Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Lingering Loss

I've been thinking about Patti a lot lately...for those of you who don't know her, she is my good friend who left this life more than a year ago. I say "lately" because until recently I haven't allowed myself to really dwell on her, or her untimely departure; it's still too fresh, too raw....I avoid posts from her family and friends that remind me of her; pictures of her smiling her genuinely amicable smile...but recently, I've let myself remember some the laughs we shared, usually at our own expense, the dreams we both had for our respective families, the hopes we had for our own futures...and I struggle between the sadness of losing her, and the tinge of jealousy, that she, in all its entirety, has now realized the fullness of all there is. For Patti there are no more second guessing decisions, worrying over loved ones or even the bereft feeling of loss that those of us she touched so deeply feel daily. For Patti there is only peace and joy. I can only pretend to fathom.

The older I get the more I realize the potency of loss. Until the age of 24 when my grandparents died, I had never experienced loss; oh, I guess in reality I had, if you count neglect and disregard from parental figures (again, I am so thankful for my grandparents!) but to actually recognize the true since of loss, no, not until then. But even then....I don't think I was able to feel more than anger and bitterness at the injustice I felt for their passing; after all it was more about me, wasn't it? :) At least at 24 it was. The sadness of it all would hit me later...cut deep into the bone and bring choking tears to my eyes each time I think of either of them; forget about trying to speak of them without the searing pain of grieving. But the older I get, and the more I invest in the lives of people and allow them into my own, it seems to be even more difficult to let go; and not just permanently...even temporarily.

Since that very young and naive girl of 24 lost the two most important people in her life up to that point, I have experienced loss in many forms. Some I recognized instantly and others, it not until later that it becomes apparent it's loss; relationships lost, some for the better perhaps-but still painful; dreams diminished; hopes fade into the background because of decisions made, either by me, or by another, that would affect me...all counted as loss. And I realized during all of that, I don't deal well with loss; I guess no one really does, but mine is more of a selfish "how dare this happen to me" stance. I tend to make it all about me and mine, and I don't know how to get past that...I fully comprehend that "All things work together for those who love the Lord..." and that to be a follower of Jesus Christ is to trust Him with everything, knowing He holds my past, present, and future in the palm of His hand, BUT. How do I transform that into experiencing the loss; processing it; and then reconciling it? Please don't say "pray". I know that, every Christian knows that, and every Christian wants to hear another answer. God understands that...He understands our need for answers; after all it was He who created us to be inquisitive. Even Jesus asked "why hast thou forsaken me?" But I digress...

The lingering feeling of profound loss has been plaguing me for several years now...it causes me to see things differently...to think differently, to re-evaluate priorities and then question whether I am truly headed on the right direction with my life; whether past decisions were the right ones for me (see, there's that "me" mentality again) Whether or not I should "take the bull by the horns" so to speak and make some crucial life changes or simply slide through life as I'm doing now...living daily with consequences, some out of my control, others that just need impetus on my part... not the inertia and sour apathy in which I have been living the last few years.
As I write this, it becomes crystal clear there is an acrid and corrosive posture that has found its home in my heart and my head. Despondency, in the form of acute sadness seems to cloud so much of my thought process...warring with what I know to be true-the goodness of God; His complete ability to secure all that He has promised me, and the undying knowledge that He and He alone, will "never leave nor forsake". But what do I do with that knowledge? But knowing it still doesn't change the fact that it's ME that actually has to make, and walk out, the changes needed to ensure that I finish "the good work" that was started in me...to use the talents given, to make the most of what I've been blessed with...unfortunately I've given myself this pep talk before in the past few years, only to backslide into the muck and mire of lethargy. Its times like these I would love to blame it on PMS; unrelenting PMS, lol. Unfortunately, we all must figure out for ourselves the whys and how to's of life, and what to do with the findings. As for me, I'll continue to give myself pep talks, pour my heart out in a blog like this, and maybe even try praying about it ;)

I'm gone.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why Not???

I have sat here in my pajamas all day long; barely taking the time to even run a comb through my hair. One would think that on my only day off, after a very hectic week I would spend it running errands, catching up on television shows, or maybe tackle my huge list of e-books I have yet to read....nope. What I have done is spend the last 9 hours sitting at my computer doing what I am most passionate about-writing. As mentioned in my bio here on this blog, I am a very passionate woman, and one thing I am truly passionate about is the written word; especially when it's my own! I believe each of us possess God given talents and gifts; talents that we were created to use not be stifled. But alas, I can be a stifler, lol. Many times I have considered using my talents to enrich my life and those around me (that's why they're given, right?) but dismissed it with excuses and justifications. "I just don't have time in my life right now." "What good would it do to pursue it when I need to be pursuing (fill in the blank); or here's the most popular one..."I'll use it someday." Any of that sound familiar? As women, it's easy for us to get caught on that perpetual hamster wheel of trying to do "this" to manage "that" in order to keep all the balls in the air; forsaking why we were created in the first place. Every time I read something C.S. Lewis wrote, I find myself thinking "I'm so glad he didn't forsake his obvious gift with the written word. Or Thomas Edison...else I would be sitting here with pencil and paper in the dark! Now I am no way try to compare any talents/gifts I may have at anything with that of those two men, but you know what? Why can't I??? God gave it to me and I have no idea what I am actually capable of (or you either) because I have never actually pushed it to my limits. And that's my failing... I have a friend who is a fellow writer, but she is much closer to her goal of becoming a published author than I. And why? Because she has the ability to see past the excuses and justifications and just reach for it! She is not enslaved to that stupid hamster wheel; she is a woman of discipline, who knows that she has no limitations in Christ Jesus and that her passion for fulfilling her dream isn't all about her; it's also about those who will benefit from her hard work and determination. As I sat today for part of those 9 hours today writing the forward to her new book "Don't Waste Your Hurricane", I was equally, impressed with her resolve yet suffering from a mild case of jealously! Not that I in anyway begrudge her this season in her life, she has more than earned it, but I wish I could some how summon that spirit of tenacity for myself. I am tired of plodding along in life living "what ifs" when there are people out there, some I am even know, who have decided to put aside the "what ifs" and go for the "why nots". I want to be a "why not".
I'm gone.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Life is Crazy Sometimes...

Hello! I know it has been so very long since my last blog, last April as a matter of fact, and many of you have inquired as to when I would resume. I would love to tell you that I will be posting everyday since my heart and head truly does seem to be filled to overflowing with things God has done, is doing, and is promising me! But alas, I know myself, and self has the tendency to get bogged down in the day to day trials and tribulations of this life. Sigh. What's ironic is that while I get so distracted by life's mundane details, I am missing out on all of the many things God is doing on a daily, even moment by moment basis, and sadder yet is that I don't take the time to share all that He is doing with all of you; for that I am so sorry and I will try harder to minimize my trivial activities (for in the scheme of things eternal that's exactly what they are-trivial) and spend more time sharing the goodness of God here. Since my last posting, we have moved away from all that we knew, to a small town in Central Texas called Burnet. In all honesty, there are days I know it was God, and days I don't. I believe there is God's perfect will for our lives and then God's permissive will...I'm not sure yet which this move is. But what I do know is, according to His word "my steps are ordered" and I am trusting Him, minute by minute these days, as it seems so much is unknown; out of my control (is it really ever in our control??) and sometimes scary-BUT GOD!!!I will say however, that one thing this move has accomplished is that the fear I have lived with all of my life...fear of many things, that has paralyzed me at times, has been removed! For whatever reason, after seemingly 50 years of praying for deliverance of irrational fears (and sometimes rational:)suddenly, with this move, God has seen to it that I am no longer afraid of things that used to terrify me. He has dropped me in a place where I feel safe, protected, even looked after....in a way that I haven't felt since I was a little girl. As I type this I am moved to tears as I am recognizing the monumental peace there is in that and a bit of confusion in that I don't understand why this season, this environment, could cause such a release of a lifetime of enslavement that I have struggled. Maybe it's because for the first time in my life, I realize I have no control over the situation I find myself in, and in that I have fully opened myself up to knowing that God either has this; this being everything in my life; or He doesn't and then I'm screwed. But I know that I know, He does have this and all it encompasses. Lots swirling around in my brain right now, lol. While the country is running amuck in chaos, as all who don't have the peace of God tend to do, for once I am able to lay my head down at night without fear and sleep in the peace of God's promises. My scripture verse I have been standing on, and I mean STANDING ON! for the last 4 months or so has been Luke 1:45 "She is blessed who believes God's promises for her". I know what God has promised me...and I know that no matter what this life looks like now, or even until I pass from this world, THIS is all temporary. Heaven is forever!!! No matter what this life has for me, it can only go as long as God allows it. Period. That truth has been a huge part of my peace. Lots going on....I'll keep you posted (I promise :)
I'm gone!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

God SEES You!

A wonderful devotional from Girlfriends in God; Sharon Jaynes puts into perspective what every woman (and most men) feel about emotional abandonment and the mental scars it leaves. I have long been a fan of praying the names of God-Jehovah Rapha, my Healer; Jehovah Jireh, my Provider, and Jehovah Shalom, my Peace. But I usually forget El Roi, the God who SEES me. Honestly....that one covers everything to me. When He truly sees me, He sees my need for healing, provision, and peace, along with all my other needs. How cool is it to know a God, a father, who is capable of providing ALL of your needs! And most importantly, loves doing it; He revels in the pleasure of being our Protector and Savior. I love that He loves that!!

Sharon Jaynes
Today’s Truth
“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me [El Roi],’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’” (Genesis 16:13 NIV)

Friend to Friend
One day I was sitting on the patio with a friend, Beth, and her step-father, Sam. We were waiting for the grill to heat up before placing steaks on to cook. Beth’s mom opened the door and gave Sam his orders - telling him what to do and how to do it. When she went back inside, Sam made a hand signal, pointing in one ear and out the other. We all three laughed. Then he placed his ruddy hand on my friend’s arm, a hand worn by years of working under the hoods of cars of every shape and size.“She was pretty hard on you growing up wasn’t she?” he asked.“You have no idea,” she answered with a sigh.But he did have an idea. He understood. And that one simple gesture let her know that Sam had peered into her heart and seen the truth. The weathered country mechanic had looked under the hood of her heart with wisdom of the learned and seen the damaged and maimed engine within. A heart, though healed by Christ, that still felt the phantom pain of a little girl who was never good enough, who was constantly told what to do and how to do it – and who never did it quite right. Sam saw her heart, and for that, Beth loved him. And so did I.

One of my favorite names of God is El Roi – the God who Sees Me. He sees what you are going through. He sees you.

Hagar was the first person to call God by the name El Roi. Hagar. Used. Abused. Tossed away. Driven away. Running away. She was all that and more.Hagar was a maidservant, a girl-slave to her mistress, Sarai. She had a job to do and we have no indication that it was unpleasant, until a turn of events changed her life forever.God came to Abram, Sarai’s husband, and gave him some amazing news.“Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted…A son coming from your own body will be your heir.”” (Genesis 13:14-17; 15:4)

Abram told Sarai, of God’s promises, but as the months tuned into years, Sarai “grew impatient with God and His promises.” “The LORD has kept me from having children,” she complained to Abram. “Go sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family though her.” (Genesis 16:2)
Oh my, this seems more than strange. But in those days, it was common practice for an infertile wife to offer her maid in order to keep the family name alive. So Abram bowed to his beautiful wife’s bidding and bedded her maid. Hagar conceived a child and a bit of pride to go with it. Then in a way only a conniving woman can contrive, Sarai turned around and blamed Abram for the tension this pregnancy birthed. As Hagar’s belly began to fill out, Sarai’s jealousy began to well up. “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.”
“Your servant is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” (Genesis 16:5-6) Sarai mistreated Hagar until she could bear it no more. Cutting remarks. Angry words. Condemning looks. Finally, Hagar ran away to the desert.

As Hagar lay languishing in the wilderness, an angel of the LORD appeared to her and asked the same question God asks all of us. The question akin to the very first question He asked Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:9). “Where have you come from and where are you going” (Genesis 16:8). Of course God knew where she had come from and where she was going, but Hagar needed to say the words, just like we need to say the words.
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” the abused Hagar replied. (Genesis 16:8)
“I’m running away from this lifeless marriage,” the neglected wife decides.
“I’m running away from the pressures of this job,” the man with the bottle responds.
“I’m running away from that coldhearted woman,” the man peering at porn justifies.
“I’m running away from these ungrateful children,” the shopaholic mother answers.
“I’m running away from the daily grind, endless chores, and piles of laundry,” the lonely
housewife sighs as she clicks on an old boyfriend’s Facebook page.
“I’m running away…

“Then the angel of the LORD told her, ‘Go back to your mistress and submit to her. I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count… the LORD has heard your misery.’”

Hagar was a slave who had been sexually used and verbally abused. Hagar was a woman amazed that God heard her cries and saw her misery…that He took note of her condition and actually spoke to her. I understand her surprise. I am still amazed that the Creator of the Universe sees me, hears me, takes note of me, and speaks to me – and to you.

Let’s Pray
El Roi, thank You for seeing me, for hearing me, for rescuing me in my time of need. Help me to remember that there is nothing in my life that You don’t see and that You can’t fix. I trust You.
In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
Why do you think God started His conversation with Hagar with a question?
Describe how Hagar must have been feeling when she ran away.
Has there ever been a circumstance in your life where you felt the same way? Is it today?
Ready to stop running and start trusting God? If so, click over to my blog page and say, “I’m taking off my running shoes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Harlem RANT! Okay fair warning here, I'm about to rant. What in Hell ( and I mean that literally) is going on with some of our American churches these days? Understand first off that I am in no way a prudish holy roller who doesn't approve of having a fun time. Personally I LOVE to listen and dance to music, especially live music, with Country and also Blues being my all time faves; both whom have plenty of gyrating and shaking in their moves...but never, ever, would I expect Christian churches to not only allow, but encourage, something so blatantly secular within their walls. Not only that, but to incorporate masks and helmets in church does not borderline on Paganism, it IS Paganism. Is this some new thought that the Holy Spirit is somehow outdated? That God needs to "get with the times"? There is a thing called Reverence...definition: feelings of deep respect or devotion. These churches have lost all definition of this term. ****City Church Downtown features the video prominently on the home page of their church website, as it begins with a helmeted individual dancing in the aisle while the pastor is preaching a sermon. It then cuts to the entire congregation dancing in party style, and some standing on their chairs while the strobe lights flash. C3 Church in Australia even recorded a “Harlem Shake” video while reenacting Jesus’ death on the cross. –Article on Google**** Pastor Gabriel Swaggart said recently "It saddens me deeply seeing the nonsense that is going on the Church today. With the leadership of the Church heading in the wrong direction, allowing the stupidity of the "Harlem Shake," the playing of secular music from behind our pulpits, the Church has resorted to an all out flesh party. There is no Fear of God in the Church today. How can we say that the foolishness of the "Harlem Shake" is Godly? Can you actually tell me that God is pleased with this? Do you actually believe that Our God, Who is Holy, is pleased with that junk? No! Emphatically, He is not pleased with the nonsense that is being allowed in our Youth Groups today. This may rub some of you the wrong way, but the fact is, what I'm about to say is the Truth. I seriously doubt and question the Salvation of the Youth Pastors that allow this garbage in their Youth Groups. Now some of you may say, "Pastor Gabe, you are not supposed to judge someone else." We are not to judge the heart of the individual, but we ARE to judge the motives of the individual. Jesus Himself said that a bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit, and if the tree produces bad fruit, it is to be cut down and cast into the fire (Matt. 3:10). We are to judge the motives of the individual, and if that person claims to be Saved, and yet there is no fruit, we have to come to the conclusion that the individual is not Saved. As a Minister of the Gospel, we are the "watchmen that stands on the top of the wall to sound the alarm" to the people that danger in imminent! We are supposed to warn the people and to expose the danger that is ahead, and in the Church today. Satan is not just trying to sway the Church anymore, for the most part, he is standing behind the pulpit! We must understand that when we allow this garbage in the Church, we have just pushed out the Moving and the Operation of the Holy Spirit. No one, and I mean no one, can be Saved, Healed, Delivered, Baptized with the Holy Spirit with the Harlem Shake! The only way for man to be Saved is through the Preaching of the Gospel. The only way for man to be delivered is through the Finished Work of Christ! These so-called youth pastors will have to stand before God and give an account for the things that they did and did not do. But even though much of the Modern Church is allowing this garbage to go on under their watch, we at Crossfire will continue to sound the alarm to the people, to point out the foolishness that has corrupted the Church. Will we be hated? Yes. Will we be lambasted? Yes. Will we be made fun of? Yes. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!!!"- GS*** Pastors and leaders better wake up! Whether you're scared to admit it or not, we are spiraling head first towards the last days; we are overwhelming fulfilling Isaiah 5:20 "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" with every daily newscast...and now our so called Christian churches are flinging the doors wide open for the same philosophy. Satan is having a party and we are R.S.V.P.ing as fast as we can. Warned you it was a rant and I dare you to repost this.