Mother’s Day and Honoring Women

Beautiful-Butterfly-On-Pink-Flower

Mother’s Day is on May 8th this year and that makes it less than a month away. I have to find a victim, quick! No, really. Let me explain…

My mother passed away 7 years ago and because she has gone on, it doesn’t exempt me from honoring mothers all around me. There are single mothers who need encouraging, spiritual mothers who need honoring, sisters who have forgotten how awesome they truly are or maybe you’re a mother to orphans who simply needs someone to listen to what has happened in your day. The need is greater than we know.

I’ve heard it said that Mother’s Day is only a ‘Hallmark’ holiday and it doesn’t really matter that much but this couldn’t be further from the truth! It matters a lot. No, it doesn’t matter how the world celebrates or even doesn’t celebrate; WE are of a different kingdom and we know how important mothers are, right?!

Mothers are the very first teachers we have and they impart so much with their time, their love and their wisdom. Mothers are our first confidants and the first ones we run too when we are little. Remember those mashed up flowers we grabbed with our tiny little hands just so we could present them to our mommy’s? Remember how she kissed our owie’s away and everything was all better?

And when we are older and our relationships with our mothers were more than a little strained because WE knew absolutely everything and she was only trying to keep us from all that WE knew we could do. Right – even those days she was there; washing our sheets, making us meals and even praying for our safety and for wisdom to “please dear God” land on us! I know I wasn’t the easiest daughter to raise; maybe not the worst but in hindsight, I could have honored her more.

But this is not about regrets! NOPE. This is about loving and honoring the women who have raised us and mentored us. It’s also about those we came to depend on in our time of need. Let’s not let an opportunity pass to honor these great women. And you do realize,  whether a woman believes in Jesus like we do or not has nothing to do with it at the end of the day. Jesus knows her and He loves her well. We should also.

So, my challenge to you is this…

Find someone to honor and celebrate extravagantly this year. Take them to dinner, send them something in the mail, go clean their house or buy them flowers. And most importantly, tell them how much they’ve meant to you, how they’ve spoken into your life. How awesome they are!

And then, come back and share the testimony of how blessed they were by your kindness!

Advertisements

Entering the Kingdom of God ~ from the perspective of the unsaved spouse

leaves

I’ve been walking with the Lord 10 years now.  Who knew He could be so good to me!?

Paul got saved first and I’ve got to tell you, I was not happy about it. No, if fact I was pretty ticked off. I wanted to know who came and stole my husband away. What happened to my “cool” husband? He started acting really weird and quoting the Bible to Chelsea and me and frankly, it only made us both mad. Just who did he think he was anyway? He couldn’t judge us like that! HE was trying to share his new reality but it felt like condemnation to both of us. We didn’t appreciate the change in him at all.

Did this happen to you; did you get saved before your spouse or them before you? It does not make for a happy marriage I’ll tell you that much. When Paul got saved, we were living on the grounds of an Episcopal church in a one-room cottage, as caretakers and grounds keepers. Much of our responsibility entailed installing many gardens and all things landscape.

We were also members of the church and attended every time the doors were open. Due to this; I felt we were more holy than the Pope! I mean, how much more spiritual or holy can you get right?  I would later learn that church attendance had nothing to do with how spiritual or holy you were, much later.

I was also very much into the social aspect of the church because it gave me an opportunity to cook and entertain, which is my passion. This led to me befriending the new caterer who began using the church’s commercial kitchen. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! I had found my tribe.

You see, I always joked around about writing a book entitled, A Day in the Life of a “Wannabe” Caterer; only eat the ugly ones. I lived for cooking and entertaining. As my friendship grew with this caterer, I began to help out and was able to share with her the many things I knew that would be useful in her business. I began helping with the flower arrangements, menu ideas, recipes and even working for free. Of course, I also worked full time during the week in our family business too. Every weekend, I would be up at the church lending a hand and have the time of my life.

I did get paid for my work after a few months, though. We become great friends, doing everything together for many years. We took care of each other’s children, we did charity events together, and we partied and cooked together, vacationed together; we celebrated life the best way we knew how.

And then Paul got saved. . .

That changed everything. He was seriously making me not want to be around him very much. He stopped hanging out with our friends and began going to meetings every chance he got.  We were still members of the Episcopal Church but when not attending a meeting there, he would run off to meetings where he could be around other people like him who were experiencing God. When he’d return from these meetings, he wanted to share and talk about what he’d experienced, but I would have none of it; I didn’t want to feel condemned by his words.

He really was only sharing the awesomeness of God, but I only felt condemnation. I began to find opportunities to be gone when he was home which often meant I was at my friend’s house, 35 miles away.

Our marriage began to suffer and I began to not even care. I felt hopeless. We had always been able to converse for hours and hours and now all of a sudden, we had nothing to say to each other. All he ever wanted to talk about was God and I didn’t want to hear it. What I didn’t know was at the same time that I feeling hopeless and experiencing these things, Paul was also. But, he wasn’t content to let things just drift apart, no! He began talking to God about how He would have to send him a new wife because he (Paul) was so holy and pure now that he simply couldn’t have a wife who smoked and drank and cussed like a sailor. No, he needed a holy wife. (Dang!)

I was already feeling somewhat rejected and not good enough anymore so I’m glad I didn’t know he wanted a new wife! Yes, even though I was mad at him and didn’t understand what was happening to us, I would have been devastated to know what he was feeling at the time. I only learned about this years later.

God told Paul He wasn’t going to get him a new wife but instead, Paul would have to fall back in love with me. Paul needed to start making a place for me in his “new” life. This struggle continued for a couple more years.  In the mean time, we left the Episcopal Church because they began ordaining gay Bishops and although we both had personal friends who were gay; neither felt it represented God at all. When we left the church, we also had to leave the cottage we’d been living in for years and that was sad. The good news was, we were getting our own place and that was a dream come true, finally.

Paul had begun praying in the local healing rooms a year or so before and was now in leadership. He still kept running off to other meetings and conferences while I kept on catering, but now I was working with my brother. We were almost living separate lives, but God was still working on this thing!

This is just an excerpt of the journey but needless to say, Paul did make a place for me. He prayed for me all the time, without me actually knowing about it except things began to feel different. He no longer fought with me or tried to correct anything I was doing. He literally just loved me where I was. And also, by falling back in love with me again, he made a way for me to enter into the kingdom. My offenses began to fall away. God started whispering to me there in that place and I even began to love my husband again.

Prayer works as we know but it also takes honor and respect. When I began to receive that (and I absolutely did not deserve it!), my heart changed. I felt a tangible place being made for me to come alongside my husband. I had no clue what it was, or what it meant. What I did know was that it felt good and it felt safe.

********

I pray my story might encourage you to pray for your spouse and simply love them right where they are. We can change nothing on our own, but my Jesus certainly can. Persistent prayer along with respect and honor is a game changer and I know we all need change to happen.

********

Note: This post is about a journey, not theological understanding. Many things I believed at one time are not what I believe now. I call it a progressive revelation. That is to say, if something I have shared in this post offends you, stop it; this is not where we land. This is where we have journeyed through. We’ve all come through many things . . . GG

Perfect Love

 

perfect love

ter·ror  ˈterər

noun  1. extreme fear.

Terror – to bring terror through intimidation and fear.

I’ve been thinking on the recent events happening in Paris and even other parts of the world. I’ve also been thinking about the word terrorist, which loosely means to bring terror through intimidation and fear.

It doesn’t take a big man to terrorize someone with a gun. No, that man, or woman for that matter, hides behind that weapon with the intent to use violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, to get their way.

I know this is a very simplistic view but I’m staying with this view for a reason; terror isn’t my focus. Love is my focus. Perfect love casts our fear…. terror.

With all the media outlets spewing s much coverage of what is going on and what they think is going on, I can only believe it is helping the terrorist to spread the terror to even more people. I’ve seen this happening even where I work. Yesterday, they turned the TV channel on to CNN and let it play for a while. All the numbers were listed as expected; how many dead, how many wounded, how many terrorist found, how many dead, etc. etc. While not burying my head in the sand, I did not allow the terror to enter into my spirit. That was not the case for other’s watching. I could see how terror was doing its work; how they were hanging onto every word the reporters were speaking as if this terrorist were on their very doorstep.

After the reports began looping, repeating the same information all over again, I suggested we change the channel and watch some football or something. But even after the news was turned off, the terror was doing its work, having its way; I could see it on their faces, on one person especially. She was terrified that this would happen to her. She felt she had no control over her life and was helpless. I think this is what scared her most. She kept talking about moving away to the ‘islands’ because for some reason this would be safer. There was no comfort I could give her because she was so terrorized that she convinced herself that it was inevitable, only a matter of time. She expected it to occur.

To me, this is exactly the work terror is trying to accomplish, and I think it’s winning, for now. We have to see a bigger picture, a truer picture and not be moved by this spirit.

Just like that day when we were all shocked to hear what it happened in France and what happened the night before in Beirut; it makes us afraid. We need to collect ourselves realize that God knows this is happening, and the reason this is happening is because there’s not enough love in the world. Yes, this is a rather simplistic view, but don’t we tend to over complicate things anyway?

This is about a love deficit and love is what will transform the world. This Love the world needs is a Person and this Person needs to be encountered. These terrorist need love, they just don’t know it yet. Of course I don’t condone what they do, but what they do shouldn’t make me hate them. Nope, instead it should move me to intercede for them.

I believe we all need to look at it this way. I think when these atrocities occur; we should grieve not only for the victims but also for the perpetrators. The focus of our prayers should be that love with fall down on them. That love would overcome their hatred and need to punish others who don’t believe as they do. Our prayers should be that Love would work through us to be the instrument of change the world so desperately needs.

And then I read this……

“After her son committed a horrific crime, Terri Roberts expected rage and calls for vengeance. What she was greeted with instead healed an entire community”

Full article here Forgiven (Follow link or copy and paste into your browser)

This is what Love looks like.

Love Wins, whether you see it or not

love wins 2

Do you ever find yourself discouraged when all you seem to see are hurt and broken people, everywhere you look? It’s hard and sad at the same time. And sadly, the church has all too often been to blame for much of this. But in actuality, its people who hurt people, even if it happened in a church setting or in the name of religion it’s still people, sometimes called “flesh” that wounded them. We need to see a bigger picture of what’s going on here. Our battle is not with flesh, by the way. What we are battling are forces of darkness in the spirit realm.

These dark spirits are whispering things into the ears of people who have been hurt and in effect, prodding them into agreement with thoughts of punishment and vindication toward those who hurt them. These thoughts don’t originate in the person but they may very well sound like their own voice. They are not. These are the strongholds that are mentioned in 2 Cor 10: 3-5. We need to pull them down and not come into agreement anymore.

I have found that it’s not always the church that causes these things. Sometimes people are broken and hurt because of bad choices they’ve made along the way and now they don’t even know the truth anymore. And other times WE are the broken ones. I believe that because of this we have an affinity with other broken people. Heck, we are their champions sometimes because it’s validation for our own brokenness.

Often when people are wounded, it wasn’t the intent of the person inflicting the pain to cause harm; no, they’re usually doing things with the best intentions in mind.  Maybe it’s not the way you would have done things, and maybe you would have treated people better, but maybe not. We all fail from time to time and people get hurt, it happens every day.

However the hurting came about, it all stems from one thing; continuation of wrong belief about one’s self and coming into agreement with what has been spoken over them, whether it was intended or otherwise. These wrong beliefs are not who they/we are.

Most people don’t admit to actually believing the curses spoken over them or the sense of worthlessness they feel about themselves, audibly or even on a conscious level, but they are the thoughts that are entertained day in and day out. I imagine that much of the inner thought life of most broken and hurt people are simply tapes of every bad thing that has ever been spoken over them. I know that’s been the case for me in the past; I assumed it must be true.

So how do we help someone who is broken and wounded? We show compassion for what happened but then show them how Jesus sees them.

One of the problems in dealing with wanting to show compassion to those dealing with broken and wounded people is that we aren’t always sure how to do so because we don’t want to cause more pain.  I mean, they are already hurting right? So what ends up happening quite often is that in order to avoid causing more pain, we get down in the hole with them and begin to commiserate with all the pain and suffering they are going through. We begin to agree with the accusations that come about the person who caused the pain to begin with. And then we call it compassion. It’s not.

I sometimes feel that when we spend so much time looking at the problem, i.e. the woundedness and brokenness, that we become accusers and may not even realize it. How often do we find ourselves in a stance of accusation?  There is only one accuser and it’s not us, or at least it’s not supposed to be! That is the identity of a victim. Yes bad things happen to people all the time but it doesn’t change who we are.

When we behave this way, it’s as if we’re saying, or acting as if Jesus has left us all alone, He doesn’t seem to care about us or them and then from that wrong belief, we come into agreement with the lies that started all the brokenness in the first place.  We start to believe they are true.

Simply loving someone where they are is what really needs to happen. But if loving them turns in to agreeing with the victimhood aka that their identity is what has happened to them, well we really aren’t helping at all.

While this can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, did you know that there is another way to see these things, that there are things going on that can’t be seen with our natural eyes?

The answer to all this isn’t to keep speaking about and focusing on how so many people are broken and hurt. Of course I’m not saying that people aren’t hurt, that’s just silly, of course they are. No, the answer lies more in what question we’re asking. Why do we ask why, or why do we feel the need to even ask? Who are we accusing of this really? And what does it say about our relationship with Jesus when all we do is ask why and focus on what we don’t see with our natural eyes? What does it say about us if we need a scapegoat for all that is wrong with people?

The answer lies in knowing that we are loved. When we truly know this and trust Him, we will stop believing those lies that try and define us differently than who we actually are. Then the need for answers to wrong questions will stop. And maybe, just maybe we will begin to ask real questions! Questions like, what can I do to help bring healing to a situation, how can I show ‘them’ that Jesus loves them so much and open their eyes to the fact that those things that have happened to or have been spoken over them don’t define who they are; especially if they stop agreeing with it!

Let’s introduce those who are hurting and wounded to the Jesus who’s so in love with them that He’s already laid down His life for them. All we have to do is love and open our ears, for He will whisper the words they are longing to hear and we get to speak them! How cool is that? He already has a plan for us all and it is good.

For me, the thing to remember is this:  Jesus is still pursuing them. Even now He’s wooing them back to wholeness, even if they don’t know it. No one is exempt from His love. He will have His way; just you wait and see. Keep loving them even when other’s around us don’t and we will see Him win every time, for He’s as close as we will allow. He really is tangibly right here, right now! Let Him have His way. And feel honored to be the one to show this unfailing love to someone else.

                                                                 The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me 

                                                                 because God anointed me.

                                                                 He sent me to preach good news to the poor,

                                                                  heal the heartbroken,

                                                                  announce freedom to all captives

                                                                  (and) pardon all prisoners.

Love wins

Honoring Mothers

Mother's day post

Mother’s Day is on May 10th this year and that makes it less than a month away. I have to find a victim, quick! No, really. Let me explain…….

My mother passed away 6 years ago and because she has gone on, it doesn’t exempt me from honoring mothers all around me. There are single mothers who need encouraging, spiritual mothers who need honoring, sisters who have forgotten how awesome they truly are or maybe you’re a mother to orphans who simply needs someone to listen to what has happened in your day. The need is greater than we know.

I’ve heard it said that Mother’s Day is only a ‘Hallmark’ holiday and it doesn’t really matter that much but this couldn’t be further from the truth! It matters a lot. No, it doesn’t matter how the world celebrates or even doesn’t celebrate; WE are of a different kingdom and we know how important mother’s are, right?!

Mothers are the very first teachers we have and they impart so much with their time, their love and their wisdom. Mothers are our first confidants and the first ones we run too when we are little. Remember those mashed up flowers we grabbed with our tiny little hands just so we could present them to our mommy’s? Remember how she kissed our owie’s away and everything was all better?

And when we are older and our relationships with our mothers were more than a little strained because WE knew absolutely everything and she was only trying to keep us from all that WE knew we could do. Right…..even those days she was there; washing our sheets, making us meals and even praying for our safety and for wisdom to ‘please dear God’ land on us! I know I wasn’t the easiest daughter to raise; maybe not the worst but in hind sight, I could have honored her more.

But this is not about regrets! NOPE. This is about loving and honoring the women who have raised us and mentored us. It’s also about those we came to depend on in our time of need. Let’s not let an opportunity pass to honor these great women. And you do realize,  whether a woman believes in Jesus like we do or not has nothing to do with it at the end of the day. Jesus knows her and He loves her well. We should also.

So, my challenge to you is this…….

Find someone to honor and celebrate extravagantly this year. Take them to dinner, send them something in the mail, go clean their house or buy them flowers. And most importantly, tell them how much they’ve meant to you, how they’ve spoken into your life. How awesome they are!

And then, come back and share the testimony of how blessed they were by your kindness!

This is a picture of my mom when I was 8.

Mom pic