like fine wine, the best takes time
My pastor’s sermon on Sunday, December 8, 2019, was powerful. I wasn’t able to hear it in person since it was my Sunday to teach at the jail. The subject was “Loving One Another.” He expounded on Matthew 22:36-40 and John 13:34-35 for starters. In my notes I wrote down a statement that resonated with me: love embodies all the commands of God because it is the summation of His commandments.
The bottom line is those who believe in Jesus Christ are called to demonstrate a higher standard of love towards one another. I highly recommend you listen to it for yourself and I’ve included the link in the subject title in the previous paragraph. I encourage you to jot down a few notes to gauge your spiritual maturity in this area. I’m convinced you will find the need for adjustments like I did.
After listening to the message, I couldn’t help thinking about how it would benefit anyone struggling in a relationship with others. Many people want a relationship with others. My sons and daughters are in their prime, and many of them are considering marriage. Some are struggling in their current marriage or relationship. Too many of them lean on their perspective of relationships instead of praying from God’s perspective.
Unfortunately, the problem is too many think rushing into someone’s arms or bed is a springboard for the love they seek. Yes, genuine love doesn’t automatically materialize out of brokenness. Fast-tracked relationships don’t create the type of permanence desired. They are rush jobs forged by unplanned events or circumstances such as pregnancy or loneliness. To attempt to form loving relationships out of these couplings seldom work out well, though there are exceptions.
There has to be a way to convey the work required to mend broken vessels. A broken vessel can’t repair a broken vessel. God works hand in hand with his Word to rebuild the brokenness in man. Underneath all of the layers of emotional trauma or baggage, people desire to be known. In spite of their shortcomings and flaws, people want acceptance wrapped in love, respect, protection, and guidance. My sons want wives to reverence them. Likewise, my daughters want husbands who know how to love them as Christ does. It starts with God, the master who makes beauty from ashes, who gives the oil of joy for mourning and a garment of praise in exchange for the spirit of heaviness.
The truth is Christ-founded relationships require 100% commitment to work from both parties on both sides. Love isn’t for the lazy of heart and spirit. Without heartfelt dedication to the relationship, it becomes a sinking ship that will go under at some point. The person in the relationship who understands this best is normally the one who ends up doing most of the work. My prayer is that the one whose stronger in faith learn to pray for their mate until they grow in their relationship with God.
For my single children, my prayer is they learn to be content in their singleness for a time. The practice of enjoying being single and alone constitutes perfect timing to allow God to work through the damage without distractions. When Christ is the primary focus in our lives, trust in God grows as the creator of marriage weaves an integral part of the creation story found in the book of Genesis within us. We then come to have faith in his capability to bring the right type of love into our lives. Because God’s timing is the right timing, no one misses out on anything in the quiet time of being loved fully by him.
It’s worth the wait!
You are a wonder to watch day after day and night after night. How I long to hold you in my arms. You are so beautiful. You are so handsome. Your daily routine, impressive. Your goals are attainable. You demonstrate consistent willpower and keep your focus on the rainbows in your view. I marvel at your strength and tenacity in these times of ever-changing roles and lifestyles.
You are a feast for the eyes. You are always well-dressed. You model thrift store purchases as one endowed with riches. Your poise is full of humble confidence. Stylish by all standards. No one would deny you have earned it. Your climb up the corporate ladder is inspiring. Turning your business into a household name noteworthy. Every promotion deserved.
We find you remarkable. We know what you sacrifice to do what you do to give what you give. No one can attest to the time you obligate to others. Many miss how you extend your hand to serve others. Watching you willingly add to your already full plate exhausts me. You lend all of your talents to those around you. Your service in ministry is well-pleasing. You are faithful and so blessed.
I have spent lots of time and words expressing the debt of my love and appreciation for you. I know at the end of the day you returned my love the best way you knew how. It makes me love you even more. I know you have given me everything you feel you possess.
Everything … but your heart!
I have been in personal hiatus lately, meaning, I’ve spent lots of time alone. There are a few reasons for this need at this moment. Life has been a little topsy-turvy and cumbersome over the last few years. Trying to find my footing through events, circumstances, hills, and valleys requires personal reflection. I am grateful for the journey, and the lessons being learned. For times such as these, the growth and outcomes generated are profitable, leading to the place of much-needed serenity and peace.
Some people look at being alone as something taboo. For me, it’s one side of my personality I have to indulge in and balance. I’m an introvert who has learned to socialize like an extrovert in various settings. Being quite reticent, I spend time internalizing life (mine, others, the world we live in, etc., etc., etc.). Summoning memories of my youth confirm writing as a natural place to dispose of my uncomfortable thoughts. Writing has become my road to sanity; a place I can’t deny to extinguish the ugliness of negative emotions. I chose to empty my thoughts on paper rather than wreck my limited relationships through verbal carnage.
This weekend I learned something in my hiatus important to me as an individual. As much as I enjoy my alone time, I still need my community! I googled the word community for the relevant definition and found it – the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common  Although I enjoy my periods of alone time, I don’t want to be alone all the time. Socializing provides laughter and deep conversations about God, family, and all things life-related. In those times, I feel a part of something intensely gratifying. My heart warmly enthralled with God in knowing I am alone only when I choose to be.
Being a part of a community of like-minded people who care for you creates a sense of connection. A church community joins like-minded believers into a body that guides and cares for your salvation, spiritual growth, and servanthood. In a job community, some people help you develop skill sets for career elevation. The community of family fosters a place of unconditional love, encouragement, protection, and treasured examples of leadership.
This weekend I joined another community. An affinity of writers and would-be writers called to tell their stories. Memoirs, poetry, non-fiction, fiction, devotionals, bible studies, etc., an amazing expanse of creativity. I needed this community with whom I could share this part of my life. They host my passion to share and enthusiastically celebrate life on its terms. In this place, encouragement and support abound. Without hesitation, it is the solid ground upon which to plant my author’s feet as I grow into the writer I am destined to become.
At the end of the day, we all need COMMUNITY.
 https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/community; 2 [mass noun]
The silent thief of magical possibilities…
Core strengthening exercise for the soul
DISCLAIMER: IF YOU HAVE NOT BELIEVED IN THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, ASKED HIM INTO YOUR HEART, AND PUT YOUR TRUST IN HIM … THIS MESSAGE IS NOT FOR YOU!
Our temples are so much more than just flesh. As NT Believers we are now the “Temple of God” in the same way that the Nation of Israel had a “Temple” where they went to be in the presence of God and to worship God.
Accordingly, defiling the temple holds greater meaning when we look at how the Anti-Christ will be in opposition to EVERYTHING GODLY & CHRIST-LIKE by seating himself in the temple in Jerusalem and beckoning people to come worship him.
The Anti-Christ’s actions are in direct relation to Lucifer’s desire and push to be “like the Most High” [Isaiah 14:13-14]. This bold move was then, and remains now, an abomination in God’s eyes and bears bringing to remembrance. Anytime, and in any way, we elevate ourselves or put anyone or anything in a position in our lives as an object of worship or to glorify it, we have set up an abomination in God’s eyes.
For NT Believers, our body indwells the Holy Spirit and we are now the Temple of God. We have to ask ourselves in what ways 1) do we, 2) have we, 3) are we polluting God’s temple (taking into ourselves: body, mind, spirit); and, 4) what or 5) who have we given more superiority in our life over God?
God’s Temple is the place where He gets all the praise and glory due His Name!
In Jesus’ name I pray …
Every day I am reminded of how much I need you in these evil days. There is chaos and murder and abuses and governmental injustices that abound. My heart is tender; if I didn’t know where my help and strength comes from (Psalm 18:2), I would crumble in my emotions and spirit as one dead.
The greatest anguish that presses against my sanity is the PAIN being played out all around the WORLD. It is the sorrows, the famines, the hatreds, the brutalities that would destroy me, if I did not know that THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN WITH A PLAN FAR GREATER THAN ANYTHING I CAN IMAGINE.
All of these destructive shenanigans are just part of what You, Lord, are using in your MASTER PLAN FOR YOUR KINGDOM TO COME. So, I take my burdens to you, Lord. I cast my FEAR upon your throne, because in all HONESTY, I know there is NOTHING ELSE I CAN DO but turn to the ONE who holds all the power (Matthew 28:18). I remind myself that your ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8), and that you, Lord, are a GOOD SHEPHERD (John 10:11) who watches diligently over his flock.
This is my comfort … he who began a good work in me (Philippians 1:6), shall perform it. I will cast my cares upon you (Psalm 55:22) because only you can sustain me in these perilous times. My hope lies not in man or woman or child or government, but in the ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD (1 John 5:20). My peace is made sure by my total dependence upon you and no one or nothing else (John 14:27). And, when I lay me down to sleep, I will fear no evil because you are with me (Psalm 23:4).
I will rejoice and praise thee with my whole heart (Psalm 9:1) because you are MY GOD, MY STRENGTH, MY PROVIDER, MY STRONG TOWER, MY HOPE, MY EVERLASTING LIFE! Because you are with me always (Matthew 28:20), I will take shelter under your wings.
THANK YOU, FATHER, FOR THE BIRTH, DEATH & RESURRECTION
OF YOU SON, WHO DIED FOR MY SINS, THAT I MIGHT HAVE LIFE!
In Jesus’ name, I pray!
To God be the Glory, Forever and Ever, AMEN!
I posted the below image today (August 1, 2019). My heart has been a little heavy lately, much of which I chalk up to watching news channels! Ughhh … there was a reason I unplugged from TV 10 years ago.
But, I’d like to start some conversations about what Christians, and any decent human being with a compassion heart, can do to help those who struggle to get past hurts and wounds to their spirit, their mind, and their souls.
I believe in the power of Prayer – yet, I know there is something to be added to that. So my question is:
- How do react to a wounded soul?
- If you are one who runs for the hills after such an encounter, do you leave the “why” behind as food for thought?
- If you are one who willingly sticks around in hopes of applying some type of healing antidotes, what are some of the methods you use to administer the wound care?
Maybe something you do or don’t may help another think of other options.
Life will end one day, so I just want to say…
I can’t help but love you because I am a part of you. Your DNA courses through my veins until my flesh returns to the dust. See, even though I never had your name, I had your blood. Yet, I hate that you chose to be absent from my life for so very long.
As a kid growing up, ease dropping on adult conversations, I couldn’t help but wonder who I looked like. I knew that my sister looked like her dad; that my cousins looked like their moms and dads; and, that I looked like you. Only problem was – I’d never seen you, let alone spoken to you. You were the unspoken half of me.
I don’t know if you ever realized how affected I was as a child, growing up unable to connect with the missing part of me. My identity was tied to you, and I was left feeling incomplete without you. You were the idol of my childhood dreams; a combination of nightmares and wonderful daydreams.
I guess the hardest part is that I just didn’t understand. How could I; I was just a child. But as I grew up, what separated us could never be reconciled in my heart as justified. See, AT&T was a norm when I was born; and the services only got better with time.
I wanted someone to blame, but they were non-existent. Mom didn’t bad mouth you to me; she just never talked about you to me. Then, when the silence was finally broken … I had already tossed you out into the sea of emotions and allowed you to drift outside my care. Maybe I was too good at hiding how much I cared or maybe, after 11 years, she didn’t know where/how to start that conversation. But to be fair, you could have started that conversation on your own.
Be honest with me? Did you ever think of me once the dye had been cast? I was the fruit of your loins, borne of your passion. Did I cease to be of interest so soon after the demise of what was? I was made to choose one parent when I would have chosen you both regardless of the relationship’s death. I had enough in me to love you both equally.
It’s too sad we wasted so much of the little time we were given. I can think of a thousand and one things I would have loved to have filed away in my memory chest. Unfortunately, I have to settle for the small parts I was given because they are priceless when compared to having nothing.
I could spend a lifetime crying over what could have been. Instead, I’ve chosen to cherish the minuscule discovery moments of the you I came to realize in me. Holding your hand, laughing at your jokes, looking into your beautiful brown eyes, relishing the memories of time spent in your presence. I can hear you now, whispering about things you thought I was too innocent to understand, wanting to protect my tender soul from the realities of your world.
There is no longer an identity hole in my life. It had long since been covered over by time. In the end, my prayers were answered. As I sat beside you, the knowledge of your final search for me was an overwhelmingly mix of both joy and sadness. I know you loved me the best way you knew how; the best way you could.
Now, like you, I am at peace with your absence. For my hope is fulfilled in believing we will share in eternity what we were never able to share here on earth … unity, as one, in Christ.
In the end, I still loved you, Chico…
Excerpt from “I Just Want to Say…” by Wanda Murry © July 24, 2019. All rights reserved.
When does the bleeding stop?
When does the ache fade?
When does the memory disappear into oblivion?
I wish I had the answer, but I don’t. All I have is a heart that prays, and a pen that showers words upon pages … waxing poetic upon the mind … and Emotionally Charged:
CRY NOT, MY SISTAH!
Cry not my Sistah, for you are not alone.
The hardships in this life were not made for you to own.
Cry not my Sistah, for I’ve seen your many tears.
I know your weeping in the night has been for many years.
Cry not my Sistah, for I know how hard you continually try.
Yet, no matter your will, some things still pass you by.
Cry not my Sistah, for your inner strength remains.
The broken dreams cannot deny what you have gained.
Cry not my Sistah, for I also hear your prayers.
How I wish to convince you that somebody out here cares.
Cry not my Sistah, for the burdens that weigh you down.
A beautiful smile is waiting, in time, to replace your frown.
Cry not my Sistah, for your best is never in vain.
Our God is a witness to the scars of your pain.
I tell you to cry not my Sistah, for it will be okay.
A time will come when all your misery will wash away.
The strength of your character will provide all you need.
Time will come be the rewarder for all your good deeds.
And all your troubles will vaporize into the distant past.
Just continue with faith in the Lord; remaining steadfast.
The Journey: Women are expected to multi-task (family, work, & more). Though equipped helpers, remember, even God rested from his labors.
~page 16, from my book, “Emotionally Charged“~
Sisters, in those moments when you feel most unloved, alone, or afraid, encourage yourself with the words of this song by Switch, and KNOW that you are GOD’S: