Holy Matrimony

Dearly beloved,

We are gathered here today in the sight of God to join this man, and this woman in holy matrimony. Not to be entered into lightly, holy matrimony should be entered into solemnly and with reverence and honor. Into this holy agreement these two persons come together to be joined. If any person here can show cause why these two people should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Marriage is a sacred union between husband and wife and shall remain unbroken. It is the basis of a stable and loving relationship and is a joining of two hearts, bodies and souls. The husband and wife are there to support one another and provide love and care in times of joy and times of adversity.

We are all here today to witness the joining in wedded bliss of (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name.) This joyous day celebrates the commitment and love with which (Groom’s Name) and (Bride’s Name) start their lives together. Through God, you are joined together in the most holy of bonds. Who gives this woman in holy matrimony to this man?

These are traditional wedding vows. Would it be blasphemous of me to announce that I’m married to Jesus? My vows to God and Jesus go something like this:

Dear family and friends,

We are gathered here in the presence of God, to witness the holy union of Mia and Jesus Christ. This is a commitment that should never be taken lightly, but should always be held in reverence and a manner that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

Repeat after me…

I, Mia, take thee Jesus to be my heavenly partner in life. I will honor and obey Your word, dwelling on all that You speak to my heart. I will always come to You in prayer, sharing my struggles, asking for Your guidance, and seeking You first when I have anything pressing on my heart. I will rejoice when my earthly life is good and praise You when it is difficult. I promise to be patience, kind, loving, and always look to You as my standard for living. I know that I have a purpose and You give me hope for the future. I promise to love You and place You first in all areas of my life.

Not bad. It’s where my heart is and my faith grows daily. Faith is a powerful thing and I know I only need it to be the size of a mustard seed to move mountains.

“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:6

I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me many years ago. While I said that prayer of gratitude for the atonement. I still behaved in a manner that was displeasing to God. Today’s blog is about recommitting myself to God. I haven’t written much in the past week or so, but it’s okay. Spending time with God and Jesus is my priority. I wake up in the morning and kneel beside my bed, praying before I’ve even considered going to the bathroom. That’s commitment, yo!

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24

The Holy Spirit is in me. It prompts me when I need to seek God’s Word and guidance. It’s there when I need comforting. It is present when I need to escape any situation that is detrimental to my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I feel complete now.  Like a whole person.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be married while living in this earthly existence. I would love to be married. There is some sort of peace in it. Security, even. I want to come home and kiss my husband, wake up in the morning and kiss him again. In the movie, Sweet Home Alabama, Dakota Fanning plays a younger version of Reese Witherspoon’s character. She asks the boy, “Why do you want to marry me anyhow?” He replies, “So I can kiss you any time I want.” That’s only part of what I want. I want the person who is committed to me; who wants me as much as I want him. Someone who is willing to do 25 to life with me. I have no idea how much time I have on this planet. Neither does anyone else. I just want to spend it with someone who values and appreciates the woman that I am just as much as I appreciate the man he is.

“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled,” – Hebrews 13:4

Nothing is worse than being cheated on. It left me feeling like I wasn’t good enough as a wife. Then, as the affairs continued, I felt that I wasn’t even good enough as a person. I forgave him. I’d forgive the next guy too. That doesn’t mean I can forget the feelings of worthlessness that were created. I’m not perfect. I’m COMPLETE.

“However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

I respected my husband. In fact, I’ve respected all the men in my life. There was truly no reason not to, even when I didn’t agree with certain things. I trust implicitly too, until I’m given a reason not to trust.  Yes, I’m definitely gullible and naive when it comes to men and relationships. It’s not fair. It’s not right for me to judge someone on their past. I want my husband to treat me as well as I treat him.  I don’t need material things. I don’t need a lot of money. I’ve never been that way. I need security and comfort. I’m happiest with a home-cooked meal, a movie on the TV, and snuggling on the couch.

I want a partner in life. Someone who loves God more than he loves me. Someone who wants my affection and passion. Someone who will let me love him through the darkness of time as well as the bright sunshine of day. Someone who laughs when I’m being goofy and holds me when I melt down.  There’s a whole list but the most important thing is that whomever he is, he needs to love God first.

“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Until God tells me that He has someone for me, I’m married to Jesus! And impatiently patiently waiting as God makes me into the woman He wants me to be.

Inspiration in Infancy

My first encounter with God came when I was 11 years old. I knew something bigger than myself existed but I could not place what it was. I had no explanation for it until a friend invited me to spend the night at her house on a Saturday. I was granted permission and she told me to bring nice clothes as we would be going to church in the morning. I was excited! The only time I had been to church was for weddings.

It was at Calvary Baptist Church that I met an amazing lady. She was 19 and teaching Sunday School for the first time. She was also married to a man of God. I was young, vulnerable, and eager to learn. She taught me that Christ died for me and through the atonement, I was saved. I didn’t know I needed to be saved, but I knew I needed God something fierce. Miss Lorie taught me how to pray. Once I learned to pray and was ready, I asked Jesus to come into my heart.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3:16‬

God loved me. He still loves me. I can fully attest that I am a sinner by nature but now I have been blessed with the gift of eternal life through Jesus’ crucifixion. I’m not perfect, no where close. I still sin and make mistakes. But when I ask for forgiveness and repent, God is there to take care of me.

Miss Lorie and her wonderful husband, Prince Albert (not in a can), took me under their wings and welcomed me in their home. They did their best to teach me what it means to be a Christian and live a life for God’s glory. Unfortunately, as a teen, I chose a different direction and pushed God aside. I made a lot of bad decisions and plummeted into a life of sexual immorality, drugs, and deceit. I did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, without regard to the consequences. I hurt many people with my actions, attitudes, and behaviors.

All of those things have led me to where I am today. It is because of God’s amazing grace that I “once was blind but now I see”. I see how the errors of my foolish ways have affected others. Now, I am in the process of rebuilding. Not only am I correcting my sinful behaviors, I am asking for forgiveness for those I have mistreated or sinned against.

Luke 15:11-33 tells the story of the prodigal son.

“Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”

In many ways, I find myself to be the prodigal son… Ahem, daughter… to Miss Lorie and Prince Albert. I have been restored to God’s fold, which they (and many others) have been hoping for. It’s been a month and it hasn’t been easy. I’m still taking baby steps but I know who to lean on.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭

I am so grateful to Miss Lorie for first planting the seeds in me. I am in the process of strengthening the roots of those seeds and establishing a firm foundation in God.

Heart of Hard Flesh

I am struggling. I’m not perfect by any means. Nor do I ever wish to be perfect. Perfection is a very difficult standard to live up to. Only one being on earth was ever perfect, God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Perfect is boring and I loathe boring.

I am not ready to discuss what I’m struggling with. It’s very personal and I’m still reeling from the situation. Right now, I just want to pray that God will give me perspective. I am trying to understand some things and I am hoping that the situation will be resolved in the future. I have no idea what the future holds. All I know is that for the last few weeks, I’ve been praying for something to be removed from my mind and my heart. I’ve asked for a guarded heart. Sadly, I’ve asked for a heart of stone. Bear in mind, the situation I’m struggling with is extremely painful for me. It happened at the worst time, in the midst of a severe depression and took me to the brink of suicide. I was rejected by someone I deeply loved, cared for, and trusted. My heart was wide open. Perhaps that was my first mistake after 30 years of having walls around my heart. My heart was put into a blender and pulsed into oblivion.

I felt worthless. I felt insignificant. I felt unwanted. In my mind, I had no value. I was unimportant and I didn’t matter to anyone. Rejected. Abandoned. Hopeless. Degraded. Destroyed. Stabbed. Cast aside. Dejected. Trashed.  Thrown away like a used garbage plate trash.

I felt unloved.

I cried for several days. I still cry.  I may never get over this situation. Only God can heal my heart. But, I want a heart of stone. I want a heart that will never be broken again. I would deny myself if that’s what it takes. During the process of this situation, I have torn myself apart. Degraded myself and self-worth. Honestly, I know where these thoughts come from and they certainly do not come from God Himself. It’s all Satan and his vainglorious attempts to take me to the depths of hell. That’s one place I have no desire to be. However, it feels like that living on earth sometimes; hell on earth. It comes from being imperfectly perfect.

I still want a heart of stone. I do not ever want to be rejected by another person ever again. I refuse to trust. I refuse to love. Yes, my stubbornness is coming out. In reality, the only being I want my heart soft for is God and Jesus.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 36:26

Father, please don’t.

My walls are back up and right where they should be. I should never have taken them down. I had prayed about it when I first did; at that moment, everything was secure and I felt safe. I no longer feel safe. I no longer trust anyone. I no longer love.

It took me a few days to shake what I was feeling about myself. I needed to see myself through God’s eyes and not another human’s. God doesn’t make mistakes; People make mistakes. I made a mistake in trusting and believing. It feels like it was all a game. I hope it was worth it. While I am feeling the loss, in the end, I know who I am and only God’s opinion of me is what matters.

I still want that heart of stone.

“His heart is hard as a stone, hard as the lower millstone.” – Job 41:24

It’s the only way I will get through this season. Perhaps even the rest of my days.

Here’s the good news for me…

I know I am loved. I am loved by the One who gives UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. You don’t have to love me. In fact, at times, I really don’t want anyone’s love. Not because I don’t think I don’t deserve it but rather, it might be a waste of time for you as I won’t reciprocate it. Unrequited love is the worst possible thing on earth. To love someone who doesn’t love you back is just awful.

Just called me “Elsa”, the Ice Queen. Oh yes, I’ve been called that many times. One person said I was one of the most “uncaring, unloving, beautiful women” he had ever met. Good. Now let’s get back to it.

I know in God’s eyes, I am worthy. He wouldn’t have sent Jesus to die on the cross for me if I wasn’t worthy of something. I am important. Every one of God’s children has a purpose on this earth, during this temporal existence. I have value. The Proverbs woman is worth more than rubies and so am I. I’ve never been rejected by God. Not once. He’s been waiting while I’ve rejected Him.  I’ve rejected Him a LOT! I don’t have to be perfect to have God’s perfect love.

One thing I’ve learned is that I do not have to trust or believe anyone but God. I will have my heart of hard flesh once again.

You Say – Lauren Daigle

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh, I believe

Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You'll have every victory, (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe

Oh I believe (I), yes I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh I believe (oh)

 

Beauty is in the Eyes

Actually, true beauty is found in the heart.  It’s the one place where the Spirit of God lives. If the Spirit is not in our hearts, then how we appear to others may not be attractive.  Does that really matter? Does how I look on the outside really, truly matter to people? I’m not huge on wearing makeup daily or having the latest fashions. How important is that?

It never ceases to amaze me how much society values outer beauty. Take Hollywood for instance. Every year, People Magazine produces a “beautiful people” issue. The front cover displays the “most beautiful” person with a blurb on the inside of the magazine about why they were chosen for this descriptive title. What makes that person really more beautiful or attractive than say, someone like me? I won’t compare myself to the celebrities in Hollywood. I’m not them and they’re not me.  I used to idolize the women of Hollywood. I wanted to be an actress at one point in my life. The problem was that I never felt I could measure up to the societal standards that Hollywood set. I was never outwardly pretty enough. My thighs are too thick and my stomach isn’t flat.

Funny, that stuff doesn’t matter to God.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

God’s looking at my heart. He sees the beauty on the inside of me; the beauty that I am cultivating with His help. Think about it for a moment… What is attractive about a person’s outward appearance if they are mean, rude, crass, and volatile in spirit? What is manifested in the heart, shines on the outside.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” – Galatians 5:22

I cannot say enough about how God wants our hearts. He has my heart. My desire is to be the fruit of the Holy Spirit, becoming love, joy, peace, patience, and all those other things that come from believing in Christ’s atonement. When others look at me, I don’t want them to notice that I’m not wearing makeup or a trendy pair of jeans. I want them to see my smile and the way my eyes light up at acknowledging their presence. I don’t need compliments from men about my looks or my body.  Oh my gosh! At work, we utilize surveys to improve our customer service. Several weeks ago, there was a comment directed towards me. It was sexual in nature, discussing my “luscious breasts”. I was horrified! I was not viewed as a medical professional but rather as a sexual object. I felt degraded and dirty. I dress modestly, especially at work. My body is not on display to lure or entice the sexual appetite of others. That particular comment scared me. It made me wonder what I was doing wrong. Luckily, I have a boss who does not allow any of the women to be disrespected in that manner. He’s quick to step up to the plate and immediately asked our regional manager to look into the comment. Our corporate office has since removed the comment and that particular patient was transferred elsewhere.

I’ve never really thought I was pretty until the last 10 years. I thought I was okay looking and I used sarcastic humor to attract others. Never felt gorgeous or that I lived up to Hollywood standards. It was a blow to my self-esteem for many years. Now, I don’t particularly care if others find me attractive. I know I’m beautiful. On the inside. Where it COUNTS! I’ve never had a consistently ugly personality, thankfully. I know several women who are pretty on the outside but the minute their mouths open, the ugliness spews forth.

“likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,” – 1 Timothy 2:9

I wish I could say that I truly didn’t care about my looks. I don’t to a degree. I’ve decided that I’m reserving my physical appearance for the man God needs me to have according to His will. On occasion I’ll wear makeup. I might even do my hair or wear a dress and heels. For now, I’ll wear the beauty of God’s Spirit, which is in me.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I understand that it is my heart that makes me beautiful. I must give credit to You and Your Holy Spirit which dwells in me. Please help me to let the wondrous beauty of who You are shine on the outside. Please continue to fill me with Your fruits and help me to cultivate them. My desire is to bring forth the characteristics of Christ in all I do, so that others may see You as the Creator of all things.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God’s Not Dead

God has never been dead. Pushed aside, ignored, defamed, and a few other things for certain but never dead. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He was present before the earth was formed and man existed. I can’t fathom it. Can you? He has existed for all time and eternity.  I’m sure the question “Where was He when “this or that” happened?” Well, I can tell you where He was but would you believe me? Could you accept the words that are coming out of my mouth? Please, leave me a comment telling me the TRUTH about your perception of where God was during whatever struggles you were going through.

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion
God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

Roaring, He’s roaring, He’s roaring like a lion

Let hope arise and make the darkness hide
My faith is dead I need resurrection somehow
Now I’m lost in Your freedom
In this world I’ll overcome

God’s Not Dead – Newsboys

God lives in us all. I have shaken Him awake inside of me. Now, I feel more alive than ever. I am free. I’m not perfect though. Please, don’t think that I have a God complex or confuse my faith with self-righteousness. I am human. I have flaws. I have faults. I am DEFINITELY not perfect. Nor do I wish to be. Perfect is boring. Like Barbie. That doll has it all.  Except she has no soul.  Hahaha!

There is a revolution happening inside my heart. I can feel the battle raging. God wants my heart. He is calling me to Him and I am heading in His direction. One step at a time.

“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” – Psalm 23:3

When I look around, I realize that God has been present in my life the entire time. He’s been waiting for me to ask Him to intervene in my life and restore me to Him. God has more patience with me than I can possibly understand! As much as I want to believe I am an awful person, simply based upon the things I’ve done in the past, my heart knows that I have been forgiven and the past has been erased by God. I’m not a bad person; I’ve just made some bad decisions and the consequences have drawn me nearer to God.

“So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” – Romans 7:21

How true that is! I find myself walking right into the thick of temptation when I’m trying to stay focused on God. Thankfully, my Father in Heaven always provides a way out for me. In my mindfulness of Him, I find myself growing stronger in my faith and the boundaries I have set. I need God more than ever before. Wait, I’ve always needed Him; I just haven’t allowed Him into my life consistently.  Now, He’s roaring like a lion inside of me. I have woken God up!

“Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.” – Revelation 3:3

Maybe He has woken me up. My eyes are completely open to see where I need to repent. For that, I am grateful to Him.

“Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” – 1 Corinthians 15:34

When I first got on my knees a couple of weeks ago, I cried. My heart was hurting. My soul felt empty. I was dead on the inside, which could only mean that God was laying dormant. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t feel love. I couldn’t feel compassion. I couldn’t feel anything other than the deadening of my soul. Deep within the recesses of my brain, I knew something needed to change: Me. I had to ask God to come back into my life. I did just that. Now, He’s present with a vengeance.

“O Lord, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth!” – Psalm 94:1

He is ever present in my thoughts now. I can see and feel His presence in my daily activities. My language has changed. I think yesterday is the first time in several days that I thought the “f” word in my head. It didn’t come out of my mouth though! Oh thank you, Jesus! I’m notorious for the “f-bomb”, especially at work. Having God in my heart and creating a new heart for me has made me mindful of how I present God to others. He is alive on the inside of me!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” – Psalm 51:10

It’s Not My Problem

Oh how I’ve said that a lot in my life! I think we all have. I really believe the problems of others are not my issue. However, those problems cannot be overcome without God’s help. Which means, when we come together and are united in Christ, there is more power to overcome the struggles we face. God didn’t design Adam to live in social isolation; He created Eve as a companion.

Think for a moment… Why is the situation at hand not your problem? Is it because you don’t want to become involved? Is it because you want to fix it for someone else but don’t know how? Is it because you don’t want to be held responsible for the outcome? I don’t like to involve myself in other people’s relationships. I have a friend who is constantly telling me that they are going to file for divorce. It’s been said so many times that I’ve gotten to where I roll my eyes and I do not believe them. In fact, after the last time the comment was made, all I said was “Okay”. I was very apathetic and unbelieving of the words. I didn’t even understand the point of why they were telling me this. It’s not like I was interested in having a relationship with this person. I can see through the lies. A couple of days later, I sent my friend this text:

I know you weren’t expecting my response when you told me you were filing for divorce but try looking at it from my perspective. You’ve been saying that for over a year now. Did you really expect me to believe you? I never told anyone I was divorcing L until I actually filed. So, when you actually do it, I’ll be supportive. Divorce is hard no matter what. Our time is over, so I’ll always be your friend no matter what.”

Was I wrong to say what I said? I don’t think so. My friend’s issue is not my issue but what I can do is pray for them. I also know quite a bit about the relationship and I believe if they focused on God, they will be able to work out the challenges in their relationships.

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:16

My problems are not unique. At some point, we’ve all had the same problems or even issues with similarities. What makes me different, is that I’m learning to rely on God to help me with the issues. God is not going to fix it for me, but He will lead me in the direction He wants me to take. I have a huge issue with men and physical attraction. Every day for the last 10 or so days, I have been on my knees, begging God to remove this temptation from me. He won’t cure me of my struggles but He will provide a way out

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Right now, I’m tempted to not finish this blog and go get a cup of coffee. Or go back to bed. I digress, I have to work today.

Jumping right back into an issue when I haven’t healed is another challenge I face constantly. I have a tendency to be very impatient. Until recently, I had internally fought against the idea of waiting on God. Had I been doing what God has been asking of me, I might not have had to suffer the consequences of my actions. Waiting on Him has become a priority. I am rather excited to see what happened when I wait for His sweet timing in my life!!

“keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” – Jude 1:21

God is very interested in our problems. He won’t fix them or remove them from our lives, but He will help us take the necessary steps that draw us closer to Him. Remember the “still, small voice” I posted about yesterday?

“Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” – Hebrews 2:1

When life gets difficult, it is easier to turn away from God and try to solve the problems ourselves. It doesn’t work very well, does it? He is there, on the back burner, waiting for us to call on Him so He can show us the way.

“And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” – Psalm 139:24

“And you know the way to where I am going.” – John 14:4

God knows where we are going. He knows every struggle we will face before we face it. He will provide the way out from under temptation. I don’t want God to remove my problems. Although, I will admit, I would like them not so hard! But He does give me ways to overcome the issues. I’m still learning how to listen for Him and seek His guidance. Work in progress, people.  Work in progress.

Traveling a Narrow Path

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

The Road Less Taken – Robert Frost

When I chose to walk the narrow path, I knew it would not be easy. As I was standing at my crossroads, I knew I could not follow Jesus and follow the world.  The world with its wicked pleasures and false sense of security! Every little indulgence that promises happiness is a fake, phoney, disruption of the truth. It is only in truth that a genuine happiness can be found.

One thought that has been running through my head this past week (and it’s popped up quite frequently – I’d say at least once a day) is…

Why am I trying to fit in when I was born to stand out?

I always wanted to be popular in high school. Hang out with the “A” crowd, be a cheerleader who dated a football player, the one girl that was invited to all the hot parties, etc. I wanted to be liked by everyone. I wanted people to know my name. Sadly, it was a blow to my self-esteem that I had never fit in. I still don’t fit in as an adult. I am learning to live with that and to accept that.  The reality is, the only person who has to accept me on this earth, is me.

God accepts me as I am. I am HIS daughter. I am loved, cherished, and valued by God.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

I’ve spent the last 47 years of my life searching for acceptance on earth. I’ve been disappointed every time. People are flawed; I’m flawed. Imperfectly perfect as Heidi Powell would say. Over the last week, I’ve spent a lot of time with God. I’ve spent time on my knees praying. I’ve shed enough tears to fill an ocean. I’ve been waking up early every morning to start my day with God.

Now, I do not particularly care if the people on this planet like me, love me, or accept me. It is not my place to seek solace in mankind. My value and worth comes from God. He is my judge and the only Being that can deem me to be worthy to inherit richly treasures that exceed my comprehension.

“Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living.” – Job 28:13

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”  – 1 Corinthians 15:50

Imagine you are standing on a platform. There is no way to get down from this pillar. You are hungry and the only source of food is on another platform, across the way. There is a rope connected to between your platform and the other; the rope isn’t very wide or thick. The platform with the food has a ladder leading down to the ground. When you look down, you see that the people look like ants milling about and you feel faint from the height. You can smell the delicious food, but are looking down at the people on the ground. It’s a long ways down! You tremble with trepidation and fear begins to consume you. The food is beckoning you, calling you to come satisfy your hunger. Although you are afraid, you take that first step. Unsure, unsecure, a bit wobbly, but your foot is on the rope. You take another step. Then another, becoming more balanced than the first step. You have your eyes on the prize: the delicious food. You pause, listening to the grumbling of your stomach, and try to regain your balance on the narrow rope. You reach your arms out, not only for balance but also to possibly reach what is ahead. Step by step, you grow closer and closer to the food. Your fear begins to dissipate and you focus in on what is in front of you. A quick glance behind you shows how far you’ve come. Don’t look down though; you aren’t a part of the crowd and they are not a part of your journey.  Keep your eyes ahead, you zone in on the platform and keep walking. Finally, with one last step, you have reached your reward.

“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:14

God is on that other platform but in order for us to reach Him, we have to take the first step and walk the narrow path that He has placed us on. He is our food!  Our life-sustaining food! That narrow path He has set before us has no room for the treasures of earth.

I will admit that I have some fears about the ever-narrowing path I’m on. At the same time, I also know I’m finally on solid ground.  My relationship with God is growing and I am tasting the food He is providing.

“For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 10:1-4

Jesus is our food, people.  I hunger for God and His Son more than anything. Only God can take care of my hunger, my thirst, and the void in my heart. Are you hungry enough to walk the narrow path? If you are, then it’s time to set aside your fears. I will warn you though, you will stumble. It’s because we are human and therefore imperfect and prone to sin.

I’m not walking my path alone. I find great comfort in that. I can feel God’s presence and it fills me. I am walking alongside Him and when I grow too weary to walk, I know that God is carrying me. I will have to step outside of the path on occasion; there may be several reasons for this. Whatever those reasons are, it will be to help me grow and go further in my walk with Christ. I did step out of my comfort zone today and I shared the life-changes I have been making this past week. I shared them with my doctor. She didn’t think it was weird, although, I did preface my statement with “You’ll think this is weird”. I don’t know what she believes or what her faith is or even if she is a follower of Jesus but I planted a seed by proclaiming my walk.

I can only hope and pray that my walk will inspire someone else to seek the narrow path and obtain the right food to fill their bodies.

“Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.” – Proverbs 3:23

Waiting on Him

I was listening to John Waller’s song While I’m Waiting earlier today…

“I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait”

There are things in this life that my heart desires. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life on earth alone. However, if that is God’s will, I will accept it. I’m learning to be patient and wait for my needs to be provided for. One crucial thing: only God can fill the void in a human heart. I won’t ever find comfort in a man’s arms until I can find comfort in God.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” – 2 Corinthians 1:3

So, I’ve made the decision to wait. Wait for what? I have no idea. But I’m going to wait until God decides to give me what is His Will for me. I already know I will be impatient. I will be frustrated. I may even get angry at times. I could kick, scream, cry, and throw the very same temper-tantrum that a 3 year-old would when they can’t have a cookie. Yes, I am quite capable of doing all those things; after all, I am a child of God.

“I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” – Psalm 69:3

It will be exhausting waiting on God to provide my heart’s desires. Not everything I want in life will be given to me. If it doesn’t jive with what God’s plans are for me, then when I make piss-poor choices, my life will go awry. I already know this, God! I know when I’ve made some really bad decisions and I’ve had to live with the consequences. It has not been fun to untangle the web that I created with my attitude on doing whatever I wanted. If anything it has only served to bring me misery. There. I said it. I’ve been miserable in the choices I’ve made for myself instead of listening to God. What’s ironic about all of this is that that I know that God was watching. He was sitting in the back, where I ushered Him, with His feet propped up and munching on a bowl of popcorn. Yummy. I’m quite certain it has been a very entertaining show so far.

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14

I was texting with my friend T this evening, moments before typing this blog. He actually inspired it. Our conversations are always appropriate, God-driven, and nurturing. Tonight’s conversation was no different. T is an incredible man that any God-fearing woman would be blessed to have. Heck! I’m just blessed to call him my friend! T and I met on a dating site. We exchanged a few messages back and forth but it never really went any further than that. In fact, we’ve never met in person.What? Yep. We’ve never met face to face. One of these days we will. God willing! I digress. T and I were discussing relationships and he has assumed that I had gotten married. For the record, I’m not married and I’m not even close to thinking about it right now. My focus is on strengthening my relationship with God. That’s all that matters. T is single too. I told him that he’ll find someone. God has a plan for all of us.

T’s response? “I’m waiting on Him.”

Please, allow me to repeat that… I’m waiting on Him.

This has been my mantra all day.  I want to wait for God. I’ve been praying about that statement all day. But to see it in a text message from T, was all I needed today. The tears came next. I know I put too much stock in having a relationship with a man. Perhaps it’s overrated at this conjuncture in my life. I know what I have to do right now. In this season. It will be the hardest thing I have ever done. Yet, I know it will be the most rewarding. Please, Father, grant me some patience? I’m going to need it as I wait on You. I have to close several doors. I’ve already started doing that and from a physical perspective, it’s been rather refreshing and freeing. I want to stay away from relationships that can create a disturbance in my relationship with God. Is that even possible?

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.'” – Mark 10:27

I simply cannot do much of anything without God’s help. I know He is there for me and will remove temptations from my path. He will provide a way out and surround me with His Warriors to protect me when I feel weak. As long as I stay focused and keep my eyes on the rewards that can only be found in heaven, I will wait.

Dearest Father,

You and only You know the deepest desires of my heart. A woman’s heart is as vast as the ocean and often filled beyond capacity. I ask that You guide me as You see fit so that I may strengthen the bond I have with You.  You are my Father and have made me Your daughter. Please teach me patience, just as You have taught me to give unconditional love.Please help me to stay on the narrow path and to fully understand how You are carrying me during the hardest times of my earthly life. I know You have plans for me to prosper, to have peace, and to be loved. My heart knows that You only have the best in mind for me. I ask that You provide Your will for me in Your time.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Do You Have the Time?

It’s morning, and honestly, I have no clue what time it is exactly unless I take a moment to look at my phone. There is a clock on my laptop but I still have this habit of reaching for my phone to check the time. That’s not the only thing I look at on my phone. I look at emails, InstaGram, and not too long ago, Facebook.  I recently shut down my Facebook account. Sure, it’s great for keeping up-to-date on what everyone is doing, but the reality is, it’s a time-waster.

“I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.” – Psalm 119:147

For the past week, I’ve been getting up early to spend time with God. Those who have known me for years could tell you that me waking up early to read the Bible or pray is out of the “norm” for me. They wouldn’t believe it and might even say that it will only last for a few weeks due to my “noncommittal” nature. They could very well be right. I have a tendency to be noncommittal in so many areas of my life. Nor do I share about my relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  I will attest that getting up early every morning has been difficult. The alarm goes off and I hit snooze a few times. It’s not that I don’t want to get up, but rather, this is a process that I am working on. I’ve never really been the type to just jump up and bound out of bed to do whatever activities are on my to-do list for the day. What typically occurs is I will tap the snooze button on my phone until the actual time I have determined to physically extract myself from the luscious comfort of my bed. Sometimes it’s 5am; sometimes it’s 7am. It all depends upon what I need to do for daily earthly living (work, school, etc).

“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” – Psalm 5:3

God says we are to spend time with Him. I’m getting to where I don’t feel right without spending time with Him first thing in the morning. It does make for a super craptastic day in my personal experience. Yes, I said “craptastic”. In examining my past days, I noticed that when I don’t spend time with God right away after waking up, I’m moody, my mouth has no filter, my temper flares and I fly off the handle, and I’m just plain mean. Nothing about me demonstrates any of the godly qualities that I have been gifted with. Nothing demonstrates the love I have for others; nothing is kind or gentle or truthful.  Ugh! It makes me appear to be an awful person! I hate that person! (Hate is a very strong word that I try not to use often.)

My mornings upon waking go something like this: I hit the snooze until it’s the actual time, then I use the bathroom, make a cup of coffee, and then I’m on my knees beside my bed. I don’t care how you pray but for me, praying to my Heavenly Father on my knees is a blessing! I am grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to move my body in a way that allows me to worship God.

“so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” – Philippians 2:10

Do you have the time? I bet your day is pretty busy. You are working, being a parent/grandparent/spouse, cleaning your house, running errands, and doing all sorts of things on your to-do list. My question is this, how much of that time is spent doing things for other people and not for God?  We get so caught up in those lists we make, focusing on what we didn’t do the  day before that we forget who is at the helm of our lives. God is the Master of our to-do list and Manager of our time. Our time isn’t truly ours; it is designed for us to do what God has asked. In the book I am currently studying, Lies Women Believe by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, she points out that at the end of Jesus’ life, he calls out to God saying, “I have finished the work which YOU have given me to do.” Who’s time are we on? Who’s to-do list do we have to accomplish? I find that as I get older, I place less and less importance on household chores. That does not mean that I don’t keep a tidy home; what it means is if you stop by and the dishes aren’t done, it’s perfectly fine as my priority is doing what God wants me to do – spend time with you. I don’t want to be remembered in death as someone who folded laundry while you attempted to have an adult conversation with me. That’s important. I want you to remember me as someone who was always walking in the light and someone you could count on for godly direction.

Now, as I go about my day, I offer small prayers to ensure my to-do list and time management are in alignment with God’s purpose for me.

“I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.” – Psalm 132:4-5

Once my earthly day is over, I spend more time with God. It is the hour before I fall asleep and give thanks for what was accomplished during the day. I have times where it doesn’t seem like I’ve done much in the worldly-sense, but at the same time, I don’t know who I may have impacted by exhibiting Christ-like qualities during my daily interactions. I see hundreds of different people every day; what if, what if, there was just that one brief interaction that allowed God’s love to be demonstrated and called a new life to grow closer to Him? Eh, anything is possible! God works in mysterious ways and I, for one, will not question the work He does. It is in His time that all will be accomplished on His to-do list.

My thought is this: if you have time for social media, then you have even more time for God. God doesn’t want us to keep up with the Kardashians or the neighbors or our friends who appear to have it all. We are not to be comparing ourselves with the business of others. God’s to-do list is different for everyone. Most importantly, He wants us to keep time with Him.

Do you have the time? The time to give God the opportunity to work in your life and strengthen your relationship with Him? Don’t stress or worry over what you didn’t accomplish yesterday. Focus on what you did do on God’s to-do list. He’ll get everything else done for you.

Living a Lie (Or All of Them)

I’ve been so caught up in things that should not matter in the worldly sense. I’ve become lost. Over the last few weeks I have been in a state of depression. No real rhyme or reason. I’ve accepted it as something that just happens on occasion. I have enough sense to reach out when it gets ugly for me or my actions are not on par with where my brain needs to be. But, I digress, and need to discuss something that has my focus at this time. I hope that my focus will continue on the path I started a few days ago. I’m praying for it.

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” – Proverbs 4:18

It’s not an easy path to walk when you decide to walk with God. God doesn’t promise an easy life. He promises an abundant life. What does that mean? I had to look the word up in the dictionary, surprisingly weird since I do know how to use the word properly in a sentence.  The word abundant,  according to Dictionary.com, means “present in great quantity,” “more than adequate”, and “oversufficient”.  What does that mean? Well, to me, it means that God will give me more life than I know how to handle. He’ll also equip me with what I need to deal with the challenges I face in this earthly world. God will provide an escape when the temptation becomes too great.  He will instill in me a discerning spirit and voice in which to be guided by.  He will be present in all that I do.

I have to learn how to trust in that, instead of believing in the years of lies that I have been ingrained with. It’s those lies that have become my truth and I am just now starting to unravel them. It’s not easy. It’s even harder when you have been let down by the world and the pain within causes you to seek temporal comfort. You see, my personal journey in this life has been to seek the comfort of other human beings. Mostly male. Definitely all very unfulfilling and creating further chasms of unsatisfaction. There is no peace in temporary physical relationships.  I’m learning and while it’s a slow process, I’m starting to shed the negative habits that led me away from God.

There are many things I desire to discuss and bring to light in my life. Where to start? I could discuss the men in my past but first, I need to be honest with myself. I do suck at lying to others but I can lie to myself all day long. It’s because I believe what I’ve been told by those I seek acceptance from. I’m done with the lies. I don’t want to lie to myself anymore, nor do I want to be caught up in the lies of others.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  – James 4:7

The biggest lie I believe is what others tell me I am or who I should be or what I need to do.  I recently ended a friendship because I believed that she was supportive of who I am inside. Truth revealed itself, and when I informed her that I was going through a depression, she stated that I was never there when she needed me. She made my depression about her. Her mother recently passed and I dropped everything to be by her side. I left work, picked up some food, and drove straight to her house. This wasn’t the first time. When I needed to talk about my grandmother, it became a conversation about her boyfriend. I’ve been praying for this relationship for a long time. I had been asking God to encourage me to stay friends with her. That wasn’t His answer. The relationship had become toxic and very one-sided; I wasn’t trusting of her nor did I feel I could tell her everything. I had realized that I had stopped telling her things a long time ago. I just let her assume that her thoughts and opinions of what was happening in my life were correct. I never bothered to correct her. I just allowed her to think her thoughts. I never stood up to her. She believes she knows what happened in my marriages. and I didn’t say a single word to her about them. Even my own mother doesn’t know what transpired. I keep certain things to myself, whether they are truth or a lie.

I’m learning to examine the lies and the environment surrounding them. My heart knows TRUTH. It’s time to let the truth out and show the truth I’ve found in God and His Son, Jesus.

Truth #1: Not everything I hear or see is God’s truth.

It is so easy to manipulate and twist the truth into something that creates a magical world for me. It’s so easy to believe that I can exist in the fake world I created for myself and that it brings me joy.  NOPE!  I tend to become consumed by what is going on around me and I allow myself to believe in things which are false. If I am in a relationship, my world is complete. If I do these things to make him happy, I will be happy. If I look this way or that way in my appearance, I will be attractive and attract the right kind of man.  NO!!  Again, this is all wrong.  I’ve put too much stock in human beings, especially men. Men who are not Godly and only want their own pleasures and desires.

I made a very hard decision for myself a few days ago. I decided to step away from all my male relationships. At least all those that are tinged with romance and sexual desire. My prayers have changed too, when I made this decision. I’ve been praying for the strength to say no to my sexual nature. Whoa! Did I just say that? Yes. I want truth and peace more than anything. I’m praying for God to help me during this time. I need help in dealing with the loneliness that comes from not being in a relationship. I have never been single or alone. I’ve been lonely but I also know in the recesses of my mind, I’ve never been alone. God has always been present.

God IS always present.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” – Deuteronomy 31:8