Be Still and Know

Psalm 46:10
Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

I’ve been a child of God all my life. He’s never let me down. He’s never been mean and cruel to me even when I deserved it. He is my hero, my Light in the dark, my everything. I talk to Him. He talks to me. I ask questions. He gives me answers. I can always depend on Him to be there for me when everyone else runs away.

But, over the past several months, my faith has been shaken to the core. The nation that I once knew is falling apart. The world is suffering. Women and children are being raped and murdered. We the people have been exchanged for lust, power and greed. We the people no longer feel safe in the arms of our government.

And like many others, I’ve cried out to God, “Why don’t you stop this horror? Why do you allow innocent children to suffer? Why? Why? Why?”

Complete silence! Not one logical answer. No answer at all.

Now, I don’t even know how to pray . . .

Stubbornly I continued reading my Bible and trying to find answers. I know what Revelation says about the end of the world. And today, it’s never felt closer. I know that terrible things are going to happen before the last trumpet sounds. And I know that what God sets into motion cannot be stopped.

But my heart was terrified! And my brain was on overload with all the why’s and why not’s. But God’s silence was more than I could bear. And worst of all, I began seeing him as an angry tyrant rather than a loving, gracious God.

Faith and hope were uprooted and the seeds of doubt were planted and growing like weeds. How can I continue to trust a God that allows sin and corruption to take over? I needed answers. I needed to know what the heck God is doing.

Finally, God tells my troubled, pondering heart to calm down and that I don’t need to know the answers; I just need to trust that He is in complete control of the world and everything in it. He reminded me that He didn’t put me on this earth to fix it; that’s His job. All I have to do is concentrate on fixing myself, repenting of my own sins, and being the best warrior for God I can be.

Our fight as Christians is with Satan and his demons, the rulers of this dark world. They feast on our fear and doubt and confusion. They twist and distort our vision of God and anything else that will drag us from our faith. Satan is sneaky. He is vile. He is a liar. He is a thief. He is the king of evil. The apostle Paul paints a vivid picture of Satan’s nasty deeds in Ephesians 6: 8-10 and the weapons we need to fight against him.

God makes it crystal clear in His Word that we must be obedient to Him. We must not lose heart. We must trust Him even when the things He does or doesn’t do make sense. My job is not to figure God out. My job is to trust and keep moving forward. In the midst of the storm and the raging waves around me, I must step out of the boat and walk on the water of faith.

I’ll be seventy-five tomorrow, August 26. I am retired. My nest is empty. My grandkids are grown, two of which are married with kids of their own. Sometimes I feel that I have nothing more to contribute to the family. But I can pray. Our young mom’s and dad’s today are faced with challenges like never before. I pray that God gives them wisdom and strength as they stand firm in their Christian faith. To guard their hearts against lust and greed and all the temptations of sin.

As each generation moves farther and farther from God, the harder it is for them to see Him let alone trust Him. Sin has been so watered down that it doesn’t even seem wrong anymore. Christians are accused of looking for and seeing demons in every nook and cranny. That we’re a bunch of religious fanatics and need to lighten up. Nothing is all that bad.

But it is. It’s that bad and worse. As for me, I choose God and everything good He has in store for my life. I pray that whatever I am faced with He’ll give me strength to endure to the end no matter what.

What God taught me over the past few weeks is to keep my eyes on Him. To walk closely by His side. To trust Him even when He doesn’t make sense to me. To step out of the boat and walk on the water of faith.

Are You a People Pleaser?

Straight from the Heart

I was taught to share, so I thought nothing about sharing my grapes with the cutest boy in the neighborhood. The problem was, I went way beyond sharing. I gave him the entire cluster leaving me with a lonely few in my small hand.

One day, while in an extremely generous mood, I nearly gave all my pretty dresses away to my best friend who had spent the night. I wish you could have seen the look on moms face when she came in my room and saw all the dresses she painstakingly made just for me sprawled all over the bed. I had to hang them all back up except for the three she said my friend could have.

When I went to beauty school, I gave everybody free haircuts; family, friends, even people I didn’t know. I’m surprised I didn’t stand on the street corner holding a sign…

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Time Out!

Psalms 127:3
Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.

With my granddaughter-in-law’s permission, I am posting what she shared on Facebook:

My best piece of advice to stay-at-home moms who are stressed out because you feel like you can’t get anything done . . . Put the phone down!

You will be amazed by how much you can get done when you’re not picking up your phone every five minutes to scroll. You’ll also be amazed by how much better you feel when you’re not being interrupted from scrolling by your kids who want something.

As a mom who has literally built her career on social media, this has been one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn. But my anxiety is so much less when I have less things distracting me.

Find a safe spot where your phone is not always right next to you. For me I like to keep it in the kitchen so I can still hear it ring but it’s not at my fingertips to be scrolled on.

With that said, back to the kitchen it goes till nap time.

Nicci Staton- The Makeup Mommy

Living With BPD

So, I’m sitting quietly in a swivel chair in the lobby at the VA, feeling anxious as usual but nothing to cause the sleeping lion inside me alarm. Hubby was already in his room waiting for the colonoscopy. Neither of us wanted to be there, but since cancer invaded his colon several years ago and he only has a foot of it left, he must keep close tabs on it. Doctor’s orders. And mine.

The mall-like lobby was like a ghost town of vacant chairs except for one all the way across the room. There was no one breathing on me and I wasn’t breathing on anyone else, so I removed my mask and sat minding my own business checking my emails and texting my son.

About twenty minutes into my solitude a young woman from out of nowhere leaned over one of the marked off couches fifty yards away, her face covered with a stark white mask, and scolds, “Ma’am. You’re required to wear a mask.”

Maybe it was due to the stress of our refrigerator conking out and having to buy a new one, or that we had to toss a weeks worth of groceries, or had to use a cooler and being without a fridge for a week. Maybe it was due to Bella, our four-legged greyhound-mix waking me up every thirty minutes barking. Whatever the reasons were, the sleeping lion woke up.

Lions don’t take kindly to being harassed; especially old, irritable ones with anxiety disorders. My hackles raised to the ceiling. I said it didn’t make sense why I had to wear a mask when there was no one around and I’m just sitting here waiting for my husband to come out of his procedure.

Suddenly, her sweetness melted away like cotton candy on a child’s slobbering tongue and scorned, “Either you wear the mask or you will be escorted from the building!”

All right all right, I snorted to myself. I’ll put on the stupid mask! But when she strutted out of sight down the long corridor, her heels kicking up enough dust to choke an elephant, the mask magically came to life and jumped back on my lap.

A whole ten minutes later, she came back more huffy than when she strutted off and even had the audacity to threaten me with calling security.

That did it! The lion jumps on all fours ready to pounce! Who does she think she is telling a woman three times her age what to do? Determined to win the battle of the wills, the lion, roared, “Go ahead! call the whole army! I don’t care!”

I nearly felt sorry for her struggling to keep her balance in her paten leather stilettoes as she stormed off. Great! Now a platoon of security guards are coming to put me in a straight jacket and haul my sassy butt to jail.

I grabbed my pocketbook and hustled to the ladies room; a room colder than Alaska with one toilet, a sink, and a lock on the door. Good! She can’t come in here and drag me out by the hair and in front of a firing squad.

Not wanting anyone to think I died in there, I took some deep breaths, blew my nose, and flushed the toilet a few times before finally opening the door and finding another place to sit hoping she wouldn’t recognize me in my mask.

About fifteen minutes later, a stocky, ruddy-faced security guard invaded my space and planted himself six feet in front of me. At least he was practicing social distancing or I might have been tempted to report him.

Like a stone-faced guerrilla he stared down at me, his navy blues and stripes and badges and patriotic mask as intimating as a gun to my head.

But, he couldn’t arrest me. He couldn’t tar and feather me. He couldn’t even drag me to the gallows because the stupid mask jumped back on my face!

Hubby came through his colonoscopy. The inner lion went back to sleep and the three of us made it out of there alive!

Walking Clears My Mind

Straight from the Heart

I woke up confused this morning thinking it was Thursday and scolding myself for not walking yesterday. What a relief to discover that it’s Wednesday and I’m not losing my mind.

At the end of the driveway, I turned left instead of right, this time. It’s a little longer and a lot tougher with the hills and all. We live in a pasture. Well, a once-upon-a-time pasture with houses now instead of critters. Some farmers kept their land, though; the ones with the cows, horses, and goats. Pigs, too. But they don’t smell as bad as somebody’s sewage around here. I hope it’s not ours.

See that house on the hill? Hubby and I toured it after it was built. I loved the sunroom, and basement, and garage, and kitchen, and fireplace in the great room. It even had running water and inside toilets. Not that our house doesn’t have…

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Stand by Your Man

Ephesians 5:22
Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord.

The first time I heard Tammy Wynette sing, Stand by Your Man, I crossed her off my Christmas list.

My marriage had just ended. He was mean and abusive. I was a strong-willed wildcat. He stayed out all night drinking with his buddies. I paced the floors while our three-month-old slept. He told me I was no good. I believed him and cried. A lot. He threatened to leave again and again. I didn’t care anymore. While he was at work I packed his bags, set them outside the door and changed the locks. When he came home his key didn’t work so he busted through the door. The wildcat in me hissed and growled for him to leave. He kissed his son and left. End of story.

So, the lyrics of Tammy’s number one country hit raised my hackles sky high. What woman in her right mind is going to stand by her man when he treats her worse than the neighbor’s dog? What woman is going to spit shine her man’s shoes, wash and iron his lipstick-stained shirts, singing “Oh Happy Day” after he stayed out all night just being a man? And what woman is going to forgive and forget over and over and over again till death do us part?

Not this woman!

If my man wants me to love and trust and respect him plus fulfill his every desire then he better give me plenty of good reasons. Love and commitment is a two way street. At least that’s what I thought I heard when we exchanged our wedding vows.

I tell people that it took a real man to love me. And that man is the man I’ve been married to for the past forty-nine years. With his stubborn love he tore down the barbed wire fence tangled around my bleeding, unbelieving heart. With his patience he broke through the fortress of fear and distrust. With his integrity, he pried my eyes open and helped me to see that his love for me is as real as the sky above. He adopted my son and raised him as his own. He taught him how to become a real man. And finally, because of his unconditional love for me, I surrender my heart and soul to him. Even through the ups and down’s he keeps loving me with a Christ-like love. He doesn’t always like the strong-willed wildcat in me, but he’s the only man on God’s green earth who could ever make it purr.

He’s a real man.

A real man protects his woman, fights for his woman, loves and encourages and respects his woman. A real man never ever beats his woman into submission or forces his will on her because he’s bigger and stronger. Only weak, insecure little boys in a man’s body does that to a woman.

It angers me when I hear of preachers expecting women to stay with their man no matter what. That she should be the stronger Christian because after all, her man is just a man. Baloney! Preachers that preach that lie need to go back and read the rest of the scripture where the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word.”

It also angers me when a woman allows a man to beat her. And The more she allows it the harder it becomes to take back the power she fearfully gave away. And the beatings go on and on and on till someone ends up dead.

Yes, I’m a fighter for people’s rights, and especially for women’s rights. We’ve been through hell and high water to be recognized as human beings with brains as well as arms and legs and other stuff to allow any man to kick us around. So yes, I take offense when my kindred sisters are being abused and if I’m anywhere near, I will unleash the wildcat in me and it won’t be pretty!

Man-Time

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.

My son wrote this article for a news letter and gave me permission to post it.

I can’t wait for Thursday nights. Like a child on Christmas eve, I’m excited, I’m antsy. All day long I’m watching the clock hands move at a snail’s pace, inching their way ever so slowly towards 7:30 PM.

Finally 7:30 arrives and my home is invaded by warriors. Like a dynamic entry, flashbangs of noise and commotion fill my entire home. No, it’s not my tactical team; warriors of another kind, Another breed. Another tribe has flooded my home.

These warriors are my three sons, my son-in-love, my dad, my dad-in-love and soon- to-be part of this tribe, my seven grandsons. And the occasion? What’s all the excitement about?

Man-time!

Every Thursday we gather around the firepit, light up a cigar, and unfold our thoughts into conversations that drift deep into and out of our souls. Organic conversations free from judgement, condemnation and shame. We laugh, we cry, we share, we confess.

Our conversations are laid upon the anvil of transparency intentionally making ourselves vulnerable to one another. Rather than feeling the hammer of judgement, we feel the power of acceptance, love, and the value of belonging to a tribe of real manly men . . . warriors who grow stronger through the willingness to share sins, flaws, struggles, temptations, weaknesses, victories, and successes. We feel safe amongst our tribe. We belong to a brotherhood of real. authentic, manly men. This is my tribe.

How different would our world be and look like if men were living out of who they were meant to be through Christ, rather than the flesh? I believe as a Christian man it is my role and duty to follow Godly men and to lead other men. How many men long to be free from destructive behaviors but don’t feel they can share their struggles without being condemned? So many men who belong to a church family feel alone. They have some dark things they struggle with, but there’s no safe firepit for them to gather around, pull up a chair and unfold the depths of their souls with other men.

They are tribeless.

Man-Time. That sacred time together has the power to rescue and restore a man. And when men are rescued and restored, women and children will be protected.

Man-time can save lives!

https://www.google.com/search?q=joy%20international#:~:text=JOY%20International-,www.joy.org,-JOY%20International%20is

Deadly Addictions

Straight from the Heart

I loved him. He was my brother. But there were times I wanted to kill him. Like when he was fourteen and burned down the vacant house up the street. When he broke into schools to steal pencils and erasers. When the cops came knocking on our door. When he made my mother cry. When he cussed me on the phone at three in the morning. When he stole from my husband. When he’d abandon his wife and kids for days. When his promises went up in smoke. When he shook his fist in my dad’s face and called him an old man; the same old man who bailed him out of trouble a million times over; the same old man that he never saw again after that. Didn’t even go to the funeral.

Drugs were his food. Alcohol was his water. Prison was his home.

Addicted to a life…

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Fallen Angels in Disguise

Straight from the Heart

The scariest part about the pain shooting from my butt all the way down my leg was the long, bumpy ride to the hospital. Hubby wanted to drive me, but my pea brain thought I’d get quicker and better service if I was taken by ambulance.

Twenty long, agonizing minutes later, we arrived at the ER.

And there they were. My loving, compassionate angels of mercy waiting to cover me with warm, fuzzy blankets and whisk me away to a happy, sunshiny room and pump me full of painkillers. No waiting for my number to be called. No crying and begging and pleading for help.

And there’s my room. My sad, cold and lonely little room where I was wheeled on a bed of nails and left writhing in pain to freeze to death.

Where are my people? My angels of mercy? My warm blankets? My painkillers?

The only comfort…

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Just Lock Me Up and Throw Away the Key!

Straight from the Heart

I sat on the edge of the sterile, paper-lined examining table, laughing at my husband’s silly jokes, my mind racing like a team of runaway horses. My husband accuses me of never being able to sit still for five minutes without jumping up and doing something.

A brief knock at the door and the doctor walks in, shaking his head and rolling his eyes playfully. Laughing nervously, I said, “Yeah, I know. Just cut off my head and be done with it!”

He sits in the chair across the room, crosses his long legs and patiently begins his interrogation. I look at my husband for comfort, wishing we were at the beach or the Bahamas; anyplace but here.

Finally, satisfied that I had answered all his perplexing questions accurately, he has a diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder.

Great! Not only do I feel crazy, I am crazy!

Suddenly, it all started…

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