I am not an activist. I’ve never been the one to take up a cause and be on the front lines. I’ve always wanted peace and cooperation more than conflict and I enjoy staying in the background however there is something that has been on my heart for quite sometime that I need to talk about.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been interested in the topic of abortion. In the beginning it was mostly on an academic level I think because the decision to legalize abortion occurred during the year of my birth. Then it became an issue that affected me personally through friends I’ve known that have had abortions; once when I was 18 and twice in my twenties. During two of the abortions I was in the waiting room at the clinic and the other was told to me during a conversation but all of them have had great affects on me.
I’ve always believed in God but to be honest I never gave a thought about what it meant to have an abortion and how if affected people. That was how naive I was. I remember sitting in the waiting room thinking more about my friend’s and their well being My concern was for how they were being treated and what their recovery was going to be like. I never once thought of the procedure itself. Don’t get me wrong I never believed or thought the baby was just tissue-I just didn’t think about the baby.
I am not proud of that.
Over the last few years God has been working on my heart when it comes to this issue. See a while ago I asked God to allow me to have the same concern for the things that concern Him and He has started to answer that prayer. Please know that I am not condemning anyone for the decisions they have made but for me I can no longer think of abortion as just another procedure. My heart aches for the babies not allowed to be born and for the women who felt they had no other choice. No I’ve never been placed in that position myself and I’d like to think that I wouldn’t make the choice to abort but I honestly don’t know.
What I do know is that I now pray for life at every stage. From conception to birth to adulthood to death. And I pray that should I find myself facing an unplanned pregnancy that I would think of the child’s life over my own but truly only God knows.
I’ve asked for His forgiveness for my thoughtlessness and because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross and His grace & mercy He has forgiven me.
I only pray that in our battle for rights and for life we don’t forget who is at the heart of this issue-the young girls & women, the unborn babies and their families. They need the same grace & mercy the Lord has extended upon us individually no matter their decision and we need to remember-they are people not political punching bags.
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I have a love/hate relationship. I’ve been in it for quite some time and I can’t seem to find my way out. I spend time every morning and every evening cultivating this relationship but it still remains a shallow. There are times where I get a deeper sense of connection but the majority of the time it’s all superficial. I find myself feeling bad and comparing myself against others after our encounters. My love/hate relationship is with social media.
To me social media is what we would call “a necessary evil”. It is such a huge time waster in our society. We can often end up spending countless hours playing games, posting, liking, sharing, scrolling to the point that when we look up the entire day has gotten away from us. We often find ourselves admiring or envying other people’s lives wishing we could have what they have. Or we lose the art of having a conversation with someone because we have become so accustomed to using social media as the main source of communication. Trust me, I know from what I speak. I had a couple of friends over about a week ago and half way through our time together all three of us were on our phones on social media looking at what someone had posted and using that as our topics of conversation. What’s wrong with that picture?
However there are some good things about social media as well. Social media has become an awesome way to stay connected to friends and family. It’s a great way to network and find jobs. And it’s a great platform to speak our minds. If it wasn’t for social media I wouldn’t have been connected to blogging groups or groups about my favorite television shows. I wouldn’t be connected to some of my favorite inspirirational Christian speakers, teachers, & authors. I wouldn’t get the privilege of praying for others or the opportunity of touching people’s lives. Social media at it’s core is not a bad thing. It becomes bad when I allow it to consume me. It becomes bad when I distort how I view it. It becomes bad when it becomes my world.
So I will continue my relationship with social media but instead of it having control over me I will have control over it and maybe one day our relationship can grow from love/hate to love/love.
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Dear God. There is so much going on in the world today. So many people that are lost and feeling alone & afraid. So many people who are hurting physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And no matter where we are we all need that touch of comfort letting us know that we are loved. I thank you Lord for your continued grace and mercy and I pray a special prayer for the ones who are without a home. The one’s who are searching for a place to lay their heads. I personally don’t know their struggle Lord but I know that you do and for that I’m thankful. Lord keep us safe and keep us close. With my everlasting love I pray this in Jesus’s name Amen.
I open my eyes and allow them to adjust to the darkness around me. I hear the sounds of nothingness in my ears. My hands feel the coldness of the floors I call my bed. I’ve been here for several years now. This 10 x 12 space has become my home. I have just enough room to move around but not enough to really feel comfortable. My crime? Well that’s not really important. What’s important is that I’ve been sentenced to serve this time. How much time? Well that really depends on me.
Everyday men, women and sometimes children are sentenced to serve time behind bars. Their crimes range in severity as do the time they are ordered to serve. These individuals are sentenced to a physical imprisonment placed on them by the justice system but what about people who imprison themselves because they can’t let go of the past? I’m sure we’ve all seen them. They are walking around just like we are going about their business day after day. Nothing really seems out of place until you sit down and have a conversation with them. Most of the topics consist of situations that have happened to them in the past. They still get angry, disappointed, hurt when they think about how someone did them wrong. The feelings are so strong one would think these are fresh wounds instead of old scars.
I’ve been one of those people. Constantly picking at a wound that God was trying to heal simply because it was familiar to me; something I could depend on. I kept myself imprisoned by holding onto hurts, slights and disappointments because I felt justified not realizing that each day I was adding bars to my cell and days onto my sentence. And to be honest there are days I visit my old cell. I’ll be sitting thinking about my life and the next thing I know I’m replaying situations that happened to me when I was in my early twenties and those old feelings start to come up again. That’s when I start reminding myself that as long as I stay locked up in that prison Satan is happy and the last thing I want to do is make him happy. See as long as we focus on the past we can’t move through to our future. It’s like we are wearing blocks of cement. We become stuck right where we are.
Jesus did not die for our sins and free us from eternal death to watch us imprison ourselves again. John 10:10 says “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (NKJV)” So let’s break out of the mental prison we place ourselves in and live as free children of God.
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Why is it so easy to tear one another down? Why do we constantly feel the need to talk about each other behind our backs? Why do we always have to find fault when something good happens or rejoice when something bad happens? Why do we have to compare ourselves against someone else? Why do we have to make someone else look bad to make ourselves look good? Why do we feel the need to bully someone?
As women this type of competition has been going on for centuries. I’ve even gotten caught up in it myself finding fault with other women simply based on their appearance or a perceived idea of who they are. In elementary school I was involved in an incident of bullying another class mate. The entire class was standing in the hallway waiting on our teacher and a few of the kids (girls and boys) started taunting one of the girls to kiss someone just because we thought it would be funny to tease her and I believe she thought it would help her to belong. After she did it I saw the look of “are you pleased, can I join in?” on her face knowing that we only did to make her look bad and I felt immediately ashamed. It is not something that I am proud of and to this day I still think about where she is and how much damage that seemingly small incident played in her life. I say seemingly because no incident of bullying is small and it affects the people that are doing the bullying as well as the person that is being bullied and if I could apologize to her I would.
Now I’m sure someone would justify this behavior and say that we were only kids but that is no excuse. My mother never raised me to look down on anyone else or intentionally mistreat someone and had she known about this when I was a child I would have been in trouble so why did I do it? For me it was also the idea that I wanted to be accepted as well by pleasing people and so I went along with the crowd.
As a society we do it because we are flawed human beings. We are filled with insecurities and past hurts that we hold onto instead of dealing with them and letting go. We find it easier to take the “easy” road and put someone else down. As women we can tear one another down with just a look and sometimes feel as if it’s our right to just correct what we perceive as a wrong. That just creates separation and division. I’ve been in conversations with many women who have said that it’s easier for them to be friends with men because all the women they have ever tried to get close to became vindictive or catty. All of their private business ended up being known by everyone and they never felt that they could trust any female.
I find that saddening. What kind of example are we setting for young girls that are in our lives if we can’t be better role models for them? Why do they cling so much to the gossip and unrealistic life of the entertainment world for their inspiration? Because that’s what we cling to as adult women. Don’t get me wrong there are some awesome women in entertainment that exemplify what it means to lift our sisters up but that’s not what we see. We see women fighting other women. We see women stealing other women’s husbands or boyfriends. We see women laughing at each when a venture they are trying to get off the ground fails. It’s time we start seeing women fighting for one another. It’s time we see women working together to save relationships. It’s time we see women supporting ventures and if it fails helping to pick up the pieces.
We need to be better so that our girls can be better. I for one don’t want my nieces growing up thinking that it’s ok to step on someone’s back to get where they are going. I’ve heard it said many times that the people you meet going up are the people you meet coming back down. I don’t know about you but I don’t want my road to success littered with the carcasses of women I’ve mistreated. Do you?
The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things that they admonish the young women to love their own husbands that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5 NKJV)
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I love, love, love watching home improvement shows. I enjoy watching homeowners or contractors demolish the rooms they are going to be working on. They rip out cabinets; tear through walls; break up floors and counter tops. Sometimes they keep items if they are in good conditions and donate them or reuse them. But when the camera spans the rooms after the demolition is done all you see is empty spaces that are framed out and sometimes it’s hard to determine where the new rooms are going to be.
Then the magic happens. The exterior of the home is painted and landscaping goes in. The walls are put over the framing in the interior and you start to see what the kitchen, bathroom, living room, family room, basement will look like. After the walls comes the fun of decorating the rooms. Colors are picked. Furniture is purchased or made. Accessories are put in place and the room comes together. And then the big reveal happens. It is always hard for me to remember what the home looked like before the renovations were completed because the homes always look so different. Aesthetically they are better and most times the the wiring and plumbing have been updated to help them function better as well. And the homeowners are ecstatic.
This is what God does to us on a daily basis. From the day we accepted Jesus as our savior He has been demolishing parts of our character that don’t reflect the true beauty of who we are. But unlike a home renovation that has a limited budget and time frame God has unlimited time to work on us bit by bit. Everyday we wake up is another opportunity for God to show us something about ourselves that we may feel makes us who we are but they really don’t. For instance I’ve heard plenty of people say “I tell it like it is and if you don’t like you don’t have to listen to it” or “I’ve always been this way and nothing is going to change me”. Well as a child of God those statements shouldn’t be a part of our vocabulary.
First of all change is a part of life. That’s how God designed it. Each year we change seasons from winter into spring into summer into fall and then we start the process all over again. God understands that it’s important for the earth to change so that it can continue becoming what it’s supposed to be. A place of beauty to be enjoyed and treasured. Butterflies don’t start out as butterflies. They start out as caterpillars and they go through several stages of metamorphosis to change into the beautiful butterflies we see. If God created the world and caterpillars to go through changes and they were not created for fellowship with Him why would we think it’s ok for us to stay the way we were before we came to Jesus?
Second of all not allowing change keeps our growth stunted. Picture this. You’re walking down the street and you see an adult sucking on a pacifier. I don’t know about you but if I saw that I would like there’s something not quite right with that person. They clearly still think they are a child and are acting as such. Well, it’s the same way with our spiritual growth. As we grow the things that affected us before shouldn’t affect us or they should’t affect us in the same way. For example if we used to go tit for tat with someone when they made me us mad as new Christians and 10 years in we still go tit for tat where is our growth? I’m not saying we won’t feel the desire to do that but as we grow we should be able to look at the big picture and realize that it’s not important to prove anything to anyone. Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord (Deuteronomy 32:35) and if we believe that we should allow Him to fight our battles. We are called to bring our concerns to Jesus in prayer not bring our concerns to our friends through words of anger.
Being under construction is not a bad thing. As with a home that undergoes renovations the internal parts of us are being torn down with the best parts of us re-purposed. God re-frames our structures. Fixes our plumbing and wiring. Puts up walls, furniture, fixtures and accessories. Repaints our exteriors and puts up landscaping all with the purpose of making us into something that is similar but better than what we used to be.
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Every day we are faced with limitations. We can only drive so fast. We should only eat a certain amount of calories a day. Your favorite show is only on for an hour. If we can adhere to the limitations that are placed on us by outside forces then why is it so difficult for us to place limitations on ourselves?
When I was 19 years old I made the decision to have sex. At the time the decision was driven by peer pressure and my own lustful desires. Since that day I’ve made several decisions including the decision to continue having sex based on my own desires and there has always been consequences when I wasn’t able to place limitations on myself.
Funny thing is this has happened on more than one occasion in the bible as well. Abraham and Sarah took matters in their own hands even after God promised them a child of their own. As a result one of Abraham’s children had to leave the home they had known for all their lives (Genesis 15; 18:1-15; 21:1-20). Cain made the decision to kill Able and he was driven from his home (Genesis 4:1-14). Thousands of people made the decision to crucify and not believe in Jesus and they lost out on the miracle of everlasting life.
Every time we decide to go against our own better judgement and say yes to what we think will make us feel good at the time we are saying no to something better. By me saying yes to having sex at an early age I missed out on the beauty of knowing just one man and I will know have to answer questions when I do get married that I wouldn’t have to deal with had I just said no to myself. It has taken me a long time to understand that self control is the one of the most beautiful gifts we can give ourselves. Knowing when to say no and when to say yes keeps us from circumstances that can lead to heartache, disappointment and possibly death.
I was recently told that I need to take Proverbs 3:5-6 to heart and totally trust in the Lord. My prayer for myself is that I can continue to allow that to happen and that I can walk in the limitations that are necessary for me to succeed in life. I pray that for you as well and I thank God that He continues to answer that prayer by providing us with what we need to make the correct decisions.
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February 14th. Valentine’s Day. A day of love. A day of chocolate, flowers, champagne, cards. Stereotypically single people, women in particular, have felt left out and men who are in dating relationships have felt pressure to propose on this day.
And to be honest I’ve been one of those single women because everywhere around me were couples either in dating relationships or married celebrating their love. I often felt a serious “woe is me” attitude. I felt alone, depressed and I felt as if people pitied me because I didn’t have a man in my life and yes I still sometimes feel that way but this year I wanted to think about something different.
What happens on February 15th? Why put so much pressure on ourselves to celebrate one day of love when our entire lives should be a celebration of love?
I am always teased at church because I give hugs that let people know that I genuinely care about them and I want them to feel the love of Jesus through those hugs. And I will take that teasing all day long because it’s more important for someone who has never felt a kind loving touch to understand how gentle, caring and comforting it is to be in the arms of Jesus. Now I’m not saying that I am Jesus because I could never die on the cross for the worlds sins but as a child of God I am supposed to reflect His attributes.
Love is not supposed to be something you buy and parade around once a year. Love is supposed to be who you are. I know it’s not always easy especially when we are called to love people who don’t look like us, act like us or have the same ideals as we have but that still doesn’t mean we get a pass on love. 1 Corinthians 13 talks about what love, especially for a believer, should look like. And as a believer, as a Christ follower it should be our standard.
So as we move closer to February 14th let’s all remember what true love looks like. It’s not balloons, it’s not flowers, it’s not candy, it’s not jewelry. It’s sitting with a friend after they’ve lost a loved one even when you don’t know what to say. It’s getting up in the middle of the night when your child has had a nightmare. It’s opening your doors to someone who doesn’t have a place to stay. It’s climbing on a cross and taking on the world’s sins to reconcile them back to their Father.
What is your definition of true love?
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.
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There are two major dates in our lives. The day we are born and the day we die. The question is what do we do in between those dates.
I recently lost someone very close to me and I miss her everyday. I’m constantly thinking about how much her life impacted not only her immediate family and friends but people that only knew her through her family and friends. As I got the opportunity to spend time with her before she died I started thinking about how much she means to me and how much of a legacy she was going to leave behind. And then I started thinking about what kind of legacy I wanted to leave behind.
Everyday, whether we know it or not, our lives are affecting someone else. Just as my brother said the other day we encounter people at the grocery store. When we are filling up our tanks. When we drop off our kids at school. Even when we are driving down the highway. What kind of impression do we want to leave with them? Princess Diana was a in this world for a short time but her legacy of humanitarianism is being lived out through her children and prayerfully her grandchildren. Martin Luther King Jr., Medger Evers, Malcolm X all spoke out against injustice and while their methods were all different their ideals are still being spoken about today. Jesus encountered thousands of people in His three year ministry and everyone’s life was changed as a result. People’s lives are still being changed because of His encounters. I don’t want my life to be “she was born and then she died”. Nobody’s life should just be “they were born and then they died”. Everyone should have more than just a footnote to put between the dashes.
I feel very blessed to know that I’ve been able to touch the lives I’ve already touched but I still have more living to do and more lives to touch. When I die I want people to know that Jesus loves them. That I love them and that they matter. I don’t need to know personally everyone that I touch but I do want to know that my six degrees of separation doesn’t just stop there. Paul wasn’t satisfied with just touching a few people with Jesus’s message of salvation-he wanted to touch the world.
My aunt poured a lot of who she was into me and I’m a better person for it. So this post is dedicated to her and the legacy she leaves behind in her daughters, her husband, her grandchild, her brother, her sister and the countless others she has touched. Thank you for your life Mama Barb. I miss you everyday.
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I recently had surgery and I’ve been recuperating at my parents house. Both of my parents have been at work and my niece has been at school so that has left just me and the beautiful dog Cupcake at the house together. As I sit here not able to move around as much as I’m used to I watch how Cupcake spends her day. She spends her day laying around allowing people to wait on her hand and foot. She has to wait for someone to feed her, let her out to use the bathroom, play with her, pet her and she seems to be content with that.
Come to think of it it’s easy for a child to do that as well. Which is how Jesus wants us to come to Him…so why is it so easy for a child but not me?
I think it’s because the last thing we want to feel is vulnerable and needy. We seem to take it as a sign of weakness. If we’re vulnerable, if we show that we need people, if we show that we are human and have weaknesses then people might take advantage of that. And yes is a possibility. There are people who use our openness as a way to make themselves feel better but it’s not up to us to determine how people use what we give them. No we shouldn’t allow people to walk all over us but if we let a few to dictate how we interact with the majority that is giving the few power over us that they do not deserve.
So back to Cupcake. Earlier today we took a nap. I could hardly enjoy the nap because I was worried about what she was going to get into. She on the other hand couldn’t care less about what I was doing. Her main agenda “take a nap and enjoy it”. I even got up and asked if she needed to go outside. She looked at me, yawned and plopped on the floor as if to say “yeah, I’m not doing anything until I want to”. She clearly doesn’t really care about what people think of her. I, on the other hand, have an issue with making sure people see me a certain way.
Again it goes back to the vulnerability. If we present what we think people want to see we feel as if we have some control over them. NOT TRUE. The only thing we can control is our reaction to things-not even the things themselves. Almost four years ago I got fired. Obviously it wasn’t something I wanted-I mean who really wants to get fired-but that decision was out of my control. What was in my control was how I was going to deal with it. Freak out or trust that everything was going to work out. I’ll be honest my first instinct was to freak out. I had just bought a house, a still had a car payment, insurance etc. I had no idea what I was going to do but then I took a step back and saw it as the opportunity that it was. I learned a lot about myself and I continue to learn a lot about myself.
This surgery was considered elective but it was a necessary surgery. My goal with this recuperation is to learn to not only trust more in God but to allow people to show me love my offering their help. And I’d rather learn that lesson now on a voluntary basis then when God forces me to learn it. It’s always easy to retain a lesson when it’s learned on your time instead of on someone else’s time.
So I’m going to take a page out of Cupcake’s book by relishing in the love that is given to me and allow people to be there for me.
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