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Friday, December 9, 2016

Cats in a Christmas Tree


Cats in a Christmas tree.

Its cute but so frustrating.

You spend hours decorating the tree, making it look beautiful and perfect, then the cats get in it and pretty much destroy all your hard work. They love to climb up the middle of the tree, knocking things off as they go deeper and higher. There is no point trying to keep them out, they will find a way to do what they want to do.

I was sitting here this morning looking at my once pretty tree that has now been consumed by my cats, and it came to me that its a great symbolism of our lives.

We dress ourselves up, make ourselves look pretty on the outside, but then sin comes in and destroys us from the inside out.  Sin wreaks havoc on our facade of perfection, knocking off the pretty bows and sequins we use to make ourselves look pretty.  We walk into church on Sundays looking our best, but inside we are a total mess.  

I come home from work, I assess the mess and begin trying to put things back where they were. The cats cower in fear of me because they know they did something wrong.  Guilt comes in.   I rearrange the ornaments, fix the branches, reattach the lights, all in an effort to make the tree look presentable again.  But, they always come back for more! 

Isn't that just like what Jesus does for us?  We let sin in, it destroys our temple, then we see the destruction it has caused, feel guilt and then invite Jesus in to fix the mess.  He does.  He always will.  That's what His grace is all about.  We come to him broken, messy, destroyed by our sin, and he makes it new again.  He picks up the pieces of our brokenness and while its never as pretty as it once was because of the cracks, its still standing.   Jesus' mission on earth was to neutralize our guilt.
His death and resurrection provide an unlimited source of the forgiving relief that we all need.

Psalm 32:3, 5 King David wrote "When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long...I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD" - and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Every day I leave my house in hopes that I come home and the cats have finally learned to leave the tree alone.  That they won't sin anymore.  Every evening I come home to find a mess.  Somedays its just a small mess, somedays its a big one!  But every day, I try to fix it and then I love on them.  I see them hiding and I reach out and pet them and tell them I love them and let them know they are still welcome in my home.

That's exactly what Jesus does.  No matter how bad we mess up, how broken we are, He comes in and picks up the pieces and rearranges our hearts, then He loves us.  He doesn't scold, he holds.  He wraps His arms around us and lets us know we are still welcome in His house.  

The Christmas Tree is a symbol of the life and rebirth and stamina.  We have all of that in Jesus.  He died so we could be new.  Born again into His family.  No matter how bad we mess up, He will always love us. 
Its the best gift of all.  Don't you think??


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Just Be Held


A few mornings ago I decided to turn on the music instead of watching the news.  The news is always full of bad stories and I just wanted to worship.  I have an Amazon Fire box and so I sorted thru and found a channel with Christian music.  I was singing, packing my lunch, making breakfast and just worshiping the Lord as I readied for my day, when this song came on.  I've heard it many times but the cool thing about this app is it prints the words on the screen.  It came to the above verse and I just stopped in my tracks and tears started falling down my face.

You see, I've been in some storms this past year.  My heart has been downcast and I've wondered where God has been in it all.  I have wondered if he loves me as I've been told He does.  Its easy to wonder when you feel completely surrounded by a storm and you can't feel his presence.  The words of this song reminded me I need to take my eyes off of the storm and place them on the cross.

The Cross.  The one thing that we as Christians probably take for granted more often than we want to admit.  We know what Jesus did for us.  We are thankful.  But this past Sunday our pastor reminded us of the horrific nature of the cross.  What Jesus went thru for US.  The flogging, the beating, the thorns piercing his head, the mocking, the spit in his face, the humility.  He walked a road to a hill, carrying a cross that was meant for me.  It was meant for you.  It was brutal by nature and we live our lives taking for granted what He did. 

It humbled me. 

It made me cry.

It broke my heart.  

It gave me hope.

It showed me how much He loves me.

It opened my eyes to the fact that I need to quit looking at my storms and look at the cross.

Does He really love me?

"But if your eyes are on the cross, you'll know I always have and I always will..."

We live in a troubling time, and so often we worry about so many things - bills, family dynamics, job, government, sickness and disease.  Just be held.  What is Jesus saying in this song?  


Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm
You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will

And not a tear is wasted
In time, you'll understand
I'm painting beauty with the ashes
Your life is in My hands

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you'll find Me
And where you are, I'll hold your heart
I'll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won't let go

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
(Stop holding on and just be held)
Just be held, just be held
Just be held, just be held

Not a tear is wasted, I'm painting beauty with the ashes.  What a beautiful reminder that nothing is lost in our suffering.  God is using EVERYTHING for His purpose in our life.  We may not understand what we are going thru.  We may question why He seems to make us take the long route to our destination.  The Israelite's had to take the long way around to the promised land.  Why?  Because they weren't ready for the fight that they may have encountered if they went the shorter distance.  Sometimes God protects us from things we don't even realize is ahead of us by keeping us where we are.  
So, just be held.  Let God hold you in the storm.  Let God shelter you and never forget He has not moved from you.  If you feel lost and alone, seek Him and you will find Him.  He says in his word if you seek me with all your heart you will find me.

Jeremiah 29:13  "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart".

So, today, just be held.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Cherish the Moments...

I had a very vivid dream last night.  My grandparents on my moms side are both passed away.  In my dream they walked into my office while I was working.  At the moment I was surprised but not too stunned to see them.  They came to visit.  As I tried to get away to spend time with them it seemed the busier I got.  I was anxious to leave, but people kept coming in and wanting help and asking me questions - they were distracting me from being with the 2 people I most wanted to be with.

As I was finally able to leave, they walked ahead of me out the door, across the street, into a crowd.  I tried to keep up.  Its as if they knew where they were going and they trusted I would follow.  I turned a corned and end they were gone. I panicked.  I asked a lady if she had seen them.

      "They are old and I can't find them!  They were just here!" 

I ran around frantically trying to locate them, but I couldn't.  They were gone.  I was devastated.


I woke up thinking about this and God showed me that is very much what happens in our lives.  We get busy, we get distracted, and the people who are most precious to us move ahead and in a moment, everything changes.  They become sick and die.  They age before our eyes and we take them for granted, and then they are gone.  And we stand around and say "They were just here!".

I wish we could all just appreciate who we have in our lives RIGHT NOW....I am not guaranteed tomorrow and neither are you.  In a moment, everything could change.  

In my dream I went back to my office.  I was upset and crying.  More people had come and the office was packed full of people wanting help and no one was helping them.  I had multiple secretaries around me and no one was doing anything!!  I was anxious and started crying.  I missed my Grandparents and I was brokenhearted that I had lost them.  I turned and saw a dear friend from high school walk in the door and straight to me.  He wanted to know why I was crying.  I quickly wiped my tears and said "I can't talk now, I have to help all of these people.  Can you wait for a bit?"

He said he couldn't wait and so I lost that moment with him.  He had to leave.  He was gone.  

Again, God showed me that sometimes we are given JUST A MOMENT to connect with someone.  That connection is Him, reaching out to us thru others that He uses.  His hands and feet.  I lost that moment because I was too busy.  In a moment, everything changes. 


 I know my grandparents knew how much I loved them, because I showed them and told them often.  My friend probably doesn't know how much I love him because I have failed to tell him.  How many people in your life have you taken for granted, trusting that you have time to say how much you care?  We are all one moment away from a debilitating disease, from an accident that can take us from this earth.  Anything can happen in just a moment.  

So, why don't we make a point starting today to let those we care about and love know how much we love them?  Why don't we make that phone call, send that text, have that cup of coffee?  Is what is keeping you so busy, or the anger you hold keeping you from smiling at them and forgiving them, the disappointment you hold because of something they said or did - is it greater than letting it go and loving them today?  

We aren't promised tomorrow.  

Everything can change in a moment.

What are you going to do with your moments today?


 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fall and Faith






Fall.

Its a beautiful time of year.

Leaves start changing color.  The winds blow in cool and crisp.  The days are shorter and the nights are longer.  The animals are preparing for a long winter ahead by storing up food for the winter months.

Fall is also the sign of an end. 

The end of summer and long hot days.  The end of all things living and green.  Its a sign that its time for some things to die and slip into hibernation in order to prepare for the new life that will begin again in the spring.

Our faith can be very much like fall.  We have sailed through a bright and sunny season in our lives when the winds of change roll in.  The breeze picks up and the winds of change start to howl and the leaves of our dying faith start to fall.  We've had a fun and easy time and we haven't built up our faith.  We haven't had to exercise it because life has been good.  What do we do when the storms of life roll in?  How do we get ready for the darkness that is about to descend, before the cold winds howl around us and the doubt and fear begins to blind our eyes?

We must store up for those days by reading and studying Gods word.  Like the squirrels that scurry around picking up all the acorns that have fallen from the trees, we must take the bits and pieces of God's word that we have heard and store them up in our hearts so that when the storms come, we have the nourishment we need to sustain us.

How do we keep from getting discouraged when we can't see whats in front of us?  Read Gods word.  Store it up in your heart and your mind so when you can't see whats next, you can rely on the one who knows it all.  


 God already knows whats ahead.  He wants us to trust Him with the next step, the next day, the next week, the next season.   If we try to get thru on our own power, we will become disoriented in the storm and end up walking down the wrong path.  We will become lost and unable to find our way out.  But, if we build up our faith by reading Gods word, and praying for His guidance, He will lead us to the other side.

After fall comes the cold long days of winter.  We snuggle in, we try to stay warm, we probably eat too much comfort food, and we expectantly for longer days and warmer breezes.  This is how we build our faith.  We snuggle in, we grab our Bibles, we load up on His comfort, and we expectantly wait for the sunnier days and the end of our present struggle.  But does it end there?  No, just as there are 4 seasons in nature, we also have seasons in our faith walk.  We must ride the wave of each season with the same expectation we do when fall comes and winter hits.  We store up Gods word in our hearts so that when the winds blow in, when the doubts and fear howl around us, we have nourishment to get us through. 

Fall, its my favorite time of year.  What will you store up for the long winter ahead?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Peace in the Pause


A few years ago I felt God stirring in my heart to "tell my story".  You see, I grew up in a small town in Northern Indiana, a child of divorce in a church that some would now consider a "cult".   I've had many experiences through life because of my upbringing and God has shown himself in many ways.  So, in my calling, I assumed I was to write a book.  

I've never written a book.  I've never really written much, except my journals.  So, with good intentions of my heart, I sat down and tried to write a book.  Didn't happen.  I didn't know where to start, what to do, what direction to take it.  I've struggled now for a few years thinking I'm supposed to write a book and nothing has happened.  Well, life has happened.  

I'm a single mom.  In these years I've raised 2 boys, taken care of a home, been the sole income earner in my home and had to deal with all the issues most women have a husband to help with. So, when would I have time to write a book?  I tried in my own POWER to do what I thought God wanted me to do...instead of waiting on God to tell me when and how to proceed forward.  So, in the time of PAUSE, I started writing blog posts.  

It occurred to me this morning that these posts very much tell my story.  I've shared some of my past, but what I've shared most is what God is teaching me through his word.  There have been pauses in my writing - either because I wasn't spending time with Him and listening, or because I was just busy doing life.  I'm at a season in my life now where the kids are gone to college and I'm starting to have more time to listen to God. 

I've done a lot of whining and crying - wondering why he has me hanging out in the pasture when I want to go running down the hillside. I've wanted to run ahead of God and do things on my own, and in the process he has closed doors, and some he has even slammed in my face.   When He told me to tell my story, I thought he meant my past.  But, now, He very well could have been meaning my present and in the pause is preparing me for my future.  I'm to tell what I'm doing while hanging out in the pasture, waiting for my shepherd to lead me to greener pastures.  You see, I have to get all I can glean from the pasture I'm in before I can enjoy the one that is ahead of me.  If I rush through this one, I may miss something really good.

Where do you feel God wants you to go?  Do you feel like you are stuck where you are?  I do.  But, when you feel that way and when I feel that way, we need to pause and ask God "What is it you are trying to teach me in this pasture?"  Many lessons will be learned at each one and we need to get as much nourishment and growth out of each one.

James 1:2 (MSG) "So don't try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let [a test or challenge] do its work so you become mature and well- developed, not deficient in any way."

So, today, I urge you to find Peace in the Pause.  Instead of being anxious about moving forward, ask God what He wants you to learn where you are, being READY and willing to take the next steps forward when He says you are ready.



Friday, September 30, 2016

Waiting Room

Whats on my mind?
 
 Well, its been in MY plans to sell my house and move...we are often told "If you want to change your life, its up to you...", or something along those lines. But, its isn't up to me. God orders our steps and what I WANT and what He wants for me may be 2 totally different things.

I had my house up for sale for a year...yes, 12 whole months. And not one offer. Showings yes, but there was always something they didn't like. I love my house. I just don't love the location of this city. I don't love my job, I don't love being here without family close by....why then is God keeping me here? Its not for me to question Him. What I need to do is TRUST Him.

I TRUST that God has a perfect plan for my life. I TRUST that He has greater things in store for me than my mind can conceive. What I thought would be good for me may not be. I'm still going to try to sell my house - its too much for me to maintain while working 2 jobs. But, when that house sells is in Gods timing. When he allows me to do something different than I'm doing is in God's timing.

So, what do I do now?
 
I wait.
 
Patiently. 
 
Expectantly. 
 
With bated breathe.
 
Hopeful for whats to come.
 
Excited to see what God is up to.

Do you live your life this way?  Or do you live disappointed and discouraged thinking God has forgotten you?  Do you live wishing for more?  Maybe what you have is all God knows you can handle right now.   

One thing I do know is this - God loves me with an everlasting love.  Nothing I do today will make him love me less than He loves me right now.  He wants to bless my life and give me good things.  He wants to give me the desires of my heart. But, what if the waiting is meant to get the right desires into my heart?  

What do you do while waiting on God?  Do you question Him?  Do you try to go over his head and make things happen on your own?  Or do you take this time of waiting to know Him better?  To spend time with Him and know His heart?  I know I am trying to use this time to know Him better.  To Trust Him more.  If we always got what we wanted, we wouldn't need Him so much would we?

Wait.  Trust.  Know that He is good.  

Tell me, what are you waiting for?  To know Him more is my greatest desire.


Wounded or Mended


Matthew West has a song on the radio called "Mended".

I've listened to that song multiple times...then one day I LISTENED to the words.

Then I wrote the words down in my journal.  I realized that the song is sang from God's perspective.  It was HIM singing to me about what I see versus what He sees.

How many times have we sinned and then thought God couldn't possibly love us anymore?
How many times has bad things happened in your life and you wonder if God is even there?
How many times have you thought NOTHING good can come of this?

We all go thru hard times in life.  Sometimes those trials are short but sometimes they can go on for months or years.  In the midst of them we can't see the good that can come from them, the way our lives and our hearts are being changed.  We only see how broken we feel.  But, as the picture above depicts, God holds our broken hearts in His hand and begins the process of repair as we begin to seek Him.

Parent lose children - broken
Divorce happens - broken
Job loss - broken
Damaged Relationship - broken
Homeless - broken
Missed Opportunity - broken 
Shattered dream - broken

None of us are immune to being disappointed and broken in life.  That is what sin has done.  The sins of our fathers, our sin.  We feel we are unworthy of Gods love because of what we've done.  We feel worthless, undeserving of God's love - but that is where mercy comes in.

Jesus died a thiefs death on a cross meant for us.  Let that sink in.  This perfect sinless man died a horrific death so that we can live.  Yet we live as if we are unworthy.  He took what we deserve and mercy flowed over us.  When you make a mistake, when you heart is broken from loss, sickness, disappointment and pain, look up and see what He did - hanging on the cross for you.

When you see broken beyond repair
I see healing beyond belief
when you see too far gone
I see one step away from home
you see nothing but damaged good
I see something good in the making
I'M NOT FINISHED YET
when you see wounded, I see mended....

I'm attaching the song so you can hear it - READ the words and let them sink in.  I can't listen without tears filling my eyes.  Hear JESUS singing this song to you - listen to the words as they come from the Father's lips to your ears and heart.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

HOPE


Hope...the confident expectation in the unseen future or the happy expectation of good.

Do I have hope?  Do you?  Be honest...I will.

What do I hope for?

Hope for a better day...

Hope for a better job...

Hope for a Godly relationship...

Hope for financial freedom...

Hope for  a healthier, fitter body...

Hope for restored relationships with loved ones...

Hope that my family will all come to know Jesus...

What do you hope for?  Do you think you can obtain all of those things on your own or do you trust in the one who can provide all your needs?

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."

God already knows what the outcome will be for all the things you HOPE for.  He can see the WHOLE picture...but he only gives us just enough to light our next step.  Why?  Because if we saw it all, the good and the bad, it would cripple us!!  Many of us don't know what is coming, but we know what we've been through.  If you knew in advance some of the things you've had to go through, how do you think you would have felt?  I think I would have been anxious and fearful and in constant state of worry.  God gives us just enough grace for TODAY.  This walk of faith is a DAILY walk, a marathon that will take us through our lives.

Have you ever ran a marathon?  I have.  I trained for months to be able to cover 26.2 miles.  Day in and day out I ran my own race.  I put in the work, and on the day of the race, I was able to finish.  Our faith walk is the same.  Day in and day out we need to do the work.  Read Gods word, spend time with him, pray, worship, commune, share what we are learning with others.  That is how we become stronger in him.  I became a stronger runner with each step I took.  We become stronger Christians with each step we take with Christ.


Gods word promises us in Isaiah 40:31 that will soar on wings like eagles, we will run and not grow weary, we will walk and not be faint.

How will that happen?  By growing strong in the Lord.  By having Hope that through His word we will find strength to endure whatever is around the corner.  Hope that we can endure TODAY.

Do you have hope?  If not, it may be because you aren't tapping into the well of hope that is Christ Jesus.  Don't know Him?  Contact me and I'll be happy to tell you all the good things the Father can do!!  He loves you with an everlasting love.  Tap into that well!!!  Drink deeply.  His living water will give you strength to go the distance!!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Curled up in His Arms


I woke up this morning before my alarm with a song in my heart...a prayer.  As I sat down to begin my bible study I was overwhelmed by God's presence.  So overwhelmed that I sat with eyes closed and began to silently cry.  I kept my eyes closed because I could see Him.  

Years ago I had a dream.  A very vivid dream.  I was laying in a room, dressed in white.  In the corner of the room was Jesus.  He was patiently sitting there, waiting.  I remember asking him to just wait, because I wanted to see my brother first.  Jesus was waiting for me to come home.  (I still get emotional writing this).  I remember after a time my brother Mike appeared, knelt beside me and told me it was ok.  He loved me.  And then I was curled up in my Saviors lap, like a little girl.  He was patient and let me see my my brother before he ushered me into his arms. 

I sit here with tears streaming down my face.  I will never forget that dream.  It was SO vivid.  He was so BRIGHT.  And so loving.  

When I get overwhelmed sometimes with all that is going on in my life, he reminds me of that dream.  That He is patiently waiting for me to come and curl up in his lap.  That happened to me this morning.  I closed my eyes and curled up into the loving arms of my Daddy.  He leaned down and kissed the top of my head and told me "everything is going to work out.  Just trust me".

A common theme for me recently is to be Thankful.  No matter my circumstances.  Be Thankful.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 is a verse where Habakkuk makes the greatest declaration in all of scripture:

 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

Habakkuk is saying that no matter the circumstances before him, He will trust in the Lord.  God brought me to that verse a few days ago.  This morning in my Jesus Lives Devotional, the title of today's Devotional was Thankfulness.   "A thankful attitude opens window of Heaven through which spiritual blessings fall freely". An attitude of thankfulness brings joy not only to the Father, but to us.  It shifts our mindset and sets us free from the bondage of worry and fear.

I grew up fearing God.  Fearing if I did something wrong he would punish me.  God is ushering me into a new season.  I will be an empty-nester.  I am trying to sell my home.  I'm re-evaluating my professional life.  And I'm finding myself - as Stacie - a woman - not as just a Mom.  Its a lot to process and it has created many emotions.  But today, the emotion I will cling to is 
THANKFULNESS.   

Today I will curl up in the arms of my Daddy and let Him wrap his arms around me and hear him whisper "Its going to be ok".  




Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Diamonds


Looks like a rock doesn't it?  When you first see it you may not think it holds any value.  To the untrained eye, the worth of this stone is not very high...

BUT, to the trained eye, to the curator of fine things, this stone is precious and valuable.

Many of us live our lives thinking we aren't worth much.

We don't have the best body...

We don't have the best car...

We don't have the biggest house...

We failed in our marriage....

We failed at parenting and our kids are on a difficult path...

We aren't valuable or worthy.

BUT, to the creator of beautiful things, we are worth so much more than we imagine.

This is a rare blue diamond.  Uncut.  Unrefined.  Jagged edges.  Dirty.  But through the process of refinement it will become something highly treasured and valuable in others eyes.





We are like Diamonds.  There is a song out on the radio called "Diamonds" by Hawk Nelson.  Every time I hear it, it brings tears to my eyes:

Here and now I'm in the fire,
In above my head
Oh, oh, oh oh, oh, oh
Being held under the pressure,
Don't know what'll be left
Oh, oh, oh oh, oh, oh
But it's here in the ashes
I'm finding treasure

He's making diamonds, diamonds
Making diamonds out of dust
He is refining in his timing
He's making diamonds out of us


Diamonds go thru the fire and through a rough process to buff and shine and shape so that their true beauty can be seen.  So God does the same with us.  Each trial we face, each obstacle we come to, each storm we go through, God is using it to shape us in to HIS image.  He uses it to help soften our rough edges so that HIS light can shine through.  The rock above turns into the beautiful JEWEL that we all love and seek after.  God doesn't test us because he is angry with us, He does it because He loves us.  He wants our true beauty to shine through and that can only happen when we go through the fire.


So, are you willing to be refined by God? Are you willing to give your life to Him so he can refine you, buff out your rough edges and make you shine bright?? 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pray? or Be Still?





Life is rough. 

Sometimes we don't know if we are coming or going.  We don't know if we are to stay or to move.  Do we pray without ceasing or are we to Be still and know He is God?

That is my conundrum for today.

I was out walking this morning - yes it was wet out, little foggy and misty, but I won't melt I promise!  I've found lately that I just am not connecting during my time with the Lord.  I don't have any direction - I feel like I'm a flag flapping in the wind, tossed to an fro.  Walking the last few mornings has helped me to at least talk to God.  If I stay in the house I all of a sudden develop ADHD....I can't focus on any one thing for 2 seconds!

So Gods word tells us to pray without ceasing.  That doesn't mean we need to be on our knees, prostrate before the Lord.  But, to continually be in conversation with him throughout our day.   But we are also told to be still and know he is god.  These two verses caused me some confusion and anguish this morning.

I've prayed and prayed about my professional life for several years now.  I dream of someday having a job I love going to.  I have heard it said if you love what you do you never "work" a day in your life.  I don't know that feeling.  I never have.  And I want that.  I am about to be an empty nester.  I'm proud of my kids.  They have dreams that they are pursuing.  I've always been strong.  Tough mom.  Independent.  I rarely cried in front of my kids.  But now I'm a sappy mess.  My oldest has been away for three years and sometimes a text from him brings me to tears.  I miss him so much and I worry that I won't mean as much to him as he builds his own family and becomes part of another one.  My youngest is about to embark on his college career.  He is my side-kick.  We are together all the time.  He won't tell me he loves me. He won't let me hug him.  I know he loves me but I need to hear it.  More now than I ever have.  
I'm trying to sell my house.  Where will I live?  Will I stay here or move?  What is on the horizon?

I pray about so many things and sometimes I fee like a whiner!!  Then I get scared God is tired of hearing from me.  He told me to be still, yet I am told to pray without ceasing.  An oxymoron if you ask me.  Pray but be quiet!!!  :-)

So, what are we to do?  We are supposed to do both.  My problem is the worry that I stick in between praying and being still....I pray and then I'm supposed to be still.  But, instead, I'm letting it swirl above my head.  Dirty, messy, trashy stuff going a mile a minute over me.  I don't have peace because of my worry.  

So I'm gonna pray - and then I'm gonna really really work on that being still part.  Its so hard.  But, if I want the mess to settle, I don't really have a choice do I?



maybe some time on the beach in a few weeks will give me some of that peace.  Lets pray it does...

thanks for listening - pray for me, I need it!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Jesus Loves Me


Jesus loves me
This I know
For the Bible tells me so....

We've all heard and even sang this song.  We learned it as small children and it brings back memories when we hear it as adults.  Recently I heard a sermon about His love for me.  The problem is - I've never believed it!

Yes, you heard me right.  I  never believed Jesus loves me.  I grew up in a church that taught me to FEAR God.  If I didn't do things just right I would be punished.  God would withhold my blessings. If I had struggles in life it was because I didn't have enough faith or I had sin in my life that needed to be found out.  

I FEARED Jesus. 

To be honest, I've lived my life in fear. 

Fear that if I sin, he will keep my blessings from me.

Fear that if I sin, he will punish me.

Certain that my life feels like I'm on a merry go round because of some hidden sin that I haven't confessed.

So, when I was told a few weeks ago that Jesus loves me....I didn't buy it!  

We sang that song - and it brought me to tears.  I went forward and knelt at the altar and cried many tears.  Because I want to be loved.  I want to FEEL loved.  I want to know that I"m LOVEABLE.

If you know me, you know I will do anything for you.  I will help those who need help.  I'm always there for others when they need me.  I will pray for you in a heartbeat.  But, I wonder why I don't offer myself the same courtesy?  Why am I so hard on myself?  Why have I convinced myself I'm not good enough to be nice to?  I say horrible things to myself - and believe them.  Why?  Because I don't feel loved.  I haven't most of my life.  Now, I'm not talking about love from a man.  I just haven't felt good enough at all.  But, Jesus laid down his life for ME!  If I was the only human alive he would have done it for ME!  

Jesus love ME! This I need to KNOW.  I need to let it seep into my fearful heart and let his love melt the rough edges.  I've lived my whole life TRYING too hard to be loved.  He loves me just as I am.  I don't have to change to be loved by Jesus.  We often have to DO something or BE someone we aren't to be loved by humans - but in my roughest, dirtiest, crummiest state - Jesus loves me.


That is a revelation.  That is freeing.  That is comforting.  It soothes my soul.  Jesus loves me, this I know....


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Prodigal





We long for the day to become parents - and then we do.

We long for the day the baby walks - and then they do.

We long for the day they talk - and then they do!!  

We long for the day they start school - and then they do.

We long for the day they can drive - and then they do.

We long for the day they graduate - and then they do.

We send them off to college to grow up - and then they do.

But along the way, we are constantly teaching them.  We are instructing them as they grow.  We tell them No, Good job, this way not that way.  We soothe their hurts when someone is mean to them at school.  We applaud them when they do a good deed.  We are there for their highs and there for their lows...We teach them respect.  What it means to respect us, their teachers, other people.  Treat others like you would like to be treated.   You never know what someone is going through to make them act the way they do so treat them with respect.  Its why when I go out in public I talk to the people serving me.  My kids have seen it.  At times it bothered them, but they saw me treating others with dignity and respect.  Am I always perfect at that task? No. But I try.

Gods word says in Proverbs 22:6  "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."

So what do we do when we feel we've missed the mark?  What do we do when respect is no longer being shown?  Do we turn our backs on them?  Do we let them go to learn hard lessons?  Do we, in this age of entitlement, continue to meet their needs without any lessons?  Its a hard place to be and its a heartbreaking place to be.  Letting your kids go so they can make their own mistakes.  

It brings to mind the story of the prodigal son.  Many people think the story is about the son, but I think its about the Father. The son doesn't want to live by the rules anymore.  He wants to go out and make his own life, do his own thing.  He asks for his college fund up front - no strings attached.  The Father hands it over and watches his son walk away - knowing he will make mistakes that will hurt him.  But, the FATHER waits patiently at home.  Praying every day for his son.  He prays for protection, for wisdom.  He prays he comes to his senses and comes home.  One day the Father's prayers are answered.  What the Father does next sets the tone for the reunion.  Did the Father say "I told you so."?  Did he tell his son he wasn't welcome at home anymore?  No, the Father saw his son from a distance and RAN to him.  Arms wide open.  Love overflowing because his son who was dead was now alive.  Not physically dead - but dead in his sin.  


God lovingly lets us make our own choices.  Its called free will. We are disrespectful.  We are hateful to people.  We give ultimatums and say NEVER, not realizing that NEVER is a really long time.  But God lovingly waits for us - He seeks out our hearts and waits patiently for our return.  I'm a parent.  I will do the same.  I will wait for the lessons to sink in and I will be here with open arms if and when my children think they know it all like we often tell God that we do.  "I can handle it God.  I don't need you anymore".  All God can do is step back and wait.  

The prodigal son story is not about one man and his father.  Its about all of us.  At one point in our lives or another, we are Prodigals.  We all think we have it figured out.  We disrespect the very people who gave their lives for us.  But the Father will always be there with arms wide open, running to meet us where we are.  If you are a parent, you will understand that just like God, we too will at one time or another have a prodigal child.  Our lesson, like the lessons we have taught them, is in this story.  The Fathers story.