Sunday, November 4, 2012

Some Days



Some days you just have to remember that it's okay to not be okay.

You have to consciously stop and remind yourself not to compare who you are and what you do to other people because you are a unique creation.

Some days it's just enough to get up and take your next breath and be thankful for that.

Some days you have to stop and recall that you are not living in "that" nightmare anymore and it's okay to free your heart even at the risk of it being broken or betrayed.

Some days you have to let the walls down so others at least have a chance at saying, "Hey. I accept you just the way you are and I love you no matter what. I'm not going to run as soon as you have a bad day. I'm not going anywhere and I'm a safe person. You don't have to worry about me leaving or abandoning you."

Some days you don't need to analyze why this person looked at you a certain way or that person didn't say something in a particular way or respond the way you would have expected them to.

Some days you just have to let the tears flow that have been waiting to burst forth.

Some days you have to believe that because you may struggle with and illness of any kind you have people around you who will not judge but just say, "It's okay. You're not inadequate because of this sickness."

Some days you have to truly believe that those who are meant to be in your life will find a way to stay there and those who aren't willing or able to do that aren't worthy of your energy and effort and you need to let them go.

Some days you are just physically and emotionally spent and you don't need to spend another second worried about being viewed as inconsistent, lazy, or immature.

Some days you want to be able to say, "This is what is going on...." and explain yourself but you KNOW you will get that strange look and the person on the receiving end just won't get it so it's easier to remain silent.

Some days you just have to ignore the "Get yourself together and pull yourself up by your bootstraps and suck it up because other people have it worse off than you do" mentality and say that is them and this is me and it doesn't make me any less worthy or that I am weaker.

Some days you just need a minute or two or ten to climb up in Heavenly Daddy's lap completely empty and drained and let Him cover you with His love and compassion, and catch your tears as they fall knowing that one day those tears will be changed into a river of healing you will swim in.

Some days you just can't care about what the outside world is thinking about you.

Some days you have to embrace the fact that your imperfections, while others see them as flaws, are really the very things that make you unique and beautiful and one of a kind.

Some day is my reality today.

Today is my “Some Day”.

I don't share it to draw attention to myself. Who would want others to know this is what they're really going through or how they really feel? Not me! I'm sharing this because I KNOW for a fact that somebody else needs to read these words and be encouraged in their own "Some Days."

Some days it’s great to be reminded that you are not alone. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Pray For Who?

Reflections regarding my enemies:

Who am I to not forgive when I’ve been forgiven for so much in my own life?  

There are SO MANY days I have to forgive the same person (or people) over and over again. 

Some of the hurt and pain associated with what they did is gone for the most part but every now and then it will rear its’ ugly head and when it does the hurt can run deep, almost as if it were a fresh wound.

BUT there is something healing and restorative in knowing that I've chosen to pray for my enemies instead of cursing them. I'm certainly not perfect and I do fall short sometimes….actually a lot. On those days, I add myself to the prayer list.

Who am I to not love others when The Father loved me when I was unlovable?

Who am I to not pray for others when it’s the fruit of the prayers of others that have been the source of so much peace, restoration, and blessing in my own life?

I don’t get to pick and choose between praying for my enemy or my friend; those I have unconditional love for or great disdain.

Dare I be bold enough to proclaim that to God it makes no difference?

Remember when Jesus took up the towel and basin to wash the feet of the very one who would betray Him and hand Him over to be crucified, Judas? 

It was Jesus who looked at the very men who persecuted, accused, mocked, hated, and scorned Him hanging on the cross that would bring them salvation and life  who said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”

Armed with this knowledge I realize that I cannot afford to be unforgiving, whether the harm was intentional or if “they knew not what they were doing”. 

It’s during times of reflections such as this one that my heart cries out, “Daddy, I want to be like you!  I want to see others the way you do, love them the way you do, forgive them the way you do....just as you have with me...Give me a heart like yours!”

~C


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Above The Noise - Training Yourself To Hear His Voice


John 10:27 - Amplified Bible
The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.

No matter how hard my husband tried to get me to watch the Super Bowl with him the night before last I just couldn’t get into it.  I tried.  Oh, did I try!  The commercials were ok, but they were available online.  There’s just nothing appealing to me about men in tights running on an open, green field with a brown ball that has ever excited me. 

It was right before I decided to stop watching the game completely and go about doing something else that an instant replay caught my attention.  I’m guessing instant replays are always in slow motion.  I could be wrong, wouldn’t be the first time.  Just in case they aren’t I’m throwing in that little detail.  It’s key to exactly why I was drawn to look at this portion of the game.  I’m looking at the screen when I see one of the coaches yelling while the team is in the middle of a play.  Immediately my brain went into question mode.  “How is it possible for the player or players to hear the coach yelling with all the other noises around them?”, I asked myself.  The response was almost immediate.  “The player has probably had to train himself to hear the coaches’ voice.”  At this point all this question and answering is going on in my head.  I asked Ryan to pause the game, and without complaint or hesitation he honored that request.  I shared with him what I was thinking.  I knew he played football in high school so I asked him if it was possible. He confirmed what I already figured out.  He even went further to share that when he played in high school, he could hear his mother cheering for him from the stands.  The conversation then turned into a complete dialogue about how that could relate to us spiritually.  While we were talking John 10:27 came to mind.  “The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me.”

I thought about all my years of walking with the Lord and how listening for the voice of my Father is something I’ve had to train myself to do through reading His word, listening during my prayer and quiet time, meditation, and just simply asking Him to speak to my heart sometimes.  I also began to think about the many voices we hear throughout life that can drown out His voice if we are not listening with purpose and on purpose. I wondered just how many avenues of noise there was during the game.  There was definitely the crowd.  The coaches.  Other players.  The referee. I’m sure there are others I’ve missed.  In my pondering heart it also occurred to me that the multitudes and variance of voices were not necessarily in their favor.  After all they were on the field with their opponents who had their own fans, friends, and family. 

I went into my sitting room, also known as the “quiet room” and began to recall the voices in my own life.  Whether it was the jeers of my Judas’ or the echoing accolades of my friends, I have found it of basic necessity in my Christian walk to only focus on ONE voice and that is the voice of my Father.  I leaned over and reached for my Bible and opened it up to a scripture in John 5.  Jesus had just instructed a man who had been sick for 38 years to rise up and walk and the man did so and was supernaturally healed as a result of his obedience.  It was the Sabbath so instead of celebrating this miraculous healing the voices in the wind that day were accusing him of violating the Sabbath and because Jesus declared in vs. 17, ”…..Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” that enraged his accusers all the more because he actually referred to God as his Father.  To them that meant Jesus was putting Himself equal to God.  I would like to believe that there were also other voices that day; perhaps the praise and thanksgiving of the man who had been healed.  Either way in vs. 19 Jesus takes it back to an all-important foundation – doing what He heard the Father telling Him to do.  “Then Jesus replied, “I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way.” How many times have you been about The Father’s business and you were criticized OR how many times have you, with clean hands and a pure heart, delivered a word or deed in His Name and heard the applause of man?  Regardless of which reaction you encountered I submit to you that the only thing that mattered, that is eternal in value where your participation is concerned, is that you were obedient in doing what Father instructed you to do.  Like Jesus, we must be so enveloped in Him that at any given moment we are able to hear His voice regardless of whatever other sounds, voices, behaviors, or opinions are going on around us.

In John 14:26-27 it is written “…..The Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.  Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]  He is so many things according to this scripture.  It sounds to me like the Holy Spirit is also my “Coach” in addition to the other attributes listed.  What is even more beautiful is that after telling us of His many traits He assures us that His peace is available.  He encourages us to not allow our hearts to become troubled.  He admonishes us to cease to exist in the shadow of fear. He also provides us with the security of the promise that He is our teacher and will help us recall all that He has taught us.

There are several voices surrounding me these days. But the only voice I desire, the only one I long for, the only one I depend on is His.  Be it the commendation of man or the disapproval of my enemy, my prayer is that I would, like Jesus, my Coach, be able to say boldly, confidently, and without fear or trembling “I am only doing what The Father is telling me to do.  No more.  No less.”

I am so glad I watched the Super Bowl last night.  Who knew that it would lead me to such a quiet place of remembrance of Him and the importance of always being in training to hear His voice and His only?  I never would have thought watching men in tights running down a green, open field with a brown ball would result in my faith being strengthened.  The importance of knowing in my heart that in light of eternity His voice is the only one that will ever matter in this game we call life was magnified beyond my natural human comprehension.  To sum it all up, I have the best Coach.  He’s never been defeated and I know for a fact that we win the championship!  Our Coach is the greatest Champion ever!


Monday, January 30, 2012

Grace Quote


© 2012 Chantelle Henderson

I am currently re-reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.  Between my obsession with Pinterest and one of my favorite quotes in the book I was inspired to create a "visual”.  This should not be surprising considering that I am a word picture fanatic.  

The photo of the vintage bottles was found by a random search I completed on the web (http://firstvine.wordpress.com).  Apparently they are bottles from Woodrow Wilson's wine cellar which he allegedly asked Congress to transport his wine collection from the White House prior to the end of his presidency; random but cool statement, right?

The wording underneath the photo is the excerpt from The Ragamuffin Gospel book which screams the word “GRACE” to those who understand exactly what Mr. Brennan penned.

“The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellarful of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred-proof grace-of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the gospel-after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection your bootstraps-suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case.” - Brennan Manning – The Ragamuffin Gospel

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Grace In Pink

© 2012 Chantelle Henderson

For reasons I will not to go into, I will just say that it's been a ROUGH week.  Before I fully recovered from my recent bout with Bronchitis a stomach bug came knocking at my door. Let’s just say that me and sickness do not get along.  In fact, find me anyone who gets along with being on bed rest, fevers, a sore throat, and coughing, among other things, so I can pick their brain in an attempt to learn how not to act like a two-year old when I am under the weather.

Last night I just had one too many things tip me over the edge in my effort to hold it together and I just let go.  I say last night, but it was more like 12:30am.  The tears wouldn’t stop no matter how much I tried to fight them back.  To make it worse, it was what Oprah refers to as the “Ugly Cry” (LOL).  It was long after Jeremy & Ryan were fast asleep – or so I thought.  I was lying in bed and the lights were out.  The only noise was that of the floor fan I run every night as my “security blanket” and worship music playing softly on my iPod.  I thought for sure Ryan was asleep so I just started sobbing.  Quietly. Praying.  Quietly.  Talking to God.  Quietly.  I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.

I suppose after nearly 15 years of marriage I should have known that Ryan somehow would wake up.  “Tae Tae.  You ok?”, he asked.  The next thing you know his hand is caressing my back and he’s asking what’s wrong.  My only response was to turn to face him and scoot over until he was holding me and reassuring me that everything was ok.  As he held me I just shared a laundry list of things that were causing my heart to ache.  He was aware of most of them and later told me that he had been waiting for me all week to “let it out”.  He was well aware of the burden of some decisions I had to make and about the discovery of some undesired truths had been weighing heavy on me since Sunday [It’s now 12:30 am Thursday morning].

Can I just be 110% honest for a minute?  This week I once again found myself striving to be strong in my own ability and for me that means not crying.  The problem with me is that I somehow have convinced myself that tears mean I am weak. In my heart I know that’s not true but try to tell that to my head.  I’ve even read somewhere that tears could mean that “you’ve been strong for too long.”  If there is one scripture I should have recalled time and time again this week it is James 1:2-4 (The Message)Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  This passage magnifies the fact that the very things that will bring about the strengthening of my faith and the development of the Christ-like heart that I desire so greatly are oftentimes the creator of the salty, watery substance that flow uncontrollably down our face.  For me the release of tears are proving to be an agent of cleansing for my soul so I don’t know why I try to fight them with such great force. 

Last night Ry reminded me of that scripture in James.  We talked through my pain and we prayed together through the promises of God and eventually I fell asleep. 

I took my time getting out of bed this morning; more time than usual.  I reached over and grabbed a new devotional I’m reading this year, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.  I was reassured through today’s entry that I needed to “Give up the illusion that I deserve a problem-fee life.  Part of me is still hungering for the resolution of all difficulties.  This is a false hope!  As He told His disciples, in the world you will have trouble.”  WOW.  The timing could not have been better.  What a great confirmation and encouragement! I’m not a failure because difficulties keep presenting themselves.  In fact, I’m in great company.  The disciples obviously had their own share of challenges if Jesus found it necessary to tell them to have peace despite them.  I continued going through my regular daily routine……Bible Study, praying, reading, etc.  I started checking email and there’s one from Ryan.

“Good morning lovely.  You like pink, right?  Pink is a good color.”

Needless to say that started an email dialogue.

Me:  “Good morning to you too.  Um, yah....that's my favorite color.  And that is a totally random question.”

Ry:  “It may seem random, but it really isn’t if you think about it.  Think Pink.”

Me:  “Ok....I'll think pink.  Thanks for taking care of me last night and being the incredible man of God you are.  So back to the pink.  What’s the deal?”

Ry:  [No joke.  This is what he sent] “Use The Force Oby One.”

Me:  “LOL.  OK.”

I just brushed it off and didn’t think much else about it.  I figured he was bringing me a pink pair of pajamas home, which is a comfort item for me.  Or maybe something else like a pink coffee mug.  I went out to my desk to get some paperwork and there it was. A handwritten note on pink stationary on top of a topical Bible where he hi-lited the scripture.  Psalm 30:5 “…Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.  Not only did this man take care of me by holding me, praying over me, and comforting me last night, but he insisted that I sleep in this morning instead of getting up at my usual 6:15.  He took our son to school which adds an extra 30 minutes to his commute.  It also meant he had to get up an hour and a half earlier than usual.  As if all that wasn’t enough he took the time to write me this beautiful note on pink stationary (which he no doubt had to look for) which is my favorite color and kept me in remembrance of the Father’s promises.  Who does this?  Needless to say I shed some tears of joy.  I felt so overwhelmed by the love of my husband and the comfort of God’s word.

As you know by now if you are reading this, I have one word for 2012 and it is the word GRACE. I couldn’t help but to take notice between my husband’s touch in the dark as I was weeping and finding his note on my desk that God’s grace comes to us in many ways. Today it came to me through my husband loving me as Christ does the church. He walked out Ephesians 5:25-26 (HCSB) - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. After seeing the note I felt like I was swimming in an ocean of grace. I kept this poor man up all night and yet he thought to do this for me. Of course I called him as soon as I saw it and thanked him for my “pink” surprise. He could have brought home pink pajamas, a pink mug, pink roses, or a pink anything, but instead he gave me a priceless treasure on a pink piece of paper. A reminder that my tears won’t last forever and that joy comes with the dawning of each new day.

Once again, in a very unlikely way I am discovering that God’s grace is ever-present in so many ways.  This time it was written on a pink piece of paper and hi-lighted in yellow.




Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Simple Night Time Prayer


A simple prayer for those days when we require a little bit more grace than others:

 .*.   .*.  Jeremiah 17:7 – “[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.” Daddy, tonight I speak peace over our hearts and minds. I thank you that Your Holy Spirit leads and guides us into all truth, no matter how pretty or how ugly it may be. I thank You that we can choose to believe in, trust in, and rely on You. I pray always and in all ways that our hope and confidence is always YOU-not man-not ourselves. Forgive us for when we’ve not done so. Keep us in remembrance that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING good, admirable, precious, pure, holy, righteous, excellent, admirable, and the many other words that can be used come from You and YOU ALONE. Daddy, thank You that we can lay the chaos and confusion in our lives, as well as our worry, fears, insecurities, inadequacies, and imperfections at the foot of the cross knowing that You have us on The Potter’s wheel fixing those things “blemishes” to create a masterpiece to display for YOUR glory. As we wait, may we remain focused on the eternal, unseen things and not that which is seen with our natural eyes, which is fleeting and temporary. You are so good to us. I call you Faithful. Thank You for seeing us through the raging storms AND for allowing us to celebrate during the days that are filled with warmth, sunshine and calm. I love you. Thank you for watching over each and every one of us tonight. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.  .*.   .*. 


Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Counting On Grace Backstory



* This is my first entry for my new blog dedicated to GRACE.  You can find it at www.countingongrace.com *

Journal Entry from 1/4/2012: Yesterday I decided to call an old friend. I was recently on the new website Pinterest (www.pinterest.com). Pinterest is pretty much a virtual dream board. You create various boards, for example,‘Dreamhouse’, ‘Fashion’, ‘Favorite Quotes’, etc. I was looking at her boards when I saw one that was labeled ‘My Word For 2012’ and it was simply the word ‘Pause’. For whatever reason I was so intrigued by that one word. Just one word. Isn't it amazing how the human language is made up of so many words and phrases? And yet, ONE word can change your life as you know it. Think about it; Stop. Go. Yes. No. Maybe. Wait. With just one word a life, a mind, or a heart can be changed for all of eternity. I must admit, seeing her board titled ‘Pause’ did provoke me to stop what I was doing and just think. In other words, I paused. 

Here we are in the year 2012. I suppose like most people I feel a sense of what God wants for me and my family in this new year. I feel strongly that the theme or phrase for us is “The Best Is Yet To Come”. I really do believe with every fiber of my being that the best is yet to come. My husband and I have talked about it, prayed about it, and even jokingly looked at one another and said, “Well, that's good to know.” After the last five years we’ve experienced it is a very welcomed encouragement! In the back of my mind there was something about the one word factor. I've thought about it all day and the majority of yesterday evening. What is MY one word 2012? Even last night as I was drifting off to sleep words such as quiet, serenity, and love kept coming to mind. For some reason none of those seemed right for my one word. I didn’t just want the word to be a simple cliché. I wanted it to be something I could explore, observe, and research. Then today it hit me. GRACE.

In entries yet to be published I believe you will come to understand why GRACE is my one word for 2012. Be assured that it’s coming from the perspective of someone who has learned and continues to learn that I must count on God’s grace each and every day - second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour.

One Year. One Word. GRACE.