Tuesday, March 14, 2017


"SKUNK!" That was the word out of my mouth as I scrambled to the back door to get the dogs in from their late night potty break. If you have ever smelled a skunk's spray just once before, you will never have trouble identifying it again...ever. You may also know that not only is that odor smelly but is very hard to remove, from anything it comes in contact with...in my case, the dogs! Since I know that skunks only spray as a defense mechanism, I also knew how my dogs love a challenge and in this one they surely lost.

Let me back up a bit to share what lead to our little backyard visit with Mr. or Mrs. Skunk (both male and female spray by the way). Before I get sidetracked and give you a mini lesson about how, when and where the skunk sprays, let me stick with the story... ANYWAY...for the past several weeks, contractors have been restoring a house whose backyard is adjacent to mine. This house has sat abandoned for several years and though the township kept the outside tidy, it still was an unoccupied house. The trees and shrubs were trimmed, even in the backyard, but even though it gave the appearance on the outside that all was okay, there was much deterioration going on inside.

During the restoration process of this house, as the workers went inside,  a whole lot of stuff had to be ripped out and disposed of, which was evident by the large dumpsters that were filled and emptied on a regular basis. A house that had sat for that many years was bound to have some critters and insects move in to have a safe abode, hence the presence of the Pest Control truck outside the house. These pests were unwanted "guests", but heck they figured no one was chasing them out and plus it was probably very comfortable...

During the moving and shaking process of restoring this house, it rattled and upset the comfortable "home" of some critters. I know this to be true because, it is totally off season for skunks to be so openly out and about. So you guessed it!  All that "shake, rattle and rolling in restoring that house got the skunk family out and moving.with their tiny suitcases... right under the fence to my backyard and the rest is history...well sorta history, if you don't count that I'm STILL trying to get the odor out of a section of one of my dog's fur.

That experience got me to thinking about us as believers, well... let me just speak about myself. For so many years I have believed in, loved and hopefully served God. On the outside I always try to exude a good Christian example, nothing wrong with that right? But guess what folks??? God is so much more concerned and interested in what's going on inside of us.

As Pastor Abie puts it "God confronts us". God confronts us about what things we need to change because He loves us and wants us to become all that He knows we can be in Him. Hebrews 4:13 says " And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."   Okay, since God sees all and knows all, then why haven't I been annihilated or zapped from above with only a grease spot on earth remaining? Because He loves me...so He "confronts me" about the things in my life that may not be evident to others, but He knows they are not good for my growth and relationship with Him and with others as well.

The critters in that abandoned house had settled in and were comfortable, when it came time for restoration; the process  caused them to be exposed. In order for the restoration to be done correctly the critters had to go!

In my life, the Lord has been confronting me ever so gently and lovingly about some things that need to be ousted in order for me to grow in Him. Things I thought I never had, things I thought never affected me, things I had become so comfortable with I hardly knew they were but had taken root so firmly until only the Holy Spirit could shine a bright light on, expose and reveal to me. I had become comfortable with those things, but after being exposed they had to go!

Being exposed is not a bad thing, you see, I have learned through the teaching of the Word of God these past few years that "God only exposes to heal". When God reveals, it is not to tear down , but to build up. When those contractors were restoring that house in my neighborhood, all that ripping out  and throwing away of the debris and critters was  not to tear down the house but to make it better!

If God today is "confronting" you about some things that you know should not be in your life, let Him do the work, let Him in His wonderful Love restore you. You have nothing to lose, only to gain. Open your doors wide and let Him come in and expose you in love as only He can. He wants to make you better. 

Unfortunately when we see folks that are publicly exposed, I believe that is not the way God intended. God is long suffering and will constantly speak to our hearts about things we need to change, but it is up to us to make the choice on rather to obey or not.

Philippians 1:6 says  "...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Father God, help us today to submit to the work that you are doing in us. Let us hear your voice and obey. We want to be better, we want to be what You have created us to be in and on this Earth. Restore us Oh God, expose us, reveal to us what needs to be removed and what needs to be built up; so that we can help to build your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven...Amen

Monday, February 13, 2017

Getting to Know God's Love...

May I tell you a story?

 Once upon a time, there was a princess who lived in a Kingdom that was ruled by a very just, kind and loving King, who was her father. This King was well known for His love and generosity, but the princess did not feel that she was worthy to have the honor of being His daughter. The princess knew all the bad decisions and wrong she had done in her life and knowing that if He, her father, the King would know her true being, surely He would never want to use her to represent Him in His kingdom.

Sadly instead of trusting that her Father loved her, the princess listened to other voices, voices that said they represented the King...some well meaning, some not.  These voices told her that if she ever made a mistake in following her Father's wishes, she would miss any further opportunities to be used by Him...that she would "miss" any good that would have come to her and that it would be passed on to someone else. The voices, in an attempt to control, also portrayed her Father as a King that would punish her if she did not obey them, the voices.  For years the princess listened to the voices and believed their interpretation of the King and His wishes, she believed that her obedience to the voices would somehow make her acceptable to the King; but instead she only grew in fear, fear of rejection and missing the opportunity to please Him.

The King was very wise and knew all along that his daughter's heart desire was to please Him. He heard her heart's cry to know Him more, He knew of her fears of not being good enough and of her weariness of trying to be what she thought He would want in a daughter.

The King, her Father was not only wise but also very merciful and compassionate and it moved Him that His daughter, the princess would not come to Him directly to get to know Him for who He truly was. You see, the years of deception and misguidance had created layers of unworthiness and fear around the princess and the King knew that only the Truth about Himself could pierce and take away those layers of fallacies...so He sent a voice. This one was a voice that shared the Truth about who the King really was, a voice that had learned, and knew the true character of the King, about His mercy, His kindness and unconditional Love. This voice had no hidden agendas, no desire for control...this voice had sat in the presence of the King and knew Him well. The King who loved His daughter very much, and wanted her to know Him, sent her this voice that understood her journey and whom was now free to help others learn how to have that same freedom.

The more the princess learned about the True character of her father, the King, those layers of fallacies fell off. The more she was encouraged to get to know and visit the King for herself, the more at home she felt in the King's presence. No longer is there a barrier of fear between her and her Father. She knows how much He loves her and wants the very best for her. Now she can walk in her Father's kingdom with assurance that she is loved...she can love the King freely and love others as she loves herself.

Confession (as if you didn't already know):  I am that princess, and for so many years I was so bound with the deception of what I believed was Truth. If there is anyone to blame, it would be myself, because during that time I chose to believe what I felt was truth. God in His loving mercy is always working in our lives to point us to the Truth, but we for various reasons often chose what we feel is the easiest way. God wants us to know Him for Himself, He wants us to KNOW the Truth of His love for us, not someone's interpretation of it. God's love is pure, transparent, no hidden prerequisites to obtain it, not controlling and certainly not deceptive. We can never truly love and appreciate ourselves or others, until we first KNOW the true character and unconditional love of God!

I am so thankful for His Mercy, for directing me to a representative whose only agenda is to share the Love and True Character of Our Father. No one is perfect and I'll be the first to raise my hand, but I am so thankful that God sees and uses "voices" that are willing to transparently share and represent the Holy, Loving, Kind, Just and Merciful God that desires to save, redeem, heal, restore and establish us in His Kingdom!

February is considered the "Month of Love", my prayer is that all who read this will get to know REAL Love and not someone's interpretation of it.  Get to know Jesus Christ, the King of Kings for who He truly is! He loves us with an everlasting Love and in getting to know that love, His Love, we can then begin to truly love others and to love ourselves.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Comfort one another...

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ."  II Corinthians 1: 3-5

January was a very gloomy month. A weather reporter on a local radio station even stated that this past January had a record number of cloudy days. Since it also is the anniversary month of my husband's passing...that added to the gloominess I am sure.

During times like that, I have found that it is best to embrace the grief, to not try and run from it, but to allow the feelings to run their course and to seek God's comfort through it all.    
Just for the record, embracing something and wallowing in it are 2 very different things.  To embrace it means to recognize it and walk it through; wallowing is to let it simmer continuously. Getting THROUGH is the key and with the Lord's faithful help, I did.

What also help's is an understanding friend. In my case, it is a precious woman that is a widow as well. She understands because a couple of years ago she walked the same journey as I did 15 years ago. We encourage one another. We have found how to comfort each other the way we have been comforted by God. 

The weekend of the actual day of my husband's passing, there was an early morning knock on the door and outside stood a delivery man with the most beautiful bouquet of flowers!  My friend remembered the date and sent a lovely bouquet with a note that simply said that she understands. It was such a comfort to read those words and to know that in this world that would take little notice of my grief that day, someone remembered...and cared enough to send flowers.

How has God comforted you? We must reach out to others in their time of need to let them know that we understand and share the blessing of our comfort in ways that have been a comfort to us from our Father God.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Think on good things...

January is the month of my husband's passing, so it can bring memories to the forefront. I was just thinking of the time when my late husband called me into the bathroom to see our then 1 year old grandson grin at his own image in the big mirror over the vanity sink as my husband held him...how we laughed! 

Just recently, that same grandson on a visit here, and now well over 6 feet tall, stood at that same bathroom vanity to replace a lightbulb for me; and as I watched his image in that very same mirror, it took me back to when his grandfather held him, prayed over him and loved him. Our grandson does not remember, but I do and I cherish the memory #thingstobethankfulfor

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Reaction 101

 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" Philippians 4: 6-7

"BAM" is what I loudly heard as my car jolted forward! Sitting at the light waiting on it to turn to green, it was the last thing I expected to happen, never saw it coming. Yet it did...and loudly! The first thing I did was look in my rear view mirror and sure enough, it was not a dream, there was a car right on the back of me. I had about 60 seconds to get myself together, put the car in park, and though my heart was beating about 1,000 beats a minute...I said to myself "ok".

To be honest with you, I didn't think to pray a long prayer, because in times like these, you really only have the time and ability to say one word "Jesus"...and for me it was enough.  A calmness came over me, even though I was shaking and my legs felt like rubber as I got out of the car to view the damage.

The gentleman also exited his car and by the look on his face, he was very upset, scared or angry I could not tell. His defenses were up, because he expected me to be a raging, cursing lunatic...he appeared to brace himself as we both viewed my car. We both looked in silence (seemed to me like in slow motion) because I was expecting to see my car's rear end totally destroyed...but...there... was... NO DAMAGE !  NONE!  As we surveyed it closer,, both of us examining it very closely with our hands, there was no damage to either of our cars! not a scratch or a crack or chip!

All this time we had not said a word to each other...me keeping myself calm and him waiting for what he thought would be the inevitable; a shouting, angry woman. As we both looked up at each other at the same time, I looked into his confused eyes and said "PRAISE GOD" !  Did I see him take a step back and slightly shake his head? We both were so surprised, me because of the loudness and big jolt from impact and him, because he knew how fast he was going when he hit me!  But, there was NO DAMAGE and we checked thoroughly.

As I looked at this relieved man, I smiled and I don't know why, but I extended my hand to him for a handshake (not sure why I did that, God knows). He had about 12 inches in height over me and the size of him could have been intimidating I believe if the situation was the other way around...but I wanted to let him know that I forgave him. In his surprise, he reluctantly took my hand and shook. THEN, now bear with me... my "Hug" instinct clicked in and I extended my arms to him for a hug...all this in the middle of traffic!  Did you know that I am the Hug Ambassador of the Northeastern region? LOL  Just kidding, but I do hug a lot, so watch out!
Don't ask me why I do the things I do...I just do it! All I can say is, the warmness of God's love came over me, and the gratitude that neither one of us had been injured nor damage to our cars and...I don't know, I just wanted to hug him!  Now I don't recommend this for everyone, but for me at the time, I knew I just had to do it. Oh! and this man who could have been a member of the World Wrestling League reached down and hugged me back, even though he did look a little embarrassed.

Then he dropped his head and said, "In my rush to get to the hospital ... I was speeding and did not look where I was going...I'm so sorry." I assumed he was on his way to see someone and God only knows what personal situation he was dealing with...and that's just it... GOD KNEW!

After settling that all was well and him probably summarizing that I was a crazy woman that loved to hug strangers...we got in our cars, much to the relief of the line of cars that had formed behind us, and went our own ways. But you know what? I prayed for that man all the way to my destination. I don't know why our paths were allowed to be connected, but I just knew that I must pray for him, that whatever he is going through, that he would allow God to take charge of his life.

The incident helped me to learn about how important our reactions are to situations.  We live in a world where we are constantly encouraged to react with anger and violence to what we feel is injustice.  Social media is loaded with posts, memes and videos of what we think are our right to use harsh and unkind words to "defend" ourselves.  Even people who claim to love Jesus, yet using social media to vilify what they feel is social injustice...that is wrong....wrong, wrong, wrong.

If my car was damaged would I have reacted a different way? I hope not.  What matters is that for that time and that situation, I pray that I reacted the way God would want me to react. I'm not perfect, I take this journey one day at a time, and I admit, sometimes I miss the mark, but I have learned to get myself back up, wipe off the dirt and pick up my cross daily...and that is all that He asks of us:

Our reaction...how important is it? To being mistreated, misunderstood, hurt, lied about, accused unjustly, cheated on, etc. How important is it to others and ourselves how we react? In the words of Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian, who suffered and lost her whole family in the concentration camps during the Holocaust for helping to save the lives of many Jews in their home, she said :

Friday, January 6, 2017

Thank You Lord for Another New Year!

Many are desperately looking forward to this year ending and a new one beginning, but actually in God's Eyes, a day is a day. The Creator of the universe... the One who always was, always is and always will be, created time only for us. He sees the whole "picture" from beginning to end and He tells us to rejoice...rejoice for THIS day! Why? Because He made it...for us! You may feel you have absolutely nothing to rejoice about today...but think about it, if you're able to realize that it is a new day, then that means that you are still here and the possibilities are enormously hopeful !

There are many that are having crisis in their lives and much prayer is needed. Praying for someone does not mean that you try to take on the burden of what they are going through at the time, but it means that as we pray we release them to God the Father to heal, help, provide and protect them. When we try to carry our and others burdens, are we really trusting God? God help us...help us to rejoice in You, the author and finisher of our faith.

"This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving memories...

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandmother’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandmother's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.

This poem was written by Lydia Maria Wilder and published in 1844, about the joy of her visits to her Grandfather's house for Thanksgiving. The words and (many more verses) were placed to music, along with changing the word "Grandfather" to become "Grandmother".  I guess someone along the way figured "Grandmother" was doing all the cooking, so she needed a song to her credit. :-)

I think of this song usually around this time of the year, because believe it or not , it reminds me of the times when my husband, son and I would drive south for the Thanksgiving holidays!  We did travel over a few rivers and saw a few woods along the highway, but I loved our times spent on the road going south. Cups of coffee in hand, we were on our way in the wee hours of the cold November morning to "Grandma's house. We had the best conversations in that car, you name it!  My husband said it was the caffeine, but to me it was just a good time to get away from work and pressures. We didn't make it down home nearly as much as I wanted to, but those times that we did make the trip, will forever remain in my heart as such precious memories.

I remember making the call to let my parents know that we were coming. My Mom would take the call (my Dad didn't talk much on the phone) but she would repeat everything to him as I was telling her about our upcoming visit. It was a wonderful feeling to anticipate going back home to see them, and I knew they were happy that we were coming; now that I'm older I understand that more. I knew that my son, as a toddler was going to get spoiled beyond measure...he knew it too and couldn't wait to see his grandparents. For him, my son, it meant playing baseball with my dad in the backyard and my Mom letting him lick the cake batter off the mixing bowl, spoons and beaters!

Oh the food! Turkey, cornbread dressing, candied yams, Collard greens, Macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, Glazed Ham, Butter beans, Potato salad, Hot Rolls, etc. and plenty of desserts!  My Mom was an excellent cook, we always said that she would have been a very successful chef/restaurant owner, because her food was so good!  She would always say "It's in the seasoning" and so it was!  One of her cabinets was overflowing with containers of different seasonings.

The weather is mild in the south where I come from and usually on Thanksgiving it is warm day in the 60's. So after dinner it was time to go visiting family and friends that lived close by. I miss those times...a full stomach of my Momma's food and then visiting loved ones in their similar cozy homes to catch up on our lives...priceless.

I miss my Mom's cozy kitchen, of sitting at the table while she whipped up a Sour Cream Pound Cake. I never understood and still marvel  how she could make such a delicious , moist cake all while talking and laughing with me. She could mix the ingredients, pour it in the pan, slide it in the oven and sit down to continue the conversation like it was nothing! LOL

I miss my talks with my Dad, while Ma finished her cooking, I would go into the den where he would be in his favorite chair dozing with the TV on. My father was a quiet man, a voice of reason. I still can remember some of the conversations we had, things he said in his own quiet way, but have positively influenced me and imparted wisdom to my life. He loved my Mom's cooking too, said she was the best!

Growing up in a home where we all sat around the table for dinner has had a great affect on my life and created a solid foundation.  Back then there were no cell phones, the TV was in the living room not the kitchen, my father sat at the head of the table and we shared about what went on in our days. My siblings and I had our disagreements and sometimes they got physical, but not at the table! Being at the dinner table was a time of coming together and being...family, of being thankful for and sharing in God's bounty. My parents showed us how to be grateful for having food on our table and that we should never take it for granted and we were reminded of this when we said grace at each meal.  My parents worked hard to give us a better life than they had experienced and for that I am forever grateful. They left us a legacy of being thankful.

I will never experience my Momma's warm, cozy kitchen again, with all its luscious smells, or my talks with my Da in the den as Thanksgiving dinner was being prepared...but I have such lovely memories that will always be with me.

My Mom telling my husband that she was fixing his favorite Squash Casserole, my Da opening the back yard gate so that we can pull the car around, our first hugs before we go into the house,  and oh such warmth and love was in there as we entered!  All wonderful memories of our Thanksgivings together!  My parents and my husband have gone on to be with the Lord now, but these precious memories will live on forever in my heart and to my grandchildren as I share with them.

This Thanksgiving as we come together, may it be a time of peace, love and encouraging one another.  Enjoy and see it for the blessing that it is, this time that we have with each other on earth. Our differences and disagreements seem so petty in the realization that we have so much to be thankful for.

I am so thankful for my sweet memories, so very thankful that though we did not spend much time together, the times that we did are unforgettable!

Enjoy the food, fun and fellowship and most of all BE THANKFUL!

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.  Psalms 100

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Spiritual Maintenance...a responsibilty?

Housework may not be my most favorite thing to do, but I do enjoy the end results and that feeling of accomplishment. The clean floors and windows, the polished furniture and the sparkling bathrooms all make for an awareness of how blessed I am to have a home and have the physical ability to maintain and take care of it.

Whenever I hear someone talking about buying a home, I think and sometimes say to them, "It's not just about getting a home, but it's also about being able to maintain it, financially and physically."  I have seen so many times folks in their excitement to buy a house that may be out of their means, only to find in a few years the responsibility has left them frustrated. It is a responsibility that must be consistently maintained or you will find yourself in a very unpleasant situation to say the least...perhaps we sometimes do not count the cost (Luke 14:28)

In "counting the cost", the responsibility must be maintained whether you feel like it or not. As I was cleaning the bathroom this morning I looked at the walls and admired the paint job I did several years back, then I remembered that particular year I singlehanded painted 3 of the 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms!  It was winter and I was grieving and missing my husband so much, seemed like everything reminded me of him. So I decided to paint! I remember talking to my brother who lived in Vermont at the time and him warning me to make sure I had plenty of ventilation; so there I was in the middle of a cold winter with the windows opened and painting away! Now while I know that chore could have waited, to me it was necessary. It was necessary for me because it was therapy...much needed therapy as I talked to God the whole time I painted, telling Him all about my sadness, disappointment that my husband did not get better, sorrow in the actions and reactions of people and anger at myself because I thought that I was beyond those feelings. In a crazy sort of way I maintained my responsibility (home) and was being healed on the inside all at the same time.

As a child growing up I was raised to respect my elders (thanks Ma and Da) and now that I am an elder, I still believe that respect not only for elders but for others is very important. A former mentor of mine once said "Always remain teachable".  Being "teachable " for me means that I listen...I listen a lot to what people say, to what they do not say and watch their body language. No I am not weird, that's just me, and I have learned so much about people that way. Being "teachable" also means to always be willing to learn.  None of us have all the answers and we can always glean something good from people, whether we like it or not. I believe that in being teachable, you are maintaining your responsibility of becoming the individual that God wants you to be. People and situations constantly come in our lives that I believe are used to help us hone and fine tune our character. Philippians1:6 God who began a good work in us, will complete it...if we allow Him.

While we must maintain our physical bodies, maintaining our spiritual being is just as important. Saying that you are a Christian, prayed once for repentance or go to confession faithfully does not maintain your responsibility of calling yourself a follower of Christ. Take me for example, I ask the Lord over 30 years ago to come into my heart and gave my life to Him...or so I thought. But through out the years since that time, I have had to commit myself to Him many times. I had and still have to maintain my responsibility of becoming the person that He wants me to be...I have to count the cost and follow through. In my case there were layers and layers that needed to be stripped away, sometimes the process is painful but it is so worth it. Sometimes I did not feel like being taught through pain; made aware of short comings through embarrassment; or shocked by revelations, but the end results has been healing to my soul, renewed hope and restoration.

Ever watch HGTV when they restore a house? Makes me tired just looking at the process! Knocking down walls, tearing up floors, putting in new plumbing and wires...they make it look so easy. But in interviews I have read of the stars of those shows, it is WORK, but so satisfying when they look at the finished results. The finished results makes me happy too! Love you Chip and Joanna Gaines!

Maintaining a home is work, the process can be tiring, but what a joy when you see the results and can thank God for the blessing of having a home.  Maintaining our spiritual lives, is work, I'll be honest, but it is true, nothing worth having comes easy. Why? because when you have invested so much in it, you appreciate it more!  Ask the person that won millions in the lottery why it was so easy to lose it all in a couple of years, versus the person that worked for years to become a success and how they will have monetary gain to pass on to their children...

The great thing about maintaining our spiritual lives is that we don't have to do it alone.  God has promised that He will continually be at our side, helping, leading, instructing and encouraging us in all Truth. Be teachable, take time to sit in His presence, listen for His voice and trust that He is with
you. (John 14:26)

Even after more than 30 years of making a commitment to follow Christ in no way do I feel that I have "made the mark"...In fact the more I get to know Him, I realize that there is so much more to learn about Him and myself.

Ever noticed how quickly a house that is not being maintained goes to pot so quickly. There is an empty house around the corner from me and I've watched how quickly the property has gone down. The presence of life makes a difference, but it makes a bigger difference when that life appreciates the joy of having a home. Today let's appreciate the Truth that God through Jesus Christ has given us a way to our real Home and may we maintain the Road that He has prepared for us to get there.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Letting go...

Lying on the couch for a few days nursing a cold can cause you to do a lot of thinking, at least for me it does.  I don't know what it is about not feeling well physically that makes me do a lot of soul searching and inventory on my life. Maybe when I don't feel well, it reminds me of just how out of control I am. I mean, if I had anything to do with it, I would have nothing but sunshine, blue skies and perfect everything!  But we know that isn't life. Not real life anyway.

So for the past few days, I've been thinking how the Lord has really helped me to let go of a lot of things. Now I'm not going to let MYSELF go, so you won't see me in the local Walmart with pajama bottoms on, my hair in large pink rollers, teeth unbrushed and no lipstick! (I was raised in the south by a Momma that taught us to ALWAYS make sure you have on lipstick, because it was a sure sign that you were letting yourself go if you didn't!)

By letting go, I mean, releasing those things that have caused me to slow down in this race of life. Things that I did not understand, things that were frustrating, things that hurt, things...things...things!

I consider myself a person with common sense, level headed, with a stable and loving foundation in my childhood as well as my adult years, but there were still things that I was holding on to. Things that had become such a part of my life, I didn't even realize I was still carrying.

God set into motion my personality before I was even formed in my mother's womb, and He knew   me with all my strengths as well as my weaknesses...but I didn't know them yet. (Jeremiah 1:5) All my born days He has been calling me to Him, because He knew that once I committed myself to knowing Him, He would direct me to the correct path of becoming what He created me to be. But along that road, things happened. Before committing to Him, bad choices and wrong turns got me off course; but even after committing to Him, negative and hurtful words were spoken over me by people I trusted...and I believed them. Betrayal, fear of man, wanting their approval had sidetracked me and caused me to be blinded to who God really is. Instead of getting closer to God and flowing with the movement He wanted to be in my life, I found myself a fearful, looking nice and smiling on the outside, wanting to fit in the "in" crowd, confused person.

This morning, I was reminded of a "lesson" God showed me several years ago. Sitting on my back porch which was at that time an open patio, and it was this time of the year. As I sat there a gust of wind came by and the leaves on a nearby tree fell off and were caught up by the wind that swooshed them away. The leaves looked as if they danced with the wind! As I watched I "heard" the Lord speak to my heart..." That is how you must be, when my Spirit moves, be free to move as I lead you."  But because I am weird like this, I immediately looked over at the tree next door that was not affected by the wind at all and remained stoic with all its leaves in place. So I asked "What about that tree...it's leaves did not move with the wind?"  I know...I was just asking for it right?  Then a gentle answer to my heart came, "Yes, but what may appear to be alive, is dead but continues to hold on to what I have moved passed." I will never forget that!  And it was my situation...

Layer by layer, as I have allowed Him to...Wait! The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman (for lack of a better description), so He does not force Himself on anyone...so yes, as I ALLOWED Him, He came in and began the sometime very painful surgery of exposing and peeling away all the impressions I had of myself, what I thought was good and the misinformed bad. Those feelings of wanting to fit in? Crazy! I never will fit in, I am unique and so are you! I LOVE people and love being around them, but I also LOVE going off to myself to sense God's presence, even as a child you could find me up in our backyard Chinaberry tree gazing off into the distance and enjoying my alone time. That's just me. For me it is in those quiet times that I find the strength to let go of things that have hindered me from walking in the freedom of God's Spirit. So I'm different...its a good thing!    :-)

For so many years I hung on to people that were only meant to be in my life for a season, I hung on to lies that unintentional people spoke over me and the lies I believed about myself. I believed that my strengths were my weaknesses  while allowing my weaknesses to become strongholds. I was jacked up ok?  But God wanted me to LET GO, to dance with Him in the wind of His Spirit. He wanted me to leave the old things behind and enter into a newness with Him. He wanted me to get to know Him and dance with Him in the wind. (I'm a little theatrical there, but you get my drift)     :-)

One thing about letting go...you may be misunderstood...why? Because letting go changes you. Things that used to bother you, just don't get to you like they used to. You may find yourself enjoying life more;  loving people for who they are and stop trying to change them. You may find yourself being easier to be around, the tension of expectation is gone. You may find yourself more content and at peace...with yourself and others.  You may find that God is working those things out that you wasted so much time trying to fix. What a joy!  God wants to do a new thing in all of us, but we must first let go of the things that keeps us bound to the things He has already passed over. He does not ignore but uses all things in our experience to make us closer to Him; stronger and at peace with Him.

I don't want to have the appearance of being alive while still clinging to old things of the past, but I  want to  flow with Him into a new season of freedom... this is my prayer!

"BeholdI will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? Iwill even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Waiting on God...

"But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

When did it happen? When did I stop worrying or being anxious?  Those were the questions I asked myself this morning as I sat in my favorite spot on the back porch. For many years now that spot has become my sanctuary , if you will, my quiet place to talk to and hear from God. I have learned to tell Him about all that is in my heart and on my mind; what troubles me, as well and what I take delight, and He answers...sometimes in the gentle wind blowing across my face, sometimes in a bird's solo among many of them chirping their morning songs, and sometimes in a child's distant laugh... and sometimes in just the quietness of the morning...He speaks to my heart.

This morning when I flung those questions out I was thinking about how I used to worry so much about what the next step in my life would be. You see as a girl, I always wanted to be a wife and a mother. I was blessed by God to enjoy those positions for many years, but when I became an empty nester and widow ( in that order)  I no longer had the joy of having those positions.  Friends and family will tell you how I would worry so much about what my next step should be. Should I move to another state to be closer to my grandchildren, should I keep working, were just a few of the questions that I lost so much sleep over. Let's face it , I was out of my comfort zone and to me these were major changes in my life. There was so much I felt that I had lost in a short amount of time. Thank God I was not naive about how to run a home financially or how to take care of a car, I always involved myself in those things and was encouraged by my husband to do so. For one thing during his illness, knowing those things really came in helpful. So I was not "lost" as some women are, when they become widows, but I was definitely thrown out of my comfort zone of what I knew to be life in general.  But God and His Grace...

There were many times I felt like giving up and throwing in the towel, but the Holy Spirit would not let me. Every time that I would feel sorry for myself, He would remind me of all I had to be grateful for. I remember the time when I had worried myself almost sick about whether I should move to be closer to my grandchildren. Well meaning people would tell me that I was crazy not to pull up stakes and move, but there was always something keeping me from doing that. I mean it made sense, I had no one in this area to stay for, nothing to hold me back, and yet...there was always this feeling that I should wait...

 I would cry and cry over it until one day while in prayer, I said to the Lord, "Should I move, please show me, I want to live closer to my grandchildren, because I want them to know me."  and the Holy Spirit answered, "Pray that your grandchildren know ME."  In an instance I knew what He meant, you see I can never always be where my grandchildren are, I can never always be there for them when they have trials or sorrow, I can never always be there to comfort them when they need it, I can never always be there for them when they need guidance and assurance in life. But if they get to know HIM, He will NEVER leave them nor forsake them.  So I finally GOT it!  Yes it would be lovely to live close to them, but it is so much more important that they come to know the ONE that will ALWAYS be close to them, our Lord Jesus Christ.

As I learn to release my desires to Him and how to not let the things that I want in life to be the object of my faith, I have experienced more peace, more contentment. When I allow the things that I want in life to become the objects of my faith, then I am sidetracked and my eyes drift away from Who is most important.  The only object of my faith should be to obey Him and to live to see what He actually has for me in this life, which I believe is far, far better than anything I could ever dream of. He knows my desires and He knows me better than I know myself, so why not relax and enjoy the ride. Let Him take the wheel, for real. Doesn't mean we become lazy and have to be pushed to do everything; but living life each day as best you can to be pleasing to Him, doing what Jesus did. Listening to His leading each day, sometimes it may be to do big things, but more often it is to be attentive to the still small voice that leads you do what may seem mundane to others, but could very well positively effect a life or a generation. 

I no longer worry or get anxious about the next step, when to move or not, I know that when and if that time comes I will know. Just as He spoke to my heart many years ago when I was anxious about a job change. I wanted to work in a different field from the bank and was quite annoyed and had lost all joy about going to work. I had tried and tried to get work in a school but at the time to no avail. One morning while on my way to work, as I was complaining, He spoke to my heart that I should work at my current job just as if I would be there indefinitely; create a working environment that I wanted, right where I was at; but prepare myself to move at anytime He opened the door.  What? Lord you mean you want me to make this current job, that I hate, become a place that I would like to work forever?"  "Yes".  And so I did, it took a while but I began to come to work with a different attitude, I was more cheerful, brought in snacks for the break room, took more interest in the lives of my co workers, became more helpful to the customers and visiting officials.  Pretty soon I forgot all about getting a new job and was no longer just tolerating it but actually enjoying it. The negative things did not matter anymore.

 After a time I received a phone call and you guessed it...it was the job that I had really wanted some time before. My boss came to me and shared that they had already called her prior and asked for a character reference. You see since I had made those changes in my attitude, she gave them an excellent reference and even told them that she would hate to lose me as an employee. So in due time God opened a door, but because I allowed Him to change me, I not only was able to have a new opportunity, but I left behind a very good witness for Him.

Waiting is not easy, believe me I know, but it is so worth it. As I looked out at the morning sky, I felt content.  Is everything the way I want it to be now? No.  Will it ever be? I don't know.  But for now, and with each day that the Lord gives me breath to awake, I am grateful, I am confident, that...

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling,
And to present you faultless
Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
25 To God our Savior,
Who alone is wise,
Be glory and majesty,
Dominion and power,
Both now and forever.
Amen.  Jude 24-25

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A child of God

"Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2-4

Ever watch a little child's face when they eat their first ice cream, see a puppy or a  "Choo-choo" train? Their eyes are filled with such awe and wonder. Things that have become common place to us, are things they marvel over and have such delight!

There is something so pure about a baby, everything fascinates them as they discover shapes and colors and movements. They are so trusting, vulnerable but loaded with potential! 

Back in the spring when the weather was cooler, I sat on my back porch quietly, talking with God. I have mentioned before how I am my worst critic (I am getting better though) and sometimes wonder if maybe God sneezed when He gave me my personality and sense of humor and it got off kilter. lol  So I asked Him "God I know that you have given us laughter, so what does it sound like when YOU laugh?"  Silence...then out front some children were playing and one of them laughed...and God spoke to my heart and said "That is what it sounds like when I laugh."  I began to think of how a child's laughter is pure, there is no guile in it, no grossness, no ill will, just pure joy! Pure fun! And it's okay to laugh, the Bible even says a merry heart is good like medicine! (Proverbs 17:22) So does God laugh? Sure He does, you don't think we have the brains to invent something like that do you! C'mon!

I believe that is why when we surrender our lives to Him, we become the children of God. Certainly He does not expect us to stay in our immaturity , but even as we grow in stature, knowledge and wisdom, we must still live to keep our hearts in the pureness of a child, to constantly be in the amazement of our Father God. To live in trust and expectancy rather than doubt and fear. There is nothing more sadder than to see a child that has been abused in some way and has lost their precious childhood years. They seemed prematurely aged and the light has gone from their eyes, there is no longer any amazement with life. But there is always restoration in Jesus, when we offer our imperfect pasts to Him, we can become the children of God, with His help we will once again desire that pureness of heart, we will begin to be amazed at His goodness, kindness and faithfulness.

Just this past week as some people and I stood and encircled to congratulate a man that had received a promotion, I felt a tug at my side and when I looked down, it was his small daughter squeezing in trying to get to her father. As I moved to the side to let her in, I have to be honest, my southern 1960's upbringing kicked in and I thought to myself "Where's the manners here baby!" ( Did I say I was a work in progress? lol). This child pressed through to get to her father, then she crawled into his lap and he didn't skip a beat as he gathered her in his arms and continued talking as if it was the most natural thing in the world. The Lord brought this scene back to my remembrance this morning with a side note of "That's the way we all should be." We should be so confident and sure of our Father's love, that we should do as Hebrews 4:16 says  "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

 I believe that it gives the Father much joy when we confidently come to Him, assured of His love. John 6:37 says (Jesus speaking),  "All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out."  When we come to Him, as a little child trusting in His love and faithfulness,we can have the assurance that He will never cast us away!

The story of the woman with the issue of blood that sought healing, that is written in account in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, when shared, is usually about her faith, because Jesus did tell her "Your faith has made you whole". I believe her faith in Him as a healer made her whole, but is was her faith in Him as a Father of love and acceptance, her childlike faith, that made her even attempt to reach out and touch Him. She believed that He loved her so much that He would never cast her away without helping her, that Jesus was God's pure love.

So today, my prayer is that I will have that heart of a child before God. That I will always be amazed by His goodness, His Mercy, His acceptance, His everlasting unconditional love! May I marvel that He is always available to receive me, that I can go to Him with anything and He won't be offended or disappointed in me, but will rise to help me to become all that He wants me to be!
 The chorus of one of my favorite songs : "He's a good, good Father, that's who You are, that's who You are, that's who You are; and I'm loved by You that's who I am, that's who I am, that's who I am!"