Posted in Uncategorized

Do you see the beauty in your brokenness?

In the bible, Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. We don’t know why she looked back, all we know is the action was purposed.

Did she look back because she was missing something? Or did she look back because she was angry? Reviewing? Regretting?

It’s hard to live your life and move forward when you are stuck in the past. We all have had things in the past that were hurtful, disgraceful, embarrassing and stressful. Some of us are still dealing with trouble from our past. That trouble brought relationships we don’t want, debt we wish we didn’t have and freedoms we wish we hadn’t lost. We troll through life unsure, unfamiliar and unhappy. We always blame ourselves (and sometimes it is our fault), but more times than not we were tricked by some bastard who never really cared.

So we find ourselves in a new year with the same old problems. And like previous years we said that the current year would be “that year” where things would change for the better. So we packed up our things and waiting on the porch for change to show up and get us — but change never showed.

Change never said it was coming.

You actually have to hunt down change and make it come home with you. Change is what you need and it is closer than you think.

So what I find with people who are searching for change is that they are actually living life through their failures instead of their successes. They have already discredited their victories as a fluke; they have assassinated their own character as not being good enough; and they have settled for far less than they deserve.

Am I talking to you yet??

Your victories are legit! Your life is not a waste! You absolutely deserve better! And you are just as worthy as the next person. What makes us worthy is not contained in anything we aspire to do. It’s the fact that God made us to be.

Your time is now. You already know what you need to do. You have been afraid all this time but not anymore.

There is an upside to being down and that is your ability to bounce! Your purpose is greater than the life you have been living. Cut away your dead weight, negative feelings and past mistakes. Capitalize on what you have learned and let this be the year you do YOU!

Posted in Beauty, Children, God, Love, Relationships, The Family

Birthdays are bigger than we think

I think we all know people who, when asked about their birthday, say that they don’t celebrate it anymore or that it’s just not a big deal.

What are we really saying about ourselves when we make these statements?

One of the things I love about spring is that in addition to the season in the Midwest beginning to change, I have two lovely daughters who celebrate birthdays in March and in April.

My girls are special to me. They know that they are special, but on their birthdays, I have an extra opportunity to celebrate the fact that they exist.

This is a fact of life that is often overlooked in childrearing.

The stability, security and self-esteem for any daughter are wrapped up in her daddy. A father is the first man that a daughter should be in love with. The number one reason is because this would be the daughter’s first taste of TRUE love – unconditional, never-ending, God-like love.

Codependent women, for the most part, did not experience a strong interpersonal relationship with their fathers.

I have counseled a variety of women who have said that even when their father was there, he really wasn’t there. He lived at the house, they ate dinner together sometimes and he was a great provider of physical things.

But how often they exchanged intimacy was in question.

There were no tender moments. They would say things like. “I know my Dad loved me, he just doesn’t express himself that way.” Or, “Dad loves me, he’s just very busy.”

The effects are devastating.

The daughter that doesn’t have the strong interpersonal relationship with her dad will always struggle with her relationships with men. The codependent part comes in her defining moments. She will always wonder is she beautiful, does she matter, who loves her.

And she will look for a male to supply her with these answers.

Just imagine the teenage boys willing to tell these girls that they are beautiful, they are important and they are loved.

What do you think these codependent girls will do in return for these simply words that should have come from her dad?

If you have ever wondered how some guys ended up with these very beautiful and intelligent women – you guessed it, codependency.

The point here is this: Every little girl needs to know that she is loved and that she matters. In fact all of us do. These two things are directly attached to her inner conscious which she will then use to fight off the voice that tell her no one loves her or she’s ugly.

This is why birthdays are especially important to all of us. They should be used as a tool to express love and to celebrate the life of a person we love. Everyone should have at least one day a year where people make a fuss, go out of their way and express their love all because of the birth of that special someone.

It is also for this reason that my two little girls will always know that they matter, that I love them more than life itself and that they are smart and talented enough to do whatever they put their little minds to. They need to understand that our spirits are forever connected and death can’t even separate us. That our love is everlasting – which means from the day they were conceived, it was in love and that their life and death will be spent in love.

Make sure the people you love know it. This must be demonstrated and said out loud often enough to make it a habit. This is how we live with no regret.

Posted in Discipleship, Forgiveness, Generosity, Giving, God, God's Promises, Happiness, Jesus Christ, Love, Marriage, Relationships, The Family

Part 2: Unconditional Love???

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul made a really big deal about the gift of love. He says:

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails…”

Whenever I have heard this passage (1 Corinthians 13:1-8) taught, it’s used as an absolute definition. I believe that the intent of this passage is to give you the results of practicing unconditional love, not simply define it.

Unconditional love has nothing to do with the person being loved. It has everything to do with the person who is giving the love. Unconditional love seems to refine the giver. We dwell on the benefits to the receiver, but the giver of unconditional love benefits the more.

Let’s say that I have an anger problem, but I choose to love unconditionally. As my anger is kindled, I am faced with the choice of whether to honor unconditional love or follow my anger. If I allow love in, it will not only conquer my anger, but solve the reason why I am angry in the first place.

Or say that I am faced with a person who has the reputation of being incapable of love, what are my choices? I could choose to stay away from that person which is what most would choose, or I could choose love. Now, this doesn’t mean that we allow people to run over us. It means that we will love them enough to do what others would not and that includes telling them what they really need to hear instead of enabling their behavior.

When you truly love someone, you don’t give up on them. This is why God said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” When you truly love someone, when they are at their weakest, you are the strongest. This is why it was “while we were without strength, Christ died …”.

When you truly love someone,  you become a benefit to them that they can see. You enhance their life so that it’s worth living. This is why Christ said, “I came to bring you life and life more abundantly.” The greatest part of loving someone is doing something for them that they could not do for themselves. This is why “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever shall believe on him shall not parish, but have eternal life.”

Love is something for the mature, not the immature. If you are trying to love someone and “self” keeps getting in the way, you’re not ready for the commitment of unconditional love. But if you would allow this love to have it’s way with you, all of your insecurities, fears, quirks and impurities would pour out of you.

Remember, mankind requires a condition,but  God never did. Who do you believe will be left standing in the end?

Posted in Jesus Christ, Love, Marriage, Relationships, The Family

Part 1: Unconditional love?

Love is probably the most overused and misrepresented word in the English language.

I say this because of the condition of the world. How many men use this word love to lure innocent woman into sexual relationships? How many children were conceived to teenage mothers under the idea that it was love? How many people have been betrayed by people who claimed to love them?

Love is NOT something you fall in, something that finds you or something that you feel. Love is something that you know, it is taught and those who know what it is, practice it. It is a by-product of experiencing Jesus Christ or people like Him. It is expressed in many ways. Clearly, it is a way of life.

By the way love is done in our country, we will never understand it the way it was intended. Love is conditional in America. People practice it conditionally and place expectations of the people they are loving. Love is distributed based on whether or not you meet the lover’s expectations.

This explains why a young woman searching for love will give herself sexually because she understands love as conditional. Men have long made sex a condition for their love. After all, that fits the love economy we have here so people just run with it.

This also explains the divorce rate.

Fifty percent of all marriages will end in divorce. That number goes up 20 percent for law enforcement and fire fighters. Why? Conditions were just not met.

We have played with this concept long enough. Next week I will show you a more excellent way.