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Archive for the month “September, 2011”

Never Beyond: I Have Wagon Wrecks Too

Mel Gibson is one the greatest actors of all time in my opinion. Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, The Patriot,Braveheart, and The Passion of the Christ are probably his most well-known movies.  My mother loved Mad Max, so as a kid I saw it more than I wanted too. I have never been a Lethal Weapon fan, but then again it’s just not my style. The Patriot & Braveheart are two of my favorite movies. And then there is The Passion of the Christ. This movie helped to re-open my eyes to Christ. It helped bring me back to God.

Recently my husband and I watched a more recent of Mel’s movies, The Beaver. I think it is kind of fitting for his recent behavior. In this movie Mel’s character, Walter Black, suffers from severe depression and is kicked out of his house by his wife. Upon getting totally smashed, he attempts to commit suicide, but fails due to a “talking” beaver puppet. The beaver then goes on to help pull Walter out of his depression and reclaim his life. I won’t give the whole movie away, but I will say that it is well worth the watch. It gives great insight to those suffering with depression or other mental disorders.

I thought about Mel’s recent struggles while watching The Beaver, and I have to admit that I thought it was kind of ironic that he would do a movie like this. I mean, come on. He just publicly fell off his rocker in front of the entire world! My husband and I talked briefly about Mel and his struggles, and we both agreed that he is still an excellent actor. But isn’t he much more than that? Isn’t his life worth more than the movies he acts in or directs? Isn’t his value in more than what he does for a living? I have to answer yes to all of these questions, as a believer in Jesus Christ. As a Christian, I know that no one’s value, worth, or identity is found outside of Christ. And with that knowledge, I have to know that Mel is valued, treasured, loved, and accepted by Christ just as I am.

Mel may have fallen off the wagon in front of the entire world, but I have fallen of the wagon more times than I would care to admit. My wagon wrecks may not be in front of the entire world, but they are still wrecks just the same. I fall of my rocker many times, and struggle to find my way back in it. I call people names that I know are not uplifting, maybe not to their face or where anyone else can hear, but it’s still wrong. I have found myself in a drunken state of mind, not fully aware of my behavior at the time. I have lashed out unnecessarily. I have hurt people. I have strayed. And yet, I am still a daughter of the Most High God. Loved more than I can imagine. Treasured beyond any treasure here on earth. Valued beyond my comprehension. Given a second chance when I didn’t deserve it. So, who am I to declare Mel beyond a second chance? Who am I to point the finger at his wagon wreck? Who am I to do anything but offer the same grace and love of Christ that I was given?

Grace & Peace

This post is part of POTSC Never Beyond series. POTSC is all about overthrowing judgment and liberating love. Who would you give a second chance?

The Place of Loneliness

Loneliness. It’s a tough place to find yourself. It’s an empty place. It’s a hurtful place. It’s a place no one wants to be. But a lot of us do find ourselves in this very place. It’s uncomfortable. It’s depressing. It’s icky. It’s…well…lonely.

I believe none of us were created for this place of loneliness. I believe we were created to be people of community. We may not all be social butterflies, but we were all created to be social creatures. But if that is the case, then why do we find ourselves in the place of loneliness at times? Why does it even exist? Maybe it’s from our own choice(s). Maybe it’s due to someone else’s choice(s). Maybe it’s an attack from the enemy. But one thing is for certain. It is NOT by God’s doing. God doesn’t want us to be in the place of loneliness. And His heart breaks whenever one of His children is in this place. He wants to rescue His children from this place.

I pray that if you are in this place, this place of loneliness, that you will cry out to your Heavenly Father. He will hear you. He will answer you. He will rescue you. You are never out of His reach.

Grace and Peace

Never Beyond: Choosing Grace Instead

What an image huh? It’s an image that some of us know more about than others. It’s an image that we have seen in numerous history textbooks. It is an image that speaks volumes and brings to mind harsh words. Violence. Abuse. Racism. Hate. Inhumanity. Injustice. Terrorism.

But what if we replaced those harsh words with a different set of words. Mercy. Forgiveness. Peace. Love. Grace.  What if instead of having feelings of hate, bitterness, and resentment stir inside of us, we would instead have feelings of forgiveness, acceptance, and grace. Now, in no means am I saying that we have to accept the evil acts, but I am asking us to reconsider our reaction to the people. It is a hard pill to swallow, I know. I mean, how we could ever forgive such horrible events? How we could ever offer grace to those who show no mercy? How we could ever accept those who do not accept us?

 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Jesus, himself, chose to react to the horrific actions against him in a different way. He chose not to give into bitterness, resentment, or hate. Instead, he chose to forgive. He chose to show grace & mercy to those that withheld it from him. If we truly are disciples of Christ, then this is how we are to live also. By choosing to follow Christ, we have chosen to offer mercy and grace instead of hatred and bitterness. I know it is not easy. I know there are times that we fail. But we have the power of Christ dwelling within us. We have the Holy Spirit that empowers us to live as Christ lived. We must choose to be bold with our grace. We must choose to offer grace no matter what. My friends, we have been called into Promised Land living. We have been called to an abundant life. It is challenging, yet beyond rewarding.

Whatever image of hurt, hatred, abuse, violence, inhumanity, or injustice you come across in your life, I pray that you choose to give grace boldly.

Grace and Peace

This is part of People of the Second Chance (POTSC) Never Beyond poster series. Overthrow judgement. Liberate Love. Find out more at

From Party Girl to Celebrated Girl

Once upon a time I was known as the “party girl”. You know the one who was always up to try new things. The one who was all about a good buzz, and the one who thought it was cool to be mischievous. I really knew no limits. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I HAD limits, but I was all about going beyond those limits that had been placed on me. I thought I had all my stuff together and knew what was best for me (being accepted in the crowd). I was sooooo cool. Or so I thought…

It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized that I really wasn’t as cool as I thought I was. All the things that I had thought made me cool, really were evidence of something that I tried desperately to hide. I really didn’t have it all together. Inside I was falling apart. I was a huge mess, and I was trying to hide that with drugs, alcohol, relationships, and anything else I could get myself into. I needed help. I needed Jesus.

Jesus was what was missing in my life. He was what would put me back together again. All the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t do it, but Jesus could! And He did! I left the “Party Girl” label behind, and He gave me a new one. “A Celebrated Girl” He celebrates me! He loves me! He accepts me! Despite the mess I made of things in my life, He still welcomed me into His arms. He poured out His grace upon me and made me new!

So, I say to all of you “Party Girls”, you can have a new name! You can be put back together! You can be a “Celebrated Girl.” You are valued beyond measure, and your are loved far more than you can ever imagine!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Grace and Peace

You Are Known

Yesterday I was having one of those “I want everybody to like me” moments, and unfortunately some of it has crept over into today.I mean, who doesn’t like to be liked? This unfortunately is one of my weaknesses. I want everyone to like me, and if someone doesn’t (or I get it in my head that they don’t) I begin trying to figure out just why they don’t like me. I often create scenarios in my head that never took place, nor will ever take place. (I over analyze things sometimes.) Maybe I didn’t smile enough. Maybe I gave them a look that I didn’t realize I was giving. Maybe I didn’t…….Oh, the “maybes” are many.

But today, as I sat on my bed this thought came to mind. “Those that know me, KNOW me. Those that think they know, don’t know me. And those that don’t know me, think they know me.” Those in my circle of friends and my family, KNOW me. Those that just want to say they know me and might even wave at me in passing, are the ones that don’t really know me. And then there are those who don’t take the time to get to know me (for whatever reason) yet speak about me to others as if they know me, but in all actuality don’t know me at all. We all have these different people in our lives. And we all would love to have everyone be the first kind of people, the ones that really know us. The real us. Not just the us that is displayed on the outside, but the us that is within.

The wonderful thing though, is that we have One who does know us, and REALLY knows us. God knows who we really are. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knew us before we were even born. He knows the “us” from the inside out. And He wants us to know Him that intimately as well. So, the next time we encounter the people who fall into the category of not really knowing us and we get all in a tizzy; we can remind ourselves that God knows us. Even if no one else on the planet knew us, we would be known by the One who really matters. That should put a smile on our face!  We aren’t made to make everyone happy and have everyone like us. We were made to know Him and make Him known! And by doing that, we are known by Him!

Grace and Peace

Tyson and Anthony are Just Like Us

Take a look at the faces above. Not just a glance, but a good long look. What thoughts come to mind? What images play in your head? What feelings and emotions begin welling up inside of you?

Most of us probably began remembering Tyson’s famous ear biting incident, and Casey Anthony’s trial for the disappearance of her daughter. Most of us probably could picture each of these incidents play by play. And most of us probably began feeling anger, upset, and sadness. We probably even had the thought of “those horrible people.” Let’s be honest. Don’t try to hide it or deny it. Let’s be honest enough to say that we are guilty of passing judgment on Tyson and Anthony, and quite possibly condemning them.

But what if? What if Tyson was our son? What if he was our brother? Our husband? Our cousin? Our father? Our friend?

But what if? What if Casey was our daughter? What if she was our sister? Our cousin? Our wife? Our mother? Our friend?

But what if? What if Tyson was us? What if Casey was us?

How would we want others to respond to us? How would we want to be treated? Would we want people to give us a second chance?

Often times we see other people through a distorted lens. We see “what they have done”, and have failed to see THEM. We don’t think about what if the shoe was on the other foot. We distance ourselves and disconnect ourselves from the reality that it can very easily be someone we are close to or even ourselves found in their situation. None of us are immune to reality of this.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Did you catch the “ALL” part of that verse. Not some. Not a few. But ALL. That includes you and me. Yes, Tyson’s and Casey’s sins may have been displayed across the media for everyone to see, but we ALL have our own sins and shortcomings displayed in our own lives. And with that understanding and realization, we should keep that in mind the next time we begin to think that people such as Tyson and Casey don’t deserve a second chance. When we begin to pass judgment instead of grace or condemnation instead of mercy, we need to remember that we too have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. God’s grace is for ALL people. May we be more than willing to share it.

Grace and Peace

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