Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Ground Is Shifting

Seasons. Oh, how they come and go.

I’ve been in the desert. Climbed the hills. Maneuvered the windy roads.

A season is entering my life right now. I can feel the winds of change blowing stronger and closer than ever.

The winds of change.

Sometimes, I like change. It can be energizing and exciting. Other times, I dread it. For change means stretching of the soul, and painful lessons.

I’m not at all sure what this season of change will bring for me. A little of both, maybe?  But, I’m nervous. I feel like I’m standing on shifting ground and it unnerves me.

I COULD look at it like I’m being taken to new lands. New adventures. Or, I could look at it with a sense of loss and sadness over leaving something that I’ve grown to love.

The empty nest is knocking louder on my door. It’s so close. And other things in our lives are shifting as well.

What will the new season of life feel like? Will I embrace it? Will I have a hard time adjusting?

So many unknowns.

One thing I know, is that I don’t walk alone. My God is a God full of surprises. He loves me. He roots for me. He has the best in store for me. (And for those I love.)

So, as I head to answer the knocks growing on my door, I can do so with courage. I can do so with thankfulness. And I can do so with confidence, knowing that my God has a gift waiting for me on the other side.

The ground may feel shaky now, but “upon the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sound.”

I won’t sink. Of that, I’m sure.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Perspectives Change

It’s funny how our perspectives change in life.  When I was first faced with the prospect of having adult braces (after already having them in high school), I said, “no way.” I wasn’t going to touch that idea with a ten foot pole. Then, when it repeatedly came up over the years and the idea escalated to braces AND jaw surgery… everything in me JUST wanted to do braces. “I’d give anything to just have to do braces!”

When my baby girl started looking at colleges, I did not want her to go to college an hour away. Then she started looking at colleges several states away and I was like, “Please, choose the one that’s only an hour away!”

Oh, how the years and the situation can change our perspective!

That’s how it’s been in my life with so many things. And I’ll bet it’s been the same way in yours.

We can be so adamant about things…. Until down the road, we see them differently. We feel them differently.

Maybe, you’d call it karma. Some people might call it maturity.  I call it, being humbled. Because our pride speaks so often in our lives. It speaks quickly, and LOUDLY.  Until we are forced to confront things in a different light.

Sometimes it’s funny. You can joke about how you used to say such and such, then turned out to be right where you said you’d never be.

Sometimes it’s painful.  You don’t want people mentioning the past AT ALL, because things might have been easier.

But sometimes, it doesn’t matter at all what we WOULD have done, or what we said in the past. Because, God has His own plans and agenda for our lives. He likes to stir us up; when we don’t like to be stirred.

That’s how we grow.

That’s why we rely on Him.

In our own strength and control, we have little to no need for His impact or influence in our life.

I wish with everything in me, that I could embrace things better. I wish I could have peace of heart that was ready to accept any outcome. But I’m human. And I don’t.

So, the lesson I’m learning is to try to keep an open mind about people. About things. About situations. Because tables can so easily turn. Change can so easily happen.

Our perspectives in life are colored by our experiences. So, it’s important for us to remember that we haven’t experienced ALL of those colors or shades. That there are options, alternatives, and outcomes different than what we want or envision.

They may even be better.

Not everything is going to go how we thought it would go. If we let it, those are the exact times that can turn us into better people. Those very things that change our priorities and perspectives – can change our hearts.

We just need to let them.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

We All Have An "It" In Our Life

You can run.

You can run for years. And you can think you’ve successfully run from “it.”  But you haven’t. There it is. Staring you in the face.

You can’t outrun it. And you can’t hide.

God’s good at making us face things we’re afraid of. He’s good at reminding us that we can’t ignore certain things in our lives. He’s SO good….. at showing us that we can make it through; even when we think we can’t. Even when we dread, with every fiber of our being, that “it.”

No, we can’t outrun it.

Jonah couldn’t. He tried to outrun God’s orders. He had to face them. He thought he got away – for awhile. But, he didn’t. And neither have we.

That thing we dread? It may not be as bad as we think. There may be hidden blessings in it. Yes, there may be hurt, too. But just as God is so good at reminding us that we can’t outrun things in life, He’s also so good at equipping us with the strength we need to confront and defeat them. He specializes in training warriors and helping them come out victors.

I would rather not enter the battle. I would rather run. I’ve TRIED to run. Do you want to know a little secret? It never works.  For a time, maybe. But it only delays the inevitable.

We all have an “it” in our life. We all have something we have tried to run from.  But isn’t that exhausting?

I decided to resign myself to my “it.” I’d rather have more time on the OTHER side of the “it” than more time on THIS side of the “it.” I’d rather have more time living in freedom, than in bondage.

How about you?

Please stop running. Turn around and face your “it.”

It’s time.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Little Eyes That Take In SO Much

Little eyes.  Teenage eyes.  They see so much.  They take in SO MUCH.

There is so much more, than what meets OUR eyes when we look at our young people. We fail to see how they sit quietly in the corner, watching as mom and dad argue.

We fail to see, how they watch in horror, at the violence we call “entertainment” on the television.

We don’t see how our careless words, hit their very core. Or how they watch other kids at school exclude them.

But they take it in. They see. And they know far more than we give them credit for.

Those precious, precious eyes.

Those eyes belong to our children. Our grandchildren.  We are responsible for them.

I don’t want to see hurt in those eyes. I don’t want to see tears fall. I want to see joy, spark, and life sparkle from those precious eyes. I can’t control everything, of course. But I can play a part – an important part, by imparting love, wisdom, understanding, empathy, joy, and acceptance into their hearts.

I can provide a safe home environment for them.

I can have a ready hug. And an available ear to listen.

We take in so much of life, too. But it’s our job, to protect those younger than us. To give them the time they need to develop the maturity, discernment, and strong moral compass needed, to handle what is thrown their way.  They may act like they can handle it, but it’s our job to truly KNOW if they can handle it.

The world is tough. It’s fast. And it doesn’t take into consideration the innocence and purity of a child. That’s what we need to do.

We need to protect them. Cherish them. And love them with everything we’ve got.

For those little eyes are seeing too much, too soon. Much, much too soon.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Be Thankful For the Desert

There have been some major “desert experiences” in my life. Oh, how painful they were! And the tears I shed? I think they will forever be stored in my heart.

But I learned SO much.

I gained so much in the way of wisdom, discernment, integrity, and maturity. Yes, I had to be broken down a little bit, and learn how to rebuild myself stronger, wiser, and kinder despite the hurts.

But my soul got deeper in the process. My roots … stronger.

Everyone has a “desert” in their life. We often want to run out of it as fast as we can. We want to forget about it as soon as possible. And when in it? We see only ugliness, desolation, and loneliness.

But that “desert” is a gift. A priceless gift.

There are no other gifts in life that quite mold us like a “desert experience.” No other time period that truly shows us what we have inside of us, and what we need to grow.

These times are for our own good. They stretch us, mold us, and prick us. But we are more flexible afterwards. More insightful. More in-touch with humanity.

Everyone wants green grass in their lives. But we look out from where we are; thinking the other side of the desert is indeed greener. But it’s not. The grass is greener where you water it. And even a desert can grow an oasis!

Look for the gifts waiting for you right where you are. See that God does indeed provide you with nourishment and He has never left your side.

Sometimes what WE want isn’t what HE wants. And we can only see that when walking through a desert.

Or, maybe afterwards.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Starting Over

In high school, I wore braces. For two years.

I had the whole “headgear thing,” then had 6 teeth pulled (including 4 wisdom), and my braces for two years.

I was so glad to get those things off.

In early adulthood, I had to have a gum graft. My gums were receding too much. It wasn’t comfortable, and took a bit to heal. I was glad, too, that that was done with.

Then it started again. Only a few years after all of this, as my life transitioned to different cities, I began to hear different dentists speak about the functionality of my mouth. I needed braces again, they murmured. And possibly jaw surgery.

I heard that from more than one source. It was frustrating. Disappointing. Depressing.

Hadn’t I already been down that road?

Some people go their whole lives without having to wear braces, and here I was, being told I’d have to wear them a second time?

I put it off. I ate bagels less. I rarely chewed gum. Things that would put extra stress on my jaw.

I got a retainer to help a tooth that had retracted inward.

I did what I could, while being in denial that I’d have to face things one day.

Then, it happened. While I was away on a trip, my jaw started popping and clicking every time I ate. My husband could even hear me eat – not because I chewed the food loudly – but because he could hear my jaw clicking and popping.

I knew. I knew I’d put it off as long as I could. I had hoped that maybe I wouldn’t have to go down this road. I was terrified to have jaw surgery. I mean, God gave me this jaw! The surgery scared me – but the braces idea on top of that? That humbled me. What gorgeous grown woman wears braces, I thought? My vanity struggled.

But I got to the point where I knew I was going to move down that path. It wasn’t one I wanted to travel. But it was one that was needed for the future functionality of my teeth and mouth. And I knew, I needed to be brave and do what needed to be done for the future health of my mouth and jaw.

Why did I have to endure this? Why would I have to wear braces twice? Why was my jaw made to work against my mouth and teeth? Only God knows.

I realize many people have to go through things twice. Maybe more. This is my “lot” in life to bear, as much as I hate it.

It’s just another chance for me to see how strong I am. How humble I can be about my looks. And just what God can do through unfortunate circumstances.

It’s not what I would choose. But it could be a lot worse.

So, I’m starting over again. Starting back at where I was in high school.

I’m going to have the best attitude I can with it. I’m hoping to learn. Grow. And be better. Not just to have my teeth and mouth improve and be better – but my whole character.

Here we go.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When Your Heart Feels Like Crying

My heart feels like crying.  Have you ever felt that way? Like you know something is coming, something you dread….but it’s not there yet?

Do you ever fear something you know in your heart of hearts will happen, but you have nothing to base it on?

I love with abandon. I love deeply. And so, it can be hard for me to fathom someone ever questioning that love, or thinking that it might not be enough for them.

Of course, it hurts.

 But ya know what? Sometimes my love ISN’T enough for others. It’s not enough because it’s trying to fill holes that should already be filled by that individidual themselves. There are empty places inside of lives that aren’t there because no one loves them. They are there, because they are searching for love in all of the wrong places and by the wrong means.

It has nothing to do with my love at all.

I can tell someone, “No one will ever love you more than me.”  But if they are seeking love in the form of constant material $, items, and help – they won’t see that. They won’t hear what I’m saying with their heart, or with their head.

I can tell someone that I’ve given them every ounce of love energy I have – but they won’t agree if they don’t know how to stand on their own feet. Because they will need and want more of me (or someone) than I have.

Love has to be tough sometimes. It has to bleed. It has to watch someone not choose it and go off in a different direction.

That’s the risk of love.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. For the memories of loving someone and being loved by them – whether a family member, a friend, or a neighbor – are worth it. The laughter shared, the hugs given, the photos snapped, and the moments where neither party walked alone?..... All worth it.

When you love someone, you will always want to be chosen. You will always want to be understood. You will want to be appreciated, valued, SEEN. But it won’t always happen.  And it can be crazy how the heart can sometimes see those moments coming.

And when it does, it feels like crying. For that’s what a heart does – it FEELS. It sees past what is said. It looks past what is occurring.

So someone may not have chosen you. Or, it may be nearing the time when they don’t choose you and the love you so freely offer to them.

For that, I am so so sorry. But don’t despair. Because the crazy thing about love is that it stands the test of time. It is seen, felt, and reflected on, even if you do nothing more. It LASTS.

You WILL be loved in return. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow – but it will happen. Just wait for it.

Even if for today, that means your heart must cry a little.

Friday, February 3, 2017

When We Head In the Wrong Direction

 We try to make sense of God’s ways at times. We know He wants what is best for us and that He can see into the future – where we, cannot.

We know His ways are perfect.

And yet, at times, they just don’t feel that way.

Some things in life hurt. We make mistakes. Those we love make mistakes. And we don’t know how to deal with them. We don’t know how to correct them without damaging relationships.

We head in the wrong directions. And He lets us.

Sometimes we have something so good right in front of us, and we don’t see it. We don’t want it. We turn away from it and head in another direction altogether. We think that’s the right one for us.

When it’s all wrong.

But you can never go back. “Back” always changes. We think things stay the same as we remember them – but they don’t.

Everything changes. EVERYONE changes.

So we tilt our heads to the One we love so dearly, and we try not to doubt. We try not to question. We wait. We pray. And we grip onto Him with every ounce of faith we have – hoping it will all turn out okay.

That’s faith. That’s the risk of love.

I wish we all could see life clearly. I wish we could take off those rose-colored glasses, and see everything come into focus. The past, the present, the future.

I wish we could see that just because someone else has gone on a certain path, it doesn’t mean that path is also meant for us.

I wish we could see the love that lives in our life, right where we are. And that it’s GOOD.

But, if we don’t – and we stubbornly forge our own path, may He never leave our side. May He weave HIS plan, amidst our own and turn it into something better. Something GREAT.

May He never leave our side. Never let us go.

And may we, in our own humility, SEE IT.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Courage Is In Short Supply

"Courage is in short supply these days." I heard that phrase from General Jerry Boykin.  It gave me chills, because he nailed it. He is SO right.

Courage IS in short supply these days.... especially from believers.

I'm not talking about the kind of courage someone would envision. The kind of courage that is ready to physically fight an intruder. No. I'm talking about a spiritual kind of courage. A kind of courage that is ready to stand for a faith it says it believes in.

That kind of courage is scary. It's scary, because it risks being laughed at. Misunderstood. Ridiculed. Hated. Left lonely.

But that's what God asks us to do.

General Boykin made an interesting statement. He said that often, Christians talk about how "God is in control." And He is. His sovereign hand is over everything. But he observed how we often use that statement as an excuse, to sit back and do nothing.


We don't take a stand for what's right. We don't let our voices be heard.

Do you know why some people constantly fill up our news screens? Because they are speaking - no shouting - loud enough for their voices to be heard. Even if they are aimless, they believe in what they are standing for and they aren't afraid to say it and stand for it.

Why aren't we?

I don't want to constantly "zip my lips." I want to speak wisely, and gently. I want to stand with love for humanity. But I also want to speak for what is morally right. I want to stand for my faith. I want to stand for all that is good.

It has to be done the right way; but it has to be done.

God doesn't NEED us to fight for Him. But He WANTS us to. 

I would never abandon my family without fighting for them. If they were lost, I would search for them until I found them. If they were attacked, I would defend them. I expect the same out of myself for a Lord that I say rules my heart and my life.

I HAVE to stand up. I HAVE to speak up. I can't be afraid what others think. Political or not. Spiritual or not. Emotional or not. Physical or not.

I am an heir to the kingdom. And I am here to defend and stand for its legacy. I am here, to fight for its cause. In love. In dignity and integrity.

Are you?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

It's Time to Label Yourself With a New Identity

We all like to hide the things we aren’t proud of. Those flaws and scars that we’d rather pretend aren’t there. I’m talking not just about the emotional flaws and scars we’ve gotten in life, but the physical ones, as well.

We like to hide the varicose veins, the scar on our stomach, the tooth that is fake, and the toes that are crooked.  Most people don’t know about them. Why show off something that isn’t pretty? So, we camouflage it.  We use makeup, clothes, and doctors. If we can.

Some of us can’t hide our physical flaws.  We can’t hide the braces, the lazy eye, the thinning hair, or the heavier weight gain. It’s there for all to see.

And it’s not fair. Not in the way that we can’t hide it, but that we feel “not normal” in some way. That so many people forget that they are hiding their own flaws, so they look weirdly at those of us who can’t.

I can guarantee you, that EVERYONE has a flaw somewhere. Whether it’s two different colored eyes, a mole, or a birth mark – everyone has something that makes them unique and distinct. If only we could see those things as beautiful, instead of as blemishes!

If only we told each other about our flaws. Our physical AND our emotional ones. If only we could see that if we brought them out into the light, that they would lose their powerful hold on our identity.

No one wants to feel like they are different. But the thing is? We are ALL different. And we are all the same. We all feel the same things. We all want to be valued. We want to belong. We want to feel lovely.

Maybe if we looked at flaws as things that make us stronger, instead of weaker, we’d look at them differently? Maybe we could see that they are simply tools we can use to help someone else who is hurting. If we could see that, maybe we would grow to not just endure them, but use them to our advantage?

I know I will probably always hate some of my flaws. But the thing is – I never hate someone else’s nearly as much, as I hate my own. I can usually see past the image, to the heart. And I can find someone beautiful. I’m betting a lot of people can, because there is so much beauty to be seen.

It’s US that labels OURSELVES. It’s US that teaches one another what TO and what NOT to accept.

We can love one another despite the flaws and scars we’ve gained in life. And if we can love one another, maybe we can learn to love ourselves too.

Bring those flaws out into the light. Don’t let them hold you hostage anymore.

It’s time to label yourself with a new identity.


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