Joy comes with the sun

That kind of wind that dances with your pant legs whipped out across the lake. It teased the tops of waves and got colder as it raced across the top of the water. It laughed making the waves ripple. And the water’s chill infused the wind. It got colder. The breeze off the water hit the marble of the steps and spewed up, circling around and finding a perfect hat. It was made of wool and black as night.

The owner of the hat clamped her hand down on the hat. The hat whimpered to the wind. But the owner grinned and turned into the wind.

“You can’t have it.” the owner bellowed. “It’s mine!” The owner of the hat kept walking along the stone embankment. A few more steps and she found a bench. She tucked her thin coat tighter around herself and settled to the seat. The stone bench was cold, so she scooted into a better position and leaned back glaring into the wind. At her dare, the wind found other prey and died down to a moaning, and the woman grinned. “Ha,” she said speaking to the wind, “you can’t defy me.”

Her hand splayed across the brim of her hat and she felt it’s warm wool. She spent a few minutes feeling the warmth of her hat in her fingers, then brought it to her lap, tucking her other hand into its warmth. The wind swirled around and lifted the hair on her head in a dance about her face. She tossed her head letting it riffle the brown tufts from her eyes. The wind stung bright color in her cheeks which were bare of makeup. Ah, well. It didn’t matter. It was only cold and wind that she’d met full face. Who would she meet today? There was no one. She put the hat back on and only for a moment did warmth suffuse her.

Suddenly, a weariness slammed her so intense she sank into the hard bench. The wind sang to an audience of one as she sat watching cold water wave and ebb to the mournful tune. Her thin coat didn’t seem so warm and the wool hat didn’t protect. That hat had been perched on her head when she met him face to face. She’d known him for a long time but the face to face hadn’t seemed important at first. Then love had grown and it was important. She hadn’t cared what he looked like. His insides were beautiful, at first. They seemed beautiful long enough to catch her in the first flush of love and move her across four states. Leaving almost everything behind she had thrown herself into being perfect, what he wanted, what he required. It wasn’t hard at first because love obscured flaws, both his and hers.

The cold wind swirled and lifted the hat . She clamped down on it again. Okay, all right. There had been another, she glared at the gray sky. Her blue eyes grew red and tears dropped onto cold stone. “He was first, Lord. I just thought being betrayed was the worst that could happen. I know he was supposed to be forever, but let’s don’t talk about that one now, Father. That was over a long time ago.” The wind snatched at the hat, but she was quick to lower her glaring eyes and tug it low on her forehead. After a few moments, the tears chilled to frost on her cheek; then, turned to ice as they dripped from her face.

She brushed the ice from her chin with the back of her hand. Despair sat on her. It dug a hole and dragged her to the brink. Her body and mind melted into the hole, finding bleak anguish that pressed her into the hands of torment which pushed her deeper into the black hole. No way up, only down. She let go of hope. It rolled out of her like the tears on her cheeks soaking her coat, turning to ice like her heart.

What had happened? She’d tried so desperately to be perfect. She studied all about being the wife and had asked God to clearly show her what her purpose had been to move four states away from family and friends and the church family that loved her warts and all. Here, she’d been to several churches but could find none that had that perfectly warm feeling as soon as you walked in the door. No church that enveloped you in grandmother-arms full of love and comfort and smelled of the fragrance to the Lord. It was so hard when the husband didn’t care a fig about going to church even though he’d promised he’d start going as soon as she got there. Another promise broken. It was insidious how the promises were broken.

Of course the hormones departing in such rage from her body, which the medical society called menopause, didn’t help. It was a monster that slept then woke to breathe fire and brimstone then slept then woke to claw at nerves already stretched trying to cope with new husband, new home, new dog, and ten years of man-grime.

“Oh, God!” she cried with every particle of anguish that saturated her being. “Help me,” she whispered. “I cannot stand it. I cannot bear it. He doesn’t want me. I am abhorrent in his eyes. He took everything I had, sifted through it and called it rubbish. I tried to be what he wanted. I begged you to change me, to change me into something acceptable to him. Oh, God, where are You? Don’t you even care about this shattered heart of mine?”

The wind stilled, seeming appalled at the raw passion of her plea. The sun jabbed a finger through the thick clouds as it lowered to the horizon, and then poked several holes in them. The effect was spectacular color. The woman was oblivious with her face in her hands and her mind in the hole of despair.

A man heard her cry and sat down beside her. He put his arm around her shoulders and just sat with her, his warmth soaking up the chill first from her shoulders then her body. Somehow she knew that he didn’t care how long she chose to sit there; that he was determined to sit with her forever. She trusted that warmth.

Finally, a lifetime later it seemed, she said, “I begged Him to change me so I’d be acceptable.” Tears filled her palms.

“I know,” he said, pulling her tighter against his warmth.

“What is wrong with me that I am so unlovely he doesn’t want me?”

“Nothing, Beloved, you are very beautiful. Your heart is lovely to behold and you are acceptable to Me. Your obedience and your love for Me, your trust in Me clothes you in bright while linen as the most radiant bride.” He hugged her closer and she raised her eyes, gazing out over the water to the extravagant sunset.

“Oh, how stunning that is.” Her tear-streaked face reflected the blush of pinks and golds.

“Yes, isn’t it?” He smiled. “I was thinking of you when I created it. It is the handiwork of our Father that is so glorious.” He wiped her face with his warm hand. “Better now?”

She nodded, then, “Wait. Did I here You right? I’m acceptable to You? How can that be possible?”

“Yes, you heard me aright.” He lifted her onto his lap and wrapped both arms around her. “I have been doing a work in you since you first put your hand in Mine. Just because some man doesn’t appreciate the work you and I have been doing these many years, does not mean you are unacceptable, Beloved. You are precious to Me. I treasure Your heart. No matter what happens when you go back in that house, I am right there with you. I want your heart just as it is, full of My love. You let me worry about that man you call husband. You let me take care of him. You reflect Me and forgive him. I am with you always and I will never leave you or forsake you.”

“How precious are those words in my ears.” She was quiet a moment. “Rejection is extremely painful. If not for You it would be literally unbearable.” He was silent and held her close. Her breath came in steamy puffs.

Then she stiffened. “Oh!”

“What is it, Beloved?”

“I cannot bear the thought! Oh, how wretched You must have felt! I was rejected by one man that I loved dearly and deeply. But, You… Oh! You were rejected by your own.” This time her heart wept a whisper, “In such a very small way, I think I can understand how you must have felt by that rejection.”

“Hush, child. It was My love for you and the joy of what would be that I endured the cross and the pain and despised the shame. And even now I sit at the right hand of the throne of God. Do not grow weary and fainting in your soul, child, for I am here.

She held His hand in both of hers and said, “I cannot express how much I welcome this time with You. You have made me feel so special and so loved and… and so… alive. Thank you. Thank you for Your love and Your protection, and thank you for telling me I am acceptable. I think I can actually stand whatever I must in this life because of You. I love You, Lord.” She sighed. Turning back to the fine tapestry of sky, she said, “That is an absolutely gorgeous sunset. I am constantly in awe of God’s glory and His creation.”

“I know.” He squeezed her hand. “I so much enjoy the pleasure you get from His beauty.”

The Outside of Enough

I am sick of sexual activity being shoved down my throat. Is it right to open the bedroom door and invite all kinds of media in? Is it right that I have to pay for it on my cable or network?

Not just "NO!" but may the fleas of a thousand camels invade the arm pits of those who are trying to do just that. Excerpt from AFA Action Alert email letter received today and my comments:

You probably aren't aware that Johnson & Johnson is also a charter advertiser on the homosexual network LOGO.
No, I wasn't! Thank you for letting me know this. According to their commercials they are a family owned corporation interested in family. This is a surprise to me that they are actually interested in promoting open bedroom door policies.

Thanks to Johnson & Johnson's committment to financially support homosexuality, it is only a short time before this premiere homosexual-based network will become a part of your local cable package (if it isn't already).
It is not. Praise God! But how long before I'll have to cut off my dish net because this garbage will be put on my TV?

While Johnson & Johnson voluntarily helps get the network off the ground, you will be forced to pay for it as part of your regular cable bill.
No, I won't. I won't pay for something that should remain behind closed doors. This is why I don't get the movie channels because the 1 or 2 good movies are far overshadowed by the filthy.

My problem is not homosexuality. That's been going on for eons. My problem is that there is a force at work here that is demanding a pat on the back and an assurance that the behavior is okay. Why do they need assurance that it's okay? If there is ever a question if something is wrong or right, then 99 times out of 100 it is wrong. Why does any homosexual need to advertise what he/she does in private? Keep it behind closed doors! Please.

But, wait! I'm not done. It seems that the American Public is being deceived about a lot of things. For instance, if someone from Pluto were to watch American television in order to form an opinion about what American laugh about, cry about, and what is normal, then the Plutonian would understand that
  1. adultery is normal and something to laugh about
  2. homosexuality is also normal and quite funny as well
  3. sex before marriage is absolutely necessary
  4. children are rulers of the home
  5. murder cases are solved in one hour
  6. the bad guys are always caught
  7. and even though many children are kidnapped every year, if the child is blonde and beautiful the media is outraged at the colossal gall of the kidnapper.

Too bad our morals are judged by TV and Movies. Much to my surprise and amazement what we have been fed by the media is a lie.

According to a recent study by Dr. Helen Tishin (<- I can't read my writing, I think that is how it is spelled.) reported on Good Morning America or Today or CBS (my mom switches whenever a commercial comes on), that

  • 75% of American men do not commit adultery
  • only 11% of American women admit to cheating
  • 21% of men admit to cheating
  • but, 90% of all American say that adultery is wrong
  • 17% of all divorces result from cheating
  • of divorces caused by adultery, less than 10% of the adulterers marry their lover

Is it just me? Are those figures staggering to anyone but me? Here I thought that 50% of all marriages ended in divorce and those were caused by adultery (I see it on TV, it must be right!)

It is the power of saturation, I think. When we see it over and over we think it has permeated society when in actual fact, it is far less frequent than we realize. Does saturation make it more right? Does Society dictate what is normal and what is right? Or is it up to the individual to establish the Line of Enough, put on the armor and say, "I've tolerated as much as I'm going to tolerate. Do not cross this line!"

Fear of the Lord

Do you ever hear something that someone states confidently - boldly - as true, but is clearly a lie from Hell, and just get the shivers? Do you ever wonder, "What must God be thinking about that statement?"

When we were young, we used to joke around when someone would say something "radical". "Don't stand too close to me. I don't want to be too close when God strikes you dead." Of course, we never actually thought God would strike them dead, and, of course, it was plain foolishness to think that God would miss, but isn't it equally foolish to think that He doesn't care? Ask Nadab and Abihu. God, through Moses, said, "I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored." These two young men missed that detail, and "fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them" - Lev. 10:1-3...

Part of a post from my friend Brad over on You can click on the link and read the rest of his post and the discussion (it isn't long--yet).

It brings to mind how I would actually feel if -- or rather when -- Jesus will bring me physically into the throne room of God. I think Fear of the Lord is categorized into two distinct parts. One is the respect and reverence that Christians give to our Father. The other is what will be felt by many unbelievers when they face the Great White Throne. The first is action and the second is emotion. The action part is how we live our lives because we know God and what He is capable of. The fear part is what comes after a physical life is squandered. Reverential awe is action, fear is emotion.

God of wonders

This is to remind me Who is in charge. He is the God of wonders, the God of majesty.

retrieved from which is another site that is absolutely fantastic.

I killed a snake today

... and buried it under an oak tree. I don’t know if you have ever come face to face with a snake before. They are God’s creatures just like the birds and deer, but for a reason God granted us a healthy fear of snakes.

My favorite Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal were really upset all atwitter and fussing up a storm in the ligustrum right outside Mom’s bedroom window. Flitting from ground to branch to the top of the roof back to the ground. Their bleating was almost like fingernails on the blackboard, but I guess you’d have to be older than dirt to remember that sound. It was definitely not melodious.

I figured it was either a snake or some critter after their nest. So after I had finished spreading cypress chips in the flower bed, I went to see what was so upsetting. It didn’t take but two seconds of peering between branches and I spotted the snake. I backed up a foot or so; five inches was a bit too close to its nose. It was blunt nosed, not diamond shaped or pointed so I was pretty sure that it was harmless. It was entwined around the ligustrum’s thick middle trunk and resting along a branch right about eye level and very content. So content was he, that he was smiling at me. The Cardinals didn’t care if he was smiling or not; they wanted it gone. I went inside, searching for the Louisiana Snake poster, to check it out and make sure the thing was harmless. Couldn’t find it. When we moved, I remember taking it off the hall closet door and rolling it up but after that I can’t remember. Anyway, we didn’t’ have it.

Studying the markings on the snakes, black with yellow, I thought, “That’s supposed to be a friendly fellow.” All kinds of thoughts went through my head…
If this is a good snake and it eats bugs and mice and nasties, then it will be a good thing to let it alone, right?
If this is a bad snake what happens if we step outside the door and step on top of it? It’ll get mad and bite, right?
Even if this is a good snake, it might bother the birds or bite the cat. (After our cat Scooter had chased Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal, he spotted the snake and backed away before quick could get ready.)
But if this is a bad snake, I can’t just grab it behind the head, what if it wraps around my arm? Shudder! Oh, I hate having to deal with snakes.

I had a rake in my hand. Oh, no, not that kind. It was the kind to rake leaves, not the good, sturdy, heavy, many-pronged kind that could hold the thing in place even if I let go of the handle. I stared at the snake and he stared right back.

And smiled!

There was nothing else to do but get rid of the snake. Maybe I could get him to wrap around the rake handle and I could sling him out into the yard so I could adjust his living quarters away from the house.

He was stubborn. He turned his nose up at the rake handle and slid further along the branch. Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal sat on top of the clothesline chirping and bleating and making sure I was doing everything right. Scooter was on the porch watching everything well out of the line of fire should I choose to sling the snake and the rake from here to the next hemisphere. I wished I could throw that far. After a little coaxing, the snake wrapped half his body on the rake handle and was still clinging to the ligustrum branch. After a game of tug-o-war with the snake as the rope, he finally realized if he let go of the branch and the handle, his middle wouldn’t be stretched like a rubber band. Of course, he dropped to the ground and he headed directly for the hosta bushes.

I screamed out, “Oh, NO you don’t! I’ll never find you in there.”

These plants are beautiful and thick and lush. If that snake had made it in there, I would never have found him and I probably would have given up instead of hunting him down. It was a race after that. The tines on that rake were as flimsy as leaves in a stiff breeze. I’d come down on him and he’d wiggle between the tines, headed for the cool, dense hosta forest--forest to him, anyway. He made it to the concrete foundation and revved up to top speed. God granted me the speed of lightening because that’s the only way I could have possibly raked that snake from between the ligustrums to the open yard.

We had a face off. He’d try for the house and I’d block his way. He made it clear he didn’t really want to go anywhere but back to the ligustrums. I was trying to herd him toward the back yard. Have you ever tried to herd a snake? They don’t herd very well. He finally got mad at me and coiled up and that’s when I saw the rattles on his tail. Little bitty ones, but definitely rattles. I promptly laid that rake down flat on him effectively pinning him to the ground. Enough pressure and snakes stay pinned pretty well. Then I shouted for Mom. After a pair of minutes, she checked on me and then brought the shovel. Our hoes went missing sometime over the winter. Thank goodness I remembered that and asked for the shovel and not a hoe or I might still be trying to corral that snake while she looked for a hoe.

The tricky part was letting off the pressure just enough so that she could give him a good whack with the edge of the shovel. That paralyzed him. So I let go of the rake and took the shovel. I cannot describe how it feels to take the life of something. I shuddered and tears streamed down my cheeks. It makes me cold and I can hardly breathe--not when I kill a bug, mind you, but something with eyes. It is a horrid feeling and I wish to never feel it again.

The Christian lifestyle is a lot like killing snakes. The Great Dragon invades our space and we are so tempted to just let him lie. After all, he’s not doing anything now. If we ignore the snakes in our lives, it’s a given we’re on the road to destruction. The only protection we have is the whole Armor of God and we must put it on daily because that is actually putting on Jesus. Oh, He’s with us; never leaves us, of course. But, only those who have the armor can fight the battles and withstand the fiery darts.

The inside track

The Holy Spirit is the best gift ever! I have been blogging for only about a month and already I have found some great Christians that I consider friends because the Holy Spirit in me recognizes the Holy Spirit in them. Amazing! That's one of those mysteries that Paul talks about, I'm sure, because I live in different states and feel a kinship with my brothers and sisters in Christ deeper and more sweet than I have with some folks in my church. I know you know what I mean.

I would like to add some blogs to the sidebar but after staying up all hours trying to figure that out, I've given up for now. I have several tests to take and I know God will provide the knowledge somehow. In the mean time some beautiful people I've found so far: Kim, Nancy, Beth, Fran (who btw joined BlogExplosion which is how I found the other Christian bloggers) there are a lot more but there is so little time (a complaint I've noticed many have.)

Oh, granny... there goes my neighbor driving across my yard again! One day soon I will describe life in rural Louisiana.

No Stones (part 2)

It was hot that day.

Sweat dripped from my forehead into my eyes and stung. My feet were bare because the men who dragged me from my bed never gave me time to put on my shoes. One of those high and mighty Sanhedrin dragged me into the hot street. Another threw my robe at me but forgot my girdle and I had to wrestle with him to keep the front closed. The sand burned my feet, making me hurry along with them. Not because I was anxious to go where they were taking me, but because the soles of my feet were baking like bread in the oven. The Sanhedrin guard kept pulling and tugging at my arm seeming to delight in my embarrassment; jerking at my hand as I desparately tried to cover myself. I was deeply embarrassed and ashamed.

I thought what we were doing was in secret. He had told me he loved me and he was certainly handsome and he certainly treated me better than my own husband did. He didn’t beat me or scream harsh words at me. For so long I had longed for those tender words from my husband but they never came. Was there nothing in this world that would soothe that ache of loneliness? Was there nothing that could fill this dark void in the depths of my being? I longed for children, but God did not grant them. I longed for tender caresses but none were saved for me, only harsh words scraped my ears instead of gentle fingers touching my cheek. I longed for love and searched everywhere for it, finding only emptiness.

Then, suddenly, I found myself standing alone in front of the Man called Jesus! There was a lot of shouting but I heard none of it. All I could see was His eyes and His face had this tender, soft look. My embarrassment turned to despair and in mortification I dropped my gaze to the dirt thinking I was no better than that dirt. I could not look into His eyes any longer. I could not raise my head and tears burned my eyes taking the sting of the sweat from them. My tears soaked into the cracked earth, swallowed up into that thirsty sand which took and took and gave nothing back. What little strength I had, left my trembling legs and I dropped to the ground, cowering in dirt that was cleaner than me.

The throng around us must have been noisy... the city was always noisy. Yet, in that moment, I was deaf to the world. My shame had clothed me like my robe could not, enveloping me in a flush of guilt. Alone. Empty. Unlovely. Sick. I was so unworthy to touch His shoe or to let a tear trickle onto his toe.

Accusations hurled over my head as I felt burning sand sear my cheek. Oh, if only that sand would open up I would scuttle into the hole and hide. Hide from that tender look? Yes! For I was not worthy of it. I had sinned. The whole world was screaming my sin, exposing every detail of that sultry afternoon.

The stones would come next. I tightened my muscles and hunched my back actually hoping the stones would come soon and take my miserable life. Those stones would release me from the emptiness that filled my life. I was sure of that. Anything would be better than the milling throng that pressed in seeming to crush me deeper into the dirt. The shouting stopped and the only sound was the soft plop of my tears into the sand.

A finger made sand spurt up in the air. I couldn't see what He was writing. I held my breath and the valley between my shoulder blades deepened as I scrunched into a small target, certain the stones would peck away my life. Of course the sand rejected swallowing my body but would gulp my life's blood down its ever thirsty throat.

Then I heard a harder thud. A stone rolled close to my face, coming between me and that foot I was not worthy to touch. Then whitened knuckles loosened, and thud followed thud as stones of different colors and sizes dropped around me. Miracle of miracles no jagged-edged stone touched me or sliced my tender flesh.

Then a shoe scraped the sand, then another, then another. A few moments and it was quiet, the sun beating on my back. I felt His hand then, on my head. It was a gentle caress as His fingers slipped under my chin and He wiped the tears from my cheeks.

I dared to look up.

His eyes were tender and full of forgiveness. He spoke to me then. “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?” I saw those men who had dragged me down the street were all gone! There was no one left except this Man who looked at me with compassion and love.

I said, “No one, Lord.” Unbelievably…Astoundingly, He said, “Nor do I condemn you. You may go and sin no more.”

I owe my life to Him. That day is when my real life started. In Him, in my Lord, I have taken refuge; He shall never let me be put to shame. He heard and set me free. He is my rock and my refuge and I shall always find safety in Him. He is my Hope. (Ps 71) Therefore, I shall strive to never shame Him.

No Stones (part 1)

What does “No Stones” have to do with Refreshment in Refuge? Ask any champion weightlifter if he or she would like to carry that extra three hundred to four hundred pounds around with them on a daily, 24/7 basis. Of course, the answer would be an emphatic “NO!”. It is fine and dandy to lift three hundred pounds over the head, hold for ten seconds and then let drop with a bang and clank of the weights rattling together. But does anyone want to strap that extra poundage on their back and carry it around, even bathing with it? How ridiculous! But we Christians do it all the time.

Oh, it isn’t black iron in circular shape with a hole in the middle, but it is black and heavier than iron. It weights the mind like an anchor dragging the bottom of the sea when the alternative could be an open sail full of the salty, brisk breeze carrying the ship on a sure course. What is “it”, exactly? Those stones you carry around with you when Jesus’ clear message of the cross was “No stones. Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

No Stones…

There are many Christians that have stayed in the wilderness because when they came to their Gilgal, they could not cross the Jordan on faith. They wouldn't even put their feet in the water, much less pick up their stone from the middle of the river as a remembrance. (Joshua) These Christians are content to wander around in the wilderness…never entering the Promised Land of milk and honey. Content living the life of hardship with just their needs being met and content with that miracle instead of accepting God’s promises of blessings all for just putting on the armor of God and stepping into the fight.

It’s the difference between immaturity—babes in Christ, and maturity—soldiers in Christ. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but the dark principalities and the wicked spiritual hosts. Our enemy is not each other, but Satan. If we could but recognized who the enemy is then we could present a united front and the stones would land on the shields of faith instead of being tossed about within God’s army.

You see, it is through no works of ours that we are clean or that we have no spot or wrinkle. Our works do not make us holy or sinless. But through Christ and the right attitude, we are blameless. Since we are blameless before God, how can any one Christian possibly pick up a stone and cast it at any other? Tripping over God’s law makes us unworthy for that. Whoever judges, by the same measure will also be judged. (I always hate it when a person misquotes that verse. It is our right to judge teachings like the Bereans, but no one knows a man’s heart, only the Father searches and knows that.)

This is what No Stones, means. This is what Freedom of the Cross means. We are incapable of living the Christian life perfectly, but our intense desire to live with the mind of Christ and to please Him is what God searches the heart and finds. That indefinable thing is put there by Him so all the work is His and all the glory is His. We must participate!! Yes, for nothing can happen unless the heart is willing and we must go to school everyday...but the work is God's.

Some stones we carry: worry which causes stress which can cause illness; sin habits that grow familiar and comfortable; anger; bitterness; jealousy; impatience; anxiety; infidelity—not necessarily adultery, but emotional infidelity; dishonesty with God and fellow Christians; time miser; selfishness; withdrawing from church family…

What causes that withdrawal from church family? Secret sin? Does the church cause folks to withdraw when she condemns the before-conversion behaviour? Does she judge? Turn a cold shoulder? Are these stones the church carries or can these stones even be carried corporately?

God makes Diamonds...

How wonderful to read and take to heart how God has changed lives. So much of the time we think once we're saved...well, then, life is a bowl of cherries and there are no pits. Well, that's just wrong. God took my hand when I was six years old. I was practically born at church. Every time the doors were open, we were in church. One day I had had enough of church. Going to church made me feel raunchy and I just didn't want it anymore. I was 6 and I knew everything. I made the announcement to my Mom when we got home from Wednesday night service. This concerned her so much that she started asking questions and started talking to me all about it. Well, then I felt relieved because she helped me to understand what I was feeling--convicted. And how to make that feeling go away--accept Jesus. Which I did.

I basically did not live a whole day without Jesus so I don't have one of those dramatic testimonies with a noticable 180 degree change. Except... As I grew up in church and studied the Bible. I really studied the Bible. I bathed in it...but I didn't memorize it like I should have. Too many different translations, I guess. During my teen years, I wasn't a rebel...I didn't go off the deep end like so many of my generation did. I hated the "free lifestyle"... the open sex and the free love and the flower children. (I really hated the hip-hugger pants and the micro-mini skirts.) I led a very sheltered life and the only violence I knew was what I saw on TV.

At 19, I met a fellow that I just fell head over heels for. Oh sure, he had his faults...doesn't everybody? He didn't go to church until he met me. His folks started back to church after I started to seriously date him. Life was good. I didn't care about his little drinking habit. That would stop after we got married and started acting like grown-ups.

I didn't care about his roommate that smoked pot. He'd leave after we got married and my intended swore to me that he'd only tried it to relax. After all, he was a Christian just like me. After we got married, it would all change. It didn't matter that he kept after me to have sex before marriage to prove my love for him. We were going to be married in a couple of would be okay, right?

He had a great job! Lots of money and stable and great benefits working for a chemical plant. It didn't matter that he rarely had more than $50 or $100 in the bank...he had money coming in regularly every two weeks and that would all change, right?

After marriage you act like a grown up; before marriage, it was okay to act like a rebellious teenager, even if you were 24, right? Oh, there's lots more and a lot more sordid. I got drunken phone calls at 2 AM. I had to forgive him for sleeping with someone--they didn't do anything, she just took him home so he wouldn't drive drunk...right.

Everybody tried to tell me this guy was weak and no good for me...even his mother tried to get me to see reason. All to no avail. I was in love and this man needed me! I was his salvation!! At 19, I was old enough to make my own decisions. At 19, I knew everything and didn't even have to ask God. Okay, I did ask God some things. I asked God, if this guy was ever going to stop drinking. God said, "No." I asked God if this guy was for me. God said, "Yes." What?

Now, bear in mind, the way I asked God. I placed my hand on my Bible, asked the question then opened my Bible and looked for a "yes" or a "no" on the page--never even read what was on the page at all. Kinda makes me ill to even think that's how cavalier I treated God back then. However, it was a bit too late to finally ask because I was pregnant at the time and I was getting married in about a month. Oh, but it was okay! He was my first and only and we were almost like married! We had made our committments to each other...just like Joseph and Mary had... I pray you can see exactly how I had fallen hook, line and sinker for just about every lie Satan spews at Christians in this world.

I knew better, but I was seduced. (Oh, yes, Satan seduces us Christians just like a man with only one thing on his mind romances a woman.) It gets much worse... but I'll spare you. I did have two very beautiful and wonderful daughters. I stayed with the man for 22 years before God said, "Enough is enough." (Absolutely, God will say "Enough!")

I even forgave him after my teen age daughters came home from school to find their father in bed with 2 whores. Now, that was a dark day. I am, by no means, innocent in all of this. I chose to turn to alcohol to take a nightly vacation from all the horror in my life. I basically chose to let my daughters fight their own battles while I soaked mine.

But, God actually said "Enough is enough." He told me to leave. This time, I wasn't searching for a "yes" or a "no"... I was on my knees with my Bible open. It wasn't just an afternoon, either. It was a process. Even after I had found an apartment, it was 3 years before I finally divorced him. I struggled with the question of divorce which God hates.

How could God be telling me to act against what I'd been taught all my life and what I read in the Bible? It was a struggle until I really recognized what those words in Eph 5:22 and in Col 8:18 actually meant. " fitting to the Lord."

God absolutely was very much a part of my life during my whole marriage except for about a 2 year period when I was angry at God for something people did, not God. I went to church; I taught Sunday School; God was in my thoughts; I continued to have my quiet time with Him most of the time. And yet I still was in bondage. I was still trying to handle my problems by myself. I had been a hot, steaming cup of coffee and now I was a frozen solid, chunk of brown ice.

So how did that happen? How did an on-fire-for-God Christian sink lower than the gutter with all the other rubbish?

1. I made extremely bad choices.
2. I wanted control of my life instead of surrendering complete control to Him.
3. I looked at the candy in the store, never caring it was filled with poison and bought bag after bag of poison candy from the devil.

But, mostly, I was seduced by Satan and fell for the lies from the Father of Lies. I believed some things that were so not true. Paul tells us this absolutely can happen! 2 Corinthians 11:3 I am fearful, lest that even as the serpent beguiled Eve by his cunning, so your minds may be corrupted and seduced from wholehearted and sincere and pure devotion to Christ. AMP

I forgot that Satan's utmost mission is to distort, taint, corrupt and steal, kill and destroy all he can. I did not recognize Satan's work at 19 (even though I read Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth -- that was in someone else's life, not mine). I did not think that a godly person and someone who had a relationship with the Lord could be seduced by the devil.

Another reason I fell so hard is that I didn't surround myself with caring, Christian friends. I had no one to hold me accountable for my actions all through my 22 years of marriage. I bought into the lie that as long as I had these other friends who at least talked about God, I was doing okay. Besides, no one at church was really all that interesting and I really didn't have anything in common with them... Oh, what a lie that was! Therefore, I did not benefit from Galations 6:1 I bought into the lie that as long as I read my Bible and prayed, God didn't need anything else from me. I taught Sunday School, for crying out loud!

It took several years to heal. God gently lifted me onto His lap and began the process of healing me. Yet, I still had not learned the whole lesson God had been trying to teach me. (Hard-headed doesn't even come close to describing me--maybe something like an industrial diamond--sort of pointy?)

After my second husband threw me out saying in the soft but steely voice of his that he just didn't want to be married again, I had a 1500 mile trip across America from Arizona to Louisiana to rant, rave, scream, rage and rail all my frustrations. It's a wonder I still had teeth in my mouth after gritting them so hard during 24 hours of driving. I had begged and pleaded with God that He change me and my whole being into something that would be acceptable to my husband so I could stay in my marriage. What was wrong with me?

God said, "I'm really glad you finally asked. Gina, you are acceptable to Me. I am the only One in the universe you need to be concerned about pleasing. You are acceptable to Me because of My Son in your heart." I'm not saying God spoke aloud in my car or that the world halted while those words were etched across the sky for me to read. Nothing so dramatic.

However, those words were so clear in my heart. Oh, what a heavy weight those words lifted off my heart and shoulders!! I could not live the Christian life under my own power. I was not a failure for believing lies. I was gullible and needy and sick in my own unconfessed sin, but God loved me anyway. He was the only One I needed to focus on and all the other stuff would fall into place. I've quit asking why it took me so long to learn that lesson. Instead, I rejoice that God loves me.

Now, I look for opportunities to minister and to give my support and to share what I've learned. By no means is God finished with me. He's still sifting me, and some uglies still fall out; but in seeking His face first, everything else falls into place. Oh, and I've quit worrying about things, too. After all, the worst that could possibly happen to me has happened already and I'm still nestled in the arms of my Beloved Lord.

Christian posts

I have been having lots of fun trying to figure all this out. I have briefly searched for other Christians on this site and have found several! Hooray for us!

I have found this whole process most interesting. It seems that a person can just pour out their soul on this thing and if they don't do any promotion at all, then their pourings stay private. I'm wondering actually how wide the scope is for things such as these... a point for pondering.
Bruin Sunset

This is the Road to Yucatan. Lake Yucatan is over the levy and through the woods and about 8 miles from my home. Sometimes in the Spring, the Mississippi River floods this area and the water can get as deep as 10 to 15 feet deep. I painted this picture in 2001 right after I came home to lick my wounds of divorce.

My advice is to never think you know someone no matter how long you've known them on the internet.

This is Lake Bruin outside the front door of my parents' camp which we no longer have. After Dad got cancer, I could no longer maintain the place and Mom certainly couldn't... but, we have pictures and the paintings I've done
like this one and Bruin Sunset above which I did June, 2005.

This is what I love to do.

I am still learning this stuff, one day I may get this to the... by golly, I think I've done it!

About the Tongue

Oh, I've been on that road to Damascus many times... breathing fire and murder as my fingers furiously typed out Truths in bold italics, thinking all the while that the receiver of my posts deserved the blistering I meted out.

Yet, that still small voice was whispering in my ear urging me to "Breathe, Gina, breathe" and then I would sit back appalled at my vindictive verbage.

How could such a sweet and loving person spew out all that sharp and jagged-edged shrapnel?

No. Absolutely not! That did not honor God in the least and it was I who pounded those nails as I pounded the keyboard.

Yea, I walked down that road which wound through the valley of spurs and loose swords slicing and dicing my brothers and sisters in my full-blown anger at my perception of their "blatant stupidity".

Sigh... Where was the satisfaction? And there was none. Only empty holes where "righteous" indignation had reigned... deep pits where the witness program of God's Word and my heart had somehow slipped out of gear allowing something else control of my brain. "Out dam-ed spot, out I say!" And yet, the stain of my lack of self-control spreads across that place which Jesus is supposed to reign.
Refreshment in Refuge

Take a trip with your mother... just you and her. I highly recommend it. There is nothing like it and you have memories to cherish. I just got back from a trip to Eureka Springs with my Mom. She is so precious and it was quite a trip, what with her breaking her ankle within the first hour of arriving at our little bungalow on the west side of Eureka Springs. Then the family trickling in, finding their spots and catching up on news.

It would be better if I were not in the thoes of menopause. That curious happening to older women is the real curse. Having babies is child's play to this insidious monster who has kidnapped my personality and makes me the Bride of Frankenstein at the most inopportune moments.

It became apparent to me rather quickly that most of the family had no stomachs (that Shakespeare for not being hungry) so I had to announce to one and all that I needed life-sustaining sustenance or I would keel over, faint from lack of nourishment. One look at me would tell anyone that I could miss several meals and not faint. However, during this malovent menopause, if I do not feed the bear regularly, I become quite cranky and that makes it miserable for everyone else. Mom knows this so instantly offered to go with me to get a bite to eat.

My cousin and her husband mentioned a great place just down the road so we went there. The lobby was full of about twenty people and I assumed correctly they were waiting to be seated for their daily, midday bear-tamer. The host said it would be about fifteen to twenty minutes' wait.

"Oh, no. Mom, let's go somewhere else. I do not think I can wait that long without getting really cranky."

Sweet Mom said, "Okay, whatever you say," and turned to leave.

The host interjected, "Well, you won't find better food anywhere else today and you might want to check the prices before you decide."

I said it didn't matter to me because I needed food now. He so sweetly said, "You are welcome to go look at the buffet before you decide to leave."

First... I wanted to eat not look!
Second... He sure was cocky to slither into our decision making process!

But, by this time, I was starting to feel a bit stupid for being so insistent on eating instantly. So, I raised my brows and said much like a princess would, "I do not wish to look, I want to eat. Mom, let's sit down and we will [teeth grinding together] have fun.

We sat down in the only two chairs available. People in all sorts of sizes squeezed by me trying to get to the bathroom or to check out of the hotel or check in the hotel. I wasn't much interested in what they were heading to do, just mostly interested in keeping my toes attached to my feet. I looked much like a tap dancer sitting down.

Mom decided to leave the bear alone and she started a conversation with the lady sitting on her other side. This was the usual, "Where are you from?" conversation. We found out all about the sights of Eureka Springs and she found out our history. Then she told us she had already eaten and the food was "simply superb here." Egads. I wanted to ask her to lean forward so I could slap her, then grab the host's red tie and sling him down and slap him just for being so condescending.

When the completly satiated lady finally took her satisfied self away, I switched to her chair and firmly decided to have fun. I found a book titled, "Over the Next Hill and Still Going". After reading a few lines, I started reading out loud to Mom and we started laughing and we, indeed, had fun.