Go to Hell

I am, what some might refer to as, a hot head. 

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Me, age 11 (bottom right) with my family at Knotts Berry Farm 🙂

My temper flares, my patience unravels, my emotions explode… and sometimes collateral damage is shed on those around me.  I am not a hot head, just for the hell of it. There is always a logical reason stirring beneath emotions which can lead to my eruptions. Sometimes I do fly off the handle for no reason, but most of the time, there is a completely logical reason, underlying the outbursts – I become enraged when it comes to acts of unfair treatment. My anger stems from my desire to see justice.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer. Why? There were 3 reasons I was planning to go the law route, which made perfect sense to me: I was good at yelling, I was good at arguing and I had an overarching desire to see justice. In school, I loved studying, talking about, and writing reports on subjects like the Holocaust, racism and abortion. I enjoyed discussing why things in our history were wrong. Unjust. Should. not. have. happened (and should not be currently happening) Yes. I was a fun child to be around.

While ideas of what actually constitutes injustice might vary, even varying levels of injustice, my interpretation is from Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with Your God?” As a kid, and now as an adult, I desire to see justice. I desire to love kindness and to walk humbly with my God. All of these actions are forms of love we have a responsibility to live out as Christians. As a Christ follower, I have a life calling to do justice. 

I never became a lawyer, but I am still responsible for justice.  Growing up, I had no problem bringing the court into the playground and standing up for justice. Kids can be mean! I sensed a calling to be the playground policewoman. I placed myself on the stand as the judge, responsible for pounding the gavel and calling the bullies into order, and sentencing any unfair treatment my ears heard about or my eyes laid hold of… at school, on the playground, and at home.

One afternoon, my brother and I were playing in our front yard, creating sidewalk chalk masterpieces on our driveway. At the time, I was 11 years old and my brother was 9. Two of our neighbors, who were brothers, came over and began to bother us. They started throwing water balloons around our chalk artwork, and I told them to stop it. They did not stop and continued throwing the water balloons, each time nearing closer and closer to us, threatening to hit us with one of their balloons. It may appear as innocent water play, but their actions were not innocent. Unfortunately, we had a like/hate relationship with these brothers. Some days we could play together having a great time, and the next day, they would act like jerks and treat us like crap. Some days they were our best friends and other days they were our worst enemies. I knew that. They did not stop throwing the balloons, even though I had asked them kindly to do so.

So. I. Snapped. 

“GO TO HELL!” 

I yelled at the brothers and they ran home.

My brother and I ran inside to tell our mom what had just happened. Heavy breathing, holding back tears… we cried out to our mom, “It’s not fair! We were just playing, not bothering them. They wouldn’t leave us alone. I told them to go to hell!” Our mom, listened with understanding ears, and gently corrected my overreaction. “Perhaps, next time you come inside and ask me to help you before telling them to go to hell.”

A few moments later, <<<knock, knock, knock>>>. The brothers mother was at our front door. “Did your daughter just tell MY SONS to go to hell?” Yes. My mom calmly replied. She asked their mother, “Did your boys tell you what they were doing to my kids first?” That shut her up. My mom was fully aware of our on again/off again friends/enemies relationship with the brothers. She knew how they sometimes treated us. She was proud of us for standing up for justice on the driveway.

Today I still desire to stand up for justice. It is at the core of my every longing, intertwined with my very being. The injustice in this world is daunting. My heart cries out for all forms of injustice of every form, especially the injustice which takes shape as modern-day slavery and sexual trafficking. Anyone can google statistics on these subjects and become informed. The more information we know, the more we become aware of the level of injustice happening today. The more we are aware, the more we can intercede and pray. The more we intercede and pray, God will show us how and where to respond.

I have asked the Lord, “Why won’t You just eradicate slavery and human trafficking?” You can end it with a miracle. I believe these are the most unjust forms of behavior in our world today. And I believe God is eradicating this injustice, through His people. There are many amazing organizations praying, working and rescuing. One of the most life changing documentaries you can see on this subject is Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. Warning: it is not for the faint of heart and it will change your life.

So I asked the Lord, “Why?” and His answer has come in many ways – through His people. God is asking me, He is asking us, ‘Who and what are we fighting for today? Who and what are we defending today?’ We are all called to do something. I believe it is time we stand up, take notice, become informed and become the everyday justice police in our families, on the playgrounds, in our communities, and in our world. It is time to tell human trafficking to “Go to Hell!” We must respond to the call – As a Christ follower, I have a life calling to do justice.

In Him, Leslie

*You may disagree with my “Go to Hell!” approach for a start to calling out injustice. What’s Yours?

the lost pearl . . .

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Recently, my mom sent me a necklace from The Vintage Pearl with a few special charms… and a pearl. That’s their signature deal. A little pearl comes on each necklace. A few days ago, I lost the pearl. I started to internally freak out like I do. Then I internally prayed like I try and remember to do. And I kept searching. I left the necklace on the kitchen counter, the latch was open, and the other charms were present, so I was certain the pearl had slipped off the chain and was rolling around hiding somewhere on the counter. This counter space, btw, is where I pile things. All sorts of things, the kids school papers, their priceless artwork, random little toys, lip gloss, pencils, important scrap papers, my Bible, my phone, my rings, aaaand… my necklace. After searching and turning over the pile, I started looking on the floor and in the kitchen corners. Yuck. I realized I need to sweep more – and I had just swept the night before! Ah ha! I had just swept! Perhaps the pearl was caught up in the broom pan and thrown away. I searched thru the trash. Yes, I did.

Throughout the search, I was praying and freaking out and praying some more. I was trying not to be frantic about finding the pearl. Nothing good comes from my being frantic. I sensed a peace as I searched thru the trash. I was willing to look through our trash for this pearl. I am not a gal who wears, or owns, a ton of jewelry. I wear the same earrings most days. I have worn the same 2 rings for over 17 years, my wedding ring and a rose spoon ring that belonged to my great aunt. I rarely change up my jewelry. But this pearl, this necklace, had become part of my daily jewelry routine. It had become special to me. And if it was lost, I had to let it go. But God… 

I continued to pray about finding the lost pearl throughout the day. I had searched the counter, the floors, and the trash. God was reminding me not to worry. It is okay if I never find the pearl… One day, I might just randomly find it… If it’s lost forever, it’s really okay… I can buy another pearl… The pearl is not an eternal thing I need to lose my mind over… I was really okay with losing the pearl… But God.

I began picking up and moving around the toys in the living room. Our 4 year old usually asks us to “make a pile” of her toys, otherwise she’s too “overwhelmed” by her self-made messes and throws a fit about cleaning up. How many times do I do the same thing? I become frustrated if I leave a mess for too long. The mess becomes more daunting if I don’t address it right away, and I become overwhelmed. If I leave the dirty dinner dishes to “soak” overnight, they don’t magically clean themselves. They are staring me in the face the next morning. If I put off paying a bill, or calling the insurance company, or finishing a project in a timely manner, it only causes me frantic feelings. I was frustrated with myself about the piles I make, and the procrastination I too easily embrace, turning a simple task into a complicated ordeal… I was frustrated with myself over the random places I choose to put things, like my necklace, leaving space an innocent mess to turn into a lost treasure… But God.

God cares so much. For me. For the innocent messes – turned daunting overwhelming frantic messes – I make. He cares enough to teach me thru great loss and pain I have experienced, and He cares enough to teach me thru losing small, material, non-eternal things… like my lost pearl. As I moved the toys around in the living room, I came across the pearl. It was underneath one of the many dolls that cover our living room floor. An unexpected joy washed over me. My heart swelled with the reminder that anything lost can be found. God cares so much. He cares about everything. He wants us to seek Him for everything. Big or small. Difficult or easy. Important or menial. The details matter to Him. The loss of a small pearl, or the heartache of grief from the loss of a loved one… Whatever our circumstances look like, there is hope. In Him… 

God cares because He loves… He wants me to experience His love. My mom loves me so much, she gave me a special necklace. She expressed her love thru a special gift. God loves me so much, He wants to give me more of Himself. He expressed His love to this world thru the greatest gift, His son Jesus. As I follow God and let Him love me, He teaches me how to love, how to become more like Him. The greatest gift is not that the lost pearl has been found. The greatest gift is trusting God after a loss, seeking Him to find what I truly need, Him teaching me to be more like Him in the process, and the joy of receiving Him as greatest gift. Knowing He is the giver of all joy in the midst of it all, regardless of the outcome, and thanking Him for finding the lost pearl.

Jeremiah 29:12-14a “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…”

Whatever has been stolen, lost or misplaced, can be found. It might not be in the way you expect. But God… 

In Him, Leslie

Ducks, Gays and Jesus Speech

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I’ve never seen an episode of Duck Dynasty. We don’t even have cable.
I know nothing of Phil Roberts Robertson, except that he is a bearded person on the show.
I wouldn’t recognize him in a crowd of bearded men, women, children or animals..
I also didn’t remember Miley Cyrus was Hannah Montana, so I realize I’m not the best celebrity follower, fan or stalker… although I would *LOVE* to meet Julia Roberts one day…

Now… for the elephant on the web: What is to become of Phil Robertson, freedom of speech for Christians, and the clash with GLBT community? I am not sure of all the answers, but I do have a few ideas…

Phil will survive being suspended from his show. He’s probably sleeping more soundly than many of us. Maybe he will buy A&E, or another station will pick up the show.
He’s a wealthy man, and will continue to make money at Lifeway, Wal-Mart and everywhere else Duck Dynasty products are sold. So… we do not need to concern ourselves with his becoming homeless.
Phil will continue to speak about his convictions. He is still allowed to speak, even though he has been suspended from A&E. He will find other outlets to speak his mind and share his heart.
Is the suspension wrong? Well, my opinion is -Yes- but there are a lot of “wrong” things happening in this world that deserve our attention as much, or more than, the show Duck Dynasty (modern day slavery, for one).
If you are pissed, passionate and posting all over social media about what’s happened to Phil, it’s okay… I just wish we would get as pissed and passionate about stopping PORN and other problems that are infecting our culture and the world wide web.

So, we take sides and blow up on facebook because of what one man has said.
Jesus did the same thing when he walked the earth. 
There was no social media, but Jesus’ words spread.
He was disagreed with left and right – and by the left… and the right.
He turned things upside down with his words, and he was suspended from society.

I read a few articles from different perspectives on what Phil said, then I prayed, read my Bible and started typing.

To me it’s real simple…
1. Jesus is not surprised or offended by anything Phil -or any of us- have said or done.
2. The Gospel will still be preached, even if the Duck Dynasty show goes off the air.
3. We are all sinners in need of the Savior Jesus Christ.
4. Jesus desires us pursue Him than any other person, place or passion.
5. You can still be a Christian and not watch Duck Dynasty. Or have cable television.
6. Your support (or non-support) of Phil will not affect your relationship with Christ.
7. You can stay true to your Biblical convictions and disagree with others for their convictions, regardless of cultures response.
8. You can speak in love and still disagree on homosexuality.
9. You can still eat chicken, love gay people and be a duck dynasty fan. Oh snap – that was sooo 2012.

We are all one sentence away from a remark that goes viral and causes society to respond in outrage or worship. Regardless of what will happen with the rights of the ducks, the gays, or freedom of speech for our society… I will not stop writing, speaking and singing about Christ and His Kingdom. 

Boast in Christ ~ Our freedom of speech might be threatened, challenged or taken away. Like the Disciples, we might be jailed, beaten or killed for preaching Christ. Whether we yell or whisper, His Word will go forth. Jesus is the Word {John 1:1} The Bible and Christian beliefs have been debated for years and it won’t stop with the outcome of the Duck Dynasty debacle.
Pursue Christ ~ If Jesus is our Lord, we must pursue Him. His ways, His heart, His passion. As we pursue, we can trust He will change hearts, transform lives, and renew minds. His Word will go forth.

If Christ is our Savior, our mission is to preach and pursue *His Kingdom*, more than sexuality, family, friendships, favorite foods, sport teams, activities or television shows.

Speak and Pursue His name, His words, His Kingdom Come, more than anything… and to Him be the Glory, forevermore.

*Your thoughts?

Thank you for reading, sharing and following ~ In Him, Leslie

The {Gift} of Time…

The sound of the clock ticking.

The sight of the clock moving. 
The swirl of thoughts worrying.
…about Time.
If time is your enemy, it will hurt like a bad break up.
Time moves on without asking.
Time gives no regard to your emotions, thoughts, opinions.
Time goes where it’s headed next, with or without, you.
Time functions outside of any ones control. 
You can follow time, but if time is your enemy, it will break your heart over and over again.
Time can be the enemy of our souls. 
Or…
Time can be a {gift} to be treasured, invested, and spent wisely.

Every person is given the gift of 24 hours a day… 
We can choose to {enjoy}, or loathe, the hours we are given.
Winter has settled upon Ohio… 
Snow has fallen ~ slowing everyone down, causing school delays, late to work statuses, and road closures.
In the middle of our winter snow and our holiday hustle and bustle, we have been forced to reckon with life slowing down and time speeding onward... moving ahead, time never looks back. 
Time lost is a reality, stranding some in a pattern of regret and pining. 
Time lost will never be regained. 
Use your {gift of time} beautifully, wisely, wholeheartedly
In winters past, I have struggled with the snow. 
Stranded in my own home, snow days meant I’d lost my freedom. 
I am grateful now to love the snow… to see its beauty, its wonder, its possibilities… 
I know how to use the snow shovel and get myself out of our long steep icy driveway…
I know how to appreciate the time at home, content with simply being at home...
This winter, we have enjoyed time together making memories going sledding.
This takes effort. 
Putting everything else pressing aside, for those precious moments with our kids… 
In the time we spend sledding, nothing else matters, only wholeheartedly enjoying our family time. 
We look not at our watches, phones or to do lists… 
As soon as the snow flakes begin to fall ~ 
We anticipate… the adventure of sledding… the hills, the thrills, the hikes up and down, our boots trekking thru the snow, the laughter, the fun.
We fly… down a simple hill… full of belly laughs, snow flakes in our faces, spins, twists, turns and twirls on a simple $10 sled. 
We breathe… inhaling the cold winter air… the space, the moments, the memories created. 
Time is to be stewarded and used wisely ~ housework, job work, school work beckon… but they will never end. 
Effort is necessary for anything we spend our gift of time on… 
This time spent enjoying each other is irreplaceable, the value is priceless, and worth every. single. minute. 
Time has to be received as the {gift} it is meant to be, or it will be taken for granted. 
***
How are you using your gift of time? 

Thank you for reading, sharing and following 🙂 In Him, Leslie 

Giving Thanks in *all* circumstances {even the tough ones…}

The day has come and gone to give thanks.
December does not carry the expectation of giving homage for that. one. day.

but Thanksgiving is more than a Thursday, it is a lifestyle.

The scent of turkey and stuffing has dwindled.
Full of goodness, the pounds have been gained.
The dishes are washed up and put away after holding the delightful meal.
Loved ones have gone back to work, school, or their own home, some miles away.
Murmurs echo… ‘Who were the Pilgrims?’

The flood of thankfulness on social media has all but vanished…
and we are left with a decision. 
To give thanks in *all* circumstances {even the tough ones…}
To give thanks *all* the time {even when it is no longer Thanksgiving…}

When the tingly thankful touchy turkey feelings have diminished, and we are left with the reality of going back to work, school, chores, appliances breaking down, car trouble, stressing about money, caught up in Christmas drama, kids screaming, spouses arguing, sickness, depression, loneliness, losing loved ones, missing family far away … we are left with a decision.

When the voices shout ‘You are entitled! 
There is a whisper … Give Thanks. 
When the stores scream ‘Buy this!’
There is a pull … Give Thanks.
When the culture displays ‘It’s all about YOU!’
There is a draw … Give Thanks.
We live as if we are entitled to everything.
We glorify selfishness and call it success. 
We expect good things because we are ‘good people’.
The truth is – we do not deserve anything. I pray we will be content.
The truth is – selflessness is honorable. I pray we will be humble.
The truth is – ‘good people’ do not exist. I pray we will be grateful people. 

Give Thanks in *all* circumstances {even the tough ones…} 
When you are angry.
When you are full of hope.
When you are worrying.
When you are full of worship.
When you are weeping.
When you are full of joy.
When you are drowning.
When you are walking.  
When you are empty.
When you are fulfilled.
When you are sowing.
When you are reaping.
When you are in bondage.
When you are fully free.
When you are existing.
When you are fully living.
When you are scraping.
When you are fully thriving.
When you are dying.
When you are fully renewed. 
When you are lost.
When you are fully found. 

Give Thanks Always.
and this is tough to truly live, but. we. can.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in *all* circumstances {for this is the *will of God* in Christ Jesus for you}.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

In Him, Leslie