Archive | October 2012

Peppermint Coffee Musings

Peppermint coffee.  Gotta love it.  And my diffuser filling the air in my room with soothing scents of pure lavender oil, and 31 oil.  Mind and heart full of good ‘food’ from church this morning, both the Sunday School lesson and the worship sermon were great.  I’m listening to Twila Paris’s album Perennial.  Some of my very favorite hymns on are there, like Be Thou My Vision and Amazing Grace.   Her voice is so beautiful.  And the words of the songs beyond  description for me at times.  Also listening to a beautiful CD of  music from Fernando Ortega, The Shadow Of Your Wings, it is one  my friend Janie gave me when I first returned to church 2 years ago.  I need to share with her how much that has meant over the past 2 years.  The songs and hymns on it are in somewhat different arrangements than what you might traditionally hear in church.  And they have helped me many times to quiet my spirit and prepare my heart to pray, read God’s Word, or head out to worship services.

The lesson this morning was really good and spoke to me in Sunday School.  One thing that stood out was that we need to be very careful what we desire, as we just might get it and all that goes with it, good and bad.  And that what we sow we reap, no question about that.  Some call it karma, or “what goes around, comes around”.  I prefer to stick with what I know as a believer, God handles vengeance.

Psalm 7:14-16

New Living Translation (NLT)

14 The wicked conceive evil;
    they are pregnant with trouble
    and give birth to lies.
15 They dig a deep pit to trap others,
    then fall into it themselves.
16 The trouble they make for others backfires on them.
    The violence they plan falls on their own heads.

That is one really good passage, and here was another:

Proverbs 5:21-23

New Living Translation (NLT)

21 For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
    examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
    they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
    he will be lost because of his great foolishness.

Dave pointed out, that if you sow seeds of corn in a field, you will reap corn as that is what grows from corn seeds.  If you sow beans, likewise.  And if you sow trouble, you will reap that too.  Gossip, slander, unkindness, sin….sow those seeds and that is what you will reap in return.

The trouble  with seeds is they are tiny at first.  You drop a tiny seed no bigger than a corn kernel into the soil, and a full blown corn stalk grows up with many ears filled with many more kernels of corn.  Now, think about when you plow trouble and plant seeds of iniquity, like sow gossip seeds, seeds of strife, or other seeds that are not things that will reap blessings, they reap what was sown/planted, in abundance.  That tiny seed will grow into a large plant and produce far more than you bargained.  This happened in my past.  Yes, if you go to the search section of my blogs and search the word “swinger” or “lifestyle” you will get back several posts.  I make no pretense that this is somehow a secret, I was a swinger.  And I did photos that were not good, and my kids know.  My church family knows, my friends and family all know about it.   I don’t hide these  things because others might learn from my mistakes.  It was not a good time in my life that I’m not proud of.  But it IS part of who I am today.  It goes hand in hand with the song lyrics I posted yesterday.  I will not deny the worst you can say about me, if it is true.  But I’m not the sum of my mistakes and sin.  It is in my past.  The consequences will at times  be far reaching, but that is not who I am anymore.

Now, I try hard to sow the seeds of good things.  If it isn’t nice, I just try not to say it all, and pray about the thought behind what I considered saying.  I’m not perfect, but it IS the goal I strive for now.  And I pray for those that find it necessary to sow unkindness toward me.  Letting go and not being upset by what is said about me is far easier when I do what God says and just pray for them.

Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. …

We are not responsible for what others do, only in how we respond.

Matthew 12:36

36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

I am opting for a Christ like response.  Those that talk, tweet, Facebook or verbalize unkind things about others, will one day have to give an account for that.  And I will give one for my reaction.  My reaction now is to pray for that individual(s) every day.  I sleep solid at night because my conscience is clear, my heart isn’t full of bitterness and hatred any longer.

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I Am New And It Rocks!

*found this in the draft section of my dashboard here on the blog, not sure why I never posted it but seems appropriate to put up tonight as I’m in the Word of God preparing for the worship services tomorrow*

I LOVE THIS SONG!!!

Back when I first returned to church, I clung to it.  Now, all the more it is perfect for me.  The lyrics speak to me.

I am not the woman I was a few months ago, or a few years ago.  The worst things you can say about me and what I have done, I won’t deny them.  In fact I freely admit in my writings on both blogs where I have been and what I have done.

I am no longer ashamed of who I was or what I did or where I have come from.

But I’m not her anymore.  In Christ we are made new, and I’m being remade daily into who I should be.

I have a long way to go, I am a work in progress.

“I Am New”

Now I won’t deny
The worst you could say about me
But I’m not defined
By mistakes that I’ve made
Because God says of me
I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am newWho I thought I was
And who I thought I had to be
I had to give them both up
Cause neither were willing
To ever believe

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am new

Too long I have lived
In the shadows of shame
Believing that there
Was no way I could change
But the one who is making everything new
Doesn’t see me the way that I do
He doesn’t see me the way that I do

I am not who I was
I am being remade
I am new
I am chosen and holy
And I’m dearly loved
I am new

I am not who I was
I am being remade I am new
Dead to the old man,I’m coming alive
I am new

Forgiven beloved
Hidden in Christ
Made in the image of the Giver of Life
Righteous and holy
Reborn and remade
Accepted and worthy, this is our new name

This is who we are now…

By: Jason Gray, Joel Hanson

My Wild, Untamed Tongue

Image Courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social media has ushered in a new way of communicating.  Where we used to speak our words for others to hear, or actually write them out in long hand on paper, now we put them in texts, on Facebook walls, Twitter etc.  Our words can now reach much further simply by hitting the enter key, or as in this case, publish.  The trouble with social media is it is much easier say things when sitting behind my computer than when I am in person.  I’ve always communicated much better when writing my thoughts, but now there is a safety in the anonymity of using electronic media to stick my opinion and thoughts out there for others to ‘hear’.

In December of 2010, just 4 months nearly to the day after my divorce was final, I ventured back to my church ‘home’.  I thought I was ready for it, the prodigal daughter going home to her Father and faith family.  I was welcomed back with open arms and tears, and I knew that it was HOME.  But it wasn’t long before I hit the ground and ran from there, and somewhat back to what had been familiar to me.  Part of that was due to my own words, which were a reflection of my very battered heart.

I was still up to my neck in bitterness and pain at not only my ex-husband, but many former friends.  One I lashed out about on Twitter.  She proceeded to send copies of that tweet to my pastor, in an email in which she painted herself to be a wounded believer by my words.  She also made sure to let it be known of my past in the swinger lifestyle.  It was an attempt to hurt me, I get that, and she was successful.  It was one more flame on the fire that was burning away at my heart and soul.  That combined with a few other incidents concerning  my ‘words’ and I hit the ground running in to opposite direction of where I needed to be.

Part of the problem with going back was that things had changed.  I was no longer “Pete & Marti”, and that was hard.  The couple who had been our best friends were divorced and he was there alone, she was missing.  And I honestly felt that no one there could understand the road I was on at that time.  Honestly, I still don’t know if anyone understood or could begin to grasp what I was going through.  It was not just the divorce, but where I had been during the final years of my marriage.  I was constantly on the defense so when someone did point something out, it felt like I was being judged.  That was all my own heart issue, I get that now.  This time, I went back and instead of being on the defense I decided that I would simply relax.  I don’t have to be liked by everyone, because not everyone is going to like me.  And yes, I am going to be under scrutiny by my fellow believers, because I did walk away twice, and I had been in a very dark, sinful place for a long while after having been a proclaimed believer.  I gave folks reason to be skeptical and that is okay.  My return isn’t about them, it’s about where I  know I need to be, being fed and worshiping the Lord.

One of the reasons that former friend’s email to my pastor upset me so much is that deep down I knew she was right.  Her motives were questionable, but I had in fact done something that was unbecoming of a believer.  I don’t have to answer for her motives, that is between her and God, but I do have to one day give account for every careless word spoken by me:

Matthew 12:36

New King James Version (NKJV)

36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.

If I had a dime for every careless word/idle word that has come out of my mouth just since I’ve been a believer, I’d never have to work again and could live off of the interest only.  Judgmental? Oh yes that would be me!  Run  off of the mouth? GUILTY!  I used to take pride in the fact that I could slice someone’s jugular verbally.  Not exactly something to be proud of, I know.  And it doesn’t matter if what I say is true, it is the motive and intent of my heart that is behind the words that is also at issue.  When in doubt, I should just be silent!

Which brings me to the whole social media side of the issue.  Back when James wrote his letter that is now the book of James, written and spoken words were all we had.  And while he addressed the tongue, or verbal side of communicating, I think the spirit of the passage applies to written words, and now social media as well.  But not just on posted, public places where we write, but in emails and texts along with the spoken word.  Because we WILL one day have to give an account before God, on the day we are judged, and it will include, no doubt about it, every word spoken and written.

I’m learning to keep my mouth shut more than I run it.  To stick to what my grandpa used to tell me, that if I didn’t have something nice to say, it wasn’t necessary to say anything at all.  I later realized that is what Thumper’s mom taught him, in the movie & story of Bambi, what I call the Thumper Rule.   This is by far one of the hardest things for me to do, keep my mouth shut, sit on my fingers when I want to lash out at someone on Twitter, in my blog, or on Facebook.  I have a tendency to go all mama bear on people and need to be more careful.  Stop, think, think again, wait 24 hours, pray during that time.  It will keep me from stumbling in this area.  And meditate on this verse above from Matthew, apply it like spiritual duct tape to my mouth and hands.

James 3:5-12

New King James Version (NKJV)

Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.[a]

Coloring Outside The Lines ~ True Beauty

I spent many years with a very low self-esteem.  I’m no Barbie Doll, I’ve always been just a tiny bit curvy, and sometimes more than a tiny bit.  Some men in my life referred to it as pleasantly plump, as it wasn’t obese or even what they considered fat, just curvy.  They even felt I was very sexy.  There are some men who told me that I needed to gain weight, as they are into far heavier girls than myself, and then there were those like the ones I married who liked their women skinny.  I’ve never been skinny other than when I was very sick in high school.  But I would strive for perfection in other ways, with lots of make-up and the 80’s mega huge big hair.  I always longed to see myself through someone else’s eyes because no matter what I still never felt attractive.  Many things in life impacted my self-esteem from being  the picked on, bullied  kid in school to the unfaithfulness of spouses.  Those will leave a lot of scars on the self image.

Being sexual creatures we are drawn to physically attractive people.  Lust is a powerful force and can tempt even the most faithful, God-fearing men and women astray.  Even King David, described in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart, was led astray into deep sin by way of lust.  Few of us could claim a faith and walk as David’s so we ought to be very careful to guard against lust.  And images are one of those ways we can get caught up or catch someone else up in sexual sins.

As someone who has had a number of professional, nude photo shoots, I’m guilty of causing others to sin through lust.  My photos were published on a website that was free, but also on one that was a pay site.  And I loved the photos, not going to lie.  The photographer was a true artist and they were very classy photos.  I did them and the then husband found it very hot.  Other than the risks of people we knew finding out, he thought it even hotter that other men were lusting for what he had.  And lust they did, I had a number of fans that would email me via the photographer, and through other means.  It seemed so harmless at the time, and did my self esteem a world of good, but it was dead wrong.  Those photos are still floating around, and needless to say due to those I will not be running for any public office (though I’d run on a complete, open door platform and put those out there myself).  But every time someone sees one and lusts, I’ve led that person to sin.  That is now my prayer, that those images will vanish from cyberland, and for the heart and soul of anyone who sees them.  It is a heavy weight to carry knowing you’ve caused and continue to cause others to stumble by coloring outside of the lines.

Over time I’ve come to learn that true beauty is what you see when the lights are turned off.  It is what beauty looks like in the dark.  In the dark, or if unable to see a person physically, you focus on the inner portion, their heart.  The person who is truly beautiful is the one who is a beautiful soul on the inside.  I’ve met many very attractive people outwardly, but their hearts are full of strife, jealousy, bitterness, and hatred.  There is nothing at all appealing in those things.  Selfish and self centered, they may be pretty on the surface, but inside is one ugly individual.

Even now, as I’ve dated and been told over an over again that I am attractive, hot, sexy etc., it does my self esteem good.  But I’d rather be known for the inner beauty.  The true beauty of a heart and soul that puts Christ first, seeks to please Him, and is generous, kind and loving toward others.  It can take a lot of work to look pretty on the outside, but only God can make us beautiful on the inside, where it counts.