crisis hits. A tragedy befalls our friends or our family, and it seems everything changes in an instant. We are then focused on that problem, that issue, that crisis which has taken center stage. 

Too often, the everyday life and the momentary crises can take over, and we forget to live in the moment. We neglect the importance of living in the here and now. We bypass any and all around us, like an ostrich, we have our head in the sand, seeking dutiful ways to bow out” gracefully” of the life and purpose we live.  

King Solomon reminds us that in Ecclesiastes that “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) There is no new emergency that hasn’t been before. There will be no new ‘created agenda’ which has never been thought of or tried. Everything we encounter, someone else has already experienced. In one way or another, someone has walked that journey of pain, sorrow, joy or apprehension that you are walking right now. It is only new to us and our lives.  
Sometimes, we have but one moment to make an impact on a life around us, and we miss it, because we allow the cares of this world to blind us. Sometimes, we are placed in strategic locations, a funeral home, a hospital hallway, an ICU waiting room, even a grocery store line, to reach someone right in the moment of their need. If we are not living that moment deliberately, we can miss it! 

Let us never be so caught up in the present crises, the present family issue or anything else, that we fail to remember why we are here. Let us never be so consumed by the present chaos of our lives that we can’t live in this present moment and reach someone else whose life needs His hope maybe even more than we do. 

Living In The Reality of What Is

(Proposed Reality vs. Fantasized Perspective)
Living in the reality of what is rather than the fantasy of what should be is so important, even when it proves to be painful and awkward. Living in the reality of what is may not always be the most enjoyable spot, but it sure beats the foolishness and perpetual agony of the fantasy of what should be. Living in the fantasy of what should be might seem fun and even peaceful for a moment, but it will only bring deeper pain when the fantasy proves to be untrue and a waste of so much time. Let me share with you why…

In the fantasized perspective, you will:

* Imagine yourself being someone you’re not. You will fabricate a whole new personality, character and interaction than what is actually true. 

* Trade the true affection and acceptance from those who love and care for you and replace it with the fabricated affections of those who will only use and abuse you. 

* Fantasize about what could have been, should have been or what would have been, had things or people just been different and live in a perpetual state of denial, blame and justification. 

* Accept a false reality in the attempts of achieving the fantasized world of which you have dreamt. 

* Accept the reality someone else gives you to live. 

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In the proposed reality, you will:  

* Recognize who you are and who you are not and embrace whom God has called you to be. 

* Grow beyond what or whom you desired to have and embrace your God given purpose and engagements. 

* Have to accept that you are unwanted, unloved and unaccepted by the crowd in which you long to belong, but also, open your eyes to see who truly does want you, love you and accept you for who you are. 

* Let go of false expectations and embrace the reality of where you are and to where you are commissioned by God. 

* Accept the reality God brings to you. 
Through those painful moments of life, I have often been tempted, to slip into the fantasy of what could have been or should have been; however, I have learned over the years, this temptation is just that, a temptation for a counterfeit in my life. As I grow older, I have learned (and sometimes, am still learning) to embrace those people and things of value in my life and just let go of those of a fantasized value. I’ve learned to count my many blessings and realize those who aren’t or who have no desire to be in my life don’t need to be fantasized into the beautiful tapestry of life God has woven for me. Because of this, my life has become much fuller and richer. 

Living in a fantasy of what should be might bring you a temporary joy, but it is an exhausting journey that will leave you washed up like a broken seashell on the shore, and it will unravel any shred of peace and serenity you might find. We were never created to live in that fantasy. We were never called to fabricate a fairytale in which to abide. God created us to be who we are, and He called us to a time, a purpose and a people. It is our job to seek out that calling, get busy fulfilling it and let all the rest of that stuff go! 

…otherwise, you end up living your life like this…😂

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Where Is He?

Did you see that baby cowering in the corner, trying to hide from the screams and profanity swirling around her head?

Did you notice the young boy who got into a fight at school, making his friends a substitute for his anger, because he can’t hit his abuser?

Did you recognize the young teen shielding her face from the crowd, looking for the one who will make her feel loved and secure?

Where is God in all of this? Where is His mercy? Where is His grace?

Do you see that man marching off to war, preparing to slay a few demons of his own in the battle?

Do you notice the woman working three jobs, living a frazzled, exhausted life, simply trying to give her child something a little better? 

Do you realize the old man wandering the halls, the same who doesn’t even know his children’s names who desperately long to love him and reach through his darkness? 

Where is God in all of this? Where is His mercy? Where is His grace?

Some ask and plead. Some scream in demand. Some just sit and stare. Others simply walk away, veering this way and that, never making much sense of the journey. 

“He’s always there and always faithful,” says the church walls. “Just look up and you will find all you need,” states the sign as the tender ones lie dying on the front steps. My mind wonders if we really make a difference. Do we really share and care?

Some lash out in anger. Some wallow and cry. Others become cold and stone-like, never realizing hope knocking at the door.

His love never wavers. His mercy never fails. Just because you cannot see the sun through the tornadic clouds doesn’t void its reality. Hurricanes never validate the lack of peaceful showers on the ‘morrow. 

Some answers I will never find until the other side. Some questions will still remain after the crisis of one life has vanished. Yet, I have found this truth to remain:  He is faithful. He is love. He is true. 

He will be there when you need Him even in the quietness of your soul. He will never leave you in your deepest sorrow or shame. He will remain when all else fails, when everyone else has disappeared into the dark of night. He will remain. He will be a shield. He will be a refuge. 

Just call on His name and find He is the Hope which remains. 

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

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Are We Like Him?

As Easter draws near, and we get ready to celebrate with our songs, our meals and our families, I wonder if we remember who Christ truly is. He is Christ the King. He is Life Everlasting. He is Savior, and He is our Risen Lord.

If we who call ourselves Christian are not living as Christ, then our words are not true. He was light to a darkened world. He was love to an angry crowd. He was truth to the hypocrite, the sinner and the lost. He was a healing balm to the broken and the bruised. He gave up His life for those who hated Him the most for just one to see His forgiveness and love while on the cross.

Does the world see Jesus in me and you? The Jesus that they see, does it make them want more or less of Him?

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Today, I’d like to share with you a piece our oldest son wrote the other day… his honesty through prose simply amazes me and humbles me…

Pretend your heart is like white converse. You wanna keep it clean so you pray and worship while you’re at church, but once you go to school, you may cuss someone out cuz they “hurch” you. And it’s like dirt, cuz it ruins your reputation. You see reputation comes along with your outspoken salvation. Cuz, once you’ve made an example to one person, it’ll spread. And though you may apologize, you’ll keep living in dread, cuz of the one thing you maybe said keeps coming back to guilt you. So, you think that if you keep doing it, you’ll be okay, but to your dismay, you just dig yourself a deeper hole. So, when you lie about it to your parents, your mindset will take its toll and mess you up much more than you could ever imagine. Your demons turn into dragons, and you have these night visions of flames of hell engulfing you while you’re waiting for God to start talking to you, but you’re too far gone, because you haven’t confessed of what you’ve done. So you try and run. Run from the ones you hurt and skurt to a last resort to be like Kurt. You start to flirt with death. But all around you, it’s like Macbeth, cuz your world is falling apart at the seams when you replay the memories like scenes in a movie until you can’t take it anymore, and you fall apart. This is a lot of what I’ve been going through. I’ve been lost, not knowing what to do, until I talked to someone, and he told me the truth, and I’ve been trying to get closer. Closer to who I need to be. Now, if you can see where I’m going, I ask for you to accept my apology. I know it’ll take time, and I need a clean slate and accountability, but if I confess and repent, the Lord will help. So, I ask if you could forgive me for what I ruined with y’all, and after I’ve knelt before God, I hope I can make things right. That’s all I have to say tonight. Thank you. 

Penned – JG – 3/28/17