Life is hard but GOD is good!

Dear Christian who is hurting,

“He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3) “He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted.” (Isaiah 61:1)

The word heal in Hebrew  means to heal, to sew together, or mend. Imagine if you will GOD healing me piece by piece even mending together what has been torn apart. That was like salve to my weary and broken heart that my GOD would put me back together in His way in His time.

Broken hearted in Hebrew in this case means to break into pieces, crush, maime, crippled, shattered, wrecked, rupture, to be broken, rend violently. Jesus repeated this verse in Luke as part of his mission coming to this earth. To heal the broken hearted and set the captives free. I was a captive to emotional stuff. No one held me physically captive it was all spiritual bondage. I remember when I lifted my eyes after the long nights of pain and blame and realized the chains were truly gone and I was totally free. I remember feeling as if my soul had wings because once I was blind but now I see. I have sung What a Friend We have in Jesus hundreds of times just because I now KNOW he indeed is my Friend.

Bind is the Hebrew word which means to tie, bind about like a headband or turban, bind on, restrain, bandage. What comfort that you are GOD’s child and He is waiting in the wings for you to embrace the healing he will provide and has demonstrated in first sending Jesus to die for us but, also in giving us a means to have an intimate relationship with him. Not only did GOD heal but he also bandaged my wounds as they healed. How loving and how restful that is to me. I can fall into his loving arms in prayer and as the dear and precious Father I have never had, let Him do that for me.
Wound comes from the Hebrew word  which had idol as a root but also a pain or wound even a sorrow wound. I identify with making my pain and idol. I was so fearful to freely trust GOD with everything. I had spiritual white knuckles that if I let go of control it might hurt me how ironic. I remember when I first started studying the Hebrew and Greek and came across this it was all very hard to swallow. Now I love knowing what God is really saying. I am amazed at the lengths He goes to in order to have a relationship with us and take care of our needs and desires. We can truly trust him. I never trusted anyone before except myself which just about destroyed me.

Imagine him knitting you back together from brokenness of unimaginable proportions and binding that healing into a masterpiece that he knew in Psalms was fearfully and wonderfully made. That is what GOD has done for me. I sought Godly counsel through my Pastors wife because on my own I was unable to clearly see or progress. I was becoming emotionally and spiritually crippled and ineffective. I sought the Lord in His Word and on my knees, and I learned how to listen instead of act or react to everything. I began to see life’s lessons in it all and see how GOD works behind the scenes always on my behalf for His glory. It was like the scales from my eyes fell and as I began to become whole I feel full and have an overflow that I can share with others.

Hearing you say that your heart is broken, that you feel damaged, burned out, and that even talking about it makes you feel depressed is where I have traveled. It hurts but also shows us we are in touch with something still being not healed. How you might feel right now is a place I am very familiar with. It is the exact way I felt. I was emotionally and spiritually wrecked and very unable to admit it. I must say this to you hoping you will take it to heart because it is far more important that you understand what I am going to say more than you ever look at me. As I said that is not at all what this is about.
Feeling the way I did without dealing with it and without healing hindered me in every way spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I did that exact same thing by just avoiding it all. I spent hours pouring my life into futility of doing stuff that just didn’t provide anything valuable to help me grow. I have paid a very high price neglecting my relationships horizontally with people and vertically with GOD.

Not healing kept me in bondage to my pain until I decide to address it. It foreshadowed my witness and effectiveness as a light to the lost and dying world and kept me stuck going through the motions of life without really living the wonderful life Christ intended. I am speaking the truth in love. I did exactly that very thing.
Dear One, I know GOD is with me and that saying this is from grace He has given me to boldly let you know as strongly and lovingly as I can. I continued pouring my life into pseudo surface relationships which did make me laugh and provided numbness from it all but did not provide growth that will help a person heal or be restored. I wasted part of my life I can’t get back. I found many people there whose motives were not for my good or God’s glory.

Words that real friends tried to share with me along this line were dismissed when I was going through the same thing when I first was divorced and when I began to deal with my life and who I was. I was so far from healthy and whole. I would feel ungrateful to GOD if I didn’t share this with you for all that He has done for me. I am still in total awe of His grace and mercy.

I won’t continue belabor this but Dear One, but you seem to be where I was and I pray you seek out God with all your heart as well as fellowship in the Lord who will stand by you in this time, seek the LORD in His Word for what is already in place to help you heal, and cry out to GOD to find Him faithful to love you through this pain you are suffering. Above all one of the biggest mistakes I made was to try to do it in my own strength but I learned how to live in Christ as my life. That is the only way to really be healed and have lasting peace.
I am tried on every front here in Dallas with great trials but I am at peace knowing my rock, my anchor of the soul, my good Shepherd, redeemer, friend, Father, is ever with me. He is fighting for me and I can keep the great faith and peace that He provides. It’s not one bit me but in and through HIM, my all in all. I pray you continue in love as the Bible says and that you find healing in HIM. This is said from a heart that breaks for you but rejoices knowing our GOD will love you to the point your life will once again flow from His fountain if you let Him.

God bless you all who read this.

See you later, Brother Buck!

Today the folks who knew wore purple at my church. As I looked out across the auditorium from the platform it occurred to me that it didn’t seem strange or odd for us to do that. That’s who we are. Tears were welling up as I felt the love of my church for this man. We found out just about 5 weeks ago that one of our dear ministry leaders was diagnosed with an aggressive pancreatic cancer. The prognosis was that he had about 6 months to a year to live. Two days ago hospice was called in and had narrowed that time down to hours. The Lord says that death of his saints is precious. That might alarm and offend someone but think about it. Death means that his children are home. What loving parent doesn’t long for their child to come home?

The stories I am learning about Brother Buck still amaze me. He was an unassuming matter of fact man that cheered on the work of our church and the members who were saved or got back in their race. Few knew until the end how far this man had climbed in his field and how much he had accomplished outside of church. Much of his last conversations were about going on with the work and about the church he loved.

There was a strength and steadiness about him and a gentle quietness about his serving the Lord that was inspiring. That is why everyone rallied around this dear man wearing purple today to support him as his life hung in the balance. It’s what we do. Whether it’s by the bedside or roadside we love and serve each other. We have been taught well by people who have raced before us to be there when one has a need. We have been shown by example to love and serve. We have been taught to be thankful not for what we have but for the GOD who gave us everything.

He had just retired in January and was given a clean bill of health at that time. Just a few days after finding out he was going to go to heaven much sooner than anticipated. He spoke to the church only a few days after hearing the news. You can listen or watch here.

 Keep Reaching Forward (choose audio or video version) 

His message was much like his life. Straighforward, kind, strong and wise words flowed from him that day. He had very little strength to deliver them and you could tell he wanted to share this great and beautiful tragedy with us. He was ready to go home but for the sake of the Kingdom and much still to do in his family he was also willing to try to stay as long as he could. Treatments were started but his body was so compromised by the cancer and his life was diminishing daily. It became evident he would be going home very soon.

What a testimony and life he had. What a race he ran! What a place that will be empty for someone else to fill in the gap. His life makes me question my own brief time left and my purpose in the Kingdom. I want to serve with passion, character and great expectation! I humbly desire in a small way to honor the GOD who loves me beyond what I can ever comprehend. We weep temporally and rejoice eternally with Brother Buck. We are not saying good bye! We are saying see you later dear Godly man and friend to Harvest, Brother Buck.

(at 12:45 pm today Brother Buck exchanged one glory for another that we can only imagine. He is home with our Father and Lord.)

It’s Gonna Be Alright Child

I already know this post might cost me readers but I will say this anyway. People get spooky about GOD working so directly in a life but this is really happening and besides I have no way of knowing who reads this blog anyway so hopefully you will hang on. I can’t just leave this unsaid.

I was praying earlier putting something out of my control into God’s hands just like I did with a hard situation about an airline ticket a few weeks ago. I know GOD can work and move in this and I am confident HE will make a way where there seems to be no way. My heart knows what it knows! Yet the hurt I feel is normal grief over a loss and I run like a child to a fathers lap to Psalms 139 where GOD says there is no darkness in him at all! Even my darkness is light to him.. I was going to end my time with the LORD with a song to encourage me and this one came right to my finger tip. My freedom started with a DJ freedom weekend where I learned that my life was exchanged with Christ on the cross. He who knew no sin became sin for us. That opened up healing for me that continued through a series of rough storms. All were allowed by GOD even if orchestrated by me or others. This song starts where my broken journey started with divorce and it ends where my journey seems to be ending …. Deeper in love with Him.

A few messages ago my Pastor preached on the fire that tries us. One of his points was that if you want the fire to ease up you might delay your growth. I prayed at the altar that GOD would not turn down the heat. I had been seeking more refining when I even posted here a few weeks ago that same idea about delaying growth in your life. In my daily devotions I had asked God to show me where I am weak and I knew that I had been affected by the world I work in and by my past just trying to survive in a way that wasn’t always refined to say the least and that I still needed to learn some things the right way. It was no coincidence that at Bible study tonight the Pastor talked about going back to where your roots are and check out what you can keep and get rid of what isn’t true. Holy COW!

I have friends who blog here about great things about God who share great spiritual truths. I guess I am the poster child for blogging about great spiritual whippings.

To me what is happening in my life IS a great GOD thing. GOD is answering my prayers and the heat is turned up. I asked GOD to deal with me about an issue after I disappointed someone and he is doing that! I hate it too but it’s necessary… He is not letting me off the hook in any way. Do you understand how huge that is? Little old me? I never thought this would be happening in my life and I am sadly excited. I am just a peon in the universe but GOD is working in my life showing me things I have never understood before. Sometimes when I read my Bible lately it’s like I am picking up a new book. Mind you I have several degrees from religious schools. Yet when I read in Psalms 103 that he pitieth his children and knows our weaknesses wow… that hit me like a brick. I must have read that tons in times past but the intimacy of it didn’t hit me until a few days ago.

Why am I typing this in the wee hours of the morning? You know GOD answers prayers and not the way we always think he will. He’s answered mine and even sent affirmation through foolish things like a returned airline ticket, a preaching message (he called it foolish take it up with him), a song that spoke right to my heart and said … Deb you don’t have to carry this one or think your past is to blame. Hear me I am calling … fall deeper in love with me. My love is enough.

You prayed for something and it fell in your lap but the answer came through the fire. It came in the form of pain but was what you prayed for. Now you doubt what is before you. God can even use what looks like a mess to you to give you a clear message. Don’t miss the answers to prayer. Open your eyes and trust your GOD not your past.

Little Bob ~ How Not To Live

He was only 5 years old and from all I have heard he was a precious sweet child that was very tender. My earliest memories of him were scarce. I remember running past the open door of the mobile home we lived in making huge leaps as Momma hung out clothes. We were trying to keep her from seeing us. We laughed and often ran into each other scrambling like the 3 Stooges and fell backwards. I remember him lying very still in a pretty bed ( I didn’t know at the time it was a coffin) and not waking up. My Uncle Jimmy was holding me and I wanted to give him my chewing gum. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t wake up. My Uncle Jimmy would tell that story for years with tears in his eyes. They sang Jesus Loves me at his funeral and that song made my mom and grandma cry every time they heard it for years. I always thought of Mom and Bob every time I played it as a solo for offering in the little church I attended.

I remember my grandmother saying she wished she didn’t let him go with my Dad that day. For the next decades Feb 16th would be the day he died and Feb 18th would be my birthday and the day he was buried. It was always the counter for the number of years he had been dead. I remember my Aunt Jean who missed him terribly for a while until she had her own children. I wondered what life would have been like with him. I am sometimes thankful that he was spared some of the things I have seen. I remember every year going to the attic to get Christmas decorations down for Mom and there being a little box of his clothes and a pair of shoes on top. We never disturbed it but each time I saw it I felt something deep inside that I couldn’t put words to. I could see the same feeling on Momma’s face as his name was mentioned. Everyone called him Little Bob, he was named after my Dad.

They said they found my Dad wandering up the highway after Little Bob drowned in the Catawba River. The stories I heard about his drowning didn’t make sense to me for years. The truth I found out years later would put the puzzle pieces together for me but for the sake of the living I will just not put that here. I know Bob’s death changed my Dad in a way that my brother and I would have to experience the rest of our lives. I remember how disturbing it was that no one talked about that day. Truth was that no one talked about anything too hard in my family. Avoidance was the standard operating procedure and using words was foreign when it came to deep matters of the heart.

I will always miss Little Bob.

I grew up with a little brother who was hilarious and mischievous as well. I love my partner in crime and baby brother James. We have fought the greatest fights over the years and I have seen him struggle and I weep for his losses. He gets up and keeps going on and I admire his ability to do that.

I am writing this today to share hope with people who have experienced the loss of something sacred. The story didn’t end with this tragedy being an epitaph. There were a lot of miserable years of lessons learned in those years for me and my family. Dad avoided the pain by being distant from his children and by staying busy. Mom spent the rest of her marriage trying to open up my Dad’s heart again. It wasn’t possible for most of their lives together. Then one day….

We always went to grandma and grandpa’s to have Easter dinner. Her tiny house was under a grove of pecan trees and was the most magical place to me. I loved playing on the big porch swing under those trees. Grandpa took advantage of free labor getting us to pick up pecans when they fell in the fall. We would catch lightening bugs under those trees and sleep in his T-shirts after begging momma to let us spend the night. Grandma had great quilts and made pallets for us on the floor. She was precious and often let me and my cousins tear up her kitchen to make cornbread. We argued over who would stir it.

This Easter my Dad didn’t feel well. Dad was never sick so this was concerning. My Mom confided that he was throwing up blood. The next day a doctors visit turned into a string of test that revealed he had cancer. I remember the jolt to my heart hearing my Dad was sick. It always seemed as if he was the pillar of my life even though we didn’t have a close relationship. I always trusted the strength of knowing Dad was there. I watched cancer humble and soften Dad. It changed him enough to hear the call of Christ in his life and become saved. Dad became more gentle and attentive to my Mom and had opened up to her a bit more. After several years of being a human science experiment they gave him a clean bill of health. He didn’t go back to his old promiscuous and wild ways. The change was real! I thank God for being able to see that. Still the residue of growing up in a home much like the one he had created kept him from saying the words. He went back to work and stayed as busy as ever. The change was great to see and was still there but he couldn’t be vulnerable as I hoped he could yet.

Mom had been through so much she was thankful for the reprieve but I think she was regretful of all the lost time. She loved Dad with all she had and gave selflessly to him. He freely took her love and returned it when it suited him until the final years. It was bittersweet now. They could have had so much because both were capable of so much, but the noise of the world rang so loud to Dad he couldn’t hear her or be himself.

I remember seeing his eyes when Laura was born and he held her. It registered in my heart for the first time~ this is what Dad looks like when he loves someone. I had never seen that growing up. I don’t think the world could contain his joy at that moment.

Laura was 9 months old when my Aunt called at work and said in a matter of fact way. “Get home your Dad is dying.” Unfortunately Dad had been given a clean bill of health but they didn’t know that he cancer had spread to his brain and he went from functioning one day to not functioning the next. It was hard to watch. Mom tried to take care of him at home but it overwhelmed her and he had to be moved to the hospital. I can’t tell you how it feels to see your Dad who was a rock become like a child and then disappear all together. I wanted to hear the words but now he couldn’t say them. I slept on the floor of his hospital room for 4 days as Mom slept in a chair and as my Uncle Charles attended to things for my Dad. No one can ever repay Charles for that heroic way he had of showing love to his brother in those final days. I couldn’t leave Dad’s side and I loved him dearly. I wanted him to know that beyond the words I loved him. I knew in those moments as he struggled to breathe, all that had happened in his life was probably running through his mind and I ached for his painful memory. I also was thankful for the fact that I knew I would see him again.

Dad took his last breath and as me and my brother stood by his side with Mom my heart fell to my feet. Now there would be no more words. His funeral was amazing. Dad had helped a lot of people and a lot had seen the change in him. Several flower shops ran out of flowers in the tiny town of Fort Mill, SC. I remember holding my grandma who seemed to break that day as she said goodbye to her son.

Where’s the encouragement? Well as painful as that memory is and as painful as my childhood could get sometimes I want to say there is hope. The hope isn’t in the memories or the reconciliation. Dad and I never got to say the words. The hope is in forgiveness and letting go. Parental damage can cost us more than we understand in future relationships. Holding on to the past will rob you. If you have had parents in the past who formed some damaging experiences for you I want to tell you that I found freedom in forgiving them and letting it go.

No one can make up for what your parents did or didn’t do and if we are not careful we will expect a future relationship to equalize that damage. The goal of future relationships is not to repair our past. The goal is to forge ahead into a great future.

I love the memories I have of Little Bob. I was greatly affected by his absence in my life. I was also greatly affected by the lack of Dad’s love as well. Yet today, I can look back and remember the great times and have healed from the rough ones. I use the hard experiences to teach me how “NOT TO LIVE”

Here’s the difference between now and how I had lived much of my life. Now I see my life as a journey that was necessary to make me the woman I am today. I totally understand how to forgive and get past these things. I also know what healthy whole love is. (not that I know everything, volumes can be written about that) What I am trying to express to you is that you can get there. You can get to a good place where you deal and heal. Don’t let the past define you or the tapes that keep playing in your head. Get to know yourself and who you really are warts and all. Then realize that God is crazy about you warts and all.

Learn to love and be loved by God and to give and receive love from someone else. I spent most of my life asking why?? Why did I grow up in this family, why did Bob die, why did Dad die, why did my best friend die? why did I lose 2 babies, why did my husband cheat, why is life so hard??? Now I don’t wonder why anymore. The question is not why for me. The question is who am I and who is God in my life? I know the answer to those two questions is this. I am a child of the King who loves me and my life and He is my Father who sees me as priceless. When life happens and I get hurt I always come back to this.

The giants in life are going to come and go. The free will of someone is going to slam into me and can cause joy as well as pain. The conclusion of the whole matter is that GOD is my God and I will love him anyway trusting all that happens is for my good and His glory. That doesn’t mean I skip down the road. It just means I am raw and real with it and face it knowing at some point it will be in my past and can’t be allowed to rob my future.

Dear ones, forgive, grieve the loss and go on. There’s life out there and precious time is a gift. Don’t sacrifice a great future on a bad past.