I wanted to share this again. GOD bless all… and thank you for reading.

Trading My Sorrows...Grace Restored

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…

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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.

Quit You Like Men Be Strong, There’s no excuse to be a jerk.

However you were trained to be broken it will take an honest man to listen to or read the following message and be real with it. This message will be received one of 2 ways because it is true ,it will either offend you and you will despise it or, it will send you into prayer for God’s will. I am not a man and it sent me to examine even more of my life and seek GOD to help me with some more areas I am learning in. I don’t think you will be unchanged by it.

It’s time to for us all to wake up. It’s time to stop just sitting on our hands “woe is me”  Be brave, courageous, honorable to the LORD and to HIS will for your life, I dare you to hear this message in entirety. I dare you to be strong in the LORD and stop wallowing in self pity, self consumption, thinking life can only be hard like GOD doesn’t have a will, never wrote a word, and never made a promise. Sure life is hard, that is why we meet it head on with GOD. We don’t curl up, self medicate with mindless pursuits, or run away .. SOAR get out of the box, take one step toward freedom away from bondage. 

http://www.familylife.com/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=dnJHKLNnFoG&b=3789887&ct=6962121

Mark Driscoll: The first is Little Boy Larry. Little Boy Larry, he’s a total sweetheart. He’s a guy 20’s, 30’s, god forbid 40’s. Can’t keep a job. Forgets to set his alarm. He’s eight years into his undergraduate studies. Works part time because it stresses him out. Still lives with his mom. Maybe he moved out but his mom’s always worried about him so she brings him groceries and picks up his laundry and helps pay his bills. Little Boy Larry is a totally nice guy. He’s a real sweetie pie. So nobody ever kicks him in the batteries. He gets away with murder. Little Boy Larry really loves his mom because she’s always changing his proverbial diaper. And his hope is to meet a really nice gal with a good job and a house.

[laughter]

So that he can go from his mom to his girlfriend or wife. He’ll come up with dumb ideas like I’ll be the stay at home dad.
[laughter]

I’m really good with kids since I am one.

[laughter]

They really like me because we relate to one another as children. Little Boy Larry is a joke. He gets away with murder especially in the Christian church where he tends to be majority. Women who are attracted to these men say, “but I really love him.” Yes, you’re attracted to him as a mother is attracted to an orphaned child. But that’s not a marriage. That’s a mother-child affection. That is not a wife-husband affection. You don’t look at this man, ladies, and say, I respect him. I want my sons to be like him. I want my daughters to marry men like him. You say things like, “he has a lot of potential and no one understands him.” I do. He’s an idiot.

[laughter]

And, he’s fooled you.

Number 2—there’s sturdy oak, Owen. This is the dad who goes to work and comes home, pays the bills, turns on the TV and checks out. This is the dad who he is physically present but emotionally absent. He’s always working on his car, he’s always on the internet, he’s always in his study, he always in the garage, he’s always in the yard. You’ll say, “Dad, you were never there.” He’s like, “I was always there.” Yes, in a comatose state. There are some of you here your dad never said I love you. He never hugged you. He never encouraged you. And what he would say is, what do you mean I wasn’t a good dad? I put food on the table. I put a roof over your head and I came home every night and I was there. He was there. Present. Connected. Participating. That’s a coward. That guy is ultimately a coward. He’s afraid to get involved in the lives of his wife and children.

Number 3—there’s hyper spiritual Henry. This guy drives me insane. This guy drives me insane. This is the guy with Christian t shirts, Christian bumper stickers, always listening to praise music, always reading the latest trendy Christian garbage book. Everything’s about God but it never really makes any sense. He wants everybody to know how hyper spiritual he is to the point where his wife and children are embarrassed by him. Some of you had this dad. You’re out to dinner guy comes to pour the water and he’s like do you know Jesus is the water of life and he could have streams of living water come from you. The 14 year old kid grabs a salad fork and is trying to go under the table and find their jugular just to end their life.

[laughter]

Because their dad is embarrassing. Last name is Flanders. Terrible.

[laughter]
To be the spiritual leader, gentlemen, does not mean that you’re just a total freakish oddball.

Number 4—there’s good time Gary. Good time Gary. Everybody loves him. Life of the party. He is funny. He is charming. He is winsome. He is entertaining. There’s always a crowd of people around him. Everybody likes him. He gets along with everybody. And here’s the key. Everybody loves him. Nobody respects him. Because he’s a joke. That’s why he’s so funny. He doesn’t just tell jokes. He is one. Every time something happens in his life he just turns it into a joke. He doesn’t realize that his life is the joke. Can’t hold a job. Can’t pay his bills. Can’t get out of bed in the morning. Can’t follow through on a commitment. Can’t stay organized. Can’t see anything through to completion. Everybody loves him. Nobody respects him. He’ll draw a crowd but they won’t follow him because he’s not going anywhere. He’s not a leader.

A wife who is married to this guy eventually he becomes not so cute. Not so funny. Not so clever. He becomes profoundly annoying. She’s tired of the jokes and the good times and the everything’s funny and aren’t I clever and cute. She wants a real man she can depend on. She gets sick of it.

Men are prone toward chauvinism or cowardice. Too much. Too little.

Bob: I was watching you as you were listening to that. You were laughing sometimes but nodding and shaking your head a lot. You think that’s a pretty fair description of where a lot of guys are?

Dennis: I think we need to be speaking the truth in love. We don’t want to unnecessarily beat anybody up with the scripture or shame them or whatever but you know what. It’s time for men to be men who are courageous. In Joshua chapter 1 four times God commands the nation of Israel fear not, be courageous. Fear not, be courageous. And I think if there is a man listening right now and he’s going I was one of those four. Then you know what you need to find another man who is a real man. Who can help you step up and coach you out of where you are because you don’t have to stay there. Life is too short to live all wrapped up in yourself and that’s what all four of those are. Cowardly men who were not laying down their lives on behalf of others.

Bob: In that message Mark said that there is an opposite error to cowardice and that’s the error of chauvinism. It’s the error of being a dictatorial abuser. Well, he had four different descriptors for the chauvinist and not only did he have descriptors for them but he always has some strong words for them.

Dennis: And if you felt like the canoe just got placed in the white water we’re about to move into a class 5 rapids in the middle of the Grand Canyon. Now, some of you are going to recoil at the intensity with which Mark shares these points. But I have to tell you I felt like the intensity was right.

Bob: Well, here’s Mark’s description of the four different kinds of chauvinists that you find in the church today.

Mark: I’ve been dealing with men for enough years at this point and I’ll share with you some of these guys. The chauvinist don’t understand masculinity and how to treat a woman so there are four basic versions of this failure that I have witnessed.

The first is no sissy stuff Sam. This is the guy he doesn’t know what a man is he just knows a man is not a woman. So whatever a woman is he’s going to be the opposite. Right? Some of you guys have this dad. Mom hugs so he doesn’t hug. Mom says she loves you so he doesn’t say he loves you. Mom kisses you so he doesn’t kiss you because that’s girl stuff. This guy doesn’t understand that men and women are both made in the image and likeness of God. That they have the same emotions and passions and experiences and they tend to express them in masculine or feminine ways but being a man is not the opposite of being a woman that you are both made in the likeness of God and you express yourself in masculine and feminine ways. These guys tend to think that to be a man means this, you can belch the loudest, spit the farthest, and punch the hardest. That’s a man. That’s not a man. That’s a joke. That’s a joke. There is no woman here today praying God send me that. I want a real man.

[laughter]

But too many guys especially guys that a single too long and guys who put 27 guys into a one bedroom apartment so they can each spend $30 dollars a month on red and spend all their time just rocking out to guitar hero that’s what those guys think.

[laughter]

And they are idiots.

Number 2—success and status Stuart. This is the guy he defines himself the Bible says by what he has and does. He has this sort of left over hyper jock competitive mentality. Here’s how much I make. Here’s how my company is doing. Here’s my car. Here’s my house. Here’s my success. Here’s my wins. Here’s my victories. And he treats his wife just like another trophy. Her job is to look pretty and be quiet. Just make him look good as yet another notch on his belt. He doesn’t love her well. He doesn’t serve her well. He’s more worried about his income and possessions than wife and his children.

Number 3—there’s give em hell Hank. This is the guy he’s got anger, violence, short temper, rude, crude, mean. He’s harsh. He’s overbearing. He’s intimidating. He’s scary. He is scary. Are you this guy? Is your wife scared of you? What kind of man intimidates a woman?

Number 4—I’m the boss, Bob. This guy is just bossy. He thinks wherever he is that he is the king of the whole thing. He’s always telling everybody what to do. He stands back at a distance like a drill sergeant and just barks out orders to his wife and barks out orders to his children. He has a hard time keeping a job because he always is bossing around his employer and his employees and no one can stand him. He thinks that being a man means being bossy and overbearing. These guys are the worst when they show up at church. They want to be in authority not under authority. These are the guys who show up and immediately say, “I want to lead. Put me in charge of something.”

You’re in charge of shutting up. That can be your specialty. These are the guys when you rebuke them they just leave the church and they take their wife and children with them and their wife and children suffer because this is a guy who loves to be in authority, refuses to be under authority, likes to tell everyone what to do, and he himself can’t be told anything.

I’ve got a list of these guys. You can see it in their wife’s face. She’s miserable. You can see it in their children. They despise their father. And he’s oblivious because he’s an imbecile. And they go from church to church to church and evidentially it’s like well, we can’t find a good church meaning I can’t find a pastor dumb enough to take my orders.

That’s how chauvinism works itself out. Men, when you read the Bible and you read words like head of the household if you think it means something like this you’re an idiot. You’re abusive. You’re dangerous and you’re a fool.

Some of you guys. It’s so frustrating. Some of you guys have been coming here for years. You still have your hands all over your girlfriend. Some of you guys have been coming here for years and you’re still not praying with your wife. Some of you guys have been coming here for years and you’re still single and having sex. Some of you guys will even even as I’m preaching this sermon some of you will be sitting next your girlfriend, fiancé, or your wife some of you guys have already given her that look. Don’t cry, don’t let them know they are talking about me just hold it together. You’ve already intimidated her right here. Some of you guys have already whispered in her ear, “I don’t want to hear it. We’re not talking about this in the car on the way home.” Some of you have already whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry, I’ll do better. Trust me. Let’s just move on real quickly.

How dare you? Who do you think you are? Abusing a woman. Neglecting a woman. Being a coward. A fool. Being like your father Adam. You’re not god. You’re just a man. You’re not an impressive man. You’re not a responsible man. You’re not a noble man. You’re not a respectable man. You’re not a responsible man in any regard. I don’t care how successful you. In this area if you are a failure it clouds all of your dignity. It robs all of your masculinity. There is no excuse for any man who claims the name of Christ to treat a woman in a dishonorable, disrespectable way. Some of you right now you’ll get all angry. How dare he yell at me. That’s the Holy Spirit telling you it’s you. I didn’t name you He did. You change now little boy. You change right now. You shut up. You put your pants on. You get a job. You grow and maybe one day you can love a woman. It’s for men not for boys. And those of you men who are here and your wives are suffering under your folly and failure. Shame on you. And shame on you if you say you’re a Christian. And shame on you if you’ve been attending Mars Hill. And shame on you if you’ve been surrounded by good men and have pursued none of them. And shame on you if you’ve not become a member and submitted to spiritual authority. And shame on you if you’ve not joined a community group so you can walk in darkness. And shame on you if you show up to put communion in your hands representing the body and blood of your murdered Savior and then go put them on your girlfriend or download porn from the internet or raise your hand in a threat to your wife. Shame on you. You guys are a joke.

And there’s a handful of good men that are tired of picking up your mess. So you step up. You shut up. You man up. You do business with God. You use all that anger you have toward me right now to repent.