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

Posts tagged ‘God’

America is Crying

Before COVID-19, shopping and eating out used to be a fun thing. We didn’t have to rush around before the stores closed, or wonder how many empty shelves we would find once we got there. We weren’t afraid to cough or sneeze in public or even rub shoulders with our fellow humans.

Strange how swiftly things can change within a short period of time . . . 

The once upon a time buzzing restaurant was a ghost town of empty tables spaced twenty miles apart and rows of empty, sad-looking booths. Even the music lacked its normal vim and vigor.

It was Friday, the day we set aside each week to spend with my husband’s uncle and aunt. We look forward to our time together and laughing at the darnedest things, like the jacked-up prices on the menu, the cold bowl of soup the waitress served, and coffee with a meaner kick than a raging bull. But the dirty plate the waitress put on the table? Not so funny.

The last time we ate there we had the privilege of drinking from real glasses and eating with real tableware, so I wasn’t expecting plastic cups, knives, and forks. Feeling slightly irritated, considering the cost of an arm and a leg to eat there, I was tempted to ask where the ants and checkered table cloth were.

But the thing that really got my blood boiling was walking into the restroom.

I cleaned toilets for a living, on my hands and knees, agonizing over every speck of dirt and grime in every nook and cranny, cleaning and scrubbing around the commodes and baseboards till every stinking germ was gone. Everyday. Five days a week. For fourteen long, agonizing years. I was the Queen of clean. When germs saw me coming, they dropped dead on the spot!

So, you can imagine my disgust when toilets in every stall hadn’t been flushed, one of which was totally clogged with who knows what. Toilet lids were splattered with pee, toilet bowls and baseboards were filthy black, and there was hardly any toilet paper anywhere. I’ve been in cleaner outhouses! But wait! There was a cleaning spray bottle hanging on the handicap door and a dirty cleaning rag laying on the nasty floor.

Feeling like I’d just waded through an underground sewer, I washed and dried my hands, hurried out the door, and headed straight toward the young masked man propped lazily against the desk. Not wanting to butt him too violently into the here and now, I pulled in my horns, and politely asked, “Did someone forget to clean the ladies room?”

With everyone so up in arms about COVID-19 and wearing masks for protection, you’d think restaurants would be more diligent about keeping their restrooms clean! It seems that, when the mask goes on, common sense gets smothered to death; like eating out for instance. No one can eat with a mask over their mouth, so what happens to the germs then? Are they frozen because you wore a mask to the table? Are they in suspended animation? Or do they just curl up and take a little nap somewhere?

In my little pea brain, this mask thing is as ludicrous as taking a bath in a cesspool. And the more I read and understand, the more I realize there is a whole lot more to this pandemic than meets the eye. It’s a political ploy to induce panic and fear in the American people and I refuse to play the game. I refuse to cave in to a government that no longer operates for the good of the American people. A government that has turned its back on God. A government that murders innocent lives, cheats, lies and steals for its own personal gain, and wallows in the lap of luxury at the expense of the American people. A government that protects criminals and punishes victims. A government that sits back and allows cities and homes and businesses to be vandalized and burned to the ground.

In all my 74 years, I never ever thought our nation could be brought down as low as it is today. I never imagined this mighty tower of freedom and justice disintegrating right before my eyes. I love my country and it rips my heart out seeing it ravaged by a greedy, power-hungry democracy gone mad. My only comfort is knowing that God is still in control and that one day, every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess that He is God!

If God doesn’t intervene and the American people don’t soon wake up, America as we once knew her will be gone forever. No more freedom. No more justice. No place to run.

Family Isn’t All it’s Cracked Up to Be

Family is everything to me. But, the family I grew up in was just a tad screwed up. Okay, a lot.

My dad was a man of fewer than a few words. He rarely got involved in my life and preferred to be left alone. Completely. Don’t talk, don’t cause a ruckus, just sit and be quiet . . . in another room, or better yet, in another house.

My mom was stuck in the twilight zone of her abusive childhood and jerked me in there with her. She yelled a lot, picked her fingers till they bled, and consumed me with her fears and anxieties and worries and sorrow and pain. I was not the perpetrator of her abuse, yet I felt responsible and powerless to fix it. So I sacrificed my stubborn will on the altar of compliance to calm the raging beast within her. But, the inner, strong-willed child refused to die. Thus began a never-ending battle of the wills, a constant fight against her power and control over every corner of my life.

Two of my brothers escaped the madness through substance abuse, the youngest of which spent the majority of his life either in prison or homeless and living on the streets. He traded his wife and kids for the thrills and chills of crime. When his kids grew up, they walked down the same wayward path.

My older brother, whom I never met, suffered severe brain damage caused by encephalitis and was institutionalized when he was three. And my oldest brother drifted here and there, searching for his special place in this world. He was the oldest son of my mother’s first marriage. When my mom married my dad, he didn’t want a snotty-nosed five-year-old so they left him crying under his grandmother’s bed and moved to another state nine-hundred miles away. Till the day he died, he was searching for love in all the wrong places.

My sister ran away from home when she was fifteen, got pregnant, then got married at the ripe old age of sixteen. When her husband died at the age of forty-one, she found solace in the bottle. After finally admitting she had a serious problem, she went to rehab, joined AA, and turned her life around. Sadly, she died of breast cancer at the age of fifty-seven.

Me? I didn’t do drugs or alcohol. I was picky about who I dated and was squeaky clean when I got married. I was nineteen. Still wet behind the ears. Naive as a kitten. I believed in God. Went to church, and tried to live a good, clean Christian life in spite of my short-lived, abusive marriage. In spite of being a single mom at the age of twenty-one and barely making ends meet. In spite of sickness and hospital stays. Even in spite of my X-husband’s constant slurs and put-downs and his lack of parenting skills and child support.

I was sugar and spice, and everything nice, a pillar of strength and unshakable faith . . . as happy as a circus clown. That’s what I pretended to be on the outside because that’s what everyone wanted me to be and heaven forbid I be anything less. And no one cared what I really felt anyway, so it was easier to live a lie than to let people see the ugly, naked truth.

And the ugly, naked truth is, on the inside, I was an erupting volcano of hurt and anger and boiling rage. A prisoner, bound in chains and living among the tombs of fear and hopelessness, striking out against God and the world and my parents and my siblings and everyone who should have been there for me but never were. On the inside, I was a river of knowledge of how I was supposed to live but as dry as a desert about how to do it.

Then one day, I snapped and I fell to my knees before God. That’s when I saw Him clearly for the first time; when I felt His love and mercy and forgiveness as He washed my sinful heart clean. He changed my wayward direction and put me on the heavenly path leading to my eternal home in heaven where I will be completely free at last.  

When you allow God into your life, He blesses and restores it. He makes it better than you can ever imagine. Although my immediate family relationships never improved, and all but one sibling is dead, God has blessed me through my second marriage and his family. And He continues blessing me through my son and his beautiful, growing family. We have each other’s backs. We love and encourage one another. We allow each other the freedom to be our crazy selves without judgment and ridicule. We don’t bicker and fight. We laugh and have fun. We talk and we listen. We are the family I always wanted growing up. The family I needed to help me grow strong and healthy and to be what God created me to be.

Family is important to God, too. That’s why Satan works so hard to rip it to shreds, beginning with Adam and Eve in the garden. Weaken the family and we weaken the world. Stir up anger and resentment in the family and we stir up anger and resentment in the world. Someone has to stop the insanity, the deadly sinful disease from spreading from generation to generation. Someone has to stand up and say, “Enough!”

The majority of the world has never had a healthy family life. But we can all create one by loving our kids and doing everything within our power to make them feel loved and protected and safe from a world gone mad. We can teach them to spread their wings and fly. We can encourage their dreams rather than crushing them in our hands. We can teach them about God the right way rather than the twisted way we once perceived Him.

I loved my family. As messed up as it was, it wasn’t all bad. My parents were good people, they just didn’t know how to be good parents. They didn’t know how to teach their brood to fly so they broke their wings instead. Hopefully, though, as we get older we can forgive and move on with our lives. None of us are perfect parents. We just have to keep moving past our own junk and be the best parents and grandparents and great-grandparents we can be.

I’m in this parenting thing for the long haul, learning and growing as I go.


Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Colossians 3:21
Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

 

 

Church is Wherever You Are

It’s Sunday

Buck and I had church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

on the deck where the old pickup is temporarily parked

barefoot and in our PJ’s

 

 

beneath skies of blue

and drank coffee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and read our devotions

and held hands and prayed for renewed faith and trust in God during these dark and fearful times. And God was there . . .

 

 

 

 

A Little Birdie Told Me . . .

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Matthew 6:26, 27

Hear the birds chirping? See them fluttering from the trees? Can you Sense their happiness and peace of mind?

Birds don’t worry about stuff like coronavirus or running out of toilet paper. They don’t fret over empty shelves at Walmart or starving to death. And they certainly don’t get their feathers ruffled over clutter on the back porch.

Jesus knows what a bunch of worrywarts we humans are. That’s why He tells us to look at the birds of the air and observe how lighthearted and carefree they are. They don’t work for anything. They don’t store up anything. Yet, God takes care of them. (Matthew 6:26)

God reminded me of that again this morning as I sat fretting amongst the clutter on my back porch and wondering what the heck I’m going to do with it. How quickly I forget that God is in control of every little detail of my pitiful life. Nothing happens to me that He doesn’t know and care about. I don’t have to pace the floor biting my nails to the quick. I don’t have to beg and plead. I just have to trust Him.

Yep! That’s what a little birdie told me this beautiful sunny morning while sitting on my cluttered back porch.

I captured a few pictures while sitting with hubby and our two girls on the back porch. Pepper doesn’t mind posing for a snapshot. Bella, on the other hand, refuses to cooperate!

 

Running Out of Toilet Paper?

Before the advent of modern toilet paper, many different materials were used for the same purposes. Different materials were used depending upon the country, weather conditions, social customs, and status. People used leaves, grass, ferns, corn cobs, maize, fruit skins, seashells, stone, sand, moss, snow, and water. http://www.toiletpaperhistory.net/toilet-paper-history/used-before-toilet-paper/

Hubby got up at five this morning and was sitting in the Walmart parking lot at five-thirty thinking it opened at six. It didn’t open till seven. But that’s okay. He got everything we need for the month except flour and you guessed it . . . toilet paper.

But, we’re still good. We have one roll left in the guest bathroom and two rolls left in the master bath plus two skimpy partial rolls.

Like you and everyone else, I don’t want to run out of toilet paper!

But, what if we do?

Because I’m self-sufficient and despise relying on anyone or anything for me to survive, I create my own resources as best I can. For instance, I went online and learned how to make hand sanitizer: (https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-make-hand-sanitizer). I haven’t made any yet, but I will because hubby is screaming for some. Too bad I can’t make my own toilet paper. Then again, maybe I can. I haven’t checked that one out, yet.

But, about this toilet paper thing. When my son was born, I always used cloth diapers until he was potty-trained. For three long years, I rinsed the poop and pee in the toilet then washed the diapers in the washing machine. Before I had a washing machine, though I used the washboard. Yeah. I’m actually that old.

No, I’m not going to wear diapers, I’m just saying there are other means of wiping our butts besides using toilet paper. Just use your imagination and do whatever works for you and your family.

Running out of toilet paper is not the worst thing that can happen during COVID-19


None of us are happy about this deadly virus
and none of us were prepared for it. But it’s here and all we can do is the best we can till it passes like staying home, spending time doing the things we love that we don’t usually have time for, playing games, and talking to your kids and your spouse, and calling your friends.

We’ll all be glad when this is over and can get back to our normal lives. This sudden smack in the face has shown me what little control I have over things like COVID-19 and empty shelves at Walmart and people getting sick and dying.

As a believer, I know that God is bigger than COVID-19 and that He is willing and able to take care of me and my family. I know that when I’m afraid I can talk to Him and find peace. I’m thankful that God is bigger than the universe and has everything under control and that I don’t have to worry about silly things like running out of toilet paper because He promises to supply all my needs.

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (even toilet paper). Philippians 4:19

Take Up Your Mat and Walk Like a Boss

So, I’m paralyzed. Been this way since the car accident. I can’t walk. I can’t feed myself, bathe myself, even brush my own teeth. And this Man comes to me and asks, “Do you want to get well?”

And with a big, pearly white-toothed smile I say, “No. I’m good. I like people waiting on me hand and foot. I like using my handicap as a crutch. I like not having to do anything, prove anything, take responsibility for anything. I like people coddling me, making excuses for me, doing everything under the sun for me.

Of course, this ridiculous scenario is just fiction. I’m physically healthy. I can clean my own house, pull weeds from my flowerbeds, even walk around the block a few times.

But the man Jesus approached at the healing pool had been an invalid for thirty-eight years and Jesus had the audacity to ask him, “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6) 

Why would Jesus ask such a no-brainer question?  Why would He even think that the man wouldn’t want to be healed? He was at the healing pool, wasn’t he?

As a snotty-nosed kid, and seeing the world through my over-sized rose-tinted glasses I often wondered about that scripture. Then, when I grew up and those glasses got punched off my face, I saw the world and the people in it differently. I even saw myself differently.

Reality stinks. It rattles our brain and makes us see things about ourselves and others that we’d rather not. Don’t open my eyes and I won’t have to see how people use their long-time physical and emotional handicaps to bully and control others. Stick in a pair of earplugs and I won’t have to hear their never-ending moans and groans.

It’s funny how you can sit in a room with strangers or even people you know and friendly conversations often become a contest of who had the most surgeries or take the most pills or has the worst ailments or suffers the most pain.

Why do people do that?

As kids growing up, my brother and I had rheumatic fever, but Kenny’s was more severe than mine. He was sickly all the time, in and out of the hospital and pumped full of penicillin at the least sign of a cold. He cried a lot. Was coddled and babied a lot. And I felt ignored a lot.

Then, when I was in the third grade, I got deathly sick every day after lunch and laid my head on my desk trying not to throw up all over the floor. Finally, mom and daddy took me to the doctor to discover I had walking pneumonia.

Finally! I was one up on my brother and rubbed it in his face boasting that I was the sickest, now and it’s my turn to get all the attention!

But, Kenny wasn’t having it and argued that he was still the sickest. After dragging mom into it, she finally ended the contest by calling it a tie. We were both equally sick.

For many years I expected people to treat me with kid gloves because of my out-of-whack emotional disorders. I relied on others to do things for me that I was afraid of doing myself. I relied on my loved ones to protect and defend me, to be there for me, to boost my confidence, to validate and make excuses for me. And the more I relied on others the more dependant I became.

Then hearing my desperate cries at the healing pool one day, Jesus knelt beside me and whispered, “Do you want to get well?”

When the prison doors swung open, I just stood there gazing wide-eyed into the vastness of freedom. It was scary out there without my crutches —- those emotional handicaps I so desperately clung to for so long. The smell of freedom was alluring and sweet, but stepping into it was like jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.

I still rely on the love and support of my family, but I don’t expect them to sit and hold my hand twenty-four hours a day, not that I ever did. I don’t expect them to make up for everything I lost throughout my life. I don’t expect them to coddle me and pamper me and agree with every single thing I do or say.

Just as God has set me free I set others free. I know what it’s like to be bullied by someone else’s handicaps and I’d rather cry alone in the coldest, darkest cave than to ever do that to the ones I love.

Freedom always comes at a cost, especially if you’ve been enslaved for a long, long time. In order to gain one thing you have to let go of another and another and another, whatever tattered rag you’re clinging to because it feels reliable and safe.

And as crazy as it seems, many people would rather lay around sucking on their emotional pacifiers than get off their pity pot and walk.

I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to get well. I want to be what I was created to be. I want to take up my mat and walk like a boss!

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:6

 

 

 

From Damnation to Redemption

The Cross

Sugar and spice and everything nice

That’s what Eve was made of

And placed in the Garden of beauty and charm

To bask in the warmth of God’s love

Then along came a serpent so charming and sweet

With a hellish mission in mind

To crush and destroy the apple of God’s eye

And to rob her trusting soul blind

How foolish was she that fateful day

When she ate from the forbidden tree

And lost the cloak of God’s righteousness

For all eternity

But even before He formed the clay

God had a plan for man-kind

To redeem and restore our broken souls

And give us life sublime

He sent to earth His only Son

To die on a rugged tree

To wash away sin’s ugly stain

And to set our spirits free

Are You a People Pleaser?

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 saying: Free Haircuts! Come one come all!

Yep, you guessed it. I’m a full-blooded people pleaser.

Crooks and leaches love people pleasers. They latch on to their kindness and generosity like a tick on a dog and will suck them dry. When they’re done with them, they move on to the next nice person, and the next. They don’t love them. They don’t even like them. They just want what they can get out of them.

How do I know this? I’m a recovering, people pleaser addict. I’ve worn out many pairs of shoes trudging the suicidal path losing pieces of myself along the way. Before I realized it, my life became a ticking time bomb  of fear, anger and rage, anxiety and depression. No matter how hard I tried to win the favor of those I tried hardest to please, I always failed.

One day I snapped. My mother had been in the grave for five years and I was still beating myself up because I failed to make her happy. I failed to fix her. I failed to be the daughter she wanted me to be. Suddenly, in the midst of my turmoil and grief God pried my eyes open with a simple, yet profound question, “Are you God?”

That was a eureka moment for me. With those three little words, God reached down His mighty hands and lifted the world off my shoulders. With those three little words He told me that contrary to what I was taught and believed He did not put me on this earth to save it. I am a human being. That’s what He created me to be and that’s all He expects me to be. Once I finally wrapped my pea brain around the truth of my twisted thinking the demons descended back into hell from whence they came.

To an extent, I’ll always be a people pleaser. But I’ve developed a keen eye over the years and no longer allow people to take advantage of me. It’s amazing how easily “no” pops of my mouth and how much I love the wide-eyed looks when it does. I realize that most people aren’t going to like me no matter how nice I am, so I don’t waste my time  trying to earn their approval, nor does God expect me to. Do you know how freeing that is? To have God’s permission to let it go and let Him handle it? Every single little thing? It frees me to be the best I can be without having to prove myself to the world.

We all want to feel loved and accepted. We all want the people in our world to be happy. But we must guard against trying to orchestrate that happiness at any cost to ourselves. We can help. We can guide and direct. But the rest is between them and God.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Too Peopley Out There

It probably began when the doctor yanked me from my mother’s womb and slapped my scrawny bare butt. Or maybe when my dad dropped me on my head. Come to think of it, first grade was no skip in the woods, either.

It doesn’t really matter when or why it all began. What does matter is how terribly it has affected my entire life.

I mean, why did I have to sit in that stupid circle of kids every day? Wasn’t it bad enough sitting at my desk feeling lonely and afraid? And why did I have to read out loud? Why did I feel like I had two heads and a big fat wart on my nose? Why? Why? Why?

Public work wasn’t much better, either. Paranoia, like a playground bully made me feel suspicious, angry and hostile. I’d tell myself to calm down that it only feels like I’m under attack. But my addled brain wouldn’t buy it. No matter how hard I reasoned with myself, the pain was real. The anxiety was real. The panic was real. The I’m gonna quit and never come back was real.

Years, and years, and years I tried and failed at being normal. So I started pretending. I pretended that I wasn’t angry when I wanted to punch someone in the face. I pretended that I didn’t hurt when I was hemorrhaging inside. I pretended to be happy when I wanted to bawl my eyes out. Why? Because no one would like me if they really knew me. And because being vulnerable was like having a death wish.

Pretending worked until it didn’t anymore. Until that last straw that broke the camel’s back. Until all those inner demons had no place else to go but out.

Thankfully, God was there and saved me from the near fatal wreckage. Don’t ask me how He did it. He just did. We all experience God in different ways. I just know that I called on Him and He was there and changed my life forever.

It’s been a long, painful journey of learning and trusting and relying on God to fix me. Sometimes it’s a mountain top experience, sometimes it’s like crawling naked through a brier patch. But, when I let go of the reigns and hand them over to Him, He gives me strength. He gives me hope. He gives me peace. He helps me stay on track. I can’t do life without Him.

This is what God has and continues teaching me:
I’m not perfect
I can’t fix everything
I can’t always be in control
I can’t please everyone
I don’t have to like everyone
I have a God-given right to defend myself
I stopped allowing people to manipulate and use me
It’s okay to be me
God loves me just the way I am but encourages me to be more like Him

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you ~ 1 Peter 6,7

 

 

 

 

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know . . .

I was weaned on hymns and Jesus loves me songs. I believed that God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were all three in one. I believed that Jesus was born and lived and died on the cross to save me from all my wretched sins. With every breath I believed in God’s love, but my battered, bleeding soul couldn’t grasp it.

For many, gut-wrenching years my God-relationship went something like this: Jesus was my best friend. The Holy Spirit was a floating ghost. God was a mighty giant somewhere high above and looking down with glaring, scornful eyes. Oh, and His arms were always crossed and his foot tapping beneath His long, flowing white robe.

In my mind, heart and soul, God was anything but love. I couldn’t get close to Him no matter how hard I tried, so I quit trying. I just stumbled through life with Jesus somewhere near, the Holy Spirit floating far behind, and God looking way down shaking His head with absolute disgust.

But a constant, nagging, desire to know God, that mysterious giant in the clouds, flickered in my heart, guiding me toward the truth about myself, about my shattered past, about God and His unconditional love for the seemingly most undeserving ragamuffin on the planet.

I could tell you about the dark, lonely, twisted path I followed that led me straight into God’s, outstretched arms. I could tell you how I trembled and sobbed there, how He cleansed and clothed my filthy, naked heart, how I never ever felt such warmth and love and forgiveness. But if you truly want to know God you must doggedly follow the crumbs scattered along your own dark and twisted path. You must see His outstretched arms through your own tear filled eyes. You must feel His love and forgiveness with your own sobbing, broken heart.

Then you will know.

Then you will never question His love again. He will never seem a million miles away again. He will be the father the mother the brother the sister the everything you searched and longed your whole life for but never found. Then you’ll have only dipped one little toe into the vastness of God’s love, His mercy and forgiveness. Try with every fiber of your God-created being and you’ll never understand it. You’ll never be able to explain it. You’ll just know!

 

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Random thoughts, life lessons, hopes and dreams

South Texas Watercolor Artist

Corpus Christi, Texas

THE POETIC SAGE

This site is dedicated to my amazing writing skills.

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

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