Category Archives: Thoughts

I Love Thee

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I saw Dad’s restlessness when I arrived for my night’s stay in the hospital. He had a look of fear and bewilderment in his eyes.  The look that always broke my heart.

After the nurses finished their rounds and things began to quiet down, I changed the channel on the TV to one of those meditative stations the hospitals make available. As the beautiful photography and soft instrumentals drew him in, he began to relax. He watched for over an hour. I’d look at him from time to time and he’d catch my eye… giggle a little… then cry.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been so moved before,” he said. “I keep praying the same words over and over, ‘Forgive me, Lord…forgive me, Lord…forgive me, Lord.'”

Some might wonder at his confession, but I think I understood his meaning…

When we are weary, bone-tired, dazed, and confused, wondering if the dark night of the soul will ever end; then, suddenly, we catch a glimpse of His beauty — the wonder of His creation, the soothing sounds of His music — the truth of knowing He is in control hits us.

We are awestruck.

We turn. We refocus. We repent.

He is greater than all our fears.  We know He loves us…more.

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Good Enough for God?

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Are we good enough for God?

No.
We are not.

No one is good, but God. ~Jesus

A man is not justified by the works of the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ, alone.

We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping
but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ.
How do we know?
We tried it–and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen!
Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement,
we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God 
by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good.  ~Galatians 2:16 (MSG)

No one will ever get it right.

No one will ever be “good enough” for God.

It’s impossible to please God without faith, and trying to “be good” is not faith.
It is trusting in self.

Believe me, please.  For, you see, I tried it.
For years and years and years which turned into decades upon decades.

I was even given the name “Goody-goody” throughout my school years. Yes, I thought I could keep myself saved through good works. It doesn’t matter if you believe your good works will save you before, or after, you come to know Christ. Either way, you’re still only trusting in self.

It wasn’t until my late forties that I realized I can do nothing to save me.
I either have faith in Christ, alone, or it’s all a sham.

And guess what?

On the other side of self-abuse, wretched sinfulness, and family-shattering betrayal…

Finally, I understood the GRACE of God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

He looked upon my sinfulness
And bestowed upon me His forgiveness.

I saw my sin,
And I knew He saw it.

Yet, I felt His grace.

His love.
His mercy.
His redemption.

I found it is only through Christ, my Lord, that I am able to stand before God, the Father.
Jesus took the punishment I well-deserved.  He endured the suffering for my sins — all of them — before I was even born. Yes, and even before the foundation of the earth, the Lamb of God was crucified for us all.

As a child I learned Jesus loved me.  But I was also taught I must keep myself “good” for Him. And if I didn’t, He would not accept me.  My standing before Him was based upon my good works, not His sacrifice, alone.

So…
Why all of the clarification now???

Because, I spent so many years teaching it wrong. And so many people heard me. Eventually, I did learn the right teaching, but without the experiential knowledge, it wasn’t completely understood within my soul. I kept being “good” for I knew it was wisdom to live well.

But, God…
He turned up the fire of trials in my life.
He tested my knowledge and let me go down a path that would solidify my faith.

It wasn’t pretty.
Seeing our own sinfulness is never pretty.
But, necessary.

And now I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW

I am the LORD’s and He is mine.
And nothing can separate me from His love.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dear LORD.

Please, hear me, it is still wise to live well, BUT, never ever believe your good works will save you, or keep you saved…

In Christ, alone, is our salvation.

For by GRACE you are saved
through FAITH,
and this is not from yourselves,
It is the gift of God.
~Ephesians 2:8

Daddy

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February 13, 1933 — December 14, 2014

My dad was an amazing man.

He was a charmer, a singer, an artist, a soldier, a director, a provider, a comic, a gardener … and my teacher.

For most of my life, Dad was my inspiration. From grade school he encouraged me to hone my artistic abilities. He was a professional artist.

Dad saw beauty everywhere and much of the time it brought tears to his eyes. He had an uncanny, God-given ability to paint landscapes. He was also one of the few truly talented calligraphists in the country.

He was a man of faith.

I wrote this poem for his birthday in 2006 …

 

I remember watching Dad
When I was only nine,
Creating pictures for the news
And adverts for the Times.

He inspired me to watch and learn,
To see beauty everywhere.
He gave me guidance as I tried
To express myself with care.

As we traveled on vacations
He pointed out the sights;
Showing much appreciation
For the expression of God’s might.

The waterfalls, the sparkling streams,
The chipmunk on the wall,
Were shown to me through his eyes
As we walked to view them all.

The mighty oak reaching to the sky
With gnarled limbs and shade;
Dappled sunlight shining through,
Creating wonder with all God made.

I thank you, Dad, for inspiring me
To see beauty in the world;
I feel a fullness, a breadth of wonder
You helped me to unfurl.

 

It’s not good-bye, Daddy, just farewell.

I know you are living the best life yet…see you soon.

Never Give Up!

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Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for
and the conviction of things not seen.
~Hebrews 11:1

We are hoping for and convinced of things we can’t see…that is faith.

Jesus said to Thomas when he doubted, “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.”

Our faith is in the promise of new life, eternal life, Jesus life.
Our faith is placed in His work, His words, His sacrifice.

We do not put our faith in one another.
That is not where we are to place our trust.

Our faith is in Christ, alone.

We will hurt one another, again and again and again…and again.   I like the way Max Lucado puts it:

If hurts were hairs, we’d all look like grizzlies. Even the smooth-skinned beauties of the magazine covers, the composed pastors in the pulpit, the sweet little old lady who lives next door. All of them. All of us. Furry, hairy beasts we’d become. If hurts were hairs, we’d be lost behind the thick of them.

That’s not an excuse to hurt people, but it is the reality of living in this sinful world among sinful people.

If we look to one another as the determining factor in Christ being real, we will miss the beauty of Him.

None of us.  No, not one, is without sin.
We all struggle in the flesh.
That is our battle, until this mortal puts on immortality.

That doesn’t mean we aren’t changing.
We grow.  We stumble.  We get up.  We learn.
We grow some more and we stumble again and we get up … and we learn … … …

It’s in the learning that we change from glory to glory, if we don’t give up.

Each test, each trial, each tribulation is a chance for growth.
We’re either getting softer, or harder.
He chose to give us hearts of flesh instead of stone.

It’s in the cooperating with Him that we grow.

We’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without His unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.  ~2Corinthians 4:16 (MSG)

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.
Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

All That I Need

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Jesus, you know what’s inside of my heart,
When I am coming apart at the seams.
But that’s when my true colors come shining through,
I know that You are the One for me.

A song by Dan Marks, “All That I Need”

Oh, how I wish I had always known this in my innermost being!

I do get glimpses of it, knowing He has been, and will always be, the One who never leaves.

He is the One who will always love.
He accepts me. All of me.
Even the ugliest parts…He has them covered.

He forgives fully and without exception.
I am free with Him.
In Him, I can be me.
(He created me…He likes me!)

My struggle, and possibly yours, is my flesh wanting more.

Why do I keep running to the world?

Why, when deep inside of me I KNOW, He is all I need, do I still look for more…?

Another verse:
When the dark clouds come and bring down the rain,
I know that You will sustain me, Lord.

I surely haven’t always lived that truth.
I have had moments, even years, of living it:

I did get through the miscarriage with His sustaining power.
I did feel His strong hand supporting me through the trials of raising three children.
I was empowered through His strength when illness and homeschooling converged.

I guess that’s why I’m so befuddled with the whys of my most recent years…
…the last five, to be exact.

Why, when I knew Him in victory, did I not hold on to Him in tragedy?

Loneliness, revictimization, fatigue … these are all explanations of what happened within my self … Years of fighting with demons, stuffing the pain, and questioning my illness led to a yearning for relief, a way out of the despair.

That’s when I let go and I let my flesh reign.

I still grieve about it. And, I imagine I always will. He forgets all our sins, but He didn’t give us that ability. When we forget, much of the time it’s an act of denial because we do not want to see the truth of our actions.

Honestly, I don’t want to forget.
I’m okay with the grief.
I’m even okay with the recognition that I did not make a mistake.

I sinned against my husband, my children, and my family.
I sinned against a holy God who gave me the best gifts in life.

I spit in the face of His blessings.

The knowledge of that choice brings me to my knees again and again and again…
Not in self-loathing, or thinking I must continue to ask for forgiveness;
I know He has forgiven me.

I fall on my knees in overwhelming thanksgiving to a great God who loves unconditionally!

So, you see,
I don’t want to forget.
I don’t want to deny what I am capable of doing.

I want to remember the lesson for the remainder of my time on this earth.
And when I get to heaven, then He will wipe away all my tears…

Oh God, help me to remember what I’ve learned.

Your love is all that I need,
All that I need, all that I need.
Your love is all that I need…
All that I need is You.

The Hurt Runs Deep

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A note to the reader: For any who hurt due to abuse, it’s okay to stand up and speak out.  It’s the hardest thing to do, but it will allow the healing to begin. Also, “you” is meant to be universal…I have had too many abusers in my life to name just one.

I am not your punching bag anymore.
I will not stand by and take whatever abuse you choose to dish out.
I will not remain in your presence, because your words are a lie straight from hell.

God says I am His.
God tells me I am beloved.

You tell me I am not worthy…not beautiful…not real.

I know I’m real.
I know what I feel and I know why I feel as I do.

I became a non-entity to you.
I filled up whatever need you may have had for a time…
And when I realized I couldn’t keep it up, I would never be enough…
I curled up into my shell.

And you left.

I was the butt of your jokes.
I was the blame behind your anger.
I was the target of your rage.

No.  more.

I learned I was an object at two years old.
Now, at fifty-two, I’ve decided to become a person.
I will be seen…by those who choose to cherish and not condemn.

I believe it’s time to realize I am worthy…
Because He is worthy.
He sacrificed Himself for me;
HE calls me His own.

Your names for me are a lie.
I choose to hear the Truth:
God loves me.

By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell…With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image…Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
~verses from James 3

When the hurt runs deep…
He is deeper still.

(I must say I’m having a very difficult time leaving this post up…yet, somehow I feel I must. After so many years of not believing I was worthy to speak up, taking this first step toward doing so feels so foreign…so vulnerable…I want to run. But, I know I can’t. I know I must get the words said for no other reason than having it written to look back upon, and know there was one day…a moment in time…I did feel I could speak the truth. I only hope I can survive the honesty…)

Miserably Failing People

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But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

… Weaknesses are with me for the whole journey.

Paul was particularly thinking of persecutions, but how much more does this passage apply to human frailty, brokenness and hurt? How essential is it for us to be broken, if Christ is going to be our strength?

When I am weak I am strong.

Not, “When I am cured,”
or “When I am successful,”
or “When I am a good Christian,”
but when I am weak.

Weakness- the human experience of weakness- is God’s blueprint for exalting and magnifying his Son.

When broken people,
miserably failing people,
continue to belong to, believe in and worship Jesus,

God is happy.

~The Internet Monk
Read the whole article…it just might change your life…
😉