Saturday, December 29, 2012

When You're Broken

Like a nursery rhyme the pieces scatter
No man alone can repair
But, you gather them up
And you try to remember
Just which piece went where
When you're broken.

And you fit and you try to make it the same
Using tears to hold you together again
You look at the world
But only see stains
From the pieces of you crumbled
When you're broken.

You smile as you carry on every day
Wishing someone could make you whole again
But you dare not speak
Of your terrible pain
For someone might see
You are broken.

The world goes on still moving by
How dare you be broken it says
When I need you to help me
I need you to be strong
No one wants to look at you
When you're broken

So you wrap your own arms around your brokenness
Holding in all of your emptiness
You move through each day
A silent abyss
Where no one hears you cry
When you're broken.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Want To Know.....

The world has produced millions of love songs since the beginning of time. Love is worth singing about. From good love to love gone wrong, there is probably a song to fit whatever emotion you are feeling toward that special, or um, not so special person in your life.

I have thousands of useless lyrics stored in my head. I can't remember my driver's license number even though it has been the same for over 20 years, but I can remember songs I listened to as a little girl sitting in between my parents in the front seat (probably because I had been giggling in between my siblings in the back). I can hear a part of a song and I am immediately transported back to some long ago yesterday in my mind.

And through all the lyrics, all the songs, I wonder if we ever learn what it means to be loved?

I really don't think so.

Back in the day there was a song by Foreigner that said he wanted to know what love was and he wanted whoever he was thinking of when he penned those lines to show him.

Even back then that kind of bothered me. I mean, he wanted to be shown, but what was he giving in return?

These songs we hear are mostly one-sided, in the opinion of the writer. But to me, a true love song should be written in two voices. Because true love is giving as well as taking.

I have loved in my life, and I have received love in return. I have broken faith and had my faith broken. And yet, even as I stand here today I still believe in love. And I still believe when you find love you will be better for it.

Bad times will come, tears will be shed, but where love abides you have a shelter in every storm and someone that will come through the storm at your side, perhaps with bigger muscles from carrying you through the hard times.

Love really is all of those things in 1 Corinthians chapter 13.

And love, real love is worth the cost. Even the cost of time. It's worth it.

All those fancy words and eloquent melodies can never sound sweeter than the song of two hearts living in harmonious love.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yes....I'm Still Alive

Years ago, right before the death of my Grand-Daddy, he called the house one day. When I answered he immediately said, "Oh, so you ARE still alive," to let me know I had been neglecting him.

And, I fear I have also been neglecting my dear blog.

So, I am in school, taking 4 classes. (What was I thinking), plus I started a new job. I love my job so that is a positive.

In the midst of this, my boy transferred to Valdosta State to finish his BA and my girl moved back in with me (another positive).

But, I am still alive. I still have many ideas to put into blog form, so I need to get even busier!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Collateral Damage

We have all seen the pictures of war. War does not discriminate, it affects not only the "bad guys" it also hits the innocent.

The pictures from war are horrible, devastating, children crying in the streets, bodies laying in the rubble, survivors looking lost, desperate.

And it is not only those who have been attacked that suffer. Those who carry out the attacks, the ones who follow the orders and inflict the damage suffer as well.

I realize war is, at times, necessary. Because of circumstances it has to happen. This is a truth that has been since the beginning of time. And, along with that truth is the fact that not everyone who loses their lives deserves to die. They don't deserve to lose those they love, to carry the scars and the memories of war.

I know it may seem that when you make a decision to do something you really have no business doing that decision only affects you. But, that is not true.

When you step out of the realm of safety provided by living for God and take part in whatever it is your flesh has convinced you that you cannot live without, you are not the only one affected. I think that is concept our age of self tends to downplay.

But, just like that bomb that drops to take out one enemy also hits innocent people's homes and may end lives or cause serious permanent injuries, the explosion caused by your sinful actions spreads to those closest to you. When you reach out to drag sin into your life you are effectively pulling in those around you.

And when sin leaves its dirty imprint on you, be sure that, like Pigpen from the Snoopy cartoons, others are caught in your dust cloud.

Will sin actually take you farther than you ever wanted to go? No doubt about it. When your so called joy ride is finished there will surely be someone else who is responsible for part of the cost of your wasted trip. Sin never leaves you like it found you either. When you come back to yourself and find yourself knee deep in mud feasting with the hogs you realize what you left behind, if you are "lucky" that is.

We live in a world that is self serving and self pleasing. It seems to be all about ME. That is what the devil would like us to live by, "you deserve to be (fill in the blank)." And, maybe you do deserve it. But, do others the mess your fleshly desires are going to drag them into? When you reach the bottom, will you look around to see those that you care about at the bottom with you, in a place that your sin drug them to?

During war, there is planning a preparation to decrease the damage, to decrease the loss of lives.

So, it stands to reason that the best way to prevent the destruction of those around you is to remember you are not the only one affected by sin. Think about your actions, pray, seek answers in the Word or through godly counsel.

Look around! Think! Remember!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Aftermath

I was traveling to another town for a meeting the other day. It was a beautiful day and I had an excuse to take one of my favorite routes.

I was riding along enjoying the surroundings when it occurred to me that something wasn't quite right. It was the way the familiar trees looked. Something odd.

I continued on only to notice broken trees. The number of them continued to rise as well and bent and twisted trees.

Then the houses came into view, tarps lining roofs, walls collapsed, debris everywhere.

I then remember the storms that had come through a few days prior.

Tornados. Twisters. Funnel clouds. The results are destruction.

I was wondering if the families were at home. Was anyone hurt? Did they manage to salvage anything? How long would it be before their lives were the same or would they ever be?

Because riding around looking at the aftermath of the storm made me think that even when they rebuild nothing will ever be the same.

The damaged items can never be truly replace all the times, especially if the meant something.

The walls and the roof may get replaced but the memory of the storm will always remain.

Will there be fear when the winds blow in the future? Will their sleep be interrupted by dreams of what happened?

I hate sin. I hate what it does to you. I hate what it does to families and homes. I hate it.

I don't pretend to know what you have going on in your life right now, but I am going to offer some very sound advise to you.

You may think that what you are involved in only involves you and that you are not hurting anyone else.

But, I can see the dark clouds coming in and feel the wind picking up.

Pretty soon you will find yourself in the midst of sin surrounded by the destruction that always accompanies it.

Don't be naive enough to think your choices will only affect you. Just like those Tornados, sin will leave a visible path of brokenness in its aftermath.

And just like after a storm, the clean-up may take a while; nothing will ever be the same.

Sure, you may replace some things, but nothing will be the same again.

If there is a storm of sin on the horizon and the winds of change are blowing through your life, I urge you take shelter on your knees.

Sin has a price tag and we never need to forget.

Jesus, I need you today more than ever. Can you hold me now?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It Hurts Me More

I love to read the Gospels because I enjoy the interaction between Jesus and the disciples. Even though in ages they were more like peers, it is so evident in each interaction that Jesus loves them as a father loves his children.

There is affection and lessons, praise and correction woven into the pages, giving us example after example to follow.

Jesus loved them. He chose them and shared with them real relationships.

When I read the Gospels I am always aware of His affection for Peter. That bond that was forged helped Peter through some dark days as time went on and the things that Jesus poured into him allowed him to have that boldness to stand up on the Day of Pentecost and declare the plan what we must do.

During Jesus' ministry He had a plan for Peter.

Matthew 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

He put His trust in this man that had walked beside him.

But, if you continue to read on, just a few short verses later, you find this:

Matthew 16:21-25
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

From the rock that the First Church was going to be built on to being openly rebuked just a few words later.

What happened? Jesus corrected His child. Oh, I am sure he took much more pleasure in the praise than the correction He had to give. But, He still did it.

I was in the bathroom today at a restaurant and a young mother brought her toddler into a stall and swatted the baby on the fanny saying, "I told you that you can't do that!"

The toddler cried pitifully and then from there began to cry "Mama, Mama, Mama" as it obviously buried its face in Mama's legs.

Because, you see, even a toddler knows that Mama was correcting out of love.

I can remember hearing parents that would say before whipping their child, "This is going to hurt me more than you."

I always thought that was ludicrous because there was no way that was true.

Then I had children of my own and even though it does hurt to say no, to swat their bottoms and punish them, it would hurt even worse to see them go uncorrected.

I see those kids all the time along with their bewildered parents who cannot figure out why they get no respect from their little angels.

And I see my own children as adults who have direction and have worked hard to reach their potential and I don't not regret those tears I shed when "no" cut my heart, when their pain was nothing in comparison to my own at having to remain firm and stand my ground even when it would have been easier to turn the other cheek.

Thank You, Lord for your example to me throughout the pages of Your Word. You left me a road map to follow, and one that I can pass to my family. How blessed we are to know that if we follow where You lead us, even when it's not comfortable or popular, we will find You there, waiting to wipe away all the pain and sorrow we encounter along the way. I love You too much to fail You now!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Mother's Touch

I kept waking up last night. Over and over and over.

Each time I awoke I would realize I was awake because, for some reason, someone kept setting fire to my throat.

I would suck down some water, which I NEVER keep at my bedside, but for some reason I did last night, and I would close my eyes and try to drift back to dreamland.

I made that trip a *blue-million* times last night, or so it seemed.

I hardly ever get sick. For real.

There have been times when I have allowed myself to become so tired that I would actually think I was sick. But then, with some much needed rest, I would feel as good as new.

I went into work after my alarm didn't go off. And, my alarm didn't go off because I decided to try this new app on my phone which plays these wonderful, life-like sounds to send you careening on the sleepy time bus with the next stop of your journey the beloved dreamland.

What sound did I choose for this journey?

A fan.

I know. Crazy since my ceiling fan was buzzing away. But it did help to drown out some of the other noises I am exposed to each night, which I will not share with the readers at large.

But, unfortunately, for some reason, this app also shut my alarm down.

Which made me late getting up. Which made me late getting started. Which made me late leaving for work.....ok, you get the picture.

I arrived at work, still not feeling right.

By about 3pm I threw in the towel and came home to crawl in bed.

What I am about to say now will probably shock you.

I do realize I am 45 years old. I am well aware of every. single. year.

For whatever reason, whenever I feel the slightest bit under the weather, I still long for my Mama.


I said it.

It's out there.

With the first sign of an ailment I can feel my bottom lip begin to pooch out just as it did when I fell off the swing set at 4 years old and I long for my Mama to kiss me and make everything better.

I had surgery a little while back. I had to go to a meeting a few days after about 2 hours away. By the time I got back home that night I felt horrible. My daughter happened to be at the house with one of her friends.

I related the events of the day.

As soon as we got home from the surgery, my husband contracted what appeared to be a stomach virus.

I was telling one of the ladies about that when she was asking me how I was feeling. And then, out of nowhere I said, "I guess I should go stay with my Mama tonight!"

As soon as the words were out it hit me and I retreated to the bathroom with my lip dragging the ground and fought back the tears that were threatening to embarrass me.

I came in, feeling terrible, and began to tell my daughter. To my dismay, I broke down like a four year old that had just fallen off a swing set and said, "I want my Mama!"

My daughter bundled me up in her arms and drug me to bed, putting me in one of my Mama's silky nightgowns and kissing my forehead.

When she arrived back in the living room, her friend, in her discomfort at having witnessed my tantrum, said, "I should probably go."

My sweet daughter offered her the only reassurance she could.

"It's really OK," she said, "You get used to living with grief."

Next month will be 2 years since my Daddy died. And, in June my Mama will have also been gone 2 years. I can hardly fathom it. It seems so surreal.

So, here I am. Up out of my sick bed, pounding away at the keyboard with my body aches and low grade temp, longing for something that I will never have again.

No one can stroke your brow like Mama, or kiss away your boo-boo's as her lips can.

I am here tonight when I should be snuggled down in my comfy bed longing for the touch of my mother, just one more time.

Sometimes, for a while, I can pretend all is well in my world, and they are out there somewhere, happy and safe.

And I know they are. I know they are.

But, there are times that I (ME- that little girl who was born to 2 people who loved her all those years ago) just become consumed with the missing.

And I do miss them.

To all you Mama's out there. Take some advise from my own Mama. Don't ever stop being a Mama. Yes, they grow up. Yes, they move on. Yes, they have their own lives, their own families.

But, sometimes, just for a minute, they need to have their hair stroked even if there isn't much of it left.

And they need to have their cheeks kissed, even if there is much more of them than there used to be.

And they need to have their back rubbed or lay their head in your lap and have you run your fingers through their hair.

It doesn't matter how old you are, you never stop needing to be mothered.

When we arrived at the funeral home to fix my mother's hair, it wasn't the set of her face that broke me, it wasn't the stillness of her chest.

It was the coldness of her hands. And the knowledge she would never touch me again. Never.

Tonight, as I prepare to lumber back up to bed, I feel the loss of that touch so keenly.

I would that I could tell her how very much her love meant to me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pitching My Tent

It seemed to me that my way was just blessed. Here I was, prospering, doing more that breaking even.

And so, when Abram told me we needed to part ways because our abundance could not be sustained in one area, I naturally chose what looked to me to be the most prosperous way.

I chose those beautiful, green plains. After all, he gave me the choice, right?

I mean, what would you have done in my place?

I headed east with all that I had, my family, my servants, all of my possessions.

I found a place for us to dwell, a place with a great view of city life. That is where I decided we would stay.

And that is where we set up house - we pitched our tent toward the alluring city of Sodom.

I tell you, we were blessed. If you could have seen the abundance we had. It was just overwhelming.

It wasn't long before we had found a place there among those that lived in that great city. I even found that I was someone there, not just the nephew of Abraham (as he is now called), but I was respected, I guess. I even got to sit at the gates to welcome in visitors.

One day we had some visitors show up. I could tell there was something different about them. I knew what kind of wickedness went on in that great city, and I knew these men would not be safe.

I convinced them to come to my house since we had long abandoned our tent outside the city for a nice place within the city walls. And as we arrived home the men of the city surrounded us, demanding I send the men out to them so that they could do wickedness to them. I could not allow that to happen! I even offered the men my daughters if they would just leave the men be!

They would have none of that and tried to take me until the visitors pulled me inside. And all the men became as blind men, yet they still sought those visitors. I could hardly believe it even for the wickedness I already knew them capable of.

The men told me to take my family and flee. They said that the city would be destroyed. I knew they were telling the truth. I tried to plead with my family, but when the next morning came and the men said we must leave, only my wife and my two daughters would go.

We hung around, but the men would have none of it. They grabbed us and drug us out of the city. They told us to run to the mountain, to not look back.

Oh, if my wife would only have listened. But, she did not.

It is hard for me to look back myself, now. I can see things from this distance I could not see before. I know now that I was blessed, not because of who I was, but because of Abraham.

You see, he chose the right path, and that path was where ever the Lord led him.

It is funny to me as I look back how easy it was to allow myself, to allow my family to partake of such wickedness.

In the distance I beheld a beautiful city. I beheld it from afar. Oh, I knew that the things that went on there were not like the things I had learned following in Abraham's shadow.

But after a while, after we had been exposed to them for a time, those things didn't look so bad anymore.

Next thing you know, I am living in the midst of that wickedness, I have my family in the middle of it. And, because it no longer seemed so bad to me I allowed things to happen that, looking back, I cannot even imagine how I did.

But living there among those people, it just didn't seem so wrong anymore.

It just seemed, well, normal.

Imagine that.

I have always been fascinated by the story of Lot. That one verse in Genesis 13 (verse 12) has haunted me for years.

"Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom."

He pitched his tent toward Sodom.

I heard an awesome message today from Bro. Marc Wood. He kind of drew all my wayward thoughts toward Lot together.

I started thinking about what he would say if he could tell his story looking back. What would he have to tell to us?

He had dwelt with the "Father of the Faithful." He had been blessed riding on Abraham's coattails. Abraham walked with God. Lot walked with Abraham, but that didn't mean he walked with God.

This is the part that has always stayed with me. Lot left Abram and he pitched his tent, he step up house looking toward sin.

And, after a time he became desensitized to that sin. He no longer saw it for the sin that it was.

The next thing you know, he is there, raising his family in the middle of Sodom. He is part of that sin-filled community. He is "one of them."

At least he was in his eyes. He was *somebody.*

Those things that years before he would have never imagined, he was partaking of. Oh, maybe not all of it, but by living there, by rubbing elbows with those around him, he was saying, "This is OK by me."

Before you know it, his wife is gone, trapped forever by the allure of sin, he commits incest with his daughters, the very ones he tried to give to the wicked men of Sodom, and he has lost all those riches and possessions he once took for granted.

Sometimes we, as Christians, have to stop and examine our own lives. Have we been too long in the plains of Sodom? Do we find ourselves closer and closer to that city? Maybe, even living inside the gates?

Have we allowed things into our lives that at one time we would have never even allowed to darken our doors?

Lift up your tent flap today. What is your view? Is that Sodom in the distance?

It may be time to relocate. And never look back.

Thanks to Bro. Marc Wood for obeying God. And thanks to my Savior, my precious Friend, my Jesus, for reminding us again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Elephant in the Room

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you know there is something going on but since you have no idea how to deal with the thing that is going on you just try to pretend there is nothing going on?

Yea, me neither.

I don't think there is anything more awkward that finding yourself in that situation.

I have walked in on people who were obviously arguing and you could actually sit on the tension in the room like a couch of bricks because it is so apparent. But, everyone is doing their best to pretend it is not there.

Then there have been the situations when you know that something bad is coming, yet everyone is bound and determined to act as if nothing is going on. So, you all laugh and pretend and do your very best not to stumble on the large problem sitting in the middle of the cramped room.

I am reminded of King David after the death of Uriah. Nathan comes to visit David afterward. I am sure that David greeted him warmly. I am sure that there was some small talk.

But, standing in the center of their meeting place was this huge elephant; this large sin that is hard to ignore.

Nathan said, "David, what would you think if there was a rich man who had many flocks, but there was also a poor man who had one little sheep that he had raised up with his family and that he loved. And then, one day, there was a man who came traveling through and the rich man ordered the poor man's little sheep to be killed for the traveler?"

As many of us would have also reacted, David was upset, indignant.

Isn't that the way we do?

We waltz around the sin in our own lives and yet, let us hear about someone ELSE doing something!

We become like a dog with a juicy bone. And we have all of the answers as to how someone else should handle their own sin without looking at our own sin that has us pressed to the wall.

"That man needs to die!"

David quickly offered his opinion to Nathan to which Nathan replied, "Oh, but David, that man is YOU."

I know there is all of this forward thinking today that says we don't need someone in our lives, in our business. I mean, after all, Jesus is our Friend, right? He overlooks our faults, doesn't He?

No matter what the sin it will fill the chambers of your heart causing there to be no room for anything else. Sure, you can ignore it, but elephants get hungry.

And as you continue to feed that elephant, that sin, it will continue to grow.

My prayer today is, Lord, send me a Nathan. Send me a man who won't look at me, look at my sin and pretend all is right in my world. I would much rather have a man that will say to me "Thou art the man."

And, like David, let me recognize myself and my sin. There is no way you can live with an elephant, live with an obvious sin, even one you pretend is not there, and not eventually smell the stench.

Lord, help me to always listen to Your Word and Your man that You send to warn me. I know you are a forgiving God, but first I have to know to ask forgiveness. I realize that we can live in our sins so long that we don't even notice them anymore, at times, even though they are growing larger and larger.

Please, send someone with a word for me. Don't leave me in that room with the elephant of sin. Sooner or later I will get trampled if You do. Help me to listen, and help me to repent, to turn away from that sin. I don't want an elephant standing in the way of seeing Your sweet face.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In The Name Of Love

The best part of who I am is my children.

That is the honest truth. I can say that and mean it with all that I am.

My children are far from perfect. Frequently, I am amazed at the people that they are. They are smart, funny, thoughtful, they have goals and plans.

They pray, they read the word of God, they desire to do a work for Him.

Being a mother has been the easiest and the hardest thing I have ever done.

It has been easy because there is so much love in me for them.

I remember vividly how it felt to hold each tiny life in my arms. I remember the sweet smell of their baby breath on my face. I remember the tinkling laughter that filled my heart with such joy.

I can tell you, unequivocally that love has only grown. I look at them and think "Wow, really Jesus? You really love ME just this much?"

Even now, when they are big, *grown* adults, though, there are times when being a mother is the hardest thing I have ever done.

I made a promise to them a long, long time ago. I made a promise to do what was right even when it hurt.

I made a promise not to take the easy path, not to just let things go that I knew were not right.

I made a promise to tell them how I felt and WHY I felt that way concerning things that I felt were dangerous.

And I have tried so very hard to live up to those promises. Because, you see, when you love, really, really love, it is not always easy.

I can remember when they were little I would tell them, "If you do *this* I will have to do *this*." And then when they did I would tell them, "I don't want to do *this* but I have to, because I told you that I would."

I remember when I was a teenager laying in bed one night, crying because my parents were so unfair. I told my mother, "I just want to be like everyone else."

I am sure my children have felt the same way. But, like my own parents I did not change my mind.

I told my daughter today that carrying the load of responsibility you carry as a parent becomes so heavy at times.

But you cannot put it down.

One of my favorite sayings that my children have heard more times than they probably want to admit is "It is my job as a parent to make sure that when you grow up you don't have regrets because I was not doing my job as a parent."

Sure, I could have let them do whatever they wanted. I could have said of their mistakes "You did this to yourself," but that would not have been entirely true. Some of the blame for their youthful follies would rest on me.

So, in the name of my love for them I have said "No" when it hurt me to say no.

I have denied them things that other parents allowed their children.

I have made them do things they did not want to do and not allowed them to do things they so desperately wanted to do.

In the name of love I have given them the best I know how to give. I have been the best I know how to be. And, as always, I pray I have been enough, done enough, given enough to the precious lives I was entrusted with all those years ago.

Thank You, for loving me this much, Lord. I want nothing more than to be worthy of You.