Words

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18


words 2Words. They are meaningless when they promise good things with no action, cutting and hurtful when used with no regard and although intangible, they often cause more pain and scarring than even the most tragic of physical accidents.  Damaging words can linger in the air for only a second but in the heart for a lifetime.

Words can be the most severe weapon used in wars we shouldn’t even be fighting.

I struggle to fathom why injurious words are thrown around carelessly towards those we love and benevolent words are reserved for acquaintances or strangers who pass by. Often times, it is our own personal unhappiness, miseries and failures that manifest and spill over resulting in a verbal attack by words or tone in a direct shot to hurt our loved one. I strongly believe it is unfair, immature and cruel to expect those nearest and dearest to us to involuntarily stand as our targets; but why do we do it? Why do we toss in little jabs, bring up past experiences or use sarcastic snarkiness knowing it will hurt the person we are unloading on. Do we really want our spouse, child, parent, friend, etc., to feel as poorly as we do? Do we not want those we love to feel good and lifted up instead of tore down and damaged. Does it really make us feel better by making others feel worse?

Scripture gives us verse after verse telling us not to use words to hurt others.

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” – Proverbs 12:18

A sword! Really? Would you pick up a sword and deliberately hurt someone? Anyone? Let alone those you love the most in this world. We all have had something said to us at some point in life that causes us to feel that seizing, sharp ache just as though a sword was being thrust through our hearts. I am sure as you are reading this, those words flashed through your mind like an old blinking neon sign and brought that old familiar ache along with it. Do you truly want to say something that causes this pain in someone else?

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

How many times have you thought about what you would like to say in the heat of the moment, quickly disregarded it to avoid the drama, and then threw caution to the wind and said it anyway. Did you enjoy the argument that undoubtedly followed? Do you wish you could have held your tongue and said something more gentle and resolving instead?

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29

Very simple point. If you can’t say anything nice; don’t say anything at all.

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” – Colossians 3:8

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” – Proverbs 15:4

When speaking to those you love, even when circumstances are less than favorable; don’t point fingers, spin situations in your favor, point out flaws or be deliberately cruel. You love this person, right? So why try and be purposely wicked?

“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:37

“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” – Matthew 12:36

Saying what you want regardless of the damage it may cause may make you feel like you have won the fight for now. You may feel triumphant knowing your spouse gave up or your child backed down but you will be held accountable. Do you want to stand before God and revisit every time you let your tongue have control and revisit every hurtful, damaging word you uttered? I hope the answer is no and that you begin, right now, to think before you speak, practice kindness and gentleness with all you meet and examine your hearts before throwing your words.

Always keep in mind that you cannot turn back the clock. A spoken word cannot be unsaid so make them pleasant ones!


I want to hear from you!

What do you do to tame your tongue?


 **This blog is based on my own personal research, thoughts and opinions. If your opinions differ than mine then we can agree to disagree, no negative comments needed. If you appreciate the message in anyway, then please feel free to comment, like, and share with others. **


Advertisements

Taking My Own Advice

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” – James 1:2-4


mjI have had a rough few weeks. I have been low on energy, strength and hope. There are days when even the most routine tasks take every ounce of my being to complete. I have even given up on a few things I used to be quite passionate about. Many factors have created my Eeyore demeanor but the big disappointment is, I know better. I know 100% that my disheartenment and forlornness is because I have put too much hope and value in things other than Christ. This was one of the main points I learned from studying Gods at War by Kyle Idleman.  I know that everyone gets in a slump now and again but shouldn’t I be able to bounce back more quickly than some? With all the bible studies I have done and sermons I have heard, shouldn’t I be faster at putting on the full Armor of God and fighting off satan and the painful blows he is throwing my way?

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:17-18

This scripture tells me that even though I live in Christ, there will still be moments when I will feel ‘crushed in spirit.’ These words even point out that God will be close to me when I feel this way. Feeling down once in a while is normal but knowing this doesn’t make it any better. How do I make it better? To be honest, I haven’t had the strength to open my bible or even pray. I knew that both of these would help me climb out of my funk but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Every time I would get ready to make the effort, something would distract me or someone would interrupt me with more negativity and knock me further down. So now what?

Advice?

I started thinking about those who message me seeking comfort, help and guidance. If one of those folks sent me a message describing this scenario, how would I respond to them? I would undoubtedly refer them to the above scripture and one of my previous blogs, ‘Those Days.’ I would encourage them to go to God’s word themselves and get their butt in church for sure. However, if they were down so low they couldn’t begin the journey back up themselves, then I would be sure to pray for them. I would pray persistently for them until they had the strength to take a step themselves and then I would pray some more.

I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continually and since I couldn’t escape the cloud long enough to pray for myself, I asked a few friends to do it for me. This is another reason why going to church is so important. The friendships in Christ I have formed are there to help me when I can’t help myself. Now I know that asking a friend or two to pray isn’t going to instantly dissipate that dark cloud surrounding me, but I am a firm believer that those prayers have already created a silver lining. I know things will get better, the cloud will lift. The hopelessness will lighten in time and I know God has not left me. As he said, he will remain by my side. In the mean time, I am doing my best to:

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12


I want to hear from you!

What advice have you given others that you wish you followed?


 **This blog is based on my own personal research, thoughts and opinions. If your opinions differ than mine then we can agree to disagree, no negative comments needed. If you appreciate the message in anyway, then please feel free to comment, like, and share with others. **


 

 

Memorial Day Memories

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends..” – John 15:13
——————————————————————————————————————————–

IMemorial Day am fortunate to live in a community that still holds a Memorial Day service at the local cemetery to honor those who fought for our freedom. Every year, my family attends the parade and service. The service is small but efficient. There is an opening prayer, a speech from a local preacher, a gun salute by the veterans and the band plays a patriotic song and Taps. These are constants you can count on. Traditions. Memories in the making that instills the importance of Memorial Day in all who attend. After the service, we stroll through local graveyards as my father tells us all about each family member who has passed. Only recently did I begin to notice that our family had many members who served in wars throughout the generations thanks to the markers placed by Veterans’ graves during the holiday weekend. 

Dad and CJ blurAs my dad was telling my kids his favorite memories with his grandfather or uncle, I was snapping pictures of a history I never really heard. We found that many family members had fought in World War II, and others fought in World War I, Korea and Vietnam. Most of these uncles and cousins are distant in our family line and were gone before I was born, but my dad remembers many of them and is able to help share their legacy by introducing them to my children and I year after year. We have our fair share of fun during Memorial Day weekend but I try to teach my children why we celebrate this day and to honor it with this family tradition.

Banner

 ——————————————————————————————————————————–

I want to hear from you!

How do you celebrate Memorial Day weekend?

—————————————————————————————————————————-

 **This blog is based on my own personal research, thoughts and opinions. If your opinions differ than mine then we can agree to disagree, no negative comments needed. If you appreciate the message in anyway, then please feel free to comment, like, and share with others. **
——————————————————————————————————————————–

 

 

Handing Over the Keys

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” – Psalm 56:3
——————————————————————————————————————————–

Key Blog 123There is nothing more frightening than adding your teenage driver to your insurance policy except for handing over the keys for that first solo drive. My oldest recently got her license and her first job all within the same week. These are two major life events that are sure to cause stress for any mother; stack them up back to back and we have the main ingredients for a nice little nervous breakdown cocktail!

There comes a point in every mother’s journey when she is no longer in control. A point where we hand our child over to the world and pray for God to be there every single second we cannot. When watching your 16-year-old driving away is a tear-blurred vision of that precious kindergartner getting on the school bus for the first time, we must allow God to hold us up. 

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me….“Psalm 28:7

After several reminders to do not text or talk on the phone while driving, be sure to let us know you have arrived and a quick prayer for safety, off she went. One of the longest half-hours of my life was waiting for her confirmation of reaching her destination safely. Focusing on anything else in the few hours she was gone was basically pointless as I knew my mind wouldn’t rest easy until she pulled back in the driveway once more. I kept silently repeating the first scripture that ever captured my heart:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34

Although my worries were not about tomorrow and were very much in the here and now, I was able to settle down with the simple reminder that there is no need for me to worry. I strive daily to do what God wants of me; to do his will, and therefore I wholeheartedly believe he’s got my back. I needed a few moments to remind myself to trust in him and relax. Sure enough, my baby girl made it back home safe and sound and my prayers turned to praises.

Just another day in my journey doing my best to fully rely on God.

——————————————————————————————————————————–

I want to hear from you!

How did you feel when your teenager drove away for the first time?

——————————————————————————————————————————–

 **This blog is based on my own personal research, thoughts and opinions. If your opinions differ than mine then we can agree to disagree, no negative comments needed. If you appreciate the message in anyway, then please feel free to comment, like, and share with others. **
———————————————————————————————————————————

Bully Blah!

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” – Matthew 7:12
———————————————————————————————————————————–

BullyingScut Farkus used to be the image that would come to mind when I heard the term, bully. You know, the redheaded, coonskin-cap wearing bully from The Christmas Story. I used to hear the word bully and immediately chuckle with the image of Ralphie, Flick and Schwartz leaving little Randy behind as they ran from Farkus and his toady. Sadly, recent events have brought new images of bullying to mind. In the past few months, I have experienced bullying from many different angles. Honestly, at first I was quite baffled that we have such an up and rising problem with bullying in the small community where I live and surrounding areas. I have heard about elementary girls being cornered, best friends of over ten years turned public enemies and even my own child has come to me in tears after being grabbed and called names.

We all know that bullying isn’t a new issue. I think about the physical and emotional bullying that  Jesus endured during his last hours on Earth.

“The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?’ And they said many other insulting things to him.” – Luke 22:63-65

We could even go as far back to Cain and Abel.

“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”

Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” – Genesis 4:2-8

To me, this passage summarizes the source of bullying; feeling rejected, inferior, under par or longing to be accepted. Sometimes when folks feel so terrible about themselves or their life in general, the outlet becomes bullying. I truly believe by making others feel bad, they make themselves feel better in a small, misunderstood way.

Sadly, not long ago, it was brought to my attention that one of my own children was being a bully. Of course I was crushed that my child would behave this way. In our home, we truly do enforce treating others nicely and showing God’s love. My children know that bullying is not acceptable and so we had no choice but to show tough love and discipline him. With an offense this serious, numerous punishments were given. However, the first and foremost was that humbling and humiliating experience of calling the child who was bullied and apologizing to him and his parents. Admitting you are wrong and asking for forgiveness is tough for anyone to do and I think exceptionally so for a small child who is still trying to understand the meaning. Upon further investigation, we discovered the bullying was occurring because another child was behaving the same way and ultimately, it was a matter of picking sides. I am sure this also is a frequent circumstance; join the bully or choose to be bullied.

TracksWe all know the problem exists. We may even understand why it occurs. My question is, how can we stop it? I am sure we all have our own opinions and I am positive there are experts out there who promise to have the answers. My opinion; it begins at home. Parents, step it up and know what your child is doing. Talk to others often about how they behave when you aren’t around. It isn’t fun to hear bad things about your children, trust me, this I know, but it is better to know if something is going on and nip it in the bud! Lead by example and show God’s love. Correct bully-like behaviors in your child and don’t ignore the problem. We have all heard on the news too many times when a victim of bullying can handle no more and takes drastic measures to end the problem themselves; sadly, usually by taking their own life. The expression ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is ever so true since we all cannot be with our kids all the time. There are several sites listed below with loads of info to help with bullying no matter what side of the tracks you are on, check it out and share if you know someone who could use the help.

———————————————————————————————————————————–

StopBullying.gov

BullyHelp.org

Helping Kids Deal with Bulllies

Deal with a Bully and Overcome Bullying

Cyber Bully Help

———————————————————————————————————————————–

I want to hear from you!

Have you, your child or someone you know suffered from bullying or been the bully? If you feel your testimony may help others, please share it in the comments below. Please do not be specific with names and locations. Thank you!

———————————————————————————————————————————-

 **This blog is based on my own personal research, thoughts and opinions. If your opinions differ than mine then we can agree to disagree, no negative comments needed. If you appreciate the message in anyway, then please feel free to comment, like, and share with others. **
———————————————————————————————————————————–

Blessings

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”John 10:10
———————————————————————————————————————————–
529114_10150673235523740_2060332602_nI haven’t always considered myself blessed. There were many dark years where I struggled in so many areas that I couldn’t understand the point of anything. My relationships struggled and I was a financial disappointment. I felt like I failed my kids because no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t give them what other kids had. I was living in places that were decent enough but didn’t make my heart smile. Plainly put; I was miserable with almost everything. I can’t say that I have ever hit rock bottom as God has always kept me above my safety net. As you recall from prior posts, I remember my faith in God beginning at a young age so I knew there was more to life than what I was experiencing. I knew the feelings of despair, uncertainty and being overlooked was something that I could overcome. To this day, I am still a firm believer that when God lets you feel low or hit rock bottom, he does this so we have nowhere to look except for up.

Today, I can easily say I am blessed. I have a great husband, five beautiful and healthy children, a house that has become a home, a little bit of land where we can play, plant and create family memories and so much more. Everyday I look around and my heart swells with happiness and gratitude. Some days, I am in complete awe of how much I have been blessed. Especially since I know I am a sinner deserving of nothing but made worthy only through Jesus. Ahh, that is the key isn’t it.  I know that what I have is simply a gift of love from God.  Gifts given in recognition for the love, belief and continued effort to obey the Son he sent for my redemption.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find it; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent. If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:7-11

Every once in a while, someone will come to me with a story of heartache, pain, shame, guilt or just plain unhappiness with their life. They painstakingly tell me a story that I wish I could re-write the ending to and show them how things can so easily be turned around. I generally share my own testimony with these folks in hopes they find another way to put the hard knock life behind. I let them know of my struggles and how things turned around when I gave it all to Jesus. I did not say, ‘things turned around when I started going to church.’ Again I say, my life turned around or became ‘more abundant’ when I strived to follow Jesus.

“Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” – Proverbs 16:3

282787_10150884679398740_377115721_nI went to church for a few years and life never changed for me. I went faithfully every Sunday and the occasional Wednesday evening and listened to the sermons, the lessons and testimonies. Once I left the church, life went on as it usually did. Back to my life of filthy language, drinking with friends, being quick to judge, and other disgustingly sinful behaviors I now fight against. Then one day, something clicked. I heard a sermon that challenged me. I can’t remember what the passage was or even what the theme may have been. What I do remember is that we were challenged to live what we hear in those sermons and what we read in those scriptures. We were simply asked to give an honest shot at living according to God’s word. No excuses. It was time to make changes. So I did.

Jesus came so we could have life and have life abundantly (John 10:10). Through Jesus, we become blessed. Through him all blessings flow, so I did my best to change the life I was living. I did my best to make God a priority and I was floored when I started recognizing the changes. My relationships improved, financial concerns started to drift away and I was becoming more and more content with what I had instead of wishing for the life of others. I know it sounds corny but it really is true. If you want a better life, follow Jesus. Trust him. Serve him. Obey him. When I changed my behaviors and started doing what I could to serve, things honestly just got better. There is no easier way to say it. Now sure, we all have days were satan rears his ugly head, but I can proudly say, “I’m not who I was.”

———————————————————————————————————————————–

———————————————————————————————————————————–

I want to hear from you!

Please comment below: What are your biggest blessings?

———————————————————————————————————————————-

 **This blog is based on my own personal research, thoughts and opinions. If your opinions differ than mine then we can agree to disagree, no negative comments needed. If you appreciate the message in anyway, then please feel free to comment, like, and share with others. **
———————————————————————————————————————————–

Blackberry Pie

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13
———————————————————————————————————————————–
Bfresh-blackberry-pie-05eautiful, delicious blackberry pie. I must admit, this is one of my weaknesses. I am typically more of a savory gal and would take a 2nd helping of meat and potatoes over desserts about 95% of the time. However, blackberry pie is the exception to my hearty eating habits and would generally take first place in order of consumption. To sum this up, I love a good blackberry pie. Unfortunately, blackberry pie and I had a nice little spat a few weeks ago that left me with a broken second molar on the upper right side of my mouth. Not fun.

I tried to deal with the annoyance of the broken tooth for as long as I could but after just a few weeks, the annoyance turned to pain and off to the dentist I went. Now I consider myself to be a pretty strong person. I gave birth easily four times, continued to type at work daily with a sprained finger and taught baton lessons to over 20 little giggling girls with a ripped tendon in my left foot; but when it comes to ear and tooth pain, I am a big baby!

Pulling a tooth is no big deal. People have it done all the time. I was good and numbed up and ready to go but for some reason, a nice dose of unexpected anxiety settled over me as the dentist began to do his thing. My heart started racing, I struggled to breath and the dentist thoughtfully took breaks every couple of minutes to help me catch my breath. This is actually very unlike me and I was disappointed in the way my body was behaving. I knew the only way to make it through at this point was to close my eyes and sing some of my favorite hymns and completely remove myself mentally from the situation; but wouldn’t you know it, my mind was a total blank. I couldn’t think of one song! Not one! So then I inwardly started to panic until I heard my favorite Christian artist come through the back of my mind reminding me ‘I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength, and I don’t have to be…Strong Enough.’ Once that song came to mind, I repeated Philippians 4:13 over and over again until the dentist declared victory and the bad tooth was no more.

———————————————————————————————————————————– 

———————————————————————————————————————————–

I want to hear from you!

How do you handle those less than fun situations that you must endure?

———————————————————————————————————————————-

 **This blog is based on my own personal research, thoughts and opinions. If your opinions differ than mine then we can agree to disagree, no negative comments needed. If you appreciate the message in anyway, then please feel free to comment, like, and share with others. **
———————————————————————————————————————————–