Random Thoughts

Peace 101

 

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Do you ever find yourself wondering how do we live at peace with others in a world that is so hell-bent on destroying peace in the name of fighting for peace? I think I may have found the answer in Proverbs 16:7.

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This verse is referring back to King Jehoshaphat. Read 2 Chronicles 17-20 to see how the Lord honored King Jehoshaphat’s work of bringing his people back to the Lord by causing his enemies to live at peace with him. King Jehoshaphat wouldn’t have been successful at that time if he hadn’t been obedient and faithful to seek the Lord in all that he did. The key is that our focus is on living a life that is pleasing to the Lord.

Living a life that is pleasing to the Lord means actually doing the things that are of the Lord. Meeting the needs of the orphans, the poor, the widows, the grieving, the sick, the refugee, the unloved, the forgotten, the misunderstood, and the lost. It would mean having the grace and empathy to walk beside someone knowing you cannot fully understand the hurt they have experienced because you have not walked in their shoes nor have they walked in yours. But, you can love them because Jesus loves them and He loved the broken vessel of your life that is now whole. When we work at living a life that is pleasing to the Lord and that is all that matters then the rest will fade away.

Yes, we will still be disturbed by the things we see and hear going on in our world but rather than boiling over with anger, we will overflow with compassion and see it as another call to action to take the Gospel to the hurting. Because underneath all the anger and hate spewing forth is hidden hurts longing to be healed. And we know Who can heal those deep hurts. The only One who can bind that wound is the One who was wounded for our transgressions, the One who was bruised for our iniquities, the One who was punished so that we could know peace, and that One is Jesus, and it is only by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

I know I have fallen short of the mark many times but I am thankful for a fresh start and the opportunity to set my eyes, once again, on the Lord. I am going to allow Him to set my focus and not worry about the next trending issue on Facebook. I already know several of my first priorities – Love God and Love Others.

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So, please excuse me, but the Lord has some work to do in me …

I love you all!

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Random Thoughts

Midnight Musings 

Ok … it’s not really midnight but I’m not staying up that late to post this and I’m so tired it might as well be midnight. So there’s that. 

I was thinking through my day and the last few weeks … and I was overwhelmed in a good way. It just dawned on me that when my heart is overwhelmed in good and bad ways I cry out to God to “lead me to the rock that is higher than I am“. So I went in search of that Psalm. 

It’s Psalm 61 and the header for the Psalm in the NKJV is that it’s an Assurance of God’s Eternal Protection . Although this Psalm really speaks to moments when we are under attack and in need of rescue, I think it is also a beautiful reflection of resting in God’s goodness when He overwhelms you with His love. 

Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭61:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Thank you, Lord, for always leading me to rock that is higher than I at the mere mention of Your name.

Sweet dreams. I love you all!

Random Thoughts

That Other Story for Another Day …

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Jennifer Harvey

Yesterday marked 11 weeks that I have been completely off my anti-anxiety/depression medication after 7 years of being on it. I’ll be honest with you … I should have never been on it this long if I should have ever been on it in the first place and that is not my doctor’s fault.

You see I was given some poor advice coupled with the encouragement that I might lose weight and my young hurting heart took it. I asked for help as I was in a time of depression and struggling to make sense of some recent health diagnoses. I was 26 years old and all I wanted to do was sleep. I had no energy. I had been tested numerous times in the last two years for mono but it always came back negative. Anyway, after some concrete diagnoses, there were still some questions and deep hurts from other things going on in my world. Instead of seeking counseling, I sought a quick fix in the form of medication. Now, please know that I am an advocate for both … counseling and medication when they are given/taken responsibly. I would have been better off with speaking to a Biblical counselor, first, and then seeing if I needed some additional support. But I didn’t and Satan has used it against me for seven years.

How?

Well, in my heart of hearts I have felt defeated. I mean, I was going to be on medication for the rest of my life. I was numb. I would go months without crying then have an epic meltdown. I have never wanted to be one who lives for emotions but I was not moved by much at all. Pretty much anyone who knows me will attest to this.

IMG_7132These last 11 weeks have been some of the hardest weeks of my life. I am not kidding. I didn’t know if I was going to make it through the first few weeks. I didn’t like myself on the medicine but I hated myself off the medicine. I was feeling all the feels and my emotions were across the board. I get angry now. That’s a foreign emotion. I cry. I still made it through all of “This Is Us” without crying but now the commercials about how much it has meant to the viewers are making me tear up. What the heck? 

Satan wasn’t letting me go without a deeper fight either. There have been some dark spiritual warfare days. Nightmares. Dark conversations with people. Trying conversations with people. I got to a point my home was no longer my haven and that is a huge priority for an introvert. Utterly overwhelmed at times in a way I could not being to explain. I had doubts about whether or not I would still need to be on the medication. I mean, I am depressed and anxious, right?

But God.

It’s true … God will not call you where He does not lead you. I discovered He was already in the midst of every single situation I have experienced in the past 11 weeks. It took two weeks to wean off a medication that I was told is the hardest medication to wean off of. I had zero side effects. My depression? It was no longer there. My anxiety? Yes, it was there but I saw my counselor and after we identified what makes me anxious those attacks are gone. My home? When it wasn’t a haven the Lord led me to a place where I could find rest of a few minutes each week. Now that things are calming down, peace has been restored within my walls. My emotions? Yep, I still cry. But I am so thankful for my tears and that I can truly feel. I still get angry but I working on that whole “righteous indignation” thing. 🙂

What Now?

Well, I’m still in the midst of this journey. I still have anxious moments and I am finding areas of my life where Satan is wanting to claim territory so I am taking a step back from the social media world. And while I have claimed this before this time it’s true. I find myself comparing my life to others. I’m not jealous of what other’s have but I find myself being much harder on myself because I can see why God would choose to bless them over me. Such a dumb thought process. Therefore, this Summer, I am going to work through Neil T. Anderson’s book “Who I Am in Christ”, spend time in the Word and try to stay ahead in my two masters classes starting next week. I’ll still blog from time to time as I have a new series running through my mind on dating.

 

Further thoughts on comparison …

I do not pretend to know what it is like to be a young mother working full time, part time or as a stay at home mom. I do not pretend to know what it is like to come home from work each day to someone else needing your attention or wanting to tell you about how their day went. I do not pretend to know what it is like to be sick with cancer or grieving the loss of a child or spouse. I simply do not pretend to know what the majority of those in my life are experiencing. But … I can empathize with you because it doesn’t take much to feel compassion for someone who is hurting, tired, grieving or stressed. I believe one of the biggest problems in our culture today is the need to minimize or downplay someone else’s situation because it doesn’t compare to our own. Who are we to compare our problems with someone else’s? The reality is we can never truly walk in someone else’s shoes. There is only one person who has ever experienced every possible thing that can be experienced on this Earth … and that was Jesus … and He still didn’t sin. Some may have it together and other’s may not but we have to remember we (as in, believers) all have our own “crosses to bear” but we have two invitations issued to us in that burdened area.

  1.  If we want to truly follow Christ then we need to take up our cross, by putting our plans and desires to death. (See Luke 9:23)
  2. We can cast our burdens … the crosses we bear … on Him and He will give us His burden to carry which is far easier a load to bear. (See Matthew 11:28-30)

13 weeks ago, I was offered both invitations and I took it. And, by the grace of God alone, I am making it through and finding joy on the journey.

I love you all …

 

 

PK Life

Instant Replay

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I have written anything. There has been so much going on that it’s hard to know where to start or what to share. I haven’t been released by the Lord to share what all has been going on with me but when the time is right to share it with you then I will as I don’t believe He intends for me to keep this part of my journey to myself. It’s just that I am still in the process of fleshing it out and learning to press further into Him. Plus, I have to be sure that when I do share it with you this doesn’t become a “poor Melody” moment but rather a “to God be the glory, look what He has done” moment.

Super ChristianAnyway, until then just know that I am in this place where the Lord is completely emptying me of myself so that I have no other choice but to fill myself up with Him. Because when given a choice, I will fill myself up with other things … well meaning things but stuff that simply cannot satisfy like Jesus can. I am in a place of ministry that I never desired to be in and have had to draw much deeper from the well than before because I wasn’t prepared for what was placed before me. I wasn’t ready for what would be asked of me. So I have had to dig deeper and study more. Boy, am I thankful!

This past Sunday night, I attended a local church’s Easter program entitled “The Living Cross” where they shared the life of Christ as told in the Bible. It was beautifully portrayed. The song they chose to sing during the “miracles scene” was Take Me to the King. This song has been on instant replay in my heart and mind all week. No song better describes where I am at in my life right now and where I desire to stay in my life.

Truth is I’m tired
Options are few
I’m trying to pray
But where are you?
I’m all churched out
Hurt and abused
I can’t fake
What’s left to do?

Truth is I’m weak
No strength to fight
No tears to cry
Even if I tried
But still my soul
Refuses to die
One touch will change my life

[Chorus:]
Take me to the King
I don’t have much to bring
My heart’s torn in pieces
It’s my offering

Lay me at the throne
Leave me there alone
To gaze upon Your glory
And sing to You this song
Please take me to the King

Truth is its time
To stop playing these games
We need a word
For the people’s pain

So Lord speak right now
Let it pour like rain
Oh, yeah, we’re desperate
We’re chasing after you

[Bridge:]
No rules, no religion
I’ve made my decision
To run to You,
The healer that I need

[Chorus:]

Lord, we’re in the way
We keep making mistakes
The glory’s not for us
It’s all for You

[Chorus:]

The truth is I am tired. I am churched out – I know all the churchy answers to tell myself. I’m tired of the games we play. I’m tired of being in the way. I’m tired of trying to steal His glory. It’s not for me. It’s not for you. It’s all for Him because of Him.

So, please, take me to the King. Lay me the throne. Leave me there alone. My heart is torn in pieces over my sin and in awe of His goodness. I just want to gaze upon His glory and sing to Him. The audience of One. Take me to the King.

I love you all.

Uncategorized

Practice Ephesians 4:2

Over the last week, I have written and deleted several posts. I had so much on my heart yet I couldn’t find the right words with which to say them. I have been and am frustrated over the political climate in our country.

I am over the moon in love with my niece, nephew, and niece to come. I had the best time

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My nephew’s hand holding his cousin’s head (my niece). 

with my family this past weekend as we all gathered to celebrate my nephew’s 6th birthday. Time is literally flying by. I have so much on my heart and mind where they are concerned. Dreams I have for them and the kind of world that I want them to grow up in.

 

I have friends and loved ones who are wrestling with some really hard things right now. Instead of giving up, they are pressing even harder into Jesus and facing the battle head on.

I try to so hard to focus on what others are going through when I am tempted to turn my gaze on to my “problems”. When the enemy reminds me again and again that someone said something that hurt my feelings or “you always have to do things on your own”. Satan is such a bully and loves to hit you when you are vulnerable … especially when you are tired … as I am today.

I can feel so much welling up in me and I am tempted to give in to that feeling. Whatever that feeling is. To become frustrated, angry, hurt and give in to despair but then I read this verse …

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesian 4:2

I was reminded this morning to extend grace upon grace to those who need it and let’s be honest, who doesn’t need it?

When I am tired and people are being extra people-ish … Practice Ephesians 4:2.

When someone has spoken an unkind word … Practice Ephesians 4:2.

When others aren’t pulling their load … Practice Ephesians 4:2.

When someone is treated harshly … Practice Ephesians 4:2.

When someone posts an erroneous FB post … Practice Ephesians 4:2.

When I can’t find any dark chocolate and the vending machine is out of Diet Dr. Pepper … Practice Ephesians 4:2. For the safety of all those involved!

FullSizeRenderThis verse was just a much need reminder that I do not know what anyone else is going through except for me. It is not going to hurt anyone for me to extend grace upon grace because grace upon graces has been extended to me abundantly by the Father and I am the least deserving. While it may be easier to lash out at others it is far more effective to “make allowances for each other’s faults.” And when Satan wants to rear his ugly head with various reminders of ways that I have been affronted by others, I will work to hold those thoughts captive and press into Jesus even more. It takes far more energy thinking about the ways that I am offended and hurt than it does to turn those feelings and people over to the Lord!

So friends, what about you? Do you need a reminder to Practice Ephesians 4:2 today?

I love you all!

 

Random Thoughts

Making Sense of It All

I’ll be honest … I have struggled to know what to write over the last week. The last week has been hard here in East TN.

We started the week of Thanksgiving out with a horrible school bus crash in Chattanooga that saw the loss of 6 precious children. Then we had several horrible, senseless murders in Knoxville.

On Friday, I discovered my family’s storage unit had been broken into between the last time I was there on Monday til I came in that day. It had been completely ransacked. If my life were a Hallmark movie, then the police officer who came to check the situation out would have been a single, handsome and strapping man instead of a lovely woman. He would have felt a surge of protectiveness upon seeing my tear stained, yet somehow still lovely, face and felt the need to come back after his shift was over to help me with setting my unit straight. We would have bonded over our mutual disdain for thievery, almost broke up over some silly misunderstanding (how was I supposed to know that 1990s Miami Dolphins velcro wallet still meant something to him and that’s why he still carried it to this day … he didn’t want or need a new wallet? How insensitive!) but realize our love was stronger than that and be happily married by next Christmas.

If my life were a Hallmark movie, then the police officer who came to check the situation out would have been a single, handsome and strapping man instead of a lovely woman. He would have felt a surge of protectiveness upon seeing my tear stained, yet somehow still lovely, face and felt the need to come back after his shift was over to help me with setting my unit straight. We would have bonded over our mutual disdain for thievery, almost broke up over some silly misunderstanding (how was I supposed to know that 1990s Miami Dolphins velcro wallet still meant something to him and that’s why he still carried it to this day … he didn’t want or need a new wallet? How insensitive!) but realize our love was stronger than that and be happily married by next Christmas.

However …  my life isn’t a Hallmark Movie so instead I was left to pick up the pieces and deal with it as best as I could. I’ll admit that it really put a burr under my saddle. I just couldn’t understand why this would happen. Not that our family should be spared from something like this but it’s still so frustrating.

But all of this was put into perspective after the devastation my neighbors in Sevier County experienced at the hands of the wildfire and my neighbors in Polk County experienced at due to a tornado the next day.I mean, y’all, it’s been insane. People have lost their lives, their homes and for some their livelihoods.

I have struggled to wrap my mind around it all. I have thought back to my dream that I had a few weeks ago as that’s all I could think about on Tuesday night during the storms …”signs and wonders, the Lord is in control and He is coming back.”  I hope you are hearing that.

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I have never been one to talk about the end times as I still have so much that I want to experience during my lifetime but I can’t ignore what is going on around me. Nor can I ignore the fact that for the first time in my life I have complete peace over the Lord’s return. While I do not know when Jesus is coming back here is what I do know … we have 3 communities hurting and in need of love. We have people who need to see what it means when the body of Christ unites together to be Jesus to those in need. The world needs to see how we love not how we “hate”. So, let’s do all that we can within our means and our abilities to be the Church that we are called to be to those in need and to reach a world that is lost …. because friends, the days are short and the hours are few but Eternity is forever. Some are facing an Eternity in a neverending wildfire and we hold the keys to keeping them from that … what are we waiting for?

He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”” Matthew 9:37-38

So let’s go … let’s be about the Father’s business.

I love you all.

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Random Thoughts

A Song for this Day

I am not big on trends.

I do not read the latest “it” books … ever … be it Christian or not.

I finally upgraded to the iPhone 6 last Christmas.

I still watch an occasional movie on the VCR in my bedroom … just the movies that I have yet to find on DVD.

I do have Netflix. I finally purchased that in the last year.

I am making strides to become more current. But I have my way of doing things and I like it.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I stumbled across the “SING!” app. You know the one … the karaoke app that many are using. Well, as I was perusing through various songs, I came across “O the Blood”. I have always wanted to sing that song. So I did … in the quietness of my bedroom, I entered into the holy of holies and made this song my heart’s cry. It has been my heart’s cry every day since and will be my heart’s cry tomorrow morning as well.

O the Blood

Verse 1:
O the blood
Crimson love
Price of life’s demand
Shameful sin
Placed on Him
The hope of every man

[Chorus:]
O the Blood of Jesus washes me
O the Blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes the blood it is my victory

Verse 2:
Savior Son
Holy One
Slain so I can live
See the Lamb
The Great I Am
Who takes away my sin

[Chorus]

Bridge:
O the Blood of the Lamb
O the Blood of the Lamb
O the Blood of the Lamb
The precious Blood of the Lamb
What a sacrifice
That saved my life
Yes the Blood it is my victory

Verse 3:
O what love
No greater love
Grace how can it be
That in my sin
Yes even then
He shed His blood for me

[Chorus]

What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes the blood it is my victory

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:6-11

No matter what this day holds … politically, professionally or personally, I am thankful to proclaim “what a sacrifice that saved my life. Yes, the blood it is my victory!”

I love you all.

Single Life

Season of Thanks: A Prayer and Two Dreams

In honor of Dr. Billy Graham’s 98th birthday today, I am sharing the prayer/poem that his wife Ruth Bell Graham wrote in her teens about the man she hoped to marry someday.

The Man I Prayed For
Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we’re inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
but let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
nor need he be some genius,
or wealthy, Lord, at all;
but let his head be high, dear God,
and let his eye be clear,
his shoulders straight, whate’er his state,
whate’er his earthly sphere;
and let his face have character,
a ruggedness of soul,
and let his whole life show, dear God,
a singleness of goal;
then when he comes
(as he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I’ll understand that he’s the man
I prayed for long ago.

By Ruth Bell

fullsizerender-10A few years ago, I adopted this as my prayer too. I have it printed out and framed in my living room as a reminder to myself to continue to pray for him, my future husband, as well as the empty picture frame that sits by my bed. I posted a picture of one of my many copies that I have of it in 2011 … 5 years ago … but I still stand by what I stated then. 🙂 I would like to say that I pray for him all the time but I don’t instead I bemoan the fact that he isn’t here.

Well, last night I had two very vivid dreams. The first I ended up in a “school musical” and for the life of me, I can’t remember what it was now, however, I was a last minute addition. Let me just tell you that I have never been in a school musical theater production. As much as I loved singing, the thought of getting on stage and acting in front of people mortified me. So here I am, in my dream, thrown on stage in a school production at the last minute but it was the backstage conversation that has stayed with me all day long. I ran into a friend who was deep in grief and admitted that they had been using musical theater (of all things) to fill the void of their lost loved one yet they were still empty. I found myself empathizing with them and admitting there have been many times that I have used various things to fill the loneliness in my life that is only meant to be filled by the Lord.

Instead of seeking solace in Him, I look to things to satisfy that only work for a brief time when what I am searching for is something more fulfilling. I’ll be honest … I use food to fill that void 9 times out of 10. I’m not a glutton but if I am lonely, bored or sad then I’ll eat something. For others, it may be shopping, alcohol, relationships, your children, drugs, social media, or TV. We all have various things that, in and of themselves may not necessarily be bad or they absolutely are, we allow to fill the needs in our lives versus the Lord. And let’s just be honest, when we turn to other things than seeking the Lord first it’s ultimately a form of disobedience because we are in essence making other things our gods.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:3

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say?  I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” Luke 6:46-49

We will never be satisfied with the things of this world or with the things that are of the Lord if the Lord is not first. It’s that simple. What kind of foundation do you want to build your life upon? Are you, like me, replacing the Lord with something? Seeking comfort in something other than Him and His word? He’s ready and waiting for us to return to our right fellowship with Him. We just have to take that first step.

In my second dream, I was sitting in a house high above a city with a large picture window. There were several others in the home with me when I looked outside and could see planes falling from the sky along with other catastrophic events happening. It was apparent that the Rapture was occurring. It was actually happening in stages. You know in movies when you see a wave of implosion slowly overtaking a city? That is what was happening in my dream but it wasn’t a scary situation. Those in the house were worried because we weren’t “taken” yet but I had this peace that it was coming and we needed to get ready. And that’s what I believe this dream was about … the Lord is coming back … it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are regarding the end times. He’s coming. He told us He is.

 “And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides.  People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:25-36

Are you ready? Do you have everything in order in your house? Because He is coming. Now more than ever it is time to be about the Father’s business and share the hope we have in Christ with others.

So today … the day before the election … the day of Dr. Billy Graham’s 98th birthday … I am thankful for the Godly example of marriage he and Mrs. Ruth set for us. I am thankful for the hope of Salvation that he faithfully preached to the nations over his lifetime. And I am thankful for the hope and assurance that Christ is coming again.

I love you all!