Peace & Perspective

Living in Peace by having the right perspective. Peace – ˈpēs Noun: Freedom from strife; a state of tranquillity or serenity. Perspective – per·spec·tive – pərˈspektiv – Noun: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.


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Share Your Story!

Everyone goes through different types of trials. They are all for a greater purpose. When we go through trials, we come out with two things, experience we never asked for and wisdom we can’t help but obtain. Whether the end result of the trial is good or bad, we still come out with experience and wisdom. I often share my various trials with those close to me who are deep into their own trials or those who are brave enough to reach out to me for help. I offer the wisdom I learned through my experiences in order to show a different perspective now that I am able to look back at the lessons each trial has taught me. I do this to provide hope to those in pain and an open heart and an open mind will receive this gesture as such. How do I know this? Because I was on the receiving end of those who loved me enough to bravely share their stories of pain with me in order to give me a hope for my future. What a difference they made in my life. I am forever grateful for their demonstration of love to me for the sole purpose of my healing. Those people are a friend for life!

Many times, we are too stubborn and it’s not until some form of tragedy hits, heartbreak ensues, our spirits are broken, uncertainty lies ahead, and emotional and/or physical pain consumes us that we are propelled into wanting, needing and desperately desiring more in life.

My trials were the driving force for my thirst for wisdom, knowledge and much-needed understanding in order to comprehend and learn how to cope with issues I never thought I would have to face. Sadly, my years of a normal, predictable, and blessed life mostly filled with joy and happiness with a few bumps in the road peppered in never urged me into any self-reflection of who I was and what my priorities were nor did they prompt me to seek anything more or desire to change. It was entirely due to my despair and devastation that prompted me to want more in life and change my priorities.

This is why I share my stories with others. Horrible trials are all for a beautiful purpose. Lessons. If we are humble enough to learn the lessons through our trials, and if we are brave enough, we will share them with those we see going through difficulties to provide hope to them during their pain. If received, they will, in turn, do the very same when they see others struggling in their trials and we will have created a beautiful ripple effect of positive influence by simply sharing our stories of pain and triumph to those who are in need of hope.

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Inspiration. How I became a Blogger.

Where do bloggers get their inspiration? And what compels us to share our stories, talents, and passions with complete strangers on the internet? Some bloggers turn into authors and of course, many authors turn into bloggers.

Bloggers come in a variety of flavors and colors and are inspired for a multitude of reasons. Some are inspired by their desire to share their academic knowledge, their exciting adventures from traveling, or their hobbies, talents, and passions from everything from cooking to photography and everything in between. Some blog about their life of opulence and indulgence, while others blog about the mundane life of common folk. Then there are those who are emotionally motivated to blog about their life experiences and share their stories birthed from either immense joy or unspeakable heartbreak and tragedy, all contributing to some really great reads. We blog about our transformations, our expectations, our realizations, and our perceptions. We blog to teach, inspire, share, and for some, to heal. Regardless of why we blog, we all have a story to tell. I’m excited to have entered into this world of blogging.

But what makes us bloggers want to write and share our stories with complete strangers that we will never meet? What makes us want to connect with people with whom all we’ll only receive is that highly-hoped-for LIKE or if we’re lucky, a brief reply?? The answers run the gamut depending on who you ask. For me, it’s the possibility of connecting with someone who, after reading my blogs, has a new way of looking at and responding to situations in their life. Also, it’s a way for me to share what I’ve learned through the pain of my trials and testify that goodness prevails over evil, that there is light in the darkness, you can turn a negative situation into something positive, and ultimately how to live in peace through it all, despite what we endure.

My blog is about my life experiences from the half century I have been fortunate to live on this earth. 40 of those years were what I would call uneventful. Not necessarily boring or unimportant by any means because through those years, some amazing things happened in my life. I gave birth to two amazing children, watched them grow up to be amazing young adults, putting God first and inspiring others to do the same by their choices and lifestyle. I have lived through the ups and downs of marriage and survived them all with a wonderful husband who has been by my side through sickness and in health and demonstrated a level of loyalty to me, our marriage and our family that wipes away anything negative that tried to come in and destroy it. I have been very fortunate to travel with friends, my family and alone with my husband, making memories that will last a lifetime.

Indeed, prior to the last decade, my 40 years on this earth were pretty good, sprinkled in with some trivial upsets. I was living a typical, normal, somewhat predictable life. I was blessed in many ways. Reflecting back now, I clearly see that the “upsets” I once thought were difficult to endure, were so very inconsequential. They always resolved themselves quickly and never produced any roadblocks, detours, nor did they require or prompt me to change, grow or give me a thirst for anything more. I was just getting by on what I had always known to be what I thought was enough. I didn’t know any other way and had no clue that I was completely mentally stagnant and robotically enduring day to day life, never realizing how much more there was to learn and how much further I was able to grow.

I certainly wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t great either. I never sought to become better because it never dawned on me that I was in need of any improvement. Not out of pride, but out of ignorance. I had never known anything other than what I was living, a life of complacency. I was unaware that my level of wisdom was halted because I wasn’t seeking any for there was nothing that motivated me to pursue it. I was seemingly satisfied and satiated with my level of knowledge despite the fact that it was incredibly lacking.

It wasn’t until I began to reflect on the many difficult trials I have faced within the past decade that I truly felt inspired to write a blog about my experiences and my true perspective on who I am, what I’ve learned, and what I now aspire to be. I’ve grown more in the past ten years of my life due to pain and heartbreak than I had grown in my previous 40 years of life prior to experiencing the reality and despair of true darkness as I now know it.

Yes, frighteningly, it wasn’t until tragedy and turmoil hit my life this past decade, heartbreak broke my spirit, uncertainty and fear ruled my life, and physical and emotional pain consumed every ounce of my being that I was propelled into wanting, needing and desperately desiring more in life. They were the driving force for my thirst for wisdom, knowledge and much-needed understanding in order to comprehend and learn how to cope with issues I never thought I would face.

No, my years of a normal, predictable, and blessed life mostly filled with joy and happiness with a few bumps in the road peppered in did not urge me into any reflection of who I was and how I was living nor prompt me to seek anything more. It was entirely due to my decade of despair and devastation.

That my friends is what my blog is all about. Healing, hoping, growth and peace through trials, tragedy, and turmoil. My hope is to teach you how to turn your negatives into positives, bad situations into good, encourage you to never repay evil for evil, and learn how to relinquish control in situations where you have none in order to maintain your peace. I will share the knowledge that helped dig me out of a dark pit and enabled me to see the light again and who and what this light is that I now rely on and turn to when I’m in need of lifting up, guidance, and being an inspiration to others. It’s to teach that when trouble inevitably comes in its many unique and devastating ways, there is a time to mourn, to feel, to react, but there is also a time of healing and recovery and to understand that we are never meant to stay there.

This blog was birthed from my many revelations on so many issues and writing about them and sharing them is very therapeutic for me. This blog is my voice and my truth. It is the philosophies in which I live by, and the values in which I hold onto. It is what has been taught to our children and are the principles by which our family lives by. This blog is a representation of who I am.

With wisdom comes humility in asking God what the purpose is of our trials and what lessons we are supposed to learn from them. We must come to the end of ourselves and stop doing things our way with our own effort. We must allow God to mold and shape us through our trials into who He wants us to be in order to fulfill His will in our lives. It is only then that we will heal and grow and be equipped to lead others to hope through their darkness.

 


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The Culture of Me

Selflessness. Self-sacrificing. Preferring others. Those are all foreign terms in today’s culture of “me”. Are you personally familiar with them?

We are in the throes of an ugly epidemic of a self-absorbed humanity. Unfortunately, it is only going to get worse as the Bible does indeed predict it in 2 Timothy 3:2-5.

2 Timothy 3:2-5

2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

It’s visible on the roadways with erratic, careless, and distracted driving and the soaring amount of road rage incidents. It’s commonplace now to inconsiderately cut people off in traffic, ride their bumpers and push them off the road in order to be first or faster. Driving defensively has never been more necessary than today. It’s no longer just being a careful driver obeying the traffic signs, speed limits, and laws of the road, but being alert to who’s going to cut me off, flip me off, or tell me off on the highway!

In public, at home, in the workplace and in relationships, people have an immense sense of entitlement, are too offended, and don’t forgive easily or at all. Our culture is dominated by people refusing to compromise, be adaptable, be flexible, or prefer someone above themselves. It’s why marriages, families, friendships, and relationships are all falling apart.

There is no end in sight to the culture of me, only further perpetuation of it. A personal, internal philosophy of “Me first!” or even worse, “You don’t matter!” is indicative of too much pride and not enough humility in one’s life. Perhaps it’s a lifetime of zero consequences and no accountability. Maybe it’s that everything was handed to them with little to no effort so that is what they now expect from others (btw, thanks parents for poorly raising your entitled children for everyone else to have to deal with now!). It can also be due to resentment, bitterness, and an arrogant victim mentality of “Everyone owes me!”

Social media isn’t helping either as it dangerously contributes to the culture of me. We’re too busy filming brawls in Walmart for viral video status instead of responding with shock and disapproval with the encouragement to strive for better. Posting daily selfies, lengthy video stories, and going live in all we do is now the norm in order to show hundreds, thousands, and even millions of followers how fantastic we are. Our insatiable need to prove our worth and exploit ourselves for the admiration of others is doing nothing but fulfilling our superficial selfish needs.

How about the brave keyboard warriors? They spew hateful, demeaning comments with absolutely no filter. They post with such boldness as they cowered behind the anonymity of a social media account. Their intentions are self-satisfying as their impulsive and unkind rhetoric has only one mission: to tear people down not once thinking how their cruel words might ultimately affect others because they just fulfilled their immediate need of self-gratification. Mission accomplished!

Note that in all these examples, not once is anything done for someone else. They’re all for the purpose of satisfying self. If people would spend half their time doing some self-reflection and seeking a deeper life, they would live a more rewarding life that doesn’t need to be played out on social media because when you live a rewarding life, you don’t need the affirmation from countless strangers to tell you are worthy of anything. It comes from within and that feeling satisfies you.

Individuals who are cognizant to the feelings, needs and well-being of others are a rare breed any more. We are all born selfish so our lives must be a constant work in progress to improve and extinguish that innate nature within ourselves. We must recognize it and seek to change it.

Unless you are exposed to and taught a selfless life, most likely you will not produce a selfless life. I believe we begin to change when at some point in our lives, someone has or will cross our path and demonstrate what selflessness looks like and we understand how it makes us feel as a recipient. It is then we must pay attention. That feeling of gratitude we get when selflessness is directed toward us must be etched in our brains and fondly remembered so that the next time we have the opportunity, we can be the initiator of that feeling of gratitude in someone else by selflessly choosing to put them first.

Make today the day you choose to put others before yourself impressing them so profoundly with your selflessness that they cannot wait for their opportunity to impress it onto others.

Romans 12:10  

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

 


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His Mercies are New Every Morning

Happy New Year!

So, just curious. Which route have you decided to take to become a better you in 2019? Let me guess. Celery juicing? Low carb diets? Eliminating sugar? Purging clutter of unused and unwanted items in your house?

I must confess. I’m guilty of them all as I begin this brand new year.

It is beneficial and wise to want to improve ourselves. All of the above things are necessary for our physical and mental well-being as well as the environment around us. But, why does the excitement of ringing in a new year have such power to motivate us to make a change?  Why can’t this seasonal euphoric feeling be felt throughout the year? And sadly, why does all this hyped-up, end-of-the-year worldly pressure to improve ourselves slip by the wayside in about one month and we return to our habitual patterns of laziness, complacency, and mediocrity?

I’m exclaiming, “Not this year!”

As I reflect on my post, “An Alternative To New Year’s Resolutions,” I reiterate my philosophy that we should not need a celebratory yearly holiday to motivate us to improve ourselves. Yes, it is a cleansing feeling to leave behind the old year, especially if it wasn’t a great one. However, this is a good reminder that, should God bless us with the amazing opportunity to wake up another day, we get to intentionally decide on a daily basis how we want to live our lives and the choices we will make.

Our Lord says, “My mercies are new every morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23

What an encouragement! If the God who created the Universe and everything in it is this immensely gracious to his children each new morning, then I must meditate on this and allow myself to forget the flaws of yesterday and know that each new day is a fresh start. We don’t need a new year to change course, we just need a new day!

I really love this mentality and approach to life. It alleviates the pressure of being perfect and condemning yourself and allows the lessons of yesterday to wisely and deliberately fuel today’s choices and direction.

It’s never too late to right the wrongs of yesterday. Eat healthier, exercise, declutter, forgive, apologize, be kind, humble and selfless, be goal-oriented, and begin that project now!

Along with your personal goals for the New Year, I encourage you to add one more. Join with me in continuing to grow in a relationship with our Creator. Learn to submit to Him, be obedient to Him, and acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:6


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Christ Followers – Stop with the Karma!

I always cringe when I see Christians posting on Karma. Karma has nothing to do with God. Karma is a theological concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions. That fact alone should make Christians run but why do I see so many Christians wishing “Karma” on others or seeking any form of revenge?

First, as Christians, Karma is the last thing we should want on those who have betrayed or hurt us. Sure, our flesh may want revenge and for them to feel the same pain they caused us, but as Christians, we are to die to our flesh and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us with humility. Once you do that, your flesh takes a back seat and the Holy Spirit takes over and you begin to recognize the root cause of the lost soul who hurt you and how desperately they are in need of healing and prayer.

The Holy Spirit within us prompts our hearts to want the best for others – despite… Despite the pain they’ve caused, despite the betrayal, despite the unfairness. This is a great test to see where our level of spiritual maturity is. Wishing revenge or karma on someone who’s hurt you is a telltale sign of the level of your spiritual maturity.

  • Those with no spiritual maturity will wish karma and seek revenge upon those who have hurt them and will be at peace with that decision.
  • Those who are infants in spiritual maturity will wish karma and revenge on others but will feel that Holy Spirit nudge and know it’s not right to wish revenge on anyone and do their best to withdraw from these feelings.
  • Those who are growing in their spiritual maturity will reluctantly but obediently pray for the best outcome for those who have hurt or betrayed them. It’s difficult for them but they still do it and in doing it, they continue to grow spiritually and God rewards them for their obedience in giving them peace in the matter.
  • And lastly, those who are fully spiritual mature will have an automatic instinct to pray for someone that has wronged them and their heart will hurt for them because they have the discernment to know how badly they are in need of saving and inner healing that can only come from prayer and intercession. There is no wish to do them harm and all they desire is to see them healed and whole again. Because someone who is healed and whole cannot and does not hurt others.

Scripture is very clear that if we are walking the path of righteousness – not our righteousness but His, God will always vindicate us. I find comfort knowing that He knows my heart and my intentions always and I don’t have to explain anything to Him because He already knows and I can rest in that.

Patiently waiting for God to vindicate us means we must trust in His timing and that is very difficult. It means He alone will bring truth to light and expose darkness without any effort from us.

We must remain obedient and silent, not seeking to vindicate ourselves while we wait. We must understand and recognize that through the waiting, He is doing a work in everyone involved, including us and by being obedient, He will vindicate those who are walking in His righteousness and He alone will deal with those who are not. This brings me peace.

Once you have reached this peaceful realization that the bad behavior of others has nothing to do with you (assuming you’ve done some self-reflection and have owned your part of any conflict), give it to God and just wait. Soon peace will come, not by wishing punishment on whoever hurt you, but because you know a greater power is in charge of the situation and you can finally let go of all the exhausting effort in vindicating yourself. By waiting, trusting, and handing it over to God, you’ll not only receive righteous vindication, but it will be the purest form of justice you will ever receive without one bit of effort from you.

Take it from me because this is where I am now, receiving Godly favor in all areas of my life. Be sure to recognize what vindication may look like…sometimes it’s not as obvious as you have envisioned it. Vindication may be good health, good fortune, wonderful children, a blessed marriage, peaceful and joyful living, restoration of your reputation, or the emergence of new, Godly friends. Just be sure to recognize the blessings in your life…they are God’s favor for your obedience.

Psalm 17:2
Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.

Romans 12:19
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! If this blog has helped in any way, please share with others.


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Drop The Rope!

Did you know you have a choice of how to respond in a conflict contrary to your instinctive reactions to participating in it and making it worse?

Seems like a silly question, but I think that many of us feel that when conflict arises we must initially fight back at the same level, contribute to the nastiness, and participate in the escalation in order for our viewpoint to be heard. How refreshing to know that we don’t have to do this.

Before I even heard the term, “drop the rope,” at times, I was already doing it without being aware of the concept.

However, at times I didn’t drop the rope. I felt compelled to continue on with battles filled with utter nonsense. Battles which should have never been battles to begin with and I fought them until the point of mental exhaustion.

In healthy relationships, dropping the rope is easy as neither side desires for a conflict or disagreement to escalate to the point that it threatens a friendship or relationship. Each side attempts to practice innate self-control and would never overstep boundaries to intentionally hurt the other person. They understand that whatever is being discussed is certainly not worth jeopardizing a friendship or relationship. Disagreements end when both sides respectfully agree to disagree and the moment is over.

In healthy relationships, both sides are subconsciously “dropping the rope” because it’s a natural instinct in good, decent people who do not want to fight and understand people are allowed to have a different viewpoint.

Is important that you quickly recognize when you are in a situation that is unresolvable. Not because you are unwilling to resolve issues, but the other party is unwilling.

So, what exactly is dropping the rope? It’s a beautiful mental tool to utilize when conflicts arise and how to keep yourself peaceful. Think of the old-school game of “tug of war.” If one team should “drop the rope” in the middle of the game, what happens? The game is over. In the case of tug of war, the team that dropped the rope loses. However, the exact opposite is the case when you drop the rope in any conflict. The person who drops the rope wins!

The concept of “dropping the rope” simply means you refuse to continue to engage in an argument that is bouncing back and forth with no end in sight. You assess the situation and determine that is not resolving and getting too heated. Rather than escalating the conflict further by continuing to contribute to it, you calmly and respectfully diffuse the situation by changing the subject or ending the argument altogether. You do your part to achieve peace for both you and the other party.  In healthy relationships, everyone wins and there are no demands. You walk away with the same level of relationship as when you entered into the discussion.

Notice I said your goal is to achieve peace for both you and the other party. It’s not meant to be a demonstration of your dominance over the disagreement. When done correctly and lovingly, it is good for both parties.

So yes! You are winning because by dropping the rope, you have just achieved peace for you regardless of whether or not the other party does their part in dropping the rope! You have sent a clear message that you wish to no longer engage in a conversation going nowhere and your relationship and your peace are more important than proving a point.

Understand that it’s okay that if you dropping the rope and walking away for your peace makes them think they won. Make it a goal to get to the point where winning means you are secure in your convictions, you no longer need to provide extensive explanations for your beliefs and peace is your ultimate goal.

Dropping the rope is not complying or submitting, it’s recognizing you’re in a no-win situation and your peace is more important.

So my friends, when you are involved in your next conflict, whether it is disagreeing on political opinions or a difference of opinion on any hot topic, do yourself a huge favor and drop the rope! The best way for you to win is to not play.


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An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

January 1st. It doesn’t matter what year it is. This is the day we are all prompted to make our New Year’s Resolutions. A cognizant awareness along with a list of criteria that will better ourselves in the new year.

Resolutions are done with great and determined intentions. At the time we create them, we are absolutely 100% sure that, “This is the year I’m going to stick to them!” That’s good. That’s tenacity. It’s certainly better than the alternative of giving up before we even started. It shows we are desiring growth in whatever area we feel we need to improve. It also shows our humility in admitting that we are always in need of improvement. Resolutions signify new beginnings and perhaps making some necessary changes in your life all in the spirit of improving ourselves!

Flip the calendar several pages. It’s March. That excited feeling of accomplishing great things on January 1st has been forgotten. We’ve returned to the same habitual lifestyle that we had all intentions of changing and improving. Our resolutions turned into failed attempts, lack of willpower, and laziness. We are deflated and perhaps even feel like a failure.

That is why I no longer make resolutions. I don’t need a calendar or a special day to motivate me to better myself. Here’s the great thing. We have 365 days each and every year to do this. Yes, it’s true! We can better ourselves every single day. And, if we fail one day, the next day is filled with just as much promise to try again. We don’t have to wait an entire year to commit to bettering ourselves. There is no holiday needed and no milestone to wait for. Simply, commit to live a life of intention every single day.

These intentions are different for everyone. Some may intend to commit to being more thoughtful, kind, or selfless. While others are striving to lose weight, eat healthier, or tackle their finances more responsibly.  Regardless of your personal intention, find something that you are in need of improving and focus on it every day.

So, if you are going to make a New Year’s Resolution this year, make only one. Strive to live intentionally every day of your life and forgive yourself if you fall short of your expectations because tomorrow is always a new day!

Happy New Year – Happy New You!