Category: faith


balancing act – grace : truth


Guess what, guys!  Another great sermon yesterday means I’m gonna rehash it here with you today!  Woo!  (seriously, I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do!)

So balance.  It’s something almost everyone strives for in life.  At least for some stretch of time.  We all feel it when we’re off-kilter, teetering on the edge of madness while our life seems to be swinging wildly between one extreme and another.  Hopefully, this state isn’t a long-lasting one, but it seems to hit us all many times as we keep at this thing called Life.

Yesterday, Pastor Trevor spoke about how Jesus is the perfect example of balance in all areas of life.  He was always balanced, even when it doesn’t seem to us that He is.  You have to remember that since He is the one person who could ever fulfill the title of “Perfect”, then He is the only one who could understand those times when we just can’t seem to “get” what He’s showing us.  That always helps me whenever I find myself struggling to comprehend something our Savior did that I can’t reconcile with my faulty human brain.

This whole sermon series (found HERE & this week’s sermon–BETTER COMMANDMENT) has been about Jesus’ perfect example of balance in all areas.  Mainly, though, in the area of Grace VS Truth.

In Jesus’ day, this seemed to be the religious establishment’s main issue with Him…that Jesus would introduce the concept of Grace while all the guys in charge of making, enforcing, catching people not keeping the rules wanted desperately to make RULES the main thing.

As you will see from reading the Old Testament, God instituted LOTS of rules for the Israelite nation.  He did this, in large part, for their benefit.  You see, when the nation of Israel first set out across the desert after fleeing the Pharoh and Egypt, these people had lived as slaves for CENTURIES!  Four + centuries.  They had no clue how to live free and under their own ‘rule’.  They’d lived all those generations being told what to do and when to do it.

Of course, this aspect of slavery is THE most burdensome, but it also led to the nation really not having a clue how to govern or really even take good care of themselves!  They needed rules for the preparation of food, how to keep illness to a minimum by having proper “elimination” practices, among other things.  So when you see God’s “commandments” in this light, it makes the whole “God is too big on rule-making” thing seem less of a sore spot.  Of course, there were also those rules we find offensive that categorized people as clean or unclean according to their health or physical state of being or even for a period of time after touching something dead.

I mean, let’s be real… for any of the women out there (and men too, because according to those rules, if you touched someone considered ‘unclean’ then you were also unclean!), it can’t be just me that finds it to rankle the nerves just a bit to be referred to as “unclean” while menstruating and required to undergo a cleansing ritual when the monthly bleed-fest is over.  Can’t it??  That’s just, well, kinda RUDE!  I mean, it’s not like we can help the fact that our bodies do what they were created to do, is it?  I’ll be the first to admit, yes, the monthly menses are NOT a fun time and yeah, it can leave a woman feeling pretty icky, hygiene-wise.  But unless we do something unnatural (yep, I’m referring to those awful birth control meds that cause you to stop menstruating for months or years at a time… that can’t be good for your body!) our bodies are going to shed all that tissue and stored blood if we don’t conceive that month.  It’s just a fact of life!  When I think about that, it just makes me really not understand why a woman had to be considered ‘unclean’… but then again, I realize that since the people needed SO much instruction about how to live life independently and manage to stay healthy, God naturally had to tell them how to care for those unmentionable things like disposing of waste products, including menses, and I realize that’s how the people had come to refer to these things, as ‘unclean’… it still just rubs a raw spot on the nerves to classify people as either clean or nasty.

So yeah, since the Israelites didn’t know how to take care of themselves, God gave them rules and laws so they wouldn’t suffer from all this freedom they had no clue how to control.

Later on, men (or humankind, if you prefer) got far too involved in all these laws.  You know how some people are real sticklers for keeping rules and like to remind everyone that they know the rules and especially when someone else is breaking one of them?  Well, these people were kinda like that.  They LOVED the rules.  Not always keeping the rules themselves, of course, but ALWAYS reminding others to keep them.  Then they began to add to the rules, to add stipulations and codicils.  There was all manner of crazy laws like precisely how far was permissible to walk on the Sabbath day.  It became so burdensome to try keeping all the hundreds of laws that is was actually impossible to do!

 

When following God becomes burdensome and oppressive, it starts to be very attractive to just walk away instead.  And there were lots of pagan cults around then to take up the slack for people when they wanted to give up on following God.  Where the Jewish religion had an abundance of laws, pagan religions had an abundance of gods.

And neither group felt a close connection with any of the deities offered to them.  Jews felt a distance from a God who demanded so much rule-keeping, especially when a lot of those rules seemed impossible to keep and made life sad and depressing.  On the pagan side, they felt that their gods were always toying with them.  They felt like playthings in the hands of vindictive and manipulative gods that cared nothing for their well-being or happiness.

Thinking of how weighty and hard living life as a Jew back then must have felt reminds me of how it was at our last church.  It seemed every sermon was about how bad we all sinned and that if we didn’t do and think and behave exactly like the pastor or the small elite group who did most things in the church, then we were never good enough.  When we left a service, it felt like the way a dog will act when it has been caught doing something bad…. you felt like you had to tuck your tail and hunker down to be beaten about the head with a rolled-up newspaper.  There was never any mention of how to turn things around or of the hope that can be found in God’s word.  There was never a challenge to do better, never a solution given to overcome these many sins that so easily overtake us.

When Jesus stepped on the scene and began talking about a new covenant and grace and forgiveness of sins, it upset the Jewish religious establishment.  In their minds, Jesus was just entirely too grace-y.  Too much grace!  They could never hear what truth Jesus spoke because He showed the importance of grace which the established order of Jewish law had done away with.  There was no grace in all those laws.

That is why Jesus had to come in the first place.  He was the only person who could or would ever be able to keep all the law.  He was the only one perfect enough to follow all those rules and because He was the embodiment of the deep love God had for His creation, Jesus poured out grace, even though He knew full well that none of us could ever keep the law like He could.

I think that’s why we as Christians can sometimes have a hard time with grace ourselves.  It just doesn’t “feel” right.  We know there are laws and there are things that you just shouldn’t do so when grace comes along and forgives that?  We just get this all-over tense discomfort with it.  We can’t seem to manage a balance between grace and truth.  But Jesus does.  He can freely give grace in spite of the fact that we’ve ignored His truth.  We have sinned, and sinned greatly against God and deserve all the punishments written in the law…most notably, death!  But Jesus can see past that through the deep love of God that we can’t seem to fathom.  He came, willingly, to take our punishment and not just that, He continues to love us.  It wasn’t “Okay, I’ve paid your debt, now I’m outta here.”  Jesus continues to be with us and comfort us and bless us.

That’s why it’s called amazing.

Amazing grace.

have we made the world fall out of love with Jesus?


For those who read here, I hope you haven’t minded that the past several posts have been my rehashing and fleshing out the latest sermons from church!  I’ve just found the content really fascinating lately, more so than usual, and I can’t seem to stop thinking about it through the week.

This past Sunday’s sermon was a continuation of Pastor Trevor’s “Better” series.  He’s focusing on how the general public view of Christianity and religion as a way of life has changed in the past few decades.  He explained how up until the fifties and early sixties, over 95% of Americans would have classified themselves as being Christian or having a belief in God, a way of living “religiously”.  Even people who would not self-identify as Christian still had beliefs in a Higher Power, in a being “out there” who was greater than themselves and in control of things here on earth.

He brought up how much that has changed in the past twenty years especially.  He talked about the similarity of our current culture that seems to be burnt out on religion as a whole and Christianity specifically to the culture that Jesus stepped into when He began His ministry.  A statistic he quoted says that most people today say they feel their lives are better without any sort of religion.

Wow.  That’s a huge departure from the days just before my own appearance on this planet.  I was born in the late sixties and grew up feeling as if most of the kids I went to school with knew about God and believed in Him.  It was fairly common that if you used the Bible to support your view of something, it would more often be accepted as truth than not.  If you decided to pray over your meal, others around you would respect that by not interrupting or by turning their conversational volume down a bit while you prayed.

Nowadays, of course, the Bible is almost automatically questioned or outright dismissed as any reputable presentation of truth.  I will interject here that back in the time I refer to in the previous paragraph there were also a good amount of folks who would just as soon thump you with the Bible as read it to you.  At least the little I can recall of those years as a young child, people weren’t all that subtle about their religiosity or their beliefs.  It was expected that you believed in the Bible and if you didn’t you were labeled stupid or rebellious.  EVEN if you had a legitimate question about what was being taught from scripture, if it went against the mainstream of whatever congregation you affiliated yourself with, you would be severely chastened if not completely dismissed or blackballed!

Those are not what I consider “the good old days”.  I’m still recovering from those “old

days” and growing up in a church culture that was more exclusive than inclusive, more separatist than mediator.  That required me to learn that others who grew up in that same kind of culture had the same unasked questions that I did! Being able to learn from those people, getting together to discuss those questions we weren’t allowed to ask and find the Biblical answers was healing to my wounded spirit.  It turns out that a lot of the ways, things I was taught and beliefs held by what I consider old, traditional church is not exactly the way Jesus presented it.  It had strayed into some unscriptural rule-making and expecting the outside world to understand what we on the inside of the church were talking about when they (the outside world, non-Christian) didn’t have any context… and then getting mad about it when they didn’t comprehend our “good news”.

All that to say this…yes, our society is changing.  Probably not for the best in general, but there are other changes happening too.  While there is plenty of moral decline in America and the world, there is also some renewed Godliness.  Not spirituality or religiosity, but true Godliness where the Creator of All is revered as the Ultimate Authority and the love of Jesus is shown to those who in the past would have been rejected in and by a church.

Like I mentioned in my last post, the very first thing God ever did when He began to give men the words that would become our Bible was to present Himself as a creator.  And as a creator, you must have a certain amount of love, passion, and joy in whatever it is you create.  God took SO much time… well, OUR concept of time at least, so much CARE, I should say, to make everything unique and beautiful.  Why would He do that for a world He did not love?  Not to mention His loving us SO MUCH that instead of giving up on us, He gave up Jesus for us.

It’s been wonderful to learn more about scripture and be able to explain why, in my childhood and teen years I felt so discouraged by “the gospel” and my church.  It’s also been hard to move past the teaching that was drilled into me about who was and who wasn’t “suitable” to come in the church… who wore the right kind of clothes for church, who sang the right kind of songs, played the right music or had the appropriate instruments on the stage.  It’s been freeing to learn that just because you like a different kind of music than me doesn’t make yours any less worshipful than mine.  God doesn’t care what we wear, but rather about the condition of our hearts.  On the topic of clothing, which was a major sore spot in my home and my childhood church, when I’d hear people picking apart someone else’s wardrobe choice I often wondered why then was it not a factor when David tore off his outer clothes and danced for joy in his underwear?  (2 Samuel 6  – Where it says David wore a linen ephod?  That’s his underments made of thin linen cloth!!)  And why was it not a hindrance for the repentant thief who hung next to Jesus that day??  All of them– he, the unrelenting thief and Jesus– eventually were naked in public!  Why was it okay to say he was forgiven while he was indecent in public?  And what about the other sinners Jesus ate and sat with?  I’m sure many of them were inappropriately dressed… um, hello!!  You know those “loose women” didn’t run home and throw on a “church dress” before they met Jesus .. especially since Jesus met people where they were!  In their mess!  In their hooker clothes!

Oops… sorry.  I got off track a bit there.  But you can see how those nagging questions can lead a person to reject the gospel when there is a contradiction between what scripture says and what a body of Christians do.  I know and have heard testimony of many people who literally walked out on God because of the way they were treated by or how they saw others treated by people who said they represented Jesus.

That needs to stop!  We as the body of Christ need to get back to the basics of Jesus’ teaching.  The greatest commandments are these:

Matthew 22:37-40

  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” 

 


What God did first


NOTE:  I’m working at almost 10pm WHILE doing several other chores, so no pix in this post unless I come back later and upload some.  Please read even if the post isn’t properly decorated.  smile  I really want to share this with you AND hear what you think!!


I’ve had this thought rolling around in my head all day after reading a short devotional about the topic.

If you’re like me, you’ve read the verse AT LEAST a bajillion times.  Well, at least you’ve heard it read or referenced to that many times.  It’s right there in the very front, the very first taste of what the Bible holds if you opened it like a novel (and mostly we don’t) and expected to figure out what the gist of the thing was by that first grab-you sentence.  But we always overlook it.

 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

~Genesis 1:1

I think pretty must anyone knows that one, even if they’re not “religious” or weren’t raised in church or ever read the Bible.  I don’t know if it’s because we kinda already know that God is going to do some amazing things in the “story” or maybe we are too eager to get to “the good parts” or even to a part we want to argue about that we just skip over this introduction.

I mean, think about it like this:  it’s the FIRST picture we get of God directly from the Book He guided and instructed all those people to write over all those hundreds of years and so what is the first thing you’d think He might want to tell the world about Himself….

GOD IS POWERFUL

No.

GOD IS MIGHTY

Nope, not that either.

GOD IS RIGHTEOUS

Nuh-uh.

GOD IS LOVE

Not even that…

GOD IS MERCIFUL

El-nope-o!

GOD IS TRUTH

No.  None of these important things are what He chose to be the very first representation of Himself by Himself to His children.

 

He chose to tell us that first, He

CREATED!

GOD IS CREATIVE!

When I first got that it was a major “WOW” moment for me.  Now don’t just keep your mind in the vein of creating or “making” all the creatures, planets, trees and stuff.  Think about the WAY He created them all.

Think about all the thousands of species of birds there are… think about all the colors, the sizes and shapes, the habitat and characteristics, the traits each one has.   It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it?

It is to me!  I mean, okay, so God could have made everything gorgeously, unbelievably beautiful…every type of land animal and fish and bird.  He could have made them all one certain color, or one shade, or one size… one ANYthing, you see??  But He didn’t.  He chose to CREATE with each one and then give them the ability to adapt, learn and propagate its own species, retaining the appearance and such but inside, each one is still uniquely genuine.  One bird’s DNA isn’t exactly like another of the same species.

Take this robin for instance…  I took this picture years ago because I noticed the nest down low enough to be eye-level with it and then that the mama bird didn’t seem overly frightened of me.  That’s when I decided to try taking a photo.

And this was one of the old-fashioned kind of pictures.  I had to send it off to be developed before I could see how it turned out!

I don’t know if you’ve picked this up about me, but I am a bit of a bird fanatic.  More of a bird-ee than birder, I’m afraid.  My boys and I got really into birds when they had a group study about them with our homeschool group and from there, it just grew to something we spent a lot of time doing.  I bought us several identification books and those awesome coloring books with details pictures of different birds.  We even got Tommy interested enough to chase a golden eagle all over the lake once summer evening with our little boat.

I guess that’s why I just automatically chose the bird to illustrate God’s creativity.  There’s just SO MUCH variety in them and such vivid coloring and such interesting habits and abilities.

Anyway, so after reading the devotion this morning and thinking all day now about how God took His time, didn’t just speed through His creation of everything.  Even though He could do it all in ONE day if He’d wanted, He took His time and made things so unique and so individual.

Just like us!  I could ponder this kind of thing forever but I can’t believe it never occurred to me that God had actually presented Himself to us in the Bible first as a creative being.

It got me to thinking… I think we’re all a little the way I feel.  I sometimes think I could just burst with all the creative ideas I have.  Some of them are just NOT gonna come out of me no matter what.  Like painting an awesome portrait, for example.  But I CAN paint and I can do a fairly decent job most of the time.  But I don’t nurture that gift.  I’ve never realized it actually IS a very great gift.

Like my book… I haven’t worked much on it lately.  Part of the reason (or so I tell myself) is that I fear perhaps my volunteer editor has gotten too busy to help me with it.  I know this is just an excuse and I’ve been saying that I can only work on it when I FEEL like it, but really… that’s not exactly how successful authors do it.  They write EVERY DAY!

I’ve GOT to start doing that.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t get the time to write, to flesh out my thoughts, even if it’s not for the book.

Like this post, actually.  I’ve been busy all day since the hubby is off work for a long weekend.  We got our new mailbox (along with the HEAVY iron column Tommy cut and sanded for it) put up and cemented in.   We even primed and spray painted it.  I also got the yard mowed.  Even though this took a trip to town for supplies and even after Tommy had to leave first thing this morning to help my dad with something.  We still got some things done.

And the whole time, I’ve been pondering these thoughts and thinking, “Boy, I’d like to make a post out of this.” and then “But you’ve been a crappy blogger for the past month!” and “It takes you too stinkin’ long to put together a post these days.” so I didn’t think I would even try and right now??

Right now, Silvey is in the next room ringing her bell to go outside.  Tommy is sitting in the recliner in that same room flipping through Netflix on the television.  He so rarely has a chance to do that, just sit and watch tv, that I can’t bear to ask him to let her out.  But he is literally four steps from the door.

So I take a deep breath, get up, walk in there and open the door… and I can’t help letting a little attitude slip into my voice as I call her a butthead for deciding, nah, she doesn’t wanna go out now.  Yep, she just looked at me like she didn’t know why I was holding the door open, letting bugs in…

ARGH!  Oh, and I’m fixing supper, too.  Spaghetti squash and sausage.  So I’m jumping up from my laptop on the kitchen island to go flip sausage patties or check on the squash.  Oops!  Now I need to go and fork out the squash since it’s done now…

I begin to feel a bit down and probably a little sorry for myself, but I shouldn’t.  I mean, yeah, that writing-only-when-I-feel-like-it will probably only ever work if I do it when Tommy’s gone on a week-long trip and Silvey is… I dunno, not such a poop!

I can’t blame these things, these people (and dog) for bothering me right now.  I just need to be more disciplined in using my creativity.  And I need to nurture that creativity more.

I need to see it as the gift from God that it is and not something that isn’t worthwhile.

Does any of this make sense to or resonate with anyone else?  Anyone?  Seriously… ANYBODY?!???

 

What is God like?


TITLE: What is God like?

That was the main question and basis of this week’s sermon.  Once you’ve answered the question “Does God exist?” then you almost automatically wonder “What is God like?”

TITLE: What is God like?

Pastor Trevor went over several possible answers that people usually have.  The first is often that God is angry.  Why do people think this about God?

Do you even have to ask?  People think God must be angry because by and large, most of the population that identifies itself as “Christian” seem to be angry almost all of the time.  Christians seem to be always letting the world know what they are against, what they disapprove of and who they see as unacceptable.angry preacher with pointing finger

 

Obviously, not all Christians behave this way, but for the most part, many of them do.  Or maybe it’s that the media likes to show us those who behave in an angry way.  After all, it’s no “fun” doing interviews with happy, peaceful, loving Christians, right?  (blah!)

 

Some people also see God as violent.

 

I get that.  I do, seriously.  I’ve read the Old Testament.  There’s a lot of violent goings on in there.  I’ve never had a huge problem justifying these things, not that it’s my job to justify them, but my thought is that God is God and I am not.  Therefore, I am not going to understand everything He does.  I figure that anyOne who is able to create anything out of nothing probably knows a whole lot more than me so it wouldn’t be very wise of me to question Him, even when I don’t understand His plan or His reasons for doing/allowing/commanding what He did back then or even yesterday.

I know this line of thought doesn’t work for everyone.  I understand that some people have trouble with just trusting that God knows best and letting it go at that when they see things they feel are unjust.  I don’t know if that means my faith is bigger than theirs or maybe they just haven’t reached that point in their own spiritual journey.  I don’t know if it’s just that we are all wired differently and we all think differently.  I don’t know if it’s just a fear of handing that much control over to God to accept whatever He deems righteous or acceptable.  I try not to be too naive in this because, for real, I haven’t had any great losses in my life to really test my faith.  I haven’t lost a parent or a child to death.  I haven’t had a terminal diagnosis given to me or a loved one.  I haven’t had a chronically, critically ill child to care for.  Maybe I have had it too easy to say I can just trust God, no matter what.  But I have people in my life who HAVE dealt with these things and have done so with a huge faith and they are an inspiration to me.  I hope that my faith could be as big and strong as theirs if I ever had to face any of those things.

Another way people tend to view God is that He’s uninterested.  They either think God is too busy to take an interest text sign-- sorry, but I'm not interestedin such minuscule things as our health or our happiness or that He is just too big to bother with such things.  I can understand this line of thinking too.  I mean, being God is a huge thing, right?  I think people who feel God is too busy to be bothered see Him as a VIP.  A celebrity.  Someone who, in human form, usually IS too busy to be bothered.  I guess they can’t imagine how God is much more, much bigger, more powerful than anything our human minds can comprehend.   And granted, it IS hard to imagine how someone could keep up with, let alone personally know, every person on earth.  I have a hard time just keeping track of the few people in my own life let alone a bajillion humans occupying the planet.

But God IS that big.  He can and does know each of us, not just by name, but He knows us intimately and immensely better than anyone else ever has or ever will!  He created us, after all, and not to just wind up and set loose on the floor like a toy but to love and guide and be interested in every aspect of our lives.

 

If He knows each sparrow that falls from the sky as it says in Matthew 10:29, then how much more will He know what is going on with us?  If you’re not familiar with this scripture, the gist is this… if God takes the time and “bother” to know when each sparrow’s life ends (when it falls from flight) then how much more important are we to Him than the sparrows?  Doesn’t it stand to reason that we would be of higher value to Him?  Since it is us and not the birds who are made in the image of God, doesn’t it make sense that He would take even more care and interest in us?  That is always a comfort to me, that God cares enough to notice each little wild bird (and we can surmise that ‘any bird’ is contained in the word ‘sparrow’ and is not just limited to that one genus of bird) that He would take at least as much interest (and MORE so!) in me.

If you’d like to watch the awesome sermon from my church, you can do that HERE.  I’m so thankful for our church and to have a pastor who is so concerned for the Kingdom of God, so focused on outreach and bringing in those far from God.

 

Please share…how do YOU think of God?  How did you feel about Him before you became a believer or if you are not a Christian, please tell me why you feel the way you do about Him?  I would love to discuss with you and know what you all think!

 


the thing nobody wants to discuss


About that title… I had a post all-but ready to publish yesterday. I was looking for photos to use in it when I ran across something on my Facebook timeline. I have searched all through the year it happened and cannot find it. There are about 4 days missing and I even went back several years to see if it was there instead, but no. It was about something really important.

And tragic.

And controversial, of course.

I am SO upset that I can’t find that post because it linked to an article, which is what started the post in the first place. I debated just giving up on the idea of even writing about it at all, but guys, it’s REALLY important and I’m being serious here.

I feel like, as so often happens, the enemy is attempting to thwart something that would bring God glory, so even though I can’t find the post or article, even though I’ve spent literally almost FOUR HOURS looking for it, I’m going to go ahead and write about this.

I think there may be someone out there who needs to read what I have to say today. It’s something that feels like one of those “God nudges” so I’m not going to ignore it. Please bear with me since I will have to explain SO much because I don’t have the linked article!

I’ve found only one article that is even halfway similar to the post I mentioned in my FB status, so I’m going to put the text link here, but I’m not linking to the article. You’ll have to copy/paste into the address bar to read it and I encourage you to read it. I just don’t want to popularize it by linking it from my blog.

http: //www.rolereboot.org/culture-and-politics/details/2014-08-suicide-selfish-wanting-someone-live-pain/

The blog post I saw back then was just a few days after the suicide of Robin Williams. The lady’s point was that suicide was not selfish and I didn’t agree with her.

Now, before you get riled up at me, I didn’t start a debate with this woman. I merely created a status stating that I disagreed with no links to her or mention of her name, etc. I didn’t want to increase her pain since she linked her feelings to the loss of a parent by suicide. I didn’t and won’t even pretend to understand how one would begin to cope with such a tragedy. I was not and am not trying to pass judgment on her, her parent, RW or anyone else!

However, given the fact that RW’s decision to take his own life was linked to depression, and depression is something I know, I’m going to address it. I know depression well. Depression and I are like ** this **.

I’m not going to deny it. In my worst, most desperate moments of deep depression, I have pondered committing suicide myself. More than once. If you know anything about depression, you know how it can grip you, how it can strangle you and make you feel like there is absolutely no reason whatsoever for you to go on.

I want to interject here that my thoughts and opinions about all this are filtered through my faith in Jesus. If you do not consider Him to be your Savior, then you are not likely to understand my intentions here. Just be aware that you MUST use this faith-filter in order to even begin to know my intent.

I believe without doubt or hesitation that my faith in Christ is the only reason I didn’t go through with ending my life. Perhaps it was guilt over the thought that I would be disappointing Him if I carried it out. But when I had lived a couple of decades with depression, after I had resisted the temptation to get rid of my pain through suicide, I finally learned something that has kept me from ever seriously considering it again.

My life is not mine.

Before, when I was younger and would consider suicide, I could only think about how death might bring some peace to my aching heart. I thought about how not having me around would take undue stress off my family and loved ones. I thought about how things would stop being so hard, so painful, so worthless.

 

In short, I thought a whoooole lot about one thing: ME. I was too young and immature as a Christian– because yes, sometimes even us Christians think about ending it all– to realize that I am not the “owner” of my life.

That probably seems like a strange thing to anyone without faith in an eternal God and Creator. But here’s how it works… if I believe that God created all things, all humans, then I must recognize that God is the Giver of Life. If He gave this life to me, then in reality, it isn’t really mine, is it? Especially when you go further and add to this the realization that our lives, our time on earth, is just “borrowed” and we must one day, when this life is over (whether by our own hand or not) give an account for how we used our time here, it really sobers you up in a hurry. It makes you put down the spirit (as a liquor) of persecution, of pettiness, of self-focus and yes, selfishness.

While I pondered how I could not imagine dealing with one of my own parents committing suicide, the way this lady was, I then put my children in that spot. If I thought it would be hard for me to cope with, why on earth would I consider putting my own children through that? How utterly selfish and thoughtless of me! That thought is possibly more of what kept me from killing myself when I was a young mother. I couldn’t dream of doing such a thing to my babies.

It was later that I realized what sort of thing my suicide would be to God.

I believe that all things are created for a purpose. I think most Christians believe this. Even bad things can be turned into good ones through Christ. I have lived that doctrine out many times! So, if God created me, He gave me life and meant it as a gift, something precious to be treasured and used for His glory…then how dare I think I know when it should end and how dare I contemplate ending that life myself?

How dare I??

When I put it that way, I am stunned and ashamed that I ever even entertained such thoughts. And don’t get me wrong… I still fully understand what it’s like to be in such a deep pit, lost in such total darkness and in such great pain that you think there’s nothing left but death. I am not trivializing the way that feels at all.

I wouldn’t dare do that, either!

But…I am adding to it another thought. A thought beyond the temporary (but sometimes extremely too-long) pain that is depression. The realization that this is not my life. God gave it to me. He intended me to use it to glorify Him. What glory do I bring Him if I let desperation and depression SO overcome me that I take my own life? What glory is it if I dismiss His might and power to keep me safe, to direct my path, if I throw away the gift He gave me? Where is my faith if I let what I KNOW to be the work of my enemy destroy my faith that God is enough. That He is mighty enough to deliver me from this, just as He made a dry path through the Red Sea for Moses. Just as He provided a substitute sacrifice for Abraham as he prepared to prove his faith in God by sacrificing his only son, Isaac. Just as He closed the mouths of lions and kept Daniel safe and sound. Just as He walked in the fire where the three Hebrew men (who refused to bow to an idol) had been thrown. *

How??

Once my mind was healed enough to realize what suicide actually is to God… a virtual slap in the face. A statement that He actually doesn’t know best. That God can’t keep me safe or heal me. That He doesn’t care and the gift of life He gave is worth nothing to me.

And most tragic of all, that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross wasn’t enough for me.

I am not wise enough to state or debate about whether committing suicide will keep you from entering Heaven. I know some people believe that as much as they believe the sun gives light, but I don’t. I admit that I could be wrong. ** chuckle ** We all know, I could certainly be wrong about a lot of things, especially something so spiritual and eternal as this. So I won’t debate it but I can’t think God would “undo” the promises made when a person accepted Him because they later became so despondent and so wracked with grief and pain that they made a foolish, albeit eternal, choice. Again, I DO NOT KNOW THIS and I’m only stating my opinion. You decide for yourself if you must ponder the question.

I am so thankful that my mind is no longer so clouded. That even when I am deeply depressed I can remember Who I belong to. Yes, I do STILL get depressed. Not sad, not discouraged, but deeply grieved and almost physically unable to smile it seems. Depression for me is hugely physical and not just emotional or psychological. It’s like having a heavy black cloth thrown over me that I must fight to get out from under. When I’m there, in the darkness which can feel completely isolated, I can recall that God made me and He DOES have a purpose for me. Then I can ponder what He wants me to learn from this season.

I hope my rambling and sharing has helped someone out there. I hope it speaks to your heart and prods you to look at God’s word for healing. EVEN when He doesn’t “cure” your depression, you can still rest in Him knowing that He doesn’t forsake and He knows the plans He has for us… plans for good and not harm; plans for a purpose and to bring us to right where He needs us to be.

As I like to say, I don’t have to understand it. I just have to trust God with it.

Email me if you have questions or want to talk through anything.

Blessings…

  • scripture references for the miracles mentioned in this post:
    Exodus 14:16

Genesis 22:3-14

Daniel 6

Daniel 3

 

Additional encouraging scripture:

1 Corinthians 10:13

2 Thessalonians 3:3

Hebrews 10:23

Isaiah 12:2

1 Thessalonians 5:24


the indomitable human heart


It’s been crazy around here since my last post.  It took a lot out of me to write about losing my sweet puppy-boy, Max.  But the point of that post was that God can heal any disease, any injury, even a broken heart.

I also told you that I needed to find another little fuzzy to fill the void left by Max’s death.  Tommy and I had been looking at all sorts of rescue and adoption sites for Shih-Tzu mixes and at our local shelters.  We found a possible one in Georgia and we would have gone through with it had it worked out.  As it was, the adoption people have not yet contacted us about our application and God orchestrated a different plan in the meantime.

A local friend of ours messaged me one night a few days after my post was published.  She said she had a little Shih-Tzu mix puppy that she needed to rehome.  This friend has seven children, the five youngest she is still homeschooling!  She said she’d thought the kids would have more time to spend with the puppy, but their busy schedules had not afforded it much time.  She loved the pup but could see it was suffering from neglect (emotionally, that is) when it had to beg for attention from the kids.  As you can imagine, all those children, plus homeschooling, each child with extra-curricular activities and a husband with his own business is a lot for a mom and it came to the point she realized she needed to find a new home for their little pup.

She had already asked a few other friends since she didn’t want to put it in a rescue situation, so she hesitantly messaged me that night to see if Tommy and I might possibly consider taking her.

We went to pick her up the next morning. (ha!) It just seemed like another situation God had worked out in advance.  She is young enough, like we wanted and now we would know about her background instead of unsure of how she was treated.  We know she was well-loved and taken care of.

And now we have little Silvey, an 18-month old Shi-poo (Shih-Tzu/Poodle mix).  The past week has been an adventure to be sure, but Silvey (short for Silverbells Piddlepie  -haha!) settled in amazingly well.  We even took her to Knoxville with us the day after we brought her home and she did excellent.

She’s so different from Max, it made me tear up a bit as we drove down the highway, thinking about how he used to cuddle up in my lap but Silvey wanted to sit independently on the center console.  The next couple of days, though, she became more cuddly as she adjusted to feeling at home with us.  She gets along great with Samson, our chocolate lab, and seems each day to feel more and more at ease.

 

I have not posted anything on Facebook or Instagram about having her to avoid having my friend’s younger kids see it and feel sad about having to part with her, but soon, I’ll share some photos on there.  Right now, she is needing to visit the groomer and so I will wait until she’s got a new hairdo to post pix.

For now, I’m trying desperately to get a video up here for you guys of Silvey fussing at the bad doggie in the mirror of our bedroom.  She’s been mad at that dog all day long and the weirdest thing is, she has seen that mirror before today.  Goofball!  Ha ha ha!

In other news, today is Tommy’s fifty-first birthday.  I’m gonna attempt to make a gluten-free chocolate cake for him.  With all his allergies, it’s so hard to find things he can eat.  If we find a restaurant where he can eat, there are never any wheat-free desserts on the menu, so I’m fixing this cake for him.  I sure hope it comes out right!

Our Ohio kids (ha!) are coming down tomorrow evening to be here for Tommy’s birthday and we have a girls’ breakfast planned for Saturday morning since the boys are squeezing in a bachelor-party/camping-trip thing.  I’m looking forward to that!

Beyond that, life is pretty normal.  I’m still struggling with low energy despite the fact that I’m taking B-12 injections at home each week.  We haven’t got to ride bikes this week due to rain and a severely neglected yard (we had to rake the entire thing the grass was so tall and thick!).  Maybe we will get to go this weekend, though.  I start missing it so much if we don’t get to go.

I need to get back to editing what I have written of my book.  Editor Elaine has informed me that she is almost ready to send chapter two to me with suggestions and a rewrite along with her notes on my rewrite of chapter one!  I can’t believe how productive it makes me feel to have her notes to work with!  I am SO thankful she is helping me like this!

I’m off to get you a video… You’ll see why I needed this little stinker…she makes me laugh the way Max did but at an entirely different personality.

The heart is never too broken.  Our hearts are indomitable, always rebounding, when God makes the repairs.

Thanks for hanging with me!

Be blessed!
HERE YOU GO!! VIDEOS!

 


finding peace in the pieces


Ah, broken hearts. They’re the stuff great songs are made of, am I right? And if you have one, they are like the longest, most painful night of your life.

Unless you’re like, 4 days old, you’ve had a broken heart. At least once! At this point in my life, I’ve had many-a broken heart. Like they say, time usually heals them but some take more time than others.

I don’t spend a lot of my time worrying about having my heart broken from things like a death in the family or a betrayal by someone dear to me. If you know me, you know I’m not really a “worrier”. I really do try to leave it all in God’s hands and be as content as I can be with His plan and His determined outcome.

However, in the past couple of years, I have just occasionally and quite randomly found myself mulling over how I would handle it if something tragic happened to one of my children.

I don’t know why, really. Well, yeah, I do. It’s the enemy trying to steal my joy and keep me from concentrating on God and what He wants me to do. Then there are the times I fret over the fact that it worries me being some sort of forewarning. I’m telling you, I can drive myself crazy with it if I don’t stop it quickly.

I have several dear friends who have lost their children from illness or accidents. Some of them just amaze me with how they have handled it. They have a peace and a joy that I can’t quite comprehend. Others of them tend to dwell and hold their sadness close, even after a decade or more.

I’m just not sure how I would do. I want to think I could allow God to take it and I could find peace again, but somehow I can never feel confident about that. It’s like I wonder how I’d do with a test such as that. Like Job losing ALL his children in one fell swoop on top of all his bodily torments and other losses. I just marvel at how amazingly God can sustain our frail human hearts.

So anyway, the reason I am pondering all this stuff is that I had a terrible heartbreak this weekend. We lost my sweet little puppy, Max.  I am so heartbroken to lose him.  Tommy came in Saturday with a look on his face that told me it couldn’t be good news.

He knelt down beside me and said, “Honey, Maxie’s been in an accident,” and that’s all it took.  I said, “Is he gone?” and when Tommy confirmed, I just dissolved into tears.  I’ve had pets all my life.  Mostly dogs, but sometimes cats when I was little.  We’ve lost countless dogs over the years to either accident or illness and I have always been upset, but never like this.  Of course, growing up, we never had inside dogs and somehow, when they don’t live right “in amongst” you, you don’t get quite as close to them.  We had an inside dog before Max, but he was never as attentive or as “stuck” to me as Max.

We got our sweet Max, a little “Malti-Tzu” (Maltese/Shih Tzu mix) when I was at one of the most dark, depressed states of my life.  I needed him and he needed me.  We got him from a lady who had taken him even though she knew pets weren’t allowed in her apartment.  She kept him crated all day while she was at work, so over 8 hours.  He was a mess, all long and matted.  He was afraid of men because, as she told us, her boyfriend didn’t like Max and would yell at him (and who knows what else).

It took awhile, but soon he was not just my baby, but Tommy’s buddy as well.  He loved people, most people, well…after he had barked at them a bit and decided they were okay.  We have a few friends he never took to though and I’m pretty sure it was because they had sort-of loud or a different tone to their voices.  Otherwise, though, he made friends pretty quickly.  He was very protective of me which at first, I think was a behavior held over from the yelling boyfriend of his previous owner.  The first couple of times Tommy moved to hug me, Max would leap between us and like I said, the first couple of times he made a faint growl at him, but soon as I assured Max that it was okay, he stopped making any aggressive sounds.  Soon, it was done just because he was a nosy little stinker.  He would wedge his way between us with this “Whatcha’ll doin’?” look on his face.  He had a huge personality.

Max loved to play and was really a joy to watch.  He would skip and run and sling his “baby” or ball around then run to catch it.  He loved to drop his balls into containers then act like he was on Mission Impossible trying to get them back out.  He’d drop them in Tommy’s boots, the laundry basket, my purse… you name it.  It was such fun to watch him play.

Max also loved to cuddle and sleep.  Bless his heart, when I had a bad day and could barely keep my head up, he was just as game to lay in bed all day with me as he was to be up following me all over the house.  I think this is the main reason I’m so devastated over losing him.  I’ve never had a dog that loved me so good.  He just wanted to be with me, no matter what.  He was entirely too cute for my own good.

Even though he wasn’t one of those “yappy” dogs that barked all the time, the house seems so quiet without him.  I think it’s because the sound of him jumping off the couch or bed to run see who was outside or his little feet clippety-clipping behind him on the tile have become comforting sounds and I miss them terribly today.

Max had a huge sense of adventure and was, like I said, game for anything Tommy and I were up for.  He loved to travel and was the best car-riding buddy ever.  We took him with us along on more road trips than we can remember.  He loved to ride and would get so excited about a car ride, but soon as we were on the interstate, he’d be out like a light.  The interstate was like valium to him!

Max went camping with us, he’s gone to various cookouts, hikes and bon fires.  Fishing at the pond was a favorite.  He even went for a ride on the four-wheeler, but that wasn’t his favorite since we had to rig him a “seat” (aka: milk crate with harness) because he would NOT be still and let me hold him!  He wanted to jump off and chase every critter we saw.  

He even rode with Tommy on his bike once.  I’m not sure he liked it a whole lot, but he liked being with us.  He was better satisfied as long as he could see me riding behind, but if I got in front, he would have a fit to climb over Tommy’s shoulder.  We wanted to try another camping trip like this with the bikes and try him in a basket, but we never got the chance.  Max was willing to try just about anything we did as long as he could go with us.

Max was a peculiar little poot, too.  He had this thing, maybe all little dogs are this way, but if any dogs were around who were bigger than him, he HAD to make it clear that HE was the boss.  Our old chocolate lab, Samson, was a prime example and he probably

made Max worse because of his own super-gentle temperment.  Sam was always the gentleman, to a fault!  He was never the least bit aggressive unless you threatened his food.  And sometimes, he’d even share that with Max.  He never took the ball away from him, love his heart.  He always let Max get the ball.  Maybe that’s because Max would start growling and snarling like a rabid skunk if some one threatened whatever he considered his.  And of course, ALL THINGS were his.  Humans and toys alike.  And if another big dog came around, even one of our boys’ dogs (Corey has an Austrailian Shepherd and Casey has a Golden Retriever) if any of the big dogs was aggressive with the other, he would be all over them as if to say, “HEY!  Shut it down!  I’M the only one who gets to do that!”  It was really hilarious and I’d have to explain to other people that he wasn’t really being mean, it was just his way.  Bahaha.  Max definitely had a unique way of socializing.  But he still had lots of buddies.  Seriously, even the dogs couldn’t help but love him.

Max was the sweetest, craziest, noisiest little pup ever and I am really heartbroken right now.  After crying my eyes out for almost two hours solid, I’ve collected myself and can ponder why.  I don’t know why this had to happen at this point in time.  I don’t want to dwell on how it happened

other than to say it was an accident and happened right in our driveway.  Max was, as anyone who’s been here knows, a horrible one to run up to and around and under vehicles as they approached or left the house.  We tried every way we knew to break him of it, but he would not be stopped.  The only way was to forcibly hold him or just take him inside.  It never failed that I would no sooner let him out in the yard to play than someone would pull into the driveway and I’d have to go out and try to catch Max or watch with my stomach clenched as the person tried to slowly bring the car or truck closer.  Whether it was a delivery truck or someone who had been here a million times, he would go at it barking like mad and running as close to the tires as possible, so honestly, I wouldn’t blame the person responsible at all.  This person has no clue that they even ran over Max.  Another reason I don’t want to dwell on it is that I could end up getting mad or even more upset.  I know this person was distracted with trying to hurry home even though they know how Max is and have had to deal with his antics a million other times.  For whatever reason, God saw fit to let this happen and I am trying to cope.

 

 

Which brings me back to my first thoughts up there of fretting about how I’d deal with it if something awful happened to one of my boys.  I am wondering if God isn’t letting me know that this is not the worst thing ever.  He knows that I would have been in much worse shape if I was dealing with losing one of them.  Why I need to realize that now is something I don’t want to ponder long.  I think it’s become more of a thing with me ever since Corey moved to Ohio.  I felt like I was literally losing him.  I realize now that was silly since we actually talk to him and Melissa and even see them more often than we did when they lived a stone’s throw away!  The moving and now this has all taught me never to take anything or any one for granted as I am so apt to do.  

I’m so thankful that God put Max in my path (I found him on Craig’s List!) when He did because we really did need each other.  I hope he felt every bit as loved as he was.  Especially after spending part or maybe all his life feeling like he wasn’t wanted.  I loved that little fella SO good and through him and my family and others, God brought me out of the deepest pit to recover my joy.

It feels terribly lonely today though and I have cried through sorting for pictures to share with you and have realized I don’t want to feel like this.  No pup can ever replace my little Max, but I need the companionship of a silly, funny pup.  I have been busying my mind in the search for another Malti-shuh or whatever they are calling the Maltese/Shih Tzu mix.  The characteristics of both breeds are just what I need, I believe.  But it’s hard to find them except from expensive breeders, which we can’t afford or people who are no longer able to care for aged dogs, which I don’t need.  I need a younger dog that can be trained.  Corey believes we can train a dog to help alert us to low blood sugars which would be extremely helpful!  I know this breed isn’t the top recommendation for this sort of training, but right now I’m determined that I need a little one that will be a cuddly furbaby, too.  Even if they can’t be FULLY trained to alert, I know that dogs have the natural ability to sense things like that and it would still be helpful even if they don’t know proper alert actions.  My mind may change but as it stands right now, it doesn’t much matter.  We can’t afford to just purchase a pup from a breeder and besides, I’d rather not do that anyway.  I’d like to be able to get a younger dog from an owner who has discovered they can’t care for the dog or maybe has had an unexpected litter of pups.  I’d like to find one less than a year old and even a straight-Shih Tzu, Maltese or even a Yorkie would be great.  (just throwing this out there in case anyone knows somebody who knows somebody… heh)

My experience with Max tells me that for the most part, the combination of Shih Tzu and Maltese traits are just wonderful other than the drive to chase, which is high in most small dogs already.

I’m thankful for the time I had Max.  He was like medicine for my hurting heart.  I know God has another dose of good medicine out there somewhere and at the right time, he or she will cross my path.  In the meantime, I’m also thankful for my family who has been so sweet in understanding my heartache and sweet Tommy, who I know is also heartbroken but has been so strong for me the past couple days.  I am blessed and highly favored.

Go and tell your family and friends you love them and hug your pet.  Any and all of them are blessings to be treasured!  Always remember there is peace among the pieces of your broken heart if you just let God handle the reassembly.

BLESSINGS!!!


confessions


You may or may not know this about me, but I used to be a horrifically passive-aggressive person. In my defense, my parents weren’t good communicators so this sort of thing was all I knew. They weren’t always what you could call passive-aggressive necessarily, but they did not communicate what they wanted, expected or thought very well at all. So I guess my only response was to learn to communicate in this way.

“I lived like that for YEARS and never realized what a mess I was.”

I say “I used to be” because, trust me… you can ask the Hubby, I was a WHOLE LOT worse in the past. But even though my passive-aggressive tendencies are extremely reduced these days, there are times when I reactively resort to coping with things this way.  I guess you could call me a ‘recovering passive-aggressive’.

I began researching today about how to deal with passive-aggressive behavior. Once I was aware of myself acting this way and took steps to stop, I became keenly aware of others who were severely passive-aggressive. And it is other passive-aggressive people who seem to instinctively pull that same PA reaction out of me.

Let me clarify here by saying that I did NOT realize this is what I was doing all those years. I knew what it meant, but I didn’t really know the term or even when I heard someone use it, it never registered that, in fact, I was a passive-aggressive person. I was complete blind to it. Now that I make an effort to NOT live passive-aggressively, my life is much more peaceful. At least my “inner voice” isn’t forever playing this running monolog of the latest conversation with someone else or some upcoming confrontation I was going to or WISHED I could have.

So far, I haven’t read anything about this trait so maybe I’m the only one who did it, but I suspect that’s not at all the case. I think it’s probably the main “thing” with any PA person. I could spend entire days replaying some conversation, changing my responses or creating new scenarios. I would work up these awesome, very dramatic confrontations I wanted to have with people who had hurt me or wronged me. In my scenarios, I would passionately make my points, I’d ‘tell it like it is’ and give them a piece of my mind. I’d tell them how horribly they treated me or how deeply they had wounded me and they’d always see the error of their ways and spend the rest of eternity trying to right their wrong.

I’m telling you, folks, having a passive-aggressive tendency will make your mind sick.

I lived like that for YEARS and never realized what a mess I was. I mean, sure, I also dealt with depression and diabetes too and recognized those “ailments”, but I just never realized how terribly passive-aggressive I was as just a routine…an everyday occurrence.

“…it never registered that, in fact, I was a passive-aggressive person. I was completely blind to it.

Now, after a few years of coping with recognizing and having others around me, some new and some not-so-new, who are very passive-aggressive, for some reason it has finally occurred to me to research how to deal with them! I don’t know why I never thought about it before. I guess this is all some sort of self-therapy and I’m just giving a name to the behavior I displayed for most of my life. I wish I had known this stuff before now, but as it stands, I guess there’s a reason for it all. If you have known me for eons and tried to point out my ugly temperment, I’m sorry. At the time, I just could not see it and I probably responded poorly. ** * sigh * **

Right now though, I’m desperate to make sure my mind operates in a completely NON-passive-aggressive way so I can get through to others who are seriously PA and tend to direct most of that inner bitterness at me.

Maybe that’s because they know I myself have been and can still react passive-aggressively? Is it a thing that PA’s try to push other PA-people’s buttons? Hmmm… I wonder… but I bet it is.

“I’m telling you, having a passive-aggressive tendency will make your mind sick.”

I may be wrong, y’know… because for reals, I’m not a psychology major nor do I play one on TV, but in this case, I realize that I behaved this way because of deep-seated hurts and rejection during my childhood. Coupled with the depression, I think any sort of dismissive attitude towards me had to make things worse. Just to be told your thoughts are not valid is such an awful feeling. When it’s repeated in a child’s life, I guess you end up with someone like me. Someone who feels worthless, guilty, useless and bitter. The only way I knew to deal with people was in a very non-direct way. That’s why I am a MUCH better communicator in writing than I am in person, face-to-face.

I’m learning to stop that self-destructive, harmful-to-others, sick-mind way of living, finally. It’s a slow process, but maybe, hopefully, Lord willing, I am at a place where I can now destruct difficult relationships with other who are way too much like me… like the me I used to be. But I’m not sure how to deal with it when it feels like all the manipulation and aggressive non-actions are just to be mean. When I was at my worst, I don’t think I ever just set out to see if I could manipulate someone for the heck of it. It was never just to be mean. But if they hurt me, boy, I could be one of the craftiest, nastiest passive-aggressives you ever met. That was a sort-of justification to me: you deserved it if you’d been mean to me. And not knowing any other way to communicate with people, I reacted in kind! In that way, I feel like I was different than some PA-people are. From where I sit, it seems some people just want to manipulate me for fun. Just because they’re bored maybe? I don’t know, and like I said, I don’t remember ever being passive-aggressive toward someone just to be mean, just because I didn’t like the way they looked or because I wanted all the attention. I ** * think * ** I was only that way towards someone who hurt or attacked me. It was my defense when someone was just ugly to me. I’ve never been a mean-spirited person however maybe my poor husband would tell you otherwise. I don’t think I’ll ask him at this time. Maybe one day, when I’m more confident that I’ve overcome that way of responding. ** * ha * **

Again, I’m no psychology major by any means, so I’m not sure if this is even possible … to have different motivations for PA actions? Is that a thing? Or does this behavior always stem from insecurity and low self-esteem no matter if the person is mean-spirited about it or just defensively reactive? Are some people just really mean without having some past damage to their self-worth or psyche?

Hmmm… so interesting.

ANYway, I’m trying to educate myself here. I know there’s a lot of scripture that can be applied here, but I am too tired to look it up and paste it here. Just don’t think I’m looking only at the psychology of it and not the spiritual side of having this kind of personality. Believe me, I certainly realize living with a PA attitude is NOT at all Christ-like. That’s just one more reason I’m so thankful God gives big grace! I have needed and STILL need tons of it! I can now see how very sinful my attitude and actions were when I lived my life from a place of hurt and bitterness.

I just hope I can learn to leave that all behind, even in snap-reactive situations when it’s more likely to slip out again. I want to live the way Jesus wants me to. I want to be able to help other people to either overcome passive-aggression in themselves or help PAs around them. I know we can be difficult people to love, hard to interact with and I want to help people see how destructive and reversible it is. Jesus can heal the diseases of bitterness and manipulation and passive-aggressive mindsets.

Lord, let it be so!

PS: I realize being vague, like leaving out any identification, is a tactic of a passive-aggressive person however, in this case, I definitely do not want to identify anyone since any of the several people this could apply to could possibly find this post. I also don’t want to identify anyone, even people I am not “analyzing” or whatever just because that would be rude.

Remember, I have also “analyzed” myself in this post. I am trying to make myself better and be able to help anyone else who may need it to overcome what I am overcoming.

For God’s glory!


the look of love


Do you ever wonder what God’s love looks like? Well, I’m going to show you just one of many shapes His love can take. Observe:

God’s love

Yes.  That stack of medical supplies is just one example of the way God’s love looks to me.

Let me explain.

If you read here at all, you probably picked up on the fact that I often worry about money.  I honestly don’t worry about much else.  Maybe if one of my kids is sick or hurting emotionally, I’ll be concerned and prayerful about that, but things like medical crises and being sick or injured myself doesn’t worry me.  I think that God has shown His hand SO many times in that way that I no longer spend very much time worrying about my health or things like that.  But money (or rather, the lack of it!) has always had the power to bring me to my knees.

Worrying about how we’ll pay the bills or afford to fix something can mess me up big time.  I will fret so much about it that I almost just freeze.  Nothing more so than when it comes to the dire necessities.

God has grown my faith and matured me a lot in the past several years when it comes to trusting Him.  I don’t say that to brag, but to point out His grace in being patient with me and giving me second, tenth, eighty-fourth chances.  It has always bothered me that I worried so much about money.  I’m always trying to figure out how to make more of it, how to generate more income or in times of serious need, I start thinking of things to sell and we just don’t even have a lot of that when it comes to making a quick hundred or so.  Yes, for us, an extra $20 can sometimes be very hard to come up with, just so you understand my frame of reference.

After some wonderful sermons that have been speaking to me about growing my faith, I determined that I would stop fretting about money and paying bills.  I would begin to wait, lean on and trust in God to meet these needs.  And before I knew it, a perfect opportunity presented itself.

I was almost completely out of supplies for my insulin pump.  I had called the supply company already over a week ago trying to sort through a balance they said I still owed.  I explained to them that I have a second insurance policy that should have paid the balance.  They said I had one amount from the first of the year already in collections and another balance.  After being given the run-around and being told various things by various people, I finally had a sales rep tell me they don’t “participate” with my secondary insurance company.

Nice.  After having TWO different people who were supposedly from the company’s insurance department assure me “we will get that filed with your other policy right away”, now a sales rep tells me they don’t even take the other insurance??  ARGH!

I have no patience when it comes to this kind of stuff.  It sets me on edge and makes me a nervous wreck.  There’s just something about being told you have an outstanding balance of almost $1500 that makes me queasy.  When it’s all we can do to get the utilities and mortgage paid and have a little left over for groceries while juggling a stack of hospital, doctor and lab bills from month to month?  It just overwhelms me and sets me on a track for a real fear-fest.  Echos of “how are we going to afford…” and “where will we get that much…” begin to cripple me.

So here I sat, down to ONE line set and three reservoirs having visions of having to go back to multiple daily injections and thinking about how awful my levels would become without a base rate of insulin from the pump…  I just stopped and thought, “Okay, God.  You’re going to have to take care of this.  I can’t see ANY way to come up with this money, so I’m going to just trust You.”  It’s much easier to “trust” God when you have at least an idea of how it might be possible to make something happen.  That’s why He does things like lead several million people to the edge of a sea with a murderous army pursuing them…so He can show Himself and it be known that without a doubt, there was NO WAY they could have escaped without God’s provision.  (Read the story of Moses)

He erases any chance that a thing could have “just happened” or that man could have had anything whatsoever to do with it.

That’s where He had us.  We were already behind on one of our big payments and thinking we would barely scrape by if we paid the big ones this week, then the lesser bills next week.  Now this?

I was thinking about how I could maybe use another reservoir but reuse the same line set when this reservoir was empty.  That’s risky and can cause an infection at worst or irritation at best.  I was trying to think of EVERY POSSIBLE SOLUTION all the while saying, “I’m going to trust God with this.”  Even though, in reality, I wasn’t really trusting Him completely.  I have to say, though, I was doing better than I would have in the past.  At least I hadn’t allowed myself to fall into a deep depression and cease to function.  I hadn’t curled up anywhere to cry.  I was actually doing better than usual, but still… I hadn’t let go of trying to solve the problem myself while I was “trusting God”.

Shame on me.

The very next day after getting the news that we would have to pay $600 of the full balance before they would let me order again, I got a text from a lady who has been doing my physical therapy.  She works on Tommy’s back too, so we have both gotten to know her.  She’s really sweet, but struggles with self-worth and depression too.  We’d been trying to get her to come to church with us, but it hadn’t worked out so that she could.  I ended up sending her this sermon after telling her it would do her a lot of good. I told her to MAKE the time to watch it when she could concentrate and pay attention.  So she had called me when she got to listen to it while driving a couple hours to another town for a job.  She was almost in tears and said I was right, the message was exactly what she needed to hear.

So then, the day after getting the news about having to pay the huge amount before I could order supplies, she texted to see if I was coming in for an appointment that week.  I told her no, I wouldn’t be there til the next week.  I forgot to mention, she is now moving to Georgia (moving this weekend, actually!!) so she said she would be gone by then but she had something to give me and could I stop by the office.  I said I could come by after lunch.

When I got there, she hugged me as usual and I chit-chatted with the receptionist while my friend went to get this mysterious “thing” she had to give me.  When she came back, she handed me a plain old envelope and told me not to open it until I was gone.  We hugged again and said our goodbyes.  She promised to keep me updated on how things were going, I told her once again she was going to do great and everything would be fine and then I left.

When I got to my car, I couldn’t stand the suspense, so I opened the envelope, which was sort of “puffy” and inside I found 10 bills totaling $70 and a note explaining.

I was floored when I saw that it was cash.  I mean, what on earth?  I wondered why in the world is she giving me money since I knew she was a bit worried about having enough to make the move and get settled before starting her new, better-paying job in Georgia.

The note explained that she felt led to “tithe” wherever she was spiritually fed.  I’m still not sure what I think about that, but anyway, she said I had helped her so much and the content of the message I’d sent her had been exactly what she needed and she knew that was only through God.

I sat there, stunned, thinking this is God showing me He’s handling things.  I mean, it’s not every day people just give me such a sum of cash, ya know?  So I KNEW it was God but still, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “This is great, God, but it’s not nearly enough… but I am going to trust You still…”

When I told Tommy about it that night, he was flabbergasted too.  He said it was just God giving us reassurance that He was taking care of it.  He said that someone had offered to buy one of his hobby tools and that might get us another $400 so we were encouraged and went on about our lives hanging onto the peace that God would take care of it.

Yesterday when Tommy came home from work, I knew something was up.  He came in telling me he HAD to tell me something.  It’s always serious when he comes directly to me instead of checking on something he’s been working on in the shop.

He began telling me about going into a place where he had to buy some things for work and also some that were needed for his dad’s old pickup they’re rebuilding.  I thought to myself, “Great.  This is going to take forever and there’s a possibility it doesn’t even concern me at all, he’s just excited about something!”  I will admit, I’m not very patient when it comes to listening to Tommy tell me some long, overly-detailed story about what they’re doing to that truck.  Ha.  I don’t know half of what he’s talking about and I’m not super-interested in how it’s coming along until he can tell me it’s done!  He gets so excited about stuff sometimes he HAS to tell SOMEone ALL about it, and I am usually that someone.  It doesn’t matter to him whether I understand him, whether I care or even if I listen for the most part… he just wants to tell it and ‘get it out’ of his system somehow.  It drives me crazy because I seldom EVER do that to him.  He would croak if I told him every time I got excited about finding a new way to get stains out of his clothes or if I went into great detail about how difficult it was to do my own nails or something that he has absolutely no interest in.  He doesn’t seem to mind that I don’t care how many times they tried the whatsit in the thingamajig to get the whatchamacallit up to 2000 RPM’s or whatever.  sigh

ANYway… this wasn’t that kind of tale, thankfully.  He started telling me about talking to a lady who worked there who also has type 1 diabetes and was having a bad day with high blood sugars and when her sugar finally came down, she was feeling really awful.  He then said they got to talking about supplies and insurance and it came up that we were having trouble getting my supplies.  She looked at him and said, “Oh, well the way my insurance is now, I actually have some extras.  I can give her at least a box of each.”

Tommy said he almost started bawling the same way I was in tears at that very moment.  I was just FLOORED.  So THIS is what God was planning??  And all that time I was trying to figure out where we’d find the money to just pay what absolutely had to be paid soon enough for me to not run out and all along He had it more than well in hand.

We made plans to meet her at a local store at noon today and when we got there, she handed a bag through the car window with not one, but THREE boxes each of line sets and reservoirs!  I was just stunned!  God had provided above and beyond what we even asked for!We thanked her profusely and then started talking.

Tommy knew she hadn’t been in church in awhile, so we invited her to go with us.  She seems to want to but is hesitant.  Most people are, I guess.  Even when they know they need to get back in church and back on track with the Lord, we always seem to draw back as if we don’t know how much better life will be.

We told her we’d call her in the morning, so I’m praying something changes her hesitancy into eagerness or at least willingness to go with us.  She’s a single mom with a young daughter so I’m really hoping she will come.  Perhaps, just maybe this is the reason God lined all these things up?!

I don’t know, but once again, He has provided.  I’m so thankful for His patience and His grace.  Now we have time to gather the money needed to at least let me order supplies again.  What the lady gave me is almost three months’ worth of supplies.  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?  We offered to give her some money (remember the $70 my friend gave me?) but she refused to take it.  I was really hating to have to part with that cash if I’m being honest, but I would have given it to her if she’d taken it.  I feel so ashamed that I wasn’t more willing to give it away since it was given to me.  See?  I am still struggling with feeling a sense of want.

All the more reason I am SOOOO thankful God is patient with me.

Has anything like this ever happened to you?  Do you worry about money too?  If so, how do you deal with it?


what I deserve


Do you ever think to yourself (or say out loud?) “I don’t deserve this.”  Like,

“I didn’t deserve to be talked back to like that by my teenager.”  

“I didn’t deserve that put-down from my husband/wife.”  

“I didn’t deserve that reprimand from my boss.”

If you’re like 99.999% of the human race, you HAVE had that thought in one situation or more.  Or at least you have thought that it wasn’t fair that you were treated in whatever way.

Isn’t that how we think?  We humans?

Earlier this week, I was going through my devotion on YouVersion in the book of Numbers (chapter 16) when I read this:::

Numbers 16:32-33

32And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods.  So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly.

This is the story of when Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt…after all the plagues and Pharoh following them into the Red Sea.  The Hebrews have seen God part the Red Sea and allow them to cross on dry ground (that always blows my mind…that the ground was DRY), they’ve seen manna appear on the ground, they’ve seen God send hundreds of pheasants to feed them, they’ve seen the pillar of cloud and fire that leads them.  They have SEEN God do so many miracles on their behalf.

When I younger, I would think to myself, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH THOSE PEOPLE!!  THEY LITERALLY SAW THE HAND OF GOD MOVE RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM AND THEY STILL COMPLAINED?!?!?”

I guess wisdom really does come with age since now, I often find that I’m giving myself a good talking-to about not trusting God to take care of things since I have, yes, ****I HAVE SEEN GOD’S HAND MOVE IN FRONT OF MY OWN EYES**** before as well.

And so this Korah guy and a couple of his buddies decide there needs to be a change in management.  They decide Moses, God’s chosen leader, isn’t doing a good enough job (red flag:  it may have been Moses they were looking at, but it was God they were rebelling against!)  They decide they’re going to get folks all riled up and force Moses out and replace him with someone they think can do better.

If you’re a pastor or any sort of church or even a business leader, you know how this goes.  No matter what you do, some of the people aren’t going to be satisfied.  At least part, if not all, of the people you ‘lead’ or shepherd aren’t going to be happy with the way you do things, no matter how much you pray, no matter how whole-heartedly you seek for God’s guidance…SOMEbody out there is going to be displeased and they’re either going to tell you about it — repeatedly — or they’re going to tell everyone else about it until the whole place is having doubts about your abilities.

ahem  I can save THAT sermon for another post, heh let me get back on my thought…  What struck me upon reading that, or rather hearing it since I was playing the scripture on my phone, was OH MY GOODNESS!!  What if God still did that kind of thing today??  What if He opened the earth to swallow us up when we grumbled or complained?  What if He wasn’t longsuffering and merciful?  What if He gave us exactly what we deserve instead of what we could never earn by ourselves?

Now, let me say this before someone out there who isn’t sure they like God or want to believe in Him or follow Him says, “That does it!  I don’t want to serve a God Who acts so impulsively.”  I don’t believe God acted on impulse.  You can read again and again throughout Numbers how the Hebrews, God’s chosen people, rebelled over and over.  They’d already been in the desert for a long time when this happened.  There had been many an uprising during this time.  The people had griped, grumbled and whined about everything.  They EVEN went so far as to say they’d have been better off as slaves beaten and overworked, unfairly treated, than to have God lead them out into this forsaken desert.

I can’t quite imagine that, but I try not to judge them too harshly.  But I will admit, when I read this account I find myself ALWAYS wanting to smack a bunch-a Hebrews up-side the head and say, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?”   I believe that Korah and the others had done this same thing several times already.  I think they were probably always trying to stir up discontentment and division among the Hebrew congregation.  I don’t KNOW that, but I know that God isn’t reactionary.  He’s not a God who makes ‘snap judgements’ or ‘goes off’ on people.  I mean, c’MON…if He did, do you think the world would be the way it is today?

No, God is and always has been long-suffering.  If He wasn’t merciful, He would have left them all in bondage in Egypt.  He’d have gone looking for other people to call His own, I daresay.

And that brings me to thinking about myself and how I am constantly failing God in one way or other (or multiple ways!)  It’s like that little saying or meme you see sometimes…

So, here’s my thought before I get side-tracked… I am SO THANKFUL that God isn’t in the business of giving us “what we deserve”.  If He was, then WE would have been swallowed up, sent alive to our “just desserts”, an eternity in hellfire!

That IS what we deserve, after all.  It’s so easy to lose sight of that in our comfy lives where we don’t have to fight for food or shelter every day.  We think we “deserve” to have things go our way.  We think we’re good.  Whether because we’re unaware of what God did for us in sending Jesus to shoulder our punishment or we think we’re “okay” since we “serve God”…we attend church once a week or we volunteer at the soup kitchen…whatever.

But we don’t even deserve to breathe.  We certainly don’t deserve the opportunity to live out eternity in heaven with Jesus.  But He still came