Life’s Narrative

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“When you don’t like the narrative of your life, start drafting a new one! Never stop creating the story of your life; always be editing, adding and enhancing by God’s grace.”

I have been maintaining a “one sentence journal” since October, where I get one sentence to chronicle my day or anything that was important! Let’s just say that sometimes I break all the grammar rules with my run-on sentences 🙂 The above line was from this past Friday’s entry, which wasn’t necessarily inspired by anything in particular, besides an overall reflection on life.

Rumor has it that this time of the year is the hardest for some people, as they nurse broken relationships and unfulfilled goals. Sinking slower and deeper in despair. It doesn’t take much effort to flip the tattered and sloppily filled pages of our life’s book. Repairing the torn edges and rewriting over the past…now that takes some determination!

I know that it’s supposed to be “the most-happiest time of the year”, but I feel compelled to address those who this time doesn’t always manifest the best of memories. Whether your narrative is wonky by actions of your own and/or others, the chance to begin a new one is yours. Soley and completely…

Until Thursday,

P.S. Philippians 3:13-14 is always a place I like to visit when I can’t see progression between my past and present!

 

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Added Dimensions

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A new leaf on life! We’ve all definitely heard that a million times (and even probably said it ourselves). But, I wonder how much truth is actually in that statement. Leaves die year after year, with us throwing them away in the winter and watching them bloom in the summer. Every year we are graced with new leaves to see.

Now our lives are an entirely different story. We are not cats…we don’t get nine lives to live! Leaves are thrown out, while we are expanded. God takes our mistakes and magnifies them, in a positive transforming light! We don’t have to perceive the past through the lens of wasted time and shame, as Jesus still sees us as worthy and righteous.

Our pasts imperfections are our perfect presents. Our deep ugly scars are our true beauty marks. The thing I love most about Jesus (besides him dying to save me and being ever so patient with me!) is that he is a shrewd remodeler and reviver. He takes us just as we are, not tossing us to the curb or pointing out our flaws, but loving on us. And what is even more amazing is that he has a unique plan drawn out for me, you and all the other 7 billion people on this people…no two are the same!

What is a painting without depth? A song without a riff or two? Or a book that doesn’t shock you? That is us without our mistakes…flaws…shortcomings. God truly is the master of all our pieces.

Until Thursday,

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Acceptance

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I’ve tried to spend this past week engaging and being active with my loved ones. All the tragedies and disasters of this year have really caused me to pull back the smoke screen of “happiness” to see the things that truly matter!

I often wonder about Jesus and how he handled the notion that he had to go to the Cross. Giving his life for people that may or may not even acknowledge his name. What a challenging thought to come to grips with!

It’s clear from Matthew 26:39, that Jesus pondered other options, pleading with God to find another way. Just as we would if our parents came to us and said, “Hey, My Beloved Child, I need you to sacrifice yourself for the redemption of your siblings (you and I) and the people down the street who can’t stand the ground you walk on (the Pharisees).” Jesus was facing a grave task that he frankly didn’t want to do. Yet, there came a time when He realized that he was The Way and that God’s grace would see him through.

Applying that to our lives, I’m curious about what things we need to just accept and rely on God’s grace to deal with. If there was another way of handling life besides depending on God’s timing, I’m sure we would have already found and put it to great use…but there isn’t. Now, thankfully we aren’t facing death for the salvation of others! And what is even sweeter is that all the things we are facing, have already fallen thanks to the same grace and power that snatched Jesus from death’s grip.

My prayer is that you’ll accept the plan that God has for your life and whatever challenges may come along ,never forgetting the fact that only good things come from God, James 1:17.

Until Thursday,

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peace.

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Instead of attending to my never-ending to-do list, I kicked off the Christmas season with a Hallmark movie. The last couple of weeks have been such a tremendous time of growth and reprioritization. I seemed to have been neglecting the very person that I will be forever stuck with…myself.

Life is all about balance and I now see that I didn’t have very much J! Proverbs 24:33-34 talks about how poverty creeps in with excess slumber. Yet Proverbs 3:24 promises a sweet and peaceful sleep when we lie down. Bible contradiction? Nope, just another sign of how God truly intended for us to exercise wisdom in our lives. Now, I can’t watch movies every afternoon and expect to be successful in life. Just as I can’t work my fingers (and brain) to the bone and expect to be fulfilled in life.

In a world where everybody is trying to acquire more, be better than the best and achieve speeds faster than fast, I pray that we will be the first ones to slow down the pace of our lives. Bulldozing the first domino down that could lead to less stress-related diseases and more laugh-related wrinkles!

…even God rested on the seventh day…

Until Thursday,

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Downside Up

Downside Up

What if when life feels turned upside down, it is actually downside up?

A couple weeks ago, my life got a little more challenging (or should I say my academic life:) I was spinning wheels like the little engine that could, going nowhere but feeling exhausted like I’ve been everywhere! Spent out of gas and left to settle myself, I finally had a prodigal moment (when you think something else besides “woe is me”) and was like, “I can be miserable and at His mercy or I can be joyful and at His mercy. Either way I’m at His mercy, so I might as well be happy.”

Looking back I see that my life was completely upside down, as I was trusting God, but also subconsciously dependent on myself. That is why my peace was fleeting, as soon as it came, it went, just like a glass full of water that has been inverted. Jesus is a well of living water, 100% accessible to us at all times, but if our cups are turned upside down, then all the joy and tranquility that He offers will leave just as quickly as it enters. Although, this week has been a bit stormy, I’ve had the most constant and lingering peace. It is now truly well with my soul.

Satan cannot and will not bother those that he has his hold on, so if he is afflicting you, that is a great sign. My hope is that Satan is very busy, vainly attempting to steal the peace of God’s children!

Until Sunday,

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Condemned

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Silence…definitely not a topic that most like to discuss around the dinner table, if ever at all!

Condemned homes is the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear the word, condemned. In their heyday, they were beautiful, full of promise and good memories. However, over time, the filters got clogged; no one changed them. The garage door broke; no one repaired it. The pipes burst; no one fixed them. The foliage over grew; no one trimmed them. Condemned houses don’t condemn themselves, they are neglected and abandoned by people. People like you and me, who take those same habits with us to the next house and ultimately in our hearts.

If you’re lost, let me clarify! Our hearts can be compared to a house. Just as the objects and people in your house are there because you allowed them, the same goes for our hearts. Likewise, as we would repair roofing in order to eliminate mold and mildew, the same follows for our hearts. We could have holes in hearts, created by hurts and struggles. Holes that are meant to be immediately assuaged with Jesus’ blood. However, neglecting to heal our heart’s holes could leave an open door for the enemy and fake fillers to seep in, leading to a condemned heart.

We don’t have to be slave to condemnation, thanks to Jesus, Romans 8. We have don’t have to fall victim to condemning thoughts, 2 Corinthians 10. But we must by any means necessary, protect our hearts…our internal homes, Proverbs 4:23.
Don’t let Satan condemn you by telling you that you are too far gone, useless or irretrievably broken. Their all lies! Shh, I’ll let you in on a little secret: whatever fate Satan is trying to assign to you, already has his name on it…in bold.
Until Sunday,

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Wyrgan

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My allergies are officially on their way out! Health is such a blessing. This week, I discovered Online Etymology Dictionary, a site dedicated to etymology, which is basically the study of words and their meanings over time. I have learned so much about the Old English roots of words that I use on a daily basis. A lot of the words we use today, did not sound or look the same hundreds of years ago.

Did you use the word lufu this week? What about wyrgan? Chances are you didn’t. What about worry and love? Aah, those probably look more familiar to you. Lufu, meaning “the love of God” is the Old English mother of love. And Wyrgan, which means “to strangle” is the Old English father of worry. To strangle!? After reading that I refreshed my browser and looked the word, worry up again, just to make sure I had read that right!

God makes it pretty clear throughout the Bible that we are not supposed to worry. You can pick any book of the Bible (I might be exaggerating a bit) and find a scripture about casting our cares on Him and laying down all worried thoughts. Like the great omniscient Father, He is, God knows that worrying about tomorrow or even 20 minutes from now, doesn’t just short circuit our prayers, but pilfers the life out of us…slowly.

This past week was so exhausting and challenging, not because Jesus didn’t show up, but because I was sleeping, eating, working and studying all with my own hands tightly wrapped around my neck. Instead of allowing His living waters to flow and quench my thirst, I was stopping them and looking for water in all the parched places of this world. Worry is a sneaky parasite, promising treasures of peace, yet delivering great troves of peacelessness. It’s a trap…a smoke screen, crafted by none other than the robber of peace himself, Satan.

On a higher, more brighter note, there is hope! None of God’s children are ever too far gone or too entrapped to be freed. Freedom starts whenever we are ready to receive it!

Until Thursday with much lufu,

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Hope.

Hope

October has been a month of close deadlines, big celebrations and ginger ale drinks. After almost completely eliminating dairy from diet, those pesky little seasonal allergies came knocking at my door forcing their way in. But no worries, I’ve already written up their eviction notice!

“If we don’t have hope or expectations for good things then what are we living for?” I asked some of my classmates this question, in which I got two responses. Blank stares  and then the infamous…“you’re crazy”!

Is it not human nature to deflect from questions that truly makes us think? We have a hard time being honest with ourselves as it forces us to change.

When we begin to evaluate our true motivations in life, we will also see that our motivations and stressors go hand in hand, directly proportional to each other.

As October ends and November rolls in, I pray that with the ushering in of a new month, new refreshment from Jesus will follow close by.

In Jesus, we have living waters to revive us in life and anchor for our souls to ground us in the storms of life…

Until Thursday,

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Feedback Society

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We live in a feedback society.

Unlike when we send text messages and emails, there is no “sent” or “delivered” message when we pray. There are no daily shipping notifications on our prayer requests from Heaven. We don’t get a biweekly update on the progress of our prayers.

Apart from the bible and what little archaeological information that scientists can agree on, there is not much direct evidence that deliberately says, “I am God” God didn’t forget to etch His name in a redwood tree or indelibly carve His face into a valley, He intentionally didn’t leave any remnants, as He is a nonverbal God…hear me out here!

Although the rivers don’t flow to form “The Maker”, they coo the message that there is one. Although the mountains don’t bear his face, they shout “Holy, Holy, Holy” as rocks slides fall. Although, the trees don’t bear the initials of *“F, S & HS”, they stand tall and strong as a testament that there is one.

*Father, Son & Holy Spirit

If you’re looking to see God with your eyes, you’re going to find exactly Mary saw on the third day…nothing.

Satan will work day in and day out to ensure that what we see does not align with what God promised. As soon as we say, “Amen”, angels are discharged, but so are demons. If you started your day by praying for peace, I wouldn’t be surprised if you discovered that the coffee machine didn’t come on as scheduled and last night’s dishwasher attendant abandoned their post. Definitely not a peaceful morning!

Now if you had received a “sent” confirmation message from Heaven that God heard your prayer, you would chalk it up to just…life. However, with no tangible evidence of God’s listening abilities, you are left to wonder, “God, did you hear me?”

Just like other believers, I have to trust that God is listening to me. I haven’t seen any burning bushes, as of this today, but there is one thing that I do know with complete surety and absolute surety: where eyes, logic and feet fail, faith prevails.

Until Thursday,

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Surety

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Now, as a disclaimer, my heart goes out to those affected by the hurricanes. I am extremely sensitive and by no means am I poking fun or degrading the devastation of the floods that have happened and the lives that have been lost. I am referring to God’s promise, that He would never flood the entire earth again and swipe out all living things by water, Genesis 9:11.

DNT Weather Report:

“The earth is officially flooding!”, Lee False, a trusted meteorologist reports for DNT, (Definitely Not True)’s daily weather report.

“A little bit each day. By next week, we’ll all be fish!” Lee False jokes.

….

3 Days Later

“Did you hear about the news?” Flaky Fiona says as she enter the lounge for church volunteers.

“Yeah, maybe God isn’t all that trustworthy after all.” Maybe Max responds, grabbing the coffee pot to pour him a cup.

“My thoughts exactly! I mean, I didn’t think it was true after rereading Genesis 9:11, but then when I started seeing water, that changed things.” Flaky Fiona says in exasperation.

“Changed things”? You’re sounding like the children of Israel. Every time something contrary to God comes up, you go running!” Confident Connor says, entering the lounge to make copies for the upcoming event.

“Oh Connor give us a break! Maybe we need to reconsider all this stuff we’re preaching. Maybe it’s all “Hallucinogenic Hallelujahs.” Maybe Max responds, as he plops nine cubes of sugar into his coffee and 11 creamers.

“Yeah, for you probably. I’d be hallucinogenic too, if I ingested that much sugar!” Confident Connor counters.

“Hallucinogenic? You all know that is a serious condition that many people suffer from. It shouldn’t be the focal point of jokes, guys. Not cool.” Surely Shirley says, as she comes in looking for pens and markers for the kids.

“You’re right. But we were originally talking about the flood. That’s how hallucinations came up. Max and I wonder if The Bible is just that.” Flaky Fiona says.

“What flood?” Surely Shirley asks.

“Uh, the flood going outside this building! The water you had to wade through to get in here!” Maybe Max says.

“I saw water and I felt it too, but I don’t believe it.” Surely Shirley says to which Flaky Fiona and Maybe Max’s eyes go triple in size.

“Someone with some sense is here!” Confident Connor exclaims.

“You two are crazy!” Flaky Fiona says.

“No, what is crazy is God sending his only son to die for you and then you turning around is questioning Him. That’s insanity.” Surely Shirley counters.

“2 Corinthians 5:7, walk by faith and not by sight, was not put in the bible as filler of space. You two-” Connor adds before he is interrupted by DNT.

DNT Weather Report (Goof):

“The earth is NOT officially flooding!”, Lee False reports.

“A malfunction in the city’s water supplies caused the flooding. By next week, we should see dry land.”

“Now, my God just parted the Red Sea for me!” Surely Shirley says.

“No, my God parted the Rea Sea for me, you’re just blessed to be near me.” Confident Connor says.

“Do you have the copies we need?” Surely Shirley asks.

“Do you have the markers we need?” Confident Connor counters as he and Surely exit with laughs as they return to their tasks.

“Maybe, God-” Maybe Max starts before Flaky Fiona raises her hands and cuts him.

“Don’t start. Maybe you need to read your bible more!” Flaky Fiona says.

“Hey, and you don’t?! You were agreeing with me!”

“Yes, I was. Shirley and Connor really made me think. They were so sure and confident of what God said. We should definitely listen.” Flaky Fiona says.

“Yeah, maybe.” Max says launching his empty coffee cup into the trashcan, before leaving.

 

END.

 

Surety, The Play

Starring

Surely Shirley 

Confident Connor

Flaky Fiona

Maybe Max

 

Hopefully, you got a laugh (and a lesson) out of that! Couple things I want to mention…

  • This week, God bluntly asked me this: “Would you believe that the earth was flooding, if you saw it your own two eyes and felt it with all 20 of your fingers and toes?” Yeah, I’m still a little speechless. But, that is the best place to be in Christ. Completely in awe and always reaching for higher heights in your faith.
  • Make note that Connor and Shirley came in the lounge to do things. Connor, copying papers. Shirley, looking for markers. Fiona and Max, weren’t doing anything but socializing. As soon as Fiona came in with doubt, Max should have “checked” her with God’s Word, not validate her doubt. If you want to live a great and prosperous life, across all areas (spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally, financially etc.), you must watch your associations. Proverbs 13:20, as Connor would say is not in the bible a “filler of space”.

 

Shirley is a sure believer because she is secure in God’s promises.

Connor is a confident believer because he has seen God work in his life.

Fiona is a flaky believer, because she will believe God’s word until the next contradiction comes.

Max is a skeptical believer because he needs lives by proof.

 

Now, what kind of believer are you?

 

Until Sunday,

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