Holiness Is So Much Greater Than Happiness

With the same intensity this boy plays, he does everything!

Me: Coen, are you playing with your army man?
Coen: No, he not army man— he leg, feet, hands and head man, Cocoooo!!!
Me: Realizing he’s playing with a “LEGO man”. I had to stop what I was doing and sit down with him because I was smiling with intensity and totally enjoying this moment in our lives together!

Kids are priceless- relationships are priceless- time is the only thing we spend that we can never earn back. THE MOST IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP WE WILL EVER HAVE IS THE ONE WE SHARE WITH GOD, because Our relationship with JESUS CHRIST (The only begotten Son of God) determines whether we spend eternity with Him in Heaven (His home) or if we reject Him & decide to be a loner. Get this straight: GOD WILL NEVER REJECT A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART TOWARDS HIM, but a prideful independent person will reject God and His people.

I’m so grateful that God has chosen to allow me to spend my time with my children and grandchildren. I don’t wanna’ waste a minute of it on useless fluff, I’m glad I get to interact with these babies. Children demand our attention and that’s a good thing (for the whole world).

Kids see things differently than adults. When I first began homeschooling my kids I talked to their pediatrician about our decision to homeschool (just “small talk” at a regular checkup). One of the best things I ever learned was this gem of advice from Dr. Jose, “Always speak proper English to your children and do not talk down to them like they are babies who don’t understand, because with every life experience you can be teaching them – they’re always learning something!”

This morning that conversation popped up in my memory. It just got me thinking about something my mentor Graham Cooke has taught me recently: he calls it “Relational Learning” and basically it’s the same exact concept. Holy Spirit is EVER PRESENT in our lives when we ask Jesus into our hearts. We are God’s children and every single life experience is something we react to either as a learning/growing experience that draws us nearer to God or it becomes something we react to with negativity, rejecting the opportunity to learn and grow. Wow 😳— read that again and allow yourself to ruminate on it.

I guess I’m different than anyone else I’ve ever met based on the sum of my life experiences and so are you! The fact that our willingness to grow and learn something new every day or reject the life lesson that can make us HOLY (instead of just happy) is priceless! Don’t waste the lesson!

Holiness is GREATER THAN happiness – it’s not the other way around!

Maybe the world is as messed up as it is because people waste time on the shallow, superficial, plastic stuff. Does anyone want to be Holy anymore? YES, I do!

Earning the almighty dollar is a necessary part of life, but when that takes over and destroys the precious time we have with each other earning money can turn into something evil. It is filler. Fluff. We live in a cotton candy world that will one day dissolve in water! I guess what I’m saying is this: life is short, don’t waste it.

Are your life experiences drawing you nearer to God (LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, FAITHFULNESS AND SELF CONTROL) or are they causing you to reject God? You get to decide for yourself- it’s called FREEDOM!

I’m 53 years old this year and I’ve finally learned that I DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING, but I’m willing to learn. My beliefs have the potential to be world changing – and so do yours- we ALL influence the world around us in either a positive or a negative way! I am a curious child of God. Holy Spirit is my teacher and He allows the lessons that will make me Holy, I am a willing and very excited participant in this teacher/student relationship. And I am so grateful for the lessons, even when they’re intense.

+ F R E E D O M +

“Only The Love of God can keep us free.” This TRUTH is my bedrock. Freedom in God is how I parent and grandparent my own little family – there is no better example of Father or Mother than Father God.

As I write this blog I’m blessed to be able to help raise the four tiny humans I get to call my grandchildren.

Side note to all the Mamas and parents who intentionally STAY AT HOME TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN: It is the highest calling to be a humble servant and to fully believe that God Himself has placed you into this position of leadership! Don’t let anyone or anything lead you to the deceptive lie that parenting is a chore or a drag or that spending time caring for your children is of any less value than being the leader of a great nation! If you are a parent you are an influencer by default. You are shaping the minds of the future generations- you’re kind of a big deal, do you even realize that? Let me reiterate: God Himself has placed you into the position of leadership if you are a mother or a father, and the enemy of you and your family wants y’all distracted, derailed, defeated and destroyed. Don’t believe the lies. Parenthood is the highest calling of your life.

According to Wikipedia.org there are approximately 7,800,000,000 people who live on this planet together and someone influenced every single living person. Who influenced you? Who do you have the privilege to influence? I have had the privilege to teach and influence and love at least 7 of the 7,800,000,000! I am blessed – and I know it!

Nothing could be more fulfilling than the position of parenthood. My family is now and has always been my first ministry. Only God comes before my family. No habit or hobby, no paycheck or amount of money, no title behind my name and certainly no feigned level of respect from my peers could possibly ever replace or compare to the ministry of motherhood (parenthood). I believe God has always honored this calling by providing everything I need in order to do my job well. He is my Provider and He lacks NOTHING!

If I’m honest there are some days I feel blessed and some days I allow the enemies called overwhelm and bitterness to creep into my thoughts and when I do they quickly get to work trying to steal my JOY and destroy my peace. Some days I even question, “What is my purpose?” Truth be told I have even cracked the lid on anger that my time is not my own and doubt if I am even helping or worse I wonder if my helping raise these grandchildren is enabling their own parents to put other things up on a higher pedestal than their own children some days. That’s dangerous territory. Accusations, anger and playing the blame game is a mistake in any relationship. That anger can come bursting forth like an evil jack-in-the-box startling even the most peaceful Mama, so it is best to destroy and diffuse anger before it can destroy you.

Raising a family is like walking a tightrope where you can get real wobbly with the necessary rules that absolutely need to be taught and the grace that you must give when your children fail. Their failure is a good opportunity for you to back off and slow down to a sloths pace in order to allow the love to kick in. This is where rules and religion can be YOUR WORST ENEMY AS A CHRISTIAN PARENT and they can turn grace upside down and turn it inside out! Yes, rules are NECESSARY and contrary to pop-culture they are NOT made to be broken. But who is going to teach your children that TRUTH? Certainly NOT the world’s culture – that’s counter to God’s culture. God’s rules are made in LOVE – so your rules as a parent should be also. Remember through gratitude we grow, be grateful for your failures and the failures of your children because failures are evidence that they are trying. I try to remember that failure is simply an opportunity to try again in a different way. I do realize that there will be times that blatant rebellion in our children absolutely needs to be course corrected – rebellion has NO PLACE in God’s Kingdom – that was satan’s first and last mistake in the presence of God! God has zero tolerance for rebellion- but He gives His children grace, and so should we.

I am in a unique position to have the time and provision to choose to put the teaching of four of the most beautiful humans before anything else (my grandchildren). Don’t you go thinking for a minute that this choices is an easy one for me because it’s not! I’m not independently wealthy, but I am in fact 100% dependent on God for everything I need. Everything from food in our bellies- to my own peace and joy -to a roof over our heads and the energy to care for my family. My entire family is my ministry in this strange season where schools are closed but the needs of family almost NEVER CLOSE 24/7. My children and grandchildren are vibrant and alive and beautifully needy. Instead of falling into the pit of overwhelm, fear of provision or any of the myriad of other ways to fall off the tight rope I am balanced upon, only the love of God keeps me free to either balance or free fall in HIS LOVE. Trust me when I tell you that at any given moment I could look down and I could freak out about this life I am living -and truth be told I’m not a flawless acrobat walking on this tightrope. Sometimes I freak out, and I fail and I fall and that’s when I get another opportunity to choose LOVE.

I am intentional with my time choosing to put GOD FIRST, even above my family. What does that even look like? Well, first thing before I roll out of bed I think about God. I think about all the ways I am blessed. I rise earlier than the day ahead of me requires in order to either worship God through song or thoughts, read my Bible, Pray and practice the precious presence of GOD. I’m reminded to choose the nourishing fruits of the Holy Spirit often by choosing to remain in LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, GENTLENESS, FAITHFULNESS AND SELF-CONTROL. We are All working on self-control in the presence of our two year old— very strong willed grandson! I can assure you that my life is not a perfectly synchronized ballet of graceful situations. There are poopie diapers, and food fights that break out among the tribe and then there are the days I oversleep, wake up tired with my body physically aching for rest, but I still have to hit the ground running. Time and tides and babies wait for no one.

I have chosen to position myself to learn from some really amazing influencers. I cannot thank Graham Cooke (one of my mentors) enough for reminding me that “learning to be The Beloved when everyone wants a piece of your insides” – is actually a process. I can choose to FIRST learn, THEN experience what I have learned through practice. Just writing this blog reminds me that “practice” implies that I will fail as well as succeed.

For the past several months when I fail I sense it is with increasing grace that I can confess my failures to God as I commune with Him daily. I confess my failures in the presence of trusted influencers such as my own parents, my husband and my pastor and his wife. Confession of my faults and failures reminds me of something similar to my experiences with influencing and teaching my own children – their failure itself and confessing it to me in humble submission shows me that they are aware of the lessons they have learned – and when they confess their mistakes, their confusion or misunderstanding of a rule it gives us BOTH the opportunity to communicate and commune together- I do NOT belittle them or berate them – why should I? God doesn’t berate or belittle me! Religion does that! The enemy does that! God gives grace to the humble but not to the proud. WHAT MAKES ME THINK I HAVE THE RIGHT TO CRITICIZE THE WAY MY CHILDREN ARE LEARNING? AS LONG AS THEY FAIL FORWARD THE LESSONS OF FAILURE ARE WORTH IT, am I right? When my children or grandchildren confess their failures to me it makes me happy that they are trying and that even in their own awareness of right and wrong (according to God’s Word) they have the freedom to choose to do the next right thing. It gives us an opportunity reconnect and the love we share is revived in a million little ways, like ripples in a pond when a rock is thrown into the calm water. I do not have to holler and scream; demand and dictate or try to control them with my authority and fear tactics. That divides their mind from me, it separates us and overwhelms them spoiling the opportunities for me to influence them. Again there is a balancing act to being an influencer. I do not spare the rod, and I will not spoil the child but I will love them faithfully correcting them as needed- teaching them what God’s rules are as it is written in His Word. And with forgiveness and mercy and grace,I will continue to influence them all the days of my life.

Leadership is Love. Is is not abuse of power, it is the humble choosing to be a servant to others. Pretty sure that’s the way God intended the family to thrive and grow in FREEDOM.

I’m a fixer upper + A Work In Progress

I confess – I’m often a mess! Have you ever started a project and realized that you didn’t think about the messy middle part? I think we can all safely assume that if we are breathing we are somewhere in the messy middle part of eternity. Life’s not perfect, no matter how good your instagram story looks or how big your bank account is. You can have the cleanest and most organized house on the planet, but honey we are all God’s work in progress. I’m not ashamed of my messy life (and if you are walking WITH GOD you don’t need to be either) because I know God isn’t finished with any of us yet – actually He never will be! I can only speak for myself, but I know I’m His for eternity and He is intimately involved in taking me apart and putting me back together again – some days the taking me apart process is way messier than others. Some days my life looks like this Bible – completely torn apart.

So what am I supposed to do when my VERY WELL LOVED BIBLE begins to fall apart? First, I PRAY! This thing may not be easy, or quick but I chose to do the tedious work. I dove in headfirst, I had to tear some things off before I fixed her up so that she could be functional and useful. I will keep her as long as I live, at least I’m gonna’ try!😳🤯😱

I asked GOD for wisdom because y’all seeing my favorite Bible at what appeared to be the point of no return, I got discouraged. I could not even fathom just tossing this old girl out and getting a new one… there is still so much life in this Bible! Don’t let me fool you, I have a thing about buying new Bibles (it’s one of my favorite things to buy – actually). There is simply nothing I’d rather spend my money or my time on… but this lil’ dog eared mama here… SHE IS AMAZING, And she’s taught me so much… this one is making me who I am: RECOVERED, RENEWED & REVIVED (can I take a moment to brag on this Bible?) I want you to know that God used the words and notes in this Bible and He helped me through some very confusing things in my life. I learned how to put the “fun” in dysFUNctional, until I became functional again and useful for God’s kingdom. Guess you could say my Bible and I are both becoming colorful and cute TOGETHER! LOL 🥰🤣🤓😎

Yes, I am committed to this one… the notes and the journaling that have given me the revelations of who GOD IS, who JESUS is ~ who I am because of JESUS UNRELENTING LOVE FOR ME! You see, when I am rough around the edges and falling apart HE DOES NOT LEAVE ME TO GO FIND ANOTHER, NOPE… HE PERFORMS SURGERY ON MY SOUL! He gently and meticulously works on me until I am not only functional again, but GOD… OH, GOD… HE makes me delightful! To be honest I’m nothing without His Spirit living on the inside of me. How can I even imagine this #TRUTH? I didn’t imagine it, I read it in the Bible. It’s a living book planted in the good soil of my heart. I’m ready for transformation- I’m ready for it daily!

When I read that Jesus describes me as the salt of the earth and He tells me that I am the light of the world I confess y’all – I have a hard time accepting that because of what I know about me. But if the Bible calls me salty and lit – by golly I am fo’ sho’ taking that into my spirit! 🤪🤩🥳😇🥰😘😎😍.

HE calls me BEAUTIFUL! HE RESTORES MY SOUL! Yes, I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and I did it with goosebumps (my flesh was afraid) but my FAITH IN HIM NEVER WOBBLED OR FAILED! I am who I am because of JESUS. “In the beginning was THE WORD, and THE WORD WAS GOD and THE WORD was with God…” Reading and meditating on THE WORD OF GOD is sacred. I am a word nerd and I am NOT ASHAMED of THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST because JESUS made me in right relationship to GOD THE FATHER… without JESUS I am just a wannabe… a shallow, plastic pitiful version of the girl I KNOW HE CREATED ME TO BE! I don’t want to be a wannabe’ I want to be the real deal… Holy – but only because HE tells me to be. This isn’t some fantasy story or a competition. We, God’s children, are loved. We are not neglected or used up and worn out then thrown away. I am committed to reading GOD’s WORD and letting it transform me… how about you?

“I’ll take my cold cold heart, I’ll take my I un-renewed mind, I’ll take YOUR WORD in my hand and then I’ll give you time to come and MELT ME.” Those lyrics from Misty Edwards are playing in the background right now as I renovate my Life Recovery Bible… how perfect!

Here lies the evidence of a heart that is alive!

I have asked HOLY SPIRIT to come fan the flame and do what only HE can do… BREATHE LIFE INTO OUR RELATIONSHIP! This spiritual growth and the spiritual fruits of LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, GENTLENESS, FAITHFULNESS AND SELF CONTROL are evidence of the HOLY SPIRIT living in me, making those necessary changes in me, so that I can live… really live y’all, not just exist! This is evidence of C.P.R. (Christ’s Personal Resuscitation) of my soul! #ichooseLOVE

#uhOhWhatHaveiDone #whatHaveIGottenMyselfInto #HelpMeJesus #WordNerd #HappyBible #DiscBoundBible

God of the arrow ✝️

My Bible – this is how my spirit stays Fat and Sassy🥳🤩💝

This is my daily BREAD, The Word of God.

By persisting in divisiveness the rebels cut themselves off from God!😳

I used to be a rebel, and I was pretty proud of myself for it 😔 what a waste of precious time.

The GOD OF THE ARROW shoots and HE ALONE has pierced the bullseye of my heart✝️. Has He pierced yours? HE CAN PIERCE ANY HEART HE CHOOSES, and I am humbled that HE CHOSE MINE- I hope you’ve been humbled by HIM too?

Let me begin with this assurance: if you WANT TO call yourself a “Christian” then JESUS CHRIST CHOSE to pierce YOUR heart with His #Truth and LOVE because NO ONE comes to THE FATHER GOD but those who are FIRST LOVED and CALLED by JESUS. 🥳

Cool, let’s get this party started y’all 🥳✝️✅💝 because there are no “wannabe” Christians, am I right – or are there? I’m going to be honest, there are a lot of anorexic and bulimic Christians out there, I know because I used to be one.

I’m not sure honestly how to explain this by myself so I pray for THE HOLY SPIRIT will intervene here – I’m not proud and I’m NOT GOING TO POINT MY FINGER AND ACCUSE ANYONE – it is possible I’m likely to over share here but I used to call myself a Christian ✝️ and I was lying 🤥. Y’all – I was deceived and truth be told – I did that to myself 😳😔. I wanted to be amongst “The Chosen” so badly I thought, “I can just fake it ‘til I make it!” Seriously, I put on that mask 😷 (before masks were mandatory) of “I’m fine, everything’s fine – no really, really – I’m okay, I’m good,” but I wasn’t even close!

I mean I wouldn’t have ever realized that that’s what I was doing unless HOLY SPIRIT had intervened and revealed my own twisted beliefs. I thought by going to church and reading my Bible – and saying the prayer of salvation and getting baptized I was going to make it. I even did those last two things several times, you know just to be on the safe side. While those are all steps into Christianity it’s like saying marriage is planning the wedding and saying the vows. There’s a whole lot more to relationship than just saying you don’t want to be alone or you don’t want to go to hell. Let me make myself clear here, you CANNOT EARN your SALVATION – the Bible tells us (get this) – SALVATION IS FREE – ya’ just can’t earn it – so why do we wear ourselves out or simply give up trying?

I guess I just settled it in my head that it was that simple – I said the prayer & told myself, “hey I’ve got a good heart, I’m a good person!” But the Bible says there’s none that are “good” 🙊 what the… how good is good? These bipolar fluctuations between the idea of “my works” and “the gift of salvation” left me exhausted 😩.

Y’all, NONE OF US CAN MEASURE UP TO THE GOODNESS OF GOD.

So, it’s settled – you’ve been CALLED, but now there’s the next step —-> being CHOSEN! If you were GOD, would you choose you? I mean based on your goodness compared to HIS😳 yeah, there’s no comparison 😔.

I’m going to have to tell y’all this with my FAITH ON HIGH ALERT: (because I don’t FULLY understand this part yet) but THE BIBLE SAYS, “Many are CALLED but FEW ARE CHOSEN!” Wait, whut😳🙊? Yep, it’s true – I read it in Matthew 22:14 and get this y’all THAT’S JESUS doing the TALKING! So do I need to go back to work? Working hard? I don’t think so, Jesus also said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Whew, that’s my life verse right there y’all, straight outta the heart and mouth of GOD! Oh my 🥰 I GET TO REST ✝️ yes, please -that sounds so good to me. I just want to rest IN JESUS. So that’s where I’m going to put my bookmark and close my Bible right now. I WILL REST IN JESUS LOVE. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Are you humbled by the fact that you are called and invited to sit at God’s table? To sit at JESUS’ feet and be taught by GOD HIMSELF through the unction of HIS HOLY SPIRIT and HIS WORD? Are you being TRANSFORMED BY His Word? That’s like being actually married and choosing to be faithful to your beloved every day of your life – because of LOVE you want to spend time with that person and lay your life down for them. Jesus wasn’t a fan of religion- if you don’t believe me google it! Read in your Bible how He responded to religious people.

If you’re reading HIS LOVE LETTER daily (The Bible) which was written through the hand of many of His best and brightest you will learn more about the nature of GOD. For instance in Galatians 5:22 & 23 THE WORD explains the fruit of THE SPIRIT OF GOD. Take it, eat of it & SAVOR IT – let God’s Word nourish you and TRANSFORM YOU INTO HIS BEAUTIFUL, BOUNTIFUL GARDEN. Invite HIM INTO THE SANCTUARY OF YOUR HEART TO TAKE A PEEK AT ALL THE INTIMATE THOUGHTS AND DETAILS OF YOUR LIFE and ask Him SINCERELY to help you live AND LOVE like JESUS The MESSIAH.

Then GO & TELL THE OTHERS – they’re so hungry. Encourage people to PRAYERFULLY read the Bible because there are many who are malnourished and starving themselves to death.

Spend time wisely

Using my time – W I S E L Y

When I was in elementary school my teachers would often leave this recurring comment on my report card, “Shawn does NOT use her time wisely!” But here I am every morning KILLIN’ it like I’m GOD’S star student, teacher’s pet! I have proved them wrong! I don’t really care what people say or think about me, as long as GOD THINKS I AM TO DIE FOR (and He does). I’m important to MY CREATOR AND SO ARE YOU.

GOD LOVES US ALL✝️🥳✅🙏.

I don’t know how He treats you, but HE treats me like I’m HIS PRINCESS even when HE’s got a lesson I find difficult to understand – the first time around – GOD’s patience with me is incredibly merciful. Yeah, let’s just say I’m not naturally HOLY or righteous- I’m so grateful that JESUS did all the really hard lessons for me and they’re all chronicled in the Bible; that’s why I want to read it daily. Reading my Bible is no longer a chore for me to get done, like laundry or making my bed. But I’ll be honest, I used to feel like it was a task. I didn’t enjoy it, and truth be told that very thought made me feel broken. It sometimes even felt so overwhelming and I didn’t know if I was “doing it right”. Well guess what, those were NOT kingdom thoughts! Instead of wallowing in the negativity of all the judgement I was putting on myself, I humbled myself and prayed.

My simple prayer went something like this, “God, I want to WANT to read, study and understand what YOU want to teach me. I don’t understand the King James Version of Your Words, but I guess you already know that. JESUS HELP! I want a relationship with YOU. Actually- I’m DESPERATELY SEEKING TO UNDERSTAND HOW TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOU! Relationships require communication and since I’ve never actually heard your audible voice- I’m guessing You’d like me to read the stuff You already wrote. So, I want to read what you have to say to me through YOUR WORD, but I want to also understand what you are saying to me personally through it.” And that childlike prayer was the beginning of the most incredible relationship I’ve ever known. I got myself a children’s Bible, then a youth version (it was actually in the form of a teenage girl’s magazine) and then a Life Application Study Bible, then a Life Recovery Study Bible (I spent many years reading that one). Then I bought a Daily Walk Bible and committed to reading through it in one year. It was awesome! Coincidentally that was the year I won a Z4 BMW on a Carnival Cruise Ship. I’m not saying that was related to the fact that I was reading the Bible daily, but I’m also not saying it wasn’t 😂.

Today I have many different versions of the Bible and I read every chance I can get. I’m just trying to follow in Jesus footsteps and when I fail God and sin— (which by my track record has been ridiculously often) even when I fail more than once— there’s grace.

That is #TRUTH we can’t earn it, salvation is a gift. We are NOT saved because we read and understand the Bible. We don’t deserve salvation or grace and we won’t lose it because we screw up here and there. But if and when we reject GOD and choose the world, we are making the choice to give up our peace – lose our joy – and we are setting ourselves up for misery and stress.

Can I offer you some free advice? Talk to God— do it often like He’s your best friend. Keep some time set aside RESERVED FOR GOD and READ HIS WORD – the Bible. The Bible is a living document- I don’t think my explanation of that would even do it justice so let me just challenge you to figure out what I meant by that last statement. But it’s true! Start with a chapter of Proverbs or pick a Psalm and make the commitment to God that you’re wanting to read it daily (I mean- if that is in fact what you want). Do it and watch how HE loves on you through His Word. It’s awesome 😎.

W A R N I N G

I’m going to say it- WE ALL WALK ON IN OUR OWN PERSONAL SIN with our eyes and ears closed to GOD (if that’s not #Truth challenge me!) until WE HUMBLE OURSELVES TO HIM AND ASK FOR HIS HELP! The Bible PROMISE is that a humbled person GOD WILL NOT REJECT, but the proud are their own WORST ENEMY!

When GOD chooses to reveal a thing of sin in us it is up to us to REJECT THE SIN AND CHOOSE GOD!

But we like our sin, because WE DON’T CALL IT SIN! We have traded the #Truth for our own lies! We traded what’s proper for what is comfortable or what we might even believe is truth but it’s often our wrong thought (ambition) or the way we’ve always done it (tradition) that leads us to our bad habit (addiction).

Are we all just the blind leading the blind? Who is going to stop this crazy train and dig deep enough down to the bedrock of #TRUTH? GOD IS TRUTH & EVERYTHING ELSE IS A LIE! If you know Mr. Truth, He will set you free, but if you reject Him (for your own ways and choose to stay poor, blind & naked) then you cannot blame Him when your life tumbles in and you’re broken. Without the glue of JESUS THE MESSIAH we cannot and WILL NOT be or stay connected to God. Humble yourself to God’s LOVE, get on your knees and pray. Read your Bible. TODAY (right now) is the moment of salvation- we never know what the next moment will bring. Humble yourself to God not in fear but because you are loved by Him.

There, I said it – You’ve been warned!

R E L A T I O N S H I P S

So my book (the one I finished writing in November and am currently editing) is a modern day retelling of Gomer’s story. Gomer is the woman in the book of Hosea the one God told the prophet Hosea to marry and to LOVE. She was a “woman of many men” I’ll just leave it at that. The book of Hosea (found near the end of the Old Testament) is also the story of how Israel wandered away from God just about every chance she got and how God got so angry He just about gave up on His people (again)! But guess what He did instead? He chose to give up on His anger! 😳

He chose to give each one of us a choice to return to Him. He didn’t have to do that you know – HE’s GOD! He could simply obliterate us and make a better version on the spot, the second we didn’t do exactly what he wanted – KA~BA’AM 💥🥴😵 DONE.

NEXT!

THAT MAY BE THE WORLD’S WAY OF HAVING RELATIONSHIPS but that’s NOT the way God does it – GOD TRULY LOVES WITH EVERYTHING HE’S GOT! Nothing missing, nothing broken.

Think about it- if God just killed us off instantly because we annoyed Him or we didn’t do things His way -JOHNNY ON THE SPOT- that’d be kinda’ mean wouldn’t it? I mean would you even want to have a relationship with someone that was like, “You’ll DO IT MY WAY AND YOU’LL LIKE IT! Now KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT and pretend you’re happy!” Umm… no thank you! Honestly, I have been given the ultimate ultimatum of “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY” several times in my life and to be honest I chose the highway every — single— time! Now I realize that says a lot about me and my personality, but God actually loves me – like enough to DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH for me- and all I could do for the first 20 something years of my life was chase a buzz 🐝 – hmm… my actual nickname is “Shawnie Bee”! I just wanted to enjoy my life on my terms – party hearty. I didn’t put much thought into the spiritual repercussions of my choices- silly me! Actually the Bible accurately defined my behavior as “Foolish”.

BUT GOD ——> y’all, even though I wasn’t as sweet and innocent as I appeared to be GOD CHASED ME DOWN AND LOVED ME ALL THE WAY BACK HOME TO HIM!!! Stop and think about that, that’s God’s true nature- that’s LOVE!

I mean- I was going to church and confessing to be a Christian and all that 🙄🤫but I kept a lot of secrets – I didn’t really change my inner thoughts or repent and turn away from them even though I believed I was a Christian- let’s just say I was NOT repentant even though I was redeemed. I DID NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND REPENTANCE, ACTUALLY. I’ll be honest I’m still working out my REPENTANCE with fear and trembling, because I was certainly able to deceive many people -BUT NOT GOD – SO HE PATIENTLY AND LOVINGLY LEFT THE WHOLE HERD TO COME LOOKING FOR ME BECAUSE I WANDERED OFF. (More than once).

If God gave up on me (every time I screwed up royally) and decided to make a better version I’d just be a cheap plastic version of myself instead of something incredibly priceless, beautiful and awesome 😎. Guess what? This ain’t about me- YOU ARE ALSO PRECIOUS TO HIM UNLESS YOU DECIDE TO REJECT HIM!

GOD GETS ANGRY – at sin! Not gonna lie or sugar coat this: There are ABSOLUTELY THINGS HE WILL NOT LET ME (or you) GET AWAY WITH (for our own good and for the good of THE FAMILY). Some stuff we simply WILL NOT bring into eternity with Him. The sin is DEFINITELY GOING TO BE AN ISSUE so if you need a refresher course on what exactly sin is—- go read your Bible, I don’t need to rehash it right here in this post. God’s rules are for our own good! He’s not angry with us when we break His laws anymore than a police officer would get angry with us because he’s got to write us a speeding ticket when we don’t obey the rules… oh wait… that actually does happen and that’s considered a bad cop!

God’s not our angry authority – BUT HE is OUR AUTHORITY -like it or not – just like Donald J. Trump is your president if you live in the USA.

I REPEAT – GOD IS NOT ANGRY WITH HIS PEOPLE- at least that’s not how the Bible describes the nature of God – not in the book of Hosea anyway!

If you’ve EVER been in a relationship you might understand how EASY it is to get so angry with a person that you just want to turn your back on them and walk (OR RUN) away! Each human being alive today has this same exact choice LOVE GOD OR REJECT HIM.
🌈R I G H T * N O W🌈

* B I T T E R N E S S *

I know someone who believes a lie. She believes bitterness gives her an upper hand. She believes in order for her to maintain her self respect, to rise above others and not be trampled by life or the people in her life she needs to hold onto bitterness. That is a lie, and by believing it she will destroy her family and herself. Worst of all she will destroy her relationship with God by choosing to be filled with pride. Bitterness runs with pride, they’re in the same evil click like Mean Girls (yes, I’m referencing the movie)

U N R E P E N T A N T

When the one who betrayed you is not repentant – and they actually shift the blame onto you – how do you walk out your kindness? What now does love ACTUALLY do?

Love repays evil with kindness – LOVE covers a multitude of sin. My flesh cries out for GOD’s mercy – but LOVE must endure to the end.

If joy really comes in the morning, and pain only lasts through the night – now I lay me down to sleep – now I must lay down this fight.

Kindness

My oldest son and I are currently walking side by side through one of the worst seasons of our lives (and we have been through several really bad seasons together.) He has been a husband and a father for the past three years, not a perfect one, but a faithful – hardworking one. Today he is faced with separation from his wife and the act of fatherhood alone “on his days”. He and his wife have been bickering and arguing and not getting along for quite awhile – it happens in the best marriages – this did not happen overnight. Neither husband or wife was unfaithful (as far as we know) but something went wrong – and then something else went wrong. That continued spiraling until something went life shatteringly wrong. I’ll spare the gory details here for the sake of brevity, but when kindness and love are replaced by a bitter and unforgiving heart families are torn apart.

“Children are resilient” – “they’ll get over it” (divorce) – these statements have been spoken and the lie has been believed. Nobody really gets over divorce – God even hates it. While both statements roll off the tongue quickly – they stick like a deeply imbedded splinter in the tender flesh of the underside of a toddler’s chubby little foot. The splinter stops him in his tracks. It stops us all. Fear of removing the splinter is far more painful than actually removing it. The pain and the anxiety that splinters us will also hurt the people around us. It will not be something easily removed while we are still kicking and screaming.

I considered not writing today. Sadness is hovering over me threatening silence. While the entire world is practicing social distancing and many families are hunkered down enjoying the bonding that families need in order grow TOGETHER – a part of our family has grown apart and it is dying.

“We are battling an enemy we cannot see,” I hear that repeatedly on the news regarding COVID19. Its true – a virus is not something we can see in order to easily avoid its deadly effects – neither are bitterness and unforgiving hearts. There are massive amounts of sadness and depression and anxiety spreading rapidly throughout my family and our entire our world today. They are crouching at the door of my heart and I absolutely cannot let them overcome me or my family.

I almost didn’t write about this at all because I was told it was none of my business, but that’s not true. It affects me. It has affected every aspect of my life because I love my family- all of them including my bonus daughter. My son works a full time job and when his wife decided to move out and get a full time job my son was left to figure it out. Sure she asked if I could help care for her babies while she worked a full time job and I said yes, because the alternative was to place them in daycare – during a P A N D E M I C the very same week that our county shut down all public schools and the government began the first 15 days of practicing social distancing. She ghosted us! How can this be none of my business? It is absolutely my business and writing is my way of tilling up the dry, parched, hardening soil of my heart in order to make it a fertile place to plant the seeds of God’s truth. The truth is LOVE NEVER FAILS. And it is only by GOD that we will get through this without submitting to bitterness- truth is bitterness is the enemy. Not my bonus daughter. I do love her and I’m praying for her. But right now I’m having a hard time juggling a PANDEMIC and a broken family – I confess, I’m not responding in LOVE – I am not feeling or behaving like JESUS CHRIST WOULD and that bothers me, but I’m giving myself the grace to write it raw. Mercifully this all happened at once. This kind of sorrow spread out over many years might have been even worse. Maybe.

I’m not blaming my bonus daughter for needing help – because I understand the craziness of raising tiny humans – I raised three and now I’m helping raise my grandchildren. I understand that life is hard, but blaming my son for all her problems is what I cannot agree with. When we have an abundance of bitterness we blame those who are the easy targets. That’s where we go wrong. It would be very easy for me to blame her for things too, but I know she’s just human like me and her life has become unmanageable- I don’t blame her for wanting a change, but I will hold her accountable for her choices. Anything less would be insanely wrong. I don’t want to blame her, but wow her decision making skills are really messed up right now – I blame “the enemy we cannot see” – the a Bible calls it Spiritual Warfare and many families are on the frontline. There will be many casualties. Kindness is a weapon. Worshipping our HOLY GOD is a weapon – praying and believing for deliverance is a weapon. L O V E is a weapon. We must put on the full armor of God and stand in faith believing JESUS HAS ALREADY WON THIS WAR FOR US. They say that it takes a village to raise a child- I believe that is true. I’m switching the gears of my own life to make accommodations for her choices so this is my business.

I almost didn’t write today because of the viciousness of this situation. I had wondered if it would be wrong for me to write and publish my thoughts about what is happening in my family in real time. I questioned if my own anger towards this situation would be too toxic a subject to write about for such a time as this. I decided not to write the details since I don’t know all of them, also there is a chance I might be biased toward my son. But I’m a writer I write to heal myself and maybe to heal others. For the record I’m not blaming ANYONE for the anything but I am pointing and calling out the facts. The fact is one person does not want to be married to the other anymore, so she walked away from her family to start a new life. That’s her choice. That’s the fact. I’m not feeling very warm and fuzzy about any of this because her choices are NEGATIVELY affecting my life. While we all saw the waves of anger repeatedly breaking on the shore – none of us were prepared for the rip current that has nearly drowned an entire family. To quote Ann LaMott, “If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” Ain’t that the truth!

The babies are in turmoil. Four lives have been shattered – actually many more than that. Bitterness is like a pandemic affecting the entire earth. It is a butterfly effect. When one person is unable to overcome the bitterness in their heart they flap their tiny wing and with that action there is a reaction.

Choosing bitterness is a bad habit – it is choosing death. A slow miserable death like smoking cigarettes – it will not happen overnight but even the surgeon general has warned – smoking cigarettes will cause death. It may not happen quickly, but it will happen. Choosing bitterness will end in death. The death of a relationship, the death of a marriage, the death of a family. SUBMITTING OUR WILL TO GOD’S WILL is the kryptonite for bitterness. Choosing kindness, forgiveness and love are choosing the high road. They are not the easy choices, but they are the choices that lead you to life and joy.