Hey Everybody! I’m excited to reveal my new blog! Huge thank you to my web designer (and friend of ten years) Stacie Castleberry! Since I started blogging ten years ago, I subscribe to the notion that design-change is good; content should be consistent! So I’ll still do my 1-minute daily posts, but with this new look. Let’s celebrate with a giveaway-contest! There are two ways to enter:
1) subscribe to my blog: enter your name and email in the subscribe box to your right
2) if you’re already subscribed, refer my blog to someone: email someone the link (wondherful.com) and cc: me in the email (email@example.com)
On Wednesday’s PM-post, I’ll draw from all the entries and the winner will recieve a $100 Visa gift card. Eazy Peazy! Whoop! Whoop!
One of the consequences of my 2000 suicide attempt/psych ward was the crash of our marriage that ensued. “I’ll sleep somewhere else,” “I don’t love you,” “I want out,”…harsh words for a bride to tell her husband of only 17 months. We were blind sighted by the enemy’s attack on our marriage. Like a hurricane, there were signs and conditions that my mental state was on the fritz; but like a tsunami, we never saw a marriage-crash coming. No doubt, what the enemy wanted as a counterattack was for us to divorce. But God stepped in, and fought with us and for us. Sure, we can thank the enemy for shattering our marriage into a million pieces. But today we get to thank God for putting it back together. This Monday will mark 18 years of marriage. Though I struggle with indebtedness to Raul, he’s quick to remind me that with true love, there are no debts (1 Corinthians 13). Together, as a couple God rescued, we rally for couples waiting to be. We cry tears of empathy when we see couples struggling and laugh tears of joy when we see God step in. True to His Word, God doesn’t waste our experiences (Romans 8:28). Sometimes, Raul and I get to pray for, listen to or comfort others struggling in their marriages–and the outcome is twofold: one, we get to serve God by helping others, and two, we get to see the hand of God when He steps in. I hope this encourages someone today.
“But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.”
“The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”
“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety.”
On many famous accounts, God displayed his love in epic ways: parting a sea in half, sending a rainbow to a family, raising Jesus from a tomb. But what I love so much about God is He not only displays his love in epic ways, but through small moments: a deaf man, a paralyzed man, a girl in adultery, a virgin with child. Have you ever noticed the insignificance of these people? In the bible and in human history, they weren’t given names, national holidays or photo-cred. God didn’t pick celebrities to display his love and perform these miracles. He didn’t pick the ones with the most “likes” and “follows.” Out of 22 miracles Jesus performed, 20 came from insignificant backgrounds. In this world, we often have to be “somebody.” But in Christ, we already are. You don’t need to beef up, clean up or puff up. You just ARE, and God loves you right from there. I was never popular as a kid. I don’t know what it’s like to be “most likely to succeed,” class president, or prom queen. But I do know what it’s like to be recklessly, unconditionally, emphatically loved by God. You may feel small in your corner of the world, but to God? You’re his universe. You’re his first choice. You’re his favorite one of you. If you were the only small, insignificant one on Earth, you would have been worth dying for on the cross. You may feel small in your eyes, but you are the biggest focus of His. I hope this encourages someone today.
Matthew 5:44, Matthew 18:21-22, Mark 12:31, John 3:16, Romans 12:18
I loved what Pastor David said this weekend about lies and secrets (watch, here: http://cbglades.com/archive) Do you have a bad secret? A bad secret kept today can keep you up tonight. It preoccupies your conscience unnecessarily. A secret that needs to be revealed will make you feel icky on the inside. Something won’t feel right in your heart–or stomach. A secret has a way of telling us we can resolve it ourselves—when in reality—we need God, and someone or something else to help. A secret keeps us in the dark–a confession releases us from it. Secrets have a way of helping us “get away with it” in public, but in private, our soul knows it isn’t. The antidote to a secret is a confession. Will there be consequence? Perhaps. But the biggest relief in turning a secret into a confession is God destroying the prison the secret has kept you in. It’s being set free, walking without chains, and no longer being hostage to satan. If there’s a secret that needs to be confessed, there’s a freedom that awaits you. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) I hope this encourages someone today.
I troll the bible looking for mind-verses. One thing I’ve discovered is there’s no therapy-book like God’s book. It is the book of life because it’s a double-edge sword against thoughts of death. It is a book that buries itself like treasure in your belly when you read it, NEVER to return void. It is the book that, when stored in your heart and uttered aloud, will make the enemy flee. It is a very powerful mental-health resource, and it’s free and accessible to all of us. I was thrilled when I came across this one: Isaiah 61:3. God says He can give, “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” To me, this says WITH God, we can exchange heaviness for praise. How? Simple: by praising Him. It sounds intellectual and theological, but I’m neither one of those, so I know this is achievable. We “praise” all the time at sporting events, concerts, ceremonies, birthdays. I’ve learned that praising God is celebrating and complimenting Him, in the way we do at those things. And unlike those things, praising God isn’t bound by buildings or “occasions.” On my jogs, I praise God (celebrate and compliment Him) as I see his sun rise. It’s giving God props in a reverent way. If you are in a spirit of heaviness, try starting your day with praise. Exchange your heaviness for His praise. There’s nothing to lose…and like He said in Isaiah 61, a garment to gain!
Sometimes I read verses that spin like a chicken in a rotisserie oven. Then, after while, my mind beeps that it’s done, and God serves a plate of good insight! I don’t wanna keep the plate to myself–so let’s have it, together! The verse that had this effect on me, was Isaiah 44:5, “Some will write the Lord’s name on their hands.” This is what I gleaned…
1) Hold people in an open palm. They aren’t our people to begin with. They are God’s precious, priceless, irreplaceable kids. People are not our possessions, they are God’s gift. An open palm with people, makes it less painful when God needs us to let them go.
2) I like the idea of writing God’s name on my palm because God wrote my name in his book before I was born AND didn’t erase it after I had done many bad things. To pen his name on my palm is metaphoric and significant.
3) If I write God’s name on my palm, it’s approximately where He sacrificed his life when they drove a nail through each one. NOTHING I go through from others will EVER compare to what He did for me. His name on my palm keeps that perspective from fading.
4) When gifts are proverbially taken away, i.e., kids move, friends leave, jobs eliminated, identity lost, pets pass…if I clutch them, the loss is worse. If I keep an open-palm in the loss, I still have the name above all name’s to hold on to.
Total random thoughts from one verse. But gotta admit, a satisfying meal!
Here is a list of books I have read, reread and given away. These books have had a distinct impact in helping me get better during mentally-tough times. Frankly, I don’t buy them “new.” I use Amazon.com, and buy “used.” One, it’s cheaper; and two, I’ve been encouraged by the previous owners’ notes. I hope these help you too:
“Choosing Forgiveness,” Nancy Leigh DeMoss
“Praying God’s Word,” Beth Moore
“Boundaries” by Townsend and Cloud
“Thinking for a Change,” John Maxwell
“Unashamed,” Christine Caine
“Exquisite Agony,” Gene Edwards
“Search for Significance,” Robert McGee
“Battlefield of the Mind,” Joyce Meyer
“Practicing the Presence of God,” Brother Lawrence
“Angry Conversations with God,” Susan Isaacs
“Oh the Places You Will Go,” Dr. Seuss
“The Shack,” Wm. Paul Young
“Jesus Calling,” Sarah Young
“Everybody’s Normal Til You Get to Know Them,” John Ortberg