The Valley of Blessings

The Valley of Blessings

This is where I live, and it’s ok. Yes it’s in the valley where we struggle the most. But I’ve been told you’re either on your way out of the valley or on your way in. We never spend much time on the mountain top. And that’s ok too.

As long as I know I’m not alone once I get there, I know I’ll be ok. In fact, I praise God when I’m there, because I’ve also been told he is close to the broken hearted. So I would rather be broken with my savior in the valley, than be living the high life, alone.

Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance.  – 2 Chronicles 20:3

This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. – 2 Chronicles 20:15

Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. – 2 Chronicles 20:20

On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing, which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today. – 2 Chronicles 20:26

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The Apology

Yesterday, I found myself sitting in my car yelling at some woman I have never met because she fed my son. Actually, that’s not why I was yelling at her, but it is something she does everyday.

I had lost it. I lost my patience. And then I hung up. It was ugly. I was ugly.

I was already having a bad day, a bad week actually. And I know I was being tested.

Things just kept happening.

I had to take my mom to two appointments. Take my kids to theirs. Go to mine. Schedule more for my mom. Try to coordinate with work what times I could take off. My AC broke. My AC broke again. My daughter gets sent home from school with a fever and can’t be sent back. There are fraudulent activities on my debit card.

And then there is this woman who was just trying to do her job. Who doesn’t understand the issues I have with my son. Who doesn’t know our history. Who just…just was a person I could lash out at instead of a thing that was making my life more difficult.

Satan, I’m sure loved that. I felt horrible. I felt horrible not because of all the crap that was happening around me or to me, but I felt horrible because of something I did, something I could have controlled.

The feeling festered inside of me. And even though people around me were telling me I was justified and I shouldn’t beat myself up over it; we all make mistakes, I felt… unworthy, I felt disgusted, I felt I let God down.

That’s exactly the feeling Satan wanted me to feel.

This morning I heard a faint whisper, it was faint but it was clear.

You could call, and apologize.

It wasn’t a command. It wasn’t a should.

It was just a suggestion, but as soon as I heard it, I knew it was right. I knew how to stop the self loathing, I knew how I could stand tall before the altar of God, again.

But I was scared! How can I do this? What will I say? What if she yells back at me?

Oh God, this is really something I need to do to make it right? I knew the answer.

Yes, I screwed up. Yes I am human. Yes, I am forgiven. But none of these made me feel any better about myself.

I picked up the phone. I called the school. I asked to speak to the cafeteria. And as the words fell from my mouth how deeply sorry I was for speaking to her the way I had, I became completely broken and I couldn’t keep my composure.

There was silence.

I was scared she was going to lash back at me for making her feel so bad. I deserved it. I was not Christ-like. I had misrepresented him. I should be ashamed. I was ashamed.

The pause broke, and I could feel her heart melt, as mine did, when she responded, “I am sorry, too.”

At that moment I felt the Grace of God, not only pour down onto me, but onto us, as we were lifted from this earthly realm, and risen to a heavenly state.

I felt Jesus today. I felt Holy; set apart. I felt transformed. I felt forgiven. I felt worthy. I felt loved.

LOVE ME, EVEN THOUGH I AM UNLOVABLE!

I felt God say, “I do.

The Drunk, the Crack Head, the Lazy Fat Girl, and the Fabulous and Over the Top Drag Queen with the Beautiful Dress and the Gorgeous Hair

This is the post I may lose friends over. However, no one really reads my blog, so whatever.

Yesterday, I was listening to a conversation between two of my friends. One of which is a lesbian, and hearing her beliefs about life and death, God and sin.

My heart broke.

I wanted to share my beliefs too, but I knew it wasn’t the time.

I could hear she had already been verbally beaten up by other Christians by her use of, “hate the sin but love the sinner.”

She added, “But I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong. I am not sinning.”

Now she knows what a Jesus freak I am. But it’s not because I’ve ever shoved him down her throat.

When asked, I have shared. During this conversation, I was not.

But if I could have said something, it would have been this.

I don’t believe our bodies that we have today, function the way God had originally designed them. There are diseases, disorders, anomalies, deformities and so many other mutations, people everywhere are living with.

It may be caused by pollutants, genetics, or accidents. But sin is everywhere.

Sin is the absence of God.

We live in a fallen world.

We have ever since the garden.

Sin is everywhere around us and even inside of us.

There is no escaping it and things have definitely changed because of it.

That’s why God sent his son; to save us from it.

I am fat. I can diet, I can exercise, and I will lose weight. Yet ultimately, I always go back to being fat.

Trust me when I say I don’t choose to be. I don’t want to be. But as much as I want to be thin, my body just doesn’t want to be.

It is a battle I fight everyday.

I don’t believe I was designed to be overweight. But where other people don’t give much thought about their weight, I obsess about it, all the time. Even when my weight is down it is something I still always have on my mind.

Gluttony and being lazy is a sin, and day in and day out I fight against it. My weight is an everyday struggle.

I don’t believe being homosexual was apart of the human design but for the same reasons that I’m fat, some people are gay. I don’t believe they choose to be. I don’t believe they want to be. But ultimately, they are.

Now they could fight it. They could hide it. They could marry, have children and try to disguise it, but the struggle would still be there. The sin is still there even if they don’t act on it.

Even when I hit my goal weight, I am still worshiping food.

But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:28

A sin, only needs to be a thought.

An obsession one thinks about everyday.

There’s no escaping it.

Sin is everywhere.

Sin consumes all of us.

But that’s why God sent his son.
He knew this would happen. He knew sin would keep us from him, so he sent his son to take it from us.

The most perfect sacrifice gave his life to bare our sins. All had been forgiven. So no longer will me being overweight keep me from him. And no longer will people who are gay be secluded from him.

Ours sins have been paid for!
All of them!
Everyone’s!

So although sin is still all around us and in us, we do not suffer the eternal consequences of them.

He loves us. All of us.

Now I don’t know how he will judge my friend because I do not know if she had accepted Jesus as her Lord or not. I don’t even know if she has been given accurate information about him to be able to make that kind of decision, but I do know her being gay is not going to determine her fate.

He loves her. He wants to spend eternity with her. And I would be more afraid for those who try to lead her astray by saying she is not welcomed into the throne room of God.

But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea. – Matthew 18:6

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. – James 3:1-2

There is an entire community of people who have false ideas about who God is, and who they are as his children; and it’s the Christians fault.

The community has been told God doesn’t accept them. God doesn’t approve of them. God doesn’t love them and they are all going to hell.

Well, I wouldn’t want to believe or trust in a God like that either. Why would I make him my Lord and Savior if he died for everyone but me?

It’s almost as if they’re not allowed to believe in Christ.

Oh, I would be very worried if any word came from my mouth that would push someone farther away from God, rather than closer. I would be very very afraid.

Jesus loved sinners. He hung out with them; like all the time. They were his favorite people. He hung out with the people, who people despised the most.

Tax collectors were hated by the Jews because they were Jews who not only worked for the government that oppressed them, also but stole money from them as well.

Samaritans were half-breeds. They were not from a pure bloodline of Jewish descent. In the Old Testament they were repeatedly commanded not to intermarry between other nations.

You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons, – Deuteronomy 7:3

With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them. They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields. – Hosea 5:6-7

Yes, today Jesus would be kickin’ it with the falling down drunk, the crack head, the lazy fat girl, and the fabulous and over the top drag queen with the beautiful dress and the gorgeous hair. You know why?

Cuz they’re fun!

Well that’s not why, but they are.

Because he loves them.

Flaws, sins and all. They are his children too.

He’d hang out with them just like he hung out with the tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers, and Samaritans.

So I think, we as Christians have a lot of work to do. We have a whole community of people who don’t know the gospel. Who don’t know the good news!

Jesus loves you! Jesus died for you! He accepts you and all your brokenness life in this fallen world has given you. There is room for you in his house.

And we need to get busy.

I’m tired of having to apologize for Christians everywhere who should know there stuff, and yet, preach hate.

Jesus gave us TWO commandments. Love God and others, and to go out and make disciples. That is it.

Why are we making this much more complicated than it really is?

One Less Chain that Binds Me

I talked to my amazing Aunt, recently. The day I did, was the day before she was heading to Chicago for exploratory surgery, to confirm whether or not she has lung cancer.

Praise God, she doesn’t!

I’m so in awe of her, because although she’s my aunt, she lives very far away, and although I have many fond memories of her as a child, I’ve never reached out to her as an adult to tap into her loving wisdom, that was always available, but didn’t think I needed, and the day before a possible life changing event was about to occur, she unselfishly gave her time to me.

She loved on me.

This one particular day, she became the aunt I always wished I had. The one I wish I could always be.

I spoke to her about my aging mother because I knew she helped care for her grandmother, before she passed, as well as her own mother.

I called, and asked her for advice about caring for my own. Mind you, mine is not dying, but I struggle with my relationship with her.

“Oh, is she having personality changes?”

“No. I think my mom has always been this way. I’m just tired of the guilt and feeling bitter towards her. My fear is she will die one day, and it won’t be resolved.”

I want to love my mom.

We talked for hours.

She told me things I knew in my heart, but never felt validated until I heard them from her.

Our conversation ended, like all of my conversations about my mom end.

“She’s never going to change.”

“I know”, I told her. But then I heard myself say, “I guess if anyone is going to change, it’s going to have to be me.”

Right now, I can hear in my head, all of my friends and family, who I’ve agonized over this with, are screaming, “That’s what I said!”

I know. I know.

My relationship with my mom always plagues me, because like everything in my life, I try to push it up against what Christ would do.

The verse I beat myself up with is,

“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” – Exodus 20:12

So how? How do I do this when she hurts me, manipulates me, makes me feel responsible and guilty for her life choices? She insults my children, puts me down, and speaks poorly of me to others.

Moms don’t do this. I know because I am a mom. I’m a mom, who didn’t even want to be a mom, and I still don’t do this.

Acts 16:16-19 tells of an account, where Paul casts a spirit from a slave girl, who although she is speaking truth about them, is still annoying; and who then outrages her owners because she can no longer bring them a profit.

I AM THIS GIRL!

For years I have felt used by my mom. Cried to so many people about it. All who have said the same thing. “She’s not going to change.” Then hear me justify, “But I need to honor her”, all the while, not feeling honoring.

(See, she’s completely me, even with the annoying part.)

I don’t know what my aunt said that made me think of this passage, but it has been completely freeing.

I am no longer her slave to profit from.

She may have burnt all of her bridges and ruined all of her relationships, but that’s not my fault. That doesn’t obligated me to be her only one, trying to hold it together; trying to prevent her from feeling lonely.

That doesn’t make me honoring. That makes me a slave, a victim. I don’t have to live this way. I don’t have to feel this…this contempt.

I have been freed!

Lord,
I thank you for loving me by sending your Son, your Word that reminds me of your truths and my Aunt. (That was just a nice touch.) Amen.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17