The way we talk to others, about others and even about ourselves will often reveal the truth in our hearts. The words we speak can bless or curse our lives and those in it.
Words stick to us. Words will dig deep into our souls. If it is a word of truth, a beautiful tree full of life can grow.
If words are full of viscious lies, the damage is severe and where life was once full, vibrant and strong, words full of lies and hatred can beat down the beautiful life until only a scarred, burnt, black tree remains. Some of us feel this way about ourselves or we are desperately trying to speak life and beauty back into those torn down by the stinging, cursing tongue.
Jesus is truth. He is life. He is love.
When Jesus enters the canvas of our lives His words transform, heal and restore. The scars heal, new growth breaks forth and a hint of green begins to break forth past the blackness that overtook the beauty. Branches grow back full of leaves, and roots grow deeper in the truth.
Restoration can occur. Healing can take place.
Speak life. Choose a better way. Value everyone, even those in the womb. Will your tongue reveal a darkness within or light and love? Are you choosing to value life and love deeply? Look around you and you will see.
While each of us are seeing summer transition and school begin amidst these strange times, I am so grateful for life. It doesn’t matter what may be going on because God never changes and His plans for us remain. His plans are always good.
Dreams are still coming true!
Some days I do not even know where to begin. Amidst all the pain, changes and transitions His goodness bounces off the walls and envelopes my family. My family! I cannot even grasp my love for them. I have no words for this time. Sweet moments come here and there, enhanced by battles raging back and forth. Forward, back and forward more. What matters is that love overflows in the hearts of my family and laughter fills their bellies. Tear stained eyes will become bright in time just as the sun breaks through after a storm.
My heart has broken in ways I never thought possible these past several months. Depravity continues to become more depraved, sinking lower until I hardly know which way is back out.
Jesus is so grand and marvelous! He pulls me out of that muck in an instant. Light breaks through the darkest dark and the horrors of the night. He is always there. His presence consumes everything. Today, tomorrow and then by God’s grace, years and years from now, it will be worth it all. He is helping me see His might and strength, as well as His love and gentleness, defeat the graves intended to keep those I love from living.
From the depths of who I am, gratitude flows.
Just wait… Make sure you don’t miss Him through it all. Notice the miracle of life. Dancing on graves will become the new normal.
Reflecting on the past several months and I have realized a few things. What has come to the surface during quarantine and “reopening” has revealed what is deep in our hearts. Things we’ve tried to hide or didn’t realize were there have been sifted.
We have seen darkness exposed. It was always there. I often have wondered if it’s been by choice not to acknowledge it or if blind eyes simply have been opened recently. Many of us didn’t realize we had idolized government, our routines, entertainment, the busy and our jobs. Others have had to face the reality that they didn’t really trust Jesus all that much as worry consumed them.
But there have been a huge group who have peacefully embraced each day and chosen joy knowing Jesus would come through for them. A huge group revealed the beauty of the church as they reached neighbors and those who’ve never stepped foot in church. When the building was requested to be closed an entire group didn’t let that stop them from praise and worship. The awakening of hearts finally collided in our neighborhoods and families slowed long enough to come together again, unified.
Perhaps the gifts given during this time were ones that reminded us that church wasn’t a building but of people? People who were intended to disciple others instead of leaving it to church leaders only. People who began to see their neighbors again, their family again… People who needed a nudge out of normalcy in order for Christ to refine the parts of them that had become too comfortable sitting in the pew, territorial of it and selfish. Perhaps the greatest gift we have received has been the threat of our normal being stripped away. It has caused us to open our eyes out of slumber and look to see the need around us and within us for Jesus.
Our hearts should burn for Him. Our hearts should burn to see no one perish. Our hearts should burn for justice and love to permeate our homes, neighborhoods, cities, states and nation’s. Our hearts should burn for unity where our focus and words no longer cause dissension and turmoil for one another. What we are seeing from closed doors, states, over-sexualization of children, violence in the streets, hatred for our brothers and sisters, are all coals for revival. The more it surfaces and exposes itself, those coals burn hotter until everything is aflame.
What is coming is far greater than we can imagine. Hope for everyone. The devil has shown us his hand. There is an army rising and growing and getting stronger each day to confront the darkness and see light, life, hope and unity come again into every place. Jesus in our homes where reconciliation and miracles take place which spill over onto our neighbors, our streets and impossible situations. Jesus in our justice system restoring the justice that corruption and sin took away from kids, parents, police officers and every human being unjustly treated. We’ve limited our voices to only black and white causing a wider divide. Jesus conquered that divide.
A gentle, peaceful uprising is occuring that cannot be stopped. The coals are burning hotter.
What needs to burn away and what needs to be refined for the holy, pure, and loving fire to come and heal each of us?
Revival has begun. Will you let it consume you and restore you or will you let division and death lead you instead? It is time to choose life.
Do you ever have moments in life where you just wish that you could fast forward? I am past the point of wanting to go back in time to relive the moments with my Mom and my family. To live in the past is to have no future. But there is also this other reality where if you just look to the future your present becomes invaluable.
I have to be honest with you for a moment here. There have been many moments in my life the past month with the holidays, that all I wanted was to not feel what I was feeling and to not be where I was. Grieving comes in huge tidal waves at times. There are moments where it feels like your feet have become unstable, and the shock from the cold water takes your breath away. It can consume you for a time and in that moment, all you want is to feel something good and be somewhere different.
But the important part of grieving is working through it, feeling every bit of everything that is inside you knowing that with time, things will get better. It is also so vital that you continue to live your life. To many people, they think that they must dwell in the past, and in essence stop living for a time. But the best way to give honor to anyone that you love that has passed away is to live life to the fullest. This means, continuing on serving God, loving and growing your families and learning the new you. This has no timetable, whether short or long.
One thing that I know for a fact is that my Mom would want us to enjoy life. She would not want us to stay in silence always looking back at our past with her. We can still honor her and remember her in every action that we do, while moving forward and choosing joy. Our future is not in our past with her. This gives her no honor if we stay there. It also gives her no honor if we tell others how to live or not live their lives as we move forward. I know that my Mom is being honored in how my Dad is living his life. In fact I can guarantee you that not only is she smiling in joy knowing that he is not alone, but God is smiling proudly with how my Dad is living so honorably. I have huge respect for how my Dad is living. I could not be anymore proud of him! He’s my hero.
When I get told that I am not honoring my Mom or that I have not changed one bit, I am now at a place where I can say what a blatant lie that is. I can say with no doubt in my mind, and with full confidence in my heart, that those are all lies because of who I have become in Christ. I am not the same person that I was many years ago let alone even a month ago. God is refining parts in me that I did not even know needed care. I know a lie when I see one and it no longer causes me to feel the need to prove those people wrong. I have no need to. The evidence is how I live my life. So my simple reply is, “I forgive you.” This is vital because forgiveness is a process and often comes with a constant care of choosing forgiveness when pain can arise within again.
And pain does arise, especially when our families are at a place of allowing new people in and we learn who we are becoming. I wholeheartedly support my Dad. He is on a new adventure full of grief and sorrow as well as new joy, a new beginning and a new life with an amazing woman. My Mom is up in Heaven rooting, “Way to go Ed! You are living the way I wanted you to without me. We knew this day might come. It is okay. I understand. Keep on living. Laugh more. Love more. Forgive more. Cherish every moment with our kids. Cherish every moment with the woman that I prayed would come into your life.” But more importantly I know how proud God is of my Dad.
With that said and with Gods word, there really is no way to argue against that. Live life. Choose life. Choose love. Make God proud.