Showing posts from March, 2012

One Thing Worth Pursuing

Welcome to Real Life . Lately, I reconnected with my past. I took Bob’s daughter to lunch. Bob and I ran in the same crowd as teenagers. Sadly, he died of cancer seven years ago. It was sweet to see his face, especially those hazel eyes, echoed in his daughter's face. Then, a few weeks ago I found Gary on Facebook, another friend from my teenage years. These connections reminded me of the Peggi I was long ago. She’s someone I often forget. But you are the ones chosen by God … to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you— from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. [1] My Best Friend Annette and I (both age 13) Unfortunately, as a teenager, everything I did seemed more fun when I was high on drugs. It added an element of excitement. I felt cool doing something illegal, slightly dangerous, and getting away with it. As the youngest of four siblings, when they all began using alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs, I inevitably followed. At twelv

Depression: Be Strong in the Lord

Welcome to Real Life . What does it mean to be strong in the Lord?  I wrote this one year ago while battling depression. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. [1]   Some days, I feel strong in the Lord. I am confident that his Spirit is guiding and empowering me. I walk in victory. I feel golden. Nothing is impossible with God. Today is not one of those days. In fact, it’s been awhile since I had one. And I could really use one. Today, the only thing I’m confident of is how weak I am. I am battle-weary. The last few months my elderly mother has endured three surgeries; including the amputation of her only leg. (She had already lost the other leg to diabetes.) Her world has turned upside down. She lost her independence, her strength, her husband’s constant presence, and her home. The air around her is heavy with grief. As I helplessly witness her agony, I ask, “Where are you, God, in all of this?”  Right now, it’s hard to find him.  I kn

Depression: Keep Me in My Right Mind

Welcome to Real Life . A friend of mine had a mother who suffered from mental illness.  She was raised by her grandmother.  Fearing her mother’s malady, she would pray, “Lord, keep me in my right mind.” I began praying my friend’s prayer after the birth of my second child. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn't eat. I couldn’t untie the knot in my stomach. I had postpartum depression, but didn’t know it. After all I was anxious, not depressed. [2]   Though, my anxiety soon grew into depression. I once considered myself a hopeless optimist. Now, I just felt hopeless. What was happening to me?  And why was God allowing it to happen?  I was slowly losing control of my thoughts and emotions and it terrified me. Yet, I resisted seeing a psychiatrist. Wouldn’t that just confirm I was crazy?  What if he had me committed or put me through shock therapy? Scenes from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest haunted me. With the stigma surrounding mental illness, I was afraid to expose m

How to Move a Mountain | Zechariah 4:6-10

Welcome to Real Life . Ever try to move a mountain? Israel is desolate. God’s temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed. The Jewish people have been carted off to Babylon. Seventy years later, God moves the heart of King Cyrus. He sends a coalition of Israelites back to Jerusalem to rebuild their temple. [1] The project starts, then stalls. Another twenty years pass. Zerubabbel is now commissioned to finish the temple. It’s a daunting task. It’s 500 BC and the only power equipment is manpower. And the men aren’t enthusiastic. Finishing the temple seems impossible. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,”  says the Lord Almighty. “What are you, O mighty mountain?  Before Zerubabbel you will become level ground.” Do you face a seemingly impossible task?   Find a job in an economic crisis. Care for aging parents. Lose weight. Fight cancer. Battle depression. Rebuild a life after death or divorce. Seek a new career. Start a ministry. Finish college. What mighty

Dispensing Grace | A Black Woman in a Mostly White Church

Welcome to Real Life .  How do you react to people who are different?  How does it feel to be a black woman in a mostly white church?  A friend of mine lives this reality. Here’s her perspective: It seems I’ve been dispensing grace all my life.  I never thought of it as grace until taking a class [1] on the subject.  Yes, I’m talking about the race thing again.  In most situations, I’m the only person of color in a given group.  The reactions and attitudes are usually mixed.  To those with a genuine smile that travels to their eyes, I can be me.  To those with tight faces who won’t make eye contact or say hello or shake my hand, I don’t press it.  I smile and may say something pleasant.   (That is, if they aren’t moving away too fast).  Then, I move on or am left standing there.  Now get real, I’m not small of body.  I’m certainly colorful enough.  How can I be missed?  I’ve had people pass by and actually put their hand up beside their eyes acting like an ostrich:  if I can’t see