Category Archives: LOVE

Side Tracks


I took my youngest (by a minute) G.son to school this morning. I haven’t counted but there are probably 20 or more traffic lights between here and there and back. About two thirds of the way to school I realized I had stopped at only one red light!! We continued on to school, I dropped him off and on the way back it continued – Green light after Green light after Green light! WOW!! What a wonderful day this is going to be!”

  • Then, it happened! I did it! It was my fault! I wasn’t paying attention (too busy congratulating myself, I think) to where I was and I made a wrong right turn.  About two blocks down that road, I realized where I was and at the first opportunity made a U-turn.

I’ve been in Recovery a bit more than 8 years. This path I’m on is MUCH smoother now than before. There are days I hit “Green light after Green light after Green light.” It’s real tempting on those days to not pay close enough attention to where I’m going. Some days, before I know it, I’ve made a wrong turn. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the consequences that await me at the end of that side track. I’m now much quicker to realize I’m headed the wrong way and I make that U-turn at the first chance I get.

This morning, when I realized where I was and what I’d done, all I did was say: “Oh, Ratz!” I didn’t reach into my “backpack” and grab my favorite tool to beat myself up. (like I used to) In the past, I would become so wrapped up in condemning myself for my mistake, I could be MILES down the road, and it would be a LONG way back. Sometimes, I’d get lost down that side track and wonder if I’d EVER make it back.

My WW and I love taking Road Trips. When I’m driving, she usually pays pretty close attention to what’s going on around us. I’ve told her “If U see something U think I need to be aware of, feel free to speak up.” It’s always better for her to speak and tell me something I already know than to keep silent and then we’re both sorry later. I needed her in the car with me this morning.

I need somebody walking with me as I travel this road of life.
I need someone who can speak up when it’s needed. 

There have been times she’ll speak up and my thought (or words) will be: “Honey, sometimes I wonder how I managed to drive that huge bucket truck for ATT all over three counties for 40 years without your help!” She often replies (nicely): “I wonder the same thing sometimes!”

I have learned give her the freedom to speak up when it’s needed. It’s become a two-way street. There are things, there are times that I need to speak into her life as well. (though it’s hardly ever about her driving)

Do you have someone in your life with the freedom to speak up when it’s needed?
It’s a lot more important than U might realize.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise.
  Proverbs 12:15 (NKJV)

THE BATTLE GROUND


“There is a war between guilt and GRACE!” 

The other day, as I walked into our bedroom, I noticed these words written on the notepad next to the dual recliner where my WW sits. They come from the song by Matthew West, “GRACE WINS

Lately, I’ve been pondering the effects of GRACE in my life. I’m beginning to realize that I have greatly undervalued what GRACE DID, what GRACE does, what God wants GRACE to do in, for and through me.

Matthew West continues his song with these words; “GRACE WINS!! Every Time!! For the woman at the well, GRACE WINS!! For the beggar on the street, GRACE WINS!! For the prodigal son, GRACE WINS!!

This morning’s “Daily Verse” from “YouVersion” was Psalms 139:23,24

‭‭“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” ‭NLT‬‬

This morning, I’m saddened to think how many times I’ve prayed that from a place of guilt and shame, standing (or kneeling, as the case may be) before God but seeing him as my Judge. It makes me want to run away. Sometimes I do.

This is not the prayer of a guilty man waiting to hear sentence passed for his guilt and shame. It’s the Q posed by the prodigal son to his Faithful Father at the breakfast table the morning after the party as they enjoy steaks leftover from the fattened calf and eggs  the servants gathered that morning from the free-range hens in the yard. (Luke 15:11-32)

It’s the Q from the heart of a recovering, wandering son who has once again been embraced by “Abba-Daddy”

Let me see if I can put this in my own words as I picture myself sitting at that table:

Dad, I came back yesterday because I knew you are a man of compassion. All my life I’ve seen how you treat your servants. You’ve always treated the men and women who work for you better than most of my friends were treated by their fathers. 

Last month, I remembered that about you. Someday, maybe I’ll tell you where I was and what I was doing when I remembered, but I think I’d rather just forget about it. But let me simply say that I woke up in the blackest, darkest hole of my life. 

Then I remembered!

YOU!

Dad, I came back to be your servant. I came back to sweep the dung out of your stables. I came back to clean the hen house on my hands and knees. I came back to… 

YOU!!

NEVER in my wildest thoughts did I think I would come back and be your son!! I fully expected to grovel. I fully expected to spend the rest of my days trying to pay penance for the way I hurt you. But you… You!!!  Dad, You put the family robe around my shoulders. You embraced me!! You put your ring on my finger. You brought out the finest wine, and Oh! Wow!! This steak…!!!

Dad, (by the way, it feels strange to call you ‘Dad’)…  Let me take this moment to ask you, from the depth my heart, with all the gratitude I can manage; “Teach me. This morning, Dad, search my heart; test me and show me my hurtful ways. Daddy, I want to spend the rest my life letting you teach me how to be your son.”

THAT is the war between guilt and GRACE. The battle in my life between guilt and GRACE is fought at the gateway to the homestead. Because of my guilt, I hesitate to respond when He calls. The Father beckons me forward. I hesitate. The Father says: “Come, my son, all is ready. For you. I’ve been waiting. For you. Too often, I’ve turned away. In shame.  “I’ve been watching every day. For you. But… I’ve done all can can do. For you. Unless you come home. The Choice is yours. I chose you, but I cannot make that choice FOR you.”

BECAUSE OF MY GRACE, THE DOOR IS WIDE OPEN FOR YOU, MY SON! COME HOME!!

RELATED POSTS

Broken ‘n Unworthy

HIS PRESENCE! – HOW?

I KEPT COMING BACK

But What about my sin?

My Judge? or “Father”!

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/50shadesofgrace

How Good Do I HAVE To…?

If U think God’s Love depends upon Ur goodness, then Ur acceptance of His Love for U will be limited by how good U can be.

That’s OK on the days U’re good!

But…!

What if…?

We don’t HAVE to be good for Him to Love us??

https://itreallyisjustthatsimple.com/2015/06/04/t-b-t-8-7things-god-always-says/

“I have Loved you with an EVERLASTING Love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness”
Jeremiah 31:3

JimmyCat’s MondayMrng Musings

My sister Millye, my WW Nelda and I are driving to Carmichael this morning to spend the day with my brother Cliff, along with my other sisters, Naomi and Betty. 

Doyle, we will miss U!

Cliff’s wife Susan recently “won” her battle with ALS. I must say it that way, because the disease did not!!! defeat her. Yes, it stole her body, but EVERYTHING ELSE that Susan was remained intact. 

Nelda and I agree, (as we do with most things) – Susan was the most amazing woman we know. Her journey through ALS served to expose and strengthen her core of deep faith, humor and loving care for others. 

I remember at the beginning, her thought was “How can this struggle be used to help others?” I saw her embrace this new fight in the same way she approached every facet of her life. Through it all, her favorite phrase remained: “It is well with my soul!” (take note of the tagline in the cover picture on her blog)

As an expression of her concern for others, she started a blog called “SusansSteps”. 

We who followed her blog have been blessed, challenged, saddened, amused, loved, enriched and encouraged. 

It is totally appropriate, and so much “Just like Susan” that in this last post, she declares that this is her GRADUATION. 

SUSAN, You did it with the highest honors!!!

Susan’s Steps

P.S. To read her blog from the beginning, start HERE

A Theme, not Resolutions

Rainy Monday Morning Musings…

Yesterday at New Life Church, Pastor Gary shared he “is not one to make New Year Resolutions.” I totally identified with him. Pastor Ben had already made the same statement, so I feel I’m in good company. Gary then went on the say he likes the idea of living with a yearly THEME rather than a list of resolutions.

I’ve had several words that could describe my journey over the past few (7) years of recovery. Each one seemed to build upon the last. Can I call them THEMES?

•   I think the first was “LOVE!” As in when God said: “Jim, I want to begin to teach U just how much I LOVE U!  I’ve spent much my life trying to get Him to Love me more. He showed me that He doesn’t do “much” or “more“. S’prise, S’prise, S’prise! He already does!! LOVE! (me) as much as He ever will – and always has.

  The next theme was “TRUST“. Love and Trust have become two sides of the same coin in my life. I can’t have one without the other. in ALL my relationships. The more I discovered God’s Love for me, the more I came to Trust Him. The more I Trust Him, the more I Love Him. U see, “MORE”  “TRUST” is on my side of the fence. It’s already all been done from His side. His greatest purpose in my life is to teach me how to grow in that.

  As I recall, it was Jan 10, 3 or 4 years ago. I was sick that Sunday morning, and as a result I attended the 5:30 service. One of the advantages of that later service is that we don’t have to hurry, so as I knelt at the altar that evening, the word “STILL” was on my mind. As in… “Be Still – and KNOW“! It became my theme for the year. I didn’t go home after service and make a list (of resolutions) describing how I was going to learn to BE STILL, but by November, I was amazed to recognize how the turmoil and storms of my life had calmed. I’d love to be able to say it was the end of my struggles, but I can’t, because of the next theme:

 •   HONESTY. Alcoholics Anonymous uses the term “Rigorous Honesty“. One of the reasons I ended up in Celebrate Recovery 7 years ago was because of the masks I had learned to wear. I had gotten lost behind the secrets. Guess What!!! SECRETS make us lie!! The biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves. A young lady once shared with me: “He can’t tell me the truth, because he doesn’t know the truth himself.” It’s been a difficult journey to move out from behind the masks into honesty, from that place of hiding. It still calls to me. It seems like a place of safety, but it quickly becomes a dark, lonely place.

•  I could show U the very spot I was standing when a man called me “SIR JAMES. U can read about him here and here. One of the best things that ever happened to me in recovery is when I found out who SIR JAMES is. I’d LOVE to be able to say “he was“, but I will never be completely free from him. (pssst – we all have a “Sir James” that lives in us!) I can say however, he is nowhere near as dominant as he used to be.

  THEMES… LOVE, TRUST, Be STILL, HONESTY, SIR JAMES…, I could go on. But I said all that to say this; as Gary was sharing yesterday, this word came to my mind… “DEEPER“. On the way to church yesterday morning, my daughter shared her word of the year with us: “BLOOM. Then my youngest grandson shared his: “FAITH.”  He then changed it to “EMMANUEL” (either one is fine with his PaPa) His mother asked him if he knew what that meant, and he said “God With Us“!!

But I digress…    What does “DEEPER” mean for me this year?  I’m sure I don’t have much of a clue as yet. But if U read my last post, U might understand my trepidation as I contemplate what it might mean and where it might take me. I have to remember the theme of “STILL” and how I didn’t see it’s progress at first. Can I TRUST that SomeOne knows more about it than I do?

DEEPER… in

Relationships?
His Word?
Wisdom?

Generosity?
Prayer?
???

Time will tell…. Stay tuned, it should be interesting! and scary!! MY favorite word, perhaps the underlying theme of this journey is PROCESS. I’m glad He’s teaching (taught) me that HE knows so much more about the process than I do. After all, He’s God! I’m not!

Monday Morng Musings II

It was an amazing day when I discovered I could trust God beyond my capacity to understand Him. 

My ego says: “God, I need to understand You before I trust You.”
Truth says: “Because He’s God, He’s beyond my understanding.”
Faith says: “I can have a relationship with Him that is Beyond my Understanding.That allows me trust Him more.
GOD says: “Jim, if U understood, U would not need to trust.”

Rick Warren tweet – Nov 9, 2013:  “If God was small enough for me to completely understand him, he wouldn’t be big enough for me to completely trust Him.”

It was about 8 years ago when I wrote in my journal; “God, I’m beginning to realize that I don’t trust U in the way I know U want me to.”

Please teach me to TRUST YOU MORE!”   

I had NO IDEA what I was praying for. My life turned upside down and inside out in ways I did not know was possible.

Today, I still have to say: “God, I’m beginning to realize that I don’t trust U in the way I know U want me to.”

“Please teach me to TRUST YOU MORE!”   

The thing is, today I better understand the “danger” of that prayer – kinda like praying for patience, there might be only one way to learn it!