Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Loss’ Category

Soul Surfer

Last Sunday Greg and I went to see the highly recommended true story “Soul Surfer“.  I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe some cheesy “B” film with a dramatic and whiny theme – but I was amazed instead to actually be moved beyond belief.

This film is about real life hero – Bethany Hamilton, a surfer since she could walk – living in Hawaii with her family – already famous on the Island for the way she could ride the surf at a young age.  A fierce competitor who lived in the water and who was herself, fearless.  She had a promising future ahead of her until one day while surfing with some friends – she was attacked by a shark, who actually bit her left arm completely off.  But the story does not end there – in tragedy and darkness – dashed hopes and dreams, the story is more about her miraculous recovery and ever-growing faith in God to get her through the darkest and most challenging time of her young life.

It is a story of ultimate victory over adversity – life from death and renewed determination when life goes sideways.  It is a story that could  put all of us to shame – those of us who whine and complain about life’s woes – with two good arms.

I love how she finally finds her purpose and reason for going on – to be an inspiration to others – her famous quote at the end of the movie – “I can embrace more people now – with one arm”  Simply amazing.

I encourage you to see this film – if you yourself have ever doubted God – ever wondered why things happen as they do – wonder what God’s plan is and purpose in your life when you suffer, experience loss and try desperately to hold on to your faith.  It will touch you – inspire and amaze you – and you will never be the same.

Below, in an interview while the film was in production – is the real Bethany Hamilton.  Her words will  encourage you and her positive approach to life with inspire you today.

God Bless

Silent Night

During exercise Joint Resolve 26, in Bosnia an...

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Just saw a true story called ‘Silent Night’ starring Linda Hamilton – set in WWII time – Germany.  It was a story from a little boy’s perspective just before the end of the war.  A German mother and her son fled to a family cabin away from their German town.  Just as they were settling in – three American soldiers broke in and used the cabin for a ‘hospital’ for a wounded soldier.  Then shortly after three German soldiers came upon the cabin.  The woman (Elisabeth) insisted that they keep their weapons outside if they were to use her cabin for shelter – calling it a ‘neutral zone’ – and amazingly THEY DID!

I was touched by this story of strength and courage from this woman – who at first feared for her life and the life of her son – but who ended up literally bringing peace and love into that small cabin  preparing a meal for them and taking care of the wounded man.  The atmosphere and influence of a warm and caring woman – was felt by all the men.  And they all changed that night.  The war was left outside for Christmas – and common ground between the men – fighting on opposite sides was discovered.  It was Christmas Eve and as Elisabeth prepared soup for the hungry men – each of them had something special to add to the meal from their rations – and one American officer even had ‘presents’ – chocolate for the young boy and young German soldier (about 15 years old) and a french soap wrapped in a little box for Elisabeth – which very much moved her.

What could have been a very tragic and bloody night for all of them – ended up being a very different night in that cabin as they exchanged words and stories with each other.  And later the young German soldier sang ‘Silent Night’ beside a modest little Christmas tree.   It was a night that Elisabeth and her son remembered for the rest of their lives.

I was thinking about this remarkable woman as I watched this.  Would I have been so brave?  Could I have brought peace into a hostile situation?  Can one person really make a difference?  Yes.  I believe they can.  I believe I can.  I believe you can too.

Are you one that brings peace in the midst of a storm?  Do you bring a calming effect to people in your world?  A healing balm?  An atmosphere of true humility and graciousness?  Do you seek out good in everyone – can you look past the ugly things – try not to blame or cast judgment?  Only think the best and try to encourage, embrace and love?

I pray that you will be one to shine your light – make difficult things better – lighten the load for others that carry a heavier burden.

After all – this is the Gospel Message.  Good News.  Great Tidings of Joy.  Jesus came to redeem, love, and win back what was lost.  You and me.

 

I am praying special blessings on you this day after Christmas!

 

God Bless

 

 

Speed Bumps

Speed bump made of rubber

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Every journey has them.  Every life encounters them.  They are speed bumps.

I’m keenly aware of the ones in my life.  Even long after they have happened.  It’s interesting that the speed bump appears just as I’ve hit my stride and I’m feeling great –  when sailing along at top speed – doing what I always do.

I don’t like speed bumps.  I never have.  I don’t like slowing down.  Sometimes I have not slowed down and made proper allowances for the speed bump – only to hear a very loud noise as my car plows over it – and it makes me cringe.  Speed bumps are put there for one purpose:  to MAKE us slow down.  Slow down – or ELSE.

There are events in my life that have also made me slow down.  Just when I thought I had it all together.  All the people important to me and my world in their proper place.  Something happens.  Causing my world to not only slow down – but come to a complete stop.  Oh I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t even want to slow down and call it a ‘speed bump’ – but in retrospect – that’s exactly what it was.  Something that shook me down to my foundation – made me take inventory and readjust.  I didn’t want to.  It hurt.

Ever feel like this?  Things happen that make you slow down and sometimes come to a complete stop?  Dead in your tracks?  You’re not alone.

I believe that God knows and understands this.  If I didn’t believe this – there would be no hope for me. He listens and understands without judgment – without condemnation.  He knows I am guilty – of so many things – of not slowing down and showing more caution  and much more. But He is in the restoring business – and He pursues me with a love like no other.  Lavish and full.  Complete in forgiveness and grace.  And I weep.  For no one understands my heart like He does.  No one loves me like this.  I weep for the loss.  I weep because I cannot fix things.  I weep because I am sad. And He knows and whispers to me that it’s only temporary – only a speed bump along my journey.

Those speed bumps have taught me something valuable that I can hang onto.  I am still me – and they don’t keep me from being who I am – but instead teach me an important lesson about slowing down – and recognizing danger – before I get there and plow recklessly into it.  And I have His promise that He will journey with me – no matter how bad the speed bump is in the future.

He is much more concerned with my heart than any external circumstances and I believe He will allow anything – even those speed bumps along the way in order for me to be more sensitive and bring me closer to understanding His heart.

I am praying for you

 

God Bless

It Is What It Is

A warm embrace

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The longer that I live – the more I am convinced of two things:

1) I have WAY more questions than answers.

and

2) God is the one who adds and subtracts people from our lives.

To address point #1 – let me just say that I think this stinks – BIG TIME.  I’m a ‘give me an answer’ kind of girl.  Everything must happen for a reason – Every question should have an answer – every conflict should be able to be resolved – ask a simple question – get a simple answer etc, etc.  But this is clearly NOT the case when talking about complex people and complicated situations.  Unfortunately we allow things to be WAY more complicated than they need to be – but  it always comes down to this:

It is what it is.

And like the Billy Joel song I have posted below, that I love and can relate to in many ways, ‘And so it goes, and so it goes, and you’re the only one who knows.’  It is clear that we are not meant to know all the answers and…

Sometimes…

It is what it is

And so it goes.

To #2 – I simply say this:  God does amazing things in our lives behind the scenes.  I am proof of  that.  Just when I’ve needed a certain personality in my world – He  positioned someone kind and accepting to help me through a dark and sad time of struggle.  And though it’s been said before – it bears repeating: Sometimes it is only for a season. And then – the next thing I know – they are gone – removed from my life like a distant echo of the past.  I miss them – their presence and difference they made in my life – the laughter and the happy times – so I mourn.  But only for a while.  Then something amazing will happen – another friend will step in who has ‘like mindedness’ and fills a gap in my wounded heart – and you know it’s a God thing.  These friends are the ones who stay. Bringing laughter, hope and understanding into my daily world.

But sometimes there are those who do damage on their way out of my life.  To those that do this – slam a ‘proverbial door’ as they leave my world – hide behind other people – blame – point fingers and run away – and allow themselves to adopt a mindset of distance and silence – believing things that they know deep down inside are not true – this makes me the most sad.   I believe it is those individuals that are missing out on God’s richest blessings of forgiveness and full reconciliation. They have bought into a lie:  That some things cannot be healed – some things cannot be forgiven.  And they will never know how their wounded and broken heart can be healed by the wonderful love and forgiveness of a lost friendship.  They will never know that those they have desperately tried to cut out of their lives – are the very ones that will be able to answer the questions for them and begin the healing process – and they will never know that these are the ones that will forgive and allow them to start over. Helping them to truly make sense of what went wrong in the first place.  That is a ‘God thing’ when it is done right – when hearts are soft and pliable – and people are ready to put the past finally and completely behind them.

But in the end –

It is what it is.

And so it goes.

I have been given a gift.  I have been forgiven.  And God’s richest blessings are now in my life.  I’m not perfect – I’ve blown it big time – but He’s allowed me to share in the gift of struggle – to understand myself and those around me.  And because He has lavishly poured His love out on me  – I can love and forgive you – and welcome you with open arms – even if you have wronged me.

I am praying God’s richest blessing on your life – that you will find that the  blessed additions and subtractions in your life – those that are there – or not there are for a reason – and is for a higher purpose than you know.  Although there are not always answers to the questions – there is always a reason. And forgiveness and reconciliation is always possible with God. Don’t give up.  Always trust, hope and believe – that there will be answers to the questions – one day.

God Bless

Are You Happy?

The Sermon of the Beatitudes (1886-96) by Jame...

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Heard another great message from our pastor, Stephen Collins yesterday morning.  He has begun a series on “The Beatitudes”.  This question was asked:

Are you happy?  Is this really what you want?  Will that alone satisfy you long-term?  When feelings change and emotions are fickle?

The most profound statement came in the middle of the message.  ‘When we settle for just being happy – we aim too low’ – missing out on God’s blessing in our lives’. Sometimes, God doesn’t want us to be happy.  Sometimes there are lessons in the ‘gift’ of pain and hardship in our lives.  The most significant changes in our heart and character come when life is not ‘happy’ – but dark and sad.

For me – I know this is a true statement – and sums up just what I have learned and lived through over the past 2 years – as I grew and discovered God’s ‘gift’ of hard times, both personally, in my relationships  and spiritually.

If we accept the ‘gift’ in the way it is intended – then God can do His greatest work in us – bringing us more than just ‘happiness’ – but a blessed and meaningful life And sometimes what may feel like the end of the world – may only be the beginning of a great and rewarding life.

Are you happy?  Is that what you really want?  Or do you want more?  Do you want God’s rich blessing poured out in your life.  I know I do.  I want to reap the reward of choosing to do the right thing – when doing that goes against everything I may be feeling.  It means doing right by people and relationships – and being the right person. Living by character and integrity – rather than emotions.  And when I do stray away and don’t choose what is right – at least initially – then knowing how to get back on the right path – hard as it is – to reconcile and fix it – and keep my heart open.

I am more than happy.  I am blessed. I understand this now – but it took a couple of hard lessons to really believe it.  I’m blessed with a wonderful family, a man who loves me with everything that he is –  and friendships that mean everything to me.  What I lost – God has richly replaced – and has taught me a great many lessons in the process.  Things I could not have learned – just by following my heart and emotions because I ‘wanted to be happy’.  When we see life as a journey – and know that there is a much bigger picture than just personal happiness – we will not want to aim so low.

Are you happy?  Are you wishing for more than that?  I invite you to share in some hard times – and think of them as a ‘gift’ – an added blessing to enhance your character and integrity.  I wish you more than happiness, my friend.  I wish you a life of blessing and purpose – a holy calling in which you give up ‘personal happiness’ for something richer and deeper.  To see people the way that God sees them.  To understand there is a lost world out there – and your unique gifts have placed you right where you are – to influence those that He has entrusted to you.  Use them today.

Be more than just ‘happy’ – be blessed and be a blessing to those in your life.

 

God Bless

Bambina

Breastfeeding offers benefits for both mother ...

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I’ve heard this song on Pandora Radio for quite a few weeks – and I was interested in finding out what she was saying – since I don’t speak ANY French!  And I found out it’s a sweet song about a lost baby or child.

In this day of abortion and ‘right to choose’ – I thought I would play this sweet song that speaks of heartache and regret.

♥  This is dedicated in love – for all of you that have ever lost a baby or a child. ♥  May God continue to comfort you ♥

God Bless.

French 

Bambina

Rien qu’un petit espace
Une toute, toute petite trace
Un petit mal qui reste en moi
Tout c’que tu detestes
Je prends ma petite place
D’un trait de larmes j’efface
Les souvenirs terrestres
Qui trainent dans ma veste

Bambina tu me manques
Les photos qui me hantent
Sont des parfums de rue
Ou je ne vais plus

Bambina…
De ta petite voix
Je parle de nous tout bas
Et quand ca les fait rire
Ca me dechire
Car d’apparence tu vois
Je ne te ressemble pas
J’ai plutot l’air de celle
Qui grandit en toi

Bambina tu me manques
Les photos qui me hantent
Sont des parfums de rue
Ou je ne vais plus

Bambina si vivante
Reviens, j’ai mal au ventre
Bambina, dans ce corps
J’ai ton coeur qui bat

Je t’attends en bas dans la rue
Ou l’autobus ne passe plus
Je chante a tue-tete
Tu verras j’ai la meme voix

Bambina tu me manques
Les photos qui me hantent
Sont des parfums de rue
Ou je ne vais plus

Bambina…
Reviens, j’ai mal au ventre
Bambina, dans ce corps
J’ai ton coeur qui bat

Rien qu’un petit espace
Une toute, toute petite trace ..

English 

Bambina

Nothing but a little space
A really , really little trail
A little evil that remains inside me
Everything you hate
I take my little place
With a tear trail I brush off
The memories of the Earth
That lie under my jacket

Bambina I miss you
The pictures haunting me
Are perfumes from the streets
That I no longer go to

Bambina ..
With your little voice
I talk about us in a whisper
& When it makes them laugh
It tears me up
Because outwardly , you see
I don’t look like you
I rather look like the one
Who grows up inside you

Bambina I miss you
The pictures haunting me
Are perfumes from the streets
That I no longer go to

Bambina so full of life
Come back , I have stomach ache
Bambina , in this body
Your heart is beating

I wait for you down the street
Where the bus no longer pass
I sing at the top of my voice
You will see I have the same voice

Bambina I miss you
The pictures haunting me
Are perfumes from the streets
That I no longer go to

Bambina ..
Come back , I have stomach ache
Bambina , in this body
Your heart is beating

Nothing but a little space
A really , really little trail ..

There’s An Elephant In The Room

Who is This? I remember the cartoon, but not h...

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There’s an elephant in the room.   No one talks about it.  No one dares.

We avoid

We run and hide

We joke

We tell stories

We change the subject

and still….

There’s an elephant in the room

This poor ignored elephant – one that used to be rather small – but because everybody refuses to acknowledge her presence –  she has become  rather LARGE!  You see – she has an inferiority complex. A Big one.  And she drowns her sorrow and disappointment in eating anything she can get her hands on.  And because people would rather walk around her – even tiptoe lightly – she has to try to stay invisible in the center of the room – and not trip anybody up.  Oh she has tried to get everyone’s attention at times.   She even tries different colors to wear so she’ll stick out more and be noticed.  I’ve even seen her painting her toe nails red – and then waving her hands and feet wildly in the air – but to no avail.  She even waved and winked at me one time too – I’m sure of it.  I just shook my head and smiled.  I mean – really – what else could I do?  She’s an elephant.

Poor, poor elephant.

I’m waiting for the day – when someone can’t take it anymore and jumps up and says, “Hey!!!  There’s a LARGE elephant in here!  Do you see her?”  But until that day….

We avoid

We run and hide

We tell jokes

We tell stories

and….

We change the subject.

No one likes an elephant – especially a LARGE one with brightly colored clothes and painted red toenails, Right?  This elephant could change everything forever.  And no one will speak up.  No one will take the risk. Better to ignore and pretend….

There’s an elephant in the room

What Are Your Chains?

The following is an excerpt from my daily devotional:

It has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ (Philippians 1:13).

Joni Erickson Tada is, in a sense, in chains for Christ. One day she was a carefree teenager, the next she was imprisoned in a quadriplegic body due to a diving accident. Yet her chains not only encouraged others but also increased her faith as she grew into more and more reliance upon Christ. Because Joni took her tragedy and gave it to God, He has used her in a mighty way.

Confined to a wheelchair, Joni creatively adapted her lifestyle and learned to paint by holding a brush in her teeth. Soon God began calling her to help others with limited abilities.

What would her life have been like if she hadn’t taken that dive? Would she still have a worldwide ministry? Would she have developed the strong character and courage to move into such a ministry?

From great tragedy can come great character. Reflecting on the ministries of both Joni and the apostle Paul, I ask myself, “What are my chains? What adversity or physical infirmity can I give to Christ for His glory?

Author Unknown

As I was reading this devotional thought this morning – I was aware of the fact that all of us have ‘chains’.  They are not always physical – as in the case of Joni – sometimes they are invisible and are harder for us to define and recognize.  Anything emotional can be dicey and complicated for us and because we cannot see it – we also cannot see the damage it has done or the scars that it has left behind.   But like anything that holds us down – visible or not – it can be a very difficult thing to ‘rise above’ it and simply move on.  Especially if those ‘chains’ leave us with feelings of regret and desperation.  But the real strength of character comes when we are at our weakest – lost and hurting.   It’s when we allow those ‘chains’ to change our course that the real miracle comes about – in our own hearts.  And sometimes a change in our hearts begins a new journey – a change in our course that God will use to bless someone else.

In my own life my ‘chains’ are invisible.  They are not something you can detect.  They are emotional. There was a hurt and a tearing apart of something that I thought was unmovable and strong.  It caused me to rethink everything in my life.  It caused me to ‘pull in’ and protect.  It took time to heal – I think I am still healing from it in some ways.  But I realized something after this happened.  I realized I had a choice.  I either trusted God or I didn’t.  I had to trust that He saw the bigger picture and that I didn’t need to.  That had to be good enough.  And then – I had to decide whether or not I would go on – or stay still and struggle in my own pain – alone.  I chose to go on.

I began a journey of healing through writing.  I wrote because I felt compelled.  I felt I had something to say.  I felt God speaking through me.  And though ‘handicapped’ now because of my ‘chains’ – I continued to write.  It was the only thing I could do – and I did it.  Along the way I met people in my life that had a powerful influence in my life – and their words of love and encouragement was like God speaking directly to me.  And that encouragement gave me courage over time – and soon I was able to help and encourage people – even when I myself was still hurting.

Those were my ‘chains’ used to glorify God.  Would I have had this tremendous opportunity without them?  Would I have had anything to write about?  Would God have been able to use me?  I don’t know.  But I do know – that He took my brokenness and my willingness to move forward and bless others.  And in blessing others – He has blessed me.

And so like Joni – I can truly say that I cannot regret this path and the journey I’ve been on.  The very ‘chains’ that I thought would break me and destroy me and my witness – have made me stronger and my witness more powerful than before.

What are your chains?  Is it something that you need to experience in order to better serve others?  Are you finding your life journey changing course because of those ‘chains’?  It may not be just a ‘coincidence’  or something that you’d like to think of as a ‘mistake’.  It may be something that God is going to use to make you stronger and increase your influence with others.  And like those ‘chains’ of mine that will always be with me – even though I have survived and am moving forward – those ‘chains’ will always be a reminder to me that He is stronger than any chains that would threaten to bind me or destroy me.

God Bless

Self-Control

Inside my mind

I am who I am

living a life

unguarded and real

Fighting a battle

with myself

that all must fight

The right to have

the right to decide

the right to control

Many decisions

daily

hold me back

or push me forward

I play a game of chance

I love the thrill

and the rush

the intoxicating darkness

that whispers and calls

it is so easy to go there

But the pain

of choices

past

ruin

hinder

hold back

and rob me

of freedom

and joy

I tremble

and wait

for another unkind word

knowing it is well deserved

hiding

pulling away

from everyone

and myself

it is guilt

it is shame

I want to resist

for a while I am strong

I can do it

no trouble

no inward battle of my will

and then…

I am slowly seduced

by a memory

or a thought

or a ‘what if’

and the game begins

and I am the loser

once again

And so the song

echoes in my head

“I’m never going back again”

and I am firmly resolved

to be weak

and frail

helpless

and undone

It is only

with Christ Jesus

I am set free

I am in full control

my weakness is made strong

when I do not try to do it alone

He teaches me

that my self-control

is the secret to my happiness

the key to my future

the mystery of saying no

and resisting

I am the winner

Sin makes you a slave

Grace sets you free

gives you self-control

peace in your heart

and makes you strong

Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city. Proverbs 16:32

I am praying for you today that you too will learn the secret of building ‘self control’ in your own life – so that your sin nature will not ‘own’ you – promising things that cannot be delivered.  In resisting and saying ‘no’ you embrace freedom – in surrendering to your weakness and losing your will – you will find it again.

God Bless

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