What Story Are You Telling?

You will never be given more than you can handle. Ever.  Never forget this, as difficult as it can sometimes be to believe.
BUT, life has a way of handing us many lemons, and one can only make so much lemonade.  Corny, I know, but it is very true.

After living 27 years of having no members of my family diagnosed with cancer, everything changed in 2010.   After my sweet dad passing away May 13, 2010, it seemed family and friends appeared out of nowhere, suddenly battling cancer. Perhaps we were all just more emotional when hearing of it, than we’d previously been, but both my grandmothers passed away (not from cancer), several friends, and in 2013, my uncle died from cancer.  It is a sad gift, to be able to understand the pain and sadness someone feels, when losing a loved one.  People have the best intentions when they say “I’m sorry for your loss”, or “My condolences…”, etc. but to have someone look at you or call and say “I get it. I know how you feel, and I can understand how one minute you are laughing at funny memories, and the next, you feel horribly guilty for laughing when you just lost someone you dearly loved” well, it isn’t something everyone can say. You never get over losing a loved one, but it is very true that one day you wake up, go throughout your day and realize you didn’t cry at all. It is a small victory.  The pain does fade, but it never truly goes away – nor do you really ever want it to. You don’t want to forget.

“Small choices seem so innocent, but they will continuously lead to bigger choices, and ultimately, mistakes until we are in so deep, the choice we give ourselves, is to go out in such a blaze, no one will ever forget WE. WERE. HERE”. ~ Mike Glenn

Look at Ray Charles, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston,  Cory Monteith and so many more. All of these people had one thing in common, which was their dependency on drugs.  Speculation will lead to many opinions on whether or not they actually died from drug usage, but regardless, the world knows they battled addiction for a long time.  Even though they were all well known in life, they are even bigger superstars since death.

Our culture is obsessed with capitalizing on one another’s tragedy, which is a sad realization.  Whatever happened to privacy, non-disclosure, and living your life on your own? It seems no one is safe, anymore. We are all one bad decision away from finding our faces on a tabloid magazine, Facebook status, Tweet, or somehow broadcast to everyone we know, and many we don’t.  Why do we find such satisfaction out of other’s failures, instead of celebrating their successes?  We have it SO backwards!

All the while, the old chorus continues to ring true: “Everyday Your grace is so amazing. Wonderful, to me….” Even if you aren’t religious, bear with me for a minute to see the point I want to make.
John 1:16 says “We all live off His generous bounty, gift after gift after gift….”   Romans 1:18-23 goes on to say “But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such cant see: eternal power…So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat Him like God, refusing to worship Him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor directions in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in His hands for cheap figurines you can buy at a roadside stand. ” (MSG version)

Now why would we do this, intentionally?  If given the choice, most of us would rather eat at a nice restaurant, than fast food.  I don’t know anyone who, if invited to have dinner at a nice steakhouse, would say “Could we grab a burger from Wendy’s, instead? That would just be crazy. Yet, we do it with God all the time.  He offers us a wonderful eternal life in heaven with Him, and yet we so often, refuse His blessings, in order to live life our own way.  We don’t live our daily lives in a way that shows the world we WANT  to be with God, here on earth, and we don’t have time to attend church, sing or praise and worship God. What do you think Heaven will be like?!  People make comments about God “Sending” someone to hell, but I have news; God would NEVER send anyone to hell. We arrive there totally on our own. God has enough regard for us that if we want a relationship with Him, He is ready to make us His own. However, if we don’t want a relationship with Him, he won’t push himself on us.

Just like most parents have to choose to do, regarding way-faring children,  God loves us so much, that at some point, when he sees the destructive path our life is headed down, He takes His hands off and says “If that’s the way you choose to live, it’s YOUR mistakes, from now on.  I simply can not watch you do this, anymore.  We don’t blame parents when they choose to practice  “tough love” on their own children, but yet we become so angry at God when he does the same. Why is that?

I remember, years ago, some kids I was nannying at the time were in the backseat of my car, and as often happens, we began having random conversations about whatever popped into their heads. The 5 year old asked me “Where do the bad guys go?” When I asked what he meant, he said “Well, when bad people die, do they go to heaven with Jesus, or do they go somewhere else?”  I didn’t think having a conversation about hell with a 5 year old was the greatest idea, so I replied “Well, everyone is bad, to some degree. Don’t you sometimes do naughty things?” He said “Yes”. I said “Well, just because you do one thing that is naughty, it doesn’t mean you are a naughty boy. It just means you didn’t make the right decision right then. Sometimes other people are like that, too.  But whether you do a whole lot of bad things, or a lot of good things, if you tell Jesus you are sorry for the naughty things you do, and ask Him to live in your heart, when you die, you will go to heaven with Jesus”. He and his 7 year old sister said “That’s it? We just tell Jesus we are sorry? That’s so easy”.  With teary eyes, I said “Yes, it is very easy. I think everyone should do it.  When you pray and ask Jesus to live in your heart, as long as you really mean it, He will begin to help you make better choices. When you do mess up (Because we all do!) He forgives you and helps you not want to keep doing the same bad things over and over.” I am so thankful for little moments like these, that end up being bigger moments than we may realize.   Christ puts specific people in our lives for very specific reasons, and I treasure the opportunities I am given to make positive impacts on anyone’s life.   As each new day arrives, you never know what will be required of you, so be sure you are ready.

Christ loves us all SO MUCH, He sent his son to pay the debt that none of us could pay, on our own. However, He also loves us enough to let us make our own choices. If he forced us all to live like He wishes, and go to heaven, he would be domineering, and that isn’t who Jesus is. He loves us enough to give us free will. If anything, His “weakness” is His mercy. Just because He “doesn’t”, does not mean He “can’t” or “won’t”.
You don’t get Jesus like you “want” Him, you get Him as He is.  The battles we face are for Christ to fight. He simply wants us to worship and love Him.

The world has such an incredibly difficult time believe what the bible says, not because they have a problem with Christ. Unfortunately, it’s because they meet “the church” (aka: christians) before meeting Christ and it turns them off.  This is truly unfortunate.

It becomes more and more difficult to publish blog posts without mentioning my relationship with Christ, and I would never intentionally upset anyone, but the realizations hits me between the eyes more and more often, that time is running out to share our faith with non-christians, and I don’t want to be standing in heaven one day and see anyone I know not be standing beside me.  

The bottom line is this: Words can do a lot of damage.  Some of it we know about, but a lot of it, we may never learn of.  SPEAK SLOWLY, LISTEN MORE, TALK LESS. This is a lesson for myself just as much as it is for any of you. The truth is, everyone is telling a story, each day of their lives, with the words they use, and the actions they show. What story are YOU telling?

Life has many more moments of disappointment, sadness, tears, frustration than it does contentment, happiness, smiles and victories – but we are given a new day, every morning that we wake up, and we have those 24 hours to make the day what we want. We can  focus on all the many negatives, or we can choose to be happy and instead, look at the positives – however few they may be.  I am grateful that I always have my Saviour walking with me, and during the many times I think  I am unable to continue walking through whatever valley God has put before me, He is there to carry me.

“So take everything the Master has set out for you, well made weapons of the best materials. Put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way”. Ephesians 6;11 (MSG)

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