Not Sweating the Small Stuff…Personal Commandment #2

He endured this for me...

I am beginning to discover that not sweating the small stuff is actually kinda nice.  I have also uncovered the fact that most of what happens in my daily life is small stuff.  Of course,  tragedies do happen, and unfortunate things do occur, but for the most part, my life is pretty stress free.

I admit, I do let little things annoy me…I let small things get me down…I allow minor inconveniences get under my skin…and why?  Does it help?  No.  Does it make it better?  Obviously not.  Does it change the outcome?   No way.  So, why do we sweat the small stuff?

I’m not really sure how to answer that question.  I know life can’t be perfect, and I expect there to be bumps in the road.  Yet I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted fretting and stewing over the smallest detail and minor setbacks.  What a relief it has been to just dust my hands off, take a deep breath, and turn it over to God.  I am learning that He wants to shoulder my burdens.  My responsibility is to learn to let go.  For some odd reason, that is easier said than done.

Today I am thankful for the shoulder of a loving Father.

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“Bitterness is like drinking poison then expecting someone else to die.”  What a powerful statement that someone penned.

I have thought of this statement quite often in the past several months, realizing the truth behind it’s words.  As I open the door to my heart and soul examining what is inside, the ugly revelation is obviously clear.  Bitterness is a malignancy, a toxin, a virus that eats away at our core.

Bitterness robs us and hardens us.  It turns our heart to stone.  Why we choose to drink from this devil’s cup…a concoction mix of tainted lies and stained truths is a mystery.   The cauldron that holds our bitterness festers a brew so toxic that it threatens to destroy our very being.

Our bitterness needs to be bundled up and laid at the feet of our heavenly Father.  Only He can wipe our heart clean.  He can cleanse our soul and rid our body of this poison.  Bitterness kills the person that harbors it inside.  We tend to think that our stinging attitude and intense reactions towards another will hurt or destroy them.  We often fail to recognize that in the process we only hurt and destroy ourselves.

Like a thief in the night, bitterness will creep in and take from us our joy, our love, and our reason for living.  It is a bandit that disguises itself as our friend, but reveals its true colors  once the pollution and infliction has been rooted.

As I battle to rid my life of the bitterness that I have been harboring, I pray that God will purify my heart to its restored state so that I may be a better steward of this life He has so blessed me with.

Today I am thankful for the cleansing that only the Lord can give.

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I Can Only Imagine

I often think of looking into the gates of heaven.  I have visions of standing outside these big, black, wrought iron gates( I know it’s the pearly gates, but in my mind they are iron and it is my dream) in a long line with others waiting to go inside. There is a light posted above the gate, similar to a street light, that flashes green for those allowed to enter the gates or red if denied entry.

My hands are griping the bars as I patiently wait as St. Peter flips through The Book of Life searching for my name.  The book is large and worn with age.  The handwriting inside is a work of art, with large, black script.

I know without a doubt my name is in the book, but I’m concerned why it is taking an eternity for St. Peter to find my name.  I begin to feel weak and clammy.  I go ahead and spell my last name for him C-A-L-L-E-Y to speed the process along.  He apparently doesn’t hear me or is ignoring me or perhaps both.  Granted, it is a thick book, but hasn’t this guy heard of speed reading?  One would think that with a couple of thousand years of on the job training he would have this down with lightning speed.  I decide that perhaps he enjoys the torture he is putting us through, but he’s an angel…do they  get their kicks in this twisted, humorous way?

As I stand there impatiently, I think to myself…gosh, St. Peter looks old.  Reading glasses on the tip of his nose, wild, gray hair that is starting to thin on the top, name tag pinned to the front of his rumpled white robe that appears to be one size fits all.  I’m curious if I will be issued the same style… concerned because white has never been my color.

I then decided to concentrate on more important matters about my life in Heaven.  I cannot contain my excitement about meeting my heavenly Father for the first time.  What do I say?   Will I ramble uncontrollably, will I be able to speak at all?  Should I give Him a hug, bow in His presence, kiss his hand, wash His feet, or offer my hand as I introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Jennifer…nice to meet you God?”  The word “Lame”…echoes in my head at the thought.

Although I’m not in a rush to leave this earth, I look forward to meeting my Lord face to face.  I am eager to sit at His table and listen to His teachings.  I know when he speaks, His voice will be as commanding as actor Sam Elliott.  When He sings praises His voice will soothe like country crooner Trace Adkins.  I will be spellbound, captivated, and in awe just to be in His presence.

As I stand in line, I see Him in the distance and I hear words of love spill from his lips. I see encouragement as He touches the arm of another.  I see compassion in his eyes.  I strain to listen as He tells (for the millionth time) how He created the earth, how He instructed Noah to build the ark, how He turned the water into wine.  He chuckles when asked if he tires of the stories and of the endless questions.

St. Peter peers over his reading glasses and stares at me for what seems like hours.  I’m about to ask if he needs some identification, my social security number, and the name of my closest living relative when he grins and says as the green light flashes, “Welcome home.”

Today I am thankful for my heavenly home.

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What’s Forever For?

The vow of eternal love…the hope of a long and lasting love…the dream of happily ever after.  Are these things only in fairy tales?  Are they only visions in our mind?  A mirage created by false illusions?

Does our modern world not respect the vow of commitment like it did in an earlier time?  Do we prefer to retreat and surrender in our relationships and not suffer through blood, sweat, and tears and battle until the bitter end for a love that endures a lifetime?

The family unit does not seem to be treasured, desired, and coveted any longer.  It seems to have been replaced with relationships that seem to be nothing more than a passing phase like short-term parking, drive through fast food fixes, and quickie encounters.  I just don’t understand our lack of commitment to anything worth having.

Call me a relationship hoarder, a heart collector, or a romantic stockpile junkie.  I just want to hold on to something that will last.  I don’t want to take a stroll around the block or a hike through the park.  I want a long journey, a lifetime adventure, a never-ending odyssey, or a pilgrimage until I reach the other shore of my time on this earth.

By the way…what is forever for?

Today I am thankful for the couples that endure…that honor the commitment…for better and for worse.  I salute you.

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Just a Walk Away Joe

I will never understand how love just stops.

I will never understand the leaving, the walking out, the throwing in the towel.

I will never understand the rejection and the justifications.

I will never understand the bitterness, and scorn towards me.

I will never understand the lack of commitment, accountability, and remorse.

I will never understand a family that never asks questions & buries their head in the sand.

I will never understand how something that feels so right can turn into something so wrong.

I will never understand why being “right” (or thinking you are right) is more important that being happy.

I will never understand how a person can be so easily forgotten by others.

I will never understand how greed can destroy a person and relationships.

I will never understand how twisted a mind can get.

I will never understand being used, shown the door, and then becoming non existent.

I will never understand how words can scar and cut so deep even after years have passed.

I will never understand me…my…mine and mine alone when marriage should be we…our…ours…partners, soul mates…best friends.

I will never understand how a person can change from being an answer to prayer to hell on earth.

I will never understand how marriage makes you nothing more than an in-law and never a member of the family.

I will never understand why I even care…

Today I am thankful that I am taking steps to a better me.

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How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? (You Surrender the Pieces)

Negril, Jamaica

I read the following quote on a card recently, “Time can heal a broken heart, but we have to surrender the pieces.”  This spoke volumes to me.  A simple sentence in a random card that I just happened to open.

Isn’t it ironic how fate just steps in at certain times and just gives us an answer we so desperately need,  a word of encouragement to life our spirits, or a boost of confidence to get us back on our feet again?

I realized at that moment that I have never surrendered the pieces to my broken heart.  Instead I have held  them…refusing to toss them aside.  The pieces have cluttered my mind, and clouded my emotions long enough.   They have kept me from healing.

As I sit here with the pieces cupped in my trembling hands, I now feel ready to hand them over to my Maker and Creator.

It is time to surrender the pieces…

Today I am thankful that a blessing can be found in a simple sentence.

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Lady Down on Love

It’s a fear like I’ve never known before.  It grips me tightly and hangs on for dear life.  It’s a lethal cocktail of suffocation mixed with knots in my stomach.  It’s a run for your life, I can’t get out of the room fast enough kind of feeling.  I’m in a speeding car with no brakes, I’m in a cave with no light, and I’m on the freeway with no map.  That’s how I feel when people ask me about remarriage, commitment, and getting back in the dating world.

I actually do not think I can do it.  The fear is greater than the want.  That in itself disturbs me and makes me sad.  The thought of living out the rest of my life alone…without a soul mate, a partner, and a best friend to share it with saddens my soul.  I think the beauty of this life is meant to be spent with a mate.

Yet, the fear of commitment and my lack of trust is so strong and has such a strong grasp on my heart, that I don’t see anyway out.  I don’t know that it would be fair to an individual to even start a relationship when this fear is so strong.  I thought with the passing of time this feeling would pass, but instead the fear seems to deepen, the gap seems to broaden,  and the mountain seems to grow steeper.

I know that God has a plan.  I say that I love the Lord.  I claim that I trust my heavenly Father, yet I seem to refuse to hand over the keys to Him that lock the gate to my heart.  I can feel the keys in my sweaty palms…the sharpness of their teeth dig into my skin and  the tips of my fingers are white because of the tightness of my grip.  I try to force open my closed hand, but  it’s as if my clasp is frozen shut.   Do I truly believe that I am wiser than my God?  Of course not.  Do I doubt His love for me?  Never.  Do I trust Him enough to let go of the keys?  Only time can answer that question, but for now the keys are still clutched in my hand.

Today I am thankful for the unconditional love of my heavenly Father.

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