Who Are You Leaving Out?

I read this story the other day, and it brought tears to my eyes… http://nicerdays.org/tb-newspaper-column-response/

Exclusion is so painful; yet, even more painful is watching someone so oblivious to the truth. My prayer is that I might always be aware of the truth and never be so blinded by my own “rightness.” It is so easy to become exclusive and not even realize the damage we are doing, the harm we are bringing, or the pain we are inflicting. We must always be giving ourselves ‘heart checks.’ We must always self-evaluate. If we ever get to the place where we believe we could “never be like the woman in this article,” or we believe our motives are always pure, and we could never intentionally exclude someone, that is when we run the risk of becoming the most dangerous person we could ever know. 

We all falter, and we all make mistakes. I just pray if and when I do fall, that God will help me to recognize the truth…the truth of my own wicked and deceitful heart. The key to success is to constantly question your motives and to surround yourself with truth speakers. People who can honestly give you wisdom, who can love you for who you are and who will never drink too much of your “koolaid,” but rather, will be the one who always challenges you to be a better person than who you are presently. 

I pray I always have a gracious friend who gently helps to open my eyes to see clearer…or a loving friend who gives me a good, strong and swift kick in the pants when I’m veering off the path of goodness and grace!😉

#realfriendsaretruthspeakers 

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.**

Time Heals

There’s not much more I can say to this, except to say, this is so very true. A deceased pastor friend of mine, who lost his wife of many years, once said, “I don’t want to get over it, I just want to learn how to handle it.” Grief if never easy, and it never totally leaves you. Just when you think you’ve moved beyond the pain, it can come about like a cold, hard rain. Time never really heals the wounds, it just helps to allow you the ability to breathe one more time…

Where Is The Word?

YouVerse

Sometimes, we hide His Word under our pillow or underneath the bed. It may be hidden under the car seat or even under the Greatful Dead. Once in a while, it can be hidden under the pews, but if it’s not hidden deep within our hearts, we can never truly give Him all that He’s due. 

Ladies, Just a Simple Question

Are you building your home with love, strength, wisdom and grace?

Or 

Are you tearing it down with your very hands by words of strife, anger, jealousy and hate?

Great questions of evaluation for our hearts as we close in on Mother’s Day…even if you don’t have biological children, you can still have a “momma spirit” to love and influence those around you. 💗

Always There

As I walk down the halls of the hospital and enter through the ICU doors, I am reminded one more time how precious and how unpredictable life can be. When the storms rage, we hit our knees, crying out to our God, begging for mercy and grace.

Yet, sometimes, I wonder why we do not call on His name before that moment. Is it because of self-reliance? A strong will? Stubbornness? A rebellious heart? Or just a simple determination to make it on our own until we realize that thought doesn’t work as well as we thought it would? If we could actually see His great love for us before the storm, I wonder if we might turn our hearts toward Him before the rains came. 

He is always there, from the moment we take our first breath to the time we breathe our last. He is there in the midst of our celebrations, and He is there in the depths of our despair. Often, we do not see Him, because we are blinded by our own fleshly nature or our own hidden pain. 

Our blindness does not change His presence nor His ability to hear and see us. He is there, awaiting our call, at every moment of every day, all we have to do is call on His name. He will answer. Every. Single. Time. 

Klear.com

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. 

myboundlessthoughts.wordpress.com


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…😂

FunnyAnd.com

Celebrate Everyday

As we were driving home the other day, I was overwhelmed with thoughts of how life truly is a vapor, gone before we know it. This week is a very eventful one to prove this point… 

Soon, I will celebrate over 40+ years of living, and my (maternal) grandmother, with whom I share this day, will celebrate a spry 88 years…later this week, we will lay to rest my dear (step-paternal) grandfather… This is the same week, just a few short years ago, my cousins said goodbye to their father, and another friend said goodbye to the love of her life. This year will be 15 years since my grandfather passed, but if the moment is right, I can “cloud up and rain on you” in a New York minute. 

I have lost friends to tragedy, family members to cancer and acquaintances to sicknesses and disease. These moments have all taught me well…life IS but a vapor. Please cherish it like there’s no tomorrow. Share it like you have plenty more, and pass it on tenderly to all those coming behind…they can only possess what we leave for them. Could it be that their wanderings just might be shortened and their pain lessened by our legacy…

The Salt Marshes or The River

I have a question for you…

Do you live in the salt marshes of Christianity or in the River of God’s glory?

Pinterest

You can be a Christian and not experience the fullness of His glory. You can live a good, “saved” life, following His commandments, yet, never comprehend His overflowing joy and complete peace. You can go to church every Sunday, work the nurseries on Wednesdays, pledge your loyalties to every youth and world missions project and still miss out on all He has for you.

Although, I have to ask, “Why?” … Why would we ever want to live beneath His potential for our lives? Why would we ever be “okay” with second best or just comfortable with less than His best? Why would we ever settle for something He knows we don’t need or even detests?

Yet, so many of us do just that! We choose to live in the salt marches of Christianity, and we completely bypass the river of God’s glory. Sometimes, it’s fear that holds us back, or maybe it’s those past pains that blind us from the reality of His promises.

Often, it’s schedules and agendas which consume every moment and spin us out of control, shielding us from the clarity of truth. Too many times, it is the sin of our past, our present, or the contemplation of sin in our future, which binds us to the salt marshes and refuses to let us venture beyond what we’ve always seen, heard and thought to be truth.

It is time to break free. It is time to live in His fullness rather than the anemia of our fears and failures. It is time to move out, beyond the norm, and step into the river of His glory.

You will find He is waiting there just for you.

*Note: I do not own nor possess any part of this video. This is from a simple google search to YouTube.

Trapped Again!

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Gal. 5:1

This Scripture came up today in my Youverse app, and even though, I’ve read it many times before, it seemed to settle in a little deeper this time. Have you ever had that happen? You’re re-reading a scripture that you’ve read for years, but that next time, it’s like reading it for the very first time all over again, because God seems to speak to your heart in that very moment.

That’s how it was today. I’ve been doing this bible study on the power of our words, and it has really been strengthening my faith, challenging my flesh and transforming my words. This past week, we were studying the lesson on gentle words and memorizing the Scripture in Provers 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” …You would know, the one week when the stress loads of life are heavy on our boys and me, schedules are tight, tension is heightened, and words are short and snappy every day, that this is our memory verse and the lesson I’ve got to study and share with the class! …geez! Talk about feeling like a hypocrite! 😑

Regardless of the feelings, I kept studying, and God kept convicting my heart, reshaping my responses and working the repentance out of my mouth. By the day class time rolled around, I had made my mistakes and my confesssions and worked out a plan for us all to do things better this coming week. Amazing how, sometimes,  we have learn how to “adult better” alongside our children. 😉… I guess, if we were perfect, we’d be in heaven already; so, I’m all for the learning.

What struck me about this verse in Galatians is how, too often, we realize those sins of which we need to repent, we ask for forgiveness, and we think we’ve move beyond them; yet, somewhere along the way, we find ourselves trapped again by the very things that tripped us up in the beginning! How does that even happen?

Thinking over this, I was led to another well known scripture in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The devil is always seeking to destroy us. His search for our weak spots, and his schemes to bring us down never stop! He is relentless in His strategy to take us out!

However, I believe, our daily struggle to crucify our flesh (or die to selfishness) and feed our spirit (or live more like Christ) isn’t always so relentless. We get distracted by the cares of this world. We become negligent in the studying of His Word and in the seeking of His face. We allow “the little foxes to spoil the vine,” so to speak, and the battle (for our freedom from sin) becomes lost as we stop being vigilant in our fight. We start lowering our shield of faith and raising our selfish ambitions and outlooks. We start laying down our sword of the spirit to rather pick up those things from which we have been freed, as we become more “me” focused and so much less “Christ” focused. Before too long, we find ourselves ensnared with the very things He freed us from years before.

This is not what Jesus plans for us! This is not what He desires. Let us fight this good fight of faith. Let us not return to those sins for which He died. Let us live freely in the freedom (from sin) He has given us, and let us finish this race well! … There is a generation, of both young people and young Christians, coming behind us. They need for us to remain free and to finish well. Then, we might be able to share our story with them on how it’s done and allow our legacy of faith to be passed on. Live free today!