BE YE ANGRY,

AND SIN NOT; let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Ephesians 4:26 It is not a sin to be angry, but the expression of that anger can become sin.

I received some upsetting news lastnight. I admit – I was angry! I was perplexed and didn’t know what to do with the news. My first human instinct was to lash out. I wanted to rage, rant, vent – call it what you may. And in earlier days BC (before Christ), I would have. It would have been WAR! But, then I did what every spirit filled, spirit led Christian SHOULD DO. I took it to the Lord in prayer. My flesh still wanted to argue with God. My flesh still wanted to lash out. My flesh still wanted to get even. But where would it get me? Things would just get worse, wouldn’t they? Surely, they wouldn’t improve! I wanted to “right fight” (as Dr. Phil often says). But, as I continued in prayer I feel like God reminded me of one of my favorite quotes and tag line on this blog:

“Life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it”. And so, I’ve chosen NOT to react to it, AT ALL.

Another version says it this way: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Ephesians 4: 26-31

I’m sad at the news I received. But, I’m no longer angry. I hurt also. But, the Lord doesn’t fail. He will fight my battle for me! “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14 I often pray for those that don’t like me. “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44 I always try to walk in forgiveness towards those that have hurt me. Hurting people hurt others. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”. Ephesians 4:32

So, I went to bed lastnight and slept peacefully. I didn’t obsess about the situation because I had prayed. God answered. Today, as I continue in his word…he continues to answer. I’m thankful for a God who knows me. He’s numbered every hair on my head! I will have more to say on this subject in a week. Stay tuned.

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I want to be remembered for being weak

Linda & Granny 2

When I was up to my elbows in feces this morning for a woman who has done me no wrong and has blessed me with an awesome husband, I was reminded once again that when I die I want to be remembered for overcoming all sorts of adversity in my life! Having attended alot of funerals preached by some awesome men of God, a lot of nice things are usually said about the departed. Many times the things that are said, people in attendance DID NOT know about that person.

The family usually meets with the preacher before the funeral to share things about their loved one that the preacher MAY NOT have even known!! I would really like to write a book about my life (I know that sounds very narcissistic and egotistical), but ONLY as a means to IMPACT someone elses life in a positive way. I want to be a WITNESS, not just in life; but in death as well.

Paul said it best when he said, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.” II Cor. 12:9-10

This little duty of taking care of my mother-in-law (for his sake) is small by comparison to some other things I’ve experienced in life. I receive high praise from many for being her full-time caregiver. To me it seems unwarranted, uncalled for, unnecessary and not at all a BIG DEAL. It’s just what God has called me to do, at this time in life.

Because when I read that scripture, especially the last part I hear DEPRESSION, DIVORCE, ESTRANGEMENT, JOB LOSSES, DISAGREEMENTS/ARGUMENTS, SICKNESS, MISUNDERSTANDINGS – shall I go on? They have all been a part of my life, and much of it very painful – but for what it’s worth – they have made me strong because of have relied on HIM in my time of weakness! I am who I am today, because of the things I’ve gone through. No victim here – but victorious in Christ Jesus!

If I can’t be AUTHENTIC I’d rather not Live!

By people who like me, I’ve been told that I’m “real”.  Others will say, that I “tell it like it is”.  Some say, that I’m “all business” or that I’m “brutally honest”.  I’m sure there are other things that I’m forgetting but suffice it to say that I agree with all of them.

On the other hand for those that don’t like me or don’t know me well some of the adjectives that have been used or things that have been said are that I’m “rude”, “brash”, “snarky”, “too outspoken” etc; I’m sure there are MANY other adjectives in the “don’t like” category as well, but if they don’t like you, they don’t usually tell you to your face what adjectives they are using.

My husband’s favorite depiction of me is that I am “short spoken”.  I had never heard that one, until marrying him 14 years ago.  He blames it on me being born a Yankee, transplanted and grown up north, and then migrating to East Texas.  People here “just don’t understand me”.  Ha!

I freely admit that I’ve had my fair share of relationship difficulties, with friends, family and bosses.  And yes, I’ve asked myself the age old question, “what’s the common denominator?”  DUH, that would be ME!  That realization has caused me much soul-searching, many hours of therapy, and tons of pain and heartache.  But, the most important thing it has done for me has caused a hunger to grow in my heart for something bigger and more powerful than me – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

I’ve heard it said that “the only person you can change is YOU”.  I couldn’t agree more, but to reiterate the title of this blog, “if I can’t be AUTHENTIC, I’d rather not live”.  So, although I have changed a lot over the years it has not been of my doing. It has been because of my hunger for God. It has been because of my willingness to turn my will over to God’s will for my life.  It has been a “divine” change.  Minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day I am becoming who God created me to be. He chose me for more.

MARK 8:34-35

Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

How many mores times & ways does it have to be said?

Matthew 10:39, Luke 17:33, Matthew 16:25, Luke 9:24

Those relationship difficulties still exist. I am not FREE from pain or heartache.  I still struggle to be who God’s wants me to be and to not offend anyone but especially those I truly love. (I’m also referred to as a “people person”.)

But, as I continue to abide in Him and abide in His word I find myself being made over in His image.  That is what He desires for me, and that is what I desire too! He gives me strength and He gives me peace and He shows me in His word how to be “authentic” in Him. Non-believers would call it being “brain-washed”.  I call it “finding the REAL me, the one He intended for me to be.

Actively pursuing a relationship

My life nowadays  consists mostly of what I like to refer to as “lightbulb moments” and so while deep in thought over my morning breakfast, I asked the question, “why am I closer to my youngest child?”  I desire to be close to all three of my children, my son whose fixin to turn 43 next month, my middle child, a daughter who will be 36 in April and my baby girl who’s just turned 33.  Many would suggest that she’s a girl, and she’s the baby…blah, blah, blah as the reasons for us being the closest but I believe it’s because as an adult she has actively pursued a close relationship with me.

That is my LIGHTBULB MOMENT.  My son has never pursued a close relationship with me as an adult.  Doesn’t change the fact that I love him very much and want one.  Although more than a thousand miles separate us currently, it wasn’t always that way, so I can’t use that as a reason or excuse either.  When we lived in the same town, or 40 miles apart we still weren’t close and spent little time together.

My oldest daughter has matured to the point where I think she is working hard to pursue more of a relationship with me, but part of the hinderance has been her five children!  LOL  Less miles actually separate us than any of my three children and yet my youngest daughter and I spent the most time together these past few years and have great and wonderful moments together!  It’s because she initiates times with me.  It’s because she pursues a relationship with me.

After all, I’m getting old and am pretty conservative therefore my life is pretty boring!  My hubby and I are homebodies.  We don’t do a whole lot.  And yet one example of my youngest daughter’s “pursuing a relationship” with me is when 3 years ago for HER 30th birthday she suggested we go to Corpus Christi, TX for a “girl weekend”.  We ran a 5k, shopped and went to the spa for a manicure and pedicure.

More importantly, we had each other’s undivided attention!  It was awesome.  My prayer is that it’s not too late for my other two and I to have the same.

Reflections of 911

11 years ago I was a professional insurance agent working for AFLAC.  I was walking into one of my client accounts the morning of the attacks.  I had heard something on my car radio and as I walked into my account I witnessed the second tower being hit on the TV in their office.  It was the day after my baby daughter had turned 22.  She turned 33 yesterday.

Since that day 11 years ago there have been many changes in my life some of which I was ready for and others which I was totally unprepared for.  For one thing I was 60 lbs heavier back then.  That was one of the positive things that came out of the 911 attacks for me.  I realized how fleeting life can be and how important it is to put myself on my “to do” list.  My weight loss and new healthier lifestyle opened up an entirely new venue for me when I went to work for Weight Watchers.  It was an awesome 5 year employment.

In the past 11 years, we’ve had 6 more grandchildren, watched as a son married his soul-mate only to almost lose her to an infidelity just a few short years later.  Another son was released from prison after 4 years of incarceration and then saw God continue to bless him with a great job and new wife. We witnessed a daughter move cross country, another to divorce, and another (the baby girl who turned 33 yesterday) to join the military.  While in the military, she met and subsequently married the man of her dreams and is now a successful realtor.  In 2009, I also had the miraculous opportunity to take an elderly brother home to his elderly mother after 32 years of incarceration!

Yes, life is fleeting, indeed!!

Now, 11 years later, we find ourselves in a very different place physically, emotionally and spiritually.  My husband and I are once again trying to “survive” in the insurance profession.  While working from our home we are also full-time caregivers for his almost 91 yr. old mother who is entirely bedfast, making business appointments too far from home very challenging, indeed!  We have been blessed with an awesome church family and therefore are blessed with the help and friendships we need during this very trying time in life.

Our problems are very small in comparison to what many families experienced 11 years ago in NYC.  And I don’t know if the 911 attacks have had anything to do with the gratitude I feel amidst the hardship we’ve experienced – but I would like to think it has.  I don’t know if the tragedy that we all witnessed that day has anything at all to do with why I don’t want to argue or quibble over non-essential matters, but I’d like to think that it does.

What I do know, is that life is too short to sweat the small stuff when all around us there are much larger matters to be concerned with.  Hug someone you love today.

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