Never Say Never 

Now before you get the Justin Bieber tune stuck in your head- today’s unpacking was a strange way God had me unpack a verse. At first glance I could not really figure out what God was showing me. So I read it through again a few more times …. Slowly…..

Deep in the hearts of the wicked a voice tells them to do wrong.They have no respect for God. They lie to themselves.They don’t see their own faults,so they are not sorry for what they do. Their words are wicked lies.They have stopped doing anything wise or good. They make wicked plans in bed at night.They choose a way of life that does no good.And they never say no to anything evil. Psalm 36:1-4 ERV 

Unfortunately, we all know people like this first half of the verse is describing. Those that did us so wrong that we can’t even ever imagine forgiving or trusting them again.   

That someone who blasts us full of nastiness and is in full blown denial of their own faults? Those who are continuing on choosing a life of no good, and never saying no to evil.

But before we throw the baby out with the bath water, we are reminded we should never say never because let’s look at the second half of this Psalm- 

Lord, your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds. Your goodness is higher than the highest mountains. Your fairness is deeper than the deepest ocean. Lord, you protect people and animals. Nothing is more precious than your loving kindness. All people can find protection close to you. They get strength from all the good things in your house. You let them drink from your wonderful river. The fountain of life flows from you. Your light lets us see light. Continue to love those who really know you,and do good to those who are true to you. ~Psalm 36:5-10 ERV 

David is venting vertically to God about someone/s that evidentially did him pretty wrong. But…. see how he chooses to not stay focused on them that did him dirty, but instead now to focus on God.


See some of these words he uses to describe God…..
Faithful Love

Faithfulness

Goodness

Fairness

Protect

Precious

Loving Kindness

Protection 

strength

Good Things

His light lets us see light

Continue to Love 

As my dear friend Dianne says “That right there will sing!”
So before we ever say never- and write someone off-take that person/s to God. Release it all to God. Pray for them. Pray they will be able to say no to their evil ways. Trust God. Forgive and continue to love…. Even the unloveable.  

We can never say never to what God calls us to do; and that is to Forgive.  If God restores the relationship it is meant to be restored. 

We are only faithful in doing what we need to do and trust Him to take care of the rest. 
                      ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Redemption Rain 



Redemption

noun:  re·demp·tion \ri-ˈdem(p)-shən\

The act of making something better or more acceptable.  

Redeem

verb

Definition: recover possession; to make something or someone seem less bad.

Synonyms: buy back, buy off, call in, cash, cash in, change, cover, defray, discharge, exchange, get back, make good, pay off, purchase, ransom, recapture, reclaim, recoup, regain, reinstate, repay, replevin, replevy, repossess, repurchase, restore, retrieve, settle, take in, trade in, win back


Antonyms: forfeit, lose

for·feit

ˈfôrfət/

verb

lose or be deprived of (property or a right or privilege) as a penalty for wrongdoing.



Lately my heart has been heavy due to many many things.  

I have been reflecting a lot on life and loss.  

A song shuffled on my phone that had me looking at redemption and redeem and the opposite; lose or forfeit.
I started thinking about these words and definitions and how life is ever changing…

Some things in my life I never thought would change, suddenly have. Some have been months and years in the changing and evolving. My children have changed into adults before my eyes. People I love have passed away. Some are suffering horrible life changing events that will soon change them drastically physically, financially, and emotionally. Friendships have changed. Some have been lost; while some feel forfeited. Some friendships I never thought would be restored again, suddenly have. 

I was feeling quite emotional and praying to God …

Lord, I am one that has always liked change but right now I don’t like it. It feels too heavy and just too much all at once. I don’t like having to hold on loosely to everyone and everything. I love you and trust you Lord but I don’t want to feel this hurt, this rejection, this change of seasons, the shifting of shadows. Why show and give me things I don’t understand that can drive wedges between or build up walls? I don’t do fake and catty or let’s see who can hurt the other one more with meaningless words. Why is it so hard to simply have things fall in line or simply find the time? You know I struggle with wanting to just cut ties and build walls when I feel hurt and rejected. Help me! I need your strength Lord because I feel lost and weak. I feel angry and sad and a little mad right now. 

That is when God led me to many little notes of encouragement and things people have given me that I have collected over the years.  
Some still very much active in my life and some that are not. 


Suddenly these words to this song poured out through the speaker…..

oh] love be in my bones

Love shake down my walls

Love be in my bones

Love shake down my walls

[repeat]
Love be in my bones [shake down my walls]

Love shake down my walls

Love be in my bones [love be, love be in my walls]

Love shake down my walls

God already knew how I was feeling. He already knew my heart was battered and bruised. He already knew that I was weak and sad and frustrated in need of some encouragement to uplift me and my weary soul. He already knows me really well and needed to get my attention before I built a wall of hurt and anger and unforgiveness and bitterness or slumped into the bondage of buying the enemies lies.  

I had myself a real good cry- which I had not had one of those in awhile.  


I imagined God’s Redemption Rain pouring down on me washing away the sadness and tears.

Redemption rain is falling

Down, down, down

Redemption’s love is pouring

Out, out, out



Redemption is different in each situation.

The act of making something better or more acceptable is always in God’s hands. 

We must trust He knows what is best for us and our ultimate good.  
Even when it doesn’t appear good, God is still good. 

We just keep loving as God says to love and trust He knows best. 

Lord, I surrender to Your Redemption Rain- how ever you need to make things better – have Your way Lord. Shake down my walls. Love be in my bones. Help me to trust even when I don’t understand how you redeem and restore things. Thank you for always being faithful. Thank you that sometimes when it feels like we are standing all alone, we aren’t. We have You right there beside us to guide us. Help me love like You. Help me be ok if redemption doesn’t look like how I want it to. 

          ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

Redemption Rain

By Melissa Helser, Joel Case, Justina Brinkley
Lyrics: 

Won’t you come up here, come up high

Won’t you sing His praise, let it rise

Up from the ashes and all your pain

Won’t you come and dance in redemption’s rain

Come up here

[repeat]
[music]
Redemption rain is falling

Down, down, down

Redemption’s love is pouring

Out, out, out

Redemption’s song is singing

La, la, la
We singing la, la, la

We singing la, la, la
Won’t you come up here, come up now

Won’t you leave your worries below the clouds

[and] let His beauty fill your lungs

The heavenly chorus has begun

Come up here
[music]
Redemption rain is falling

Down, down, down

Redemption’s love is pouring

Out, out, out

Redemption’s song is singing

La, la, la
We singing la, la, la

We singing la, la, la
[oh] love be in my bones

Love shake down my walls

Love be in my bones

Love shake down my walls

[repeat]
Love be in my bones [shake down my walls]

Love shake down my walls

Love be in my bones [love be, love be in my walls]

Love shake down my walls

[repeat]
[music]

[outro]


Reclaiming My Stolen Identity


My dear friend, Kelley, wrote a great blog last Friday on “Identity Theft” so I wanted to follow up with my own story of how my identity was stolen.  

I’m sure you can probably relate to just how your identity may have been stolen as well, or if not you, then someone very close to you.

The theft took place so long ago, that I can barely remember when it happened. 

 It was slow and subtle and just seemed to sneak up on me, but my first memory was when I was just a little girl in first grade I think, maybe even kindergarten. One day I was getting ready for school and when I looked in the mirror, I noticed that my hair was not long and pretty like my two best friends, they were twins and had long beautiful wavy brown hair. Mine was short and straight and blonde. I remember thinking that I wished I had long hair like theirs, and I was mad at my mom for making me cut it for the new school year. That day, I decided that I am not as pretty as other girls, maybe even ugly!

A few years later, I noticed that my thighs were not as long and thin as other girls in my gym class. I was short and a little on the chunky side; I decided that I was chubby and maybe even fat!  
Then one day at school, I believe I was in the fourth grade, my teacher asked a question, and I was so sure I had the right answer so I waved my arm high, back and forth so proud, and when she called on me, I was completely wrong — I felt like such a fool and all the other students laughed at me.  
That day, I decided that I wasn’t that smart, maybe even stupid, and I better just be quiet so I don’t get embarrassed!  

I’m sure there were many more incidents over the years, but I think you get the picture. So by the time I went to Junior High, my identity was that I am ugly, fat and stupid! I’m sure it only got worse as time went on.
Sure, I smiled and seemed happy on the outside, but inside I felt inadequate and unworthy. I didn’t try out for any sports or the drill team. I always wanted to be a cheer leader, but I didn’t think I was good enough, so why bother.

Why did I believe the lies that the enemy kept telling me? Why did I fall for the trap of negative self-talk that always played in my head? 

I can look back now and see it so clearly, but at the time, I really didn’t even know that I had this belief, this self doubt and negative self image.

It was buried deep inside and it just became who I was, I didn’t realize that my identity had been stolen and that my own mindset was holding me back.  

Most of the time I was happy and enjoyed life, no one would have ever known, not even me, it just became who I was, and I lived with it because I didn’t know the truth. I believed the lies and accepted it as truth.

Because I didn’t have Jesus in my life, I had no idea how much He loved me!  

I didn’t read the bible that I got when I went to church with my neighbor in the 6th grade. 
It was right there all the time, in the top drawer of my night stand. If only I had opened it and learned the truth, that Jesus loves me with an everlasting love, that He knit me in my mother’s womb, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

That His plans for me are good, to prosper and have hope for the future! 

If only I had known the truth, God’s word, it would have set me free from the bondage that the enemy created in my own mind and reclaimed my stolen identity much sooner! 

Father, I am so thankful that you didn’t give up on me, you waited patiently for me to seek the truth and when I finally knocked, you opened the door and showed me that I am loved and I am worthy, not from anything I did, but because you paid the price for my sin and died on the cross to save me and give me eternal life with you. There is nothing I could have done to set myself free, it is only by trusting and believing in you and being covered by your blood that I am saved. Your word is the way the truth and the life! Please forgive me for believing the lies of the enemy, and thank you for loving me and showing me the way to love myself and be grateful for everything that you have given me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Deb Hicks

BowlofSplendor.com

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

John 14:6

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying:“I have loved you with an everlasting love;I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” 

Jeremiah 31:3

Infallible 


WORTHY THOUGHT: The only weapon that defeats the deceivers is God’s inspired Word in the Bible. 

The Bible is the infallible Word of God.

No one in history who tried but failed has ever found fault in the Bible. The Bible is always up to date in then and today. Our foundation is under the Word of God. The Bible can touch our minds and hearts to refresh and renew our souls. 

If we didn’t have a Bible what source could bind or bring people together? 

The strength of our country was started on the Bible. Educated worldly leaders spoke greatness about the Bible. Blessed is the nation who’s God is The Lord. Our first President of the United States, George Washington said; “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” 

Today, The Bible is the most translated book in the World. Believing in God’s Word will save, mature and equip you to serve The Lord.

 The Bible is the only Authority that counts!
                   ~Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

For no prophecy was ever produced by will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. -2 Peter 1:21 ESV

Lesson Learned 


I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw. –Proverbs 24:32

Not too long ago, I was having a rough morning. I knew the day would require caffeine. I decided to take a detour towards Starbucks on my way to work. As I turned into the parking lot, I recognized the driver behind me. I remembered her well.

This woman was responsible for some ‘old history’ that was the enemies playground with my emotions. I could feel myself becoming more irritated as my mind reminisced old memories.

And then Jesus spoke, “Buy her coffee.”

“What did you say? Buy her coffee?”

Again He said, “Buy her coffee.”

I didn’t want to. Her actions had caused hurt, pain and frustration which formed bitterness within me.

Then Jesus said, “Giving isn’t always for the recipient, it may be offered as a gift to the Giver of all.”

Usually being obedient to His call is a great lesson for you.

In that moment I understood that even though my anger and bitterness had not been reconciled that my feelings reside in my heart and He was inviting me to change my heart by forgiving.

He reminded me, “I came to restore ALL.”

I had to consider that not all lessons are for other people. I learned that Jesus’ timing is perfect and he prepares specific lessons just for me.

I needed to forgive and reconcile my heart by being obedient and accept His challenge before me.

So, yes, I bought the women her coffee with the new understanding in my heart.

A heart that gives regardless of pain’s grip, is a heart ready to reflect true freedom from the Giver of all.

Do you have a gift waiting to be received?

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for giving Your life in sacrificial love to ALL of us. Thank You for reminding me when I discover hidden bitterness in my heart, that I may choose to forgive and reflect You instead. Help me to be more full of You. 

In Jesus name, Amen.

~ Baring His Beauty,

    Tiffany Thomas

The Impact Of Your Words 


Faith that does not reflect the ways of God in daily life cannot be used by God to serve people. What you believe about your Heavenly Father will be reflected in your attitude towards your fellow man. 

If you merely pay lip service to God, and what you profess to believe does not come from the depths of your heart and lacks genuine conviction, your attitude will be hypocritical – and this cannot be a blessing to anyone. 

Let your conversations convey the integrity of your thoughts and emotions. Then what you say will not only be understood by those who hear it, but they will also feel the spiritual impact of your words.

                      ~Solly Ozrovech

This was a great quote I stumbled across! 

When we Speak Love people will feel the impact of our words. 

Enjoy-XXOO Michelle Bollom 

ABC’s Of Faith 


I recently listened to a sermon series and heard the pastor refer to the ABC’s or building blocks of Faith.

The building blocks of Faith 

A-agree

B-believe

C-confess

The word of God over your life and circumstances in order to build your faith.  

I got an image of a child playing with blocks and how sometimes they are put out of order. Like for example the C first, which sometimes we do have to confess the word in order to begin to really believe the word and to finally come into total agreement with the word.  

I loved this visual and simple analogy.   

Sometimes it is not enough to just believe, we must agree and confess also. It doesn’t matter what order they come in as long as you have these basic ABC’s. 

So I encourage you; when you are unsure of your circumstances or how something could possibly ever turn around or change – go to your building blocks- come back to the ABC’s of Faith. Begin to Agree, Believe, and Confess the Word of God over your life and circumstances and you will see your Faith build and grow. 

Faith is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes can see. 

I dare you- I double dog dare you to give it a try! 

for we walk by faith, not by sight living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises—   ~2 Corinthians 5:7 AMP 
               ~XXOO Michelle Bollom

Loss

  

Loss.

Just think of the word for a few minutes. 

You lose keys, money and pounds. 

You also lose people. 

People that you’ve never met but who you’ve empathized with because of their plight and people that you’ve loved for your entire life. 

You lose them to diseases, other people, drugs, alcohol and even to themselves. 

You can sit in the same room with someone and know they are no longer there. You can have a conversation and know they haven’t heard a word. You can watch someone take a drink and know that it could be their last.

The loss can be so eviscerating that you cannot catch your breath. You can be so lost in memories of who they once were and their stolen potential that you lose yourself, for a moment, in despair. 

There are those that will never come back…those that are dying of Alzheimer’s and cannot remember their own name. Then there are those who chose their demons until they are a shell of who they once were. 

The outline of who someone once was is always there. The chin bone that juts out. The bushy eyebrows. Their laugh. A little glimmer in the darkest of times. Sometimes it’s a choice to grab the light and fight your way back to the surface. Sometimes it’s just that…a glimmer. A fleeting beautiful moment of utter sunshine on the darkest days only to be gone as quickly as it surfaced.

What matters in loss is how those that are living respond. We fail because we are living. We fail because we have never been lost. We fail because it’s easier than facing the future and past. 

Remember the glimmers and seek them out. 

Find the light in the darkness. Walk the dead back to life.

~ Elissa Renee Shelton

  

Growing Pains 



Somehow I thought it would be different, that whole ‘growing pains’ thing.

In my youth and early adulthood, before the winds of change and the sands of time changed the landscape of my life, I knew that there would be times in my life that would be hurtful and difficult.  I just didn’t think it would hurt as much. 

I suppose I thought that a challenge would come when I was fully mature and prepared and armed.   I would hear of a coming storm, and batten down the hatches,  stock up on provisions, watch for the darkening clouds through the window and say, “Bring it.  I’m ready.”

You don’t know what you don’t know.

What I didn’t expect was for the winds of change to become a hurricane, tearing at my soul with a force so horrific it would bring me to my knees and take my very breath away.  I didn’t foresee the storms that would knock me off my feet,  destroy my home, tossing me from side to side . . .and leave me clinging to a mooring with all my might, screaming and praying for the storm to cease.  Storms in my family . . . in my son . . .in relationships.  Storms I created and storms that were brought about by the hands of others. 

And yes, the storm would cease.  They all do.  Eventually. 

If you’ve lived a while, you’ve had them.  The crash of waves, the screaming of the wind, the battering of your soul.

It is in the aftermath that I’ve learned so many of my lessons . . .where I’ve understood about the growing pains.  I’ve found myself standing in the carnage once the storm is over, with destruction all around, raising my glance from the wreckage and noticing the gaze of the bystanders.  And I want to say, “Wait.  I can explain.” 

A part of me always wants recompense.  To make my excuses.  To explain my intentions.  To tell the truth when things were truly unfair.  To have the wrong be righted, and to be vindicated. 

I want my point to be proven, for the bystanders to nod with understanding, for the moorings to be shored up and the whole thing be tied up in a ribbon so that I can feel better.  I need the clean up crew to move in and replace the siding, install new windows, plant new flowers in the window boxes and let the sun shine on the lawn again. 

The truth is that many things in life are left rather fractured.  I wish it were not so, but often there are jagged edges left just as they are, like a gaping wound that oozes.  It is ugly and doesn’t match and looks out of place.  And it is those fractured pieces that refine us the most.  Learning to be at peace with brokenness is the lesson.  It’s where my best growth comes in.

My sister says that God’s plan is always redemptive.  His heart is always to redeem and restore what has been beaten, shattered, scattered about.  Even as the storm is howling, God is actively working on the reconstruction.  He is already seeking to restore what is lost or broken.  My problem is that I don’t want it lost or broken to begin with.  Therein lies my conundrum.  But I am learning to see the beauty in the jagged edges.  Those jagged edges exposed the deepest, darkest parts of me – the places I wanted hidden for always.  To have the storm strip away the facade was painful, brutal, hurtful, hard. 

But the winds of change and the grace of God do the work that they always do . . . the work of growing, the work of healing. 

I am learning to allow the broken pieces to be seen, and to allow the balm of forgiveness to do its blessed work, and to see that it is better this way.  For I know that I’ll be a bystander some day soon, and I’ll see a girl standing there, with tears on her cheeks, wringing her hands in the aftermath, dazed and wondering where to begin.  And she’ll look up at me and say, “Wait . . .”

And I will smile.  And put my arm around her shoulder and say, “I know.  I understand.  I just happen to have some ribbon . . . “

~Alane Roberts  


Bust A Move

IMG_1400

 

At one time in my life I had many people that I felt incapable of pardoning. God; at one time topped that list too. I was reminded yesterday of how far God has brought me. I was reminded of how I was once a wretch that His Amazing Grace saved. UnForgiveness and bitterness is too heavy a burden to carry and will take you out if you let it.

We are all a little broken, but a whole lot Saved!

Share your story, Forgive those that hurt you, Don’t be easily offended. Stop trying to control it all- let go of the secrets, sins, and struggles and let God Restore you. Let Him turn your deepest pains into an instrument that brings not only you to joyful dancing; but it is time to pull some others onto the dance floor with you. Bust a Move for Jesus! 

 # LiveRestored
~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

 

You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing; You stripped off my dark clothing
and covered me with joyful light.
~Psalm 30:11 The Voice