It Just Hit The Spot!!

It Just Hit The Spot!!

My parents were pastor’s for over 40 yrs before my dad passed away and they use to tell a story that happened at one of the first churches they pastored, there was one particular member of the congregation who had such a generous heart of sharing and blessing them with food she would bring over something to them all the time, from baked goods to full meals. She was always blessing my parents with food that she had made. The only problem with this situation was that as sweet as this lady was she didn’t know how to cook. In fact my parents told stories of one time, she baked a cake without any sugar in it and as best they could tell, they think she used salt instead. 

 

Apparently, as the story goes,  I am told, at that point my parents had to decide to do something that would not only keep them and their intestines safe, but protect this ladies feelings as well. So they came up with a plan that would not offend the sweet lady.or kill them. They decided to name their trash can “Spot” and every time this sweet little lady would bring mom and dad something that they couldn’t eat, they just threw it in the trash can and told the sweet lady “It  Just Hit the Spot” the next time they saw her in to acknowledgement of their appreciation for her effort. 

 

So for years at our home you couldn’t say “That just hit the spot” around the dinner table, without everyone bursting into laughter. My parents did this to preserve the sweet little ladies feelings. Some might call this a little white lie, others would say it wasn’t because the trash can now had an affectionate name called the Spot! So whatever you deem it as, it really doesn’t matter because mom and dad have since gone on to meet God and I am pretty sure out of everything they did in life, that did not keep them from heaven. 

 

My parents served in many churches over their years of ministry many times we didn’t stay more than 3 or so years because it seemed every church my parents went to were one of those so called “difficult” churches,  especially in their later years of ministry. Mom and dad would go in to the church, take care of the problems that had been left behind and then move on to the next church. 

 

One particular church my parents pastored was a church where the previous pastor had an affair with one of the deacons wives and had spent so much of the churches money that the church could barely pay their bills. I am told that the treasurer of the church couldn’t even stay at home in the evening because local bill collectors would come knocking on his door for the churches bills.

 

This is the kind of dirt that often times the church doesn’t want to talk about. It is also the kind of dirt and problems that run people away from the church. For some reason the world looks at the church as a place that is for perfect people when Jesus told us in Mark chapter 2:17 

Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

 

For far too long the church has put on this front that we are better than the world. For years the church has had a list of don’ts that is far longer than their list of the do’s. We have looked down on people who aren’t like us instead of being like Jesus and sitting with sinners. 

 

The verse above in Mark 2 follows the story where Jesus is hanging out with well known sinners and the Pharisee or what we would call today,church people, are judging Him in their hearts and He calls them out on it and tells them, in a roundabout way, that I am and the church is for the sick not the healthy. Jesus himself said that He came for the lost. 

 

If the church today is going to be what God has called us to be, we need to realize that living a life for Christ isn’t about doing, doing this or doing that. It is about being! Being the only Jesus in many cases that people will see. Loving people like Jesus loved them. He loved them into His way of life, not criticizing or looking down on others because they weren’t just like Him. We as believers just need to accept the love that has so freely been given to us while we were still a mess and extend that grace to others while they are still in their mess. 

 

When we look down on people because they are different than us, we forget that God also told us in Matthew chapter 7 that the same way we judge others we will be judged. Now that doesn’t mean because we don’t sin like someone else that when judge them that makes it okay. No! It means that with the same severity that we judge others we will be judged. 

 

Rick Warren author of The Purpose Driven Life says “ “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

 

Christ didn’t compromise His convictions when He sat around and ate with sinners or hung out with prostitutes! So what makes us think we have too.

 

You know what my mom and dad did as they named the trash can “Spot”,  they were being a friend, they were being, instead of doing. They could have scorned this woman and told her they appreciated the effort but wasn’t really interested in her kind of cooking, they could have said they didn’t like her food and shunned her. But they just loved her and she didn’t walk away with her feelings being hurt, but she was made to feel loved and valued.

 

If my parents had done anything less, it could have wounded this person and she may never of darkened the door of a church again, Is one cake really worth that? Nothing! Absolutely Nothing! Is worth the loss of a soul. Because that one soul can affect generations of others who will not darken the door of the church, if we wound a tender soul. We as Christians can put such a sour taste in someones mouth, we can turn people away from God because we aren’t loving people like Jesus did and still does. 

 

It is God’s call to all of us to love. The bible says Jesus is Love and we are responsible to love everyone and show them Christ’s love. Will your life be that today? When we remember what we have been saved from, then it is a lot easier to love others who aren’t just like us, because one thing is certain. There but for the grace of God goes any of us! Let’s show the grace to others that we have been given by the almighty Creator of the Universe. Because He loves every single one of us and let’s never forget at the foot of the cross it is all level ground!  

 

Advertisements
Unashamed

Unashamed

There is this girl I know, she was conceived in unfortunate circumstances, raised by preachers, who did not tell her she was adopted till he was 16 years old, engaged to be married and as her father was about to go into open heart surgery. She was sexually abused not only by a young man who called himself a christian, but right inside the church walls. She was bullied and made fun of by her peers, people who didn’t even know her believed she would never turn out to be any good. Adopted at birth,  She herself suffered from infertility, for 10 years. Struggling with body issues she was bulimic for a time, just to try to conform to what she thought the world expected from her, and to fit into a family that would never love her.

It seemed every time this girl would get ahead in life, something would knock her back down. People in the churches she was raised in rarely acted like the God that she knew. Her dad, kicked out of 2 churches, himself, should of made her hate God, she herself was fired from three jobs in her life,  and each time her father was asked to leave, it was as she herself had been rejected again. How could people that call themselves Christians act like this? She not only faced emotional bankruptcy but financial as well. She lived in 5 different states, and attended 9 schools in twelve years, living in countless houses but never really having a home.

Just looking for someone that would find value in her, she searched everywhere,  including an emotional affair. She lost the only father she ever knew and loved, when she was only 23 yrs old, and became the full-time caregiver for the next 33 years to her handicapped mother. While, homeschooling all 3 of her children one being severely dyslexic she felt again she had failed and blamed herself for her child’s challenges. Early in her marriage she and her husband with one child to care for, found themselves homeless, her family has rejected her, her church has rejected her, and her own mother has even rejected her, she felt all alone.

 Exhausted and tired from all the circumstances of her life, it is no wonder that she locked herself in her house for a season and refused to leave or answer the phone for fear of what the world was going to do to her next.

She had seen a lifetime of hurt and pain that no one should see their whole life, let alone before the age of 30,  and once this girl finally got brave enough to leave the house again, she did so, but not without putting up some walls in her life to guard her from ever being hurt again. Especially around people that called themselves Christians, because all this girl had ever known was to be hurt by these so called people who loved God. This girl finally put on such a hard exterior that no one could get through, and it’s no wonder she decided that she didn’t care if the whole world would die and go to hell.

Her plan was to just follow Christ like a racehorse with blinders on, laser focus to the finish line, because suicide wasn’t an option for her but a natural death or the rapture would be her only escape. Because,  after all, God was the only one who had never left her. With her hard exterior and protective layer she soon went in straight survival mode, guarding what she said, and preferring to be alone. She was hesitant about anything she would say around others,  because all to often in this Christian world, like a puppy that would just barely stick its head, out of its cage, she had all to often been slapped back in before she barely got her nose out the door.

She felt whipped, beaten and alone. She felt unsure of who she was and what she could ever do. There was a battle raging within her of what she knew she could do, and what she felt like would be accepted by those around her in her life. Her mind tossed and turned contemplating, what she wanted to do, and what she knew she had been called to do. So all to often it was just easier to step back and do nothing. That is when again, she drew up into a shell, and just really wanted the world to pass her by.

Until one day the Lord begin to show her in her own prayer time that He had great plans for her, that her circumstances were not a punishment, but a badge of honor to wear. Not proud because of her mistakes, but a victory that she kept going and did not quit,  that she was a fighter and a winner. So slowly but surely this girl would attempt to stick her head outside the cage one more time, maybe it was just saying “Hi” to a person, maybe it was just inviting someone over. But just as quick at she stuck her nose outside that cage, she would pull it back in, for fear it would get swatted again like it had so many times before.  

Over and over again she tried each time sticking that wet, scared nose out of the cage, a little bit further each time, with the success from the last. With each attempt to let the world back in,  she would stay a little longer outside the cage, looking around a little more, till finally one day she was totally revealed to the rest of the world. She had come completely out of her cage.

All the while, her mind battling against what she wanted to do, which was crawl back in her cage and let the whole world die and go to hell, and at the same time realizing that God had bigger plans for her,  and those plans would mean stepping out of the comfort zone of that cage and allow the world back into her life. That process took well over 40 yrs and she still is working through it.

But that girl doesn’t hide in her cage anymore, afraid to stick her nose out for fear it would get smacked because she isn’t good enough. That girl, now looks back on her past, not with shame,  but with gratefulness of what the Lord has brought her through, that girl realizes that she is a child of God, and no matter what man may do around here, or think of her, it doesn’t matter, because God is her ultimate authority and He calls her His child.

Oh! Does she still battle with the fact life would be easier, if she just stayed hid in her house and let the rest of the world die and go to hell. Sure she does! But she also realizes that the very reason she was created, and the reason she had to walk through what she did, was because she needed to know there was a God that could bring her out  and there are many that she needs to tell of this goodness of God.

So when you hear  this girl talk about how shy she really is, when you hear her say she really prefers to be alone, believe her. Don’t be shocked when you see her laughing in a crowd or sharing with a group of people. Remember at those times, what the Lord has brought her from. Understand that the girl you see today has not always had this freedom. You need to know that there is still a battle that rages within her.

But also know that she has drawn a line in the sand and she as decided that she refuses to allow her feelings to abort what God has called her to do.  And I know all this, because that girl is me!

Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:25, But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 NIV

PARTY!!!

PARTY!!!

969309_10152805169190487_2082970919_n

I LOVE a party! I love planning a party; I love dreaming about a party AND making all the preparations for a party!

I have loved everything to do with a party for as long as I can remember. Before I was  even 16 years old I was helping plan and coordinate weddings. So it might come as no surprise that the photographer at my own wedding said, “This is the best planned wedding I have ever seen!”

My love for planning parties has even led me to organize city wide events. When I asked the city administrator, of the town I was living at, at the time, if I could plan a second event in the same year for our city, he voiced his concern that I would wear myself out. He was shocked when I told him, “This is like breathing air to me! I love it!”  To which he immediately replied, “You are CRAZY!”
All of my children are not like me though. My oldest has never wanted big parties or, frankly, a lot of attention about anything. He is that low-key kind of kid. If he didn’t look just like me, I would have him tested to be assured there was no mix up at the hospital! When he was told he had won a scholarship to his college of choice, he simply said, “Oh! That’s nice,” and walked away, leaving his father and I exasperated that he didn’t show more emotion. He is one of those kids who consciously has to think to smile and act happy when opening up gifts, etc. He is like a rock; solid, steady and dependable, but NOT expressive.
His sister, on the other hand, might be a little more like her momma. We are expressive in everything we do and nothing brings us more joy then planning parties and celebrating with others. We have been known to plan an adult tea party for girls just to celebrate the china we have. After all, if we have it we should use it – and celebrate! Right?
When Amy was told she had a choice: we would buy her a car, or, she could have a party for her 16th birthday, guess what she chose? ……. Yep, that’s right! The Party! – and she participated in every detail of planning it!  I will never forget hurrying around, putting the finishing touches on the party, as my eldest sat in the corner, just watching the hub-bub of it all. When I heard him say, “Mom, you finally got the child you always wanted,” At first, I was taken back, thinking he felt unloved because of the attention his sister was getting.  But he explained it was only because he knows my love for celebrating was being enhanced by Amy’s enthusiasm.
You know, the Bible talks about celebrations. The book of Leviticus is full of celebrations established by God through Moses for the Israelites.  There is the Feast of Weeks, Feast of Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Tabernacles, to name a few. How awesome is it that we have a God who likes to PARTY!
John Orthberg, describes Jesus as the “Joy-bringer” in his book called The Life You’

ve Always Wanted, and I can think of nothing that brings people more joy than a good party! Let me clarify here, when I say “party,” I am not meaning one where you fall out on the floor from getting drunk or so high on drugs you can’t remember what you did. No! That kind of party only provides a momentary hilarity (mostly at your own expense!) that soon fades away and is mercifully forgotten.
When we read 1 Peter 1:8-9(NIV) it says:
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
It says that we are filled with joy! JOY! How awesome is that? And not only filled with joy, but filled with joy over the fact that, even though we have not yet seen our Heavenly Father, we are filled with an inexpressible and glorious JOY! Wow! If we are that excited about Him before we see Him, how are we going to feel once we actually see him face-to-face?
If we have truly received this gift of salvation and are in a relationship with Jesus Christ, shouldn’t we be as excited as a bride is, when she is waiting to see her groom for the first time on the day of her wedding?
Have you ever noticed that when a bride stands at the end of the aisle before walking down to her groom, the whole atmosphere in the place changes? No matter if it is held at a beach or in a chapel. The people around her stand; all eyes are on her; and the groom, waiting at the end of the aisle, looks in awe at his beautiful bride.
Isn’t that the way our lives should be, because of the relationship we have with Christ? We should be full of joy, aware that, when we walk into a room every eye is upon us, and Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is watching every step we take as we walk towards Him!

Life should be lived with the same joy we have when we attend a great party. No matter what comes our way, or what distractions Satan tries to throw at us, we can keep our eyes on the groom, walking toward Him with inexpressible, glorious JOY!
I don’t care how many times I have been to a wedding, I have never seen a bride get distracted and stop, or turn around, once she starts heading down that aisle. Her eyes are fixed on her groom, and she is taking one foot and placing it in front of the other, as quickly as is customarily acceptable.
I think this is the way we should live our lives: with inexpressible and glorious joy, realizing this life is just a walk down the aisle! If we keep our eyes on Christ, there is nothing that will distract us; not the bill that comes in the mail, or the person at church who just hurt our feelings or even if our presidential candidate won or lost.  We can’t get distracted about such stuff! We must remember we are “atmosphere changers!”  The minute we walk into a room, it is our job to keep our eyes on Christ and keep walking the life he has laid before us.
I hope you will do that today, and do it with inexpressible, glorious joy! If we keep our eyes on Him, nothing will distract us or cause us to do otherwise.
Let’s Pray:
Oh dear, precious, Heavenly Father above, we ask You today to help us live our life as a party, with the joy you have put inside us. Too often, Lord, we have become distracted by the things of this world and have forgotten to keep our eyes on You. Lord, for that we are sorry and ask You to forgive us and fill us with that inexpressible, glorious joy that You give, again and again.
In Jesus Name we pray,
AMEN

 

 

My Wild and Crazy Side

303684_10151780519840487_356408458_n (1)It was the summer of 2013 and I did it! I went wild and crazy maybe it was the fact my daughter had just graduated from High School or my youngest son was about to turn 16 and would start driving on his own soon or maybe it was that my oldest son was about to get married and I was also going to be an instant grandma on the same day, but no I think it was just the fact that I wanted to look my best for the wedding and be as cool as possible since the wedding was outside on a hot summer June day in Oklahoma, But whatever the reason I did it! “Yes, I went and got a spray tan!! I know it was wild for me! (don’t judge) LOL!!

If you have been around me at all, you have probably noticed the numerous scars all over my arms that glow like beaming lights. I have a natural-olive completion, but after a severe case of chickenpox as a child. I was left with light colored scars all over my arms. I usually wear at least three-quarter length sleeves, if not long sleeves year round because if it.

But as I stepped out of the tent and looked into the mirror,  after I had been sprayed. My blemishes were all gone! My completion on my arms was perfect!! I almost cried, it was unreal the feeling of an unknown weight I had been carrying on my shoulders was suddenly lifted an overwhelming sense of joy filled me and I was flooded with unexpected emotions. I asked Amy to quickly hand me my glasses so I could assure that they were all gone. As I put my glasses on , just as quickly as they were gone, the blemishes returned. the view through my glasses revealed the truth that they had only been darken a little but it was clear they were still there, and just as quickly as the joy came and the weight was lifted it returned, perhaps even heavier than before. But never the less I will never forget the feeling of that weight being lifted off me, I had not realized how much it bother me until, suddenly I thought I would never have to cover up my scars again.

As my mom celebrated her first birthday in Heaven yesterday, I know she must be feeling that same freedom, from the weight of her sickness and disease as I felt those few seconds in the tanning booth. As she celebrated her birthday with my dad and her mom and many other friends who had went to heaven before her and then even some who have followed her in the short 7 months she has been gone. See, I don’t think it is by accident that I had that experience less than 30 days before my momma took her last breath here on this earth. I believe God wanted me to feel just a bit of the freedom and peace that she feels everyday since being in heaven.

So this one thing I am certain of, there is no way I would want her to come back and carry the weight of her sickness and disease, she no longer feels the shame of being handicapped she is truly, truly free!

Does it make me miss her any less, no but it brings me comfort to know she is ok. In fact she is more than ok, she is perfect! Does it mean I don’t cry, no but as I do, I focus not on my loss but on her gain. I rejoice in the fact I have the assurance that if I continue to follow Christ, I will see her again and I trust that not only I will see her again, but I will be bringing the generations yet to come in our family, to heaven with me. They will follow me there one day, because I too will tell them, like my parents taught me about the love and grace of Jesus and like my parents I will do my best to show them how to follow Christ by not just my words but my actions too. One day there will be a great family reunion in heaven, all because one couple chose one little girl who had nothing to give them and yet they gave her the greatest gift- Jesus

Happy Birthday Momma!