Tag Archives: #community

I Cried When I Was Denied…

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I Cried When I Was Denied…

But I Never Died!

The morning coffee buzz from being drunk on too much caffeine, along with the clanging plates from the waitresses rushing to cater to every need, drowned out the sobering convulsions conveyed from the beaten and burned beloved.

From rejected to accepted!

Cigarette burns and bruises to any part of your body is considered torture and abusive!

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Somebody is always listening…

If truth be told, I prefer my morning brew in the comforts of my own home, preferably in bed, along with my morning devotional time spent at my Lord’s feet opening up my Bible.  The sounds from Mr. Owl chiming in with his whoot-whoots as the orchestra of frogs rib-bit out a beat or two in sync with the birds’ melody who excitedly embrace their new day is more than a welcomed sound.

Today was different, though!  Tuesdays we do a Bible study for the homeless beloveds that would like to know how to experience this great love affair trusting and waltzing with the Lord after being abused myself.  I am writing this Bible study called God’s Great Love Changes Everything specifically catered to our homeless! 

After only receiving a couple of RSVPs for tonight’s study and the constant complaints delivered from being cold due to the night’s rain, chocolate chip pancakes and hot coffee seemed to be the menu topic initiated in a community text message about where dinner would be.  This quickly ushered us into meeting at iHop for breakfast along with the Bible study in lieu of dinner. 

Dinners are a rare luxury for the homeless population and Blameless is one of the few organizations that offers hot dinners twice a week.  Usually only breakfast and sack lunches are offered at shelters and churches, so I knew there was a great need behind this need for a breakfast meeting.

Blameless Need Behind Need

Between the noise, we settled in tight as the girls started peeling off their damp scarves and jackets to get warm.  I hadn’t noticed the bruises and lacerations on one beloved until she removed her many layers hiding more than emotional turmoil.  Once the injuries were in full view, I knew we needed intervention to figure out the best protocol to approach this behavior. 

Homeless women tend to be associated with domestic violence encounters because they’re used to living under the fight and flight mentality as a form of protection, no matter how distorted that may appear.  Having a buddy for comfort and protection helps fend off other violent attacks against the homeless along with assurances that their few bags of possessions will still be nearby when they awaken.  But the cost is often great!

This precious beloved shared how she just wanted to be held and comforted because she didn’t end up getting to talk to her son, who had promised to call her over the weekend.  This mama totally understands the love our children cover us with and the rejection that might follow. 

She shared how much she loved her son, but that she was so wrapped up tight living under her own veil of shame and living in the wrong hood (battlefield of the mind), that she just decided to pity party her own disappointment.

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If you’ve ever lived under the demands of abuse, you find yourself living, or surviving, under the confines of mental anguish.  Instead of seeing this pain as a process (a wake-up call to get out), you find it accepting as a permanent residence because you become isolated due to shame with no one to help you get up or out. 

You cried when you were denied, but since you never died, you become quite familiar and comfortable in the most horrid conditions.  When you live in darkness, being out in the light is frightening and quite startling.  Initially…

I shared with the girls how my pain turned into power when I realized that facing this Goliath of fear walking through it scared as hell was the only way to unlock the shackles.  The key was that it would take others to help pick me up each time I fell.  No more isolation. 

Taking baby steps ended the life being subjected to the multitude of abusers while living a life loved and yes, helping others.  That meant acting and living like who God says we are; His works of art! 

We cannot allow this process, being homeless and/or abused, to become our permanent spot.  Engaging in pity parties, having the mindset of a victim and denier, announces the need to break free from the toxicity of this environment. 

Yes, living a life filled with an outpouring of love and peace will be awkward and quite uncomfortable at first, but it will offer us freedom, along with our own tear-stained pillows and soft embrace from the protection and warmth that our own cozy blankets offer. 

I am choosing to honor my Lord by honoring the beloveds He has placed in my life.  I know the Lord will show me how to love others the way in which He loves me so that our faith will grow stronger and deeper in our hearts as we learn to trust in Him.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being

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Buday Strong, Russell B.

Blameless Buday Strong

The Voice of Russell B.

Buday Strong

Working Homeless

Please let me introduce you to Buday Strong!  Russell is Blameless and Forever Free’s latest nominee for the board of directors.  With his unprecedented devotion in being Blameless’ chef and server, along with always being willing to help wherever he can, (only missing one week in nine months, solely due to the founder’s insistence that he heal from his shoulder surgery), he’s not missed one day serving.  One of many reasons why he is being nominated as Blameless’ homeless advocate.

Russell is a working homeless beloved himself.  And the following is raw, intimate and vulnerable, words spoken from his heart that he wants us to understand.

In Russell’s words…

The reason his homelessness started was over petty money issues between siblings and his need to provide for his children in the Philippines; “money is the root of all evil.”  His American family insinuated that his Philippine family was using him.  Russell tried to explain without compromise.

Russell has constantly put his daughters, 8 and 10, at the front burner.  His daughter says her daddy is “Buday Strong.”

Russell’s last name is Buday and it ironically means “strong, strength.”

Russell has struggled with homelessness before, but he has now become isolated and withdrawn because he is tired of being labeled as “the scourged of the community.” 

This shame keeps homeless beloveds bound without hope believing, “We’re the low life of the community in their eyes; that we don’t deserve any kind of help.” 

He tearfully continues, “If you treat us like animals, we will be animals towards you.  I want to be treated like a human being.  I have feelings like you, believe it or not.  Your looks hurt!  You don’t have to say one word, but just look, and I know what you’re thinking.” 

That is why we oftentimes say the homeless live behind their veils of shame because of what society has projected at them,

“especially when you’re pushing a cart.”

By the way, Russell is the ONE throughout this year who has loyally served the homeless community through dedication and dependability.

A lady once brought tender tears to Russell’s heart because of her statement, “Some of the nicest people with the biggest hearts are those that live on the streets.”

Russell knows what it’s like to live as a homeless individual and what is needed.  He was homeless 22 years ago in Florida for a couple of years, and now he’s currently homeless and has been for the past eight, nine months, while being employed.

What the homeless need RIGHT NOW is love, dinner and shelter every night.  Not only does safety and nourishment for the heart, soul, body and mind aid in their sleeping which is disturbed already by being out in the elements along with the crime that runs rampant in the streets, but it calms and restores their soul in making better decisions.

Homelessness has broken Russell down.  Stripped down naked feeling exposed.  “You feel worthless and no matter what you do, you try to grasp onto something and you keep slipping.  You can’t get a good handle on or a foothold on to something and you just give up due to exhaustion.  We feel broken.” 

It’s Russell’s kids and faith in God that are making sure that Russell stays Buday Strong.  Because without him, his children will not survive because they depend on the resources he provides.

With tears rolling down his cheeks, Russell shares, “You don’t know how hard this is for me, doing this.  Whenever you’re alone for so long, you bottle everything up and you don’t want to open up.”  This is one step forward towards his healing.  He just wants peace in sharing his life; advocating for the homeless. 

Russell is someone whom the founder has noticed that will give the shirt off of his back, while being homeless and cold himself, and he shutters when he thinks about how his family won’t help.  Our division and strife in families is growing increasingly divided and somehow or another we’ve lost the love.

God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

And truth be told about Russell’s love for his own family, being faced with the possibility of having his toes amputated because of chronic health issues not being addressed, which is very heavy on his heart, fear is a bipolar rivalry between his worth and value, crushing his spirit, and paralyzing him in moving forward in taking care of himself.  Self vs. family equates homelessness while he continues to work.

In conclusion, Russell’s final plea is, “All I want is for people to know me and not turn a blind eye” just because he’s homeless and pushing a cart.  If you really want to know, don’t assume, ask him why he’s homeless.

Until next time…

God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

Blameless Martin

God’s Great Love Changes Everything!

Love Offers Hope.  Hope Develops Confidence.  Confidence Leads To Action.  Action Results In Change!

Albert Einstein was onto something when he stated, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing!”

When we encounter homeless beloveds, our natural reaction generally triggers dismay along with blinders because it exposes the depth of our hearts.

Shallowness!

Ouch!  If you’re anything like I used to be, you become appalled when you encounter the homeless.  Do you discount them as losers?  Even refer to them as junkies and beggars with mental illness?  Or do you judge and group them together as lost souls who are polluting our rivers and streams and becoming public safety toxins?

Sadly, Einstein’s analogy is exactly how we, as a society, have been operating and dealing with the homeless.  We need to facilitate an emergent change because this homeless epidemic is out of control and it’s birthing hate, division and war instead. 

Casting and shifting blame onto our overwhelmed governmental programs, lack of law enforcement implementation and nonprofit organizations scrambling to find needed finances to create shelters, carrying the full weight of society’s expectations in finding a remedy obviously has failed.  We need education and awareness of this process while becoming part of the front lines that are no match to this Goliath.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries continues to become equally frustrated at the increasing numbers.  This nonprofit has found that incorporating God’s Great Love and treating the homeless as our own family with the addition of their “A Beautiful You” homeless events where outreach is geared towards providing nourishment spiritually, physically and emotionally is conquering this battlefield one life at a time, one day at a time.

Should we give up because society dictates a numbers game so responsibility is relinquished? 

Every life matters so one life saved is victory!

The founder of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries has spent the last year doing life with the homeless, getting to know the need underlying the needs, and is going to try as humbly as possible to share her raw, true feelings comparing the pain and shock from the loss of her own first husband succumbing to the death delivered from alcohol addiction, depression along with homelessness, to spending a Friday evening eating dinner and listening to the story of a working homeless man, to starting a charitable organization catered to the many facets of homelessness.

Homelessness hurts and effects everyone.  Whether you’re a family member, an ex-spouse, a child/parent, taxpayer, you name it, we’re all being effected one way or another.  We can no longer relinquish responsibility.

I pray that I can somehow share openly my past judgments with candor while offering awareness to just how long it takes to cut through the bureaucratic red tape to find governmental help along with the stigma that mental illness carries to a world who is just now being introduced to the painful consequences that has been swept underneath the rug for generations. 

I am going to start showcasing one homeless beloved a month so you might understand their story; how they get to where they are and why they still remain abandoned and rejected.  Shame is a hard outer shell to crack through, much less rehabilitate.

The man above is Martin.  Martin thought he was going to die homeless with his Stage 4 colon cancer.  Outreach offered me the ability to befriend Martin, engage in fellowship with him, along with introducing him to Christ. 

Martin’s lens had been clouded and tainted by life, pain delivered through tragedy and rejection, but once we got him reading glasses, a Bible, and a whole lot of love emulating our Beautiful Jesus, Martin soon realized his life mattered.  He didn’t need as much alcohol that once dictated every decision he made (liquid courage, NOT!!!).  He realized he belonged and is now living comfortably in Sacramento with his sister and family. 

Martin, I love you and miss you dearly.  Thank you for teaching me the simplicity in sharing that I’m not the only one who becomes giddy watching the twilight of the moon dance through the trees while howling like a wolf when the moon becomes full. 

Blameless Homeless Rite-Aid

My mission with Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is not to encounter the appalling picture above anymore encamped alongside of our grocery stores.  Not all homeless want help, including Martin’s friend passed out in the photo above, but roughly 40% of our homeless do. 

And with our amazing God and all the precious beloveds dedicated to being His hands and feet, contributing to the welfare and outpouring of God’s Great Love, rehabilitation is awakened, proving with God, all things are possible! 

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!

 

Wading Through Muddy Waters

Blameless Wade Thru Mud

Wading Through Muddy Waters

The massive strength needed to trudge through the muddy waters resembled more of a controlled, predictable gait, mirroring the confidence honored from the instincts that guided her next move.  She moved so swiftly, you’d never know her lack or hunt.  Her consistent fortitude simulated being well fed, full of faith and contentment exhibited by the play-like wading through the thick muddy waters all in the game of provision.

Her work is never affected by slim pickings, cloudy days, depression, bloating or PMS.  She is grateful for her daily bread.  Her comforts and submission are turned to the One who knows all things so there is nothing interfering with her loyalty and integrity.  Not even the pathetic whines that require way too much wine to numb the senses.

She finds rest and peace, ready at a moment’s notice, to please her master.  She knows Him and believes He has her best interests at heart even when she doesn’t see its fruition and the relentless hunger pangs remind her of the deficit.  Her mind stays focused on the trust that He will provide for her need, provision and protection every step of the way. 

She is reliable and a true hero.  Because her convictions rule her faith walk, each stride produces character traits that do not change like the raging storms and people around her.  “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).  

I don’t know about you, but when financial struggles strike our very heel, I would sure love to wade through the muck and yuck of those muddy waters with vigor and freedom mirroring such trust and confidence in my Lord’s provision rather than trudging through it fearfully, barely able to keep my head above water.  All that does is waste precious energy anyways in being exhausted emotionally, physically and spiritually. 

If we could only remember to put our hearts and devotion into seeking and hearing our Lord and believing in His promises while walking by faith and not fainting by sight, all these things would be given to us with peace and vitality.  We just have to be patient and wait on the Lord and His timing by saying “thank you.”

Victory will come through trust when we dare take our eyes off of ourselves and our problems, get out of that bad neighborhood girlfriend, and look towards our amazing Lord who goes before us to pave and prepare the way. 

He blesses us with the gift of others who help encourage and pull us through all the muck and yuck and some that will even dare sit right smack in the middle of it all as we cry out for help.  They understand what it’s like and know our tears will turn into joy in the morning.

Don’t give up on Him, Beautiful Beloved.  He will provide!  I know, I’ve been there before and God delivered in such a profound and dynamic way, it was almost too overwhelming to receive.  There’s a reason for this very season and it will pass before your very eyes carrying that blessed miracle of provision.

Talk about being brave!  Money is a hard master to control and a deceptive one at that.  Just look who’s coming to protect and carry you, Beautiful Beloved.  We must never lose sight that the King of all kings comes first, the Lion Himself, to guide His precious princess lionesses who make sojourning this side of heaven exciting, and then comes His delectable provision and feast.  Integrity rules!

Blameless On The Hunt

These girls are wading through muddy waters with bravery and strength.  No depression or isolation here to suggest anything but victory.  They are well nourished and adequately provided for.  These friendships courageously plow through life being Brave And Determined warriors (#BADwarriors)!  They are beautiful and confident beloveds leading each other to the finish line in sync with integrity.  They remind each other of the provision right around the bend.

Beautiful Beloved, don’t let your perceived lack take over the power and place that only God can offer and sustain.  God is your master, not money; let Him deliver!  Perfect peace that surpasses all knowledge can be obtained through financial crises if only you will trust Him and His timing!  “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26).  God is not ignoring you, He sees everything and cares for you.  Give Him some room to work as you rest at His feet.  He’s got it covered.

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Brave, Beautiful You!

Beautiful Blue You

 Beautiful Bouquet of Blue Butterflies!

Automatic obedience?  I’m a work in progress and a tad bit slow, but that’s what makes my gifts extraordinaire!  Those golden nuggets strategically placed just awaiting my presence makes this journey so exhilarating.  I am nothing short of a little girl skipping merrily along with my Easter basket in tote hunting for those hidden treasures my Lord has placed along the pathway just for me.  He loves my excitement as I squeal with delight as I find them, just like any good father would when blessing His children.

This morning I was challenged by my Lord during quiet time to embrace a time-out by hiking to clear my head and encounter His beauty and promises through nature.  I wrestled with Him through excuses like, “With my maxed-out day, you want me to go hiking?  What about my high pain level?”  Through my typical Tammy Tantrum and objections, I happened to shrug with an attitude to boot demanding, “I better see my rare and beautiful blue butterflies then.” 

Call me a spoiled brat!  I am and so PROUD OF IT!  Here my Lord asks me to take a break from all the demands vying for my attention and my spoiled and pathetic attitude barters with the Lord God Almighty demanding this encounter with MY (me-me-me) rare and beautiful blue butterflies that I haven’t seen in years.  My daddy knows what these butterflies mean to me, much like He knows the joy and peace I receive when He paints those magnificent portraits at sunset in the sky, JUST FOR ME!

These absent blue butterflies guided me quite a few years back on the Ravine trails that brought hope and assurance at a time sojourning this side of heaven crossed roads with an uncertain pathway that I needed clarification on.  Being aligned with His will is vital during a time when significant decisions are needed.  My faith and Spirit residing within me knew exactly what it needed for clarification:  “Just follow the blue monarch butterfly.” 

I did.  That obedience led me to one blue butterfly that guided me to another blue one that was stuck in the mud.  The amazement was that there were over 50 other blue butterflies just waiting for it to be released nearby.  This community of butterflies surrounded this one stuck beauty and refused to leave until the meticulous use of leaves pried it from the mud.  Talk about splendor as I sat and watched a bouquet of blue butterflies emerging from the ground I was sitting on.

Each step began with pain and a lot of grumbling, but once the tunes were on and I started worshiping the Lord, my mind started clearing and I watched nature blossom before my very eyes.  I was no longer rushed, just enchanted.  The crisp coolness from the gentle breeze excited my senses along with the fragrance that the orange blossoms offered as I skipped joyfully along with awe and praise.  Those initial grumblings were replaced with shouts of joy as I praised my daddy for this gift.

Praise not only changes our attitude, but it ushers down the presence of the Almighty and turns our gong sounds into sweet lyrics towards God that proclaim how amazing He works.  He not only blesses me with the road in which to take, answered prayer; but He affords me the luxury to speak life into a few of my beautiful girlfriends who are going through really hard and trying times right now.

My girlfriends have honored and graced me with complete trust where their bleeding and tattered hearts are exposed and shared with my heart for consolation.  I know their pain.  I can remember that pain.  Those sobs of anguish and convulsions of deep fears and despair that pour out of their tender hearts echos pain I once walked through and was graciously delivered from.

Beautiful Beloved, God sees you and hears you.  Your world hasn’t fallen apart, it is falling into place.  I know you are feeling blue right now, and I wish so compassionately that I could take your pain away.  But what I can offer you is to remind you how loved you are, continue to offer you a shoulder to lean on, a warm heart filled with lots of hugs and love, and a quiet presence to continue to allow you to cry, be prayed over, and supported as you’re surrounded by beauty and hope.

Don’t forget to cleave to the Truths found in the Word.  You were created and designed by God for His glory (Isaiah 43:7) and you are His masterpiece and work of art (Ephesians 2:10) so do not lose heart.  He is reaching down to help you get back up and fly, beautiful blue you.  Meditate on Psalm 116:1-7 as God bends down to deliver you:

I love the Lord, for He heard my voice;

He heard my cry for mercy.

Because He turned His ear to me,

I will call on Him as long as I live.

The cords of death entangled me,

the anguish of the grave came upon me;

I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.

Then I called on the name of the Lord:

“O Lord, save me.”

The Lord is gracious and righteous;

our God is full of compassion.

The Lord protects the simplehearted;

when I was in great need, He saved me.

Be at rest once more, O my soul,

for the Lord has been good to you.

Praise the Lord, Beautiful Blue You.

He Hears You and Will Deliver You!

Blameless Blue Monarch Butterfly

 

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!

 

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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