Friday, July 29, 2016

If You Love Me, Don't Let Me Go

Everyone wants to know love – to feel love.

Everyone wants someone to have their “back.” To fight for them and with them.


I wonder, how awful it must feel, to live life without love. Without feeling it, without knowing it.

There are people who are in those shoes, right now. They don’t feel your love. They don’t see it, hear it, or know it.

They are lost. Alone. Crying and hurting.

The baby who is about to be aborted.  The baby who just wants to be loved.

The man on the streets, who sleeps on a cardboard out in the cold on Thanksgiving, while his family dines on turkey at home.

The cousin who has to go back into rehab again.

The youth who ends up in jail. And has no visitors.

The child who huddles up, locked in their room, as mom and dad yell, and throw things at each other.

They just want to be held.

Mistakes will be made in life. And some people have made plenty. But where is grace? Where is mercy?

Where is love?

They may be unsteady. They may not outwardly be asking you of anything. But inwardly, they are shouting – “Am I worthy of love?”  “Am I valuable?”

“If you love me, don’t let me go.” “Don’t let me fall. Don’t let me fail.”

“Be there for me. Love me. “


Monday, July 25, 2016

Because I Choose Him

There is a cost to being a Christian. I know it. I feel it. 

People so easily label you once they find out what you believe. They assume how you will feel and act, in any certain situation or circumstance.  They assume I won’t want to be their friend, that I won’t love them, if they do “such and such” or behave in a certain manner.

They are wrong.

In fact, it is MORE likely that I will stick with them longer, and further, than some of their other “so-called” friends, purely BECAUSE of my faith. It is MORE likely that I will be trustworthy and genuine, BECAUSE of what I believe.

Oh yes. I know that’s not true for all of us who label ourselves with the word, “Christian.” I wish it were.

It should be.

We all should be different, because of our choice to choose God as Lord of our lives. I know I am.

I make the choices I do in my life - because I choose God.

I have joy in my heart, despite my trials and challenges, because of my choice to follow the Lord.

I am happy. I feel blessed. I feel free. Because I choose HIM.

And He has chosen me.

I’m not anything special, in and of myself. I am supremely flawed. I can be a huge dork. At times, I feel especially needy.  But He loves me just as I am. He has been faithful to me. He chose me, despite my inadequacies, fears, doubts, and immaturity.

And He continues to choose me. He continues to want me.

So, I try to be honest, because I owe God everything. I owe Him my life, my joy, my dreams; my everything.

I try to be obedient. I try to love others, as He loves me.

I try to be respectful, civil, and forgiving (as hard as a lesson that is for me to grasp.)

All because I love Him – and so I make my choices in life – based on that wholehearted love.

HIM. I choose Him.

That’s why I am who I am. And I, for one second, have never regretted that choice. He’s never led me wrong.

How great is thy Father’s love…… and oh how I’d love to share it with you.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wasted Moments

There is a song out by Keith Urban that is called, “Wasted Time.”  The first time I heard it, I thought, “Those words are so true!”

For most of us, we make elaborate efforts to create memories. Especially as parents, we outdo ourselves on our kids’ birthday parties, on holiday celebrations, on baking food for a party, on vacations.

And those all show our love. Our efforts ALWAYS show our love.

But….a great deal of our treasured moments in life, are in the unplanned. In the moments of life that most people would refer to as “wasted time.”

Spontaneity is a gift in life, because those moments come from someone’s heart. The words, the actions, the time spent together – they are unplanned. They are simply expressions of who we are, and how we feel about life, and those we share it with.


As I sit here, writing this piece, I can think of SO many lazy, spontaneous, unplanned, “wasted” moments in life, that have become so fond to my heart.

I think of walking down to the dock to eat lunch one summer up at the lake, with my sister and my mom. And suddenly, we were bowling with our grapes.

I think of taking the mattress out in our backyard and looking up at the sky to the stars, talking, and laughing with my husband and kids.

I think of being on a road trip and suddenly, due to where we had just been, finding every song we played on my IPOD to encompass a theme to where we were.  Some were farfetched. Some were outright stupid. But it was hilarious. Memorable. And my kids still bring it up sometimes.

I think of standing in the street, holding hands with a homeless man, as he asked me to pray for him. So there my family huddled in prayer – for a stranger.

Or, shopping with my girls and ending up having hilarious moments in the dressing room.

Wasted moments? I think not. Maybe they didn’t contribute to world peace. But they contributed to our life. To our love for each other.

There is so much busyness in life. Our heads can get so full of thoughts, to-do’s, and emotions of circumstances and challenges. We can get a little lost in it all.

We forget to simply “be.” To simply “love.”

We forget that some of the best moments in life, happen in the “wasted” seconds of life.

Let’s not be so quick to rush by them when they come our way. Let’s not get so restless when they present themselves. For they are treasures. To us, and to those who share them with us.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Don't Let Them Break You

I wish everyone, wished everyone else “well.”  If only we could all be happy for each other when something goes right in the other person’s life. 

If only we could be happy enough with ourselves, to not tap into the jealous feelings that want to invade us and cause us to strike at one another.

I wish there wasn’t mental illness. I wish no one had to experience the dark side of depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia.  I wish we loved each other enough, to never see the battles that occur in a life due to low self esteem, or someone feeling like they aren’t valuable.

But that’s just not the reality we live in.

Emotional monsters exist in our heads. They reveal themselves in supposed relationships. And they blossom right before our very eyes.

They try to break us.

Their only goal is to hurt, damage, inflict as much pain as they possibly can, and to steal our joy.

Sometimes they succeed. Sometimes they leave a wake of ruin in their path.

Those “monsters” don’t have to win. They don’t have to dictate where you go, what you do, or how you do it.

We just need to be alert. Aware. Ready to put on our armor of protection, wisdom, and faith.

We need to know that what often comes at us, comes from a deeper, darker place, than just another hurting and unhappy soul.

It comes from satan.

There is no debating that our lives will hold great challenges. There will be many tears that fall from our cheeks. Not everyone will want to be our friend.

We can live with all of that. We can bounce back from the wounds inflicted on us, if we remember and realize, that if we give in to defeat, those monsters win. If we let the dark side crowd out all that’s good within our world, we not only lose the fight, we lose our very selves.

Don’t let them win. Don’t let them steal YOU. Don’t lose yourself to the battles in this

Fight. Fight hard. Fight smart. Fight for yourself.

You are worth it.

Don’t let anything, or anyone break you. Don’t let them destroy you. For if you are worthy of a fight, if you are worth it enough, to try and be destroyed, then there is great fear of who you are. Use that to fuel you.

Use it to strengthen you.

The problem when someone goes on the attack, is usually with that someone – not you. You are just the object of their struggle. And I’m sorry for that.

Use that knowledge in how you relate to everyone around you. And use it to help you fight off the unfair.

Because often, it WILL be unfair.

But whatever you do, don’t let them break you. Don’t let them win.

You can overcome. With the Lord’s help, you can overcome. Then you can help others becomes strong and overcome, too.

Bend, my friend, but don’t break.  The world needs you.

Friday, July 8, 2016

You Hurt Me, So I'll Hurt You - Is Never the Answer

My heart breaks over the division in America. So much hatred, bitterness, and pain. So needless.

I hate injustice as much as the next person, but violence isn’t the answer. Love is. Empathy is. Understanding IS.

Blacks. Whites. Muslims. Africans. Indians. We are all humans. All flawed people.

There will be bad and good amongst all of us. Bad police officers. Good police officers. Just as there are bad teachers and good teachers. Bad parents and great parents.

You can’t judge a whole race or profession, based on the actions of one – or a few. Yes, it will flavor everything about them. But we need to judge each person, based on THAT person’s actions.

My friend Lisa Whittle mentioned in a facebook post that the church has “stopped weeping.” She is so right. We have stopped crying over what’s wrong. We have grown cold and turned our faces away from what is immoral, unjust, and unkind. And when you stop weeping with those who weep, you stop feeling.  You enter into a zone of indifference.

Causing pain to another family, because you have been wronged, is never the answer. It only adds to the pain and hurt of everyone as a whole. And it becomes a domino effect. You hurt me – so I’ll hurt you.

How about – you hurt someone, so I’ll teach you to love? I’ll teach you, you matter? I’ll teach you, that not everyone is like that?

How about…can I pray for you?

We need to get down on our knees, and pray for our country. Pray for our world. We need to pray that hearts will crack, and people will start feeling again. We need to unite as people – and realize that we ALL feel. We ALL hurt.  Yes, there are those amongst us who act out and do wrong. It’s unfair. But we can’t continue the cycle. We must break it. WE.

We can’t leave it up to someone else to be the change. WE must be the change. WE must teach our children to empathize with those who don’t look like us, or act like us.

Excusing bad behavior is not the answer. But becoming like what we say we despise, isn’t either.

Life is not fair. It never will be. It’s life. We can’t demand things for ourselves, just because someone else gets something.

If someone does something wrong – yes – they need to face disciplinary consequences. That goes for a police officer, a criminal, or a public figure. No one should be immune or above the law. But just as a little child can often teach an adult how to forgive, accept, and love – WE the people may be the ones needed to teach those in authority how to love, heal, and encourage one another; instead of tearing and breaking down more people and families.

“Our hearts are at war,” says Lisa Whittle. And it’s time for us to bridge the gap. 

Otherwise there will just be more hurt and pain.

Lord, forgive us. Heal us.

Have mercy on our souls.

Friday, July 1, 2016

It's a Privilege

It’s a privilege for me to be a mom. Every day, I count my blessings. I love my children so much; and I know many, many people cannot bear a child at all.

It’s a privilege for me to be able to write. To do what I love? That adds so much joy to my life. And I thrive on encouraging and impacting others. I know that is a gift – and I don’t take it lightly, that I am able to do it.

It’s a privilege for me to be able to walk.  I see people in wheelchairs. I see people with artificial limbs. And I know walking is not something I should take for granted. I am so thankful my two legs function, and I can walk. I can run around with my grandkids.  It’s a blessing given to me.

It’s a privilege for me to travel from time to time. I’ve traveled more in my life than I ever could have dreamed. I’ve seen more than some people – and I’m not done living yet. I know the travels I’ve taken, (or may yet to take) are “extra’s” in my life that I’m lucky to be able to have. Each one is an extra gift unpacked… when I’ve already been given so many.

It’s a privilege for me, to be able to see. To breathe with my own lungs. To go to the bathroom on my own. To brush my hair.  I’ve been in hospitals. I’ve seen car accidents. I’ve been ill, myself. And I know these things are often overlooked. I don’t want to forget or fail to thank God for my knees, my hips, my nose, ears, heart, or kidneys. For someone, somewhere, doesn’t have something that I assume I will always have. Something that keeps me alive and keeps me healthy.

It’s a privilege for me, to live in a house. To drive a car. To sleep in my own bed. To have a husband.

It’s a privilege for me to be able to buy clothes.  To eat so much that I’m full.

It’s a privilege. All of it.

And I don’t want to forget it.

God has given me so much. If He never gave me one more thing I asked for, He’s already given me more than I deserve. 

We are walking blessings. You – and – I. We have gifts that we use, that we wear, that we ARE.

WE are the gifts. And we are privileged.

I don’t DESERVE two working hands anymore than anyone else. I don’t DESERVE to be happier. 

It’s all a privilege. A blessing. A gift.

And I’m indebted. Humbled. Thankful. Extremely blessed. And aware.

Are you?