Getting the Message

beach bottle cold daylight
Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Words for the Weak

Retracing my steps along the shoreline.

No longer lost, just passing time.

The message easily missed, while in search of a sign.

His ear to my heart, is always inclined.

The whispered answer to my question

“He knows that you’re mine”

Psalm 23: 3

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 

And verse 5

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

When I ask why the fight for love has to be such a battle and I want to retreat, God is there to remind me why it has to be such a fight. The enemy knows who I belong to and so… I can only rejoice. That’s why he tries, with all his lies and tactics to steal and destroy. He sought me in the desert, and the dimly lit secret places I went to hide and escape. He makes every effort and still takes aim in the midst of the week, but discernment is a gift given to help determine which voice I hear speak.

Don’t just stand there… the message is ready to be received. I am glad it’s where it can be retrieved. Thank you Lord for putting Wednesday where you did to help me survive another day and the end of this…. WEAK!

At his table… my cup is replenished!

 

 

Love at a Table for One

“It Is Well With My Soul”

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll, 

Whatever thy lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul..” Horatio G. Spafford

In my browsing through past articles of my not so memorable prior life, I came across an article I saved for when I was ready to learn how to deal with what I thought I lost… in the death of my marriage. It was written by PH. D and posted in The St. Augustine Record found at St.Augustine.com, the story is told of the detailed events in a life that led to the lyrics of the well-known hymnal mentioned above. In my daily reading there are occasions where the written word will jump of the page and leap into my heart, but none quite like this one did. The words revisited made me dive down deep to my own well to check what they, when read out loud, mean to me… “It is Well with my Soul”

It was a gut check…

When I heard of the life he lost. I could feel it in my gut. All that I lost. If anyone out there is listening…. REAL LOVE HURTS and I know I am not the first to say so… but, when loss in love has reduced the fighting force behind the beat of the drum you march to, from any other number, to an army of one, the resulting pain can be devastating… gut wrenching so to speak.  I used to say (to myself); whoever said “it is better to have loved and loss than to never have loved at all”… must not have known what it really felt like to experience true love that was truly lost. It’s like that blow to stomach that you can’t quite recover from, the one that knocks the breath right out of you. The breath of life.

More than Love Lost

When you’re suddenly empty because everything that once fueled your spirit and drive to keep going has been removed from the table, you’re at risk of losing more than you think. The truth is, what’s really at stake is your appetite for life as you know it. Most can identify with knowing something major is lacking in life but can you identify with being satisfied with starvation? When you have succumbed to the fact that you’re no longer getting what you need (that is what’s going on)… you’re starving yourself and that can be a dangerous place to be.

“Done waiting on life? I don’t blame you.”

“I’m done.” That’s what they say. I’ve said it too. We’re all at a loss. It’s a toxic view to have on life… and what’s worse, is that according to you and everyone else, the view isn’t changing. When you’re at a loss and nobody has anything to offer to meet your need… the biggest problem is… no-one will blame you. Everyone tiptoes around the table and dares not to ask if you’d be interested in anything further on the menu because they know what you’ve been served. So with a pain in the pit of your belly, you just continue to sit.

Getting the Guts to Let Go!

Why is it so hard to let go of something that causes pain? The most common response I have heard myself and others say to that question is “I just want to understand why.” We all want to know why everything happens to us, because if we can learn the reason then maybe we can make sure it doesn’t happen again or at the very least we can be better prepared the next time, but we’ll be waiting at a table for one forever for the answer to arrive because everything is not about “us”. The painful truth is… the reason for your loss may have nothing to do with “Y-O-U” but the pain you’re continuing to experience over it is due to nothing but you. I’m not saying you asked for it but you can’t ask for anything else because it’s taking up all the real estate on your plate.

Go on and help yourself! Life after loss.

Looking back at when I was living with all that  I lost… the “self-help” I sought, when I was at a loss is laughable to say the least. If you’re trying to help yourself… can I just say… you can’t give what you have not received. If you’re running on empty… you have to go to another source. Who better than the one Horatio G. Spafford turned to when he sought to be well… when all was lost.

You’re invited!

I know this may be hard to believe but once upon a time… I was at a loss for words. I felt like I was losing it all, including my mind… until someone gave me an invitation like no other. There is a table I sit at now… with one that can truly meet every need. His name is Jesus. He found me when all was lost and I was left alone.

From one more single Christian soul to another… I repeat, as Anna Spafford said in two telegraphed words. I am “saved alone.”

Won’t you join me and come open…

He continues to stand and knock at

THE DOOR!

Love for All Seasons

Fairweather Friends

sky sunset beach vacation
Photo by Recal Media on Pexels.com

Here we are again! This time to put the whole truth on the table about friends. You’ve had the chance to get know a bit about what I love about some of mine and now it’s time to for us to get to the meat  about which ones we can count on all the time.

Through Sun Showers and Storms

– In case you didn’t know… I live in FLORIDA a.k.a. “The Sunshine State” but this optimist had to learn the hard way… that in reality (where the grown ups live) a sunny state of mind is not determined by location. Especially since the weather can change at any time anywhere one chooses to go.

I found my way to my current state by happen-chance… that means I happened to have the chance to be presented with the decision to relocate. It wasn’t an accident, although to many it may be perceived that way. It was definitely part of a plan because God knew what the forecast ahead was going to be for me.

Becoming a Florida transplant has not been the easiest. The first thing I had to get used to was the change of the seasons. Now Floridians don’t experience the awe and wonder of the seasons the whimsical way the rest may. That is because basically the only seasons that the locals weather around here are hurricane season and non-hurricane season. To survive both… you have to be prepared. Can you imagine living in a need to survive mode all year round? Perhaps you already do. If so, I hope this serves to be true and speaks to you.

Some are storm chasers

There are some people who live for the storm. You know who I am talking about…the ones that plan and prepare in expectation of the storm that’s coming. It’s smart to be ready but is it possible to take the planning too far? I mean I have to admit, that used to be me. Personally speaking, I am prone to be a little over zealous when  it comes to trying to get ready, so I had to go to another source… I mean can we really ever be completely prepared?

Consider the source

Those that have experienced the storms in life are the ones you want in your corner. I’m all for a fair-weather friend… you know the type… they never bring the doom and gloom… It’s a great quality to have. However, when the winds pick up and the lights go out… they freak out. Truth be told, it’s because although they may be lighthearted…in the darkness…they have no real experience with shining their light.

I’m proud to say that when some of the fiercest storms in life came my way… I had the privilege of being hunkered down with a local or two that were not storm chasers but they were expert storm-facers. When seeking help in a time of need… take heed. Where friends can be fantastic at giving friendly advice in life, no matter the reason or season… you must consider the source. You must ask yourself…Are they an expert in the field or just an expert of what they feel?

In life the rainy days will come and storms find their way to everyone… that being said, the best way to ensure you fair through all your days is to have someone who the storms don’t phase.

My best friend proves to stand the test of time. His name is Jesus and He is here to let you know that he has enough in him for more than a friend or two.

The best thing of all is He doesn’t just show you he is there, He teaches us how to be there too. He has shown me how to truly say “Lo… I am with you always.”

In the storms of life, He covers me and gives me a little light that allows me to see the awe and wonder of the changes through the all the seasons.

astronomy dark dawn dusk
Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20 (NIV)

Tomorrow is Sunday…. time for more of my favorite time, being fed with the fellowship!

Take Two…A Second Look at Surrendering

sur·ren·der
səˈrendər/
verb
“cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority.”
Webster’s Dictionary
man doing boxing
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Not ready to waive your white flag and surrender to the enemy? Surrendering is not easy for anyone. But when asked why it’s so difficult; the real challenge is discovering who we think we are surrendering to. Knowing who we are fighting makes all the difference in the world.  This requires looking twice as hard at who we think the enemy is when we are grieving loss in life and love.

Working with nothing

Losing something or someone, is usually not what we choose to happen. But when it does happen, what do we do? When grief strikes, how do we control not losing it all in the process? Most would say… by never giving up… never surrendering.

I was recently talking to a close friend about her losses in life. There were several things that hit her hard in her younger years; the world can be cruel, after all. However nothing she struggled with before compared to the most recent blows she took when losing her father. It was just over two years ago when his death, and the grief from it, took and unexpected and unhealthy toll on her life.

She is a daddy’s girl to the core…. always has been and always will be. Everything she always celebrated and suffered was with him by her side. She definitely had her share of both, but the hard times were always when she needed an anchor the most, and that is what her Dad was for her. He was her listening ear through the teenage years and her shoulder to lean on through much more. Most of all, he just wanted her to be happy and healthy and he was good at reminding her of it. He was everything she always needed when nothing was working.

Working for nothing

The devastation of losing her father was enough to bear on its own. Then, that same night, she got the news that her pastor, the other one that had remained by her side fighting for her and encouraging her all along her way, was leaving too. He was going into the mission field to plant a church in another country, which was something she knew she should be happy about, but she wasn’t. To top it all off she was struggling with her health. She seemed to be headed on a downward spiral and all she wanted was to feel better. All that came to the surface and the tip of her tongue was “Why now? Why me? What now….. God?” Hearing her many questions led me to a few of my own.

So I am asking…What do you do when it seems as though all is lost in life and love and you have nothing to work for or with? Have you ever been there? Are you at a point now, where everything that once made you right seems to be going wrong? Whether you’ve been there or are there…. what happens next? Chances are you’d rather die than surrender.

I am passing you the plate to give you something to chew on. I am not interested in feeding suicidal tendencies here. I am wanting to take a look at what’s really eating us when the thought of surrendering is on the table.

As for my friend who was losing it all… There is more to come about her battle within, the God of second chances and what he had in store for her and what he has for you too my friend… this is not the end, it’s just the beginning of a fruitful fight about the need for surrendering. I hope to see you back for the second round tomorrow.

My First Time

human s feet
Photo by Wondearthful on Pexels.com

 

If you could go back to the beginning and re-create the first time… what would it be like?

A little too close to the edge? This may not be what you expected, but this is where we start. What if? The question alone makes the mind wander, the heart ponder and the memory fonder. The possibility of conception rather than rejection makes you turn in a different direction. The “what if” is a proposition to love.

What am I proposing? I am proposing that love, our notion of it and exactly how we feel toward it, greatly depends on the certain outcome. In other words… it has to do with our expectation. What we expect to find… is often what we end up seeing in the end. Unfortunately, we often can only see what is already in existence… the past, the put away, the leftovers.

Are you looking forward to leftovers tonight? Look, left overs are nothing to scoff at… they can actually be pretty good in my book. They are the remains of what you once craved. They were great the first time around and good enough that you want to have the opportunity to reheat and repeat.  However, leftovers don’t last forever. In fact, indulging in leftovers beyond three to four days puts you at risk of food poisoning which means, they can’t linger, you have to eventually toss them.

That being said, if we are lingering on the past… “the leftovers” of what we experienced love to be the first time around… the result could be toxic. Toxic love is no bueno… that’s a no brainer, but some of us have no idea that we’re feeding on leftover love because we are creatures of comfortable habit, drawn to the familiar rather than the unknown.

So… since we have to start afresh, let’s go back to the beginning. I asked you to tell me what it would be like if you could re-create the first time. Would you want it to be exactly the same? Be honest! My honest answer is… (drumroll please)… there is no earthly way!! If it were up to me, the love I would have experienced would have been a little more heavenly.

A new kind of love… the kind that can move heaven and earth is what I want. And if I am hoping to help us find it, I have to start with the one that has the power to create it.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…” Genesis 1:1

Every good recipe needs to come from somewhere. The recipe of love is no exception.

Morning fruit on the table… thanks for joining me!

 

 

 

 

 

Me First Please

Nestle into God
Love to Nestle – In Need

Feeling Fruitless…. in the morning… looking at me

Okay….looking at me first

Have you ever been eager to taste something that you knew, from experience, was absolutely horrible? There was a comedian I once listened to… joking about a laughable situation where a friend pleaded for him to take a taste of something bad, exclaiming “EWW man! Dude this is nasty…. Here, taste it!” Why? Why would I? That’s what my immediate thought was, when placing myself in that scenario.
So doing a little self-reflection before the rising of the sun, I asked myself… In the area of fruitful relationships, my “love-life” so to speak “What is the flavor of the day?” Am I counting on something bitter or leaning toward something sweet. Is it possible to hope for something other than what’s expected?
When it comes to trying something, people can be fickle for sure and I cannot say that I would blame you for taking a step back.  Just like in the situation the comedian was making light of…. (behind every good joke… lies a little truth, right?) misery definitely seems to love company and when somebody has been left with a bad taste in their mouth…if often seems that they just can’t wait to share it.
The golden rule is supposed to be “love others as you would love yourself”. Actually as it is written in Matthew 22:39 “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” is something that is commanded for us to do. So I beg to ask the question…. When it comes to love, why do so many of us just dish out what we have been given rather than what we would like to have been given ourselves?
So, I am putting myself out there to any that have a taste for putting more love into their life… what’s your take of it all? If you’re not jumping up and down with your hands waving in the air, I totally understand. For the longest time, I wasn’t in the mood for investing more thought and effort into matters of the heart either, but still the same question remains as I choose to walk with Him.
man in black long sleeved shirt and woman in black dress
Photo by Jasmine Wallace on Pexels.com
He loves me, he loves me not? That was always the question. My first impressions of love and relationships left a bitter taste in my mouth (extra emphasis on the word bitter). The question comes from self-examination, as I look at my face in the mirror. At first glance, yesterday morning I only saw me but now that I am free… there is more to see.
So…in love and life, do I want to learn more about the topic? In theory yes…. in reality, not really. Going on through several years of not so young life, experiencing love and relationships, one gets to thinking one knows everything needed and becomes unwilling to learn more. However, that would be less than fruitful. Something I have come to realize is; everything I have known to this point is very little… about me, love, life and all that it truly has to offer.
To be true to learning to live one wholly loved life… it is time to rethink what I thought I knew about the fruits of life and love.
woman wearing pink dress holding graphing notebook with have a lovely day sign
Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

Fruit of My First Love…Nothing but Nuts!

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry”

Ephesians 4:26

Nothing but nuts_you've got to be kitten me

Early to bed… early to rise to the occasion

I know we just met but are you as familiar with the term “You made your bed, now lie in it”, as I am? If you are, I am sure you wish you weren’t because hurt and regret is something we can all live without. However, it seems to be inevitable. I mean we all make mistakes, RIGHT?

I have spent many a night lying awake in my bed, tossing and turning over a disagreement and literally going nuts trying to convince myself how to make it right when I didn’t know where I went wrong. My life lessons learned to date have proved to me, that in order to get things right, someone has to be wrong. Being able to admit you are wrong can benefit you, your relationships and your overall health. How do you keep from losing sleep over it? Learn how to come to terms with being wrong not wronged.

Let me explain, (cough-cough) as I clear my throat and cluttered bedside table. If I may be frank, I know I am not alone when I say I have made some unhealthy choices as I indulged in the past a la carte menu life offered me. Without getting into all of my sorted past, let’s just say I’ve had a skeleton or five in my closet at one time or another. I am not saying I stake claim to accept the blame for every dry bone in there, but they didn’t get in there because I spoke life whenever I had a bone to pick with someone. I have certainly been guilty of using words, in anger, to cut myself right out of a relationship or two.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

adulting_here is your sign

Need damage control? 

Try to prevent it and take time out to think before you speak. There is more stress and anxiety you add to your life through angst and strife. My mother used to always say “If you don’t have anything good to say, then don’t say anything at all!” She knew before I even turned away with muttered words under my breath, that the words residing on the tip of my tongue would hurt me more than anyone else, in the end.

That being said…when we find ourselves in the middle of a mess, we just need to clean up! And NO… For all of you that have one foot out the door with the other still in your mouth… that does not mean sweep everything under the rug or stack your baggage neatly in the spare closet. For most, that will just leave it for later causing an eventual mountain out of what was once a molehill.

I understand how you feel. Dealing with hurt, anger and conflict is not easy. If it were, there would be none.  At the end of the day, if you want to be able to lay things to rest, sans lulling yourself to sleep to the tune of tears on my pillow…here are a few things that may help you to continue to rest easy when you feel done wrong.

  • If you don’t like the way things sit, change where you’re sitting:
    • Simply put…. Change your scenery, change your view. Walk a mile or two in their shoes, so to speak. You may see things differently.
  • Know what you’re fighting for and pick your battles wisely:
    • You don’t have to see eye to eye to still enjoy the show. Sometimes our battle is within… we just want it our way. However, pushing our own point of view is often not worth the fight. “Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.” Dale Carnegie
  • Agree to disagree and accept defeat:
    • Recognize that the something wrong that you feel could be YOU. Eating humble pie is rarely the first choice, so many of us just walk away… with an “enough-said” attitude, but the fact that you disagree is still eating you . Agreeing to disagree allows you to appreciate the difference you share without depreciating the value of your relationship. Just make sure not to walk away bitter. Life’s not fair! Sometimes we say we accept defeat but resentment sets in and bitterness is definitely a tough pill to swallow. Speaking from experience (cough-cough).

Last but definitely not least…

  • Feed on what’s good:
    • Might sound nuts… but take a moment to reflect on what’s good. Honesty is the best policy for every relationship. Being able to say… “Now I know how you feel” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It depends on what you decide to do with what you now know. Create the next positive feeling, rather than react to the last negative one.

 

These are the first fruits of my labors in love. I hope it fed someone at the table.