There’s lots and lots of pressure these days right? We have an insatiable need to let people know how we’re feeling and what we think about what’s going on in current affairs, etc. Talk, talk, talk, fuss, fuss fuss. It’s like there’s another person inside of me that takes over and she just won’t be quiet. She feels it’s important to share her opinion and chime in to every post, every tweet…so much so I’ve had to turn it off several times so I would just shut up!

I sometimes think to myself,”I must respond to that, I’m the great revealer of THE TRUTH” so I let it rip.  There’s nothing wrong with blowing off a little steam, we all do it, especially with all these avenues available to us now through which we can indulge ourselves.

I’ve found that if I keep the ball rolling, the current issues are constantly on my mind and if it’s something I don’t agree with I’m constantly anxious (or whatever emotion the topic makes me feel) and my feelings tend to explode from my mouth or my fingers as the case may be. Sometimes I’ve regretted the end result.

In my God time this morning, I read Philippians 4…and the “Light” was especially bright on verse 8: “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, DWELL ON THESE THINGS.” (Emphasis mine). 

Here’s what I think (ha, here I go again) 🙂

I think about how I FEEL too much. That’s the problem, and that’s where I get messed up. There are many things going on in our world that push our buttons and we respond just like everyone else. There’s the other problem.

I’m responsible for keeping MY peace AND the peace around me. You are too, if you belong to Jesus. I’m supposed to be different (as are you). We’re to be HIS examples of the strength, peace, kindness, in our corners that HE displays through us…if we choose to let Him be displayed. We have the chance to live in this chaotic and scary world as examples of the difference Jesus makes in the lives of everyday people.

The lost need to see (not just hear) the difference Jesus makes in the chaos and uncertainty. We don’t need to sound like everybody else but more importantly we shouldn’t look like everyone else. How we handle what we’re going through could make the difference in someone’s life.

I’m going to shut up, try my best to keep how I feel to myself and walk in/live in the “peace that passes all understanding” given to me by Jesus like I believe it.  Will you? People don’t need my opinions. They need His peace!

Left to Live

For the longest time, I felt like I was being punished or made to suffer because pretty much everyone close to me has died. This includes two siblings, mother, father, best friends, my mentor, beloved pets…the list is long. I mean, why are they gone and I’m still here?!

My life, from the time I can remember has been, well, hard. It seems when I look back there are so many losses, so much sadness and lots of struggles. I don’t know many people that have lived through some of the things I’ve lived through. If I wrote about a lot of it I would have to market it as fiction.

Recently after the loss of a another childhood friend I was snatched with grief. I felt so bad for his close friends as well as myself. I’ve also watched as those around me suffered through their losses and hardships which breaks my heart. We’ve lost so many the past few years it seems. Some say that’s to be expected at our age. Maybe that’s true. Maybe we need to stay prepared for loss and death.

We could stay focused on the bad and sad, keeping ourselves primed for the worst. We could stay in a defensive mode always looking to guard ourselves as best we can from the trials and tribulations of life. If we did though, wouldn’t we miss out on the good?

I’ve lived long enough to know God always, always, always brings something good out of something bad. Perspective is everything. In the midst of what we think will finish us there’s always something to comfort us and help us see past the grief and pain.

While thinking about all of this it dawned on me. We’re left to LIVE. We have survived what we thought would kill us! He left us here to live. So what does that mean?

There’s a difference between surviving something and living through it. Surviving means (to me) taking one breath after another never seeing joy in anything. It means feeling no gratefulness, or anything else for that matter. It’s that place of going through the motions – no enjoyment, no heartfelt thankfulness, and worst of all, no praise to God. It’s the life of “walking dead”. No feelings about anything. Monotone misery.

LIVING on the other hand is the opposite. It’s learning to be grateful for getting to be alive one more day and being joyful for that blessing. Living is waking up knowing your day may be just like your yesterday and being glad about it. It’s finding the good in the bad even if you have to look hard to find it.

Living is being sad you lost someone but being thankful you had them in your life in the first place! Living is seeing someone else going through what you’ve already passed through and offering to help. It’s believing that God, in His infinite wisdom and providence, has allowed you to be here right now for “such a time as this”.

You’ve been left to LIVE. Will you?

My Great Enabler

I have a problem. I’m an addict. I used to drink a lot but I don’t any more. However my addiction-nature still lives. I don’t want alcohol…I want my way. I want things to be good and right. A lot of wrongs have occurred in our lives and on the other side of 50, there’s a deep “addiction” for happily ever after. I want easy. I want fair. I want not to hurt, struggle or suffer any more. See the problem? Let me help you..”I WANT” is the problem.

Psalm 37:8 slapped me in the face this morning. The Lord gave me a wake up call. “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; DO NOT FRET IT LEADS ONLY TO EVILDOING.”  (Emphasis mine)

Fretting is that stirring of emotion that makes us want. It makes us focus on how things aren’t rather than trusting God in how things are. Fret keeps me focused on ME.

Oswald Chambers is one of my favorite Authors. In “My Utmost for His Highest”, he says fretting signifies the evil in me because the ability NOT to fret isn’t based on my circumstances, it’s based on my relationship with God.

Fretting (worry) comes from the desire to have my own way. Ouch that hurt but I must confess, it’s true.

It’s easy to praise God when things are good. Let’s face it, attacks from the enemy are becoming more intense. The fight for faith is relentless. The only way not to fret is to stay close to Him and soak in as much of Him as we can and then act out (literally) what He’s given us. He enables us not to fret, otherwise we will definitely stay in a tiz all the time.

“Do not fret” indicates we have to decide. It’s up to us whether we do or not. To me, it’s a pure form of submission, a decision to put me behind, once again, what’s pleasing to Father. What’s pleasing to Father? Being thankful, praying about everything and being anxious for nothing: not fretting!

This is the ultimate evidence of our faith, as I see it. If I have Him in my life…if I have the relationship I say I do with Him and His Spirit is “big” (I spend time with Him, in His word) I will live it. We often have to decide to live a pleasing life for Him and it starts with our attitude and what we choose to spend time thinking about.

We make the free choice not to fret and He enables us to do just that. He’s the power source and He’ll do His part. Will we do ours?

The Dead Place

Part of my choosing to live requires me to let go of things, even some things that mean a lot to me. One of those things is creating flower arrangements and placing them on my sister’s grave…though not for the reason you may think.

My father’s wife won’t allow his daughter (me) to put flowers on his grave so since Thanksgiving last year, I’ve been placing two arrangements on her grave, one for her and one for Dad.

Anyone who knows me knows how very much this means to me. It’s therapeutic and makes me feel that I’m still doing something for them. This includes Dad’s wife but she’s extremely mean and vindictive. She’s ruined the peaceful atmosphere at the cemetery, threatened to shoot me if I step foot on the land that he loved (as did I) and has thrown my flowers away twice.

You see, it’s my nature to keep fighting for what’s right. It’s “right” for a woman to be able to place flowers on her father’s grave as well as her sister’s. It’s my right to do that…but is it worth it?

They’re not there anyway! They’re with me in my heart. I can celebrate them and who they are (and always will be) to me in many different ways. I even have a “memory garden” where I live where I can place flowers anytime I want! Why keep going back to the place of the dead when I can honor them in living places?

I hate to lose what’s right! It’s so….wrong! But I see that breaking all ties, even the right things and rightful ties would be better in this instance.

Doing right things…and things that are my right…when it causes me pain isn’t such a good idea. This torment and all that goes with it has been life long. I don’t wish to hurt anymore. I’ll be creative and honor them in any way I choose that she can’t hurt me with.

If you revisit a “dead place” which constantly causes pain you may want to think about some of the things I’ve said. Sometimes we simply have to let everything…and I mean EVERYTHING go. Yes it’s not fair and yes it hurts…but maybe this pain of letting go is the first stage of healing.

His Forever

No matter what, who, where if you belong to God; if you believe in Jesus and what He did, you belong to Him. I belong to Him. He will never forget me, forsake me, turn His back on me, disinherit me, disown me. I’m locked in with an eternal promise and riches in heaven that can never be stolen. Never. Never, ever.

I’ve been forsaken, tossed aside, forgotten, lied to, cheated on, compromised, used, abused and left for dead by just about everyone who ever meant anything to me. I survived on a promise. THE promise of a love I can’t even comprehend. It can be yours too. He can be yours. I can’t live…don’t want to live without Him.

We’ve been through some stuff. Yet we survived because He numbered our days before our lives began. Why wouldn’t we want to love Him back? I’m grateful to have survived and I will tell my story to anyone who listens…will you? It’s all worth it. Really.