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Author Archives: January

About January

I am a blessed wife, mother of three amazing and totally different, MeeMaw to a beautiful grandson, a Pastor recently called to minister in the urban communities of the local area in which I grew up, and community-based counselor for school-aged children. I currently make it through the day with my coffee, my journal, and my God, trying to keep it real, all while keeping the faith. In this blog, I hope to give some insight to the power of His presence in my life, and share with you some of my 4am, caffeinated journal ramblings.

Stand up and walk

Stuck. Sometimes we just get stuck. I don’t mean like in the mud, or in an elevator-although we can certainly feel at times that we are stuck and not going anywhere. Like everything else is passing us by. Like everyone else is being blessed, healed, whatever. And we are not moving at all.

A man was lying there who had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw the man and knew he had been sick for such a long time, Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there is no one to help me get into the pool when the water stops moving. While I am coming to the water, someone else gets in before me.” John 5:5-7

We can sound a little like this sick man at times. Someone always gets the promotion over me. Everyone else is being blessed and I am still waiting for my prayers to be answered. Why hasn’t God called me? Why is no one helping me?

Sound familiar?

You are stuck in comparison. Stuck in complaints. Stuck in doubt. And sometimes downright fear of simply trusting Him. Waiting for someone. Anyone. Heck, the very first one-you don’t even care who it is or what they have to offer-to come and save you.

Then Jesus said,”Stand up. Pick up your mat and walk.” John 5:8

He already saved you. He is just simply waiting for you to walk like it.

Walk in acceptance. Leaving comparison behind, because He has accepted you as you are. In all you uniquely have to offer.

Walk in forgiveness. Leaving behind guilt and shame for the mistakes you have made, because He already took all that away.

Walk in strength. Knowing that days will be hard. The road will be bumpy, but He provides the endurance to keep climbing over the bumps, through the pools, to your purpose.

Walk in purpose. Not looking around at the victories and blessings of others, and having a pity party. But continuing to show up, keep going and keep pursuing all that He has for you. In His timing. His way.

Walk in love. Knowing that He loves you. Even if today it feels like no one does. He does. All the parts you deem unworthy. He believes they are enough.

Stop waiting. Stop looking around. Stop wondering if you are good enough.

Stand up and walk.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2019 in How Is Your Faith

 

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As much as it takes…

“They just don’t listen. Seriously. I am trying, but they just don’t want to hear it.”

I don’t know how many times over the years I have said this. Been discouraged that messages of love and kindness are rejected. Disillusioned by watching those I’ve tried to guide make unwise choice after unwise choice. Been treated poorly in the process.

Even as I sit here writing this, we are just home from church, and I’ve endured a litany of ungratefulness, disrespect, and sass from two that just left the place in which they are supposed to be learning to be His “light.”

I sit here reflecting on the many times I’ve been yelled at for simply discussing alternate choices, and the consequences of not making them.

The times kindness has been rejected.

The times wisdom has been scoffed at.

The times when love has not felt like enough.

I wonder in those times what I am doing wrong? Why they don’t hear the message? Why I continue to suffer for doing good?

“The Son of Man must suffer terribly and be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17:25

That generation rejected wisdom, guidance, and love.

And so does this one.

Because not much has changed over the years. No one wants a Savior, because our false belief has us convinced we can save ourselves.

Just like the Pharisees that wanted Jesus killed, because they rejected His teaching, we all want to believe our way is best. That we have it all figured out.

We don’t desire truth, because we look to media and other worldly things to define it.

Yet as Jesus lay dying, rejected, suffering on a cross-He was still able to utter these words: “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

And if He could-the One who suffered, who was despised much more than I…

So can I.

So I can pray that I can keep loving.

Even when it’s hard. Even when I am exhausted. When it’s rejected. Taken advantage of, or simply not good enough. Even through suffering.

I can pray that as I ask God, How much do I allow? How many times do I have to forgive? How long do I suffer?

He will tell me this: As much as it takes. As many times as it takes. As long as it takes. Until they see love and kindness in you, and finally know Me.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2019 in Grace

 

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What you wished you’d said….

Ugh! Go away! Get out of here! You are so annoying.

A day in the life of sibling rivalry. And it seems to happen a lot here while both deal with the changes that come with growing up.

“You go back in there. She is going to fix how she just spoke to you.” It’s what I ask each to do when they repeat things that are often hurtful.

But children are not the only ones who can hurt. Adults often do, too.

And what is it about us that has this tendency to get into a battle of words? Misspoken words.

Anger. Frustration. We feel ignored. Not taken seriously. Our emotions take over and eventually the spirit we asked to come guide us through our words. To help us choose them wisely, often don’t come out the way He intended.

They come out because we feel a need to fight back. And they come out all wrong.

They sometimes hurt.

So, like I tell my kids. How do we go back and fix it?

Sometimes, it takes simply being honest. Being sincere and saying the words you wished you had said instead. The ones He directed you to say.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Maybe what was said wasn’t of benefit in the moment. Maybe what was meant to come out was something so different.

Something like this:

I pray for you everyday. All day long, actually. I pray that you will be kind and loving. I pray that I can model these characteristics for you. I pray that you will be you and not everyone else. I pray that you have everything you need. I’m sorry. I love you.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2019 in Grace

 

Life goes on. So will I.

I remember back in the early 90’s a family sitcom called “Life Goes On.” The show chronicled the life of a family dealing with the challenges of raising and supporting a family member with Down’s syndrome. A sister who had to learn to accept her brother, while trying to be accepted by her peers. Navigating a relationship resulting in grief, until we find in the end they all grow up. They all navigate and move through life with all its up and downs, and that life really does go on, just like the theme song for the show promised.

But, sometimes in the midst of it all, you are forced to put life on hold for a while.

In order to be reminded that life does go on, but so will you.

Life was actually going pretty good. I had finally let go of some junk. Had a routine down that kept me balanced. I was happier. Had more joy. And I could count on only one hand the number of times I had cried at work this year. I didn’t dread the commute. The day. No longer cried on my way home. I felt like I was in a balanced place.

In fact, the moment that all would turn for me, I had been doing what I had been doing daily-laughing. I was finally, after more than a year, feeling like myself again.

Until I wasn’t.

And in a matter of hours, I began to shift back into that irritable, cry at the drop of a hat, negative thought having woman of old.

And life had to stop. Or, well it really didn’t. It went on. Without me.

I was the one forced to stop.

I couldn’t do anything. The girl so used to going, couldn’t go. I couldn’t even pray in the same way. Moved to my seated position in my closet to laying down. All to keep the world from spinning.

I felt alone. I felt like I had no idea who I was. Fear that life was going on, just as it should.

And it did. Life went on. Continued to spin on its axis, just like my head.

Life went on…and so did I?

For a moment I was lonely, until laying in my closet floor, surrounded by the prayers I had placed on the wall, I saw this:

You are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me. Psalm 23:4

God was there on that floor with me.

While I may have been a little fearful of my prognosis. Of what others would think (or even not think) of it, I was reminded over and over in my doubts:

Tell fearful souls, “Courage! Take heart! God is here, right here, on his way to put things right And redress all wrongs. He’s on his way! He’ll save you!” Isaiah 35:4

And though I couldn’t see it at first, he was giving me power once again. Reminding me that life goes on, and so will I?

Giving me words to write (well, transcribe) when writing became too hard. Giving me time for much needed rest. Giving me fresh new ideas I hadn’t thought possible before. You know, back when I thought my life was balanced. I could see that I rarely gave myself time to even think of my purpose, and all the ways my talents could be used for His glory.

Until I was forced to step away from life for a bit.

To learn that I will go on. That just like last time, I’ll get through this with His strength. I’ll feel like the “me” He desires me to be me once again.

Obladi oblada life goes on, brahhh Lala how the life goes on

And so will I.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2019 in Broken, Yet Beautiful, Mercy

 

The growing season

For over a year now, I have grown a deep affection for plants. The reasons and circumstances for this are a story in itself, and a subject for a later time…however, I used to absolutely hate them!

I could not keep anything alive. When my son and I did manage to plant anything, it either became food for the abundance of deer living in our parts, or just never bloomed.

Now, I have them everywhere. I am even known to stop and marvel at them on a walk.

My husband picks them up during trips to the grocery store.

My son has his own garden, that I enjoy watching grow on our patio or the windowsill. And I even like to watch them burst forth through concrete.

Those happen to be my favorite. Because it takes a heck of a lot of strength to grow in concrete, y’all!

What isn’t exactly my favorite is a plant’s “growing” season. It’s sometimes long. Sometimes dark. Mostly frustrating.

This is the season in which nothing is budding on those plants. You water and water but never see a bloom. The leaves are extra droopy. Sometimes the plant isn’t even very pretty to look at. And when you start to compare it to all those other plants? Those that grow and bloom without any fuss? Well, you start to want to give up on this one. It’s a dud. Not worthy of blooming. Just meant to rot away in its pot.

We are much like these plants. We have a “growing” season, too. And they aren’t all the same, but they don’t look or feel much different than that of a plant.

Maybe your growing season right now is in full bloom. You’ve been watered. Been looked after. Encouraged. The crop you are yielding is on full display for everyone to see.

Or…maybe right now you are planted in dry, parched land. Still trying to break through the hard surface. You are in a season of drought. Everything around you feels barren. Your leaves are droopy. Barely hanging on, and there are no buds ready to bloom in sight.

Maybe you are sitting by that big, pretty plant wondering what is taking you so long? When is your season coming?

Feeling like you are covered by a thick slab of concrete.

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rain in the fall and the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. James 5:7

God will come to complete the harvest. It may not look like it now while everything around you is dry. Maybe the endless rains he has sent; those trials that leave you drowning in sorrow, feel like they are never going to end.

Be patient. At the end of this growing season, you won’t have to look around you at everything else in bloom. Comparing.

No. When you look, you will see that “winter is past. The rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing of birds has come; and the cooing of turtle doves fills the air. The fig trees (that’s you, darling) are forming young fruit, and the grapevines are blossoming” (Song of Songs 2:11-13).

Rise up darling! You, beautiful one, are breaking through the concrete. In full bloom.

You, beautiful one, will grow in this season.

 
 

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Stay in your lane

Track practice. Track uniforms. Long (and I do mean long…) track meets. That’s our new life right now. For a bit I was unscathed by “sports mom” duty. Thankful for not having to drive to and fro. Or sit through my Saturday in hot sun, or frigid cold temperatures on a Tuesday night.

Until I didn’t have that luxury anymore.

And while it has added a new dynamic to what is already our crazy family life, I am thankful for this season.

I am thankful that she chose it, because it means without mom and dad nagging her to do this or that-she invested in it because it was solely her idea.

I’m thankful for the memories it conjures up of my own long (hours long) track meets. The thrill of standing at the finish line cheering your teammates to the end, even if they didn’t win.

Even if they didn’t win.

I’m even thankful for that. Because it has taught me something. Watching my girl run with reckless abandon has taught me something.

Just stay in your lane. And what do I mean by that?

Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Life likens our unique purpose to a race. He states about our journey to fulfill God’s calling in our lives: “Don’t be envious of the runner in the lane next to you; just focus on finishing your race.”

And I have noticed something as I have watched my girl run. She stays in her lane. She isn’t looking back. She isn’t focused on who is ahead of her. She just runs, until she is finished.

And her teammates cheer her on until the end. Through the finish line. Because she finished. Not because she won.

And that’s the thing with these races. With watching these boys and girls run what appears to be the longest of laps around the track. You get applause just for finishing.

Not for being first. Not for running the fastest time. Not for using the perfect form to jump a hurdle. Not for jumping the highest. You are not looking at the person next to you to determine if you are better or worse.

You put YOUR best foot forward and you simply finish!

Stay in your lane today. Be it in a fast sprint or a slow stroll. Don’t compare yourself to the person who is faster, higher, or first.

Just run your race. At your pace, and finish. I’ll be at the finish line cheering you on.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2019 in On Purpose

 

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What I know now

“Are you an albino?”

“I was wondering that, too. You know…because of the hair and big lips.”

Those questions? Those comments? They were made about me. All while trying to get through an already awkward middle school gym class.

Those comments told me these things: You don’t fit in. You look different. You don’t belong.

So I did everything over a number of years to somehow look like everyone else. I couldn’t change my lips, but I could at least try to change my hair. So I thinned it out. I tried to straighten it. So I could run my fingers through it like all the other girls could their hair.

Try as I might, I still looked different.

I wish I knew then what I know now.

“We’ve gotten some complaints about your ‘sass.'” You are passionate, but maybe tone it down a bit.”

“Pink hair? Interesting…”

“Doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that you shouldn’t have tattoos? And aren’t you a Pastor?”

“You’re so naïve. That’s cool and all, but you’re too naive. Face it! Some people are just jerks.”

Comparison and criticism didn’t stop in adulthood. If anything, it hurt worse.

I wasn’t in middle school anymore. We were all adults. Why were we still picking apart all things? And casting folks into categories?

I wish I knew then what I know now.

I wish I knew that those middle school taunts, though not forgotten, would one day not define me.

I wish I knew that I didn’t need the approval from those adults to fulfill a purpose God had given just to me.

I wish I knew then, because maybe it wouldn’t have taken me so long to stop straightening my hair. To show my daughter to love and style her beautiful curls. To love my face. All the delicate, and supposedly big parts of it.

I wish I knew then, that even if I didn’t fit anywhere in middle school, that I was accepted.

That if I didn’t fit the mold of what a pastor was supposed to look like, that I was made for a purpose.

That if I was naïve and saw too much good, that I was loved, and could show others this same love.

So others know they are also accepted. They also belong.

I don’t know what middle school lies you may be believing today. What mold you are being forced to fit into. Or who keeps telling you to give up on seemingly lost souls. Or even that you are one of them.

But it’s not true.

You are made for so much more. You are treasured. You are sacred. You are his. You’re beautiful.

He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2019 in Loving Oneself

 

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