Grieving & Grace


“When we arrive at the place, we will find the grace!” — Joyce Meyer (Straight Talk).

Photo courtesy of delmelinscott.blogspot.com.

Is it obvious by now that she is one of my favorite writers? Yep. But how true this is! She also wrote that when we are grieving a loss, we receive enough grace for one day. I really hate the “one day at a time” mentality. I keep thinking, ‘when will there come a time where I don’t have to live like that?’

The truth is, I think every day is like that, for our whole lives. Lots of people see that in a good way – living in the moment. I see it as kind of depressing. But as Christians we know we are only promised this moment!

Photo courtesy of hannahcloud.wordpress.com.

Here’s something Dawna Markova wrote:

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid,

more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance, to live so that which came to me as a seed

goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom

goes on as fruit.

Photo courtesy of thedctraveler.com.

Let’s blossom and be fruitful today!

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Courteous Driving Rules


Here are my rules of courteous driving. Follow this etiquette and the people who must ride along with you will benefit as well:

Photo courtesy of bristol.k12.ct.us.

1. When someone is trying to merge with traffic onto the interstate and you have to get in their lane, put on your blinker so they know you are moving over and so that they can get in their proper lane.

2. USE. YOUR. BLINKER.

3. If you think stupid things like driving regulations don’t apply to you because you’re a superior driver and the rest of the world’s drivers are idiots, pinch yourself. Hard. Remember that feeling. That’s your driving arrogance getting the smack-down.

4. Pay attention to people crossing the street. Do not give your passengers an anxiety attack by almost hitting someone when you’re turning right on a green. Pedestrians have the right of way.

5. USE. YOUR. BLINKER.

That’s all for today, folks. Thank you in advance for complying!

Have Guilt & Condemnation Taken Over Your Life?


Photo courtesy of realpowermaxingoutongodslove.com.

“When feelings of guilt and condemnation arise, press through them in faith and say, ‘I don’t care how I feel. I have been forgiven!'” –Joyce Meyer, Never Give Up.

For most of my life, guilt, condemnation, and shame have taken it over. For a long, long time, I did not know why. I mean, I’ve done bad things – I’ve made plenty of mistakes and unfortunately, have regrets too.

But of all the events in my life, it’s the things that were done to me that I believed were worse than anything I’d ever done. How crazy ridiculous is that?

Photo courtesy of robertluisrabello.com. Do you condemn yourself?

People have told me that although I’ve been forgiven by others, I have not done a good job 0f forgiving myself. That’s where the shame, guilt, and condemnation come from, I think. These feelings about ourselves are so natural, aren’t they? But what purpose do they serve?

Some say we should not feel guilt at all. I don’t believe that. A certain amount of guilt and shame propel us into change. Condemnation can convict us. But where is the line?

I’d say where these three feelings take over your life. When you become more focused on them than on positive things; when they are a constant background theme song in your mind.

Guilt, condemnation, and shame have made me selfish, controlling, angry, frustrated, and hard to get along with. It has caused constant unease in my life, not to mention lots of anxiety and fear. I have been ashamed of my life – not to confuse with where I come from, the kind of parents I have, or what was done to me – I have been ashamed of what I have made of my life.

Photo courtesy of miceheight.blogspot.com. Is shame a constant struggle for you? How can you escape it?

I was told, often enough that it stuck, that I would “never amount to anything” because of my behavior. I understand why that was said – my behavior wasn’t great sometimes. And it wasn’t said to me out of hatred. Lots of parents think all their kids are the same – they should be treated the same, should be punished the same, and should have the exact same expectations placed upon them. But kids are different, just as all adults are different! They react to the same situations in different ways. They react to punishment and expectations in different ways. They won’t all be straight-A students, homecoming queens, quarterbacks, or popular. They don’t have the same personalities, and should be carefully monitored to find out what works in their lives.

Whenever I failed, I used to hear those words in my mind. They did, indeed, become a self-fulfilling prophecy! But that was my own weakness, and not to be confused with the fault of my parents, because at some point in our lives we do become adults, after all. We do have to figure out our own lives, and make our own decisions, and quit blaming our mistakes on others.

Having God’s love in your life makes a world of difference when it comes to condemning thoughts and feelings. I’d say that Christian maturity is realizing God is the one we should be worried about; not our parents, our bosses, our spouses, etc. He is the one we should be getting our expectations from. You know that if you do that, the rest will fall into place.

What is Godly Obedience?


Photo courtesy of fellowshiproom.org. Is obedience a problem for you?

Obedience. Wowza. I have always hated that word. Firstly, because I have never liked rules I was supposed to follow that I didn’t create, and secondly because I’m just so very, very bad at it.

But lately, godly obedience has been creeping into my mind more and more. I think I’ve been convicted of this for a very long time but I called it “following God’s will.” That’s high-falutin and all that, but what it really comes down to is obedience.

According to dictionary.com, the word means the following:

o·be·di·ence [oh-bee-dee-uhns]

noun

1. the state or quality of being obedient.
2. the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance: Military service demands obedience from its members.
3. a sphere of authority or jurisdiction, especially ecclesiastical.
4. Chiefly Ecclesiastical .

a. conformity to a monastic rule or the authority of a religious superior, especially on the part of one who has vowed such conformance.
b. the rule or authority that exacts such conformance.
Did anyone note the second definition, in which it states, “dutiful or submissive compliance?” Yep. That sounds about right to me.

Photo courtesy of cupofjoe.tv. Have you always followed the rules, and felt it was impossible to imagine rebelling against authority and God?

For me, obedience is such a fleshly struggle. My heart tells me to obey, or do God’s will, but my mind rebels against it with all these rationalizations. I fail Him every stinkin day. In Joyce Meyer’s book Never Give Up,
she wrote that when we have personal problems, that’s not an excuse for missing our commitments. To take that a step further, it’s also not an excuse for disobedience.
“When a seemingly impossible situation comes your way, don’t allow it to bury you. Turn it to your favor…Let the circumstances that could suffocate you be the very situations that strengthen you and raise you to a new level…Develop a “can-do” attitude..” – Never Give Up.
I’ve faced a LOT of impossible situations! And one way that I’ve failed the most through them IS allowing them to bury me. I did not have a “can-do” attitude – I had a whiny, selfish, witchy attitude. I still struggle with that!
Do you? Do you have a problem with obedience? Why?
Or do you always follow the rules and can’t imagine being rebellious? Tell me why!

My New Favorite Thing – & it’s PERFECT for Summer!


I am an ice cream lover. I admit it. I may need a support group, actually, especially after tasting froyo at Menchie’s this week.

Photo courtesy of columbuscrave.com.

My ultimate fave flavor is the cake batter – wow!!! So freakin yummy. Also, they let you taste-test what you want before you buy it! And you get to mix and match flavors. It’s a win-win, y’all, and perfect for cooling down during the sweltering Southern heat!

Photo courtesy of twitter.com.

We all know yogurt is a healthy food item, but did you know that froyo is better for you than ice cream? Some claim it’s rich in nutrients, has probiotics to aid digestion, and helps keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by “converting fiber” into “healthy fats.” So go ahead, and enjoy with (moderate) impunity! Yes, I know, there is no such thing as moderate impunity. Oh well, I’d say once a week isn’t too bad!!!

Ghandi Knows Best?


Photo courtesy of ndtv.com. Ghandi believed living a rural life was best.

 

Earlier this year, I read a book about Ghandi written by Bhikhu Parekh. In it, one of the things I learned about Ghandi was that he believed living a rural life was best, and that those who lived in cities were part of a necessary evil.

It’s pretty peaceful outside my little house this morning. I sat out on my patio earlier; a brief moment of quiet in my hectic day, and thought about that. I grew up on a farm in Alabama and I gotta tell ya, living in a major suburb here in the South has made me appreciate that aspect of my childhood even more.

Photo courtesy of laurabrownlee.blogspot.com. This is somewhat like the countryside I grew up around. Beautiful!

I can look at my green backyard, with my flowers and trees and whatnot, and pretend that I’m back in time, but you can’t dismiss the ambulance sirens, big trucks whizzing down the highway nearby, and machinery from local construction sites!

The hardest part about living here, however, is having to reconcile my past with that of my children’s futures, in that they will never have nearly as much space as I did to race and play when I was little. I wanted to give them fresher air, big skies, dirt roads – instead they have smog, barely visible stars, and pavement and concrete everywhere.

It’s not that I’m not grateful for my life – I am. I truly am. But some day I will go back to my beloved Sweet Home Alabama! And maybe the grand kids can get a taste of it!

Blanket Innocence is Not Justice


In the months following the death of Trayvon Martin, we as Americans have all pretty much taken one side or the other. And while the side of the Martin family has been much publicized, it’s that of George Zimmerman that has captured my attention.

In an NPR story that I saw this morning, details of what transpired and what was said between Martin and Zimmerman have been released, and I sure hope they are true because I’m a Team Zimmerman member.

But the veracity of Zimmerman’s statements in this article aren’t what I’m intent on blogging about today.

The subject of today’s post is blanket justice. By that I mean how the country has mobilized around Martin because, in my opinion, he was black. He was a minority member.

Whether or not Zimmerman is acquitted, the case has already been tried in the minds of African Americans and even sympathetic whites. Simply because Martin was a young black teen, his potential guilt in the matter has been totally overlooked. In fact, the clean-cut image his family would have us believes isn’t quite so squeaky-clean. He was suspended from school three times, one case involving a baggie found that formerly contained pot.  In his backpack, twelve pieces of women’s jewelry were found, and he claimed “a friend” gave them to him. Huh? Suspicious much? I’d say so. He also included W.T.F. graffiti on a door at school. These are not major blemishes unless the kid stole the jewelry, and some people think it’s a possibility. He wasn’t caught smoking the pot; maybe the bag belonged to someone else. The point is, he wasn’t this Bible-toting exemplary kid his parents have made him out to be. Reports claim that his mother is marketing his image – selling her dead son, as it were, for exploitative profits.

Adding to this, major news networks have even admitted to editing evidence such as 911 calls to cast Zimmerman in the light of a criminal when he may have just been defending himself! I am ashamed to have once worked in an industry so filled with lies and misinformation and sensationalism.

People of the same race or culture tend to stick together – they understand each other. That’s not a fault – it is just human nature. But it is when by sticking together you hide crimes and evidence of crimes from others that it becomes a major problem. It is when you proclaim blanket innocence just because you are of the same skin color that you cross the line into, at the very least, utter ridiculousness, and at the very worst, obfuscation of truth and justice.