Tag: words

Even When It Hurts

Currently I am reading through Proverbs, I am seeking wisdom; wise counsel. I am trying to ensure that my life is pleasing to the Lord, and I want to ensure that I am grounded in His word. Verse after verse Proverbs tells us how we should live, how we should behave, how we should speak, and it is written very clear in its meaning; nothing is hidden in useless rhetoric. It says DO this DON’T do that.

As I am walking down this road of reflection and writing, there are instances from my past where I stood at crossroads and purposefully chose the wrong path. As Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” One particular time of my life stands out very clear to me, I had reconnected with a friend from high school who did not know the Lord, and in the past had no interest in knowing Him. Also during this time I was in a romantic relationship which was not pleasing to the Lord. My friend from high school became my road dog , my ride or die, she would come to church with me on Sunday’s and party with me every other day. In my eyes, I thought I was being a great example to her because, “I’m getting her involved in church, introducing her to the gospel, as well as surrounding her with people who love the lord. I’m doing my Christian duty”. However, that is not what I was doing. I was showing her examples of how to be a hypocrite, how to behave on Sunday and still live in the world on Monday. This girl was desperately seeking the Lord and His perfect love, and I was running in the opposite direction. Almost 15 years later I can look back on that time in my life and think what were you doing? Why were you trying to please people and fit into a mold that wasn’t made for you; especially when the Bible explicitly tells us we are to be in the world but not OF the world. (Reference John 17:14-15). But 20 year old me wanted to belong. Praise the Lord this girl, my friend from high school, found solid friendships amongst my friends in the church and they actually showed her what the love of Christ looks like. They also showed her what life should look like when you are indeed living for the Lord.

During that time, a lifelong friend called me up and said, “ hey what are you doing?” Not in the sense of “How’s it going? Want to hang out?” but instead it was like “ You know better than this, what in the world are you doing with your life?” There was a desperation in that call, a pleading almost. She went on to tell me how we should be an example of Christ, especially to new Christians. I can only imagine how hard it was for her to make that phone call, but she was doing what we as Christians are called to do with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to correct them. There were tears shed and I hung up hurt and angered by her corrections; I mean, who wants to be questioned about their actions. However, the weight of conviction was heavy on my heart. Now this story would be great if I could write to you all and say that her words stopped me in my tracks and turned me back to the cross, but that would be a lie. Instead, I ran a while longer and a lot faster from the path I was supposed to be on. Eventually I found my way back after a whole lot of heartaches and pain and through the Grace of God.

What I really want to touch on is the concept of gently correcting our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why is this so difficult for us to do? I believe today’s world has blinded us and made us timid when we are supposed to be focused and bold in our approach. We should not fear the reactions, but we should embrace them and in love correct them. We, and I include myself in the we, are so worried about offending others that we stay silent and don’t speak up when we should be the most vocal. Of course the immediate response is not going to be positive; what person is going to say, “thank you for pointing out my sins? “ No one! I most certainly didn’t say thank you that’s for sure. But ultimately it was for my own good I needed to be told what you’re doing is wrong. We are already facing a war from the world, and we need every soldier possible in this battle. I want my friends to be in battle with me, my battle buddies, not against me.

The important thing is how we do it. The Bible instructs us to be gentle in our approach as to be mindful in how we do it, and always correct in love. In order to achieve this boldness we must stay in prayer and ask for guidance. Galatians 6:1 “brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently, but watch yourself are you also may be tempted.” How does the lord want us to approach the topic? What words does he want us to use? When should we approach our friends? When we follow the model we are given it will always work out for the good we just have to be patient and remain in prayer for our friends during the process.

Disappointments…

When I think about the word disappointment, it gives me feelings, and none of those feelings are positive. Disappointment has such a negative connotation and I suppose it should. I mean no one gets excited when they are disappointed. We never feel disappointed when everything is working in our favor. We don’t feel disappointed when we succeed. Nope, we feel disappointed when we fail. We feel disappointed when people let us down. We feel disappointed when we let others down. We feel disappointed when we ultimately have no direction or vision.

Today I am disappointed. I feel not only disappointed, but I feel discouraged. I am deprived of confidence. My confidence is shaken because today I was essentially told my feelings were invalid. My intuition is off, and now I’m left at a crossroad with no map. It has been a long time since I felt this way and I never imagined that at this age I would be at this point. Based on that, not only am I discouraged, but I am disappointed that I allowed this to be my life. As I write this down, I recognize how ridiculous this all sounds because the only person’s actions that we have control over are our own, so therefore, I should not be disappointed, but I am. I’m disappointed because I should have had a back up plan, I should have been prepared for the unknown.

Anyhow, enough of that, I’m not going to dwell on things that I can’t change, but what I need to be doing is looking forward and not allow the past to hold me back. However, I also need to find encouragement in the void. I need to find my direction again. My encouragement today comes from 1 Chronicles 28:20 “…Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. He will see to it that all the work related to the temple of the Lord is finished correctly.”

Woah! If that isn’t the encouragement that I needed I don’t know what is. I mean seriously, I need to store this word in my heart, especially on days like today when I feel less than ok; when I feel discouraged about my future. This tells me the Lord has a plan for me and He is in complete control. This tells me He won’t just leave me alone and He won’t let my hand go through all of this.

I wish I could wrap this up and put a pretty bow on it and say I know what tomorrow holds, but I don’t. I know tomorrow I will wake up and I will put both feet on the ground and take one step forward. I will hold on to this word that the Lord God is with me and He will not forsake me. Tomorrow I will have a new day to try again to find the map to my crossroad which tells me which road to journey down next.

 

Falsehoods and Fallacies

I claim to know what love is

What it feels like to need another person

Like your next breath

Like oxygen

The very substance we need to survive

But…

Do I truly know?

Do I know how it feels to have someone who

I can’t be without?

My first experience was a lie.

One falsehood

One fallacy after another.

“You complete me.”

No I don’t.

“We’re gonna be married in the future.”

No we won’t.

“I’ve never felt this way about someone before.”

I guess me neither.

“You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

No I wasn’t.

You were the worst thing that happened to me.

So maybe my claim to know love is…

A falsehood

A fallacy.

The love I know breaks you down

Tears you in two

Takes over your everything…

Then leaves you broken.

The tattered remains of one who once was

The love I know only takes but never gives

It leaves you empty

A black hole

Void of existence

Just a being

Grasping onto anything

In a poor attempt to survive.

So maybe I should say I have an idea of what love should look like

Because…

Turns out I don’t know.

The only love I know

HURTS

It hurts like hell

It’s full of tears

Tears cried alone in the middle of the night

Pleas to God to make it work.

What am I doing wrong?

Why doesn’t he love me like I love him?

Love shouldn’t hurt…

Love should be honest

Not full of falsehoods and fallacies

Not full of empty promises whispered when no one can hear

Maybe I can only talk about what love is not

Love is not waiting on a phone call that never comes

A date that is always broken

Love doesn’t say she’s just a friend when we both know she’s more

Love doesn’t le

Because love is pure

“Love is patient, love is kind…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”

Your love broke all the rules

You weren’t patient or kind

There was never any hope

Your love failed

It did not persevere

Turns out I have no idea how loves feels

Not from the one who claims to have those feels.

The only thing I know is

Falsehoods and fallacies

A story full of lies that I once believed

 

The Act of Comparing Ourselves

Comparison is ruining me…

Today I want to start off using I am statements because I don’t want to reflect my feelings onto anyone else. One of the downfalls or the issues that keeps me from moving forward and walking in my purpose is comparing myself to others. Comparison is crippling to growth because we do not all have the same path as the next person. Personally, comparison is literally and physically holding me back. It is becoming my roadblock. Whoever told me that I should gauge my own success based on what success looks like for someone else? Where did that idea come from? Was I taught that in school? Probably. School teaches us that when you have the highest grades you are the most successful in the class, so most strive to be at the top. In adulthood, when working, if there is someone in the same career path and they are being successful, we are encouraged to reach out to that individual and find out  their techniques in order to emulate them so we can be successful too. There are women and men plastered all over the television, internet, and magazines who look a certain way and we then compare our bodies to those people.

Everything indicates to me that we should compare ourselves to others to find validation; however, that is not reality. We are not meant to be like anyone else except our unique selves. We are called to be individuals, which means there in no one else like you. Can you imagine how boring life would be if we were all exactly the same? That is what comparing ourselves to someone else does, it makes us emulate the next person. It makes us question our own worth, it makes us doubt our own greatness.

I was reading various Bible verses that talk about comparing ourselves to others and there are several key verses about this topic, but what stands out the most to me is Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” What this verse is saying to me is the minute we start to compare ourselves with another person is the moment we being to block our blessings. What the Lord has in store for your neighbor is not the same as He has in store for you. So while we’re busy emulating someone else we can miss what He’s working out in our favor.

I don’t know about you, but this gives me comfort. I believe that over the past few years I’ve been attempting, very poorly, to emulate someone else. I’ve tried to fit into someone else’s mold and every day it was becoming more and more uncomfortable. With every turn I was hit with a different roadblock and I was not advancing. What I began to do was question myself, question my worth. I needed people to tell me I was worthy in order to find some type of validation of my worth. This should have been my wake up call, but instead I continued to compare my actions to others, I tried to be like my peers, and I failed miserably. As my sister recently told me, I needed something BIG to happen to snap me out of the rut I was existing in. Bottom line, today this verse helps to remind me that God is in charge and His will is what I should strive for, not what someone else has or is doing!

REFUGE

Welcome Back Everyone!!!!!! It’s been a bit since I sat down in front of the screen and shared with you all. I’ve missed this! Hope everyone out there had a great holiday season and made it through the Inauguration in one piece and with some semblance of peace. (That is a conversation for another day, stay tuned).

Today, I want to talk about refuge with you all. Psalms 118:8 reads, “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” So last night I was looking through my notebook and I read across this verse from a study I went through a couple of months ago, and this verse immediately jumped out at me. This verse has taken on a new meaning with me as my life has taken a huge turn over the past three days…”Take refuge in the Lord.” My first thought was, exactly what does the word refuge really mean, so of course I looked up the definition, and refuge is defined as, “a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” Then I went ahead and looked up trust, it is defined as firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

Trust is a very fragile thing. When we place our trust in a person or an institute, we are giving away a part of ourselves. We make ourselves vulnerable to be hurt or blindsided by the decisions of another. As the definition states, it is a firm belief that you can rely undoubtably on this person. The above stated verse can now be read and understood to say, “It is better to seek shelter from trouble in the Lord instead of placing belief in the strength of man.” Here’s the thing about placing trust in another being that is not the Lord; just like you and me, this other person is human. This other person makes mistakes and also falls short of the glory daily. They are not capable of carrying the burden of complete trust, and the reason why is because everyone single person currently walking on this Earth is flawed. We live in an imperfect world, and everyone messes up.

I was dealt a terrible blow this week, I trusted in the institution which I worked to be fair in their dealings and decisions, but I quickly learned that was not the case. Based on their decision, I should feel completely broken, I should be quacking with fear, but instead I have an inner peace that can only be from the Lord. I am seeking refuge, shelter, in the Lord and I have complete trust that He will meet everyone of my needs. This is new for me. Not to feel stressed out and not to be falling apart with worry because for the first time in seven years I am without any type of employment and I have not one plan in place for my next job, but I am completely calm. If I’m honest, I have not been truly happy in almost four years. The level of discontentment was so loud at times that no matter what I did I could not quiet the noise. I was going through the motions everyday as a means to an end, and now I no longer have to do that. I can now seek what truly makes my heart happy, and truly seek out the plans that the Lord has for me. As Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I can now choose a new route to go down in life because I am no longer tethered to a place that is killing my spirit and made me question my value as a person. I know where my value lies, and it is not in the opinion of man, but with the safety of the Lord.

 

 

I’m Not Who I Used To Be

Praise the Lord I’m not who I used to be. I am no longer the girl who is seeking acceptance where ever it is given. I am not the girl who is seeking approval from the wrong type of people. I am now the woman who is secure in who she is as an individual. I am a woman who is stepping into her purpose. And I am a woman who is learning to listen in the quiet for direction from the Lord and discerning His voice from my own.

There was a period in my life that I was not living a life that I am particularly proud of. I was making decisions that I knew were wrong. Decisions that I knew my mother would disapprove of, and if my mother would disapprove of those decisions, then I definitely know they were not decisions the Lord would smile upon. During that period of my life, I did what I wanted and I did these things in order to “fit”in, but also to please a boy, who at that time, was not worthy of my affections. No matter what I did to hold onto him, it was never enough. You see it was not meant for me to be with him then or to even keep him.

Let me backtrack just a little bit, throughout high school and into college, I was extremely involved in church. I was in the youth group in high school and after I graduated I became a leader in the youth group and also started attending the College and Career group. I had a close group of friends who fiercely loved the Lord and I have to say life was really good; however, there was an inner curiosity inside of me about the “world” that tugged at me. The inner wild child, as my mother calls it, that was itching to break out, and when I started my first job after high school the doors to the outside world burst open and I went running through them. For the first time in my short life I was surrounded by people who were living in the world and did not have the constraints of the church holding them back from experiencing life. I don’t say this meaning that the church holds people back, but in my marginal experience, as a teenager, all I could see were rules. Rules telling me what I could and could not do, rules telling me what I should and shouldn’t say, rules inside my mother’s house that I felt were so strict that I was not allowed to live the life I thought I wanted. It did not take long for the lifestyle of my coworkers to start appealing to me, and along with that life came a boy who started whispering in my ear all the things that my young and naïve heart wanted to hear.

In the beginning, I tried to integrate him into my world, but it didn’t take long for him to pull me from my comfortable life into his chaotic and careless lifestyle. Like me, he was running from strict parents and a comfortable lifestyle and for whatever reason, we found each other and saw something in the other person that we thought we wanted. As Christians, we learn the importance of being equally yoked, and it probably took 10 years, my entire 20s, for me to actually learn and understand what that truly means. At the tender age of 20 I fell in love and we were not equally yoked. When I say I fell in love, I mean truly, madly, deeply in love. I fell with both eyes closed and a heart completely open. I walked blindly into a relationship that pulled me away from everything that I knew to be right and true. I stopped hanging with my friends and replaced them with his friends, I stopped spending time at the church and replaced it with late night kickbacks in empty parking lots. I gave away my innocence because it is what I believed I should do in order to prove my love to this other person. I did this against my better judgment because I knew it was wrong, I knew it was not what the Lord wanted for me, but I also believed it was what I needed to do in order to solidify and keep my relationship. Trust me when I say this, sex does not ensure you will hold onto someone, all it does is give your power away to another person. It ensures that this other person can hurt you more deeply than you can ever imagine.

That relationship did not give me what I thought I was seeking out of life and out of a partnership, it pulled me further and further away from the Lord. It pulled me from my family, from my friends, it compromised my morals, and it left me completely broken. More broken than I had ever been, up until that point, in my entire life. But praise the Lord, I’m not her anymore.

Have you ever prayed for the Lord to do something, left it at the Lord’s feet, and walked away trusting He will answer your prayers? Well, in my complete and total brokeness I prayed for the Lord to make me forget the love I had for this person. To take away the hurt that shattered my tender heart into a million pieces and then I left it. I’m not sure if I really 100% believed that something as big as this prayer could be answered. Everyday I got up, I went through the motions and I trudged through the days until one day the tears dried up and it didn’t hurt to breathe anymore. I no longer kept my phone next to me waiting for a message that would never come. I can’t give you an exact time line because honestly I don’t know how long it took, but one day I was talking to a friend who was there from the beginning to the end of the tumultuous relationship and she asked me if I remembered something I had said or done in the midst of this relationship and I tried to recall various stories she would tell me, and to this day I have no recollections of certain time spans within that relationship. That is when I realized just how BIG AND MERCIFUL my God is. That is when I saw how REAL my God is because HE answered my prayers. Praise the Lord He delivered me from the dangerous path that I was on, and I would love to say I learned my lesson right away, but that wouldn’t be the truth. I made a few more bad choices along the way, but that is part of my journey. Mistakes allow us to see God work in our favor, it allows us to rely on Him. That is the cool thing about the Lord, everyday we mess up and fall short of His glory and He loves us anyhow. He is standing by waiting for us to seek Him and seek His forgiveness. He loves us fiercely and unconditionally. I don’t have children of my own, but I see how my friends love their children, I know how my mother loves us, and it gives me a glimpse into how much our heavenly Father must love us, His children. He wants nothing more than for us to turn away from our sinful nature and seek Him. Matthew 6:33 states, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (NIV).

I will end the way I started, Praise the Lord I’m no who I used to be and thank you Lord for the promise of who I will be!

How Are You…Really?

Good morning everyone!!!!! I have been absent for a few days attending a lovely wedding of a dear family friend in San Antonio, Texas; however, I am back and ready to jump right back in with you all.

On the drive back from San Antonio, I had quite a bit of time on my hands, I mean, we were in the car for 8 hours. So, I began reading a book, and it ask this question, “How are you…Really?” Why is this such a hard question for us to answer? I mean, everyday that we wake up, we know as soon as we open our eyes how we are feeling. Right? But, when someone asks us how we are we struggle to answer this question. We gloss over what we are really feeling, we lie, or we just shrug it off, I mean, who really wants to know exactly how I am. In my experience, sometimes, people don’t know how to respond when you answer honestly. I will be the first to raise my hand and say that when someone tells me, “I’m going through something and life is just really tough for me right now,” I don’t always know the right thing to say. The other side is, when someone asks us how we are , we immediately think, they don’t want to hear my problems. I’m going to raise my hand once again and say I don’t always answer honestly to this question either. Who wants to hear what is really going on in my life; they have enough problems of their own, why do they need to hear my #firstworldproblems.

Here’s something that we should keep in the front of our minds when it comes to this question, we don’t always have to have the “right” response! I know, sounds so easy right, but clearly, we all know this isn’t as easy as it sounds. I think our world teaches us that we always have to have a positive upbeat response to people. We have to fix whatever is wrong with them, so we are programmed to say; I’m good, I’m blessed, I’m well, or my favorite response, I could complain, but I won’t.

Here’s a simple truth, we’re not always good, we don’t always feel the blessings of the Lord, because sometimes we are going through some really heavy stuff, and we allow it to block our communication with the Lord. We allow it to block us from feeling grace towards ourselves. The first step is being honest with ourselves, and looking in the mirror and saying, “today, I don’t feel that great,” and from that step then we can take the next step to getting to where we need to be to be able to honestly answer the BIG question.

For those who ask this BIG question, know this, you don’t always have to have the “right” answer, or response. Sometimes, we are placed to just listen, and when we do respond, we should respond with love and sincerity.

As I have mentioned before in other post, I was raised in a Baptist church singing gospel songs. This morning when I woke up, a song that I have not heard in years and years was running through my head, the lyrics so like this;

                         Please be patient with me, God is not through with me yet.  When God   gets through with me, I shall come forth as pure gold. 

Growing up, I did not really understand the meaning of this song, but today, I can understand it a little better…as long as we are walking on this earth, we are not going to be perfect, life is not going to be easy, we are not always going to respond in the way we should, BUT there will come a day when our work here is complete and we are on the other side of heaven, and we will shine like gold. As long as we are walking on Earth, we will be a work in progress, we won’t always be good or alright, we will face hard days and we will feel less than ok. When those days come, we can respond, “today, I don’t feel my best.” We can be honest with ourselves and others, and we don’t have to respond with the cookie cutter answer and say, “oh, well it will get better.” Because real talk, some days we don’t need an answer, we just need an ear that will listen and tell us, you don’t have to always be ok!

Today I will say this to you, I just (literally right now) pulled a white hair from my head, I feel just a little bit old. (LOL), actually I pulled out two. Be blessed today my friends.