Wednesday, May 13, 2015

5 Steps To Help You Release Objects From a Painful Past

It wasn’t just any piano. It was the piano given to me with a promise attached to it; a promise to never let it leave the family and to hand it down from one generation to the next. It was supposed to be forever special and I was supposed to forever cherish it.

That was a tall order.

For years I’ve grappled with the thought that “a promise is a promise.” How could I possibly get rid of something I’d vowed would never leave my possession despite all the dark and painful memories associated with it? Yet, there it sat like a loud, obnoxious and very unwelcome house guest in the corner of my living room, taking up space and soaking up a bit of my joy with every glance.

So, when the opportunity came recently to trade my piano for a very old baby grand, I realized it was time to put my faith in action and actually let it go. In that decision alone, I regained control over the situation and reclaimed what this inanimate object held over me for so long and you know what? It felt great!

I know how difficult it can be to let go of something held onto out of obligation or perhaps a false sense of commitment and I would like to share my observations taken from my own personal experience:

1. Recognize that it’s unhealthy to keep objects around that represent an unpleasant time in our lives, especially if God is healing us, drawing us out and away from the grip of painful memories.

2. It’s much easier to get rid of an object if we release it emotionally first. This is tough to do when anger or resentment have built up, but if we first come to terms with it emotionally, we can release it with strength and confidence.

3. Understand that something that may have represented grief and pain in your life could actually be a blessing to someone else.

4. Give praise to God when the object physically leaves your possession! Praise Him for the feeling of release it brings and enjoy the wonderful freedom of no longer being bound by the painful memories it represented.

5. Share your testimony! Tell others how God has helped to bring you this far in the healing process.

God doesn’t want us held captive by inanimate objects nor by any other reminders of a painful past. Joel 2:25 tells us, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you.”

Is there something you possess today that should be released? Something from a painful past or a promise made? God knows what brings the pain and sadness in your life. Rise up and take control of your healing process and remember Luke 10:19, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Seek Him. Seek His guidance and direction and release all that hinders you today.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Guilt-Free Moments

Just gonna be real here….

So, I got off work at 3pm. Came home, checked on all the animals because there are eggs to collect, dogs to love on and a semi-sick diamond dove who’s been hanging out at the bottom of the cage since yesterday and I’m a little worried about her.

Then, there’s the “storm”…an afternoon of cold wind and clouds and a brief but powerful downpour…and then it was gone (?)

Then…I’ve had a recipe for Navy beans and ham hocks running through my head all morning, so I diced this and chopped that and tossed it all in the pressure cooker (see the end of this post) and headed out to pick up dear daughter from work (because dear son needed the car and it’s always a game to see who drives what).

Conversation was a little edgier and harder hitting than usual, so I was glad to dump her off at home (lol) and then watch her quickly leave again for concert band practice at the college.

Then…I’ve been in a quiet battle with a low-grade fever and sluggish/sick feeling for the past few days and when dear son headed off to the library to study with his friend who happens to be a girl but not a “girlfriend,” that’s when I heard the almost angelic tones of “The Pioneer Woman” theme song on the TV which told me it was already 5 o’clock. I figured…hmmm…I’m gonna make myself a cup of coffee and…dare I say….SIT DOWN and watch one of my favorite shows!

And you know what???

 I did!

Please understand….I just don’t do that during normal daylight hours.
I feel guilty if my backside lands on the couch before 8pm, ESPECIALLY with a cup of coffee in my hands!

Why is that?

Why is working and accomplishing and doing and checking off all the boxes SO important and SO engrained in my brain to the point that I’m worried to have someone actually walk in and see me “wasting time” during the middle of the day? And if someone actually does happen to walk in, I’m quick to defend myself with many reasons why I’m taking a break and not scrubbing, folding or sweeping something???

Uggh!!! Stop the madness!!!!

April is my birthday month.

 I celebrate ALL month long…especially THIS one. Ummm…I’ll just say it’s a big, ugly number and it’s hitting me kinda hard this time. But really, who’s counting, right?

I’m just happy to be where God has me even if I am a little worn and weary from life’s lessons and experiences. I am His and He is mine – I really couldn’t ask for more.

I think that now (as a birthday present to myself) is a good time to make the decision to allow myself time outs; moments to just stop, sit, maybe enjoy that afternoon cup of coffee or glass of tea or nothing at all and just let my mind…escape for a little while.

Guilt-Free Moments!

I never like saying that I’ve “earned” something or that I “deserve” something because I’m humbled and blessed with ALL the ways God shows Himself to me throughout the day. But when I’m tired, when I’ve worked hard at something, when my feelings are a little shredded and I just don’t have the strength to keep tying up the loose ends of the day and smiling through the process…I’m going to allow myself those guilt-free moments.

I hope you will, too.

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place
and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had
no leisure even to eat. (Mark 6:31)

Navy Beans and Ham Hocks
Used 1 large ham hock
8 oz. dry Navy beans
1/2 red onion, diced
1 1/2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Tony Chachere's seasoning
about 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
Dissolved 3 tsp. Knorr chicken flavored bouillon powder in 6-7 cups warm water.
Poured it all in the pressure cooker and let it go for about an hour and a half.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

He Showed Me Windmills

Maybe you've seen them. They’re the ones who smile through the dry and tired days. They flourish radiant and bright with very little, at least by worldly standards. Their hands are busy and their souls are full. They've weathered storms, gathered up the broken bits of heart and faith and carried on. They emerge victorious from battle and fashion something uniquely wonderful to give back to the world.
They’re the humble ones who live quiet and content in peaceful joy.
Quietly living.
Quietly serving.
They wear the face of freedom and wear it well.
Haven’t we all been freed from one thing or another in this life?
Do we show it?
Do we wear that freedom in our eyes? Our smile? Do we speak that freedom – true, Praise-God-with-all-that-I-am freedom?

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.
But do no use your freedom to indulge the flesh;
Rather, serve one another humbly in love. (Galatians 5:13)

Getting from hurt to healed is a process and no one can tell us how long that journey will take. I only know that I spent far too many years bound and oppressed, help captive by my desire and need for “someone’s” approval of my every move. I’d made that someone the very center of my life. All that I did and all that I was branched off of my desire to please them and make them proud of me.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)

Sometimes it takes hurt of devastating proportions to rock us to the core and completely change our way of thinking. Sometimes we have to find ourselves on our knees to really soar. That’s where we find grace and mercy and the love of a Savior and we realize that we are not defined by our past nor by the people in it. We are who God says we are.

And the journey, for me…all along the way…God showed me windmills. He opened my eyes to the hub in the center and all the blades branching off and how they spun by the very breath of Him. He showed me that over the years, while on that rough and rocky path to freedom, He had become that center hub. That certain “someone” was no longer the center of my life, nor the center of me.

Jesus is! And always will be! Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord for freedom! That true Praise-God-with-all-that-I-am freedom!

Make Jesus the center of your life, my friend, today and forevermore.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blessings in the Grief

I hit the floor running this morning. The alarm went off a little after 5am and I flew down the stairs.
I’m anxious to put the lid on this really crummy week.
Pain. Grief. Tears. Mourning the loss of not just a family member, but my favorite uncle. The one who loved to laugh and make others laugh, too. The one who lived and loved with his whole heart. The handsome one who adored his beautiful bride after 50+ years and breathed his last while holding her hand. He was the one who always took the back roads in bouncy jeeps and trucks and each path led through tall pines with a lake at the end and there would be fishing and memories made for tomorrow.

I get a pot of strong coffee going and head to my box of L'oreal, medium brown. I can’t let people I haven’t seen in 20-30 years know about all this gray eager to make a statement – one that says, “Hey! Yeah, the years have been good and I’m blessed an’ all but the rough patches have been deep and wide and I have all this gray and wrinkles to prove it.”

The sink is full of yesterday’s dishes.
The dogs have tracked in remnants of an untidy back yard and there’s a little something dear daughter tracked in from the chicken coop now smeared across my floor and it’s all screaming at me…but the clock.
Time ticks on and I’m 15 minutes away from being a secretary again and answering phones and smiling and folding papers.
But it’s the day we've been dreading and we have to pack and leave for this sad and final good-by trip.

Then the phone call – the one needing a few minutes of my time and signature and needing it today.
And where in the world are my keys?
And the clock ticks forward.
And I’m late.
And it all burns inside.
This hurry. This stress. The pain of this wife without a husband and grown children still needing their father and I can’t believe he’s really gone. I heard there will be bag pipers churning out Amazing Grace for the believers and the non and white doves released as if chasing him toward Heaven.
And the voice on the phone wants an answer and wants it now…
            and my tears come.
It’s too much. I bubble over in frustration and hand the phone to my husband…
            and breathe.

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2

Yet in the middle of the grief, the condolences, the memories with their fuzzy edges and the tear-stained photos in black and white, the blessings emerge.
They show themselves in the reuniting of family and friends. Relationships rediscovered that never really died. There are blessings as we strengthen, love and encourage one another and whether the believer or the non... 
              all glory to God.

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Old Friend

I’m going to visit an old friend today.
Or maybe tomorrow.
She holds a huge piece of my heart, as we’ve shared so much together over the years. She’s watched my children grow. She’s experienced the thrills, the disappointments, the tears and the triumphs of life right along with me. She has seen it all and has always been right there for me. Though I’m not able to visit as often as I would like, she’s very forgiving and understanding and seems all too happy with the moments I can afford.
I hope that in our time together I’m able to give back just a portion of what she gives me. I feel like I’m always the one doing the taking while she's all about the giving.
She’s not looking quite “herself” these days, but I know that with a little time spent together, we’ll both be sparkling once again from the inside out.
I do miss my old friend…it’s been far too long.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Grout Lines

I woke up yesterday to a very unpleasant discovery in the living room…right next to the Christmas tree. Seems my yellow lab had been left inside all night and decided that right next to the wrapped presents beneath the tree would be the best place to leave a rather unsightly deposit.
Bless his heart.
Thankfully, we have tile floors which makes clean up much easier than carpet.
Unfortunately, tile comes with grout lines which means that any substance of a “loose” nature hits those lines and immediately heads in all four directions.
This dog-sized surprise covered 2 very large tiles and yes, it was heading down all surrounding grout lines straight for the gifts beneath my Christmas tree!
Quickly, before my coffee and before I’d cleared the morning cob webs from my brain, I put the dog OUTside then grumbled and growled my way through cleaning up the whole mess.
Finally, after 2…no, 3…trips out to the garbage can I settled myself with my much-needed and well-deserved cup of coffee.
But I couldn’t help but see the analogy in the moment.
God showed me that whatever we put out there, whatever we share of ourselves, whether God glorifying or otherwise, SPREADS! What we say and do truly effects others. The words we speak can pour out of our mouths and hit those grout lines in the form of friends, family, social media, etc., and cast an immediate light on our state of heart. Our actions and our words, when shared with the rest of the world or just one on one, says a lot about who we are and to Whom we belong.
In essence, we have the power to either repel or attract.
The choice is ours.

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds  and glorify God  on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:11-12) NIV


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