An Epidemic is Upon Us

There is an epidemic in our community.  In our state. In our country. In our world.  

As Christians, there are several different topics you might think I’m referring to.  But this one hits home most to me, because I see the effects of it every single day. Our children aren’t being parented at home.  And maybe their parents weren’t parented growing up, so they don’t know how. Maybe life has touched them, damaged them, in a way that they aren’t capable of functioning as a parent.  But the effects in today’s society are prevalent.

Not just prevalent.  They are overwhelming.  

And these effects are seen in both girls and boys.  But, to me, it hits home the most with these boys.

At first glance, even the second, and often the third, these boys come across as with a bad attitude, foul-mouthed, angry, stubborn, disruptive and a menace to society.  And honestly, that isn’t wrong. Because they are boys with bad attitudes, foul-mouthed, angry, stubborn, disruptive, and menaces to society.  Because they have never been taught anything else.

And far too often, these boys are written off as no-good failures at life.  

And my heart is broken.  

My heart is broken, because sometimes, not all, but sometimes, when you take the time to dig deeper, and really get to know these boys, what you see on the surface is far from the entire picture.  Some of these boys have huge hearts, and brilliant minds. But these big hearts and brilliant minds have been beaten down by the hand that life has dealt them.

I know, even though I always have hope, that not every single one of them can be saved.  But I pray that we can reach as many as possible.

And I, as a woman, can love on these boys like a mama bear.  And I do, oh I do. But that isn’t enough. These boys need a man to stand up in their life.  Stand up, and show them what it truly means to be a good man.

But how do we make that happen?

As a society, we can do better.  We must do better.  

Life has handed them a bad start.  But that doesn’t mean they have to be stuck there.

I Have Created a Monster

I have created a monster.  I’m not saying I’m like Dr. Frankenstein, and have scavenged graveyards, piecing together some monster that is going to try to kill me…because, ew.  

No, what I have created is much, much worse than that.  

Are you ready to see this great beast?  

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Yup, the monster I have created is my dog, Cheese.  

Terrifying, itsn’t he?

4 weeks ago, I made a choice to begin this journey of banishing my scale, and focus more on my relationship with God, and spending time with Him.  Letting his view of me affect my own self-worth much more than a stupid number on a scale.

And yes, part of that process was to start spending more time exercising.  And, because my knees and ankle hate me, it seems walking is going to be the exercise of choice.  At least for now.

Also, because Cheese can be an energetic lunatic at times, I decided that it was time for both of us to get into shape.  Physically and spiritually.  Because, Cheese needs Jesus too.  

Cheese is 3.  And I have taken him for walks before.  There was even a point last year when I made a slightly misguided attempt at getting him to run with me.  My knees said “no” even though I really thought it was a fantastic idea. But I will admit that my own failings at regularly exercising kept Cheese from doing the same thing.  So that’s on me.

But I screwed up somewhere.  

Before this year, the longest walk Cheese and I had taken was 3 miles.  Well, our first outing, just over a month ago, we walked 4 miles. He was worn out, but he tackled those 4 miles like a champ.

Ok, this is awesome.  He enjoys going for a walk with me.  I had no idea what I had started.

But knowing that he enjoyed going for walks…between the exercise and the uninterrupted alone time with mommy, he was all for it.

So we kept going…and going…and going…

It has gotten to the point that if I don’t immediately come get him to go for a walk as soon as I get home from school, I’m in trouble.  He starts barking at me to hurry up, and he stares at the house with this judgy little look on his face.

And heaven forbid if my schedule or the weather intercedes and we CAN’T go for a walk.  The world is ending!!!

Well…last week, because I go to a Life Group with a group from my church on Wednesday, there just isn’t enough time to really go for a walk.  Then it rained on Thursday, so again, no walk.

Friday, I get home from school…and the weather is decent.  So I change, and we head out. This is us about what turned out to be half way through our walk.  

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I look excited, right?  

Grand total for Friday, just over 6 miles.

Grand total for the weekend, 15 miles.

15 miles!!!  

Cheese is an excellent personal trainer.  And honestly, he really is making it easy for me to want to get out and walk.  There have been days where I just wasn’t feeling it. But knowing he was looking forward to walking made me get out and do it.

And how do I know that Cheese enjoys it so much?  Well…just look at this face…

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Pure joy.  Right there.  

Absolute.  

Pure.  

Joy.

So there you have it.

Personal Trainer.  Workout Buddy. Beast.  

I have created a monster.  

Stuck Between The Rock and a Grumpy Place

Disclaimer: I am trying desperately not to have a pity party.

Disclaimer, the second:  I am not referring to Dwayne Johnson.  

The logical and pragmatic side of my brain is telling me I am fine.  The human, emotional, side of my brain is grumpy. Why, might you ask?  Well…let me tell you.

I am trying to give up on any preconceived notions I have for my life.  Letting go of the plans that I have made for my life, and focusing, or at least trying to, on God’s plan for my life.  

And I’m grumpy about it, currently.

Because I feel like I’m what one of my students have called me: a loser.  

And maybe not even necessarily a loser, just that I don’t have much of a life.  I come to work, I try to kick booty and be awesome. Then I go home, and I hang out with my dog.  I eat dinner. Watch TV. And go to bed. And if I talk to anyone outside of school, most of the time it’s my parents.  

And I’m not even saying that any of the things that I do are bad.  Because I’m not. I am comfortable enough with myself (now) to spend time alone with myself.  It took some time to get to that place, but I’m there. I can do things by myself, for myself.  

But as I was getting ready this morning, I was thinking about my life, and I have to ask…is this it?  Is this all there is ever going to be?

So, moving back to the logical side of my brain, and knowing God as I do…I KNOW that if this is what God has planned for my life, I KNOW that He is going to give me the strength to get through it, and survive, and hopefully be happy.  I get that.

But right now, I’m not happy about it.  I’m grumpy.

I’m at that place, and let’s be real honest, I have been there for a long time, where all of my friends are married.  And now they have children. And those children are growing up.

And then, off to the sidelines is me.  Cheering them on. And able to cheer them on from a place that is pure and honest with my absolute joy for their lives.  

But at the same time, feeling left out.  

Maybe moving past this feeling is just part of the process that I need to go through.  A process of grief, you might say.

So that’s where I’m at right now.  Stuck between God’s plan for my life.  And being grumpy about it.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a brighter outlook.  

Imma Pray for You

I had to pray for someone yesterday, someone that is not a very nice person.  Someone who created a current, horrific situation affecting people that I love.  And this same person has created horrific situations for other people that I love in the past.  This person is selfish, and mean. Long story short, unless this person has a profound change within their soul, she is going to hell.

And I HAD to pray for her yesterday.  Not because she asked me to pray for her.  But because I felt in my heart that she needs a profound change in her life, and we needed a miracle.  

I have no idea what has happened in her life for her to be such a mean and hateful person.  I know her parents. I know the area she grew up in. I know a great deal of her family. And nothing explains why she is the way she is…except Satan has got a hold of her.  

Satan…man…that guy is just bad news.   And when he gets his hooks into someone, really digs in deep, bad things will happen.

I have known for a long time, and personally experienced, Satan tries to throw things my way because I’m a Jesus girl.  Satan doesn’t like it when Jesus girls continue turning to God, no matter what hardships or war Satan tries to throw our way.  So sometimes the more we turn to God during a temper tantrum from the evil one, the worse the temper tantrum becomes.

And that’s exactly what happened.  Satan has tried throwing a temper tantrum, in human form.  And havoc ensued.

So how is it possible that I can pray for such a hateful person?  Well, the Bible told me to do it.

I look to these 2 verses for direction in how to pray for people you just don’t get along with.

“You have heard that it was said ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:43-45

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people-”
1 Timothy 2:1

Paul isn’t telling us to just pray for our friends, and people that we love.  People that we get along with, and the ones that are nice to us. No, no, no.  Paul is telling us to pray for ALL people.  

So while I fully understand that when you pray for people who just haven’t been very nice to you, you may start off doing so through gritted teeth and a locked jaw.  I get it. Been there, done that, gotten the souvenir t-shirt.

I feel you.  

When Satan starts using people to attack you, persecute you, do evil and vile things, his goal is not to get you to pray more.  His goal is not to get you to turn your back on the evil, and pray. Pray for the person that Satan is attacking. Pray for the situation.  Turn everything over to God, and let Him be the one in charge. His goal is to win! He wants you to crumple. He wants you to turn your back on God and think that He has left you to suffer this tragedy all on your own!

I urge you…don’t bow down to Satan and the things that he wants to happen.  

But rather…what an awesome way to thumb your nose at Satan!?!  Tell him that you aren’t going to cave to the pressures he is putting you under.

Turn everything over to God, including the person Satan is using to attack you.

Not today, Satan.  NOT TODAY!!