My Plan vs. God's Plan

>> Monday, October 31, 2011

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

It took me a long time to let go of my pain, my shame about my past. I could convince myself that nothing was my fault and I was the innocent person in all that happened in my life, but deep down inside I felt rejected by God. I was being punished for something that I did or will do, for how else could this be my life?

I think that is why it has been so hard to begin this blog and to make it public. Secretly, I felt that I would be judged by people as someone who must have done something wrong. I felt God had deemed me unworthy of a good life.  Why else would God punish me with the difficulties in life I have had? I know none of this is true, but I am a woman and we all know that we are masters at blaming ourselves for everything. We feel guilty over things that we have no control over and had nothing to do with.  But, I've had a change of mindset the last few years.  I'm still working on making it complete and true to myself, but there are a few things that I feel certain of now.

- I am not responsible for other people's actions or sins
- I am not a bad person, despite the mistakes I've made
- I am not being punished for every imagined wrong I've committed

I feel certain that had I not had the life I've had, I would not be a good person. I have my faults (don't we all) but I feel like I'm a good person - I care for people around me, I'm kind, loyal. Had I been given a "normal" life, I know that I would've been a wild child, undisciplined and selfish, or at least more so than now.  I would've been irresponsible and lost.  I know this because I have felt it in me - that wild streak, that feeling of wanting to run away and say to hell with it all!  But, when I think of poisoning my body with drugs or alcohol to escape, I think of my father and remember how it destroyed him.  When I think of running away and starting all over, I remember how hard it was for my mother with 3 kids to have to start all over.  When I get stressed and overwhelmed now, I think of how stressful life used to be and know that it could be worse.  Even when I get frustrated at how "small" my 1600sqft. home is, I remember living with 5 people in a two bedroom trailer, the kind that you would hitch to the back of a truck, not even half the size of my current home.
Life is not always easy, but God has a purpose in gifting you with the life He gives you.  And it truly is a gift, no matter how hard and no matter how difficult it is to see.  I am so grateful for the hard life that I have had.  It has made me the person I am and I think I like her.  I still have to strive to stay in grace during current trying moments but I know God has a purpose.  His plans are bigger than anything I can ever imagine.



The Importance of Being and Seeing

>> Friday, October 28, 2011

Perfection is not about succeeding but trying and never quitting

Sign I saw on one of my many meandering drives through Raleigh

Obedience is important
Every moment has beauty
Beautiful sunset at the lake

Relinquishing control is freedom
Contentment and joy follow with surrender
Moonflower beginning to unfurrow - from my garden

Clean up can wait, enjoying the moment is more important

Kids playing karate and the house is a mess!

Some rules are meant to be broken (or somewhat adjusted)

Isabel playing in the water fountains at the art museum

Family matters

Isabel and Noah - sweet siblings

Friends Matter
Cheryl and Sandra - great friends
Church Matters


Autumn's Golden Glory

>> Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Autumn is a second Spring where every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus

I love this time of year.

The temperatures are much more mild,
The changing leaves paint the landscape,
The world prepares to sleep, for just a bit.

As much as I love this time of year, it is also a bit depressing...
No more vibrant colors from the Summer flowers,
We begin to bundle up for the season and lock ourselves indoors,
Darkness comes earlier and quiets the air.

Soon the tall trees in my yard will lay a blanket onto the grass.
The war between the rake, blower and leaves will begin (usually the leaves win).
Once the leaves have dropped from the trees, the sun will burst through my windows,
keeping me from feeling swallowed by the grey skies.
This is why I love my home -
Even in the dead of Winter,
The light still shines brightly inside my home.


Shake it Out

You've got the love I need to see my through.
When food is gone, you are my daily need,
When friends are gone, I know my savior's love is real
You're love is real.
Florence + the Machine, You've Got the Love

Have I mentioned how much I love Florence + the Machine? I love her voice and her music always reaches me on a deeper level. You've Got The Love can bring me to tears, reminding me that however lost I feel, I am never alone. This is her newest song, Shake it Out. I could listen to this all day long. Another reminder of how we just need to "shake the devil" off our backs.


Who is your neighbor?

>> Wednesday, October 19, 2011

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:25-29 (NIV)

As a Christian, I am often confused by what I see happen around the world. I don't always understand how my all powerful God can "allow" bad things to happen to people. It is somewhat of a question that has been posed at our morning "coffee shop worship", how can God allow so much bad in the world? My preacher, Gordon, had a great way of explaining it, but my brain can't seem to find those words - he's much more eloquent than me. But the basis of what I got out of what he was trying to explain is that the "bad" things that happen help us to grow in our grace. I spend way too much time reading the news on the internet and have been left in tears and disgusted at society, just completely unable to comprehend what some people do, so it's still been extremely difficult to accept or understand.

On Monday I was reading an article on about a toddler in China and was reminded about the story of the good Samaritan. The little girl was hit by two cars and had over a dozen people walk right by her without stopping to help, all of which was caught on camera. The person that came to this little girls rescue wasn't a special person, a doctor, policeman, or anyone that mattered to society. It was someone that was clearly referred to as a "scavenger" in the article. If you're like me, a not so pretty image instantly come to mind - a dirty lady, in torn clothing collecting discarded trash. Someone who you either ignore as you walk by her or look at and scowl, thinking she's responsible for her current place in society. Yes, this was the lady that saw the child on the ground bleeding and in pain that stopped to help, like the Samaritan in the bible who saw the man in the valley beaten and robbed and stopped to help as others walked by. She has become a reluctant hero to the people of China - and hopefully an example to follow.
This tragedy seems to have started a dialog within China about the deterioration of morality in their society, being a major trending conversation on their version of Twitter. China, the Communist nation, is having a morality check and this is wonderful. This discussion needs to spread as this lack of morality is not isolated to China. How often do we sit back and do nothing because it isn't affecting us directly? We might not pass by a dying child, but how often have you sat with your lips closed as a friend abused a loved one or themselves with drugs? How many people have we watched self destruct because we didn't want to be meddlesome? Not only am I reminded of the story of the good Samaritan, but I go back to my coffee shop Sunday. You know the one at the beginning of this post, the one that had me doubting God's plan and it suddenly makes sense. How? Because the people of China are talking and hopefully looking into their hearts, to grow as better people. And, maybe this will spread here and people will look into the mirror and take a look at their souls and see the similarity between themselves and all the people that passed the little girl by.
This is it.
This is God is using bad things for a greater good. Too often we get mad when things like this happen. We get mad at God for allowing it to happen. We blame it on Satan. We don't see how we are the same as the passerbys.
So, I guess there are two lessons here:
- Be the good Samaritan. make a difference in someone's life.
- God knows why things happen and He has a purpose. Instead of questioning His intentions, we need to look at how these kinds of situations can work out positive in our lives, helping us to grow into better people.

Who is your neighbor?


Born Again Nut

>> Saturday, October 1, 2011

"...I used to pray that God would give me something--strength, wisdom, patience, the solution to a problem. I was forever telling God what was wrong with my life and what God needed to do to fix it. Today, I talk things over with God to decide what I can do, not what God should do. This is the key to spiritual power, to finding God in so many wonderful places both ordinary and extraordinary." ~Father Leo Booth

I am a proud Christian.
Did I actually just write that? Me?? The cynical, sarcastic girl who is scared of people who loudly profess their Christianity? Yup, I wrote it - proudly. Lisa last year would've never said those words. She never would want to associate herself with those narrow minded, conservative, right wing, Fox News watching Republicans who want to take away all our rights and our money and...should I go on?

Ask me what I think a good Christian is and I will begin by telling you what I think a good Christian is not. I don't think a good Christian is:
- judgemental
- apart from society
- only ultra conservative
- one to constantly quote scripture, bragging about their bible knowledge as if they are somehow better than most
- or perfect

You do not know a good Christian when you first set your eyes on them as their dress is not what identifies them as a good Christian. You see them when you see how they interact with society. They present themselves, not as better than you, but as humble, kind, loving and understanding that no one is perfect. Christ is reflected in their way of life not in the scripture they quote. You see Christ in them when you see how they attempt to obey what the bible instructs. Not always succeeding but knowing that their attempts are pleasing to God and knowing that God understands that they are not perfect but loves them anyway. You see them transforming, naturally growing into a reflection of what is asked of us in the bible. So, this is me. I am happily becoming a strong Christian. I do not feel that I am having to set aside my own desires, because my desires are becoming what God wants them to be. I don't feel like I have to give up the people I've had in my life during my "rebellious" years as those are probably the people that need to see my growth most. I don't attempt to appear holier than most, completely losing my personality. I am still me and that's makes me happy.

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