Tag Archives: love

Thank You for Offending Me!!!!

offenses

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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Auto-Pilot Distracted Living

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I am almost embarrassed to tell this story yet I know that freedom comes from sharing our testimony, so here it goes!  

It was an ordinary Sunday afternoon, church was over and dad needed to go to the grocery store.  Let me preface this story with dad is 85  and can no longer live alone so we try to help him out as much as taking him to the store and doctor appointments.  Being in bad health his demeanor is usually grumpiness and some confusion so the usual running conversation on Sunday afternoon goes something like this:

Me:  Dad, are you ready to go shopping?

Dad:  I would have rather gone this morning.

Me:  Sorry Dad I had to go to church.

Dad:  Had to go?

Me:  Yes dad, we have Bible Study and I am on the worship team.

Dad:  Ok, well, I hope I can make it…

This is the conversation we have almost every Sunday.  Then we get to the store and he is frustrated with how full the parking lot is and how many people he anticipates to be in the store.  Once we get in he worries the whole time the electric cart is going to leave him stranded in the middle of the store.  It is really sad to see how much fear riddles my dads life and frustrating at the same time, especially when those around us have no idea what we have been through just to get to the dairy section of the store.

So on this particular Sunday I was thinking a strategy in my head of how I was going to drop dad off at the grocery section of the store and I was going to go in the other entrance because I knew we needed hand soap.  So as I was parking the car I was planning my trip into the store when I pulled into the parking spot only to notice the car in front of me was about to leave and I thought to myself, “Boy I bet they are mad because they can’t just pull through to leave.’ (which is surely a thought I would have had if it was me)  Then  a car pulled up two spots away with a really loud stereo and my attention was drawn to that instead.

After all of those distractions I went back to focusing on the task at hand:  Operation Hand Soap. I entered the store as planned, grabbed the hand soap and headed across the store to the produce section where dad was waiting not so patiently and we spent the next hour acquiring groceries and disputing whether we needed items or not.  Almost done and dad is in a panic because the electric cart is at half battery so I tell him to proceed to the front check outs and I will finish getting the last few items. (which I took too long to do and prompted a cell phone call to inquire what happened to me)

We get to the check-out, I pack up the cart and the usual routine is dad pays and I head off to load the car and pick him up.  I reach for my keys and they are absent from my purse…already in a state of frustration, I begin to panic.  I had hoped they were not locked in the car because my husband would have no way to bring me a key and so this scenario begins in my head about how he will be upset and what about dad and what about the frozen foods……

I arrive at the car only to discover with somewhat relief that indeed the keys were in the car and I had somehow managed to leave the door unlocked.  So once I calmed myself down a bit and forgave myself for not taking the keys out and locking the door, I loaded the groceries in the back of the car and got in to pick up dad only to discover that not only did I leave the keys in the ignition with the car unlocked I had in fact also left it running.  What?  How?  Why?  I ran through my head the events leading up to this and I decided I was just too distracted.  This was so out of my character.  How could I have allowed this to happen?  Only by the grace of God was my car even still in the parking lot.

Well, this got me thinking for sure and the Lord started showing me how we have become so distracted with the things of this world we have kind of left our Christianity on Auto-Pilot in hopes that it will still be there when we return.  We go through the motions of our days often being distracted by this thing and then another until we are almost running around like chickens with our heads cut off.  We are barely thinking straight and often allow the things of this world to upset us far more than we should.

When we finally do take a moment to come to our senses and spend some time focusing on the things of God we often discover the spirit part of our lives is often left to fend for itself.  We find it hard to read the Word.  We try to fit in a Bible Study when we can. Often we just don’t want to listen to Christian music and enter into His Presence.

BUT GUESS WHAT!!

God’s grace is there.  He will keep us running.  He will be still be there when our focus returns to Him and the distractions have gone away.  When we face our fears and overcome our anxieties we once again realize that it was His grace the entire time that kept us safe.  It is His Grace which keeps our spirit in perfect peace when chaos erupts around us.  It is His Grace which keeps us safe even when great storms seem to separate us from seeing Him in a situation.  It is His Grace that keeps us from falling apart at the seams when we are too distracted to notice.  It is His Grace and Love which prevents us from ever getting to distracted to notice He loves us right where we are, lost or found

Dear Lord, Please help me to stay focused and not to be distracted by the things of this world.  Keep me safe and headed in the right direction.  I thank You for the peace which passes all understanding and I thank You for always loving me no matter where I have wandered.  In Jesus Name  Amen

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