Tag Archives: grace

Thank You for Offending Me!!!!

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Thank you for not noticing I colored my hair.  Thank you for stealing my parking spot.  Thank you for not saying hi at church today.  Thank you for not buying me coffee.  Thank you for forgetting my birthday.  Thank you for not remembering I am allergic to green peppers.  Thank you for ignoring me yesterday at the store.  Thank you for not inviting me to go out to dinner.  Thank you for cutting in front of me.  Thank you for not asking me to be a bridesmaid.  Thank you for not buying me something when you went to the store. Thank you for posting what you did on Facebook.

SHOULD I GO ON?

Offenses are literally EVERYWHERE these days.  As the world grows colder and colder and we are busy building our walls of defense against one another, we are suffering on the inside and no one seems to notice it much anymore.  We shrug our shoulders and move on to the next offense which just adds fuel to the fire already blazing on the inside.  We misinterpret things.  We react to situations based on our past hurts.  We are literally destroying our bodies with all this harbored bitterness. Often we take on offenses that really are not even there.

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So how can we overcome offenses in our lives?  Our women’s Bible study is reading a book called “Who Switched Off My Brain” by Dr. Caroline Leaf and just in the first two weeks I have learned a few things. (you can look her up YouTube and watch her amazing videos)  The main thing I want to focus on for the purposes of this blog is good trees verses bad trees.  When we are offended we have two choices:  take the offense and create a black tree or reject it and create a green, healthy one. (see Dr. Caroline Leaf videos for further understanding)  From the moment something offends us we can either choose life or death.  It really does something to the chemical balance in our bodies.

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Let me give you an example which just happened this morning.  I was driving my husband to work and he simply said to me, “Ya know, you need to slow down.”  Um, What?  I was going 40 and was ready with my defense when he further explained the speed limit had changed to 35 a few blocks back.  As I listened to his explanation I realized I had a choice to make:  Green Tree or Black Tree.  Here are the two scenarios:

  • I take on the offense:  My mind starts racing.  My blood pressure begins to elevate.  So I begin to build my defense case.  I have been driving for 31 years and have had 1, yes one, violation.  Then pride begins to boast in all its glory, my mind tries to dig up ALL of the things I have witnessed while being a passenger to his driving (which the list was very short–he is a great driver).  If I proceed with this avenue I will then become bitter and EVERY time I am driving my husband somewhere I will feel like I am not driving right according to his standards.  I would also open the door to me being critical about his driving as well.  Do you see where the bitterness grows and festers until it’s a BIG ugly black tree?
  • I decide not to be offended:  I choose in that very moment to capture this offense and give it to Jesus.  My blood pressure does not rise.  There is no place for bitterness to grow.  I know that pride will only get me into trouble and possibly a future “told you so”, besides,  growing a green, healthy tree is much simpler in the long run.  Besides I plan on spending the rest of my life riding in the car with my husband and this could have grown into one BIG UGLY black tree.

I am so THANKFUL God is renewing my mind in this area of my life.  Letting offenses fester only leads to a bitter life and possibly damages to my health.  I want to be able to love people and not take on any offenses.  The journey will not be easy, yet I accept the challenge.  I have had several instances this week where I have failed to not take on an offense, but then I remember it is a learning process.  It merely is in slowing down and making the clear choice rather than the one tainted by past hurts.

Dear Lord, I thank You for renewal of minds.  I pray You will help me to keep seeking deeper understanding in this area of my life.  I thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and You meet me right where I am at.  Thank  You for healing me and guiding my steps towards greater freedom!  In Jesus Name!  Amen

 

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Who Took My Blankie?

My very own

Just recently I had a passionate conversation and I wished I had recorded it, however, I will do my best to repeat the magnitude of what was said.

We are born.  Not by our own choice, but God’s.  We come into this world very unaware of our surroundings.  No clue perhaps in those first few moments of taking our first breaths.  Then as if out of nowhere there is a cutting.  A sudden revelation of a separation takes place.  The life line which you had been connected to for nine or so months suddenly is gone.

Now of course in those early stages of life we don’t actually have those thoughts running through our heads as birthing is a natural process which has been happening in this earth for a very long time.  For those who have anxiety at the moment you can probably close your eyes and imagine that whole beginning scene.  Those with separation issues could also relate.  What you once knew as comfort and connection is suddenly gone. Taken away.

So let’s take this to the next level.  As children we often cling to things such as stuffed animals, dolls or the ever so popular blankie.  These items become very important to us in early life.  You share EVERYTHING with this object, things you probably never told anyone else except for maybe your imaginary friend if you had one around.  I remember my son had a favorite teddy bear.  He went every where my son went.  If it was time for Teddy to have a bath, my son would stand by the washer and dryer until the whole process was complete.  He was clearly attached.

For the purposes of this discussion I am going to use the representation of the Blankie as I move through this next phase.  The Blankie is going to represent things we cling to in life as a comfort: food, family, friends, secret sins, drugs, alcohol and the likes.  Anything which we choose to go to instead of God.  As with the Blankie, we develop a relationship with our source of comfort.  It’s the one thing we know that will never let us down, it does not have the ability to.  We know when no one else understands us, our Blankie will.  It will comfort us.  Keep us close.  Never rejecting us.  Always a true friend and confidante.

What happens when God asks us to let go of the Blankie so that He can be our comfort, our true friend and confidante?  Of course!  We panic.  We cling all the tighter to our Blankie because a fear rises up in us.  How can we trust anyone else with our Blankie?  It knows us inside and out and would never hurt us or reject us or leave us hanging.  How do we know we will find comfort after we let go of the Blankie?

It all comes down to trust.  A trust beyond all thinking.  A trust so strong you have no choice but to cling to it instead of your false comforts.  For you see, a Blankie is just a false representation of love and trust.  In the end, you can’t take it with you.  It will be burned up with the things of the past.  You will step into heaven and God will be there.  Not your Blankie,–your false comfort.

God is calling us to trust Him with EVERYTHING.  Just like we shared our entire early stages of life with said Blankie, God wants you to choose to trust Him.  He wants to be your comfort.  Your security.  You source of Acceptance.

Some of us are still clinging to our Blankies.  We are at a point in our adult lives where we are afraid of being hurt and disappointed.  We don’t want to give up the very thing which has been there all along.  Drugs, alcohol, secret sins, food, bad relationships and various other addictions are not our security.  They are not our comfort.  They are not to be trusted.  Only God. God is the only one who will never let you down.  He will be there from the beginning until the end.  You can take Him where ever you go.  You can share every secret with Him.

One final thought.  In the beginning, we are not the ones who get to choose who cuts the cord.  When it comes to our false comforts we don’t have to do anything but trust God to take them and heal us from the aftermath.  We run around this big earth thinking we have to do more.  Thinking we are the ones who have to fix ourselves before we can go to God.  Those are lies.  God will take your Blankie.  All you have to do is believe.

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Dear Lord, Help me today to trust you with my Blankie.  I choose today to trust you with my Blankie.  I believe You can be trusted.  I believe You are my source of comfort and security.  Lord let me learn that the past is behind me and You are right in front of me, waiting to heal me.  I thank You Lord for removing those things in my life which are not of You.  I pray for all those who feel stuck in their sin or addictions that they made find true comfort in You alone and be healed from their wounds.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

I am Seed

just be

Just recently I have realized how much easier life is when I just sit and stay.  Like a dog learning new tricks I am.  To be still and quiet.   To be content with just slowing down.  Smelling the roses.  Picking up pretty rocks.  Exploring new paths.  Waiting for the sunset.  Reading a book.  Painting a picture.  Slow walks along the beach. Taking 1,000 pictures of a cricket or flowers or water.   Just the simple elegant things of life.

So many times in my life I have been way too busy with other things to even notice that God was trying to keep up with me.  Sometimes I have so many projects going at one time that nothing ever gets completed.  I get so dang excited about ideas I sometimes want to dive right in even though I still have other things in the works already.

Psalm 1:3 in the Message Bible says:

Psalm 1:3 The Message (MSG)

2-3 Instead you thrill to God’s Word,
    you chew on Scripture day and night.
You’re a tree replanted in Eden,
    bearing fresh fruit every month,
Never dropping a leaf,
    always in blossom.

When I first read this, I felt such an excitement with it and then I realized we were discussing a tree here.  Something which is non-mobile.  It is a seed planted meant to just be.  To just sway in the wind.  To allow the soil to house its’ roots.  To just grow and produce leaves and sometimes grow fruit.  To just be and depend on God to feed and water it.  To just be dependent  on God to shelter and protect it in all stages of growth from the seed to full maturity.

It is only when we slow down that we can truly depend on God.  It is in the slow moments we are reminded that God is in control.  It is in the slow times we see just how good God truly is and how He really does take care of our every need.  He feeds us with the Word.  He waters us with His Presence.  He protects us from all weather conditions life throws at us.

When we stop to just be, all fear dissolves.  After we have discontinued our pursuit of taking care of our own needs, God shows up in all of His splendor and we can be content with just being.  

At some point we need to come to the realization that we are merely the seed.  We have nothing else to do but just be.  Think of seed planted in the ground.  It sits.  It waits.  It is broken.  Then it beings to grow.  It grows both above ground and underground.  We don’t see the roots as they grow and often that is how we are as humans, we hide the roots, yet above the surface everything looks good.  Our trunks our sturdy and our leaves look just right yet underneath it all, buried deep inside are roots some good some bad.

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I encourage us all today to just be.  Take some time to just sit.  Stay.  Marinate.  Accept God is in control.  Be content in the stillness of God.  Begin to know that He meant it when He said, Be Still and KNOW I am God.

Dear Lord, I thank You for taking care of all of my needs.  I thank You that I can really just be.  I desire to get to know You better.  I look forward to just being more in Your presence.  I thank You for allowing me to just be.  Lord, I also thank You that You will begin to show others what it really means to just be so they too can find peace in just being still.  AMEN

Getting to the Track is the Easy Part

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When life knocks you right of the track you are on, get back up and head toward the track.  Yup!  I know it sounds simple, and I also know it’s not easy.  Falling is never an easy place to rise up from yet it puts you in the perfect position for the greatness of God.  It places you in a vulnerable spot on which  great victory can occur.  When we feel defeated to the core then it’s time to sing praises.  It’s time to rejoice!  It’s time for joy to bubble up from within because God is about to do something so great your mind can’t even wrap itself around the miracle.

I am battling with my weight at the moment and am getting really frustrated.  I am on the right track.  I am moving forward but the train just has not picked up any speed.  The train I am on lacks motivation.  It lags behind the rest hoping at some point to catch up and get ahead of the game.  I may never get ahead of the rest and that is exactly where I need to be to have  peace within my soul.  I need to believe that I am on the right track and at least moving forward in the right direction.  I need to believe God is directing the train and His ways are greater than mine will ever be.

Today I posted a blog in my Sparkpeople app which brought me to tears right in my office.  In one simple moment of time I felt the presence of God in my life in a powerful Father-Loving way.  He accepts me.  He loves me.  He is my strength.  He is my rescuer when I fall.  He is the only One who can pick me up, dust me off and set me in the right direction, any other voices are just distractions.

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Today, choose the let Him pick you up, dust off the dirt and set you on the path towards the right track.  He does not require us to return to where we once began the journey, however, He let’s us start right where we fell.  There are no do overs with God, just continuations towards the right way.  You are good enough for God to save you.  You have not failed to the point where He forgets about you.  You are created for a plan and purpose.

Begin today to believe in you.  Believe in love.  Believe in faith.  Believe God is who He says He is.  Allow Him to set you on the right track.  If you fall off again, choose to know it is okay, He will pick you up right where you are.  You do not have to seek help, He will come to you.  Before you even ask He knows your distress and help is already on the way. He has everything you need to stay on track, no need for inventing schemes or great plans for survival.  He alone has the answers.  He alone knows your every need.  He alone is the maker of the track you are to be on.

 

Dear God, Today I pray for all of us who are struggling in any area of our lives.  I know You are sending help already, you won’t leave us in the dust, broken and battered.  I pray peace to come today.  I pray You will heal our wounds and set us on the right track towards the plan you have for our lives.  Thank You for the work you are doing on our behalf.  Thank You for the healing that is coming.  Thank You for accepting us just as we are.  In Jesus Name.  Amen

Pick Me!

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Ever been unhappy with a job?  Dissatisfied with where you are in life?  Not fully on board with your boss?  Feeling unappreciated?  Work load is too much?  Feeling like you can’t just go in and do your job and then leave it behind to go home and enjoy life? Too many hours each week? Physically stressful? Co-workers causing drama?  A never ending barrage of events? All of the Above?

Well, some of those things applied to my job of 30 years.  I started at McDonald’s when I was 16 and I worked there until about a month ago. Over the years this job had its ups and downs.  Deep down I know that ketchup ran through my veins.  I had been in the business long enough to know how to deal with almost every type of customer and crew member.  I loved the busy days.  The satisfaction of good numbers.  The thrill of seeing happy customers.  But….

In 2012 I became a General Manager and things began to change for me.  I had challenges I had not faced before.  I was now the one in charge..of a whole store.  I did schedules and inventories and hiring and firing and paperwork and meetings and training and customer service and customer complaint calls and the list goes on.  I was on call 24/7 in case something happened at the store meaning I could not turn my phone off “just in case” and it was permanently attached to me wherever I went.  As time went on I took on more stress than I probably needed to.

At the same time, I began to love the people I worked with.  They were on my prayer list.  Some called me mom.  I was building relationships and sometimes we even talked about Jesus.  When God began to lift the grace from me to work in this capacity of General Manager I began to question His motives..yes, God’s motives.  I argued that if I went on to something different who would be here for these people?   Where would my ministry field be?

I had back surgery in November and I get a huge dose of disconnect.  The store was not allowed to be in contact with me as this was a work related accident.  So for three months I was off work…the longest EVER in my life for not working.  I had plenty of time to write, rest and live in His Presence.  A very relaxed and stress-less situation.  I was pretty happy-go-lucky and I loved it.

When I went back to work the stress returned.  It was almost like I had been a free roaming horse who just got bridled for the first time.  As I tried to mesh my new free lifestyle with work again I felt so frustrated.  This being on call 24/7.  The people not wanting to come to work.  The drama.  It was too much.  I just wasn’t filled with enough grace to do this type of work again.

Tomorrow I will fill you on the rest of the saga.  But for now just know this:  Sometimes God lifting the grace is the very thing which catapults you into your promise land.

Dear God, Thank You for lifting grace at times.  Thank You that You always offer me a safe place to be.  Help me to see You and what You are doing on my behalf.  Thank You for knowing every detail of what I need in my life to move into my promise land.  Thank You that with every twist and turn of my life you will be right beside me.  Help me to stay so close to You that I can feel You breathing.

In Jesus Name  Amen

Lost between Diamonds, Makeup and Hairspray

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Today, if you were to check my Facebook page, I had a to do list all mapped out.  Well, somehow I got lost between posting that this morning bright and early and doting on myself.  I went from wanting to knock things off my list to spending some me time in a matter of minutes.  Will I get my list done today? Perhaps.

In life we get so caught up in pleasing those around us that we forget sometimes that we are just as important.  We need to take time for us before we are broken and battered and of no use to others.  I enjoy spending time with me.  I like to see what magic I can do with my hair and make up.  I like trying on clothes.  I like decorating myself with diamonds just for fun.  I guess what I am trying to say is simple:  I like me.

Now, I did not arrive to this position about myself overnight and the older I get the more I like myself and who I have become.  I have allowed God to change me from the inside.  The more I believe what His Word says about me, the more I am happy to focus on me so that I can encourage others to do the same!

My husband asked me this morning why I was so good to him.  Silly man, because I love you.  But I can honestly say that I am as confident in who I am today because of his love.  I was broken from a past relationship and it has taken time and a lot of healing for me to even say I like myself.  God used my husband to love me back together.  He picked up the broken pieces of my heart and gently and patiently helped me heal.  I wrote him this Facebook post today:

for john

God has used my husband to teach me the principle of loving myself.  When I do not feel good about who I am, then I am not very easily persuaded to help anyone else feel good either.  However, when I am confident in who I am, I can boldly help someone in need of a love tap.  I can lovingly tell someone who is down and out and beating themselves up that they are worthy of love and mean it.

So how do we begin the journey of falling in love with who we are so that we can be a blessing to others?  One step at a time.  One Bible verse at a time.  One minute for ourselves. One moment of encouragement can do a whole lot of good.  Sometimes I wish I could start my career over and just become a motivator, then I think about the people I may have impacted and perhaps I already have done that.

Last point:  the definition of love is an intense feeling of affection and the definition of yourself is you personally.  Put these two together and you get this:  Feeling intensely affectionate for you personally.  I know that sounds a bit strange but let’s look at it from God’s perspective:

God feels intensely affectionate for you personally because God is love.


Wow! How powerful is that statement?  Let that permeate through you right now.  Allow that to just sink right in.  When you realize the God of the universe is in love with who you are, it’s the first step to beginning to love you!

Dear God, I stand before you today with the knowledge that you love me personally.  Help me to receive that into my spirit.  Help me to see who I really am.  Let the love process begin in me today.  Show me something about who I am that I can love.  Thank You for accepting me just as I am, a work in progress.  I thank you for the revelation to come.  In Jesus Name Amen

Define Love

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What is love?  What is your definition? What’s love got to do with who you are? Is love overrated? If you don’t have love are you worthless? If you do not have love for another are you evil?  If love isn’t enough than what is?  If you are alone, do you not possess love?  If you are not in a relationship, have you failed at love? I could fill this entire blog with the word love and it would lose it’s meaning really fast so let’s get to the nitty gritty of what love truly is.

First this is what Webster’s dictionary defines love as:

Simple Definition of love

  • : a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person

  • : attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship

  • : a person you love in a romantic way

hmmmm…for the purposes of today’s blog I want to focus on the very first line.  What does it mean to have a strong and constant affection for a person? Also for the motive of this discussion I want to change person to reflect yourself.  Jesus says clearly several times in the Bible that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves but how can we do this if there is no existence of love for ourselves?

So many humans are wandering around this Valentine’s Day moping because they don’t have a husband or wife or a significant other to share this day of love with.  We as humans get so caught up in the drama of what holidays are supposed to mean that we lose out value for ourselves. We need to get back to the basics of love, ourselves.

Now, I know when some of you just heard that you got a little sad because you don’t have a clue how to begin loving yourself.  You have been so beaten and battered to this point in your life that there is no hope left.  You have been rejected one too many times.  You have been left out of certain circles.  You don’t seem to fit in anywhere.  You feel as if you have failed at life time and time again.  Why would you even want to love yourself, no one else seems to.

This is where change can begin to happen. You are not defined by anyone else’s definition of love.  You are defined by who God says you are.  The Bible says so many positive things about who you are.  Your are His beloved.  You are His righteousness.  You are worthy. You are loved. I do not have the time or space to list all of the great things the Bible says about you, I just wanted to graze the surface.  So how can you begin to love you?  First of all the best step to take is begin to recognize the lies you have been fed probably all of your life.

Often growing up is where we begin to listen and accept the lies of the enemy: You are not good enough to do that.  You did that completely wrong.  You will never be able to do that.  You will be lucky to finish high school.  You won’t get that part in the play.  You are not smart enough.  Lie after lie after lie after lie we believe and it begins to shape how we value ourselves.  If we don’t begin to love who we are, we will never be able to love others to the full capacity that Jesus calls us to.

So here are a few beginning steps to catapult you into loving yourself.  One, stop listening to the lies. Two, begin to accept the positive love from God’s Word and let it begin to define who you are.  Three, forgive those who fed you the lies. Four, practice loving yourself.  It’s okay to spend time with you.  It’s okay to do the things you enjoy doing.  It’s okay to accept the uniqueness that makes you who you are.  And five, apply grace to yourself.

Loving yourself is not an instant, overnight success.  Loving yourself will take time, so take all the time you need.  Once you begin to see yourself with God’s perspective you will begin to see a change in you.  A change for the better.  A positive change that will infect those around you and may even inspire some to do the same.  Whatever you do, don’t give up on you because God never will.

Dear God,

I give you permission today to reveal Your love to me in a way I have never seen before.  I ask that you would begin a new work in me and that I would begin to understand what loving myself is all about.  I thank You for accepting me just as I am right where I am.  I thank You that the work You have begun in me You will complete.  Help me to see the love You have for me clearly and without the lies from the enemy.  In Jesus Name, Amen