A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I will never be perfect in this life, and guess what – neither will you.  We are all a work in progress, but at least it is progress which indicates we continue to learn lessons and grow stronger in our faith.  My 50 something mind does not resemble my 20 something mind.  I’ve matured and I see everything so much differently than I did 30 years ago.  Why?  Because I’ve finally allowed the Lord to work in my life.  In my 20’s I was not very good clay.  I was stubborn clay!  Nobody could tell me what to do, and they certainly could not tell me I was wrong about anything!

These days it’s different.  Yes, I could be wrong about most anything.  I want to do my best for the Lord and now my motives and actions are in sync.  It’s amazing how things change once you hand your whole life over to the Father’s hands.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only light that leads to eternal life in Heaven.  Once you hand it all over, you receive His joy and peace, which is better than anything this world has to offer.

I grew up in a church that believes in eternal security – once saved, always saved.  As an adult I attended other churches that taught that salvation can be lost.  I never argued the point one way or the other, but always thought if a person was to backslide that far, perhaps their experience with Christ was less than genuine to begin with.  Just a thought.  I’m not judging that person, just discussing a possibility.  I pray that salvation from the Lord is not so easily lost.  How awful to feel so insecure, wondering if your name is still written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  I don’t think there’s an eraser on God’s pen.

Human beings mess up.  We do.  It’s not an excuse to keep messing up… but it’s not a reason to beat yourself up for mistakes made decades ago either.  Put your mistakes – sins – under the blood of Christ, then do better!  You have a choice to be a bitter person or a better person.  Be better – do better.  Be the person you wish you would have been to begin with!  Let God help you.  He’s faithful and He will not fail you.  Let Him be the strength of your heart – even if your heart is less than strong.  He will be your strength and your song.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)12075076_1019943578045285_2006305397285375045_nHAPPY FALL, Y’ALL!!!  I don’t know why we are always so anxious to rush into this season more than the others, but my house has been decorated for autumn for at least two weeks!  We’ve had so much rain this month, it’s almost as if we’re jumping into spring instead of fall – but it’s fall according to the calendar – so we’re going to go with that!

Today I want to ask you if you’ve ever had a “happy accident”???  Take a moment to let that sink in before you answer.  The two words don’t seem to belong together – happy and accident – do they?  Hmm…  has Linda been hitting the sugar-free apple cider a bit too much?  No…  I really do want to know if you have a story to tell about a “happy accident”.  Oh…  I said that phrase again.  Does it set your teeth on edge?  I could see where it would.

Sometimes we think our mistakes are deal breakers for life.  We can’t seem to get over them, even though the most over-used sentence in America is LETITGO.  Thanks, Reba…  we’re learning.  I’m a work in progress.  Once I ask forgiveness from God and He forgives, it makes it easier for me to forgive myself and THEN I can letitgo.

The other day I was trying to find some images, photographs, for poetry I wanted to design.  My go-to place is Pixabay because I’ll be honest, I can’t afford to pay money for the images I use here on the blog or for poetry designs.  Lucinda and I also have good friends who have graciously given me unlimited permission to peruse through their facebook accounts for photos – thank you so much to Chris Cummins, Dave Mock, Karen Tubbs Stell, Sheri Berezowecki-Lemay, Valerie McKinney, Bill Woods, Terri Boggs Rowe, Marian Poppy Ballestero, Jimmy Stone, Katrina Huckabay, Stephanie G. Lutz, Candace Waters, Pete Lord, Sam Peters, Arleen Krueger, Gina Womack, Joanna Hays and Mike Durbin.

I also want to thank Lucinda not only for her wonderful poems, but for letting me use photos from her facebook page for my poems.  🙂

I was searching Pixabay for a certain kind of image – I had a very specific type of photo in mind.  I thought I typed a certain word in the search engine – but when I double-checked, I typed a completely different word.  It took me to a subject I know absolutely NOTHING about – and I mean nothing…  SPORTS.  Every writer knows this…  you write about what you know.  Never try to fake what you don’t know to be fact.

I laughed out loud and told God, “Wow – that was a huge OOPS, wasn’t it?”  God impressed me to take a look at the images on the page – and one in particular caught my eye – then another.

It was A HAPPY ACCIDENT – I knew these images needed to be used.  I also knew that I didn’t know a thing about football.  I fought with God – and said, “Lord, I don’t know anything about this subject – there’s no way I can write anything good.”  Then I heard God say, “Lucinda does…  give this to her.”

It’s funny because when we’re obedient, God rewards us – He really does.  Once I sent the image to Lucinda, look what she did…taking-a-knee

But wait…  God’s not done.  He gave me words to use for the second image I found!teach-us-to-pray

I know the term “happy accident” is from Bob Ross…  we all know how he used to refer to the OOPS in painting as a happy accident.  Around the time all of this was happening, I also saw this interesting photo from Bill Woods and thought, “That describes what happened perfectly!  I’m going to call it a ‘happy accident’ – like Bob Ross did!”  14067573_10208342567854653_5861265440443893614_n

Photo courtesy of BILL WOODS.  Thanks for the reminder!  The timing could not have been better.

God blesses our efforts when we obey.  I love “happy accidents” because when it’s all said and done, it was not an accident at all.  It was A GOD THING.  He works differently with each of us because we aren’t robots who can be dealt with the same way – we are individuals in God’s eyes, and He works with us in just the right way.  I’m so thankful that God can make anything work for the good…  aren’t you?  🙂

 

PROVERBS 9:10 ON 9/10

Proverbs 9 10 on 9 10

STRUGGLES PRODUCE WISDOM

 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.  – Proverbs 9:10

Honestly, if I had a dime for each time an unbeliever let me know I’m not perfect as a Christian – I could retire to my own private island!

Of course I’m not perfect – I never claimed to be – and I’m not supposed to be.  Christ Jesus is the only perfect One!  I call myself a Christian because it is my desire to embrace His wonderful love and aspire to be more like Him.  The key word is…  ASPIRE.

We aspire, desire, strive, and basically pray our way through life!  We know we’re never going to be perfect.  And, by the way, if we ever start thinking we have arrived and don’t need any more help, that’s probably when we need more help than ever – Amen?

I openly admit imperfection in my Christian life.  Is that an excuse to backslide and quit believing?  What did the Apostle Paul say?

 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.  – Romans 6:15

There are honest mistakes, struggles and mishaps that happen in the Christian life – but we are never supposed to say or do anything on purpose with the assumption that we are covered by grace, so therefore we can be reckless and take the precious grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for granted.

Life gets messy and tangled and sometimes downright ugly – even for us.  When a person is born again, it’s not a magic key that unlocks the cosmic safe room where we go to live out the rest of our days!  So why trust Christ with our lives?  Good question.

When you put the rest of your life in the palm of God’s hand, you are acknowledging His power (and my lack of power), His strength (and my lack of strength), His knowledge (and my lack of knowledge) and His perfect love (and sadly, my lack of perfect love).  You are giving God’s Holy Spirit permission to speak to your spirit – to give you comfort and help and guidance when you need it (for me that is every day).

It’s a surrender of my will.  I surrender my will and say to God through Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary, not my will, but Thy will be done.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit – do Your perfect work in me.  Help me to be the very best person I can be so I may represent You in my realm of influence.  It’s a daily prayer and a daily commitment I want to make.  I am not brainwashed or pushed into anything.  I have a free will and it is my will to know His perfect plan for my life.

But there is love…  God loves us!

This, I think, is what love is:  taking it all in, hoping for the best.  Admiring the lake’s shimmering surface and unknown depths.  Building a bank of memories, and cherishing them all equally.  – Jane Smiley

Here’s the good news.  God loves everyone and His Son Jesus died on a cross and God raised Him from the dead.  He lives today and sits at the right hand of God the Father.  This same Jesus will come back to receive His own very soon.  I’m ready to go.  Are you?  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

When I feel frozen in my failure, I just try to imagine my Father running down the road to meet me. I look in his eyes—brimming with acceptance—and remember that it isn’t about my failures, it is about His love. It is about being God’s beloved daughter, who is always welcome Home.  – Sandi Patty

FROZEN IN FEAR

Have you ever felt frozen in your failure?  Boy I sure have.  It’s a miserable, uncomfortable feeling, especially when you start to believe other people’s assessment of the situation.  When you begin to believe the popular opinion that nothing will ever be right again because you have messed up so badly.

I was very close to shutting this blog down permanently because I came under some harsh criticism about it.  Personal attacks concerning my ability to write and the lack of interest I apparently generate left me crushed and ready to quit.  I felt frozen in fear when it was time to write again.  I want to grow thicker skin – I’ve asked God to help me.  I don’t understand how we can be commanded to be tenderhearted, yet need thick skin at the same time.  And what of these tender hearts of ours?  We are to guard them.

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.  – Proverbs 4:23

God provided a wonderful boost to my self-esteem.  I was shown a comment that turned everything around.  You know, God is never early but He is certainly never too late.  His timing and His provision, be it physical, mental or whatever – is perfect!

I also saw this posted on facebook yesterday – and I will probably never forget it:

You will never please everyone – you are not pizza!

Well, doesn’t that just about say it all?  Even though I’m not pizza, I hope something I write blesses your heart or helps you along in life.  We are here to help one another I believe, in any way we can.

Have you felt frozen in fear after a failure, mistake or sin?  You don’t have to feel that way forever because that’s not how God wants us to feel.  He wants to help us get back to feeling happy and free in Him.  God knows we won’t get it right every time, but we don’t have to live life frozen in fear.

There is an answer for failures, mistakes and sins – His name is Jesus.  Pray to Him today and ask Him to help you.  He knows what you need and will provide just the right balm to your sad and aching heart, sad with grief.

Keep going.  Keep doing what God has called you to do.  The only one who can tell you to quit is God – don’t let people get you down and keep you frozen in fear.  Wink!  😉

 

THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

TL 11-25 INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

THE WINDOWS OF THE SOUL

Violence is such a buzz word in our society.  There is violence all around us.  Times are tough right now.  People don’t have jobs (or more than likely they have a couple of part-time jobs and still can’t skate by).  The stresses of life can build up and if you don’t have an outlet (the gym or some other release), you might strike out at the ones you supposedly love the most.  But abuse is NEVER right – NEVER. 

Let me tell you about a woman who experiences violence behind closed doors.  Behind lead-glass French doors, I might add.

It’s the heaviest burden she will ever bear.  It’s the darkest secret she will ever hide.  She will go to great lengths to make it look as though everything is perfect to outsiders – neighbors and friends.  She will make every excuse in the book to “cover” for her abuser, saying, “He just had a bad day” – or “Wow am I stupid, why did I make him angry like that?”   She turns the fault on herself – every single time.

After a while, she begins to believe that lie.  She has internalized the blame for so long that eventually – everything that goes wrong is somehow her fault.  It doesn’t matter if it does not make logical sense – it is still her fault.  Her abuser has her right where he wants her…  frightened and vulnerable.  She’s afraid of her own shadow and unable to make simple decisions anymore.  She is completely paralyzed and spends time over thinking things that the rest of us don’t think twice about.  She questions her own sanity at times.

She’s lost every ounce of self-esteem and beats herself up and may even cut herself because she “deserves” nothing less in her mind.  Her abuser has convinced her that she is less than in every respect.  She is not as pretty, as smart, as skinny, as understanding, as – anything.  She thinks if only she was all those things, then finally she would be good enough and her abuser would stop verbally  and/or physically abusing her.

If she has children she feels especially trapped.  If she does not have children there is a chance she can get away, but she knows she needs a plan.  It’s frightening to plan her escape because up to this point she does not believe she has done one single thing right.  She asks herself why this plan would be any better than anything else she’s done.

She keeps replaying the conversation she had with her sister before the wedding.  Her sister expressed concern about specific times when his temper flared or he seemed too controlling.    The blushing bride patted her sister’s hand and assured her that it was nothing, but thanked her for being concerned.  She recalls quickly changing the subject at that point.

But now she knows her sister was right about him.  Those moments were red flags – signs.  She ignored them.  Why did she choose to ignore them?  She thought she loved him.  A nervous  laugh becomes audible as that thought passes through her mind.  She quietly said under her breath, ” What a cliche’!”  Now she knows that the only One who ever loved her gave His life for her.  Love was never a part of her marriage.  It’s always been about survival.

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She has a best friend who stays closer than a brother – His name is Jesus.  He knows her name – he knows what she is thinking and how she is feeling about herself.  He will help her through this.  She prays for her abuser as she scratches and claws her way out of this pit.  She listens to teaching that helps her hold on to threads of self-esteem.  She spends time alone with God to gain strength.  She found a loving circle of support from good Christian folks who  encourage her to take another step.  She just needs the courage to leave.  She needs a plan.  She prays that one in her circle can be trusted to help her.  She asks God who she should confide in and ask for help.

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If you are a man who abuses a woman – know this…  God is watching.  You may control your woman through violent behavior or verbal vomit, but when you have to stand before God one day (and oh yeah – you will) – you won’t have enough honey-covered words to get you out of that situation.  GET HELP – get it now.  Stopping is a process but it has to begin TODAY.  Find a good reputable Christian counselor and begin sessions.  Abusing a woman (or anyone else) does not make you more of a man.  If you have anger management issues – it is YOUR problem – don’t make it hers too. 

That woman you have – she is a bright, brilliant, fragile and loving soul that God entrusted you with!  Treat her with all the tenderness you possibly can.  If you will do that, you will be AMAZED at the love you receive in return!  Get on your knees and thank God for her every day.  Instead of belittling her, lift her up – it really does not take much to make a woman smile.  You know what, Mr. abuser?  God counts that woman’s tears – every one of them.  On judgment day He will show you that bottle of tears and ask for an explanation.  But the smiles you put on her face – now wouldn’t you rather see images of the smiles from God and hear the words WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT…  ???  😀

 

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

I'M AN ODD PUZZLE PIECE
Where would I be without those crazy people in my life I know as my friends? Loneliness is not a path that anyone should walk. Being alone is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The friends I bond with the fastest are the ones who relate to the road I’ve walked. It’s just natural that like-minded people become fast friends. Sometimes I think it’s sad that we have bonded because of awful situations we’ve faced, but there’s a sort of healing that takes place when you realize that the worst is over. The scars will never go away, and maybe that is a good thing. The scars keep us more wise for future choices and help us not make the same mistakes again. But knowing that someone knows and understands where you’ve been, and is there to help you get to where you want to go – is priceless.

Who is at the center of all relationships?  Christ, of course.

Who can know God’s counsel,
or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.  – Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17

As I look at my group of friends and see God’s Hand in those relationships, it occurs to me that when my friends are going through rough times, I am usually sailing in relatively calm waters. When the storms of life and raging on me, my friends are usually sailing along just fine. We really do need each other for love and prayer support. That’s what friends do for each other.  It’s that iron sharpening thing.  Who is our best friend?

It’s my prayer that the poems or blog posts I write will speak to someone and encourage them. When God impresses me to write something, I don’t question it – I just write. He knows who needs to read it and He will work with them through it. I believe that if you have stumbled upon this little blog, it is not an accident. God leads us where He wants us to go!

HAPPY PILLS
Oh – and… pass the HAPPY PILLS! We share those too, don’t we???   Wink!  😉