Author Archives: lastmilehome11

About lastmilehome11

Author/Speaker, Mom, student of the Word.

My Own Way

When we go to the Greenbelt we always walk in the same direction and stop at the same spots.  Sampson loves to go there as do I.  They’ve built a long bridge people can walk on that makes a loop so you can walk laps if you like.  Sampson always sniffs the beginning of the bridge, every time we go, but I always redirect him to the paved path that runs next to the water. Part of the mission of walking is so he can do what doggies do.  Don’t want that happening on the bridge.  This morning, he sat down at the entrance to the bridge as if to say, “NO! I’m going that way. I want to go this way.  I’m not moving unless we go this way.  It’s what I want”.  So ok.  I gave in.  I let him go.

For a while he was a happy guy then every few steps, he would turn and look at me as if to say, “I’m done with this.  It’s boring.  I have to you-know-what. I want to go back.”  I’d coax him thinking in my mind, “I tried to tell you, you didn’t want to go to this way but this was your choice and we’re gonna finish it” and so we continued until he got off the bridge. He was jumping and happy, walking faster, obviously pleased to be back on the path where the grass, water and squirrels were.

Oh my isn’t that just like us!  God has set us where we are, doing what we do but there’s sometimes a tug to go in a different direction. We want something different and want to go our own way.  So we venture into a new place only to discover we want it like it used to be.   The free will God’s given us means we can pretty much do whatever we want without ever consulting Him.  We can also do what Sampson did, refuse to move on the path He’s shown us is the best one for us and insist on having what we want, when we want it. I’ve been there and like Sampson, I soon discovered it wasn’t what I thought it was and couldn’t wait to get off of it!

If you think it’s time for a change in direction, pray about it.  Until that time, stay on the path God has you on and believe if changes are necessary that will be made clear.  If you’re feeling restless and just want to change directions just because YOU want to, think about all that’s involved with that.  Pray for contentment where you are (1st Timothy 6:6); it’s a wonderful thing.  I’m learning going my own way isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Advertisements

Where You Are

You’ve seen the countless pictures I post of our morning walks in Borden Park.  That’s Sampson’s favorite place as we go there every day.  It’s full of blessings for him: lots of squirrels to chase, sometimes other dogs, scraps of food (which I don’t like) and smells to sniff for him.  Often in the mornings no one is there but us so I let him off his leash and let him run while I walk.

Across the street from the park there’s an empty field and a softball field.  No trees, no nothing, a literal empty field.  Sampson goes to the edge of the park and stares at the field.  He wants – every day – to go over there. I can’t figure out why.  I mean EVERY DAY he wants to go where he’s not.  He wants to leave all the things he loves about the park and where he can walk and run freely, all the trees that provide shade, all the squirrels he loves to chase, everything he enjoys to go to an empty and barren field. So today I hooked him up to the leash and we crossed the street. He walked to the middle of the field and stood there, staring at the park!

Isn’t that just like us?  We’re in a place where we have everything we need and where without a doubt God has blessed us beyond what we deserve and yet, we’re always longing for more.  We look “across the street” and think there may be something over there that will satisfy us or make us happy that we can’t find in the middle of where we are right now.  We look at it every day; think about it every day (amongst all the blessings we’re privy to right now, not appreciating any of it) and when we walk over we find ourselves longing to be back where we just came from!

Before you “cross the street”, look around you.  Consider where you are, what you have and if not satisfied, ask yourself why. Look for – really look for – the goodness of your place, the blessings in your place and make the decision to appreciate what you have and where you are.  If you find you’re always in want of more than what you have while not appreciating what’s around you, you’re missing out on a wonderful blessing that seems to be getting lost in this world we live in: CONTENTMENT.  Society compels us to never be content, to always want more and not be satisfied until we’ve nearly killed ourselves to get it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a better life and other things; just be sure you have a healthy grip on those things and don’t let those things have you.

Want what you have.  The abundant life starts right there. If you find yourself across the street into that thing or place you thought you wanted more than where you were and what you had the remedy is simple.  Walk back to your blessed place and look there.  Be grateful you could and appreciate where you are.  Sampson did.  As soon as we crossed back over and I let him loose, he found two squirrels to chase.  He was perfectly content.  We can be too, if we appreciate where we are right this moment.

1st Timothy 6:6  “…but godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Don’t Go Back!

I’m writing my very first novel.  I’ve written short stories and devotionals and this is my first attempt at such a big project.  Every time I open the document, I go back to the beginning and critique it to the point where my allotted time to write is more times than not consumed by this process.  Over and over and over again, I start at the beginning and find that I’m frustrated and disappointed when I’ve not made any progress.  I can’t seem to get anywhere!

Oh that’s a word for our lives isn’t it?  I see that same pattern in my life and in my walk with the Lord.  I keep going back to painful, regretful spots and “pick the scab”.  The Lord does His part and keeps His promise.  I see & feel where He’s touched that area of my life and forgiven me and helped me move past it…but I keep opening the wound.  I keep going back to that place which makes me feel like I’ve not progressed or gotten over it.

Stop going back! Stop it! When you find yourself remembering that initial pain, hurt, shame or loss, remind yourself you’ve already lived through it; why put yourself back in that spot?  Remember how sweet God was to give you just what you needed to move on and not be stuck in that place.  When familiar, painful memories of what it felt like when it was happening invade you, intentionally stop yourself and say, “God’s allowed me to live through that once, I don’t need to survive it again”.  Yes, remember all He’s brought you through.  NO don’t relive the agony again.  You don’t have to.  You’re here, not there.  That was yesterday; this is today.  See the difference?

We have to be intentional in our lives.  Yes, things happened that were excruciating but we have to sometimes forcefully remember, it’s not that way now.  We’re past it.  Let’s stay past it.  Let’s don’t go back.  Let’s move forward.

This morning I opened the novel document and wouldn’t allow myself to look back.  Not today.  Today I’m making progress.  What about you?

Philippians 3:13, 14 NASB:  “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Always Chasing

That beautiful dog that had looked friendly for years wasn’t friendly today.  Big German shepherd that I had seen numerous times before decided to bark, growl and chase my car.

That’s a picture of the enemy.  He sits quietly as you pass by and do your routine things.  He doesn’t flinch lots of times – he just watches.  Rest assured, he watches.  He’s always there waiting for an opportunity for a surprise attack.

Sometimes he visibly and actively pursues you and you know it.  Other times, he’s lurking in your complacency and when you least expect it he’s on you, in you and working through you.  He’s always there.  Don’t ever doubt it.

Why even try to avoid him?  If he’s always pursuing why even try to avoid him?  Here’s the thing. YOU can’t! You’re not strong enough to fight him off, not fast enough to outrun him or smart enough to outwit him.  On your own, despite your best efforts he’ll beat you every single time.

As that dog chased me and Sampson, I looked at him and smiled.  We were safe in the car.  No matter how fast he ran or how hard he tried to get to us, because we were protected by the car – far faster than he – he would never catch us.  We were in something he couldn’t penetrate.

As long as we stay close to God the enemy may bark, show his fangs and give chase but he’s no match for our Protector. The enemy can only hurt you if you remove yourself from God’s protection.  Had I stopped the car and gotten out, I would have been bitten, Sampson would have fought him, or both. I had the choice of stopping and challenging the challenger. I chose to stay in where I knew we were safe. We rolled on leaving the aggressive dog behind.

That was a word to my Spirit. Keep moving.  Keep allowing God to protect you.  You may hear, see and even fear the enemy for a time but remind yourself he’s no match when you’re “in” Christ.

1st John 4:4:  “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

The Tears of God

Raindrops.  Not unusual on an Alabama May morning on any other day; on this day under the conditions of a late spring drought however, it was unusual.

I had just taken my precious cockapoo of 16 years, Sadie, to be put to sleep.  After she had been misdiagnosed for years and discovering she had cancer, she had taken a turn for the worst a week ago and was now to the point that she couldn’t walk and wouldn’t eat. She was still drinking and wagging her tail at Matt, my son. Other than that, she wasn’t the same Sadie she had been not so long ago. I didn’t want to take her to the vet; that experience always unnerved her. I wanted her to die peacefully at home with those she loved around her.  I begged God to take her in her sleep but to my dismay, that didn’t happen.

I couldn’t help but question why He would have me take on the daunting, heartbreaking task of having her put to sleep.  After all, He knows my heart.  He knows how hard this would be for me.  Still there I was, on the way.  I wasn’t happy about it but more to the point, my heart was sick with grief.

On that morning, we prepared to take our last journey together. I gave her a peppermint stick to lick on.  Most of her teeth were long since gone so there was no danger of her biting down on it.  She licked and licked enjoying one of her favorite treats.  I don’t even know what made me think of it. It had been a while since I had given her one.  It pleased me as I watched her remember and enjoy that familiar sweet taste.  Her eyes seemed to brighten just a bit.  Maybe, I thought, I was giving her back a tiny taste of the pleasure she had always given me.

Sadie was like my child.  She and Matt had grown up together.  I don’t think I could have loved her more. She loved to ride in the car.  In her younger days her head would have been out the window with ears flopping in the wind.  Not today though.  Too weak at this point to even sit up, she sought my hand and placed her head there.

We arrived at the vet’s office finding they had cleared all appointments so Sadie and I were the only ones there.  I carried her into the room and placed her on the table wrapped in her favorite blanket.  Again she sought my hand and placed her head there licking my hand. All I could think of to say was, “Thank you Sadie, for bringing so much into our lives.  We love you, Sadie.  Thank you God for bringing us this special doggy through whom you chose to bless us in so many ways.” I said those words over and over again.  I’m sure she sensed my sadness.  I tried so hard to maintain my sense of composure but tears were rolling down my face.

I thought of all the things she had been through with us:  the moves, the joy, the tears, the special times, the sorrowful times.  Faithful.  Constant. Loving.  Now she was gone.  Such a big part of our lives, had breathed her last.  For a few moments, I held her life…and death…in the palm of my hand. What an honor.

That’s how much I loved her.  I loved her enough to provide her a safe, special, loving home in which to live and I loved her enough to stay with her through her death.  I smiled through my tears because I knew that if the Lord had ordained it so, she would have done the same for me.

As I walked out of the office, I prayed that my legs would hold me steady and I could maintain my composure to get to the car. Incredible sadness and the sense of monumental loss enveloped me.  Safe in my car, I began to sob uncontrollably.  As I prepared to drive home I begged God to show Himself in a very personal, very real way and take hold of me and comfort me as I knew only He could.  My heart was absolutely breaking.

As I started the car to head back home, a huge raindrop hit the windshield and then another, another and another.  Odd, it hadn’t rained in almost three weeks as we’d been in a drought pattern for right at a month.  It was then that it dawned on me in my grief that God was crying with me.  In the intense moment of need He felt my pain and saw fit to respond with what I felt were compassionate tears of a Daddy who hurts with His child.  At one of the saddest times in my life, I never felt more loved and cared for than I did in that moment. I’ll never forget it.

Does God care?  Absolutely.  No matter the cause of the pain, He feels it too.  When His children hurt, He hurts.  If His children are suffering, He longs to comfort them, but He will only step in if invited.  Oh yes. He cares.  He comes.  He comforts and oh yes, He cries.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…” 2nd Corinthians 2:1

NOTE:  This story is from my book, “The Last Mile Home, Ordinary Insights from an Extraordinary God” first published 2010

Just Breathe and Believe

Don’t worry, if you’re worried, that this present issue you’re dealing with will kill you.  It wasn’t designed for your demise.  It was designed to prepare you for your destiny. That’s both good and bad!

The enemy through which this circumstance, place you’re in, or person you’re dealing with desires to make you miserable (if you’re a believer).  He doesn’t want you dead for many reasons, the most important of which is the fact he knows where you’re going and he can’t use you anymore once you’re physically present with Christ.  He knows how salvation works; I think he witnessed it while in heaven with God.  No friend, he doesn’t want you graveyard dead; he wants you spiritually dead.

The enemy wants you alive so he can rejoice in watching you suffer!  He wants you to feel everything thrown at you.  He wants you to focus on your broken heart, your shattered dreams and the depression and sadness you feel. He wants you to stay completely focused on yourself and how hard life is.  He loves that.

The enemy wants you to be so afraid of past disappointments, failures and rejection that you don’t dare venture out of your self-imposed prison to believe God.  He wants you to believe your doubt and past experiences more than you dare believe God.  He wants you to constantly recall the times you ventured out in 100% nothing but faith and things didn’t go like you planned.  He wants you to remember how crushed you were when even the things you did for God weren’t easy, in fact they were extremely difficult.  He’s aware that the seed of doubt was planted back then and he does everything in his power to see to it your doubt grows every time you even think about stepping out in faith.  You remember every single pain and disappointment of that time.  Some will never, because of the pain and devastation, take a step…let alone a leap…of faith, ever again.  That place of doubt becomes the cemetery where their faith is buried.

If you’re reading this, you’re not dead.  You reached for a smidgen of encouragement – a “mustard seed” of faith.  God allowed what happened to you, to happen.  He has his reasons, some of which may never be understood so maybe it’s time to quit trying to understand and just simply trust.  You’re not dead.  You’re still here and if you’ll just lift your head up, pour your heart out and believe that all things – all things work to the good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose, then He can heal and restore you.  It may not be easy and it may take some time, but if you’ll believe and stay with it, He will do things for you, in you and through you that will strengthen your heart, heal your mind and way of thinking and touch your weary and wounded soul.

Sometimes it takes a lot of courage and strength to believe after you’ve been hit hard but what do you have to lose?  Come on out to the Light.  Darkness doesn’t become you at all.  If all things aren’t possible for those who believe, He wouldn’t have said it.  Come on.  Believe one more time, then another and another.  Don’t let the enemy rob you of one more second.  Just breathe and believe.

Uniquely the Same

Uniquely The Same

IMAG1841

We made these necklaces at the recent women’s retreat I was blessed to be a part of.  I wish I had taken a picture of all of them, because they highlighted a wonderful truth.

Each lady used the same material to make the necklace and we got to choose our colors.  Every single woman chose different colors, thus every single necklace was the same…but different.

While walking around the room looking at the beautiful, simple pieces we created the common thing about them was the cross and the beads in the middle which signified to me that we’re all very different…but we’re all very much the same.  We may prefer different colors, clothes, food, etc., but the part that counts is what’s in the center – our hearts.  Although we’ve had different experiences with different things in and on our heart, the unifying mark (for Christians) is the cross – Jesus. God sees Jesus in us and although He “handles” us differently, we’re all the same to Him which gives me great comfort.

Celebrate your uniqueness and the commonality we share in Christ.