Sweet Time ~ Living Like You Were Dying ~ because Heaven is for real!

Living Like You Were Dying has become a mantra for me in a way. I think God supports this when he says we are a vapor and vanish.

Wow! I turned 50 this past year. It was a year of many first and many changes. Although I had been divorced 10 years it was the first year I had ever lived alone in my life, the first experience with an empty nest, the first time I adventured back into the dating world. Splat! Oh well, I tried, I’ll soar again in God’s time, that wasn’t pretty. This year I had a car wreck which was topped by my daughter totaling my spare car. I had a cancer scare that made me realize how sweet time is. I jumped out of the rat race taking a 40% pay cut by changing jobs. Life is too short to be stressed instead of blessed. I sold my home in SC and cut ties with the past and my security blanket back there. You can’t move forward looking in the rearview mirror. When your faith and fear collide, and they always will, you have to choose to keep pressing on.

The year was filled with so many great things. A great ministry to volunteer time that helps people get back in their race, a praise team at church that sees something in me that I am still learning about myself and some really great people who taught me, encouraged me, stretched me, crushed me and humbled me in so many ways that I can’t begin to explain. It’s called life though. Jesus walked Peter to the boat in a storm not on calm seas. Jesus is walking me through this journey and where I see the lesson I am learning, where I don’t see, God patiently and graciously walks me through again. Wow! how loving is our Father to do that. I love the abundant life God has given me. Not things, they pass away but the blessings that are too many to tell and too many to not see the hand of God.

Sometimes I ponder things and wonder if seeking direction with the Lord is as important as simply following where he is leading. Does that sound conflicted? Let me tell you what that means to me. Sometimes we see a path and ask the Lord to confirm it when maybe the path opening before us is the confirmation. God says that he opens doors man can’t shut and he shuts doors man can’t open in Revelation 3:8. You might refuse the door but it isn’t closed. It’s open and always will be for eternity. You will just miss the journey if you don’t’ go through it. I used to be one that would see the path, second guess myself, second guess the path and even the bricks it was paved with. My over analyzing and also my own conclusion that I was right in my analyzing would muddle the path and muddle me. By the time I started the first step on the path, if hadn’t of thought my way out of it, I was restless, uncertain and already thinking of plan B. In my mind seeking God’s direction was more of me analyzing what was best for me and hoping God endorsed it to happen that way. The learning curve on that can be as long as you want it to be. God has plenty of time to wait for you to surrender to him.

Grant it, life is hard and being vulnerable and taking risks is hard. Yet when God lays a path before us we need to go for it like we are dying. We need to not waste sweet time second guessing God and thinking the impossible can’t happen. If it looks too good why can’t it be from God? He says he uses the foolish things to confound the wise. He also says he gives good gifts to his children. He even said finding a wife is a good thing. We are not in a minefield with God. He has a clear path, clear plan and clear say regarding the matter. He said nothing was impossible with him.

It would be nice if we all could spend time in heaven like the little boy did in the book Heaven Is For Real. If we could understand that Jesus really loves all his children. If we could love and trust like children do! Oh My! I teared up reading how this little boy told his parents that as a four year old Jesus had the angels sing to him because he was so scared. I am not sure the angels will sing the song above to me and evidently they won’t sing We Will We Will Rock You either. Read the book and get the gist of that comment. When Lazarus died he was sitting in Abraham’s bosom and this little boy is sitting in the arms of Jesus. I don’t think there is a coincidence in the parallel.

I am sure the sweet time we waste on earth would minimize if we had an eternal perspective. So, when the path opens before me, unless God says NO! There’s no reason not to go through that door. It might look like spiritual skydiving, Rocky Mountain climbing or bull riding and I am positive it’s not always pretty or rosy. But it’s the race! It’s the plan to move forward and God is passionately loving us with abandon and cheering us on. The sweet time I have left I hope to love deeper, speak sweeter and forgive sooner. I want to live like I am dying because I am in all reality. When I get to heaven if I can ever look up at Jesus because I can’t imagine the glorified awe I will have for him. I am totally blown away now by his grace. If hear the angels sing I hope they sing this song. But if they don’t … I am sure whatever they sing will never be as loud as the heartbeat of God for this little gal he has declared priceless and purchased so no one else can buy me.

The Secret to Life ~ Your flight has been cancelled.

The Secret of Life is in letting go. Listen to this song Completely and read below.

I was supposed to be on my way to an adventure in Atlanta. This was all changed in a week that has been unlike any other I have had in a while. I can’t remember my heart being taken through so much so harshly and quickly. The reason I wasn’t going was partly my fault.

I prayed before I went to bed about the situation and everyone involved. I knew I had to give this completely to God to move forward in my own life. I knew also that God’s direction would be the only one that made sense. I felt His peace and fell asleep. It was the first time in over a week I didn’t go to bed feeling restless. He was my rest and peace. I surrender all.

About 3:19 am my phone went off. I didn’t hear the ring but I heard the vibration. I knew it was the airlines 2 hr. notification. I dismissed it and went to sleep. At 3:27 another vibration and I looked at it because my children live so far away and it was a number that I barely remembered was an elderly lady who calls confused from SC thinking I am her daughter. I put the phone down and dosed back off only to hear the phone vibrate again. I figured it was the notification that the flight had taken off. I saw the number but still didn’t put anything together. Ok, between 3:27 and 5 am my phone vibrated several more times. This was annoying to say the least. I awakened enough to realize that it was only 5 am and the airline must be trying to reach me!

I checked my messages and they said that my flight had been cancelled. They didn’t give a reason. I called the airline and found out that indeed my flight had been cancelled and I could be put on a later flight. I explained to them that I didn’t want to do that and before I could explain further they said. Then we will credit your card for this trip.

Now that might sound like normal routine to you but I believe God woke me up to get that refund. First, I have flown over 100 times in my life and never ever had a cancellation. Secondly, I gave everything to GOD. After this extremely tough week, I believe he wanted to confirm I had trusted him the way he wants me to.

Thirdly, this is the most important to me. I had been chastised and rightly so, but one phrase I was hit with were the sarcastically rebuking words “the God that I serve or I serve a God that” as if I knew little about God. I don’t remember now because everything has been deleted. Yet, It really hit my heart hard and hurt. My heart was to help and not to anger or cause grief. I am glad God really knows what I was trying to say.

I haven’t done everything right in this life but I have always turned to GOD and depended on him before all is said and done. What I tried to accomplish with my words was said in a terrible way for which I take responsibility. Once something is out there you can do little about it. Still there’s no excuse.

All I have ever had and known was real in my life was my Father’s love. I am thankful at a time when life was tough, God took a moment to reach back to me and remind me he’s still in control and there’s little that I control. That although I am not perfect I still serve a God who is. I am thankful he restored money I could not afford to lose and also restored my heart because HE is the God I serve and he does love and forgive everyone including me and people who can’t love me and can’t forgive me. For that I am thankful because we all need his precious grace. This gal needed not only the grace but as my Father keenly saw I needed the love and affirmation. God touched my heart today and I am his and he is mine.

God hasn’t finished with me or with my story. I don’t know what to expect anymore except to keep my dreams big and my worries small. No one can shut a God door.

Rev. 3:8 I know they works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Guard your heart, use your brains, and above all remember this is the Internet.

I wrote this article last year for a Christian internet dating site. I have edited it with a few more thoughts. I think it bears repeating. I am not trying to discount getting to know someone through dating sites. Studies show that people who meet on Eharmony for example have a higher success rate than meeting in person. Yet at some point people have to go toe to toe and eye to eye to dance in the minefield of relationships. That’s all I am saying here. Dating sites are a tool at best. Don’t get the cart before the horse.

March 2010.
Sometimes you have to use common sense. I know this will go over like a lead balloon. Internet dating sites lend themselves to serious discernment problems. You can’t have a “relationship” with someone you have never met. You can feel deeply, feel strongly, and all kinds of things but you can’t have a relationship with a chat box or phone call or even a few phone conversations. Relationships take quality time and take one on one interaction, and eventually growth together in person. That simply can not happen online where aspects of personality and character can not be seen. It’s far too important a matter to play roulette with. At some point you have to meet and see where the relationship might go.

Miracles happen and things stranger than fiction have. Generally speaking that’s the exception more than the rule. You can at best develop an “acquaintance friendship” Friendships take a long time to form and relationships even longer. Online one might jump right into the latter without the former and begin roles never assigned to them if in real time. The problem with this kind of thinking is that you can give your heart over to a person you have not met because you are living in a pseudo fantasy land and wind up with disaster.

A person can expect you to fill a certain role based on where their heart is and they wind up with a disaster. This creates chaos, distraction from the LORD and folks get hurt that way. Be mature, respectful, and direct in these things. Do not play games or expect mind reading. Guard your heart, use your brains, and above all remember this is the Internet.

We have to understand God’s heart for us is not to walk into a disaster. Disaster that often breeds with the availability of Internet anonymity. Too many can “be all they wanted to be” vs. be real. I know I have used the word “fantasy land” before but that is because there is no word to describe the plane that the Internet affords. It’s still being defined. What I do know about and have seen is the brokenness of people who have played in this media and found themselves hurt. I have seen it and experienced it. I think the Internet’s own virtue is it’s own demon. The fact that you can connect with so many on so many different levels because you aren’t distracted by the physical. I have a couple of long term friends that I have come to know as kindred brothers and sisters in the LORD but I know how rare that is and given their character I am thankful they are real. I have met them both and to me they are extended family. Even those friendships are 8 years old and did not foster overnight.

Men, if you are reading this understand intelligent women are not just protecting their heart but yours as well if they are wise enough to hold back. A weaker woman will create you as a white knight in shining armor. A strong woman will still develop ties that are going to cause her heartache if she doesn’t make healthy choices. That is unfair for you and her. Yet if a woman can’t see at best all people have armor that has rust spots and chinks she will get herself involved with someone who isn’t real.

Women, if you are reading, understand words are just words. Action reveals what a person truly believes and exposes their character. Until you are in person, you really have words and maybe a bit of knowledge about them. Be aware of sites that offer too many contacts which also offers too many distractions. Juggling men will lead to being perplexed. One pursues you that you are not interested be honest and cut that off. It’s not fair to make people an option. Another delays pursuing you because to him you are an option. The old saying goes, “never make someone a priority who only makes you an option” A third guy is great but keeps you clueless. Shake hands, be friends and move forward. Some say that they are not ready for anything but are on a dating site fishing. . Don’t be insecure about that, understand it’s good news. Clarity is much better than guessing. This division of the heart is not good for a woman to bring into her life. God is not the author of confusion. A man will seek what matters to him. He may not do it at your speed but you will know if he’s interested or not. No need to sell yourself, throw yourself at him. If a man isn’t casting a net in your pond the best thing you can do is gratefully accept that.. Know yourself and your God who will provide the desires of your heart. I know I am not winning friends with this post. I love people, love the LORD and had to get it out there.

Men approach relationships different. I don’t pretend to know what all of those differences are. I just know that women aspire to relationships emotionally more than men I think. (keep in mind this is my own opinion and observation)

The goal should be though if CHRISTIAN to do it in a Godly way vs, worldly way. You can’t trade urgency for real passion, heart, fun and companionship. Rushing a relationship is like lighting a short fuse. I for one do not want to be the cause of anyone being hurt and want to do things in a way that lasts beyond the fireworks and pleases GOD. If I had to draw lines to do that I just can’t apologize for that. Passion in it’s place is well worth the wait.

I think a woman should be pursued and found as a treasure. Keep your options open until you meet a person and see their life first hand. Be careful out there.

Red Rover send a sinner right over.

Has anything ever knocked you so far off balance you have a hard time finding center again. I remember a couple of times as a kid playing a game of red rover where you form two human chains of kids and call one out at a time to break the chain. I remember Coley, we affectionately called “Coleslaw” who was the guy everyone was scared of at my elementary school. He was just a big guy. When he was called I knew my arm was about to be broken. Everyone knew Deb was “the weakest” link. So of course here comes Coleslaw, the playground felt like it was booming under my feet. Yep, he was gonna take the easy route and go between me and a guy who had a death grip on my forearm. Although my heart was pounding and I knew I was going to wind up on the ground. I held on tightly dreaming to be the one who kept coleslaw from breaking through this time. Yep, you guessed it. There I was in my little plaid jumper, steely eyed and ready to rumble………… then …………BAM……… there I was looking at the clouds. ……….. Man did that hurt!!!! I couldn’t breathe …… my arm was wrenched and yikes ……..now everyone is watching me …….. why not they watched it happen. Still can’t breathe trying to catch my breath. Seconds seemed like hours. Finally, a breath, a sigh, the pain…..yep the tears……. but not boo hoo tears just something in my eye. lol…….. ok lets line up and do this again. Such is red rover……but it’s not funny when you play red rover with your life. God did not plan for us to be knocked down and the breath knocked out of us all of our lives. …….. Time to grow,,,,,,,,time for grace……… time to read the Word…….. time to live………

We will only have the intimate good shepherd relationship with God that we should have by getting to know the shepherd’s voice which is expressed in His WORD.

The worlds wisdom is like Coleslaw……. headed to knock us off our feet. God’s wisdom……found in His Word is like Life, water, bread, ………..everyday we choose life or death…………

Are you calling Coleslaw to come knock the wind out of your sails???? Are you lying on the ground wondering why relationships don’t work and why you are wounded and hurting?

Stop playing with your life…… in the playground of the world…….

PS. Coleslaw  became a great godly man and father later……. I was honored to teach with his wife at a Christian School in SC and to see such a gentle giant.

Emerge a changed Woman.

My past is riddled with so many things, some drama, mistakes, pain, violence, sadness, divorce, marriage and death. I can’t begin to write all that I could say about it.  I guess I could fill this blog with it all so that you can identify with me on some of those points but lets shorten the drama to get to the heart of the matter.  Here’s the bottom line.

When I became saved I exchanged my life for the new life of Christ. I became a new creature, not the old person reinvented but a new creation. The problem wasn’t in my salvation not being all it should have been or being more complete. God just doesn’t do a half-baked job. My problem was that I came to the table with years of past rejection that had trained my mind to be rejected. Short story, I grew up with tons of rejection from my dad, married a man who rejected me, then made a series of poor judgments trying to be accepted in my career or by others so that I would mask the pain of being rejected. Something had to change and I spent the last 6 years trying to figure it out.

None of the avenues I tried worked because at the end of the day I was still the same rejected person. I finally found the answer when I was faced for the first time in my life with having to make it on my own without props. (people to support me emotionally) I started studying the WORD of GOD rather than talk or write about what I had thought I had known of His Word. Truth was that “religion” had gotten in the way of having a real understanding of who GOD is and of my identity in Christ. I began to dig and what I found out has accomplished in my life what it should have done. I have had to be changed from the inside out by renewing my mind.

When we get saved we as stated by the Lord are new creatures, all things have passed away behold all things have become new. That being said, I did get saved but never ever really took concerted time to find out about my new life in Christ. I was trying to live out life the old me way vs. the mind of Christ way.

I understand going through the motions and being indifferent to life going around you. I understand just trying to survive the pain and toil of life but not living life. I call it survival mode. When God quickens (makes our spirit alive by becoming one with it, it is unmistakable.) He says our spirit witnesses with His Spirit. As a believer I did  not accept that change as normally as I should have and fought every step of the way. I tried in my flesh to do my thing when I see that now I can’t do anything but what the Lord wills, even then it’s all Him and not me. The first change I noticed is how I view things and how I began to unravel and learn a whole new way. It’s like going from black and white tv to color. So much more sense in the life around you because you see everything as a small puzzle piece in a huge masterpiece GOD is aware of.

Old southern preachers where I used to live would say “do you know that you know that you know?” I think of the phrase sometimes when I realize that GOD has redeemed my soul through his Son’s offering for my sin. My old man was crucified with Christ on that cross and has passed away. Sometimes in this life we keep giving the “Old Man” a funeral by holding on to the mind the old man had and not allowing the renewing the mind of the “new creation” to be like the Son.

 I am a new creation that as God says is “accepted in the beloved” The good work that God began in me he will continue as he promised. God has said to “come boldly” to his throne of Grace to receive Mercy in time of need. To take his burden because it is not weighty…. over and over the theme of the New Covenant is that GOD provided a way to Him that is fool proof, I like that term meaning even I can follow his lead.  Every step of the journey is made clear to us in His Word so that we can’t possibly do it, but that we can be successful letting Him do it. He changes us we can’t change ourselves. Wouldn’t we have changed us already if we could? If we struggle with something wouldn’t we wave the human wand at it and poof we are changed? Wouldn’t we provide our own healing? Are you hearing in my statements why “we” can’t do it?

 Where would dependence on GOD be if “we” could change ourselves. Immediately we would humanize it all and forget God. That is why Paul wrote the phrases about “the things I do I would not” etc. That is why the renewing of the mind is so important. You can’t do anything you don’t believe. You might try to pretend it, copy it, squeak, squak, sqawk like it but if you are a duck you are not a sheep. I lived so many self righteous, entitled years that way to the waste of time and talents, but I was blind now I see.

 The Good Shepherd leads the sheep they know his voice and follow him. Pretending only lasts for a season but sonship last for a life. The most wonderful part is GOD loves and is jealous of the “new creation” We are accepted by him, loved by him, wanted by Him, trusted by Him (to be His representative), seen as joint heirs with Jesus by him, I could continue to list them but our identity is in Christ in the eyes of the Father who has promised that we are seated in the heavenlies blessed with all spiritual blessings. When Christ is enough everything is enough. We are sheep following our Shepherd who leads us to all we need. The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want.

Being Me is Not Easy

Sometimes being me isn’t easy lol.

I asked a question recently of some of you. Do you really love God and how do you know?

I pondered that with my finite brain for a few days and although this isn’t a definitive answer I do believe it approaches the subject.

My first thoughts were about the power of words. I decided long ago in my teens that I wanted to be an encourager. I had grown up with so much negativity I didn’t want anyone to be reduced by my words. I know the power of words because I have been damaged by some things said to me.

God says so much about words.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
Bridle the tongue
Iron sharpens iron
But exhort one another while it is called today.
Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer every man.
Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only
There is safety in a multitude of counselors
Speak the truth in love

The list is much longer, but this will become a book instead of a little bit of sharing.

Here’s where my brain went with this.

Words are powerful
The Word was in the beginning, The Word and the Holy Spirit to interpret that Word, is what God left us until the end.

I know lately I have been greatly affected by words. I guess because I do try to be very careful what I say to others and I try to be careful how I treat everyone. I try to make sure what I am saying is something I can back up with my actions. I watch for that in other people too. I know we all fail sometimes.

There are many catch phrases in life, such as someone can’t make you happy, or sticks and stones blah, blah, blah, actions speak louder than words. I really don’t wholly accept these phrases because God admonishes us to be careful with our words. A person can with words hurt you. In 46 years I have been told and reinforced of all my short comings. Lol. I can long remember the hurtful things, and cherish the few nice things said to me.

Words do shape our courses just as the tongue is compared to the rudder of a ship. Such a little thing can steer our thoughts and actions. It is up to us to weigh and place value or power if you will into what others have said, but we are also responsible for what we say. Believe me ACTIONS do SPEAK. Remember conversation in the Bible is translated, manner of life, or if you will actions.

So where am I today? Well in light of some things said to me I would have to say I am being reinforced and trained at least by words I am hearing and have been even distracted with the message I have been receiving lately. I know we all say things we don’t mean, but a consistent message does get conveyed when it’s repeated. What message are we giving God if we truly love him? What message are we giving others if we love them?

Please think about it. I am saying this. You can tell by a persons words, how they feel about you, if they respect you, if they want you, if they value you, if they cherish you, if they love you, if they hate you, if they are annoyed with you, if you mean anything at all to them. You have to know that your words are a revelation to a person just as God’s words are a revelation to us. All of his intentions and longings and desires for us are in His written word.

People act on what they believe. What do you believe?

My well has been dry for a while and I can say hearing anything nice would be a drink of refreshing water.

God bless you all. Treat each other with charity.