Friday, May 29, 2009

Random Acts of Poetry

I was, recently, awakened by bad dreams. I was having difficulty falling back to sleep and ended up writing my thoughts in my prayer journal. The following poems were the result. The words came amazingly easy and my heart immediately felt comforted.
Divorce

Unmet expectations.
Broken promises.
Shattering hearts.

Failed attempts.
Hurtful words.
Soul-aching pain.

Incomplete,
Yet finality exists.
Affects all loved ones,
Regardless of age or relationship.

Compromises made.
Inconveniences occur.
Altering concepts of trust.

Abuse

Searing words.
Punishment undeserved.
Disappearing of self.

Many questions,
too afraid to ask.
Longing for comfort,
too fearful to seek.

Captured soul.
Damaged heart.
Invisible scars.

Reaching out,
yet no one sees.
Inwardly screaming,
yet no one hears.

Discovery of masks,
so no one suspects.
Smiling facade
to hide pain within.
Busy-ness in tasks,
to hide spirit of anguish.

Agonizing doubts of self-worth,
with long-lasting effects.
Difficulty trusting any,
including self.

Unexpectedly,
personal veil is torn.
Images occur.
Memories return.
Sadness engulfs.
Anger is felt.

Overwhelmed by shame,
yet miraculously overtaken by grace.
Ability to forgive occurs
and peace begins to reign.

Disintegrating defenses.
Opening of heart.
Healing of soul.
Deepening of willingness to trust.

Unforgettable occurrences,
Yet graciously covered by a
Redeeming Love
Offered by a
Heavenly Father’s hand.

Scripture

God’s Holy Words.
Penetrates the soul.
Completes the heart.

Ever-deepening understanding
promoting insatiable
appetite for more.

Grace freely offered.
Moments of enveloping peace.
Soul graciously being restored.

Security found.
Reconciliation occurs.
Relationship is restored.

Overwhelming appreciation
for an unfathomable forgiveness,
and a continual Presence of a Love freely given.

Betrayal

Deep wounds.
Bruised soul.
Death of relationship.

Abiding anger.
Heated tears.
Aching all over.

Regrets form.
Remorse felt.
Restoration unlikely.

Questioning why?
Doubting of self.
Relinquishment to God.

Healing hands of Spirit.
Compassionate grasp of Savior.
Merciful acts of God.

Renewal of spirit.
Healing of heart.
New journey begins.

Friday Fill-Ins (#125)



    For more Friday-fill-ins, check out Janet's site.


  1. It's cold and I shouldn’t complain after eating a huge bowl of ice cream to celebrate the end of another school year.

  2. I love garden-fresh tomatoes.

  3. My favorite health and beauty product is my facial cleaner. I love how my skin feels right after washing my face.

  4. I love to listen to my Christian music CD’s on a nice long ride.

  5. Well, first of all I am SO glad that it is Friday and the summer break will soon officially begin.

  6. My precious Pre-K kiddos---those were the cast of characters in a recent dream and it was absurd: magical rhythm clapping made all sorts of really fun things appear.

  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to absolutely nothing, tomorrow my plans include paying bills, menu-planning and a special time of prayer and Sunday, I want to attend worship services and talk with my sister, Sheryl!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ABC's of the Word: P

  • Thanks again to heartlight.org for the above photograph depicting the verse: Isaiah 10:29
  • I chose this particular verse because there are so many right now who are feeling "weak" in one area or another. I am so grateful that God is true to His promises. He will give strength to the weary. He will increase the power of the weak.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Shame Off You...Chapter 2: "When Shame Becomes Grace"

(Direct words from the book are noted in blue.)
Chapter 2 began with the story of a girl who the author described as a "bruised reed". Her story began at the age of 8 and ended with the graciousness of God's glorious hope. I, like this young girl, have carried that same sense of bruising shame since I was a young girl.
  • My dad temporarily left our home when I was a young girl and that was the 1st of many childhood and teenage incidents that I felt was my fault. The story of the girl in this chapter didn't feel that she was good enough.
  • I felt that I had asked too much...been too much of a burden. I learned, early on, to not ask anything from others. If I couldn't take care of it myself, then it simply wasn't going to be because the heaviness of feeling such responsibility had already stripped too much away from my soul.

The concept of making "impossible vows" was discussed.

"Vows" that I remember making included, I can't ever let specific ones see me cry either because I had to be strong for them or expressing that sort of weakness/vulnerability would lead to some sort of emotional, verbal, or physical abuse. I could deeply relate to the words about a soul being crippled with fear. I am just now, at 38 years of age, learning to walk without emotional crutches.

Shame finds its foothold in that fault line---between what you ought to be and what you are. Unresolved, it's a chasm that invites a mantra of despair. You must measure up to be worth anything, but you can't measure up, so what's the use of living?...Shame binds people into a prison of performance-based living. I believe shame to be the single greatest source of anxiety in the universe.

  • I am so grateful that within the past 2-3 years, God has shown me through His Word and His people that no amount of "doing" warrants His love for me or the gift of His salvation. What a freedom! I am slowly learning to accept that He is in control of all. I never was. I never had to be. I never can be.

Alan Wright discussed the sport of greyhound dog racing---how the greyhounds, time and time again, shoot out of their gates at unbelievable speeds in an attempt to catch a "rabbit" that is and always will be unattainable. He compared this race for the unattainable to how shame-based people are chasing after an unattainable love.

He posed the wondering of what might happen to the dogs if they realized that no matter how fast they ran, no matter how hard they tried, they'd never be good enough to catch that rabbit. Analogous to how one's life can become when it has been based upon those "impossible vows". Hope would disappear. Anxiety would grow. Emotional anguish would feel unbearable. He points out how those who carry shame run even harder out of the desperate longing for love. "Plainly put, shame is the painful feeling that there is some flaw in you that keeps you from catching the rabbit."

People use shame to motivate others because they don't know the way of God. God never uses shame to motivate us toward right living or excellence. He never motivates us withholding His love from us. God does not motivate by withholding love, but by giving love.

  • What an amazingly freeing thought. This truth spoke volumes to my soul. I do not have children of my own but this truth is already altering how I handle classroom discipline to the precious children that have been entrusted to my care.

Wright expressed his thoughts on how the "sequence" of Genesis 1:28 contrasted commonly believed messages of Christianity: "Love the Lord, do good, give generously, live right, serve God, and the Lord will really love you and bless you." He shared what he believes to be the true Biblical formula: "God really loves you and has blessed you; therefore, love the Lord, do good, give generously, live right, and serve God...Shame does change behaviors---but it doesn't change hearts...Grace means God loved you before you Him."

  • That definition of grace is the most clearly that I've ever understood the concept and I am in awe. I don't have to try harder. My motivation of service to and for God is because of His love for me not an attempt to earn that love. I only need to look to God as my Savior and accept His gracious gift. He is the only One capable of saving.
The chapter, again, ended with an ABC format.
Ask: What "rabbits" have I chased and why?

Believe: "The sequence is everything: God blessed Adam and Even and then told them to be fruitful. The blessing came first." I do not have to be fruitful in order to be blessed. I am blessed and, therefore, I can be fruitful.

Choose: I choose today to quit pursuing that which cannot be caught. I will no longer seek to earn love because love cannot be earned. I will surrender my efforts to prove myself acceptable.

Six Things...consider yourself "tagged"

My friend Denise posted this fun "tag" so thought I'd join in. Be sure to 'click' on her name to read more about this wonderful lady.

Six things that are unimportant, but make me happy.
  1. Milk chocolate that melts in your mouth.
  2. Genuine giggles from my classroom kiddos over the most silly 'things'.
  3. Listening to "Contemporary Christian Music" and 'dancing' around with my dog-buddy, Bailey.
  4. Spending the day in my pj's with nothing that "has to be done".
  5. A "wholesome-make-ya-feel-good" movie without any tear-jerking moments.
  6. A warm, bubble-bath soak while watching one of those movies mentioned above.

If you want to play along, consider yourself "tagged". Remember to comment so others may follow along. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

RAP: The Gift

The Gift
Oh, Lord, my Savior and my God.
I am amazed at the paths You have trod.
A Holy One sent for all---even me.
To give His life on Calvary.
What unfathomable love You do possess;
To give Your all so that all may rest.
Within Your deep, abiding love,
My heart is set on my home above.
Thank You, Father, for the gift You gave---
Your only Son died so that souls could be saved.
A gift from God; a gift of grace.
No other love can I with Yours replace.
I thank You, Father; my God, my friend.
I will be true You, until the end.

Stacy Golden

January 1996

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins (#125)

For more Friday Fill-ins, visit Janet's site.
  1. Moving closer to God each and every day is my heart’s biggest quest.
  2. 5 more school days and then I am free, free, free for the summer!
  3. My best quality is being able to sense when there is a legitimate need in the lives of others.
  4. I wish all people, including myself (at times) would pay more attention to details. Seems like much would run more smoothly and peacefully if that would happen.
  5. In nearly 10 years, I will be close to 50 years old.
  6. Peace in my heart, comfort in my body and rest in my mind is what I need right now!
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to taking a peaceful nature walk, tomorrow my plans include shopping at the “teacher store” and possibly fishing and Sunday, I want to attend worship services, clean the house, and have some fun!

ABC's of the Word: O



  • The photo above is compliments of heartlight.org

  • Psalm 119:18 in the New Living Translation: "Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your law."

  • I came across this verse while browsing the heartlight website mentioned above and have made that a personal prayer for the past couple of weeks.

  • Just yesterday, through the words of 2 dear friends at 2 separate times, God brought 2 verses to my attention that have greatly altered my attitude and my sense of peace.

  • One verse I was familiar with, yet had never "really" considered what the 2nd part of the verse was describing. Sherrie pointed out those words and my heart melted. The verse was Philippians 4:7 "The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." I understood the concept that the peace of God was immensely more than my mind could comprehend but the TRUTH that the peace will guard my heart and mind was so much what I needed to hear because recently I have felt that my very heart was being attacked and that I may very well go crazy if the emotional pounding wouldn't stop. To KNOW that God is guarding those areas has truly given me peace.

  • The other verse I don't think had ever been truly addressed in my life, in my heart, or in my soul. Jim read aloud 1 Corinthians 2:16: "...we can understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ." To know that it is true that I have the mind of Christ because God's Word tells me just that blows my mind away. I (and all believers) have the ability to think like Christ and act/speak accordingly.
  • While processing these truths today, I realized that my words were far fewer than usual. The senseless chattering ceased. The meaningful words increased. The willingness to 'hold my tongue' until I felt prompted, by God, to speak allowed me to better listen to others and offered more times of silence to consider Christ.

  • Lord, once again, You have amazed me. Thank you for blessing me with friends, such as Jim and Sherrie, who lovingly speak Your truth to me. Lord, please plant these seeds of Your Word deep into my soul so that they may grow within me and allow me to live out these truths in my everyday life. I love You, Father, and I thank You so much for loving me. AMEN

  • For more ABC's of the Word, visit Pam's site.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shame Off You...Chapter 1 "Coup D'etat

(Words from the book are noted in color.)

The book began with the telling of how the Iraqi national soccer team was once severely punished by Uday Hussein (son of Saddam Hussein) when a game was lost. The fun of a game had been replaced by the fear of punishment.

The author, Alan Wright, related the ordeal of the soccer team to our motivations for the choices we make in our lives. He discussed the internal pressures that we feel either due to the influences of others or our our inward drives.

Wright stresses the fact that "there is a way to live apart from the pressure to perform."
  • I am desperately seeking how to be rid of the drive to perform due to the preconceived pressure to live up to the expectations of others.

In the section titled "Life Motivators", the author points out that "All people who try hard at life do so for one of two reasons---they're fearful and looking for acceptance or they're fulfilled and looking to make a difference. These opposing life motivators are matters of the heart and can be well hidden from public views."

  • Such a simple view but profoundly true!
  • For as long as I can remember, I have been motivated by one fear or another. Thankfully, I am at the initial stages of discovering true fulfillment.

Wright posed some questions to himself that resonated within my heart. The questions I could mostly relate to were:

  1. Why am I so sensitive to anything resembling criticism?
  2. Why do I need everyone to like me?
  3. Why can't I fail without feeling like a failure?
  4. Why do I have such vague boundaries in my life?
  5. Why can't I care for others without having to take on the weight of the world?
  6. Why doesn't it ever occur to me that maybe God has given me some important gifts and I do have something special to offer?
  7. Is there something in me that shies away from ultimate success?

He proposes that the underlying answer to those questions is shame---"a feeling of being inwardly flawed ---of not measuring up."

Wright discusses the problems he's encountered through out his life because of shame (being overly sensitive, being motivated by self-fulfillment, dishonesty in relationships, criticism of others, continued sense of fear and dread, imbalances in personal and professional life, co-dependency issues, self-hatred, tendencies towards addictive behavior, feeling like a "phony").

I have placed so much of my identity and self-worth on the opinions and actions of others. Being a 'people-pleaser' that was motivated by fear due to an overwhelming sense of shame has personally caused much heartache and pain. Never feeling as I could measure up caused emotional chaos, anxiety and a depression that settled into the depths of my soul.

I am beginning to understand and appreciate the concepts of grace and am eagerly awaiting the day that I can quote Wright's words on my own behalf: "Shame has been overthrown and Grace has become the main motivator in my life."

I have always felt distanced and different from others but am now realizing that those perceived differences were because for the longest time, I didn't open up to anyone, including God. Wright "...promises because God promises that the truth will set you free". He explained that his hopes for this book is to allow "...fresh explanations of the truth to correct our thinking" and to offer "...stories to touch our hearts and heal our wounds".

How my parched soul longs for this sharing of water. I have to accept that my wounds are not too deep to be understood or healed. I also must not minimize my shame because the avoidance of such will negate any sort of healing.

The chapter ends with ABC's:

Ask what motivates my efforts?

Believe: I do not need fear to motivate me for God has not given a spirit that makes me a "slave again to fear [for I have] received the Spirit of sonship." (Romans 8:15)

Choose today to uncover shame's influence in my life and commit myself to overthrow its silent tyranny in my soul.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Shame Off You...personal online study

Months ago, I came across some information about Alan D. Wright's book SHAME OFF YOU. I was intrigued by the title and the books synopsis but the idea of reading the book fell by the wayside. A few days ago, the title of this book resurfaced in my mind. I've since purchased the book and am already amazed at how much I can relate to within this book. Chapter One is already "marked up" with underlining, exclamation points, and phrases such as: "can so relate", "amen", "wow", etc.

I am forcing myself to go through this book slowly so that the thoughts and Biblical truths that are presented will have time to be firmly established in my heart. As I'm led to do so, I will be posting on the information that resonates within my heart---kind of like an individual online study.

Feel free to comment or better yet, get the book and study along side of me. I am eagerly anticipating an amazing journey :).

Poetry from the Past

I enjoyed writing "poems" a few years ago but never really progressed past the stage of 'rhyming-words'. Giving a shot to the writing challenge found at the higher calling blog.

The Cave
I walked through the darkness in the dead of the night.
Be my glory ever---Jesus shined the light.
Though silent and stumbling, I fell along the cave.
Jesus shined forth a path to guide me all the way.
The way was treacherous, jagged and confined;
Yet I felt the gentle warmth of His hand in mine.
I walked out in the opening and into the light.
My Savior's arms grabbed me; I felt His strength and delight.
"Oh, Heavenly Father, I thought I was alone."
"No, My child", he answered, "I caught every loose stone."
"Always be faithful, just and true, and know that in the darkest times,
I will always carry you through."
Stacy Golden
1-8-96

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins (#124)



For more Friday-fill-ins, visit Janet at this site.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

  1. If we had no winter, I'd be thrilled. I am not a cold weather person AT ALL.
  2. Learning how to better love and serve God is a perpetual astonishment as is learning more of His love for me.
  3. If I had my life to live over I would rely more on God and less on myself.
  4. I am amazed at how much one's life can change just inside of four and twenty hours.
  5. If you've never been thrilled you've never witnessed the birth of a child or the salvation of one you have long been praying for.
  6. To be interested in the changing seasons is not something I truly appreciate. I enjoy spring and summer and a small bit of fall.
  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing after having enjoyed an official "nothing-but-fun-day" with my 24 classroom kiddos, tomorrow my plans include organizing the guest room, catching up on laundry, and researching Malaysia and Sunday, I want to enjoy the company of fellow-believers in worship, prepare for the last 10 days of this school year, and catch up on some reading!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ABC's of the Word: N


  • For more ABC's of the Word, please visit Pam at her website.
  • I am really enjoying the photos representing Scripture that can be found at heartlight.org

  • This verse found in Isaiah is a truth that I have been grappling with. I am longing for the Lord but continue to have a difficult time with accepting that He IS my soul need.
  • My soul doesn't need the acceptance and approval of others. My soul doesn't need any sort of strength that I offer as my own ability. My soul doesn't need my "works" to earn salvation. My soul doesn't need the fears that I've allowed Satan to have reign over for way too long.
  • MY SOUL NEEDS HIM and HIM ALONE. I continue to pray that this TRUTH will take root in my heart and grow in Him and because of Him

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gracious Healing Despite the Pain

These past couple of days have been agonizingly painful, yet tenderly healing at the same time. I didn't realize that one could actually feel the heaviness of their own heart. I didn't realize that one could hurt so deeply within that taking a simple breath actually feels painful. By nature, I am pretty much an introvert; I can chit-chat the day away but nothing too personal. I learned to guard my heart long ago.

I have learned that my ways of protection can be sinful, selfish, and at times, blatantly defiant. I am to trust in God. He is my shelter. He is my protector. I am not self-sufficient, much less self-reliant. I can, through Him, wisely choose when and with whom to share the innermost parts of my soul and trust that God will take care of the relationship, the possible consequences and He will take care of me.

I am learning how to trust. I am learning how to be a bit more 'open'. I am learning how to allow myself to feel rather than relying on avoidance, denial and even dishonesty. There are many things, in my past, that I hadn't (until recently) acknowledged much less processed in thoughts or emotions. And that "processing" is far more difficult than I had ever anticipated. No regrets about doing so but wondering if and when the tears of my soul will cease. Weariness has taken on a whole new meaning. I pray that He is listening. I pray that He does heal. I pray that He does not despise. I pray for all those whose hearts feel hurts, far worse, than I can even comprehend.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Longings of my heart...

Tonight seems to be one of those dark nights that bring restless sleep to my body, bad dreams to my mind, tears to my eyes, and aches to my heart. I am hanging onto the promises of God. I know that He is true and that His loving-kindness will guide me through these sort of moments but the hurt remains.

I am missing loved ones that have gone on to be with the Lord. I am so glad that they made it home but selfishly, I want them here with me. I want one more hug. I want one more talk. I want one more chance to love them well. I want one more opportunity to be in their presence.

I am regretting relationships gone wrong and wonder if they may ever be restored, this side of heaven. I am wondering why and where they went wrong. I am wondering why I still care?

I am missing those who remain alive but for one reason or another are no longer part of my life.
My heart is heavy, my body is aching, and my tears are many. I am longing for simplicity. I am longing for emotional wholeness and health. I am longing for healing. I am longing for pure rest and true peace. I am longing to truly abide in the presence of my Lord without all of this baggage hanging from my soul.

Daily Gratitudes # 5

I keep a sidebar for my "Daily Gratitude". I've really enjoyed having these small moments of appreciation. I couldn't, possibly, list all that I am grateful for each day but having the simple reminder to keep an "attitude of gratitude" has been worthwhile for me. I keep the sidebar posts going but 'cut and paste' that list when it gets lengthy. Fell a lil' behind in the most recent posts because of not regularly entering the blogging space but hopefully, all will get back in some sort of routine.


Daily Gratitude: I am thankful...

April 28: for chocolate meringue pie...SO GOOD!

April 27: for moments of peace and total acceptance.

April 26: for the blessings of joining treasured friends to worship God this morning.

April 25: for a sweet surprise on our front porch...looks as if a baby owl has found a safe place to stay awhile.

April 24: for encouraging friends who share words of love, wisdom, and encouragement.

April 23: for those who make it their job to ensure the safety of children.

April 22: for feeling so much better after being sick.

April 21: for the comforts of home during times of illness.

April 20: for the successful surgery of my young friend, Keith, who has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

April 19: for a sun-filled, restful day.

April 18: for a day filled with nothing definite; simply a day to hang out and be. YAY!! Couldn't be at a better time :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins (#123)

http://fridayfillins.blogspot.com/2009/05/123.html
  1. 1. Apples are to oranges as worry is to faith.

  2. 2. This will only be the 2nd time in 14+ years of teaching that I will not be in tears on the last day of school and that's all I have to say about that.

  3. I think I hear absolutely nothing!! Praise God for moments of still and quiet!!

  4. Show respect to the flag and what and whom it represents.

  5. Do what you want to do, but know that there are consequences for every action.

  6. Here comes my Grandddaddy and behind him was a Radio Flyer wagon; in the wagon was a bucket filled with watermelons that I was to sell around the neighborhood. Sweet childhood memories. :)

  7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going home with no school-related tasks in hand or bag, tomorrow my plans include a serious amount of time in prayer, exercise, and rest and Sunday, I want to worship with fellow believers, be refreshed for the upcoming week, and spend time with my mom.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

ABC's of the Word...Mm



  • Father, even as I post this verse, my heart is heavily convicted with how much I need to put this command into practice. Please soften my heart, guard my mind and guide my tongue. Allow me the discernment to know what, when, and how much should come out of my mouth.
  • For more M-verses, visit Pam's site.

Friday, May 1, 2009

ABC's of the Word: L


For more ABC's of the Word, visit Pam.

Friday Fill-Ins (#122)


For more fill-ins, visit Janet.
Hope all have a wonderful weekend!!
1. The first rule of working in an office and getting along is only speaking about what is both kind and true.
2. I don't know much about clams but I like the clam-strips(?) at Long John Silver's.

3. When I think of carnivals I think of bright lights, childhood giggles, funnel cakes and pink cotton candy.

4. Simple white daisies and yellow tulips are my favorite spring flower(s).

5. Things on my desk include dog-bone paint prints completed today in celebration of the letter Bb. Pre-K students find joy in the simplest of things (so does their teacher) :)

6. Sunny, blue skies makes me wanna go to any beach, any where.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to shopping at one of the local Christian book stores, seeing my Mom, and catching up on my Wednesday evening Bible Study readings, tomorrow my plans include running routine errands, paying bills, catching up with some friends and bathing my sweet, but smelly dog and Sunday, I want to participate and encourage others to get involved in SOME way with short-term or long-term mission trips through a special-missions-focus at my place of worship!