Month: February 2017

Marred Clay and the Perfect Vessel

One of my favorite articles I have ever written.

Footprints of a Legacy Left Behind

It was early 1977.  I was a student at Oak Harbor High School in Northwest Ohio and I remember this event without straining any of my 1970’s  damaged brain cells.  It was a Thursday afternoon and I was stuck right in the middle of art class.  That’s right….I said art class.   I finally admit publicly that I took art in high school.

Why I remember this so clearly is because I remember the music playing in class.  Mrs. Cherry was the art teacher.  She was young and made art fun.  More importantly, she played music in her class.  This day we were listening to “Wings Over America” by Paul McCartney and Wings.

Now… I would love to tell you that I was a good artist.   Also, I would love to tell you that I took the class to become a better artist.  But neither one of those reasons would…

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Truth is…

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Life has been interesting for the past several months.

I had surgery and was off work for a month or so.  It was the longest time I was off work since I graduated from college.  I thought I was going to be able to finish a project I have been writing.  I had been so inspired to write about growing up in a small town in Ohio.  Try to write short stories about those experiences and maybe one day put them together in book form for my grand kids to read one day.

It sounds so selfish and self-serving when I put that desire into words.

Truth is… I just have not been able to write.

Several times I was inspired but couldn’t bring myself to face the keys.

I have been distracted by other things.  Over things I have no control.

Elections, politics, rumors, marches, riots, hateful rhetoric, families fighting amongst each other and people posting things just to stir things up on social media.

Truth is… people really believe that all of this stuff is new.  It isn’t.

I am old enough to remember the late 1960’s.  Civil unrest… marches, riots on college campuses, racial wars and division, scandals, war in Vietnam, environmental groups that told us that we would no longer exist by the mid-eighties, Communism would over-take us by 1976 and if not, we would be wiped out by Russia’s nuclear bombs.   Fear was rampant.

Flash forward 40 years and history is repeating itself.  None of this is new.

Truth is… the biggest difference is social media. Instant postings of fear or support for individual preferences has caused so much division.

Yes… elections have consequences but those consequences are issues I cannot control.

Truth is… it is what it is… whether I like it or not.

Whatever those consequences are should point me to trust and deepen my faith in my God.  He is the one that is in control and the results from this election are not surprises to Him.

Never-the-less, I have let a lot of what I see on social media get to me.  It discouraged me and I let it affect me. I had to break away and un-follow and delete some friends and family.

Truth is… I have not posted who I supported in the election nor have I attacked anyone for their political perspective.  All I have said was that it is futile to post pro-Trump or anti-Trump posts because it changes nothing. I feel that posting political things on social media really changes nothing and all that does is cause division among friends and family.  

Truth is… I still feel that way.

So many people are so angry and hateful.  Some of these people have not had an actual  conversation with me in years, yet they attacked me like they know me and what I think.

Truth is… they don’t know me.

One of the things I was accused of being was a hypocrite. Acting one way in real life and then acting like a spiritual giant by what I wrote. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Truth is… I am keenly aware of my failures.

I am aware of who I am. I’m not always the person that I want to be or should be.  I slip, I fall, I make mistakes, and do things that I shouldn’t. My thoughts are not always the best, my words don’t always speak life, but I do thank God His mercies are new every morning.  

Truth is… my failures are just that, my failures. I will answer for them. I write about them. I always have. I also write about the grace of God. I write about forgiveness.  I write about my beliefs. I write and share my beliefs so you’ll know where I am coming from in any given situation, not in an attempt to force them down your throats because I believe “I am right and you are wrong.” 

Truth is… I’m not going to apologize for my relationship with the Lord. He knows me. He knows my failures. And while I answer to only One person for how I live my life, I have no desire to offend the masses in my process of living or writing.

I try to share what the Lord puts on my heart to write and I keep the rest of it to myself, which is why I do not post on a daily or even a weekly basis.

Truth is… it’s easy to focus on the negative. 

This morning, I was thinking about all of the things I wish were different about me, and although I believe it’s a good thing to be aware of our shortcomings and to bring them to God, it also occurred to me that if my focus is there too often, it can cause me to lose sight of the things in my life to be grateful for.  

Truth is… I am working on turning my gaze to the blessings in my life.  When I begin to think about those blessings, I realize that I didn’t do anything to deserve them.  They are just gifts God chose to give me.  image-axd

Truth is… it is the same with His gift of salvation.  Salvation is not something we can earn; God only asks that we believe in His Son.  It is something God extended to us because He loves us and wants to be in relationship with us.

Truth is… I do not claim or even secretly believe to know it all when it comes to living for the Lord. I am simply sharing with you how He’s leading me in the hope that it will encourage you and/or maybe you have some words of encouragement for me.

So friends, please, know that when I write I am sharing from my heart. I desire to be real with you about the struggles and the joy I find on this journey of life.

Even more so, it is about the faithfulness of God in the midst of it all.

Truth is… to me, that is what it means to be a part of the body of Christ.

You Don’t Know Me

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You don’t know me. 

You don’t know my thoughts.

You don’t know my dreams.

You don’t know my journey.

You don’t know me.

You don’t know my intentions.

You don’t know my story.

You don’t know what I have been through.

You don’t know me.

You  don’t know my pain.

You don’t know my reasons.

You don’t know who I am today.

You don’t know me.

You don’t know my heart.  

You don’t know my regret.

You don’t know what I love.

You don’t know me.

You don’t know my joy.

You don’t know my happiness.

You don’t know my success.

You don’t know me.

You don’t know what I have had to overcome.

You don’t know what it is like to walk in my shoes.

You don’t know my future.

You don’t know me.

But God does.

Grace Wins

I have been watching, reading and listening to the changes coming in our world.

The winds of change are brewing, and they whisper of a world ahead without grace.

Image result for GRace WInsIt’s evident in the culture around us. It’s a culture completely lacking grace.

The contrast between the secular world and Christianity is dramatic, and it’s very evident in this one area- grace.

The God of the Bible demonstrated His grace and love for man by becoming one of us, revealing Himself to us, dying for us, and offering us forgiveness of all our sins…simply because we ask in faith.

There is nothing else like it. A faith based on the grace and love of God, full of promise and hope.

All the work is done by God, not by us.

But we are in a time where the grace of God is denied, ridiculed and suppressed…it’s no longer the unbeliever we deal with, it’s the graceless curtain of anger and rage. 

Even by those that claim Christ.

How amazing that, in a world where God’s riches and grace are free, so many want to rage against the grace and love of God.

This is spiritual warfare at the highest levels.

And in this battle between the world and the grace of God… in the end, GRACE will win.

It always does.

 

Are You Sure?

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I almost shut down my blog last week.

I logged in, pushed the new post button out of rote memory, then I paused.

That screen… so familiar to me that it rarely looks blank to me.

I always see the completion of some words.

The cursor wasn’t tapping its foot impatiently, it was softly breathing, consistent in its repose.

The screen was just blank.

There was no life there.

I went to settings. I then pressed down on the delete button.

I asked myself…

Are you sure?

Remember when writing was so much fun?

Are you sure?

Remember why you started writing in the first place? Wasn’t it to ease the pain of failure that you created? Wasn’t the reason you wrote was to leave something behind for your family to read after you were gone?

Are you sure?

Could the reason be because they tried to silence you?

Cyber bully you?

With the weight of my heart holding down the cursor on the delete button,

I wandered through memories and possibilities of better days, maybe even better weeks ahead.

After 12 minutes of staring at the blank screen, without releasing the button, I slid the cursor away.

I almost shut down my blog last week.

On a whim.

I’ve thought about why ever since.

Thinking if it’d be different if I wasn’t so afraid of those three-words.

Are you sure?

Is anyone sure of anything?

Are you sure?

When I lay down at night, in my head, I hear the voices of stories past.

It never stops.

I hear the voices of loved ones.

I relive the events of my life.

My childhood, my faith, my success and my failure.

The good. The bad.

Who will tell their story?

I almost shut down my blog last week.

Lying in bed, thinking of the delete button I pressed.

Seeing memories that live inside my head, preserved in pieces of true moments.

Knowing that I cannot hide the truth of those memories.

Lies cannot be told in the memories and voices heard just before sleep.

Are you sure?

Are you sure?

I almost answered that question.

I almost shut my blog down last week.

On a whim.

Whims never carry me very far.

If I want to go anywhere specific,

I must write stories.

Sturdy, true stories, lined with perspective.  

If I want to go somewhere important,

I must share these stories with the people who live in my head.

I almost shut down my blog last week.

On a whim.

The button did not carry out it’s deed.

My cursor keeps breathing, softly, steadily, in repose.

The voices and memories will always return to fill my mind as I lay down to sleep.

Even so, words do not fill the page,

And I am sure of nothing.