Pulling Back the Shades

50 Shades of Grey books have been around for some time now. I hear of many talking about the movie on social media and see moms in waiting rooms and at parks reading this series all the time. While I have chosen NOT to read the books or see the movie, my heart breaks for those singles and moms looking for love in all the wrong places.

This Valentine’s Day, many flocked out like wandering sheep into a wolves den to the movie theaters to watch 50 Shades of Grey. Did they know they weren’t going to be watching a red-hot romance, but rather would be enticed by pull of addictive erotica (a form of pornography)?

I recently came across the book “Pulling Back the Shades” which goes into great detail the dangers of this series and also do extensive research on the effects of erotica on the mind and the family. The authors of the book have also been featured guests on Focus on the Family radio broadcast. There are lots of videos and articles on this website as well as a very cool deal for a free Pulling Back the Shades book too.

Focus on the Family Podcast Exposing the Lure of Romance and Erotica:
Part 1-
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/exposing-the-lure-of-romance-and-erotica-pt1

Part 2-
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/exposing-the-lure-of-romance-and-erotica-pt2

Trade your Shades:
http://pullingbacktheshades.com

The fruit of our lives comes as an overflow of what is filling our hearts. As Christians, we are called to be FILLED with the Holy Spirit. As a result of that filling, we see this fruit in our lives:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭22-25‬ NIV

We cannot fruitful lives on our own strength–it is only a result of the Holy Spirit. He fills us so that He can flow through our actions and attitudes. We can reflect the very character of Jesus in this dark world only through the power of His Holy Spirit.

We can also let our flesh rule and reign, as it says in the same context a few verses prior:

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭17-21‬ NIV

I’ve heard it said recently that

Whatever we feed will survive.

If we feed the flesh we will have a life of rotten fruit that only leads to death and ultimately leads to eternal separation from God. But if we feed our lives with the Holy Spirit and God’s word and presence, accepting Jesus as our Savior, we will not only reap a life of good fruit, but eternal life with God!

The good news is that we can live as a light in this dark world with God’s help–He doesn’t require something of His children and then abandon them–the Holy Spirit is here to help us every step of the way!

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians‬ ‭5‬:‭16‬ NIV

Will you listen to the voice of your Shepherd concerning all matters of what you see and hear so that you can hear Him? He will tell you where to go and where not to go. He will keep you from the traps of the enemy and will bless you for making decisions that starve the flesh so that you can know His voice even better. What love!!!

In His Step
Step by step He leads me
Will I follow or will I stray?
He will never leave me
To be the the enemy’s prey.
As I stay close to Him
I will live in peace and victory.
I trust Him in the darkness
For I know His voice that calls for me.
As I listen to Him in prayer
My shepherd tells me where to go.
He tells me that He loves me and
Where He leads I will follow.

~by Ginger Ekholm

Blessings to your every step,
Ginger

Unforgettable

Your name is written forever on the palm of my hand
For you are my child and I have a purpose and a plan
Don’t grow weary when it seems too hard to walk
I myself will hold you up and listen when you talk
I know every tear you cry and bend my ear to hear everything you say
I myself will be with you when others have gone away
My child when pain surrounds your soul, when it seems too hard to bear
Just remember I have not forgotten you and I will always be there.
You are unforgettable and I will never leave you.
Don’t listen to the lie that you have been forgotten
While you watch with an aching heart the blessings others have gotten
The time will come for you, dear one, but that time is not for you to know.
Just reach out to me and seek my face, learn from me and grow.
As your destiny unfolds, you will see purpose in the pain endured, and in every loss.
And there will be true fellowship with Me, as you daily bear your cross.
I have not forgotten you, and I know where the road will lead
I know the plans I have for you and I know everything you need
And in due time new blessings will come, new seasons will unfold
But trust in me and be content and I will take your silver and give you gold.
For you are not forgotten and you will never be.
For you are my child and I will love you for all eternity.

(I wrote this poem a time in my life as a response to a question I asked God. In a place of deep pain and questioning, I asked God if He had forgotten about me…and these words of life and comfort came flooding from the Father’s loving heart deep into to my aching heart. I pray that these words will bring life to dead dreams and healing to wounded hearts as it has to mine.)

Love and many blessings to you!
Ginger

Going to the Heights in the Lowest places

A few weeks ago, my husband and I poured out our hearts in prayer on a phone call with a dear friend who had cancer filling her body from head to toe. She was so hopeful that she would be healed and that this cancer would leave her body and that she would continue on being a wife and a mom and doing all of the wonderful things God has promised for her to do in her life. She had a heart full of dreams and things that she knew that she needed to do in her life for the Lord. We were convinced that God would heal her but we also knew that we had to trust Him in this.

I really don’t understand why she has passed away. Medically speaking, she was full of cancer. But spiritually she was so full of faith…and so were we. So were so many who I consider to be amazing prayer warriors–spiritual giants, if you will. So right at this moment, I’m shocked…I just knew in my heart at that last prayer meeting that she would be old and gray, preaching to the crowds and fulfilling all of the things God still had for her to do. She had been fully healed at one point, but then all the cancer came back with a vengeance. I don’t know why. I just don’t get it.

And in the shock and sadness and anger that is beginning to set in, I NEED now to remind myself today of the biggest lesson I’ve learned in my life thus far: when things in this world are painful, when prayers don’t get answered in the way we hope they will and when we feel disappointed by life’s circumstances, GOD is still good and deserves the highest praise even in the midst of pain, grief and disappointment! Life is sometimes very hard but God is ALWAYS very good!

Putting hope in our prayers being answered a certain way is really not true biblical faith…I define faith as putting our hope in our unseen GOD and trusting HIM for the unseen outcome–knowing He is fully able to SEE…to heal and set free or change circumstances and presenting our heart cry to Him, but choosing to love Him and praise Him & continue to live for Him no matter what happens. That is how I want to live all the days of my life.

That is how our friend lived. She prayed for healing with her whole heart. She declared it was a done deal and lived with such a joyful faith–praising God and sharing His goodness when she had cancer filling her from head to toe, when she was healed and until the day she went home to be 100% healed–with the cancer never to return again!

We pray, we believe for miracles and no matter what, we choose to live for God! There have been many cases of cancer healed in our region in the past few months, and some that have not. We pray in boldness–going straight to the throne because of Jesus, and we ask God bold things. We believe those bold requests are possible, and we trust that even when we our heart breaks in disappointment, God is still good. We don’t stop praying for the sick. We keep asking for miracles, we keep declaring His promises and truth.

The Bible is filled with stories of faith-filled believers who went through horrific trials for their faith. There are Christians across the globe today who are suffering. But the Bible is clear that even in the midst of suffering, WE WIN!

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭37-39‬ NIV)

And we know that in ALL these things, we still win! Nothing separates us from God’s love! Nothing! Not death, not divorce, not bankruptcy, not depression, not autism…NOTHING. And nothing can keep me from praising God for His goodness.

Our friend IS healed…not in the way we hoped, but for the believer, death is always an upgrade! For those left behind, we must hold on to our faith and walk out the promises of God until we breathe our last breath.

And now, we must allow room to grieve. We pray for her husband and children and do what we can to come along side and support them. We continue to put our hope in our AMAZING God…right now we do this through our tears, still praising God.

Take a look at the passage in Habakkuk…they had nothing but loss all around them, but yet he tells of how chose to praise God:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk‬ ‭3‬:‭17-19‬ NIV)

He enabled him to go to a higher place even in his lowest place. I’m doing that today–I’m lifting my eyes to focus on the joy of my Savior! And comforted knowing that my cancer-free friend is right there with Him!

Raise the praise! I’m going to the heights, folks. You can’t stop me 🙂

Peace and giggles in the midst of pain,
Ginger

God is There

As I was thinking of God’s wonderful presence throughout my life, this little poem began to flow out of my heart. I pray that it deeply blesses you and that as you read it, your heart will be filled with the deep comfort of knowing that you are NEVER alone.

He is there when the sun peaks up, He is there in the rain
He is there times of laughter, He is there in the deepest pain.
He gives step by step instruction on the road to find the way,
He is there when heads are bowed in prayer and when the words aren’t there to say.
He is there when others approve with thunderous roars as they applaud
He is there when in the quiet, when its still and we know that He is God.
He is there when ties are broken with others as we go our separate ways
He is there when we don’t feel His presence, He is there when we raise our hands in praise
And in those moments when we feel angry with Him or when we think He doesn’t care,
He is right beside you…Jesus is always there.
For He has been with me on the mountain tops, and in the deepest valley low
I am sure that Jesus loves me and He will never, ever go. 

All throughout my life, the Holy Spirit has brought me incredible comfort, joy, strength, peace and great encouragement in times when I simply shouldn’t–by any logical reason have had any reason to have peace and comfort or strength. There have been many tears in my life–some from the painful choices others close to me have made that effected my life in a very painful way and some from consequences of my own choices, but because of Jesus, I have truly always had the strength to go on! There has been a deep, settling peace in my heart in the most unsettling of circumstances and trials because of His presence.

Before I met and married my amazing husband, he went through the horrific pain of losing his lovely late wife to a tragic accident and he had to be a single parent to special needs child for a season. But instead of choosing to be all alone in his pain and grief, he chose to lean into God’s presence and find comfort in the arms of Jesus. In God’s presence, He cried tears, shared his feelings and leaned into the pain of the loss of his wife. He walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and was deeply comforted and transformed by the love of Jesus which carried Him through. By the grace of God, he is now he is able to comfort many others as a result of the treasures he as gained in those painful, heart breaking times, and God has done such a deep work of healing in his heart because he chose to seek out Jesus and other Christians in those times.

I personally do not think of tragedy as a gift from God. I don’t celebrate when someone gets hurt or is treated unjustly,and I have a hard time believing that God would rejoice when His kids get hurt or when one of their friends die. That is not the heart of any good earthly father, and certainly not the heart of our Heavenly father! I believe that God allows things to happen (for reasons we may never know), but He is NOT the cause for the trauma or the trials. What I do know for sure is the gift of His presence as I’ve walked through those dark times, and the wisdom that has come as result of those painful trials. We can thank Him for His presence in those painful times, but I think it ok to be honest and tell God our deepest pain and sorrows. It is good to be honest and pour out your feelings that you maybe don’t have the strength to share with another human being…He understands more than anyone else ever could. There are others who have learned the secrets of His healing presence who will also have the love and compassion to walk with you through the dark times in your life if you’ll open your heart to them.

As much as I have known God in the pain, I have had the great joy of knowing Jesus in the most wonderful, joyful times! The blessing of family, the laughter with friends, the beauty of the sunset over the ocean, seeing little orphaned children laugh in third world countries…great joy with God! Perhaps the time in my life most rich with sharing joy with God was when I met my husband! It was as though the angels were singing the halleluia chorus and God was smiling right along with me as I was introduced to the man I had been praying for since I was an elementary school girl!!! On our wedding day, the presence of God was so strong and His blessing in our lives has truly been supernatural. The first time I met Steve’s son Isaiah (who is TOTALLY my boy now!!!), I fell in love with him! He ran to my lap, and before we told him anything about the direction of our relationship, he touched my face sweetly and said, “Ginger is my new mommy.” Talk about God’s smile! To hear those words from a little boy with autism was just a miracle! And the incredible love that Isaiah and I share, the bond we have and the attachment that he has for me as his “new mommy” is truly only a work of God for which I am forever grateful! The blessings of God are continuing to unfold as He is providing for us in the most incredible ways both personally and in ministry!  We are rich in heart and blessed to be serving the Lord in a full-time ministry capacity. We are watching the Lord bring many to Himself and filled with joy as we watch others choose to recognize God’s amazing love for them! What a joy to be walking with Jesus and celebrating His presence each day!!!

Whatever you may be going through today, know that you are not alone. God weeps with you. He is there to comfort, heal and give strength. He is there to rejoice with you and smile with you in the most incredible joys of life! He is GOOD and worthy of our adoration and worship…even when we don’t see evidence of Him being there, by faith we can take Him at His word and thank Him for being with there with you all the days of your life!

Some promises of God’s constant presence and love:

“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you…” Joshua 1:5

” ‘Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 1:8

“…And surely I am with  you always to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b

Circumstances are temporary…in 5 years, you may have totally different circumstances than you do today. But one thing remains unchanged–God’s presence and His love for you!

Going a little deeper…Some questions to think about…
1. How have you seen God at work in your darkest times?2. Have you felt free to tell God your deepest pain? Why or why not?
3. Can you think of a time when you felt God’s smile in your life?
4. Have there been any scriptures that have been comforting to you in the hard times?

I’d love to hear your responses!

Peace and giggles,

Ginger

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Welcome the new 2014-2015 MOPS International Theme, “Be You, Bravely”!

I love being part of MOPS ministry and absolutely love this year’s theme–Be You Bravely. Such simple yet challenging reminders to step out and do what God is calling me to do.

NHPBC MOPS Long Island

Here it is!!! The new 2014-2015 theme:

 

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Welcome to the 2014-15 MOPS International Theme. 

Theme Verse: 

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19   (NIV)

At any given moment in our lives each of us has…

  • Conversations we’ve been putting off.
  • Reasonable risks we’ve been avoiding.
  • Goals we want to achieve.

Yet often times the more significant an action feels the easier it is to put it off.  We get distracted from the big decisions by the immediate needs of the day. What all of us seem to have in common is that we need a nudge, a nudge to help us get out of our ruts and routines so that we can begin risking bravely.

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Clean Slate Club.

Happy belated New Year!

This is the time of year that I usually muster up some inner muscle and write a list of all the things I want to change about myself or my home. I become my own life coach and review my goals (which I usually forget what they were by the end of the year).

Being HONEST here…giving a sneaky peak into my insecurities…

I take this time to admit openly that over the course of my life I have been the queen of good intentions, dreams and inventions. I do some of the things I set out to do, but most of the time I have a head full of dreams and ideas and not much action to all of my intentions. Why is that? (r.h.e.t.o.r.i.c.a.l.)  I have closets that are dying to be re-ordered. I forget my grocery lists, forget to put oil in my car, have a purse full of receipts and lipsticks that I forget I have. And the Alpha shame I bear…I don’t exercise (much). At least not to the point of sweat. Not proud of that fact but my glam-girl excuse is this: its just a hair thing. If I didn’t sweat I would exercise. But I do sweat, and then the hair gets nasty and most days (unless it is a day 3 hair day) I would rather enjoy the the bounce of freshly washed hair than I would lapping salty sweat from my brows. If I can work it out to sweat on day 3 hair days then maybe I could do that. I’ll add that to my list. And it seems that at the end of just about every year, I feel a sense of remorse for a whole year of good intentions that led me to a recycling of the resolutions. Lose weight. Stay in touch with extended family. Save money. Spend more time in THE WORD. Read more books with the little man. Work on art projects. And on and on it goes.

This year I started out differently. I joined my own Clean slate club. All of the things in years past that I have internal debts I feel I owe myself and others…and even God, I’m letting them go.

“Ginger I forgive you for falling short of your good intentions and goals. Start fresh,” I tell myself.

I forgive myself.

No more shoudda-coudda-wudda. It is time to do the Queen Elsa and Let it go! To forgive is not to say that I didn’t do anything wrong. I did so many things wrong. I failed and I admit that. But I am not a failure. I’m a free woman who sometimes fails at her own game. I have ultra high standards for myself that I know I will never live up to, and for the first time EVER, I am ok with that. I accept that about myself and release all expectations of myself to God. I am a super forgiving person by God’s grace am even able to forget things that have hurt me. There have been times where people have apologized to me, and I literally FORGOT that they said or did anything that had hurt me. But when it comes to myself, I have a laundry list of wrongs and failures and grudges that I’ve kept hidden deep inside that I pull out from time to time to remind myself “girl you failed.”

But no more. Clean slate means no more shaming, finger pointing or grudges.

1 Corinthians 13:5 says that “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

I have held that in deep regard when it comes to forgiving others, but I could write books of the things I have done wrong. I’m handing those books over to Jesus today and He is burning them for me. No more record of wrongs. No more self-loathing. I never thought of myself as a self-loather. I’ve always had a fairly healthy sense of my identity in Christ and feel accepted by God and others. But God has been spotlighting this “wall of shame” I had deep inside my heart. I’m choosing to be free. And when that little voice comes around to remind me of all that I have not finished or accomplished, I’ll remind myself that I am a work in progress and that God loves me JUST THE WAY I AM. And so do I.

Maybe this New Year you’ve got something you really want to achieve. Goals are awesome (unless they include sweat…not awesome). I love to achieve and do things that I dream in my heart! There are things that were life-long dreams that I have accomplished and feel good about. I’m not suggesting that anyone abandons their dreams or doesn’t set out any goals. But what I am suggesting is that you release yourself from your own wall of shame about things that haven’t gone the way that you’d hoped or planned and let this be a year of being Spirit-led to do all that He wants you to do. Step by step obedience is my goal. Staying in step with God’s voice. This year I want to be more obedient to God than ever before. That is my goal. I’m probably going to need lots of grace. I have other goals too: tackle closets (again). Live on less. and write more blogs. I want to write lots and lots of blogs this year, but more importantly I want to write the ones that GOD burns in me to write, and when He does lead me to write, I will. When He leads me to tell a sad-looking waitress she is beautiful and that He loves her, I will. When He leads me to walk on the treadmill on a day 1 hair day I (gulp) will.

Goodbye bitterness towards self. Goodbye wall of shame. Good bye clean hair.

Hello 2015.

Awkward Sunday Morning Syndrome

Ahhhhk-ward! I can so relate to this! Well said my friend! ❤

bringingback

“Oh, wait, you find greeting time during the church service awkward too?! I thought I was alone in that!” And so began a close friendship of a band of sisters who had known each other on a surface-level for years as church members but had never really known each other. We each struggled with seeing familiar faces every Sunday but not really, deep-down knowing them. Why? Because we avoided. We retreated within ourselves when it was time to connect with others. But when we connected, we began to realize that we are all very much the same, struggling with fears, expectations, and sins while seeking to love and be loved.

Awkward Greeting Time” (the title we jokingly gave this part of the church service which is dedicated to introducing ourselves to others), is for some, well, awkward. Yet it is one of many opportunities to connect on any given…

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God Shoes

Allow me to introduce you to Isaiah.
If you spend any length of time with our boy Isaiah (yes–even a second!) you’ll find a little boy with passion for life so big that even his body just can’t contain it! Joy flaps from his fingertips as he studies his American Flags (this is a daily thing around our house) wiggling in the wind. He runs to the patio window every morning just in time to see the first sliver of sun peeking over the trees, and each night with nose pressed on the living room window (yes…we have smudge city on my windows!) and no matter how many sunsets he sees, shouts, “WOW isn’t it beautiful?!?” He loves with remarkable abandon and is a cheerleader for many.
Isaiah hasn’t had the picture perfect life. He received an autism spectrum diagnosis as a tiny tot (which in itself is an entirely consuming life challenge for him), is legally blind in one eye, has delayed speech…and probably the biggest blow he has has to overcome is the loss of his momma when he was just three. While he may not have fully understood at the time what was happening in his world, he still knew how to have great joy in the midst of trials. He has since had to adjust to having a lot of new things…a new step-momma (who by the way is absolutely wildly in love with him and his daddy!), starting 5 new schools, 2 major moves, new church, new doctors, new extended family, new routines…for a kid who loves structure and predictability, he is quite a walking miracle!
In the past couple of years, we noticed that Isaiah’s tippy toe walking wasn’t flattening out as some thought it would. He walked and ran on the tips of his toes for years (quite a common trait for children with autism) and it seemed as though walking or standing with heels to the ground was very painful for him. We learned some stretches to help loosen the muscles in his legs and calves, but nothing seemed to really be working. We had been researching several methods for treatment, but they were far to costly, too invasive or too risky. We would often pray for guidance on what to do, but nothing ever seemed to surface. At Isaiah’s 7 year old check up, I shared my concern (as I often did) with the physician and in my heart was expecting the same response from various medical and mental health practitioners that I often did, “Just tell him to walk on his flat feet and reward him when he does” “Get high top sneakers” “he will grow out of it”…but this time, the doctor took a moment and she said, “I’ll write you a referral for a hospital that pays for everything. I believe they may be able to help.”
Fast forward. Isaiah was evaluated by the medical team at Shriner’s Hospital and prescribed a non-surgical treatment called, “Serial casting.” 4 casts on both feet to the knee, and every 2 weeks his feet would be adjusted slightly and re-casted until he could be casted with his feet at a 90 degree angle. He went through the treatment just recently and it worked! We were overwhelmed with joy watching for the first time as Isaiah walked “heel-toe-doe-si-doe” (a little phrase we used to encourage him to walk flat footed) through the hallways of Shriner’s hospital!

While he was walking on his flat feet, we noticed that Isaiah was crouching his knees as he walked and we shared our concern with the doctor at Shriner’s. She prescribed him some leg braces, but we didn’t realize at the time that he would have to get some new shoes, new boots…etc to be able to walk in his braces. We could have searched the thrift stores or asked around, but the day came that he was getting the new braces and still didn’t have the shoes! I decided to pray that very morning. “Father, Isaiah really needs some shoes. This isn’t a surprise to you, and we ask that you would show us the right pair of shoes. You are our provider and I trust you will give Isaiah what he needs.” We went to the fitting appointment for the braces and when we tried to fit his regular shoes around the braces, they didn’t fit. My heart sunk as I knew this was a legit need we just couldn’t afford that week. The gal who made the braces saw the struggle we had trying to fit the shoes over the braces and asked Isaiah’s shoe size. She said, I’ll go trim those braces down a bit more–that should help. But when she returned with his braces, she also brought a pair of size 1 extra wide brand new SHOES! “We don’t ever give shoes away, but we just so happened to have this pair in his size that was donated!”

God cares so much about our needs and even our desires. He is the giver of all good things and makes certain we have all that we need. He knows we could’ve easily scoured second hand shops (any thrifters out there?!? Oh yea!!!!) to find something that could work, or ask around to borrow from someone else. And sometimes He reminds us that He loves it when we trust Him and ask Him for what we need so that He can put brand new size 1 extra wide shoes on the feet of an amazing little warrior.

God shoes. I’m so thankful for Isaiah’s God shoes.

As surely as the new day dawns
We can see Your hand provide
Faithful One is who You are
You have never left our side
You enter into the darkness of night
You bring new mercies,
our daily light.

Peace & Giggles ,
Ginger

What stinks?!

For years I wore a luxurious bubble-gum pink robe most winter mornings. It felt like what I imagined being blanketed in fluffy a cloud felt like, wrapped up in a warm hug. This robe was so decadent to my senses and I never noticed any unpleasant scent when wearing this robe. It had been washed on occasion, but didn’t really need to be washed often since I just wore it over my clothes like a blanket for added snuggly warmth. My husband, however, would often turn his head in agony at the putrid aroma that hit his nose. “Honey your robe smells awful!!!” Recently, he even went to the store and purchased me a brand new robe for our anniversary (even nicer than the one I had worn and loved for years) to replace my “stinky” one. In fact our son had gone shopping with Steve and when they came home he said, “mommy, we got you a new robe!” Little did he know it was supposed to be a secret 🙂 Anyway, I never could smell anything wrong with the robe…even with my nostrils pressed deep into the silky fibers…didn’t smell anything remotely bad…just pure bliss! But ask Steve & he couldn’t handle one whiff! After I took the tags off the new one, he marched the old one out to the trash to be carried away by the garbage truck!

I got to thinking about the “stinky” robe…how it relates to the things in our life that “stink.” Some of those things that stink could be gossip, addictions, bad attitudes, bitterness, complaining…you know…all those things that we get so comfortable with and become part of our daily life. Unfortunately, these habits and attitudes may actually cause us to be completely repulsive to others, or even worse…we drag others into that mess with us and like Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch, we find ourselves living in TRASH!

Awhile back I had a job where I would go into people’s homes to do paperwork. One home in particular smelled so awful to me upon the first inhale that I began to gag uncontrollably!!! The owner of was talking to me and carrying on as though she couldn’t smell a thing, but I had toxic tears streaming down my cheeks because I could barely breathe without gagging! About an hour had passed and the rottten smell continued to consume me! I tried to suck it up and hide the fact that her house smelled like a vat of rotten sewage with a side of a herd of dead mice, but the heaves continued to consume by body. She didn’t even seem to notice because it was her COMFORT ZONE!

We may not even realize we stink or think we do, but when a close friend or loved one starts to gag in our presence, it could be a tell-tale sign that something has gotta go in our lives.  All too often we LOVE the comfort of our stinky sin, don’t we? When we wrap ourselves in the “comfort” of sin…perhaps because the pain of change is worse than the pain of staying in our stinky sin! It may be those seemingly less “stinky” sins that we don’t recognize readily that keep us in the sludge…talking about the neighbors behind their backs, continuing to watch the TV shows or movies that send our conviction-o-meters soaring, holding on to unforgiveness…the list could go on and on. But how do we know if our heart stinks? What if we don’t find anything wrong with what we are doing? The best way to determine our freshness is not through our own sniff test, but through the inspection of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s take a look at a man who did just that…one of my favorite players in history is King David. Anointed as king as a young boy, God saw that he was fit for the job because he had a heart after God.  But as time went on, the lure of sin drew his heart far from God. King David allowed the sin in his life to take the place of his love and reverence for God. It wasn’t long, and his heart was filled with murder and adulterous lusts that was keeping him from the path that God had for him. Nathan the prophet came to King David in 2 Samuel 12:1-4 and in a nutshell, dumped out the trash of King David’s downward spiral direction. If you’ve read this story before, maybe you remember how he responded when he realized what he had done? He said in vs. 13, “I have sinned against the Lord.” When we choose to live in a comfort zone of ish, we can either stay there, or we can ask for God to forgive us, cleanse us and move along into greater victories! Way to Go King David!

Take a look at how King David chose to respond as the reality of the trash in his heart came to a head. Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

King David asked for God’s searchlight to shine on his heart and see if there was anything putrid or offensive in his heart towards his King, God the Father! King David went directly to the ONE who could not just Febreeze the fabric of his heart to cover the smell, but to truly give him a clean and new heart.

God wants to do that for all of us today! Each and every day start by asking God to search your heart and let you know if there is anything that smells rotten to Him. When He shows you what needs to go, confess it as sin, and be ready to receive forgiveness from Him! When that sin is confessed and we turn away from it, get ready to be robed in His fuzzy pink righteousness (ok, that’s a stretch…, I know…) and walk in a greater and sweeter relationship!

Would you pray with me?

Heavenly Father, I want my heart to be a pleasing aroma to you…a heart that you love to dwell in. Please search my heart now, and show me if there is anything there that needs to be taken out to the trash. (Take a moment and just listen….what is God nudging you to get rid of?) Please create in me a clean heart, O God! Renew me and help me to stand strong for you in this dark world with a heart that burns with love for you. Thank you for cleansing me, and giving me a new heart today! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Peace and Giggles to you! ❤

Ginger

The Missing Bling

It was one of those super-mom kind of days. Mini-van packed with groceries, birthday gifts and baby shower gifts for various people, quickly yet carefully selected. We live about an hour and 15 minutes from any sort of mall, so I had planned my day in such a way that I could get all of my treasure hunting accomplished in time get home to greet my sweetie as he got off the bus.

Even in this rush on such a busy day, I decided to wear my gorgeous new earrings I had gotten as a gift (via gift card!) on my outing. Nothing totally special about my new earrings from a jeweler’s perspective…they cost about as much as a small latte, but they were just so pretty and I really enjoyed them. It wasn’t until I got home from Wednesday night church that night when I realized my left earlobe was bare and my faux bling was gone!

I had checked everywhere I knew to check, but still came up empty handed. I’ll admit, the dull ache of disappointment swept over me as I began to accept the loss of the sparkly twin. My attempts to self-talk my way into proper perspective–“this was something small and replaceable…don’t feel too bad” temporarily eased the ache, but I couldn’t shake the frustration towards myself that I had lost a gift. Even that morning I tried to be so responsible and made sure to secure the earring so that WOULDN’T happen, but despite all of my efforts it still went missing. I went from feeling like super-mom to a super-idiot. Grrrr.

A few days later, my husband gave me a call from his office at the church and said, “I found your earring honey!” At that moment, it was to me as though God gave me those earrings. The gift went from something so sweet and ordinary to a gift right from the hand of God. I knew He saw me that day and used the Hubs to be the conduit of His love and grace to me.

There are many days that doesn’t happen just this way. Things get lost and never found sometimes, but even when they don’t, God still sees. He cares when we hurt. He is moved with compassion, and in all of those moments He gives us the gift of Himself. And sometimes…He gives us earrings.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

Peace & Giggles,
Ginger