Better

February 2nd, 2019

You’ve surely heard that saying — when you know better, you do better. Right?

That’s where I feel smack dab in the middle of today. I want to do better. I want to be better. I want to love and forgive and show grace BETTER than I did yesterday or the day before.

It’s not easy to be a flawed up janky human.

I’ve got this one chance to be so many things to so many people. How can I do it and do it with a GOD-SIZED love? The hardest challenge as a human is to show love and be love in spite of the response or feedback you receive from others.

Yesterday, God poured out a bucket of love on my head while I was teaching at school. I received some of the kindest compliments from my students. I felt amazing! They were heart compliments, not outward appearance or stuff admirations. Which was a big reminder to me that it’s very important HOW WE INTERACT WITH OTHERS AND MAKE THEM FEEL!

I don’t want to be the jerk I know I can very easily be in a lot of situations. I want to be an Ephesians 4:29 kind of person –>

I want to show my love with the fruit of the spirit and not the dried up twigs I sometimes have hanging all over my heart. You know, the angry twigs….the ugly twigs….the jealous twigs….the unforgiving twigs….the judgemental twigs….the frustration twigs….the sarcastic twigs….the haughty-taughty twigs and a few others.

I WANT TO BE BETTER.

Lord

I am not perfect. But I know I can be better. Help me, mold me and make me more like you and less like me.

Amen

It’s Always the Right Time

January 29th, 2019

NOTE TO SELF:

When life comes at you…

You are equipped to handle it.

I now believe the biggest challenge I struggled with during my hubby’s jobloss was the THINKING in my head that I couldn’t handle it! Also, that it was the most impossible time for such a disastrous life change!

Looking back today, it was exactly the right time.

It was the perfect time.

God knew and had a plan all along. He arranged so many blessings in spite of the scariness of our situation. He was preparing us for much bigger things than where we had parked our dreams. A lesson I’ve learned too well going through such a rotten set of circumstances. We felt very uncomfortable for much of the 2 years unemployed. Partly because, who doesn’t get up and go to work? Just fighting the temptation to feel sorry for yourself was a battle everyday. We wanted relief, redemption and to feel normal again.

Desperation will rearrange your priorities.

Some days, I look at where I am and wonder….how in the world did this happen?

Well, the short answer is that God had a big crazy plan to move us and grow us….and He launched that grow up party with a devastating job crash.

It hurt, it stung….it humbled us.

I cried out many times during it that THIS IS HORRIBLE TIMING! My body cranked up and went into menopause, next up was the diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis, our son lost his job along with my hubby and had to move home (that’s what home is for, by the way), our middle baby graduated college and took off on her career path, the baby got married and everything we knew and loved evolved into some strange new lifestyle that distracted us and burdened us beyond what we were mentally capable of handling.

We fought our emotions, every single day.

Still, God knew what he was doing and he was doing it at the perfect time.

You may be thinking that all is well and perfect now but it’s not. I am still on the growing journey. Nothing is as I pictured it for my fifties! I marvel and question every new step because….I JUST CAN’T LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE! I want to know what’s ahead. I want to know if THIS is what God really means to be doing with me.

I want to be on the right path.

What I have discovered is that everything happens at just the right time. My simple mind might argue that when the bottom falls out from under me but God doesn’t make mistakes.

I have to wrestle my attitude to the ground and trust that no matter the painful circumstance I am forced to walk through, I can hold tight to the promise that God is doing a new thing and everything will be okay.

Right now, this is the exact time to face whatever it is….life throws at us.

10 Better Things To Do With Your Heart & Mind

January 23rd, 2019

…Than to focus on the crap going on in our world!

If you haven’t felt upset this week over all the horrible things on the news or on your social media feed, you may not be paying attention. The world is a wreck! It’s full of heartache and cruelty! Just when I think I’ve seen or heard it all, satan rears back up and says, “Here, hold my pitchfork!”. I am telling you, if Jesus doesn’t come back soon….we are going to literally implode on our own selves!

Lord, we need you!

I can’t wrap my heart around much of what is thrown at us on a daily basis. The recent news of New York passing The Reproductive Health Act breaks my heart in two. It is unbearable to imagine, aborting a baby ready to be born! What is happening to us? Do we have any conscience? Morals? Understanding of just what we are doing? Before you post on my Facebook or blog, don’t bother trying to convince me that IT IS A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER SHE WANTS WITH HER BODY! I won’t come over to your side when it comes to abortion. Ever. It’s just not going to happen.

Maybe you’ve seen the video of the teenage boys wearing MAGA hats this week. It’s now so controversial that no one and everyone has an opinion and what’s really the ugly issue here, still isn’t being addressed. How my heart aches for the parents & for the teens who have had to learn a very sad and hard lesson. This world IS NOT OUR HOME! Never get comfortable or complacent. There will always be someone searching out ugliness in any situation. Parents, you must protect your children. These boys, have a very difficult journey ahead. Imagine how you would feel if your middle/high school boy were treated this way. Heart ache!

Since the world’s expected to end in 12 years, I thought now would be a good time to focus on some good things to think on or do instead of buying into the garbage being pumped into our hearts and minds through television, Facebook, Twitter and more. I believe we have a hope in Jesus Christ that no matter how awful and horrible this world gets….we can find joy again and trust that only comes from knowing the love of God. He can heal our world. He can save us from ourselves. He does see every broken heart and He will come again for those of us who have chosen Him as Lord. Be ready, friends.

1. Be still.

I have learned to sit still when what I want to do most is run ahead of God and grab whatever it is that I am after. Psalm 46:10 has more meaning than just sit still though. God is big enough to handle the hardest of my struggles. I can rest knowing He is doing just that.

2. Pray.

Just keep praying. As hard as it feels, pray. I know my heart needs softening, I see the speck in my eye and I know the only way I can be who I need to be in Christ is through Him. Praying puts me in a position of trust and honor. It’s a lot harder to feel the passionate feelings against those who break your heart when you’re praying for them. People are broken. Who’s going to pray for them, if you and I don’t?

3. Buy someone lunch.

I have a Montana best friend that loves to do nice things for me. She does them for no reason and I can’t tell you how great she makes me feel. It is empowering to MY BRAIN when we go to lunch or shopping. Talking with her and sharing time together removes space from the yucky stuff going on in the world. I’m convinced, we all need to turn off the tv & social media. Go, eat a meal with a friend. Dream together and love one another well.

4. Write a love letter.

I heard a radio story way back about a man who wrote his children a love letter. He did it as a project for the men in his group at church. Initially, he was trying to soften up the guys and point them in a positive direction with their relationships with their children. What happened next solidified the importance of writing these letters because as life would have it, he passed away. The gift of his beautiful words to his children were immeasurable. So, go on…write the people in your life a letter. Tell them what they mean to you. Time will not wait for you.

5. Share your stuff.

Marie Kondo has taken over and reminded us to clear out what clutters our lives. You have something that someone else loves or admires and I KNOW YOU DO NOT NEED IT! Get busy, clean out the stuff you know doesn’t bring you pleasure and give it away. I can say that as I sit in my camper in a snow storm, stuff…..is not what’s important.

6. Help others.

If you look around, you will see…plenty of folks who need help. If you have a strong body and they need help moving…do it. If you are smart and know how to fix something broken, help them fix it. If you are blessed financially and see a need that you can meet, meet it. Have a lonely neighbor, family member or friend…go visit them. It is easy to help others. The hardest part of helping someone else is making ourselves JUST DO IT!

7. Offer grace.

As badly as it hurts, give grace. I’ll be honest, the cruel actions towards the teens on the news this week have nearly caused me to break as a human standing on the sidelines. However, I HAVE TO SEE ALL PARTIES INVOLVED AS CHRIST DOES! People make mistakes, sometimes HUGE mistakes! I can’t let my heart go crazy with anger! I want to offer grace where if you’re paying attention, there hasn’t been much. God, make me a grace giver!

8. Change your own mind.

This goes in the prayer category because if you and I are seeking to grow and be who God desires us to be….we will have to do some changing. Each of us are so drenched with who we are in this world through our heritage, surroundings and belief system. I pray, God help me change. Change what does not belong in me. Make me more like YOU!

9. Pass, on judgement.

My hubby and I are working on this in our own lives right now. Embarrassing huh? Well, I said WE ARE WORKING to stop this bad habit. Judgement comes in all sorts of packages. We judge what people look like, what they say & do, who they accept & don’t, what they’ve done or are doing, the decisions they make, their differences or whatnot! The list goes on. (I’m not using WE as just WE but each of us, as people) We spend too much time judging and not enough loving.

10. Turn off the noise.

I am sitting in silence right this very moment. If I’m not at school or out and about, it’s quiet around me. It’s important to let your mind rest. The tv, computer and cellphone are all necessary items but I will tell you, you need a break from them. In a world riddled with anxiety and TRIGGERS, it is time we set these things down and let our hearts enjoy some rest. Constant bombarding bad news or bickering talking heads rob us of our peace. Let yourself hear the real world. Play with your kids, walk your dog…have a connective conversation with someone you love or a stranger. Stop letting the noise of the world steal your joy.

I can’t tell you how much I needed this list for myself this week. At one point, I felt so stressed and angry that I wanted to throw my own hat in the ring to fight for the injustices of the world with the rest of the angry mob. That’s not going to help anyone! My best role is to focus on healthy ways to live and function in this world. God doesn’t need me arguing with anyone on Facebook or reposting what one news station said about this or that person. I want to be MORE LIKE CHRIST and I can’t do that if I’m acting like a fool!

Lord,

It is hard to live in a world that doesn’t love you like I do. Help me to see every human as you see them. My role on this earth is to love not judge.

Amen

Why Do You Hate Christians?

January 21st, 2019

This is a hard post for me to write. For the most part, I tend to sit idly by and let others think or feel just how they want to without sticking up for what I know or believe as truth when it comes to Christianity. That’s on me. I will have to answer for it.

I believe those who chronically spew hate for Christians do it because God is irrelevant to them. He isn’t important or holy or worthy of their time. If I were to ask a person who posts mean articles about faith on social media (and believe me, I see them all day long from friends or acquaintances) if they read the Bible or pray (and I mean actually study God’s Word and pray for wisdom), I can almost bet the answer is, no. So, my question here is why do you hate Christians?

I know what the blanket answer will be or at least a few of them anyway:

1. Christians hate gays.
2. Christians judge people.
3. Christians are liars.
4. Christians think they are better than others.
5. Christians hurt people.
6. Christians don’t help people or care about them.

While I could throw down the gauntlet here and say these statements are just an attempt to disparage any who love Jesus, I won’t. I won’t because there are many who have mistakenly done those very things and called themselves Christian. Christians don’t always get it right and let me tell you the first to pounce on them are those who want to scream the loudest. They are a tool in the hands of satan.

We have somehow bought into this idea that for you and me to get along or live side-by-side we have to agree on one another’s beliefs or lifestyles or even political affiliation. It’s not up to me how you live your life, it’s up to me how I will live my own. I don’t owe you anything but love and whether or not you choose to follow Christ, I will stick with the direction given to me by Jesus – to love one another. That has nothing to do with agreeing.

Waking up this morning after more than a week of the media droning on and on about all the ways Christians are hateful….I could not sit quiet about it any longer. It is turning into a blaring car horn of ignorance! I am a Christian. I don’t hate you or anyone else because of your lifestyle, life choices, race or religion. Why would I? What does that change? How does that help?

I pray for my friends or family that see my faith as a form of hate. I’m sorry if I’ve ever misplaced who Jesus is in my life and made Him out to be anything but loving or forgiving. I assure you, that is not my Lord. He is loving, He is forgiving, He is merciful and He loves every breathing human. He cares about me and He cares about you. I hope that somehow, someway…you will see the true love of God from the Christian people in your midst. Until then, I pray away the hate and the glee that seems to be growing in our society, tv news and on social media. My faith is real to me and never has it pointed me in a direction of hate towards any other person.

So, I ask again….why do you hate Christians?

Lord Jesus,

Help me to live in such a way that those who don’t know you or understand you would want to meet you and see for themselves what all the hype is about. You are a God worth loving and not even the loudest banging gong of our society can change that.

Amen

Anger Landlord

January 7th, 2019

I’ve been renting out space in my heart to anger. I’m embarrassed admitting it, but it’s true. I have a whole room full of bitter rage towards people who have no single thought of me at all. I catch myself crying out to God to take my hurt away and some days, I feel like I’m okay. Then, my circumstances or what feels like a result of all that’s happened sneak back up and remind me of all the scars I have from the whole experience.

The trouble for me is that my anger doesn’t hurt them at all. They’re fine. Happy, even. Fulfilled and satisfied. Meanwhile, I’m bathing in a hot boiling poisonous tub of anger! I want to lash out and hurt back. Which in truth, I am doing that….only it’s me feeling all the pain. They are free.

What is it about anger that literally consumes us and fills us with such a dark ugly pain? Is it the “what if” of our situation? What if the thing that hurts so much didn’t happen? Would we be okay then? Would my heart not burn with frustration or bitterness? Could I wake up and not think of what happened as a personal act against me? Maybe I’m just not the person I should be. Maybe my heart is just a dirty black hole of unforgiveness.

I woke up this morning with chest pains. I had been dreaming about an argument I was having with a stranger at a church I’d never attended. She was scolding me for the way I treated another employee there. I tried everything to defend myself and with every explanation, she shut me right back down. I felt helpless. When I woke up, I could see my anger right in front of my face as if it were an ugly photograph of my insides.

I felt all the pain of the last 850 days pressing me down as if it were a heavy monster pinning me to the bed.

Anger is poisonous. It’s destructive and it robs us of peace. It steals our joy and as if it were rubbing salt into our wounds, it hurts inside and out. Anger changes us and replaces who we once were with a bitter version of who we never intended to be.

My rental space is coming up on the market. I’m only interested in tenants of joy, peace and forgiveness. Like cleaning out the garbage and slapping on fresh paint to the walls, my heart space has no room for the destructive vice of anger. Only love.

Love for the ones who’ve hurt me.
Love for the pain and living through it.
Love for the opportunity to see what needs to go from my heart & mind.
Love for all that God has secured and protected while I was mad as hell.
Love for those who never ever deserve it.
Love for a life that has been given even when I squandered it.
Love for all the new in my life.
Love for what was.
Love for what will be.
Love for learning the hard way to snap the heck out of it.
Love for myself.
Love for a God who sees, hears and still loves when I’m most unlovable.
Love for a heart that is human and frail but still chases God.
Love for reminding me, I will be okay.

So, here I am….doing a total flip job on my heart.

Dear Lord,

How ever do you love a servant like me? Angry, vicious and miserable? I have stood at heavens doors screaming and complaining about every misdeed done against me. When all the while, you stood strong listening and loving me. Why? I confess my anger and my resentment towards those who in my own mind I see as cruel and heartless. Forgive me for feeling so bitter towards them. I have been wrong. Help me to clear out the space I’ve been filling with the hottest anger and replace it with only love.

Amen

No Darkness Here

January 3rd, 2019

I woke up to a big truck rumbling outside my window this morning, just annoying enough to rouse mama up from her sleepy slumber. I stumbled out of my tiny bedroom to look out my FROZEN windows and I could see a dark figure through the icy blur. I recognized the truck outline as the owner of the property where my hubby and I squat in Imagene (our cool dude camper).

He sat there idling away in the freezing temps obviously waiting for someone to show up for something….

Then, he drove away.

I have told everyone that living on this property has been awful for me. I am easily swayed to love every place I ever live. I’m a root maker, a lover of all things home and a gal who can dig in and turn even the strangest of circumstances into something lovely. The views here are magnificent! I can look in every direction and see God’s glory! It is a coveted location to be and HERE I SIT like a queen on a dang throne, in a camper!

Oh, I’m not slumming. Don’t feel sorry for me. I have a very sweet RV to live in, I have a real bathroom with counters….people! It’s not that bad! The only really bad part is that I WANT MY HOUSE OUT OF STORAGE! I want to decorate walls and a kitchen! I want to cook all the meals in a beautiful space with a kick A stove & oven ( a real oven that’s not built for little people ).

While I waited on my coffee to perk, I heard the big truck & trailer coming my way. It was loaded down with all the machinery and wood to do exactly what I’m dreaming of doing myself. Building a house & barn.

I recognized the situation as soon as they pulled in – Amish. I teased my hubby that by the time he got home tonight they should have her built. No joke, they work faster than any normal man alive. I sat down and within minutes these jokers had framed out the whole building! Not to mention, they’ve taken phone calls and eaten lunch!

So, here I am….sitting inside my dream camper completely fallen off the NO COMPLAINING wagon. I cried and told God I was sorry for burying my contract under my sinful jealousy this morning. I confessed my lack of faith of ever having a house again. I see how mean satan is and he knows right where to go after me. Jerk.

I have dreamt of building a barnhouse! I’ve been obsessed with the whole process. So, here I sit watching my landlords build my/their dreams. I thank God for blessing them, honestly. But what is the dang lesson here?

Am I to buckle down and focus on riding this waiting journey out?

Do I need to snap out of it and repent for something that I’m neglecting to deal with God about?

Could it be that I’m supposed to see this dream being built for some future house of my own, SOMEDAY?

Are these builders angels?

Or am I living out the consequences of personal sin?

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t mean to sound outrageous. All the way to here has been a struggle. Everything that has happened has given me more reason than not to ponder my own personal responsibility in who I am in Christ. It’s easy to ignore and gloss over sin. We all do a jam up job of painting ourselves as OKAY! I’m no better than anyone and I fully admit I am a weak person that doesn’t always get it right. Sin can ruin you.

However, I live under the most amazing grace ever offered in all of history. Jesus’ death on the cross has changed up all the “could have beens” for my janked up life. I don’t have to worry about God ever NOT loving me or forgiving me. His Son’s death took care of that and I have profound gratefulness for His promises.

So, after confessing to God my struggle to understand why and where He has me this very day… I got a boost of encouragement from seeing my life as a LIGHT! I don’t want to be wandering around in darkness. I love who I am, where God has me and all that He’s going to do through me. I want to shine His light out.

Even if I never unpack a single thing from my storage rental or hang one treasure on another wall. I want to point others to the light with my life. I can’t do that if I’m bogged down in what I don’t have or what someone else does. Nope. It won’t work.

Lord,

Make me a light bringer. Thank you for reminding me of all the ways YOU LOVE ME and provide exactly what I need. I want to shine bright just for you!

Amen