Monday, October 17, 2016

Fighting for the Broken

Are you struggling? Do you feel like you aren’t…. quite… whole?

Emotions can do that to us. When we feel like no one values us. When we feel neglected, unloved, cast aside, weird, or “different.”

If you are struggling to be happy, to feel worthwhile, and joyful… you are not alone.

There is a world full of people just like you. People who have shattered pieces they are carrying around inside of their heart. Pieces broken by others that they truly cared about. Whatever the situation…. Lots of us are walking around needing some healing and mending.

My heart goes out to you. 

I may not know what it’s like to hurt every moment I’m awake – but I do know what it’s like to hurt in a moment.

I may not understand what it’s like to deal with depression – but I do know what it’s like to get depressed in small installments.

I may not have had parents who rejected me – but I’ve had friends reject me.

I cannot fathom what it’s like to lose a child – but I do know what it’s like to grieve, as I’ve lost many, many people close to me.

I don’t know what it’s like to LIVE broken. But I do know what it’s like to BE broken. 

And I’m fighting for you.

I care.

I don’t want anyone to live life feeling shattered all of the time. Feeling hopeless.

So, I’m fighting for you. I’m fighting to get through to you. To let you see that there IS hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There ARE genuine, caring people out there. There IS acceptance, healing, and help to be found.

Life CAN change.

You matter. And I want you to not only know that… but I want you to FEEL that.

And I will keep fighting for you, and everyone else who is living broken.

There is too much beauty, joy, and love in life for anyone to miss out on it. Struggles are real. But they can be overcome. Just believe and reach out.

No one has to live life broken all of the time.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Words Are Never JUST Words

There are moments in time, where I look back on my life, and see how certain conversations, moments, and things that were said, forever shaped who I was and who I wanted to be.

I remember a moment in high school. I was a special education aid, and a student came into class really upset. He said some other kids were teasing him about being, “retarded.” He looked at me and said, “I know I have a mental problem…but…but… I’m not retarded!”

I have never forgotten it. In that moment, I saw that he still hurt. He still understood “mean.” I decided to always stick up for those who were weaker than I was.  For people can’t always fight for themselves.

There was that other time when I was a teen and I was at evening church.  A bunch of kids were talking and goofing off. A lady got really upset because she couldn’t see or hear the film being shown.  I felt badly for her, as I had been trying to watch too. So after the service, I went up to her and nervously told her I was sorry for their actions.  She asked my name and I gave it.

I was walking out of the main sanctuary with my parents, when she caught up to us. She proceeded to tell my parents what had happened, and told them that they had raised an amazing young lady to be able to come up to her and apologize like that. I had been scared to be punished for the actions of others – but instead, I was humbled as I was verbally acknowledged and rewarded for mature, honest, and kind behavior.

That moment, whether I knew it or not, probably drilled home in me, more than anything, the desire I felt in wanting to be honest and respectful to others.

There are many moments like those two examples. I’m sure there are many moments in your life, as well. Conversations and words uttered, that didn’t just exist in the moment. They lived on in your heart and soul, long after the event; forever shaping who you chose to be.

I so pray they were good ones.  But even if unkind words are uttered – it’s always still our choice to prove someone wrong. To CHOOSE to be better, wiser, and more than they said we were.

The cycle lives on. As we grow up, we utter words and have conversations with those younger than us. Our kids, our nieces and nephews; our grandkids. And we never know what conversations and words live on long after we’ve said them.

Careless words can last. Encouraging words can influence for years.

I KNOW I’ve made mistakes in the things I’ve said at times. I can only pray that the effort I’ve made to be intentional, generous, loving, and forgiving, outweighs those thoughtless and unfortunate “other” moments I’ve played in someone’s life.

I can only hope that any negative words uttered from my lips – are FAR fewer than the positive, loving ones - so that they don’t stick with someone’s heart long after they were said.

I pray that something I say is life-giving to someone else. And I pray, that it will help shape their view of life and of themselves, in a positive way. For words are never JUST words.

They are moments in time that shape a soul forever. And so many souls are waiting to be molded and shaped.

What will our legacy on another human life be? What impact will our words have made?

Time will tell. One way, or another.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Never Be Afraid Of Your Own Voice

Stuffers. Some of us are “stuffers.” We “stuff” our feelings deep down inside of us. Maybe, we don’t like confrontation. Maybe we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings. Lots of maybe’s.

The thing about “stuffers,” is that at some point, the bottle gets full.

And things explode or overflow.

Usually, it’s not in the constructive way we’d prefer. Instead of an honest conversation, we yell at a loved one over something silly. Instead of addressing something that bothers us, we pull away and a rift forms in the relationship.

There is strength in all of us. Some of us just need to look a little deeper to find it.

We all have a voice. We all have feelings. Feelings are never wrong. Sometimes, they just may not have all the facts, or may interpret something in a way that causes misunderstandings.

You don’t have to be a bully to speak up. You don’t have to be confrontative. You can speak up in a soft, gentle voice. But, speak up for yourself. Value yourself enough, and value a relationship enough, to use your voice to express what is going on inside of you.

Of course, not all conversations will end the way we’d prefer. Some people will never understand or “get” us. But don’t we owe it to ourselves to try?

We hurt ourselves when we bury our feelings. They eat away at our joy, our peace, and our self-worth.

Don’t be afraid of what those feelings stand for. Don’t be afraid of what you feel.

You have a voice. Use it. Use it respectfully, but use it.  You owe it to yourself.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Life is so fast.

People walk fast. They eat fast. They drop in and out of friends’ houses fast. They drive fast and they sometimes talk and hug fast.

Everything seems to be “amped” up.

We are busy. Our schedules are jam-packed. Even sleep can seem fast on those days when we drop into bed late and rise way before we’d like to.

It’s all just…so…fast.

My children are growing up – fast. Time seems to be going by – fast.  Yet I just want it all to slow down.

I want to linger.

I want to linger on my walk and enjoy the beauty around me.

I want to linger while I eat. Relish the food I’m tasting and the atmosphere.

I want to linger with my friends and linger in bed in the mornings so I feel rested instead of rushed.

I want to look around me. Smell things. Taste them – not just gulp them. I want to soak in the relationships and people God has placed in my life.

Do you remember -  lingering?

I remember lingering after church when I was a little girl. I’d walk around this square bench that went around a tree. I’d walk down one side, up the other, down the other, and then the other and back around again. I wasn’t bored. Sometimes I’d skip. Or just walk slowly. But I enjoyed it.

I remember lingering over meals when I was dating. Just trying to stretch time out to the maximum. Looking into each other’s eyes and delving deep into each other’s hearts with conversation and caring.

Lingering means something. It focuses outward instead of inward.

Lingering renews. Refreshes. And enjoys. “Fast” simply runs and accomplishes.

If I could choose between the two – I’d definitely choose lingering. How about you?

What choices can we make today to linger a little bit longer?  To find and tap back into that “something” that we all know we are missing in our daily life?

Don’t buy into “fast.” It’s not that pretty or popular and it will overstay its welcome quickly. Opt instead for “linger.” It’s genuine, authentic, and caring. And it will add more to your life than the time you could ever give in return.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Are You With Me?

Are you with me, when I act like a goofball? Will you still love me when I gain weight?

Are you with me, when I accidentally rip your favorite shirt? Are you still proud of who I am, when I cry ugly tears at a movie?

I can be needier than I should be, at times. 

I can overreact.

I can have bad breath after eating a huge burger with onions.

I am not perfect. But I love life.  Sometimes this may mean that I try to dance to my favorite tunes or belt them out loud in the car.  I might forget to vacuum and dust the house, because I got caught up in something fun. And I may want to hug you too many times in public, because I am just – so – proud – of – you.

Are you still with me in this thing called life?

Will you still be my friend? Even on my bad days when I get irritated easily?

Will you still love me as my spouse? Even when I don’t look my best?

Will you love me, my child? Even if I embarrass you in front of your friends?

Everyone needs people in their life who are with them through thick and thin. People who laugh at the dorky moments of life, cry together over the heartbreaks, and weave a story of ups and downs together.

Everyone needs someone who they know won’t abandon them when the going gets tough. When the ground gets rocky. Or when the ship starts tossing on the seas.

Everyone needs someone to believe in them.  Someone to love them, and see past the outward – into the inward.

Are you that person? Are you with your friend….. your spouse….  Your child…. Your siblings….. for life? Not because you HAVE to, but because you WANT to?

That’s what people are asking.  They are asking, “Are you still with me?”

How about it?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wise Words Come From Those Who Have Known Deep Pain

Some of the wisest words you will ever hear, are from those who have known deep pain.

Those who have embraced God’s grace – His mercy, and have come out on the other side with humility at being alive…… they have great stories. They have great testimonies.

And they have great wisdom.

Sometimes we listen to those who have been dealt many hardships and blows in life; yet they don’t have the wisdom and insight we need. Because they are still bitter. They are still pained.  They are still IN the fight – even though the fight really ended years ago.

It’s only the victors of pain; those with tender tales, who have the most loving and hard-earned pieces of advice. Advice we should heed.

They are true warriors. True heroes. They don’t see themselves this way, of course. And it’s precisely why they are leaders. Leaders of overcoming,; of winning the battle against hate, bitterness, unforgiveness, and great, great pain.

Tough battles are faced among most of us. Only a few, know how to take what blows they are dealt, and use them to make them stronger, instead of weaker.

Deep sorrow is a part of life. It takes strong faith, to press in to God, and not let it overtake you. 

Tears will fall. Things may be kicked. Yelled at. But still, there are those who trust God enough to let Him reveal the joy, blessings, peace, and Holy purpose that can be found in the deep crevices of life.

God is ultimately a refuge and strength.  Trust those who have seen that up close and leaned into it with all they have. Trust those who did not let the battles of life beat them so much that they gave in to the battle itself, even after it was over.

There is great wisdom to be had in letting these soldiers love on you, advise you, and help you.  Listen to them.

God placed them there for you.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Where You Are Now, Is Not Where You Will Always Be

Some things in life feel like they will go on forever. It can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But there IS another side.

If we can step outside of the cloud that seems to hang over our every move in a certain ‘season’ of life – we will see….. we will see and remember.

God is always faithful. He always walks with us.

We have overcome other things in our lives. We have stepped through to the other side. We can look back and see that that SOMETHING, indeed passed.

And this something will pass too.

Where you are now, is not where you will always be.  Life changes. It moves onward.

Keep your feet moving forward. Keep plugging away from day to day. Keep praying and keep your faith. And you will see, once again, that the cloud moves on. You will see the sun again – and it will be so glorious. The warmth will radiate within you, as you feel the reward of not giving in.

As you see how you’ve grown.

You WILL get there. Stay on the path. Keep walking. Run, if you have to. Crawl if you have to. But keep moving forward.

Keep believing and persevering.

And before you know it, you will see that you are somewhere new. You ARE renewed. And you can turn around and look back on where you once were. And realize you don’t live in that spot anymore.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Refusing to Stand for our Anthem? My Thoughts.

I’m a little steamed.

I am a very patriotic person. I am patriotic because I believe in the Christian principles that this country was formed on. Maybe a lot of those have been whittled away over the years, but I still believe in them.  And I believe in the freedoms we have. I have been abroad, and you can’t fully understand how free we are, until you’ve been abroad. And… I’ve been all over the US. It is a diverse and gorgeous country.

So, I see this football player refuse to stand while the national anthem is being played. And, initially, it irritated me. But then he did it again, and I guess some other players joined him. 

And now I hear of a soccer player doing the same.

Excuse me?  What happened to RESPECT?

I realize we have freedom of speech. And I want to keep our freedom of speech. But freedom of speech should be used very intentionally and carefully. 

If you don’t like our country – please leave.

If you don’t respect our country, then don’t publicly play football or soccer for it.

And if you don’t like what we stand for? Then don’t accept our COUNTRY paying you thousands of dollars so you can make a living playing a sport.

THAT is standing for something.

You will not go to a country in the world – where there isn’t injustice. Where there isn’t corruption somewhere. Where there isn’t something that is unfair going on. It’s called sin. Fight for that person. Fight for that situation. But don’t continue to let that country pay you so that you can spill your negative thoughts onto it as a whole.

I have friends who fight for the freedom of this country. They leave their families for months at a time so that someone can exercise their freedom of speech.  You can bet, they’ve seen injustice.

People need to unite for what is GOOD – not for what is bad. Encourage one another and motivate one another to be better. YOU be the example of what is moral, honorable, and valuable.

So, just as a public figure has the right to refuse to respect our national anthem, I have the right to say that I think he shouldn’t be allowed to continue to play on behalf of “said” national anthem and country.

If you don’t believe in something, don’t continue to be a part of it. But don’t poison the rest of us in the process.

I, for one, believe in my country. Despite the bad. Despite the corruption. Because I believe in the ONE who established this country. And I believe in the hearts of the good people who are still out there.

I WILL stand for my national anthem. I WILL put my hand across my chest. Because I believe in my country, and because I am thankful for its freedoms. Because I live somewhere where I am free to read the Bible. I am free to send my children to whatever school they want to go to, I am free to dress how I want to dress, and I am free…… to use my words and speak my mind.

I remember a football player who took a knee to pray before every game. If only he would have been given the same applause.  Freedom goes both ways – people.  Use it carefully.

Friday, September 2, 2016

There Is No Place In My Soul....Where God Is Not

There is no place in my soul, no corner of my character, where God is not. -Evelyn Underhill

I saw this quote recently on someone’s twitter profile. I immediately added it to my blog page, on my sidebar.

Everything in me wanted to shout, “‘YES!’ That is how I feel!!”

I am a fan of ‘Survivor.’ Have been, for years. I think mainly, it’s because I love to watch people, and learn from them. But I have always been disturbed by how easy it is for people to lie and deceive ….whether it’s in the name of a game, or not.

People do say, “It’s just a game.” But, as Evelyn Underhill says… “There is no place in my soul, nor corner of my character, where God is not.” So, if I’m playing a game, God is in me, as I play that game.

I will not cheat in a game because God is still in my soul, and in my character as I play out that game. It’s still ME playing that game. Whether it’s a game or not. It’s still my values, my reputation, my word – at risk.

And so that is why my heart leapt and shouted when I saw this quote. I resonate so wholeheartedly with it.

Everything I am, everything I do, comes from what I believe about God.  The actions I take, the words I say… they are outward appearances to others, of a heart and soul that is sold out to the Lord.

No, I am not perfect. I make loads of missteps. I stumble often. But the core of who I am, strives intentionally to live with God as the focus, priority, and leader of my soul and the character that I live with.

We should never compromise who we are, even if we feel it’s only temporary. Those choices, too, reflect our character.

I pray any stone unturned in my life, my home, my relationships, and most of all, my heart – will always show God existing there. 

May I never forget, or abandon Him.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

We Are Afraid of Each Other

We like to reside in “comfort.” We stay in our clich-ey circles, because they are “comfortable.” We stay in the same town, because it’s “comfortable.” And many other “routine” parts of our lives, stay a part of our lives, because we are afraid of “new.” We are afraid, of “change.” We are afraid….of each other.

Think about it.  We are afraid to meet new people who might reject us.

We are afraid to tell others what is really going on in our marriage, with our parenting, in our homes – because they might not understand. They might not like us.

And then we’d feel alone. We’d feel unworthy, somehow. We’d feel inept, unqualified, unloved.

Yes, friends. We are afraid of each other. And that’s so sad.  For deep down? We’re all the same. We can all relate to one thing or another.

We all have had hurt feelings.

We all, have been rejected by SOMEONE.

We all, are not gifted at something.

We all, have a challenge somewhere in our life.

We all want to be liked. And accepted.

We all want someone to listen. To be there for us.

These are basic feelings for most of us. They flit in an out of our lives. They come – they go – but we all have had them.  So why are we afraid of each other? Why are we afraid to be REAL? Vulnerable? HONEST?

If you tell others that you swear, drink, do drugs, smoke, sleep around, struggle as a parent, or a spouse – do you think that they won’t still see the gifts in your life? Do you think that what you DO, takes away from your ability to be loved?

It doesn’t.

We just have to choose our friends, encouragers, and support system, wisely.

A real friend may not condone what you do with your life – but they will still see the character, personality, and heart of who you are. They will fight for you and with you.  They will pray for your struggle.

A real friend will still love.

We don’t need to be afraid of each other. We just need to love one another where we’re at. 

That’s what I’m striving for, anyways.  How about you?

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

He Holds Me Together

He holds me together. My God.

I am SO thankful for that.

I certainly don’t have it all together. In fact, I’m flying by the seat of my pants most of the time. I don’t have this thing called life all figured out. The only thing I know is what I believe, and who I believe IN. The rest? I maneuver and walk the path – discovering what I’m made of, as I go along the road.

And He holds me together as I go.

When I feel all alone, He gives me an inner fire that ignites my way. It keeps me burning enough to never quit or give up.  It’s something I’ve always had. Drive.

I weep at times. I hurt like the next person. I cry out in anguish over misunderstandings, unfair judgments, and the lack of appreciation.

I get angry at times over apathy, laziness, and self-centeredness.

I act foolish at times. Wanting more attention than I deserve. Saying things I regret.

And sometimes? Sometimes, I’m actually proud of myself. I think I’ve conquered something. I feel brave. Beautiful.

But the rest of the times… I live in the moment. And in a moment I may feel weak or I may feel strong. I may feel pretty or ugly. I may feel like a great mom, or an awful one.

I discover who I am through my ups and downs. And He holds me together. He weaves and molds me through all my “moments” of life.

He LOVES me.

His hands never let me completely fall. I may stumble, trip, or stutter – but He’s always there to catch me and tilt me upright again so that I can look at what has happened… and hopefully learn from it.

He IS so real. I feel Him with me and I rely on Him.

I never want to walk the path of life without Him by my side.

I get broken at times, but I never stay that way, thanks to Him. He is my fire and my fuel.

And He holds me together as I go.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Power In the Words of Our Hearts

Prayer helps me figure out my heart. Oftentimes, when I go to the Lord in prayer, I figure myself out, as I’m talking to Him. The words spill out, and in the process, I am found.

That’s prayer.  That’s God.

When I don’t have any words at all, somehow, my heart speaks to Him. I know He is there listening, and understanding the emotions of my soul.

And yet I don’t do it often enough.

I alienate Him, as I struggle through my own agenda. So. Many. Times.

And I’m ashamed of that fact, for I love Him so.

If I could change one life, with one prayer, why don’t I do it?

Prayer is the one thing – every, single, person, in this world has. And most everyone turns to it – they turn to God – when they are scared, lost, and forgotten. They know its power; for they reach for it in the most important circumstances and moments in their lives.

Prayer brings me closer to my Lord, and it brings me closer to myself. It brings everything into focus, and it impacts the lives of those I hold most dearly in this world.


The words of our hearts.

Never underestimate their power or their influence. For they are mighty.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Have We Lost Our Heart, For Others?

Have we lost our heart for “others?” When I say that, I mean… have we grown cold to the hurt in someone else’s eyes and heart?

It can be so easy to label people. We can define that driver as “stupid.” We can call that mother, “over reactive,” and we can pick apart those who cross our television screen on a daily basis.

It’s easy. Simple.

Judgment always is.

Knowing what goes on inside of someone? That takes more work. A little bit more time and research has to go into it…which of course, means you have to care a little bit.

Have we stopped caring…. A little bit?

Computer screens make it so easy for us to mock, judge, and tweet out criticism. We can forget to think about the human heart on the other end who will read our words.

I’ve seen people in the midst of tragedy, being judged by others about their parenting skills and people skills, in general. Instead, of being given love and compassion in their time of intense emotional grief.

So, I ask again…. “Have we lost our heart for others?”

Have we lost our compassion? Our empathy? Our kindness? Our grace, mercy, and most importantly, our forgiveness?

Are we so cold and tough, that we can’t allow others the room to be human? Can we not allow them the space to mess up?

Can we give others the freedom to not be perfect?

I have made many driving mistakes. By the grace of God, I hope to make very few more. But, I might.

I have gotten angry at my kids in public. I have regretted those moments. As might, the mama who I witness at the local store.

I have typed out feelings quickly on a keyboard and hit, “send.” And wished with everything in me, that I could pull them back.

You see, we are flawed people. That’s who we are. We shouldn’t expect any differently out of ourselves, except that we keep trying to grow and improve. 

In that process of being flawed, oh, let us please remember, others are flawed too.

In our moments of error, we crave all the things that we can give someone else in their moment. Love, kindness, understanding, grace, forgiveness.

We can listen. We can walk through it with them as they strive to overcome.

We can give them our heart.

Our heart was never just meant to keep to ourselves. It was meant to be used to love on others. And the cool thing is, there is no limit to how much loving we can do. Because the heart has the amazing ability to grow.

So, let’s use it. Let’s grow it.

Let’s care instead of judge. Even if we need to start doing it, “just a little bit.”

Sunday, August 7, 2016

You Don't Have to Know All The Answers

Oftentimes, when God puts us in positions of leadership where others are looking at us, we feel that we need to put on this presence of having all the answers. Of course we want to look pulled-together and professional. We want people to be confidant in our abilities. So we can sometimes, speak on things that we aren’t quite sure about.

It’s okay not to know it all.

It’s okay not to have all the answers.

A great leader is always a great listener and learner. Having these two traits means acknowledging when we are perplexed, or when we still have things we need to learn, regarding something.

We can still be trusted. We can still be confidant even when we don’t have an answer for someone. In fact, it can create more trust, when we are honest with people about our level of knowledge.

I would much rather listen and follow someone who admits they need to find out about something, or that they don’t quite know the solution to something, than I would to someone who offers false words and conceit. I would much rather a teacher or leader tell me they will find something out, than give me an answer that leads me in a wrong direction. It tells me that they value me when they are straightforward and truthful with me!

Some people think that leaders have it all together. The image, the success, and the knowledge. But leaders are human. They are flawed. They have their limitations and weaknesses.

Leaders can’t possibly know it all.  They can’t possibly be it all to everyone. It’s too much to ask of anyone.

Be human. Be flawed. Be honest and real. It’s much more respectable and attainable. It will gain you more loyal friends and followers, than false promises and unfulfilled expectations based on empty words….ever will.

Continue to learn. Continue to grow. Continue to listen. But, be open about the fact that you don’t have all the answers. Allow yourself the room and the freedom to be human.

It’s okay.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's Those Tiny Choices

Life. Life is so crazy. We look back at all the curves, twists and turns it took, and sometimes, we don’t even know how we arrived at the spot we currently sit in.

Things can be blurry and fuzzy.

I think it’s interesting how we often forget that it was our own choices that most often led us down the path we have found ourselves on. Good, or bad, those choices made dents in our life. They swayed us to the left or the right, bit by bit.

And it’s why we are, where we are.

Those tiny choices. Those choices we thought wouldn’t really matter in the big scheme of things. Those choices that we made when we were distracted, rushed, angry, or tired.

Those choices we made when we decided we believed in ourselves despite what the rest of the world thought… or not. Maybe we agreed with the rest of the world and stopped fighting for our lives.

Tiny choices.

Choices about who to let be a big part of our lives. Choices about how to spend our time. Choices that we thought wouldn’t matter, because no one else saw; no one else was looking. Choices that started to dictate our character, our worth, our value system, and our attitude.

No choice is every really “tiny.” Not even buying a candy bar. For maybe you are trying not to have sugar, or trying to eat better. You give in once, you’ll give in again. Or maybe that candy bar is a treat. You decided to do something fun for yourself. And that one choice will lead you to start enjoying who you are more.

Tiny choices always lead to bigger results. It’s why we need self discipline in our lives. It’s why we need to be intentional about who we are, where we are headed, and what we want to be about.

We can look back at the road we’ve taken in life, and wonder how we ended up here. But it’s really not a mystery. It was all the choices we made along the way.

The thing is… there are plenty more choices ahead of us. We can still sway the direction the path of our life takes. Whether our path goes through a desert, up over a mountain, or in a valley; our attitude and perspective can greatly dictate how we emerge from those times.

Tiny choices. Choices that can impact our life (or someone close to us) in a good or bad way.

Hmmm. That’s food for thought, isn’t it?


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