Wednesday, June 4, 2014

WHAT A YEAR …

Hello blogworld!! NO, I haven't forgotten YOU, YOU've always been in my brain & deeper in my heart. So …. I need education as to how to amp up and update my blog.  The name, the vision, the reason etc.  And this last year has been a deep recovery year for me personally! With that in mind, my heart's desire is to write and talk and even unpack food addiction (living it out & recovery), going from Grandma to mamo (pronounced Ma Moo ~ as the sound a cow would make!) … and living in SW FL commonly referred to as paradise.  How to begin & start … where and how do I access my photos? Do I change servers …. HELP!!! All of you, anyone out there ADVISE needed!! With that … my hope is to start up AGAIN, either August or September.  In the meantime, my heart is over full with the gratitude that God graces me with DAILY!! As in dailyness … so addicted to His grace and wanting to do LIFE with all of you.

Until I get the education I need … radio silence will continue ~ but never over & out!!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Christianity is not an ACTION but a RE-action ...


Imagine if each time you had the urge to text, tweet, email, log onto Facebook, or phone a friend to share some heartfelt need, you stopped and prayed instead.

Really prayed, trusting God to answer.  Q: what would YOU trust God for if NOTHING was off limits? Begin with prayer ... Yes!! I'm serious.

That’s faith.

Asking and believing in the same breath, then waiting and trusting in the next, knowing God responds to his children individually. He not only listens to us, He loves us. He not only loves us, He knows what is best for us.

Ephesians 3:17-20 (NIV) "so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,"

Therefore, joy - peace & patience shouldn't be lacking in any of us ... yet, it does. Why?
1. He loves us (YOU) far more than we know!!
2. His love is so big that it takes "power" to even grasp it!!
            (pray to comprehend this one ...)
3. He's able to do far more than we can imagine!! And I have a HUGE imagination.

But how can we be certain God knows what’s best? And how do we trust him when the life we’re living now doesn’t fit anybody’s definition of good, let alone best?  and what if it's kinda ugly for the rest of the world?

CHRISTIANITY is NOT an action; it's a RE-action!!

Righteousness is NOT the reward of right living; it's the GIFT that results in right living!
Living in the abundance of God, so then I ask myself  'Do I have issues with God's love for me? I must if I'm not grateful, if I'm joyLESS (hate that!) or uncomfortable and in search of peace .. oh, and my patience ~ where O where might thy be some days?

I John 4:19 (NIV) "We love because He first loved us."  There is NOTHING - NO THING - nothing I can do to earn or be more because He first loved us (YOU).

But how do I do this is the logical Q from all of YOU?
1. We've got to stay committed to meditation ~ thinking deeply on God's word ~ DEEPLY!!
2. Avoiding Bible reading won't make God love you less; but it will make you love God less. Would you avoid a beloved friend, would you avoid a brainiac that had all the answers for your life ~ NO! So, why avoid God ~ Jesus & the Holy Spirit???

Psalm 32:10 (NIV) "Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him."

RE-acting to that unfailing love, RE-acting to God's word, RE-acting ....

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Gardenia Bush!!


With the ultimate in fragrant flowers, a gardenia bush is one of South Florida's most beloved plants...though it can be a challenge to grow.  Yet, it grows exceptionally well in my yard.  The aroma is captivating and pulls you closer to the bush. 
2 Corinthians 2:15 "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." 
Aroma ~ what does that bring into your mind?  Sweet, sour, home, perfume, too much, intoxicatingly pleasing, .... 

This bush is strong and sturdy. It requires sun and water for growth ... don't we all? And it has its pest too ... don't we all? And still it's a beauty to be admired! YOU are beautiful ... whisper that to yourself! 

What captured my attention is that the bush does NOT bloom all at once. It has the blooms, but they are orchestrated to bloom sparingly. Then once it blooms, there's the white beauty of the flower & that aroma!! It stays for about 8 days, then slowly loses it's 'spark' ... and then another blossom pops open ... diverting your attention to it. 

To that I am reminded of:
2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 

Glory, aroma, His beloveds ... that's what we are and in the example of the Gardenia Bush we are His beauties too. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lord, break our heart with what breaks Yours' ...


Remember that silly song by Billy Ray Cyrus?  (Bet you're going to be annoyingly humming it in your head all day now) "My Achy Breaky Heart"    Alrighty, so now I want you to forget that silly song.  

Let's talk about aching, breaking hearts.  I know what that feels like.  And I know you do, too.

Sometimes life just hurts – a lot.   And our tender hearts feel like they are breaking into a million pieces.

I'm feeling this way right now.  Oh, so weighed down by the travails and troubles of living.  No pity party – just a heavy dose of reality lately.

It is time to accept what is…        But, the reality of now is hard…and it hurts.

My *mother heart* is breaking.  It's been really hard learning to let go. To watch my sons as they sometimes struggle to live life.   This is a tough season in each of their lives right now:
Identity-seeking
future-planning, &
relationship-sorting, along with the dailyness of their LIVES.

I miss happy faces – and simple problems with simple solutions.

Sometimes I long for the days of scraped knees and spelling tests.  For the "little" anxieties of life – the ones that I had some control over.  Even the 'why' questions ...

Now I watch from the sidelines in many ways, yet up close and personal if you know how our family dynamics is at the moment.  And when either of them aches, my heart breaks.  And they would have nothing ~ NO THING ~ part of my assisting in helping them solve any issue.

I've heard it said, "A mother is only as happy as her saddest child."         Oh yes.

My *me heart* is aching, breaking too.  This past year brought many changes to my life, to say the least. Yet I know that I know that I know ~ God knows the very place we will live (Acts 17:26) to have our being, to move & to breathe. All for His glory ... and we get to LIVE this out.  If I had designed my life, it would look nothing like I have & yet, I am blessed, loved and know that I know that I know that God is good & God is God (and I am not!).

Friendships changed, routines got altered, family got re-defined, move after move after move for so many, a LOT changed!   Life lessons – and faith lessons – have been learned. And I might add, I've failed in many of the life & faith lessons too. Thank goodness I'm NOT where I was & that I not ever going to be perfect but I am getting better!!            But it’s been hard…and it hurts.  (KWIM?)

The more I try to relax, the more tense I get about relaxing.  The more I think it was better when ... I instantly remember, NO! it wasn't. That's why I have today! and often stick my foot directly into my mouth and end up apologizing for my childish and selfish behaviors.

And then, the thoughts come.  The ruinous ruminations.  The crushing cares.  The aching & the breaking.   "Lord, I hurt!"   Sometimes I wonder – where is God in all of this?  Does He hear?  Oh yes, I know He does.  Does He care?   More than I’ll ever know.

You see, He has a Son's aching heart.  He has a Father's breaking heart.
He has a heart that hurts like mine.
For He remembers what He created.  He misses the happy faces of Eden.  He longs for the restoration of His perfect world.  He has a heart – much bigger than mine.  Filled with an unfathomable love that I doubt I'll ever fully understand.

Yes, He provided the ultimate cure for the aching, breaking heart.  (Thank goodness for that!)  But hearts are still broken while we live out our lives.

And sometimes, my achy breaky heart wonders:

God, where are You in all of this?    Let me tell you – HE. IS. RIGHT. HERE.  In the day-to-dayness, the confusion, the hurt, the isolation, the wondering "what did I do so wrong?"
Right next to me, through it all.  Closer to me than my next breath ~ as He is my next breath. I need not panic, get frustrated, get angry, for NONE of that is of Him. Yet, love, joy, peace, patience, kindess, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (fruit of the Spirit ~ Gal. 5:23-24) are of Him. Mixed with a thankful heart!!

I honestly don't know how I could live a day of my life without the sure knowledge of His unchanging character and His constant Presence, His Peace and His grace.  As I've come to be addicted to grace!

Life is hard…and it hurts.        But God is bigger.         and for today I am learning & living ....

I am the light of the world.   Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.
"And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.  Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think."  Ephesians 3:18-20

What is breaking your heart right now?  With the disastrous tornado yesterday in OK, I know that is in your hearts ... what else breaks your heart? What is causing you heartache?  How do you need to feel God's love?  Let's hum this song "Jesus loves me, this I know ~ for the Bible ______________!!"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring = Strong STORMS & yet they happen in life ALL THE TIME

Storms in our lives ... "If God really works in everything — then why don’t we thank Him for everything?” Now that's a bit large to swallow and grasp!!

“For everything ~ everything you provide, give, don't give, promise — thank you, Lord…”

I had silently prayed as I thought of my dear sister in Christ as she struggled sleeping over her day, yet another sister missing her hubby, yet another sister crying out to God over her boys, yet another & another ...

Really? Is what she asked me, you really believe God hears you? Yes!! and I believe He cares, and He loves, and He restores, and He redreams & He provides & He protects. Really? Again, she asked.

She looks me right in the eye.  So then, “If God really works in everything, why don’t we thank Him for everything? Why do we accept good from His hand — and not bad?”  This is hard. Maybe the hardest of all. She is confused, weary & tired. She has so much to come.

I have held dying babies. Eaten with those who live on the town garbage heap. Wept with women who’ve been violated, with the bankrupt, the heart crushed, the terminal, the incarcerated, the elderly, the toddler, the Africaan that couldn't understand my words ~ yet heard my heart!

And this never stops being true:   Neglecting to give thanks only deepens the wound of the world.  I've stood next to the one that had nothing but a smile and JOY ~ joy from the Lord that was indescribable and contagious.

Doesn’t God call His people to a non-discriminating response in all circumstances?
 “Give thanks always and for everything” (Ephesians 5:20 ESV).

This is the hardest of all.

If I only thank Him when times are easy & good  — is this “selective faith”? Practical atheism? What of faith in a God who wastes nothing? Who makes all into grace?

And yet — is thanking God for everything… thanking Him for evil?  Really? is what I ask!  I am tired, confused, frustrated as I struggle over the every thing ~ everything!

When we bought the enemy’s lie in the beginning and ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Satan hissed then that we’d really see and know what is good and evil.  But the father of lies, he’d duped us in the whole nine yards, from the beginning, from the get-go, TODAY.  Though we ate of that tree we did not become like God.  If any of us wants wisdom, we are to ask it of God and seek it ~ to pursue it.

We have no knowledge of good and evil apart from God. My seeing, it is not omniscient.  It may definitely feel like it — but how can I really see the long-term outcome of a death, disaster, dilemma, a prodigal son, drug addiction, alcoholism, abuse & a bombing at a marathon ...? Mine is only to faithfully see His Word and wholly, passionately obey. Therein is the tree of life ~ His Word is a light unto my feet, His Word is life to my soul, it is balm over my wounds, it is music to my soul,
 it is ________________. (Consider what it is to you ~ and let me know!)

Is this why He commands “give thanks always and for everything?"  Because to thank God in all is to refuse Satan’s relentless lure to be god-like in all.

To thank God in all is to bend the knee in allegiance to God Who alone knows all.
To thank God in all is to give God glory in all. Is this not our chief end?  Glory stories abound!
When I only give thanks for some things, aren’t I likely to miss giving God glory in most things?

Murmuring thanks isn’t to deny that an event isn’t a tragedy and neither does it deny that there’s a cracking painfully aching fissure straight across the heart.

Giving thanks is only this: making the canyon of pain into a megaphone to proclaim the ultimate goodness of God. Isn't (shouldn't) His grace be enough for us?

Our thanks to God is our witness to the goodness of God when Satan and all the world would sneer at us to recant.

I lay my hand on my heart and confess "Lord, I've been so negligent and haven't gave You thanks! Hear my  heart and know I am thankful and I love you, and Your grace and mercy wash over me.

But this is the hardest of all:  That which I refuse to thank Christ for, I refuse to believe Christ can redeem. That disaster, dilemma, a prodigal son, drug addiction, alcoholism, abuse ... so where is my faith?!

His perfect love casts out all fears and leaves only thanks and I listen:  Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord.

Like a song from the belly of the fish, like a Jonah refrain echoing off the walls of the whale: “But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you…” (Jonah 2:9 ESV)

Like a haunting, holy answer to what she asks (really?), the song of the saints, always thanksgiving — Paul from prison, Martha from the kitchen, Peter from hiding, John asking if Jesus had forgotten him, Mary in the stable ... practicing here the only song that will be sung at the very last of time, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving… to our God” (Rev. 7:12 ESV).
Blessing & Glory & Wisdom & Thanksgiving ....   Thank you, Lord.

If for just a day all I said was "thank you, Lord", the brazen song the faithful sing into the hardest storms….

Oh how I pray for all of my mid-west family & friends .... I love you & I miss you .... I pray for you!!
Learning & Living,

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Birds & Blessings ....

Birds fascinate me ...
their motion, their sounds, their colors, how they live & eat, and when they appear. As they don't always appear, and you have to be quiet to hear them. But when you do spot one it's exciting. Just this morning, we heard them but couldn't see them ... then all of a sudden a cardinal, a blue jay & a brown hawk all made their grand entrance. WoW!! We all seemed to be thrilled. But wait, it's the Creator we celebrate, as He shows off His creatures to us. And we know He takes care of them, as He also takes care of us. WoW!!

Matthew 6:26 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"

WoW!! and Yes, you are much more valuable than they ... Jesus loves you & me. So we are blessed beyond measure all because of Christ.

Birds .... & Blessings  ~ go lQQk for yourself & let me know what you think.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ugly living & a big ol' mess ... WRECKED by Jeff Goins


The man came out of the guest room reeking of alcohol and slurred his words. He talked loudly. He had told me earlier in the weeks behind us that he had been sober for 10 months. It was a lie. I called him on it. I asked where all his money had gone. There wasn't an answer. I asked where did you go all night? There wasn't an answer. 1 Peter 4 tells us to love deeply and that LOVE covers a multitude of sins; of which I completely understand ~ where would the humbleness, remorse and grief begin to appear I wondered? .

I shared with him we had a God that was much bigger than alcoholism and any other circumstance we find ourselves in. I asked him to give God another chance. I know he heard my words, but I know he didn't want to hear my words anymore at this point in his life.  And so, I begin to beg God (again!) as to be gentle with all of them and to capture his heart & devotion. God wants us to come just as we are. He says "Come to me and I will make you new." "That God will restore the years that the locust have eaten."

It won't be easy but God promises to hold us. "Do not fear, do not be dismayed for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my Righteous Right Hand." Isaiah 42:10

Life can be so messy when we take our eyes off Jesus. But Jesus doesn't leave, we do. He is always there, waiting with open arms. So shouldn't we do the same. Standing and confronting a drunk man in love is not in my comfort zone. But then Jesus hanging on the cross for my sins was not in His comfort zone either. But He did it. He didn't walk away. We don't like to hear the dirty, messy tales of lives, but they are all over the place.  NOT sure where my story ends ... I know Who wins, I just don't have the glory yet ... waiting for the prodigals to return home to their Dad.

Yes, life is messy if your eyes are open and you choose to look. It's dirty and heartbreaking and in the mess, blessings and grace abound!

From Jeff Goins, the author of Wrecked, "When a Broken World Slams into Your Comfortable Life
Go for broke. Choose the hard option. Do what comfort screams "no"to - what will ultimately shape you and help others. It my be counterintuitive or against what you've been taught, but do it anyway. Step into inconvenience. Welcome the anxiety that comes with doing the right choice. And be wrecked.
This is the only kind of wreck I know of where we should actually go out looking for. And in the frustration and mess and tears  . . . there is love  . . . incredible, unconditional love!"

http://wreckedthebook.com

Go on . . . get wrecked!
I did and I wouldn't go back and change it.  It's a journey & process in the making ~
If you have any inkling of stepping into inconvience and getting wrecked and being blessed, then I highly recommend you read this book.

If you do, please share with me, I would love to hear!  I'd gladly re-read it alongside of you also ~ just let me know.