Oh Be Careful Little Mouths What You Say . . .

Recently I started to feel strong negative feelings about someone who I dearly love and is very close to me.  I didn’t understand where the feelings were coming from or altogether what was going on because there had been no distinct event occur to trigger such a staunch and growing disdain.  I went from being excited to share company with this person every time I got the chance, to dreading our next encounter days before it would even come to pass.

So, I started to explore what was going on with me.  I talked to Huni about it and told him how I was feeling.  He, being just as baffled as I was by the sudden onslaught of negativity, was very concerned and discouraged.  He worried about me and what was going on in my often troubled mind that would make me feel the way I was feeling.  So he listened.  And he prayed.

Weeks passed, months, but with each moment, I confessed the way that I was feeling.  I talked about it with Huni when it would come up in me, and I fully felt all that was going on in my mind, giving it flesh with my words.  I had something of a trinity moment as I spun myself out into three; my thoughts, myself and me, and we sent this mysterious presence out to live among people, representing us and allowed it to become the force by which we interpreted the world.  From one simple thought, I created a living, breathing, form that I took with me everywhere I went and I greeted it, cared for it, confirmed and addressed it every time I noticed it.  The more I talked about it, the bigger it grew.  The more I nurtured it with, “I just don’t like her.”  “But did you hear the way that was said?”  “What do you think was meant by that?”  “I can tell that she can feel it too.”  “She made me feel so terrible when . . .”  “She doesn’t like me just as much as I don’t like her” and soon that baby thought was fully grown, with a mind of its own, no longer controlled by my thoughts and actions but controlling my thoughts and actions by its mere existence.  I had talked myself into a mess.  I left no room to reverse the way I felt or consider another viewpoint because of all of that talking and processing.

Ever been there?

I’m in no way suggesting that we shouldn’t decompress, explore, vent!!!  Lord knows, we need to vent.  We need to purge and get the gook out of us, so that it doesn’t fester and blister sore hurting us and others around us.  But be careful how you do it and your motivation behind it.  What would have been better for me to do with all that I was feeling, is to speak it, vent it, YES!!  and then cover it with prayer and scripture.  These two elements together have a way of exposing what’s truth and what’s lies.  And I can truly say, with my 20/20 hindsight vision, that what was I was feeling was a LIE!!!  (thank you, Rey.  you were right.  it was a LIE!!!!–and no, for all of you inquiring minds, she isn’t the one I’m referring to in this post!)

Satan is so crafty and he uses us against ourselves more than we realize.  Of course, we give him lots of material to work with, which is all the more reason for us to abandon our way of coping and existing and have our minds and hearts renewed and refreshed daily by the Father.

Woooooo!  It’s crazy out here Frans.  But take heart!

Loves me some William Matthews (thanks Huni.) And this song flows well with what Beth is talking about in her series about Loving Kindness (because it takes a whole lotta heart and strength to be kind in a mean world) and what I’m speaking about here in this post which is a bit of a transparent view of some of my mental struggles.  There is much more to come, but in the meantime, take a listen to my Fran (not really, but in my mind we’re Frans) William Matthews.

“In death by love. . .He wears the scars of our freedom . . .In His name all our fears are swept away, He never fails, So take heart . . .All our failure and all our fear, God our love . . .He has overcome!!!!

If any of you have ever struggled with your mind, I’m praying you’ll experience Him through worship with this song.

xoxo

photo found on google, linked to naturalremedyfordepression.org

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Wednesdays with Beth: The Law of Kindness pt. 3

I love that Sophia Petrillo.  She is a mess!  The way that she can come back on her roommates is priceless.  And she gets such a kick out of it too!  I can see the look of satisfaction on her face every time she “gets” someone with her venomous tongue.

The nature of the show is set so that no one really gets hurt by Sophia’s comments because, most often, they don’t really pay her that much attention.  The issue is that there are too many of us who are taking cues from Sophia and passing out tongue lashings every time we get a chance.  But when we do it Sophia’s way, which may feel good and just in the moment, we miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the divine.

On today’s segment Beth Moore tells a very intriguing, encouraging and heart warming story that you must hear.  She points to the ultimate example of loving kindness and how God leaves no stone unturned when it comes to taking care of us and showing His loving kindness toward us.  And I know what she’s talking about.  I’ve been able to be a part of some of that myself within the past few days.  It’s amazing.

I really love me some Sophia but the thing is, when I “get” somebody, I don’t really feel as satisfied as she seems to do when she does it.  I need some real tools to fight with out here in crazy land!  I need some help and sustenance for those times when I really want to give someone a piece of my mind (knowing full well that I need every ounce of brain matter that I have left) at the expense of my peace of mind.

Lord, please show me more of your loving kindness so that I have more to give away as I make myself available to be a part of your divine plan for my life and the lives of people around me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Check it out:

http://lifetoday.org/video/the-law-of-kindness-part-3

Accountability

I have two little girls and they are sweeeeeeeeeeet and sooooooo funny.

Izzie, my oldest, is often off doing her own thing and she engages her little sister, Ava (affectionately known as VaVa) when she wants to.  :0)  She loves her little sister and she always wants her around, but sometimes she doesn’t act like it.

Izzie has a habit of exploring parts of the house that VaVa is not allowed to entertain.  One of those places is the stairs.

Izzie has enough skill and stamina to play on the stairs, within reason, but Va, not so much.  She gives us a scare every time she goes near the stairs because she is apt to fall and we don’t want her to get hurt.  She enjoys being on the stairs but she could be happily playing, giving no thought to the stairs and then her sister will sashay her little self over there and it’s like kingdom come.  Oh the stairs!  My favorite place!  And it begins.

It’s the same with the kitchen cabinets.  Iz takes a peek in and the Va is like oh, yeah, what’s in there anyway?  Let’s explore!  Iz takes to my blinds and Va is there, the dutiful supporting lady, ready to do whatever it is that they are trying to do as they rattle the wooden-like slats against the doors and windows.  Even though she’s only two, we try to impress upon Iz the importance of being a good leader and setting a good example for Av because she’s watching Izzie and wants to do everything that Izzie does.  Iz doesn’t quite get it, but she’s trying.

It’s funny how accountability can work that way.  It seems that most often we think about accountability in a very self-centered manner;  how we can use our relationships to make us answerable for the way we live and help us accomplish goals and better ourselves.   But, like it or not, we are always answerable to someone about something.  Our behavior should compel people to the good and we have to be careful to live like we know this.  God requires that we love one another and that we take care of each other.  One way to do this is by the example we set for others to follow.  It could mean freedom or bondage for someone.  It’s such a big deal.

19 Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  (Matthew 5:19 NIV)

Abide . . .

Pulling from one of my favorite authors/Christ followers/women of God today: Ann Voskamp.

Abide.  Because it’s never about your capabilities.  When you’re in covenant with Christ, it’s His responsibility to cover your cracks, to be all your competency and completeness.  Inabilities, in Christ are made all sufficient, just right abilities.  Abandon worries–wholly abide. ~Ann Voskamp

This woman is amazing.  For reals.  She is using her writing as ministry and has delivered me right into the hands of the Father where I can receive true and ultimate deliverance.  Her writing is a ministry that gets result for God, drawing people to God.  She has written a book called One Thousand Gifts, a book that I read from cover to cover and am looking forward to reading again and it is the  inspiration for my “My One Thousand” page on this here little blog.  She blogs at http://www.aholyexperience.com/ daily and if by chance you do not get a new post, the archives are enough to keep you for a few weeks!  When I click away from that site, I am encouraged, challenged and excited.  When you have a moment, drop by.  It will not be a waste of time.

So.  How do you abide?  This week I am choosing to abide through scripture memory.   Huni and I have a huge decision in front of us, a decision to follow Christ wholeheartedly with true abandon in a way that we have never done before.  While I know that there is no way that we can turn and look the other way, it is still quite a decision to face because with it comes all of the ways that I am still challenged in the level of trust I have in God and how much I believe Him, not just believe in Him, but actually believe Him.  So I’m abiding by meditating on Scripture.  This one:

“Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs. (Jonah 2:8 NIV)

This verse may not strike your fancy but in my space of abiding, every time I look at it (I have it taped to my microwave because I spend most of my day in the kitchen) I’m stilled and my mind is checked and renewed and I move deeper into that trust place.  And when the hum of the day provides the soundtrack to my busy-ness and eases my mind back into self-reliance and self-trust, I walk past that verse again and again my mind has to submit to the truth of the word of God, another opportunity to believe Him.  Another chance to ditch my comfort idol and thrust myself into the will of God knowing that what He offers is so much greater than this pithy comfort I cling onto.  And bit by bit, this HUGE, CrAzY idea is becoming more and more right and necessary.

So.  How do you abide?

Mommy Goodness!

A big, fat, hearty Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers of the world!!!! :0)  No matter how you are called upon daily to serve as a mom, it’s hard work being us, for reals and it is my sincere pleasure to wish you a happy day today and also to pray prayers of strength, love, courage, and deep relationship with God through Christ Jesus as you walk this walk of selflessness and service.  As glorious and as sweet as days like today can be, I have learned that you’ll need Him every step of the way!

I have had a great day so far.  I was greeted by mother’s day wishes starting around 6ish.  Phone calls and texts galore!  Ok.  People.  Thank you, but for reals??!!??  That early in the morn??!!  I’m a mom!  I needs my sleep!!  :0)  joking. . . kinda . . .  ;0)

My Huni’s alarm slapped my ears at 6:30, like it does relentlessly morning after morning and so resigning that I wouldn’t be sleeping in on this Mother’s Day, I hopped on my laptop and found some wonderfully encouraging words for any mama’s soul in my inbox and on the Gypsy Mama’s site.

I love (in)courage and receive emails from the site fresh and hot to my inbox daily.   This one: http://www.incourage.me/2012/05/what-we-wish-we-could-tell-you-mamas.html was waiting for me this morning and was a wonderful way to start my Mother’s Day, thinking of all moms, not just those like me.  So good.  Please do check it out.  Guaranteed blessings there.

The Gypsy Mama offered up something different but it was just. what. I. needed.  For reals.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand there’s a giveaway!!  For free!!  Check it out:  http://thegypsymama.com/2012/05/and-then-i-broke-up-with-myself-six-years-ago/

Went to church service this morning.  I love the body of believers that we worship with here.  Really, truly, our lives have been changed in ways that we could never have imagined ever since our first Sunday worshiping there.  And today was no different.  Love, love, love it when my pastor’s wife speaks.  She speaks truth and spoke it this morning like always.  However just before she did, our worship leader Pastor Jon Owens and his wife Kelley shared a bit of themselves with us.  I do not know them personally, but I really wish I did.  Especially after this. They have an amazing testimony and have been used by God to help inspire some movement in our lives without even knowing it.  Oh, this video . . . it hints to none of that.  Just how amazingly talented  and . . .  fun they are.  How can I describe this . . . .hmmmm . . . I don’t even know.  You know what, just watch it.  You’ll never be the same . . .  :0)


So, for the rest of the day I will eat and rest.  A dear friend has made plans to drop by later.  I expect we’ll laugh and talk the evening away.

I asked for a book called Mother Letters as a gift for today.

 I cannot wait to dig in.  Check it out for yourself or gift it to someone else.  Find out more here:  http://motherletters.com/ebook/

Now, for my mama:  I love you mommy.  I know that a great part of who I am, God used your hands and heart to mold.  I miss you so much.  I wish I could see your face everyday and be closer to you, to take care of you and nurture you into your destiny the way that you did with me.  But I trust God with you because before you were mine, you were so sweetly and securely His.   May He ever love you and use you until He calls you.  You’ve been a great mother–no matter the outcome of me and my sister’s lives.  Now I get to have you as my friend.  Thank you for being willing to stick around as my friend.  In my absence, I send you my heart, my love, and this gap-toothed smile that you so generously shared with  me.

I love you mommy!!!!

xoxoxoxoxoxo!!

Never Will a Rock Cry Out In My Place!

 37-38Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed:

Blessed is he who comes,
the king in God’s name!
All’s well in heaven!
Glory in the high places!

39Some Pharisees from the crowd told him, “Teacher, get your disciples under control!”

40But he said, “If they kept quiet, the stones would do it for them, shouting praise.” (Luke 19:37-40, The Message)

Move over rocks!!  I got this one!  :0)

171.  Kool Moe Va

172.  biggest cheeeeeeeeeese from the littlest

173.  penny wishes

174.  granddaddies

175.  birthday cupcakes . . .scrumdillyum!!

176.  DQ surprise!

177.  TBP intern class of 2012 . . . love, love, love those girls

178.  my first trip to the crepe truck courtesy of Precious, accompanied by Jamaica Swagu

179.  all gone  :0)

180.  excitedly watching Grandma and Granddaddy unload their car

181.  Dragonfly Jones VaVa

182.  watching her be happiest

183.  late night cuddles and cosby show

. . . and I’m only just getting started . . . check the list and join me:  https://pamelluce.com/my-one-thousand/

Wednesdays with Beth: The Law of Kindness pt 2

Chuckled to myself about those “fights” I have with people in my mind.  I prepare or replay the whole conversation and all the things I’d say to get somebody right,  “Aunt Esther style” . . . giving little thought to how, most often, I’m so wrong. . .

Check it out:  http://lifetoday.org/video/the-law-of-kindness-part-2

Photo taken from google,  jameslogancourier.org

Pondering the Ocean

I’ve been listening to and talking with many of my friends recently and it seems like we can all relate to “ocean seasons” in our lives.  With all of its vastness, mystery and beauty, life and our view of & relationship with God, can be so very overwhelming, much like the ocean.  Seems like the waves of challenge, pain, stretching, and strengthening come in so strong, so fierce and unrelenting.  Living day in and day out, we expect life to be a walk on the beach; comfortable, beautiful, wild, but only a very controlled and contained wildness, one that we expect and can predict the outcome thereof.  Oh, but how we limit our understanding of God’s power and our understanding of how He views us and the heights that we are capable of reaching in Him.

I mean, I totally get it though.  The ocean, like our walk with God can be so scary.  As soon as we venture out into the water–our relationship with God and all that it contains– and go in just deep enough, trusting God, just enough to call ourselves Christian and surrender just enough of our lives to say that He is Lord, the waves are stirred.  Often, they are manageable at first–transitions, losses, misunderstandings, challenges . . .  the waves that hit at the back of the knee and rock us forward.  We regain our footing knowing that we needn’t resist because there will be more waves and we want to conquer, we want to be successful and pass the test.

Seems like just as I dig my heels into the sand and prepare myself to stand against the next wave, it comes indeed, and takes me under.  And then comes another.  It’s as if wave after wave rushes over me, taking me down head first, swirling me around beneath the deep, dark blue and as soon as I scramble my way to the top, cough up all of the salty water from my lungs and nose, breathe enough air to confirm that I am still alive and this wave, much to my dismay, did not claim my life, I am pulled under again, stronger and longer than before.

God desires that I fully rely on Him.

I hear you Lord, sweet and strong, even as the waves roar and crash violently, I hear it loud:

1-4 But now, God’s Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you.
I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.
When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.  Isaiah 43:1-4 (The Message, emphasis mine)

It’s my perspective checker, pleading with me to take these truths into my heart and mind, receive them, believe them and walk in them.  Walk in Him– in His strength and power, not in my own.  It’s a common theme, but I’ve got to grasp it.  Not my understanding but yours, Lord.  Not my way, but yours, not my will, but thine father God.  So I move a little farther out into the ocean even though my fears, and some of the people around me have told me that it would be wise to get out, do life my way, use my common sense.

No.

I’m following your spirit.

I’m going deeper.

And as soon as I trust you to take me deeper, farther, further, I discover that I am perfectly positioned so that the strength of the wave does not take me under.  I am deep enough and far enough out into faith that I have no other choice but to trust you.  The land is too far ahead of me and I cannot see the ocean floor beneath me.  I must trust.  And as soon as I do, I discover that what used to take me under only rocks me a bit now.

So I go deeper in you, at your leading.

And now, I can lie down and rest in you.  Do, as Lisa calls, a God float. I’ll move according to your spirit now.  I’ll no longer strive to control, but by your spirit I will have all the self control I need to just trust you and rest in you.  Here, in this place old truths feel like new all over again; yes, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13)

And I’ll go deeper still.

6-10We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it’s not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:

No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.

10-13The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God—except that he not only knows what he’s thinking, but he lets us in on it. God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us. We don’t have to rely on the world’s guesses and opinions. We didn’t learn this by reading books or going to school; we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way. (1 Corinthians 2:6-13, The Message, emphasis mine)

Can any of you relate to me on this?  Anybody having an ocean season out there?  If you’ve been through one and are coming out, share the beauty and glory of that deeper place in God with us!

Photo from windows2universe.org

Wednesdays with Beth: The Law of Kindness

Because you ever open your mouth to make the least utterance, you need to understand and know the law of kindness.  Whoa.

Beth Moore is on Life Today talking about The Law of Kindness and in just this first video I was both convicted and captivated.  Upon seeing the title, I wasn’t too hype about hearing her message.  I loves me some Beth Moore because her teaching is just so revelatory and passionately draws me to my Savior but a message on kindness felt, well, simple.  Honey chile let me tell you!  Simple it is not!!

You’ve gotta see it for yourself, but she talked about how we are ALL published authors even without ever having made a dime for our work thanks to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, emails, and so on.  But we are, in essence, the worse sort of writers; writers without editors.  We say what we want, how we want, as often as we want and to whomever will entertain it and if we do not act in step with the Holy Spirit we can cause so much damage and harm.

She went on further to say, “It takes supernatural power to remain kind in the mean world we live in.”  And I know this is true.

Confession:  I had a run in with the mail lady this week. (huff sigh, slowly rubbing temples with fingertips)

My mail lady is just plain old mean.  She really is.  She drives her mail truck like a NASCAR professional and she takes little care for whomever may be on her terrain.  She almost hit my sister and her fiance as they were crossing the street because they weren’t crossing quickly enough.  And she has a vendetta for garbage cans.  If she rolls up to deposit the mail and there is a trashcan in the way, she runs over it with her truck or she physically takes her hands and pushes it out of her way, as she passes by in her truck.

Craziness.

The worst day is trash day.  On trash day,after emptying the cans, the trashmen leave trashcans wherever they may land; if it’s in your yard, score!, if it’s in the road, poor.  So, on trash day this week, I was going out to move my trashcans but I didn’t get there quickly enough.  As I was moving my cans, for reals, my hands were on the handle, she ran into my trashcan.  People.  My hands were on the can and she STILL hit it!!!  I was in shock and disbelief!!  For reals.  I was stunned that she hit the can while I was standing right there with it.  Then, she sat there and waited for me to move but I couldn’t because the can was trapped between the driveway and her truck!!!  And even though I was FUMING I still came up with enough respect to call her ma’am as I tried to reason with her, (with, I’ll admit, a bit of ‘tude), that I can’t guarantee that the trashmen won’t leave my can in the road each week as they typically do to me and all of my neighbors.  She relented not.  Instead she went on to tell me where I should put my trashcan so that it won’t be in her way next time.  Frustrated, I said okay and walked away to the sound of her truck screeching down the street to the next mailbox, only ten feet away.

Pride says I should have told her “akdafljsdhfuoeyrat;jdnf;asdfua;weouirwo;,!!!!!”

Conviction says I should have been nicer.

“We never resemble our Father more than when we love someone who is hard to love.” –Beth Moore

Kindness is a challenge.  Lord help!!

Check it out:  http://lifetoday.org/video/the-law-of-kindness-part-1

His Work, Our Hands

God is always moving.  And He’s often trying to move me.

Lately I’ve been sensing this incredible pull to more ministry, in fact a complete change of lifestyle and a shift so that my life is centered around ministering to His people, third to my relationship with Him and my family.  Here’s how it happened:

Huni has always had a desire to work in full time ministry but in very specific ways.  A few months ago he spoke to me about us making a drastic decision which would plunge us right into it.  Time went by and we didn’t really talk much about it.  You know how it goes, life gets in the way: things to be done, comfort sought after a long day and then you wake up the next day and do it all over again.

But the Lord wanted to make sure that we were tuned in and listening.

Well, I went to the home of a phenomenal woman and she, along with her husband and children, have planted themselves in a low income community, even though they could afford to live almost anywhere, in order to be a light for Christ and live alongside the people and offer themselves to the people, in order to give them hope and practical steps to a brighter future.  I was so inspired as I listened to her talk about what it’s been like to live there and how her life as well as the lives of her children have been greatly blessed as they bless others.

After I left her home, a spark was lit inside of me.  Really.  I couldn’t get into my car fast enough before I was calling Huni and telling him all about the conversation and how our family unit needed to get focused, be in prayer and figure out how the Lord wanted to use us.

As soon as I opened myself up to the possibility that there could be more, there should be more, there were rolling hills of confirmation waiting to take me for a ride.

I am so excited to be used by God but, oh so afraid.  Frans, (that’s “friends,” but my cousin Chris pronounces it this way and I kinda like it :0) Frans, I like my comfort.  Wooooo!  For reals!! I seek it out, I watch for it, I protect it, I guard it with my life!  But I know that by doing this, I leave little room for the Lord to be my God of all comforts, as He says He is.

So, here I am.  At this place where I am happily content with my life and where it can go but still there’s enough room in my heart for dissatisfaction so that God may to speak into me and tell me about the ways that He may want to use me, push me, stretch me for His glory and for the sake of His people.  In truth, I really shouldn’t be so comfortable when there are so many hopeless and hurting people all around me.

I wonder is He trying to move you?  Is He trying to get your attention to tell you that the everyday mundane that you comfortably accept day in and day out is less than His best for you?  Are you willing to allow Him to show you what’s behind door number one?  You never know.  You might prefer to take what you can see, but behind door number one, His good and perfect will for your life, could be the life you’ve been waiting for, with thrills for a lifetime and peace enough to calm all your fears, with provision secured for all your needs.  I strongly encourage you to pray and ask Him what He’d like to do with you and then pray for the courage to follow.  We have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to rock this world!!  But first we’ve gotta have the heart and selflessness to fully stand on the Rock and the Rock alone, trusting that whatever He offers is better than anything else.