Hidden Scars


My husband is redoing our bedroom. After 38 years, the sheetrock has some cracks and some of the nails have popped. He is removing a few sheets completely; simply patching others. When the sheets are removed, much is revealed! There are numbers written on the studs, dimensions so that my husband knew how long to cut a board, etc. There are also delightful things written by our kids, who were 4 and 7 at the time. They both wrote their names. On one stud, our son simply wanted to state that he was here, and our daughter wrote something about a boy at school. I enjoyed showing my 6-year-old granddaughter things her daddy had written when he was a boy, younger than she is now. In a few weeks, new sheetrock will cover the walls and paint will make the room look fresh and new. All those things beneath will be covered over and forgotten.

Our lives are much like the walls in a house. We have words and events recorded on the studs of our lives. Some are pleasant like the things our children wrote when they were young. But some of us have hurtful things inside, gouges in our framework. We have managed to cover them up, but we know they are there. Daily we have to make sure they are still covered because we’ve been told they are our fault and no one will love us if we tell.

I’m speaking today about physical and sexual abuse. This week I read about a woman whose father had abused her. It started with physical abuse and escalated to sexual abuse. She had borne the scars for 30 years. After her mother died, she confronted her father and he was sentenced to prison. When asked why he did it, he said, “I didn’t have money to pay a prostitute.” Hard words to hear. Impossible words to comprehend. The lady is healing now because she had the courage to face her abuser, confront him with the things he had done to her as a child, and seek punishment for his deeds. It is a start.

If you are reading this today and have scars from your past, I urge you to deal with them. Grab a pry bar and remove one piece of trim from the doorpost of your heart. When you are ready, use that same tool to remove some sheetrock. Maybe it is just a small piece. That’s fine. Look at the board underneath; touch it; examine it. When you are ready, remove another piece of sheetrock. I think you will find it easier as you go along, but take your time.

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” God is with you as you remove the sheetrock. He is with you as you examine the scars underneath. He is with you if you take the bold step to tell someone.

As parents, we usually describe abusers as monsters hiding in the bushes or in dark places. Truthfully, though, they are too often trusted adults. It is hard for a child to see “Pastor Tom”, “Coach Michael”, “Uncle George” or even daddy as the boogie man hiding in the bushes. To complicate matters further for the victim, the abuser usually threatens them and says horrible things will happen if they tell. They are also made to feel it is their fault. Deep scars are left on the framework of their hearts.

Ephesians 4:32 “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” It is one thing to expose the hurt, even more difficult to talk about it, but forgiveness seems impossible. And yet, we are told to forgive those who hurt us, just as Christ forgave us. I know from personal experience that forgiveness is necessary in order to heal. I have never been the victim of physical or sexual abuse, but I have had hatred in my heart because of a wrong. It wasn’t until I forgave that person that I was able to move on with my life.

If you are the victim of abuse, I urge you to seek help. You are not alone. You are worthy. You are loved. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God loves you. He sent His Son to save you. Let Him hold you, comfort you until you are strong enough to stand and look at your hidden scars.

My Gnat Farm


Scripture for the day:  Romans 15:7 “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”

I love fresh herbs!  They make food taste amazing, and they are far superior to their dried cousins.  It is winter, however.  All my beautiful herbs are either fast asleep or dead in my garden.  Not to worry!  I bought a basil plant and uprooted a tarragon clump from the garden.  I bought a small bag of Miracle Gro soil, found a couple of pots and behold:  an indoor herb garden, growing happily in a sunny window with fluorescent lights as needed.

Everything about my little windowsill garden seemed perfect until I noticed gnats swarming around my basil.  I decided to check the bag of soil, and sure enough.  Inside the bag gnats were swarming.  Is that the “miracle” inside every bag of Miracle Gro?  Do they secretly tuck a gnat farm in every bag they sell?  Hmmm.  Not to worry.  I can live with a few gnats if necessary in order to enjoy fresh basil and tarragon.

I’m thinking today about all the wonderful people in my life.  Admittedly, some of them came with a few gnats, little quirks that I find annoying.  Some even came with a whole gnat farm just like my windowsill garden.  And then there is me.  Gnats galore!

I am so happy with my basil and tarragon that I don’t mind the gnats.  I even say good morning to them when I turn on the light.  I accept them, embrace them if that is part of the joy of having fresh basil.

Christ died on a cross to save me.  He accepted me into His kingdom and He loves me, gnats and all.  I didn’t have to get rid of the gnats before He accepted me.  Thank goodness.  I can’t figure out how to get rid of gnats.  Period.

So may I accept those God places in my life.  May I love them, encourage them, help them to grow and thrive.  May I ignore the gnats, accept them as being a part of my relationship with that person.  May I always see the good in the person and ignore a few pesky gnats, just as Christ did for me.

Song for the day:  “Your Grace Still Amazes Me” by Phillips, Craig and Dean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVUYC_ykwE

His grace amazes me, and He loves me, gnats and all.

The Always and Forever of “I Do”


Scripture for the day:  Matthew 19:4-6 “And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’  So then they are no longer two but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Today is my daughter and son-in-law’s wedding anniversary.  I started my day thinking about them, praying for them.  I sent my daughter an email of remembrance, and she responded by thanking us for being a wonderful example of marriage.  Well, I wasn’t ready to go there!  But her comment started a thought process that needs expression.  Thanks for the inspiration, daughter ‘o mine!

God must have a sense of humor because he made us different from the beginning.  Men and women aren’t just different physically, we don’t think alike.  This is evident from the first week of marriage.  Most couples compound that problem by marrying someone who is completely different from them, the old “opposites-attract” adage.  That is certainly the case in my marriage.  I understand why I chose my husband, but I often wonder what he saw in me!  Maybe it was my mini skirts and boots, bouffant hairstyle, my winning smile and great sense of humor!  Ahem.  I chose him for his intellect, his compassion, his calm, gentle demeanor.  Truth be told, he reminded me of my daddy in many ways, and that was a very good thing.

What attracted me to him has also caused problems.  I still appreciate his great intellect, but sometimes he can “think” something to death!  His love and compassion are still of tremendous value, and I will never grow tired of those traits in him.  He is so calm at times that it makes me want to scream.  It is one of those differences that I value most of the time and find quite annoying at others.

What I have found over the years is that we agree on the big things.  I’m sure we knew that going into the relationship, but it has been a blessing through the years.  The things we disagree on are the petty, mundane, everyday circumstances or situations, and they can become overblown in importance.  When that happens, I usually try to step back and think what life would be like without my husband.  I have used that tactic many times over the years, and it has always worked for me.  He is still alive and unscathed, mostly.

The bottom line for me is my husband is my best friend.  I value his opinion, seek his guidance, appreciate his input on anything that comes my way.  The love I felt for him in the beginning has grown so deep, so profound, so beautiful that it is hard to imagine.  I’m sure I take his love for granted at times, but I also treasure his feelings for me.  I can’t imagine my life without him.

So I am thanking God today for the wonderful man I married.  I am so grateful for his provision, his care, his love and compassion every minute of every day.  I can’t imagine a day without him in my life, and I know he feels the same way.  Cancer almost took me from him, and I saw how deeply wounded he was, how scared he was that he would lose me.  I’ve never faced the possibility of losing my mate, but I can’t even stand the thought.  God brought us together and only death will separate us.  May God bless and keep this man as we live the “I Do” commitment we made so many years ago .

Song for the day:  “The Wedding Song”

He is now to be among you at the calling of your hearts

Rest assured this troubadour is acting on His part.

The union of your spirits, here, has caused Him to remain

For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name

There is Love, there is Love.

Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home

They shall travel on to where the two shall be as one.

As it was in the beginning is now and til the end

Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again.

And there is Love, there is Love.

Well then what’s to be the reason for becoming man and wife?

Is it love that brings you here or love that brings you life?

For if loving is the answer, then who’s the giving for?

Do you believe in something that you’ve never seen before?

Oh there is Love, there is Love.

Oh the marriage of your spirits here has caused Him to remain

For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name

There is Love, there is Love.

Mothers Matter


Scripture for the day:  Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and your mother so that you may live long in the land Lord your God is giving you.”

I grew up with this commandment.  I had godly women in my life.  They were kind, loving, patient, easy to honor and love.  The same was true with my friends.  We were all blessed with loving mothers.  When I was in high school, however, I learned that not everyone was as fortunate as I was.  I had a friend whose parents were abusive.  I could hear his mother yelling obscenities at him in the background when we talked on the phone.  His father would beat him for even the smallest infraction.  My friend is in prison because he murdered someone.  Where would he be today if he had been blessed with a loving mother?  Ephesians 6:4 comes to mind and could apply to both mothers and fathers.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I’m thinking of those women who were not the kind of mother God envisioned.  Whether it was because of drugs, lifestyle choices, neglect, indifference or a thousand other reasons the result is the same:  dysfunctional children.

My prayer is for the mothers who are wishing for a “do over” this Mother’s Day.  It is for the countless number of sons and daughters who can’t or won’t be buying a card for mom this Sunday.  I can only imagine the hurt on both sides.

There are tears on the face of motherhood today, and my prayer is for all those who struggle with this every year.

Song for the day:  “Heal the Wound”  by Point of Grace

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB0Yh_HS19I

 

 

Faithfulness


Scripture for the day:  1 Corinthians 1:9 “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Relationships are hard.  Hateful things are said, feelings are hurt, despair sets in, we give up and quit trying.  We often say the worst things to those we love the most, and even though we apologize, the scar remains.  Long-term relationships must involve forgiveness and a great deal of commitment and effort.  It isn’t easy to love someone day-by-day.

Some of the most beautiful faces I have ever seen are those that are etched by time but their eyes reveal a love that has weathered the storms.  Through good times and bad, they have found a way to stay together and love each other.

Some of my most treasured relationships are those I have had the longest.  They are such a blessing.

The most beautiful relationship I have, however, is with my heavenly Father.  He loved me before I was born.  He called me into a relationship with His Son, and He is faithful.  He never gives up on me and never quits working to perfect me.  Because of my relationship with Him, other relationships have a chance.  I thank Him for his faithfulness.

Song for the day:  “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0k1WhFtVp0o

1 Corinthians 13


Scripture for the day:  1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

We are supposed to memorize scripture so that we can call on it when the need arises.  Well, I need this one a lot.

Who would ever think to put “suffers long” and “is kind” together?  In my version, those are separated by miles.

Most days I can handle the “does not envy” part at least on the outside.  My thoughts are often a different matter.

Does not parade itself and is not puffed up?  But, hey, I did this really cool thing and everyone needs to know about it!  Not what this Scripture says.

Don’t be rude!  Well, I am usually kind in public, but my poor spouse.  I am often rude to him, sometimes even before breakfast.  No need to go further into the day because it doesn’t get better.

For every one of these, I have an excuse or a comeback.  I can add a “but” or “unless” or “only if” to most of these and be OK.  Not according to the Word of God.

And so I am going to think of these words today because I know them by heart.  I do not need to open my Bible on this one.  The Holy Spirit is going to be very busy in my life today.

Song for the day:  “Breathe on Me, Breath of God”

“Breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew, that I may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do.”

 

Thomas


Scripture for the day:  John 20:26-29  “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them.  Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”  Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your finger here, and put it into My side.  Do not be unbelieving, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”  Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I have been a Thomas.  I have questioned Jesus, doubted Him, left Him.  My father was killed in a car accident when I was 23.  I was so mad at God!  I questioned Him, doubted Him and walked away when He didn’t answer me.  Right then!  I wouldn’t wait.  I just left. Biggest mistake of my life, but I came back, crawled back, actually, humbled and defeated.

He was waiting for me, arms outstretched, welcoming me home.  I have never doubted again.  He is my Lord and my God.  Without Him, I am nothing.  I have never seen the scars but I believe.  I love Him, praise Him, honor Him, worship Him.  His scars saved me, and I am so thankful!

Song for the day:  “Nail Scarred Hand”

I am so grateful for that nail-scarred hand to lead me, guide me, comfort me.  May I never forget the price that was paid for me on the cross and may my life reflect the nail-scarred hand I hold.

 

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