I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO MY MOTHER IS!

Everyone reading this blog has a mother.  Even if you have never met her, or known her, she is or was, somewhere out there. 

I know many people who do not celebrate this day in any way.  In fact, it is most likely, that for some this is a day tinged with sadness and one they would like to simply forget. 

For some people, they remember their mother as a cruel, manipulative, and unkind woman.  For other women, this day is simply a reminder that they are NOT and can NEVER experience the wonder of carrying a child in their own womb, nurturing a little one at their breast, and watching that child develop into a well adjusted adult.  So I understand this can be a day marked by sadness!

In sharing this blog, I do want to acknowledge the privilege of being raised by a kind and loving mom.  I hope that is not rubbing salt in the wound because that is not my intention.  My deep desire is to comfort all hearts that find this day a dismal one.

Firstly, let me say that however unkind, or unloving your mother was, she gave you life.  If you cannot celebrate your mother today, then celebrate that she gave you life.  You are breathing and living and you are here to experience this day.  That is worth a little 'thank you!"

Secondly, I can assure you that you are deeply loved.  The most assuring truth to embrace is that God loves you.  You are not a mistake, you were in His plan and destiny before the world began.  Psalm 139 says that God formed you, and knew you when you were in your mother's womb. 

Thirdly,  you have the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life.  Your life may not be perfect.  In your view, your lineage my be tainted, but you are alive and breathing and loved by the Creator, and you can make a difference in someone's life today.

So don't let this simply be a day where you focus on what you do not have, but focus on what you do have.  You have life, a loving Creator, and the ability and the freedom of choice to bless someone today. 

To the mom whose heart is aching because you do not know where your son or daughter is at this time, or to the mom who is estranged from her children - let me say, take courage, keep trusting and believing for the best. 

My prayer is that every heart will find peace today.

I am and always will be,

recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,

Carol

GIVING UP...OR LETTING GO!

 

None of us want to be considered a quitter or someone who just gives up!  I am the kind of person who wants to cling tenaciously to something, someone, some project until the last strand of hope is completely and absolutely gone.  I don’t like giving up!  But sometimes it is not simply a matter of giving up something – it is really a case of letting go.  In my view there is a significant difference between giving up and letting go. 

 

When I give up, I quit because:

 

·      I don’t want to put any more effort into a relationship, a project, a job or a calling. 

·      I am scared

·      I am tired

·      I have lost interest

·      I couldn’t care

·      I don’t have passion

·      I am discouraged

·      I feel like a failure

·      I don’t believe in myself

·      I think people don’t believe in me

·      Things have not panned out as I wanted them to

·      Finance is an issue

·      I have never finished anything I started!

These are some of the reasons why we sometimes give up!

 

Letting go is something quite different.  One of the most touching stories in the Bible, is the narrative of Moses and his mother Jochebed.  I am sure as a mother, it was not easy to let that basket go floating down the Nile River – yet, she knew that when she let go, her son would find his destiny and so would the entire nation of Israel.  She was not giving up – she was deliberately and consciously letting go!

 

When I let go, I let go because:

·      I have given careful consideration to all my options

·      I have the strength to let go

·      I understand letting go is the best option for me and for others

·      I want to move on with my life

·      I want others to move on and succeed

·      I want my life to count

·      I know God has a plan for my life

·      I know His plan is a good one

·      I know holding on is not doing me any good

·      I do not worry about what people think

·      I want to do what is right and pleases God

·      I want to be free

 

I do understand that this is a big topic and could be applied to many different situations.  However, I felt led to write this piece because I sense there are some people reading this blog who need to let go.  I also realize that there are some people that are ready to quit and that you should not be doing this.  If you want to run, hide or quit – I urge you to stop!  Reflect for a moment.  Pray.  Pause to listen to God and then make a deliberate decision to keep going, or arrive at the place in your heart where instead of quitting you know you are simply letting go.  There is a huge difference between the two.

 

Quitting will make you feel like a failure!  Letting go will make you feel free!  To all my friends reading my blog today, my prayer is that you will have the strength to let go and let God have His way.  OR you will have the courage to keep on keeping on.

 

I am and always will be,

Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus

Carol

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RISKING YOUR HEART!

If we open our hearts to anyone, we risk being hurt.  When you open your heart you become vulnerable because you are exposing a part of yourself.  The truth is, there is nothing more wonderful in the entire world than opening up your heart to others.  But, let me be honest and say, that the more you open your heart the more prone you are to getting hurt.

 

Physical pain is horrible, but there is nothing more unbearable than an aching heart.  As I reflect on my life, I can say with all sincerity that I would take each and every risk of opening my heart all over again.  I am richer because I took the risk of opening my heart to others.  

 

Think for a moment!  If we never risked our hearts being open we would never have known love.  I only know pain because I know love.  I would never feel pain in my heart if I had never loved and cared.  It is because I have made myself vulnerable and opened my heart that I can feel anguish and pain. 

 

I don’t enjoy internal pain, but this one thing I know, I will never stop opening my heart.  I will never stop loving and caring.  You see the truth is, the more you love, the more intense your pain is when you are failed, rejected or disappointed.  Can you imagine not feeling pain?  How awful!  I would rather love and be hurt than never to have loved at all.

 

There are people all around the globe who are hurting.  Our planet is a needy one.  Nations all over are being ravaged by war, sickness and death.  There is a risk in opening your heart to the poor and needy.  There is always a risk in opening your heart to the sick and the dying because you risk your heart being broken. 

 

 I am reminded that Jesus risked everything for me.  What a risk He took!  He died on a cruel Roman cross for me.  He was spat upon, despised and abhorred, but He did it for you and for me.  Jesus modeled the way of love – He opened His heart and risked everything.  Jesus gave everything for our freedom.

 

If you are sitting reading my blog and wondering if all your sacrifice, loving and giving is worthwhile, let me gently remind you that it is!  Your heart may be broken, but it reveals how beautiful your heart really is.  The pain in your heart evidences the depth of your love and commitment.  You might be thinking, “I risked my heart, I risked everything, is this my reward?”  Life is tough!  It can be unfair.  But come back at life.  Keep your heart open - don’t put barriers up in your life!  The pain will pass, the wound will heal and your life will be richer and more meaningful because you were willing to take the risk.

 

I am so glad for the people who have taken a risk on me.  My husband took a risk…a big one, when he gave me his heart.  I am so thankful he did.  He has enriched my life so completely.  I don’t want to fail the people who have risked their hearts for me, but I am sure that I have, simply because I am human. 

 

This is possibly one of the most unusual blogs I have written.  Deep inside of me is this need to encourage you to take that risk.  Perhaps it has been a dream you have had of going to a war torn nation and serving broken people.  Or, you feel inspired to reach out to the homeless in your city.  Maybe someone is feeling prompted to open their hearts to addicts.  You are scared!  “Is it worth the risk?” you ask yourself.  What if you fail?  What if your heart is broken?  In all honesty, you probably will have your heart broken and at times you will feel as if you have failed.  It will still be worth it all.

 

I know that when we see Jesus, we will say, “I am glad I risked my heart.”  It was worth it all!

 

I am and always will be,

Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,

Carol

GIVING OUT OF YOUR HURT AND HEALING

Her world had fallen apart!  “Why God, why did you take him from me,” she whispered in utter despair.  My friend had lost her soul mate and did not know how she could ever recover from such profound loss.

 

I have other friends who have been through challenging experiences lately.  Some have lost loved ones, some have faced illness and some have faced other horrendous circumstances.  I have had to watch different ones goes through their pain in various ways.  Some of them are thriving; some of them are coping, while a few of them are simply in survival mode - they grope in the darkness, holding tenaciously to their hurts and wounds.  At times I wonder if they feel guilty about letting go of their pain.  As I think about some of these beautiful women friends, here are a few of my reflections.

 

 

DON’T WASTE YOUR PAIN

 

If you have been through a trying time of pain and loss don’t waste that experience.  One of my girlfriends has written a book about her loss and pain and how she came to terms with losing her spouse.  Others never talk about their pain; they simply live with a constant ache in their hearts.  I think that is sad!  There are so many hurting people out there who could benefit from your experience, however traumatic it was. Don’t waste your experience – don’t hide it – use it to bless and help others.

 

DON’T FEEL GUILTY FOR MOVING ON

 

I love what the Psalmist said; “Weeping endures for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”  I am not underestimating the agonizing experience, neither am I trying to diminish the pain – what I am suggesting is that the darkness does pass and the morning breaks forth in all its glory and light.  There is, I do believe, “a time for weeping” but there is also a time for healing.

 

DON’T WAIT TO FEEL WHOLE

 

I hear people say, “ I need more time, I need to feel whole,” or words to that effect.  I do believe that we can still minister to others in the process of healing.  I can assure you that as you give out of your pain and your anguish; you will find God will fill you in a way you never thought possible.  I remember when my son was in Trauma ICU – everyday people would grab us in the ward and ask us to pray with their families.  I was so dry and desperate on the inside, but somehow giving out of our parched souls did not deplete us it seemed to replenish us.

 

There is someone, somewhere that is hurting as much as you are.  Perhaps in your own pain and emptiness you can reach out to them and touch them.  I assure you that as you give out of your hurt and pain you will not only pour oil and wine into their wound, but you will find that your own heart will be filled.  May His nail scarred Hands touch you today and lead you to someone desperate for the balm of Gilead.

 

I am and always will be,

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Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,


Carol


WHEN MY WORLD WAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN AND INSIDE OUT

I knew God was clever and so when I described in clear terms where I wanted to go I knew He understood perfectly.  White sandy beaches, ink blue skies, palm trees, coconuts and mangoes were all on the descriptive list.  He understood!  I knew He did!  After all, we had lived in England and been subject to grey skies and dull weather for seven years.  I knew God would want to give us reprieve and would certainly adhere to most of the demands on my list. 

 

Hawaii here we come!  Well, if it wasn’t Hawaii then I would be perfectly content with California or even Florida.  God could choose out of three destinations where to send us…that surely gave Him a lot of scope!

 

Shock and horror!

 

When my ever cheerful, fun loving, optimistic, visionary husband barged into the room one sunny North Carolinian morning to tell me there was a tentative invitation to Ellendale, North Dakota, I did not laugh.  It was not funny!  And it was not God!  I tried to convince my husband that God could never ever want us in an insignificant place with only 1500 people living in the town.  Utterly ridiculous!  Who goes to nowhere places to try and accomplish growth in God’s Kingdom?

 

Gentle persuasion

 

Not one for being put off too quickly Paul kept gently badgering me. He asked in that persuasive, happy, no pressure kind of tone, “What if we just go and do their spiritual emphasis week for them?”   Well, since we were speaking at churches in Chicago, I thought it would be plausible to push further north and go and see this place called Trinity Bible College, in Ellendale, North Dakota.  It was not a little further north; it was a lot further north!   We drove and drove and drove until I thought we would fall off the end of the earth.

 

God’s ways are perfect

 

We arrived at Trinity and had two amazing days on the campus.  By the time our two days were over, God had convincingly shown me that this insignificant, somewhat desolate destination was the place He wanted us to come. 

 

God’s ways are always best

 

A little over two years ago we arrived at Trinity.  No, there are no white beaches.  There is a lot of other white stuff and its kind of cold, if you know what I mean?  Snow in abundance, wind that hits you with incredible force and cold to make your bones ache!  But, oh how happy I have been!  I thought I knew what I wanted, but truth is God knows what is best and He knows us better than we know ourselves.

 

God’s will is the safest place

 

I have come to realize that the safest place to be is right in the center of God’s will.  When you are in that place you are perfectly content.  Our joy does not come from our surroundings alone, our joy comes from the people we are with and knowing that we are right where God has placed us.

 

Take courage

 

And so my friend, if you are struggling with God’s plans for your life, or if you feel your world has been turned upside down, take heart!  There is no safer place than His will. 

 

Trust Him

 

I have learned to trust my wonderful heavenly Father. He knows best.  What looked like my world being turned upside down was actually not!  He was turning my world the right way up.

 

Beauty wrapped in bleakness

 

North Dakota can be bleak in winter, but there is real beauty in that bleakness.  This open, monastic space is a place of solace and comfort for the weary.  You can hear the birds singing, you can watch the leaves on the trees dancing in the breeze and the grass shiver beneath your feet.   It is the perfect place for a Bible College!  Men and women can draw aside to this cloistered space and prepare their hearts to serve God in a broken and hurting world. 

 

God sees what I don’t see

 

God is infinitely cleverer than I am.  I would not have put a College in Ellendale.  But then neither would I have chosen a king to be born in a stable and live in an insignificant town called Nazareth.  It was in that insignificant space that the Son of God was nurtured and from that place He went out to touch His world. 

 

God’s kingdom will come

 

If we are prepared to let God rock our word and turn it upside down, I believe we will see His kingdom come on earth. 

 

Uncomfortable

 

Yes, it has been a bit uncomfortable at times, but there is deep inner joy that comes with the knowledge that I am where God wants me.  God has turned my world the right way up.

 

Looking to Jesus

 

And so as Hebrews 12 exhorts me, I keep looking to Jesus.  I keep my gaze on Him and know that He will help me run my race to the very end.

 

Be encouraged

 

Take courage in God’s plan!  What feels uncomfortable and topsy-turvy might actually be the right way up.  His ways are best.  Yield and submit to His perfect plan.

I am and always will be,

Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,

Carol

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 Beautiful Trinity!