The Verse Everyone Quotes

We hear and see this everywhere in America— “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life…” This is the cornerstone of the foundation of the Body of Christ.

It’s no secret that there are a ridiculous amount of denominations, loftily disputing many ideas from various teachings within the Bible, each believing they have the “true, actual” understanding or interpretation.

I’m going to challenge all of that here. Because, going back to basics, simplifying the simple Gospel message, where we all need to join together is with John 3:16. That is the only key that opens up Salvation and reconciliation with God. None of the rest matters in the same light. Then, I will point out, the next step we all need to join together in is in the following verse— “…For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

Why doesn’t the majority of the Body of Christ focus on this part?

Then, there is this verse— John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Whoa! This makes all those gray areas completely clear— it’s already a settled issue! Should this cause us to treat others differently, depending on the Light of Truth that illuminates the condition of their soul, that is the path they are walking down?

If everything begins with the key, and the next two verses are then entwined into that crucial part of our foundation, then everything else becomes filtered through that. All the disputes and focuses of all those denominations, many resulting from church splits have nothing to do with John 3:16, 3:17, or 3:18.

In light of this, very few Christian denominational arguments against each another are solid— in my opinion. Very few of them have anything to do with how Jesus is the way, the truth and the light. Most are resulting from interpretations of Scripture that are minor details or personal preferences.

Everything we believe, everything we do or say should be filtered through John 3:16, and then John 3:17-18.

How far we have moved away from just that sweet simplicity of the Gospel of Truth.

Transformed By Transcendence

I used to hold the collateral damage in

Stuff it way down deep

Keep it out of sight

Like it was nothing but a junk heap.

I used to care about

What people thought

But then I woke up

I’m different– so what?

I’ve lived an intense life

There are depths I know

Created through strife

I’ve been embarassed to show.

When I began to embrace

The pain and emotions

The trials and the breaks

The personal notions–

I realized others were in need!

I could share what God’s done!

How He’s made that difference

I’m thankful He’s the Healing One.

You see, rejection and I

We go way back– years!

We’ve been intertwined

Tied with dread and fears.

I used to surrender

Just accept the defeat

Now my spirit is strengthened

I forced it to retreat.

Oh, it still pops up

Tries to drag me back down to submission

But I know it’s a lie

I know it’s a fake prison.

I walked away

And found my acceptance

I have risen above, no longer blind

Transformed by transcendence.

I’ve embraced my purpose

I accept it’s about more than just me

Others need my experience

To identify with their need.

My pain, my wounds

My steep pile of stuff

Belongs to other

Diamonds in the rough.

I don’t matter to many

It’s ok, I accept it

Those lives most affected

Are puzzles my life fits with.

My views are intense

I embrace pain till it runs it’s course

Ignoring it seals it in

Confronting it gets to the source.

I thought I had to apologize

For being more sensitive than most

Yet, I owe no person anything

Except to the encroached.

My life has been open

My story a book for the broken

No more apologies

My understanding is now awoken.

Strength Of Endurance

God made me to be strong.

I’m not as physically strong as I once was, but emotionally He helps to keep me strong. He helps me exercise my emotional muscles through daily circumstances, and special circumstances that both test and increase that strength.

God designed me to be able to carry a lot.

When I look around, it sure appears that my load is much heavier than others– but I’m not a good judge of what others bear.

Often, while I am preoccupied with carrying my own stuff, He brings people to me that need help carrying their stuff too. Once in awhile, I am overwhelmed by the extreme weight of my own stuff, but often I’m distracted by the need other people have that God chooses to entrust me with to help them carry.

Today, I waver through feeling the heaviness of so many things, and remembering I am not alone in this life task. God is with me. Where He guides, He provides. Today I am reminded that His provision means that He is carrying me. I’m not going to break, because He has my back. He keeps my emotional state in balance, in check.

He does that, even when I don’t think to ask Him to, even when I don’t realize He is.

My path has been paved– carefully, lovingly, with His patience, His endurance, with His peace that defies all worldly understanding.

Today I am weak. He– in me– is strong.

More Than A Glimpse

To catch just a glimpse of what God is doing in the earth is an amazing privilege! He is busy, changing hearts and minds. He is actively working to bring about unity, undermining the enemies of humanity and of Himself, at every turn.

He is constantly aware of every heart’s cry, every tear shed behind closed doors.

He knows.

He sees.

He cares– more deeply than we could ever *get*.

When we are hurting, He gives us His comfort.

When we are lonely, He keeps His listening ears attentive.

When we are distracted, He is not.

We are the tallest trees in the forest.

He sees us.

He sees us.

More than just a glimpse.

He hears us.

He hears us.

More than just a slight whisper.

He is with us.

Always.

He provides for us.

He is our Maker, our Creator, our amazing Designer.

He’s taken great care and detail in all He put into our uniqueness.

He made us for Himself.

Sometimes others appreciate how He made us. Sometimes they do not.

God always admires His handiwork. He always admires His creativity and detail within us.

He always loves us.

If only we could catch a glimpse of Him admiring and adoring us, we would forever understand–

He will Never forsake us. Because we belong to Him. When we knock on the door, it is opened– and never closed on us. When we confess with our mouth that He is Lord– we are acknowledging what will never be changed. When we believe in our hearts that He died, was resurected after 3 days, and walked again with those who followed Him– and then He was taken up to Heaven to sit at God’s Right Hand, we believe eternal truth. He said He would be going to make a place for us. There is a place for us with Him in eternity, as His children. He made that for us. He’s put so much thought and effort into us.

How much have we put into Him?

“Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

For The Bible Tells Me So

Little Ones To Him Belong

They Are Weak, But He Is Strong

Yes Jesus Loves me

Yes Jesus Loves me

Yes Jesus Loves Me

The Bible Tells Me So.”

To catch a glimpse of what God sees– we would see our reflection in His eyes.

When I Was A Young Lass

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I’m getting older. I can’t deny it. I can stop counting years when I celebrate my birthdays, but I can’t stop aging– as much as I’d like to freeze a few years at a time. And, to make things even trickier– my birthdays happen so much faster than they used to!

My birthday was a few months ago, but it’s really just hitting me now– crap! I’m a year older, again! My mind feels 20 and my body is somewhere in the waaaay-older-than-that range.

I’m at a stage where I tend to reflect back over my life, remembering what I was like when I was younger. I don’t wish I were there again, and I’m realizing I’m not even the same person I was.

For starters, I’m a mom now of kids ranging from age 7 to age 19, with my oldest being a much more beautiful and just as stubborn version of someone much like I was– but way better than I ever was.

If I were to wish for any part of who I was to be part of who I am now, it would be the endless energy I had! I’m tired now– all the time! I was designed by God to be a survivor, fighting my way through difficulties and challenges that I do not miss. I had so much energy, so much motivation to be the best version of me I could be.

I’m not the same person that I was in my younger years. Each experience and phase I’ve passed through has been evolving me in metamorphosis that happens so slowly, so deceptively simple yet intricately detailed, I can’t catch it with my eyes. Except in hindsight. Only through the rear-view of my life, rewinding the years and events through my memory.

I went through years of self-hatred, believing the things perfunctory and critical people, who’s opinions I valued as much as I value the air I breathe and the water I drink, said to me and about me. For many years I heard the words my dad said to me, and they guided me into relationships where I believed them so deeply, I allowed others to be abusive because I didn’t believe I deserved better than that. Then I would have a moment of waking up, realizing that things didn’t have to be that way at all. I didn’t have to let myself be bullied, harassed or abused.

I was evolving into an independent woman who was learning her self-worth came from my opinion of myself, and the opinions of others did not shape me or choose my path for me.

Ultimately my God’s opinion of me pulled me out of some very dark places mentally and physically– certainly spiritually. He views me far differently than any human, and not at all like my dad did.

So– as I reflect back over my youth, and covet the energy I used to have, I wouldn’t want to change the path I’ve been on. There are situations and circumstances– and people– I do wish I could have avoided. But they helped propel me in many cases in the direction I followed, which led me onto the path I now walk with Jesus.

Forward is now where I need to set my view, with Jesus being the window I look through. I believe our world is speeding up to the end, that Jesus will be returning, and I need to get myself ready.

Now, instead of looking back over my younger days, I will focus on the child-like faith Jesus told us we need to have. I don’t have to give up youth, it’s just evolved into a different form now.

Mark 10:13-16 (NLT)

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

The Ego and the Communicator

Have you ever been in situations where people glean off of your success, and get embarrassed by your failures?

Have there been people who change their treatment of you based on your performance or appearance?

Are there those in your life who have attached their ego to their expectation of you, and then communication becomes this one-way street where even if it’s physically impossible you are expected to elevate them? And if you fail– if you try to signal or explain why you are unable to– the transmission of pertinent information is incomplete or ignored?

Most people are allowed– even forgiven– for their mistakes. Most first-world people are afforded the the right to individual successes and respected with reciprocal dialogue.

I bear the scars of being crushed by expectations and egos of others. I’m not sure why that has been the case for me.

I’ve recognized how I’m treated differently when I fall short of getting them some glory versus when I hit that mark head-on.

People exhaust and overwhelm me. I’ve been trying to figure out why that is, and I believe God is opening my eyes to help me break free from unvocalized and unadmitted rejections I’ve experience far too often.

God’s glory is not attached to my perfection when the world’s spotlight singles me out. He’s not embarrassed when I fail, nor is He prideful when I succeed. He is always consistently the same with me, my relationship with Him isn’t affected by me except where I allow it to be. He never moves away or towards me because I perform perfectly or I miss it by any length.

My whole life I’ve born this crushing weight that I have to say things just right, I have to play every note perfectly, I have to openly be supportive, embracing and encouraging of specific people, while being given little– sometimes nothing at all– in return.

While I am hard on myself, I often take cues from the responses and reactions of others to me after I fall short of where they expect me to land. My mistakes and successes somehow get tangled in with the egos, even pride, of others.

I believe God used my very public mistakes yesterday to open my eyes to this so I can begin to walk in freedom from crushing expectations.

I hope He also helps others to start giving me what I need in every situation. I do see a turning point, I just hope I can use that to shed this chain and fetter people have used to attached me to their pride-success balance.

Maybe then people will no longer exhaust and overwhelm me.

Foolhardy Judgement

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How many times do we hear something and jump to a conclusive opinion without actually looking into things for ourselves?

Examples I see everyday are critics of Christianity, political opponents, public school supporters against home educators, race criticizing race, Christian critics of anything secular… I’m sure you can think of many I haven’t listed here, there is an endless supply of judgement that is both uncalled for and unnecessary. But we sure do value our opinions!

I once, many years ago before the internet saturated me with knowledge, said I thought the POW/MIA flag was some sort of American Indian symbol. Of course my husband– then friend– sarcastically corrected me. Yeah– I was that ignorant! He had to tell me that it actually means Prisoner of War/Missing in Action. I was deeply ashamed, but I had never even seen that flag before.

I used to judge table top games, such as Dungeons and Dragons as demonic and evil because Jack Chick made a tract about it that seemed like facts. But, the facts are– it’s nothing more than socially creative story making and acting out the different characters. Sure there are millions of directions it can go– just like any fiction novel. But, I don’t think he wrote a tract about The Lord of the Rings. D&D is so much like that, and Christians miss out because they refuse to investigate what it really is. https://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0046/0046_01.asp If a person is swayed to leave Christianity because of a game, there are far deeper issues involved. More than likely they never actually gave their lives over to Christ.

Being confronted with my having badly judged a book by its cover woke me up to how easily I can fall into that trap of not looking into things before forming an opinion– judging what I actually know nothing more than the appearance I see.

It shocks me every time I hear people who have never enlisted in the military talk about the military being soldiers at war, killing innocent children with no accountability. That’s actually the opposite of what I’ve known for more than 20 years in military life. I’m sure it would surprise many critics to know military life is like everyday life, but super structured and strict. There is far more accountability in the US military than in any organization– especially of size and scope– in the world throughout history. Certainly far more than in our current government! But, don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself. Do some research, interview military members, Veterans, contractors– even enlist for yourself!

Critics of our military sometimes falsely accuse it as blindly going along with whatever is commanded. Obviously they don’t realize each member has the responsibility to not obey a constitutionally unlawful order. The military is beholden to no person, no political party, no cause. There are core values instilled within each member. Core values unique to Americans and our 1st world allies.

While there is purposeful misinformation out there trying to sway people to specific sides of various issues or keep people from knowing what’s actually going on, there is no excuse for not researching the facts. The easy way is to not challenge sound bites and points of agenda for what we want/hope to be the truth. The responsible way is to dig deeper and find the truth.

For the past 10-12 years I’ve noticed how historical facts are being changed to paint a different picture than actual reality. I’ve seen things disappear off of the internet, I’ve caught the main news sources passing on false information, lying, and even staging events to mislead people watching to trick them into a political point of view or support some cause.

In this day and age of purposeful deception, it’s imperative that we take on some form of an investigative role. No one likes to be fooled, and no one likes to find out they are reacting in a foolhardy way.

From The Darkness Of Despair To Hope: The Future’s Light

I have darkness in my past. In my 20/20 hindsight view, there are things I’ve said and done, parts of who I used to be that I deeply, deeply regret. I was young and foolish, brought up in a culture that never mentioned accountability or conscience, my immaturity and lack of common sense mixed with my world-view of life was self-destructive.

When I look back at the heart of who I used to be I cringe with disdain and distaste– and then I look away, ashamed of the hatred and jealousy that polluted my younger self. I don’t want to see it, except now I can use it to measure how far I’ve traveled from what used to be my expectations and experiences.

Living in the moment, desperately trying to “find myself” and figure out how I “fit” into the world’s big picture, I made so many bad decisions.

I used to blame the bad things that happened to me– some, the things of nightmares and semi-horror stories, some, happenstance of being wrong place-wrong time– for my negative situations, many I had zero control over.

The one constant I had that never faltered was God.

I remember standing at my window as a small child, around 8 years old, crying, watching the kids outside who seemed to have no cares in the world. I remember the feeling of hopelessness drowning my thoughts. I didn’t fit in, I sincerely believed that no one liked me, that I was such a horrible person that my own family hated me.

And then I saw a rainbow.

Suddenly my thoughts and emotions were flooded by 3 words I heard and felt at the same time, from deep within my being- “I love you.”

The darkness that engulfed me that day was pushed out by the bright, warm light of hope– things would get better.

I’ve always believed that was God. Now when I see a rainbow, I know beyond the shadow of any doubt God is reminding me that He loves me– and He keeps His promises.

Fast forward to today, looking into the review mirror of hindsight– God has indeed kept His promises to me. He turned my darkness into light, my mourning into joy, my fear of the unknown into hope for my future.

I remember as a kid trying to imagine what my future would be like. The thing is, I couldn’t have guessed because I hadn’t experienced or seen anything like it. I had dreams of happiness, but I had no picture of what that was except it was full of this warm light. I was afraid to bring children into a world I had been shown pain and abuse from. I lacked faith that my choices could create a different type of future for my offspring. If others walked through what I barely managed to survive, they could understand the lack of hope I was surrounded by, that tried to overtake my inner confidence and boldness to push through to find the good that others seemed to have.

Had I not pushed through that invisible force that was so heavy and thick that tried to hold me down, I never would have left the life I was born into physically, and stepped into the life Hope embraced. I never would have stepped out of the grappling hooks the enemy of my life, of my soul, attempted to try to imprison me with.

God designed me carefully, He put in me what I have needed not only to survive, but to want to survive. Many living in my circumstances and experiences might have given up, and I don’t say that lightly or with no understanding. I was tempted to give up, to let go of that brilliant shard of hope my spirit desperately clung to.

I understand darkness in a way I don’t think many who know me realize.

Thankfully, I also now understand the light of hope even more fully than I remember the darkness that embraced me with its death-grip.

I am undeserving of God’s grace and mercy, but I am so very, very thankful He wrapped me up in it, healing my heart and my mind. An inner strength pushed with a force far beyond my own strength, to get out of the stronghold of that darkness.

I’ve often seen myself as a 50 yard-dasher type– a short-distance runner. I start out strong, and if the distance is short, I finish strong. But, with longer distances I find myself being tempted to stop short. In this rearview-mirrored view, I can see that God has carried me those distances I didn’t have the strength on my own to go, and the view lighted by the hope He planted deep inside of me, has made it far more beautiful than anything my childhood imagination could have dreamed.

I’m maybe halfway, maybe more, through God’s planned distance for my life. I’m greatly anticipating the view through the remainder of hope’s light for my future.

Marriage 101: Arguing

My husband and I got into an argument earlier today, about politics. We agree on some points, and are polar opposites on others. It’s not the disagreeing that is the argument for me, though, because we could easily be having a discussion and disagree. It’s his reactions to me, the person behind what he disagrees with. Males in the past often treated me like I was less than them, rarely as an equal– as though I were validated by their approval of me. Usually my husband doesn’t come across that way, but lately when he disagrees with me it feels as though he does. It may just be my perception, not the reality. But, nevertheless, it stings a lot. 

Maybe it’s different for men than it is for women, maybe they can separate the personal from the words. Perhaps it’s just the way I am built. I believe strongly in certain things, and I research things a lot, and sometimes I don’t research enough or remember specifics well. 

I asked him to tell me he doesn’t think I’m stupid, because that matters to me. I don’t care what anyone else thinks, but he matters. He told me he doesn’t think that. The problem is he argues to conquer and win, and then I feel attacked and our voices raise with jabs and offense– I hate it. I wish we could discuss without it turning into some battle of words and opinion. I wish we could communicate our different perspectives in a healthy exchange where we both feel valued and heard.

We both need to level up our communication skills. We should be aware of how what we say affects the other, as well as how we say it and how they receive it– not always the same things. 

Thinking about Scripture, where the Bible instructs wives to respect their husbands, and husbands to love their wives as Christ Loves the Church, I don’t see us treating Jesus that way. One step further– I don’t see Christ treating us the way we treat one another. I can’t imagine Jesus raising His voice or belittling my opinions or beliefs. I don’t see Jesus yelling at my husband the way I did earlier. 

At some point our humanity has to submit itself to God in order to match God’s Word picture through Scripture– or we fail at demonstrating the Lord Jesus in and through our marriage. 

My Open Letter To Pastors Everywhere– You Need To Get This


Dear Pastors,

Over the past 20 years I have been moved from place to place, sometimes by God, sometimes for personal reasons. 

That is why I’m writing this.
I am no one special. I have no title, no grand purpose or calling. I am like many within your flock, under your care– part of your Divine calling and purpose.

I am a member of the Body of Christ, and that means something more to me than merely being a member of a local church.

I have been given talents by God, and I strive to use them to help further His Kingdom purpose.  I have been given a heart of flesh that longs to please God. I love people, I love Jesus, and I love serving God as He calls me to.

I have seen where church leadership has some blindspots. I am asking you, humbly, as one who loves God and people–  please– drop all defensiveness and listen.

I believe that God has called Pastors and all church leaders to love His people as He loves His people, not to just instruct us about the Word of God. Not one of us is in the same part of the narrow road, nor have we walked with the same steps or strides. In fact, there are some who are crawling, there are some who are stopped– waiting on God to give them clear direction– direction that oftentimes comes through you.

Every Pastor wants the congregants who are running the race perfectly, with all the energy necessary to carry out the plans and purposes of the ministries churches offer. There are people who are called and able to fulfill those Pastoral dreams. 

I want to tell you, many simply are not. Many are trying to work out their Salvation with fear and trembling. Some want to please church leadership, but they are burnt out by doing so. Some feel weighted down by life. Some have been crippled by life’s circumstances, and they can’t “perform” as is often necessary. These are the people you are leaving behind. These are the ones you are hurting. Some of these equate how you treat them with how God wants them to be treated– and that is breaking God’s heart.

I want to encourage you to look at every person as the individual that God has created them to be.

We are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and God has entrusted you with the loving care to help nurture and grow even the most unloveable Christian.

I believe God wants to release His healing within His Body. Hurts caused by our own family in Christ. Reconciliations. Letting go of offenses. Repentance for how we all treat one another.

I believe He wants to begin from the top of the leadership down through the entire congregation.

What does this look like? More ministries for congregants, not just opportunities to serve. Listening more carefully. Being approachable, a healthy relationship attainable outside of jumping through specific hoops to prove worthiness of your time, attention and appreciation. 

Removal of any “hierarchy” mindset that in any way belittles your congregants in your eyes.

There are millions of Pastors, and every one of you is a unique individual created by God, just like all of your congregants are. 

I pray you will read this, that you will seek God concerning this. Not because I am asking, but because God’s Judgment begins in the House of The Lord. We all need to be far more sensitive to God’s Spirit than we are to the opinions of ourselves and others.

God’s love is not tough, it’s full of compassion, patience and deep understanding.

So should we all be towards one another.

Sincerely,

Your Sister In Christ

Me, Myself And My Husband– One Flesh

My husband doesn’t do things the way that I do. He doesn’t say things the way I say them. He doesn’t look at things the way I see them.

He doesn’t have the same Political views that I have…

When we married, we were taught through God’s Word that his body is my body, and my body is his body. In some ways that has become a kind of joke for us throughout the years.

“Honey, we have some things to do.” “Do I have to?” “Well, since your body is my body– yes.” Or, the silliness of doing something impossible– like using the restroom, lol.

Since my body is my husband’s, and vice-versa, does that mean his mind is also mine and mine is his?

Could you imagine if this were the case? If I had the ability to get him to think like me, and if I thought as he does, misunderstandings would become nonexistent!

But, the mind is such a complicated thing. The closest we could get to that is doing our best to consistently work at clear communication. Practicing listening. Sharing openly. Discussing differences.

Body ownership has been defined for us in Scripture– we become one-flesh, two halves of a whole. But our minds? As Christians, they should belong to the Lord. They have the unique ability to multi-task. While doing one thing like talking with people, we can pray, remember Scripture, Praise and Worship God at the same time.

The Bible exhorts us to pray without ceasing, because we can. We are able to do that. It takes practice, reminders, and at first a lot of attention and time. But then it becomes a habit. It happens naturally.

Our minds were made to interact with our Creator continuously.

That’s why there is so much competition for it with the world, people, even within ourselves.

We have a choice in who or what we give our minds to.

Everyday I want to choose God. Many times I fail somewhat, some days completely.

Every day is a new chance.

Why I Am This Way, And How It Applies To My Dating Daughter

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I grew up a fighter. At a time when women were belittled– not taken seriously while harassed for wanting to break out of the “norm” set for us by men– I decided not to just accept that, but to push past it. I have dealt with that issue head-on for many years now. From a grandpa who refused to call me by my given name because it was a “boys name”, to being treated as an emotional idiot, I have learned how to stand my ground and not ever just take what someone has dished out.

I’ve fought for jobs that “girls aren’t hired for”, and won. The pizza place that refused to hire me to work in the kitchen because “girls only work as cashiers and hostesses”– I worked in the kitchen. The Air Force recruiter who thought I should enlist to be a cook– I became a plumber. The plumbing shop owner who laughed at this female Veteran AirForce  plumber– because “girls don’t get hired as plumbers”– I was hired by someone to help with their in-house plumbing problems. (Nevermind that I had mostly worked on Japanese plumbing, and as a side-effort, I tried to help my aunt in her older house. Let’s just say, I screwed that up REALLY bad! That’s one of my biggest regrets.) 

I drove heavy machinery in Korea when women still didn’t drive there. I drove a Humvee in the middle-east where women aren’t allowed to drive.

When I am backed into a corner and told I can’t do something just because I’m a girl– watch me do just that.

I don’t deal with that so much anymore, as a military spouse and stay at home mom.

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Now, I’m dealing with a new kind of thing– I’m now the teen girlfriend’s mom. Oh yes. So far her boyfriend has referred to me as not knowing what I’m talking about, and childish. This 18 year old boy that I am allowing my 16 year old daughter to date– with getting-stricter monitoring.

He has some nerve! I am struggling to not take my “childish” attitude and sever his relationship with my daughter!

How do I get it across to my daughter that how he treats me and his own mother will be how he treats her, once they move past all the hormonal ushy-gushy crap?

I am angry that he has the nerve to say things like that about me.

I am concerned that he does not have a relationship with Jesus at all. I want to put a stop to them dating, but at the same time, she is not going to learn important life lessons if I do that.

I am uncomfortable with my daughter dating him at all. Very uncomfortable.

So, the fighter in me has taken to prayer and sobering interaction.

I am accountable to God for my daughter. I will not take that lightly, but I’m not going to give into the temptation to “fight” with her boyfriend. I’m gonna let God fight that battle for me.

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Rediscovery

I played with my youngest boy today. Without having my phone in the same room with me. 
I tickled his feet, and tried to hit him with a small pillow, which he kept karate-kicking away.

  

He giggled.

I laughed.

Undistracted.

It was just like when my 3 other kids were little and I didn’t have electronic devices plugged into my ears or constantly drawing my attention, my focus, away from the loves of my life.

It was wonderful!

Where Does The Body of Christ End?

  

We became members of a local church just before my husband received a new assignment. It’s not the first time that has happened to us, but this time we had begun thinking about possibly retiring to the area we were in. So, as is often the case with our family situation, we switched gears after just 2 years at that place, and began trying to prepare for a move to another country.  

It’s full of challenges, and this move was our worst ever. I am still so thankful that 4 ladies gave of themselves and helped me! I could not have done it without them!

 But, what I don’t get is why we are so easily forgotten whenever we have to move on.

We gave what we could of ourselves: our time, talents and money.

We poured out our hearts as we worshipped with many we found a connection with, beyond just our common beliefs.

Yet now it feels almost as if we no longer exist to many of the people we formed relationships with or just simply grew to respect. There have been limited efforts to stay in contact with us. Only a handful of people talk with us. This is a very large congregation!

Truth be told, my closest friends are Christians I met not within church walls or activities. Only a very few are ones I attended church meetings with or served the Lord with in some way.

That speaks volumes to me! It makes me sad and frustrated. Too many times people are content to put the burden of staying in touch on me.   

Am I not worth the effort?

The Body of Christ, is made up of many parts, even moving parts like those of us that have no choice but to move away. I believe fellowship should  represent the Eternal relationship we will always have with God and that common understanding of Eternity. 

Oneness. 

Continued relationship.

I’ve hit a point where it’s nearly too difficult to give of myself over and over, to figure out where or how I can fit in to the new while nursing the wounds of being forgotten or pushed out of mind, or just really, really missing the old.

Often a congregation can be so introverted and focused on their programs and busyness they miss the point of being part of The Body of Christ.

Why must I make all of the effort to connect and maintain any friendships? The fight I’ve had in me for this, is dying down. Why? Because the effort is most often one-sided.

I have discovered I can meet with others online, I can minister to others online, and I can be ministered to by people like Joyce Meyers, online.

But online doesn’t meet every need. It’s just a way to extend fellowship and ministry.

The Body of Christ is in the wireless world, as well.

It doesn’t end just because a member moves away.

What Do Women Really Want?

We have all heard the sarcastic jokes about how girls are so difficult to understand. If we are honest we have either told a few ourselves, or agreed with them.

But, are women really that difficult to understand?

Being a woman myself, I feel qualified to answer this.


  

Flowers, chocolates, jewelry, a spontaneous trip somewhere, getting us that dress we have been eyeing as we do our online Windows shopping– believe it or not, they all have something in common.

Being valued. Being remembered. Attention to the details that matter to us being acknowledged. Being that priority in thought and heart.

Not out of guilt. Nope. If guilt is the motivator then you have lost.

It’s not the amount of money that makes something valuable to a woman. No, really, it isn’t. It’s the motivation that created the desire to buy or make and then give the gift. That is what women most care about. What is your motivation for what you do, say, or give to your wife or girlfriend?

Behind the motivation, your heart towards her is revealed.

Women are sensitive to that. We do not want gifts, compliments or acknowledgment born out of guilt, manipulation, or stubborn obligation.

Us women, we need to know you are thinking about us. That you are appreciating us. That we, alone, satisfy you. Show us that an evening alone with us is enough, it doesn’t make you cringe or fall asleep, or day-dream about when we let you go play Fallout 4. Let us see first hand that holding our hand satisfies you more than that game controller ever does, or that iPad, or even that drink or cigarette. Put your phone on silent and look into the eyes of your special lady, without thinking about all you need to be looking into your phone’s screen to check. Dazzle us with your full attention so we know you think highly of us, you are interested in our point of view– that you value how we are different from you.

That is how we measure how much you value us. Not by how much money you spend on a gift. That you would willingly spend as much money as possible to show that you value us even more than the cost of what we have our eye on.

Make it a point to notice what we have our eye on.

We need to know we are the most valuable part of you.

When you met us, you craved our attention, you dropped what you were doing when possible to spend time with us.

You showed us we were important.

After becoming confident you had “won” our hearts, a shift happened– you began telling us we are important. Not wanting to be “needy”, we’ve adapted and accepted, until pretty soon that’s all we have.

That becomes our value. How much we adapt, accept, overlook…

This is not at all what women really want. It’s definitely not what we need. It does not satisfy or make us happy.

All too often we become part of the background of your attention or memory.

An after thought.

The least in your list of priorities.

There are too many things competing for your attention, and your affection– those things the woman in your life most deserves.

Isn’t she worth more to you than you often make known to her?

I Once Was Not A Christian

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I have had a lot of experiences in my lifetime. Way too many to write about here. I’ll break it down into two parts: Before Christ and After Christ. I’ll even throw in some Why I CHOSE Christ, for added tangibility.

So, BC:

I was born into a family that loved me, but that love didn’t create a safe, warm, snugly, nurturing environment. We are often hurt the worst by those that love us, and that was certainly the case for me. Do I need to go into details of abuse? Goodness, I hope not, but I’ll touch on a few of the “highlights” of my BC life:

I was sexually, emotionally and mentally abused by my dad. Maybe he treated me better than his dad treated him, but I HIGHLY doubt it because my dad was mentally ill. I don’t mean the catch-phrased quirky kind that seems acceptable, or even coveted by some in our modern society. He was severely mentally ill. I think I can honestly say I’m one of very few who watched their dad try to beat their mom to death as she laid huddled in a fetal-ball beneath him, his fist pounding into her temple. On Mother’s Day. Then there was my dad escaping the mental hospital hundreds of miles away, hitchhiking to try to come back and finish killing her. There was lots of yelling in my house, sometimes my dad even acknowledged I existed and he yelled at me. Once he punched me in the jaw, which made it painful for me to hold my violin for a few weeks.

As a result, I was a pretty screwed-up kid and I nearly died when I was 16 because of my own stupidity.

Let me just say this: I lived in a house of horror because of mental illness as a child. There is NOTHING in Christianity that comes even close to actual mental illness.

Thankfully I got to spend the summers with my grandparents, who were Christians. Things weren’t perfect there, but they were better.

I hated myself for bad decisions I made.

So at 20 I made another decision future me would hate: I married  someone I had convinced myself was “my best friend”. The problem was, I only knew him a short time before we married. The other problem I didn’t realize yet was: we were not equally yoked. He was not a Believer.

Trust me when I tell you that, yes, that absolutely does make a tremendous difference. Not only could I not share my faith with him and grow with him in that, he did not value me as God would help him if he were a Christian.

My ex-husband was abusive to me. Much like my dad, though not exactly to the same degree. But, there was also more aspects to the abuse from him. I was cut off from my family. I was locked-down at home, he had to know where I was and who I was with or talking to at every moment. I had to work and it had to be the graveyard shift.  My earnings had to pay all the bills while he kept his earnings in a separate account and he bought anything he wanted for him. Never for me. He convinced me to get life insurance, but was angry when I was refused because of extensive damage caused by an eating disorder. When I was sick he treated me like I was faking it, wouldn’t let me call in sick to work or go to the doctor until it became emergencies. Once the car he made me drive nearly got me killed, the lug nuts on the tires he had just worked on weren’t tight.

I wasn’t safe with him. He actually saved my life by divorcing me.

Now I’m thankful he decided he didn’t love me anymore. Not only am I still alive, I am married to a man I am equally yoked with, who really is my best friend and who does value me.

But my divorce was the beginning of my personal rock bottom.

After Christ:

It was at that point I finally began to “own” my relationship with God through Jesus. (Thank God Jesus didn’t return while I self-focused, because after that “blink of an eye”, I would more than likely have been left here.) I got baptized. I began making changes and reading the Bible on my own.

Because I wanted to.

I could feel God healing my life and my heart as I read His Promises.

I went through a tremendous time of grieving the death of my old self. Regret, unforgiveness, shame… God helped me work through each one of those at my own pace. He never gives me more than I can handle as He works His healing, often one-on-one with me, through His Holy Spirit.

My “conversion” did not happen because someone preached a sermon and “guilted” me in to following Jesus and obeying God’s Word.

My life changed as a result of God working in my life. Often without people.

God illuminates His Word.

He teaches me how to be a better human being. He helps me look at people as individuals, not through my own preconceived opinions.

Why I Chose Christ:

Had I continued on my own path, my life would look like the night version of how I am now. It’s like Jesus called out to me through the darkness and despair, and He whispered to me, “I have a better way for you”.

His ways are higher than mine, so much better and healthier. His way is practical. It’s loving and kind. It’s rational. It’s peaceful.

Jesus is the best way. He is the truth. He is the light with no darkness in Him, nothing evil or hateful.

I wish the naysayers would pay attention to the positives Christians demonstrate, because I lived as a non-Christian and was surrounded by non-Christians. It was destructive, mean, harsh, even deadly.

My job as a Christian isn’t to try to convince others that Jesus is the Savior of the world. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job, to do all the hard work of preparing the way of the Lord for people’s hearts and minds to be ready.

My job is to love the Lord my God, and to love my neighbor like I love me. Give them the same benefit of the doubt I give myself. Show the same grace I believe I should be shown.

Some call that cutting people slack…

I just know– I’d personally rather have Jesus than anything this world could ever hold. I have known both– life without Jesus and life with Jesus.

He makes the difference. Not me. Not my choices.

Only Jesus.

Comfortable In My Faith

Do you find yourself being a reactionary or responsive Christian?

I want to be responsive, but I have reactive tendencies far too often. My reflex at feeling attacked, questioned, put on the spot or called names like hypocrite used to be to jump into action and find Scripture to back up my actions, words and belief.

I fell into the false belief that my job as a Christian is to be on the defensive, to fight back with words, to defend my faith, my belief, my Savior from attacks. I thought that was what being a Christian looked like, what it meant.

I was wrong.

My job has never been to convert anyone to my beliefs.

My job is to live out my faith, while living at peace with others as much as is possible.

And, it’s not actually my job. It’s who I am.

Christian is what defines me.

Not my appearance.

Christ within me.

I am comfortable in my faith, because I am able to rest in God. I am able to trust God. Everything I am now, in this moment, is because of changes God made in me, because I am His. And He is mine.

He is Worthy to hand my complete trust to. He is Worthy to give over my plans and decisions to. He is Worthy to live for. He is Worthy to represent.

This past week I have been reminded where He has Saved me from. I remember who I was. Because of a nightmare and a school friend’s recent death, I’ve been taken back to where I’ve come from.

I needed to be reminded.

I have the loveliest peace resting in my heart, because I am comfortable in my faith.

I don’t pounce on those who say things to make me feel defensive. I don’t jump on people who mock us, hate us, and live in ways we don’t agree with. Because that doesn’t reach hearts or change minds.

I live to be a heart changer, to have God’s healing work through me. Defensive fighting doesn’t heal or help others see Who God really is.

I understand God expects me to reach up towards Him through prayer and demonstrate His higher ways. That is a tall order from God, but to whom much is given, much is expected. I have been given much experience, much forgiveness, many, many chances. Should I not give those to others, as well, where it’s appropriate?

So What?

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This is what my insides feel like every time I try to write my story. Gut-wrenched. I describe that feeling to my husband as killer moths flapping around in my tummy.

Every time I tell a portion of my story it feels like someone reached inside of me and yanked a piece of me out.

 

I wasn’t supposed to tell. But I did, and cops were called. I wasn’t supposed to talk to anyone about it, but I did. I had to. It was destroying me from the inside-out to not try to get someone to hear me. Then the worry and fear of having told would try to destroy me from the inside-out. I told someone, and then the one who hurt me, who tried to intimidate me to stay silent, tried to take his own life. Part of me grieved and blamed myself. Part of me wouldn’t miss him, would be relieved.. Which then kicked-off a worry-guilt-hatred cycle.

All that turmoil I felt for years, so many years ago, comes right back when I am writing my story. It’s agonizing and spirit-crushing to remember, to admit it all in writing.

I was molested as a child.

I was raped as an adult.

I was emotionally and verbally beat-up both as a child and as an adult.

But I’m not anymore.

I’m not anymore…

The feelings, as I recall things and relive them in my memories, they are tumultuous.

I’ve convinced myself what has happened in my life, all I have survived, is nothing special. Everyone goes through traumatic things at some point. And then as I tell someone something I realize– I have a unique story to tell because so many things have happened to me.  And I lived through them, and passed through to the other side where things are instead normal.

It will take me awhile to write my story, because there is so much to it, and very little is easy to pass on to others. Part of me goes in to all I write and share.

Please be patient. Please stay with me, even if it takes awhile. What God has done through every experience is nothing short of miraculous.

Un-rule-y Status Update

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We are often in a rush to get somewhere or do something. Facebook has become so much of a part of our lives, it’s what we browse through to get caught up on just about everything– friends, family, world news, local news, political speculations, animal videos, cute baby pics… We have this quick, easy, soundbyted information summary at our fingertips, 24/7/365.

Do we take time to think about the people behind the statuses?

Here are 15 things on my mind I probably won’t say over a Facebook status:

1) My cover doesn’t look anything like me.

2) I binge-watched a whole season of Royal Pains the other day.

3) The last church I became a member of hurt and disappointed me.

4) I eat food I don’t even like because of the health benefits.

5) You hurt my feelings when you walk past me and pretend you don’t see me, but you don’t devastate me.

6) I’m blunt, but overflowing with compassion, and I have comfy shoulders to cry on.

7) I prioritize relationship. If there is miscommunication, I’m quick to try work it out, and make sure there isn’t unforgiveness or bitterness left to fester. If you don’t want to talk or work things out, I will move on– most likely without you.

8) When I feel afraid, I embrace it. When I feel pain, I embrace it. The only way to conquer is to face challenges. They won’t just go away. (Okay, except in the case of spiders. I might be a tree hugger, but never a spider hugger.)

9) My family is the ministry that God has given to me. They are important to me and to God.

10) I don’t play games. I am who I am, and I am me with everyone.

11) I have conquered things you would never guess. Alone but with God.

12) I’m generous with my time and attention, until I’m patronized, belittled, or shown what I say is of little importance.

13) I’m harder on myself than you will ever be towards me. That being said– I don’t have enough gentleness, kindness or genuine respectful concern from others. Respect is important to me.

14) Those who come along side and offer friendship on equal terms stay my friends– for life. Those who treat me like a victim, or don’t value the wisdom I have gained through hard circumstances–  won’t. I despise being treated like a victim.

15) I wish people could see past the opinions blinding their sight.

/end status update.

How Can We Identify With Jesus?

Jemtree's Heart Renewed

A woman sat at His feet and poured her very best, most expensive bottle of perfumed oil over them. She had just finished washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair.

Another woman had been talking with Jesus at the one well everyone in that area had to use, then ran through her town, shouting with happy excitement. He was a stranger to her, and political correctness would have Him not even acknowledge her. He knew things no one could, and told her He knew she was living with a man she was not married to as well as how many times she had been married before. Even with that knowledge, He still talked to her, told her how to get Living water.

A man, cursed with life long blindness, looked around with a new perfect, clear view. Jesus had just picked up some dirt, spit…

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