I got up early last Saturday morning and couldn’t believe the sunrise God gave us. Just stunning! Though I’m about half way through my life span, I haven’t seen thirty-eight years of sunrises. But I can guarantee, God hasn’t missed one. The sun ALWAYS rises. Does it rise in blue skies? Not always. Sometimes the sun rises in clouds; in rain; in winter. But it always rises. And so will you. As someone who has had to rise often from depression and anxiety, I have clung to this one promise in God’s word, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.“ We sure do get knocked down, don’t we? But if we have Christ in our lives, we have Christ in our comebacks. And here’s what that means: we will always rise. Addiction, divorce, loss, mental affliction…all kinds of things knock us down. But Jesus Christ isn’t only about sundowns, He’s about sunRISES. If you are knocked down, take heart, you will rise.
In our relationship, Raul has been protective, but I have had the propensity to be possessive. Is there a difference? Yes. Raul has always protected me–he is good about not airing out our dirty laundry to people; he ensures that our home is safe with an alarm system & with getting up when things go bump in the night; and he trusts God with me even though he may not trust others around me. I, on the other hand, have had the tendency to be possessive–I have made assumptions based on my lack of trust; and early on, I tried to keep Raul on a short leash & tried to keep us together, at the cost of NOT letting God do that. When we take control of the relationship instead of God, we move from “protection” to “possession.” When we neurotically assume worse-case-scenarios and incessantly interrogate or suspect…we are being possessive. People are not possessions, we do not own them–they are gifts, God has shared them. You protect a gift and you understand the gift is not yours but God’s special treasure. The ones we date or marry are God’s. Possess them? No. Protect them? Always.
I can think of two reasons why I have worn the proverbial mask: I did something wrong to someone or someone did something wrong to me. But in both cases, I wanted to hide. We should neither hide from others when we have done them wrong nor hide from others when they’ve done us wrong. Hiding does no good. It inflames the situation and delays dealing with the inevitable. It’s better to drop the mask. When you have hurt someone, don’t avoid them. Don’t run and hide. Man up! Be confident in who you are and in God’s capability to make amends through you. And when someone has hurt you, don’t run away. Stand up right where you are (rather, where God has you) and work on whatever healing and reconciliation God lies on your heart. Eventually, DJ discovered it was easier to get around with this mask off. And in our circumstance, we’ll discover that too.
In 1984, I received my first journal from my grandma. Can you imagine my intrigue opening it up 29 years later? Check out these entries: April 16, 1985 Today was my first day of cheerleading [practice]. I was superb. I did everything perfect and the teachers were amazed. I have a cheer that I hope is okay well I’ll find out! April 22, 1985 I didn’t make cheerleading. It makes me mad because the reason I didn’t make it was because I missed to much school. The stupid judges didn’t say anything about not being in school, its not my fault. I’m not trying out again, I’ll probably get the stupid same excuse. Its going to be hard to go to school tomorrow. But I can do it. I feel sordove [sort of] depressed I guess. I’m going right up to Mrs. Ware the head judge and I’m going to ask her why I didn’t make it. So funny! I totally remember those two days. On that April 22, when the new cheer-leading team was announced and I wasn’t one of them, I held tears in so tight, my eye-vessels could have burst. But that afternoon, as soon as the bus dropped me off, the dam was lifted and the tears came pouring out. I remember crying and walking down our street, looking toward our house and seeing my mom waiting in the distance. Maybe it was mom-intuition prompting her to be there for me. It just meant a lot. Though that day can be remembered as a day of rejection. I prefer to remember it as a day of having my mom there to wipe my tears and comfort my spirit. You love your kids the way no one else can. And your kids need your love like no one else can give it. Thanks, Mom. Love, Heath
- Choosing Forgiveness by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
- Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore
- Thinking for a Change by John Maxwell
- Exquisite Agony by Gene Edwards
- Search for Significance by Robert McGee
- Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
- Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
- Oh the Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss
- The Shack by Wm. Paul Young
- Everybody’s Normal Til You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg
LOL! Have you ever noticed that we never see that kind of tweet on twitter? We tweet about going to work, school, church, the mall, on vacation…but we sure don’t tweet about going to the Counselor’s office! If you know me at all you know I have a huge big-mouth for Christian Counseling. If I ever write a book, one of the 4 it will be dedicated to is Christian counselors. There is no number I give out more than the counselors’ contacts I have in my phone. As long as God gives me the ability to communicate, Christian-counseling is what I’ll be shouting. How can I be so bold? Well I’m not just an advocate…I’m also a member! I started seeing a Christian counselor when I was EIGHT YEARS OLD! I had written a suicide letter to my grandma–after it was intercepted–Christian counseling was the first thing my parents did. Good move, Rob & Rach! There is no shame in counseling. Did you know it’s biblical? Hello! Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they are established.” We all have garbage we need to dump. And I can’t think of a better “landfill” than a God-filled, love-infused, 100% confidential counselor’s office. I hope this encourages someone today!
Tonight, will you lay in bed, restless, because you have so much to do tomorrow? How would I answer that? GUILTY! Sometimes, it not only keeps me from falling asleep, but it can wake me up in the middle of my sleep. This is not good. In the bible, Jesus had a very short window to get everything done. We have our whole lives–he had about 3 years. Oh, and to JUST save the world? No, heal people along the way, clean out the churches, raise people from the dead, comfort women at wells, just to name a few. He had a full agenda. He–of all people–should have had the burdens of the next day keeping him restless at night. But one very profound verse tells us that in the midst of chaos (and literal storm) he rested. Mark 4:38, But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” This verse kicks my butt. But it also comforts my mind. If Jesus could get it all done in the very short window of ministry he had. So. Can. I. …… So. Can. You. Look, here’s the way I see it: if God didn’t think we could get done what HE needed done in each day…He would have made longer days. Don’t stress. You’ll have enough time for this day.
“I want you to know, dear friends, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented until now.” (Romans 1:13) In this verse, Paul really, really, really wanted to go to Rome, where his friends lived, so he could encourage them. Was it a wrong motive for Paul to want to go to Rome? No. Similarly, is it a wrong motive to relocate so you can earn a better living? to remarry? to save up for a new car? to take a weekend off from your kids? No. But sometimes, even when we have a good motive–from God’s perfect vantage point–He has a motive that is better. Actually, God has a motive that is perfect. If we go into things knowing that our good motives might bode well in exchange for God-motives, we set ourselves up in an exchange for our “goodness” to His “greatness.” But we have to be willing to surrender our good motive and be willing to wait for God to reveal His. In Paul’s situation, the bible tells us that God’s motive for Paul’s journey led him to SIXTEEN other cities instead of just a direct route to Rome. As a result, thousands and thousands of other people were able to be encouraged by Paul. Today, take your good motive and pray that God make it His. And then, when He answers, in a way most blessed for you (& most perfect by Him) thank him for your graduation: cause you just moved from good….to great!
There’s no denying I can get caught doing silly things. On any given day, I might show up to church in a sombrero. I might wear a chicken costume on stage. I might run through the aisles at Target and slide on my knees. I might drink chocolate milk and not wipe off the mustache. I might try to climb a tree or swing too high on a swing set. But there is always something I (we) can do as we get older that can help us feel younger. Don’t be afraid to tap into that. Is it immature? Depends. I guess if you ask the Queen of England it is. But is it fun? You bet! If you haven’t done anything as an oldie to help you feel a little youngie, I triple-dog dare you. I’d love to know what you did so don’t forget to come back and leave a comment. Have fun!
Search for Significance – Celeste Martell
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