LSOF: The Language of Love

We speak out on unfairness, We speak out on cruelty, We speak out on “freedom of speech” breached, We speak out on our beliefs, morals, values…We speak out against what we don’t agree with…

How often to do we speak of fairness, How often to we speak of kindess, How often do we remember that we are still standing on free soil, How often do we just share our beliefs, morals and values with respect to the stranger standing next to us…How often do we just let the silence speak louder than the noise around us?

We know what we should say, but how often do we? How often do we speak in the same language as the grace that redeemed us?

I know I’ve been guilty of this just as we all have.

My church statement this year is, “ Real love revolution,” — I think its time to look at what that means to my own heart, what it means to all of us.

Real love to me is about knowing where a person came from, but not seeing them like they still live there…

Real love to me is recognizing the heart of the person in front of you, and not their appearance…

Real love to me is having a conversation with someone who completely disagrees with everything you believe in, but still trying out a flavor of Starbucks they recommend, or a movie they told you they liked.

Speaking the language of love sometimes does not take as much as we claim it does….So what stops us?

I think what happens is that we get wrapped up in structuring our day from beginning to end that we forget there are other people. We forget everyone comes with a different culture and background.

When a widow only has two pennies, you can’t exactly expect her to have three…right?

I remember when I was in elementary school and I thought all families were Catholic, because I was never told otherwise.

Love is not blind, y’all…it goes beyond labels, it goes beyond new stories, it goes beyond song lyrics, television shows, and even what we think we know…Love is still love, even when we forget it exists .

You can’t force fairness, you can’t force kindness, You can’t force beliefs, morals or values to someone who doesn’t have the same, You can’t force someone to agree with you when you don’t agree with them…

And if we could do that…we would be communist socialists.

We forget that one day we might not be allowed to share religion at all, We forget that there are bigger evils that exist in the world then what we place value as important, we forget that this life we live now is a privilege given by God himself, and He can take it all away in an instant.

I think its time that we change the language of love we’ve known to be side by side by the One that created it in the first place.

Put the stone down, and write on it on how Jesus showed how much He loved you.

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LSOF: Grace

Hello everyone 🙂

It is my joy to come back to blogworld and share with you the amazing experiences that I have had since my absence here.

I first just want to say that sometimes we need to step away from the public eye as we are in a season of teaching, and while I can honestly tell you that I am still very much in that season…
I can finally share it with you.

This is just really an introductory post, because there is so much I’ve learned that I have to take time to break it down.

Grace is beautiful. If there is anything I could tell you to introduce what I’ve received most this season, I would definitely have to say I’ve experienced grace. There is this disconnect inside us that exists. We take in everything the world tells us about God, and we read scripture and maybe even memorize it…BUT it is so much more than that.

As the next few weeks towards Christmas come close, I am going to share with you about grace.
I am going to share the most important aspects of it, that most overlook, that most don’t realize is so crucial to our everyday lives.
I am going to share about speaking grace to our mountains, and I’m going to end the few weeks sharing a message that very much changed my entire perspective on my faith completely.

My focus this Christmas is to give more grace then any present that could be placed under a tree, and for the first time in my life, I am having a hard time thinking of buying any gifts this year,

I more so than anything…just want to let the people in my life know how important they are to me.

Grace motivates us to live the way we are supposed to…simple, and without expectation.

Give grace, it is a gift that keeps on giving 🙂

LSOF: The kind of post I pray I will never write…

My last post I was very transparent, and I almost second guessed a few things that I wrote, but nevertheless, I know I was meant to write it.

I was thinking the other day after writing it. I did my own personal checklist, and one thing I realized I didn’t do enough of was mention God’s Word, give scriptures and share Biblical quotes.

However, I feel like while that might have been what “ I should have done” according to maybe some, I will say God spoke something powerful to my heart:

“ Don’t write it unless you feel it.”

It’s not that I didn’t want to place scripture to that post, because I could have, but more so, its not about going through the motions and finding words to say, I said the words I was supposed to say.

I was real, and I talked about what life was like for me right now. And Jesus is in my life and going through it with me.

But the post I never want to write is one that my heart is not all about.  I never want to write words just to make the rest of the world feel like I met some sort of standard as a Christian writer.

My feeling is that there is enough in this world we try to sugarcoat to make life easier for those around us, but I’m not going to be someone who always writes, about “ Sunshine and rainbows”- and especially now, its just not where I am.

I very much believe that God is amazing and His grace is sufficient for me. I know that Jesus died for me. I know that God is a deliverer, a healer, and our Father.  I know that He sees us in our sufferings and rejoices in our victories alongside of us.

But there are times where even believing it is just not enough.

Sometimes we come to places in our lives that place us at a standstill and we say to God,

“ Didn’t we just go through this?”

Wilderness times are very real, and it is meant to strengthen us. I know that reality.

But when you are a faith-believing Christian and you know what you know, and believe as you do, and then are hit and hit with the same things…it can make someone weary, such as myself.

So at the end of the day, when I continue to watch the pain and suffering around me, I remember He is still God, and therefore there is still hope.

I’m thankful so thankful that He is still here and He is still moving.

I pray I never write a post where my reality doesn’t match up with what I’m sharing.

LSOF: Different Places, Similar Progress

My heart has really been given some wisdom lately when it comes to people.
We are truly all in different places in our walks.
It also occurred to me that different places in our walk didn’t mean necessarily further.

I tried to wear my Sketcher Shape-ups the other morning, and let me just say they live up to their name, ouch would be a total understatement. I only made it around the block before I just couldn’t take the pain in my calves anymore. I made it to the front door, only to be sure to throw them across the room, and off of my pitiful, and might I add, Out of shape, feet.

It made me upset with myself just a bit, because I have allowed myself to get to this state.

I have a job that has me sit down for 8 hrs a day, and I’ve been doing it now almost a year. It is an amazing job, but muscles wear down when they are not used for a long period of time.

It isn’t my job’s fault that I haven’t used my muscles forever.

I think it is similar when it comes to life situations. When things happen to us, we can’t always deal with it like any other time. Sometimes things are so heavy on our shoulders that we are just too worn out to take a moment to just see the purpose of where we are. There is alway a bigger picture.

When we first get back on our feet after being in a pit for a long period of time, it is hard.
This is why you see Pastor’s and other people in position take a break for awhile, its not that they did something wrong, and its not that they no longer want the position, its just that God has asked for some time to reflect and re-evaluate somethings. Sometimes personal, sometimes the view from our side of everything on the outside.

The pit makes you take a look at your life and see that you are in a place and you are to find the purpose from the place you stand now.

I think people have a tendency to look at those who have had rough times, and had the perception that the person just doesn’t have as much faith as they used to, but please if you are one of those people; know that it is in the rough time God makes us stronger.

I learned this walk really is about gaining wisdom, and within the places we feel we are too weak, God has made another area that is unexpected, stronger.

We are not meant to handle everything on our shoulders at once, We cannot be like Atlas, and I believe that is why there is always something weak God is working to make stronger.

We forget that in the situations we go through that we are indeed learning something essential, but it isn’t in anything anyone tells us, but what God shows us.

I am one who has had the opportunity to allow God to do some crazy things in my life, meet people, and visit some places that seem unbelievable to some, to which I actually sat down and asked someone,
” Am I the one doing this?” and the reply I got was,
” It’s too weird to be you, it has to be God.”

I’ve felt pretty inadequate on several occassions when it comes to people. I guess I always let my insecurities bully me into a corner, and many times I let them hold me there.
I’ve compared myself to those who seem better than me, or know better than me.

It was as if God held my face one day and said, ” LOOK CLOSER.”

I got to see for myself that those who appeared to have it all, they were missing more than I knew.
I got to see their insecurities, and sadly, I watched them fall apart.
It took them off the pedastal I had them on.

I’ve shared a lot about different places we find ourselves in, but something else to know is even though you find yourself where you are, we are all working with similar progress.

We are all working one step at a time, one day at a time, to accomplish our personal and professional goals.

We stop our progress when we let the insecurities in our lives get in the way. We have to just keep walking, fall a little, but learn from the bruises we receive.

We need to encourage one another more, and keep ourselves all in check with how far we’ve come.

Just because progress seems small in your eyes, it might mean the world to someone else.

The dynamic of who God created us to be is found in the moments we struggle in.

He knows we are going to question Him, He knows we are going to fall flat on our face at times…

He also knows that we will come out of everything victorious.

Pain truly is gain, whether you believe it or not.

I’ll leave you with a verse that smacked me clear in the face this week:

2 John 1:8 (NIV, 1984)
“Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.”

LSOF: ” Coming out of the Dark…”

As I began writing this post the song, ” Coming out of the Dark.” by Gloria Estefan came to my mind.

It’s quite fitting to say the least.

I spoke last time about my experience with the pit, and now I’d like to share what it is like once I came out of the pit.

My friend and I meet every other week or so to just pray and have conversation about God, and the things He is doing in our lives. And today we focused on God’s attributes and what we know them to be.

I shared that God is merciful and shows us favor by His grace, that we so do not deserve.

I focused on the pit and how when we are obedient and just keep dealing with the thing until its over, then God rewards us by His favor in our lives.

The pit is indeed a rough place to be, but I want to give emphasis to the word PLACE for a moment, because that is really what it is, just a place in a season of our lives.

One of my dear spiritual mentors shared with me in a birthday card how God does not throw us on earth like a pieces on a chessboard, but that he strategically PLACES us where He needs us to be to fulfil His purpose.

The Pit has a Purpose.

So I write this to share with you that favor will come once the purpose of being in the pit is done, but sometimes its also good to realize that God will bless even when we are in the pit. He wants us to recognize He is there and He loves us.

It’s important to look for His fingerprints through the pit. Those little blessings that He leaves for us.

I was sharing this morning with someone that asked me what happened to living in Savannah

To which I told them that God moved me back to Florida, and I also added that I grieved it, but that

I knew He had a greater purpose than I could see at that time.

For the first time in my life I can tell you I really love my life, and I really have come to know the character of God through my time in the pit.  I learned how He was with me when I flat out cursed Him in my own way. He was merciful, He didn’t look to try to make life worse, but instead He saw how numb I had become from my own emotions, and piece by piece…He started to put me and my life around me together again.

And what is interesting in all this is I didn’t think that I would get out of the pit by God’s help alone, I really thought that others might help me who had experienced it at the same time. I was wrong, and it is why it took me so much longer to get out then it was needed.

We are all a work in progress.

Keypoint I feel I should make in all this: Don’t deny that you are in the pit, don’t deny that something isn’t going the way it should be in your life, Don’t deny that there is something inside of you that you need to re-evaluate with God.

Don’t deny you need healing.

Again, I’m just talking; its just you and I having a conversation over starbucks, and I’m telling you what I experienced.

I want to see you free, because God does.

LSOF: The Perception of Self Worth

My dear friend, Cally. She left this world
on May 19, 2010.

I am dedicating this post to my friend Cally Walrath. She passed away, May 19th 2010.
These are words I wish I could sit down and tell her this moment. I know that I can’t,
but I do know that there are many other people out there who have a perception of themselves
that is such a distortion from actual reality.

You are special.

I think we have become a society that is so obsessed with appearances, and ” the name” out in the world, that we have lost sight of realizing the value of US.

What I would love to sit and tell you out there is that there is more to you right this moment then you will ever know. There is such a beautiful plan for your life. It’s a solid plan. You have oceans of hope and grace then you could ever know what to do with. You will take journeys of finding true paradise in life. You will meet the blue sky to the stars. You will have more knowledge from all you’ve been through then you realized you might ever attain.

What someone says you are. What someone says you should dress like. What someone believes about you.
None of it matters. Unless you let it matter to you.

I could definitely tell you that your self-worth is found in Jesus. And that is very true.
But at the end of the day, when all is said and done. Do you really believe that?
Do any of us really truly believe that and can stand by that belief?

The distortions of who we are start to happen when we let the outside affect who we are on the inside.

With religion its legalism. With success its perfectionism. With control its manipulation.

I could add to that forever.

I’m not saying religion will always lead to legalism. I’m saying that we often will try to ” fit the mold” so to speak, and believe in how we are “told” to about ourselves, our faith, rather than have that chance to find out for ourselves.

Success is wonderful, everyone wants it. But just like any addiction we can get caught up it being to critical of ourselves, to the point that who we truly are, and what truly motivates us doesn’t come from the heart but from what useless knowledge. We become drones to our professions. Losing ourselves, forgetting the success that is already apart of us.

Being in control of anything, or feeling out of control is also very dangerous in how we perceive ourselves.
We can easily manipulate our own way of thinking and processing through a situation, because we learned a way that ” seems” to work.

I had a friend say to me a few weeks ago that when she looks in the mirror she doesn’t recognize who she is, that so much in her life has changed that she is not sure she can recognize herself in her life.
This girl is amazing too. She is a ” dreamer” of life, so passionate about doing so much. But her life
is tiring her out. She knows that she needed to step back and get to know herself again.

Truth is, we all need to do that. We all need to get back to looking in the mirror and make sure the reflection is the one that is meant to be out in the world.

Self-worth doesn’t come from being just like everyonelse, it comes from surely knowing there are things about you that are different. And that different is good.

I just want to add I’m not asking you to follow this advice, the last thing I’d want to be is a self-help book,
but I do want you to think about your own self-worth.
I do want you to think about if you really know yourself well enough that if someone came up to you
who you don’t know that well…how would they know you?
By your name…or by your heart.

Think of the value of YOU.

LSOF: Forgiveness

As I closed my eyes to sleep last night, I had a thought go through my heart.
It was as if I was laying on the ocean shore, and a gentle wave washed over me.
My heart was being told in God’s sweet, still small voice…
” You must forgive..”

I’m not one to be all to excited when God pushes me to write on things that go beyond
what I really am feeling at the present moment.
But I can tell you this…

I woke up with the same thought on my heart.
And it was as if the thought lived with me all through the night,
God was making it clear…YOU NEED TO DO THIS.
He wouldn’t let it go.
So I knew I couldn’t.

Now to you, maybe forgiving is an easy thing to do. I’m going to guess though, like me,
it doesn’t come so easy.

It might be easier to “forget” the situation, the “forgive” the circumstances within it all.

Forgetting is not the same as Forgiving.

How many times have you heard someone say to you, ” Oh just forget about it.”
That’s basically just saying to you, ” It’s not that important, get over it.”

But let me tell you something that strongly has been brought to my heart when it comes to forgiving and forgetting…
True forgiveness does not come from just letting that person, ” off the hook”…we may feel it for a certain amount of time, but I can almost promise you somewhere down the line…you are going to remember the situation, and feel that unforgiveness rage inside of you…so much so…
that you not only don’t forgive the situation that happened with that person, but it becomes a domino effect and you end up burning so many bridges…without intention.

So this would be what happens when someone says to you, ” Forgive and forget.”
More than likely, most times, we forget, before we forgive.
Not the way to go.

I don’t think any of us really can get the concept of what it is to forgive.
And I’m writing this, because I didn’t know….until now.
And this knowledge did not come from books.
I searched my own heart.

Forgiveness in my own words is to look beyond the faults of another person,
and beauty beyond it all. Beyond the anger they might have shown you, beyond the pain
they might have caused you, beyond the control they might have put on you, beyond the manipulation,
beyond the inferiority they caused you to feel, beyond anything and anything…
Whatever it was…

You see the person instead. You see them for who they ARE.
You know in their mind they might believe they are right, that they have just caused
to treat you, or say things to you that they do…
but I think I remember very well what Jesus said when He was on the cross
and people thought they had just cause to put Him there…

” Forgive them Father, they know not of what they do.”

Forgive and forgetting is something recommended actually from a health website.

This is straight from the website:
” Many people view forgiveness as an offshoot of love — a gift given freely to those who have hurt you.

Forgiveness, however, may bring enormous benefits to the person who gives that gift, according to recent research. If you can bring yourself to forgive and forget, you are likely to enjoy lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system, and a drop in the stress hormones circulating in your blood, studies suggest. Back pain, stomach problems, and headaches may disappear. And you’ll reduce the anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and other negative emotions that accompany the failure to forgive. ” – Tom Valeo, via Webmd.com

Time heals pain, this is true. However, at some point (sooner then later), in that time…
we all need to look back on the situation with someone, and tell ourselves that we have to forgive.

I know there are some out there that feel like its too late, that the person has either passed or is no longer apart of your life…but its NOT too late.

It will be HARD, but I believe that our all powerful God can see it bubbling inside of you even now…
He can see your heart saying, ” If only…”
and He is going to tell you to stop regretting the past, stop wondering of how you wished things were different, and just think of that person in that situation you have been in life…
And say, ” I forgive you for…” and maybe you can’t get yourself to say, the ” Forgive you for” part,
if you can’t, its okay to just say, ” _____ , I forgive you.
Leave it at that. God knows your heart, He knows there are words you can’t get yourself to speak.

When we are hurting…we don’t want to forgive.
Plain and simple.
Believe me, I get this—
We need to get out of that frame of mind,
and work on it each day…

And like in my case, because I know that my heart is at stake and everything that I am, and what I truly believe in my character…I choose forgiveness.
I am created to be an example of Jesus, and He forgave.

And maybe like you, those who I want to say, ” I forgive you,” to…I can’t.
They are not apart of my life now…but God knows that I did.
And that’s what matters.

We need to focus on praying for good for others too…and forgiveness
helps us to pray for blessings for their lives.

We need to again realize, forgetting and not forgiving…it leaves an unintentional thorn in your side.
You will REMEMBER, and when you do…you won’t think lovingly of that person.
And its not fair to them or to you.

And all that is planned for all of you.

Forgive and don’t forget; instead- remember by how it’s shaped your life, and who God will raise u up to be through it!

I’ve probably gone on and on about this.

But I want to tell you something.

I have peace since I forgave those in my life who hurt me. They will never know it.
But it doesn’t matter.
My heart is right with God, because it is HE who needs me to forgive.
The others in my life, it wouldn’t matter….and that’s okay.

Forgiveness matters to God.
Because He doesn’t want us to have any stumbling block in the path
ahead.

And “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…”
and it starts by knowing we have no place with God,
if we have no place to forgive.

If you choose life.
Then choose forgiveness too!

(Colossians 3:12-14)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.