Tag Archive | learning for one’s self

Life Message

Life may have

taken a body part,

broken my heart,

discouraged my

spirit, & tested

my faith but I am

still here. Why?

Because my God
is

stronger, better,

greater,
more

enduring and totally

undefeatable! I am

His daughter, His

hier and after

this life I have

a whole new life

with Him
in eternity!

So LIFE bring

it on, in the end

God wins!

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Of All the Men I Loved Before


Today’s post touches on a subject of much controversy in the Christian church, homosexuality. There is no need to respond with the multitude of Biblical passages concerning God’s view of this topic. Both Mitch, the man in the story, and myself know all of them. Instead this post is intended to put a face on the controversy and perhaps help us all not only understand but find a common ground to work towards healing in and of all parts of this issue. It is a true story, one of my own, which I believe may surprise a few of my readers but I did change the name of this man to Mitch to protect not his identity but his privacy.

God brought my spouse into my life when I was 35, I was 36 when we married. We’ve been married 16 years after only a four month courtship. We had much in common from the beginning; a love of and for God, bad examples of marriage in our parents, music, and a desire to have a successful marriage, just to name a few. Before God, our pastor and quite a few of our congregation we vowed to love one, and to remain married to one another until death did us part.

Our promise to one another every single day, whether spoken verbally or not has been, divorce is not an option. We’ve had our share of difficult patches. But we have worked through it, together, getting whatever professional help we needed as individuals or as a couple to help. Today we share a home with our almost twelve year old daughter, the ups and downs of life with one of us disabled and the other in a career that keeps them away from home for long hours and at inconvenient times. I love my husband. He is a man who strives to please God and who takes his relationship with God very seriously. He is my desire. He is solid and dependable and kind. I can think of nothing that I’ve ever asked of, or from him, that he hasn’t moved mountains to provide. Whenever I am in the hospital he moves in right along beside me, taking care of me, holding my hand and in the time his job takes him away as anxious to return to me as I am to have him return. This man has even learned to wash my hair using five gallon buckets or trash cans (clean of course) and trash can liners to prevent spills while I lay with my head hanging off the edge of the bed. Even between the time we have called 9-1-1 and the time they arrived.

The only times my mind ever wanders back to the men I dated before my husband are if someone else brings them up or my daughter mentions something that reminds me of a lesson I learned the hard way that I hope she hears to save herself the heartache. There is no one I’d like to “catch up with” or talk to again. Except Mitch.

Mitch and I dated, hung out, and drove one another crazy during our college days. He was initially a friend of my brothers and normally my brother’s dislike of us sharing friends would have been enough to keep me away from being Mitch’s friend but this time was different. I really liked Mitch. He and I clicked.

Mitch was Christian, cute and kind, serious and funny, reserved, quiet, shy, and introvert for the most part and could play the piano like nobody’s business! Boy could he make those ebony and ivory keys dance. My best memories of us are of me just sitting near him while he rehearsed or he just played for the love of playing. He didn’t mind when I sang along and he didn’t hesitate to follow me when my mood took the music and notes into other styles than what they were written.

Music was Mitch’s dream then and he wanted to go to a private college near the town my brother and I grew up in and he got his start on his dream. When he was accepted there as a student we helped him move into his housing assignment. I knew I was going to miss Mitch like crazy but I also knew I’d get to see him if he went to college so close to my home. I don’t think three weeks went by and classes were just really gearing up at both colleges when I looked up and there was Mitch. He was back!

We drove around in Mitch’s car to aught up. You would have thought he’d been gone a few years instead of just a few weeks by the amount of talking that went on. My brother had a thing about back seats and he still wasn’t happy about how close Mitch and I were, so he had claimed “shot gun”. For once I didn’t let it irritate me, I sat in the back behind Mitch and all through the drive Mitch would catch my eyes in the rearview mirror until it was too dark to see. I was just content to have him back. Finally we pulled up to all go our separate ways and my brother asked Mitch a question, “So, why did you really give it up?”

Mitch turned on the interior light, and waited until I met his eyes in the rearview mirror and said, “What I love is here.” And my heart stopped beating and the air left my lungs and then I’d never been that happy before. He came back for me!

That one night I expected a fairy tale ending. That one night I built castles in the air and wore rose colored glasses. But the fairy tale shattered.

Sadly Mitch and I just couldn’t make it. Not for lack of love but perhaps for a lack of the right kind of love. As perfect as Mitch was in my eyes he was waging a war within himself I couldn’t contend with, or compete with. My funny, cute, marvelous piano playing man was gay.

The music died, the spotlight flickered out and I was left alone on an empty stage before an empty audience. Not that I didn’t try to make being straight more appealing but some things are beyond our ability to influence. Frankly, Mitch and I drove one another crazy with an on again/off again friendship sort of more kind of relationship.

I tried to understand. My mind grasped the events that led Mitch down the path of homosexuality but my heart was shattered. Of all the people to do this to me it crushed me that it was Mitch! Mitch the guy who said he loved me in front of my brother! Mitch the man who could fill my heart and soul with music! Mitch the man who remembered everything I told him even down to that I wanted a gold chain when I graduated from college and bought me one like I’d never seen before, or seen again. Mitch who would grin knowingly when I’d date another guy! Perhaps I was too hurt but I think the main problem was I just didn’t understand.

Mitch and I lost touch. I moved to Virginia and once he called me and said he was thinking of moving up there to be near me. He didn’t call again.

Meanwhile I was dating other men. A few of whom would also make that confession that would start with, “Faye, I have to tell you something…” and I would see Mitch’s face and hear his voice.

I learned to be kinder. I learned to be more understanding and more forgiving. I learned to treasure these men’s friendships. I learned it was time to let them go when they would say, “Faye, if I were straight I’d marry you.” For they weren’t straight. And in my heart of hearts I knew if I wasn’t “woman enough” for Mitch to change I wasn’t for any of these friends either. Besides none of them were my cute, funny, kind, piano playing man Mitch and I didn’t love a single one of them.

After a few years I just stopped dating. I focused on the healing I needed from my own childhood burdens and battles. I told God when He was ready for me to get married He’d have to hit me upside the head with the man because I was through with dating. Shortly thereafter I met my husband to be.

In the last four or five years though I’ve wondered more about what became of Mitch. I would hear things now and then but nothing concrete, nothing certain. Then through all of the social media we have today I located him. We talked a couple times and typical Mitch, he dropped out of my life again. Recently we’ve talked a few times and the connection seems steadier yet only time will tell.

I don’t have a deep insight to Mitch’s life now. We’ve stuck to the current lives we’re living without diving into the past. Should we have a conversation that covers all the old ground all I would want to say to him is that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I wasn’t a better friend to him then. I’m sorry I never really understood his battle. I’m sorry for the hurt he’s had and the pain he’s carried. I’m sorry we haven’t been a part of one another’s lives. I’m sorry he gave up playing the piano.

Mitch has his own insights into not only our friendship/not a relationship but not just a friendship and of course into his sexuality. I hope one day he’ll share them with me. But in his time, not mine. I sent him this blog before posting it for his approval. So I break no promise of secrecy in sharing.

Meanwhile I will pray for him and remember there are numerous faces behind the word homosexuality and all the controversy. One of those faces is my friend, Mitch.

-Faye

Oops! Jar

A few weeks ago my husband and I discussed some new family guidelines for our three member family. We were trying to find a way that would help all of us remember things to do to help us function sweeter together as a team. We came up with the Oops! Jar. After a family meeting where everyone got to have a say in the guidelines, reasons behind and solutions we implemented our plan.

Whenever one of us forgets to do something, like put dirty clothes in the laundry baskets or wipe the toothpaste off of the sink then we have to put a quarter into the Oops! Jar. Then when we go on a vacation we will use the funds to help pay for something we all want to do.

Since this is still “new” to us I won’t tell you how it’s working, although I will say we need a lot more quarters than usual around the house these days!

If I had an Oops! Jar for myself on this blog I would have quite a tidy sum of quarters jangling around inside. There are some “rules” of blogging I haven’t adhered to very well. So, although I won’t be depositing a physical quarter into fvbf’s
Oops! Jar
I will offer virtual ones to you my readers.

  • Sometimes I drop off the blogging field for days, even weeks at a time.
  • I am no computer whiz and when I had to purchase a new laptop unexpectedly with Windows 8 and upgraded Word products it threw me for quite a loop. Rather than deal with it, I’ve chosen to bury my head under the laptop and try to wish it to work like what I was familiar with.
  • No back-up! Yes, I know I should back-up my computer files and I was once regular at doing so but, I grew neglectful and when my old laptop crashed – yes, you got it, I lost work in process and that made me annoyed with myself so I just didn’t deal with it.
  • When I am blogging regularly I don’t post my blog before 9:00 a.m. like the “suggestive guidelines” tell me.
  • My writing will win me no grammar awards I am sure!
  • I’m sure there are others and ignorance isn’t bliss so for those I also offer an Oops! Jar contribution.

Now, with those Oops! Jar confessions accounted for here are some for the personal blogging guidelines God and I hammered out when I began to publish my blogs that I’ve violated too.

  • I’m not always willing to give my readers “the rest of the story”. Especially since I was forced into taking disability. As a Christian I have wanted to handle it better, allowing God to show grace through me, to forgive and to push on to the rest of my life. I have struggled in ways I have no words to describe these last six months. I have chosen to hide away at home on Sunday’s so I could avoid admitting to my fellow sisters and brothers in Christ that my faith is taking a beating, that I have been asking “Why?” of God and not trusting. Now there are some who may comment that I’ve been way more forthcoming than they have desire to know. I respect that opinion if it is yours.
  • I need to forgive my father and his role he played in leading to my having an amputation AGAIN. That is difficult for me to admit but I’ve allowed resentment and bitterness to interfere and become a stumbling block AGAIN. This is on me, not him, for I am the one who forgives, leaves it at Jesus’ feet and picks it up again.

Finally let me remind myself and you my readers that I am no formally educated person in theology, doctrine, religious beliefs. The views I offer are of a layperson who is a female, a mother, a wife, an amputee with complications, a wrestler with depression and anxiety, a want-to-be writer, artistic painting dabbler and a flawed human being with a relationship with Jesus Christ that is not always what it should be because I can’t “surrender all”. I want this blog to be “real” and sometimes gritty revealing honest emotions, faith struggles and life lessons. Here I hope people read “real” and by doing so, find God to be real as well.

For now it is way past posting time and my coffee grows cold. Until next time dear readers and friends!

Faye

Value in Real

Pearl in OysterPearls are formed when a grain of sand gets into an oyster (or mussel) shell and irritates the sensitive oyster whose natural abilities allow it to abstract calcium carbonate from the sea water and coats the grain of sand.  Over an extended period, the longer the time the larger the result, a pearl is created.  It doesn’t happen inside every oyster shell although every oyster has the ability to create a pearl if given a grain of sand to do so with.  Naturally created pearls are very valuable.

Man has of course learned how to stimulate oysters into making pearls.  They look-alike but they aren’t as valuable.

Neither type of pearl comes out of the oysters looking perfectly round, smooth and polished.  In fact if one didn’t know what they had they might even toss the pearl away.  Both are also fragile, not being much stronger than a fingernail.  If you know what you’re holding in your hand you will cherish it, have it polished and most likely set into some type of jewelry or sold.

The Bible speaks of pearls in Matthew:MP900177808

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs.   If you do, they will trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”*  Matthew 7: 6

Here, according to the study notes in my N.I.V. translation of the Word, Jesus is speaking of teaching in accordance with the spiritual capacity of the learners.  His reference to dogs is related to the unclean dogs of the streets that were held in low esteem.  And of course swine were considered unclean by the Jewish people from their instructions in the Old Testament.

1001224892“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls.  When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”*  Matthew 13:45-46

This time Jesus is trying to help His audience (which includes us) to recognize the incredible value of Heaven.  Being a resident of Heaven is so valuable to the human heart and soul that one should give up all they have to get it.  Someone seeking God, when they open themselves to His presence will be found by Him, and will recognize the value of that relationship.

In I Timothy 2:9-10 women are instructed to not use pearls, gold, braids or expensive clothes to draw attention to themselves in an inappropriate way.  Timothy calls upon women to dress modestly with good deeds that become a woman who confesses to worship God.

Revelation 21:21 tells us that the twelve gates of heaven are each made of single pearls.  Verse 12 of the same chapter tells us that on each gate one of the names of the 12 twelve tribes of Israel is carved.  God, through John tells us here that pearls are beautiful and regal enough to be used as building material in Heaven.

Earthly pearls, whether they are created naturally or forced to develop by man are beautiful once they are cleaned, shined andPearl Necklace polished.  In their natural state they are not that attractive, one has to know what one has to know its value.

How like our relationship with Jesus.  It is natural for us to have a yearning for God.  It is also natural for us to want to do evil, to want our own way, to do what feels good.  We have the ability, the capacity to find that missing relationship with our Creator or attempt to fill that role with multiple relationships with other “things”.  We can allow the irritations of this world to create a pearl of great value in our lives by seeking to draw from the presence of God around us.  Or, like the manmade pearls, we can create imitations by seeking other things that we can use to replicate what is valuable.

Which do you choose, the real pearl or the manmade one?  On the surface they may look the same, clean up the same, be used to create replicas of the same jewelry but only the ones that occur in nature are true pearls.  One is genuine.  One is a very good imitation.  “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…”** the real God or the imitations of man?

-Faye

*N.I.V. translation

**Joshua 24:15

Assignment: God Stuff

HPIM1136

Our daughter is at that age where she is no longer a “child” but not yet a teenager.  Her special “friend” Charlie, is still as alive and real in her world as we are, and people in our life know not to refer to him as a “stuffed animal”.  Yet boys are starting to become interesting creations and a bad hair day can ruin an otherwise bright morning.  So when I’ve requested prayer for “What is it God wants me to write?” her answers, I’ve thought were well, suggestions from my eleven-year-old.  The same child who begs me to tell her stories about “squirrels being crazy funny” and “princess who love squirrels” also suggests:

 “Christian writing Mama, what else?”

“Angels and God things Mama.”

“How many times do I have to tell you?  You write “God stuff”!”

On the way to school this morning I was silently praying for our daughter when I had a clarifying moment for my own question.  Suddenly I heard her voice suggesting what I write and in the same moments I remembered one of the things I’ve been told in a multitude of ways which is “write what you know”.  If I take that with what my daughter’s advice is my direction to write would be to write “about God stuff, about the times I’ve encountered God and angels in my ordinary life”.

Returning home I pulled out my favorite Bible and prayed for as clear a direction from scripture as what I believed I had received as I drove away from school.   I started in I Corinthians 13 but it was chapter 14 that held my attention.  I read it over and over for I knew something was calling to me to pay more attention and verses 9-12 kept drawing me back.

“So it is with you.  Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying?  You will just be speaking into the air.  Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning.  If I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker and he is a foreigner to me.  So it is with you.  Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.”

I Corinthians 14:9-12 N.I.V.

Paul was writing about the desire the Christians in Corinth were having for spiritual gifts and how those gifts they desired should be ones that build up the church.  These particular verses are about orally conveying the message of Christ in a language that the audience members can understand. (At least to the way this layperson understands them.)

Would God direct me any differently today than He did through Paul those early Corinth Christians just because my venue is the written word?  After all God did not intend that Paul’s letter would be one to encourage and instruct just the Christians at Corinth.  Even then God knew that His message through Paul would one day be devoured by Christians all over the world.  Yes, I believe even then God knew I would be in need of His words to the Corinth church.  Should I not convey the message of Jesus Christ’s love for us?  That Jesus Himself became the mediator between God and us?  Should this message not be written in a language people can understand?  Should I not be writing so that God’s people are encouraged and the body of believers is built up?

Or in a more direct understanding, should I not write about my ordinary life and encounters with God and angels with words that people understand?

Maybe this blog is my assignment at this time whether I have many followers or not.  God must have His plans and as long as He keeps inspiring me I’ll keep writing “God stuff” and pray that I use words that people understand so He is edified.

-Faye

Defined in the Last Row

1000318841Happily settled in the first desk of the first row in front of the teacher’s desk, with her permission, on the first day of school I was alive with excitement.  I could barely contain my joy.  That all changed when Cheryl Samson* walked in with her mother and stopped in front of me announcing she wanted my desk.  Mama not only forced me to move to the last desk in the last row in the corner but also to apologize for having taking Cheryl’s seat.  I was defined in this moment as being unworthy to sit up front, I belonged in the far corner. 

A spark of joy returned soon when I was called to the teacher’s desk for her to see how many words or letters of the alphabet I could recognize.  Happily I told her that I already knew how to read, my mother had taught me!  I rattled off the titles of the books I had read already, the majority of the Bobbsey Twin and Donna Parker series as well as Huckleberry Finn.  Not believing me she handed me the Dick and Jane reader and told me to read out loud.  After I read several pages my teacher stopped me. 

“Your mother,” she told me, “has obviously taught you not to read but to memorize books.  You’ll have to learn again.”  Cheryl snickered MC900439405behind me.  “Memorizing the words on the pages doesn’t mean you can actually read!” the teacher said as I quickly went back to my seat.  I had never known Dick and Jane existed until a few minutes ago.  I was defined in these moments as unintelligent, misinformed and as a liar. 

At home, annoyed by my why questions about Cheryl and the desk and having to relearn to read, my mother mumbled as she peeled potatoes. Finally she sent me to my room saying, “People like us aren’t like people like her.”

“People like us”?  Why were we “people like us”?  What did Mama mean?   I was defined now as less important, belonging to some “people like us” that I didn’t understand.

Homecoming at school brought the opportunity to be the First Grade Homecoming Princess.  All I had to do was enter, sell baked goods and juice during recess for three days and collect as much money as possible from my family.  If I collected and earned the most money I could be the Princess.  I earned myself first runner-up.  Cheryl won the Princess title.

MC900432659I was pleased somewhat to be the runner-up.  I would still get to be part of the Homecoming Court and walk out onto the field at the football game half-time.  Only I blew that by trying to mimic Cheryl and failed miserably, embarrassed my family, received a spanking, lecture and hearing the story repeated through the years, the humiliation fresh every time.  I was defined as foolish and bringing shame to my family.  I was defined as a “runner-up” not a winner.

MP900305720

To make everyone happy I learned to pretend.  I pretended not to know how to read and pretended to let the teacher teach me all over again.  I pretended to be less intelligent.  That I didn’t want the very things I wanted the most.  That my home life was just as normal as anyone else’s home life was.  That I deserved to be last in everything, that runner-up was the best I’d ever be.  Through the years I learned to settle for less because I had pretended so long to only want and deserve the least that I didn’t even try.  I was wearing the assigned masks given to me and defined by them regardless of their truth.

MP900382637These three events, all too quickly defined me to myself as what I was given the message I was to be.  I recognized all too soon that what made Cheryl one of “those people” instead of one of the “people like us” were the following things:  Beauty, money, expensive clothes, intelligence, importance, lineage, and social status.  Money, I acknowledged as the years passed, could buy it all.  Or at least buy you the ability to fake it.

Reality was that there were a lot of things that set me apart from other kids.  None of those were any of the reasons my mother had cited, or my teacher insisted upon or that my childish mind connected to.  All that these false definitions of me did were to enable me to hide away.

Redefining who I was would take years.  Slowly it happened. 

I learned I did have the ability to earn A’s by earning them in master level classes.  I learned I could do, at least someMP900432927 algebra, by teaching myself from my daughter’s textbook and the online tutorial lessons to help her.  I learned to be a parent that gives her child wings to fly and roots to let her know she is always loved and always has a home, instead of clipping her wings and binding her with her roots.  It has taken years of on and off therapy to peel away layers of pretense, hurt, shame, wrong definitions and forbidden anger and I’m still redefining myself as one of God’s creations.

1001224892Paul’s words in Romans 8:28 have reminded me “…we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”   And again in I Corinthians 15:10 Paul’s words have given me courage, “But by the grace I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” 

King Solomon’s words from Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:” repeatedly whisper to me that the bad times will pass and the good will come, all in God’s time.  While Jeremiah in 29:11 has told me, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jesus’ has instructed me of my mission for him in this life in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” 

We all have defining moments in our lives…defining scriptures that have awakened us to who we are in Christ…what moments have defined you…what scriptures have awakened you?

Faye

*Name changed for privacy.                                                                                                         All scripture from the N.I.V. translation of the Bible.

I Believe

I believe in The God

The Alpha and Omega

The Author and Creator

Of all life

Of all that is good.

I believe in the resiliency

Of a Believer’s heart

Of a Redeemed soul

For they seek God

For they heed His voice.

I believe in Love and its power

Love that transcends

Love that extends

Itself in grace

Itself in mercy.

I believe in God’s Word

From Genesis to Revelation

From Creation to Christ’s return

Every word a piece

Every piece a whole.

I believe life has value

Value to God

Value to humanity

What He gives is

What only He should take.

I believe in marriage

One woman, one man,

One vow, one team

Two spirits united

Two cords bound in three.

I believe in children

Who need love and direction

Who need guidance and prayer

To receive the inheritance

To walk in God’s light.

I believe even when I forget

To focus on Jesus

To trust in God’s provision

When the storm rages

When darkness falls.

I believe in faith

In faith that hopes

In certainty of the unseen

Because God is here

Because He is alive.

I believe what matters

Is not what I believe

Is what YOU believe

In this moment

In this day.

-Faye at fvbf (faith view by faye)

Follow Your Heart? Follow Your Mind? Follow Your Faith?

On the surface it seems like the best advice to tell someone making a big decision in their life.  One suffering in grief.  One anxious over a job situation.  One in the midst of their first attraction to a member of the opposite gender.  One fearful of how decisions today will effect tomorrow.  So we say, “Just follow your heart!”

I’m old enough to have learned a few things and one is that the heart is filled with feelings and feelings can be deceiving.  I’ve also come to understand that as a Christian faith is not always logical.  This means I’ve learned one more thing, to seek the answers in the place I know the answers are honest and steadfast – the Word of God.

My NIV dictionary tells me that the heart (for modern usage) is the seat of the affections (Gen. 18:5; Ps 62:10) and the seat of the intellect (Gen 6:5) and of the will (Ps 119:2).  According to  Genesis 6:6 it also signifies the innermost being.  The word heart is used over 900 times in the Word, almost never literally with the exception of Exodus 28:29.

As Christians we encourage and seek people to “let Jesus come into their heart”.  We use the analogy that Jesus is knocking on their hearts door waiting to come in.  Faith, we know, often defies logic – for that is the wonderful and freeing part of faith.  And of the 900 plus references to the heart in scripture I found:

  • Mans heart has got him in trouble (or her) since before Noah.  Genesis 6:5-6 “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.” (NIV)
  • Deuteronomy 4:29 reads, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
  • The Lord doesn’t look at how we look outwardly but at the person we are on the inside in our hearts. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height for I have rejected him.  The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:29)
  • Proverbs is rich in instruction about the heart including 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
  • Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 and in 15:18 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things make a man unclean.” as well in 22: 37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

As believers in Jesus we can’t “just follow our hearts” alone for clearly a heart out of sync with God is going to lead us to decisions that are outside of His will.  To keep a heart capable of knowing and acting upon the word of God we must fill it with the same.  That means not merely giving lip service to Him but having a RELATIONSHIP with Hm and yielding to His guidance.  We also can’t approach our faith life from an intellectual viewpoint alone either.

Faith defies logic.  Faith says wait when our hearts say go.  Faith holds on in the storm when our hearts seek the first possible refuge whether it is of God or not.  Faith is walking the other road when society walks another.  Sometimes our faith conflicts with our heart and it is those times we must cling to our faith-based on what our heart knows and not on what our minds tell us.

I’ve gone through such a faith crisis many times and I once wrote, “Faith is walking into the largest, darkest room with your fear because you know there is a light on the ceiling and a switch on the wall.  But I got 1/2 way across the room and simply can’t go any further.  It’s not the absence of God it is the absence of me.”

Had I listened merely to my heart’s emotions I would have given up.  Had I listened to logical thinking I would have given up.  But in listening with faith in my heart entwined with God I found myself belly crawling across that dark room until I reached the wall and though I floundered, God guided my fingers to the light switch.

To each of those who stumble through a faith crisis I urge them to not stop seeking God’s answer in His Word.  I remind them that God can handle our questions and our doubts.

What about you?  Where does your heart and your faith meet?

The Passions

MP900443120

Misguided Passion tore the goal post down,

God’s Passion sowed the seed,

Obsessed Passion stalked the movie star,

Loving Passion took the Gospel overseas.

 

Misguided Passion pulled the trigger,

God’s Passion achieved the dream,

Obsessed Passion collected knives and guns,

Loving Passion followed the Disciples Creed.

 

Misguided Passion turned to hatred,

God’s Passion moved in love,

Obsessed Passion took another’s life,

Loving Passion calls on God above.

 

Misguided Passion used for evil,

God’s Passion discernly ruled,

Obsessed Passion  runs amuck

Loving Passion is carefully schooled.

 

Misguided Passion in the Devil’s hand

God’s Passion of His heart,

Obsessed Passion spoiled by evil,

Loving Passion from God embarked.

 

Misguided Passion robs and corrupts

God’s Passion restores and forgives,

Obsessed Passion steals a man’s soul,

Loving Passion invites the soul to live.

 

Misguided Passion bids the earthly win

God’s Passion points to Him,

Obsessed Passion ruins a heart,

Loving Passion forgives our sin.

 

Which Passion will you choose today?

Which Passion will you take?

Which Passion is read in your life?

Which Passion is given for your sake?

Cold and Gray

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It’s cold outside and gray.  The sky is the gray of lead and the air is gray with layers of soupy fog.  The weather on television promised no sunshine until next week.  On the short drive to our daughter’s elementary school the car’s heater chugs out streams of warm air, which she cuts off on her side of the car, leaving me a double portion of warmth.  In my mind it too is gray, a fleece blanket of gray heat wrapping itself around me.  Having dropped her off I briefly consider driving eight miles to get a decent cup of coffee but decide not to.   I drive right back home and ready to go into the house.

The garage floor is gray, that fact penetrates my thoughts as I drive my power chair up the ramp into the house.  I close the door on the grayness of the garage floor as I’ve closed it on the grayness of the world outside but I can’t close off the gray thoughts in my mind.

Grief has settled into my heart and seems determined to stay.  It’s been 19 months and I should be past all this, I tell myself, but it does no good.  I recall, in pieces, bits of a dream I had last night, a black and white dream fitting to my gray mood.  My mother and I are talking.  I can see us although I can’t make out what we’re saying.  I dream a lot about her lately.  She’s been in heaven almost 13 years now.  I also dream of my father, not as often, he will be gone four years this coming February, just next month.  In my dreams they are both still alive, still with us and when I wake I want nothing more than to pick up the phone and talk to my mother.  Awake her death seems to hit me all over again but although it hurts, the hurt doesn’t linger like it did when she passed.  Then it was overwhelming, the grief, the pain rocking my world and I remember that first night when I lay exhausted by the grief of that day thinking, “How is the world going on out there when our world stopped today?  Don’t they know nothing is the same?  It will never be the same again.”

Once in the house I want nothing more than to work my way back into bed, burrow beneath the covers and go back to sleep.  My eyes are heavy with the need to just close.  My mind seems detached as it reminds me of things I need to do besides sleep.  The Christmas tree needs to be undecorated.  I’ve got the family pictures to finish arranging and prepare for being hung, along with the last of the frames painted black.  I should be on my way to Birmingham to pack up but I put it off until this afternoon.  The heat is running, I can feel it blowing, but I am chilly.  Again, the bed and the covers call to me.

As I move from my power chair to the bed I can’t help but be reminded of my loss.  In my dreams I haven’t experienced this loss.  I walk, drive, shop, and sing; all the normal activities of my prior life without the aid of anyone. The dependence I have now on someone to go with me to shop angers me.  Though I can drive I can’t get out of the car and go into a place without a wheelchair.  I can’t get a wheelchair out of the car without scratching the car and doing more damage to the wheelchair.  Other things, such as singing in the choir or special music at church are gone, just gone.

Nineteen months.  I want free of this grayness, this renewed depression but it seems to be part of my soul.

I want it back.  I want to go back to those moments when the hospital staff are wheeling me out of the pre-op room and the realization I can still say no comes to my mind.  If I could go back, would I say no?  Yes, but to what avail?  I would need to go further back and fix so many wrongs, remake so many decisions that I can’t unravel the paths of life that brought me to that operation 19 months ago.  I can’t pinpoint the beginning of what resulted in the need for the amputation.  Could I have gone back and turned the tide at any one place would it be enough?  Again I am swept away by the realization regardless, it can’t be done.

Outside it is cold and gray.   Inside, in spite of the electric lights, the heater easing away the cold it is cold and gray too.  In my heart it is cold and gray.  Only cold and gray everywhere…