Category Archives: Inspiration

Dove in the Cleft of the Rock, by Glenda Mills

Dove Pixabary

What better way to celebrate this month of love than to focus on the greatest love story ever–Christ’s love for us, His Bride. Thank you, Glenda Mills!

 

The Bride of Christ is God’s Dove—
Sheltered in the safety of the cleft of the Rock.

He sings over her,
Invites her to look up
and sing along—
Then picks up
a sweet tune,
putting a smile on her face
and joy in her heart.

It may be a secret place,
yet it’s known to Him.
It may be a steep place—
but directed by Him.
It may be a deep valley,
but He promised
never to leave your side.

Sometimes our Lord
calls us from
clamorous voices that
vie for our attention—
Only then do
we hear
His voice alone.

 

Glenda Mills

Bio: Though originally a flat lander from South Alabama, Glenda lives with her husband Dave, on a mountaintop in Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. She is the mother of two, and grandmother of seven.
Desiring to give hope and encouragement to women, Glenda’s greatest joy is teaching inductive bible study to those who have a hunger to explore the treasures of God’s Word. She writes biblically based prose and poetry on her blog at www.GlendaMills.com.

Glenda is a graduate of Christian Communicators Conference and Christian Devotions Boot Camp and has written for ChristianDevotions.us.

 

Sticks and Stones and Words All Break Something

Stick

The tears were as real as the two “Princess Tiana” buns on each side of her head. Her normal smile and hug of excitement did not follow. I knew something had happened to my tender-hearted godchild. Our time would be brief, like ten minutes, but it was long enough to hear what had hurt her kindergarten-heart.

“The kids were mean to me.”

My heart sank.

“They made fun of my hair.”

Her hair was fixed in a precious arrangement over her sweet little face, just like one of her favorite Disney Princesses, Tiana. She loved her hair fixed this way, but now she did not, all because of what other kids had had to say. Likely starting with just one kid’s thoughts.

(How dare they! I thought.)

I knew this was not her first experience with kids being mean, and nor would it be the last. The world proves to be cruel–even before Kindergarten.

I fumbled a few words to console her, but nothing really felt on the mark to me. My own memories of childhood pain began to filter what I saw in her.

What did Truth want to speak to comfort her heart?

“I love your hair like this,” I said, because I do. Her pouting lips only stuck out further. What her godmother had to say did not change a thing. What mattered to her right then was what her schoolmates had said.

There is something viscerally cruel when kids are mean to kids, yet it happens all of the time. And, these are the tender years where words and lies can get stuck inside of us. They can become our reality, unless nipped in the bud with truth and love.

I’ve yet to meet anyone unscathed from this kind of attack in life, at some point or another. I’ve certainly had my share, and the most common consolation I received was,

“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”

stone

I’d say that back to the kids who were cruel to me, or at least, I’d say it to myself. I figured that it had to be true because the grown-ups in my own life had said so.

Yet, the pain remained.

If words were not suppose to hurt, then something must really be wrong with me.

And, looking back on this advice, it actually gives “bullies” permission to use words as weapons because … words don’t really hurt anyway.

Right?!

Wrong.

God’s Word clearly says otherwise.

  • Words are weapons of warfare, as in the Sword of the Spirit being the Word of God. (Ephesians 6)
  • Words can create, “Let there be light!” God spoke the world, the Universe, into existence.  (Genesis 1)
  • Jesus is referred to as The Word! (John 1)

whisper

Words DO matter. They give life or death!

Words create or destroy.

Words project into our future, or keep us stuck in the past. And, when you think about the fact that sound never stops traveling, words continue to resonate in our hearts and souls, and out into the expanse of the Universe, forever.

Our words DO matter.

I hugged my heartbroken sweetie good-bye as her mother whisked her away to an appointment. I felt completely inadequate with what I had shared, because nothing had changed her pain.

As I drove back home, I knew that hurtful words could perpetuate into a deeper spiral inside of her young and tender heart. This hung heavy on my own heart.

I asked God to meet her right where she was, in a puddle of pain.

Not too many days after that encounter, I picked her up for the weekend. I felt that I should not bring it up, unless she did. She often shared these pains with me if they still hung on inside.

I prayed for the perfect words to say if the subject did come up.

The following day while driving her and her best friend to a park, her friend shared that some kids where mean at her school. My ears perked up as I wondered if this was the time I’d fumble for more words on this matter.

My godchild piped up, and shared that kids were mean to her at her school recently. I listened more to see where she landed after a few days of processing this with her mama. And, what she said was the most powerful response I’d ever heard, especially coming out of the mouth of a babe.

When she went back to school, she shared the wisdom her mother had spoken into her pain. Words of truth, and direction of how we should all filter what we say. Not just those in kindergarten.

“What you said to me did not make God happy. God only likes words from heaven, not hell. God likes words that are sweet and kind and thoughtful, LOVE.” (From the mouth of a babe)

I sat in total awe of how she shared this wisdom, passing it on to another young soul. And, how we can ALL glean from this.

Our words MATTER!

As we continue on into this new year, let’s keep that wisdom in mind. Words that are sweet and kind and thoughtful, LOVE!

Sticks break skin. Stones break bones. Words break hearts.

No matter how old or how young we are!

Make your words count on the right side of the score sheet.

We are all leaving a legacy behind.

Let’s leave a legacy of Life!

life

 

Letter of the Law

sweet feet

Just by changing a letter
greed becomes green.
Imagine such a world
filling a chair alone in a room
whispering.

The power of words
starts with smaller things;
hen scratches
the marks of a tortoise back,
the tsk tsk of approval retreating.

The hand, writing,
is stopped from all other work:
the plow un-straightened,
the pot left to simmer as thoughts do
in a burst of clouds.

The Word became flesh.
What’s done is done.
We return the favor, spelling
with sticks in the sand,
between the wash of waves.

3 Can’t Miss Goals For Everyday Living

cant miss goals

When you think about goal setting and resolutions, what phrases or questions come to mind? This popular Stilwell family saying causes our children to cringe:

“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

I think they hate it because I barked it so often during their slackish teenage years. No matter how annoying or overused it was, one fact remains:

It’s true.

Not everyone likes to set goals. I appreciate its importance, what with my Type-A personality and all. I love project organization, ordering all the steps in a logical fashion and anticipating the threats that might sidetrack any progress.

Not everyone shares my love of logic.

Some people are more comfortable with a fluid approach to life. And as unbelievable as that sounds to us Type-As, they get along just fine. And can be quite productive! But whether you’re a list lover or a list loather, all of us have days that are… well…

A complete bust.

You wonder why you even got out of bed and wish you could crawl back under the covers and hide until tomorrow.

But there are three goals we can accomplish every day, no matter what type personality we are, and no matter what life throws at us:

Be Flexible.

As Rosanne Rosannadanna said, “It’s always something.” And it is. When the “somethings” in life pop up, we can adjust our schedules and give those “somethings” (or somebodies) our full attention. To be present in those moments and deal with them the best way we can.

Be Gracious.

Another adage my children could parrot: “It’s never wrong to be classy.” Just because someone dumps his or her rotten attitude on us doesn’t mean we have permission to respond in kind. Instead we can respond kindly, extending forgiveness and refusing to be offended. Everyone has an occasional “off” day, but many people have “off” lives. Jesus understood this and we can, too.

Be Positive.

One of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes:

“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”

Be thankful for a blessing. Find an opportunity to smile and laugh. And find some task you can finish, even if it’s only dropping dirty clothes in the hamper.

There’s no shortage of negativity and difficulty in the world, which is no surprise. Jesus warned, “In this world you will have trouble…” and then comforted us, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) One way to take heart is to remember that God’s mercies are new every morning and bring the opportunity for a “do-over.”

A flexible, gracious and positive approach to life.

It’s a goal we can hit every time.

Photo Credit
kongsky at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No More Diet Resolutions! Ever!

I absolutely, positively, without hesitation, refuse to make another New Year’s resolution to lose weight.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Every New Year comes and goes, and any resolutions I’ve made fly out the window within a few days. It doesn’t matter whether the decision has to do with what to eat, what not to eat, or when to eat; I can’t stick with it.

I’ve tried diets, protein shakes, purging, counting calories, and many other things I’m ashamed to admit. And each time, I may lose a few pounds, but they always find their way back home – to my belly, hips, and thighs.

I’d love to weigh less, especially when I see all the thin models and actress

es on TV who set the unrealistic bar for the rest of us. I once asked my husband if he wanted me to lose weight, hoping that would give me the incentive I needed. His response was no help: “I like you the size you are, and if you were thin, I wouldn’t have married you. But go ahead and lose weight if you want, as long as you don’t lose anything in your . . .” and he then told me what parts of my body were his favorites.

 

Well, I know from experience that when I lose a few pounds, they don’t just go away from the parts I want thinner. The loss is evenly spread out over my entire body,

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

including the parts Bryan wanted me to keep.

 

My doctor wasn’t any help either. She told me I didn’t need to lose weight for my health.

though I was overweight, I was basically healthy, and all my numbers were within the acceptable limits. Thanks a lot, Doc!

The final blow came when I was changing my healthcare provider last month. As I was returning to a previous company, they said I’d have the same Patient ID Number, so I looked through old papers and found a statement from a doctor visit several years ago. Ironically, my weight at the time was exactly what I weighed that morning, and the same as I weighed 20 years earlier when I met and married my husband. All those diets hadn’t made an ounce of difference.

This year, instead of wasting time and effort on my body size and fantasizing about dessert and potato chips, I set a different goal. A writer is expected to write every day, but let’s be realistic. That’s not gonna happen. Instead, I have determined to sit at my laptop at least five days a week until I’ve written 500 words, basically two pages double-spaced. At that rate, I could complete a book every few months and throw in a few blog posts and magazine articles.

I’ve already fallen behind and we’re only three weeks into 2016. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t try. Every day is an opportunity to rise up to my self-imposed expectations. And just because I failed yesterday doesn’t mean I should give up today. And neither should you!

What will we resolve to do – or stop doing – this year? We can write down our goal and tape it to the bathroom mirror so we can read it first thing every morning. And we can wake up each day and determine to follow our dreams and live our resolutions for as long as we can. Then, when we fail, let’s try again tomorrow.

We can make it a better year, one day at a time, and make ourselves better too. I’m game. How about you?

Have a happier and a better new year.

Do I Possess My Faith of Does My Faith Possess Me?

phot credit pixabay.com
photo courtesy of pixabay.com

photo courtesy of pixabay.com
Meme created by NanJones.com

I’d not want merely to possess a faith; I want a faith that possesses me.” ~ Charles Kingsley

These words leaped from the page straight into my heart, searing any complacency that lingered there. Had I become complacent? Had I allowed my own personal pain and frustrations to consume me at the expense of the hurting world around me?

 

After much self-reflection, I had to answer yes. I am a strong woman of faith, but my light had grown dim, snuffed out in an ocean of tears. At times my light had become a mere spark.

I w

photo courtesy of pixabay.com

photo courtesy of pixabay.com. Meme designed by NanJones.com

ant my life to be an offering set ablaze by God’s consuming fire. I want to be possessed by my faith. I want to focus on the One and the one – the one whose soul is lost, the one whose mind is overwhelmed, the one whose heart is broken. I want to focus on their pain and bring them hope. I want to lead the hurting to the foot of the Cross where beauty is born of ashes.

Joel N. Clark said, “When we fail to choose to live our lives fully awake, the ashes will extinguish the beauty, the mourning will smother the joy, the despair will end our praises. When we sleep to the dreams inside our hearts, the message of love will become nothing more than a nice idea. Yet when we awaken to the dreams God has placed inside of us, our very lives become the beauty, magic, and wonder that the world needs.”

As we become fully engaged in this new year, do you also desire to live your life as an offering to the Lord? Will you join me in living our lives fully awake, consumed in the fire of His love? It is there that our faith will possess us, set ablaze for Him.

 

 

What Kinds of Goals Are We Setting For Life?

Door Pixabay

Setting goals is the primary topic of conversation everywhere we turn. This time of year it’s likely that you’ve either already set goals or are considering which goals you should set. The Bible is clear that we should look ahead, make plans, work hard, and then trust His control over our lives in our goal-setting.

And although goals for earthly success are certainly reasonable and acceptable, there’s more to goal-setting than simply pursuing more business, more financial success, and more stuff.

All we have to do is look at Paul for goal-setting guidelines. He was a goal-setter who knew the priorities of life. Two thousand years ago, he clearly wrote what he was aiming for, then worked hard to reach it. It was a perfect, worthy example of what should be our goal today.

I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:1-3 (NIV)

Today, as we begin this new year together, I pray we will be encouraged in heart and united in love.

Happy 2016!

Vonda

Little Star

courtesy bing

Abandoned shopping cart
in a creek,
twinkle twinkle.

Rainy season; plastic tarps
rumble in the wind, blankets
become roofs.

Our homegrown homeless get
headlines when cops clear
the campground.

The war they’re running from
is quieter than Syria,
the battlefield of what if…

Away in a manger,
a motel for the night,

any question where He’d be born
again this Christmas?

One Child’s Gift

A Child is Born

It seems this day always creeps up on me, and like so many I’ve spent the past days in constant preparation. There are gifts to wrap and a feast to prepare. There are places I must go and people I can’t wait to see.

And it can become overwhelming at times. You know that time, when you’re down to the wire of the big day and there is so much more still you need or want to do to prepare for what you have planned.

I’m not just talking about the holidays. It’s what I felt, too, preparing for the arrival of my first, second, and third, born. While they call me Mom, I call them gifts. A blessing I’m not so sure I was ready to get, but would never have received if I hadn’t said “yes” and accepted the gifts I’ve been given.

Today I’m gathering the ingredients for a special feast and with that feast comes a special dessert. It’s not cookie, or brownies, or candy — no it’s a cake. A birthday cake for a special celebration.

Birthday cakes are special in our home. It’s a tradition in many ways and one birthday is coming up very soon.

Yes, we’re baking a cake for Jesus.

When my first born was a few years old and learn Christmas day was Jesus’s birthday she wanted to bake him a birthday cake and invite him into our home for a birthday party.

We’ve been baking that birthday cake for almost a decade now, but we no longer have to invite him into our home because he’s already here. He’s been invited into our hearts and is a part of our family now.

He is our gift.

He makes our family complete.

And for that, we will always celebrate Him.

feature image provided via Bill Couch @ Creative Commons 

When Fingers Cloaked in Grime Become a Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

The chipped crimson nail polish hinted of the life once lived with dignity and pride. Now, the graceful fingers were cloaked in grime from the streets.

Mary was her name.

Still is.

homeless woman

photo credits: pixabay/leroys

But the Mary of long ago had succumbed to the Mary who no longer recognized her disheveled reflection in the window of the corner market. She walked hunched over, not daring to make eye contact with the world around her. The world had put her in this dark place – this place of hopelessness, this place of loneliness, emptiness, and humiliation.

And now she wished only to survive the day.

A young woman encumbered with Christmas packages hurried across the street to beat the coming traffic. In her rush, she bumped into Mary, sending the forgotten woman careening against a brick wall. Christmas packages scattered across the sidewalk.

“Oh! I’m so sorry. Please let me help you get up.”

Unaccustomed to kindness, Mary lowered her head and stared at her crumpled legs.

“Please,” the woman persisted. “Let me help you.”

Mary dared to look into the young woman’s dark brown eyes. Quite by surprise, Mary caught a glimpse of her former self – young, confident, full of ambition and kindness … When had everything changed? How did I get to this place?

As the young woman leaned over to assist Mary, her gold filigree cross dangled around her neck and reflected the sunlight, casting a tiny glow onto Mary’s face. Mary was taken aback. The cross had once meant so much to her and now – NOW – she had wandered far from God’s grace. This forgotten woman believed she was no longer worthy of God’s love.

A tear escaped and trickled down her cheek. Emotion had become foreign to Mary. Could she dare to feel her pain again? Could she accept kindness from this stranger and allow God to love her?

Questions.

Emotions.

Divine intervention swirled around her all at once. This tidal wave of love began breaking down the cold, hard walls of Mary’s heart.

hands of JesusThe young woman pulled a tissue from her pocket and dabbed gently at the tears on Mary’s cheek. She spoke softly, soothing the wounded spirit before her. Mary intuitively knew that it was the Lord who was comforting her, accepting her, pouring His restoration into her broken life.

Like the young woman, we are to be His hands, His feet, and His voice. We must allow God’s love to flow freely through our lives into the lives of others.

A simple hug.

A kind word.

Sharing the amazing grace of our Savior born on Christmas day.

 

A Tweetable to Encourage Others

Could she dare to feel her pain again? A CHRISTMAS STORY on @inspireafire. (click to tweet)

 

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