Month: September 2017

I Have This Hope

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?

263623-If-Nothing-Ever-Changed-There-d-Be-No-ButterfliesI have always been mesmerized by butterflies.  Their effortless flight is breathtaking, and the bright, vivid colors of their wings are simply spectacular.  God did not leave out a single detail when creating them. For many people, butterflies also symbolize “hope”.  One of my favorite quotes says, “If nothing changed, there would be no butterflies.”

Several years ago when my children were much younger, one observed, “We’re like the butterflies.  We start out as caterpillars, go into a cocoon stage, and then God releases us to be butterflies.”  We had been discussing new life in Christ, and even at such a young age, Isaac was able to understand and relate the symbolism.  A few days after that conversation, he caught a butterfly and brought to me.

I was a bit curious as to why the lovely creature allowed itself to be captured and sit with us without flying away.  Upon further inspection, I realized that this graceful beauty had a hole in its wing making it incapable of flight.  A storm that had passed through our area in recent days had damaged its wings leaving it battered and torn.  It was a sad reality that often reflects the state of our own hearts.

We tend to think if we can just get that promotion, just have that dream home, just be understood, just lose the weight, or just be accepted by a particular group of people that our lives will be hunky-dory.  It is not so.  We will always have another mountain to climb and another test to pass.

The Word says,  “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”  (1 Peter 4:12-13)

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Have the storms of life brought you down and kept you from soaring?  Is there something in your past that is holding you back from all that God intended you to be?  Give it to Him.  He makes beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3), and He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).

Don’t lose hope!  Ecclesiastes 3:11 assures us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  That includes you, friend.

Have a blessed week, y’all!

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My Chains are Gone; I’ve Been Set Free

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?

My Chains Are Gone, I've Been Set FreeIt’s no secret that I am a sucker for a dog in need.  So last week when I saw a local pastor’s post on Facebook about three dogs abandoned in crates on a vacant lot that belonged to one of his church members, I wasted no time reaching out to ask how I could help.  Within an hour a plan was made for me to pick the pups up later that evening.  I am blessed with a husband that shares my compassion for animals, but I wasn’t quite sure how he’d react to finding out we were bringing three home.  We were on the phone and I said, “Well, we’re picking up a dog tonight.  And it has a friend.  And that friend also has a friend.”  He laughed but agreed we needed to help the pups out.

When we arrived to pick the dogs up, they appeared fearful.  One even growled as we approached its crate.  As soon as we arrived home, we took them one by one to clean them up.  I washed and then passed them over to my husband and children to dry.  Once we were finished, we invited the three little dogs into our living room to play.  There was an immediate change in each of their demeanors.  They went from fearful to grateful in a matter of seconds.  Each seemed to recognize that all we had done for them was in an effort to make them more comfortable.  They showered us with kisses as they took turns running from one family member to another.

I don’t know how long these three dogs had been in the crates before they were found.  There was food and water in the crates with them.  My daughter pointed out that what could have been seen by someone as an act of mercy, ultimately would have served as a cruel and slow death had someone else not found these pups in time.  I believe the dogs had spent an enormous part of their lives in their crates.  When we would return them to their crates before bed, each walked into their own, individual crate as if though out of habit.  Upon being freed the next morning, they each danced with excitement.

As I thought about these three dogs living a life confined to a small enclosure, I remembered a time in my life when I was a captive to a prison of my own making.  The lies of the enemy held me in bondage.  Chains of regret stole my joy.  I knew Christ, but I wasn’t living in the fullness of His grace.  2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us that when we live a life in Christ, we become new creations.  It says that the old has passed away and the new has come!  Salvation opens the door to the prison in which sin enslaved us, but we still have to make the decision to walk out of it.  Galatians 5:1 says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  When you come to know Christ, your past is over and done.  He tells us in Isaiah 43:25, ““I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Because of God’s goodness, we are free!

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Two of the three dogs that were found have already been adopted.  The third dog, we named Munchkin, and are continuing to foster.  All three dogs are enjoying their new lives and the freedom that has come with it.  I hope you also are walking in the fullness of life and freedom Christ has offered you!

Have a blessed week, y’all!

Lost Marbles

biglie.jpgAs a young adult trying to find my place in this world, I wanted nothing more than to be accepted.  After sprouting my wings and moving hundreds of miles away from the closest person I knew, I redefined the standards for “socially awkward” in my new environment.  I couldn’t decide whether I stuck out like a sore thumb or was completely invisible.  Either way, I definitely did not possess the skills to engage with this new crowd of people that lived life by a completely different set of rules than I ever had.  Upon witnessing my failed attempts to meet people, I was told, “You are like a pink marble in a sea of purple marbles.  You aren’t like they are and don’t fit in with them.”  What I now know to have been a compliment, seemed like the most offensive insult at the time.  I wanted what every young adult wants – a sense of belonging.  Atthat time, among those people, I simply did not belong.

I had long forgotten the marble analogy until my daughter started school this semester at Co-Lin.  Having been homeschooled since preschool, she started this new journey without the advantage of having people she already knew there with her.  In more than one instance thus far, Dacey has been asked if she is a drinker, a partier, or a stoner.  In the first week or two of school she said, “Mom, I just don’t fit in here.”

After sharing the marble story with Dacey, I thought a visual reminder would be good for her to keep in her dorm room.  I quickly raided my son’s marble collection pulling out several green marbles but only one blue marble.  I filled a cut glass, jelly jar with the marbles.  As I sat and looked at the marbles, I was fascinated by the fact that wherever the blue marble was in the bunch, all of the green ones couldn’t hide it.  I took my experiment a step further by going into a completely dark room with the jar of marbles and a flashlight.  Again, no matter where the blue marble was in the mix, when the light shined into the jar, remnants of blue beamed from within.

1 Peter 2:9 (NLT) says, “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”  God has set His children apart from the world in order that those who live in darkness can

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see His light reflected in our lives.  When we live as the world does, how can we influence it for God?  As Dr. Suess said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.”

Dacey has since met others on campus who share her faith, but there will always be seasons in life that we must go through alone.  Even Jesus experienced such times when He fasted in the desert for forty days, when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and when He hung on the cross.  His faith never wavered.  Neither should ours.

Have a blessed week, y’all!

Why I’m Starting a GoFundMe Campaign for Bubblewrap

Hey y’all… how’s your mama and ‘em?

Bubble-Wrap-KidKids should come with a warning label and a lifetime supply of bubble wrap… at least mine should have.  As a mother of four children, I have logged countless hours over the years at area hospitals and doctor’s offices.   My most recent trip was just last night when I spent several hours in the emergency room with my daughter.  After she face-planted in the hall of her dorm, we were certain her ankle was broken.  The emergency room physician released her with pain medicine and orders to follow-up with a sports medicine doctor.  And it was just last week that my oldest son, Jaden, stood too quickly while his foot was asleep, resulting in a “pop” followed by extreme pain and a loss of mobility.  He was diagnosed as having “micro-tears” and a strain to his Achilles tendon.  He’ll be sporting a walking boot for another month or so.

As I sat in the emergency room last night, the Holy Spirit brought my favorite Bible verse to mind:  When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:18, 19 (NIV)  The irony was not lost on me.

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God assures us that in good times and in bad times that “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord”  (Psalm 37:23a NKJV)  and that “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Neither of my children’s injuries came as a surprise to God.  These injuries might be an inconvenience to my children (and to the rest of our immediate family), but even in this God is working in our lives.  It has seemed this entire year has been a whirlwind of busy-ness.  Maybe God is using this as an opportunity for us to slow down and focus more on Him.  Psalm 46:10 (NIV) says, “He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”  Maybe during this season, He is echoing those eternal words to my family, “Be still.  Praise Me.”  Sometimes I can be stubborn and God has to teach me literally before I can understand spiritually.

Hopefully God doesn’t have to take as extreme measures in your life to get you to slow down, but I also hope that when He does, you can see His hand in it.  Seek Him continually, praise Him always, be still in His presence, and watch how He works in your life.

Have a blessed and bubble-wrap free week, y’all!

**Disclaimer: I do not actually intend to create a gofundme account for future bubblewrap purchases at this time.  No kids were harmed in the making of this blog post.  Prior injuries were self-inflicted.**