Hollywood – It’s A Trap!

What if life was full of surprises? Oh wait – it is.

What if things were always changing? Oh wait – they are.

Why is it then we get our panties in a wad over the silliest of things? How miserable – not to mention uncomfortably awkward.

I listened to a young lady tell me about how she’s looking for love, expecting more out of love – the “Sweet Home Alabama” type of love. If I gave her any advice worth anything at all, and if she was in the least bit interested in that advice, I hope she heard me when I said to her, “love is not Hollywood.” I’m pretty sure most guys don’t like chic flicks because of the countless innuendos Hollywood suggest a relationship should be while girls on the other hand get entangled in a web of fairy tale happily ever after freshly spun as a trap. Life is not a Hollywood movie (unless based on a true story and even then…). Trust me, I know – it’s a daily, weekly, even monthly reminder I tell myself. I wish I could just say it’s the girls that have never known “love”, yet sadly, women in general have a twisted sort of view of love – thank you Hollywood media. However, the guys don’t get off so easy either… their expectations of what they think love is can be just as twisted.

There was a book that came out some time ago, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” to which I think I might have read a fraction of at one time, sadly I could not tell you the first thing about it other than it implies that men and women are different. Thank God they cleared that up – I was becoming suspicious. Sarcasm aside – we are different outside of the physical, we process things differently… that whole nature versus nurture theory – men are providers while women are nurturers.

I read an article today on facebook about the importance of the man kneeling when he proposes to the woman he’s chosen – significance of such symbolizes surrender, or so says the author. My question is this, when did it become just the man’s job to surrender? Don’t get me wrong, I believe the symbolism is a nice gesture, I don’t believe it to be as relevant as the daily actions throughout the relationship. In other words, while it’s nice you’re showing me you’ll surrender today, in this moment, what happens when the going gets tough? Does the tough get going? Surrender, at the very least, is an action… the act of surrender is a giving of oneself to another even when you don’t feel like it – often daily.

My plans for the holiday did not occur as I had imagined – it was far better. I enjoyed time with a man that loves me – who would do just about anything for me, of this I’m sure. It’s not a Hollywood kind of love. It’s simply love – our love. He’s wise in things where I’m naïve. He’s funny and witty when I am not. We work hard at the same types of things, yet at very different things. He’s discreetly private 99% of the time while I’m reflective and introverted yet very loud, 99% of the time. And, when he’s had a long, hard, tiresome day, and wants to be left alone he will still humor me if I’m in need with some silly request which is usually some insecurity crap that has found it’s way to the surface from the bottom of my abyss.

My weekend was full of surprises.

My life is changing.

In addition, I’ve traded my wadded panties and gone commando. Hollywood has nothing on me!

Learn to understand the one you’re with while applying some sweet surrender wherever needed – I promise you that you’ll discover that Hollywood has nothing on you either.



Perfect Square

16 3 2 13
5 10 11 8
9 6 7 12
4 15 14 1

My daughter showed me a piece of paper tonight with the above box drawn on it. She asked me, “Why is this the perfect square?”

“I don’t know, why?”

“Because no matter how you add it up, the answer is always 34. Go ahead, try it and see if you don’t get 34 every time you add it up, no matter how you add it up – horizontal, diagonal, vertical – all 34.”

It got me thinking about God’s pursuit of us, his patience, and his grace. Perfect love, [I believe I’m learning] is when one stays with you no matter the road you take. It doesn’t matter which path we choose, which direction we travel – backward or forward, under or around, over the mountain or through the woods – we always end up back with Him. He is our perfect square – the perfector of our life. *There is no place we can go, no secret hiding spot, no get-a-way, no home, no vacation, no hell-on-earth… there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God.

Psalms 91:9-11 tells us, “If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling. For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go.”

Lord, may we realize that you are always at work in our lives. You didn’t cease working after creation, you are still working today, in ways seen and unseen. May we find ourselves on our knees, at your feet, seeking your perfect will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

*Romans 8:38-39

Deep and Wide

“When the Holy Spirit puts His finger on the parts of our lives that are no longer appropriate, we can exchange that issue for a gift. The Holy Spirit will never convict us without offering a gift of uncommon love in return. In effect, this means that every attack of the enemy can be turned over to God in return for more strength, more favor, and more peace.” ~ Graham Cooke

Catch a glimpse of my incredible love for you. I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power to grasp

 how wide,  and long,  and high,  and deep  is my completely, unconditional love for you – a love that surpasses all human knowledge.

            My forever love,

                        Jesus – Ephesians 3:17-19

Ephesians 3:14-19 (New Living Translation)

 14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

This is my prayer of spiritual growth for you today, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Lost Hope Found on One Way Street

My friend posted a question on Facebook in her status which read,

“When does hope become nothing more than fantasy?”

For several of us, we are left asking the same question. My mind has wondered about this question tonight, for several reasons. Mostly due to the fact that I feel, lately, as if all hope is lost.

There are three great words in the Bible; perhaps it is one of my most treasured verses. It reads, “And now abides faith, hope, and love…” There are plenty of references in the Bible having to do with faith. In fact, it is mentioned 402 times.  And there is an abundant amount of times, approximately 697 times, that the word love is mentioned. However, the word hope is only mentioned 159 times, leaving hope begging a bit to understand its wonder.

The very word ‘hope’ is like turning on a light in the darkness. It’s like bringing joy into a sorrowful situation. Life without hope is bleak. 1 Corinthians 15:19 reads, “If in life only you have hope, you are of all men most miserable.” The severest misery, the severest reality of misery, is when hope is only in this life. If you don’t have anything to hope for beyond this life, that is the supreme misery because this life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. This life is at best very, very brief, and full of trouble. And if all your hope is tied only to what happens here, that is a severe misery.

Hebrews 6 states, “Hope that is an anchor for the soul,” a real hope. Any hope that is outside of God is a false hope, a fantasy. Job 8:13 says, “The hypocrites hope will perish.” Job 27:8 says, “For what is the hope of the hypocrite when God takes away his soul?” Job 31:24, “If I have made gold my hope, or said to the fine gold, ‘you are my confidence,’ then I have denied the God above.” Proverbs 10:28 says, “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness, but the hope of the wicked shall perish.”

Romans 8:23 says, “And not only this but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even ourselves groan within ourselves,” and I love this phrase, “waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body, for in hope we have been saved. But hope that is seen is not hope. Why does one also hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see with perseverance, we wait eagerly for it.”

Salvation, yes, the greatest part of which is yet unrealized. That is all bound up in our hope. It is wonderful to experience the joys of salvation presently, but they cannot be compared with that which God has prepared for us when our hope becomes reality. The true benefits of salvation are yet unrealized, we hold to them by hope. They are yet to be ours in their fullness.

Our hope comes from God. Our hope is in God. It is no less than God. It is not in men, it is in God. It is not in our dreams, it is in God. It is not in anything that we can tangibly grasp or comprehend, it is in God. It is in the unchanging God. The God who is never ever subject to alteration. The God who has spoken truth and cannot speak anything other than the truth. Our hope is in God.

Psalms 43:5 says this, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God.”

Things in my life aren’t what they should be nor what I would like them to be. Things are not the way I planned them and so I easily become despairing and disturbed BUT the psalmist says, “Stop that and hope in God.” It is because God has made promises of care and concern and protection and guidance and direction and sustenance that we can trust Him for a better tomorrow. Psalm 78:7 reads, “He is the one worthy of our hope.”

Just as our faith is believing God for what He said just because He said it, so our hope is believing God for what He promised just because He promised it. We need not earn hope, it is a gracious gift given to us. God is the source of that gift. God is the one who gives us something to hope for. God is the one who gives us everything to hope for.

As a professing Christian, I am going to be attacked. I will be engaged in a battle not against flesh and blood but against spiritual wickedness… I am going to be engaged in a real battle with forces that are greater than me. And that battle is going to come on many, many levels – through relationships, children, strangers, church-goers, co-workers… simply put, society. And doubt will be cast my way but I have on the helmet, which is the hope of salvation. Hope then defends us against attacks. Trials actually then have a way of affirming our hope, strengthening our hope, and making our hope brighter. It is the element of joy, the purest joy, for in it we find truth from the One that cannot lie.

When we have hope in Him, we know that God is a rock, unchangeable, covenant-keeping, sovereign, and no one can hinder His unfolding purpose.

Colossians 1:5, “A hope laid up for you in heaven.”

“… No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 In other words, my hope rest in the Truth of what is to come, from who was, who is, and who will always be, the source of my hope.

Therefore, to answer my friends question, if my ‘hope’ is tied up and bound up in anything other than what is God or comes from God it is fantasy, false hope.

My hope is not lost, it is in God!

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:16

P.S. This is not a sermon to my friend, she knows the Truth, this was merely helping me realize that my hope is not lost and where I need turn my eyes.

Sources: John MacArthur and Brent McMillan

Lead Me

Lead Me

I look around and see my wonderful life, almost perfect from the outside. In picture frames I see my beautiful wife always smiling but on the inside, I can hear her saying…

Lead me with strong hands, stand up when I can’t. Don’t leave me hungry for love, chasing dreams, what about us? Show me you’re willing to fight, that I’m still the love of your life. I know we call this our home but I still feel alone.

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes they’re just children from the outside. I’m working hard, I tell myself they’ll be fine; they’re independent but on the inside, I can hear them saying…

Lead me with strong hands, stand up when I can’t. Don’t leave me hungry for love, chasing dreams, but what about us? Show me you’re willing to fight, that I’m still the love of your life. I know we call this our home but I still feel alone.

So Father, give me the strength to be everything I’m called to be. Oh, Father, show me the way to lead them, won’t you lead me? To lead them with strong hands. To stand up when they can’t. Don’t want to leave them hungry for love, chasing things that I could give up. I’ll show them I’m willing to fight and give them the best of my life so we can call this our home. Lead me, ‘cause I can’t do this alone. Father, lead me, ‘cause I can’t do this alone.

~  Sanctus Real, “Lead Me”

I first heard this song a few weeks ago and it grabbed me. Not just my attention, my heart strings, my soul.

There is a joy inside that I cannot contain, in spite of the rain. He is making something beautiful out of my life. When you get to the place where you discover that He is all that you need, you find joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

I found myself singing this song, Lead Me, and another song, Our God, by Chris Tomlin, for the past several weeks. At first, I did not understand why I would be singing Lead Me, considering the verses, let alone the fact that I’m not a man, which disqualifies me as a husband or a father. Then I had my “ta-da” moment.

It grabbed my soul because I was the wife, the child, hungry for love and always alone.

I’ve been told that when I was an infant my parents fought over me. It was said that my father thought he had to choose between my mother or myself, and in this thought process, one day, I was found being pulled by my feet by one parent and by my arms by the other parent. You have to understand that my parents didn’t know the love of Christ at this time in their life, which makes all the difference. However, this began a cycle of behaviors that would last me into my adulthood.

As a former wife, I can understand the feelings of pain and rejection my mother must have felt as her husband chose another. If you’re a wife, imagine how you would feel, think, and react… and be honest in your imagination.  I will not go into specific detail, except however to say that, I know not what it is to have someone fighting for me and standing for me. Sadly, I never knew those things in my marriage either.

How many know that there are times in our lives where we will need to unlearn a learned behavior?

As I look back over the years of my life, I can see how His love has guided me. There is not a day, a month, a year, nor a season that I am not thankful to my great God. There is no one like Him! He is my strength, my strong tower, my protector, my provider, my shelter, my all in all! He knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb. He had a plan for me, a destiny, a calling for me. It is because of His mercies that I am here today. He has walked with me, talked with me, carried me, comforted me, scolded me, and loved me. He has never left me nor forsaken me, though I have turned my back on Him repeatedly.

I am not here to give you some sob story about my life, to throw people under the bus, to be a victim of defeat. I am a victorious conqueror, a princess to the King of Kings! I am here to tell you how God will make a way when there seems to be no way. How He makes ashes into something beautiful. I am here to tell you that with Him ALL things are possible! He has made me the head and not the tail! And as long as I’m living, with every breathe I take; all will know that all the glory, honor, and praise are His and His alone.

If you want to change and be transformed…  If you want to unlearn some learned behaviors…  If you want to see Him and know Him like nothing you’ve ever seen or known before, then you have to allow Him to lead you. When you allow Him to lead you, you will go places you didn’t know existed.

I’ve been walking with Him in a season of obedience and trust for several months now. In allowing Him to lead me thru this season, I’m finding that He takes my breath away in amazement, often. While it is an emotional season, it is a cleansing, a flushing, and a purifying… a beautiful birthing. (Notice I did not say ‘rebirthing’, there is a difference.) It may appear, even sound, crazy, the things that I’m doing in obedience, but I’m okay with that. It is an exciting and terrifying journey but one of which I’m willing to make.

If I don’t learn to trust, learn to walk in obedience, then how can I stand for my children, fight for my children, love my children… how can I lead them if I’m not willing to be led myself? I cannot. My children must see me walk this season, live it with me, in order to not only see God through me but to know Him because of me.

What are you saying to those that you love through your actions? Are you leaving them hungry, thirsty, and defenseless? Will you allow yourself to be led so that you in turn can lead? As a single mother, I am responsible for my household; I am the spiritual leader. What are you?

Copyright by ReflectionsByPj 20100816

Photo by Sue Hoppe