I’ve learned that sometimes when we think our problems are other people, what we are actually struggling with is our own sin.
When things get really sad for a long time. Ask God why.
In His loving ways, sometimes He lets it sit longer until we’re actually willing and ready to hear His answer.
Are we jealous? Are we greedy? Are we hurt by something else and displacing it? Are we telling the truth?
No one can take certain things away from you. Who you are. Who you gave birth to. How God made you. How much God loves you.
Are you sad because you feel you’re losing people? Have you done something to hurt them? If so, correct it if possible. If not, let life run it’s course. Let people go and ask God who He has for you.
Are you sad because kids are choosing friends over you? That’s normal. Both ways.
If someone else told me I was jealous, I wouldn’t want to hear it. It would make me angry and defensive. But, when God does, it’s the most loving thing He can do. Because then, I can address, confess, and surrender it. “Lord, take this jealousy. Lord, forgive me. Help me with it.”
I’ve written about how Jesus is the Answer. His answers to our human struggles are given in His Love too. To help us.
Do we need to forgive someone…again? Something we thought we’d already done, but then the sadness takes over. Why?
He will graciously and mercifully share with our hearts when we are ready to hear His answer. “My precious child, this is making you sad.”
Thank you, sweet Jesus, for You and Your answers. When we know Your character, we appreciate your admonishment.
Letting go doesn’t mean to ignore or forget. It doesn’t mean that experience or loss didn’t happen or shouldn’t have bothered you in the first place. Like some will say and have told me too.
Letting go is moving forward with the reality of it. Moving forward forever changed and wiser because of it.
Accepting the sadness that overrides the initial and even justifiable anger. Having greater capacity and compassion to relate to others. And also increasing your awareness of how to better guard your heart going forward.
The scar comes from love, so you are a loving person. Something always to be proud of.
Loving someone is never wrong.
The love will need to change, but it can and should remain. We are called to love others as we love ourselves.
“One of the teachers of the Law of Moses came up while Jesus and the Sadducees were arguing. When he heard Jesus give a good answer, he asked him, “What is the most important commandment?” Jesus answered, “The most important one says: ‘People of Israel, you have only one Lord and God. You must love him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.’ The second most important commandment says: ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ No other commandment is more important than these.” Mark 12:28-31 (CEV)
Love heals. Hate hurts.
Moving on doesn’t mean it didn’t matter, it means you’re still here without it or them for a reason. Keep going.
I look at physical hearts with ultrasound for a living. I can see the visual difference between how a heart squeezes with a scar versus without. The person with a scar is usually forever changed because of the event that created it.
Let these events make us all better and more aware of ourselves and others. Also, aware of how short our time here can be and how we are all imperfect and in need of grace.
Let’s keep eternity in mind, like God has planned and made possible for us all.
Ask Him for help. Feel Him closer than ever in your pain and remember that He’s with you just as close in the days after.
Yesterday, my last patient of the day was in a wheelchair.
This man not only had a prosthetic leg, but his other one was broken. He was nothing but gracious in his clearly frustrating condition. He was so thankful we “squeezed” him into our schedule and had been there all day. I can’t help but think how upset I might have been dealing with that. He was apologetic to me for the need to move my room around in order to scan him since he was unable to get on the exam table. He said he was so sick of sitting and that losing one leg sure made him appreciate that other leg, which now was broken and he needed surgery clearance to fix it. He told me thank you over and over again.
This morning, I went for a walk/jog in our neighborhood. I thought of that man in the wheelchair. I saw a man on a walker, practicing. He wasn’t old enough for a walker and appeared to have suffered a stroke or something similar. He was practicing walking. He froze when it was time to turn around, he had to really think it through to get his legs to do what he wanted them to do. He smiled as I walked quickly by.
Let’s be thankful for what we have. We take so much for granted. Even our legs.
So often we hear this term concerning events that we can’t wrap our minds around. Mistakes, cancer, shootings, riots, rules never made, rules unfollowed. Such a senseless tragedy.
I think back to the Garden of Eden when Lucifer was tempting Eve. His technique was “That doesn’t make sense. Why would God say you could eat of any tree except this one? Doesn’t make sense.” (Senseless) Eve agreed and ate it.
After the fact, we wonder why did she feel like all the other trees just weren’t enough? Why didn’t she just enjoy all the other ones she could indulge in abundantly. Why did she eat of the one tree in all the Garden that God told them not to. (Senseless)
Because of this senseless tragedy in the Garden of Eden, our world has been riddled with them. One senseless tragedy orchestrated by the Father of lies led to all these others.
Making laws help. Following laws help. But, like Adam and Eve in the Garden, even people who love the Lord get duped, stubborn, and mess up. Not to mention those who don’t love Him or care at all.
That’s why God sent His Son down to this world of painful, seemingly never-ending, senseless tragedies to also die. He agreed. He took on that mission to get us out of here one day.
Stop trying to make sense of or fix this world. Lean on Jesus. He’s the only way out of here. May we always remember with each one that the first senseless tragedy led to them all and they won’t stop until He comes back to take us home. Some are accidents, some are intentional. But, they all feel senseless. It’s our human condition.
His heart still aches with each one. He wept for Lazarus and still raised Him from the dead. He cries with us in these tragedies knowing He will bring them to an end. He longs for us to trust His heart when it doesn’t make sense. In our pain and questions.
We’ll never understand it all. We aren’t God. Just like the serpent told Eve that she would know more than God when she ate it, that’s a lie. We’ll never know more. We aren’t supposed to or we would be God. We can’t fix this world. He will because of what He did.
God doesn’t cause sin and death, He allows it and still saved us in spite of that first senseless tragedy.
God knew when they took that bite, a heavy price would need to be paid. Because of what Jesus did to pay that price, He will take us home where there will be no more senseless tragedies of any kind.
Instead of sadness and shock, our senses will be heightened and blown away by the beauty, joy, and unity in heaven. Nothing but peace, health, love, and reunion with those who love Him too.
Thank you, Jesus, for covering our first senseless tragedy in the Garden of Eden and for being with us through those that come after. Please comfort the hurting, make Yourself known to our hearts. And, come back soon. Amen.
We all know the phrase, “Run your own race.” Having to do with staying in our own lane. Focusing more on what we’re doing than what others are doing. Keeping our eye on the prize. Doing what we can to help ourself and not tripping over others’ progress and issues.
I think it’s important to help others when they fall or get injured. I think Jesus wants us to. I also think He gave each one of us our own dreams, gifts, and strengths to fulfill our purpose (race) on this earth and to help others with theirs.
Just like He so graciously give us our own gifts, we also all have our own weaknesses. We know this because we all fall short. (Romans 3:23) We all need help from Him and from others to get where we’re going.
Sometimes we need to stop running our race and walk it. Intentionally slow our roll and walk. There will be times in our journeys when we feel like we are walking through mud. Other times we end up somewhere completely different than we’d planned to because we were dragged. Other times we will be carried and have no idea how we made it over that hot lava.
Sometimes we run full speed ahead and sometimes we need to walk. On purpose. Obstacles will sometimes require it. The strength and discipline it takes to walk instead of run when the coast appears clear, requires the Holy Spirit too. Because He sees the end, we can’t. He sees all the runners, we can’t. He loves all of us runners/sinners and wants us all to reach His finish line. He died for all of us to do so.
So, when directed to, walk. Slowly, deliberately, powerfully. Confident in the One waving the flag.
I believe God makes Himself clear when we ask Him what our current pace should be.
In races, flags are used to signal drivers and their colors all mean something different. Blue means allow faster cars to pass. Yellow means caution. Black means the driver should return to their pit. Red flags mean stop.
There is a pace to our race. Although our paces and races will all be different, we are all aiming for the same finish line if our goal is heaven. And, we need to trust His pace. By God given grace.
Right now, mine is WALK until the green flag says RUN.
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” — Colossians 3:24 (NLT)
So, today a coworker asked what we had planned this weekend. My first response was to complain that we would be all spread out. That I wanted everyone home for Easter. That Easter without everyone where they’re “supposed to be” was just a bummer. She felt my disappointment and sadness over it. She’s a sweetheart.
As soon as she walked away, the Lord whispered in my ear… “Where others are doesn’t change what I did for you on Easter.” Right then, my mind blew right open. What He did was for me. Who’s around and what we do doesn’t change that one iota. It’s 100% personal.
So, no matter who you celebrate with, egg hunt with, worship with, or play golf with, remember the true meaning of Easter. And, that can and should be in our hearts, no matter where we are or who we’re with.
One on One with the One who did it for you. It’s about you and Him. I love when He speaks to our hearts. It’s so sweet and personal. I hope this touches yours.
As much as I love walking alone, I noticed my partner today.
The very big shadow in front of me. I didn’t just see it, I admired her. She was me.
My mistakes, my whys, my loves, my hurts. Are all in this shadow.
The little girl. The young woman. The new mom. The divorced woman. The single mom. The remarried wife. The stepmom. Career woman. Ministry-driven woman… All the things. All the things that make me me. Her her.
I love how she learns.
She’s been hurt a lot, yet continues to love. That makes me proud of her.
My heart went out to my shadow. I was literally walking with myself. Face to face. I was skating forward and she was skating backward. And, I enjoyed it.
As we get older, our bodies change. Our walls go up and our preferences change. But, if we can love who walk alongside us, our dark shadows, and our own, redemption isn’t far behind. It’s like loving the person we see in the mirror. Even though and through.
We need to give ourselves compassion too. Not so much judgment, but empathy. Love for the shadow.
We all have dark sides. Sad sides. Compulsions. Struggles. Survival skills we learned as children. And took into adulthood.
The shadow I noticed today had long legs and a thin body. I may not see that in the mirror, but I love what I saw today.
The shadow I saw today kept my pace and we walked together effortlessly. Almost better. Step for step, egging each other on.
I loved her. I love her and am already looking forward to our next walk.
All these things are extremely helpful. We need them all. Here. They make many of us a living. They keep our checks clearing, lives turning, and trash cans empty.
It’s hard to imagine a world without these. Sounds like it would be a nightmare. But, to not need them? How wonderful.
Still, the people behind the badges and education and cash registers will still be there. In a place where we are wanted but not needed. In a place where only the sacrifice of God turned into one perfect human to live and die in this imperfect world made possible.
Jesus said He went to prepare a place for us (John 14:3). Where all people who believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) He did it for us. Regardless of race or profession or political party. The best gift ever. Providing our only way to experience this perfect world with Him.
I know many talented people. I’ve worked with some brilliant doctors and techs, I’ve also been treated by some and I thank God for them all. I’ve met some amazing therapists and lawyers who help treat broken spirits and fight for human rights whom we need here desperately.
“Winning” a case doesn’t make it perfect. Graduating doesn’t make it perfect. Getting married doesn’t make it perfect. Getting pregnant doesn’t make it perfect. Getting promoted doesn’t make it perfect.
As much as I’m thankful for my profession and anyone I help by doing it here on this earth, I look most forward to not needing it anymore for anyone.
A perfect world with no sickness or disease means no more doctors or nurses. A perfect world means no more paychecks or banks needed to keep our money or pay our bills. A perfect world means no more funeral homes or florists needed to purchase flowers that grow from it. A perfect world means no more need for police officers or military because there is no more crime or war. A perfect world means no more need for counselors to help with mental health or difficult relationships. All peace.
God has given each of us a purpose to help each other in this imperfect place and ways to provide while we are here. But, it’s not our permanent home. We all hope our children get degrees and careers that help others and themselves in this world we live in. But, most of all, I hope we are all in heaven together for eternity.
If you find yourself wondering why things are never “just right”. There’s always something. Remember that our hearts were made for heaven. Only then, will it be perfect.
I can’t let this year slip by without sharing how hard it has been.
When the ice storm hit North Texas, we were hit hard.
Financially and emotionally.
We were without electricity for 6 days and that led to approximately $15,000 in damage, not covered at all by insurance. I went unpaid for a week from work and received legal papers for one of my worst nightmares the same week. To say it was hard, would also be an understatement of the year. My heart and nervous system broke all over again.
The costs of home repairs and lawyers added up. The emotional toil and despair and stress took over in ways I wish I could forget, not to mention how badly I wish some of my loved ones could forget.
In the midst of this, I got a tattoo. This one. The word “Truth” on my right wrist. Because the enemy did all he could to take me out during this time. I couldn’t express to others the pain I was in. I also knew there was nothing anyone could do to make it go away even if I could. It was too much for words. But, God.
He didn’t take the bills or the difficulty away. He stood back when I asked Him to. “Is what I say true?” “Do I still love you?” “Even if. In all these circumstances, you lose. Do you lose Me?”
The Truth of that is “No. I don’t lose You.” I can’t. Because the Truth is found here. In You. About me. About others.
“Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 (NLT)
I’ve never felt the powers of hell as strongly as I did this year. Because of that oppression, I am even more aware of how strong God is. How He fights for us in a spiritual realm. And what He allows us to go through. I felt the darkness of the battle. This was my way of putting on and tightening up the belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14). And keeping it on. To stand my ground in it. And trust it. Because the alternative was death to my soul.
After our ice storm fiasco and the legal difficulties that I thought might kill me, both of our air conditioners went out. Another $20,000 later and we could only surmise we lived in a money pit.
Our beautiful home was eating us alive. And truly testing our marriage. What else, Lord? As I know that is not a test you want to give Him. Read the book of Job.
This is after I’d written a book about the love of God. This is after I’d hosted seven years of Bible study. This is after I thought I’d survived the worst. With Him. Oh, how much more He longs to draw close. To make it even more personal. To provide peace and make us His own. To draw us close to His chest and fight demons on our behalf.
This is proof that when we think we’ve been through the worst, we have no idea what else is coming. Right around the bend. So, lean in sons and daughters. Look to our Father who loves us most in the best and worst of times.
On the other side of this time and tattoo, I can also attest that to the extent there is pain, there is also joy and relief. Relief that it’s over. Lessons learned, and changes made. And love still. Stronger because of it. And that His Truth still stands.
Neither of us lost our jobs or our homes or our children or each other. We are well aware of these blessings. And grieve with others who have.
For us personally, 2021 made 2020 feel easy as hard and strange as it was. I know we all have our own experiences. I’m just sharing ours. Hopefully, this also helps you with yours. When the next valley arrives… The Truth doesn’t change in it.
He walks through our flames with us and brings us others who will too. It might be a smaller group than ever before. It might even be just you and Him. But, if that brings us closer to Him, So be it.
I love this tattoo more every day. I never thought I’d get one. I couldn’t imagine what I’d want on my body as long as I had it. But, this one. To see and remember. The Truth.
What He brought me through. How low I actually got. What I considered in my worst moments. The fact that He loves all of me. The good and the bad. My mistakes. My kids. His provision and grace. His strength. Not at all my own.
That my identity is not just Mom, as much of a gift that that is. I am His beloved daughter no matter what. Even if I were to lose my children. And as hard as that is to write, it’s Truth. And, I pray they know that about themselves too.
This tattoo is on my right wrist. Easily seen by me and others. Near where Jesus took His nails to save me. And easily placed over my heart when it needs reminded.
The Truth sets us free. And never changes or fades. This tattoo may change or fade over time more than the truth itself. And, for that, I’m thankful. He sustains me.
Even when the enemy wages war on our hearts and minds. Even when the deepest sadness sets in. Even when it seems no one understands. Even when we are schemed against and plotted around. The enemy wants to take us out. But, God says… “Nothing can separate us from His love.” Nothing.
I don’t know what’s coming next. But, I want to keep His Truth tattooed on my heart for it.