Friday, June 27, 2014

All About The Cross

**Reposted from a past blog**  (I just couldn't help but share this again because it did me some good to read it again.)
I was reading one of my friends blogs and he had some praise and worship videos posted for his praise band.  So you know me, I can’t NOT listen to praise and worship music when it’s available…so I started listening to “Wonderful Cross”.  And ya’ll…I had to shut my office door because I couldn’t help but cry and worship right here at my desk.  It hit me so hard this morning.  It brought things back into perspective for me.
I’ve had so many questions, so much frustration…but what I really needed to understand was that it’s all about the Cross.  Every aspect of my life is supposed to be filtered through the Cross.  I may get frustrated at home, work and church but ultimately I just need to spend more time at the foot of the Cross.  As that mercy and grace flows out over me, I’ll be so drenched in it that I will extend that same mercy and grace to every person and every situation I encounter.  When you’re drenched with water when you get out of the pool, everything you touch gets water on it.  It runs down your arms, over your hands and onto whatever you’re touching.  It runs down your face and into your eyes, causing you to see differently.  Every step you take, you leave a path of water.  It’s the same when you’re drenched with grace, mercy and love.  Everything or person you touch gets grace, mercy and love on them/it.  You see things differently through grace, mercy and love.  You leave a path (that people follow) of grace, mercy and love.  You leave footprints in their lives.
My precious Lord Jesus shed His blood for ME…hard-headed, stiff-necked, sassy ME.  Sometimes we that go to church all the time get numb to the phrase, “He shed His blood for me”…when every fiber of our body should burst into praise every time we hear that said in our presence.
I was a stinkin’ mess before I finally surrendered myself to the Lord.  It’s only because of His sacrifice that I’m able to boldly go before the throne of God.  I have power and authority because of the Cross.  The Cross just can’t be a symbol that we wear around our neck, it must become a gut-wrenching sign of hope, grace and mercy to us.  This side of heaven, I’ll never fully grasp the depth, width and height of what the Cross means.  But I sure want to find out all that I can while I’m here.
When the woman, that was caught in adultery in the Book of John, was thrown in the dirt at the feet of Jesus…she didn’t know anything about Him coming to save the world by dying on a Cross.  She had no idea what He was about to do for her.  All she knew was that when she looked up into His eyes; she saw the same forgiveness, hope and mercy that I saw when I threw myself at the foot of the Cross.  Jesus changed her life and He certainly has changed mine.  He is the hope of the world…she experienced Him first hand…I get to experience Him through the Cross.  I’m so thankful…so very thankful.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Absences Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

Absences makes the heart grow fonder, right?  I suppose that was true in the "good ole' days".  But for today's "instant is best" society, it seems that instead of one's heart growing fonder due to an absence - it simply forgets and moves on.


The person that is absent from your life is your best friend.

I didn't intend for this blog to be about an upcoming...impending...much-dreaded date.  I really started out saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" as an entry back into the blogging world.  A world that I have been silent in for quite some time.  Of course, when you only have 7 followers - you're not really missed.


You have stalker-type friends like I do.  We hound, push, pull and prod each other into being better women.  I am thankful for them.  They push me when I get in a rut.  I'm not talking about little ruts like the ones your car makes when you accidentally drive on the grass.  I'm talking about the kind of ruts that your husband makes in his 4-wheel-drive truck when mud riding out on the back part of your rain-soaked property.  (Yes, there's a story there, but I'll save it for another blog.)

So here I am you 7 loyal followers!  I thought I was coming out here to say a simple "hello" but the Lord has other plans for me.  He does this kind of thing to me all of the time.  He knows me well.  He knows He has to "trick" me into doing things...kind of like us moms do to our kids by blending up spinach into their brownie mix.

"Absences makes the heart grow fonder" is a phrase I have learned to loathe.  So many special people in my life have moved off to other towns, bigger states and larger-than-life dreams.  It has happened so often that I have recently yelled at God about it.

Yes, you read that right - I yelled at God.  You should try it the next time you get mad at Him.  Read Lamentations 3 if you don't believe me.  Jeremiah wasn't exactly singing a love song to God in this chapter.  It's okay.  I promise.  He already knows you're angry at Him.  You might as well open up those lines of communication with Him.  Trust me, He can handle whatever you throw His way.

I decided to tell God how hurt and angry I am about the growing list of people that move away from me.  People that mean the world to me.  People I invest in, love, cherish, laugh with, act silly with, talk to almost every day, grow in my faith with, and simply live my life to the fullest with - walk through the good, bad and ugly together.  Why, God?  Why are you letting yet another one go?  I joke around that I'm the common denominator but really on the inside, I begin to wonder if there is a common reason.  I mean really - does this happen so often to others?  I suppose if you're a military kid, you're saying "absolutely".  But I'm a small town Southern girl that has never lived outside of a 20-mile radius.  I can honestly say within a 5-mile radius for over 30 of my 40 years.  Clearly, I don't get out much.  I don't intend to either.  Let me clarify - I travel.  I love to travel.  However, there is no place like home.  I love my small-town living.  I am devoted to my family, friends and my church.  God would have to take some pretty firm measures to get me to move away.  So clearly this all effects my perspective on things.  I think, "Why would anyone want to leave here?"  "Isn't everyone here for life like I am?"

The answer is a clear and definitive "no".

**Disclaimer...those of you that are reading this and know that you belong back here need to just go ahead and quit fighting it.  Put your house up for sale, pack your bags and get yourselves home.  You know who you are.  Don't make me start posting names.  Okay, I would never do that...but don't test me because I just might do it one day.**

So my best friend is moving away in June.  There - I said it.  I am finally giving in and admitting the issue at hand is alive and real.  She's moving outside the 50-mile radius I gave them as an acceptable distance from me.  I am concerned about her hubby's problem with calculating miles.  It makes me question his choice of professions.  I just don't understand why people can't seem to follow my rules. :)  Our friendship agreement clearly states that no one can move away without my written consent!  I say that all with a smile on my face...although a friendship agreement may not be a bad idea from here on out.

My Ned.  My Jenny Marie.  My sweet friend who has completely turned me upside down (for the better).  The one who satan fought to keep me away from.  The blonde girl in t-shirts and jeans that can sing so very beautifully.  Not just sing - but usher in the Presences of God.  My friend who laughs at me and with me more than any two grown women should.  My friend who is my advocate.  My sister food lover...who has single-handedly managed to help me gain 10 pounds since I've known her.  My fellow lover of travel.  The one that didn't judge me when we first met each other and I made the mistake of eating a Fiber One poptart at the beginning of a road trip.  (Need I explain?)  My partner in ministry.  The one who saves me when I take Ambien and then try to text or Facebook.  The one who sits down beside me and encourages me and loves me in some of the darkest moments of my life.  The one who knows my love language and showers me with amazing surprises and gifts.  My sister in Christ.

Friendship.  It's something that can have such a tremendous influence in one's life.  "Show me your friends and I'll show you your future", is something one of my knot-headed brothers in Christ says.  It is so very true.  Friends help mold one another.  Jenny has certainly helped mold me.  It's amazing how quickly and easily we became friends.  It's one of those things where you sit back and say, "I never saw that one coming...never would have put those two together."  But God knew that our paths were destined to cross.  He had a plan to put us together, so we could love on others as well as each other.  We have two completely different approaches to most things, which makes for a lot of laughs and a well-rounded approach to the issue at hand.  I love the way God blends our two styles of ministry when we minister together.  Some of my most memorable moments where when we tag teamed to pray for women.  Goodness, the Lord has been so faithful to us!  Therefore, we must be faithful with what He has given us...

Friendship is something we should never take lightly.  We should never take each other for granted.  I have learned recently that we cannot afford to let disagreements and anger linger, then form a wedge.  As lives get busier and miles begin to separate, we will have to be intentional in nurturing our friendship.  We will cherish every moment we have together.  We will have to be sure that we build new memories, not just try to live off of old ones.  Thank goodness for technology!  Facetime, Instagram, email, Facebook, texting and Twitter will be our form of "instant" communication.  No more are the days of me penning a letter then carrying it around in my purse for two months because I don't have a stamp!

So I'll be replacing the stamp-less letter with a road map.  I'll be making some road trips to a little community in Arkansas that I never expected to drive through, much less stop in for a visit.  I'll send crazy pictures of myself and thesis-length emails.  I'll stalk her social media accounts and pout when she decides to travel west instead of east...

In the middle of it all, I will cling to the fact that God has a plan in all of this.  I need only to trust Him.