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Finger Pointing Is Useless

For better or worse, a child has the childhood they have as a result of their parents choices. Period. I did. You did. Your kids do.

If the child’s parents break the law, it hurts their kids more than anyone else. Trust me, I’ve seen it first hand. It’s heartbreaking. No one wants to see a child be hurt or suffer. No one.

We cannot change a child’s parents or make their decisions for them. BUT…

What we can do about it is to be there for the kids around us. First and foremost, pray for them and their parents. Then invest in them, if you’re able. Encourage and support them. Hug them (when and if that is appropriate). Pay for them to go to a camp. Bring them with you to fun activity that you take your kids on. Tutor. Mentor. Foster. Adopt. Donate your time and/or money to organizations who help kids. Or if God’s put it on your heart, start an organization.

Ranting fixes nothing. Hating and finger pointing changes zip. This post and your post and all the other posts add up to zero.

Changing things and helping people will cost you something. Time. Money. Effort.

Are you willing to put your resources where your mouth is or are you just going to finger point and continue to rant?

My point in posting this is to say 2 things: 1. Kids need the village. Be the village. And 2. Stop blaming the government for everything. Step up and take some responsibility yourself. Some of you do…and I have mad respect for you and how you walk out your life. But I’ve seen some BS rants by people I know just like to complain. And I’m over it. That is the spirit behind this post.

Point to ponder while you wander…Love is a verb. You want to change the world? Then get off your phone. Get out of your chair. DO something. End of my rant.

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What Do You Want From Me?

What do You want from me God? Who am I supposed to be? What am I supposed to do? What’s my calling? What’s my purpose?

I’ve asked God (and sometimes screamed accusingly) these and many more questions. I just want to do what He made me to do. The simple general answer is found here:  “What can we bring to the Lord? Should we bring him burnt offerings? Should we bow before God Most High with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:6-8

Okay, so He wants us to do right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly WITH Him.  What exactly does that mean?  How do we do that? Let’s so some etymology with verse 8.  I love me some etymology.

Good: (H2896 towb) This word can be translated into good, kind, upright, beautiful, fair, cheerful, bountiful, joyful, pleasant, precious, sweet, wealth, and favor.

Requires: (H1875 darash) This word is interesting…the root is to tread down with the feet, or to trample.  What do you do when you tread down?  You walk over something again and again and again.  It is also used as the verb to study.  Which also means you do something again and again until it is learned.  It can also mean to seek out God in prayer.

Right: (H4941 mishpat) The root word for this is to judge.  It is usually translated judge or justice, lawful or something along those lines.  KJV translates it justice.

Love: (H157 ‘ahab) Love.  To have affection for.

Mercy: (H2617 checed) Kindness, faithfulness, benevolence, and mercy.

Walk: (H1980 halak) To go, walk, traverse, to move, manner of life, and live.

Humbly: (H6800 tsana) To show humility, be modest, act submissively.

The first thing that stands out to me in this whole group of words is the definition for require.  It’s not a hey…this one time I need you to do this.  It’s an all day, everyday, repeat performance.  Consistency comes to mind here.

Consistency.  Yeah.  I’m not the best at that.

The second thing that stands out to me is love mercy.  To have affection for here sounds like to get enjoyment out of or to be thrilled.  TO LOOOOOOVE!  So to have affection for being kind.  To enjoy being faithful.  To be thrilled about granting mercy or seeing mercy being granted.

Yeah.  I need some work here too.

Humbly walk with God… to live a life consistently submitted to God.  Sounds like obedience with a good heart attitude.  I’m pretty sure there’s a verse or two that equates loving God as being obedient to His word.  Yep.  That makes me 3 for 3!  Wooohoo!  Work all around!

So you may be thinking “Hey…this is in the Old Testament…what does Jesus have to say about this?” Well…ask and you shall receive…This is Mark 12:28-34 NLT

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him,“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Point to ponder while you wander…Life is a journey, folks.  It doesn’t happen in one day.  It happens daily and daily over the course of time.  And in my experience, life with God boils down to this.  Are you doing life WITH GOD?    Have you allowed Him to love you and show you what His love is like?  Pretty much everything starts there with that.  Choosing to do life with God and choosing to let Him love you.  Once that happens, you cannot help but to love other people.

Don’t beat yourself up with where you are or aren’t.  Verses like these are the goal to work towards. In the meantime, let God love you and keep walking with Him.  Being with Him and in His Word is what changes you.  You just have to choose to show up consistently.  Me, myself, I’m in the I’ve got God’s love now how in the world do I affect the world with it? phase right now.

The letting God love me part took 40 years.  At this rate I will need the 120 years Moses had to really be effective.  Haha.  But seriously.  Yeah.  I really actually need those 120 years.  And I need those 120 years to include divine health.

PS:  Wondering about God’s will….Here you go.

Turning a Bad Night Around

Last New Year’s Eve I was supposed to hang out with someone, they bailed on me last minute. I was irate.

New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday…so I did not want to stay home and mope.

But what was I going to do?

Go dancing?

Nah.

Find a party?

Nah.

Call other friends?

Uh…maybe.

Go celebrate with Nanny and Pops?

Yes!

So I stopped at CVS and bought some party hats and sparkling grape juice and showed up to celebrate with them completely unannounced.

Here’s some of the fun we had…

I didn’t know it then, but this was their last time ringing in the new year. A few short weeks later Nanny went into the hospital and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Two months later I lost them both.

I am so glad I chose to interrupt their quiet evening and keep them up til midnight; singing and dancing around their house, and laughing with them.

Point to ponder while you wander… Please take time to celebrate milestones. Be silly! Enjoy the people in your life. Those memories of giggles and sillyness strengthen and buoy you in the sad times. Trust me on that.

Cheers to great memories! And Happy 80th Birthday, Nanny!

 

Seasonal Anxiety

It’s supposed to be the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year and yet all I am hearing is:

I’m so stressed out.”

I cannot wait until this season is over.

I don’t know how I’m going to afford Christmas this year.”

I meant to only have a glass of wine, but then x, y & z happened, so I just drank the whole bottle.

I need a drink or a xanex or both.”

I’m freaking out. I don’t have enough time to get everything done.

Probably sounds familiar to you, right? You hear it at work, in the stores, and from family and friends.

I’ll be honest, hearing this breaks my heart and pisses me off. I’m angry because anxiety/stress is basically fear. And I loathe and detest fear!!! And it breaks my heart because this season should be about the joy of the greatest gift anyone has ever given, Jesus.

Jesus came to give us peace & rest. He came to set people free and heal their bodies and broken hearts. A celebration of His birth should not drive you to wino-hood or prescription meds!

Here’s what the Word says about anxiety:

1. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 NASB

Don’t let stress win! Change your perspective! Give God the things your stressing about & focus your energies on the things your thankful for!!

2. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NLT

Give your anxious thoughts to God and THEN His peace comes & guards your heart & mind.

3. “And now, dear brothers & sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT 

A mind fixed on lack of money or creating perfect holiday will find stress. And stress is fear! Fear is a bully! And bullying is unacceptable!

You do not HAVE to spend a fortune on presents and decor! You don’t HAVE to cook a 7 course meal! If that stuff is stressing you out, scale back! I don’t care if it’s been done that way since forever! It’s not worth it.

Jesus came to give life and life abundant! He came to free you. He came to heal you. He loves you! He doesn’t want you to be full of anxiety!

You have the right to say no. No day, meal or gift is worth the loss of your health or sanity!

Point to ponder while you wander… Ask yourself what is important to you. What do you enjoy about the holidays? Now focus on those lovely and excellent things.

Point #2…Fix your mind & focus your energy on loving your family and friends well this year instead of big expensive gifts and perfect dinners.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Why I Loved Him

One of the most beautiful moments of my life was also one of my most heart wrenching.

My sister and I went to the assisted living center where our Boppie (Grandpa) had been living. We knew he only had hours left but being there in that moment made my heart ache and my eyes fill.

When my sister left the room, I asked him if I could pray with him and he nodded. I prayed that he would be at peace and know that He made a difference in our lives. And truly understand our lives were better because he was in them. I prayed he would know how much we loved him.

When I opened my eyes I saw tears streaming down his face. I didn’t realize then what a gift it was. I didn’t know my voice telling him I loved him and his life mattered were the last things he would ever hear on this side of heaven.

But I know now.

I know now that those few moments with him were a precious gift. The value of that time with Boppie was made really clear to me when my sister called to tell me our Dad had died.

I had been trying to get a hold of him for over a week. But I wasn’t worried about it because I was going up there and would see him that next weekend. But that next weekend was 3 days too late.

Thankfully the last time I talked to him I did tell him I loved him. But I wish I would have told him why I loved him and that he mattered.

So in honor of my Daddy I’m going to tell you why I loved him.

I loved him because he had compassion for people. I understand the compassion of Jesus better because I saw it displayed in my Dad.

I loved him because he took me ice fishing.

I loved him because he never judged me when I did something. Laugh at me, yes absolutely, never judgment. 😄

I loved him because he grilled year round. I can still see standing out in the snow; wearing cut off shorts, a t-shirt, winter boots & a flannel shirt. No one can grill a perfect steak like my Dad.

I loved him because he was always proud of me, even when my life was not going well.

I loved him because he could build and fix stuff, and finish pretty much every crossword.

I loved him because he was Grampie Vampire to his grand kids. They were his favorite people.

I loved him because he was all in when telling a tall tale; even to the point of dumping Raisinettes on the ground and eating them to convince my cousin deer poop tasted like chocolate covered raisins. But only if it was fresh.

I loved him because he accepted me as his own when I was a toddler. And even after he and my mom divorced, he still claimed me as his own. He never once referred to me as his step-daughter. Step didn’t exist with him or with his Dad (AKA Boppie who technically was Dad’s step-father).

And I will love him forever simply because he is my Daddy and I am his daughter.

I’m gonna stop here because I’m crying now and I also want to make a suggestion. Please tell your people you love them AND tell them why you love them. They may not realize how special and important they truly are.

Point to ponder while you wander… “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life.” Ephesians 6:2-3 NLT

Paul’s Responsibility

Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles.” 2:7-8 NLT

God wants His love reach all human beings. Whether you’re responsible for intercession, wrangling toddlers, teaching, writing, impacting the business world, this nation or another nation; what you do matters! 

Paul loved his people. He wanted to minister to them, but he was called to the Gentiles. So that’s who he focused on. And we are the fruit of his obedience.

No matter where your area of responsibility is…your obedience matters too.

Point to ponder while you wander…the same God who enabled and empowered Peter and Paul will enable and empower you in your area of responsibility.

Wonderful Wednesday: Real Relationship

“I admit I once lived by rumors of You; now I have it all firsthand–from my own eyes and ears.” Job 42:5 MSG

If you focus only on the stuff Job lost & gained, you’ve missed the best part! Job exited the worst 9 months of His life with a real relationship with Abba Father. The stuff was just an added bonus.

Brings to mind Mathew 6:33’s seek first and the rest shall be added doesn’t it?

Something to ponder while you wander…”When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” Jeremiah 29:12-14 MSG