Wordless Heart

When no words can be found within your heart, and the weight of life seems unbeatable, or the sadness begins creeping in where joy once was, step outside. Go for a walk, sit down and listen to nature, enjoy good company or even stand in front of a waterfall.

Often, to find the peace your soul needs, you will have to move beyond the four walls in which you live. You will have to leave the agenda, the busyness, and all the cares and strife behind for a moment, or even, for several hours, and move out of the daily grind.

Go watch a sunset. Climb a mountain or a hillside where you can see the valley below. Sit by the lake or the ocean, or stand before a rushing river or near an avalanche of a waterfall and just listen.

You will hear His voice on the wind, calling your soul to peace. You will feel His presence surround you as you just simply soak it all in. Even if you don’t know Him yet, your soul remembers…

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Got Character?

What do you do when things don’t go your way? Do you pitch a fit, and throw a tantrum, get mad and not speak to anyone?

What do you say when you are falsely accused, maligned or slandered? Do you strike out in revenge, slander right back and fight and claw to bring about your own deserved justice? Do you take the “martyrdom high road,” and manipulate the ones accused with guilt and shame to bring retribution? Or do you recede into nothingness, pretending you don’t care, it doesn’t matter, and you don’t matter anymore?

How do you react when everything falls apart, and it seems the world is closing in around you? Do you cry, scream, become apathetic or create scenarios of denial all around you?

Life brings with it sufferings, unfair events and painful injustices. Sometimes, it will kick you in the teeth and, just for the fun of it, kick you again when you’re down. Sometimes, it just is what it is, and there’s not a blessed thing you can do about it.

What you do in those critical moments will determine your character, integrity and stability in handling far more than that moment for all to see and know for a lifetime. What you say and do in that moment can make an impact for life.

So, I ask you again… what do you do in those crucial moments? What do you say? How do you respond? How do you react?

Path to Purity

Too often in our society today, young people are taught to do what they want, when they want, and whatever they want. They are intensely guided to be whatever they feel like on that particular day, or even hour, and they are excused for any outbursts, irresponsibility and even wrath. They are coddled and cradled with every whim of desire. 

Please understand, I don’t say this out of judgement or anger, as some might want to claim, as any disagreement in this culture is also taught to be certain judgment and hate speech. No, this comes more from a heart of disappointment and sorrow. Too often, our young people today are deprived of strength, dignity and grace because of this mentality of neglect and immaturity. They are robbed of knowing true respect and honor from hard work, self evaluation and strong decision making for the choices presented in their lives. 

It seems there is more cultural pressure to remain a child well into the adult years, and then when this choice is made, they wonder why they don’t have the respect and honor from their elders that they so desire. They cannot see that, as an adult,  the lack of standards and values does not make you a more intellectual and affluent human being, but rather, it causes you to appear more childish and infant-like. Then they wander aimlessly through life with empty eyes and hollow hearts blaming all those around them for the pain and lack of life they live. 

This is a sad state of affairs I see before me, and although, I am not able to change the whole world, and I may not be able to impact all those around the globe, I can start within my own home. I can start within my own community, my own neighborhood, my church and my city. It only takes one small match to start a wildfire. It only takes one youth to change a nation. 

Let’s start right here, right now…

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119:9-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/psa.119.9-16.niv

Our Heart’s Desire

The soul longs for solitude; yet, it loathes the loneliness. We seek out friends to fill the empty space only to push them away when times get tough. We pull them close for the thrill seeking adventures and shove past them for the broken dreams and torn up paper houses. It’s a constant push and pull to gain the happiness for which we seek.

The mind yearns for stability; yet, it rejects true wisdom and grace. We search for the highest success and desire the richest affairs only to plummet to the depths of despair as we fail the test over and over again. We chase after dreams and compare with the elite, always trying to get ahead only to cheat and compete, biting and clawing at anything or anyone who might come close. It’s a constant push and pull to gain the happiness for which we seek.

The heart cries out for peace and comfort; yet, it wars against silence and truth. We wander, wonder, wishfully believing the noise will bring answers. We go to this philosophy and that fountain of knowledge, always avoiding the absolute, the only true Way. We grasp at this intellect, that debate, and those arguments, never embracing the very One who died once and for all. It’s a constant push and pull to gain the happiness for which we seek.

Can you not feel your soul reaching for His righteousness?

Can you not hear your mind shouting for His faithfulness?

Can you not see your heart bleeding for His unconditional love?

 

He simply stands there, arms outstretched, awaiting your release.

 

 

Move from Strength to Strength, Momma!

We sang a song in choir the other day that had this verse, “We move from strength to strength…” It was running through my head this morning, and I thought of my grandparents. They have always been pillars of strength and my examples to follow in life. As a mom, these examples have helped me to be a better mom, a better wife, and, in general, just a better person.

My grandfather was a “man’s man,” nothing ever seemed impossible to him. He grew up poor, was ridiculed and pushed himself to success. He founded his own heating and air business, was county commissioner of his small town, retired at a young age and lived out his days enjoying life and traveling with his wife to see kids, grandkids and sights all over the US.

My grandmother was born in the first year of the depression to a commercial fisherman and his wife. She had 3 sisters, and they didn’t have much, but they had each other and their faith. They found that was all they needed. To our family, and to many, my grandfather was always seen as a pillar of strength, and my grandmother has been the epitome of grace; no matter what comes in life, she seems to handle it with grace and dignity. Even before my earliest memories, these two have been a big part of my life; so, it comes as no surprise that a lot of their ways have become mine. Many people say I take after my grandmother, and my husband seems to be fashioned from much of the same mold as my grandfather. One of the biggest things they both taught me over the years was strength and grace.

I believe we can only move from strength to strength when we live by grace. Trying to move from strength to strength, without grace for the moments in between, is like trying to move a sailboat without the wind. You can definitely move it, with oars, of course, but it sure does take a lot more work than if you had wind to move it across the sea. The wind is what brings speed for the vessel and “rest” for the captain. When the wind is pushing the sails, the captain still has some work to do, but it sure makes for an easier time of sailing!

This is how it should be with our lives. We can be men and women of strength, but if we don’t have grace, we’re always struggling with the weight of our task. When we have no grace, we may be irritable, grouchy or even down right mean when it comes to dealing with others who get in our way or those who want to “jump on” for the ride. Grace refreshes our weary souls. It gives us compassion for others who may be on the same path. Grace brings joy in the midst of the trial, and it gives us perseverance for the journey.

Ladies (and men, too, actually), can I challenge you today? Live your days from strength to strength, robed not in your own will power and force but rather, robed in grace which softens you around the edges. Let that grace cocoon your strength to allow it to become a pillar of hope to others along the way, a refuge which brings refreshment to yourself and other “travelers,” and a solid foundation that helps you persevere through whatever life brings to you. When you live through the ups and downs of life with dignity and grace, you leave a legacy that others long to follow.

If I could, I’d like to encourage you in this, as well:  don’t live your life from crisis to crisis. It’s so unbecoming. It’s so unsettling, and frankly, it can even be obnoxious! 😉 This doesn’t mean you have to be stoic all the time, never crying or showing emotion, but when you live from one panicked moment to the next, it is exhausting to you and everyone around you. No one knows how to receive you from one day to the next, and you leave a river of chaos for your children to swim through. However, when there’s a peace inside that can’t be shaken, it gives you stability even through the darkest storms, and it will actually draw others to you. They learn from your strength; they gain the courage to face their own fears and trials, and they even learn how to become a symbol of stability for someone else who may be facing the same situations.

I have definitely found this to be true with my children. When I am calm and graceful through the trials of life, my children are better equipped to handle the hard places in which they sometimes find themselves. It doesn’t mean that I never show fear, or tears, or even that I am always stone-faced without any emotion. (Anyone who is close to me knows I probably shed way more than my share of tears! – both happy and not so happy ones) I am definitely a woman of emotion; however, I also don’t rely on my own strength to carry me through the rough spots. My kids know that my faith rests in my God who will carry me through. They know that when we rely on His grace for our strength everyday, the end result of our emotional well being and the well being of our entire household is a lot better off! I’m hoping they take these lessons with them for life.

The picture I have in my mind, of this kind of strength, is being in a storm shelter with your daddy, granddad, or husband , someone whom you feel is invincible and “can never die.” It may not be the grandest of circumstances, and you definitely would rather be somewhere else in that moment, but you rest in the knowing that no matter what comes on the outside of that shelter, you’re gonna make it, and everything’s going to be alright! You know that no matter what winds come against that door, that man will hold you till your body stops trembling and you are able to stand on your own two feet, and when you’re unable to stand, he will put his arms around you, or even pick you up and carry you until you can.

That’s the picture of strength I’m trying to give you! That’s the kind of strength we need to have. This is what we must pass to our children so they might survive in this crazy world. We must let it flow to those around us so that they might be able to stand and comfort when others cannot.

You Are the Lord of Me

Lord, You are my life line

You keep my heart beating

You keep my lungs breathing

You keep my mind believing

Lord, You are my stability

You keep me full of love

You keep me full of joy

You keep me full of hope

 

Lord, You are my refuge

You keep me safe from trouble

You keep me safe through trials

You keep me safe in tribulations

Lord, You are my future

You keep my goals in view

You keep my visions renewed

You keep my dreams alive

 

Lord, You are what I hope to become

I thank You, Father, with all of me

I love You, my God, Almighty

You are and always will be the Lord of me.

 

Penned – MG – 7/30/99