Monthly Archives: February 2017

Highly Favored & Blessed

 

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Highly Favored & Blessed 

Smile

Next time someone dares or cares to ask you how you’re doing; stop, look them square in the eyes and defy a smile by saying, “Highly favored and blessed!”  Talk about a memorable departure. 

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

Smile, Beautiful! 

It’s Becoming On You

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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Lots!

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He Loves Me,

He Loves Me Lots! 

Perfect Love!

Aromatic fragrances and sweet lyrical sounds excited my senses as I inhaled pure joy and eager anticipation.  These heightened sensations drew me towards the direction that was greeted with excitement as my heart jumped with joy in unison with each footstep that led me closer to the propped door.  The simplistic and innocent melody being sung beneath the covers amplified the subtle undertones. 

Upon arrival, I stopped dead in my tracks instead of plunging in through the door.  I usually fly onto the bed to receive that much needed sugar fix I crave that can only be satisfied through the hugs and kisses and giggles of my beloved granddaughter.  The restraint delivered through the quiet peek from the door captured more than sweet memories. 

The dangling of the tiny feet resembled more of a banging sensation similar to that of a tambourine along with the precious whispers of the words delivered.  This clanging cymbal was something that her daddy mastered and brought me great joy.  You can’t help but dance when memories are that vivid.  This ushered me right into the presence of praising my Lord for all His amazing gifts and love!

The innocent melodic words flowing freely without any reservation from a two-and-a-half-year-old were simply,  “My Carson, I love you.  My Carson, I love you.  My Carson.  My Carson is good, good, good.”  Then a brief moment of silence and the singing continued with “One, two, three, four.  Two, three, four.  Five, six.  One, two.  One, two.”  Silence erupts as the wrestling of the sheets breaks through with, “He loves me, he loves me not.  He loves me, he loves me not.”

Here my precious granddaughter was laying on my bed thinking about her adored three-year-old friend, Carson, with her legs flailing about in open air while pulling the petals away from flowers that were sitting on my nightstand.  My heart leaped with joy as I watched with admiration how precious and innocent the words flowing carefree intertwined with her contentment to just be and receive.  She had mastered that delicate art of basking long enough to ponder about love after awakening from a nap.

Listening to those tender words, “My Carson, I love you.  He loves me, he loves me not,” suddenly reiterated how God’s Love never ceases.  There is nothing we could ever do to make God not love us.  If only we could arise and take a few brief moments each day to bask into His Great Love.  This is why I’m such an advocate of His Word!  Daily immersion equips us to press through boldly each day remembering how loved, chosen, pursued and valued we are.

We need to remember, reiterate and emphasize while changing our words to reflect “He loves me, He loves me lots.  He loves me, He loves me lots!”

I want my Princess Ella to grow up knowing that she is Loved, ALWAYS, and Lots (LAL)!  No matter what happens in life, there is nothing she can do to run from or separate herself from our good, good Father’s Love.  And when she questions it, all she has to do is read her Love Letter, her Bible, and ask the Lord to show her what He thinks about her while she rests at His feet.  I pray she constantly awakes knowing she is unconditionally loved and can sing out loud,  “He loves me, He loves me lots!  He loves me, He loves me lots!”    

I can remember what it was like to feel and think I never belonged or that I was not loved.  It distorted every choice and decision I ever made for decades.  Talk about insecurities and strongholds that developed.  I felt my identity was based on the power delivered from my family, career, income, power and prestige, education, children, you name it.  All of that left me unfulfilled, unloved, and lacked any long-standing self-worth and identity. 

Now that I know where my worth and value are derived from and how loved I am by our good, good Father, and it’s unconditional and never ceases, I am walking confidently with my Godfidence (confidence given by God) knowing I am not only loved just the way I am, but I am Loved Lots!

Being Loved is the most valuable and cherished possession one could obtain.  It not only offers great riches through friendships, healing, transformation, and miraculous treasure chests filled and overflowing with daily gifts just awaiting to be picked up and opened, but it’s free and one in which we all thrive and bloom under.  Maybe that is why Jesus was telling us to be more like little children in Matthew 18:3.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to change my thinking and loudly proclaim to my Princess Ella that she is LOVED, ALWAYS, and LOTS!  May we never forget to remember and share the power delivered from the Truth that “He loves me, He loves me lots.”  After all, that is the meaning behind 1 John 4:8-21.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

I’ve Been Caught!

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I’ve Been Caught!

Now What?

I’ve been caught!  Now what?  What’s a girl supposed to do?  Should I apologize?  What for, I didn’t ask for this disregard.  Should I just keep quiet to cover over the offense of another?  Now why would I do that, especially given the fact that statistics show the perpetrator will continue?  Should I run away with my tail between my legs or should I stand firm, tall, and roar like an angry lion does announcing his forewarning?

Ha!  I know what I would like to do!  If we’re being honest here, I know most of us would like to see revenge occur when others devalue us, especially when one’s heart has been hurt and violated, right?

That’s when my very own advocate, Jesus Christ, convicts my heart and reminds me that His ways of Love and justice, not to mention vindication (revenge, yes!), will be accomplished completely different than anything I could ever conjure up.

My initial attempts at confronting through Love will be honored, while those who devalued my life and time will be instructed in how to better handle these situations in the future because Love is patient.  Love is kind.  Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

Honestly, after hearing those beautiful words from my best friend, the Holy Spirit, my Comforter, I had about a three-second sense of peace and contentment; but then the decay stemming from the bitter root inside of my heart wanted out and her revenge didn’t want it accomplished through God’s Love or His ways of justice.  I am just being totally honest here because I’m far from a saint.  I have feelings and they run deeper than any roots or any circumference of the cedars of Lebanon.  Sadly, there are times I’m ready and able to devour and feast on my prey that I’ve been lying in wait for.

It’s a beautiful thing my good, good Father knows me and loves me just the way I am, because right after I completed my Tammy Tantrum at her finest, my Lord reminded me of my beliefs; that every affliction that comes my way and brings God glory through reaching and teaching others is well worth any vindication my mind could dare conjure up because I have seen firsthand the destruction that pride and hate promotes.  Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs (Proverbs 10:12). 

My Lord reminded me to focus on matters worthy of my attention; that I have quite a challenge before me that will consume all my energy and to let Him take care of this.  Isn’t that what a loving daddy does; gently reminds us what to release, where to keep our focus, and to trust Him for the outcome while He blesses us with peace that surpasses all knowledge (Philippians 4:7).  How else are we going to make it through another day without it?  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I am so grateful I have the freedom to press into His Word through intimacy and memorize scripture that I cling to for dear life because it’s at these moments when I’m ready to attack by fighting back that my heart and soul gently leads me to quiet pastures in order to regroup and calm down.  Sometimes that even requires grabbing me by the bit.  It’s better than ripping someone’s head off through words that could easily spew out of my mouth or of the pouring myself a glass of wine just to temporarily calm down which leads into several along with a headache the next day.

Since I’ve been declared innocent and righteous, it only makes sense then to extend that grace to those that have harmed me through Love.  It does not mean they will not suffer any subsequent repercussions of their actions, it just helps me to release the sting and be healed.  This will require being completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in Love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called (Ephesians 4:2-4). 

You might be saying, “Can you really let God have vengeance?”  Oh, it was hard at first.  That’s when I get to share that after you’ve been caught and touched by my Lord and realize how pursued and chosen you are, abiding in His Love and ways is amazing.  The freedom from the bondage and pain that those handcuffs caused releases a little snicker underneath your breath once your spirit (your BFF, best friend forever) reminds you, In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you (Proverbs 25:22).

Now that’s worth a happy dance!  And my heart gets to leap with joy knowing that through loving crazily while being kind to those I encounter that are hard and messy this side of heaven, pours more than hot coals onto their heads.  My God, my Lord, claims vindication in the only way that could reap lasting results; Love!  I’m really not that kind, it’s just a byproduct of the fruit of the Spirit; Love!

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

 

Victim or Victor? Part One

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Victim or Victor?

Silence Empowers Perpetrators

Part One

This piece of Caryn Drexl’s Photography speaks of unfathomable pain and suffering.  It also exhibits triumphant undertones that are not only haunting, harsh realities, but speak victory if one simply dares to look long enough under the torment.  Kind of synonymous with the old adage that a good friend shared last week, “Our churches are hospitals for sinners, not a showcase for saints.”

If churches and congregations are supposed to be safe havens and refuges for the hurt and broken, how can they safely coexist alongside places of worship and be common ground that encourages engagement in healthy relationships?  Can they nurture and develop into communities where we can learn and grow from one another as we do life together safely through prayer, consolation and the healing of our infirmities?

Why is it I cannot be consoled or receive this peace that others receive or flock to?  Why is my spirit so downcast within me?  Is it because my hands are tied and affliction abounds or because it is yet another piece of bravery that valor requires I walk through?

Have our churches become so polluted with sick people who only attend so they can be catered to and loved on while we practice our sermons getting paid through accolades and tithes and commercialization or are we forgetting through our performance-based facades that we are supposed to administer healing through Love Himself in order to be released back into our communities?

The Word teaches that the Body of Christ is meant to be the hands and feet of God while sojourning this side of heaven through love, justice and accountability.  Why, then, are we staying loosely bound and tied, afraid to bravely break free by confronting and speaking up against the actions of a brother from another mother?

Isn’t that what community in the church is all about; loving one another while sharing our experiences in claiming freedom and holding each other accountable for how we do life each and every day, good or bad?  To me, that requires trust that is gained solely through the engagement of communication and the building of relationships

Since coexisting on earth oftentimes requires love, patience, goodness, kindness, etc., communities go through a gamut of emotions similar to victims ranging from fear to denial and maybe even to acknowledgement.  As a society, how can we claim victory when the actions of our leaders compound and make the violation much more worse than need be all in the name of devaluation? 

I personally feel completely violated myself, not so much from the actions of a perpetrator, but the way my complaint was handled by those in authority.  I didn’t ask the Lord to put me on this path or even to take its sting away.  I asked Him to give me courage to be brave enough while being obedient through Love.  I knew this obedience would release the everlasting peace and wisdom that I was craving for, but I was not prepared to tackle this battle after what I perceived was being completely devalued and shut down.

I can handle the person injecting the fear and control, but what about those who shepherd and lead us and are supposed to protect and support us as we press through attacks, not to mention the legalities that accompany it?  What are we supposed to do if we don’t feel as if our backs are covered?  I know that sadly in the world we live today, this violation will happen again, but it does not have to tarnish the spirit of another.

I was brave enough to try and stop the actions through Love before they hurt more people or themselves and the power from my voice was stilled before I even had a chance to share my concerns about what had transpired.  I don’t know what hurts worse, the actions of the perpetrator or the blatant disregard of my value.  Mocking it on the podium is quite shocking.  Isn’t this conduct called denial, sweeping it underneath the rug because no one wants to take the time and deal with it?  Is it the victim’s duty to proclaim victory without the untying of the ropes first?

Being an advocate and a victim myself, the one thing I always try to emphasize and share with victims is that when we keep quiet because we feel no one will believe us or more harm will befall us, or it will just cause a scene in the church, we are giving our violators the power to continue in their conduct.  What might have started out as borderline bad behaviors can quickly escalate into dangerous situations because no one stood up and said, “Stop.  Enough.”

Bad behaviors and boundary breakers will continue to exist and clash in our congregations until someone is bold and courageous enough to bring awareness through Love.  When this conduct is tolerated in our congregations and the victim is ridiculed, this is not the edification and correction process that Paul speaks so clearly about in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

As a matter of fact, how can we effectively help build each other up while being sensitive to all sides until we take the time to communicate?  Have our churches lost that delicate art, sense of communal relationships, in order to be polished and presented with perfection?  I didn’t realize living in an imperfect world being imperfect beings demanded perfection; just saying…

Call me bold and courageous or even crazy.  I like to believe I’m a Beloved chosen to walk out my faith as I boldly confront what my Lord asks me to do.  Call me controversial or even boisterous, but I know where my value and worth derive from.  It is my duty and responsibility as a child of God to talk and share about lifestyles and subjects that are a part of our culture today which are not spoken about and even hushed in our congregations.  God forbid!

Until next time…