Tag Archives: life

Flawed and Loved

Here’s another insightful guest post. I’m so glad God loves me, flaws and all!


Guest Post by: Dorissa Vanover

“Duh!” “How Stupid!” “Dummy!” These words are the words that fly through my head when I’ve made a silly mistake.

I would never, ever talk to anyone else that way, but, for whatever reason, I feel quite free to berate myself soundly at any time or at any place. I simply cannot cut myself any slack – especially when I goof.

I would really like to blame my upbringing. Maybe my parents are the ones who turned this horrible voice on inside my head. No, it wasn’t them. They tried their very best to make me feel good about myself. This voice is one I developed all by myself!

“She’s just being kind.”  These are the words in my head when someone pays me a compliment. If someone says my hair looks nice, I run to the bathroom mirror to try to figure out what my hair has done with itself since I sprayed it this morning – didn’t look so hot to me then.  I love compliments, don’t get me wrong―it’s just that even if I was tempted to believe them, I probably couldn’t see what was worth complimenting. I mean really, my hair looks nice – um – must be something wrong with her eyesight! 

We’ve all probably heard that it takes 10 positives to outweigh one negative. I believe it.  If ten people complimented me on my appearance and one person looked straight into my eyes and said, “You look tired. Are you feeling okay?”,  I would run to the mirror to check out the tired eyes.

I don’t think I’m the only person in the world who looks for the flaws instead of the attributes when I’m evaluating myself. I’m trying to figure out how to stop it before it gets way too far out of hand.

The first step for me is to remember, “God didn’t make any junk.”  I’ve always known that’s true, especially when I look at my husband or my sons and their families. They are absolutely wonderful people and I’m so very proud of them. I need to remind myself that God created me, too. He loves me, even though I’m flawed.

The next step for me is to be as kind and gentle with my words to myself as I am to others. Have you ever tried to list five good qualities about yourself? I could list many more than that for the other people in my life, but to find five really good qualities about myself is a bit of a stretch. I’ll need to work on that.

The best step I can take is to trust that God has a plan for my life. He put me here for a reason or reasons that I may, or may not, get to know. If I stay focused on Him and His goodness, I won’t have too much time to worry about myself and my flaws.

The final step is to realize that the Bible is very plain about loving others as we love ourselves. Well, guess what? If I don’t have a healthy self-esteem, if I don’t value myself, how will I be able to value others? If I’m always looking inward at myself, how will I be able to hold my head high, look into the faces of the people God sends my way, and share with them all the love God has shared with me?

So, for today, my plan is to prayerfully focus on God and His mercy, treating each of His children, even myself, with the love He expects us to show.

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Filed under abuse, Depression, Guest Posts, Love of God, self-worth

Why Complain About Lemons?

Why is it that people say, “When life gives you lemons…” it’s always in a response to something bad?

What is wrong with lemons?

Coincidentally, my daughter just sent this to me from her phone.

Why not cherries? Or grapes? Why not complain about them?

Why not suggest what to do when life gives us avocados? I hate avocados!

What if life gave you tomatoes for your iced tea? You’d be wishing you had some lemons, I bet.

No, it’s always the poor lemon. It’s like everyone is prejujuiced.

What’s wrong with a little sourness every once in a while?

The fact is that God doesn’t just allow lemons, He sends them as a gift! Unfortunately, most people never take the time to recognize the benefits of a little acidity.

So, the next time when life gives you lemons instead of strawberries, don’t be so negative; you might have been spared an allergic reaction from hell without even knowing it.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

If nothing else, add the lemon to your tea.

If nothing else, add the lemon to your tea.

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Food, General Observations, wisdom

The Night Before

Just imagine with me… What would it have been like the night before the resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Tomorrow is Easter, the day that we celebrate the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. But here it is the night before, the night before the celebrations, and few of us have any idea of the sense of total despair the followers of Jesus must have been experiencing on this night – the night before.

For three and a half years his disciples had followed Him around, listening to His stories, His parables, and His prayers. They had witnessed miracle after miracle which should have confirmed to them His claims to be the Messiah. Yet, just two days ago they witnessed the supposed Son of God, the “resurrection and the life” (that’s what he told Mary and Martha, you know, on the day He raised Lazarus from the dead), betrayed, beaten, falsely convicted, and tortuously crucified.

Then, after his tormentors had done all they could do, Jesus died. It was pretty obvious to all who were present.

It grew dark and the earth shook violently, as to add insult to injury, for even creation sensed the tragedy of it all.

They saw Him buried.

Some ran…some huddled as they hid…would they be next?

What of the “Kingdom” the Jesus had spoken of?

What good were the words “he that believeth on me shall not die, but have everlasting life” if the one saying it could be unjustly convicted, abandoned by heaven, and left to die in the most disgraceful and painful way? How could HE make such a promise if HE could die?

It was the night before, just like tonight, yet there was no anticipation of worship services or egg hunts – only the expectation of another sunrise without the Son.

They were afraid…broken…discouraged…faithless…confused…angry…directionless…without hope…

They were totally unprepared for what was about to happen, because the last thing they were thinking of was that this was…

the night before.

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Filed under Easter

Just Look Ahead

This is the third time I’ve edited this post in an hour. It’s just hard to write. 

Sometimes we…

No, we can never stop the bad news; all we can do is decide what we’re going to do with it.

This morning I received some tragic news of a police officer getting shot and killed…by other police. I wish now I could have met him, but he worked a shift I haven’t yet visited. I have reasons for why I haven’t, but that doesn’t change anything. 

I’m a police Chaplain, that’s what I’m supposed to do: visit with all the officers I can, to minister to them in some way, if possible. 

But I didn’t with this young man. 

Now he’s gone. It’s in the hands of a merciful God. That’s all I know. 

I can’t go back and change what happened, what I did or didn’t do, but what I can do is look to the future as I keep my eyes on Jesus, my eyes wet with tears for the lost.

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Filed under community, Life Lessons, Life/Death

More I Don’t Understand

Not a Repeat

Just a week or so ago I published a post listing a few things “I Don’t Know.” That post was actually a re-hashed re-post of an older post. In other words, you read a slightly-modified re-run.

How many more times will I use hyphenated words? I don’t know.

How many more times will I re-post old posts? More than you will notice, I hope.

This post, however, is brand new for 2017. No funny taste, and no freezer burn.

I Don’t Understand

Tonight I was reading some posts from a new blog I just discovered, RebeccaLemke.com. When I scrolled down to where I could leave  comment, there was a list of places where the blog post had been shared, among them the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. That led me to make a statement to my wife as she sat across from me, still doing taxes late at night, “I just don’t understand Pinterest.” She replied, “It can be addictive.”

Well, here are some other things I don’t understand…

  • How people can look at the same evidence, yet come to different conclusions
  • How anyone who loves unconditionally can “fall” out of love
  • Why good things happen to bad people
  • How anyone could hate Jesus
  • How Jesus could love someone like me
  • Why anyone would turn down God’s grace and opt for works

But even though I may not understand some things, I’m glad they are true…especially God’s love for this broken, wounded, scarred sinner.

“Like a broken vessel lying scattered on the sand,

Each piece a sad example of a life destroyed by sin.

That’s when Jesus found me, and after all that I’d been through

Paid it all to buy what was thrown away.

It’s amazing, but it’s true.

Don’t ask me why He loved me so. I’ll never understand.

He picked me up and held me close with a gentle nail-scarred hand.

He suffered what was meant for me, and after all I put Him through,

Told His Father I was worth the nails!

It’s amazing! But it’s true!”

 – Anthony C. Baker

I may not understand, but I’ll trust the One who does.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: … “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. – Job 38:1, 4 ESV

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Filed under Faith, wisdom

Fairness Straws

Complaining Children

It may have never crossed your mind, but it’s pretty common to have complaining children on a school bus. Really? Yeah, really.

But every once in a while this fortunate driver is blessed with a child or two who has no concept of social skills, much less an understanding of what is or isn’t fair. Therefore, should anything at all not go their way, the usual response is a river of tears, an emotional breakdown, and the inevitable attempts to make deals.

Honestly, these kids will drain all the energy from you. Had we not already had three children, I would have been the one in the marriage to claim a headache, even on the honeymoon.

First One Off

This week, the big argument with my ever-complaining, ever-competing, socially-challenged, inconsolable brother-and-sister tag-team was who would be the first one to get off the bus when they arrived at their stop. Dear Lord! Help me! Why??

“Can I get off first, Mr. Baker?” came the first request. Then, from a panicky sibling, “Can I get off first, Mr. Baker? Please!” Back and forth, pleading like people about to face the death penalty, the brother and sister would argue their cases.

At one point they started playing “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” but they ended up finding ways to cheat. Then they tried a game of “Quiet Mouse,” but who were they kidding? Nothing they tried helped them decide who would get off the bus first, especially when the loser of any game they played wanted a do-over.

Finally, I came up with an idea.

Straws

These are the actual straws I used.

At first I thought about the whole “short straw” thing, but then I decided to modify it for the occasion. Since a total of four elementary children would be getting off at the last stop, I took four drinking straws, grabbed a Sharpie, and marked on each one.

I said, “I have four straws, and each of you are going to pull one out of my hand. If you pull out the one with only one mark on it, then you can get off the bus first.”

“Can I have that straw,” asked the little girl?

No!” I replied. “That wouldn’t be fair, now would it? You have to pick it from my hand.”

The little brain surgeon never missed a beat, “Well, can I pick that one, then?”

Life Isn’t Fair, Or Is It?

So, as you might have guessed, once it got down to actually drawing straws with marks, nobody got the straw they wanted, except the kid who drew the straw with one mark – and that kid didn’t really care!

Picture, if you would, a little boy flopping around in the seat, kicking, and bellowing out through snot and tears, “But my sister CAN’T go in front of me! It’s not FAIR!”

After having all I could take I looked in my rear-view mirror and said, “You know what? Life isn’t fair! You don’t always get what you want!”

Then something profound hit me: “What if life IS fair, but it’s just that we are selfish and don’t want to accept the results of the straws?”

Learn to be Content

If there was anyone in history who could have claimed that life wasn’t fair, it was the Apostle Paul. I mean, good grief, this man had everything in the world happen to him! He was beaten, shipwrecked, imprisoned, starved, and a whole bunch of other things – all for trying to do what was right. Was that fair?

But what did Paul have to say about all the things he endured?

“…I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances.” Philippians 4:11b (NIV)

Maybe if we were a little more like Paul, having the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5), drawing the wrong straw might not matter as much. Maybe we could better accept our position in line and wish the best for others going before? Maybe we could see the sovereignty of the Master Marker of Straws at work and learn to be content?

Maybe more of us should just be happy we were allowed on the bus in the first place! 

 

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Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons

Normalcy 

“Normalcy” is that ever-elusive goal sought by those who refuse to accept the here-and-now as their normal.                    

– A. Baker

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Filed under General Observations, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials