Confidant for the Journey

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During the holidays I tend to become a bit nostalgic.  Memories run through the wheels of my mind at high speeds.  This year I have decided to give space in my head exclusively to those who have been with me on my journey…and remain with me.  Those who have been loyal, staunch, steadfast and trustworthy.   Those who have stood by me and helped me weather the storms.  In reality I don’t have storms I have tsunami’s and volcanic eruptions.  I have had some casualties along the way. But I will focus on my  present growth and gains.

Meet Steven.  Steven and I started going to church together around 1970.  Yes, that is 44 years of time.  We have so many good memories growing up together.  We laughed.  We cried.  We kissed.  We hugged.  We talked on the phone for hours.  We skipped school.  We shared letters and notes. We shared a seat on the city bus.  Walking the streets of Charleston.  Many carefree warm times that are alive still in my heart.   We nearly got killed just because we were best friends.  We enjoyed each others company.  He sang, I played around on the piano.  He  stood me up on our first day at College.  My heart was broken.  He pursued another life, another identity.  He was finding himself.  We went our separate ways on the map of this globe but on the map of the heart-we remained together, and still do to this day.

Steven- great friend, kind, considerate, giving, loving, cheerful, brutally honest, loyal, a  giver, a personality that is unique and almost nonexistent in this day and time.  A heart that would match the expanse of the Montana sky.  A delight.  A pick me up when I am down.  An encourager.  When I am off track his intimate knowledge of me gives him the inside  ability and permission to shine a light into my  darkness and help me find my way again.  He is a beautiful soul.  We share a many deep feelings.  We embrace a kinship of spirit and interest.  We are able to share  anything with each other.

What is very distinctive about our friendship is we truly disagree on many things:  religion, God, life after death, the Bible, homosexuality, prayer, gay marriage and other divisive hot topics.  Yet our ability to put that aside and still be in some type of mysteriouis “sync” with one another is rare jewel.  We respect one another.  We love each other.  Isn’t that what real friendship is all about?

My personal journey has been at times unbearable.  I allowed life to suck the breath out of me to the point that I didn’t even care if I seen another day.  It was during one of these very dark times that Steven allowed me to come to his home in another state and stay with him during the holidays.  We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas that year together. He cooked me my favorite meals, let me drink all the Mountain Dew I wanted.  He snuggled with me.  He let me be who I needed to be.  And being with him put a spark of hope back in to my heart.  There are good decent people in this world. There are truly “life long” friends who love you no matter what.  That is Steven.

Sure, we have had our times of battle.  But I think we both learned and grew from our time on the battle field.  Neither of us had any desire to wound the other.  What do we gain by hurting one another? It is okay to NOT agree on everything. So we agree to disagree.  We agree to love one another with no conditions.

So this holiday the first person I would like to thank is Steven, my comrade, my friend.

Merry Christmas!  I don’t know what I would do without you as a piece and a very crucial part of my puzzling life.  Your piece in MY puzzle could not be replaced or filled by any other human being.

I love you to the moon and back.  And by the way….you still should have taken me to that dang prom!

Motivating Monsters ….

As I am reading in Exodus about the story of the Israelites… Then I run smack i n to this verse ” God will fight the battle for you.   And you? You keep your mouths shut!” (Exodus 14:14). 

I have been going through some personal trials that have required some changes in my life that have been a bit uncomfortable for me.  Changes I really did not want or plan to make.  I was living in my comfort zone and all was well, or so I thought.  Then things started to transpire.  People I trusted walked away.  People that once included me now treated me as if I no longer existed.  Circumstances that I thought would never change, crumbled.  Shoulders that I laid my emotional “head” on..gone.  So I come out fighting, kicking, screaming and complaining about all of it.  Tearing down those involved.  Speaking negatively and analyzing just how this could come to be.

Then I get a small glimpse from a sermon last week of what could change my entire perception.  Just maybe it is not “people” who caused all this to happen.  Is there any chance in the world that God could be orchestrating these events in order to propel me to move forward and not remain stuck in a  rut?  Would only HE know what would actually motivate me to move?….  Is this excuriating pain my motivator?

Because I have only been looking on with my own eyes I ponder within myself just how many times I have fought my own battles in my own strength.  Not only fighting with my own might but with words darting out of my mouth unrestrained.  Words for my critics, words to defend myself, words of rage, words of irritation, words just cursing the battle itself.   How detrimental the outcome when I allow myself to do this.  Growth is stopped or stunted at best.  Moving forward is not a optoin for me when I am standing in the middle of the battlefield looking around and screaming in frustration of how unfair it all is.  Allowing myself to be chased by all the monsters who seem to be laughing at me and staring at me as I fall apart beneath the load of the oppression of it all.  When all I really have to do is STOP.  REST.  BE QUIET. TRUST.  Let God fight the battle for me.  Is this all that  He is waiting for me to do?  Surrender.  Not to the enemy but to HIM.  Surrender not to the monsters in pursuti but to the process He is taking me through.  

My prayer on this day is “God help me to release every battle to you.  Help me to step back and allow YOU to fight for me.  Most of all help me to keep my mouth SHUT”.   

If you are facing a giant.  If you are in the midst of a battle that is overwhelming you.  I  encourage you to surrender.  Stand still and get quiet.  

I am expecting a mighty victory.   

 

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A Polished Frame

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~ Mary Engelbreit

Job 22:28 “Whatever YOU decide on a matter, it WILL be established for you, and light will shine on your ways.”

I am going to challenge myself to do some constructive REFRAMING during this holiday season. Reframing simply means to re-evaluate, re-examine, re-plan, rethink, re-assess, re-describe, or correct. I have some old “frames” that have boxed in my ideas and how I picture things that now just need a brand new polished frame. 

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This year at Thanksgiving I have determined to reframe MY situation. It’s not actually a challenging situation that is upsetting. It’s how one perceives that situation. So I invite you to engage in some reconstruction with me this year if you need to. The next time you find yourself complaining about life’s hassles, see if you can mentally “flip the switch” to frame things differently.

God gave each of us the ability to flip the switch to reframe and reconstruct. We have that choice and ability. That’s what is so great about God. We can wallow in self-pity, put our energy in to dwelling on the past, or thinking about what we perceive as lacking in our lives OR we can flip that ugly switch and start constructing a brand new frame of mind.  We can change the channel with God’s help. We can purpose to do things differently. Just because we have always done a certain thing or felt a certain way doesn’t mean we are stuck there forever.

Holidays in general have been “challenging” times for me at best. Many factors have played in to creating this energy in my head. Some of them very real, some of the imagined. Some of them small some of them large. But never the less my reality has been altered. Many times in the past especially during the holidays I have been guilty of being a Pessimist. I have had the habit of complaining about things I don’t have. This year I purpose in my heart and mind to do the exact opposite and love my life for the things that I do have, no matter how little.

Many thoughts are dancing around the edges of my mind and all of them are wanting to gain entrance in to my head. I am most thankful that I get to choose which ones to let in, and which ones to kick out. I control the entry way.

I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Thanksgiving is a perfect time to get acquainted with the idea that I am a marvelous creation. I thank God for the wonderful creation of ME. I plan to grab a pen and paper and write down all my skills and talents, no matter how small. I challenge you to do the same thing. You may be surprised at how many you have that you do not utilize. My goal is to start sharing these gifts to bring joy to others around me, and give them the chance to appreciate my uniqueness. (Psalm 139:14 New Living Translation “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it”.)

I have decided on this matter and it shall be so in my life.

Give thanks with a grateful heart!

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Thought Addictions..

 

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“We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.” Santosh Kalwar

What  thoughts are running through your head that have you addicted, absorbed, obsessed, devoted to, hooked to, predisposed to, dependent on, influenced by and dependent on?Take a minute and get quiet.  Inquire and ask yourself: What am I thinking about? What am I dwelling on? Am I thinking like a winner or a whiner? Am I thinking and speaking like a victim or and overcomer? Today, right now what is on your mind? Who or what are you renting space to in your head? What thoughts are you driven by, what thoughts are you obsessing over? What thoughts are you addicted to?
I am guilty of thinking like victim. Yes, me the poor victim. A victim is an outcast, someone who is talked about, abused, overlooked, left out, rejected, mistreated, taken for granted and treated unfairly. My thought life sometimes is engulfed by addictions to these ugly lies which become strongholds in my mind. These thoughts become patterns that embed themselves deep into my brain. Some of them are from past experiences and word curses spoken over me. Some of them exist because I have been too lazy to replace them by renewing my mind in God’s word.
So I must make a decision to stop this victim mentality thinking pattern in its tracks. STOP thinking and believing the lies and start believing, speaking and thinking the TRUTH. Trash that pattern that reacts and thinks like a victim at every turn. I must make a conscious decision to renew my mind with the word of God. HIS word is TRUTH and this truth will renew my thinking. To renew means to renovate, restore, refurbish, overhaul, redevelop, rebuild, reconstruct, and bring something up to code. This decision to renew my mind will start me on a process of thinking like a winner not a whiner, like a overcomer not a looser. This process of renewing my mind is so much more than a decision to engage in positive thinking. When I renew my mind it will more than likely be the most important key for me to have a victorious life.
God’s word is active and alive. God says I am more than a conqueror. I am not a victim. I win every time. I am overwhelmingly victorious every time in every situation. God has my back. I am the head and not the tail. He works everything out for my ultimate good. No harm can come near my tent.
It is my responsibility to make a personal decision to think about what I am thinking about. I must break my addiction and  make the decision to get in to Gods word which is active and alive and renew my mind. No one can crawl in my cranial cavity and rearrange my thinking for me. But if I take the step of opening myself up to God’s words about me, about my identity about my situations then my mind becomes renewed. The only way to replace the error of the world’s way of thinking is to replace it with God’s truth, and the only infallible source of God’s truth is found in his revealed word, the Bible.

Philippians 4:8 (the Message Bible) Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things

  • True
  • noble
  • reputable
  • authentic
  • compelling
  •  gracious—
  • the best, not the worst
  •  the beautiful, not the ugly
  • things to praise, not things to curse.

Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

Read and study God’s Word. Think about it and meditate on it. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Colossians 3:16)

The First Birthday

I was born April 12th, 1964.  A new-born little girl.  Wanted, I don’t know.  Planned, I don’t know.  Loved, I have my doubts.  Taken care of, the bare minimum.  Every little girl needs a daddy.  A strong protector and provider.  A trustworthy and safe haven for little girl needs.  When my parents brought me home from the hospital my father continued his horrific acts of violence.  He held a gun to my mother’s head asking her who I belonged to.  Then he opened the door and threw her out in to the rain.  She was dressed in her gown and locked out. Her screaming surely shattered the any silence there was for me. I wonder at just a few days and maybe even hours of being alive how that event effected me.  I know now how it set the course for my development.  I began life in a shattered state.  My mom thrown outside like trash and me left inside with a living screaming monster.  My need for a father, a stable reliable adult in my life was shattered.   To shatter means to break something in to pieces, as by a blow.  To damage, as by breaking or crushing, impair or destroy, to break in to fragments.
I am now working on 50 years of a restoration process that began on April 12, 1964.
I was created in God’s image. I was planned by God. I was chosen by Him. So HE is the one who is doing the restoration. Restoration simply means to return (someone or something) to a former condition, place, or position.
I am not who my parents shaped me to be. I am not who they told me I was either through their actions or lack thereof. I am who God says I am. I am being molded every day, every month and every year in to the person I was created to be. There is life, there is hope and there is purpose for me.