Painfully Coming to Myself

I believe this was the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere...possibly a zoo in Florida, however. 

I’m still waiting for the day I come to myself.

Luke 15:17 tells us about the prodigal son coming to himself…some versions say “when he finally came to His senses…”   (If you don’t know the Biblical account of the prodigal son click the link and read it.  It’s a very an interesting story). 

I started to say “While I am not prodigal…” but then I looked up the word “prodigal” for the first time in my life.  I always assumed it referred to his running away, but it actually means “wasteful, reckless, uncontrolled.”   So, not only am I prodigal with myself, my time, my health, and my thoughts, I desperately need to come to myself in the sense of being a child of God; I need to act like that’s who I am….not because of who I am, but because of who HE is.  Be righteous because He is righteous.  (1 John 3:6-8)  

I also looked up what it means to be righteous, which is one of the dominant attributes of God.  It means having character, being decent, honest, moral; having integrity, living honorably, without reproach, with rectitude, uprightness of mind, heart, and soul, having virtuousness…I’ll stop right there.  Being righteous (Christ-like) is way more than I can attain, on my own that is.  

Bear with me…I do have a point as I dart here and there with my musings.

While earnestly praying for a sick family member (my seven-year-old cousin recently diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia), seeking a miraculous healing for her, I began to realize that I not only wanted that miracle for her, but for myself.  Unashamedly, I want to see God’s hand in a huge and unquestionably miraculous way (not forgetting that He moves in the miraculous every day, things that I take for granted). 

But for a moment, I wanted God to know that a miracle would speak volumes to unbelievers as to Who He is; and to believers, it would be a solid faith-builder.  It takes foolish audacity to tell God what He should do to get the results we think we’ll see.

And then it hit me…or rather, He showed me:
I wanted the miracle more than the Miracle Maker.

And perhaps all these years, I have wanted freedom more than the Freedom Giver, the solution to my problem more than the Problem Solver; a way out more than the Way Maker.   Am I simply having regret and desiring relief without repentance? 

Gluttony is the only sin where I beg for help but add a stipulation:  “But, God, I don’t mean right now!   Right now, I want this cheeseburger, fries, and strawberry milkshake.  And oh, these chocolate chip cookies.  But Monday, Lord!  Help me on Monday to get this voracious appetite under control.   I’ll eat my way the through the weekend, but Monday, Lord…Monday!”   No, I never said that in words to God, but I did say it in my actions.  Loudly and repeatedly.  I really don’t want Him to be Lord of my plate and silverware.   I want to be in control of that!

Dying to self, crucifying our fleshly desires…what a terribly painful thing!  Being righteous?  It means to do what the word of God says no matter how you feel…or how badly I want to keep eating when I’m full.

Sugar makes my appetite insatiable.   That’s a proven fact.  But I invariably eat it again no matter who long I’ve been “clean.”  God may never deliver me from that affliction for reasons known only to Him.  (Or maybe He is teaching me to discipline my self-nature, bring it under subjection, because for most of my life, flesh has ruled me.)

Ouch!  It’s painful being pruning by God’s own hands.  Very painful, indeed!  Even knowing the rewards are far sweeter than any morsel of the sweetest sugar could ever is not easy.

His rewards are far sweeter than anything that 
may be keeping YOU in chains right now, too.

Maybe I am waking up and coming to myself…finally coming to my senses.   But I like the path of least resistance, so I am not promising to crucify my “self” before Monday. 

Lord Jesus, help me.
I desperately need You, Lord.


FMF: Complete

If I look at my life in the natural, “incomplete” would be a better word for me than complete.  But then I remind myself, it’s not about me, what I see or how I feel, but it can definitely feel like it’s all about how I feel.  A preacher once said, “You can’t believe everything you feel.”   That about sums it up.

Looking at things spiritually, I am assured that my completeness is in Him.   When He said from the cross, “It is finished,” everything I could possibly need was complete in Him at that moment, and for all eternity.  Of that, I am completely sure, I just forget it every now and then, especially when I don’t have the answers I seek or see the changes I that escape me.

Scripture promises me:
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.  (2 Colossians 2:9)

That is all.  The end.

Deibert Park, Florence, AL


Monday Musings: Understanding

UNA flower petals after the rain
One morning, I woke up in a cloud of confusion. As I lay in bed, I talked to God about all thing things I just don’t understand. Like cancer, or children dying from catastrophic diseases, or destroyed lives, and even my inability to be the better person I want to be. Heavy stuff. I told God I knew that I didn't have to understand, but I want to understand.  I told Him that I knew He was in control, and surely there’s a greater plan than the pain that I see.

That morning, I arrived at work earlier than usual.  I normally sit a few minutes in my car before I start my day, praying and reading a few Bible verses.  As I randomly opened my Bible, I said, “Help.” I really needed Him to touch my spirit.  I landed on Psalm 119. I began to read the lines I had highlighted and underlined:

Verses 27 and 28
Make me understand the way of Your precepts;
So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.
My soul melts from heaviness;
Strengthen me according to Your word.

Verse 34
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Then Proverbs 2 came immediately to my mind, which reads in part:
…Lift up your voice for understanding,
Seek her as silver, search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.

The Answer: 
 Seek Him first, 
His face, His presence.
 In everything. 


One of Those Daze....

Some mornings I wake up and want to give up.   On those days I wouldn’t even hit the light switch, or bother getting dressed.   I’d just stay at home, curl up with the dogs and ignore the world.   Today would have been a good day for it.   However, I do see a ray of sunshine peeking through my backyard trees…and it looks like it’s going to be a good day in spite of myself.  And, being Sunday, I wouldn't  choose to ignore church.   My parents always made sure we were at church if the doors were open.  They are in their 80s now, and they still go to church unless they have a really good reason.   

Yesterday I posted a slightly political post.   I guess a post about "Trump Derangement Syndrome" isn't slightly political, is it?  We all have opinions, don't we?  Whether it be politics, religion, whatever, when presented with the facts, we get to draw our own conclusions.   If you don’t agree with me, that simply means that I don’t agree with you, either.    People talking about “haters” who don't agree with their opinions are often “hating” louder and more obnoxiously than the ones to whom they are responding.  It makes me weary, and I don't want to be involved with that, but sometimes my big mouth or commenting fingers itch to respond.   I'm getting better at not doing that.  Some things, left alone, would garner a lot less attention, and 'less attention' is what 90% of what's being repeated these days should get.   The silliest stories go viral; people are constantly offended, and there is usually only a grain of truth to the current outrage.

I have written some of the best blogs…all in my head.   “Best” is a relative term, I assure you.  I freely admit that some of my headnoise is probably best unsaid…along with some of the posts I did write, perhaps like the Trumpitis one from yesterday.  

I hope your Sunday is a peaceful one.
If you don't have a church you attend, 
why don't you visit a new church today?


Calling It What It Is...

Reflections...Deibert Park, Florence, Alabama

A Nevada professor recently shot himself in protest of President Trump.  Some headlines say it was a suicide attempt, but since he shot himself in the arm, that is obviously fake news.  He has a sickness that affects the way he thinks.

Some call it Trump Derangement Syndrome.
I call it hatred.

The disease isn't caused by Donald Trump.   It's caused by hate, and right now, the current president is on the receiving end.   Hatred is a nasty, life-altering affliction that causes once seemingly normal people to do stupid things, like shoot oneself in the arm.

Compassionately, this professor obviously has mental issues and needs medical attention for more than just his arm.  Hopefully, he will get the help he needs, and they will keep him away from the campus and the students away from him.  He is facing felony charges.  He's 69 years old, he may consider retirement after this.     

Of course, Donald Trump is 72...
I have a sneaky feeling he won't be retiring until he's 78.

President Trump is so hated by the democrats, progressives, liberals, socialists, and at least a quarter of republicans, that people are taking a closer look at President George W., and have decided he wasn't such a bad president, after all.   Most likely, the shift in feeling is because the Bush family voices their disdain for #45.   Ol' Jeb did take more than one verbal beat-down during the 2016 campaign, so I'm not saying that I blame them, but forgiveness is a lot more attractive than bitterness.

I don't remember the 1960's...I'm only going on historical accounts...but when I look around at our divided country, I don't think it is as bad as it was in the 60's (my reasoning would be a whole different post).  In today's world, the loudest voices are not the majority, but they get more coverage.   We know that's true due to the fact that Donald Trump was elected regardless of how loudly his detractors decried his path to the White House.  

Yes, I know Hillary won the "popular vote."   But until the electoral college is yanked off the election process table, California and New York won't decide who runs the rest of the country.   I don't care what side of the aisle you're on, that should be a scary thought.

People seem to have lost the ability to process information or themselves.   No one wants to wade through the bull crap to find the truth.  And there is a lot of doubt.   Truth is worth it!  We can't afford to let it get buried deeper and deeper.

Just three years ago, who would have thought Donald Trump would be president, and who could have imagined his presidency would cause people to attack his supporters, even children enjoying a Coke in a restaurant wearing a MAGA cap, and a US Representative to call for "push back" (in the form of not letting them go to public places in peace) on people who work for him?  Trumpitis is a thing...and that thing is hate.   The only thing I know that will change what is going on in America right now is prayer.  

That's what I'm going to be doing.
Even if I'm doing it alone....

Sunrise in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains


An Angry Body Slam

I left work yesterday for an appointment with a new doctor, after more than a year without a doctor (I’d been going to a nurse practitioner near my home; she about killed me…that’s whole ‘nother story).   When I arrived, they said I didn’t have an appointment.  I argued that I did, so they looked at their records a little closer and found my name.  She said, “Now your co-pay is $35, you know that right?   Thirty. Five. Dollars.  You know that, right?”  

The two girls begin to tell me that the doctor had a meeting, and she may not be able to see me.  “What?!”  “Yeah, you may have to reschedule.   What would be a good time for you?”   I said, “Since I took off work to come here, now!  Now would be a good time.”   She said, “Well, she’s got that meeting this afternoon…”    The other girl sticks her head from around a partition and says, “I was just about to call you.”   (It was 2:55, my appoint was at 3:00.)   The first girl says, “Mondays and Tuesdays are our busiest days.”  I said, “I made this appointment five weeks ago.”  She said “I apologize for your inconvenience,” but she was really loud when she said it, and I felt like she was saying it for the benefit of the other people in the waiting room, like the situation was more of an inconvenience for her. 

I stood there not knowing what exactly to do, and she told me that there was a possibility the doctor could see me.  Then she said that normally something like this wouldn’t have been a problem, "but the nurse practitioner didn’t come in today."   I didn’t even tell her I did not want to see the practitioner, I wanted to see a doctor, and I didn’t want a two-minute drive-by examination. 

Then the doctor walks by and says to no one in particular, “I can’t see anyone else today.”

I didn’t act ugly, but I was mad and definitely wanted them to know they had inconvenienced me. 

The girl says, “Would you like to reschedule?”  I said, “I would not.”   She said, “Well, here.  Take this paperwork and fill it out so that you will have it when you come back.”   It was about eight pages of more questions than I would answer.  I took the book and walked out.

Like I said, I wasn’t ugly.  But they knew I was mad because I didn’t bother to hide it.   I don’t know if it’s related or not (probably is), but last night I dreamed I was at a relative’s house, and I was about to watch a TV show (on losing weight, rather real life-like, wouldn’t you say?)  I cleared out a place on the couch for me to sit (my cousin hadn’t cleaned house in a while, apparently).  Before I could sit, a friend of my cousin, a girl I didn’t know, sat down.   I told her I’d just cleared that spot for me, but she said she wanted to watch the show.  I picked her up and tossed her on the floor like a 50 pound burlap sack of peanuts.

I think God was telling me I body slammed those two girls with my anger.   


Anniversary, Ole Boy-isms, and Current Events

Last weekend Ole Boy and I celebrated 22 years of marriage (after six years of dating) in Nashville.  I love this man more today than when I married him!  He can be funnier than me at times, and he always has a song ready, tweaked for any occasion:

Me:   Cheese would be good on this.
Ole Boy (singing):   Cheese release me, let me go…

Me:  That burger was a little greasy.
Ole Boy (singing):   Greasy loving, seeing’s believing…

And he’s always quick with Ole-Boyisms that tickle me every time:  

Server (as he is giving us the bill):  I’m sorry for your wait.
Ole Boy (as server walks away):  I guess he could tell we put on a few pounds.

Me:  Sitting comfortably on the bed watching an exercise video.
Ole Boy (walking into room):  Hey, have you…oh.  Sorry.   Didn’t know you were exercising.

Turning on sports highlights first thing in the morning:  “Wow, this game went into overtime, they were playing when I went to bed last night!”

Every now and then, he may go too far tweaking a song and adding my name:
Down in Alabama, where the alligators grow so mean
There lives a girl that I swear to the world
Makes the alligators look tame
Polk salad Margaret, polk salad Margaret…

Musings on recent events:
  • I haven’t worn Nike in years, but I used to wear their high tops back in a younger day.  The whole Colin Kaepernick “new face of Nike” controversy sure has given Nike a lot of publicity, which may have been their strategy all along.  In a few weeks (or less), the boycotts will be finished, Kaepernick will be old news yet again, and I’ll still be wearing my Yellowbox flip flops.  With so many unsung heroes from which to choose, I am mildly curious why Nike would choose this knee-man who really didn’t sacrifice anything.
  • What a spectacle it was, the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh last week.   Protesters weren’t the only ill-behaved ones, there were a few disorderly, prideful senators, as well.  Folks haven’t figured out that loud, disruptive protests, much like impromptu boycotts, don’t accomplish anything.  Well, except the Kavanaugh hearing protests did garner more than 200 arrests.  I’m sure their bail money had already been set aside by someone other than themselves.  For all their obnoxiousness, all they accomplished was hand cuffs and finger prints, and maybe a few minutes inside a holding cell. 
  • The anonymous writer to the NY Times…If I were a betting woman (other than the occasional scratch off ticket, that is) I’d say Omarosa was the author of that missile…er…missive. 
  • Something else I’d bet on:  “The Connors” (the “Roseanne” spin-off premiering next month) will tank in record time.   The reason "Roseanne" was such a hit was because it had enough conservatism to attract conservatives, with more than enough liberalism tossed in to keep Hollywood quiet.   They were watching, though, Roseanne the Trump supporter, not "Roseanne" the show.  Watching and waiting, ready to pounce.   That’s not to say Roseanne didn’t help their agenda out a little.   Or maybe it was Ambien.  As for "The Conners" tanking, we shall see.   I won’t be watching it, and that’s not just because I don’t have cable.
  • Serena Williams had a tantrum on the tennis courts, and when she wasn't allowed to get away with it, she said she will continue “fighting for women.”  What?  I doubt she'll miss the $17,000 in fines out of the nearly two million runner-up prize.  Fight on, dear lady, though I can't image what it is you are fighting.  Anger issues, maybe?

That’s all my time for today!
Later this week...or next...we'll taking about Freedom.  Again.
Time to put on my face and make a mad dash for a parking place.
Have a grand Monday, and an even grander week!

**Please don't forget to pray for our Nation. **

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