Saturday, September 9, 2017

When The Walls Are Crashing In

Have you ever been in a deep dark pit? So deep you couldn't see a way out? I have, at different points in my life. As a teenager after a horrible trauma I didn't think I could possibly survive.  Also when I became chronically ill with Addison's Disease and then other co-existing illnesses, knowing life would never be the same, I was grief stricken.

I lived in Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. I was in Central Mississippi so we didn't get the devastation of the coast or New Orleans, but we got hit hard. At that time I worked hardships for the state retirement plan, and after hearing all the stories from the coast all day long, I would go home at night and cry, at least in the beginning. But you know what? I watched the stories change. From shock and grief to unity and a new hope...where there is God, there is always hope.

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. It is also when Hurricane Irma will be hitting the Southeastern United States. Please know that whether you have evacuated or stayed, whether you are in a bad situation or hurting, no matter what your circumstance, or how dark things look, it can and does get better. You are never alone. I can say this because I have been in that dark pit. We can't always do it our own, sometimes we need help. There is no shame in needing help. We are not built to be perfect or completely independent, no matter what anyone has told you. Please if you feel like giving up, don't. Reach out. If not to someone you know, I will have some contacts below. And I want to share something that helped me. Please share it with anyone you think it might help. God never leaves us, and is a source of great comfort and peace.

I promised you some contacts. You can always contact me. For some anonymous contacts who are trained to help people that are hurting and people that are thinking about giving up here are some numbers and web addresses:

1-800-273-TALK (24/7)
Crisis Chat:
Textline: Text home to 741741

Please, never give up when the walls are crashing in.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

What Would Jesus Do?

Last December when I was wrapping up Christmas shopping, I had a real scare. I pulled into a parking space and I had someone pull up by me and run out of his truck, yelling obscenities at me, telling me he was waiting for my space first. He pulled his fist at me and stood over me, threatening me. He had his wife and kids in the truck with him. I had never even seen the truck. This man really scared me and I ended up leaving not only that space, but that store because he scared me so much. I really thought he was going to hurt me.

We live in a culture of anger and hate. People get angry so fast. I have watched people get out of cars and beat up each other up. I have seen virtual strangers beat each other verbally online. Things happen so fast, misunderstanding becomes jumping to conclusions, and so many things become about taking a side. Unity seems to be a word that doesn't exist anymore. Understanding and compassion are replaced with a "me first" attitude. So many want to judge who deserves what and what is fair, even when not fully informed and even within the church. One wonders "What would Jesus do if he were here now?"

Do you remember the bracelets that were a fad for a while that said "WWJD?" They stood for "What would Jesus do?" I think that is a good question to be asking ourselves now. I hear many people talking about the problem but that won't solve anything, not without something behind it. It is very easy for anyone to get caught up in it, but then that makes us a part of the problem too, doesn't it? When we respond in kind, we are part of the problem.

We all need to be part of the solution and that mean taking action. We fight darkness with light. We fight hate with love, and anger with kindness. We go back to the things we learned as children. For instance, The Golden Rule- Treat others as you want them to treat you. We love because He first loved us. We need to show the world that love. The love that gives and is kind and gentle. People learn by example. We are the face of Christianity, and we need to remember that more than ever when we are in the world dealing with people that aren't Christians. Jesus wants to save the sinners, and he wants us to help him do it. It starts with remembering that we are all sinners, even those of us that he has already saved. Kindness speaks a language everyone can hear. Next time you have an opportunity to show someone the love of Christ just ask yourself this question- "What would Jesus do?"

Dear Lord, Thank You for showing me such love, patience, tenderness and care every day. Help me to do the same, and please forgive me when I fail. I want to do better. Help me to always pause, and ask myself what Jesus would do. Thank you for working in me and convicting me. Help me to be one who people can look at and see You in me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.  ~Ephesians 4:32