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The Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart lately as I watch, heartbroken, the atrocities being inflicted upon God’s people overseas..

While many Christians in America live lives filled with excess and immorality, (shrugging off compromise in their faith like it means nothing)

thousands of Believers, a world away, stand before the gun and sword,

refusing to compromise, even unto death.

A line is being drawn in the sand my friends.

God is calling His people up and out from among this nation, out from this culture,  to be MORE..

To be who they are in Christ.

No more compromise..

There will no longer be time for this; no more time for “playing at being a Christ follower”

No more time for backsliding, easy living, vain ambitions..

For Decades we have spent our spiritual lives looking for earthly blessings, claiming prosperity,

while, in other nations, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and God’s own people, are being put to the sword..raped, murdered..slaughtered, in the name of another god..

Do these pray for prideful want and earthly riches?

Do they claim Christ and then live secretly for the enemy?

No.

Most are standing up and DYING for what they believe.

There is no longer any room, no longer any time, for compromise..for “easy Christian living”

Stop sitting on the proverbial fence.

Our brothers and sisters across the ocean only pray to survive..

They pray to be FIRM in their faith ..til the very end.

It is important that we know who we are and live NOW for Jesus– with all that we are –

because, soon, there will be no more time..

And when the evil comes to the shores of even our nation, we will need to be STRONG in our faith..STRONG in our love for HIM.

No compromise..

Rise up brothers and sisters in Christ.

BE WHO YOU WERE CALLED TO BE..

No turning back..

Put those things you KNOW are not of God behind you.

Put down your greed, your lust, your pride and vain ambitions,

and then, STAND FAST..

EPH. 6:13
“Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to STAND.”

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If you are looking for a “feel good” entry to brighten your day, I advise you stop reading..right now……
That said, allow me to begin by saying,
I’m a horrible person- sometimes.
Deep down, where it really counts, I am selfish, mean, angry, bitter and belligerent.
And sometimes, All this ugliness, it just comes out- all over the place..in my home,in public, on social media
Its never pretty and Its horribly messy.
So, if you think I’m “fake” guess what?
You can pat yourself on the back because, sometimes,
YOU ARE RIGHT!
For example, You know that thing about “loving your enemies?” How we are supposed to do good to those that we don’t like (or who don’t like us)
Well, I DON’T……(love them or even want to wish good on them..)
not yet at least. Sometimes I don’t even try. Its easier to hate them, after all.
Yes, I know its wrong..
Welcome to the dark side of me..
I have another confession to make (if you don’t already know)
I have not been exactly “on board” with the whole Ice Bucket Fad..
I do not think its “wrong”. (I have a heart, believe it or not, and feel for the people with this horrible disease!)
I don’t even oppose it because some ALS foundations use fetal stem cells in their research (which, btw, I don’t believe in)
But, This is what really really gets me about the ice bucket challenge;
It’s the simple stupidity of it’s “viral-ness.”
It disturbs me to see so many people following the herd (good cause or not) soo easily and blithely.
It bothers me that it seems to have become more about “self” than “service”;
more about “show” than helping…
I should not have to list more reasons.
Those should be enough.
But, I admit, it really truly got my panties in a tight little bunch..
So much so my husband and I have had full blown arguments about it.
(and I have to wonder if we are alone..?)
Its been horrible.
This day has been horrible.
I want to run screaming down the street and set the guys house on fire who “challenged” us..(ok, not really..lol)
But, honestly, I’ve been falling to pieces trying so hard to figure out why something so DUMB has pushed my negative button so hard..
I’ve been struggling with the thought that , once again, I’m actually just really evil…trying to be good..and failing..again and again and again..
Mind you, I NEVER do anything truly bad (yes,I’m going to build myself up here all “pious” like

I do not LIE to anyone. I do not cheat. I don’t do things I’m not supposed to do as a Christian..

But, inside, where it counts..I have this dark corner..and sometimes it grows really BIG and really DARK and I wallow in it..
I think and say things I don’t mean..
This corner has very little love.
Don’t come near me while I’m in it.

I will scratch your soul out and then curse it for good measure..

Its horrible..Its like that “Christian” song the teens loved for so long says;

“The secret side of me
I never let you see
I keep it caged
But I can’t control it
So stay away from me
The beast is ugly
I feel the rage
And I just can’t hold it
I feel it deep within,
It’s just beneath the skin
I must confess that I feel like a monster!”
-Skillet

Yes, I know exactly how that feels.
(thank you song writers for just blurting out what all of us Wish we could just say and making it cool in the process..and yes, I’m jealous..)
Welcome to the Dark Side Of Me.
So, on a blog that is supposed to be all about my life AFTER redemption..all about GRACE and FORGIVENESS and LOVE..I’m going to take this one entry to be REAL and admit,
I’M NOT THERE YET
Honestly, I was a better liar than a “lover”
a better Pagan than a Christian…
As an Honest Christian (who I am now)
I feel… WEAK…
But, I Don’t regret being a Christian..
I DON’T REGRET what I have with my husband!!!
I just wish I could do it better..
and not say horrible things
and agree with him on everything
and want to please God (and not myself)
I WANT TO BE BETTER..
I hope wanting is enough..
because its all I have right now..

welcome to the dark side of me……

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I absolutely love roller coasters; especially the brand new, shiny, really high, and really fast kind, that give you a smooth ride guaranteed to make you scream, steal your breath or, if you have issues, pee your pants..

You can keep the rickety, old, wooden coasters and the barely-steel relics from the early 1980’s though. I’ve seriously lost my desire to be pummeled , tooth rattled and whip-lashed into the mother of all migraines- in the name of “fun”..:S

BUT, there is just something about the new, pneumatic/magnet driven, coasters that thrill me to death (not literally)

I will scream like a wild woman and throw my hands in the air going over the highest hill and into the biggest loop!

BUT, there are “moments”.. sometimes..just sometimes.. Moments of , shall we call it, sanity?..

Right at the very tip top of some of those massive hills ( think Millennium Force at Cedar Point) when time literally slows and compresses and, as I stare up into a blue blazing sky, I have a micro conversation with God.

“Hey, God, I’m going to go over this huge hill now and my earthly body will be hurled into speeds and g-forces you may have never intended..so, please be with me.?.” ….

I know, You might think this is a “small” kind of prayer and God does not have time but, I swear to you, each and every time I pray a similar prayer at the top of any coaster,

God LAUGHS!

Not a mean,

“Ha ha, sucker. Whatever! If you die its your own stupid fault!”

or even a sarcastic;

“I’m GOD, DUH, of course I will be with you!” laugh..

Its gentle, soothing, laughter, Like music..and His Spirit says ;

“of course,Melinda, I am ALWAYS with you..” (insert smiley emoticon for God) 🙂

Call me sappy BUT, I love those moments!!

Not only does it free me to NOT be afraid (even if, for some reason, I go hurtling off the track..Always with us..means ALWAYS with us..) But, I have so much more fun!

How I wish I could learn to apply this concept/ truth to my everyday life…

You see, I have a feeling I am not alone when I say that when it comes to the “BIG STUFF” in life, I can often “handle it” (with God’s help, of course) Loss of a job, Death..It all Sucks and it’s Horrible but, when I am in those deep “valley moments” I CLING to God.. I TRUST Him.. I look for Him..

So, when do I fall apart? When does my faith get shaken? …

In the small stuff!

I stub my toe, spill my coffee, get a flat tire, fall down the stairs (I did that one just last week :S

and SUDDENLY its like my world explodes!

I am filled with gloom and doom and “what did I do to deserve this!?”

I start looking for “reasons”..Is it a “curse”? Did I not pray hard enough? Truthfully enough?

Is it my attitude? Did I speak these things into being? Am I on a downhill spiral? Will it continue????..ahhhhhh!!!

**************************************************************************

(Yeah, I kinda do that thing called “freaking out” really well..:S

I guess I could compare the “small stuff” to the old wooden or ancient 80’s coasters..

You think the ride is going to be “tame” (after all it’s OLD and OLD is BORING..right?..) But as soon as you go over that first hill you know its going to be ROUGH.. all the way through..

At Kings Island there is a coaster called the Iron Dragon. Its an old “drop you down a mild hill into a loop and a few corkscrews, 80’s beast”. Maybe in it’s heyday it was smooth and actually fun but now- it’s actually very painful!

The track and cars rattle around so much your head slams repeatedly into the harness restraints (which, as an added touch, smells like moldy, bad breathe) At first you think

“I will just hold my head in place. It has to get better”

But as the ride progresses each bump and jolt feels worse and worse til it finally comes to a screeching, migraine inducing, halt..

Is it one single jolt or twist that makes you limp away looking for the nearest pack of Advil? (at any cost) Nope.

It’s the compilation of many small bumps and jolts that eventually produces a very large pain in the head..and neck..

Life is like that I think..

We often come to God during the biggest obstacles of our life (on our “Millennium Forces”) knowing He is with us and asking for His help..

But, as we approach the small troubles, we tend to ignore Him, muddling our way through what we think is “no big deal” until those little things suddenly compile and become “Big things”. (and then we fall apart)

I never pray on “small” rides.

Truth.

Seriously, it seems rather pointless.

But maybe I should..

Every so often you hear about people croaking or getting horribly hurt at amusement parks..

And you want to know something?

Its actually often on the small rides..

A child falls out. A chain snaps on a swing, someone has a heart attack on a drop tower..

Don’t get me wrong. This is not to make you afraid of rides!

My point here is that God wants our attention in our daily life..

When the washer breaks, when the car wont start…ALL THE TIME.

Because He wants us to know..HE IS WITH US..all the time..even in the little things (that just might add up to be big things)

The point is God is always God..WITH US; LOVING US..

and Not just when we are about to go hurtling down a mountain..

or a roller coaster hill…

🙂

cup

Kintsugi is a Japanese word meaning “Golden Joinery “. (or “golden repair”)

 As an ancient art form, Kintsugi is the practice of repairing broken pottery with a gold lacquer.

The highlighted gold draws attention to the imperfections and repairs instead of trying to hide them.

At it’s heart, Kintsugi is the art of seeing what is broken, what is scarred, as something beautiful.. instead of undesirable. .

I bought this hand thrown pottery mug the other day at a local artist co-op.

While it held no sentimental value to me, I did enjoy its beauty and usefulness (not to mention I paid money for it)

Sadly, yesterday, it slipped out of my hand and shattered on our tile floor.

But, instead of throwing it away, I decided to keep it and try to put it back together.

It will never be the same.

It will never hold liquid again.

It will always be extremely fragile..

But, now, displayed as art..as Kinsugi.( symbolic ..not real gold)

it will serve as a reminder that even brokenness, even scars,

can be attractive, comely, even beautiful..

Lately I have been imagining the person of Jesus quite a bit..as he was when he walked this earth.

Now, one of the things I have been blessed with in life is an extremely active imagination.

I can really “see” what I imagine..if I try.

It takes me places I have never actually been. It shows me faces I have never really seen.

But, whenever I imagine Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, I am in utter Awe..

I see him as he was..

Healing the sick

Preaching words of truth

Eating with sinners..

I see him

laughing

LOVING.

And, if I imagine him with my whole heart

He looks into my eyes

and it’s so deep

I just fall in love..

No doubt, I would have been in awe of Him, even then..That “human” Jesus..

like Mary Magdalene

like the women at the well

like the women who just touched his robe and was healed

like the Adulterous women thrown at His feet…

I would have embraced those dusty, common, holy, precious feet..

It is not lost on me..

JESUS LOVED THE BROKEN

He saw them, not just as they were

but who they could be

as WHO THEY REALLY WERE..

When I look at my broken pottery cup , with my human eyes, I see..brokenness..

but also- I see beauty..

I see…GOLD..

Jesus saw the scars in people

and He Highlighted it..with the beauty

of His LOVE..

And then He did the most amazing thing

He ALLOWED himself to be broken too..

for the broken..

And resurrected

to New Life..

Scars? Yes..

But those scars still shine

almost 2,000 years later..

Brighter than ever..

There are so many broken people in this world-

I once was broken too.

But His love remains

as the GOLD

covering/highlighting the scars..

Because of Jesus- because of His love

There can truly be beauty

in our brokenness ..

 

“Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand-”   – GOD   (Jeremiah 18:6)

 

 

Walls

Posted: June 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
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We -build these walls –

then gaze outside –

For freedom ache-

but still, we hide.

Busy- much too busy –

Our spirits-wane and ghost-

Content but not content –

to twitter -pin- and post-

Those who truly LIVE –

Now so rare and few.

Souls lulled to sleep- inside.

Placated- with a view.

-m.clark

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The problem with blogging (for me) is staying true to myself, especially when that “self” is often in flux.

I am such a philosopher/ thinker / emoter, that my opinions,  feelings, beliefs, actually do change from time to time. This leaves me with the conundrum of re-evaluating each and every former post for ” truth”.

(Which, in turn, makes me wonder how in the world people like me ever publish books without freaking out 10 years later that they no longer agree with themselves! ..ah the bliss of a complex brain..) 
Anyway,  I digress ( as usual) 
For a while now I have allowed the last entry ( about death. prayer,and not understanding God) to sit and simmer while I have gone on with life and continued wondering.

The other day though I had a tiny revelation. It shook me up a bit ( and made me squirm in discomfort ) 

Revelation?

There is POWER in SURRENDER! …

Now, that statement is pretty much a huge oxymoron.

Power equals strength and fortitude. Surrender is giving up..

How those two coexist is, in my thought, pure Duality..usually. 

But, the other day I had a “moment “( I am beginning to think life is just made up entirely of these)

I was in a place I am all too familiar with;a place of insecurity, even fear.

I am not speaking of physical fear either. ( Ask me to go skydiving with you. I will totally take you up on it!) 
This fear is much worse than the fear of death or heights or spiders ( or any other such fear)

Its the fear of being hurt emotionally by others, of things I cannot predict..or, dare I say it, control..(the whole “control freak” thing i will save for another entry..)

As I struggled inside that distraught moment I went all “warrior” and pulled out my usual ” arsenal ” of weapons.

I prayed in tongues, ( out loud, with force) I spoke against the fear ( loud, authoritative) I even “visualized ” things the way I wanted them..

But, it all fell flat.

Once again, I was banging on the doors of heaven with a rock..with no response. 

So, in that moment I suddenly just- dissolved. Tears. 

And only one prayer issued out of my mouth in that second ;

” Jesus, help me.”

I realized somehow ( not for the last time) that the problem lay not in the circumstances but in ME. In My mind.In My heart. And I knew with blazing clarity, that nothing, absolutely nothing, I could do would change that..

except for HIM..

SURRENDER.

 I instantly felt better..truly. I am not just saying that.

It was like a river of cool peace just flowed over my overheated, over-controlling soul. And I LET IT GO. ( not a movie reference! )

You want to know the most amazing part? Those negative circumstances CHANGED that very day!

And not by anything I did/ prayed/ or did penance for! Circumstances literally changed.

People came to me..Doors of opportunity just Opened..It amazed me. It still does.

Is it possible that our Jesus,that the Holy Spirit within us, just wants us to cry out to Him sometimes? 

And not because He is on a power trip and likes to see us cower!

But because when we are at our weakest HE is Strongest..

Our surrender makes HIS Power Evident, Able, Amazing!  

Don’t get me wrong. This is still an oxymoron to me.

My human brain and stubborn human will really wants to protest the philosophy of power in surrender.

But that’s just the thing. Philosophy, no matter how logical,  cannot stand against EVIDENCE.

I believe there is still power in tongue speaking ( no doubt) and spiritual warfare but, I also believe there comes a time when we must just surrender ( to HIM alone) and allow His power ( not ours) to work in our lives.

(and maybe this is a truth Ben Sauer’s mom already knew..)


I still have so much to learn. For while the caterpillar is no more, this butterfly must still learn- how to use it’s wings…

“I know that when I pray, something wonderful happens. Not just to the person or persons for whom I’m praying, but also something wonderful happens to me. I’m grateful that I’m heard.”- Maya Angelou (R.I.P. to a truly Great lady)..

Aside  —  Posted: May 28, 2014 in Uncategorized
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Image

I know I should write beautiful words today.

I know I should be saying how good God is, how merciful, how loving (because He is)

but, I’m not going to do what I “should” do.

I am not going to write flowery prose with an uplifting message.

I am going to be, instead, BRUTALLY HONEST.

Because I am angry. I am annoyed. I am confused.

Five year old Ben Sauer died on Tuesday night.

In spite of all the prayers. In spite of all the “positive” words, thoughts, prophecies..

In spite of thousands upon thousands of people pulling, rooting, encouraging him, his family..

All for Naught.

At least in the physical.

He is gone. HOME. In heaven (no doubt)

I’m sure my sister welcomed him.

She will love that sweet little boy. (Exactly the kind of child she doted so much on in her short life on earth.)

For that I am glad..But otherwise,

I don’t get it.

I was going to come here with a different sort of bent in what I was writing..Kind of hateful actually.

I was going to say ;

Why allow a sweet, 5 year old boy, to die of cancer while a man, over 50, who has lived a full life (in and out of the spotlight) who is also fighting cancer, is allowed to continue on?………..

Why let cancer take the CHILD while a full grown MAN continues to win his battle against it?..

Then I read a blog post by the wife of that man.

And she is questioning God too..

Not as to why her husband lives and Ben does not..(of course not!)

but why God did not say yes to all those prayers..why He allowed an innocent child to die when we begged, petitioned, prayed so so hard…

Those hard questions..I totally get it.

It made me remember when our son, Nathan, was in the PICU as a baby.

We were told he would never come home. But he did. After two months of pain and miracles- He Came Home.

And he still lives here..happy, healthy, whole..

But, as for the rest of the children in the PICU at the time?..

They DIED.

Almost every- single- one.

And I remember them.

I remember Jase.

He was his mother’s “miracle baby”. The child they prayed for so long who finally came..

but, was born with half his internal organs OUTSIDE his body..Horrible.

They tried to “fix” him..Prayed for him. Kept vigil..But, in the end, he passed anyway.

I remember Sarah.

The baby girl of a young teen couple. Born with heart defects.

They were able to wait til she was almost a year old to give her surgery; to allow her body to strengthen.

But after surgery she caught an infection. It shut her system down. She died days before Nathan was released from the PICU.

I remember the little girl in the bed next to Nathans.

She was about 12. Just keeled over one day. Diabetic.

She died while I sat beside Nathans bed in the PICU. Behind the drawn curtain I heard her parents wail..smelled death..

Not something I will ever forget.

There were more.

In the 2 months time Nathan was in Children’s they came and went (by way of the morgue) over and over.

Even on the “recovery” floor when our son was transferred upstairs..

A 19 year old women with a new heart valve..crashed from a blood clot the day before they were going to send her home. Gone.

A little boy with what his grandma called a “prune belly” who shared Nathan’s room.

No working kidneys. Intestines all in knots and disjointed. Smiley kid who liked to watch Disney channel in-between his dialysis treatments.

His grandma knitted Nathan a pair of booties one day while we sat there and chatted.

I still have them.

I found her grandsons name on the “angel wall” on the Children’s Hospital website a month later..Gone.

And still, that is not all.

Princess Diana died two days before Nathan was sent home with us. Car crash, Gone.

And then the day of our departure, Mother Theresa..Gone.

It felt like the whole world was in mourning.

Death surrounded my child in those dark days.

Death ran rampant in the hospital rooms and in the streets of every city it seemed.

But it could not take my son. (Praise God!)

But, you cannot walk through that “valley of the shadow”,( no matter how you come out), without asking … “WHY?”

Why all those innocent lives snuffed out while evil men still live for another day?

Why all those children and not my son?

Why? Why? Why?!

I’m asking Why today as well. Ever mindful of my blessings, OUR blessings..

But not understanding the ways of my God..

All powerful. All knowing. Not weak. Able to do anything.

And yet, He chooses to not intervene in what seems to be the most opportune of moments.

Yes, Mindy Sauer’s Blog inspired and will continue to inspire many.

Yes, Ben’s brief life will, no doubt, be encouraging for years to come..

But he is still..GONE.

On to another world, another life, while those who loved him are left behind..to wait, to grieve, to wonder..

I believe my God is still good.

I believe in His Love..

But, I still don’t understand His “ways”

and I don’t think I ever will..

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9