Follow by Email

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Love Your Neighbor...Unconditionally

“Owe no one anything except to love another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” ”You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

True love, love that comes from a pure and unconditional place, will never steer you wrong. That is not to say you will never get hurt…life is not easy or pain-free and because of sin it never will be. However, love will heal, love will guide, and love will overcome when love is true and when it is applied to all areas of your life.

God is love and love is from God. No one can show you what genuine love is like our heavenly Father can. If you strive to reflect His love everywhere and in everything you do, you will reap the rewards. No you’re not more likely to win the lottery. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to make you famous or an instant overnight success. It might not even make everyone like you – some people have had so little love in their life that it turns them away to encounter someone who lives love.

Love’s reward is inside you. The feeling you get from acting in pure love, from showing love to those around you, is irreplaceable by any other thing (or person) in this world. It’s rewarding, but not in the sense we have come to know in this sin-filled, get-your-fifteen-minutes-of-fame world…love is the “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” kind of rewarding. It’s a peaceful, comforting reward that gives you a warm feeling of content.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not encouraging you to love because of what it can do for you. Love “does not seek its own…” (From I Corinthians 13:5). What I am saying is that there is an unavoidable benefit to loving unconditionally and loving your neighbor. All of your neighbors in this world.

You don’t even have to take my word for it, try it yourself. Give yourself time, a good bit of time, and start small. Choose one person in your life to love unconditionally. No matter how they behave, no matter what they say, do, or how they treat you, make all of your interactions with them come from love. True love, love that does not expect anything in return and does not require anything from the recipient. Journal through it if that helps. Over time you should notice a difference. Maybe not in how the other person acts, but in how you feel.

Some might say that my personal quest to love my neighbor has led me astray, gotten me hurt time and again. They tell me I am too trusting and I try too hard to see the good in everyone. I don’t try to see the good, I see it. We all have good in us because we are all loved and made in the image of God, who is love. Seeing their good may cloud my ability to see ulterior motives or bad intentions on their part but in the end I know there is good in each and every person and in love I forgive and move on. Well, I try my best – I am after all a sinner and only human.

I have a lot on my mind this week and I may ramble more than usual but… Pray with me?

Heavenly Father,
Thank You for showing us love. Real, true, genuine and unconditional love. Please forgive me for the times I have fallen short of Your love and for the people I have let down by not showing them love as You have shown me. Help me to love my neighbor, and to do so unconditionally. Lord, where I cannot heal with love, please share Your healing, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to all who need You. Protect those who protect us and please let them never forget they are never alone because they are loved and because You are always with each and every one of us. Please may Your will be done, not mine. I ask this all in the name of Your one and only son, Jesus. Amen.

Have a love filled weekend and an even better week ahead! May God’s love surround you and fill your heart.

All my love through Christ,


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Forgive Me, Father

Verse of the Day:

"You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you." Psalm 86:5 (NIV)

Forgiveness has been on my mind a LOT lately. When I get stuck on something I usually begin to wonder why it is on my mind so much. If I have a person come to mind and stay there, I pray for them as I believe maybe the Spirit is leading me to do so. I’m puzzled though, with a topic like forgiveness, as to whether I am needing to forgive someone in my life…or if I am in need of forgiveness. Then I wake up to this as the emailed Verse of the Day in my inbox. Message received.

So my plan today is to find some quiet time to reflect and to get right with God. He’s probably disappointed in me that I have not attended much church lately. I am certain it doesn’t help that I have not written for Him in months…or more.

God is understanding and loving however He is also all knowing so He can see through my excuses about having no time. I could most definitely replace my small window of TV time with some writing time. It would not hurt to give up a few rounds of Trivia Crack for some Bible reading. Instead of scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter on my lunch, I could be writing notes, ideas and concepts for my next devotional.

As with anything, if you woke up today then you have a chance to start again, to do things better, to make a difference. I am not trying to have a big ego here but for some of the people who read my posts, I know that God has been using my words to make a difference in their lives. That is all about Him folks. I am honored and blessed to hear your feedback but He gets ALL the glory there.

I am a sinner and I fail and fumble often. I need His forgiveness and I know the moment I ask for it He will offer it up and my blemishes will be washed away by the Blood of the Lamb. But maybe, just maybe, you need it too. Perhaps God has led you to read my words today because He wants you to get right with Him on something you have been avoiding. Don’t take my word for that. Pray your way through it.

Most Heavenly Father,
Today I come to You on my knees and I pray for Your forgiveness. I know there are things in my life that have kept me from You and I am sorry for allowing these walls to prevail. Please help me to tear down the facades. Guide my by Your Word and Your Spirit to get right with You. Shine Your Light on the path so my footprints may not stray any longer. Thank You for not forgetting about me, even when I have made little or no time for You. In Your Son’s most powerful and beautiful name I pray that Your will be done. Amen.

May God grant each of you, reading this, a most blessed and restful weekend. May His favor go before you and may His peace surround you.

All my love through Christ,


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Human Nature

I took a run today for the first time in...too long. I had forgotten how calming it could be. When I run it's just me and the pavement. I'm not trying to prove anything - except maybe prove to myself I can improve with every step. It's me against me. It's mindclearing.

A funny thing happens when you clear your mind of all the crap life throws at us. All the bad. All the stress. All the things you wish you could change but have to accept as hell on earth. When your mind is that clear you notice the little things. The raw beauty around us. Like a bird stopping to catch its breath. A grasshopper bouncing from blade of grass to blade of grass.

As you let go of all the dirt and grime of life that drags you down so far you can't see the top anymore, you begin to ponder the good. You think of the heartwarming story that you heard of some random person helping a stranger in some small but impacting way. You think about how people describe other people who do good things as being angels. Or heroes. Or saints.  

Human Nature gets blamed for all the bad things. Someone has some self destructive habit and it's human nature to do that. Someone makes a poor choice against better judgement or advice, oh well, it's just human nature. Or is it?

Human nature is actually perfect. Genesis tells us that God created us, male and female, in His image. God is perfect. The conclusion that can be drawn from this is that we are perfect beings at our core. We were made to do good. To bring praise and honor and glory to our Maker. We are not angels on earth when we help each other. When a community pulls together after a tragedy, that is our human nature shining through - not some aberration or anomaly. 

Sin is bad. Sin is the anomaly. Society wants us to think that good is the rarity. Maybe it is but that isn't because human nature is to gravitate towards evil. It's because we are bombarded with so much bad that many of us get pushed past our breaking point. It's a choice. Everything in life is a choice. Always has been and always will be. There's a great line in a song that says something about if you decide not to choose than you still have made a choice. We have the choice to listen to our human nature to be kind, caring, considerate...good. Or not. 

What do you choose? Does your choice change often? 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Timing Skews Perception

This morning I came to the conclusion that I stink at asking for help. I have a panic attack, I fumble my words, I put it off and avoid it if at all possible. Then I decided that maybe it's worse because 99% of the time I ask for help I don't actually get help. I can count on one hand the people who have consistently helped when I've been in a bind. I could more easily count the stars in the sky than tell you the number of people who have told me that they would help me if I ever need it only to turn me down when I ask. The friends that Tracy Lawrence sings about here:

But then I did what I always do...I prayed. Now, some people pray by closing their eyes, bowing their heads, hitting their knees and formally speaking to their Maker. That's how people who don't pray a lot probably envision those of us who talk about praying like we talk about breathing, right? Well, let me break your stereotype up a bit...that's not how I pray. Not typically. 

My favorite hymn growing up was What A Friend We Have in Jesus. (Lyrics here:  ) I believe prayer is simply a conversation with my best friend. So I talk to God like He is sitting, standing or whatever right beside me. It's an unending conversation. Well, okay, so I do too much of the talking but those of you who know me best, are you really surprised? 

I do quiet my head to try to listen at least once a, when I let it all go and shut myself up, He showed me the error in my logic. 

I asked myself, how many times have I wanted to help a friend but because of timing or circumstance I wasn't available? How many times was I actually stuck in a spot where I wanted to drop everything but doing so to help one friend or loved one would break a promise or let down another friend or loved one? Too many to count, just this year. 

I am not alone. I have the most amazing Father in heaven. I have a loving family. I have the most caring friends who are my second family. I am blessed. Blessed beyond my deserving. Blessed that my loved ones have the patience to wait for me to wake up and realize that I am not a burden in their lives. The understanding to see that my hesitation isn't because I doubt them but rather because I don't want to pester them.

So, it turns out that the timing of needs can be a serious hindrance on perception. I'm awfully thankful that God's timing is always perfect cause heaven knows my timing is atrocious! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Freedom Most Definitely Is Not Free...

Days like today I see an increase of patriotic activity...strange to me how many people only think about their freedoms and our country's sacrifices a few times a year. Here's what's on my mind tonight:

Freedom isn't free. Every freedom we have has been paid for. Through blood of our soldiers, sweat off their brows, tears from the ones the fallen have left behind. No freedom has never been free.

It's east to forget as we go about our busy lives. It isn't on the news daily. If we are not personally affected by a loved one serving, either in the military or as a first responder, than it is all to easy to only reflect on the freedoms they're protecting on days like 9/11 and the 4th of July. 

I remember. I think about it daily. I pray for God to bless each of them, and their families for the sacrifices they daily make for us. I pray His protection over them, be they near or far as they serve an ungrateful nation. I pray for their peace and comfort as I cannot begin to fathom what they go through emotionally, mentally and physically day in and day out. 

Freedom may not be free but prayer is. Thoughts are. Remember these brave and selfless men and women on more than just the days that are obvious. Because believe me, they think of us daily as they pull on their boots and prepare to face the unknown.

Gratitude is free. I give mine to every veteran, every serviceman, every first responder, to each and every person who has ever stood up and said with their actions, "You can sleep in peace tonight because I'm on watch duty and won't let you down." My thanks isn't nearly enough but it's a start. You have that and my respect forever and daily. And all my love.

Friday, August 23, 2013

When You're Down To Nothing

"When you're down to nothing, God is up to something." I've always liked that quote. I'm not sure who said it, and yea I could Google it but frankly I don't feel like it. Today hasn't been the best of days but it hasn't been the worst. I've had good moments and I am clinging to those but most importantly I am clinging to God. I'm sure there's a lesson in all this. My heart and my head may not be in full agreement however I'm not about to let negativity rule my little corner of the world...if you've been reading me for any length of time I'm sure you've picked up on that. I've struggled with it the past few weeks but how's that Mandisa song go...? "I'm an overcomer!"

I write. There's a line in a song that goes something like, "people got their ways of coping and I got mine..." my way of coping is this. I write. I could write in a journal but have y'all noticed my inconsistency here? Yea, a journal is not my thing. Am I causing drama by sharing my turbulent life publicly? Maybe. Am I helping others who have, are or will go through the same or similar experiences? Judging from the comments, private messages, phone calls and emails I have received I would go out on a limb and say yes. And for that reason alone, if nothing else, I keep going. I write.

How does writing help? Well, I guess it's my outlet. Some people are athletes, some are musicians, some drink, some smoke, some party, some pray...everyone has an outlet (at least I hope & pray they do!), a place where they can escape their stress, their reality, their life...for better or for worse: I write. When I don't write I can tell that it's all bottled up inside and I end up losing a piece of myself and come off a few more shades of crazy than I normally am. 

"The good Lord gives and He takes away..." 

I suppose the argument could be made that talents fall into the category of what God can give and take. I pray He never takes away my talent for writing because I can't imagine a life without written words. However, I know that if I find myself "down to nothing," even find I can no longer right, I will still have multitudes of thanks to be given.

At the end of the day, today for example, I may have unanswered questions, I may have doubts and fears (yea, I'm still working on those!) but I have blessings in abundance. I have a Heavenly Father who has already saved me, I have two of the most amazing kids I've ever met (not just my opinion, others have told me as much), I have family that is loving and supportive, I have friends who have become family in every way that matters, I have a man who has opened my mind and my heart to possibilities that I thought I would never look forward to again after shutting the door on a fourteen year marriage that ended in total heartbreak...I am blessed beyond my deserving and no material thing on this earth could ever compare. 

Are you feeling like you are down to nothing? Believe me, my friend, you simply need to take a breath and say thanks for the air that fills your lungs. Then, find a slightly bigger blessing, and so on and so on...I bet you loose track of time by the time you count your blessings! (By the way, if you're reading this, than you are one of MY blessings, and I thank you!)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What Are You Afraid Of?

Fear. It can influence us without knowing. It can infiltrate its way into the nooks and crannies of our lives, our decision making, our relationships, our faith. Sometimes fear isn't vague, sometimes we know we're avoiding things on purpose because of our fear. Why? Why do we allow this irrational emotion rule any part of our existence.The Bible tells us, "God has not given you a spirit of fear..." (II Timothy 1:7) so one could make the argument that fear is a byproduct of sin...but we have been saved from our sins...

So I ask again, why? Why do we not stand up to our fears? I would venture to guess the answer to this is quite different for each of us. It's hard work to stand up to your fears. It can be draining. It can feel impossible or unrealistic. Sometimes the hardest work is recognizing that fear has control of us and we have to dig deep with a lot of "why" questions to ourselves in order to pinpoint the origin of that fear so we can begin to move past it.

I have been working on this one. I'm a work in progress, I know, and I usually take a few steps forward then a few steps back and so on but I want to share what I think I've learned. I always am hopeful that in doing so it will assist someone, somewhere. Even if only one person is touched or helped than it makes sharing my life and the chaos in my head worth every moment spent typing my thoughts and emotions.

I think my biggest fear (besides my motherly fears of not being able to provide, causing my kids to need therapy later in life, etc, etc) is acceptance. Or rather, not being accepted. I'm a people pleaser, I try to make everyone happy. I know it's an impossible task. Sometimes it causes a bigger mess than it should. I have been working on it though and while I see some regressions at times I am overall seeing an improvement. It took a lot for me to get to the root of that. To admit it to myself. Then to start working on overcoming it. Pray helps. A LOT!

I mention prayer because it is a big part of my life. I don't always think of it as prayer though, I have a conversation with God and since I know He's always with me it's kinda a constant, never-ending one.

I have come to realize that His opinion is the only one that matters. His acceptance is the only one I need. And I already have it, He accepted me, a sinner, and loved me so much His Son paid for my transgressions on a cross a long, long time ago. This of course does not mean I just live my life without considering my choices and their implications. It means that I get myself, my choices, right with God and let the rest of the world worry about themselves.

I have also come to realize that my true friends accept me for who I am and will always support my decisions. Those who love me unconditionally will be happy for me and with me if I am happy. I am blessed to have these people in my life. I am ashamed I have not given them more credit. And by that I mean, I should trust them to have my back no matter what anyone else says or does to react to what is going on in my life.

As people learned of my separation and impending divorce from my husband the support that flowed out was overwhelming. The understanding, the love...I had feared the worst and never saw it. So I'm putting it to the test. I'm kicking fear in the teeth tonight. I have been letting the fear of, "what will people think?" and "what will people say?" keep me from talking openly about something positive in my life...

I have met someone. An amazing man that I can only describe as being a blessing sent from God. He is a kind, thoughtful, gentle, caring, generous and God-fearing man who has lit up my world. I could go on and on but I think what my friends would say is important is that I am happy. To say I am being treated well would be an understatement, he makes me feel like a princess. For the first time in my adult life, I feel cherished. It's an odd and wonderful feeling. I, in turn, am cherishing this feeling and this man. One day at a time. God is great. Life is good. People will call me crazy. I like crazy, it's a good place to reside.