Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Don't Let Them Change You



Don’t let them change you.  Unless it’s for the better.

We so easily let others define who we are, and who we will be.  We let their words pour out of our hearts when we look at ourselves in the mirror.  We let them dictate our choices and our weaknesses; forgetting where our strengths lie.

We let them change us.

We let them choose the paths we will go on in life. 

We so easily believe what is laid upon us, by others. We believe that we are weak. That we are ugly. We believe we aren’t talented and we believe that we are never going to get better. 

We let others control us. And sometimes they aren’t even in our lives anymore. But their words ring on and on and on…. And they live inside of us as if they were standing right in front of us.

We weaken ourselves to the point where we can’t handle any kind of stress, tragedy, or curveball that will happen in our lives. 

We become fragile.

All because we let them win. We let them change us.

I’m here to tell you, you are made of MORE. 

You can start again. 

You can change YOURSELF.  

You can become stronger.

Start with one thing. Then add another and another until you leave that path they had you on, and you step onto the path YOU choose.  

YOU change YOU.

YOU take control.


Don’t let them change you. Don’t let them hurt you anymore.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Letting Cobwebs Gather



I hate it when I go around dusting my home, and see corners where cobwebs have sneakily gathered. Sometimes it’s up high in a corner; sometimes on a tucked away window ledge.

It makes me feel like I’ve neglected my house making duties. Like, I have been “slacking.” 

Maybe I have. Or maybe I just don’t always pay attention to the things that aren’t right in my line of eyesight. I mean, how often do we go about our lives in our homes, and forget to look up. Or forget to look behind something? 

That’s why the cobwebs gather.

The same is true of our lives. A lot of times we tend to the things we see right in front of us. We think everything is clean, and superficially, it is. But we forget to look in the corners and nooks tucked out of our line of vision. We forget to look behind, to what hasn’t been taken care of. Those areas of our lives that are gathering cobwebs.

Maybe it’s an area of bitterness that we haven’t dealt with because it’s not currently bothering us. Maybe it’s the loss of something that we’ve failed to grieve, or a hurt that we’ve set up on a shelf.  Sometimes those things that are gaining cobwebs in our lives are the very things that are keeping us from feeling whole. We wander around wondering what is missing, and why we can’t move forward. 

It’s because there are cobwebs that are taking up residence in our lives. 

Just as in a home – every area of our heart and soul needs to be dusted off and cleaned. We can’t expect things to heal themselves. We can hope for everything to feel “good as new” but it won’t. Not without some attention from us.

Is it time that you got out that dust rag or feather duster, and cleaned off some corners of your heart? 

Do you need to look at some things that you’ve buried deep inside – things that have grown cobwebs?  

We think things stay back in the past when we move on with life but they don’t. They come with us. They reside IN us.

In order to be whole – we need to pay attention to every area of our lives. We need to deal with the “junk” even though (just like dusting) it’s not fun.  Once we do? Everything will feel better. We will feel cleaner.


And, we’ll wonder how we ever could have let that spot get so neglected.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

In the "Wait"



The waiting can be excruciating.  You wake up each morning with that sinking feeling that today will be another day that goes by, without your answer.

For me - it was waiting for my insurance to approve my appeal so that I could have jaw surgery. A surgery that would entail a tough recovery.

It would be hard enough to actually GO THROUGH it all. But the wait? The waiting just made the tough process seem all that much longer. All that much harder.

I was sitting in the bathroom one morning, when God spoke to my heart. As I was thinking, “How long will I wait….?”  He spoke to me about my feelings. I was enlightened to how He must have felt each morning He awoke, knowing the day of His crucifixion was all that much closer. How must He have felt…. Knowing each day brought Him closer to that?

Was MY wait that hard?

And Queen Esther. How must she have felt each morning she awoke, wondering how she was going to approach her King.. her HUSBAND… about the impending death of her people? HER impending death?

When did Job wonder how much more he would have to go through? Each day he awoke, did he feel discouraged? Did he wonder how much more he would have to endure?
The wait.

We all have it. We all have to go through it.

Those of you who wake up each day, waiting for an organ transplant.

Those of you who wake up, hoping this will be the day a child is granted to be your FOREVER child.

Not one “wait” is easier or harder than another…. To those who are going through it. 

But it’s there so that God can open our eyes. So that we can SEE. So that things will be revealed to that raw, tender part of our heart that is suddenly so open. So willing to hear something GOOD, or something that we can relate to.

My wait was hard for me. But God met me there. And He will meet you in the middle of your “wait” too.

And that experience? Will always be something we hold close to our heart. Because through it, we grew. We felt.


We SAW.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Love Is.....



There used to be a cartoon strip that my husband and I would see in the Sunday paper from time to time. It was entitled, “Love is….” Then it would show a guy and a girl and it would have various themes each week of what “Love is.”  I remember hanging one or two of them on my fridge, and in fact, my husband and I would use that phrase occasionally when one or the other of us, did something loving for the other.

I still go to that phrase in my head and my heart.  For “love IS…” so much more than we often think of. And so much less. 

It’s the little things.

Love is….. when my husband walked back and forth our back yard with me, when I was healing from jaw surgery - because I was too tired to walk our street.

Love is…. When instead of playing the music I prefer at bedtime, I play my husband’s music of choice…… 70’s.

Love is…. When my son-in-law runs an extra errand even though he’s tired from work, to help out an “also-tired-from-work” daughter.

It’s turning on the heated seat in the car for your spouse before they get in from the cold.

It’s letting their messes around the house go, for a day, or a week, because you know they’ve had a busy or tough time of it.

Love is not complaining. Eating the not-so-greatly-cooked dinner. It’s not expecting a ‘thank-you.’

Love is taking your hard-working husband a cold drink, when they are out taking care of the yard.

It’s wiping up the kitchen, or sweeping the floor for your wife.

Love is SO much. And it’s also so little. 

It’s in the details of our day-to-day life. It’s in the laying down of our wishes, our pride, and our agenda.


Love IS. 

Monday, August 27, 2018

Let's Talk About "OMG"




OMG.  It’s typed all the time on the internet. In texts.  In comments. 

And, it’s said in the same abbreviated form. 

“OMG!”

Usually, it’s in response to a “wow” kind of thing. Something that makes you feel astonished, amazed, or flabbergasted. (Yes, I used the word, “flabbergasted.”)

For me? Personally?

I HATE the abbreviation “OMG.” 

And I’ll tell you why.

It stands for, “Oh, my God.”

Not, “Oh my gosh.”

Not, “Oh my goodness.”

No, it stands for “Oh, my God.”

And it offends me.  Because MY God? He is Holy. He is to be revered. Respected. And the Bible tells me I am not to take his name in vain.

To me - that includes taking his name in abbreviated-form of vain. Or written-form of vain.

Listen, I get it. It’s an easy-to-adapt way to exclaim over something. You’re not REALLY saying “OMG” spelled out.

But, you are INFERRING “OMG” spelled out.

And intent is everything.

At least for me.

So, if you believe in the Lord, if you claim Him as your Savior - can I just ask you a favor? Think about what you say. Think about what you INFER when you say it. And think about how others might take it.

For me? I intend to try and honor my Lord in all I say and do. 


And that means, no “OMG” for me.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Be the Person You Wished You'd Had in Your Own Life




For some of us, we struggle with our purpose in life.  We wonder if we are at the right job, in the right town, or if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing in life.

We dream of things being different.

We dream of living somewhere else. Doing SOMETHING else.

When our real questions and dreams shouldn’t have anything to do with what we DO at all.

They should address who we are BEING.

I think a lot of times, we feel empty inside not because of WHERE we are, but because of WHO we are.

We place our focus and priorities on the wrong things. Things that will satisfy only temporarily.

Life changes. THINGS change. WE change.

The grass will always look greener somewhere else, because we look at it through “movie-perfect” vision. We don’t see that there are still problems everywhere. There are still negatives. Still unsatisfied people living where we want to live. Working where we want to work.

Yes. We do often feel tugs and pulls that are not to be ignored. There ARE moments in our lives, where we need to change something, or move somewhere different and better. There ARE places where we can flourish more, than where we are at.

But……


And it’s a big “but”…..

Not everyone has a specific calling in their life. We don’t all have a “call” to a certain career. For a lot of us, we are simply meant to walk faithfully day in and day out. We are to BE the person we wish we had in our lives. BE the person we wish we’d had in our lives when we were younger.

Did you go through a “storm” in life, and wish someone had walked with you through it? BE that person.

Did you feel lonely as a child, because no one understood your home life? BE that person for another child.

Did you wish you’d had a better father figure, or mother figure? BE that figure for someone else.

BE the person, YOU’D wished you’d had. 

And you’ll feel that emptiness float away. You’ll find your purpose and meaning.


Not because of WHERE you are, but because of WHO you are.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Teach Your Kids To Keep Swimming



Being a parent is so emotional.  It’s hard enough navigating the tired days, the stressful, “too-busy” days….but the days where your kids are battling emotional issues outside of your home? Those can really take their toll.

If only I could swoop in and rescue my kids on these days. For it is excruciating, to stand by, and see them hurting. Whether it’s someone who verbally hurts them, an unfair situation that occurs, or feelings of inadequacy, those are truly pivotal moments in our children’s lives.

As are, how we handle them, as mom and dad.

It would be so easy to run in and rescue my kids. It would be easy to shelter them from the bruises that come from others. And it would be preferable to my heart.

But it’s not what our kids need.

If we don’t give our kids the tools and the roots to handle life when the ground shifts beneath them —- they will never know how to stand firm. They will get swallowed up and “lost.”

We may not always have the answers to help. But we do have ideas. We have compassion. And we can believe in who our kids are. Those tools can be EVERYTHING to help them get through those tough seasons.

The only promise we can give them, is that we will walk through this time with them. That we will listen, and we will love.

It doesn’t help to hurl insults on another party. To remove our children from the situation. (Unless they are in danger emotionally or physically.) It doesn’t help to address things FOR them. No. We need to give our children tools to speak up for themselves. We need to help them learn what “higher ground” is, and how to internally, and emotionally protect themselves, even when things aren’t fair.

These are the best things we can give our precious kids.


So, mom, dad? Teach your kids how to keep swimming. Teach them how to wade through those currents and rough waters, so that they don’t risk drowning.  We can’t always be there for them. We’ve got to help them learn how to be there for themselves.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

For He Loved Me




“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.”
Psalms 44:3



…”For you loved them.” 

That line brings such warmth to my heart. 

There are so many battles we fight in life. Some of them are physical, some spiritual.  And for most of them, we think it’s US doing all of the fighting.

We think it’s US waging the battle. Whatever it is, that has been placed before us, we feel like we have our swords drawn… daily.

And, maybe we do.  But we certainly aren’t in the battle alone. We aren’t waging the fight… alone. And WE aren’t the ones who bring about any victory.

There is a whole spiritual realm fighting for us. Fighting WITH us. And it’s those swords that bring about our victory. 

We can pray mightily. Fight mightily. We can muster all of the courage in the world. And those things, I reckon, will probably help us grow, learn, and become even stronger. 

But the battles are won, most times, because God simply loves us and wants to give us the victory.

We think there must be more. But there’s not. 

God does things for us simply because He loves us and He desires to bless us. 

He doesn’t want to see us defeated. He likes to encourage us, and reveal His glory to us.

Yes, I believe He wants us to get on our knees and pray. I believe He wants us to use what tools He’s given us in our faith, to fight the wars in our lives. But I think those things are there, more for our own spiritual growth and walk, than they are for end results, really.

In our own strength, we are so feeble. Do we really think it’s US that deserves the victory? 

Or God?

If I think I’ve done “enough” of something to win a battle, then it’s too easy for the focus to be on myself and what I can do.., then on what my God can do. And in fact, on what He DID.

So what a tender reminder this verse is for me to remember, that it is not by MY might but by God’s, that wins the battles and wars in my life.

And He does it for one simple reason.

Love.


For He loved me.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

What Is the Thing In Life, That First Stole Your Confidence?



When you look back on your life - what is that ‘thing’ that almost destroyed you? 

What is that thing that made you feel like you were crumbling into pieces? That thing that caused you to doubt who you were, why you were, and HOW you were…. As a person and an individual?

What was that big thing in your life - that first stole your confidence?

There is a ‘thing’ for most of us. Something that shattered our ideal expectations of how life is supposed to be.

I remember the ‘thing’ in my life. I remember it very well. I remember how for the first time, I started feeling shaky in my personal identity.

I almost let that ‘thing’ steal it from me completely. 

Before that period of time, I didn’t really wonder if I spoke too much. I didn’t question my judgement. I didn’t think that maybe I was “unlikeable.” Afterwards though? Afterwards, I grappled with those questions. And more. Sometimes a lot.

Wars do that to us. Spiritual wars. Emotional wars. And even physical wars in our lives.

They twist and turn, and pull our confidence out and away from us.

And they laugh.

Because in return, we often dwindle. We stop using our gifting. We fail to speak up. We try to fix things in ourselves, to imitate others (when in reality, nothing needed fixing.)

We wither.  We struggle. We doubt.

We lose our confidence.

We need to learn to fight back. For me, I barely held on. It was my faith that carried me through. And even then, it took years to slowly rebuild what was stolen from me, for a time. But I did it. 

I found my voice again. I regained my sparkle. I renewed my sense of self. And I learned to love me for me. Not thinking I was perfect, but knowing I was and am, uniquely a ‘me’ that is worthy of being liked and loved.

Who we are should be celebrated. It may be a process to learn who you are, and what you want out of life - but that process can be a fun journey.

So journey back to where it all began. With that ‘thing’ that first stole your confidence. Whether it was words that told you you weren’t good enough, or didn’t have ‘it’. Go back and reclaim it. Don’t let someone else decide who you will be.

Chase after yourself. That part of you that was left back in the past on a certain day, and in a certain time. Grab the gift in ‘you’ that was left behind. 

Was it your creativity? Your thoughts? Was it your dream? Grab it and run with it to today. Place it inside of your heart again, and relearn how that part of you, was always meant to be part of you.

Regain your confidence. Become aware of who you were meant to be. 

Identify all that you are. And love it. Live it. 

Say goodbye to the thief that came years ago. Make a choice to never let anyone steal anything from your character ever again.

Win this war.


Monday, July 23, 2018

Don't Ask God for Clarity



I can’t get this out of my head.  A small story I heard recently.

Someone asked Mother Theresa to pray for them, and in what direction, they should walk, in their future. They asked her to pray that God would give them clarity.

A prayer I’m familiar with. I’ve prayed that prayer. I’ve asked others to pray it for me.

Yet, in this story, I heard that Mother Theresa told the gentleman “no”. She said she would not pray for him. Because to ask for clarity - meant that he would not walk in faith.

He would not walk in faith.

That sentence has settled into my bones.

How many times have I failed to walk in faith? How many times have I sought answers so that I would know what to do… robbing me, of a time of growth with my Lord?

If I know what to do, if I know which way to walk, and if I know what God’s answer will be….. I have no reason to follow Him in faith. And faith is everything.

I choose to ask for the easy way out. Clarity. Instead of simply trusting, that God will direct my footsteps, as I walk in faith.

Such a big difference, and a big oversight on our part.

We are strangling our faith. We are pushing it aside in the quest for signs, wonders, and rainbows.

We look for a clear “BIG CALLING” on our lives, instead of simply living faithfully day to day.

Faith.

We need to grow our faith. Lean on our faith. Trust in our faith. 

And trust in our God instead of beckoning for answers, before we embark on any journey.

I’m not saying we ought not to pray. We should pray. Fervently. Boldly. And with open hearts. But then we should begin our quest. Trusting He will take those prayers, and guide us along the way.

Faith.


Yes. It’s everything,