Shutting off Thanksgiving

Hurt.
So many reasons why that is a four letter word.
It creates deep pain when left unattended.
Or sometimes we pamper it until it’s overgrown,
Overgrown and morphed into a Beast of Bitterness.

Even in small doses hurt tempts us to close off,
To shut the doors in our hearts.
We’ve done it. Slammed it closed.
Shut off that tiny closet within.

Crazy though, that “shutting off” idea.
We’re convinced that it’s “only this one part.”
Just one teeny slice of our heart
But our hearts are not compartmentalized!

Closing off ONE part closes off ALL parts.
This explains why joy doesn’t seem joyful anymore,
Why fun leaves you bored,
Why happy expectation no longer lies ahead.

Slamming even the smallest internal door
Makes Thankfulness next to impossible.
Our eyes only focus when we’re starring inward,
all else appears blurred, wrong, incorrect.

The opposite is true.
Self-absorbsion warps sight & understanding,
It robs, and steals and destroys.
It shuts the door to true thanksgiving.

Repent. Lies do not own you,
You’ve chosen them.
Courageously open that “tiny heart-part”.
Open it all to JESUS!

He is the Way, TRUTH and Life!
He delights in forgiving and revealing,
and loving and healing!
He’s the joy & satisfaction we crave!

Now Thankfulness may grown
In a heart opened wide.
And a thankful heart is a happy heart!

Whoa vs. Wow

 

A humble, “broken” heart (the kind that God speaks of in scripture)
is NOT a heart that walks about feeling crumby & putting itself down.

It’s a heart that is aware of its own faults & inheirent sinfulness,
but depends on God for forgiveness, strength & joy!

 

Instead of saying, “Whoooa is me!” it says…

“Wow! God!”

 

The people who recognize their need for God are blessed.

 

 

“I’m going through somethin’ right now!”

She hadn’t been there for weeks.
Text after text. Call after call. Even a couple of visits.
No response.

Then, for no apparent reason she texted me back… finally!  YAY!!!!
She thanked me for noticing that she’d not been in church service for a while. She appreciated my love and concern.
She assured me that she was OK & that she’d  be there on Sunday.
YAY!  YAY!!

Sunday came. Tons of hugs. Great conversations. Encouragement. Jesus did beautiful things in so many peoples’ lives. Such a lovely time together…
But she wasn’t there. She missed it all… again. Sigh.

So I called her. No answer. No call back. No response to my text. I don’t wanna bug her…
But what if she’s not OK?

Then she texted again… “Thanks for thinking of me. I’m just really going through somethin’ right now.”


What?  That’s her reason for not being with other people who love her & love Jesus?
That’s why she’s staying away and feeling alone?  oh, NO!

The part that makes this true story even sadder is that i’ve heard the “I’m-really-going-through-somethin” line many, many times! From many different ladies.  It makes no sense.

But, I DO understand this .. when we’re hurting we don’t want it to be obvious & we don’t want to wear it on our faces.
We certainly don’t want to have to talk about it. Or worse yet, we don’t want to get around the warmth of God’s love & let our guard down & then melt into a mess of tears… in front of everyone!  Horror.

Seriously. As backwards as it sounds, when difficulties threatens us, we should get with other Christians even MORE often!  It says it all through the Bible… and it’s true!
Chilly pointed it out in Psalm 53.
In Hebrews 10:25 is says to meet together all the more.

And…Many more places!

When life dishes out yuckiness, we cannot run away from the people who will remind us of the truth, and encourage us, help us and literally fill us with courage. And we shouldn’t feel silly when we show up when things are less than dandy… our own honesty may very well be the strength someone else needs at that moment.

As temping as it may seem to hunker down when we’re hurting;  to shut people out when we’re struggling…
go to church. Be involved.
Talk. Be honest.
Lower your guard & praise Jesus.
Let Him speak gently to your heart.
Help. Serve. Hug.
You might even laugh!
Then you may just find that your somethin’ has turned into something better

 

 

Fight Right

Joseph (from the book of Genesis) had dreamed big dreams… from God. He didn’t make’um up. But he went through some rough stuff before seeing them come true:

Sold into slavery by his BROTHERS;  Earning trust & authority as a slave, only to have it all taken away because of another person’s lust & lies; proven trustworthy again but remaining in prison for years although he was innocent.

These things could’ve really taken a chunk out of his faith in God and his confidence in God’s willingness to use him. But he stuck to what He knew was true… God!   When the time came to stand before the Pharaoh, he was ready, even though he’d only been given a moments notice. He so confidently declared that God was powerful to interrupt dreams, then went on to speak for God by explaining to Pharaoh the meaning of the dreams. THEN… he boldly told the most powerful man in all the land what steps he should take to prepare for the upcoming famine. WOW!

Hard times often take their toll on our faith. Not Joseph. He was a human & must’ve thought the same self-defeating thoughts that bombard our heads, too, but apparently he choose not to dwell on them. He choose to continue trusting God by serving whomever and where ever. When God brought huge life-changes in a matter of moments (from slave to most powerful in the land next to Pharaoh), Joseph’s faith was ready.

Hardship hacks away at our faith & makes us doubt God’s desire to include us in His plans.

Fight it. Fight the fear & doubt.

But don’t fight the situation, and certainly do not fight God!

 

Words that Sadden. Wounds that Lie.

“Ouch. They really just said that to me!?”

You’ve thought those words at some point & will again someday. (Nice, Netta, what a depressing way to begin a blog post!) But it happens cuz we deal with humans. Over the years I’ve learned that many hurtful words spoken to me are NOT really spoken AT me or because of me. Hurt people hurt people.

Think about that… Hurt people hurt people.

That said, I’ve learned to remain calm, smile and do my best to keep loving people when they’ve lashed out at me… well, I’ve mostly learned that. Here’s the deal:  that’s not so hard to do unless the person knows you well & is quite close to you. Then the words go deeper.

 

Those words sink in and make me ponder. Now what?

I pray. “Lord, what truth is in these statements?”

I talk with my husband. “What do I need to learn from this?”

I pray for the person, the situation, etc. .

But still…

Those words can start eating at me. They’ve cut me & now there’s a tiny seed of UNtruth that has planted itself there. Something like, “Since they said that about me, they must really think I’m a jerk. What if they’re right?  They probably are. I was probably way off in that situation.”  Then it can grow into thoughts like…. ” As hard as I try, I just mess things up all the time anyway.

Then it grows into bigger lies: “No wonder people don’t invite me over, I’m not really a friend.”  and  “How am supposed to do anything of lasting value if no one wants to be around me?

See how the lie grew?  It began as a sad heart with a wound that started doubting what it knew was true, and it soon turned into a giant lie that had little to do with the original situation.  We cannot blame someone else for that thought process. WE choose it. So, the flip side is… CHOOSE NOT to think that way.

When those thoughts arise, stop them. Talk to Jesus. He ONLY tells you the TRUTH! Think about what HE’s already told you… what you already know is truth!
Philippians 4:8 says to think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely & of a good report!

 

Lots of thought will pop into our heads during the day, but it’s up to us if we’ll keep thinking & expounding on it or NOT!  Choose your thoughts. It keeps Hurts from Wounding us with their lies!

 

When we don’t know what to do…

Pain & Death… what a difficult topic.

Yesterday’s post was about what to say, or NOT to say.

(Probably more of you have some insight to share on that topic)

 

Today let’s talk about AFTER the funeral…

weeks & months after!

These are things that meant a lot to me

long after my Dad died

or else they’re things that I try to do

for friends who have lost

someone dear. Just my experiences. Please, add your’s.

– Send a card Waaaay after the funeral & actually write something in it besides

your name. Memory. What you’ve been praying for them, etc…

– PRAY… grief takes time & they still need weeks later

– Sharing a memory or picture of the lost loved one with their family.

Knowing that other people still thought of my Dad months later was

a wonderful encouragement.

– Send another card/note on the anniversary of the person’s death.

It sounds weird, but the family never really forgets that date. Having

someone else remember it, too… huge comfort.

=

– Hug. Often. (My friend Chris mentioned this on yesterday’s post)

– Keep in mind that grief kinda messes with thoughts. Your hurting

friend might not be themselves for a while. Slower to process info.

Forgetful. Quick to jump to conclusions. Quiet. Extra chatty.

Whatever the case…Be kind & patient.

– Listen. Don’t tell them how they feel or worse yet, how they

should feel. Just listen & pray with them. Cry. Hug. Listen.

(But only when they wanna talk. Don’t be pushy)

– Include them. Grief doesn’t mean you wanna sit home & cry.

Invite your friend to join you as you do something normal but fun.

(Like taking a walk, running out for a coffee, going to the library,

community/church clean-up day, etc…) Don’t put expectations

on them, just invite’um and enjoy their company, even if they’re quiet.

-Smile. Give Hugs. Give Chocolate… seriously. Why not give little gifts

on occasion to show them that you’re thinking of them while you’re

out & about.


 


If you’ve walked or are walking down the complex but necessary road

of grief and have some wisdom & practical advice you’d like to share…

please do.

[box] “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3,4[/box]

When We Don’t know what to Say

 

 

My Dad died 13 years ago.

He suffered from bone marrow cancer

for 4 long years before that.

I learned a few things during the illness,

the funeral and the strange process

that followed called, “grief.”

 

 

I learned to hate the phrase,

How’s your Dad?”

and later, “How have you been doing?”

They cared. Most people truly cared, but didn’t know what to say.

So they asked a question. MOST times I’m all for question-asking,

but not during these times.

When someone wades through heartache & grief they never

know when their emotions are gunna wanna spill out. Being put on

the spot to give a report on your sick loved-one or heart-broken family

(or self) can actually add to the pain of the moment. It can even feel

like the person asking the question is selfish. Sometimes they are.

Sometimes people just want the lastest info…. but mostly people

just really want you to know that they care!  So why don’t we just SAY THAT!

“I CARE!” or

You’ve been on my mind all week.”

or

“I’ve been praying that you’d find

extra strength in Jesus this week.”

Stuff like that leaves the other person encouraged and gives

them the opportunity to say nothing!  OR to say something if

they would like. No pressure. No selfishness.

NOTE:

Sometimes a GOOD, CLOSE friend needs to look a friend in the

eye and ask, “How ARE you? And that close friend has earned the

right to ask. That’s another story.

TOMORROW I’ll post OTHER ways to encourage someone in these situations.

If you’ve experienced an extremely painful situation and/or loss and have

thoughts to share… please feel free.

 

He lives with Jesus now

Many of you have heard me talk about my
dear friend, Jodi. Because we grew up together
I adore her entire family.

Her sister, Paula & husband, Jerry, are missionaries
to Zambia, but have been in the states for a few weeks
awaiting the delivery of their first & long-awaited
baby.

The baby was born this morning.
His Mommy held his little body, but he wasn’t there.
His life went to be with Jesus before his body entered the world.

Please… Please pray for my friends!
As much as my heart aches for them,
there pain is beyond my comprehension.

Please stop now and pray for them.