Be Resilient Like a Chicken Nugget

Friends and I were laughing as one shared the hilarious story of “slinging food” at her children on a Wednesday night on the way to church, because as a school teacher, she leaves school at 4:45, goes down the road to pick up child #4 drives across town to pick up her other day three children and husband from home, drives through fast food to get everyone chicken nuggets and make it on time to Wednesday night church! 😂 We all laughed till our sides hurt as she shared all the “mom tactics” to having children clothed and in their right minds with a dinner in their tummies, and her own self in her right mind; so, they could behave and have fun while in the evening program. One of the statements she made was, “Let me tell you. Those chicken nuggets are resilient! They bounce off windows and don’t splatter. They are easy to handle for little fingers. You can get the 20 for $2.50 and have change to spare, too!”

It was such a comical moment, and, honestly, I’m not a great fan of chicken nuggets, but our kids loved them in their early years, and that simple statement made me start thinking…

Chicken Nuggets ARE resilient! We could learn a lot from that little nugget…

1. They are crunchy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside. It’s ok to have a little tough skin to survive through life’s ups and downs, but be sure to stay soft on the inside. Keep your heart humble and your soul full of grace and love. Don’t be so tough on the outside that you harden all the way through. Nobody wants to encounter all that.

2. They don’t fall a part easily. In this day and age, we’ve got to have a little strength to who we are to survive. We can be, and need to be, cushy soft on the inside to bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patient and with those other fruit of the Spirit. However, all the hyper-sensitive, can’t disagree with someone for fear of “hate speech” actually makes us a weak people and a crippling nation. Toughen up, people. Be resilient and live life full of strength and grace!

3. They come in large quantities for inexpensive prices. Be able to give the good parts of yourself away to lots of people and don’t be too demanding of what they give back. Now listen, I’m not giving you permission to be used and abused. If you tend to be a doormat, please understand, this point isn’t for you. What I’m talking about is giving your love in a hug, an encouraging word or time spent with a friend. I’m talking about sharing laughter, making a memory or spending time with those you love. Share these things in large quantities, and don’t be demanding of a condition to be met for you to share it. People need to know you care.

4. You can’t eat just one. Be the kind of person who is contagious, magnetic and engaging to those around you. Be the sort of friend others aspire to be. Be the type of leaders others seek after. Be the person of whom others just can’t get enough.

5. They are great in just about any sauce or condiment. Diversify your tastes, your likes and your knowledge. Extend your horizons. Learn something new. Try, taste, or even listen to something different than before. You never know, you might like it, and you may even find a new friend along the journey.

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Yes, It Matters

So many hurting souls, wondering if anyone cares. So many broken hearts, believing no one is there. So many desperate minds, consumed with empty thoughts. So many lonely bodies, searching for someone who can’t be bought.

Too many children losing their innocence in the mire. Too many mommas overwhelmed with competition and strife. Too many daddies forgetting where their home is. Too many elders forsaking legacy for the abyss.

They ask if their heart is worthy. They desire for more and get less. They pursue the instant pleasure, never realizing their prison cell. They seek for answers, for value, for meaning. They receive nothing but words of demeaning.

Hear me now.

I scream it from the mountaintops. I write it on the wind. I paint it in the sunset. I sing it through the waterfall.

Your soul matters to the One who created. Your heart is full of strength and value. Your mind can, by Him, can be easily understood. Your body can be full of vitality and livelihood.

Hear me now.

Yes, It matters.

YOU matter.

Penned – MG – 7/02/18

The Sweet Perfume

Over the last month or so, I’ve been trying to get consistent with walking daily through my neighborhood. I’m not crazy consistent, but I’ve definitely done better than before I started. Ha!

Our neighborhood is beautiful, and it has plenty of curves and hills; so, I feel I’m getting quite the workout, and the whole thing, all cul-de-sacs (5) included, is just shy of 1.5 miles. So, I try to make 2 loops, which gives me right at 3 miles. Woohoo!

The weather was absolutely perfect today. The humidity was extremely low, and the temp was maybe in the high seventies by the time I stepped out my front door, right at sunset, to try and get in a full 2 loops of walking before it was too dark. I asked my youngest son to go with me; so, I wouldn’t be by myself, and he wouldn’t be left home alone. So, he rode his bike alongside, while I walked. Well, to be more accurate, he rode past me and waited at the top of the hill before crossing the main road while I tried to speed walk to catch up! Lol! 😂

We crossed the road and proceeded to the other side of the neighborhood and down the hill. The sun was shining; the birds were singing, and the breeze was blowing just a bit; so, it felt glorious as I tried my best to catch up to my son who had coasted and proceeded to fly, down the moderate incline to the next cul-de-sac.

As I reached the cul-de-sac, the most beautiful fragrance reached my nose, I closed my eyes, and it was as if I was transported right back to my 5th grade year and my 10 year old self. I was standing in my front yard taking in the beautiful fragrance of the giant magnolia tree standing 100 feet tall (or at least, that’s what my 10 year old, little girl mind believed). I remember standing beside that tree, climbing way up in it’s branches and, sometimes, just staring up at it for hours, believing I was just as big and strong as that lovely green giant.

When it bloomed, we would take down one bloom at a time, bring it in the house, set it in a small bowl of water, and place the bowl on the dining room table, letting the fragrance fill the house. We would repeat this everyday, as the former flower would begin to wither, until the tree had no more blooms to share. It was glorious.

As I made my loops through the neighborhood today, I would pause beside that big lush tree each time, savoring the wonderful aroma, while cherishing those sweet childhood memories, and then I’d continue on my way to finish the tiring, but rewarding, three miles before dark. I even had my son go by and savor the beauty, hoping he would make a little memory, too.

As I finished my walk, I was reminded, again, of the sweet perfume of the beautiful magnolia tree, and I thought of several sweet friends who are walking through a tough journey right now. Their journey is hard and painful, and it even seems to grow a little darker at the moment; yet, they hold on tight to their faith, and we all hold onto the Hope, believing a brighter day is just around the corner for them.

That Hope is sweet perfume in the midst of struggle. That faith is the sweet fragrance of the magnolia tree in the midst of the sweaty, tiresome walk they are walking at this very moment. And I know, as they hold onto their faith and that blessed Hope, one day soon, this journey is going to be but a memory, with those sweet fragrances of the magnolia tree, to remind them of His grace and love in the midst of their storm. 💗

Be encourage, sweet friends. Enjoy the fragrance of beauty along this most difficult journey, and know I am here praying for you, and believing for your brighter tomorrows!

No More

You always come when I’m feeling fine

You come haunting, taunting, pushing the line

You always come when I’m feeling down

You come accusing, assaulting, screaming until I’m bound

I’ve listened to your guile, your awful protests misaligned

I’ve received your vicious hatred and allowed it to confine

I’ve been consumed by this overwhelming, nagging fear

I’ve stood paralyzed and dejected, feeling you ever near

Yet, today, I’ve had enough. I am done.

No more will you ridicule, insult and spew lies like a gun

No more will you have control of my feelings, emotions and thoughts

I am vanquishing you for my price has already been bought.

You have no more authority. I suggest you now leave.

If you try to remain, your dignity will be relieved

I am free from your bondage. Looking back will not be my game.

I am released from my captivity. Going forward, I have a new name.

Penned – MG – 5/19/18

Warrior or Weeper?

I posted a similar pic the other day, using the same phrase; so, please, forgive me for being redundant. But this has been my motto for the last month, and yet, when I look back, I think this has been my motto for quite a while now…

Sometimes, I just have to remind myself to get back in the fight.

When you’ve fought so long to become someone, the person God has called you to be, there are moments when you just grow weary in the well doing. When you’re helping someone else through the battle, you know all the right answers to give them. You have faith to cheer them on. You believe they can and will make it through.

Yet, when it’s your battle… you know, that one you’ve fought your whole life and you thought it would surely have ended by now. Yeah, that one. When you’re in the middle of that battle, it can get wearisome. You can grow tired. You can become lonely and afraid that this is never going to end!

But can I encourage you? One warrior to the another? One child to the other… (because after all, that’s really all we are, aren’t we? Little children in grown up bodies who have learned to fight, frustrate, forge and forget.)

You were made for this! You have been equipped to win! You have been fashioned for this fight, and just as a trained boxer can get weary in the last round, all you have to do is stand and find your knock out punch!

So, raise your sword one more time. Lift that shield just a little higher. Take that next step toward your enemy and show him you will not back down.

You can do this! You will make it! WIN!!

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13

Need more encouragement? Check out this blog post and this one, too.

Fear or Fire?

When troubles come, what do you do? Do you cower, shivering in fear? Do run away and hide? Do you stand, paralyzed by indecision and doubt? Do you run to the flames, ready to encounter what comes?

How you endure the heat will often times dictate who you become when the embers cool. What wisdom you to use to conclude your decisions will often determine your promotion or your failure. The whys of your choices will always impact those who follow.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

Scars

Your scars may be many. They may be deep, and they may be unforgettable. Yet, consider them scars of honor. Consider yourself blessed to be in company with Jesus.

His scars are many. His wounds were deep, and how He attained each one is unforgettable. He died for you. He died for me. All because of His love for us. ❤️

Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

Fight for Your Life

Sometimes, life is gonna come and kick you in the teeth. It’s gonna hurt. It’s going to be beyond painful. It’s gonna feel like you could die! No, I’m not trying to speak doomsday, and I’m really not trying to be negative. If you haven’t encountered a battle in your life, just keep on living. It’ll come. That’s just life.

Yet, we Christians weren’t called to just lie down and take it! We were not designed to cower in fear and run in retreat when the fire gets hotter! We were never destined to lay down our weapons and walk away from the battle He told us to win!

So, RISE UP! Reforge your sword! Pick up your shield, and walk toward that battle! Reclaim that ground that was lost! Fight for your life and WIN!!

2 Corinthians 10:3-5, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Ephesians 5:13, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Romans 8:31, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Ephesians 5:10-11, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

The Struggle is Real

Somedays, the confidence in who I have become is almost mesmerizing…to myself. Other days, the struggle is real…so very real. Does anyone else go through this?

Often, I wonder if anyone else actually goes through the struggles of purpose, pertinence, and passion. I walk through life with a limp and wonder if I’m just simply destined to embrace these struggles for eternity, never really getting beyond them, just settling for a toleration, a sort of cease-fire, until the moment of intimidation or fear of rejection creeps back into view. I watch as many of my friends seem to have it all together, or at the least, are so comfortable in their own skin, in their own calling and in their own life choices that they don’t seem to battle the same mind games and moments of hesitation.

Then, I see from whence I’ve come, and I see those who have gone before who are still struggling for this place of significance and value. I see those who have won the battles and those who are still wallowing in their demise. This is the moment my determination and fight, and solidarity with Scripture, comes into clear focus. I realize in this moment, there is no turning back. Retreat is not an option. Failure can not be part of the equation.

Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the goal for this the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

The struggles we face aren’t only given to us for our own learning, our own character-building and our personal faith-strengthening. The victories on the other side of those struggles are not only for us and our own celebrations. These are to be a witness to those coming behind us. These are to become testimonies which help someone else to achieve more than we ever imagined. These are to stand as pillars, mile markers and ancient boundary stones to mark the way for those coming behind, to help them find their way through similar struggles, and to enable them to achieve more victories than we ever thought possible!

So resist that urge to quit! Keep up the struggle for as long as it takes, and win that fight toward your destiny! Clear the path, and strategically change those battle lines to victory, and set those boundaries in place that scream to the world you have won! So then, all who encounter these will know, “There is hope! You can fight and win, too!”

You Can Because He Will

Really enough said.

But for those who don’t know, don’t understand or don’t believe, this Scripture seems foreign. Yet, within each soul, there is a longing to know a greater being, to rely on a stronger source, to understand a higher power. Why else would so many seek power, fortune and fame? Why do so many spend a lifetime searching for answers in “intellect, religion and deep findings of the universe?”

Because the Creator of our being placed that longing within our souls. The Master of the universe set those desires deep within our hearts; so, we might find Him and know Him.

That missing piece to the puzzle is Hope.

He is the Hope for which your heart longs. He has the love your heart so desires. He is everything you need.

Just try it. Say His Name, “Jesus.”