Category Archives: overcoming circumstances

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.”

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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.

He’s Portable!

My favorite time of the day is the beginning when it’s quiet.  That’s prime time with God’s word and prayer.  I’m facilitating a Bible study and read through the day’s scripture (2nd Peter 1:3-11) which is all about already being equipped to be “partakers of the divine nature…*” (v4).  Verse 5: “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence…*” (emphasis mine).  To me this scripture says we already have in us (through Jesus) His nature and best qualities but it’s up to us to APPLY them, which indicates choosing to exhibit the things in verses 5-8. After studying these verses I could feel God prompting me to stay longer taking His word in so I did, even reading them out loud, then praying.  I felt like a mighty warrior woman, ready for the day and went on with my plan.

Then it happened.  A text upset my apple cart and I watched my very well-organized day go right out the window.  I felt my blood pressure going up and my attitude going down.  Then I remembered the scriptures I had read, studied and prayed over just a little while earlier.  I saw a very distinct crossroad recognizing immediately this was a rubber meets the road moment.  I could APPLY what I’d just read or I could allow frustration to dictate the rest of my day.

That sweet time with God doesn’t have to end when we close our Bibles..and it shouldn’t! All that love, provision, grace, mercy, knowledge and wisdom we glean from spending time with him is portable.  HE goes with us.  Here’s the rub: It’s up to US what we do with Him as we live out the rest of the hours of the day.

Just because we spend a little time in the Word doesn’t mean much if we’re not willing to APPLY it to our lives and choose to live it out.  Everything we need to be a blessing and live this day being pleasing to and loving on God has been already endowed to us as Christ followers. Don’t leave Him where you left your Bible.  He and all of His attributes are in us and with us, no matter what the day brings.  Let’s access Him, choose to live and act to be pleasing to Him.  The Bible goes on to say in verse 10 as long as we PRACTICE these things we will NEVER STUMBLE*!  That sealed the deal for me, and I pray it does for you too.

*2nd Peter 1:3-11/Taken from NASB Translation.