Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway at The Little Things

Head on over to The Little Things blog for a chance to win this adorable little bonnet!  Follow the link....

The Little Things

Have fun and good "luck"  ;)



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Worthy



This is a "poem" I found while searching thru the many wonderful things at The Market a few weeks ago. I don't know who the author is, or I would give her credit for writing it. All I know is that it caught my eye (and heart) and has become my "motto" of sorts for this season of my life. So much so that I decided to paint it on canvas. It was and is part of my healing that God is doing on my heart.

As some of you may know (or not know, whatever the case may be), I am doing a small group Bible study with a group of lovely, beautiful...and worthy....ladies. It is based on the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. If you have not read this book, and your heart is in need of some good, old-fashioned healing, this is a MUST READ!  Aside from the Bible, it has been the most life-changing book I've ever read!  God has been doing a supernatural work in my heart over the last several (10) weeks, and I am going to be a bit saddened when this small group is over (this Wednesday). I have gotten to know some very beautiful women, some pretty broken women, thru this group, and I hope to continue the relationship I have formed with them thru it. We have talked about some pretty intense and shocking things, but have also witnessed some pretty intense and shocking healings by doing so. We've had plenty of opportunities to laugh with joy, to cry many tears, and to eat some pretty amazing food. Not to mention watch an even more amazing God heal not-just-a-few broken hearts.

For me to even write about this is just a small witness to what God has done in my life. I would never have, in my entire walled-up life, revealed anything so personal in such a public way. All my life I have kept my heartbreak and self-inflicted wounds to myself, or at the very most only revealed them to a very few carefully chosen, trustworthy friends. Or at least, who I hoped were trustworthy. Sadly, over the years I've come to realize that in my desperation to befriend someone....anyone....I have not always made the wisest choices in selecting who to reveal my heart to.

Just a sampling of what God has done thru this small group is give me a love for my mom that I have not ever experienced. Yes, I know what you're saying or thinking...."didn't you love your mom before this?"  In a word, no.  At least not in the way a daughter is "supposed" to love her mom. I think I tolerated her more than anything. There was a period of my life that I wouldn't even refer to her as mom, but would call her "mother" instead. As tho she were just the woman who gave me birth. Then eventually my tolerance turned to pity. I could tolerate her because I felt sorry for her. Maybe it was all part of the process of healing, but it was still difficult to actually love her.

And now, by the grace of God, I can actually say that I LOVE her!  I actually miss her. Yes, she's alive, but she lives several hours away so I don't get to see her but twice, maybe three times a year. We do talk on the phone occasionally. But since she has learned how to text, we do that almost daily. And almost daily she tells me she loves me. Which, by the way, used to irritate the heck out of me!  But now when those texts come, I cherish them. If I am able, I will text her back that I love her too.  It used to be that it was difficult for me to even to do that, as if I would question myself "Do I mean it today? Or is today one of those days I don't feel like loving her back?"  Oh, what a LIE from the pit of hell!  Now when those texts come, and when I reply with my "ILU2"...I totally, 100% mean it. THAT in itself is a miracle that could only come from a God loving me.

Another thing that God has been doing a work in my heart with is how I love other people....mainly, women. I have always had a compassion for people who are hurting. But if it wasn't evident in their lives, I often would resent them for having what appeared to be a "perfect" life. They had a husband who loved them. They had healthy children. They had abundance when it came to finances. They were healthy. BUT if they ever complained about anything that was less than what I deemed "perfection" or told me about how God has blessed them, I resented hearing about it. I would think in with my hardened heart, "C'mon, really? Your husband irritated you today? At least you HAVE a husband. I would do anything to have someone to spend the rest of my life with and to help around the house....even to irritate me."  Or "Please don't tell me how much you spent on that. When I barely have enough to buy milk and bread, and all we've had for supper for the past week has been generic cheerios or Ramen, I really really don't want to hear about your brand new vehicle that you paid cash for. And let's not even get into what bills have yet again gone unpaid."  I won't even begin to tell you about the litany of lies that bombarded me when discussing their health. YES, those thoughts did cross my mind while you told me about your life. YES, I did resent you and your blessings.  So much so that I couldn't handle being around you. I distanced myself from you. And "you" could be any number of my friends reading this. And for that I want to deeply and sincerely apologize. In my self-absorbed world, I considered your excitement in telling me what God was doing in your life as a way to make me jealous. To rub it in my face. I couldn't, or wouldn't, be happy for you. I realized it was another LIE from the father of lies. And I HATED that...that I resented you...that I pushed you away....that I would even think that stuff about you.  Please forgive me!  I truly enjoy hearing about you and your life, and I love what God is doing in it! If it weren't for you, my heart would never be full. I love laughing and crying with you. I love talking with you and learning about you. I love that you trust me to tell me these things. And I love YOU.

I have so many things to be sorry about, to regret, to dislike about myself. BUT God is so much bigger than all that pettiness. He deems me worthy. He has sent Jesus to the Cross to cleanse me of all unrighteousness, and that includes all my regrets, my sorrows, and all my heartbreak. He went to the Cross not just to heal me physically, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as well. I know there are so many other areas where I need His healing touch, but in His mercy He is doing a little at a time. I think I would be so overwhelmed if He did it all at once. Ugh...can you IMAGINE????  But I'm a work-in-progress, and I'm growing and being renewed day by day. And thankfully, His mercies are new every morning....GREAT is His faithfulness.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pirate!

OK, so my son just said to me while deciding which Pirates of the Caribbean movie to watch, "You must like that series."  Yes, my son, I do. I don't necessarily like all the goulies and such that are in them, but I love that era and all that goes along with it....pirating, swashbuckling, rescuing damsels in distress...Oh wait! That's knights in shining armor isn't it? But I enjoy a good "Knight's Tale" (another of my fav movies), as well.

Maybe it's because I like how these adventuresome men, although tough and rough on the outside, with all their carefree attitudes and ne'er do well lifestyles, they really are good at heart. They DO rescue their "damsels in distress" when those said damsels are in want of rescuing.

Maybe because I sometimes feel like a damsel in distress....OK OK, so it's most times that I feel that way.

But as I sat down here at the computer trying to think of something to blog about, I'm sitting here NOT watching the movie, but just listening. I am able to actually LISTEN to what is happening instead of just seeing with my eyes and becoming distracted by Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in all their swashbuckling glory. It came to my attention one particular scene that reminded me of something that seems to surprise so many people, including myself. It's the part where Will Turner and Captain Jack are fighting for the first time in the blacksmith's shop.  Jack has taken some ashes and blows them all over Will and kicks Will's sword away as he grabs his own gun. Will looks at Jack with a bewildered look on his face and says, "You cheated."  To which Jack replies, "Pirate!" 

Like "duh....what'd you expect from the likes of me?" 

photo from www.imdb.com

As I was able to listen, not only with my ears but also with my mind and my heart, I knew what I was to write about.

So many times we are surprised and often bewildered at the troubles that come our way. But really, if you think about it, SHOULD we really be all that surprised?  After all, Jesus tells us that "the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy...."  We forget all about this when something terrible happens, and it's like we're telling the devil, "You cheated."  And the devil is saying "Pirate!"  Like "duh....what'd you expect from the likes of me?"

**Let it also be noted that pirates sing a song that goes something like this: "We're devils, we're black sheep. We're really bad eggs."

And now is the scene where Elizabeth is captured by those two ruffian, clumsy, oh-so-likable pirates. As she is about to be pulled out of the closet, she immediately tells them "Parlay!"  And isn't this what we, as believers in Christ, are supposed to tell the enemy of our souls? "Parlay!"  Let's take this to the King and let Him decide what to do with us. After all, it's His jurisdiction we are under. HIS Blood!  You dirty, rotten scoundrel have no right to place your hands on me....I belong to the King of kings! 

I never would have thought that God would speak to me thru a movie, let alone a movie about dirty, filthy pirates. But it's amazing what we will hear if we open our ears, our hearts, and close our eyes to the distractions that are swirling around us....and distractions they are.

We long for adventure. We long for a Rescuer. But there is only One who can fill that role in our lives. No pirate or swashbuckler, no matter how heroic and handsome he is, has shoes or a HAT big enough to be the Rescuer of our souls. Of our hearts.

So the next time the enemy throws troubles and trials your way, and you are surprised that this is happening to YOU....instead of saying "You cheated," you can say with boldness "Parlay!" And because the enemy is also under the jurisdiction of the King, he is obliged, nay DUTY-BOUND to take you to Him. And the King of kings will grant you the pardon you request. He will unbind your chains, ease your burdens, and make you as white as snow. 

photo from stephtmomof3.blogspot.com
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
 though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  Isaiah 1:18

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
   heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
   pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
   a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—
   and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
   give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
   a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"
   planted by God to display his glory.
They'll rebuild the old ruins,
   raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They'll start over on the ruined cities,
   take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
   and foreigners to work your fields,
But you'll have the title "Priests of God,"
   honored as ministers of our God.
You'll feast on the bounty of nations,
   you'll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
   and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
   and your joy go on forever. 
Isaiah 61:1-3 MSG

Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway at The Little Things

Head on over to The Little Things blog for a chance to win this adorable little bonnet!  Follow the link....

The Little Things

Have fun and good "luck"  ;)



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Worthy



This is a "poem" I found while searching thru the many wonderful things at The Market a few weeks ago. I don't know who the author is, or I would give her credit for writing it. All I know is that it caught my eye (and heart) and has become my "motto" of sorts for this season of my life. So much so that I decided to paint it on canvas. It was and is part of my healing that God is doing on my heart.

As some of you may know (or not know, whatever the case may be), I am doing a small group Bible study with a group of lovely, beautiful...and worthy....ladies. It is based on the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. If you have not read this book, and your heart is in need of some good, old-fashioned healing, this is a MUST READ!  Aside from the Bible, it has been the most life-changing book I've ever read!  God has been doing a supernatural work in my heart over the last several (10) weeks, and I am going to be a bit saddened when this small group is over (this Wednesday). I have gotten to know some very beautiful women, some pretty broken women, thru this group, and I hope to continue the relationship I have formed with them thru it. We have talked about some pretty intense and shocking things, but have also witnessed some pretty intense and shocking healings by doing so. We've had plenty of opportunities to laugh with joy, to cry many tears, and to eat some pretty amazing food. Not to mention watch an even more amazing God heal not-just-a-few broken hearts.

For me to even write about this is just a small witness to what God has done in my life. I would never have, in my entire walled-up life, revealed anything so personal in such a public way. All my life I have kept my heartbreak and self-inflicted wounds to myself, or at the very most only revealed them to a very few carefully chosen, trustworthy friends. Or at least, who I hoped were trustworthy. Sadly, over the years I've come to realize that in my desperation to befriend someone....anyone....I have not always made the wisest choices in selecting who to reveal my heart to.

Just a sampling of what God has done thru this small group is give me a love for my mom that I have not ever experienced. Yes, I know what you're saying or thinking...."didn't you love your mom before this?"  In a word, no.  At least not in the way a daughter is "supposed" to love her mom. I think I tolerated her more than anything. There was a period of my life that I wouldn't even refer to her as mom, but would call her "mother" instead. As tho she were just the woman who gave me birth. Then eventually my tolerance turned to pity. I could tolerate her because I felt sorry for her. Maybe it was all part of the process of healing, but it was still difficult to actually love her.

And now, by the grace of God, I can actually say that I LOVE her!  I actually miss her. Yes, she's alive, but she lives several hours away so I don't get to see her but twice, maybe three times a year. We do talk on the phone occasionally. But since she has learned how to text, we do that almost daily. And almost daily she tells me she loves me. Which, by the way, used to irritate the heck out of me!  But now when those texts come, I cherish them. If I am able, I will text her back that I love her too.  It used to be that it was difficult for me to even to do that, as if I would question myself "Do I mean it today? Or is today one of those days I don't feel like loving her back?"  Oh, what a LIE from the pit of hell!  Now when those texts come, and when I reply with my "ILU2"...I totally, 100% mean it. THAT in itself is a miracle that could only come from a God loving me.

Another thing that God has been doing a work in my heart with is how I love other people....mainly, women. I have always had a compassion for people who are hurting. But if it wasn't evident in their lives, I often would resent them for having what appeared to be a "perfect" life. They had a husband who loved them. They had healthy children. They had abundance when it came to finances. They were healthy. BUT if they ever complained about anything that was less than what I deemed "perfection" or told me about how God has blessed them, I resented hearing about it. I would think in with my hardened heart, "C'mon, really? Your husband irritated you today? At least you HAVE a husband. I would do anything to have someone to spend the rest of my life with and to help around the house....even to irritate me."  Or "Please don't tell me how much you spent on that. When I barely have enough to buy milk and bread, and all we've had for supper for the past week has been generic cheerios or Ramen, I really really don't want to hear about your brand new vehicle that you paid cash for. And let's not even get into what bills have yet again gone unpaid."  I won't even begin to tell you about the litany of lies that bombarded me when discussing their health. YES, those thoughts did cross my mind while you told me about your life. YES, I did resent you and your blessings.  So much so that I couldn't handle being around you. I distanced myself from you. And "you" could be any number of my friends reading this. And for that I want to deeply and sincerely apologize. In my self-absorbed world, I considered your excitement in telling me what God was doing in your life as a way to make me jealous. To rub it in my face. I couldn't, or wouldn't, be happy for you. I realized it was another LIE from the father of lies. And I HATED that...that I resented you...that I pushed you away....that I would even think that stuff about you.  Please forgive me!  I truly enjoy hearing about you and your life, and I love what God is doing in it! If it weren't for you, my heart would never be full. I love laughing and crying with you. I love talking with you and learning about you. I love that you trust me to tell me these things. And I love YOU.

I have so many things to be sorry about, to regret, to dislike about myself. BUT God is so much bigger than all that pettiness. He deems me worthy. He has sent Jesus to the Cross to cleanse me of all unrighteousness, and that includes all my regrets, my sorrows, and all my heartbreak. He went to the Cross not just to heal me physically, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as well. I know there are so many other areas where I need His healing touch, but in His mercy He is doing a little at a time. I think I would be so overwhelmed if He did it all at once. Ugh...can you IMAGINE????  But I'm a work-in-progress, and I'm growing and being renewed day by day. And thankfully, His mercies are new every morning....GREAT is His faithfulness.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pirate!

OK, so my son just said to me while deciding which Pirates of the Caribbean movie to watch, "You must like that series."  Yes, my son, I do. I don't necessarily like all the goulies and such that are in them, but I love that era and all that goes along with it....pirating, swashbuckling, rescuing damsels in distress...Oh wait! That's knights in shining armor isn't it? But I enjoy a good "Knight's Tale" (another of my fav movies), as well.

Maybe it's because I like how these adventuresome men, although tough and rough on the outside, with all their carefree attitudes and ne'er do well lifestyles, they really are good at heart. They DO rescue their "damsels in distress" when those said damsels are in want of rescuing.

Maybe because I sometimes feel like a damsel in distress....OK OK, so it's most times that I feel that way.

But as I sat down here at the computer trying to think of something to blog about, I'm sitting here NOT watching the movie, but just listening. I am able to actually LISTEN to what is happening instead of just seeing with my eyes and becoming distracted by Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in all their swashbuckling glory. It came to my attention one particular scene that reminded me of something that seems to surprise so many people, including myself. It's the part where Will Turner and Captain Jack are fighting for the first time in the blacksmith's shop.  Jack has taken some ashes and blows them all over Will and kicks Will's sword away as he grabs his own gun. Will looks at Jack with a bewildered look on his face and says, "You cheated."  To which Jack replies, "Pirate!" 

Like "duh....what'd you expect from the likes of me?" 

photo from www.imdb.com

As I was able to listen, not only with my ears but also with my mind and my heart, I knew what I was to write about.

So many times we are surprised and often bewildered at the troubles that come our way. But really, if you think about it, SHOULD we really be all that surprised?  After all, Jesus tells us that "the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy...."  We forget all about this when something terrible happens, and it's like we're telling the devil, "You cheated."  And the devil is saying "Pirate!"  Like "duh....what'd you expect from the likes of me?"

**Let it also be noted that pirates sing a song that goes something like this: "We're devils, we're black sheep. We're really bad eggs."

And now is the scene where Elizabeth is captured by those two ruffian, clumsy, oh-so-likable pirates. As she is about to be pulled out of the closet, she immediately tells them "Parlay!"  And isn't this what we, as believers in Christ, are supposed to tell the enemy of our souls? "Parlay!"  Let's take this to the King and let Him decide what to do with us. After all, it's His jurisdiction we are under. HIS Blood!  You dirty, rotten scoundrel have no right to place your hands on me....I belong to the King of kings! 

I never would have thought that God would speak to me thru a movie, let alone a movie about dirty, filthy pirates. But it's amazing what we will hear if we open our ears, our hearts, and close our eyes to the distractions that are swirling around us....and distractions they are.

We long for adventure. We long for a Rescuer. But there is only One who can fill that role in our lives. No pirate or swashbuckler, no matter how heroic and handsome he is, has shoes or a HAT big enough to be the Rescuer of our souls. Of our hearts.

So the next time the enemy throws troubles and trials your way, and you are surprised that this is happening to YOU....instead of saying "You cheated," you can say with boldness "Parlay!" And because the enemy is also under the jurisdiction of the King, he is obliged, nay DUTY-BOUND to take you to Him. And the King of kings will grant you the pardon you request. He will unbind your chains, ease your burdens, and make you as white as snow. 

photo from stephtmomof3.blogspot.com
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
 though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  Isaiah 1:18

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
   heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
   pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
   a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—
   and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
   give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
   a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"
   planted by God to display his glory.
They'll rebuild the old ruins,
   raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They'll start over on the ruined cities,
   take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
   and foreigners to work your fields,
But you'll have the title "Priests of God,"
   honored as ministers of our God.
You'll feast on the bounty of nations,
   you'll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
   and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
   and your joy go on forever. 
Isaiah 61:1-3 MSG