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Better Not Bitter

Responding God's Way to Life's Challenges

Month

May 2016

Remembering the Good Times

I’m so grateful that God has allowed me to see another day!  Memorial Day can be the hardest time for so many every year.  Especially those who have lost a son or daughter in war…I’ve lost a lot of loved ones over the years  though not to war, it still doesn’t make their passing any easier.  What does make it easier is remembering the good times. Laughing out loud when I am confronted with a situation that mirrors the fun I shared with them.  I’ve been called a woos because it seems that I cry over every little sentimental thing on television or in person.

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I’m sensitive and I’m not ashamed of it, but lately I’ve found that my tears have new meaning when it comes to the thoughts of my mother, aunts, and uncles who’ve gone on to be with the Lord.  Now, I’ve found myself shedding tears of joy….not just because they are in a better place, but in remembrance of the times we shared together…we all seemed to be in a better place because we were together. My mother and I had our contentions for years, but some of the things she did and said were priceless! They will forever remain with me.  My brother sent me a video clip the other day of the way that he wakes up his daughter’s in the mornings with a song. The first one was a classic and the one I remember most. Mama used to do that.  “Wake up cried Paul Revere, shake a leg, shake a leg, shake a tuna fish leg!”

I doubt that I will ever forget that.  I don’t ever want to either. Who knew she was teaching us a history lesson?

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She seemed to make everything a song. It reassures me that while the mental illness that plagued her for so long even had to rest and allow her to be the loving person God created her to be some of the time. Today, I’m grateful for some of those times. ..some of those memories…some of those treasures.

So this Memorial Day, I invite you to take time out not to focus on the ones you’ve loss, but to focus on the ones you’ve loved.  And if by chance there’s was a rift that didn’t seem to get mended before their passing, forgive yourself and remember the good times.

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Regret Ruled Everything Around ME, but No More

This morning I woke up feeling some kind of way. And then I got a message from a friend on Facebook that got me on the track that I should have remained on from the beginning. This is what He sent.  Rather, I should say that this what God placed on his heart to send my way. The same string of thought is what had been in tears last night as well.  I was in tears of joy though because God allowed me to cleanse regrets from my system that I’d been harboring for way too long.  In fact, He allowed me to come across a sermon that showed me just how wrong my regret was in the beginning. …That conviction is not the same as regret that conviction is from a place of love and direction and regret is a form of self-hatred.  Yep, I said it self-hatred….that at times when we harbor regret we will find ourselves loving others more than we love ourselves. I didn’t think that was possible, but in retrospect, I know that is exactly what the majority of my life exemplified. Somewhere down the line, I began to view myself unworthy of the love I desired because I held onto the mistakes I’d made or mentally punished myself for the decisions I hadn’t.

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Since I have been trying to complete this memoir, I believe I’ve allowed regret to stifle my creativity. As it is, a memoir requires you to remember stages of life that in some cases you’d rather forget, but I understand that my remembering is paramount to its completion. If I need to forget anything, I suppose that would be where regret and I need to meet again. In fact, I’m sure that is the only way that our paths should meet again.

While I know  I do love myself, I have had those times…too many of them where I didn’t much like myself because of regret.  Regret I see now is completely toxic and I have no room for it in my life anymore. Sure, I will make mistakes and I have made mistakes, but as for regrets ruling everything around me from here on out, not anymore.

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Crawl if You Must

I was reminded tonight of a remarkable story of endurance. Maybe you’ve heard about it. Maybe not. It was a couple months ago about a runner from Kenya who ran a marathon in Texas, Hyvon Ngetich. In case you hadn’t heard about the runner, I’ll fill you in on it. She was roughly 2/10 of a mile from finishing the finish line and then all of a sudden her body gave way and she collapsed. She tried to get back up and run again and again, but kept falling. However, what struck me about this woman was that she never stopped even though her legs went out. Remarkably she crawled across over 400 meters to the finish line.

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It blows me away that she fought so hard until the end. She finished third place and because  of her tenacity, they increased her prize winnings to match that of the second place winner.  They had to give her a champion’s reward because of her perseverance.

This, I believe is the same thing we should expect to give and receive when we are on the path to destiny. God has promised us that we will get there, but He never said that it would be easy nor did He state that we would get there the way we think we should.  It reminds me of the time when Jesus calmed the storm.

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When Ngetich’s legs gave way, I’m sure it crossed the minds of onlookers that all hope was lost .  In fact, it might have even crossed her own mine just as the storm had the disciples doubting the promise.  Though the storm threatened the journey, Jesus’ response to them both before they entered the boat and after they called for His help shows us that we have no business getting discouraged on the journey.  Just as this lone runner had the faith to finish her race, so must we decide to keep moving in spite of the obstacles we face.  This runner made it to the finish line with bloodied knees and elbows because she refused to quit.  Her story is proof that having the faith to finish isn’t easy, however the reward is still worth it.    So I invite you today to keep moving forward and crawl if you must.

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Walk in Your Weakness

A couple months ago I heard the title of this post and at the time it really didn’t make as much of an impact. Yet, in the last few weeks that phrase has been echoing to me over and over again.
It’s been echoing so much because I’ve been the one saying it. I’ve found myself time and time again telling bits and pieces of how God has made me whole and how He did it by helping me realize that when I bare my true self that as I heal so are others. Before, I really didn’t have an example in the bible to reference, but God is faithful. He reminded me today about the ten lepers. Yes, those ten lepers who simply noticed Jesus’s presence and cried out to Him to have mercy on them. They never asked to be healed. They simply asked for mercy.

And according to that scripture in Luke 17:11-19, Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest. There were no objections to His request. They simply got up and went where he told them to go. As they were walking, I’m sure they were in pain initially. Yet, the bible says that as they walked they were healed. All ten of them were healed, but one noticed the healing before he reached the proposed destination and ran back to Jesus to thank him.

Now I’ve always heard this passage preached in a manner that almost condemns the other nine simply because Jesus acknowledged that there were nine others that did not run back to thank Him as the one had. In fact, the bible notes that the one who returned was actually a Samaritan. I thought it interesting to know that he was the only one mentioned as a foreigner, yet all ten were afflicted with the same disease. Birds of a feather aren’t the only ones who flock together obviously. Regardless, the awesome revelation that I received from this message was that the one who returned was made whole not just healed.

While so many sermons and discussions of this scenario seem to condemn the other nine, it should not be assumed that they were ungrateful for the transformation they  received just because their response was not immediate. Maybe it’s because I tend to root for the underdog, but at any rate I choose to believe that they thanked God when they reached the priests. Sometimes people only realize how far they have come by the acknowledgement of others. So I’m not here to judge the other nine. Nor am I here to place the one leper who returned on a pedestal. The purpose of this post is merely to point out the importance of walking in your weakness. That one leper received his healing while doing what God told him to do just as the others had and while it was his gratitude that opened the door to his wholeness, his personal examination of himself as he walked forward is what I believe allowed him to receive his wholeness.

 

Practice the Pause

A few months ago I wrote about how God kept placing on my heart the need to slow down and take a pause. I suppose between then and now, I may have actually listened only a handful of times. “I’m ambitious” was the excuse in my mind, but my heart still longed to rest…to truly rest in His presence and to have the peace that I couldn’t understand in every moment. Yes, there have been times and even full days that I have experienced this peace, however, the majority of that time, I have been overwhelmed.

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And not in a good way. I realize in my attempts to get things done that I lost the reason why I needed them done. I have had a huge vision for a long time and in recent weeks God has connected me with so many people who I know will be intricate to His plan for my life, however, I still failed to pause. I still decided to stay up a full 24 hours to overdo things…things I learned were really unnecessary.

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God needed me to let go of the tension and release the burdens of my ever-growing to-do list to Him. So today before I woke I prayed to my Father in my heart and before I could get out of bed I’d recounted all the things that I would do today. Unaware of the necessity to rest and get the proper direction, I jumped up and was met with the reminder that I pause…that I do so regularly…that I release and receive only the things that He allows me to handle in that moment. So I have some plans, but I understand my best plans are no match for His worse. So today I will pause and reflect on His majesty…Tomorrow I will pause and take in all that He provides. I invite you to do the same.

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My Advice To Married Couples After Divorcing My Wife Of 16 Years By Gerald Rogers.

Experience is life’s greatest teacher.

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My Advice To Married Couples After Divorcing My Wife   Of 16 Years By Gerald Rogers.

Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that gives me perspective of things I wish I would have done different… After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had

1. Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.

2. Protect your own heart. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there…

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Muslim Miss USA Converts to Christianity

A story worth noting

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When Rima Fakih was crowned Miss USA in 2010, she was believed to have been the first Muslim winner. But since then, she has come to Christ: in the last few weeks she converted to Catholicism in preparation for her upcoming marriage to her Catholic fiance.

Fakih is set to marry Wassim Salibi, who is a Maronite Catholic, later this month in Lebanon where she grew up. The Maronite Catholic Church is one of 23 Eastern Catholic Churches that, while maintaining their Eastern traditions, are in full communion with the Pope.

Fakih has said in interviews that her family was nominally Muslim growing up and that she attended Catholic schools. However, she says she started to take her Muslim faith more seriously in college.

She’s also not the first in her family to convert. “My brother-in-law is Christian,” she told the Huffington Post in 2010, “and he (and my sister) baptised their two sons. I have an…

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Drop the chains, Lady

It occured to me the other day how sometimes, we hold the key to freedom, but refuse to use it. Or maybe you find yourself carrying chains with unlocked shackles but fear of the unknown paralyzes your intentions…so you remain in one place, struggling to breathe under the weight of something you should have left behind long before.

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It’s not that complicated, but we tend to make it that way too often. Well, maybe I’ll consider myself in this situation and perhaps going forward. I mean that perhaps would be a little easier to digest. Hmmm…maybe not but anyway.

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Did you ever realize that just about every person who ever dared to achieve greatness, had a certified jacked up past? Single moms who’ve become CEO’s,  rape victims who’ve become the catalyst to change the lives if countless others like them, fatherless males who’ve determined to be the best dad the world knows to break the cycle in that family for the better. These people are not a figment of my imagination. They’re real people who decided one day to use their key to free themselves and others from a painful past that tried to keep them bound.

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It doesn’t mean these people were perfect either…they weren’t necessarily passive victims of their circumstances…they undoubtedly had flaws…

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Are you so busy trying to cover your flaws that you’ve picked up more chains than the issues of your past created?

Are you so entranced by the deliverance of others around you that instead of walking out of your chains, you’re running up behind them and picking up issues they left behind because you really don’t know who you are?

There’s no magic formula, if you belive in Christ as your Savior, you’ve been given the key, the only burden that remains is your choice to use it!

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I’m living proof that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are the called according to His purpose. I am bold enough now to finally embrace why so many seek my advice of things I thought I didn’t qualify for…but God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

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People ask me advice about marriage yet I’ve been divorced twice. However, real ministry comes out of people who have had mishaps. Because truth be told, you can’t tell me anything, if you haven’t been through something. But I’ve been there and done that. I know how to get marriage wrong so logic would lend that if the opposite of the mistakes I made is advised then success would result.

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So…I’ve learned tobembrace the mess of my past as life notes for the message I’ll render to nations in the near future. 

So what drives you to reach better?

I realize that this entire wilderness season I’ve experienced has been but preparation. My faith has been tested and I simply refuse to doubt another moment…so when you ask me, will you marry again?  Yes, I believe so. When you ask, will you be debt free? I say yes, I believe so. When? I’m not sure, but I’m not going to sit around and passively wait either.

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In this meantime, I’m preparing and continuing ministry to women who’ve been hurt before…who think they can’t because if what happened in the past.

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Christ didn’t die so you would too…the pain was to make you stronger…so be better and not bitter. Smile and forgive…truely forgive…use the key God gave you to open that door, drop those chains, and move forward.

Stop Chasing the Fake

Hmmm…I’m so thankful for this revelation this morning. I’ve commissioned myself to ensure above all else that in my walk with Christ from here on that I refuse to chase the fake again…that I be completely authentic to who God made me.

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That said, I must do away with the roles I once played. I acted a certain way because I apparently failed to realize who I was…who I am…accepting my personality for what it is and refusing to answer a name others gave me. The problem was that I got comfortable in the image I’d built for myself…the walls went up and I never considered the Master builder’s blueprint of me until now…wonderfully and fearfully made…I was stagnant…however, since I was four years old I knew then that I was meant to be peculiar…that there was a reason I did and said exactly what came to mind then…I challenged others to think by the things I’d said…challenged others to consider whether they were being authentic in their responses…

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Yet, over the years, my mind evolved into what I “should do and say”according to the status quo and while I knew it wasn’t the real me, I learned to wear a mask well…I had one for every outfit…with matching shoes…I guess my shoes of peace were too unpopular at the time…

Yet, not anymore. I don those bad boys with Pride…who knew they came in stiletto?

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I realize that by not doing what I want to do regardless of who snarks, I was chasing an ideal of me who was a figment of their imagination…I am comforted in knowing that I owe NO ONE an explanation…that is except God…but God has been trying to get me to grasp this concept for years. I’m grateful that’s He’s continued to keep me through the transformation process.

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A few months ago, I said to myself, “I wonder if a catepillar experienced pain in the process of becoming.” Now when I consider myself, I’m convinced there must be screams only God can hear in those cocoons.

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Nonetheless, I’m glad the Father left me in that cocoon that seemed so dark and painful before…so grateful that His grace was all I needed and that He forced me to work hard on myself so that I get my own blood flowing in the right direction to strengthen my wings….so now that I’m emerging from that shell, I do so in one peace…no longer segmented and confined to a surface level existence. Now I can fly.

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