Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Everyday Courage...or the ability to keep-on-keeping-on

What does courage look like to you?

I think most of us have this idea that it's this BIG BRAVE THING that only a few diving into a frozen river to save someone...pulling someone out of a burning car...climbing that mile-high mountain...any good thing we normally don't do on a regular basis. Something bigger than ourselves.

Now I agree, all  those things do take a superhuman effort to accomplish. I like to think I could do a BIG BRAVE THING if necessary. So far I haven't been called to one, unless it was giving birth. I loved the end result but I sure hated the process. But hey, I wasn't given a choice to NOT do it, so I'm not sure that counts.

You see, the hard part for me isn't the big things...true's the courage to day at a time...sometimes one hour at a the little things...when life seems so hard and I want to quit. 

I shall call that an act of Everyday Courage.

And to me, that's a much bigger challenge. 

You see, I struggle with depression. I come from a long line of people with anxiety disorders who found it easier to live life through self-medicating in one form or another. The thing about self-medicating? It may appear to make life more bearable for the person doing it, but it's definitely not beneficial to the others around them. They don't get the benefit of numbing or dulling the pain...all they get is fear and the need to somehow try and make it all better. 

I cannot remember living without elementary school teachers called me a 'worry wart". I have no idea how this spirit entered my life...perhaps it is genetic or hereditary or learned. All I knew was that there was so much wrong and so much evil to worry about...hiding under a desk during the Cuban Missile Crisis...Kennedy's assassination...the Vietnam War...Silent Spring. Or how to keep a cat from being run over or a dog from being hit on the highway. Could I have done anything about any of those things as a child? No. But neither did anyone tell me HOW to deal with all those fears. So, I taught myself to be in control of all I could to keep myself safe. 

So here I am, 50 years later, still struggling to feel safe. God knows that now there are infinitely more things to be afraid of, courtesy of the world-wide-web and social media. The world has not become safer or less scary. 

This past week I really had to fight to keep on going. Picture a rolling, roiling dark storm cloud coming towards you...surrounding you, smothering you, enveloping you. That's what depression is like to me. My senses are alert to its coming and all I want to do is hide. I have begged and pleaded with God for years to take this show me the way through it and out of it. And maybe He will or maybe He won't. Depression may be the thorn in my flesh that He may never deliver me from. There may only be grace. And that will have to be enough.

Do I think about checking out? Sometimes...when I am ever so tired and the journey seems too long. Until I remember the suicide of someone I dearly loved and the crushing pain it brought on. And the hardest part was never knowing why she couldn't go on. But I realize now that she may have saved my life...for she taught me that though the pain would end for me, it would never end for those I love. So no, checking out is not an option.

The question is, what does it take to keep-on-keeping-on during times of darkness? When something bigger than you makes it hard to breathe and you've lost your direction and the light forward is dimming? 

Everyday Courage. Plain old Everyday Courage. To me it looks like...

   * The grace to just wake up and get out of bed. Maybe open the curtains. Or not.

   * Being willing to be fragile, real, and to someone safe, someone who will enter your brokenness and not ask nor expect anything from you. 

   *  Doing the next thing. Brush your teeth? Feed the dog? Put dishes in the sink? Baby steps. Don't let fear paralyze you. 

    * Asking for help. Wearing a mask only makes the journey lonelier and longer.  

    * Knowing what you need. And doing it. Self-care is not selfish.  

How are you living out Everyday Courage? What does it look like to you? 

We all have fears. We all struggle with something. We all need help. You may not struggle with depression like me. Perhaps you've been afraid or hurt or living life on the edges because it's safer that way. Perhaps Everyday Courage looks to you like...

    * Speaking the truth in love. Yes, you may be rejected but that's not the point. Stepping in to something difficult takes courage and though the outcome can't be controlled, you will have taken the first step to freedom.

    * Writing a letter, making a phone call, reaching out...finally...doing something long overdue because it's the right thing to do. And God always honors the right thing.

    * Making a good choice...letting go of something harmful...embracing a new beginning. Walking in a new, healthy direction is an amazingly good and brave thing!

Everyday we are given opportunities over and over again to be choose the right the right thing. Trumpets may not sound and banners may not wave, but our souls need it. And they are of greater value than any trumpet or banner.

I love that life is a journey...that there are so many truths to learn, and ways to apply them along the way. Have you ever gone on a perfect journey? I haven't! With every trip I have taken there are necessary stops and what seem like unnecessary breakdowns, detours and changes of plans, conflict and times of bliss. To expect it to go perfectly is to be delusional. The same with after day after day, for however long God gives us, there are of thousands of opportunities to grow in Everyday Courage.

I pray this post is an encouragement to you. Being this open and transparent is scary to me. I could be fearful and expect rejection, mockery, or dismissal. Or, I can believe that  I will be accepted, loved, and understood. I choose to believe the second option. I choose Everyday Courage. 

'Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.' Joshua 1:9

We can do it!  


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The dawning of mercy on a frozen heart

I remember the first time I heard the difference between Grace and Mercy explained: 

Grace is getting what you Don't deserve. Example-Christ's substitutionary death on the cross for our sin. We deserved punishment and Hell but instead we received forgiveness and hope.

Mercy is not giving us what we DO deserve. God could have blasted the Israelites for turning their backs on Him and worshipping idols, but when they cried out for forgiveness, He showed them compassion and mercy. 


Many years ago, when we were in a more legalistic environment, we spent a whole year studying Grace. And Grace became our key to healing. Unfortunately, I have not yet done the same with Mercy. My only goal has been not to confuse the two when using them in sentences. I never want to look too stupid.

So all to say, I believe in them both and am very thankful for each of them in my life. God knows how many times they have been extended to me for my stupidity, sin, and overall unwillingness to turn to Him and do what I should, not what I want. 

However, to my chagrin, I am beginning to see that I am very good at receiving them, but not so good at extending them. Especially Mercy.

I don't know what's happened, but sometime in the last year I have become short of temper and patience. Mostly with people...i.e. all of humanity...basically anything that lives and breathes and that I come into contact with, excepting my dog and my chickens. They are safe.

No, it's the i----s that drive with no care or consideration for others...the s----d stuff that I read that shows that the writer has no filter for decency, much less Truth...the lack of care shown to Creation and its inhabitants...a world that seems to be spiraling downward at an extremely fast pace. And there's so little I feel I can do about it. So I get angry and scream out Justice! along with a few other not-so-nice things. Let's just say I have found myself saying and thinking and doing things that would shock my mother, God rest her soul. 

Granted, after doing this, I temporarily feel better but I haven't solved a thing. I fear I am becoming an animal of different stripes who is unknowable and reactive. 

I am not proud of this. I feel like something external is pushing me into this mold, but I keep popping out at the edges, not sure I want to conform to this new creation. I am literally homesick for who I used to be. Once in a while I catch glimpses of her and I catch my breath and tears well up in my eyes. Yeah, sick for home and the way things used to be.

Anyway, yesterday I was "talking" to God about this. What is wrong with me? Why can't I be more patient? Understanding? Kind? Being reactive is not helping me or anyone else, and I'm pretty sure it's playing havoc with my health as I've been self-medicating with food and not sleeping well.

Now I'm not going to say He actually helped me, at least not in the physical sense, but He did give me something to think about. Kind of reminded me of my parents when they had become completely frustrated with my attitude and "gave me something to think about." Just like that.

And that something had a name: Rudolf Höss, an SS officer, the man in charge of Auschwitz and the grizzly deaths of almost 2 million people. A man who surely deserved Hell and damnation for all the atrocities he had committed. A man who lived with his wife and 5 children in the yard near the crematorium. A man who deserved judgment, but instead received Mercy.

It’s the Priest’s fault I learned of all this. Because yesterday, on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Priest shared about him in his homily. As he duly noted all the atrocities that Höss had committed, I felt my indignation rise up along with my blood pressure. Where was this going? Surely, if you are trying to prove the point that Mercy does not extend this far, I agree. Thanks for validating what I have been thinking: Mercy is limited and people get what they deserve.

Ugh. Did I really say that??

Then the Priest went on to tell the story of the end of Höss's he had come to see the great crime he had committed against humanity, and the remorse and grief he felt over what he had done. He went on to ask the Priest for Confession and though it took hours for him to recount all the sins he had committed, he received absolution and Communion the following day. He died by hanging at Aushwitz...a forgiven man.

Whoa! Are you serious??? On a scale of badness he was off the scale!

Mercy that big? For someone that evil?

And then it fell on me, a truth that I had been missing for ever so long...through all my days of self-righteousness and judgment and critical thinking...

I was greatly lacking in the Mercy department.

The problem with Mercy is that it runs counterintuitive to our reasoning. And in my mind there are levels of sin, similar to Dante's rings of Hell...from stealing gum at the convenience store to taking the life of another. But the lives of almost 2 million people? That tipped my scale on how much could be big Mercy was. I sat there for quite a while, rolling it over and over in my mind and this was my new-born conclusion...

God is real. Mercy is real. It's His to do with as He likes. And the bottom line is, God has made Mercy boundless and available to whosoever should ask for matter what they have done. Repent and receive Mercy. Me, you, Hoss.

The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in Mercy.

Think about Jonah, who received the Mercy of God many times over, but in his heart judged Nineveh unworthy of the same. He took more care of the plant that provided shade on his behalf than he did of the lives of those God loved.

But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry over the gourd plant?" Jonah answered, "I have a right to be angry- angry enough to die." Then the Lord said, "You are concerned over the gourd plant which cost you no effort and which you did not grow; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand  persons who cannot know their right hand from their  left, not to mention all the animals?" (Jonah 4:9-11)

I may be wrong but I think God could be saying that the Ninevites were not too swift, not knowing their right hand from their left. Which means intelligence is not a requirement for Mercy. 

And I love that God was also concerned about the animals! 

So where does this leave me? 

It leaves me humbled and very aware that I do not live in the same sphere of Mercy that God does. I am deeply aware that I need to do a study on Mercy, so that the Word of God can do a work on my heart and soul can be softened. So ultimately, I can become like Jesus. Which is the goal of God for all of His children.

"We can learn from Jonah's mistakes. We are not to view ourselves as better than those who are different from us- instead, we are to see others as God sees them: sinners in need of a Savior, just like us. We should be eager to share his Gospel with others, they they, too, may understand God's power and mercy.”

Jacki and I were talking yesterday and we came up with this...something practical that we can aspire to on our journey to becoming Merciful...

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious- the best not the worst: the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse...Do this and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into His most excellent harmonies." (Philippians 4:6-9)

And that, my friends, is my challenge. And my hope. I need to make a U-turn on this Mercy thing, or become someone that, in time, no one will want to be around. Heaven knows I want to be a kind, gentle old lady, not one lashing out, with no filter, with a hard and embittered heart. I know it could happen as I've seen it. But God, please, not to me.

Be merciful to me, Lord, a sinner. Be my guide, my example, my enabler on this journey to becoming more like you...a blessing, not a curse, a mini-Christ in a world that desperately needs Grace and Mercy. Remove the fence from around my heart and let Mercy dawn in my heart. 

To your Honor and Glory, and the good of all those you dearly love. Which, is everyone. 

Amen and Amen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Rise and Shine! It's time to wake up!


For the last week or so I have had the rumblings of a blog inside my head, which has been encouraging.  I've started one several times over the last few months, but each time I ended up closing the cover on my computer and walking away. I blame my lack of success on mashed potatoes, for I feel that is what my brain has become. 

Before Covid, all the neurons were firing as they should (hopefully). I wasn't forgetting things as much, and I could carry a thought from beginning to end without hesitation (most times). And I especially wasn't garbling my words, struggling to express my thoughts into clear concise sentences. It would be hilarious if it weren't so ridiculous. So I let my blog go...

The fact that there hasn't been a blog in months speaks volumes. If I'm not hearing from God, you're not hearing from me. 

But recently I noticed some activity on my blog site. I wondered, Is this another person whose brain has also become mashed potatoes and they don't realize they are reading the same old blogs over and over again? Or has someone new found my blog, and it's only a matter of time until they discover that's all there is, and there ain't no more?  

And this concerned me...

Being stuck at home for most of the past year, I have had the opportunity to get better acquainted with myself. After all, there weren't places to run to and keep busy with...meetings and clubs and get-togethers were became virtual front pew...and relationships morphed into online chats. Introvert that I am, I really didn't think it would be that hard. But I was wrong. I need people more than I like to admit. 

Which is why yesterday I spent three hours on the phone with my sister. We did our typical complaining and criticizing, encouraging and dreaming...and challenging, which is probably the most beneficial part of any of our conversations. Only sisters can do this and come out unscathed!

All was going well until she asked, Are the churches open there yet? And I replied that Yes, yes they are. And then as easy as that I went on to admit that though they are open, we are not attending. Hearing myself say that gave me a spiritual nudge. So, why are we not going? Are we worried about sickness? Is it the uncomfortable masks and the ensuing rash? We have this gift and yet we are not taking advantage of it? For Heaven's sake, there are people in the world who risk death every week to attend church!

I continued to dig my grave as I confessed that I've gotten used to cuddling up on the sofa with my coffee and sometimes even brunch (aghast!), watching my favorite Priest do what he does. No need to get dressed, go out in bad weather, or drive 35 minutes to church. 

No need to be inconvenienced!

Whoa, light bulb moment! That just did not sound right. At all. The next word that popped into my mind was slothful, whose definition includes words like lazy, idle, indolent, work-shy, inactive, inert and sluggish. Ouch

So now I'm beginning to think that not only has my brain become mashed potatoes, but my spiritual life may be in peril, barely alive, gasping for air. And it's not just church I've drifted away from, but how about Bible study? Prayer? Reading books that will help me grow in my relationships with God and others? And let's not even mention taking care of the temple of God.

As my sister continued on to name some of the big issues confronting the world right now, we both exclaimed, How had it gotten this way? Was there any hope? What IS wrong with this world? 

And then the spiritual 2x4 hit me: I am what is wrong with the world! At such a time when Absolute Truth is being swept into the dustpan, I have been lulled to sleep, embracing quarantining as my excuse. Yes, in the beginning there were uncertainties and things that made made me fearful. And for that reason I did all I could to stay safe. But as time has passed, I have become more and comfortable in my Covid world and have not discerned it may be high time to get off the sofa and get on with life.

I don't know about you, but I have forgotten who I am. Whose I am. I have forgotten my mission and my calling. I have been immobilized way too long. I have become lazy spiritually, mentally, and physically and I can picture Satan, gleefully rubbing his hands together over his success in this. One down, out of commission!  

It's time to wake up, wipe the dust from my eyes, look around, and get moving. I may not be able to do everything I could pre-Covid but I can do something!

'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you' took root in my mind. 

It was at that moment that I confessed to my sister that I was convicted and I needed to change, and as I did I felt hope welling up in me for the first time in a very long time. It grieves me that I have wasted so much time, often living in self-pity and indifference. I was blind but now I more excuses, no more embracing the lie of helplessness and hopelessness. It's time to say no to slothfulness and yes to living life...the life I was called to...the one He will enable me to live as I trust and follow Him through whatever lies ahead.

I confess it would be so easy to stay asleep. It's comfortable and there's no pain or confrontation or conflict. No broken hearts or hurts. I could just wrap my soft and fluffy sheets around me, curl into the fetal position, and dream my life away.

But it's not what God has called me to. I am to be His hands, His feet, and His mouth to a world that is rapidly descending into darkness. And in order to do that, I need to be awake. I do believe that someday we will give an answer for our lives, and how or if we used the gifts and talents He gave us. Lord have mercy if we neglect such a calling.

So now you know. I'm back. Still a little groggy as I wake up from a very long sleep. I covet your prayers to stay awake. I've been sleeping for almost a year now and much time has been wasted. 

Like my Dad used to say, 'It's time to get up, get out of bed, get out of bed you sleepy head. Rise and Shine!'

My dad is a wise man...


photo credit: Antonio Cinotti  <a href="">Sunrise in San Quirico d'Orcia</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

But God meant it for good

It's early here...for me at least. Prissy and I are snuggled together on the couch...she with her head poking out of her favorite red binky and me wishing I could join her, but finding it very hard to type and snuggle at the same time. I'm content just watching her, occasionally stroking her neck where she likes it best, right behind her satiny ears. I never knew dogs could sigh, but she does...a long slow, I'm living the dream sigh. Which makes me very happy.

Most of you know the roller coaster ride we have been on with Prissy for the last month. And if you know me, you know I hate roller coasters. I barely survived the kid's one at Disney, staggering off it and vowing I would never risk my life on one again. 

I never realized until now that there are some rides you choose to go on, and others you are thrown into, barely having time to fasten your seatbelt before the insanity begins.

Prissy has been diagnosed with Pancreatitis, something I have never encountered in my 60+ years of life on this planet. We've had probably twenty something dogs, and never has one of them traveled down this road. It started with us trying to heal her from her inability to walk...a trip  to a specialty hospital in SC showed it was Rheumatoid Arthritis, and a local vet put her on steroids and doxycycline, never knowing that she was one of the 2% of dogs that go into Pancreatitis, along with liver, and gallbladder issues from those drugs. To say she was sick was an understatement...not eating, vomiting all the time, comatose, unable to walk. No matter what I did, it failed. 

So it was back and forth to the vets to be hospitalized, never knowing if they could save her. By the last visit I said, Enough. She was on eight medications, most of which caused her to vomit. Her vet and I made the decision to take her off all meds so she could hopefully rest and heal. If her body couldn't take food, it would only be a matter of time until she died. It was the scariest decision I have ever made. I felt damned if I did, and damned if I didn't. I knew I had to let her go. I loved her too much to put her through any more suffering.  

During all of this, I had begged and screamed and cried out to God for a miracle. If He wouldn't heal her, couldn't He at least give me a sign? Say something? How hard would that be? I had begun to believe that we didn't matter. After all, look at all He had on his plate in 2020. 

So when His reply finally came, it was a total surprise. I was flying down the highway to pick Prissy up from yet another hospitalization, totally exhausted and fearful of what was to come.  I had lived this moment over and over again for weeks; I would pick her up with hope and then several days later, after her not eating or drinking, I would bring her back again for another hospitalization...all my hopes shattered. 

It was then, through puffy eyes, that I saw them...

Dead animals on the side of the highway. Well, really in the median of the highway. Those poor animals had crossed that same road many times without problem. But then somebody put up miles of concrete barriers and all of a sudden they couldn't cross...there was this huge thing in front of them, keeping them from getting where they wanted to go. They must have been terrified...running along the barriers, trying to find a way through, only to be struck by a vehicle and left to die. Yup, that's exactly what I felt like.

Was it God who had put the barriers up in my life? Or was it just plain, We live in a fallen world and it's part of the story. So many things are out of our control. But that doesn't mean God is out of control.

And friends, that's where I had to make the decision to trust God again...even without answers or explanations. What it really was, was  my life verse: To know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering. By faith I had to believe that He suffered with me. and by coming near to Him, we could share this suffering together. And hopefully, all things were working together for good, in spite of what I could see.

He reminded me of the good that was coming out of this...

~ Feeling the pain of all the animals and people involved in emergency veterinary work, and the call to pray not just for Prissy, but for them also.

~ Buying a Christmas tree from a lot whose profits go to local research for childhood cancer, and then following them on FB and seeing the pain, and the joy, that these families are going through. 

~ Following a Canine Pancreatic site on FB, and while looking for answers, found so many whose beloved dogs had died. Pancreatitis is a life-long, slippery slope and health can change in a heartbeat. Prayer and encouragement are gifts I can give. 

~ People who prayed and wrote to encourage me...others who had also experienced loss, yet were willing to share their pain and carry mine...a gift I never could have bought.

~ How almost losing Prissy...and I may still...has taught me to slow down and enjoy the people and gifts in my life and not take them for granted. Coming so close to death has taught me that there are thing that matter. Choose these.

This has been a hard year for all of us...not one of us is entering 2021 without scars. But I don't want those to be the only signs of my having lived through a difficult time...

I want to come out stronger, wiser, more compassionate, more grateful and thankful. I want to remember the pain so I never take for granted...or miss...the people, experiences and opportunities that present themselves to me in the coming year.

And if hard times continue to come, I want to remember that He's not always seen, but He sees. 

You. Me. Everyone. And all that we are going through....this year, next year, and forever. 

Praise God!

A blessed Christmas, dear one. You are truly loved.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Get out of your head!


If I had any doubt that I was supposed to write this blog, the case of the missing mouse tells me I'm on the right track. I mean really, how far can a computer mouse run? But I shall not be deterred...I am determined that this blog post will see the light of day!


It was the second day of our trip to Hilton Head. Ted was out in his boat for the morning and I was thinking on what to do by myself. Remembering that I needed a good read for the trip, the idea of biking to Barnes and Noble appealed to me. It was only a couple of miles on a well groomed bike path, a ride I had done many, many times in the past.

I could  picture myself, free as the wind, beauty all around me and a good book and cup of coffee ahead of me. 

Hurriedly getting ready, excited over what lie ahead, I was surprised when suddenly a blanket of doubt smothered me, causing me to stop mid-stride.

"You know you are going to fall. Why do you think you can do a ride like this alone? You are a klutz...think about how many times you have fallen in the past. And you know people coming at you aren't always paying attention. And how easy would it be for a car to swerve off the road and hit you?"

By then I was convinced this bike ride was not a good idea. At all. I needed to wait til Ted came home and we could do it together. Safely.

I walked out on the deck, my bubble of excitement and fun totally burst. And I wanted to cry. How many times had fear done this to me? Stolen opportunities and thwarted my hopes?

It was then I did something outside my normal scope of reference. I got mad. Mad enough to say, I'm going to do it anyway! Granted I was still afraid, but something in me snapped and I was willing to take the risk.  

So off I went, a little wobbly at first, praying the whole way that I wouldn't fall or hit an oncoming biker or collide with a car at one of the many intersections. With every stroke of the pedals, my confidence grew and I felt the weight of fear fall behind me, shattering on the bike path.

I was doing it! I had stood up to my fear! Thankfulness bubbled up inside me when I safely arrived ALIVE at Barnes and Noble! I wanted to scream out, Who's the woman? High-Five, God!

Have you ever felt that way? Like you are just NOT going to be able to do something? I have. Way too many times. In fear, convinced I will fail, I have short-circuited too many opportunities. I have listened to the lies in my head, not the God of my heart.

Which leads me to the point of this blog...

Once I got inside the store...which BTW is absolutely the BEST Barnes and Nobles ever...I prayed from the deepest recesses of my heart, Lord, You know I am burned out. I have come this week desperately hoping to meet You here. I can't remember the last time I felt joy and peace. I have been living in a very dark place but I want out. Please, please guide me to just the right book. I desperately need to hear from You, to have hope again.

So I started wandering...up and down aisles, picking books up, putting them down. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find anything that spoke to me. I felt hope eroding away and the same old doubt resurfacing: "God doesn't care about you. Why would you think He would? Look at all the pain He's caused you. And you think you can trust Him?"

I wanted to cry.  But holding back the tears, I kept on searching. I didn't realize it then, but it was my second faith-act of the day, and God was waiting to meet me in it.

And that's when I found it...

Whoa! I immediately thought, How cool is that? Followed by, "Ah, a New York Times Bestseller, probably written by some liberal millennialist who has lots of words but nothing to say."

But I was desperate, so I purchased a Chai latte and plunked myself down to skim through it. It was only a few minutes later that I knew...this was God's answer to my prayer! Seriously, I could have written the book! There have been only two books in my life that I have pretty much totally underlined and marked up: Shattered Dreams and this one. 

Suddenly, everything else I had planned for our time at Hilton Head fell away. God had handed me a gift and I clutched it like a life preserver. Just the thought that He had seen me! And knew what I needed! And had answered my prayer gave me hope.

And the author? Thankfully she did not live up to my fears. I could relate to her hopelessness...her lostness...her depression and blindness. I felt I could link arms with her and together we would find our way Home again...out of the spiral of toxic thoughts and lies I had been living in. And together we could step into a healthy, God-filled place...a place I had been homesick for for a long, long time.  

I wonder, can you relate to this? Do you wonder why you just can't rise above and over the thoughts that continually condemn you? Thoughts that are negative and destructive and entangling? 

I have been walking with the Lord for almost 35 years now, and yet I still fell prey to the lies and deception of the Evil One, the one whose goal is to keep us blind and captive and despairing, and whose intent is to turn us from God and into ourselves and the world's thinking...rendering us all but useless. 

The Deceiver has mastered the arts of camouflage and deception! Masquerading as an angel of light, seducing with a lie here and there...planting seeds of doubt and condemnation that over time strangle any hope of God's goodness and His love for us.  Slowly, we enter a very dark that we can only be delivered from by the Light of God's Truth. 

On the last morning of our time at Hilton Head, I took the book down to the pool. While there, a Wren made it very clear that I was to pay attention to him. He jumped up near to me and literally stared me down, as if saying, I have something important to say so listen. I mean he was in my face! So I asked God to help me to understand and this is what I heard, (the Wren looking up for awhile) Look up to God and (the Wren, looking from side to side over and over again) do not look around. Then you will stand on the high places. And what do you think the next chapter was on? Yup, keeping our eyes on the beauty and wonder of God and not on people or circumstances. I rest my case.

It's been a week now, and as I have worked through the book, Light has begun to seep into my thoughts and hope into my heart. I have been given a manual for war, though granted it will take time to implement it all and become successful in it. But the tools and the strategy are there, and that gives me hope! With God I will win these battles, and ultimately the war. Now I want to tell others that they can overcome also!

Dear one, I don't know where you are, but I do know many of us feel defeated. And tired. And the thought of spending a lifetime this way is overwhelming. Take heart! We were meant for so much more! God will enable us as we throw off the shackles of doubt and fear, and turn in trust to our Lord, who will not only walk with us through the battles, but provide us with everything we need to fight victoriously!

If you are Fearful. Doubting. Anxious. Battling thoughts and beliefs you just can't overcome, consider this book. No, I'm not getting any payback from recommending it...just the joy of passing on a gift that I was given.

May it be a key that unlocks a door that you have been staring at for way too long. A key to all the good that God has for you. 

Oh, and the missing mouse? Still MIA. In the past, I would have said, Forget the blog, it's too much work without the mouse. And I would have let go of the opportunity to share all that I have. But I recognized the enemy's fingerprints all over that situation and wrote it anyway. So there, Satan! 

Dear one, you are loved!


Friday, August 14, 2020

Welcome Home! You made it!

I don't usually start out with a quote, but unless you read this you won't have the foggiest notion of where I'm going in this post...

“In 2006, a high school English teacher asked students to write a famous author and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to respond; and his response is magnificent: “Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta: I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances anymore because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana. What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow. Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.”

So, what was your first reaction after you read this? Honestly?

Did you scoff? Roll your eyes? Sigh?

Or for one brief second did your heart sing with hope? Hope that maybe this could apply to you?

Yeah, I know, you don't sing well. Remember that audition for the musical in elementary school where you choked on the notes and lost your place and the piano eventually stopped and you knew?

Or how about dancing? Seriously, everyone else can do it, why not you? In your mind you soared like Ginger Rogers, but in the body you looked like a drunk elephant. It would have been more merciful to be put out of your misery than continue on.

Art class? It didn't help that you sat next to one the most talented students in school and though you tried to imitate them, even up to how they held their pencil, the teacher never stopped by your desk. So instead you settled for admiring the works of others.

Oh, and the big one...acting! While others around you got the praise and accolades for their talent, the only kind of acting you perfected was putting on the mask you used to protect yourself...peeking out and watching others but never being brave enough to play the role of YOU.

I know all about these things. Because all of those things are me.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Peek-a-boo, I see you!

Remember when you were little and you used to play Peek-a-boo? Or maybe you still do with your children or grandchildren. You know how it goes...covering your face with your hands you exclaim, Peek-a-boo, I see you! as you slowly remove your hands from your face. That's when your delighted child can see your big, adoring smile. I see you!

Well, it seems that's the game I've been playing these days. Except with God. I've been waiting and watching and expecting that at any moment He will remove His hands from His face and I will see Him again, smiling down at me. I see you!

Like you, I've been sideswiped by this Covid thing...days and weeks and months all blend endless litany of hopes being raised and dashed. And this through the planning of two weddings and all that meant to us. I feel like we're living the title of Alvin Plantinga's book, Not the Way It's Supposed to Be.  

To be fair, we have not suffered through this time, nor have we paid a tragically high price like others have. My heart and prayers go out to those who have. Yes, we've given up some things, sacrificed some things, and tried to make sense of this new world we've been thrown into. But in spite of that, I do still, at times, find myself acting like a self-centered child, stomping my feet and whining and gazing longingly into the past with a sense of entitlement. Like they say, you don't know what you got til it's gone.

This 'forced isolation' has brought about something I never expected, nor honestly wanted...face-to-face time with myself. As an introvert, I do spend a lot of time with myself. I know only too well my good, bad, and ugly. But in the past, when it got too hard, I could avoid dealing with my good, bad, and ugly because, heaven knows, I could keep busy! But now how much running away can you do when there's nowhere to run? No classes or studies or events to attend? When busyness happens only within a 2 acre lot with your husband, dog, chickens and guinea pig?

I feel like I'm in a major Time when you were little and your parents knew you needed to spend some quiet time alone...hopefully to see that something in you needed to change. Those were never fun times because it seemed that while everyone else was carrying on as before, you were being set aside...and even forgotten if your parents got too busy to remember you!

Hello God? Anyone there? Remember me? I know I really don't matter much and that what's on my heart and in my life right light of all that's going on this world...isn't of much importance, but I want to come out. Because I'm scared that you may have forgotten me. I know I'm not anyone great, or famous, or's just me. Waiting for you to remember see me. 

I have lived with this heart-cry for the past five months, not understanding how wrong I was...

Until we watched The Chosen. And there I fell in love with a God who wasn't this far-off, far-out, World-Leader who spent His time deciding who or what was most important to work with, using what limited time and energy He had...a God who was so busy with the Big Things that he had no time for the Little Things. Like me.

And what made me understand that were three little words...Season One, Episode Eight...

I see you.

During this scene, Jesus was talking to Peter's wife...a woman who was being left behind to care for not only her sick mother, but to run the home while her husband left to follow the Messiah. Alone...doing the same thing, day after day after day...for who knew how long. Unnoticed and unimpressive. I have this feeling if it were me, I'd be thinking something like, Heck! I need to suck it up. Peter's what's important here. I have to do this. I'll never let him or anyone know the price I will be paying or how hard this is for me. I can do it!

But Jesus comes to her, and sees her...inside and out...and basically said to paraphrase... Oh no you don't! Yes, Peter is important, but so are you! You are valuable and you have a role to play in all of this which is no less than Peter's. I know the price you are paying. I see you. And of course she cries because who wouldn't when they realize they are not forgotten or overlooked?

And yes, I cried also.

What does this look like in your life? 

I see you when you are so tired you would rather curl up in a ball and keep sleeping than to get on with a day full of the same thing over and over and over again.

I see you when you tried so hard but you still didn't get it right. And you wonder if you ever will.

I see you when this thing facing you looks like Goliath but you can't have to face him.

I see you when you sob on the inside but smile on the outside.

I see you.

El Roi...The God who sees.  

Though it may often feel like it, He hasn't missed a my life or in your life or in the world. Unlike Peter's wife, He won't show up in flesh and blood to tell us so...more often He lets us know He sees us when...

-We meet someone who has a kind or encouraging word or book or blog that lights up our soul again...

-We read something that connects the dots and we sigh with relief...

-We see something beautiful that takes our breath away and we cry because we remember we are going Home someday and this is not all there is...

-And a million other ways. He sees us. He knows our needs. and He provides. 

Most of us will live quiet, unexciting lives...never seen by more than a few. Like Peter's wife. Our culture, however, places a high value on being encourages us to grab the spotlight and get out there so we can get the praise and recognition we deserve. Having known some prominent people, let me say that it's not what's going on on the outside, it's the heartbeat and mindset on the inside that God sees and blesses.

And out of a heart that beats for God, and a mind set on Him, comes something beautiful.

Dear one, remember this...when you are alone and the world feels too big and you wonder how to keep on going...

You are not alone! He sees every fear, every tear, every hope and every dream you carry. You are passionately and dearly loved.

You are known,

You are seen.

Now go watch The Chosen. You will be blessed. I promise.


If you want another blessing, put this into your search page won't let me upload it but trust me, it is a gift . ❤