Monthly Archives: September 2014

You’re Already Validated!

Reposting because it didn’t share properly.

Mtnbarbie

“I wish I had said that”; “I wish I hadn’t said this”; “I should have…” “I shouldn’t have…” all of us play these movies in our heads right? We all think about past relationships of all kinds and see what we DIDN’T do or say and totally forget the good we did. I think that’s a trick of the enemy. He wants you to think of yourself as an epic fail on all counts so you’ll keep quiet and not try to bless others.

Those close to me know I have a special needs son whom I adore, and most who get to know him and allow him to be part of their lives feel about him close to the way I do. I have watched him of late try so hard to follow all the rules both society and others place before him and some of it has been…

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You’re Already Validated!

“I wish I had said that”; “I wish I hadn’t said this”; “I should have…” “I shouldn’t have…” all of us play these movies in our heads right? We all think about past relationships of all kinds and see what we DIDN’T do or say and totally forget the good we did. I think that’s a trick of the enemy. He wants you to think of yourself as an epic fail on all counts so you’ll keep quiet and not try to bless others.

Those close to me know I have a special needs son whom I adore, and most who get to know him and allow him to be part of their lives feel about him close to the way I do. I have watched him of late try so hard to follow all the rules both society and others place before him and some of it has been good. We all need to get along out there in the world and there are do’s and don’ts we have to follow to be accepted.Some of it, however, has not been good. I’ve watched him lose himself just to please someone else, all the while being nervous and afraid he’s going to do the wrong thing.

Have you ever tried to fit into a mold you were never intended to fit in just to please someone else? Just trying to be all they wanted you to be to please them only to find even that wasn’t enough. We so long to be accepted by others and to love others often finding somewhere along the way we forget who we are. We’ve all done it in some form or another. The common want of all humans is to be loved and accepted; maybe even validated.

We post things on Facebook and blog sometimes just to get that almighty like. Why do we try so hard to obtain the accolades and likes of people who maybe will never meet us, don’t know us personally or our struggles and the reasons why we are the way we are? True, we could all use a little tweak here and there…but to try to change ourselves to please someone else or live up to their expectations can be devastating.

You are who you are because God made you the way you are. All the good things and bad that have contributed to who you are now God allowed for HIS reasons and only He knows fully. He alone understands all your quirks, oddities and all your beauty. Even you don’t know you the way He does! He knows every single thing about you and guess what. HE LOVES YOU ANYWAY!! He’s the ONLY validation you need! Others may not understand you. They may even be intimidated by you or annoyed by you. God isn’t. He ACCEPTS you. He DIED for you. You ARE valid; you HAVE BEEN validated. What more do you need?

Yes, respect and consider other people and do your best to be a peacemaker. When they don’t respond how you think they should, love them anyway. If you’ve wronged someone and you know it, do your best to make it right. Pray for them. Pray for you. Don’t seek your worth in anyone else but God because you’ll never find it. People will take you in, tell you everything you want to hear, then disappoint and toss you for their next person. People are just people. God will always love you, no matter what. If you’re His, you’re a keeper!

Understand you are worth every drop of blood He shed because He shed it for you. He loves you. He will ALWAYS love you. I pray you decide His love, validation of you and your worth is enough.

What You Don’t See

20140928_083402 Several months ago, a sweet friend gave me a “pinch” of this beautiful plant that consumed her kitchen window. I put it in water and it rooted so I placed it in dirt. To date, there have been no new leaves, no evidence of growth whatsoever. Every day, I look at it and expect to see some indication it’s going to live and thrive and every day, I’m discouraged. Today being sure I had failed at something else I pulled it out of the dirt to find this:20140928_083630healthy roots!! I was sure the cutting was dying and I was ready to throw it away. The growth I so longed to see was happening underneath the dirt. I couldn’t see it, had no visual evidence there was any sign of life or change but the plant is thriving.

This is a perfect analogy of our lives at times. Every day we do all we can do to keep our faith up believing things won’t always be as difficult as they are now but we see no change. Day after day, we mosey along, longing for better and making the best of what we can make the best of right now. We rise determined to see the change…BE the change we long for and BOOM! We get blindsided, become discouraged and wait again to try for the next day…and the next. Soon we can’t see beyond the now and begin to wonder, based on what we see, if the light will ever come invade the darkness.

Here it is…God may just be working on the INSIDE where you can’t see because very often that’s where the growth and change is more important! The “root” of ourselves is our soul, our mind, our heart which to Him is the most important part. No matter what happens on the outside if the inside isn’t changing and growing even the good we see will be unsustainable and very often, misleading. With my plant, I believed what I saw with no regard of what I didn’t and I was ready to throw the thing away and start all over again. I wonder how many times discouragement based on what we see made us stop or worse, give up and “throw away” things in our lives right before God allowed us to experience some of our biggest blessings?

Hold on my friend. Don’t make decisions solely on what you see or the emotion of what you see produces. Faith is believing what we CAN’T see, feel, touch, remember? Maybe we need to search ourselves “underneath” making sure our “roots” are stable and growing. Are you staying close to God as you walk through what you’re walking through? Do you believe Him literally? Do you know the truth?

Sometimes a little fertilizer is in order for the plants. The same is true for our soul. Take care of the root and soon we’ll see the evidence of growth and the better on the outside. But when you don’t trust that God IS with you working in and on where you can’t see.

When the Rug is Pulled Out….

RhemaJoy Ministries

I am at rest in God alone;my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation,my stronghold; I will never be shaken (Psalm 62:1-2).

It is September 11.  While I am not going to write another blog focusing on what happened on this day (because plenty of people already have), I will remember the fallen.  On this day in 2001, the rug was pulled out from under us but God was and is still on the throne.  It did not surprise Him.  It did not cause him to tremble. He has never not been in control in our world and He is never not in control of the events in my personal life. He uses failure to bring us to success, rejection to draw us to His acceptance, suffering to experience joy and loss that we might gain through a closer relationship with Him.  Here are 10 things…

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Convinced because I’m Compelled.

I’m compelled to eat peanut butter because I’m convinced it’s good. I sleep because I’ve been convinced it’s necessary to rest. I’m compelled not to walk down the middle of a busy street in the dark with dark clothes on because I’m convinced I wouldn’t live through it!

Why do you do what you do? Out of necessity, because it’s what’s expected? Some things are unavoidable – we have to do them to live. What about the things we do out of choice, why do those? Something had to convince us to do them. We try new things and decide we’re going to do them because we enjoy them, because they’re right…then others are a one time deal.

Taking inventory is sometimes a painful thing. Sometimes we find ourselves in a place we never intended to be because of things we never intended to do. Look back at your life. Has it turned out to be what you thought it would? When traced back to the beginning the why can be a surprise.

I started writing when I was 12 to deal with my pain and found it was therapeutic. It served the purpose of getting the poison out so it wouldn’t fester and poison me. What I write today in no way resembles what I wrote then. The reason I write has changed. Back then, I didn’t want anyone to see it because it was ugly and personal. Now I write with specific intent to share. I WANT others to read because I want others to see what I’ve learned. I want to bless others with God stories and lessons. It’s not about me anymore.

I’ve published three books that few have bought. Should I stop writing and blogging? Maybe…but I can’t because I’m compelled to write. I have to write whether anyone takes the time to read or not! I’d love to make a living at this but I don’t see that happening. I am convinced I have some good stuff to say because God compels me to write and share with you.

I’m convinced God has given me the gift of simplicity in conveying Him in everything. I’m not a scholar or expert in God or in life and certainly don’t think I’m best-seller worthy author. I DO think He has taught me life lessons in the simplest ways and I think that’s priceless. I’m convinced we ALL need God to live everyday life because He simply makes everyday life better. So I’m compelled to write what He shows me and share it with anyone who will read.

I thought about stopping. I thought about how hard it is for me to make arrangements to travel to speak and sell books- the packing and planning, the driving, the money it takes, the arrangements for the critters, my son, etc…do I really want to put myself through that? WHY do I put myself through it? Wouldn’t life be simpler just to quit? I’m often asked how much money I make (that seems to be the number one question) and what I get out of doing all that. You’d laugh if I told you the money part – it’s the other question that keeps me going: what I get out of it; that’s the part I love.

I see women lift up their heads thanking me for coming because my telling what God’s done in our lives encouraged them, changed them, gave them courage to believe their lives would get better. I’ve found myself to be lifted and encouraged when someone else is blessed. For me, that’s where it’s at. I’m compelled to keep on keeping on because I’m convinced I have keep writing, keep talking and keep believing God is good and it’s not about me.

It’s okay to inventory life and get rid of what’s not working or unhealthy. It’s okay to listen to others advise what they think is best but be honest with you when considering what you’re doing. Are you convinced you’re doing it right for you? Do you have to do what you’re doing? Is it such a part of who you are that you’d be a “lesser” you if you didn’t do it? Is God in that part of you, does it make you feel closer to Him or father away? In addition to the basic “is this good or bad” those are the inventory questions I ask myself.

I guess the bottom line is being convinced, right? If you’re convinced you’re compelled. Even when it’s hard and there are costs and sacrifices associated you HAVE to do it. That’s the way I feel about writing, about speaking…and about peanut butter.  😉

Reminders

I recently fell and scraped up my knee. Every time I bend my knee – which is often – I’m reminded I fell because it hurts! I don’t need a reminder; I remember without the pain. I don’t need pain to remind me when I mess up, make a mistake and fall. Why can’t pain just be an initial consequence rather than a constant reminder? Wouldn’t that be nice, to hurt for just a minute and after that, though the scar remains, the hurt is gone. I’d like that.

We don’t like pain. We spend lots of effort to avoid it, including not dealing with, doing something about whatever causes it. Sometimes we prolong our agony by putting it off. Sometimes those little twinges of reminders cause us to do something about what’s ailing us. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do.

Reminders of even pain, I suppose serve their purpose. Sometimes they hurt more than help. What do you do about a knee? Have you ever paid attention to how many times your knee is used? I didn’t think about it until I hurt it. Now I know how important knees are because it hurts every time I move!

The enemy of the soul loves to keep us mindful of every mess-up we’ve made. If he keeps you in rewind you can’t go forward. Regret/shame/anger/depression/resentment keeps us immobile. He loves that. Every time you stay in the pain place you let him win.

Have you done what you can do for the pain? Have you asked for forgiveness? Have you taken responsibility for your part and dealt with the consequences as best you can? If you have, then every time the pain invades making you feel like you can’t recover or things will never get better, tell him and yourself that’s a lie. If you’re not healed completely every time you choose to believe the truth of what God says over how you feel you’ve taken another step toward wholeness. Don’t even believe yourself (we sometimes are our own worst enemies); we tend to keep punishing ourselves over and over again.

Pain and recovery from the same are part of the process. Some heal faster than others. Believe and breathe. Thank God you can still feel. Do what you can, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Do what you can to ease your pain and leave the rest to God. Don’t whine and constantly think about the pain. Soon you’ll be walking along and realize the pain is gone. Healing has come. Looking forward to that with this knee. 😉

The Answer is STILL Yes.

Yesterday I was going through my son’s medical documentation gathering what we’ll need for an upcoming reassessment. I had a good but painful dose of reality remembering what it was like right after he was born and as he has grown up. Even though I live with him daily and have written our story the details of that very dark and scary time had escaped me. I read through several assessments done on him through the years and needless to say, it hurt. I got sad, mad, and astounded when I read on paper what the teachers, counselors, doctors and other specialists said was going to happen while contrasting their words to what I have seen the past 31 years.

For a moment, I was crushed. I bought into what I saw on paper. To say the documentation filled me with despair is an understatement. I started feeling like I had done nothing right pertaining to decisions regarding him. I felt I had pushed too hard and had unrealistic expectations. Regret and sadness rushed over me like standing beneath a waterfall. I felt like a failure as a mother.

As I mulled over the documentation in my mind I considered how well Matt has done all these years and the contradiction was huge. The documents were accurate. Each assessment although years apart done at three different facilities were almost identical so I’m sure they were right. The person, however, and his life didn’t match the paper! After I got my emotions in check, I remembered one very important thing not included in the mounds of paperwork: THE GOD FACTOR!

As we walk our paths in life, so many things happen, good and bad. There’s so much tragedy and pain. We spend so much time trying to figure out why it happens, what could have been done differently and if that weren’t time-consuming enough, we try to undue it or pretend it never happened! It is what it is and no amount of want to can change it.

I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened to him had we not given our lives to Christ. The picture painted by EVERY doctor and every evaluator was a dismal one (and I have the paperwork to prove it). God really, really has been good to us.

I was confronted by a very big reality. It was bad and bleak; depressing and sad. But then I remembered the wonderful things – the seemingly impossible things I have seen through Matt’s life that just don’t line up with what’s on paper. I have “double vision” in a very real way. I have to deal with reality while remembering what I have physically seen.
I remembered Jeremiah 33:3 – if I call to God He will show me great and mighty things. He’s surely done that! Romans 8:28-all things work together for the good (all means ALL); the whole of my son’s life thus far displays God’s goodness and compassion for both of us and thus far, I have seen lots of God through what he’s gone through. I could go on and on but you get where I’m going with this.

I realized that like all that medical and psychological paperwork, the Bible is just words on a page to some but reality and truth to me and in both instances, I have to choose to believe and live according to it and like I believe it. Reading it can alter your life but living it changes everything starting with our perspective.

After all that reality on paper yesterday, I’ve determined that God’s yes is still yes. It is a stark contrast to reality but His promises are still true and not only that, He is true to His promises. All of them, regardless of what reality looks like. Do we dare have the courage to believe them – that’s the life-changing question.

After all we’ve been through I must say YES. The answer, after all this…or maybe because of all this is STILL yes. Lord I believe. I trust. I still say yes.