Monday, April 24, 2017

No Matter Who Disapproves

I know who I am.

What if I know who I am, someone else should, but doesn’t seem to?

I am not perfect. I know that. I know I unintentionally hurt others’ feelings….as we all do. But I give so much. I cannot even talk about all the ways I give of my time, to help others. Why? Because I never want someone else to feel like they are a burden. And, because it’s what I love to do.

But someone always suffers. I cannot be everywhere. I cannot do everything. I cannot be present for each person I love in my life. There is always a sacrifice.  Sometimes it’s my husband. Sometimes, my children have to wait. Sometimes it’s a friend, a beloved relative….. I am only one person.

I am in the unique position where people come to me from time to time for advice, support, and just love. One of my favorite things in the world is to love on people!  But in the process, I get behind in life on the things I don’t enjoy quite as much. You know, the things like laundry, dusting, making appointments, cleaning off my desk.

My mind gets full as my heart gets full. And I sometimes forget who, I tell what.

Beth Moore once said that God gave her a prescription for deliverance from being so exhausted and trying to be all to all people. She said God told her to, “Do what I tell you to do. Nothing more and nothing less. No matter who disapproves.”

I have followed that advice. And although in one sense, it gives me freedom to pursue the things I believe God has placed on my heart, on the other hand, I still grieve over always seemingly disappointing somebody.

I have always been transparent. I’ve always been honest. I’ve always loved with abandon. And if people who’ve been around me for any length of time don’t get that at this juncture of my life….well…. that grieves me. But I have to keep moving on with the calling I believe God currently has for me.

God did not leave us here to cater to the “found” or those who are whole. He left us here, to minister to the lost and those who are broken. That has always been my passion. And I cannot always tell those in my life that I’m talking to someone who is struggling with alcoholism. Or someone who is contemplating suicide. I can’t talk about how my time was spent that day, giving hope to a mom whose child became cross-gender. Or someone who needed a little encouragement for their marriage.

But I shouldn’t have to tell those I love where all my time goes.

I know who I am.  I wish everyone I crossed paths with, did too. But I can’t constantly remind and reassure people of who I am, and what I’m about. They either know it – or they don’t.

Does that knowledge pain me? Ohhh, yes. Yes, it does. I carry it with me minute by minute. But ultimately, I am accountable to my precious Lord and Savior. I am accountable to Him, for my obedience, honesty, kindness, integrity, patience, forgiveness, and grace. I try to prioritize and encompass all of these things in my life.

What I do in life may not seem important to someone else. But it’s important to that person who gets a little bit of hope, encouragement, and love because of the time I invest.

So I will keep doing it. I will keep being me. Even with the thorns that prick my heart from those who try to limit me.

For it’s only in HIM and HIS expectations that I find freedom. And I’m so thankful that God never places strings on our relationship.

He just encourages me to fly.

Monday, April 17, 2017

When The Page Turns

I remember when I was a young girl; thinking that I would never ever be the one who had a boyfriend. But I was.

I remember going through years of persecution and harassment; thinking I would never live a life again, in freedom.  But I did.

I prayed for years, to live somewhere warmer – where my bones wouldn’t be so miserable from the cold. I began to think God was telling me, “no.” But it happened.

We so often think that things won’t happen to us.

Then that day comes.

It’s not always good. Sometimes, we don’t think the bad things will happen to us. I could never have fathomed, as a child, that I would know 5 people in my life, who would commit suicide. FIVE!

When I looked down at my beautiful babies, the years seemed so far off when they would drive off on their own, get married, or go off to college. I couldn’t have dreamed my heart would be able to handle it. Yet, somehow, those times have come and I’m still here.  I’m still standing.

The page always turns in our lives.  We never stay in the same spot forever. (As much as we sometimes may wish it.)

Sometimes our hearts moan and ache with misery over the changes. Other times, we fall to our knees in deep thanks.

One thing I know…… is that God has been with me through each and every moment. And He has been with you.

It’s the only reason I’m still standing. The only reason I’m able to handle the broken hearted moments. The only reason, I’ve been blessed with favor in others.

He has been with me. He is STILL with me.

That day WILL come for each of us. The day we think will never come. The day we dread – or the day we’ve prayed so hard for, that we think we’ll never see the reward. It will come.

And what will we do when that page turns? How will we be changed?
Who will we thank? Who will we forget?

Who will we blame?

God is with us. Always. In the alone moments, and the moments when the tears fall down our face. In the rejoicing moments, when we lose ourselves in the glee, and forget it was He, who granted our wish.

He is always there.

It is to Him, who I owe my strength. My hope. And it is to Him, I will ever praise.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Marriage Is More Than "Having Fun"

I see a lot of young couples who are dating and in relationships. It is so great to see them laughing together and having fun together. But as the relationship matures and goes on, I often watch to see if things will change. For marriage is about more than just “having fun.” And this is a lesson young people need to learn.

It is great to have someone to laugh with. It’s important to be able to enjoy life together.  But there is so much more to life than those moments. So much more than those feelings and a marriage can’t survive simply on “fun.”

If I could speak to young couples who are dating, I would tell them to find someone who is honest. Look for that person who you can trust – for trust will be so vital in a marriage relationship! I’d tell the young ladies to find a young man who is chivalrous. Does he open doors for you? Does he walk closest to the street to protect you from traffic? Does he let you go first in the shower, eat the last bite of leftovers? Or does he think of himself first?

I’d tell young couples to watch how the other person is with finances. Do they actively save money and think of the future? Do they work hard to get a job, and keep one?

Does your dating partner have humility or do they always have to be right? Are they good at being open to other opinions? Do they have a strong sense of morals and values?

These are all things that are very important in a relationship. Things that can cause arguments down the road if you aren’t in sync with one another. 

It’s great to have “fun” together. Fun will be important during certain phases of marriage. It will help you keep things in perspective. It will help your temper simmer after an argument. But “fun” won’t pay the bills. It won’t take care of you when you’re exhausted and sick. “Fun” won’t raise mature, grounded children.

So, look for more than “fun.” Yes, have fun. But add to it. Add to it integrity, character, depth, and vision. Give the relationship time to evolve in different circumstances and around different people so that you can see each other in their full light.

Choosing a spouse for a lifetime isn’t to be taken lightly. So although having fun is “fun,” it isn’t something to hinge a huge decision on. You have to use your head along with your heart.

It’s in your best interests.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

She Wonders If it's Worth It To Love So Much ~ If You Aren't Loved As Much In Return

She’s the one left behind.  The one sitting in the coffee shop with a sweet smile offered to all who pass by.

She’s the one always willing to give a hug, lend a hand, or offer a discerning word.

She’s the one outruled. Overlooked. Taken for granted.

And I see her. I know her.

She has a huge heart, that one. She only wants what is best for those she loves. And oh, how she loves!  She loves deep. And she hurts DEEP.

But it’s rarely seen. It’s rarely known how deep she aches for love in return.

Yes, she loves. She gives. And she loves to love. She loves to give. But the risk is to hurt. And she feels it when it comes. She feels every wave.

She wonders if it’s worth it to love so much – if you aren’t also loved as much in return.

She doubts her worth. Her likeability.

And the tears well up in her eyes.

She vows to not love that much again. To be guarded. To set up boundaries. And then time marches on. And she can’t help it. She finds herself loving someone else who needs to be loved. A broken soul. A wounded heart. A clipped wing.

Because she knows how it feels. She feels what they feel.

And it moves her soul.

So she opens her arms again. She opens her heart again. Hoping. Waiting. Wanting the same in return.

Only to get left behind once again. To be liked, but not liked ENOUGH. To be loved, but not loved AS MUCH as someone else.

To come in second. Always, second. Always, an afterthought.

And yet the world needs her.

I see her. I know her.

I’m cheering her on. Hoping she will feel the rewards of all she is, and all she does. Hoping she will see how much she matters. And praying – she will be chosen FIRST. First by her family. First by her friends. First by the strangers she steps out to love.

So she has fuel to continue on.

She could be your wife. She could be the girl in the college dorm down the hall. She might be that teacher who always smiles.  She could be your Aunt. Or, that faithful friend on facebook who always leaves an encouraging word for you.

Look for her. FIND her. And love her back.

She needs it.