#write31days – Day 2

One thing is for certain…handwriting 2 pages isn’t enough room to fill in all the blanks! But that’s okay… something tells me I should avoid the Reader’s Digest version anyway.  I need to share the uglies of life… ’cause  I’m pretty sure God showing up in my messy life isn’t really all that different from how He’s eager to show up & show off in yours. I like focusing on today – today isn’t all that painful – today I’ve let go of a lot of things – today the idea of the unknown isn’t oh so scary – today it’s easy to praise Him.

The challenge in this journey of faith is praising God when we’re knee deep in the muck of life – and that’s only possible if we’re willing to stand firm on His promises – when we’re willing to call on Him – cry out to Him to see us through – when we set pride aside and allow others to walk beside us in the dark hours of unknowns…

And that folks is what I call relationship – that degree of intimacy only achieved by spending one-on-one time with Him. The great thing is that God is so….so God that He gives us ALL of Him….ALL the time: 100% of His love – 100% of the time – how grand is that?!

So tomorrow and in the coming days, I will focus more on the so-called uglies (you can also check out a couple of recent posts shown below) so you can see more clearly how He loves to show up for us.

It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN Situation  Part 1 / Part 2 (click on part 1 or 2)

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P.S. If there’s anything in particular you’d like me to clarify, just ask – I’m pretty much an open book!

  

It’s a WIN – WIN – WIN Situation – Part 2

Before my diagnosis, I’d already experienced one heck of a year… wait…whoa…let’s back up the horses… actually, 2012 & 2013 were monumental growth precursors…

In 2012, I learned a HUMONGOUS lesson… although I didn’t realize it at the time (do we ever?????) I was trying to fast forward  the growth process in my relationship with God.  We’ve all been there in the learning process when we’d much rather know than learn – and sadly, my relationship with God wasn’t really any different.  During 2011, I knew I wanted more in my relationship with God – I just wasn’t sure how to get there.

Clueless at the time, my biggest obstacle was receiving love – in turn, I was trying to give something I didn’t fully understand.  Although my love for others was genuine, there was a blind component – at times, I inadvertently attached a sense of self-worth to love.  In hindsight, I can see I was a tangled mess that only God could and would take the time to unravel and weave into a beautiful tapestry.

StepsToPeace_03My first realization of short-changing my relationship with God was a broken engagement – on Valentine’s Day no less (God does have a sense of humor, doesn’t He?) – a sense of betrayal that cut deep through years of personally applied duct tape to my fragile heart.  You see, I put a man on a pedestal in between myself and God – a good enough go-between of sorts.  I knew I wasn’t good enough (sinless) to approach God – my mistake? My actions completely trumped Jesus for another man – and yeah…that’s hard to admit.  It’s no surprise now how much of a mess I was – I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing… the good news? I am thankful EVERY DAY God shut the door on that relationship to help me  finally understand and believe what the Bridge of Faith really means (click HERE to read the original post). Three years later and God is still providing greater revelation!

Of course, God uses every situation to teach us something – whether we realize it or not!  You see, during my engagement there were plans for me to move out of Texas… yeah…this homegrown 50+ deeply rooted Texas gal… away from family – away from my precious daughter – away from siblings and my aging widowed father.  Pretty bold, right??? PRAISE GOD that did not come to fruition – I was willing – but again, for all the wrong reasons.  Never doubt it folks, God may call you to leave where you are today, but He will ALWAYS meet and use you exactly where you are!

Indeed He did!  Not two weeks after the engagement was called off my dad fell ill – the beginning awareness of a much bigger health issue: dementia / Alzheimer’s – we never had a clear diagnosis, but in my mind they were equally debilitating.  During 2012 my dad, who lived about three hours away, was hospitalized several times.  And each time I was there for him – and each time it was emotionally painful.  You see, I still wanted that non-existent fairytale father-daughter relationship.  But just as God meets us exactly where we are – He was teaching me to meet my father where he was: aging – fragile – frightened.  Let me tell you, IT WAS HARD.  The good news? God is faithful!  He didn’t send me out on that battlefield alone – my dad’s neighbors were absolutely wonderful – as my dad said time and again “I got two good neighbors” – actually, he had a great community of caring individuals!  I remember on one visit in particular, standing on the front lawn crying my eyes out…and here were the neighbors, coming to lift us up in prayer – providing words of encouragement and assurance to watch over my dad when I wasn’t there.

2012 wrapped up on a high note.  In late October I attended a Walk to Emmaus hosted in northwest Houston.  To read more about this extraordinary experience, click here.  During this weekend, I finally began to understand what it meant to receive God’s love and how critical it is to every facet of my life (that’s a post in and of itself!).  The following week I was scheduled to visit family in California – my mom, stepdad, and sister.  I’m gonna be super transparent here – my relationship had been pretty superficial to this point and I was on such a ‘believer’s high’ following the Emmaus weekend, the last thing I wanted was to spend a week with distant family who couldn’t begin to grasp the extent of my recent experience.  Of course I was clueless God would use this time to firmly root the newfound understanding of His love.

In a heart-to-heart with God, I voiced my hesitancy and said, “Lord, you’re just gonna have to love them through me!”  I’m sure God was cheering, aren’t you?  To think…Miss ‘I Can Do it Myself’ willingly turning a situation over to God before I was knee deep in the muck of a mess I’d created!  And let me tell you…it was the BEST six days I’d ever spent with each and every one of them!!!!  The biggest blessing was walking through the door to a new relationship with my stepdad – the sweetest guy you’d ever want to meet – a guy I hadn’t really given the time of day to for over 30 years.  Yes – another not so proud transparent moment.  My quiet childish attitude of “he took my mama away” faded into oblivion as he welcomed me with open arms.  Imagine that – God using this new relationship to show me fatherly love – no strings attached.

Yes, I’m gonna say it again… stay tuned! Til then…

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More to the Story

Challenges AheadRarely do I recognize the extent of challenges in my path – more often than not, they’re challenges I make far more complicated than they need to be!  Follow my intertwining AdvoCare journey… click HERE to Read More to the Story

 

Wound Care

I must admit, wound care isn’t a topic I typically delve into, but bear with me…as with all things, God provides revelation in the simplest of things…

bandaged%20wound%202A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to be educated on how the body attempts to heal open wounds. Far from an expert on the subject, here’s my takeaway…with an open wound the body’s goal is to protect itself. To bridge the gap of exposed tissue, new tissue forms – a scab…we’ve all had them…and all probably felt the temptation to pick at them…a healing wound is uncomfortable…it itches…it’s tender, Continue reading

Are You “LinkedIn” with God?

Social media seems to be the networking norm these days…I frequently receive emails asking “Do you know…” followed by a list of individuals. Most often I know the name, an acquaintance at best. This morning LinkedIn, a professional networking site, came to mind and something clicked…

On LinkedIn, people in your network are called connections and your network is made up of varying degrees of connection:

1st-degree – People you’re directly connected to because you have accepted their invitation to connect, or they have accepted your invitation.

2nd-degree – People who are connected to your 1st-degree connections. You can connect at a 1st degree level by receiving and accepting an invitation

3rd-degree – People who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections.

Now to the clicked part… Continue reading

Covenant Relationships

Analytical by nature, I’m constantly attempting to put puzzle pieces together – yes, even when I don’t have all the pieces! God was so good to reveal a bigger part of His picture this week.  His covenant relationship with me.  A bond He longs for me to fully embrace. 

Enter the Love Dare – yes, perhaps an unconventional approach to developing a stronger relationship with God, but when I step back and consider the pieces…the conventional use of the Love Dare is between a couple – husband and wife – it’s goal to strengthen the covenant bond of marriage.   God is simply using the Love Dare as a tool for me – taking the concept of a relationship between man and woman a step further – with Him – to strengthen my understanding of His covenant relationship with me.

The focus of each Love Dare is basically how love impacts every facet of our lives – and how different life and relationships can be when viewed through eyes of love – through the eyes of God. 

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)

This verse is not speaking of the world’s definition of love – it speaks of God’s definition of love – two very different meanings!  For me, to know love is to know God – to know God is to know His Word. 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Cor 13:4-7 

And so, the Love Dare touches on these attributes of God and how they are revealed in our lives.  I know I’m only scratching the surface – I know have so much to learn! And that’s what this process is all about – learning more about Him – one devoted day at a time.