It All Started With….

One little piece of candy, Starbursts to be exact.  A small piece of candy that would change the direction of their lives.
They were pegged as the troublesome kids.  The oldest one could not read and was angry because of it, the middle one liked to pull off her belt and whoop the other kids, and the third one, well, I still have not been able to wrap my arms around her outburts and attitude. 
But all it took was an act of kindess, a small one as a matter of fact, and that ignited a spark in their eyes I have never seen.  When I was asked to work with these kids, on one on, I was overwhelmed right from the start. 
I felt defeated.
But then I had to ask myself, what are they missing and what can I provide them?  It’s clear that they are missing love and attention and their emotional outbursts prove it.

I set out to establish trust and my means was candy and love.  I started with each session by giving them a piece of candy.  I informed them if they worked hard, there would be more to follow.  It’s amazing what one little piece of candy can do for a child.  That kindness has spread like wildfire through that afterschool program and every kid is dying to work with me.  I often feel like the Pied Piper with the difference being that I’m luring the children into the arms of Jesus and quite possibly, a better life. 

So, if you ever wonder if what you do really matters, remember this, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”~ Aesop.

How would you fill in the blank?

It all started with ___________.


The Roller Coaster


I love when I have the opportunity to take solo road trips. I can stop and use the facilities as many times as I need/want to, I can play whatever radio station on pandora that I want, or I can use the opportunity to listen to my Joyce Meyer teaching cds without hearing any complaints from other passengers.  On my latest trip, I did a little of all three and had no issues with it and my cd of choice was Alive~Freedom to Live Again.

Here is a brief overview of the teaching.

“So many of us are sick of the roller coaster of emotions that we experience on a daily basis—an endless ride driven by hurt, anger, frustration, misunderstandings, mistreatment, desperation….you name it. Many of these emotions are derived from things in our past—the way we were raised or treated or a devastating heartache we experienced. We try to hide it, to get over it, fake it and smile, when inside we’re screaming with frustration, striving to make it through the day without breaking down and showing our pain. But we can get off this ride. We’re not stuck here. Jesus gives us freedom from our burdens and promises us new life in HIM, full of joy and abundance.”

I relate the daily roller coster to this.  I think we all have had that boss that drives us crazy or makes impossible demands.  That co-worker that no matter how nice we try to be is still rude and condesending.  Maybe it’s that blunt friend that is lacking that filter over her mouth and says things that hurt our feelings. It also could be a random encounter with someone that says something that instantly triggers the pain of our past and sends us spiraling back down into a place we thought was long gone.

Joyce said this one time and quite possibly many times, “God is more interested in changing you than changing your circumstances.”  And until we fully comprehend this, we will keep taking this ride over and over and over until we erupt like a volcano and leave those affected to clean up the mess.

Here are a few quotes that can help decipher if you have truly gotten off the roller coaster ride or emotions.

“The greatest part of our happiness depends on our dispostions and not our circumstances.” ~ Martha Washington
” Peace – It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~ Unknown

“I can be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it.” ~ Maya Angelou

I realize that listening to a teaching cd or reading these quotes does not automatically heal us in this area, but it does provide a foundation and hopefully a realization that something has got to change.

1 Corinthians 13:11 (Amplified) says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.”

Have you reached spiritual maturity or are you still acting like a child?

The Joy Stealers


Little things rob of us our joy and the most powerful weapon can be our very own words.  I attended a womens’ retreat this weekend in Gatlinburg and the very topic of our lesson was just this.  We use words like, “I’m sick and tired”, “I can’t afford that”, “He drives me crazy!”.  Those words spoken are given life and our circumstances reflect that; in turn leaving us in turmoil and without joy.  Joyce Meyer, at her latest convention, also spoke on this topic.  I would like to share the video clip with you so you can get a full revelation.

Love Life Conference 2010 – Session 3 – Joyce Meyer from Joyce Meyer Ministries on Vimeo.

The Theme is Interruption


Interruption, as Merriam Webster dictionary would describe it, is to stop or hinder, to break the uniformity or continuity.  The synonyms even give it a negative connotation (in my eyes); break in, chime in, chip in, cut in, interpose, intrude

Interruptions are not just the annoying cut ins to your t.v program.  They also come in more serious forms such as betrayal by a loved one, loss of a job, another year of being single, an unexpected pregnancy, and the list could go on and on.  Priscilla Shirer said, “They shock us; they shake us; they compel us to change.  Sometimes they make us wonder if God even cares.”

Speaking of Priscilla Shirer, I just started her most recent Bible study titled Jonah~Navigating a Life Interrupted.  She describes the Interrupted Life as the Significant LifeThat part has not sunk in yet, unfortunately. 

To better understand, Priscilla provides the following equations:

Insignificant Person + Insignificant Task = Interruption
Significant Person + Significant Task = Divine Interruption

The reoccurring theme comes in all shapes and sizes, some very big ones leaving you barely able to survive and some little ones that simply annoy.  I am learning that each serve a mighty big purpose, but also leave you feeling disappointed, frustrated, and confused.  

I hope as I continue through this study, that I can fully wrap my arms around the fact that His interruptions will lead me to a place that is bigger and better and that I can fully embrace “Plan B“.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

“When ours are interrupted, His are not. His plans are proceeding exactly as scheduled, moving us always (including those minutes or hours or years which seem most useless or wasted or unendurable) ‘toward the goal of true maturity’.”  ~ Elisabeth Eliot 

So, I am wondering, has your life been interrupted lately?  If so, what direction are you going and how are you handling the change?

Limitations of Life


Limitations are the boundaries, the caps that we put on our life.  They confine us and don’t allow us to reach true fulfillment.  Limitations take the form of health issues.  Some of us are overweight, therefore we tire easily.  We don’t have the energy or motivation to play in the game of life.  Work also is disguised as a limitation.  So many of us give more than 8 hours to our professions.  Some of us even take it home at night and it robs us of the rest we need to go about the next day.  We have limits on our finances (both in our control and out) and we hold back on our giving.  We have limits on our thinking.  We limit our expectations on people, situations, and our dreams. 

“Most people are not really free. They are confined by the niche in the world that they carve out for themselves.They limit themselves to fewer possibilities by the narrowness of their vision.” ~ V. S. Naipaul

While we may not see it, these limitations serve as walls of protection.  We can control how people interact with our lives so we do not get hurt or inconvenienced.  We decline the invitation to life because we have to work, we are too tired, we have no money, etc.  We in turn get annoyed to people’s reactions to our limits, when in reality we should be annoyed with ourself.  After all, we created these boundaries or made the decisions that led to these limitations. 

“The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”  ~ Ernest Hemingway

So, are you putting a limit on your happiness and your journey in this life?  If so, maybe it’s time to remove the cap and experience a little overflow. 

National Day of Encouragement


I learned through the blog (In)Courage that today is the National Day of Encouragement.  It seems very fitting considering it follows 9/11.  (In)Courage, courtesy of DaySpring, gave away a 10 pack of encouraging cards to anyone wanting to spread some encouragement and they asked the willing participants to share a story about it. 

When I read through the pack of cards it was easy to figure out who I would send one too.  The cards were perfectly written for the person that came to my mind and heart.  I like to believe that is God’s way of winking at me.

Even though today is deemed as National Day of Encouragment, I believe it should be exercised everyday.  There are too many troubles in the world and we all need to be lifted up whether it be with words, a smile, or an embrace.  

“Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit: we cannot flower and grow without it.” ~ Jess Lair

So, who have you encouraged today?

The Art of Rejection


I recently read that rejection and the fear of being rejected, is one of the highest stressors that people experience everyday.  To reject someone or something is to refuse, to throw back, decline, deny, or withhold something most likely in the form of love and/or acceptance.  Each one of these descriptions I know all too well.  It seems as if the act of rejection has had a long running stint in my life.  Just like a t.v show, it had its heightened days in syndication and now continuously plays in reruns, only I want this plot of the story to be put to rest.

No matter what angle you look at it, the plot was always the same.  Someone or something was always chosen over me.  To this day, I still struggle with why I wasn’t enough; nothing more, just plain ol’ me.  Not matter how you slice it, whether it was the abuser who was allowed to remain in the home, the fact that those appointed to protect me battled with drugs and alcohol, the worthless men that revolved in and out of my sister’s and my young life, the endless replies of “we went with another candidate”, those friends who decided to dissolve the friendship for reasons unknown, rejection was what I was served.

I know I am not alone here in this pit of rejection.  Jesus too felt this pain.  Isaiah 53:3 (NIV) says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” 

The thing I constantly struggle with is forgetting, forgetting the memories, and forgetting the pain associated with those memories.   Clarissa Pinkola Estes once said,“This kind of forgetting does not erase the memory, it lays the emotion surrounding the memory to rest.”

I’ve been studying the steps of Jesus and trying to figure out how He handled and overcame rejection.  What I keep hearing is that He knew who He was in Christ.  He knew the truth about Himself and that truth is what he clinged to more than any other voice He heard. 

Now it is time for me to follow in His footsteps. 

“Until the desire to go forward becomes greater than the memories of past pain, you will never hold the power to create again. However, when the desire comes back into your spirit and begins to live in you again, it will release you from the pain.” ~ Unknown

I have made some memory cards with God’s truth on them (some are listed below). I will continue to study them until they resonate in my heart and that voice is all I hear. For then, that unwanted pain will finally be put to rest.

  • I am a child of God.
    • But to all who have received him–those who believe in his name–he has given the right to become God’s children … (John 1:12).
  • I am a friend of Jesus.
    • I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father (John 15:15).
  • I have been justified and redeemed.
    • But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24).
  • I have been accepted by Christ.
    • Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory (Romans 15:7).
  • I have been set free in Christ.
    • For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).
  • Because of God’s mercy and love, I have been made alive with Christ.
    • But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you are saved (Ephesians 2:4-5)!
  • The peace of God guards my heart and mind.
    • And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
  • I have been made complete in Christ.
    • You have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority (Colossians 2:10).

“Dear to us are those who love us… but dearer are those who reject us as unworthy, for they add another life; they build a heaven before us whereof we had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances. ”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Defining Moment


The other day, a friend forwarded me a devotional titled “Defining Moments”.  The message was about those in the Bible who had experienced defining moments and had their lives forever changed.  The author talked about Peter walking on water, Daniel escaping the lions’ den, Joshua finally crossing into the Promise Land, and Shadrach, Mesach, and Abendigo who were untouched by the firy furnance.  The author further conveyed that these moments set the course for the remainder of their lives and each of the servants had years of preparation that led up to that moment. 

History captures many times of defining moments, for instance,

  • on April 14, 1912, the Titanic sank.
  • on October 24, 1929,  the Stock Market crashed
  • on December 7, 1941, Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
  • on August 17, 1977, Elvis died.
  • on January 28, 1986, Space Shuttle Challenger exploded *(I watched this on t.v).
  • on January 16, 1991, U.S. attacked Iraq.
  • on April 19, 1995, the Oklahoma City Bombing.
  • on April 20, 1999, shootings at Columbine High School
  • on September 11, 2001, an attack on U.S. known as the September 11th Attacks.
For those who were deeply affected by those moments, we would have to believe that those experiences were forever engraved into their soul.  Almost like it became a part of who they were/are and mapped out the direction of their remaining journey.
Something heavy continues to set with me and the feeling cannot be easily explained.  Have I reached my defining moment?  Have I missed it?  Is God still preparing me for it?
Have you had your defining moment?  If so, I would love to hear about it!