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Life is not Perfect!

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
…A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4

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Life is not Perfect!

The pain and heartache
They come and they go
Cutting deep
Wounding the soul

Burdens too much to carry
Spirit weighed down
Living in the here and now
Sorrow abounds

Life is not perfect
Nor was it meant to be
A precursor of something better
A realm yet unseen

The heart it beckons
The spirit it yearns
The soul cries out
This world it spurns

Hope lies beyond
High in the heavens above
A continuous fount of life
God’s river of love

Loving arms of comfort
Sweet prayers from thine lips
Peace for the moment
Grief stands eclipsed

Through mercy and grace
The pain subsides
Where once heartache dwelled
Now joy resides

NF ~ I’ll Keep On

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 3:13-14

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And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
~ Romans 8:28

For those moments when the oasis of life seems so distant. For the times when the desert seems to go on and on forever. For the moments where darkness is consuming. For the times when hope seems to fade with every hour. For the times you think you are too tired to press on. For the moments when you feel there is nothing left and the thought of death sounds peaceful.

Just listen. Close your eyes, and listen. Listen to the lyrics. Listen to God call to your heart. Listen for the strength of God to keep you going.

You were not meant to traverse this world on your own. It is exhausting. It is a struggle. In fact it is a battle everyday (Ephesians 6:12).  But you are not alone (Deuteronomy 31:8). God is with you always my friend.

All my love and may his peace surround you, his joy fill you, and his hope renew you.

Tied to the Ground ~ Charmaine

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

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Let Go!!

Consumed with worry
Holding tight to the past
Fearing the future

Let go
Let God

Stuck in the pain
A victim in the game of life
Harboring anger and bitterness

Let go
Let God

Crying out in misery
Actions guided by heartbreak
Words are daggers to the soul

Let go
Let God

Release the burdens
Lighten the millstone that weighs down
Surrender to something bigger

Let go
Let God

Be touched by never-ending grace
Caressed by overflowing love
Filled with constant peace

Let go
Let God

Growing Pains

As another crazy, yet blessed year comes to a close, I find myself glancing back at what I have accomplished, how far I have come, and how much I have grown. I think it is truly amazing how God uses all things to bring growth and glory in my life, and in the lives of all his children (including you!).

This past year, like so many before it, has seen its share of pain and anguish: the death of my father, my uncle, and a close friend, family chaos and fighting (which often sadly occurs when death comes), broken relationship and a shattered heart, an unexpected move, and financial strain. Yet, oddly enough, this year brought beauty, healing, love, and provision through it all.

You see, despite the pain and suffering, God was in it all, working his will, his plan, his glory through all of it. Pain and suffering is a normal part of life and an integral part of spiritual growth.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.

Hebrews 5:5-8 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”; just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

Jesus Christ Himself was not exempt from the pain and suffering of this world. Pain and suffering in your life is one way that God prunes you, building you up and making you stronger. Much like a great work out at the gym, there is often pain afterward (even during the workout as you push yourself), but the results are wonderful in the long run if you keep working out and building up muscles that increase your strength. Another example is the olive tree. A farmer must cut (or prune) the branches back in order for the tree to produce a more abundant crop the next season. If it is not pruned, it grows unkempt, producing less fruit, and therefore yielding less profit for the farmer.

John 15:1-3 I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

You and I are the branches on the tree of life, and if we are not pruned, we tend to not bear the fruit of righteousness, purity, or holiness. We become weak, wild, and unkempt, losing sight of what we are here for–to produce fruit that brings honor and glory to the Lord, bringing others into his kingdom, showing the light of God for all to see.

Pain and suffering in this life are also motivators for growth. When you get stuck in the mundane routines of life–work, family, home, friends, etc., it is easy to get comfortable and not change or stretch outside of your comfort zone. Going back to the workout example, if you keep doing the same exercise routine day in and day out, you will see results, but eventually they will plateau and your workout routine will be only for maintaining, rather than continued strengthening. Even weight loss will fade if the workout routine stays the same. You have to change things up to see continued results, to build more muscle mass, to thin out more, and to tone consistently.

Spiritual growth is similar. If church and scripture become mundane routines, the same thing day in and day out, you will get stuck, your spiritual growth will plateau. God wants your spiritual growth to excel, to continue to grow each and every day. This means that you have to be forced out of your comfort zone sometimes, and often the only way to get you to do that is through pain and suffering. When life is grand, going smoothly, and you have no worries or stress, God tends to be put on the back seat. Ever notice that your prayer life and devotional time picks up a great deal when there is pain, suffering, trials, or tribulations in your life. That is because during those times, your reliance on God is stronger and more evident. You can’t fix things, make them better, or change them, and thus you seek God, seek His will, His discernment and wisdom to handle all that you are facing. You may even reach out to others in your community–church, work, home, neighborhood–for help and guidance.

Often during the most painful times in our lives, we are forced to take responsibility for our failures and learn how to adapt and change so as to not make the same mistakes next time. Other times, we are confronted with requests that take us out of our cushy comfortable place to become a witness and light for God. It may be that you are asked to forgive someone who has hurt or betrayed you. Perhaps you are being called to share your pain with someone in order to show the glory of God as he brings you through it. Maybe the pain in your life is building perseverance, patience, or other spiritual fruits in your own life. Whatever it may by, God is using the pain and suffering to motivate change and growth in your life.

James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 5:11 As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ

Though I faced my share of pain and suffering in 2014, I can look back on each and every moment and see God’s mighty hand at work through the entire event. Through the deaths that came into my life, I was able to find courage and strength to do what was right midst the chaos and family fighting. Though my heart was broken and a relationship ruined, I was given comfort and wisdom midst the storm, making a few of the toughest decisions of my life, which ultimately brought peace to me and my son. Even through the financial difficulties, God changed my view of budgeting, helping me save more than I have before. In the moments of pain and suffering, I didn’t always see his mighty hand at work, but looking back on the year, it is evident he was with me, guiding, building, refining, and growing me into the woman of God he designed.

So, my friends, fret not when you are facing pain, trials, tribulations, or suffering, for in time, God will produce an abundance of fruit, helping you change the old patterns of life, enabling you to grow spiritually! With that said, I look forward to another year and what may come–the good, the bad, and the ugly! Bring it on, for with God, we can all rest assured that good will come, hope will be renewed, and the future will be bright.

Jeremiah 29:11 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.

God bless and keep you in the coming year and always! May you rejoice midst the pain and suffering, knowing that God is working all things for your good! He is with you always and forever, and will never leave you nor forsake you, providing all you need to face all that comes your way.

In Christ’s Love ❤

Oh to be Held!

If the LORD had not been my help,
My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence.
If I should say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your lovingkindness, O LORD, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.
~ Psalm 94:17-19 ~

Sinking among the waves of emotion
Drowning in a sea of sorrow
Praying for the beacon amidst the darkness
Wanting to be held

Hiding in recesses of my mind
Wandering among thoughts still unknown
Seeking clarity through the storm
Needing to be held

Stumbling through the streets of chaos
Falling to my knees
Hoping for an end to the brokenness
Yearning to be held

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Stuck in the traffic jam of life
Moving in slow motion
Slipping further and further behind
Wishing to be held

Holding it all together
Hitting my head against the wall
Desiring to just let go
Craving to be held

Up or Down

Reality will come! Whether we choose to walk in it or not is a conscious decision each person must make for themselves.  Nothing we hide will remain hidden, nothing we shove on the back burner will be left there, nothing covered up by fake smiles and masks will go unrevealed. God wants us heart and soul, body and mind, and he will do all it takes to strip away the masks, putting a stop to the parade of illusions we tend to paint for ourselves. He wants rip off the band-aids of our wounds, and bring complete healing inside and out. Though the pain of life comes, and often hits pretty hard, it lasts but only a moment, to be replaced by the glorious love, peace and comfort of the One True God!! I am not exempt of putting on a mask to make it through the day, but when the sun sets and my head rests upon the pillow, God speaks his love and truth to my heart, reminding me to stop putting on my best show and to be a living witness to the pain and sorrow that exists in my life and my heart, so that when he brings healing and joy, others will see his marvelous works.

Father God, if it glorifies you, I pray you give me strength to stand in the here and now, to be real with my emotions, bringing you glory through the healing!! I pray that no matter what I or others face, you remind us that you are near, you are here, you are working all things for our good, Father.

May God bless and keep you grounded in reality, showing you peace and joy through your darkest of times. All my love ❤

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed,
and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.
~ Luke 8:17 ~

Painted faces masquerade
Breezes blowing here and there
Effortlessly gliding through life
Not what they appear

Painful scars covered up
Masks to hide the tears
Parading up and down
Don’t reveal the fear

Dancing feet scurry by
Twirling delicately each day
Tiptoeing around the darkness
Desperately seeking a way

Holding tight to illusions
Mirrors of perfection held high
Don’t let anyone see
Pray they just pass by

Streets paved with eggshells
Treading ever so lightly
Lest the world cave in
Never reveal the unsightly

Swinging through the air
Up and down they go
Stepping in front of the curtain
Putting forth the best show

Synchronous Difficulties

I wait upon the Lord, my soul doth wait,
and in His word I hope.
~ Psalm 130:5 ~

Synchronous Difficulties

Chaos
Trials
Struggles abound
Healing heart exposed once more

Despair
Anxiety
Shifting sands
Perfect illusions shattered

Circumstances
Tribulations
Exploding bombs
Rigid expectations shot down

Prayer
Friendship
Synchronous difficulties
Hoping for peace to come

Light
Strength
Never ending love
God’s mighty hand reaching within

Waiting
Listening
Splintered heart
Standing with bated breath
Be still and know the loving God