Regrets, I’ve had a few….

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A chruch in Kecskemét, Hungary

Sometimes we get the opportunity to redo something we haven’t done well but more often than not we are left with an experience that helps make a better decision in the future.

There is a lot of wisdom to be gained from experience if we pay attention. I have some regrets, of course. I think if we are honest, we all do. Some of my regrets relate to missed opportunities, relational foibles (relationships are my Achilles’ heel), things I have done, and things I wish I wouldn’t have done. And there are some things that I wouldn’t change because, while they may not have been fun to go through, they helped shape and mold me into the person I am.

As I learn and grow, I also change. And so I might look back and think “Oi! I wish I wouldn’t have done that!” It also developed something in my person or strengthened my relationship with God or brought something (or someone) else into my life that I really treasure. Things are so crazily interconnected that it isn’t always to isolate a decision or a path and wish to eliminate the difficulties it brought and not also see how the experience could be a blessing to someone else in some way.

God can do that – take a bad move and make something good come out of it.

Have you ever thought about forgiving yourself? Have you walked the process of giving all of your past, all of your present, and all of your future to God and asking Him to use it all?

  • the stupid stuff
  • the evil stuff
  • the selfish stuff
  • the reckless stuff
  • the “I was clueless” stuff
  • the “I can’t believe I did that” stuff
  • the “I sure caused a lot of pain to the people I love with that activity” stuff
  • the “I blew it” stuff
  • the “I can’t believe I didn’t notice that” stuff

On the way,

Liz

The Broken Road

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The path through a bog in Transylvania

As sinners in a sin full world, we all find ourselves on a broken road. I have a tendency to put good shoes on so I don’t get hurt even though I know I will need to travel down a road. But there are others who fling off every possible protection and run down that broken road, ignoring the glass shards and rusty nails.

These days, I am more cautious…or maybe it is just that I don’t like extra pain.

Do you know someone who seems to always choose the broken road? Be sure to pray for them regularly. If you are in a healthy space yourself and in a position to connect with them, consider that too. They likely need a friend like you, even if they won’t admit it. But you really have to be in a good space to do that so be careful. And know your limitations.

Sometimes we can get caught up in the cycle of brokenness until everything and everyone around us is destroyed. Addiction can do that. Unfortunately, one bad move can jetset us “down the rabbit hole” into chaos and confusion.

Jesus heals the broken — which is each and every one of us and coming to terms with our own brokenness allows us the compassion for others in theirs. It might be easy to think, “I never would have chosen that road.” Except you might have, had your life had a little different look to it.

I am thankful that God is in the business of healing brokenness. Understanding my own need for His mercy and forgiveness helps me be more patient with others in their time of need.

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
    and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
    and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
    and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
    you who are God my Savior,
    and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
    to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
    in burnt offerings offered whole;
    then bulls will be offered on your altar. [Psalm 51 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

 

 

True North

When navigating a ship to a destination, it is critically important to pay attention to the integrity of the vessel, the charts, the weather, and making sure the crew is capable and able to do their job. It’s a huge responsibility. Going off course due to external forces or internal issues is a serious matter. It happens to

  • Businesses
  • Churches
  • Educational institutions
  • Marriages
  • Families
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • You
  • Me

Have you ever woken up on a particular day and wondered how you got where you were? Sometimes it is by not-so-careful planning. Being off course, even just a little, over a long period of time can really put you in a place you were not intending. How does one stay oriented to True North?

There are so many distractions in life that try to sway me off course. Of course, there are the things of this world that are shiny and fun. Then there are the ugly things of this world that cause me to really wonder about humanity. And then there are the things inside of me that I fight to get out of my life. Or the good things I fight to have in my life like:

  • Prayer
  • Bible Study
  • Gathering with other believers
  • Membership in a healthy congregation
  • Service
  • Confession
  • Forgiveness
  • Accountability
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Holy Communion

God has good gifts for us that draw us closer to Him, strengthen us for the journey, and keep us oriented. The tools are there to help us stay the course but we need to use them.

Heavenly Father ~ Grant us the courage and strength to use the tools You have given us! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

On the Road,

Liz

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The Judas Kiss

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. Matthew 26:48-50

Have you ever been connected with someone who flattered you with kisses (or something similar) only to have them turn on you later?

If you have ever experienced it you know it is quite unpleasant. When I have been in this type of situation I wonder where was my discernment? Why was I vulnerable to fall for something like that?

Who does that to people?

Plenty do.

But knowing that this happened to Jesus helps. Betrayal happens.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Of course, our betrayal experiences do not compare with those of Jesus but it is good to know that pain we feel – He can relate. And God can use it for a greater good.

The sooner you can forgive a betrayer the better off you will be. But just don’t expect that to be something you can do without Jesus. He is the one who makes forgiveness possible.

On the Road,

Liz

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Unforgettable Moments

sunsetwIf you are on Facebook, you might have caught a posting or two of adults in the stands at a ballgame snatching a ball out of the hands of a young child and being very satisfied that they had scored the prize. Caught on video, this “moment in time” of someone being jerky gets replayed and replayed and replayed for the world to see.

Ever been so caught up in the moment you cannot believe how you behaved?

I have.

And while there might not be actual footage of it posted on Facebook to watch over and over and over, rest assured, I often hit the replay button in my own mind.

atonewSometimes it is so hard to remember that I am forgiven!

And if I don’t make a point of surrounding myself with reminders, well, I get caught up in the memories of my sins. These painful reminders can be good because they nudge me to be humble and gracious to others who may be struggling because there are times I have a tendency to forget my own sins and get really frustrated about someone else’s. But, if I get stuck in “replay” mode on my own situation, it can be disastrous.

I have some memories that I won’t soon forget. As long as I don’t get stuck there, it can be a good thing.

On the Road,

Liz

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Where are you going?

WHERE are you going?

Where are YOU going?

Where are you GOING?

 

Emphasis makes a big difference in each of those questions. Sometimes we don’t necessarily have an end goal in mind–we are just out and about. Sometimes it’s ok to not know the destination because, truth be told, we often think we have a place where we will end up and we are really disappointed when we don’t ever get there. Or we don’t get there the way we imagined we would.

Sometimes we strive for a goal and find we never get there because we took the wrong path or we had a misinformed goal. For example, if one grows up in a family with a lot of tension or sadness due to money struggles, one might think that amassing a lot of money will lead us to “happiness”. It rarely works that way.

Where do you hope to be and how do you think you might get there?

It is always good to think about our life’s direction in general, but the Lenten season is a great time to consider if we have strayed off the path of forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, service, prayer, kindness, sacrifice, self-control, or [fill in the blank]. Drifting away a bit may not seem so bad when we can see the road but we can quickly lose sight of the road altogether. Sometimes we need to “reset”, get re-oriented, and start again.

GOD’S WORD informs our LIFE and impacts the decisions we make.

So let’s get informed! What does God have to say? Grab your Bible or download a Bible App on your phone. Look for a verse or two you might want to commit to memory during this Lenten season. Write it out on an index card, in your journal, or make a digital image so you can have it on your phone. I would love to see your verse and if you do anything creative with it. Of course, being creative isn’t the point but pondering it is! When we take the time to read God’s Word, ponder, and pray, He changes us. And, we likely will find a new perspective on our travels–both on  where we are going and where we have been.

So, where ‘ya headed?

~ Liz

Quick note: Don and I will be “on the road” and I will be posting things as we travel. We would appreciate your prayers for a safe journey!

 

 

 

PrayerPoint ~ Letting Go and Living

I don’t know about you, but there are times in my life I have held on to things for far too long…

A pair of pants I wore many moons (and sizes ago).

A momento from an old flame.

A wound from a friend.

Disappointment in myself.

Last year, I had the opportunity to help a family member do some purging. If you know me well, you might be laughing because you know I have some purging of my own to do. And I actually am getting around to doing just that! But the stuff seems to multiply quickly if I am not proactive and intentional.  I often set things aside to deal with later and then, when later finally comes around, the opportunity or need has passed. Well, at least, when I make my next pass, it might be easier to toss!

Sometimes I hold onto things because they are interesting, I need to know more about it so I can make a decision, or it is something that needs to be saved. Sometimes I hold onto an item that is simply too difficult to release for any number of reasons. Trust me, the person who has to sort through all your treasures after you die will be thankful if you don’t have lots of piles to sort through. Start purging!

But those old wounds?

Release them!

I don’t know that this can be done on your own.

I know I can’t do it on my own. 

But these things — they need to go! I am pretty sure they can suck the life right out of a person. You’ve seen people that are drained and depressed by old wounds. Their pain is evident.

Do I want to look like that? 

Do I want to LIVE like that?

I don’t.

I can’t.

I can’t because that isn’t living.

I need to place it all “At the Cross” and work through the process of forgiveness!

Below are the lyrics to a song that I have loved for quite some time. The melody is just as sweet.

I know a place, a wonderful place
Where accused and condemned
Find mercy and grace
Where the wrongs we have done
And the wrongs done to us
Were nailed there with Him
There on the cross

At the cross
He died for our sin
At the cross
You gave us life again

Are you holding onto something that you need to let go?