Surviving life when it’s going down the toilet

Surviving life when it’s going down the toilet

Back in 1980 something I witnessed a truck roll like a log down a hill and land on its side. The driver stood in one window while his head stuck out of the other. He assured everyone he wasn’t hurt and we might have believed him were it not for the jagged edges of his tibia and fibula poking through the skin of his lower leg. Apparently the human mind goes numb to pain when circumstances are overwhelming. I think I can relate; three of my family’s human minds went numb as we tried to absorb the doctor’s every unwelcome word. Don’t ever ask what else can happen, it can always get worse. But, I’m surviving life when it’s going down the toilet.

Cancer not only invades the body, it invades the family too #cancer Click To Tweet

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God is at work, even when we don’t see Him

Do you ever wonder if you’ll get to the end of your hardship?

Disappointed, I thought I missed it. Turns out, I was just in time. The building was not completed on the expected date. Neither is my journey, or yours, but I know God is at work, even when I don’t see Him or hear Him. He has a plan.

2 Corinthians 4:16, “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” NLT

DROWNED OUT BY NOISE

Tomorrow is a special day for our church. We will worship in a brand new sanctuary. In preparation our members have taken shifts to read the word of God – all of it. As I sat in the balcony waiting my turn, I saw men God at work.

The soft voice was barely audible and I couldn’t make out her words from the book of Matthew over the hissing, whirring, roaring and clinking; not exactly the sounds you expect to hear in the sanctuary. While I strained my ears, my eyes were riveted on the altar; the very place I knelt and wrote a name with a Sharpie pen a few weeks ago. The hidden name is now covered but forever engraved in the sanctuary.

Deuteronomy 6:9, “Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” NIV

MEN AT WORK

A man stood with a white tank in one hand (like the ones filled with propane for the grill) and in the other hand he held a nozzle attached to a long hose. He sprayed something and it looked like important work though it didn’t make sense to me. In the far aisle, a group of men in hard hats huddled around one who waved his arm as he gave instructions to men who seemed eager to follow them. Two men walked around testing chairs, tightening a bolt here and tapping with a mallet there. Sunday these seats will be filled with people for the first time, so it’s a probably a good idea not to let worshipers collapse into the floor. Most amusing was two men who used a shop vacuum to clean their clothes. Apparently, they got dirty while they worked.

2 Timothy 3:17, “so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NIV

ALMOST READY

Tomorrow a crowd will reverently enter the new sanctuary with awe; every seat tested and strong, the finishing touches on the altar complete and the mess cleaned up. And that name written on the altar will not be visible to anyone but God. Most of our members haven’t seen any of the hard hat clad workers, seen the foreman directing or heard the noises of construction. But the evidence of their labor is clear.

Nehemiah 8:3, “And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. An the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.” ESV

CONSTRUCTION ZONE

God is at work in my life and yours too. It may not be obvious, it may not make sense, it may even feel messy, but He is preparing a place for worship. He doesn’t mind the noise or getting dirty. You may have to strain to hear the whisper of His gentle words, but He is there and He is at work, even when we cannot see Him or hear Him.

Our lives are under construction by capable, loving, eternal hands.

Hebrews 11:10, “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” HCSB

 

Our lives are under construction by capable, loving, eternal hands #GenesisProject… Click To Tweet

When your Christian walk is more of a limp

When your Christian walk is more of a limp

I hope you don’t think I’m running like the wind and leaping over life’s obstacles in a single bound. When your Christian walk is more of a limp, you may think someone else’s walk is easy or successful, you are wrong. We’re all in this struggle together.

WRECKED

I heard the pop when my lower right leg twisted West and my body went South. Chunks of snow burned my face as I sat on the slope amidst what looked like a yard sale of skis and poles. Not realizing I was hurt, everyone sped downhill except my daughter who helped me up. I snugged my ankle against my other leg and skied down the mountain, grimacing all the way. Three incisions and six weeks of physical therapy later, I was back to “normal.” Except not.

Prov 4:12,” When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble.” NKJV

Immobility weakened my quadriceps and despite the therapy, I had a long way to go. So I went to the gym. A personal trainer worked with me through pain and sweat to strengthen my legs. When I went skiing the following year, I was stronger than ever. You see, that’s how it works. Exercising weak muscles makes them stronger. Exercising weak faith makes it stronger too.

I was tempted to avoid the pain, give up and sit in a chair. I certainly had a valid excuse. But training and effort got me back on track so it was worth it.

How strong are you?

Whether I’ve shared advice on forgiveness, anxiety or joy, you may have gotten the impression I have it all figured out. If so, then I owe you an apology. For full disclosure you need to know, my advice is tested and proven only in my own life. No doubt my life is a living example of overcoming adversity, so at least I’ll take a little credit for knowing what I’m talking about.

Psalm 119:45, “I will walk in freedom, for I have devoted myself to your commandments.” NLT

Formulas don’t work

There is no formula for walking in victory. Nothing could be farther from the truth and rarely does anything work the first time you try it.

Follow my advice on FORGIVENESS – it won’t work

Implement my recommendations for dealing with and ANXIETY – you’ll still be tied up in a ball of knots.

Choose JOY – I seriously doubt you will find it.

So what gives?

REPETITION

Practice makes perfect, better yet, perfect practice makes perfect. Open your Bible and nothing changed in your life? Open it again. Prayed the same prayer over and over with no visible results? Do it again. Still believing when evidence says don’t? Keep the faith, keep walking, even if it looks more like a limp.

Psalm 128:1, “Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways!” ESV

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

Consider every failure an opportunity to try again #perservere #endure Click To Tweet
 Never quit

That’s the secret. When your walk is more of a limp, hang in there. Keep on keeping on, it’s the only way to walk in victory.

Psalm 119:1, “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions. ” MSG

I can’t do this

I cannot do all things

Neither can you.

A mantra for Christian athletes, a popular plaque on the wall or the perfect verse for a tattoo, I can do all things. No, I do not have a tattoo, but can I do all things? No, I cannot do all things.

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” NKJV

In junior high it applied to cheerleader tryouts. I can do all things. As a college student I used it before biochemistry tests. I can do all things. In residency it helped me through the first…Cesarean section, hysterectomy, delivery going bad… I can do all things.

However, I doubt Paul’s intention was to get Jesus to help us meet the goals we set for ourselves. Besides, I can’t really do all things. I can’t win the state gymnastics championship like my daughter and I can’t pole vault nearly 16 foot like my son. For crying out loud some days I can’t even stir a cake mix. No, I cannot do all things and Christ doesn’t always strengthen my muscles.

But He does give me exactly the strength I need.

Because He gives me strength, I can do a disabling illness

The seven hour infusion I get every three weeks causes headaches and fatigue. For a couple of days, I feel like I’ve just done an Ironman. Okay, I really don’t know what that feels like, but I can imagine. After the ice pick to my temple resolves, I get a couple of good weeks where I can visit the gym if I can remember my member number because they no longer recognize my face at the desk. Yeah I can do that.

Because He gives me strength, I can survive divorce

I never doubted we would grow old together after all we’ve been through. But my left hand is glaringly bare. Good grief, there’s been a ring on that finger since I got a promise ring in 1980. I’m learning to find happiness and identity in being single for the first time in my adult life. Through Christ, and only through Christ, I can do that too.

Because He gives me strength, I can handle the C word

We got bad news this week. My dad’s cancer is worse than we thought, a lot worse. Facing radical surgery and uncertainty, he went to the golf course. Not a bad idea. We should all do that.

We don't know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future #faith #trust Click To Tweet
Because He gives me strength, I can face tomorrow

I’m going to be real honest, I’m pretty worn down right now. There’s a lot on my shoulders and those I normally lean on need to lean on me and I’m barely vertical. That’s why I’m depending on His strength not mine. The same strength is available to you, so what can you do?

Philippians 4:13-14, “Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. I don’t mean that your help didn’t mean a lot to me – it did. It was a beautiful thing that you came alongside me in my troubles.” MSG

Many of you have asked what you can do. This verse says it all,

Come alongside me in my troubles

A casserole doesn’t fix this

I appreciate your prayers, but I need more

Just be there

That’s all I ask

I can do it

Through Christ

He gives me strength

Because I can’t do this, but He can

Maybe I’ll get the tattoo after all. Just kidding. Thanks for sharing my journey. Bring your friends along too, it means more than you know.

 

 

Finding God’s Gifts in the Middle of the Messes

Please welcome my guest, Kimberly Dewberry. I invited her to share her story so I could spend a little time working on another project.

Adult children of alcoholics need recovery too. You will want to visit her website for more of, This is My Story

Kimberly Dewberry struggled for 25 years to cope with the pain, hurt, guilt, regret, unworthiness, and shame brought on by her father’s addictions. As her life devolved into a predictable pattern of poor choices caused by the dysfunctional thinking of an alcoholic household, Kimberly’s image of God was skewed by an inner turmoil only he could heal. Because of the loving grace of Jesus Christ, she has broken free from the shackles of rebellion and anger, and made it her life’s mission to share her journey through courageous prose. Her heart’s desire is to help other adult children of alcoholics identify and overcome unhealthy cycles of destructive living that the specter of alcoholism leaves behind. Kimberly often testifies at recovery meetings about the serenity and peace of God’s redemption, which are keys to personal wholeness. She also shares biblical insights to everyday problems through her devotional blog, This is My Story. Kimberly and her husband Patrick are the parents of 6 grown children between them and live in the Dallas area with their three furry friends. When not working as vice president of secondary mortgage operations at a North Texas bank, Kimberly enjoys writing, reading, Bible art journaling, participating in Bible studies, and dating her husband.

FINDING GOD’S GIFTS IN THE MIDDLE OF MESSES

My daughter usually calls me as I am driving home from work. This is typical. A little bit of normal in my hectic life. The call, that hot summer day, was anything but typical. She had something very important to tell me and she didn’t know how I would respond.

“Mom, we know where Papa is.”

That call, those words, made my heart sink to the pit of my stomach. No time to prepare, no time to think, no time to respond. I quietly listened to her tell me where my dad had been found. In a local hospital. Broken hip. Cancer.

This turned my world upside down because I hadn’t seen or heard from Dad in over five years. You see, Dad was an alcoholic. His alcoholism caused the good life he had with Mom to turn upside down. After they agreed to separate years ago, he eventually wound up in homeless shelters and under bridges. I had been living my life safely tucked into my bed at night while he had been living his, on the tough streets of Dallas. I’m sure he didn’t expect his life to turn out like that any more than I expected to hear my daughter’s words that day.

Stage four stomach cancer, the doctors said. Hospice remained the only option. Hospice for a homeless man, really? Although he had been living with some “friends”, those friends had not been seen or heard from since dropping him at the hospital with a broken hip two weeks earlier. Without time to really think it through, I made the decision to go see him and the next few days turned my life into a whirlwind.

God decided I needed a wake-up call. Although I had been saved in my late twenties, the last fifteen years or so, I had not walked in that salvation. Instead, I thought I knew better. I had everything under control, right? I soon found out God knows best. And so the rewrite of my story began.

God is our teacher. He taught me many things over the course of the three weeks Dad lived under hospice care in my home. I learned about grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness. He opened my eyes to my husband’s alcoholism. He also opened my husband’s eyes to it.

Although Dad left this world for his eternal life, the short time given to me by God was a blessing. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to see the blessing in the middle of the mess, but once the fog clears I am able to see God’s goodness shine through. Although I may walk through darkness, His mercies are new every morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 tells me this is the absolute truth.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

The gifts God gives me are sometimes evident, but there are other times when I have to look a little closer to see them. Through Dad’s illness and eventual death, God gave me the precious gifts of forgiveness and peace. I couldn’t see them through the tears, but one early morning in the midst of my grief, I felt his gentle tug at my heart. Soon after, I found His forgiveness, which I thought I had lost long ago and I found peace in His loving arms.

Even though we may leave the embrace of God for a season, He shows up in His perfect ways, in… Click To Tweet

Even though we may leave the embrace of God for a season, He shows up in His perfect ways, in His perfect timing, to give us His perfect blessings. The blessing of forgiveness and recovery for me, when I didn’t realize I needed it. The blessing of recovery for my husband, when he couldn’t admit there was a problem. The blessing of the restoration of our marriage, when we ignored the issues. The blessing of a home and love for Dad, because God knew we all needed it even if just for a little while.

Connect with Kim on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Listen to my podcast interview with Kimberly Dewberry HERE

 

 

When you want your prayers answered now

When you want your prayers answered now

Do you ever feel like Veruca Salt? Sure patience is a virtue, but I imagine we can all relate to the spoiled brat who shouted at Willy Wonka,

I want it and I want it now!

As I look down the road of my present circumstance, it stretches long before me and no matter how things turn out it’s all uphill without an exit in sight. If I could change it I would, but

I can’t.

If it were up to me, I would slam on the brakes, get out of the vehicle, change directions and leave this crash course I’m living. But,

it’s not up to me.

Some days I sing Veruca’s song

I want a party with roomfuls of laughter, Ten thousand tons of ice cream, And if I don’t get the things I am after,

I’m going to screeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEAM.

I may or may not have given in the urge to scream a few times, but

it never did any good.

Some days I even pray like Veruca

I want a flying glass elevator; I want a golden goose; give me that pen; I want to be first; get me one of those squirrels; I want one!

Only it’s not a glass elevator, golden goose, squirrel or a pen. But,

my desires to please myself are the same.

I want what I want and I want it now. Honestly, I still want to scream. Instead God says WAIT.

Psalm 37:7, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” NLT

He says TRUST

Psalm 118, “It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man.” NKJV

He says SUBMIT

Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” NIV

Straight paths aren’t really what I’m worried about; it’s the rough terrain that’s killing me. Peace always comes when I settle into the ride, put my feet on the dashboard and let God navigate. I may even lean my head back and close my eyes while He steers. After all, He knows where we are going and how to get there and I trust He really does know best.

SETTLING FOR LESS THAN GOD’S BEST

Veruca’s parents indulged her every whim because they valued her happiness above her well-being. Ultimately, she was destroyed because she got what she wanted. I don’t want to be Veruca.

Maybe unanswered prayers are God's way of withholding harm rather than good #Godknowsbest… Click To Tweet

Besides, as Willy Wonka said,

I thought a veruca was a type of wart you got on the bottom of your foot

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a wart, so I choose to be satisfied with what I have, surrender to God’s best plan for my life and follow hard after Him. I want what He wants and I want to go where He goes. He knows the way and He is the way..

Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ESV

 

Is there a great opportunity for you?

 

JOY HUNT
Finding joy when all is lost

My life was ransacked. The thief snuck in and stole nearly everything I held dear. I thought the locks were dead bolted, but open closet doors were clear evidence of the break-in and plundering. All the drawers were emptied and my most precious possessions were gone. If the security alarm went off, I never heard it and by the time I inspected the damage, it was permanent.

John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. ESV

Abundant life, yeah I know about that. In fact, I had a Facebook life. Not a perfect life, mind you, but plenty of material to make you think so with pictures from travels, adventures and celebrations. The problem with having it all is you don’t need God, or anyone else for that matter.

Mark 10:23, “Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, ‘Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?'” MSG

TOTAL LOSS

Nothing compares to the feel of a newborn baby’s feet except the look in the mother’s eyes. I delivered my last baby long before I was ready to give up long hours and all-nighters. My career as an obstetrican/gynecologist was satisfying, fulfilling and rewarding.

I lost it

Maybe I was a health food nut; maybe I just liked how nutritious food made me feel. Either way, I took care of my body and exercised, although probably a bit excessively. For me, middle age meant toned muscles and endurance.

I lost it

I married my best friend and high school sweetheart over 30 years ago. We raised a couple of wonderful kids and had a pretty wonderful life, until everything changed.

I lost it

Chronic illness destroyed my body, my career and my marriage was collateral damage, but the enemy cannot kill my soul because I am forever secure in my Father’s hands.

I lost what every woman wants and gained what every woman needs

FOUND

I decided to go hunting. Though my dad is an avid hunter, stillness, waiting and hours of quiet never appealed to me. Then I felt the call. Be still and know He is God. Wait patiently for the Lord. I felt called to go hunting, so I did. I went hunting, for joy.

James 1:2, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come our way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” NLT

OPPORTUNITY

This has been a year of tremendous opportunity for me, an opportunity for great joy. You see, I’ve had troubles of every kind, but I searched for joy like a hidden treasure.

I found it

It wasn’t easy, I searched in unlikely places, looking everywhere, in my highs and my lows. I guess I never realized my trials were an opportunity. Has this been a challenging season for you too? Maybe, just maybe, it is actually a great opportunity. Find joy. It’s worth the hunt.

I found it

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, so if the Spirit lives in me, I ought to harvest a whole crop. The joy of the Lord is my strength and yeah, I need strength: physical, emotional and spiritual. For the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. Yes my friend, there is joy in pain, if we endure, if we want it, if we trust God’s faithfulness.

I found it

Hunting requires special equipment and skills. Put Christ in the cross-hairs of your scope. Fix your eyes on the author and perfecter of your faith. Be patient and wait on the Lord, then keep waiting. Target practice is essential too, the more faith is exercised, the stronger it becomes. Track joy throughout the word of God. And don’t forget the most essential survival skill – gratitude. Joy fills a grateful heart. If you want to find joy, be thankful.

I found it

In the last three years, I lost nearly everything, but I wouldn’t trade what I found – JOY

I found it

Psalm 63:3, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, I will praise you.” ESV

Everyday I post what joy I’ve found on Twitter (click here to follow me). Joy is my “word” for 2017, so I’m committed to find it 365 ways. You’re welcome to find your own joy and tweet it at me with the hashtag #JoyHunt.

Join me on the #JoyHunt Click To Tweet

Thanks to KMR designs for the graphic

Love Dies

To love is to die
Three words can change your life

My dad hates to lose. Okay, so I come by it honestly. He thought we were cheating, but I promise we weren’t, really. Granules slid through the neck of the hourglass as I sketched a lopsided shape. My sister yelled, “NASA!” Score. Don’t ask me how she knew, I guess it’s a sister thing. That’s why the corners of my lips curled up and I nodded my head when I read her comment on my Facebook page. Yes, it’s definitely a sister thing.

Last week, I asked for input,

Describe love using one word.

My definition was already settled but I wanted your opinions and all the answers completely aligned.

Jesus ~ Christ ~ God ~ Abba

Heaven

Selfless

Sacrificial ~ Cross

Unconditional

Forever ~ Commitment ~ Faithful

Forgiveness ~ Mercy ~ Humility

Others ~ Family ~Children

But what did my sister say? She said, “VERB.”

Love is a verb, an action, but what action?

John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” HCSB

This is my life verse, I memorized it and display it on my wall and although I taught it and tried to live it, I ignored the heart of it. In the past I thought it meant kindness expressed toward humanity. I suggested caring for the poor, homeless, orphans, refugees, lost and haters. You’ve probably heard me preach giving and forgiving; sharing and serving. And certainly, no one will believe we really follow Jesus if we behave hatefully. Even Jesus won’t believe it.

1 John 4:21, “The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.” MSG

How will they know?

Not an unreasonable question and I’ve asked it a million times, but the answer isn’t nearly as simple as I thought. Tucked in the middle of the answer, three words escaped my notice. How will they know? They’ll know IF….we love one another.

Problem is, I didn’t understand love. At all. Oh I thought I did and I tried to love and even encouraged you to do the same. Sorry, I didn’t get it because I overlooked three obscure words and therefore misled my own opinion.

John 13:34, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another.” ESV

In a sea of colorful faces, there’s Waldo, hidden until you spot him, then like the draw of a magnet, your eye locks on him every time you look. Three words changed my life. Did you see them?

AS I HAVE

Christ calls us to love as he loved; undeserved, sacrificial, selfless – until death.

Romans 5:8, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” NLT

Now my vocabulary has changed, my theology is more complete and I’m more whole to speak about the meaning of true love. Three words changed my life. Words I spoke like a broken record yet so familiar I never drank them into my own soul. Oh Lord, give us eyes that see and ears that hear before we have a heart that does not feel.

Psalm 119:70, “Their hearts are callous and unfeeling, but I delight in your law.” NIV

I’ve loved and I’ve been in love; truth be told I still am and won’t ever give up on that, but I’ve learned a lot more about love than I ever understood before.  Some people have to learn the hard way I guess.

You see to love like Jesus is to die, voluntarily. Do you want to love like that?

AS JESUS LOVED

He loved us before we loved him

He loves us when we don’t love him

His love never fails

He loves us when we turn our backs on him and run after worthless things of this world

He raises his hands and volunteers to take our sin and offers us His righteousness

The more you know Christ, the more you love. You see, true love dies.

Mark 15:64, “The sentence: death.” MSG

I don’t know about you, but I don’t see myself capable of enduring a cross for someone who despises me. So what does death look like? What does “as I have” mean for us?

To love is to die: to my rights and my need to be right, to my wants and my needs. Any volunteers?

True love volunteers to die #sacrificialLove #Agape Click To Tweet

I hope you’ll take time to visit “Yesterday To Forever” where my friend, Cindy Hansberry describes sacrificial death. CLICK HERE

Celebrating Valentine’s Day when there’s a hole in your heart

Celebrating Valentine’s Day when there’s a hole in your heart

Last year the red and pink hearts were blurred by tears as I stood in the aisle looking for a suitable card. Problem is, I wasn’t living a Hallmark life. Finally, I settled on one that didn’t tell a non-existent fairy tale and signed it,

I’ll love you forever…

I meant it and I will, but I’ve learned a lot about love since then.This year I can skip standing in Walgreen’s blinking back a faucet threatening to spill on the floor. I was so afraid of being alone, I wasn’t sure I would survive. Then I realized, I already had. You see, fear and love cannot co-exist.

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love. HCSB

FRAGILE: HANDLE WITH CARE

I’m not afraid any more because the hole in my heart is being filled with a whole heart. Oh there are visible cracks where the fragments are glued back together because once your life is shattered, the pieces never look the same. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. Only God brings beauty from ashes and turns mourning to joy.

Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!” MSG

I’ll love you forever…

HEART REPAIR

There was a time my heart was so heavy, I thought about abandoning it and leaving it behind. Instead, I offered the tattered scraps to the healer of my soul. I no longer pray for God to fix my life, rather I pray for Him to fix my heart: not my friends, not my family, not my health, not my circumstances – my heart. He fixes by filling and He fills us with love.

I John 4:8, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” NIV

“The man God uses must be undone” A.W. Tozer

ARE YOU UNDONE?

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Will you spend it with someone special or do you dread the glaring reminder? Before I get an invitation to crash your romantic dinner date, I won’t be totally alone; I’ll be with one of my favorite people on the planet. Of course, it’s not the same.

I’ll love you forever…

ENOUGH

Dear friend, I want you to know you can trust God. He is tender with your broken heart and He wants you seek Him with all of yours. Over and over He asks me, “Am I enough?” My spirit says, “Yes!” while my weak flesh still doubts. But in my heart of hearts, I know He is the, “I AM enough.” My heart isn’t completely whole yet, but I’m offering Him the pieces and He is filling the gaping hole.

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart.” ESV

God is the I AM enough #IAM #TrueLove Click To Tweet

Lean in to God. Joy comes in the morning, but sometimes it comes in the mourning. I won’t be in the aisle this year, instead I am going to the throne. Pray for my broken heart, I would love some company on my journey.

Have you ever been to a nude beach?

The Girlfriend’s Box of Questions

The pink and brown striped box held promise. Actually, it held questions and we used the conversation starters as writing prompts. I pulled one from the middle and quickly discarded it. Encouraged to take one from the top, I drew, “Who was the last person who gave you butterflies?” Gag.

Double gag.

I was about the throw in the towel with the questions when I ventured one more luck of the draw. That’s it, that’s the one for me.

Have you ever been to a nude beach? If not would you ever consider going?

Wait, let me get this out there first, no, I have never, ever been to a nude beach. However, I repeatedly contend that writing is like standing in front of everyone naked, only it’s not your body, it’s your soul.

You know I’m a gynecologist, right?

I’ve seen a lot of naked bodies. A lot. Bodies are different, they are sometimes wonderfully and sometimes fearfully made. But souls? Oh there is no comparison to the depth of beauty and wonder and fear and ugliness and power and redemption. Why are we so afraid to reveal our true selves? Vulnerability is a huge risk. What if my words are too skinny or too fat or too wrinkled or disproportionate? What if you can’t stand to look at them, like those American senior citizens prancing around on European beaches. Not that I’ve ever been, really, I heard about it from a friend.

Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” HCSB

DON’T LOOK ETHEL

My words sometimes make my kids cringe; they think I show a little too much and need to be more modest with my soul skin. My parents hurt over my writing when I expose raw wounds. Probably, I need a bandage to cover the unsightly injuries. My readers? I only hope you laugh and cry along with me.

Proverbs 16:24, “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” KJV

Here’s the deal, I’m not going to a nude beach, but, I will continue to bare my soul because I’ve seen a lot of naked bodies inside and out. I’ve heard you reveal your heart and soul and I want you to know you aren’t the only one. If I uncover my broken places, maybe you can find hope in the One who covers our sin and clothes us with His righteousness. My own life of filthy rags has been stripped away, leaving me bare. Can you stand to look or will you avert your eyes because it makes you uncomfortable?

Isaiah 61:11, “He dressed me up in a suit of salvation, he outfitted me in a robe of righteousness.” MSG

GET REAL

The Celebrate Recovery step study I’m involved in has ruined me. As we walk through the door, we take off our masks and ultimately discover that what draws us to each other isn’t our flawless lives. No, we are drawn to each other’s honesty and raw emotions. Real connection happens when we take it off for others to see; no filter, no photo-shopping, no airbrushing.

Just the bare naked truth

The truth is, we all struggle. How about we lock arms and struggle together? Care to join me? If I haven’t scared you off, enter your email in that little box that pops up when you open the link and I’ll bug you every Saturday morning with a post in your inbox. Or if it’s too much, stare straight ahead and keep on walking.

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By the way, if you want to know who “we” is, check out my writing friends, Jill and Amy. They get my soul.