Category Archives: Grace

Expecting Glory…

Today is Friday.  We write free and bold and with out self-editing.  For five whole minutes.

Today’s word: Expectation

Ready?

Set…

Go!

Expectation.  Is it bad? Is it good? I don’t know.  Expectations often lead to disappointment and embarrassment.  Expectations often lead to sadness and despair.  We want what we want.  We expect good things to happen, then they don’t.  We expect God to take care of us…and He does.  Expectations of God are a tricky thing.  He never promised us a rosy life, but He did promise that He would always be there.  He did promise that he would always walk through “it” with us.  He did promise that He would carry us when we needed Him (whether we knew it or not).  He did promise that give us just the right amount of strength and grace to get through the storms in life.  Those are expectations we can take to the bank.  We can cash in those promises.  We can expect to survive this life as we walk with expectation into the next.  We can expect that God will show up in our deepest, darkest moments.  We can expect that he will do what He says He will do.  Because He is Who He is.  He is the Creator of the Universe after all.  He is what least expect Him to be and more.  He is mother and father to us all.  He is gentle friend and firm counselor.  We can expect the best from Him.  We can expect to shine out His glory in our life.

Meet me in the moments of tenderness

It’s Friday folks.  Time for another 5 minutes of writing wild and free.  No second-guessing, no back-tracking, or other hyphenated words that stop us from being bold.  Just write.

Today’s word: Tender

Softness and joy

Love and freedom

Living life with your care

Hope and tenderness I receive from you

Eternal giver of life and hope

Tenderness from you

To me

From me

To others

Lord help me to be free to touch others

With the same tenderness I receive

Holding up hands with joy

Receiving

Giving

Loving

Joy

Tenderness

You gave your life away

So I could give mine away

And do the same as you

Do for each one that calls you

Father, brother, friend

And for those that don’t know you yet

Be with me now

Let us share this moment of tenderness

Full and free

A life received and given away

Without doubt

Without fear

Without shame

Meet me in the moments of tenderness

Slightly burnt toast

I am enamored with the phrase “slightly burnt toast”. Although, I am not entirely sure why. There’s a parallel somewhere in there between my life experiences and the phenomenon of slightly burnt toast. I’m gonna see if I can suss it out.

I love toast. Golden, crispy, all melty with butter (and sometimesb jelly). There’s something about well-made toast that just makes me happy and all melty inside. I’m a little fussy about how my toast is cooked. I don’t like it undercooked. I don’t like it overcooked (Sam I am must be around here somewhere). I like it to be the perfect shade of golden brown.

I don’t own a toaster due to the fact that I have about 1 foot square of counter space to do all of my cooking and dirty dish stacking. So, we cook our toast in the oven under the broiler. This can be a little precarious if one gets distracted easily(ahem) and forgets they are cooking toast in the oven. Sometimes my toast gets all crispy and black. Yuck.

I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment if I burn my toast to the point of carbonization.

But I’m not talking about toast bricks here. I’m talking about toast that is slightly burnt. Not quite black, beyond golden brown, but still somewhat edible (Especially if I slather it with cream cheese and jelly). Slightly burnt toast is not quite perfect in my mind. It is slightly left of my ideal. Not burnt enough to hate, but too burnt to fully love.

I realized the last time I made slightly burnt toast (which involved a little bit of whining to myself), that sometimes I feel the same about myself as I feel about slightly burnt toast. Not bad enough to hate, but not good enough to fully love. Tainted, slightly to the left of center, just a little off, a little too sinful, a little too burnt.

Sometimes I don’t feel good enough to be loved. By God, or by other people (mostly other people). I’m not perfect enough, pretty enough, popular enough, witty enough to be loved. I’m slightly tainted with my sins, idiosyncrasies, weirdness, genetic makeup, acquired habits, weight problem, opinionated mouth. The list goes on.

Don’t get me wrong. I realize that I am not perfect because only one Man on this Earth was ever capable of being perfect. I also realize that I am a mostly okay person. But that slightly burnt feeling keeps me back from fully being who I was created to be. It keeps me back from fully expressing myself. Mostly because I crave to be loved by people. I am pretty sure God loves me the way I am, although sometimes I wonder. But that’s another story for another day

Sometimes I wonder why so-and-so doesn’t talk to me. Or why such-and-such (I have changed the names of people to protect the innocent) won’t even look my way. I imagine that it’s because I am slightly to the left of what I need to be to be their friend. But my Friend won’t let me settle there with my tent and campfire, burning my toast and cursing myself for it.

I get the feeling best place to be is right where God has me right now. Not looking for approval from those that aren’t meant to be my friends. Not comparing myself to my imagined “ideal” person. Instead, He pushes my thoughts towards the friends who approve of me. The ones who like and love me despite my deficiencies. The people who pick me up when I am down. The ones who make me tea and imperfect toast when I am sad. The ones who celebrate my successes with parties. The friends who take my delicate dreams carefully into their hands to encourage me. The ones to whom I can pour out my appreciation love and reciprocate with tea and toast. The people that God has put in my path. These folks help me to feel perfect, even when I’m not.

So, friends, don’t look for friends in the wrong places. Don’t compare yourself to your imagined ideal friend of those who don’t notice you. Rather, celebrate the friends you have. Make them tea and toast. Wipe their tears (or cry with them). Shout with joy at their successes in life. Tell them about your successes. This is what makes life golden and perfect.

More vivid than usual…

*Dust, dust*

*Scrape, scrape*

*Wash, wash*

Ah, that’s better.  It’s been a while.  Sorry little blog.  I didn’t mean to let you gather so much dust.  I am much less distracted now and wish to renew our friendship.  Will you forgive me?  You will? Oh, thanks!

What better way to celebrate my reentry to the blogdom than to do a Five Minute Friday?

Let’s write bold and free for five non-stop minutes shall we?  Excuse me while I get out my timer…

Vivid

God makes everything brighter and more vivid.  Everything shines to my eyes when God is involved in the details.  Sometimes I stand like a child, awed by the sun, blinking back tears at the sheer joy of it all.  How could I not?  God’s love can be so overwhelming at times, flowing into every nook and cranny of my soul, making everything cleaner, brighter, more vivid.  When God makes something more vivid, I can see minute details I never noticed before.  A bead of dew here, a friends smile wrinkles there, a word well-spoken right in front of me.  How can I not notice the glorious and grand details of His design when my vision is clearer, when life is more vivid than usual? My heart is beats in tune with the details of His plan when they are known to me and I see the brightness of His glory shining for my unfettered eyes.

Thanks for being here!

You too little blog!

5mf- A single ray of light

It’s easy to forget in the deepest, darkest moments how connected I am. Connected to my immediate family, my church family, all the I have touched, and all the people I will touch. Pain can be overwhelming and convince you that you are alone, that going on with life is hopeless, it might as well end now before more suffering occurs. But if I take a moment to reflect on how severing those connections would hurt those I am connected to, the pain of leaving is great enough to keep me here. Connections are what is keeping me here fighting my way through the muck, the mire, the agony, the hopelessness and despair. Life is so hard all on it’s own. Life is harder when one is forced to deal with pain inflicted by other people who were bigger and stronger. The strongest connection of all keeps a small ray of light shining ever present in the darkness, in the deepest pain, the lowest despair. That connection calls me to take another step, no matter how much it hurts, even if I think my legs are broken, or my muscles torn. A single ray of light offering me hope. “Stay connected”, He says, “don’t give up.”

Bible study day!

Headed on over to Beauty for Ashes for our Romans bible study.

Monday Morning Meditations

Well, hello there blog.  Missed you last week.  I was constantly behind the eight ball and was constantly surprised by forgotten event after forgotten event.  Yeah, it was bad.  So, I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and put my thoughts here.  Oh, well.  Moving on.

Monday morning meditations are stream-of-consciousness writing with a one-word prompt (for as long as I like).  I was going to write about plenty, but I think I am going to write about control.  Control is a current theme in my life right now, particularly because I am in therapy (yet, again) and we are talking about how this plays out in my life.  And, I have a lot of feelings and thoughts on the subject.  So, here we go…

Control

People say that having control is an illusion.  I say that’s not true.  I have been controlled by other people many times in my life.  Anyone that has authority has control over other people.  A child is controlled by all of the adults in his life.  Adults tell a child where to go, what to do, how to do it, and punish any transgressions.  I don’t think this is a bad thing.  I think this is a good thing because a child needs to be guided in how to be a good citizen of the society they are born into.  It becomes a bad thing when control is used as a means to subvert and dominate for no other purpose than impose one’s will on the other person.  And this is no illusion.  A person that forces another person to do something bad or against their will has control of the other person.

My experiences as a child were of being controlled and forced to do things that I didn’t want to, or should, do.  By many people.  My mother continued to control me until I left home.  And, after I left home, she still had a hold over me until she died.  There was not a place I could go without looking over my shoulder in fear that she would show up and I would have to run and hide for face her.  Even as an adult, my mother controlled me with fear.  When she died, I felt so relieved.  I didn’t have to worry anymore.  The control was gone.  Trust me when I say that not feeling guilty about this is a struggle.

This feels like an awful shame to me.

But at least my fear of  being controlled explains why I behave like I do in certain situations.  And there has been plenty of that going on in my adult life.  He wants me to trust Him and to understand my choices.  There goes God again, working all things together for the good of me who love Him.  Healing can begin and I can look to God to help me understand what is really going on in a situation that feels like I’m being controlled by another person.  I can choose to submit myself to someone else’s authority, or not.  The “or not” part is freeing and puts the choice in my hands.  The best part of this is that I can look to God to help me understand my choices and walk into a situation with my eyes wide-open of my own free will.

It’s my choice now.

5mf- Look Beyond What You Know

5 minutes of unedited writing…No worries, no backtracking, no fussing. Just write…

Beyond

For some reason I am drawing a blank here. Beyond fits in my life somehow. I look beyond the stars of my own sky, I look beyond my own sin, I look beyond my own feelings, to find Him. Jesus wanted us to look beyond the law and find Him. Paul wanted us to look beyond our own mistakes and find Him. God wants us to look beyond our own realities and find Him. By looking beyond what we can see, we find hope. We find peace, we find purpose. When we choose too look beyond, we choose to rise above that which Satan would have us believe about ourselves and our reality- that we are stuck, useless, and purposeless. God says that we are unstuck, useful, and purposeful. After all, He created us in His image. After all, we were created with a purpose on this earth. We have a job to do. Look beyond what you know and find the meaning of your life.

I guess I wasn’t so blank after all.

Telling My Story… My Mother

My relationship with and my feelings towards my mother are complicated.  Honestly, she was not a very good mother.  In fact, I’d say she was was a terrible mother.  It would be easy to just stop there and just hate her.  Jesus won’t let me just hate her, hence the complicated feelings.  My mother had it just as bad, or worse, as I did growing up.  According to her story, her father abused her.  He was also an alcoholic as was her mother.  I never knew my grandparents, so I cannot attest to what kind of people they were.  But, I don’t have any reason to doubt her story.

My mother just couldn’t deal with life.  She was alcoholic, adulterer, and a drug addict.  My mother was overbearing, confusing, mean, and selfish.  I never knew if I was coming or going with her.  I never really knew if she loved me or not.  She didn’t believe me I talked about the abuse that happened with my father.  She claims she didn’t know or notice anything.

When I was 19, I had met a man that was strong and tall and cared about my safety, or at least I thought so at the time.  My mother threatened to to hit me one day, so I left with this man’s help.  For the next 14 years, I kept myself separate from my mother.  I tried for one year in the  middle, until things went south again and I split.

Then my mother overdosed on opiate based painkiller about 8 years ago.  This was quite a shock and started the present journey I am on trying to cope with both the relief I feel at her death, and the sadness that I feel because I was never able to reconcile with her.

So now, even after all these years, I still feel have confused and complicated feelings.

God wants me to forgive my mother, over and over again.  He wants me to let go of my past and try to feel empathy towards my mother’s plight.  He wants me to heal from the wounds.

So, I keep pushing forward and keep trusting that He knows best, because, well, He does know best.

Some day, perhaps, my feelings won’t be so complicated.

Monday Morning Meditation- Promise

God. Never. Breaks. A. Promise.

Ever.

He can’t.  He’s not human.  Humans break promises all of the time.  God never does.  Which is why we can rely fully and totally on His promises.

While I was considering what was on my mind about God and his promises my mind went to Abraham.  “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” (Rom 4:18-21)

Against all odds, poor decisions, and time, God still delivered on his promise to Abraham, even when it looked like it couldn’t possibly happen.  Even when the world could look at the circumstances and say, “Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.”  Sarah bore Abraham a son in their (very) old age.  Abraham did become the father of the many hundreds of millions.  Even when God told him to sacrifice his son, he still had hope and trusted in the promise.  Else, he wouldn’t have journeyed up the mountain.

Sometimes in my life I forget that God never breaks promises.  He ALWAYS delivers.  Just not always when I THINK he should.  And that’s the hard part. Waiting.  Trusting.  Hoping.  Faith in God’s promises.  That he WILL deliver, at the exact moment he intends to.

Lord, help me to trust and to hold on just a little longer while waiting for you to do what  you promised.