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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It Is Time

I’d like to ask our modern culture and our “evolved” Christian believers, when did we get to the place where Truth cannot be spoken for fear of offenses and Sin cannot be confirmed for fear of judgement? If we are a follower of Christ, Truth is absolute and irrevocable, and sin is sin, not “grace-filled” or “judgement-filled.” It just is, because God deems it so.

When did we get to the point where we care more that we not offend someone than we do about their very souls? When did we get to the point where we work so hard to preach grace that we forsake the reality of sin, hell and an eternal death? If we read the Bible, from the front cover to the very last page, God is so very clear.

We’ve come to the place where we’d rather argue, too often quite hatefully, with our brothers and sisters in Christ over the possible offenses taken or not taken over an issue rather than the merits of truth. We’d rather drum up dissension over the intentions of someone’s words rather than seek His Word for His truth on the subject at hand. We’d rather slash the hearts of our fellow kinsmen, and in turn, wound those who are listening and trying to find their own answers, rather than speak with love AND truth and let the Holy Spirit bring forth His conviction and mercy.

It sounds too much like the arguments of old when men and women would argue over the color of the pews and the length of the choir robes while their babies were battling issues of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It smells too much like the wayward youth of decades past who fought so hard for their independence and their owns rights that they forsook the ancient boundaries set before them to show them the only way. It looks too much like the sly dealings of darkness who always brings forth confusion, contention and chaos in order to distract, disengage and devour those who are most vulnerable and afraid.

Wake up, Church. Lift up your eyes. Look upon the One whom we have pierced! Gaze upon His torn flesh, His stripes, His pierced hands and feet. He was wounded for OUR transgressions! He was bruised for OUR iniquities! It was not for someone else. It was for our own prideful stance. It was for our own arrogant words. Not a one of us is not guilty. Not a one of us is worthy of the mercy and grace He gives.

It is time for us to stop claiming our own opinions and laments as Gospel. It is time we stop doing what is right in our own eyes. Lives are at stake. The innocent lie within the balance.

It is time we all repent. Moses stood between the children of Israel and God’s burning wrath. Moses stood between the children of Israel and the armies of Pharaoh. Moses cried out to God for their lives to be saved. Moses was their hero. Yet, he could never have brought them to freedom had they not listen, followed and obeyed him! He was not God, but He did show them God, and they chose to receive.

Whose hero will we be?

Whom will we follow?

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. 💗

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.

Character Sustains

Talent can come with a birth. Popularity can come with a spotlight. Power can be gained in an moment of weakness.

Character isn’t born overnight, but it can be sustained over a lifetime.

Sometimes, you have to be patient to watch character arise from within, but once it arrives, there will be no question of its existence.

Just wait a minute or two. Don’t invest too early simply because the person entered with fireworks, glitz, glamour and a grandstand. Wait till the storm rolls in.

Then, you will know who your true friends are. The persons of character may be silent with all the clamor of the world around you, but when the tornadic disasters of life slam against your heart, these will be the ones screaming as they rise from the ashes to stand by your side. 💗

Character: Next Right

When you are a person of character, you won’t question IF you should do the right thing, because you’ll know the right thing must be done.

Character is proven in moments of difficulty or trial when it’s easier just to walk away. Character is sustained when a crisis arises, and criticisms and ridiculed may be at their worst. Character is deepened each time the right choices are chosen, regardless, the sacrifice or struggle that may be endured.

Ask yourself today, “Are you a person of character or a person of reputation (conformity)?” Do you stand alone to make the right choice, or will you bend and sway like a daffodil, depending upon the wind and waves to guide you?

Character: Measure Up

Character is not dependent upon how much money you have, how many friends you have or even your upbringing or your ethnic background. I’ve heard it said, “Money doesn’t change you; it only makes you more of what you already are.”

Character is solely dependent upon the choices you make. Character is shaped by the thoughts you think, the decisions you make and the things you allow to penetrate your soul. You can choose to be a person of character, or you can choose to be a victim to every circumstance and crisis that arise, even those that don’t even truly effect you.

I have seen the poorest of souls carry themselves with the highest level of character known to mankind, and I’ve seen the richest of rich carry themselves with the absolute lowest of character, never to be desired. Character is truly how you live when you have nothing, and how you react when you have everything.

The choice is yours.

When looking for quotes about character, I came across this “Six Pillars of Character” chart. I looked at each point of this list and thought, if everyone on this planet simply lived by this list of character traits, what an amazing world we would live in. What an incredible world we would be leaving for or children…

One common denominator ties together all of these assets of character: Faith. I’m not talking about religion. I’m not talking about a spiritual belief. I’m not even talking about one god or another. Just F. A. I. T. H.

Faith in a higher power than self. Faith in a greater cause than ourselves. Faith in goodwill, joy, peace, strength and freedom. Faith in a better world for the next generation.

Do I rest my faith in a “higher power?” Yes. Do I believe there is a greater cause than myself? Yes. Do I believe you can have joy, peace, strength and freedom without taking it from someone else just to obtain it? Yes. Do I believe there can be a better hope for this next generation than the mess we are presently managing for them? Yes.

What we do today in our actions, our words and our lifestyles will either confirm or destroy the character we claim to possess.

Character Screams

A man or woman of character may not be numbered with the most popular, the most fashionable or the most affluent in the crowd. He or she may very well have each of these, but these won’t be the first assets he/she will seek.

This person will have deep roots, gentle eyes, and a soul that is anchored in peace and in truth. When gossip is given, her deep roots will sustain her. When chaos arises, his gentle eyes will see purpose and promise. When the storms of life threaten to overwhelm, the depths of her soul will not be shaken, for she knows where her strength rests.

People of character draw people of strength to their side. They live with purpose, promise and even preparation for the good and the bad, never relying on carnal and material things to be their refuge or their guide. They reside in a place of security, hope and freedom.

You will not have to question if he or she is a person of character, because what they do is not impulsive; it is a lifestyle.

Character will reveal itself through every action you take. It is the one thing that speaks louder than words. When you are the most silent, your character will actually scream to the world of its existence.

… What kind of character are YOU? …

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! ❤️