Finding The Silver Lining

The moment I took this beautiful picture of the sunbeams bursting through the darkened sky, I was headed into the funeral home.

The other day, I posted a blog of finding fun and adventure in times when nothing seems to be going right and plans are tough.

After a day that refused to end, I had to drive 30 minutes, to meet up with my son because he was in need; so, we met at a new station for yummy coffee and snacks to make the drive a little less tedious along the way.

Sometimes, you just have to search for those silver linings in the midst of the hard.

Sometimes, those silver linings are what brings a glimmer of hope along the desperate path.

It seems as if life just closes in at times. Those difficult moments become strenuous and pressing, until they are like four walls of concrete that have been given permission to move to the center, all at the same time.

I believe I’m not the only one who can attest to this fact; the past two years have confirmed this reality.

It feels as if the days are getting longer, lingering beyond the set hour to make it seem those midnight bells will never ring.

Sometimes, that silver lining can be allusive, hidden, even to the point of appearing as a mirage on a desert floor.

Sometimes, you’re gonna have to squint your eyes and grit your teeth, maybe even tilt your head a bit to see past the darkened day to that silver lining just beyond the rain.

Yet, if you will seek, you will find.

If you will knock, the door will open.

If you will but thrust your grasp into the hand of the One who holds tomorrow,

You will find the silver lining.

For He will make sure of it.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Matthew 7:7 & 8

But a Vapor

I attended a funeral today of a dear friend whose husband was in the chair talking to her, and then, he was gone.

On the same day he left, I made a call to my grandmother because it had been 19 years; since, we had to say goodbye to the love of her life.

In a few weeks, I’ll be present for my father’s memorial, to say goodbye and try to find the right shelf for the varied emotions.

Our lives are but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. Are you ready?

This is the month for awareness of miscarriages, infant loss and the fight of breast cancer.

My friend posted the other day the names of her three boys in heaven, and I added my oldest, too.

Just today, I counted five women whom I know personally are walking through, or who have just walked through, this painful and fearful journey; yet, each one of them have come out swingin’.

Our lives are but a vapor. Not a one is promised our next breath. Are you ready?

Don’t maintain that you’re invincible.

Don’t hold on that you’re healthy.

Don’t keep steadfast to the hope that you’re young.

We have no guarantee. We have no contract, no agreement, no treaty with death. He can come at anytime.

Yet, rest assured, he can only come when the Creator of life says, “Now.”

Love a little deeper. Forgive a little faster.

Hold a little tighter. Lean a little stronger.

And pray.

Pray like you’ve never prayed before.

Penned MG 10/9/21

One Without The Other

[I do not own nor possess this pic: Google.]

I read today all the notes in the article stating what a “cool mom” she had for attending all his travel games when she could’ve been at church or at work or in the bed sleeping.

I heard the praises she made as you fussed at that teacher, really giving her “what for,” after she had the audacity to flunk the test over a little glancing over the shoulder when all the kids need is just a little break from all the stress and demands.

I watched as your job gave you that award for all your hard work and extended hours that took you away from house and home for days and weeks at a time.

Is this what true achievement is now?

Are these “successes in modern culture” what show you’re full of vigor and forthrightness?

Is this what true purpose has come to?

I read the comments that say, “You’re a cool mom” because you sat with your kid at the tattoo parlor yesterday.

I hear the accolades of how great a job you did while allowing your daughter to “spread her wings” and try out the pride of life. After all, it’s the latest and greatest and “will bring her the best destiny.”

I watch as the news pours in on the wonderful attempt you took last week to bail your son out of jail for the fifth DUI since he was 16 because he promised to quit … again.

Is this what true love is now?

Are these strides to be “popular with the next generation” what show you’re full of compassion and admiration?

Is that what true affection has come to?

It seems the world has turned upside down. It seems we have reduced it all down to a common denominator. We are calling good evil and evil good, and yet, we stand here wondering why there is so much hatred, so much strife and so much utter destruction.

There is no internal goodness that brings you to right without an ultimate Truth.

There is no natural tendency toward mercy without an equal balance of justice.

One can never truly live without the other.

For where all mercy is driven, the sin goes without correction.

For where all justice is prevailed, the chance for grace is long forgotten.

One must have the other in a beautiful symphony called life,

And the only ability they have to meet is through the eyes of the One who knew no sin yet became sin to bear our wages of immediate death that we might live eternal…

Penned 7/16/21 – MG

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Was The MadHatter Really Mad?

If you make the hats feverishly, does that really make you mad?

And if you turn the room upside down because of the words that you say, does that make you insane?

And what if you imagine such a thing, and it comes to be a reality, does that make you a Magician or a dreamer?

If you sail the seven seas and yet are afraid of drowning, does that make you fearless?

And if you hike the highest mountain, does that truly make you an adventurer?

And if you dive into the deepest cave, yet long for the sunrise, does that make you a warrior or a defender?

If you are always present, does that mean you are never lost?

And you are always looking down f I’m above, does that make you a true intellect?

And if you are dying to live, does it truly mean you are alive or are you simply breathing in?

You can be a MadHatter, or you can be the Cat.

You can be the trees, or you can be the wizard.

You can be the pirates, or you can be the boys.

Life is a perspective.

The rules are debatable and full of consequence.

Which one will you choose?

Penned – 10/3/21 – MG

For the Lord is good;

His mercy is everlasting,

And His truth endures to all generations.

Psalm 100:5

A New Fall Resolution

Fall is coming! See it peeking through!

It’s the second day of October, and I’m over here goal setting. I know it’s not the first of the year, and well, those “New Years Resolutions” don’t usually pan out anyway.

I’m just going to make a commitment here, kind of for accountability. Of course, it’ll be more for my own accountability, as those of you reading don’t usually “get on to me” anyway (lol. 😉😂), regardless, I’m going to put it out there. … of course, now that I’ve said that, there are some of you contemplating the task. Haha!

As I talked to a longtime friend yesterday, I was reminded of somethings that I’ve allowed to fall to the wayside of my life. And I am committing now to try to blog at least 3x a week (and to increase that after the first of the year). I’ve been SO slack the last two years…

Covid kind of turned my life upside down a bit, not because of the sickness nor the shutdowns, as Georgia has remained pretty open the whole time, but rather because our lives went into a bit of overdrive for a season. Our church remained as wide open as we could, in various stages, and we tried to get to all our people via internet, phone calls, drive-in services, in house services, etc. So, my “job” overran much of my writing space, and we just started doing what we needed to do to keep our people connected and to know we still loved and cared for them even if they couldn’t get to church.

Then, this year, when everyone hoped to “return to normal,” things didn’t seem to slow down one bit! Early in the year, we had a major staff transition, and much of that “work load” fell to me until the new staff member had transitioned. And so now, about 6 months later, things are lightening just a bit. Whew! I’m so thankful! And all of this was combined with continued Covid issues, confusion from the media on all fronts, continued families going through things and really, this part has probably been amplified on various levels because of Covid. … Side note here: I HATE Covid. Just wanted to make that clear.

I told someone the other day, I am just a bit weary. And it’s quite difficult to explain, because it’s not in anyway that I want to quit, or even change what we are doing!! I truly, absolutely LOVE what we do, where we are, and who we minister to (and really, that statement should be reversed: I love the people, the town, the job, and I’m so thankful God has placed us here.)

This might sound cliche, but it’s the truth. I consider this a high honor and blessing because there are so many pastors who are “running out of steam” and just quitting the ministry all together. That just breaks my heart, both for them and the people who followed them. When you’re called to ministry, it’s never easy. Really and truly, it’s not supposed to be. It’s a cross, but when you’re called, and you’re giving it daily to Christ, it shouldn’t be a weight that burns you out. But I digress, that’s a sermon for another day.

I do believe the “reprieve” is coming, and we’ve just got to hold on. Because it may not be until Jesus calls us home; however, in the meanwhile, we’ve got to find those “breathing moments” in the midst of the chaos. And I believe, THIS is where my weariness has come creeping in… Somewhere between the day to day grind, the grief of losing my father, the twisted up vacation we had this year (that really amounted to two days snatched here and there; although, we were gone a week), the various ministry trips, and truthfully, the lack of writing, has all equated to my feelings of fatigue.

Well, not that you needed all of that explanation, but I suppose, I’m writing it for my own benefit and remembrance… and maybe a bit of therapy. Haha!! … I know I desperately need to get back after it, my writing, if for no other reason but for my own sense of solitude and peace. Writing brings a sense of calm to my heart and a discipline to my soul, and it helps me to fall into a cadence of thinking that is needed in my life.

So, this is why today, October 2, 2021, I am making a resolution for change. It might not seem like much to someone whose writing doesn’t bring them joy, peace and strength, but for me, it’s like knowing that walking will help your overall heart health and not doing it means certain death. It’s either make the change immediately or slowly walk the downward slope toward dying. I choose LIFE … and life more abundantly!!

…And since I wrote yesterday, that’s two blogs down this week. Woohoo! Haha! 😂 Thanks for reading and indulging my New Fall Resolution.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10

The Wake-up Call

I heard a true story today and it hit me just how the Lord can knock us up side the head when we least expect it. The sun has come up and is shining …

The Wake-up Call

This is reposted from a friend of mine’s blog.

Check it out at https://suespen2paper.com/

When My Pen is Too Weary

Lately, I’ve missed writing; yet, my heart makes the pen heavy.

It’s as if my soul has so many words bound within that it’s difficult to let them flow.

It’s as if a dam was built overnight, without my awareness, and now I’m stuck trying to open it.

I just want the river to flow freely. But my pen is too weary to begin again.

Pain seems to be everywhere my eyes wander; yet, the clouds cast shadows on the depths.

It’s as if I feel their agony, and then, I find myself wondering if this is pure or imagined.

It’s as if a dam has been erected in a moment of oversight, and now I’m struggling to crawl over the wall.

I just want to see the clarity through the mud. But my pen is too weary to draw the truth.

My fingers are desperate to grasp the medium, to spread freely, as the wings of flight once caged.

It’s as if I see the need, and then, my feet are too sluggish to make it across the line.

It’s as if a dam has been constructed and fortified, and now I’m left flailing in the wind, looking for the cracks.

I just want to write with fervor, escaping this reality while allowing it to reach from the ink into another land.

I need You to move, to break the barrier, to bust down this fortress. I need You to consume.

Why are you cast down, O My Soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; Therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall bewith me—

A prayer to the God of my life.

Psalm 42:5-8

Lost Soul

You were just a lost soul no one could hold

Traveled the world wide but never stayed close to home

Restless, renegade, rogue

That’s the life you tried to embrace

You were just a wandering soul no one could understand

Followed the stars and searched the land but never stayed too long

Rugged, ravaged, relentless

That’s the life that chased your dreams

You were just a weary soul no one could confine

Drifted beyond the horizon but never stayed in port

Regrets, remembrances, recollections

That’s the life that you left behind

You were a broken soul only One could redeem

Sailed close to water’s edge but never stayed the anchor

Reconstruction, renewal, redemption

That’s the life He has waiting for you

Penned – 8/6/2021 – MG

RIP JLH 8/5/21

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;

For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 4:8

Memories and the emotions they bring can be so difficult to put into words, but sometimes, a song will do…

When You Have To…Make it An Adventure

When you have to go to Fl for a memorial, stay in a place you’ve never been but want to explore.

When you have to go, but a hurricane is barreling in, drive on down to The Keys and stay a night in comfort, away from the howling wind.

We he original Mrs. Mac’s, on Key Largo, has the most amazing key lime pie!

When it’s raining in paradise, make a drive to a fun dive and remember the sunset from yesterday.

When the dockside you want isn’t open and other places are too full or the hours are funky, just stop searching and try to enjoy the mediocre food you find at a cool dive.

Skippers food is decent,
but this blonde sundae is to die for!!
The key lime wasn’t so great.

When you get burned from the less than desired cuisine, have a do-over at the hotel convenience … sit out on the balcony and enjoy good food, good service, and sweet conversations with both the waitress and your love.

Gus’s Grille at the
Marriott in Key Largo is great!
The apple pie is delicious!
The key lime pie is scrumptious!

Feels like island time already.

When you have to plan for the days ahead and make some decisions, sit out by the island waters, under a tiki hut, in a bamboo chair swing, and let the coastal breeze wash all over you.

When you can’t bring your boys with you, and they made because they missed the adventure, you stop by a favorite to bring our home to them…and enjoy a slice yourself in the beautiful garden out back.

The Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory has the absolute best key lime in the Keys!
Their expanded garden is a wonderful place to sit and take a breather,
and of course, to enjoy your slice!

When you have a free place, save a little money and head back to your original destination after the storm has blown through.

But take the long way through the swamps. It’s a prettier, more laid back experience.

Remember, you’re here for the adventure.

When you find your place to be amazing, but the beach town to be a little less than, go exploring nearby.

Remember, you’re here to make a memory.

When the days have been upside down and the busyness of life is taking a toll, take a little stroll along the seashore…or maybe two or three.

Along the way, stop and smell the roses, or take in the sight of the massive, gigantic trees, as it were.

The pictures just don’t quite do it justice.
The dimensions of this tree are mind-blowing!

When you see that the feasts prepared are good, but maybe not great, find the one suggested and let it remind you why you make a meal an event.

Matanza’s By the Bay is absolutely amazing!!
Be sure to get the salted caramel cheesecake and the pb pie…OH. MY!!

Amazing food, beautiful scenery, and fun conversations can bring the two of you back to younger days, deeper love and a stronger friendship.

When you have to go to a memorial, to be there for a friend, make it an adventure along the way.

Remember, it’s not always about the destination. Sometimes, it’s more about the time spent together and dreams fulfilled.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Philippians 4:8
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that
take our breath away.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Happy Father’s Day

For so many, Father’s Day can come with a roller coaster of emotions. Every little girl or boy wishes to have a Daddy who loves them, protects them, guides them and defends them, but sometimes, that’s just not how life turns out. And sometimes, we’ve had to say goodbye long before we’re ready.

Sometimes, rolling into the Father’s Day weekend, every thing can be just fine, and then, all of a sudden, you just cloud up and rain. You feel grouchy and agitated for no particular reason. You just want to sleep a little more, isolate a little longer, or pull back a little deeper.

You can’t really put your finger on it at first, and then, the tears roll down like a drenching spring shower, and you realize you really do miss him. Maybe it’s because he was bigger than life, filling the void deep within. Or maybe he was too absent, dropping in whenever he felt suited him, but left you waiting by the door with your bags packed foe a visit way too many times to count.

Or maybe, it’s never a missing or actual longing for him because he was so broken that he tried to break you in ways only nightmares can speak of; yet, the tears come for what could’ve been, should’ve been, and for what never could have been imagined…

So, for all those whose Father’s Day weekend brings with it a bit more complicated feelings than what you’d hoped for, know there is a God who sees you, and He longs to fill that void, heal that brokenness and mend those wounds that you’ve tried desperately to hide or ignore.

He truly is the best Dad a girl could hope for!

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing…

Psalm 68:5-6

The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17