Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Heart of Christmas

It's finally here, the Christmas season! I can't imagine not loving this time of year but there are people who dread it... They remember hurt, lost loved ones, they don't have enough money to get the presents their children want or even the food they need... My family was once one of those families, I remember how excited I would be to get a "Christmas box" from the food bank... Once I remember getting gifts from somewhere and I'm not even sure of one thing that was in that box but I am sure I could feel the love each present was given with. Someone may be having a microwave dinner instead of the big family turkey and stuffing sinner we all take for granted, some one's child is sick and there's nothing that mother or father can do to make them feel any better at all... But, you can change Christmas for someone.  I know we don't all have enough money to take pain away, buy presents for other people's families, and none of us have the power to heal a sick child so what can we do? 

I think changing Christmas for others starts with changing it for ourselves. Remembering what the first Christmas was about... A baby in a manger, yes but more than that, the God who wrapped all his fullness of power in that little swaddled package... A God who left the beauty and splendor of heaven for a winters night in a stable and a lifetime of sorrow... A lifetime know each step would lead him closer to a rugged cross of pain. God gave us the best gift available and it didn't dip into His finances at all but it took His whole heart.

Our hearts are something we can all choose to give to others. Maybe you don't have money at all but you have a smile and a kind word. If you know someone will be alone you can invite them to spend time with you. If a child is sick you can introduce their family to the healer of all disease. You can share your turkey dinner with someone. You can give presents to a family in need instead of over gifting toys that will be forgotten tomorrow to your own family. I'm not saying give your Christmas away; I'm saying give the heart of Christmas away... If Jesus lives in your heart, each time you give a piece of your love away you are imparting His heart to others and that's what Christmas is all about anyway! Christmas is about the heart and love of God, the majesty of the manger, the love of the Cross, share the heart of Christmas and you share the heart of Christ.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

You're Invited!

Hi little ones! (okay, okay, I'm the little one :o)

I'm already in the Christmas swing! I just want to drink apple cider, cocoa, egg nog (even though it makes me ill) and bake and shop and wrap gifts and visit with family and watch Christmas movies... and... and... and :o) Speaking of visiting with family, that's exactly what I've been doing every evening this week so that means today's post is a re-post! But, it was one of my first and I'm sure you all haven't already read it... Even if you have, I made some changes and enhanced the colors to make it Christmasy so you can read it again with a fresh perspective!

Love you all, merry early Christmas!
The Situation: I was praying about life and my future in particular, one thing I said to God was “You have permission to change my mind on this.” I wanted Him to know He is welcome to change my mind at any time... When I pray, I tell God where my heart is but I need Him to know just because I think something is a good idea doesn’t mean I will proceed even if I find out it’s not what He wants for me.. Kind of like when you are in a relationship; you wouldn’t make a decision to go on vacation to Alaska if your partner hated snow, you would talk and choose something you both would like. Well, I talk everything over with God (which is praying... if you’re one of the people who doesn’t get how people “pray,” praying is conversing with God like you would with others, maybe in a more respectful manner.)

The Thought: Since when does God need permission to do anything? Is it really permission he’s looking for or something else?

The Analogy: Friends, do they just give you permission to visit or actually invite you, and which is the preferred method? I never go places I am not invited; I have close friends who say “you can come over any time!” “You’re always welcome, just stop in” and I say that to my friends as well. I know I have permission to be there but just showing up somehow still feels intrusive.. At the very most I will call and hint for an invitation but if I don’t get one I am not coming.

The Conclusion: Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” It’s not so much calling to hint for an invitation.. God goes one step further and actually shows up but he knocks and waits for your invitation to come in.. Invitation extends automatic permission but permission itself seems to lack actual invite.

The Difference: What makes one better? It’s the welcome, the admittance of need or want, honesty, directness... You can imply the desire for a relationship but it’s so much better to ask for it, a lot of people are far too scared to assume you’re interested in them and God wants the same.

My Response: “Let me be direct, God, in case I haven’t been clear with you, you are now invited into my future, my decisions, my relationships and every other part of my life, everyday! I do need you and want you involved with me. Please, come in.”

Your Response: Well, that’s up to you... But I hope it’s a “here goes” type even if you’re not entirely sure it’s worth it. Just try it, see what it’s like to have the best friend ever! John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What if I'm Wrong?

Hello Jellos!

I've been mulling over this topic for a while now and just wanted to address something I've seen commented a few times elsewhere... Basically, it's you shouldn't do anything or believe anything out of Fear.  While I agree with the sentiment I think there is a consideration not being viewed by some people who may hold that sentiment as an excuse not to consider Christ.

I sometimes ask the question "What if you're wrong?" when speaking to others about religious beliefs, or lack thereof... And just because I ask other people that question doesn't mean I don't ask myself.. I do ask myself "what if I'm wrong" all the time, for the purpose of what I believe about God to what I believe about others, myself, how I act, live my life and more... Not necessarily because I think I'm wrong in the first place but more because I think that question can temper action in a good way as well as guide a decision making process in the right direction... I am in no way saying that you should make any decision based solely out of fear and I'm quite sure most, if not all, people who ask that question aren't encouraging anyone otherwise. Many scriptures - including 1 John 4:18 - tell us not to fear many times but it is always speaking about actually fear not reverence and is speaking of others can do, harm coming on us, circumstance, etc. those scriptures are telling us, God's Got This (borrowed from Teri-Lyn) so there's no need to fear anything else!

The previous paragraph being a preface, I would like to bring your attention to some facts about fear being a good thing... The Bible says it is... But not fear as we think of it today, more like reverence for God:

  •  Philippians 2:12 says because you obey God whether in the presence of an authority (in this case Paul) or not you should "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." This is in no way saying interpret the Scripture how you see fit and then you're saved. It's written to people who were shown "the way" and who had obeyed the gospel already and it's telling them to continue in that direction making their own decision about possible "grey areas" or "small matters" remembering to take God into consideration or with reverence to God.
  • 1 Peter 2:17 Commands us to "Honor all people, Love Brotherhood, Fear the Lord and Honor the King!" So we need to do those things... Honor everyone - so even when they don't deserve it, respect and honor people... Love relationship - Brotherhood in this instance is talking about the Christian family of believers, love your church, pastors and fellow believers. Fear the Lord - here it is again, reverence God, His commands and opinions... No, not every subject is written about in the bible, eg. drugs, but we do have enough written about how to make Godly decisions that we should be able to figure out His opinion, eg. your body is His temple would most likely guide you away from drugs that would harm that temple. And in cases where His opinion may not be clear "Godly fear or reverence" would lead us on the safe side and take care of that.
  • Hebrews 5:7 tells us about a man who's prayers were answered and he was saved because of his Godly fear... I think that one is pretty self explanatory, if it holds potential to get my prayer answers and/or save me, I'm doing it!
  • 1 Peter 3:15 sort of touches on what I was talking about earlier, we need to also have the fear of the Lord when we are dealing with others, saved or not, we have the potential to effect their hearts and lives so we need to not only consider the "Golden Rule" but consider the "God Rule," how He would want us to treat them, love them, answer their questions, etc.
  • Hebrews 12:28 makes sure we know that the fear of the Lord continues even after we become Christ followers... It's not "once saved, always saved" or "God loves me the way I am so I don't have to change anything about my lifestyle..." In fact, it's just the opposite, because we are Christ's followers and we are going to be with Him in heaven someday we must continue our walk with Him allowing Godly fear to guide our steps.
  • Lastly, Revelation 19:5 states that even in Heaven there is the Fear of the Lord because the people who feared the Lord are there... If it's important enough to be mentioned in Heaven I should have it exhibited in my own life.
Again, I'm not in any way saying everyone should be shaking in their boots... But just like a child knows what is expected of them by their parents, teachers, etc. Scripture teaches us what is expected of us by God and Godly fear or reverence is one thing that is expected... I'm also saying, even if you leave scripture out of it and think about decision making, if you fear or respect nothing your decisions would not have anything to guide them in the right direction... So just take a minute out and ask "what if I'm wrong?" whatever the subject you're thinking of you should make yourself aware of any possible consequences and use those to weigh the risks and benefits, if the risk is greater than the possible benefit use that fear to guide your decision.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Weakness of God

I've always been taught that God can do anything. I've read about miracles and how all powerful God is... More than that, I believe it because I've seen it with my own eyes! I've seen cancer shrink off of some one's body and later read the doctors reports after the name of Jesus has been called over them in healing. I know God is Strong but what about His weakness? Does He have one? I know if you're a Christian you're probably thinking "no, absolutely not!" and may even be a little angered with the thought and if you're not a Christian you could be on the "hoping there's no weakness of God" or the "of course, and you're weak if you follow Him" end of the spectrum and anywhere in between... Although no one likes to know the punchline of a story before it's time, I have to say, yes God has one weakness and I'm about to reveal it to you.

Today, I was talking to my co-worker/friend about perception... How others view us, how we view ourselves and how God views us... And how those perspectives are all different. Other people judge on action, we judge on thought and motive (usually we are hard on ourselves) and God knows everything and judges on truth and love.  I told her that when I was a little girl and would color if I made any mistake at all and went outside the lines just a little bit that I would grip the crayon as hard as I could in my little fist, press down on the paper so hard I would shake and scribble over the whole page then usually rip it and crumple it up into little pieces before throwing it out... I remember mom telling me she wouldn't have even noticed the mistake if I hadn't told her but I knew about it and my perspective was only focused on that one mistake so much so that I didn't care about the big picture. (there's a message there about our perspective vs. others and then verses the love and mercy of God... Leading into forgiveness of self and not ruining the whole thing for a mistake. You may want to just take a minute to think about because although it's obvious it's not exactly where I'm going this time...) All I am trying to convey is I've always been a bit of a Type A perfectionist and that has carried over into my relationship with God. Even if you're not a Type A personality please read to the end, I promise everyone who reads this needs it and will glean help from it.

Approximately one year ago I went through something - nothing I can even remember, just a "typical me" situation - I had done or said something I didn't feel good about and didn't feel I should have because of my Christianity.  When I do things that I am not proud of or that I know are wrong or whatever I tend to "hide." Hmmm... Adam & Eve, there's a Bible parallel I didn't think of before now... Anyway, I just get quiet with God, or actually, quiet without Him... I don't pray because I'm embarrassed.  Well, this particular time I had taken about a week and a half without really praying - "Thanks for the grub" doesn't really count here - I continued to read the Bible but outside of the occasional "night God" He didn't really hear from me.  Saturday night my church always has prayer meeting - and I'll take a minute here to encourage any and all of you to get involved in a group prayer meeting, no, you won't always "feel like it" but it is so worth it and it will strengthen you! - as usual, I was at prayer... But this night I was there more because I am in ministry than I was there because of desire, it was definitely one of those "I don't feel like it" kind of nights. As I walked through the doors of the sanctuary it hit me, God's presence seemed so near, so heavy you could almost tangibly feel it... I got on my knees between two church pews and didn't say a word, just cried.  The only words I could think of were apologies for being so stupid and letting embarrassment God already knew about keep me from talking to God and taking care of the mistake... I knew if I would have just swallowed my pride and asked forgiveness God would give it but I had to "hide" instead.  The only three words I actually mustered to get out of my mouth was "I missed you!" (I wrote another blog about this actual moment... click here.) And I could almost hear God say "I missed you!" That moment changed me... It changed the way I think about God and how I think he thinks about me...

You know - if you've read many of my posts - I'm big on treating my relationship with God like a marriage, I mean literally as if God was visible in my own home living with me, it just helps me with being able to talk to Him and to remember how close He actually is... But at that moment I realized it goes both ways. In trying to comfort others in regards to mistakes, I've often said "God's not looking for perfection, if He was He would have stopped at the creation of angels... So we have to figure out what He is looking for... And if we take the scripture that we are made in His image and think about the one thing every person on Earth is looking for it's evident that what God wants from us is love." Somehow it's easier to teach a lesson about how to move past mistakes than it is to hear it... But it's true, God wants our love, your love and mine. It's all he desires, it's all we can really give a God who is almighty and already has everything at his disposal. People are the only thing God cares anything about... We are the only thing, the only ones who can hurt Him... We are God's only weakness. It's what drove to step off of His throne, and out of Heaven to be born in a stable and it's what eventually lead him to a horrific and bloody cross of death, but that weakness is also where He found the strength to rise again in victory on the third day and it's also why He will take us to heaven to be with Him!

So next time you make a mistake and feel like you're an idiot and you don't deserve forgiveness or love from God... Or if you are finding it hard to forgive yourself... Just remember, if you're "hiding" because you don't deserve God, He misses you because love isn't based on deserving, it's not based on what the other person does or doesn't do, it's based on the lover. Not unlike a successful marriage, there will be hurt in our relationship with God, we will disappoint Him, and we will do things wrong but those things are things you work through not things that should make you quit on the relationship! We are guaranteed that God's love for us is unconditional, if we try and continue our best in this relationship God will never leave or forsake us, if this relationship ends in separation it's not because He walked away. Those mistakes along the way are the little things like leaving a toilet seat up, squeezing the toothpaste from the middle and burning a meal, if you work through it - and that means you're going to have to talk about it - you will only make your relationship stronger. Remember, just like that person you can't keep yourself from daydreaming about, that one you can't wait to come home to at night, that person who just makes you weak with love... You're that person to God! You're God's only weakness.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

How do I Know?

Hi Guys, today's post is coming to you a little later than normal because there has been another death in my family :o( My last grandparent passed away Tuesday afternoon. However I am writing to you again today about my friend who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia...
I've been thinking a lot about what's going to happen with my friend, how is she so confident she will beat this... I mean we all want her to but I've seen other people who no matter how much they and others wanted and believed... Well, you get that. I prayed about it and asked God to help me be a better friend and believe in the same way she believes that she will beat this.  Maybe my unbelief came from just losing an aunt to cancer, having cancer on both sides of my family and seeing so many others fighting that stupid disease or maybe I'm just cynical... But I got thinking where's the proof?
About two years ago my friend and I often talked about how difficult it was for her to find a job in our city... And really, there was no reason for it, I mean, she has been to university, has an amazing resume, great references and one of the best personalities I've seen in anyone. At one point she even came to help out at my office just for experience's sake. Still, nothing. That's actually why she moved away... Thirteen hours away from her family, friends and church just so she could find a good paying job in her field of work. It was no time of her being there and she landed a great job in her field with lots of room to move up.
And there it is, I was missing it all along! God had a plan and was working on it before we ever had a thought of anything like this! See, that new company she is a part of has a great medical plan and most of her care is being covered... It is only for the Province she is now living in, but in a way that's good because now she has no choice to come home to the comfort of family and friends possibly at the sacrifice of the best medical care. She is actually in the best cancer treatment center in the Country with one of the leading cancer research physicians.
So you see, those few months ago we just couldn't see, couldn't understand why God wasn't answering our prayers for her to land a job in her field here at home... But here at home she would be lucky to even know what was going on with her health in the first place let alone be in such amazing care and being so far along in her treatment! God didn't act according to our plans back then because His plan was much better for her than we could ever hope to think of. God was fighting this battle for her in spite of us and long before she even knew there was a battle going on. And the fact that Jesus had it under control and put all of this in place before we even knew what He was doing and that's how I know that same battle is going to be won by the God who was fighting before we knew there was anything to fight for!
So whatever it is you're going through at this moment in life, whatever it is you don't understand about your plans not coming together how you thought or whatever you're worried about and think is wrong... Stop, take a minute to realize that God really does have it under control even if He seems to be completely ignoring your requests and giving you the opposite of what you're asking for He is working! Maybe it's because you're focused on the wrong thing, maybe he is working on something more important for you that you can't even think of. Maybe, just maybe, God is being the loving father to you that He promised He would be and maybe he's not getting you what you want in the now so He can provide what you need in the future.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Before The Curve

Oh my goodness, I almost completely forgot about a lunch-time post today! Here I am playing Words With Friends without a care in the world, ha!  Well not really without a care, remember last week I told you I would let you know the news I was processing..? Well, just a few weeks ago my best friend was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  It's an aggressive, quick growing bone marrow/blood cancer that you're not really supposed to get unless you're over forty years of age... And my beautiful friend is NO WHERE NEAR that :o) (she will love me for that haha! She really isn't by the way.)
You may be asking why I seem to be "okay" with all my "hahas.." It's because she is okay... No, she's not completely healed and yes, she is still in the hospital but her spirit is okay.  Her attitude is amazing people all around her.  I've see this before in a cancer patient... This peace and confidence that everything will turn out right. I've heard your attitude is key to your survival from many nurses and an oncologist. And you know what, they're right!
I have a thought of my own regarding this whole attitude topic: the key to the uplifted attitude and confidence is to have something other than the sickness or circumstance (we don't have to and shouldn't limit this to cancer patients) is to have something else to focus on... Something more important... Something to put your hope into... The key is GOD!  I mean really, He is the one who is going to heal you, change your circumstance or take you out of that circumstance anyway. The bible speaks of "peace that passes all understanding" being given to us if we focus on God and make our relationship (and other's relationship) with Him a priority, if we seek Him and not His gifts.
I think once you're already in a life circumstance that pushes you to your knees it's a little harder to prove that you are actually seeking God and not just his help out of the though spot but here's the thing, although I recommend nurturing a relationship with Him before anything bad happens, He will be there ANY TIME you call His name (Jesus)! There have been many, many people throughout the Bible and the rest of the ages - people including me - who have not deserved the help from God when they asked for it but He has helped us in spite of ourselves.  So if you are already in the thick of a horrible situation or sickness, don't worry, it's not too late, turn to God right now, in this very moment and see his power and peace comfort and help you!  If you're not there yet and life seems to be nothing but blue skies and smooth sailing even better, turn to God, thank Him and start your relationship with Him before the curve. 
So that's it, short and sweet... Inspired by the faith and confidence of a friend who started her own relationship with God long before the curve.
"Jesus, we love you! Even if we haven't talked much lately or ever before we know you're worthy and good!  It might not seem like much right now but whatever we do have - good or bad - we give to you. We want a relationship with you, Lord, one that's real and consuming, one that makes us gain such confidence in you that we won't fear the curve. God, we know you've been watching over us, we know you formed us in our mother's womb and though we can never thank you enough we take this moment to thank you... Jesus, I commit my life to you and not just in word but in time spent with you, time each day reading your Word and in the way we treat others. Please give us your strength, courage and help to not stop with this prayer alone but to pray tomorrow and the next day and every day after, help us to grow in relationship with you, give us endurance and persistence when it seems hard. God, let this be the beginning of a new dawn in our lives, let this be the first of many stepping stones in commitment to you and Lord, help us to see the sunshine through the clouds and realize you're worthy no matter the weather in our lives. Again, we love you, help us to love others and ourselves, though we are not worthy we thank you for your love for us. Amen."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandpaper Packages

Hi honeys! Sorry I was absent last week... I was actually out of the Country and trying to process some news I received last week which I may write about sometime but not today.  Today I have something I consider to be a very important lesson in my own life and hopefully you will think so too!

Did your parents ever tell you "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" If not, you should have at the very least heard Thumper quote his mama in Bambi, right? If not, well... Pretend haha!  The thing is I think we usually apply this to talking about others not necessarily speaking to others. Remember, when you're speaking with people, even if you are instructing or disagreeing it's important to be kind... I mean really, if someone is being a condescending or abrasive jerk who's going to take that advice? Not I. And if you're giving advice to a friend but you are putting them down to do it, you might want to rethink that strategy, not only are they unlikely to accept you advice but you're most likely going to find yourself in a position of them waiting to accept an apology from you.

If you're on the other end of that "someone offended me, not with what was said but how they said it" stick you're in good company... Well, my company at least ;o)  This is a big one for me, I find myself having to fight away hard feelings even when a friend is giving advice for my good if they don't do it in a pleasant manner.  Luckily, even when I'm a little miffed with the tone I can usually at some point accept the message. The thing is, I sometimes have a hard time letting go of the miffed part. But, the truth is, I don't always say things in the manner others prefer. Shocker! Sometimes I don't even realize my tone may not be, shall we say, pleasing until it's too late and even if I do I'm unlikely to acknowledge it mid-critique. So, I need my friends to cut me some slack every once in a while, the thing is there is this other saying I seem to vaguely recall... Something about, "you get what you give" so, sometimes to my chagrin I have to get over it on my own and choose not to continue give into that feeling.
The thing is, we all need to continually change our minds sometimes and sometimes the message to change comes in a sandpaper package... It is uncomfortable, it can hurt and it's rough but that doesn't mean it's invalid. So what are we to do? Well, try to wrap your own messages in something a bit smoother than the saved sandpaper packages you've received, don't diminish the truth just wrap it in care.  But we also need to learn that sometimes once we get past the sandpaper there is a treasure of help inside. If you're like me, you will respond only to the sandpaper aspect initially, and that's okay, people sometimes need to know when they are being abrasive in presentation, it's not called "constructive criticism" unless people can receive help... But you will also think about the words spoken when you pillow your head and at that point I admonish you to consider the motive beyond the wrapping, see if you can get something out of it for yourself, see if you can learn and grow.  It sounds a little selfish and maybe it is, but you must learn how to accept a lesson and ignore the pain.

I've had many people, even friends, present me with their opinion of what I should change about me and I've disliked it more frequently than not, I think. Through all of those awkward and sometimes heated exchanges though, somehow I've been able to still see it is an exchange... I can get benefit out of it if I will accept it. The person sharing their unsolicited opinion may only be getting to share their bad attitude but we can learn and we are the ones who will gain from those types of situations. So do it, find your benefit, the seed of growth to become who you are meant to be and walk away just a little bit better than before!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Roaring Lions & Baby Killers

As some of you may or may not know, I have a new addiction... Nat. Geo. Wild! I lost Animal Planet since I moved... And I could get it back but I don't want the rest of the channels - except maybe Food Network - that go with it. But lucky me, Nat. Geo. Wild is a new channel I do get on my TV and I watch it bordering on obsessively. ha! Maybe not that bad but seriously, I love animals and will watch almost anything about them.  I learned something from a show I watched on Nat. Geo. Wild a while ago and what I learned is to be the premise of this blog post.

When male Lions fight they don't usually go after each other, blood and fur flying... Instead, they go after each other's cubs and whichever kills all the other's babies first is triumphant.  You're probably in a little shock - as was I - so just take a minute... The show I was watching showed a lioness finding one of her dead babies... She chased away the hyenas and vultures and lay down beside her baby, nudging it, smelling it, licking it and crying... Honestly, making noises like she was crying. She did get angry and rushed the lion she thought or knew had killed the cub but she must have known, alone, she couldn't take him on and never pursued an actual attack. Although it was narrated the attack never would have happened if the lioness was present with her cub, although the lion could have beat her alone, lionesses are most times in a group and the male lion wouldn't stand a chance against their combined strength.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (TNIV)
1 Peter 5:8 tells us the devil is like a roaring lion looking for people to devour... Revelation 5:5 says, in part, "...One of the Elders said, “Don’t weep. Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David’s Tree, has conquered..." (MSG) and you can probably see the comparison I am about to draw on... Since it is said the natural mirrors the spiritual I think there is a lesson to be learned here...  We must, as 1 Peter instructs remain on our guard. Protect ourselves against the devourer but along with that we must be a good mother to our Kings cubs.  Satan knows he cannot beat the Lion from the Tribe of Judah but he will try to kill his cubs in hopes of becoming greater: the weaker is always trying to sneak in and kill the babies of the King.  But a point made in the Bible in King James: Satan prowls about "as" a roaring lion... "As" because he's a fake, he is not as powerful as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he's not even a real lion! Satan can roar and stalk and it is scary, we should never take him on alone but just remember he can never win against the King and with our King we win!

As the church we are known as "the bride" of Christ, or "the Mother."  So let's not be like the lioness who lost and mourned over her cub... Let's not be without the King and make ourselves defenseless against the killer. Let's not turn our backs for even a moment to give any chance to our babies being killed in the battle against the King. Instead, we must stick together, support each other, stay vigilant both for our own sakes and for the lives of our babies in the church. Keep them safe from the devourer!  Just like the lion I watched that day Satan won't attack the strong corporate because he doesn't stand a chance and we need to make ourselves aware that - even within the church - there is strength in numbers - or the Bible would say unity or one accord - so, while our Kind is preparing our new home, stick together, keep safe and keep watch over His cubs!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Slipping into Addiction

I saw something the other day and hated it... Actually it was what I didn't see... It was a man I used to know, someone I held in high regard and loved very much, it was his shell at least. The man I knew faded away somehow, he had been buried underneath the reality of his circumstance and had lost who he was.  There are parts of his addiction I could understand at one point... I suppose the reasons why. The man's life had been difficult, he had a rough upbringing and I don't think had ever really felt loved in some ways and I'm not sure he really learned how to love.  I've seen his past rare it's ugly head even through his struggle to show love to me and others but as for a rough past being the reason for his addiction.. I don't think so. I mean I suppose the past could be a trigger but there are a lot of people out there with a rough past who have not chosen to become addicted.

Seeing the man I used to know got me thinking about another man I know who seems to be slipping into a similar addiction. It's a sad and scary thing to watch... No matter how hard I try to relate and help the only response I seem to get is something along the lines of "but it's not the same, it's worse for me because..." Each passing day the addiction seems to get worse... I try to be encouraging and make him see the light at the end of the tunnel but that light just seems so far away for him that I can't even work up a slight smile on his face.

The two men I've been talking about are not street people, they aren't unsuccessful financially at this point, they both have loving families and friends... In each case there is really only one major stresser; for one it is his past and for the other it is work.  So what is it that makes these men turn one stresser into addiction? I think it's the addiction itself and in order to understand that statement you need to know the addiction I'm talking about is an addiction to the stress and negativity itself.  For the first man, it's not that the past was so horrendous he couldn't get over it but that he refuses to change it... And I know you're thinking no one can change the past and while that's technically true, we can change what the past means to us and turn it into a lesson... Make the painful memories be our guide for us to ensure we are better people than the ones who have hurt us.  If we have felt unloved in the past make sure no one in our future ever could feel that way.  For the second man it's his current circumstance that has a hold on him... It's not that everything in his present is difficult it's that he is no longer separating the difficult parts from the good.  He's allowing the bad to bleed into and taint the good... Even when the sun shines through his situation he's waiting for tomorrow's  storm so much that he can't step out of the shadows. 

In both cases these men are becoming addicted to the negativity of life instead of directing their thoughts and hopes to a better day.  So why am I writing about these two today?  I think it would be easy for any one of us to slip into an addiction to negativity, we all have hard times and frustrations we can't seem to control that happen day after day... We all, at times, have the question is it ever going to change and get better? But we muse take control of our own thoughts and refuse to get to the point of becoming addicted to the negative.  We have to not allow negativity and problems to become the place in which we expect to live, we must pick ourselves up, put one foot in front of the other and look forward to a better future and move there!  But if you've already slipped into addiction to negativity the good news is you can turn it around the same way you can stop it before it starts... You may have to ween yourself off, you may make mistakes along the way, you may even fall off the wagon but you can start over at any point and you can beat this!

Whatever your current situation, whoever has hurt or is currently hurting you, take your power back! Stop dwelling on the pain, don't allow all your thoughts to be directed into negativity, don't allow the bad things in life to take away from the good.  I know the reality is some times life sucks but just take a break from that and think about something that is good. "Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies." Philippians 4:8 (MSG). Don't allow yourself to speak negativity into your own life "Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose." Proverbs 18:21 (MSG).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Don't Have Time for This

Random start (as always): I actually got nervous when this page was opening for me to write... Tickle belly and everything... WEIRD. Anyway, on with it.

I noticed something when I was getting into bed one night this week. Something rough brushed up against my leg... NOT NORMAL! The office doesn't make for "hard working" hands and my puppy's fur is soft.  Before I realized what had rubbed my leg I actually got a little freaked out but when I moved my legs back up from under the blankets it happened again and I realized it was my heels! Eeew, I've NEVER had calloused anything and I really didn't like to feel the beginnings! The next day after cleaning up I thought I need to take care of my heels... But I don't have time.  Seriously? That's a total lie I just told myself, I have time I just don't want to do anything with it... Anything.

Honestly, I've been so lazy lately! I just want to crash every night after coming home from work. (As you can probably tell from my late post last week and tonight... Last night I had another thought...  Doing good, two thoughts in a week :oP  ha! How many times do I use lack of time as an excuse? How many relationships of mine have suffered because of the no time excuse? How many people have received my lack of time speech when they needed or wanted something from me? What else do I "not have time" for? (Okay, that's a lot of thoughts. Clearly I'm on my joking game tonight. *now rolling my eyes at myself*) Mostly I thought about one thing I've used that excuse for... I've told myself and God that excuse many, many times only to go on Facebook, Pinterest or watch TV for a couple of hours.  How lame is that?  And the sad thing, although God knew the difference I actually never even thought about it enough to clue into my lie.  Yes, lie. The truth is I have lots of time I'm just tired because of the business of life and I'm lazy... I don't want to do anything. 
Ironic I found this on Pinterest, I know.
I'm sure you can already see the problem with not having time for anything... But, just in case you're left wondering, let's look at it in a different way... If I were married and when my husband came home every night and asked what we were having for supper, if my response was continually "I don't have time to cook" while I sat on my derriere staring at a computer screen not only would I either be obese and unhealthy from never moving and eating ready made junk or emaciated from never eating but my husband may get the impression I didn't care about his hunger and may even stretch his thinking into believing I didn't appreciate his work and care for our household.

And there it is, the questions being posed to us all... Do we care about the hunger, both ours and the hunger of the world around us or are we too busy? Do we appreciate God's work care for us or do we even have time to think about it? The truth is our business and lack of time are excuses, even if we are busy there are non necessities we can and should be cutting out in order to make time for the important things.  So if you cut the excuses out you have to get honest, do you care about the hunger? Are you appreciative of God's work and care? The thing is, the Word of God is called the Bread of Life because it's the only thing that can feed spiritual hunger. Not only must we partake but we must carry it with us, in our hearts and minds, to give to the starving people that cross our paths on a daily basis.  And appreciation should never be bottled up inside, as you know, I'm a advocate of telling people how you feel and it should be no different when it comes to God! Spend some time with Him, tell Him you appreciate Him, better yet, show Him you appreciate Him with dedication and time.

I think maybe part of the problem is we've forgotten how to sacrifice. During the old testament times people couldn't even get close to God's presence without a sacrifice but through the blood of Christ the final sacrifice for sin has been made and we can freely enter into His presence. But are we missing something? There were many different kinds of sacrifices throughout the Bible, not only for sin. While I thank Jesus for the cross, I must not neglect sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15,) thankfulness (Psalm 50:14...) I must never abandon the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:2,) I must not offer to God that which has cost me nothing. (2 Samuel 24:24)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sea of People

Oh Honeys, I have NO IDEA what I should write to you about today... I was going to re-post but I just don't feel right about that for today.  Last night I thought of two really good things I wanted to share but apparently I haven't learned to write anything down and now I've completely forgotten what it was about.  But just now I've had another thought I think may be just as valid as me writing something for you to think about...

I'm always learning lessons and trying to share them, always trying to show you another perspective on life and the love of God... I'm always trying to get something from God to share with you all.  Maybe the reason I can't think of anything is because God wants you to hear from Him yourself... Maybe he has something to talk to you directly about that really should be just between the two of you... Maybe you haven't talked to Him in a while or maybe you've been doing all the talking and no listening? (This is definitely one of my habits...) Maybe he just misses you and would just like you to be with him for the amount of time you would usually be reading my blog..?

I saw a quote on Pinterest today (yes I am sort of addicted, like every other woman on the planet ha! It's relaxing, like retail therapy without the bill! ha! Try it, that's my page above!) and it made me think of God... Like it was written by Him to me instead of being part of a love note between a couple... And I'd like to share it with you, from Him.

<3 god="god" td="td">

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Acorns & Appreciation

I'm not so sure about this new, "improved" interface blogger... Then again I just tweeted yesterday that I realize I just don't like change; so you probably shouldn't pay any attention to me! ha!  I wonder if not liking change means I'm getting old (shutter)..?  Anyway, that there, folks, is what we call a rabbit trail because it really has nothing to do with what I would actually like to say today. I'll get on with it.

When my parents split up my mother only had a grade eight education... She was raised in a family of nineteen children and when her father died, leaving her mother to tend to the upbringing on her own some things became more important than school in mum's life.  Because of her lack of education and needing to have a career that gave her enough to raise her own child on she decided to go back to school... Thankfully, unemployment supplement helped her pay her way to get her GED; however, it didn't help with much else... Mum went to school during the days, worked evenings, and studied nights just so we could get by and to be honest, without God helping us along the way by laying it on some one's heart to help us, I don't think we would have ever made it. I remember a few things in particular about being poor... The places we had to live I now know as being apartments where drug pushers stay, one month (and I'm not exaggerating it was a whole month!) we had nothing to eat but tomato soup and we only had that because it was on sale (I think the price was $0.29/can.) and our treat for years was Thursday nights playing Bingo at home.

The thing is, I don't want you to read this and feel bad for me, I don't want any "I'm so sorry you had to go through that" type comments because I actually find myself looking back on all of the rough times and thanking God I've gone through them... Sincerely.  Not because they were fun and I wouldn't wish those circumstances on anyone else but because those years shaped who I am today, they shaped the way I see the world around me, the way I see others, the way I think and make decisions... You still won't find me going into a store and buying an outfit at full price and I'm proud of that, some day my husband will love that about me as well, haha! I know how to have fun on a budget and let me tell you, if you play a board game with me we will probably be friends for life!

I traded the squirrels these for peanuts :o)
One thing I learned through not having money to spare I want everyone reading to think about, try to change your way of thinking, actually take some time this week to just appreciate... Whether it's the birds singing in the tree around the corner or the way the sun pierces through a dark cloud... A beautiful sunset or the way autumn smells... Whether it's three acorns you picked up off the ground or the sassing squirrels who think they're being robbed by a giant... Most beautiful things don't cost us anything, God has put a majestic, beautiful masterpiece in the world all around each of us and the admission price is free! Find the joy in the simple things you've been overlooking all this time, and better yet, teach someone else to find that joy for themselves. Just take a minute out to be aware of what's around you, I know you're trying to get to that last appointment but just pause even for a moment and look at that beautiful autumn flower or the wobbling animal that just poked his head out of the bushes, it really is perfect!
A lot of our financial restrictions made me less than popular through middle school but I learned I may not be able to have many friends for sleepovers or birthday parties but I did have a friend who would be there to wipe away my tears in the middle of the night and who could hear my heart when I couldn't find the words... I remember sitting in my room alone with my dog, Prince, and a cassette player listening to my uncle Lloyd sing "like a puzzle, scattered on the floor, that's the way my life was when you walked through the door. Then one by one you put the pieces back in place. That must be what they call amazing grace! You came to me and through me, your eyes were searching out my darkest feelings... I'm amazed at what amazing grace can do..." and in those moments God was so close I could feel His arms cradling me... I got to know God at a young age in a way I don't think most people ever really get to, He actually was "Abba, father" to me when my father wasn't around. And maybe you haven't experienced a situation in life that has pushed you down so far the only one that could ever reach you was Christ and if that's the case you should consider making him a priority because of appreciation of the many blessings!  If you are in a bad place in life right now and you feel like you're alone and you want to give up I totally get that but before you do just give life one more chance, try God! He loved you so much he became sin for you and died in your place, He died so you can live, don't throw that life away! Give God one chance to help you, you can even tell Him "okay God, this chick thinks you can help, so here's your chance..." that's enough, He will meet you where you're at! I promise!

For more help please visit there are contacts you can e-mail who have helped me negotiate through some of the junk in my life, there are things you can read, listen to and events you can attend! Or comment directly to me below. The comments are private unless I approve public viewing (and although I do approve all comments for public viewing if you ask me not to I won't!)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where one thing falls

Have you ever put something in a "certain spot" while saying to yourself okay, now I'll know where to find it only to realize you forget where that "certain spot" was when you actually do go looking for it? I do that quite a bit and frankly sometimes I worry about the state of my memory because of it.  I hate that feeling of something being lost, feeling like I will never get it back.  I know, considering it's usually something small like my comb I use when my hair is wet, it would probably be just as easy to use a pick comb and then buy a newer/better comb for wet hair the next time I wander to Wal-Mart but giving up and saying that's the end of that just seems like defeat.

In life, there are choices we make ourselves and then there are some made for us... Sometimes things are lost on us and we really have no ability to change that. There are people, situations, opportunities that just seem to disappear from us and it's beyond our understanding why not to mention beyond our control to stop it.  Sometimes things are taken away. And I know, it's hard not to fight that, it's hard to trust it's the right thing at that time but sometimes - like my comb - it's better to just let go, find something else and trust something better will come along in our future.

We are always saying little catch phrases like "it was just meant to be" or "that was totally a God thing" even "it was fate!" Whatever you call it I've realized that we only really are good at trusting it after something good has happened... And that's not trust at all, that's just life's rolling credits after the event.  When something good is happening we always give credit but if it is something we've lost or someone who has stepped away from us we automatically think we've hit bad luck, we are being attacked or everything is crashing down when in reality we should be giving the same credit for those things we perceive to be bad making room for more growth and goodness!  Sometimes present things and people have to get cleared out of our lives a bit to make room for what's coming our way... But if we hold onto what's comfortable for us we can never have free hands to grasp what's best for us! Maybe it was "meant to be" for a season and maybe that "God thing" was just something to keep you busy until the total plan is revealed... Maybe "fate" was trying to get you to teach that person to fly on their own not hold them so tightly you crush their wings... There are seasons in life and relationships and seasons change.

Next time you feel someone backing away or that door of opportunity you were about to walk through seems to close in your face look around... It may just be winter giving way to spring in your journey.  God may be doing a spring clean to get you ready for all the summer company.  Open yourself to being okay with the taking away as much as your okay with the giving God brings.  Open your heart to trust, love completely even if it ends tomorrow! 

And lastly, I'd like you to remember this little quote that inspired this whole post "Where one thing falls, another grows. Maybe not what was there before but something new and wonderful all the same." - Bambi's Mother, Bambi (as tweeted by Disney Words.) I think what she is saying is "don't be sad over what's lost, be expectant and excited trusting there is more to come in the future!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Love you to Death

Hi dear ones!  I skipped out on you last week :o(  I'm sorry.  My aunt Hilda, that I dedicated my last post to, passed away last Friday morning so I was busy with family.  I did know what my next post would be about last Thursday I just needed to wait on it and let it grow before I shared it... So here goes:

You all know I'm an advocate for love... From my very first post through Love people, love God... Connect to Effect... More than a Feeling... Help! I need somebody's help!.. Building a Bridge: Leaving a Legacy... I think you're probably getting the heartbeat here. Love is the most important message I could ever write, it's the only thing that makes us better, saves us, helps us, changes us and love is what creates us... Maybe your parents didn't create you from love but God did and let's also make sure we are aware we are still being created, until we breathe our last breath and stop changing and growing we are being created.  "He's still workin' on me, to make me what I ought to be! It took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars but how loving and patient He must be cause He's still workin' on me!"

I guess I learned love from my family... That's a little strange for me to say since my parents are divorced but it's true... I've seen my mom be hurt by love but she loved anyway. I've learned that love sometimes isn't returned but that you should love anyway.  I've seen love go unanswered in the actions of children, including myself, toward their parents. I've learned that sometimes love is not enough for someone but you should love anyway.  I've seen love make a marriage last through many hardships and troubles in some of the lives of family members and friends. I've learned that love is precious and you should treasure it.  I've watched members of my family, including my Grammie Bustard and Aunt Hilda, love us through prayer right up 'til the moment of their last breath. I've learned that with all the things life can take away, love is not one of them. I've seen people change and become better people because they were loved in spite of their actions. I've learned that love is a God thing and to be like Him we MUST love like Him.

So this blog is dedicated to all those who have made a difference for me through love.  My many family members who have believed in me, taught me, invested in me and prayed for me because of their love.  The people I cannot name who have encouraged me with just a couple of words of love or care through sharing their own experiences and hope.  To all of you who I've read a tweet or status typed out of concern and love to try to help anyone who may read the words.  To my my uncle Lloyd and many other music artists who have taken the time to write, sing or play God inspired lyrics that have literally given me the strength to face many of my tomorrows. To my uncle Morton who has taken time for me and poured wisdom into my life through prayer, preaching and just plain ole conversation. To my many friends, whether past or present, who have helped to shape my character and compassion for others through your example... Even to those who have shown me through example how not to be.

And from a more clear point of view than mine "... A year and half ago I found out I had cancer. Life comes to a sudden halt when you hear news like that, you start to get your priorities in order. I had a baptism of love take place, as I call it. Over the years you get hurt by others, hurt by what is said to you and often have a hard time getting along with others you work with because of difficulties. And of coarse it is always the other person, lol. Something happened to me in the Dr office that day... A wave of love came over me. I felt a release from all the old, bitter feelings. I went back to work and told all 120 people I work with (on an individual basis) that I loved them and that they are wonderful people... Because they are! And to all I had wronged I asked for forgiveness. When you find out you have a disease that will one day take you life unless God gives a miracle... You think differently.  I now can say I look at people today with love in my heart. No wrong feelings. Everyone is beautiful and special. God's love baptism is awesome. Hope this helps someone. To are loved." - Norman Mersereau

So from all those who have taught me how to love, from God himself and from me, I would like to propose the following: Let's remember love today.  Remember that even in the bad times, situations and through those people who somehow along the way have forgotten to show or been so beaten down cannot gather the strength to show love, God shows us His love through even the lessons that come out of all this.  Take the time to think about the people in your life, both past and present, and what love lessons we can glean from those relationships. Lastly and most importantly, take time time to love someone else.  It doesn't have to be something flashy or big, no bended-knee proposal inspirations needed, just buy the coffee of the person behind you in the Starbucks line... Leave a note with your tip at the restaurant that says something like "We appreciate your kindness." Make a card for a friend. Even just speak encouraging words to someone who's having a tough day at work. Hope with someone. Believe in someone. Adopt a pet. Anything, just DO SOMETHING to show love.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mending Fences... Trust

There's so much going on right now in my family I don't understand (and don't worry, this is not a negative Nancy rant, I know where I'm going ;oP) One of my aunts has received news the doctors have found cancer in her body for the 3rd time in two or three years. Her oncologist has said it's the most aggressive cancer he's ever seen and it's "incurable." Naturally, being a Christian who has seen God cure cancer before my very eyes I expected He would do the same for my aunt.  This woman has lived such an outstanding life with respect to so many things... She's treated all of us nieces and nephews (and from a family of 19 brothers and sisters you do get A LOT of nieces and nephews) with love and respect as if we were her own children. She's always had an open door to her home and her fridge for whoever was passing through whether it be family or friend. Just a few weeks ago she was going through her home digging out dishes she could spare, furniture and more for a neighbor in need she had only just met, if that isn't the heartbeat of Jesus I don't know what is!  I mean honestly, if anyone deserves a miracle it's my aunt Hilda.  But, I've had the unfortunate fate of seeing a lot of people suffer through lost battles with cancer and that is not something I would ever want for a woman of such beauty and sensitivity of spirit so although I know God can I pray "Jesus, give a miracle of healing or a miracle of quickness, don't let her suffer."  And today the report comes through: ten to twelve days to live, past that will be a miracle. Definitely not the choice I want God making in this situation. Really it's almost offensive to think He would choose the option I never meant for Him to even consider.

And there it is, the word that got me thinking... "Offence."  What is offence? What offends us most? Is it just that we don't always get to have our own way? I know there many avenues for offence to come our way and some, if not most of them have way more to do with other people or circumstance than with God.  But I also know the Bible says "ALL THINGS works together for the good of those who love Him." (Romans 8:28) yet, in some situations even scripture can seem like offence.

So what does offence do to us?  Well, the good news is, offence itself does nothing to us unless we hold onto it... Then offence does exactly what it sounds like... A fence. Offence erects a fence around our hearts. And maybe it's just one fence this time but soon there are more and one day you will wake up to find all the things you're holding onto have got your heart completely fenced in. I know sometimes we thing, "well, why is that bad?  Aren't we just safer that way?" No, that's the way we die inside... See your heart needs room to beat, a little air... Eventually we will build so many offences that our heart can't move or breath and becomes hardened.

"Hey, I thought you weren't going to be a 'negative Nancy!?' I don't want a hard heart, how do I let go? How do I stop offences?"  Well, you can't stop offences from coming your way, unfortunately. But you do have some control... You can control your decisions, you can decide to let go of the offence... Decide God is able to handle the situation and even though we don't always like or understand his decisions, like the decisions of a good parent, we can know they are ALWAYS for our best, he will never put more on us than we can bear (with him... 1 Corinthians 10:13) and it's going to be okay.

The most effective way to counter offence is with TRUST. Trust God. Trust His decisions. Trust His word. Trust His strength for you. Trust He is there with you. Trust even if it looks like it's not the best now and you don't see how it can ever turn into your good that it will... I'm sure Joseph had a hard time seeing how God would turn his promise out of being sold into slavery by his own family, thrown in jail once, then thrown in jail again and forgotten about but it happened!

So darlings, sorry for what seems to me to be a poorly executed blog thought and please look past that to the heart of the matter. I pray for you all, thank you for continuously reading! And that's the word for this week... For my family, for you and for me: I say with my grammie of the nineteen "I have no hard luck story to tell, my God has been good to me!" and we will TRUST.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

50 Shades of... Red

Sooo... One of my BFFs just went to NYC on vacation with her family, I miss that city so much and need to get my little rear-end back there ASAP! I was looking at my friends pictures on FaceBook and ran across the new Pepsi sign... Their new slogan is "Live for Now!" Hmmm... Isn't that ironic? The whole problem with the economy is that people and businesses lived only for the NOW and now that we are in the future of that now we are having to dig out of the consequences of living for the now... I mean really, the whole problem with the government is trying to dig out from that "live for now" mentality and try to make a better future.  So If it didn't work for the economy as a whole how come Pepsi thinks it will work for us?

"Live for now" is actually thick throughout our culture and media these days... I mean, we so allow our youth to "live for now" we give out condoms in school instead of really teaching them the cons of promiscuity... It's not just pregnancy kiddos, google STD (I guess 50 Shades of Red may not be just a play on blushing, huh?).  And the physical is just one aspect! What about the emotional tole? Even you who "love the fun of it," I know it gets old... Waking up in the morning with no strings attached may sound freeing until you're looking for an actual relationship... Then what? I have a male friend who is all about the hook up, I mean seriously you could make a movie out of his life but the thing is, I've had some serious conversation with him outside of the expectations of him upholding the face of "I do this because it's awesome!" and he admits although he honestly thinks it's fun he would never consider one of his hook-up women for a relationship and the thing about that is no only does it suck for those girls but it's not so great for him because in his words "the kind of girl I want... Or any guy wants really... At this point why would she want me?" And there you have it, from someone who "lives for the now" in every sense of the phrase... When you live for the now you have to be aware you may be giving up your future.

I've been hearing A LOT about this 50 Shades of Grey book that's out and I'm not going to lie, it actually sounded like a tempting read "When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her..." but (prepare yourself for a response that sounds like it's from a granny) I'm not going to be reading it any time soon. Why!? Because I have read the back cover and heard enough to know what it's really about... Honestly? We're going to have a mini baby-boom over this!? I have a future husband to think about... For one, I'm inexperienced now and I really would like to keep myself that way for him... I have made it a point to keep myself away from the physical aspects of temptation but I want it to be more than that, I don't want to raise my expectations to unrealistic levels (and from what I hear from married and more experienced ladies, the expectations of this novel are unrealistically carried into real life.) And a bit of an aside here, I'm not a "prude" by any definition but I am now and will remain "innocent" by definition.  Also, to the "experienced Christian" guy who told me I don't want a man who isn't promiscuous because I'll be disappointed... Actually, that's exactly what I'm waiting for :o) Furthermore, I don't want to have to turn 50 shades of red when he asks me about my own past.

The problems with "live for now," unfortunately, are not limited to economy or sex but extend to every area of life... College is fun, there are lots of parties, new friends and lots of hotties but if you just "live for now" and go to every party, drink and smoke it up with your new friends and never study chances are you're not going to get very far into the second semester... So what did you pay all that money out for? Do you want a future career? What about money? If you save it up you can buy a home, new car, pony, whatever but if you blow it all on booze every weekend all you get is a hangover.

Most importantly, what about God? You can "live for now" and put God off all you want but here's the thing, what if you don't get a tomorrow? I know,  I know, "we're young, we need to live in the present!" but please don't make that mistake, living "in the present" and living "for the now" are two totally different things.  Yes, we need to be present, don't worry about tomorrow but that doesn't mean we get to make decisions without consequence... My advice: take one day out, sit down and think about what you want your life to look like in the future... Now don't worry about ten years down the road or anything, I'm not much on planning my life out that way either, but just think about some of your goals, your wants in life. If you want to be married, what kind of partner do you want to attract? If you want to be a doctor or lawyer what are the requirements outside of school? (PS. if you want to be a lawyer you may want to keep from being arrested, you have to have a completely clear record before you're admitted to the bar and if it's not clear now the eraser is not very accessible.) Do you want a better vehicle next year? etc... Make your decisions about morals and actions now, it's easy to still live in the present while being mindful of your future.

Most importantly, do you want to go to heaven or hell? Don't know if you believe in all that spiritual stuff? Well, that's okay but here's my question for your consideration "if you don't believe, what if you're wrong?" I mean I can not believe in gravity all I want to but if I just say I'm going to jump off the Empire State Building because since I don't believe in gravity it can't effect me I'll soon find out I'm wrong but when I'm nothing but a puddle on the ground it's probably a little late for realizing I'm wrong.  So that's the consideration, if you are wrong about this God thing when do you want to find out about it? Once you're plummeting into destruction or while you have a chance to save yourself? Of course your choice would be the latter so the next step is to start digging... For you proof wanters I suggest a few things that are not Bible based or Jesus teaching based but a former atheist's, Lee Strobel, scientific and historical study:

Case for the Creator
Case for Christ

And lastly, Denish D'Souza... His debates are not scriptural based and do not assume Christianity is true in any way but debates from the bases of science, philosophy and history. Here are a couple of his clips I think you should consider:

Answering Difficult Questions
Atheist's Most Potent Arguements

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Connect to Effect

Ever hear the phrase "we just have a connection?" I hear it all the time... And I suppose it seems to be true sometimes, you know those times when you meet someone you feel you've known forever.  But really is that a frequent happening? Not in my life anyway... In my little world connection is something that takes effort, you have to work at it, build it.

Jesus was all about "connection" and that's what the Pharisees didn't understand, they couldn't... The whole religion of the Pharisees was based on superiority... They were too good to connect. When Jesus connected with children and held them in his lap, he connected with the woman who broke her bottle of perfume to wash his feet.. He connected with the adulteress caught in the act when he knelt beside her. Even Jesus' disciples told the children to leave him alone or told Jesus not to bother with them but Jesus wouldn't allow even his closest companions to jeopardize the connections he was building, he rebuked his friends.

So let me ask you this... Are you building connection with anyone?  Are you being purposeful in connection with others? Would you rebuke your friends in order to connect with someone to effect them for Christ?

I think Jesus had hold of something we may have forgotten over the years... You can only effect if you connect.  These days we are conditioned to want spotlight for nothing. You know where I'm going there, reality shows... Spotlight for nothing. But the kingdom of God is so far from being about our spotlight.  It's about us shining the spotlight on the passion of the cross, making sure people know about Jesus' love for us driving him to the horror of the cross. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in the big things we forget that everything big starts out small... We need to plant a seed to reap a harvest.  Everything is so easy for us, so quick that we've forgotten some things take time. We must remind ourselves of the purpose of our existence, we must spend time on others, we must connect to effect.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Busy Beaver

Hi lovelys!  I am so crazy busy with work & life this week it's actually stupid!  Our family reunion is coming up this Saturday and I have so many things left to do to get ready for it I probably should even attempt sleep tonight or tomorrow!  Anyway, I say that to say this: I don't have time to post a new blog today!  But have no fear! I'm re-posting my very first blog (sorry for the grammar & spelling issues it may have.. As if the rest of my posts are any better!) This post explains why I started writing a blog in the first place and what the most important thing for you to take away from my posts is... I hope you enjoy it and I hope you're all happy hippos! (haha I don't know it seemed to fit with "busy beaver... Maybe they can be friends :oP)

"When somebody loves you; It's no good unless he loves you all the way... Deeper than the deep blue see is. Thats how deep it goes if it's real. When somebody needs you, it's no good unless he needs you all the way. Through the good or lean years and for all the in-between years, come what may. Who know where the road will lead us? Only a fool would say. But if you'll let me love you, it's for sure I'm gonna love you all the way" - Frank Sinatra Now you know 2 things about me: I'm a romantic at heart (truth be known, every woman, if she is strong enough to admit, is a romantic) and I only like to do things "all the way". I've never been a "faker", not really able to temper many of my words if someone wants my true opinion... "Does this look good on me?" Response, "Ah... no." Known for being a little too outspoken (hey, I'm working on the sugary wording).. One day while walking down a main street with my mother, in the middle of a 'small-talk' sort of conversation, I realized I didn't truly know the one person who I was supposed to be in the most important relationship with. Uncontrollable tears streaming down my face, I froze on the spot. Mom, looking back, realizing she was now having conversation with herself, asked "Are you alright? What happened?" My reply, although now faded memory went something like "I don't even know him... My whole family knows him, I know his relationship with them, I know the words he would speak to anyone int any given situation, have read all his letters to me, spent countless hours talking about him and even too him directly, yet, somehow, I've lost who he is!" (Yes, I realize that's a run-on sentence, but it was when I spoke it.) Quite a shocker from the light, fluffy conversation we were having just seconds ago, mom fell silent. "I'm not doing anything just because I know it's an appropriate action, not speaking words just because they are expected, not putting on a face just because I know people are watching, I have to get real!" The conversation went on as mum turned me around and headed back toward home with onlookers most likely thinking I had just received horrible news (you get the point, I'm sure).

So, I started by telling him what was going on with me, it's not that I wanted out of the relationship at all, not that he had done anything wrong (in fact, just the opposite, it was the best love I ever had and have since experienced) but I needed some time to back up and make sure I was being honest with him. I made sure to spend time with him to show him I was serious about the relationship and re-building true, pure love. I'm sure I hurt his feelings but he certainly didn't make me feel out of line and after a few awkward times of silence he seemed to almost enjoy starting over.

I'm not sure what it was that got me lost in the first place.. Maybe it was eyes watching or the judgements people passed, possibly my expectations of how it "should be" then trying to navigate the path to those imaginary places on my own.. Maybe it was the lack of conversation about those expectations in the first place.. or possibly it was my eyes on other people's relationships and my own judgements about what went on behind closed doors the lead me astray.. Whatever it was, I just wanted authenticity and the only way I knew I could possibly get there was to strip the relationship down to its foundation.

My questions: Why did I fall in love with him in the first place? Did I really fall in love with him or my ideals of who he was supposed to be? If I didn't fall in love with him, is it possible now? Am I a horrible person because after years of time he invested in me I am just asking these questions now?

My Answers: I don't know why I fell in love or if I even did... I know I want to love him and to do that I have to get to know him as if we just met today.. Can I fall in love with him now depends on who I find him to really be.. Am I a horrible person? Probably, especially if the answer to the third question turns out to be no.

My Process: Let him know who I really am, I have tried to be sincere but I know there are times I do and say things because it's appropriate, expected or desired by someone other than myself. That meant telling him when he did something I didn't like and/or didn't understand, asking for his forgiveness when I made mistakes (which, if you know me, is pretty much a daily occurence). It meant telling him my thoughts and feelings about anything and everything even when I am embarrassed to admit them; telling him my likes and dislikes even when they didn't coincide with his.

Find out who he really is, without putting my rose colored glasses on about who I think he should be.. That meant accepting that he doesn't always say yes when I want something, he doesn't always agree with me, he doesn't always want to hang out with the same people or in the same places I do, sometimes he just wants to stay in and turn the tv off to talk about issues I would rather distract myself from (I once heard that true love makes you face all the things you try to hide and deal with your past and personality issues.. I believe that now). That also meant knowing all the above are not negative aspects of a relationship.

I had to see my true self and change the things that are ugly when I have to look in the mirror (so to speak.. and I am still working on this one). I know everyone says you shouldn't change yourself for a relationship, and that's true when you are talking about pretending to be someone you are not.. But not so true when you are talking about things that truly are negative attributes you possess. That meant making myself vulnerable (which, especially when you come from a broken home, is not easy in any respect). It meant being accountable to someone about the things I see in myself that, if I were looking at someone else with these traits, are not becoming in any way.. For me it meant working on my temper, my sharp tongue, my need to have the last word... (A friend of mine, Justin, told me "you don't always have to jump to your own defence, you don't have to bring someone down just because you feel attacked in some way.. You need to be confident enough to know that really when people attack you verbally in public or you find out they have behind your back, it says more about who they are than what kind of person you are" he's right, that was probably one of the most valuable pieces of advice I have received in a lifetime.) That also meant realizing my fears and short-falls and letting them go, allowing myself to live confidently in spite of them. ("Courage is not the absence of fear..." Author unknown) I had to accept, other people may watch and judge and I understand that has no bearing on our relationship... And if he let it change anything that's on him.

I put the work in, put the time in... There were a few arguments but always underlying love and understanding we were growing something real and we would have to pull out some weeds every once in a while... Love isn't easy, it's hard work but it's worth it.

I began realizing that my parents splitting up when I was nine shaped the majority of my opinions on relationships and does affect the way I act in my relationships.. Giving him permission to show me when my past is affecting our relationship and if I'm angry trying to wait to respond once I've had the chance to think about it and realize he's right.. When I don't wait, apologizing about my reaction. I had to talk myself through a lot of this, making myself realize I do deserve to allow myself to be loved and to love back, just because my parents split doesn't mean my relationships have to.

He wants to love me and I am going to let him.. I want to love him, honestly, truly, deeply, so much I would die for him, without embarrassment or reservation, with reckless abandon, no matter who is or who isn't watching, I want to love him as good, or if it were possible, even better better than he loves me.

So I challenge you to do what I have done... I can tell you now, it worked for me, I am still in that relationship, people are watching and they recognize the raw truth in it... I know, it's almost enough to make you sick! Ha! I think this would work for any relationship.. Give the relationship time and work.. If it's old or new just try it.. Give the other person credit, be honest about how your feeling and tell them the plan to work on it, they will appreciate the honesty and know you're actually serious about making this work..

You may be surprised to know I've told you about my relationship with God.. Don't shut it down yet, hear me (or read me) out.. I have 5 uncles, a grammie and many cousins who are pastors, I have seen healing and miracles happen in front of my eyes.. I believed in God, knew he was real but wanted nothing more to do with a God who didn't talk to me about my life or who I couldn't hear his voice with anything to do with my life. I didn't want him talking to me about other people if he wasn't talking to me about myself.. Then I realized, I wanted to give him the chance, if for nothing else, so I could walk away with a clear conscience... I honestly put in the time and effort and it worked.. I'm not sure I wasn't surprised but I was glad. The Bible says "Taste and see that the Lord is good" you would only say you didn't like something without trying it if you were a child (or immature) so I'm just asking you to give God the chance you would give a new flavor of ice cream.. If I'm wrong, prove it to yourself by honestly trying the relationship. Do it ALL THE WAY!

PS. I'm not wrong