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Monthly Archives: August 2009

“You Are Pathetic”…the Final blow

The dark musky stadium is packed with standing room only. Some are there to support you…others, not so much. But they’re there.  Hundreds. Thousands even. So many you can’t make out what they are saying or what advice they might be giving…if any at all.

You swallow hard to force down the lump settling in the back of your throat. You suck in your cheeks to hide your fear. The bell rings and the crowd goes wild. You’re in control. Your heart races with anticipation. You’ve been here before. You’ve practiced. You know what’s coming. This ain’t your ‘first rodeo’. You’ve been knocked down but you always get up. You’re tough and everyone knows it. 

You freeze for a moment. Your opponent is a bit bigger than you expected. There’s a glare piercing from his dark eyes that secretly has you just a bit nervous, but you wouldn’t dare show it. You broaden your shoulders and stick out your chest in an attempt to intimidate him. It doesn’t work. He takes one good swing and you’re down. You stagger a bit and get back up. He takes another swing…and another…and another. Each time he knocks you down you find your way back to your feet. You grow tired each time you pull yourself up by the ropes to face your enemy again. For a moment you think of  playing dead but instinct…and pride kick in and once again you’re back on your feet battling a Goliath you never saw coming.

Blood pours from your temple and your strength is nearly nonexistent. The crowd screams but you can’t make out their words. It’s all scattered voices in the back of your throbbing head. He takes another blow right where it hurts. He knows your weak spots. He’s watched every battle. He knows just where to strike you to bring you to your knees. Your face hits the mat and he leans down to whisper in your ear…reminding you how many times he’s already knocked you down. He reminds you how weak you are..how prideful..how worthless. He assures you none of the screaming participants care for you. How could they? “You’re helpless…a lost cause…no good,” he whispers with a wicked laugh before administering the final blow, “You are pathetic.”

You believe him. You’re ready to take your last breath and give in. Just as you do, out of the corner of your eye you see someone standing just outside the ropes. You can’t really make out his face well though he seems familiar. His arm is stretched towards you and he’s leaning in as far as he can without imposing. You blink hard trying to focus…trying to make out who he is…what he wants.

He leans way over the rope stretching as far in as he can to take your hand. For a moment you just stare at him trying to make sense of it. You see his lips moving though you can’t quite make out his words. The crowd is too loud. Your heart is pounding too hard. With the enemy on one side screaming your failures, you find a friend on the other…and he’s smiling. He doesn’t seem to be shaken at all…not like you. You focus on his lips until you finally make out the words, “let me help you”. He leans further…stretches harder.

Suddenly it hits you… he’s your partner.  Finally it occurs to you…you weren’t meant to take on the enemy alone. Your partner has been there all along…watching, waiting, and anxiously reaching for your hand. He could see the whole picture. He saw every move the enemy made even before he made it. He’d been there all along waiting to take over. You just never took his hand. There was no need for all the tears, the blood, the fear. If only you’d taken his hand when the bell rang.

You stretch your hand to meet his. Your finger tips are just inches away and you can’t stretch any further. The enemy laughs and pulls you further away from rescue. You hold your hand in the air to take refuge but you can’t in your own strength and from beneath the enemy you cry out with as much energy as your battered body will allow, “please help me”.

Suddenly you feel the grip of his hand as he effortlessly pulls you from captivity. You feel a distinct scar in the palm of his hands as he frees you. You rest in the corner as he takes on the battle without ever breaking a sweat. The enemy runs with fear. Your Savior leans down to wipe your brow and presses his lips against your forehead. With a smile he whispers, “next time…let me in the ring first”.

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Posted by on August 28, 2009 in encouragement

 

An Advocate For My Son

It’s still early morning here in North Carolina. There’s a heavy layer of fog sitting just inches from the black top in front of my country home. It’s morning fogquiet…peaceful.  As I sit on my front porch listening the birds chirping, I am thankful for such a peaceful place and the opportunity to have such a wonderful home and life.  All is right with the world.

The morning didn’t start out this way. I have a son that went from being the sweetest kid on Earth to an angry, resentful teenager over night. Last school year I spent two hours a day on the road getting him back and forth to school so he could stay with his friends after we had a house fire. This year, he has to go to his own school because the school board won’t allow him to go outside his district…that somehow became my fault. 

He has suddenly decided he has to have chains hanging from his jeans in order to survive. I spent hours last night searching for jeans that were suitable and the proper hardware to decorate them adequately. The bolt cutters wouldn’t work. He now hates me and wishes he could die.

He keeps his hair in front of his face and I can barely see his beautiful brown eyes. I can’t remember the last time I heard him laugh. He was always such a happy child. I’ve heard many say this happens when they turn 13. I watch for signs of things to really be concerned for but other than that, I give him space and try to understand he’s going through a ‘phase’ and he’ll return to me. At least I pray.

I wait for any opportunity that he might open up…that he might share just a bit of his day with me. Good or bad. I leave the door open in case he needs me though I never bombard him with questions or mandates. I try to be gentle and allow him a little distance in order to find his way though I would never let him get too far.

When he’s gone, I go to my Father and plead on my son’s behalf for his safety. I beg God to encamp His angels around my son and guard his heart and his actions. I plead for his forgiveness and stand in the gap as his advocate reminding God that this is the very thing He sacrificed His son for…not that He needs reminding.

Then I can’t help but to think…we, even as adults, do the same thing to Jesus. We turn our backs on him. We demand that “In God We Trust” come off our money and prayers be taken out of schools yet we wonder where He is when tragedy strikes. We wonder why He didn’t intervene. We go weeks, months, or perhaps longer without speaking to Him. Without sharing even the smallest details of our lives with Him.  Yet we fall to our knees when our lives are on the line.  We muddle through our day to day lives without caring how it hurts Him to see us distance ourselves for no good reason. And in all this, I find hope. Hope in knowing that as many times as I’ve run back to my Father and fallen on my knees begging Him to take me into His arms once more, that my son too will return back to the gentle nature he was given. That He too will find his way back to where he belongs and that just as Jesus has repeatedly  done for me, I will do for my son. I will be here when He returns.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2009 in encouragement

 

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Draw Me Close to You


I want to start a series…a short one on drawing closer to the Lord and I’d like to invite you to join me.

As our country and the human race, we are facing more battles than ever before. Our economy has everyone running scared, the Swine Flu has us all nervous, and just life in general seems to have us all in a tizzy.

During these times, we need to draw closer to the Lord and stand firm on His promises. Nothing catches Him off guard.
In Isaiah 40:31, we are reminded:
“but whose who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not faint.”

I challenge you to join me on this journey to a stronger…closer relationship with the Lord. I will be starting it on September 7 and will last as long as the Lord instructs me. If you’re interested in  joining me, sing up in the comments with your email address. I will be sending out study guides and “homework”. I am excited about this journey.

I encourage  you to really pray about the weeks to come as we begin this series. 

Please invite anyone you think might be interested.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2009 in encouragement

 

Bring the Rain


Have you ever prayed for rain?  No…not the wet stuff coming down to water the grass. I mean prayed for the trials that you know are just on the horizon?  As Christians, we are either coming out of a storm, in the midst of one, or heading towards one.  There’s just no escaping it.

But I’ve got a challenge for you. For me as well. How about praying for the storm? The only way to truly draw close to the Lord is to invite the trials. To face them head on and cling to the Lord like a life line through out the process.

I recently began asking the Lord to ‘Bring the Rain”…call me crazy, I know. But I want so much to do more than just know ‘of ‘ Him.  I want a powerful relationship with Him. So powerful that I hear Him speaking..that I see His hand moving. And if it means going through one storm after the next to get there, then my prayer is, “Jesus Bring the Rain.”

I’ve been through some major storms in my life but never was I in a place to recognize His molding. It’s been a powerful week for me. One I may never begin to explain but I end this day so full of joy for the trials I’ve faced and the relationships that have been repaired.

As the weekend approaches and summer comes to an end, I’d like to challenge your relationship with Christ. Ask Him to show His hand..His glory, and His ever renewing mercy….even it if means going through the rain.

“Bring me joy..bring me peace…bring the chance to be free.
Bring me anything that brings you glory.
I know there’ll be days when this life brings me pain,
but if that’s what it takes to praise you,
Jesus bring the rain.”

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2009 in encouragement

 

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How far IS the East from the West?

This has been such a week of revelation and heart break for me. A week when I’m reminded of a horrible past and the NEED to fall at the feet of Jesus.

I will be 36 years old this year. I’m barrelling into midlife as hard as I can and yet here I am today dealing with pain I caused 20 years ago. God’s timing is an amazing thing. I was a totally different person 20 years ago.When Jesus said, “if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed”, I’m sure he was pointing at me.  When He said, “I will make you a new creation in Christ”, He had me in mind.  Not because I am now such a wonderful creation but because in my past I was such a dispicable one.  Once I came to know the Lord, there could only be a contrast in my past and present because of how dark my past really was.

How do we ever get to a point of letting go of all that has been? I don’t at all mean letting go of what has been done to us, but letting go of what we’ve done ourselves. Each day I look in the mirror and I see all the pain I’ve caused. All the selfishness and damage. When Christ called me to be His bride, I grabbed my suitcases and drug them down the aisle to make my committment. Each day He reminds me that He sees the person I’ve become not the person He found in the pits of Hell with a gun in her mouth.

But 20 years later, I see things I never saw back then. How did I miss it? How did I not know that my sins would have life lasting affects? How did I not know that? Moving forward in freedom can be such a long hard process. It is so hard not to go backwards and pick up the shame and guilt of what we’ve done.

If God forgives us and casts our sins as far as the East is from the West, I wonder how far that is. Is it too far for Him to go back and get it? I will continue to cling to His grace like a life line. Without it, I have nothing. I can not hold on in my own strength and I am so thankful that He continues to hold tight to me..otherwise I’d sink in this shame.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2009 in encouragement

 

Before I Go

“Theirs was a friendship like none other. A sealing bond few are lucky enough to stumble upon in all the years of their life. A powerful sisterhood graced among the treasured strand of hopefuls that dare muddle through life’s trials hand in hand. Theirs was all this and so much more, even before they realized it.”

   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is just the first few lines of my next novel “Before I Go”. Two life long friends find themselves in very different trials in their lives. One loses her fiance to a drunk driver just days before their wedding while the other faces cancer and less than six months to live. After nearly a decade of being apart, these two friends find their way back into each others lives and take this road together…right until the bitter end.

Friendship is such a powerful force. A life altering relationship that supersedes all others. I’m interested in hearing about the relationship you share with your best friend. I’m also interested in included a  bits and pieces from some of your stories in the back of my next novel, “Before I Go” for our readers to experience.

Share some of your story here. A few sentences. I will choose a few from the comments and email you for more of your story. If yours is chosen, you will receive an autographed copy of “Before I Go” as soon as it’s printed. (expected release is Jan 2010.)

Please pass this along to anyone you think would be interested in telling us about their best friend.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2009 in encouragement

 

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With heavy heart and full of grace

My heart is heavy tonight for several reasons. 

First, I just found that some one from my past…someone I loved very much passed away this April. It breaks my heart to know he’s gone on to be with the Lord but I rejoice in the fact that I will see him again one day.

Second… my heart is heavy tonight because in hearing the news of this loved one, I am reminded of a past I have tried so hard to forget. You see, while I stand before you a creation of Christ and a child of the King, I was not always. I have done horrible things to wonderful people and have lived with regret for a lifetime.

I often associate myself with the prostitute Jesus stood in the courtyard and defended. He did so not because she loved Him and followed Him but because He loved her regardless of her transgressions. He saw something in her she couldn’t see in herself. He saw past the horrible things she’d done… not only to others, but to herself. He saw straight to her heart and even with sin plastered across her face, He held out His hand and lifted her up to look into her eyes..and forgive her.

I wonder if she struggled in forgiving herself. I wonder if she felt the need to go back and apologize for the things she had done…or was she embarrassed? I wonder how thankful she was for a new beginning.

I stand before you certain that without the unfailing grace of God, I would be not be standing before you at all. I spent many years suicidal. Many years trying to escape a childhood of sexual abuse and many years taking my pain out on others. What an awesome God I have that He would see past my filthy rags and allow me an opportunity to tell others about HIM.

I am convinced I lived the childhood I was meant to. That I committed the crimes and sins that would bring me to this point of humility. You see,  every time  I found myself in the pits of hell and face down in a ditch, HE was right there with me. He’s been there all along and because of His mercy being made new every single in this twisted life of mine, I am able to say… He can change anyone. He can turn any life around and use any life for His glory…if you’ll let him.

Thank you Father, for the opportunity to face those I’ve wronged. I do not deserve even that but I thank you for your grace once more.

(In memory of Bill Gibson… we love you and miss you…and we will see you soon!)

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2009 in encouragement