Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Other Side of Terrible

After my last blog, I felt “nudged” to add an addendum.  Just because terrible visits, doesn’t mean it has to be a permanent guest.

I’m here to tell you wonderful and beautiful things come out of the worst times in one’s life.  Sometimes they’re glaringly obvious; other times we must search for them with the same passion we look for our lost keys or cellphones.

With all the loss and pain, God has more than proven Himself true to His word about recreating beauty, solidifying His love for me, giving me brand-new relationships with people to the extent that I no longer mourn over what and who is gone.  Sure, there’s a season for that – a time when we grieve and hurt, but as promised if we’ll “let go and let God” I assure you, healing and refreshing will come.  Loss can’t compare to the joy of healing, believe it.

Pain sometimes becomes our best friend because if we stay in it, nothing’s required of us.  It’s easier to dwell because climbing out requires a lot of effort and even more faith.

Choose with me to believe He’s working on our behalf in ways we can’t even think of.  Choose to focus on Him and His goodness; His promises that if we’re reading this (or typing it, as the case may be) He has lots of lessons and even more love, personal touches and provision for our future; we’ve survived the past.  We choose to learn from it and seek Him through it all, and He’s working it all out for our good.  For our GOOD…no matter how terrible it’s been, there WILL be good in it all and we will see it.  When we see it, then we will KNOW differently than we did before His great love, grace and mercy for us and we’ll actually be thankful we suffered!

It may be a stretch to believe like that if you’re “in it” right now but if you hang on and hang in, trust me, you will.  At this point in my life, my faith in Jesus is more solid than it was nine years ago…more solid than it was a year ago.  I KNOW HIM…and want to know Him more than I did even an hour ago.  No longer can I be made to doubt – even in the worst times – that He has a glorious plan for my life.  I can’t even make myself doubt what a wonderful, loving, personally faithful and providing Father-God I have.  So.  Hang on and believe.  Anticipate what beautiful things will come from the ashes. It’s coming, I promise.

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Alterations.

Almost nine years ago my world began to drastically change…it started with the unexpected death of my younger sister.  As I reflect on that time in my life, I realize that was some kind of a starting point for colossal change in my outside world and my inside life…who I was, what I believed, my…everything.  I remember who I was then and see that now, I’m not even close to who I used to be.  At the time I remember knowing God would see me through; I had no doubt of that…but I also remember thinking nothing would be the same. I had no idea how right I was.

Since that time, pretty much everything that was important, almost every significant person in my life, my ideals and perceptions, the way I approached and thought about things…literally everything is either gone or changed.  Even material things I held dear are gone; hopes for things and the way I thought things would be…gone.  My sense of fair, good and right are forever altered.  Even my faith in God is completely different from what I thought (back then) it should be.

Life takes unexpected twists and turns.  Stuff hits you, you have no way of seeing coming. You’re unprepared.  I never considered the fact my younger sister would die before I did; didn’t see that coming.  At my age (very close to 60) I never thought I would lose my job…get evicted…have to work 2, 3 and 4 jobs to make ends meet…didn’t see that coming either.  Who prepares for this?  To my embarrassment and immaturity (in Christ), I somehow thought because I had had some tests and bumps in my younger life that the rest of my life would be less difficult.  Go ahead, laugh…I am.  My faith was built on something false…something earthly – a false perception of what I thought I deserved and what I was sure would happen.

Over and over again “My ways are not your ways…” has played in my mind. “Lean not on your own understanding…” were the words I woke up to many a morning.  Through all this, I found truth, absolute truth, in those words.

The enemy wants us to think we’re unloved and forgotten when bad things happen but because I’ve been through this “desert season” in my life I can tell you with absolute certainty exactly the opposite is true.  When we find ourselves in extremely painful and terrifying circumstances those are the places where God…His literal presence can be more real to us than in seasons of joy.  Some choose to blame Him and run like spoiled children as far away from Him as we can; others choose to cling to Him for our lives and fight the good fight of faith even if our faith is less than the size of a mustard seed…maybe the size of a grain of sand.  Sometimes that choice brings a “curse God and die” mentality and a very real choice – sometimes on a breath-by-breath basis – confronts us.  It doesn’t look like we’re loved and cherished; it feels like we’re utterly alone and abandoned…so will we choose to press on based on NOTHING else but God’s word to us or will be choose based on our raw feelings and emotions? Those are the moments of spiritual life and death.

Sometimes we have to “get naked” before God, absolutely stripped in order to get to the nitty-gritty of what the real relationship is all about.  Sooner or later, I believe everyone will have a “season of Job” where there is nothing but you and Him.  Our suffering seasons may not look all like someone else’s – it doesn’t even matter what it looks like to others because this is between us and Him.  What matters is the result…will we allow ourselves to be forever altered?  Will we come out closer to Him or farther away?

Keep Doing You.

I love to write but I’m not the best writer.  I write because it’s therapeutic, especially when I pen a devotional because God always gives me a lesson and I’m eager to share it.  I don’t share because I’m an authority on the Word nor do I think my point of view is the only one that’s important.  I share what God’s given me hoping it will provide insight and blessing to those who take the time to read.  (Thank you, by the way, if you do!)  Almost without exception after I hit the post button, I can find many things I could have/should have rephrased.

I never, ever see perfection in anything I produce.

What I do in my life is the same way.  When I review and reminisce I always see something I could have done better and often wish I had.

Some are excellent at what they do.  When we look at their accomplishments, we see nothing but pristine excellence and find ourselves feeling like a less than.  No one has to point out our lacks or faults, we have at least perfected that art; we know every one of them by heart.

That’s what happens isn’t it?  Sometimes others are quick to point out our flaws; one critical word amongst a thousand positive accolades is the word we hold on to.  Then other times, we’re doing our thing the best we can and we take our eyes off our work and look to someone else’s to see how great theirs is then become less satisfied with what we’re doing.

Stop it.

You may not be the best dancer; dance anyway.  You may not be the best singer; sing anyway.  You may feel like you’re inferior to everyone around you but if you’re doing the best you can and doing it because you love doing it, keep doing it.  Keep being you.  The people who love you will ENcourage you not DIScourage you. Those who really love you want you to be you.  You’re a unique one of a kind gift to the world and you’re exactly where you are, doing exactly what you’re doing it the way you do it to be a blessing to those around you.

Be you today.  Do you today.  Nobody can do you, like you.