R E J E C T I O N

July 21st, 2017

I woke up this morning feeling like garbage! I felt grumpy, head-achey just all around miserable! I didn’t notice just how crummy I was feeling until I got ticked at my cup of coffee before I’d even had a sip. Don’t ask.

I’ve had an issue rolling around inside my head & heart for the last few days. Waking up this morning was like the eruption of all the feels! I’ve prayed over it. I’ve talked about it with my hubby. I’ve pondered it in my thoughts. I’ve laid it down and then picked it up again. This morning, God said, “Let’s get this done with!”.

So, here I am. Pouring out my thoughts on rejection. Don’t misunderstand, I’m no expert on Biblical understanding of how other people love or don’t love. All I can do is share what God has told me through scripture and prayer. I’m all wrecked and flawed like everyone else. I’m trying to live as a blank slate every single day! I get up & look for God to use me, fill me and make me more like Him because, friends, I ain’t no good as is!

I NEED JESUS!

God is a slick operator (I mean, hey…HE’S GOD!!! Duh), my morning devotion was on rejection straight up in my face! The writer told a story about a time a really close friend dissed her in a big way for what felt like no reason at all. She was so hurt that she acted out in her flesh and sought out some sort of retaliation against her “friend”. She felt all the hurt feelings and thought all the negative thoughts that most of us tend to feel when we’re in such a situation. Rejection hurts. It crushes us and wounds us and our natural reaction is to fire back. To make the offender feel like they’ve made us feel.

God goes about dealing with rejection in the absolute opposite way. (Of course HE does) He says, “Do not judge and you will not be judged!” Ouch! Also, “Do not condemn and you will not be condemned!” Oh Lord, come on! Here’s the big one, “Forgive and you will be forgiven!” Yikes! I’m being measured just like everyone else and I know better than to be vengeful or mean-spirited to others. God has a better way. He’s offering me the choice to love like HIM.

READ LUKE 6:37-42

Funny how far off the path we can get when we act out or feel life’s struggles in our own fleshly way. I do not have to worry about anyone who doesn’t want to be my friend or whether they like me, accept me or ever speak to me again. My role isn’t to chase people down and force them to care about me. My role is to be a loving person to them no matter how they treat me. If they insult me or ignore me, love them anyway. I’m no better than they are and God will bless me for my obedience to Him.

I answer to God, not others.

The greatest thing I can do for me and for them is to pray for them. Genuinely seek God in blessing their lives and for opportunities to be a Christ-like friend whenever I have the chance. Rejection isn’t fatal. Sometimes it’s a painful way of learning to look to Jesus for acceptance in a world heck bent on spitting in the face of God. My little hurt feelings are nothing compared with the rejection my Lord has suffered. Seriously, He never did anything rude or ugly to anyone (I can’t claim that) yet He suffered the worst kind of rejection.

I’ll end with this, remember how jealous and cruel Joseph’s brothers were to him? They really disliked their little brother, enough so that they threw him in a hole to get rid of him forever! Joseph didn’t die there but he struggled through some rough treatment before his most important role. When he finally came face-to-face with those same mean brothers they were shakin in their sandals for the way they treated him. Joseph had every right to lash out and to destroy them for their sin against him…but, he didn’t dare. He lovingly told them, it’s okay. What you meant as harm for me…GOD HAS USED IT FOR GOOD!

Whatever someone is doing to you or has done to you — don’t let it consume you or wreck your heart. Trust God that He is going to use it for good. Maybe not right now, could be for a far off time but trust Him that He will make it right. Love & be loved. Be a friend, turn the cheek and remember rejection isn’t about you it’s about them.

While I Wait

July 20th, 2017

Have you ever had to wait on something? Of course you have. Everyone’s eaten out in a restaurant or sat in a drive-thru waiting on food or drinks. Waiting can be frustrating! It can push you to lose your cool or to act out. For some, waiting isn’t a big deal. For other’s, it’s stressful.

If you’re waiting on important test results or a job opening…waiting can be overwhelming and painful. It can set you back and rob you of your peace. My own experience with waiting has been a wild ride of emotions. No way would I have believed anyone if they’d told me last year that I’d be stuck in the longest season of waiting of my life this year. I might have smirked a laugh or even shook my head in disbelief. Yet, here I am…. 314 days into a waiting that has beaten me silly and refined me into a whole different person.

Waiting can be useful. It’s not all bad. There can be a lot accomplished in a season of waiting. However, waiting can feel so useless too. Our minds are almost programmed to be productive and that just doesn’t seem to go with waiting. Have you tried sitting still doing nothing for long periods of time? It’s maddening. That’s what waiting can feel like to someone wanting to get out there and DO SOMETHING amazing!

Something I’ve learned in my waiting is that God absolutely has a different time frame than me. His timing is not the same as mine. I’m a “let’s do this” kind of person and God is…well, HE’s GOD – He doesn’t answer to moi! HE CAN DO WHATEVER HE WANTS and I have learned to stop pushing and expecting my desires to happen WHEN I WANT and to trust HIM to do even better on His time schedule.

Talk about building up your faith muscles. Yowza!

Also, waiting fine tunes character. Let me tell you, I’ve wanted to go crazy and roll around on the ground out of sheer frustration. Waiting can make you lose your dang mind! Especially if you see others moving forward fast and easy with a blessed life. Waiting can feel like a punch in the nose! Staying close to God through scripture and prayer has shown me some very valuable insight – God is way more concerned with my character than He is with my hubby’s employment. Oh, I believe He understands the importance of jobs & paying bills…but all that’s going to go away someday. There’s no mortgage payment in heaven. My soul needs Jesus, my earthly body needs money to live.

I can wait on God. He has a perfect plan. He will do exactly what I need and do it precisely when I need it most. Trusting Him has been my only choice, believing Him has been my source of survival.

I’m a living testimony that God can and will do abundantly more than we ever deserve.

What are you waiting on right now in your life that’s weighing you down?

How can you stretch your faith muscles and push on in spite of grim possibilities?

Start by thanking God for every. single. thing. in your life. Open your Bible and read His Word every day. Soon you’ll find your heart softening and your worries slipping into a hole that after a while, you’ll kick dirt over and walk away from. Use your time of waiting to build your relationship with Christ and those around you who need you most.

Don’t let waiting make you disillusioned with God’s goodness. He is always working and He is always blessing. Don’t miss it during the wait.

Ode to the #nsale (Nordstrom Anniversary Sale)

July 17th, 2017

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It’s that time again, the annual Nordstrom Anniversary sale. The one where women go bonkers and lose their whole minds just to shop at the fancy shmancy department store that houses every fashion loving gals’ dreams. I have to confess, I am very jelly of all the shoppers scooping up all the greatest items before any of us peasant folk can have a go at it. If you don’t know how this gig works, I’ll tell ya. If you are not a Nordstrom credit card holder, you no shoppy at this sale until they open it up to the “public” (aka peasants)! Which means, everything that is really popular and loved is all picked over or totally G O N E by the time the losers get to shop. Heartbreaking, huh? Mehhh! Whatevs, I’m over it!

If you search Nordstrom sale on Pinterest….you will find hundreds of pins for shopping strategies to get everything you wish for and for stuff you don’t even need. Bloggers have teams of people working for them just helping them put together posts about every item YOU MUST HAVE and for all the latest deals and even the RESTOCK items. Seriously? Come on. Not only are these chicks posting their best of the best #nsale goodies, they are buying (or are they?) $1000’s of dollars worth of ON SALE ITEMS for their already bulging closets.

Now let me be very clear. NO ONE LOVES CLOTHES SHOES JEWELS PURSES COSMETICS more than moi (ME). I live to look good. I drool over pretty things. I cherish a fabulous outfit that makes me appear to be better than a pack of crackers! I adore shopping and I have even been known to claim that I shop like it’s my dang job (it’s not, I’m a hot housewife…as in, I’m going through the change like a fireball). I would love nothing more than to get paid to buy the latest fashions and to snap pics of my old lady self in the mirror over & over & over again.

I’m that vain. Really.

Still, I have a problem with the whole braggy lifestyle fetish that this whole Nordy sale has turned into. I swear I’m not just talking from a heart of jealousy. I WANT MY OWN NORDSTROM CARD!!! I admit it. I want to shop that dang sale early just like the rest of you fashion hogs. But, I can’t help but recognize more clothes and sizzling hot boots are not what God wants for me. He has something so much better than a bell-sleeved sweater top.

In my morning devotion today, I read about a missionary who was visiting in a very poor village. She asked how she could pray for the woman living in the dirt floor hut. Without hesitation, this woman with no sink, fridge, furniture and more said, “pray that I would be able to teach my children the love of God and to serve Him with their whole lives!”. What? Don’t pray for me to have a better home? Pray for my comforts? Pray for beds for all my children to sleep in and not on the floor? Pray for warm clothes or clean water?

Seriously. NO. She wanted what scripture plainly reminds us repeatedly in the Bible. To love God, not stuff. To serve Him, not our lifestyles. To want what HE wants not what we dream of for ourselves.

Ouch! Conviction.

Philippians 3:8 says, “Everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus”. See, you and I have fallen for a very sneaky trick from the enemy. He likes to tell you & me that stuff will make us happy. More clothes will fill up our empty tanks. Having the latest fashions, driving the fanciest car or having the biggest house will fulfill our longings. And… he is dead wrong!

My mother collected things her whole life. Her house was so full of beautiful items, boxes and boxes of clothes, furnishings and even a pantry full of foods. Yet, she didn’t use any of it. She probably wore the same few outfits and only ate a little of the food here & there. She surely wasn’t enjoying the expensive china dishes or any of the stacks of things in her storage rooms. She lived to excess because it made her feel better. When she died she left it all behind. I was stuck sorting out her lifetime of collecting things that no one needed. What value did any of it bring to her? How did it make her love the Lord more? Did she understand Eph. 3:8?

I want to know Christ more than I want that cute pair of booties on sale at Nordstrom. Stuff goes away, goes out of style….breaks or tears up. Jesus is for always, here on earth and on to eternity in heaven. I want to spend my energy and heart on what’s eternal.

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Lord,

Forgive me for loving stuff more than I do you sometime. I’m so blessed to live in a country where shopping is as easy as waking up and yet, I’ve missed the mark on what real living is. Help me to point to you with my life and my lifestyle.

Amen

Mourn With One Another

June 23rd, 2017

When my mother passed away the summer of 2013 I had no idea what it would mean to me to have so many visitors come by and tell me what she meant to them. I was in a bit of turmoil inside and I wasn’t sure how to handle any of the arrangements for this woman who loved and lived so hard. She was my mother but she was also a lot of other things to many people while she was alive. I worried I couldn’t honor her properly with the state of my mind.

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Do you know why we have funerals? We have funerals to publicly acknowledge the reality of the death of our loved one and to give testimony to that person’s life. It’s also the launching pad for our mourning which catapults us into a sort of grief reconciliation. All fancy words that equal healing.

Death leaves us reeling for understanding though. Even believers who know the promised truth of eternity with those who share their faith in Christ experience the painful ache of losing a loved one. Which brings me to mourning together.

When my husband’s Papaw passed away 26 years ago, people and cars were lined up as if a famous celebrity had died. The church was packed! He was beloved in our small town. His life was valued by many, not just us. We were blown away by the love and support shown to us in honor of our Papaw. The strength we gained through those who joined us to mourn his death was incredible. We also felt a physical love that cannot be described.

We need the support of friends and family. We cannot grieve properly without it. In the book of Job, Job’s friends heard about all the tragedies happening in his life and immediately set out to support him. They traveled from their prospective homes and the story says when they were getting close they saw him and he didn’t even look like himself. His grief, his pain was so distressing that they also stopped and broke down as well.

The story goes on that these friends sat with him for seven days and seven nights….in silent agony. Mourning.

I’ve thought so many times that I was all alone in my pain over my husband’s job loss. Truth is, no one wants to listen to the depressing reality of someone else’s troubles. It’s a drag to be around someone hurting like that. It’s easier to just avoid them.

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Mourning doesn’t just happen in death. This world is full of hurting people with real life problems. Health issues, depression, family struggles, financial ruin, broken hearts, homelessness, job loss, loneliness and more. Real problems that break the heart and isolate the hurting from the love and support of others.

This is why we must mourn with those around us. Mourning alongside someone assures them that they’re not alone in their struggle. Like Job’s friends, mourning with someone might be in the form of just quietly sitting nearby. Some mourning might be done listening to them talk it out. Or even physical, you may have to literally hold someone while they cannot hold their own self upright. God knows how to use each of us if we are willing to be used.

I don’t know who in your life needs you but I bet you do. Don’t miss the chance to love and support someone who is mourning — your help may be all they receive.

mou rn

Mountain Mover or Not

June 22nd, 2017

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When it all falls apart…will you still trust Jesus? I only ask because the reality is that it will fall apart, sometime someday someway. No one, not a single person gets to walk through life without experiencing something that hurts or breaks them down.

Will you still believe that God loves you & trust Him with whatever the outcome?

This morning I woke up to a plea for prayer from one of my girls. Somehow she had made a tiny error at work that could equate into a big snafu for her boss. I felt her concern (that’s what mama’s do) through her request for HOLY POWER intervention and I immediately went to God in prayer. After praying, I sat listening and God in His infinite wisdom reminded me that I can still trust Him even when He doesn’t move the mountain in my way.

I knew He had a lesson for me in trusting Him to the fullest.

For the last year (over 10 months now) I’ve rally cried daily for God to help us and protect us from the job loss in September. Every single day, we’ve eaten….slept in a beautiful home….felt loved & cared for….watched bills get paid miraculously….found joy in the mundane….walked a daughter down the aisle to be married….celebrated a son graduate from the US ARMY….jumped up & down for a daughter’s college graduation and first big girl job….traveled to see parents across country….found sustaining temporary jobs to pay da billz and more! Why? Because, God is faithful.

Now faithful doesn’t always look like we ask it to look. If it did, for me…faithful might be in the form of another full-time normal job that offers all the insurance and vacation time regular working folks have. However, God is a lot more creative than we even imagine. He makes a way (if that’s what He wants to do) for us to go on whether it’s a 9-5 job or a contract job that allows whatever strange hours and days you need to work it.

But, what if nothing happens?

What if there’s never another real job? Will I trust Him?

What if there’s a loss of something more? What will I do? Will I still believe Him and trust Him?

What if He doesn’t answer my prayers for my children? Does He still care? Is He still working on their behalf?

The answer is YES! Yes, I will trust Him. Yes, I will believe Him. Yes, He is still working, loving, providing, helping, caring.

I WILL TRUST HIM.

These words from Lauren Daigle in her song Trust in You remind me that I can believe that God is everlasting and trustworthy with every little detail of my life.

So can you.

Trust in You

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see

I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So, in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

Am I Generous?

June 16th, 2017

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Many long years ago when my hubby was about to graduate from Bible college, a friend of a friend gave our family a generous gift of $500. Back then, money was tight. Seminary families are not living the high life if you’ve ever been curious. Matter of fact, to us…that $500 was more like $5000 to us in today’s money. It was a huge blessing and we were blown away by his generosity. He had no reason to gift us that money but he did and it taught me a huge lesson in generosity.

Give…. even if it costs you something.

For most of our married life we’ve been on a strict budget with our money. That’s probably normal for most folks living out the American dream. Still, we’ve tried to be generous with what God has given us. You’ve probably heard of or been the recipient by now of someone PAYING IT FORWARD. One of my daughter’s has this gift and loves to pay it forward every chance she gets. It’s a wonderful way to love on someone and show generosity for no reason at all other than your heart is over-flowing with kindness for those outside of yourself.

Being generous doesn’t always involve paying for someone’s coffee or hamburger in a drive-thru. We can be generous with our time, words, actions, attitudes and more.

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God reminded me this morning to be more generous in how I love the people He has put in my life. I pondered over it for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that I could use to be a little more giving when it comes to loving people. It’s easy to say you love someone when all is right in the relationship….but when you feel slighted or overhear a snarky comment it can be a challenge. Still, God expects us to love on in spite of how the other folks behave. Always. It’s important to remember to be a generous FORGIVER!

A good lesson for me who loves to love with abandon.

The truth of the matter is this — life is tough. Don’t make it harder on yourself or others when you can be a cushion of generosity. Love when it stings a little, give when it costs ya and spread generosity around like you’re a millionaire!

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Now go on, be generous! Give it all away!