He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. ~ Psalm 147:3

Archive for July, 2020

The Lord is My Shepard . . .

I used to think that God only loved me when I was good, that He only answered my prayers when I followed all the rules, that His standards were so lofty and steep that I couldn’t do anything but fail.

Then I think of a stupid sheep, always looking for greener pastures, always timid and afraid, always wandering away from the flock and getting injured or cast down and getting their fleece infected with parasites. I think of how they graze on inferior pastures that eventually cause sickness and death. Yet, the good shephard drops everything to find it.

That’s what God does for me and for you. He hunts us down, he binds up our wounds, He picks us up in His arms and carries us back home. No condemnation, no being grounded for a month, no shunning till we can straighten up and do better. None of that garbage that we receive from others when we screw up.

I am a stupid sheep. I wander and stray. I get lost. I get wounded. I get cast down. I don’t have sense enough to take care of myself. If the Good Shepard didn’t love me, He wouldn’t waste His time on me. He wouldn’t dry my tears. He wouldn’t cover my filthy nakedness with His mercy and grace. If He didn’t love me He’d let me die and rot in my sins.

Freedom is Slipping Through Our Fingers

So, we went to krispy Kreme last evening. They said to wear a mask. I said I can’t eat with a mask on. They said I wouldn’t get served unless I wore one. I said either serve us or not. They said not. So, we walked out.

I follow the rules. Jesus said to obey the laws of the land. But, He didn’t say I had to wear a mask to order a donut. That’s a stupid rule when I just have to take it back off to eat. Besides, it was so cold in there no germ could survive, anyway.

When rules make sense to me, I follow them. But, when they are biased and twisted way out of proportion and are actually causing more harm than good, I rock the boat. I make it thunder and lightning. I make it rain cats and dogs.

I know, I know. Wearing a mask is the new norm these days. Mask-wearers feel justified spitting in non-mask-wearers faces. They feel justified screaming insults and causing bodily harm to those who don’t think and feel as they do. Non-mask-wearers are the culprit for what ails mask-wearers and must be shot down.

Wearing a mask in public is no longer a choice but a requirement if you want to be treated like a “normal” human being in this abnormal world.

I’m not afraid of COVID-19. I’m not afraid of spreading it because I don’t have it. But, I am afraid. I’m afraid of losing my freedom. I’m afraid of getting shot or beat up while walking through the mall because I’m old or not the right color. I’m afraid of socialism. I’m afraid for my grand-kids and great grand-kids. I’m afraid of living in a country that curses God and places a crown on Satan’s head.

Wearing a mask doesn’t prevent the disease that’s sweeping across our nation.

Yes, COVID-19 is horrible. It’s turned our world upside-down. Going out in public is like walking into the twilight zone. People don’t even look like people anymore. When they smile, I can’t see it. When they talk, I can’t understand them. The whole going-out-in-public-thing is so depressing that I’d rather just stay home.

Maybe COVID-19 will end. Maybe it won’t. One thing for certain, it has changed our world forever.

My brain isn’t geared toward politics. I don’t like politics. I don’t trust politics. But, as I look around and see what is happening in our country and what our politicians are allowing to happen, I’m paying more attention. And what I’m seeing and hearing doesn’t take a political genius to know that our government wants to be king over our great nation. Woe to us if it succeeds. Shame on us if we allow it.

What does COVID-19 and wearing a mask have to do with it?

Everything. 

 

Six Reasons Why I Shave My Head

I felt really stressed this morning, so I shaved my head. I feel so much better now . . .

Okay. There’s a method to my madness. It may not work for you, but it works for me.

1. I don’t like long hair on me. As a kid, I pestered my mother to death to cut off my long, red hair. Kids made fun of me in school and yanked on my ponytail or pigtails till my head hurt.

2. Growing up I lived under the dictatorship of lofty rules and regulations; enslaved to the convictions of others and was rarely allowed to think and choose for myself. Unable to tame my wild, independent spirit, they tried breaking it with the hammer of guilt and shame.    

3. I was a slave to curling, teasing, perming, and burning my scalp with a curling iron. I’d spend hours fixing my hair only to brush it all out and do it again. And again.

4. After years of trying and failing to fit in, I became a hoarder of guilt and anger and rage and stuffed those feelings deep inside so no one would know my dirty little secrets. Then one day something happened; the straw that broke the camel’s back and I snapped and there was no place for all that garbage to go but out. Thankfully, Jesus was there with a big box of bandaids before I bled to death!

5. Like a snake shedding its skin, shaving my head is my proclamation of freedom and growth. I’ve outgrown my old skin of doing it someone else’s way, now I’m doing it my way regardless of what anyone thinks. I’m shedding my old skin and growing a new one just for me. I don’t care if I raise a few eyebrows when I enter a room or walk through the mall. I don’t care that people walk up to me and blatantly ask me if I’m sick. I just don’t care!

6. And last but not least, I can ride in the car with the windows down. I can look in the mirror and every little hair is right where it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t frizz, it doesn’t fall flat, it doesn’t move! Best of all, it’s my choice to shave my head. I’ve allowed too many people to bend and twist and pull me out of shape and it’s been a long, painful struggle to straighten it all back out. I’ve earned the right to live in peace in my own skin whether anyone likes it or not.

Conclusion:
A shaved head is not for everyone and I would never recommend doing it unless you really want to. It will grow back, but not as quickly as you shaved it off! 

2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.

 

 

Punch Fear in the Face!

I was asked to share my testimony with the women in the church I attended. I was petrified just thinking about doing it.

I hate being on center stage. My heart races, my hands sweat, my legs turn to spaghetti, and my brain turns to mush. I feel as if I’m cut open and being dissected like a poor little frog. But at least the poor little frog is dead!

Yet, I agreed. That’s what good Christians are supposed to do, right? Share what God has done and continues doing in their lives, right? In spite of the fear and anxiety, it causes, right?

Right. God will give me the words to say. He will help me through my fear.

So I did it. I stood behind the podium, unzipped my skin, and exposed every inch of my quivering heart.

When the service was over, I was overwhelmed with hugs and tears and I’m praying for you. Relief washed over me like a trickling stream. My knees stopped knocking. My heart forgave me. Everything was good.

Well, not everything.

One well-meaning soul came up to me and blurted, “I always knew something was wrong with you, now I know what!”

No, I didn’t blacken her eyes. I just considered the source and laughed it off. You can do that when you own up to who you are and stop pretending to be what people want you to be in spite of your fear and anxiety. In spite of what people think.

So, yes, I was scared to death that Sunday night standing in the limelight and every eye aiming at me. Just as I was scared to death every time I stood up to sing or play the piano or my accordion or speak. Sometimes just walking into a crowded room was so overwhelming that I wanted to run back out the door.

Social anxiety disorder has wrecked my entire life. I don’t know where it came from and why it latched onto me, I just know it’s a monster that binges on fear.

Fear is a ravaging beast that kills dreams. Fear is why people wear masks, why they become people-pleasers, why they can’t be true to themselves.

So, yes, I’m afraid. I’m very afraid. But I’m learning to be brave and strong enough to push through my fear. To own my weaknesses. To try and fail. To be vulnerable. To speak out. To fall and get back up again. And again. And again.

Fear is losing its death grip.

And I’m feeling good about that.

“Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.” Isaiah 43:1 
 

Keep Going! If You Stop, You’ll Never Get There!

Nearly two years ago, my husband, Buck, and I decided to renovate our house. We’re finally in the last room. YAY!

Because we have furniture in the room, we have to do sections at a time. Meaning, we cut and pulled up the carpet and padding, then, I pulled up the staples and carpet strips and scraped and swept the floor. As you can see from the photo, Buck has to fix the subfloor where it got wet from the leak we had a while back. I was really hoping to get this much of the floor done, but our strength gave out and we had to call it a day.

This morning, I felt like someone beat me up in my sleep. Ever since my bout with a ruptured disc a few years ago, my back ain’t what it used to be when I jogged 20 miles a week. In plain English, it hurts like hell! And this floor thing is not at all what the doctor ordered. Plus, I have an anxiety disorder. And it’s not just my body falling apart. Oh, no. Buck’s knee swells and hurts him all the time. And he’s diabetic and has PTSD.

So, we’re either the dumbest two people on the planet or we’re a couple of masochists. Take your pick and we’d have to agree with either one.

In all fairness, though, we decided to renovate our house ourselves because it needed to be done and we don’t have the luxury (money) of having someone else do it for us. Plus, we were 71 when we started. Most people are either dead or in nursing homes by then, not on their hands and knees and climbing ladders renovating their homes.

During this anything-but-fun-process, I’ve sometimes treated God as my Fairy Godmother. Of course, I know better than to think He’s going to snap His fingers and poof! the carpets are up, the floor is down and all my furniture is back in its rightful place. But there were moments when my brain shut down and my heart screamed, Do it, Lord! Wave your magic wand and make all this madness disappear!

When I prayed for God’s help, He didn’t rip up one piece of carpet, pull up one single staple, or lay down one vinyl plank. He didn’t paint the walls or help me organize the mess we created. Nope! None of that. He could have. He’s God, after all. Heck, He created me from dust. Nothing is too much for Him.

But, He did help me. He gave me strength when I didn’t think I could move another inch. He dried my tears of anger and frustration. He sent me a family of Wrens on the back porch to help take my mind off the chaos and remind me that He is still near. Throughout this madness, He has been there cheering me on, telling me when I need to stop, and helping me to stay focused when the process gets distorted and my attitude gets twisted out of shape.

Today, I am tired. My body hurts. Buck’s body hurts. I wish we were done. I wish someone would come and finish it for us. But we’re closer to our dream today than we were yesterday. And in spite of my suffering and tiredness, God will give me the strength and dogged determination to finish!

If you’re in a hard place right now and can’t find your way through, God is always there ready and completely able to help you. It may not be the help you want, but it will be exactly what you need to keep going.

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