Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Death Did Come...

 ... though for me, I know not precisely when.  

I awoke this morning, thinking about the piano.  

The piano, of all things.  

As I laid in bed, I felt God leading me back to what truly seems like another lifetime.  My mind thought, "This is nonsense."  But my spirit wanted to take the journey, so journey we did.

I could see myself back in time, sitting at the piano as a young girl, playing and singing my heart out. In my lifetime, I have had three people, who I can recall, who encouraged my musical talent. My mother, an all-encompassing stalwart of support through the years.  A church youth leader who said my voice was more beautiful than that of a song bird. (It's not, but it's striking to me how I am able to recall his exact phrase now forty years later.)  And lastly, my eighth grade chorus instructor, who said I had pipes to fill an auditorium.   

What happened to that girl?

Too much to recount here, but the most persistent wearing agent: marriage.

As morbid as it sounds, I am understanding more and more that the day I married, I began to die. 

I'm not referencing the carnal death the Word encourages, but my soul's death.  

I know I am not an isolated occurrence, but I have fought more than a day's worth of thoughts, such as "Shouldn't we have been different? Didn't we know better?  Didn't we both know we had to sow into one another?  Isn't that why we married in the first place, to become everything in Christ He intended us to be?" 

I thought so. I hoped so. 

Nevertheless, deliberate destructive patterns were upheld, even defended.  I permitted myself to become all but forgotten. I'm not speaking of values, focus, or resolve. I'm speaking of the essence of me. Dreams and unfiltered emotions were exchanged for methods of survival from what seemed to be constant conflict and disregard.  

A bitter fact of life: choices are, by and large, understood through the lens of retrospection. 

Someone once said, "It's easy to mistake sorrow for despair. It's not. Authentic hope is found in sorrow, not by avoiding it." 

I agree. I spent years, decades in fact, with despair being my bedfellow, but now I spend my days making emotional space for sorrow, and I am finding personal hope again; rediscovering my essence as God leads me down a path to collect the discarded, forsaken, forgotten pieces of me. 

It's amazing what space is discovered when one gets off another's loop. 

I'm looking forward to making friends with me again. I have apologized to her for neglecting, and at times, all out ignoring, her cries for help, for acknowledgement, for nurture, for acceptance, for love ...for looking to my marriage to give that which it elected not to give. 

Religion is a monster.  It keeps wives discounted and marginalized with erroneous theology "for the sake of another."  The enemy is a pro at using Scripture to keep the well-intentioned spouse in man-made shackles. 

My freedom came when I heard Jesus whisper, "Deborah, I am not asking you to die for this when I already did."  Even now, tears well up at such profound Love as He.  

He is God. I am not. Yet, I matter.   

I matter.

Where religion held captive, relationship in Him set free.

He woke me recently, "Deborah, I want you completely unfettered."

I knew not then to the measure I know now, and greater still tomorrow, just how much my being craves this. 

We thrash about in shackles too numerous to fully identify, from the confines of religion to those of willful sin, when He deeply desires to set us free....FREE.

Through the years I have sat with Him and asked, "How do YOU take it day after day?  The betrayal, the idolatry, the wounding?"  

Though He has never answered me, I have seen Him smile that gentle smile of His, filled with compassion and understanding.  

He gets it because: "He was (is) despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned (turn) our backs on Him and looked (look) the other way. He was (is) despised and we did not (do not) care."  (Isa 53:3)

I'll never know why we persist on destructive paths of indifference, even as shackles rip at our being.

Death did come... too, His resurrection... 

.................and because of His, I have the hope of mine.  🤍

Monday, February 14, 2022

"Hope Maketh Not Ashamed”

Today, many will celebrate.

Today, many will grieve.

I never cease to be amazed at the human spirit's propensity to love, break, yet love again.

Thoreau wrote, “There is no remedy for love but to love more.”

Indeed both Love and love, that which is both true and pure, being derived from Love, are mysteries that leave us breathless; capitulation to what we know and what we think we know, what we feel and what we think we feel, and between it all, there abides this deep sense, a resonating awareness, we hardly know anything at all about either.

I will not belabor this post with unrequired length, yet simply say my heart and my purpose this morning is to encourage every heart, whether it be elated or downcast.

Take the time to read Jeremiah 31. (Found here)

Let it be a love letter from God Himself to His people.

If you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, it is to you. If you do not know Him as such, may the words stir in you, drawing you ever closer to the only One who can satisfy so completely the longing of the heart, putting both soul and mind to rest.

“...hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us...” Romans 5:5

May Love find you, hold you, heal you, and fill you today. 🤍

Friday, February 11, 2022

Is God Your Alpha and Omega?

I have two scenarios I would like to share with you:

Scenario One:

“Johnny, stop antagonizing your brother!”

In scenario one, what is your very first thought?

What is your frame of reference; your perspective?

Is Johnny, in your mind, automatically guilty of doing what he is accused of doing?

Was he, in your mind when you read that simple statement, antagonizing the brother?

Was he asking for it?

Or maybe in your scenario Johnny was minding his own business, and the brother, wanting Johnny's attention, smacked him or pinched him or whacked his glasses off his nose. Johnny hollered out against the injustice, but caught both the corrective attention and the flack.

Clearly we have a ruckus going on that has garnered parental correction.

Two kids, one stimulus (the 'whatever' that sparked the disagreement), two opposing reactions.

Again: perspective.

Recognize that disagreements innately have differing perspectives.

The point is not to “die on a molehill," trying to sell my perspective to you in a disagreement, nor you to me.  

If I attempt such foolery, I will not succeed because the fact is two people cannot wear the exact same pair of glasses at the same time. In addition, even the slightest differences in the glasses (backgrounds, beliefs, wills, desires, opinions) yield different perspectives. So whatever transpired to spark the disagreement innately has two different pairs of glasses that prevent ever fully seeing eye to eye.

Regardless of who started the disagreement, chances are unless Johnny works to see why his brother did 'whatever,' he will see his brother as “the cause.” Likewise, the brother, unless he works to see why Johnny did 'whatever' he did, will see Johnny as “the cause.”

Enter the parent, who hopefully, will coach BOTH brothers to inspect where they, as individuals, strayed from the preservation of unity within the family, while not permitting nor accepting the infamous words of “Yeah, but he made me do (fill in the blank)!”

None of us are going to progress towards Christ-likeness (the goal) until we stop the bickering and the accusations, and listen to our Father, who will no doubt put HIS finger upon the SIN issues in BOTH offenders who are train-wrecking Body unity.

No one needs to know the exact details of the rift between Johnny and his brother to understand both wills were exalted to an unhealthy level where injustice finally cried out. 

And if you are a parent, you know the fact is you will NEVER know exactly the path that lead to your parental intervention, even if you ask a thousand questions because Johnny and his brother are both fallible and fixed in their perspectives.


Those two words change everything..... if we let them.

Scenario Two:

Two dogs are sitting at a glass front door. One begins to crazy bark. One silently sits. You get up to see what's going on. A passerby is walking down the sidewalk.

Clearly we have a ruckus going on that has garnered parental correction.

Two dogs, one stimulus, two different reactions.

(Oh, let me mention the crazy barker is eight months old, and the silent observer is twelve years old with both hearing and sight still fully intact.)


What's going on at the front door is a revelation concerning maturity. The older dog has learned a few things in his years. He's learned self-control. He's had his mind and his body trained to not respond to every stimulus that passes by. He's learned, by and large, to live and let live. If it isn't coming at him as a direct threat, he's content to enjoy the world around him for what it is. He's learned to rest in his master's leadership and correction. He's an enjoyable soul to be around. He exhibits safety, smarts, and composure.

Now, everyone loves a puppy. But we all know puppies must be trained, corrected, and encouraged towards change, towards maturity. We want them to be housebroken as soon as possible. We want them to learn to chew on what's theirs and only what is theirs. And while we correct behavior, what we really are after is internal composure.

External composure indicates internal composure, otherwise known as self-control.

Likewise, external mayhem indicates internal mayhem.

Ever see an untrained adult dog? They remain like that puppy at the door long after puppy hood departs.... still reacting to every stimulus that passes by. They are unruly on walks and generally put off an air of being unsafe. You just never know what you're going to receive from them: a lick or a bite.

We ALL have a responsibility within the Body of Christ to grow in self control; to NOT be the permanent “adult” puppy who runs around self-centeredly, crashing into the world around them, with destructive tendencies, possessing the ability to lay a hurtin' on anyone who appears to be a threat.

Understanding that no one else is responsible for our individual behavior and sin choices is the first step towards sanctification in Christ. 

Simply put, own your life.

No one, BUT YOU,  is responsible for your walk, your choices, your behavior, your sin, your moods, your internal composure. 

Finger-pointing and projecting did not work in the Garden nor at any other point in history since; it does not work now.

We, individually, are responsible for our own choices, our own actions, which are anchored in either a pure heart bent towards God or an evil heart opposing God. Period.

That said, actions do bear consequences - inescapable consequences - that for the maturing Christian registers and usually halts unwise action. But for the eternal puppies, the ones who simply refuse correction towards change and growth, well, life deals to them degrees of pain, and unfortunately Body pain – because no sin is confined to a bubble.

Ever see an old dog being harassed by a puppy? I have. Actually this second scenario is real, from inside my home currently. When our puppy bounces around, over, and under our twelve year old dog, the twelve year old, if not in the mood to play, will find me - puppy actively nipping at his heels all the way to me - and will give me the hard eye with a nonverbal stare of “Do something!” He knows me to be alpha. He knows I will intervene. He is at rest in my leadership.

Disagreements are a part of the human condition.

Simply put: they are going to happen.


Differing perspectives are a part of the human condition.

Simply put: they are a given.


Differing degrees of maturity are a part of the human condition.

Simply put: they are going to exist. 


When the two individuals, who disagree, having differing perspectives, BOTH take the disagreement into the presence of The Alpha, Omega comes. (The End.... of disagreement, disunity, disharmony, immaturity.)

Understand, in His presence, there is NO alternative.

He is the embodiment of unity.

He is the embodiment of reconciliation.

We all must ask ourselves:

1) "How important is my perspective?" Worth disunity?  Will your behavior garner His correction?

2) "Am I conducting myself in such a manner as to display maturity, regard, and  safety; or immaturity, disregard, and harm?"  Will your behavior garner His correction?

Ultimately, we are not after behavior modification, but a heart shift; and that ONLY comes from abiding in His presence. Again, He doesn't just promote unity.... He IS unity; he doesn't just promote reconciliation...He IS reconciliation.   He IS to be our very personal, very intimate Alpha who is also our very personal, very intimate Omega!

I hope these two scenarios provoke deep reflection concerning your own walk. Let there be a walk of deep introspection as you weigh what I have shared here. Ask the Lord for understanding that extends beyond your own to that of HIS!

Certainly no one is suggesting sin nor immaturity be glossed over or excused, but we are not to stoop to rants or retaliations.  Neither are we to go in the opposite direction of disengaging because we disagree or get offended or don't get our way.  These behaviors are childish and are not the marks of a maturing Christian.

No, our responsibility is to keep our eyes on JESUS, as our Alpha and our Omega, being willing to have our character turned inside out before Him so He can remove spot and blemish, as OUR part in sanctifying and preserving the unity of the Body.

Keep your eyes on your walk, and if disagreements arise – which they will – be quick to go into the Throne Room of Grace so your Alpha can also show Himself to be your Omega!  


Monday, January 31, 2022

Happy: Too Often The Enemy's Bait

"We discovered we get along so much better being apart. It was amicable. I'm happy." 

"I got so tired of fighting the urges. I just got it one day; I had to have been born this way. I'm happy." 

I hear or read comments similar to the ones above so frequently now I do believe there is a pandemic, but it's an attack on the soul. 

Have we forgotten so completely that we were REborn into a fight? 

Every human being longs to be happy. We spend hard earned money in the pursuit of it. Everything from a barista cup of coffee, to a delicious meal, to a snazzy new outfit, to a vacation, and on and on it goes. It seems the totality of mankind is on some constant endorphin hunt. 

We, as Christians, were not reborn into God's family to do as the world. We are not supposed to continue the constant carnal endorphin hunt! While God intends us to enjoy aspects of pleasure along the way, we are not to forfeit His standard for "happy"! We were reborn into God's family primarily to FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH. 

That means taking on words like endure, perseverance, discernment; looking past your happiness to see the tactics of the enemy AND deciding NOT to participate in his plan. 

Happy is his bait. He knows we all long for it. 

Time is our Achilles heel. We want whatever.... be it an object, a resolution, peace, change.... NOW. All he has to do, what he has been doing since the Garden, is be there when we so-call reach the proverbial end of our rope. 

I truly am stunned and alarmed at the number of people so easily giving in to his ploys. Your emotions nor frankly your weariness are to dictate your dedication to God. 

Time and again, God tells us IF we walk with Him, seeking Him first.... (and let me just say here that is NOT code for Him joining your page, your petition, your ways....shame on us for attempting to stoop the Creator to a subsurvatant level)... He will grant to us whatever we lack to fulfill our part in the Fight. 

Yesterday, a dear friend of mine said, "Yeah, people look at us with this air of 'lighten up'." My response to those people? Tighten up! Reign in your impulses and your carnality, and remind yourself Christ died NOT for your frivolity! 

I'll leave you with this speech from Rocky and a passage from Philippians. When I read Rocky's speech recently, I could not help but hear chords of God's heart for His people. He says similar words to me regularly, and I imagine He says similar words to you. By evidence though, fewer and fewer are listening, and even fewer are heeding God's encouragement to stay in the Fight, being dedicated to uphold His standard.

"Let me tell you something you already know; the world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place. And I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers, saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or nobody! Cowards do that! And that ain't you! You're better than that! I'm always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens, You're my son and you're my blood. You're the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself (in Christ), ya ain't gonna have a life." ( The words "in Christ" I added for the purpose of Christian resonance.) 

"Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved....Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. Yet I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..... Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress."Phil 4 

Don't fall for the bait of pursuing "happy" and foreit the eternal prize that comes from enduring and persevering. 

As Ben Stuart said so aptly recently, "You were not set free from struggle. You were set free TO struggle." 

Be found NOT with a cool drink on a beach lounger, but armored up, wisely assessing your enemy, willing to go all the way for the One who went all the way for you! 

It's so easy to quit. Many, many "happy" quitters these days. 

Be an endurer. Be a finisher. For Him. 
Ever, only, always for Him. ❤️

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Sow Your Expectations

The reality is if you want the best, sow the best. 

Hold yourself to a higher present standard if you want life to be better in the future. 

One thing is absolutely for certain: betterment of anything does not happen without great effort.

Ever heard of entropy?  It is the literal current in which we all swim. 

"A tendency in nature for systems to proceed toward a state of greater disorder or randomness." 

So, if you exert little to no effort in your daily life, do not be surprised when your job, your relationships, and even your bank balance are not what you hoped them to be. 

Laziness will be evident in your hiding the lack of fruit.... but take courage, so too will hard working stewardship be evident by the fruit IT bears!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Run With Haste

For as long as I can remember back, I have had a craving to know God. One of the many stories my mother has reminded me of more than once in my fifty years is how exuberantly I responded to the pastoral Sunday morning altar calls.... often...very often.  She says I had a crush on the pastor. I do recall his kind countenance, but honestly, I remember fear far more.  Not of the pastor, but rather fear at just how woefully ill-equipped  I was to navigate LIFE alone.

Life is daunting, overwhelmingly so when one quiets themselves long enough to go face to face, toe to toe, with the fact we have zero control outside of our soul. I don't need to look past the housing of my soul (ie: my body) for confirmation of the zero-factor; I do not even control the ability to take my next breath.

Yet, God did gift to me and to you one hundred percent control over our soul which is comprised of three facets; the mind (thoughts), the will, and the emotions. 

Slow your row for a moment. Take more than a moment right now to think on those three facets and how you permit them to influence you each and every day.  

The mind.

The will.

The emotions.

Now here's the million dollar question?  Do you live "willy-nilly" out of any one or more of those three? 

Do you let your own thoughts dictate to you what is truth, what is right?  "What I think is..."

Do you let your will dictate what you will be doing today?  "What I want to do...."

Do you let your emotions dictate the mood you find yourself in even now? "What I feel is..."

If you do, you are being robbed, duped, living subpar.

Our soul apart from the Captain WILL BE a lethal foe to us, destroying our destiny right down to our quality of life.  You and I were NEVER meant to captain ourselves. 

Seriously, think on that.  The created knowing what, how, and when to do anything apart from the Creator is utter foolishness, but how many people proceed following themselves daily - whatever thought pops into their head, they run with it - whatever their to do list demands, they run with it - whatever emotion they wake up to, they run with it.  Not so much as even taking a pause to ask God, "What do You want of me today?"  

God beckons us, "Come to Me - you who are weary."

The one thing I have found that wearies me quicker than anything else is if I roll out of bed with my soul being in charge.  It's a deliberate move on my part as I sit with God in the early morning to hand over my soul, asking Him to correct it. I don't have the pretense that I can do it apart from Him. 

Some days, there might be an arrow or two the enemy fires off at me right from the beginning. Other days, it is an all out assault.  On days that I fail to mindfully hand over my soul it is blatantly apparent to everyone I encounter.  (Word: It is blatantly apparent of your life too.) 

He has provided the solution for you and for me, but we have to act on it. I must come to Him with the understanding I am nothing apart from Him and I can do nothing - including direct myself - apart from Him. Second, in Ephesians, we find the passage concerning the putting on of the Armor of God.  There has to be a deliberate mindfulness of putting it on EVERY day just as there is a deliberate mindfulness putting on of my natural clothes EVERY day.  It does not simply occur. Only after taking these two steps can I have the hope of proceeding in the direction HE desires.

As we begin this new year, deep in my soul I ache to know Him more.  I sat with Him this morning with a prayer, "Lord, I want to be even more mindful of You this year than last, even more instep with You. I so desperately want to know You; how You are on any given day. Let this year be more about You and less about me, please."

I don't know about you, but the older I get, the more I understand both the need and the blessing of leaning on Him for my everything.  But the greater treasure that this life tends to rob us from exploring to great depths is knowing Him...not knowing about Him.... but knowing Him; discovering what brings Him joy, what brings Him sadness His heart hurting, if so I want to know... is His heart happy, if so I want to know.  I so desire to line my soul up greater still, such that I am in sync with Him and He with me.  How about you?   (Word: Part of that challenge is holding up - surrendering - to Him what we think we already know about Him. Remember, our soul is our worst hinderance apart from His Captainship.)

As I sat this morning, I smiled at the little girl I was so long ago, making haste down the aisle to the altar to her God.  She knew then what she knows now: life apart from Him is all over the place and profoundly empty and meaningless. What a gift it is to be able to hand our soul over to Him!

I pray your 2021 will be a year of mindfulness; how you walk and with whom you walk. 

"Though none go with me, still I will follow...."   

Lead on, Lord! With haste, I'm still running to You.... Your forever daughter! ♡

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Difficult or Destructive?

Do we all know the difference between a difficult marriage (which is every marriage) and a destructive one? Do we?

As a Christian, I ask my fellow Christians the question because I do not believe we do.

I want to give you three excellent "tools".  The first is a meaty video that will help in identifying which relationship you have. It is an important first step. I believe everyone in a relationship - even those desiring a relationship - should take the time to hear it all the way through.  It will set your mental wheels to spinning both in the now and the future so you can more readily recognize the warning signs of a difficult relationship transforming into a destructive one.  The second tool is brief and pointed.  I wholeheartedly agree that selfishness is THE component that turns a difficult marriage into a destructive one. And the third tool is a wonderful teaching on "men covering women", what it looks like, and the cost of such a relationship, keeping in the very forefront the Truth: "Apart from Me, you can do nothing!" John 15:5

None of us are in totality devoid of selfishness this side of Glory. As a result, we, as Christians, must be on guard against the mentality "what's in it for me."  Asking that question is not what defines a destructive marriage, but it does define humanity in its degenerate state.

A significant mark of the Christian is actively putting to death the degenerate self by seeking the care of those in our lives more than that of ourselves.

Ask the tough questions!
Seek the tough answers!
Do what is RIGHT!