One of the most difficult things for a recovering co-dependent to do is to let go. Sometimes the greatest love is shown is by giving others over to their own choices & free will. When we establish healthy parameters for our lives, & let those we love be free to choose whether or not to function within those boundaries, we allow ourselves to walk in authenticity, as well as those we love. No relationship should be founded on guilt or obligation, but rather on mutually beneficial qualities that enhance life & propel us towards our divine purpose.

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the right one…

We all like to be right…

I was speaking recently with a loved one, about an experience she’s deeply regretted for as long as I can remember. It’s affected her joy and peace, her relationships with others, and has dominated her thoughts and identity.

As the topic again arose, this time I offered my own spin on things. I offered up suggestions as to what might have happened had she NOT made those decisions. In a way I played devil’s advocate, but from a God perspective, played it out to its greatest end.

Suddenly, something changed and she considered the possibility that she had actually been strong and wise rather than weak. And wrong.

Perspective is a really powerful thing. It can make or break relationships. It can make or break us. I think what is most missed about grace is that it is often readily received but cautiously given. Even to ourselves.

I remember once being told that the struggles I was having with a family member was part of God’s plan for me and my own life. She encouraged me that we are planted in our families, and while every person has free will and can certainly stray from God’s perfect plan for them, He is also big enough to take those misdirections (knowing ahead of time they would happen!) and turn them into character developing opportunities for me.

Wow!!

When we truly begin to embrace the journey, to settle into our situation, and remember WHOSE we are (God’s kids!), it open the door for us to choose to see things from a God perspective – what we look for we will find.

What could you look at differently today? Which broken relationship or mistake could you choose to embrace? What person has harmed you that you could consider forgiving? Or (gasp!), even exonerating as your own misinterpretation? How would your life be different if the journey you’ve traveled suddenly became the “right” one….

 

morning rant – tainted expressions

I always find it amusing when people who have no personal experience in a certain area, find themselves to be an expert on the topic. In my own life, those who have been the most vocal about my parenting decisions have never had children themselves. While it can be frustrating to feel as though I have to defend my position to someone who can’t really grasp my heart on the matter, I think it’s more embarrassing for the one who is so clearly exposing their ignorance.

Today I read a comment on a post that fired me up a bit. The statement was made that churches only want your money and a bunch of followers. Now, I am not certain if this person has experienced a church or not, but I have met plenty of people who hold to this mindset, despite their never having been an active member of a church body before.

I can’t speak for all churches, but I can certainly share my own personal experiences from over the years. I have encountered a wide variety of denominations, cultures, body sizes,  worship and leadership styles, pastoral positions, etc. While they may not all have been a good fit for me or my family, each collective group of believers has brought something rich and meaningful to my personal experience (even those that I considered negative at the time). In the church I am now a member of, we are admonished to give as Christ calls us to. When we tithe we show God we trust Him with every aspect of our lives, we help keep our building functioning & in good repair (much like taking care of our own homes), and I know for a fact that our church gives away thousands of dollars to provide emergency shelter for those passing through, rent/utility money, food for needy families, school supplies for kids, wells in Cambodia, food & medical provision to children in Africa, and we send teams of people to help those in dire need in this country (including recent hurricanes). And I have absolutely been intentionally trained up to be a leader in the house of God in which I serve.

The saddest part about ignorance is its capacity to affect others in their own journey. Many of us can be swayed by the opinions of others, especially when we believe that information to be fact instead of seeking the truth for ourselves.

Negativity breeds negativity. What we seek, we tend to find. Choose to season your words with grace, temper your thoughts with acknowledgement that you yourself can be a fallible individual, and allow each of us to learn and grow without unnecessary hindrances. You could literally be keeping someone from their eternal destiny with your tainted expressions…

remembering…

Today marks 5 years since our good friend, Mike Wallace, was tragically killed while riding point on his Harley on Highway 2. Some of my favorite people in the world were with him when it happened. I think it’s always harder for them.

I really miss my friend sometimes.

Actually, I miss him often.

I remember how he smiled, his laugh, his goofy dance…the way he always took care of all of us…How he would meet those of us on our worship team with an umbrella on rainy days… Looking at him, you might think he was a tough biker guy – which he was – but he was also a compassionate, loving, funny, and Jesus-loving servant who did all he could to love others well.

Mike leaves a legacy for his family, his friends, and anyone whose life he touched. I also think he may have whispered in God’s ear to make sure that his friend Robin, and myself, would end up as close as we’ve become since then. In his wisdom, he knew we would need one  another.

While I wish he was still here, I am just so very honored to have known him. I am glad he got to go out doing what he loved, and is now hanging with his bestie, Jesus…

Thanks, Mike, for leaving the world a little better than when you got here. Ride well…

mike wallace memorial

 

 

 

 

 

inspired

I was speaking recently with a woman who has shared some absolutely amazing stories of miracles God has allowed her to be witness to. Her faith is often so inspiring to me and I always enjoy our time together.

During this particular conversation, however, she expressed some areas where she has been really struggling. For a small moment, I was surprised she could ever doubt, given what she’s been privy to. And then I remembered how very many people in the bible struggled with that as well.

And, so do I.

Often.

God is not easily understood; I think that’s one reason his son, Jesus was so important to our beginning of understanding of Him. Even more so is the capacity of the Holy Spirit to direct, guide, and speak directly in to our hearts in a way that bridges the gap between our human minds and the Creator of the universe.

I remember once going through a book of prayers with a friend where I found her hand written note, expressing her desire for God to move in a particular area. As I read it I became completely overcome, remembering us pouring out our hearts to Him just shy a year before. Then, completely humbled as I read it to her and we both realized God had answered it but we hadn’t even realized it was an answer to prayer.

How quickly we forget. How easy it is to focus only on that which we have not seen manifested yet.

Today I encourage you to join me in spending a little time writing down all that God has done. All the blessings, breakthroughs and little “coincidences” that have encouraged us to grow and experience deeper faith and healing than we ever could on our own.

Be inspired. Be inspiring.

heaven

 

 

if only…

This morning was absolutely gorgeous – cool breeze, hot sun, light dancing off the lake below, cup of joe in hand. So fabulous! After a little while, I began to get really hot. For a split second I thought about stating my desire to have the deck facing another way so mornings like this could be spent in the shade. Thankfully, my desire to tame my tongue and be more grateful stopped the thought from escaping into my out loud voice. And, I was reminded of how sitting on my girlfriend’s deck one morning. I had stated how perfect it would be if only it was in the sun, as I was chilly. My fickleness can be so disheartening.

With all the conversations with my children about being grateful for what they have (children starving in Africa, little ones in Cambodia with no fresh water, babies dying on the desert floor…). And yet here I sit, daily I am quite certain, with a long list of “I wish’s,” never fully satisfied, completion just out of reach.

Today I choose to walk in fulness – embracing each and every moment – good and bad. Every breath is a gift, every step triumphant. When my 4-year-old screams in defiance, I will celebrate his independence. As my 8-year-old argues her position, I will honor her  passion while tenderly redirecting her presentation. I will climb mountains of laundry will gratefulness that I didn’t have to walk 5 miles to a river, and grin at my sun spots and cellulite as I marvel in the number of years God has graced me with.

It’s a beautiful morning.

 

redirect

A person close to me chose to have an affair during their first marriage. The saddest part of any divorce is that kids are always callateral damage.  Later, career choices and a desire to pursue their own personal dreams and desires, took this person further and further away from their ability to be an active and present part of their children’s lives.

As the kids have grown older, it’s become increasingly difficult for this parent to fully own their decision to not be more participatory.  Now that the children are nearly grown and have created their own lives, it’s created a bit of a chasm. And often tension.

I always tell my kids that every decision comes with a consequence – good, bad or indifferent. It’s why choices as we mature become increasingly difficult; as we grow in our understanding of this, we are sometimes forced to pick the “lesser of two evils.” It’s not always easy to make a list of pro’s and con’s and not like any of the available options.

We can, however, fully possess our choices, and walk in grace as we accept that which comes with each path we take.

Wherever you are today, walk confidently, choose wisely, and redirect if necessary…

Desert

 

 

 

 

 

support and time

“Your fingers would remember their own strength better if they grasped your sword.”

I was watching The Lord of the Rings Trilogy recently and there is a scene in which a king had fallen under a spell; being released by the power of a great (good) wizard. When the fog was lifted, he began to slowly evolve from a slow-minded, cowardly pawn, to the strong leader he was originally designed to be. As he begins to become more aware of his position, he is handed his sword, and the strength of his crafted identity begins to  manifest itself.

Even in today’s society, men need to be challenged. They need to feel honored. Respected. Our young boys need to know they can conquer their personal battles, the mountains of life. Sometimes, all they need is to be handed their sword and be reminded of who they are.

Women, I believe, are similar. Our weapons/tools may vary, but they are equally powerful. For instance, as a wife and mother, I can use my words, my prayers, my support and time, molding the next generation and encouraging the current. My daily decisions and what I choose to speak, directly affect the environment in which my young people are living in. Sometimes, I just need to remind myself of how powerful my “sword” really is!

It’s easy to lose sight of our value. One benefit of community is having others around us who can promote what we do, value what we each contribute, and edify those who have either misplaced, or misunderstood the power, of their own sword.

Won’t you hand someone theirs today? Be the one who helps “break the spell” of complacency and doubt, and empower your brother to remember his strength. As we lift up others, we ourselves will be lifted….

 

“really needy”

I wonder sometimes why we are so quick to attack the weak or broken. With the popularity of philanthropy in this country, and so much media created to inspire, it would seem we have a culture that promotes the virtues of caring for others.

It would appear, however, that we still feel we hold the rights to determine who is worthy of such compassion.

We coddle the drug addicted, and trash the weary mom. Promote advocacy for our criminals, while annihilating our neighbor for that decision we don’t agree with. We place blame for loss and criticize opposing opinions to the point of invalidating the feelings and essential value of our “opponents.” Apparently, we need to be “really needy” before we are allowed the opportunity for grace.

Years ago, during a season of trial, someone near to me took it upon themselves to email me all that they felt I had done wrong; all the things they felt were flawed in my decision-making, my belief system and character. One remark was made about my “supposed happiness.” The thing was, they were right – I WAS struggling with being happy. But I was  doing my very best to do all I could to make the best of the situation, choose faith, and make decisions that hopefully would propel me forward in a positive direction. What still strikes me is that I was essentially being blamed for the conditions I was navigating at the time. Instead of a helping hand, I was offered a shove down.

Criticism can stifle.

Over the years I have been amazed at some of the comments I have been made privy to in conversation. And, if I were to be completely transparent, I myself am  guilty of sometimes choosing to withhold my grace for others in light of their words or deeds. But I am also quickly reminded of the words that have caused me to stumble as well, and choose to change words of criticism into sentiments of prayer and hope.

I think we could ALL use a little more of that.

“Men don’t always realize how important they are to their children. They sometimes feel they are only there to provide materially for them. But the importance of a father’s influence can never be underestimated. How he relates to his children will shape their lives for bad or for good. It will change his life forever, too. For if he fails as a father, he will always carry that sense of failure with him. If he succeeds, there will be no greater measure of success in his life.” – Stormie Omaritian in The Power of a Praying Wife.