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January 2017
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July 2017

Construction Zone

This morning as I sat and watched Ann Voscamp's Bible Study, "The Broken Way" I am once again reminded that it is in so many ways easier to pour out than to allow ourselves to be filled up with God's truths. We often run around in circles trying to figure life out, we sometimes put up walls to not allow our vulnerability to show through and always I believe we are afraid to risk loving with all of our hearts because deep down we are afraid we will not be loved back as we need to be in return. 

We are all broken people living in a broken world. Once again this morning the reminder of how broken so much in our world is...a scary threat at the High School my grandson is now attending...hateful texts on our daughter's phone...and a host off other things that come across our lives daily. All of our broken places need to be touched by love...His love and the love of others He has placed in our lives. Jesus freely gives us His love and His grace should initiate transformation in our lives. "We love because He first loved us." In the video Ann points out "feelings must be fully felt and then fully surrendered to God.  Our feelings, our emotions are meant to move us closer to God. As women we need to remember we don't have to fix things, deny things or pretend things away before coming to God. Can we simply allow ourselves to feel the brokenness and be ok with it? We can choose to be ok with the brokenness when we believe that Christ will always make a way for us. 

She reminds us "if we listen to the voices that tell us who we should be or who they think we are we soon grow deaf to the beauty of who we really are. Girls can be rivals toward one another but real women revive each other. Girls compare...Women champion; Girls impale but Women empower other women. Real women seek to break ground not hearts. Real women make peace not trouble and they shape freedom...not fate. "

Daily we need to choose if we are going to allow others and this world we live in to shape our identity or will we choose to believe our identity is in Christ, the One who created us. We aren't able to experience the power of God in our lives until we know without a shadow of a doubt who we are in Him. The Bible tells us He is the ROCK...and when we are grounded in Him our future is ROCK solid. 

I loved this part of the video "If God is for us it doesn't matter want mountains rise up before us. You are not your yesterdays, you are not your messes, you are not your failures, you are not your weaknesses, you are not your failures, and you aren't your brokenness, You are BRAVE enough today because He is; You are STRONG enough today because He is STRONG enough for whatever is coming And most importantly you are enough for all that is because He is. `Our lives can be like a boat snug in the harbor in the midst of a hurricane when we know with all certainty who we are in Christ. The waves can crash down on our lives and all they need to break is the lies the enemy has fed our souls.

Ann writes, "the greatest danger to our souls is not success, status, or superiority it is the self lies we tell ourselves or the lies we listen to. We listen to the voices that say, you're unloveable, unacceptable, unwanted, under educated, too fat, too thin...and  when we do that we are choosing to seek our identity in the trappings of this world and not in the One who died to save us from all of that. Lies destroy our souls...whether they are self-lies or the lies that others spread about us. When we listen to those lies we "drown out the sacred VOICE of the one who can never stop whispering the TRUTH...you are chosen, you are LOVED." Our hearts will never find rest until they rest in Him and in His truths. 

The truth is that He loves us with an everlasting love and in Him we are more than enough. I pray this truth touches someone's soul today and they will feel His hands holding them and will be able to hear His voice saying, "You are My Beloved child."

 


Celebrate Who You Really Are

As a teenager my world was rocked by my parents divorce and then I was forced to leave the Catholic school education system that was all I had ever known because neither parent wanted the expense of tuition. I began attending the local public High School the second half of my Sophomore year. It was a culture shock for this girl who had grown up wearing uniforms and had never had more that 250 students in an entire school. 

I knew a few people from the neighborhood I had grown up in or who like me had attended Catholic school and then had decided to go to the public High School. I remember feeling like a small fish in a big pond and I never felt as though I fit in. One of my most painful memories was brought to mind  recently as my daughter has become a victim of cyber bullying.  In High School there was a girl who chose to make me her target. She was someone I knew from my old neighborhood but we had never had a relationship. She began attacking me and had friends who joined in as well. 

I remember hiding in the school bathroom and crying because this girls comments were so painful and even though I knew there was no truth to them it hurt. I never told my parents I would just "suffer in silence every day." As the situation got worse I remember not wanting to go to school because I was so afraid of running into her and her bully gang that I began to feign illness. Finally after a day when she began threatening bodily harm I went to my Dad in tears and told him what was happening.

My Dad worked with her Dad and uncle and went to their house after work to tell her parents what was happening. I was fearful that it would make matters worse, but very thankful that it didn't. She never bothered me again but every time I saw her in the hall I wanted to run and hide. The words however left scars for many years and caused me to never fully immerse myself in High School. 

Bullying...it has gone on forever. Different venues have been used through the ages...face to face, newspaper articles, and now in this day and age cyber space because it allows cowardly people to hide behind their ugly, hateful messages. All bullying is meant to hurt another person and meant to destroy a person's character or self-esteem. Schools have no bullying policies and as parents we all work hard at teaching our children not to use social media to hurt others but when you see adult women doing it it is downright cowardly. 

As I have seen these text messages on my daughter's phone calling her a "clown, a manly clown, accusing her of things they have no knowledge of ...well, this momma bear's back goes up. Cowardly act...choosing to be anonymous because you know what you are saying is not true and is just wrong on every count! As an adult I now understand that those who bully are jealous of you so they use harassment and try to discredit you. They themselves have insecurities and want to see the person they are bullying be hurt and live in the pain that is so often a big part of their own lives. They are also intimidated... I think in my daughters's case it is in part due to the fact she is a strong young woman who works out, eats healthy and has been able to do things they could never do. Hatred and envy set in and that is when the bullying began.

My daughter has gone through lots in her life to get to where she is today. Has she made mistakes along the way" Of course, she has, we all have. I have watched her grow and blossom into a young woman who loves God, loves her husband, loves her two boys and the rest of her family. She has two sons who are legally blind and unless you have lived with someone who has vision issues you have no idea what that is like. She is their biggest cheerleader and makes personal sacrifices for their betterment...which includes not moving to TN in the time frame they had hoped to. She is authentic and has been willing to allow others to see her mistakes and hope they can learn from them as she has. She is always the one willing to forgive and move on even when people have hurt her. And above all else tries to look for the good in others always.

It saddens me to see people use social media as a platform to inflict cruelty on others. A keyboard can be a lethal weapon in the hands of people who truly don't understand how to be kind. Mean girls often grow up to be mean women. Hurt people hurt people. Fake people use others and when their purpose is served then often seek to destroy the others character. 

Words hurt and they can leave scars if you allow them to. You have to know who you really are and to keep doing what you are best at doing. Bullies want to see you cower and fail; they want you to cry and be upset by their attacks, but always just be yourself, not a second rate version or an imitation. I believe the only way to truly lead a remarkable, authentic life is not to get everyone to notice you, but to leave noticeable marks of His love wherever we go. When you know whose you are, who gave you your identity and that your security lies in the One who created you a person's words will never have the power to destroy you.  

 


What Is Your What If?

This quote by Ann Voscamp..."What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it."

Most of us I would venture to say hate suffering. How we choose daily to look at our lives and how we choose to remember can either bring us additional pain or bring us healing. Sometimes, as I look at my own life I can see the places God has been able to bring healing as I have surrendered those areas to Him. It also enables me to keep trusting Him with all areas of my life because I know He is the Rescuer and the One who brought me out of a pit. 

Our struggles when they are brought to the outstretched arms of Jesus can become something we no longer need to remember and it is then we will be able to see how our trusting Him with all of the pieces enables us bond our hearts with His. I exchange my brokenness and my pain for His peace. Sometimes, I think we give "lip service" and say we believe God can do all things, we believe in God, basically we are good people...is that enough? 

I don't think so. I think far too often we put God on the back burner especially when we know our lives aren't exactly pleasing to Him. We forget that He sees it all but loves us despite our flaws. We forget that He is enough. When we forget about His kindness, His compassion, His unconditional love we allow the enemy to have a foothold in our lives.When we forget Him we forget how to have peace...how to not fear and we keep running like hamsters on a wheel. 

The Bible tells us our broken hearts break His...the broken hearts of others should break our hearts as well. Every day we decide what we will devote our time to; every day we decide whether to invite God along for the ride or leave Him on the shelf. A few weeks ago I made the decision to go to the Dollar Store and buy supplies that could be put in baggies for the homeless I so often see sanding on street corners. I filled 30 baggies and have handed out all but 5. I believe the window to the soul is through looking in someone's eyes. As I have made a conscious effort to look at them, to hand them a bag I have really understood "it is more blessed to give than to receive." 

It has been pretty cold for Florida over the past few weeks and the other day there were two homeless men sitting on a concrete block at the end of the 417...I handed them both a bag and one of them looked at the bag and then at me, "socks, there are socks in the bag." He was so thankful and told me he couldn't remember when he has last had a pair of socks. So many of these folks are lost, they are hungry in this broken world we all live in and they have lost their hope. I see it in their eyes and my heart aches because I know they are someone's child, maybe someone's parent and for whatever reason they have lost their way. The joy on his face at having a pair of socks brought joy to my day. A "God wink" a good friend would say. Because when we reach out to others and give from our hearts...we are given back so much more. 

What if we could all do one small act of kindness every day without expecting anything in return? What if we could remember to every day list three blessings on our lives? What if we could truly listen to someone who needs to share their brokenness with us? What if today you choose to be present in the moments?