Monthly Archives: January 2017

Too Blessed To Be Stressed!

Too Blessed To Be Stressed?

Hello!!!

Too blessed to be stressed?  Hello…  If truth be told, even this jovial, hyper-happy spirit would say, “In your dreams maybe!”  Oh, I am by far one blessed woman lavishly surrounded by my great riches; those rare and beautiful gems I call my friends.  Friendships always seem to sparkle and bring life and clarity back to those dull and dreary seasons that need brightening.  Wouldn’t you agree?

Truth be told, though, when your world is spinning out of control and you’re drowning underneath the compounding weight of wickedness and disease, sometimes the force of that power challenges the stability of the connecting links.

How do we stay connected to our powerful source of clarity when we’re suffocating underneath the life of relentless trials and tragedies?  How can we remember that life sometimes clouds and pollutes our very own lenses from the fog that breathing hard develops and living in the wrong neighborhood portrays?

Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A cheerful heart is great medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”  If we can be brave enough to apply this to our lives and walk it out, we will remember not to isolate and that changing the atmosphere is the best medicine possible.  We don’t always have to be happy, that’s not what blessed means.  Blessed means being brave and courageous enough to be present and not withdraw and to love on others when we’re so needy ourselves.

I’m so glad I am doing exactly that because I’m one needy beloved right now.  God has told me to dance while He works out all these painful situations that are lurking in every corner for my protection.  I courageously accepted that challenge and took God up on His Word and will continue to dance no matter what I look like and have fun while I’m still breathing!

If only we could remember to not go at it alone and isolate while the heaviness of life is crushing in on our palpitating hearts.  That’s when the Lord is knocking on the chambers of our hearts trying to get us to open the door so He can sprinkle His Love through sweet friends that will forever hold us up like Aaron and Hur did for Moses when he was too exhausted and in too much pain to keep his arms up and remain steady and strong (Exodus 17:12). 

This help wasn’t just for the benefit of Moses’ leadership, it was to help and protect the Israelites by coming together as a team to defeat the evil army of the Amalekites.  This is the domino effect of being loved on and shouldering some support; communities being blessed.  That’s cheerful medicine!

This is also where we get the freedom to warm up our bodies to dance; you know, when you get to vomit, purge and open the tear ducts raging out of Hoover Dam where your two left feet turn into pure grace.  But just a gentle reminder, whatever you do, don’t take yourself too seriously immediately afterwards because if you’re anything like me, when Hoover Dam rages, the eyes and face would scare just about anything!

Blameless Mirror Fright

I was asked why I attended my church with all the amazing churches abound.  I had one simple reason, really.  It is called our women’s group.  No, it’s not where you get a bunch of judgmental women together with their Bibles opened sitting in cliques of eight to a table.  Our group sits in one large (huge!) circle and shares real life battle scars that God has redeemed.  Along with our study book, this supports and encourages each other to hang onto the Lord while we share our very own personal stories of victory.

This is where we talk about real life situations such as abuse, addiction, rape, molestation, divorce, marital affairs, not feeling loved or belonging.  We don’t sit around feeling sorry for one another, we gather around each woman celebrating God’s redemption and healing strength while encouraging others going through similar trials to continue walking bravely as we pour love into their souls.

This crown we wear and the royal blood that runs through our veins cost way more than any affliction we’ve ever walked through, but when we can be vulnerable, raw and honest with one another sharing our battle scars and life experiences, God’s grace receives glory because being the hands and feet of Jesus creates unity and belonging that pours wellness and health back into our communities.  This also helps us to be healed of what has held us captive in our imprisonment of shame. 

Our congregations were never meant to be places where the weak come and get catered to and coddled while staying in their afflictions.  They were designed to experience the power and healing that comes from a relationship with our good, good Father in heaven who offers His unconditional love.  His Love brings healing and a sense of belonging with the strength to walk through battles victoriously while sharing our unique stories.  This is how we walk through life too blessed to get stressed and receive that sense of belonging and purpose we all crave.  That’s what is called the Body of Christ; being the hands and feet of God!

Sometimes life throws at us seasons of suffering, but when we surround ourselves with others who love us just the way we are, battle scars and all, and will bleed right alongside of us until they’ve completed sewing the stitches that God uses their tender and loving hands to mend; there’s something unique and valuable about being loved just the way we are!

Until next time…

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Plank In Thine Own Eye

Excuse me… 

You might want to remove that rather large plank from your own eye while I’m still hanging here!!!

You know that feeling, you’re beyond console.  You’re no longer content and purring like a kitty.  Now you find yourself lying in wait for an innocent prey to cross your path so you can devour and consume them!  Every living, breathing thing annoys you.  Between the sound from the constant jeers occupying way too much space in your neighborhood (your mind) to the innocence of childlike laughter, everything and everyone has somehow leeched onto the underpinnings of your emotional and spiritual foundation.  Now all you’re doing is roaring like a tiger and leaping and pouncing on the prey that stands before you. 

You’re tired.  No, more like exhausted.  Life is hard.  People are messy.  Change abounds and relentless demands suck out the very last breath you had been holding onto.  You feel like the hunted, yet your actions simulate a hunter looking to accuse and devour.  You’re judging another’s piece of imperfection while prancing around with your own huge plank distorting your framed lenses.

Everyone has a problem except for you (hello!!!).  You’re demanding they change, yet you’ve failed to realize you’re the one who needs to change because you’re letting their actions affect you.  Life had gotten too heavy again and somehow or another you removed the wrong baggage; you know, you lightened your load by putting your solitude time with your Lord on the back-burner.  And here your Bible is screaming, “Open, open, open.”

There’s a reason the Bible tells us in Matthew 7:5 and Luke 6:41-42 about Jesus’ teaching regarding the criticism of others.  Granted, there are times when the actions of others need to be confronted for their wrongdoing, but when we can’t let it go and it starts consuming our every thought and action, bringing about negative amplification, we become self-righteous and judgmental.  Ouch!

I needed this.  The Lord was convicting me.  I had let the doubt and challenges over the sovereignty of God’s protection with future generations consume me.  Every choice and decision I was obediently choosing to make will Blameless Judgmentimpact our future generations.  Walking out our faith is brutally hard at times especially when it requires the severance of strongholds that have afflicted loved ones. 

When everyone and everything started annoying me, I realized how I let the actions of another pollute my tender heart and I needed the cleansing that only the Lord could purify through His Love and healing.  This anger and irritation festering inside of me was wrapping me up into a web of destruction.  The lies of the enemy.  I wanted out of this entanglement again because it was way too hard to walk through.  Even though I knew this suffering would last only for a little while, sojourning this side of heaven was anything but blissful.  My bones became dry and brittle and I was parched!

How could I figure out how to escape victoriously?  First I needed to pray and repent!   After that, I needed to sit at the feet of Jesus and immerse myself in that beautiful love letter of mine, the Bible, and receive the cleansing and nourishment my soul was craving.  God was awaiting His daughter’s presence so He could purify my soul and speak peace and restoration back into my dry bones as He gently caressed my face while loving on me.  What a good, good Father!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I wrestle, clash, growl and, yes, even pounce on others because I’m irritated, exhausted, frustrated, feeling attacked and want out of the tough journey that I am pressing through, and I forget about the valuable resources available that would empower me with the much-needed strength to quench and satisfy my thirst that could only come from the living water Himself; Jesus Christ!

Since God loves us just the way we are, we don’t have to be afraid in getting exposed through our vulnerabilities!  The filthiness and decay of my flesh and spirit needs daily, or more like moment by moment, cleansing perfecting His holiness throughout my life this side of heaven.  When I receive this cleansing from being in the presence of my Lord, reading His Word, then my thoughts and attitudes promote reactions and actions that lead to peace and love.  If we don’t take the time to understand and process what we’re feeling and thinking, we become judgmental and sinister and blinded to the plank in our very eye. 

You know, I’ll let you in on a secret here; I’m not always right.  I am an imperfect Beloved who is Be-held living in an imperfect world and my humble perspective changes and allows my world room to bloom and grow being a Beautiful Beloved!

Oh, don’t worry, I’m still hanging onto that tree branch.  I’m sure there will be many more difficult days in my future where I’ll want to pounce and devour, but I can only pray for deliverance on that day and worry about my own plank rather than what is in my brother’s or sister’s eye.  God isn’t through with me yet. ♥♥  I choose to remember that others’ actions and behaviors are their own and there is no place for my own judgment.  I have enough of my own issues to deal with! 

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

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My Heart Bleeds

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My Heart Bleeds

My heart bleeds…  When you ignore and don’t see me.  My heart bleeds…  When you say you love me and yet look right through me.  My heart bleeds…  When I don’t feel accepted because of my needs.  My heart bleeds…  When you turn your back on me.  My heart bleeds…  When you say you don’t need me!

My Lord Holds My Heart

After pulling myself out of my car exhausted, praying that the Lord would fill me up with strength and love, I dragged myself into the welcoming area.  Every step was riddled with physical pain, but Blameless Animated Heartthe lack of any acknowledgement or greeting of my mere presence ushered in a deep sense of loss and rejection which cut right through to the very core of my being.  Here I’m generally the one welcoming and loving on others wherever I go, but today the only image I saw was the turning of backs.

My heart sank with rejection which made me want to run and hide.  Better yet, it prompted me to visit my bad neighborhood filled with triggers that were rearing their ugly heads.  My mind was filled with scenarios like, Do I smell like B.O.?  Do I have precarious toilet paper hanging in the wind and no one can look at me without laughing?  I could live with that!  Worse yet, what is so repulsive about me, my mere presence, that would trigger people to turn their backs on me?  Great, now this forced meltdown is causing Hoover Dam to burst from my tear ducts!

To make things worse, right before my heart leaped from my chest in despair, I noticed five known leaders who were huddled together in a corner watching my every step.  The closer I got to them, the quicker they all turned their backs on me to face the door.  Now mind you, when all backs simultaneously turn in the opposite direction, it doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that the consolation and acknowledgement I craved today was going to stay unmet; or was it?

I am so grateful for our Great Counselor that John 14:26-27 (MSG) talks about because when four of the five backs turned against me, it threw a dagger deep into my heart that made me want to do an about face and run like the wind on that cold and stormy day!  Their disregard felt more like the arctic blast.  I resolved to pull up my big girl panties and wipe my tears as I felt peace warming my heart and hearing, “I see you, Beautiful.”  I remembered the meaning and intention behind John 14:27, I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft.  So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” 

That’s when the Holy Spirit reminded me how my Lord Himself experienced this great pain just so He could relate, engage and identify with our sufferings.  The Spirit helps us walk through these painful encounters bravely because we’re so wrapped in His Love and know where our worth and value come from.  That’s affirmation!  Jesus often says, Beloved, My heart bleeds when you ignore me.  My heart bleeds when you turn your back on me.  My heart bleeds when you say you don’t need me.  My heart bleeds when you don’t accept and love me.  My heart bleeds when you don’t believe in me. 

My goodness, had it not been for the Holy Spirit’s comfort and tugging, I would have succumbed to the pain afflicted from the flaming arrows and emotional darts that penetrated my armor.  We all get dressed more often than not without our armor on or even with our breastplates on backwards.  This leaves our hearts vulnerable to the seat of our emotions and self-worth exposed. Without knowing the love and pursuit of our Lord, defeat would strip any confident beloved!

I don’t know about you, even though I’m jovial, I don’t always remember that I have royal blood, crowned with favor, am pursued and chosen while always being unconditionally loved.  I am surrounded by a community where my stink and scarred and beat-up presence journeying this side of heaven is welcomed and supported, knowing my exposed back is covered.  I need to know I am accepted when I don’t feel beautiful.  I need to be able to cry and receive a hug and shoulder without judgment by those I do life with.  I need to be able to bleed right there while my peeps come in close, not afraid to weave love and support through every stitch until the bleeding stops.  That’s the meaning of a heartfelt community and one that Jesus offers!

Remember the words of our Jesus:  My heart bleeds when you don’t trust me (John 14:6-12).  My heart bleeds when you ask for help and refuse to believe (1 Cor. 2:9).  My heart bleeds when you feel you’re not beautiful and I created you as my masterpiece (Eph. 2:10).  My heart bleeds when you say you’re afraid and lonely, yet you forget to grab ahold of my hand as we sojourn together (Isaiah 41:10-13).  My heart bleeds when you believe your worth is of no value and yet I died for you (John 3:16-18).  My heart bleeds when you know nothing of me (1 John 4:7-21).     

Most Importantly,

My Heart Bleeds When You Say

You Don’t Need Me!

Until next time…

Blameless Flower 6.6

Courage To Be Still

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Courage To Be Still

Are you anything like me, it takes more than courage to be still?  What does that look like anyways and why on earth would I want to be still with all the demands clamoring for my attention?  Here I’m exhausted with a whole house to pack, still have “the” home to find, along with numerous state and federal filings for Blameless’ nonprofit status and I’m told to be still?

I am sitting here needing me some cheese to go along with all this whining as I vomit to the Lord all of my frustrations and how He needs to get real with His expectations; that how dare He tell me to sit and be still with all of this going on!  Attitude at its finest!  I’m so grateful we serve a good, good Father because what is coming out of my potty mouth right now isn’t exactly worthy to pen, but it’s the truth in how I’m feeling!  Frustration with a capital F!  Oh, and because He’s such a good, good Father, He lets me throw my Tammy Tantrums and loves me just the way I am!

Sit and write?  I don’t want to.  I don’t have a brain.  Why would I want to write?  All I would write about is how all these spinal injuries make it hard to type with my neck propped, brace and all; and sitting doesn’t exactly take the pain off the old back injuries.  It seems my cages and rods do nothing but sever my nerves these days.  But I can walk and move, sometimes even gracefully (in my dreams anyways!), so I am grateful for that.  There are times when I want to dance and move about like I used to, but all that does is makes me bitter and hilarious to watch.  Pain is a part of my journey. 

The Lord shared with me back in 2003 or so that I would live with chronic pain until He took me home to be with Him for eternity.  He even called it my thorn in the flesh that would keep me humbled that Paul so eloquently shares in describing his weakness in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  I had just finished my two-year rehabilitation from a serious life-altering car accident that forever changed my life, but since I could finally walk to my mailbox that was located at the end of my driveway, I was elated with the progress.  At that time the pain was tolerable, but I had no idea subsequent accidents would cause more pain and damage. 

The simple things in life, really; learning how to walk down your driveway to retrieve the daily mail.  Just a simple feat and one WE ALL take for granted!  I know I did, and I still do at times.  Here I’ve done too much, things I’m not supposed to do, especially given my couple-pound weight limit.  Since the Lord gives me daily grace and an outpouring of strength and vitality to persevere, I forget all I accomplish because I lack self-compassion on the hard days. 

You know those moments, when someone gives you the greatest compliment by saying they had no idea all the injuries that your body has sustained and the pain you live through constantly, that it reminds you of His constant mercy and humbling grace?  That’s HUGE PRAISES to my Lord because He alone has sustained me!

Tonight I took a brief moment to catch the sunset.  I am a sunset chaser and one of many reasons I love my home.  Until they built the new cancer center next door, I had an unobstructed view of every sunset.  I love how God magnificently paints a masterpiece most nights to remind us of another beautiful day lived this side of heaven. 

Kind of strange how we say we don’t have ten minutes to be still and watch God’s majestic radiance as he paints a portrait that would brighten up any life while pouring peace over our depleted souls.  Instead we manage to spend over thirty minutes spewing and infecting those surrounding us what ten minutes of gratitude and stillness through admiration could accomplish.

Wow, amazing how magically better I feel.  Oh, I am in pain, but hopefully me stopping now and being still with admiration will afford the Lord some healing time so tomorrow I can get up and continue once again.  For all my fellow chronic pain sufferers out there, my heartfelt prayers for healing and restoration are yours for the taking.  Receive the peace, alignment and strength to continue to fight the good fight as we run towards the finish line.  One thing I know for certain, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). 

If you would like prayer or would like to share a comment, please honor me with the prayer request below.  I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer.

Until next time…

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