Category: God’s Love Conquers All


Misunderstood

The main prop in our 6th grade play

As I thought about what to write earlier this week, I heard this word in my heart…misunderstood.  Not knowing for sure how  to interpret it, and yet knowing what it could mean to others and has meant to me, I mulled it over in my mind for a week to get some clarity and see what God might want to say.

I remembered an incident as a child, somewhere around the 6th grade I believe, when I was picked to be in a school play.  It was a fairly short play, written by the students, if memory serves, involving a mother, a father, a handsome son (played by THE CUTEST BOY in the WHOLE SCHOOL!!!!!!!) a broken toaster, and the rest of the story is a blur.

Mine was to be a small part as I remember, which was fine with me because I didn’t like being in front of people in the first place (still don’t) and certainly didn’t want to be on stage for any length of time anyway.

Within days of the first rehearsal, however, I was informed there was to be a change in the roles and I’d been chosen to replace the original “mother” and therefore would be one of the leads in the play.  How scary is that!!  What made it worse was that I would be replacing my best friend who, as it turned out according to my teacher/director, was not as capable in the acting department as I was apparently.  Whether lack of  enunciation, enthusiasm, or what might have been missing from her stage presence and ability, I have no idea.  But, she would be doing something else to have some kind of involvement in the play, I was told.

I was quite flattered to say the least, scared to death, and devastated all at the same time.  Not only did I not want to be a “star”, but I was being put into a position that hurt my very best friend!  And, she let me know about it too!  She was very upset and called me to tell me off.  I became so upset about this whole situation that within a day or two out from the play’s viewing by the whole school at a special rally, I got sick and couldn’t talk! At the last minute, I had to bow out and couldn’t even go to school for a few days.

I was misunderstood by my friend and it wasn’t even my doing.  Oh, sure, I was enjoying the idea that my amateur acting skills, such as they were at the age of 12, were noticed and appreciated, but that was not worth the loss of my best friend….  We never again were friends after the play.

Since then, there have been several times of being misunderstood and I mourn the loss of some relationships that were important to me, but there was no way for me to retrieve them when untruths and misperceptions stood in the way, no matter how hard I tried to get them to understand the situation from my point of view.

Have you ever suffered being misunderstood for things you said or did, or didn’t say or didn’t do?  Or, have you been misunderstood for things people mistakenly thought you did?  Have your motives been called into question too?

God understands

I am so everlastingly thankful we have a God who understands everything we go through on this earth because Jesus suffered all those same hurts too.  He was misunderstood, maligned, yelled at, mistreated, yet He was able to give all of those hurts over to His Heavenly Father and move forward to complete the journey He began as a babe in a manger and ended on the Cross, taking our sins upon Himself to show us God’s magnificent and forever love.

May I encourage you to surrender your hurts, and the pain they have caused, to Jesus.  Accept Jesus’ love and forgiveness for the things you’ve done that are wrong, receive Him into your heart and let Him heal and restore you.  He understands you, even when others do not.

Perhaps this word from the Bible will encourage your heart.  “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”  Proverbs 16:7  The Amplified Bible

As you focus on pleasing God by following Him and His Word, He will cause those with whom you are at odds to be at peace with you.  That is an awesome promise to hold on to!  It doesn’t mean things will go back to being the same as they once were however, but it does mean that things will be better because God will be in charge of making your relationships what they should be.

Just remember, God is good and He loves you!  You are blessed!

This question will probably find its way to my roommate’s tombstone one day — per his request, comedian that he is — but in the meantime it serves to ask you, my readers, if you’ve ever felt like you’ve had the weight of the world on your head and shoulders? If so, how did it get there and why do you let it stay?

Do your problems feel like a pile of rocks on your head?

Oftentimes we don’t even realize that we have this heavy burden on us until we are so weighed down with guilt, feelings of responsibility, concern, emotional involvement, etc. that our health and mental stability are in jeopardy. By the time we become aware our health is suffering, we are so involved in the problem and so sure there is no way out, that the weight becomes heavier and heavier till we snap and experience a nervous breakdown of sorts.  All too often, this scenario is where self-medicating with drugs, legal or illegal, and alcohol comes into play for some people.  Or, if we are truly fortunate, we finally realize we cannot handle the situation all on our own and we courageously seek help, either thru counseling, prayer, or other resources.

How did the problem get this bad? For me, it started innocently enough. I was trying to help my daughter and her family start over. Without involving too many specifics, let’s just say that for the first few years, life in my chaotic world wasn’t too bad and we all got along pretty well. By all, I mean all nineof us…in my small three bedroom house. But that aside, within a reasonably short period of time, it became obvious that the kids were getting bigger, needing more space and freedom to have friends over, etc. and personalities were not as willing to work together as in the beginning. Mine included.  I must admit that I bare part of the responsibility for the strife and tension during those years.

Tension and strife take a toll on your health!

We all began to feel the tension too, but I was holding on hoping things would work out so that we’d all be one happy family. As time and circumstances drug on, I felt more and more taken advantage of, but still could not open my mouth to calmly state my position without getting hostility from them. The older the kids got, the less respect they had for me and, to be quite honest, the feeling was mutual.

I dearly love all of them, but for a period of time, I really didn’t like any of them at all. The guilt I felt was enormous, and the anger (it’s not like me to be angry) that I felt inside was absolutely amazing to me. I was thinking things, well, you don’t want to know what I was thinking and it’s not uplifting to repeat those things!! But, let’s just say I was not myself.

I finally realized I was becoming emotionally compromised and I needed help to cope with this situation. In the nick of time, a dear friend of mine called me, out of the blue.  Although we have not talked since this time, her phone call saved my emotional life!  She sensed that my family was “sucking” the life out of me and I needed to make some changes in order to find myself again. Well, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I needed to hear it!

It still took several months to really feel confident in my decision to make those changes, which involved my family finally moving out on their own, but once those changes were made, I began to come back to myself. The weight began to lift, the guilt, sense of responsibility for the success of my family, all of that slowly was removed from me. And, the best part, my peace returned. There is nothing in this world that can compare to God’s peace. Once you know it, you don’t ever want to lose it!  Believe me.

Although I am really sorry things within my family turned into a “black hole” for awhile, God has a way of turning even the worst looking scenarios into something that will give Him the Glory!  As I continue to submit to His Word and His Will, I know that He’ll bring us all into that “due time” where He can exalt us.

1 Peter 5 has a lot of good info about how we’re supposed to act, but in verses 6 and 7 it says:  “Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.”   The Amplified Version  (underlining mine, for emphasis)

How peaceful is this?

I would encourage you to read the whole chapter, but this gets across the idea that you can have confidence in the Lord with all of life’s issues because He’s your loving Daddy and He has your best interest at heart.  He will take care of you!

So, if you’ve got a rock, or a pile of rocks, sitting on your head,  and you think there’s no way out of your mess, trust Him and determine to make some changes in your life.  Recognize your part in the problem, repent (or turn around and go the other direction), and trust God to see you through till the end!  You’ll be surprised how peaceful you’ll feel!

 

When I was a kid, the only thing I can consciously remember being afraid of was being left alone.  My parents were forced to go away for a few days to tend to all the things that have to be tended to when a parent passes away.  My grandfather on my dad’s side had died and of course, my dad had to be there to help his sister close up the house, etc.  Mom traveled with him to help in whatever way she could as she had gone through this herself several years before.

As a seven or eight year old I was panicked wondering what would happen to me if something were to happen to both of them while they were away.  I was told that my mom’s twin brother had whatever necessary authority to raise me in that event, the thought of which left my blood running cold.  I like my aunt and uncle and cousins well enough, it’s just that they were soooooooo far away in Minnesota, and I was currently in Idaho.  I would have to get used to a new place, meet new friends, new school, and the downside just kept flooding into my thoughts.

I spent the few days they were gone with neighbors whose son and daughter were my best friends.  We had a lot of fun together, but boy oh boy, was I eternally grateful when my parents came home!!  I doubt they ever knew the fear I had felt, but it all dissipated once I saw their faces!  Up until that time I don’t think I’d ever been so glad to see anyone in my life.

In the many years that have followed, I’ve had several other occasions to have fear, as I’m sure you all have as well.  Sometimes, especially when I was in the midst of my family breaking up, the fear was so intense at times I could do nothing but roll up into a ball, the fetal position I think they call it, and cry and wait until the wave of fear subsided.  Other times, fear for my children or grandchildren would evoke those same types of feelings, but not quite as intense.  Fear of physical harm, fear of being alone, fear of rejection, fear, fear, fear.

Sometimes fear seems to come in “like a flood” or a dust storm!

We’ve all felt it in one way or another, but the one thing I’ve been constantly  reminded of since receiving Jesus as my personal savior and Lord of my life is that God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind!  (found in 2 Timothy 1:7) 

Ok, then, where does fear come from, and how can you get over it?  Well, someone years ago came up with an acrostic for fear:  False Evidence Appears Real.  So often this is absolutely a truthful saying.  The enemy of our soul has a way of throwing situations, or the possibility of certain situations, into our lives that may never happen or most likely will never happen and then he lies to us about them making us think they are a “done deal”.  Our response, all too often, is to panic as if this situation is real and we go off the deep end.  Our confidence in God is shot all to pieces because we start blaming Him as if He let it happen, when in fact, nothing has happened at all.  It’s just all in our minds where the enemy has a field day lying to his heart’s content!

Once again, I refer back to the divorce I went through many years ago.  I was in effect forced out on my own because the children were going to stay with their dad partly because I was going to have to work two or three jobs to survive and had no time left to take care of them, nor did I drive or have a car to get them back and forth to the Christian school where they were enrolled.  Even though God had given me Scriptures to reassure me, I was still in panic mode as I had no skills to sell myself into the business world I thought, and my future seemed doomed for failure.  The enemy had a “field day” in my brain for awhile, to be sure!

However, as I lived each day and relied, trusted and leaned on Him one day at a time (more like one minute at a time!!!!), things slowly fell into place and none of the lies I’d been hearing in my head and believing would happen came to pass.  As I spent time in the Word of God, listened to Christian TV, tapes, and Christian music to encourage my soul, I gained more strength, more insight, more knowledge, and pretty soon, fear began to lose its grip.

I cannot say that I am fearless in every area of my life, but now I know that fear doesn’t come from God.  So, when I do find myself in fear, I know that I need to get closer to Him and stop listening to the one who is spewing the lies, and start listening to the postive, uplifting voice of the Spirit of God through His Word.

At the name of Jesus, fear must go!

I am certainly aware that some fears are rooted in things from our past as a child or in the womb or perhaps even far back into our ancestry that have been passed down to us, however, even those things are able to be loosed from us if we are willing to give them to the One who can bring healing and restoration.

If you have experienced or are experiencing that debilitating, gut wrenching fear that many of us have known, may I encourage you to stop listening to and then repeating the enemy’s lies out of your own mouth.  Turn to the life giving Word of God instead.  You will literally feel a difference in your soul and your heart will be encouraged.  What have you got to lose??  Fear!

Honor

“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10 New International Version

Not having any idea if this subject matter is of interest to or affects anyone else but me, I felt in my heart it was time to address it, if only to remind myself to take the opportunity to express my gratitude more often to those who have honored me in some way.  What exactly is honoring others and why does it seem so hard sometimes to give others their due?  People do nice things for us or around us all the time and most of us “forget to remember” to say thank you or “Good Job!”  Maybe you aren’t like this, but I sure am.  I really do appreciate all that folks manage to do everyday, especially when it makes my job easier or more pleasant,  but I just don’t make a point of saying so often enough.  Well, maybe I don’t appreciate them as much as I think I do?  Or maybe it’s just my memory??

Meeting the man of her dreams

In any event, in the spirit of honoring those who have blessed my life, and being obedient to what I felt God prompting me to do, I’d like to take this very public forum to extend my sincerest and heart felt appreciation to one of the many people who have played a part in helping me get to where I am so far, and because of what their friendship/relationship has supplied, will help me get to where I need to be in the future.  As the Lord leads, I will include others but today He spoke to me about one individual in particular and would not let me go without sharing her with you.

Dreams of a Life of Love

The first person I’d like to honor is a young woman who, for privacy reasons, except for those of us who know her because of this phrase, I shall call “Due Jesus!”  She came along several years ago at the right time and in the right place for me as a genuine gift from the Lord and shared her hysterically funny Southern black humor and intense love for “that wonderful man named God” with all of us in our work place.

She is a lover of love and happy endings, fantasy and Cinderella in particular, which is why you see images of her sprinkled throughout this post.    While on a trip to Disneyland several years ago she admitted, in her embarrassment,  that she’d spotted her favorite Disney Princess and almost ran the children over trying to get to Cinderella first to get her autograph!  Perhaps it has occurred to her, as it has me, that her love of Cinderella may be a picture of sorts of her relationship with Jesus.  We as mere humans have dreams of being and doing better in our lives, and then, wonder of wonders, we stand in the Grand Ballroom, before the Prince…..so handsome and awe inspiring…and then the clock strikes one, two, three….seven, eight, nine,…….eleven, twelve times….oh, no…and we find ourselves back in our old reality with only the memory of that brief moment in time when we experienced the Glory…

Dreams do sometimes come true!

And then, wonder of wonders, He comes to our door…. and with the glass slipper fitted into place, He rescues us forever and takes us to His glorious castle where we will be loved and treasured for the rest of our lives!

Her enthusiasm for the Lord, her church, and pastor led her to share some tapes and CD’s with me, most without cost, the messages of which literally changed me and brought me back to life again.  Those tapes were filled with preachers and teachers such as Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, T. D. Jakes, I.V. Hilliard, and others speaking the Word of God, encouragement, hope and life into my spirit day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute as I listened as intently as I could while sitting at my desk, typing all day long.  Sometimes it was just a word or a phrase that helped me through my day.  Sometimes it was a much needed word of “scolding” that snapped me back from doing, thinking or speaking things I shouldn’t.  While she had no idea of all that was going on in my life at that time, if it weren’t for her generous gift of God’s Word, I know I wouldn’t have been able to cope very well.

Since that time,  we have both grown and matured and I’ve watched as she has gone from experiencing financial and marital struggles to having a miracle baby girl, living well and loving her husband in ways she never imagined years ago!   She has stepped out in faith and begun a small business selling cinnamon rolls, really at a financial loss to begin with, because she just wanted to bless people.  (I can tell you from personal experience, those rolls are delicious!)  And more recently, because she had grown in confidence, could finally take the steps necessary to begin using her creative abilities to write a romantic novel.  As a result, she’s inspired me to start this blog.  Her book hasn’t been published yet due to the time it takes to do the rewrites in order to get it ready for publishing, as well as being full time wife, mother and employee, but I’m confident God will show her the way and open the doors at just the right time.

Like any friendship, we’ve had our misunderstandings over “this and that” through the years but “DJ” has probably meant more to me for her selfless acts, her giving heart, and her willingness to follow Jesus anywhere He leads, kicking and screaming sometimes, but as she obeys He always blesses.  She will tell you that she is not perfect by any means, and will probably be extremely embarrassed that I am writing this post about her, but to me she is a down to earth example of just trusting God in the little things and God has been faithful to meet His daughter right where she is and answers as a loving Father would.

Princess Cinderella

Thank you, my dear friend DJ, for being who you are and living for Jesus in a negative world!  Everyone who knows you, cannot help but “testify” that you give glory to God no matter what!  You are bold inspite of your timidity and shyness, and share His righteousness with humor to make others feel more at ease.  But no one can escape your testimony of God’s love.  You are God’s little Princess and your royalty becomes more apparent and endearing everyday!*******************************

I Love You Mom!

Esther Z, my little momAs her time on this Earth draws ever closer to an end, and her eternal life with Jesus and all that have gone before her comes ever closer into view, I would like to take a moment to share my little Mommy with all of you.

She has been very brave in the last few years to endure sickness and disease, Alzheimer’s, which has left her memory rather frayed and confusing to those of us who still have some semblance of reality left, and the burden of being alone without the love of her life for so many, many years.  She is now closer than ever to being with him and all her family and friends who have gone on before, even as we speak.

However, one of the bravest things she has tackled over the years, in my view, was to take on the responsibility of raising a child that belonged to another woman, one who could not or would not take on that task.   She taught her to love God above all else, even before she had made a personal confession of faith herself.  She taught her manners, sensitivity to others, sharing, giving, and putting the other person first.  Yes, that child is me, adopted at the ripe old age of three and one half months from a Children’s Home in Helena, Montana almost 62 years ago!

My mom was always selfless, charming, loving, caring, and positive almost to a fault.  And what made her even cuter was her naiveté.  Very much like Betty White on the Golden Girls without the “sexual stuff”, she could always make me smile because she looked at life with such a Pollyana type vision.  Anyone who knows her, loved her almost from the very beginning of their relationship.  She has a way of making you feel valued and welcome the instant you walk into the room.

I never knew a time when she didn’t encourage and uplift and bring hope to a dark place.  One of those places for me was a term paper I had to write in the 8th grade on the eye.  As a master procrastinator, I had put off thinking about this paper till almost the last minute….again!  But Mom was there to pull out the encyclopedias (no internet back then!!), and start helping me put together what turned out to be a pretty dog gone good report, albeit a little plagiarized by the end of it.  She even helped me get pictures of the eye to color, so as to illustrate the various parts, and they jazzed up my report quite a bit.  Mom and I got a pretty decent grade thankfully, but I tried a little harder after that not to put myself into that kind of a time crunch again.

Another time was when I froze after being chosen to be the lead in a play in 6th grade ahead of my best friend who originally had had the part.  I guess the teacher thought I was better (she didn’t say her lines with much expression and I did) but I managed to develop a bad cold at the last minute and could not be in the play after all..laryngitis!  Mom once again was so caring and made me feel safe and secure and that everything would be ok.  It made me feel terrible that I had somehow hurt my friend’s feelings and it wasn’t even my doing.  Guilt is a terrible thing and I’m so glad I had Mom to help me through it.

As I think of all the times she has been there for me, I am reminded that it was God Himself who picked me out of an unwanted situation and placed me with a Dad and Mom who loved me as much or more than if I had come from their own bodies.  I was chosen, a very fortunate little girl.  But at the same time, I want you all to know that you are just as precious to the Lord and you too are chosen to be His child and to do something wonderful to give Him glory and praise.  As you read this story and some of the others that will come, please consider getting to know this One who has so dramatically changed my life and the lives of millions of others in this world.  He is waiting, He loves you and just like my little Mommy, when you come to your end, either suddenly or many years from now, you will be ready to go Home in peace, with Him.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!  I Love You!

An update:  As of December, 2013 Mom is still with us, although more regressed in her mind.  Her body is healthy but weaker and she sleeps a good deal of the time.  Her speech, when there is any, is a little nonsensical and sometimes humorous, but mostly just sounds and gobbledygook.  She is at peace it seems and that is a blessing.

A Final Update:  As of this morning, June 18, 2014, about 2 a.m., Mom went to sing with the Angels of Heaven, meet her family that have gone on before, and enjoy the embrace of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Rest in Peace Mom.  97 years is a long, long time to wait.

 

The CastleDoes anyone like Walt Disney movies as much as I do??  Well, maybe not all of them, but I love the colors, lightheartedness, fun, joyfulness and sometimes quite serious tones that many of the cartoon features have, especially.

 

Who could forget Dori, the loveable, forgetful fish in Finding Nemo?  And what about the Toy Story saga?  Oh, and Monster, Inc.!  Kitty, kitty!!  Loved it.  How about the Aristocats?  My grandsons watched that one over and over and over and over again.  I loved it too because I love cats!  And then there’s Lady and the Tramp!  Went to see that one and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, double date no less, on my wedding night!  Don’t ask.  LOL We had a great time though!

 

But my all time favorite has to be Sleeping Beauty.  Yeah, I know, I’m a girl. Except for all the colors of the movie itself and the 3 fairies whose garments were as colorful as their personalities, there really is a deeper meaning that was brought out to me later in life.  Because I love multiple colors, I was drawn to thismovie from the start.  But indulge me if you will as I share what else I have observed in the movie over the years as an adult.

 

Sleeping Beauty is not by any means the exact story of what Jesus has done for us scene for scene or word for word.  However, after giving my life to Christ as a teenager, I could visualize His story so clearly in this little movie that I began to understand how much He loves us.  As the acts of this movie were taking place, I could see the threats against the young Christian via Maleficent/Satan and the protection that God gives us as young Christians many times till we learn to tackle the harder things in life—Aurora is hidden for a time and then takes her responsibility to go back to the castle.  Just before she leaves tho’ she meets the love of her life and as that love develops, they both know they are meant to be together.

 

Maleficent tries to destroy the Prince as Satan did with Jesus.  The Prince gets free, Jesus rises from the dead.  Many roadblocks are put in the way of rescuing the Princess, but the Prince fights w/the Sword of Truth and slays the dragon.  Jesus does the same!  The Prince rescues the Princess and revives her (and the rest of the kingdom) with a single kiss.  Jesus essentially has done the same, for all eternity, and his Bride (everyone who is a born again Christian) will share in a Wedding, the likes of which you have never, ever seen!  Talk about Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous! Love Conquers All

 

Well, there you have it!  Is this a little fanciful for you?  Maybe, but in many ways, it’s not too far off.

 

The real point here is that God will take anything, even a Walt Disney movie, to make Himself real to you, if that’s what you need.  As a child, I was awestruck by all the colors, but when I grew up, He used those colors to translate a truth to me that has stayed with me till now.  He has become more real to me through this little story of love-conquering-all than just about anything I can think of.  Hence, you’ll notice the use of Sleeping Beauty on my blog.  (Good thing it wasn’t  Grumpy from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, huh?)

 

I would love to hear how God has made Himself more real to you.  Please take a moment to share your story.  And if you have a favorite Walt Disney movie, please feel free to share that too.

 

Look for God’s little messages wherever you go today.  He’s always talking.  Are you listening?

 

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