You put yourself out there; you laid it all down
But your heart, defenseless, was left on the ground.
Now you’ve resigned to believe what’s untrue –
That you aren’t enough to have someone love you.
You’ve attempted and failed – the times you can’t count.
You’ve heard “no”, been rejected. Now you have doubts
That it’s even worth all the heartache and pain
To reach for a dream you will never attain.
You’ve accepted your fate; you’ve given up hope
But before you reach the end of your rope,
Let me offer this truth you must understand:
Never let anyone make you feel less than -
Less than enough to walk by their side,
Less than enough to bring joy to this life,
Less than enough to be loved and accepted,
Less than enough to feel warm and protected.
You are a force with which no one can reckon!
Your presence is purposed; so forget imperfections.
Don’t listen to insults and shade cast your way.
Haters speak loudest when they are afraid -
Afraid of what might shine a light on their flaws
And expose their dark secrets in closets of halls
That display their accolades, trophies and bling -
Meaningless trinkets, all temporary things.
Look. Life will make you feel lost and alone.
Betrayal and heartache will call your soul home
And those you hold dearest may all disappear
But you’ll be okay and this is why, my dear:
You are not less than; you are more than enough
To rebound, to stand, to fight back, to be tough,
To shake dust from your shoes and shine like a star -
You are more than!
Yes, that’s what you are!
Tag Archives: hope
I wonder how our world would look if we all believed the best in each other.
What if we looked past the rough edges and saw the potential waiting to burst forth.
What if we embraced the awkwardness and peculiarities and allowed them to broaden our horizons and enlighten our perceptions.
What if we ignored the drama and discovered an infectious spirit of energy and attraction.
What if we overlooked the gruff and callous demeanor and the offensive words and actions and focused on the hurting soul in need of love.
What if we forgave the faults we see in others, the same faults we long for others to forgive in us, and see each other as imperfect brothers and sisters doing our best in an imperfect world.
What if we stopped discarding people and embraced each other as a masterpiece of the the Great Creator, a child of God worthy to be loved, pursued, forgiven and accepted.
Their Lord was dead. Crucified.
Their promised King entombed.
He was the One, or so they thought,
While in the upper room.
Questions swirled within their minds.
Were we all mistaken?
Did He not say He’d save us all,
That we’d not be forsaken?
We felt His pow’r as He spoke.
We saw each miracle.
Because of Him, our hearts believed
All things were possible.
But here we are – abandoned,
Confused, afraid and grieved.
Oh, God! Oh, God! Be with us now!
This is our time of need.
Their Lord was dead. Still, they prayed.
They prayed for three long days.
Then Sunday morn, their answer came –
Their Lord had conquered the grave!
Before there eyes, Jesus stood.
His victory proclaimed
What seemed an end to all their hopes
Was just a little wait!
Do you feel like you’ve reached the end? Like there’s no more hope? Or that nothing good can come of your current situation? I’m certain that’s how Jesus’ disciples felt when the stone was rolled in front of the tomb where their Lord’s body lay. I’m sure they believed their dreams were crushed, that the promises of a new life, a new kingdom, would never be fulfilled. I’m sure they believed it was the end.
Oh, but it wasn’t the end, now was it? The disciples were only in a time of waiting – waiting for the work of redemption to be accomplished, waiting for the building of God’s Kingdom to begin.
We tend to think like the disciples. We know the promises of God but when things get rough and our circumstances don’t seem to be lining up as we think they should, we begin to question God’s promises. We begin to doubt our faith. We believe it’s all over for us. We give up.
DON’T GIVE UP! IT’S NOT OVER! God isn’t finished and He will keep His promises. Sometimes, we simply have to wait.
Your time of waiting may be three days or it may be three years. Whatever the length, just know that God’s timing is perfect. And while you wait, keep trusting. Keeping hoping. Keep praying.
Remember, what seems an end to all your hopes is just a little wait!
Because We All Need It
Don’t let today pass you by.
Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
Send a text, an email, a tweet, a shoutout on Facebook.
Give a hug, a fist bump or a pat on the back.
Say a kind word; give a compliment; share a laugh!
Or simply share a smile.
I say it over and over but it is often the smallest actions that make the biggest impact in our lives.
Who will you encourage TODAY?
I promised you a song almost three years ago. You can read my original Post of encouragement here.
Well, without further ado, my debut of “Breathe.” (Click the orange word “Breathe” to take you to a YouTube video. Don’t click the picture below – my blog format doesn’t allow me to post videos!)
The video is definitely not quality material. I made it to post to my Facebook page because I felt like the message couldn’t wait. There is so much going on in this world. There are so many struggles, so much loss, so much heartache and so much fear. We need to remember to breathe. There is life sustaining hope with each breath we take.
So, remember, no matter what you are going through today,
“You’ll find healing,
You’ll find hope,
You’ll find peace that won’t let go,
When you BREATHE.”
It only takes a moment
To slip into the deep.
The darkness, though familiar,
Your soul it mustn’t keep.
For if you found a way within,
There’s surely a way out.
The question is, Will you leave
Or will you linger about?
Living Every Minute
Who’d’ve thunk it?
Surely not me.
But it happened and here I am, tapping away at the keyboard trying to explain it.
You see, I watched a movie. It was a kids’ movie, I suppose. It was animated. Parental Guidance was suggested. However, my kids are no longer kids so I watched alone. No parental guidance needed.
Disney’s Soul was the afternoon’s movie of choice. Have you seen it?
To be honest, I wasn’t planning on watching it. I wasn’t anxious to see Disney’s take on the afterlife and I surely wasn’t expecting to see their take on how we become who we are. But I was bored. The movie was about a music lover so I watched…
I don’t think I’ve ever had a children’s movie touch me so deeply.
I cried so many times during this movie. I could see myself in the main character, Joe, a middle-school band teacher whose dreams of being a jazz player only seemed to bring him disappointment and frustration.
I could hear myself screaming with Joe as he desperately explained why he kept pursuing his dreams:
“I’m just afraid that if I died today, then my life would have amounted to nothing.”
As Joe talks to his class about hearing a jazz musician play piano for the first time, I wondered where my passion was and why I’ve never felt so strongly about anything.
Then came the last lines of the film:
“What are you going to do with your life?” Joe was asked after receiving a second chance at life.
“I’m not sure,” replied Joe, ”but I do know I’m going to live every minute of it.”
That was it. That was the line that did me in. That was the line that had me bawling and very thankful that I was watching this movie alone, the line that has me writing this post and that may cause most of you to wonder about my sanity, the line that made me ask myself,
Am I living every minute of my life?
No! The answer to this question is 100%, without hesitation, N-O, no!
And this has to change.
Just like Joe, I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to do it but what I do know is this:
- You only get one life to live.
- That life is short.
- No matter how much of it you’ve wasted, it’s never too late to start living now!
What about you? Are you living every minute of your life?
I’d love to hear your inspiring stories. Tell me how you are living life to the fullest.
When All Else Fails…Laugh
I’ve wasted so much of my adult life NOT laughing.
I’ve spent plenty of time crying, plenty of time worrying and plenty of time being angry.
I’ve spent countless hours wondering why I don’t fit in. I’ve spent day after day regretting past mistakes. I’ve spent most of my years pretending that I’m okay with the “lot” I have been given and secretly wishing it all away.
And now, here I sit, only a few short years away from half a century, spending most of my time wondering what my purpose in this world still might be and being so very tired from all this overthinking.
I’m ready for a change.
I’m ready to find all the smiles I keep telling you to find. I’m ready to get rid of all the stuff in my life that isn’t truly me. I’m ready to live unapologetically, without concern of the thoughts of others and without fear of repercussions.
I’m ready to sit around the fire pit or around the dinner table or on the back porch, wherever it may be, sharing stories with friends and family, joking with each other, making fun of each other, singing whatever old song is on the radio and laughing –
– laughing so hard tears stream down our cheeks and snot shoots out of our noses,
– laughing so hard we can’t breathe,
– laughing so hard the troubles of this world disappear, our cares melt away and all that matters are those moments… those moments of laughter which are never wasted.
I’m so very ready to laugh.
Reason to SMILE #358 – Christmas Edition: THE MOST PRECIOUS GIFT
Frank strolled into our worship service one summer evening about two years ago. He wore an old flannel shirt, cast-off work pants and a knit snow cap. His clothes were ragged and dirty and his hair and beard were unkept. No one could tell his age and Frank did not give an answer when asked. He had no family to speak of nor did he have a home. That particular night, Frank needed a place to get out of the rain for a couple of hours but he soon became a regular in our midst.
We learned a lot about Frank over the next few weeks. Some things we learned from Frank himself; some we learned from local shelters and others we learned just from watching. One thing we quickly learned, though, was that Frank loved music. At the beginning of every service, Frank would sit on the front pew of the sanctuary. He would clap and sway as the hymns and praise choruses were played. He would sing as loud as he could and would applaud with great appreciation at the end of each song. But as soon as the music stopped and the preacher began to speak, Frank would move to the very back pew, lay his head against the wall behind him and take a nap in the comfort of our sanctuary. This ritual was a bit disconcerting to our pastor but harmless, nonetheless.
Our friends at the local shelters informed us that Frank was mentally challenged and as we observed Frank on his regular visits, we began to realize that Frank was more like a child than a grown man. This explained his delight of all of the children in our congregation! Often, Frank could be found at the children’s welcome center, passing out crayons, pencils and papers to the little ones. Some of our parents were concerned with Frank’s involvement but all of our children loved him. He laughed and played with the children and made each one feel welcome. And boy, did Frank love to hear those children sing!
Before we knew it, Christmas had arrived. The children’s choir had been practicing very hard for the Christmas pageant that year because each choir member knew that Frank would be in the congregation. The special evening came and Frank sat in the front pew, as always. He was fascinated with the manger scene on the stage and could barely sit still as he waited for the service to begin. Finally, the children, dressed as sheep, cows, pigs, shepherds and angels, entered the sanctuary. Frank stood and cheered and all the children giggled with excitement. After Frank settled down, the music began and Frank watched as the children of our church told the story of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. No one had ever seen Frank so attentive and when the choir sang its final song, Frank stood and cheered once again.
After their performance, the children made their way from the stage to their parents in the congregation and the pastor made his way to the pulpit to preach. Once in the pulpit, the pastor was surprised to see Frank still seated in the front pew and not settled in the back pew for his evening nap. Though quite curious, the preacher began his Christmas sermon, looking down occasionally to see if Frank was awake. Frank was awake, indeed, but he was not listening to the preacher. You see, before little Mary left the stable stall that evening to sit with her parents, she placed the baby doll used in the pageant to portray baby Jesus back into the manger. Frank’s attention was fixed on the little baby. Then halfway through the sermon, Frank suddenly stood up. We all thought that Frank was headed to his usual back pew but Frank was headed in the opposite direction. Before anyone could react, Frank had made his way to the nativity scene on stage. The pastor, still trying to keep his wits about him, nodded to a deacon to go after Frank but neither the deacon nor anyone else in the congregation was looking at the pastor. All eyes were on Frank.
No one knew what to do. Our first impulse was to grab Frank and pull him back to his seat but our curiosity kept us frozen in our pews. We watched as Frank stood near the manger where the little baby lay. Scratching his head and then wringing his hands, he inched closer and closer to the baby. He reached down toward the baby but quickly pulled back his arms. He looked out at all of us then back to the baby. At this point, the pastor realized that God had a different plan for the evening, and he gave up all attempts at finishing his sermon. The sanctuary, filled with hundreds of men, women, boys and girls, was still and quiet as God’s message of love and grace began to unfold in front of our eyes.
Frank’s obvious confusion ultimately pulled him to his knees beside the manger. He reached over to pick up the baby Jesus, and the sounds of tiny sniffles throughout the room grew into uncontrolled sobs as one heart after another began to break. Quietly, a little angel slipped from her seat and made her way down the aisle of the sanctuary and to the side of Frank. A sweet little voice said, “It’s ok, Frank,” as she gave her friend a big hug. Frank knew this little angel – she shared her cookies with him every Sunday – so Frank asked his friend, “Do you know whose baby this is?” “That’s baby Jesus,” she said emphatically. “He’s God’s Son.” Frank replied, “He’s all alone….just like me.” The little angel giggled as she said, “Silly, Frank, that’s just a baby doll. The real Jesus is in our hearts and that means we’re never alone.”
Tears began to roll down the face of our friend Frank as little angels, sheep, cows, shepherds and all the other children gathered around the baby Jesus, and our silence was broken. Sweet melodies of Christmas rang out from the sanctuary piano and our hearts overflowed. It took some time but the pastor finally convinced Frank that the baby in the manger scene was simply a doll but most importantly, the pastor was able to tell Frank about God’s love and the gift of His Son, Jesus. That night, Frank left our Christmas service a changed man. In fact, no one in that sanctuary was ever the same again.
Jesus, sent from heaven for you and for me, was a gift so precious that even a host of angels could not contain their great joy in telling the Good News of His birth nor could the shepherds, after seeing the baby, keep from sharing with all who would listen that the Savior had been born. Yet, we often keep this gift to ourselves, storing it away for safekeeping and sharing it only on special occasions. We celebrate Jesus’ birth and retell His story year after year then we walk away, leaving God’s Love lying in the manger. May we be more like Frank this Christmas season and all the year through; may we embrace God’s most precious gift in spite of all that is happening around us and may we share His gift with the world.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE!
Reason to SMILE #351 – Christmas Edition: THE CHRISTMAS STORY
¹And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
I was six years old when I memorized these verses from Luke chapter 2. I was in first grade and the whole school was preparing for a huge Christmas program. My class dressed as Christmas angels and had the great responsibility of telling the story of Jesus’ birth.
Awww, there I am – Little Orphan Annie disguised as an angel. 😉 Or maybe it was the other way around!
Looking back on my first grade Christmas program, I realize how wise my teacher was to have us memorize those sixteen verses of Scripture, for Mrs. Free knew the Truth of their message would remain with us for a lifetime. And I’m sure her prayer was that each of her students would one day discover the Great Joy of which the angels sang by choosing to follow Jesus.
The story of Luke 2 will always be with me. It makes me SMILE to remember when I first learned it’s truth. Oh, but even more, it fills me with Great Joy knowing that the child in the manger became my Savior and King.