Good Friday or Bad?

Today, many of us celebrate what we call, Good Friday. The day Christ died on the cross with the promise of rising in three days. The day the earth shook, the sun darkened, the veil was torn, and the believers were scattered with their dreams of majesty shattered. The day the Holy Lamb of God was beaten, bruised, pierced by those who hated Him and forsaken by the very Father God who claimed to love Him.

So, if all this bad happened on this day, how can we call it Good Friday? How can we join together to celebrate such a horrific, gruesome, unimaginable death? How can anything good be taken from such a terrible day that is forever written in the annals of time?

If you don’t know Him, I can understand why you’d wonder. If you’ve never realized His love for you, I can believe your confusion and doubt. If you’ve only heard of Him in storybooks and seen Him portrayed as “just a man” in cults and Hollywood box office hits, I can comprehend your skepticism, ridicule and even rejection.

But for me, I know Him on a personal level…

He was there before I even took a breath. He was there when I was in my mother’s womb, and her guidance counselor tried to convince her to “get rid of the dilemma,” because, after all, she was just 16. He was there when I was born six weeks (8 wks to today’s standards) too early and fought for life for those 10 days in that tiny incubator.

He was there when I was six months old, and my alcoholic parents split up. He was there when my four year old self waited by the door with packed bags for a father who never showed up. He was there when my twelve year old self received a “new daddy” who took us away from a comfortable, small town to a great big city with so many unknowns.

He was there when I met the man of my dreams and said, “I do.” He was there when our first child never grew in the womb, and we buried him under those great big oaks at my childhood home. He was there when our firstborn aspirated meconium, and we were told by a young nurse that it could be fatal. He was there when our second son fell off the changing table onto a tile floor while being babysat. He was there when I lost my precious grandfather to cancer, the man who had protected me, loved me and cherished me, the man who been my “Daddy” for so many years. He was there through all of the grief and sorrow.

The stories could go on and on with so much more detail, but I won’t bore you with my life story. I can just say, with 100% confidence, He was there. In my darkest days and in my happiest hours, in my finest moments and in those times that I wish to never be repeated, He was there.

He has always been there.

So, I call it Good Friday, because I know He was there hanging on the cross pouring out His blood for me for redemption. I call it Good Friday, because I know He rose just a few days later with the promise of victory, and heaven and eternity for my soul if I just believe. I call it Good Friday, because I am a witness to all that has come from His sacrifice, His love and His grace just in my own life.

I call it Good Friday, because often times, out of the bad, the horrific, the most unimaginable things comes such beauty and goodness and promise that you can’t call it anything but GOOD!

Watch and listen…

https://youtu.be/Is6weMrenls

Wisdom, Faith or just plain Stupidity?

Yeah, some will look at this picture and recognize at first glance this sign is stupid, that there’s no wisdom in trying to jump this chasm with no ramp or expertise. Others would come up to this sign and believe with all their being this is the sign that will bring forth their destiny; if there’s just enough faith, this will be the day of change! Still, others will see this and “throw caution to the wind” and go for it with gusto!

Often, the truth of wisdom is shown in the tenacity within the mundane, the fortitude through the process of change and the ultimate risk of doing something completely out of routine.

The proof of Faith comes when it is joined with wisdom and it brings forth power and anointing.

The reality of stupidity comes when the choices made bring about calamity, failure and destruction.

Which will you choose??

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!'”

Queen or Slave?

How are you feeling today?

Do you live like a queen or a slave?

A queen has rights, responsibilities and rightful ownerships.

A slave has excuses, exemptions and evictions.

A queen has power, personality and principles.

A slave has pity, problems and polysemy.

A queen makes choices, has character and a conscience.

A slave has disdain, degradation and disrespect.

A queen is never a victim, but rather a product of the chosen one she has become.

A slave is always a victim, never realizing her justification for hate and sin destroys her potential, her dreams, and her future.

Fight to win the victory.

Stand with royalty and honor.

Walk in the queenship you’ve been given.

1 Peter 2:9. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Life: It’s a Process

I was walking down the back staircase of a hospital when I saw this mural. My husband chuckled when I stopped my descent to take a pic, but when told him it would be for a blog, he totally got it, because he’s amazing like that.

To every challenge, every improvement, every healing, every victory, there has to be a process of steps to bring you to that positive outcome. Courage, strength, endurance, recovery and accomplishing goals don’t just happen miraculously or overnight. There are always steps involved, and sometimes, those necessary steps have to be taken meticulously and can even be excruciating.

However, if you are willing to put forth the time, effort and tenacity to take them, you can reach your goal, and you can shout your victory!

Be the Fire

No one said this life would be fair. No one said you’d always walk along a path of daisies and roses. Sometimes, life just stinks, and you have to live through the pain and agony it presents.

Sometimes, this life is going to be set on fire, and you’ve got to decide whether you’re going to grab a bucket and put out the flames , stand your ground and walk through the blaze, or lie down and become the ashes. The choice is yours, and no one can make that choice for you.

You can be destroyed in the fire, or you can slow it to refine you, strengthen you and teach you. If you decide to lie down and allow it to consume, you must know that your life may not be the only one that is devoured. There may be children, grandchildren, friends and family. Often, we do not realize, we stand as a shield for those coming behind.

If you choose to walk through, the road may not be easy, and it may get hotter and more strenuous before it gets better, but there is one who promises you will not be diminished from the inferno.

His name is Jesus.

And He loves you.

With God by your side, the flames may lick at your being, and the temperatures may rise beyond comfortable, but YOU WILL MAKE IT. He will walk beside you. He will guide you, and when needed, He will carry you.

Give Him a chance. He will not disappoint. He is able. He is faithful. He is true, and His promises are unbreakable…inflammable…in-consumable.

When you choose to walk through the flames with Him, you become resilient to the wildfires. You become a pillar of stone that cannot be singed. You become the firefighter who rescues others from the flames.

Grief: It is a Process of Pain

One of the best articles I’ve read lately in grief is this one. If you are grieving due to anything other than a physical loss, such as divorce, abuse, neglect or estrangement, this article may not bring much healing to you, because your circumstances yield a much different needed response. However, if you’ve lost a loved one, and you’re walking through this painful journey, you may find some comfort and encouragement as you read through this widow’s pages.

Grief: Authenticity is Healing

Be real while you grieve. Let the tears flow. Let the thoughts ponder. Let the grief run through your veins like a cold hard rain that just won’t stop.

Grief is never easy. It is never fun, or full of laughter or delightful. Honestly, grief sucks. Grief can make you feel like running far, far away or hiding in a corner until everyone is gone. Grief can even make you feel like crawling into that casket and being buried right alongside that person you’ve lost.

All those emotions, fears, anger, doubt and pain, it all comes with the territory of grief. It’s not a joy-ride, and it’s really not for the weak and whiny. Those who succeed best through the traumas of grief are those who allow those feelings to glow like rain. Those who live through grief and are able to help someone else through the same storm are those who allow themselves to be real and never try to live up to someone else’s expectations or demands on the grief.

Those who become stronger because of the grief are those who, while their hearts are being ripped from their very being, extend a look of compassion to someone else who is hurting, reach out with a gentle hand to wipe away a tear from someone else’s cheek whose heart is ripped out, too.

These are the heroes of grief. They are not mighty pillars of stoic strength, never shedding a tear. They are not mindless minions, never feeling, never crying, never screaming from the pain. They are simply common, ordinary people who have chosen not to cause someone else pain because of their own, but rather, they have chosen to be a wounded warrior, linking arms with the fallen and helping him to safety while their own body is ravished from the bullet wounds of agony and pain.

Grief: Learning to Live

Grief isn’t fair. Grief isn’t gentle. Grief isn’t considerate, or gracious, or kind…or any of those nice words, really. Grief stinks. And that’s an understatement.

Grief makes you want to stop time, remove yourself from it, and retract minutes from eternity. It makes you want to return to simpler days, days where there were less cares, less tears, less pain.

Yet, life doesn’t work that way. Time moves on with or without you. The clock, living and breathing, keeps ticking until your heart doesn’t.

Demanding that it be any different is just as foolish as if I were to say, “I’m going to hold my breath until the sky turns green.” Demanding it to be different only causes you more pain, more regrets and more agony. Demanding others to remain stuck there with you only causes them more sorrow for the loss, more bitterness for your constraints and can even cause a dwarfism in growth for both you and them.

Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:4 says, “The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.” Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “(there is) a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

Time is the constant, grief is the variable and choice is the solvent in this equation called life. We can choose to drown in the river of grief and loss or dance in the torrential rains of grace.

Does the choice to dance make the journey through grief disappear? No. Does the choice to dance make the hours shorter or the days brighter? Maybe, maybe not. What I can assure you is when your perspective is focused on the dance more than the pain, it does make the burden a bit lighter, and it will cause the healing come in a bit stronger.

Dancing in the rain never dissipates the raindrops, and it never removes the moisture from your drenched hair and skin, but it surely will enable you to see the rainbow beyond the clouds.

I ask you, “What will you choose today?”

Grief: Learning to Believe

Grief:

You never “get over it.”

You simply learn to live through it.

Walking the journey of grief is different for every soul on the planet. How a person processes this life event is as different from one person to the next, as day is from night, as black is from white. You cannot expect it. You cannot predict it. Death comes when it is time, and no matter if it’s sudden or prolonged, if we have truly loved, we are never completely ready for it.

It seems some would say, “Just get over it. You’ve got living to do.” Others would say, “Relish in it. Milk it for all it’s worth. Let no one tell you you can’t.” Some would declare victory in an instant: “Your emotions are vindictive of your actions; so, shape up, soldier up, and suck it up.” Still others would proclaim your justification in reacting in any given fashion you choose, no matter the damage to another, and proclaim your innocence in staying in that emotional depth and despair for the rest of your life, no matter the destruction that it brings to you, your family or anyone nearby.

After walking this trail of sorrow several times in my life and walking alongside those, too many to count, who were doing the same, I have concluded four things:

1. Grief comes in many different forms.

2. Grief is a process.

3. Grief is different for each person.

4. Grief cannot be measured, dictated nor contained.

When you experience grief, it can be the most gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-wrecking experience you’ve ever encountered. Nothing can prepare you for it, and no one can pre-determine your reaction to it. And sometimes, the only thing you can to do is learn to harshly suck in spurts of air through a solid, clinched jaw while you attempt to survive the next few moments of agony simply to (eventually ) fall asleep until awakened again by the same afflicting anguish of the heart.

I cannot tell you how to properly process grief. I will leave that to the “grief share” experts among us. I cannot tell you the appropriate actions and reactions you will need along this journey. I will leave that to the professionals in counseling and therapy. I cannot even tell you the time allotment for when the pain should lessen and when it will increase; even though, some of that measurement can be equated to certain dates on the calendar.

However, I have found one helpful source that will carry you through those grief-stricken days when no daylight seems to shine. I have found one solace that will stay faithful beyond the traumatic beginning moments, the doubtful, chaotic middle moments and can remain until your very last breath on this earth. If you can possibly believe for one second that this comfort I have found is able to surround you in your darkest hours and bring you a peace beyond measure, if you will but believe and grasp it, you might just be amazed at what is on the other side of your embrace. There is but one refuge, one rock, one sustaining, everlasting rescue that can be found.

His name is Jesus.

Some may say it’s a fallacy. Some may say it’s a hoax. Others may claim fantasy, fairytale or fable to be this truth. Yet, I can testify by my very being that what I say is inerrant, unfeigned and veracious. He is able. He is faithful. He will carry you.

Maybe you doubt my words. After all, you don’t know me. You don’t know my story. You don’t even know my God, but I challenge you to give Him a chance. Give Him just half a chance. I promise you, He won’t disappoint. Simply believe, and let Him surprise you.