A New Mistrust

fals witness

Dear Blogger,

I write to you out of concern and a new mistrust of you. All is not lost and I haven’t and won’t stand from the table and leave, to never read your words again. Not yet. But I must tell you that I am checking for exits.

You’ve alarmed me and surprised me. Especially you, the Christian blogger. While you have been proclaiming many of the truths in the Word of God, it appears you have begun to be selective in which truths and commands you follow, as if one takes precedence over another and emotions being the gauge that controls the selection.

You may have been gifted with poets, healers, philosophers and teachers, but some of us have been gifted with warriors. The Valiant Ones. Dark ones who must do dark things to allow Light and freedom to survive. They’ve been keeping evil at bay while you sleep for thousands of years. They gladly live in the shadows without thanks and recognition. It is their calling. They don’t need your praise.

But what they do need you failed to give. You rose up when an alarm was sounded and you voiced your opinion. Many of you didn’t say it out loud. You inferred. Strongly. Without metaphors and without guise. You labeled a cop a murderer. You all but said it and some did and some still do say it.

Without evidence. Without credibility. Without proof. And I ask you, if it comes to light that it was not murder, will you recant publically? Will you offer apology to the character assassination you participated in?

You’ve assumed many things. You heard half of a story and you believed it was the whole of a story. You believed your knowledge to be full knowledge. You wanted justice and demanded it but justice is always, always based on truth. And you weren’t willing to wait for it. You perceived truth with no possibility for error in your perception. You mingled humanism with your Christian passion.

And I don’t think you understand what you helped to do. So I will tell you.

When you labeled a cop a murderer before facts were known, you all but placed an effigy in my sons yards. You’ve fed a mistrust and revealed a lack of understanding. You were building a platform with one hand while furnishing the wood for gallows with the other. I want to believe it was done out of passion and love. But your zeal without knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I remember the day a community heard a partial truth when one of my three sons who are all police officers had to discharge his gun. He went five years without pulling his gun out of holster with intent to shoot to kill. Within hours a Facebook group had started and a virtual lynch mob was formed. Reporters were called. TV crews drove to town.  His picture was given out, accusations and verbal assaults given. Then they published his address and suggestions on what to do to him and his family when they got him. He was given the week off so he could stay with his wife and young children to protect them. Online, the virtual mob grew without necessary and vital information and truths to make an honest discovery and claim.

I didn’t like it but I was not surprised. The world will do what the world does.

But you, you caught me unawares, Christian blogger. You’ve been given boundaries and safeguards to protect against the slander, the character assassinations, the prejudice, the volatile eruption of your emotions. And you blew through every gate of protection offered and commanded to you.

 “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Exodus 20:16

“Buy the truth and sell it not.”  Proverbs 23:23

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Proverbs 18:13

“…Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16

You have fed the mistrust that exists by not counterbalancing with truth, by not waiting in your rush to judgment, by your subtle inference that this cop was a murderer.  And that mistrust puts my sons at even a greater risk. And now, while the mob chants “Time to kill a cop” and throws urine on them, partly fed by your need to right all wrongs before full disclosure was given, my sons now must make plans for if  they should need to discharge their weapon. They now make a plan to flee their homes, hide their wives and children. Because it is now guilty until proven innocent. Even with the Christians.

Maybe you care to know how I feel. I highly doubt it. So I don’t write this for you. I write this as a voice for every family member of every soldier, Marine, veteran, prison guard, and police officer. I write this for every one who wears the shield, the armor, carrys the guns, and stays silent while a world of ‘peacemakers’ crucifies people based on media coverage and limited knowledge.

You don’t know our world. You cannot comprehend the violence we live with. You don’t like the armor. It’s too much armor.  You don’t like the gun. It’s too big of a gun. You don’t like the armored vehicle. You are uncomfortable. Without an ounce of condescension I say I fully understand. It is uncomfortable. But you simply do not know. And you will not understand for whatever reason. You’ve drawn a line between your perception of righteousness and justice. But your God of peace is also your God of war. Your God of love is also a God of violence. He changeth not. I am uncomfortable with it all at times. But some men and women have been called, yes called, to this life. And your armchair quarterbacking and doling out judgment in the name of Christ was premature.

And this I have learned about you. When a lynch mob comes to my family’s door, with half truths and misinformation, blindly believed because of mob mentality and media incitement, it’s quite possible I will see your face in the virtual crowd. You believed without hesitation the guilt of a policeman. So I know you could and would do it again. You would do it to my sons. Without ever knowing their character, their testimony, their love for community, and their fierce hearts to keep evil away from civilians. You would do it in a heart beat. You already did it.

You don’t have to like, appreciated or understand our violent and dark world. We don’t need you to or want you to. But we do hold you, as a Christian writer to a high standard of Scriptural integrity.

Not all violence is evil. Not all who discharge their guns are racists. And not all that kill are murderers. You have a severely violent God. And He has not mellowed one bit. And He requires of you truth. I wish you would have waited on the inferred judgment of a cold blooded murder and racist labeling.

I wish you wouldn’t have helped to draw the map to the cop’s house. I wish you would have let the words burn in your heart before you let them burn mine. 

Sincerely,

A Proud Mother of Law Enforcement Sons

momma framed

The Strategy from the Beatitudes- When Queens Collide Series

queens beatitudes

Our daughter in law’s have tremendous power. It is important to recognize it and to not be threatened by it.

Something happened to our sons when they met their brides. A supernatural and spiritual bond was formed between the two and the link and bond is strong. Very, very strong. It is my prayer I never see that bond start to unravel and unwind. It would be devastating. So I won’t waste moments on pouting or sulking because my own bond feel like it’s a filament, this thin silk from me to my son. Because you know, she satisfies, provides, and is necessary for his life now. I won’t listen to the voice that says I am expendable, even if I feel like it. It’s not true. Things are different now. Yes, this young Queen holds enormous power.

But she does not hold the power to my happiness or to my blessings. 

Her reach my be strong and firm but it is not long. 

We want happiness and blessings? That is within our power and that will never be superseded and can never be conceded to another. The God of bonds, threads, and silken filaments given to mothers and transferred to queens has limited and put constraints of the transferal of who holds the power of your happiness and your blessing.

The Beatitudes of Matthew 5 hold promises of blessings. Most of them I am not crazy about. No one wants to be poor in spirit, mourn, or be persecuted. Ya. Not on any of our wish lists. And those things happen to us not by choice. We simply find ourselves in these places and can come to this passage and believe the truth of it no matter how we feel or what we think or see. But there are three blessings that require decision from us and based on our decision, and how we wield our own power, our blessing and happiness either comes or it will not.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

And here is her incredible power. The power of a woman to choose mercy. To always choose mercy. Because she knows, she doesn’t think or hope, she knows she needs it herself. It’s the power of a mother in law to know where she came from and never forget her own mistakes, her own stunted growth and delayed maturity. And this original queen doesn’t believe the subtle lies that she’s too wise or old to wreck her own home or hurt her loved ones. She understands grace, and that there will never, ever, be a day she doesn’t stand in need of it herself. She doesn’t live with selective memory of her own parenting skills, cooking abilities, or youthful misapplied zeal.

She understands mercy. She’s received it a million times over and will need it again. So she picks up the scepter called Mercy and when she picks it up, she is blessed.

And here is her incredible power. The power of a woman to choose a pure heart. To not say what she feels like saying just so she feels better. With her age came wisdom and the knowledge that words matter. They matter so much. But she won’t say it if it’s laced with hurt and barbs. She will lance open her own heart and spill the guile out of her own before she ever picks up a scalpel to lance someone else’s heart open. She will stand naked before God, and let Him see her, in her pain, in her shame, or in her need. And she will have pure moments with her God before she ever makes a move to require anyone else to be accountable to her.

She understands poison. And manipulation. And she refuses to pick up that tainted scepter. Instead she will pick up the one that burns her to the touch and purifies her own heart before she judges a matter. And when she picks up the scepter of a pure heart, she is blessed.

And here is her incredible power. The power of a woman to be the peacemaker. To choose peace over rightness. To seek humility over power. To pray for God to mend ways and not offer or try to take His place in the fixing of things. To learn to wait, to wait for peace. To not panic. To understand that it is only Perfect Love that casts out fear and brings peace, so she goes about revealing this Perfect Love by showing it through her love. This scepter is crude and rough. Nothing glamorous about it.

She understands peace. She came from a war torn place and a noise filled past and knows that nothing healthy can grow in discontent or loudness. So she chooses the splinter filled scepter, the one that may hurt her to hold, rather than the diva dazzled scepter. Because she knows that all that blings is not worth the peace of her family.  And when she picks up the scepter of peace, she is blessed.

Yes, the young queens have terrible and strong power. But it is limited and doesn’t control your happiness or your blessings. That stays forever with us old queens. The choice is ours. This right and power has been left with you. Don’t give these scepters away. Keep them, use them. And believe the Word of God enough to obey it today.

Because the new queens on the block do not hold the power to our happiness or to our blessings. Her reach my be strong and firm but it is not long.

Want to read more in this series? Here are several more posts in the series When Queens Collide:

The Strategy from Bitter Naomi 

The Strategy from the Waltons

The Strategy from Marie Barone

The Strategy from Chess

The Strategy from Facebook

The Need for Strategy

Three Simple Ways To Increase Your Prayer Life

increase prayer life

I’d open up Facebook and in nearly every single group I am in there would be someone asking for prayer. They just needed to hear from God, and they wanted a group of us to enter the throne room and all ask our Father to help or answer this sister of ours, His daughter.

Between my own personal needs list, praying for every single member in my ever growing family, my extended family, the needs of my church family, the lost, the world, issues, and just wanting to pray in worship, it was getting harder and harder to add to the list. And I felt really bad about not hitting ‘like’ or saying ‘yes, I will pray’ for my friends. But I disliked being dishonest even more. Saying I would pray, even if it was an honest promise, and then letting that prayer request get lost in the day and forgetting about it was something I just couldn’t do anymore. I imagined my dear sister in Christ on the battlefield, having battled many days in prayer and so burdened and weak and she finally asks for help, and I say ‘yes, I will come help you’ and hours pass and days pass and I don’t show up. Maybe no one shows up. Maybe only a couple show up. It bothered me enough to write about it here and it bothered me enough to change my ways.

Here are the three things I changed or added to increase my prayers for others and not be dishonest or cliche when I say “I will pray for you”:

1. PRAY IMMEDIATELY- For the many prayer requests I see when I get on Facebook, sometimes I will stop and pray for each one as they appear. I am not committing to praying every day at every hour. Some I do that for, but many I don’t. But I can pray right then. Any woman can walk into the throne room of her Heavenly Father and whisper or state the need for her sister. There is a difference in types of prayers, and these ones are not long and filled with the same passion and worship as some prayers that drive me to my knees. I learned a lot about humbling myself and magnifying God with these short, intercessory prayers. I am not banking on the wonder and beauty of my prayer to do any effectual work. I am simply entering the throne room and asking God to remember you, your need and burden. I cannot imagine the scene if we would all learn to do this for each other. Pray with earnest the moment you see the request. Just stop the scrolling. The request you see, pray for it. Don’t put it off. Procrastination or the building of the days events will get this need buried. This is how I mostly handle the requests I see when I am on my iphone.

2. KEEP A DAILY LIST- When I am on my computer for long periods of time, I keep a scrap piece of paper near. As I see the requests, I write them down. The list can get long quickly!  I need the break away from the computer at some point and when the weather is nice I even like to just go stand outside and pray over this list. I can pray through the list one by one, or hold the list in my hand and present it to God in worship and request. I don’t save this list past the day but I make sure I don’t go to sleep without having gone through this list or offered it to God at least once. The more I do this, the more it feels like such a sacred thing to present this list to God. It’s not a burden at all. The burden was in trying to remember all the needs! Lists are good for me. And a daily list really helped me be honest when I said I would pray and not forget due to lack of brain activity rather than concern.

3. PLAN TIMES OF PRAYER- I’ve read it in the Scriptures where followers of God had times of prayer set. I’ve spent many years in the Christian faith praying before I go to sleep (the most popular time?). It seemed harder to develop a morning prayer time. It took a lot of self discipline to develop that one and I still struggle with it. Things throw off the morning schedule so easily. And I like reading the Bible in the morning and praying for myself and my day. I hope that doesn’t sound selfish to you, but there are a lot of people who need me start my day with a good heart and that comes so much easier after I’ve met with my Father. He softens me, gentles me, and I need that time. I am pretty jealous and protective of our alone time together. So, I started booking times throughout the day to pray for others and their prayer request. It’s a time that changes according to the days’ plan. I won’t plan a prayer time when the grandies are over or when the guys are coming home and there is a bit of mayhem. Just don’t. I prefer the time when I am in the van going to town or to work. I’ve had to trade radio and music time for this to be prayer time. I use to listen to podcasts, political and some teaching. I’ve traded that in as well. Everything comes with a price, doesn’t it? But there are times we can trade for pray and there are times we can capture for Christ and for our friends and family in need. I like to pray this way for others on the days I have set to go to town. I won’t have a list with me on these days. I will pray for the ones that are more friends than acquaintences, the ones whose names and needs I know in my heart because I feel their pain and care much for them. I can’t read a prayer list while I’m driving anyways. I will pray at every red light if I am going through town, and I will  pray at certain spots on the highway between here and there if I go that way. It took awhile to train my mind to do this. I’d forget and arrive at my destination and had only had prayed once or twice on the trip! I can hit every red light now and it is not exasperating like it use to be. I won’t say it’s a gift just yet.

I know we all desire to pray more and for each other. I also know it won’t just happen that we do. I know we hate the guilt of passing over those many requests and not praying. And there should be shame if we say we will pray and don’t. All of these things can be easily remedied with a few simple changes.

How good it is for us to know that if we ask, others will pray for us. To REALLY know they are! These are the days we should be praying more and more, but we have to change some things or tweak some things if we are going to be people of prayer. Do you have any other tips to help us? Please share if you do.

And a sincere thank you to those who have gifted their time to me and walked into that throne room and put my request, my need, and my name to our Father. I know the gift and the sacrifice. And I love you for it.

 

The Mothers of Crosses and Tombs

mothers

She was a mother to one of those children. The one who didn’t meet his potential. Squandered his youth. Wasted his life. Had a record. Caused trouble. Was talked about. Lied about. Misunderstood. Couldn’t keep friends. Wouldn’t hold down a job. Refused the family business. And died young. Died hanging with the criminals. Between two of them.

I don’t know what Mary thought. I don’t want to give her emotions that we weren’t  made privy to. All I can do is judge her on what she did.

And what she did was, she stayed.

This mother stayed no matter what it looked like. Because what it looked like was that her son Jesus was a lost cause. Messed. Up. A waste of a life. He had such potential. But He’s shamed the family recently and now just look at Him. Dying with the criminals. A convicted felon Himself.

I keep thinking about how it looked…….and what the womenfolk must have thought of Mary. Was she pitied or thought to be foolish? Was she ostracized for having such a ‘bad seed’?

Did her friends hate her, because her son had the ability to heal their children, to feed them, to free them from the Romans…………and He squandered it all away?

I like this about Mary. No, I love this about Mary. She stayed.

And I love this about some mothers I know. They stay. They stay even when it looks bad. When it’s a catastrophe in the making. Who everyone else calls the screw up and the failure, they call their child.

These of our bodies and hearts, they are not Jesus. Not even close. Which means some of the things that is said about them is true. He has wasted opportunities. She has caused trouble. And they did earn that juvie record. It does look bad because it is bad.

But some women calculate the future by the past and some mothers calculate the future with Christ. Some women fixate on weaknesses and some mothers fixate on redemption. Some woman have lines that can be crossed and have ends to their mercy and some mothers cross that line with a Savior who restocks their mercy and love every single morning.

mothers1

The head shaking and the smirks won’t shake their faith and what they know the future holds for this child of their heart. The mental insults and the eye rolling cannot pull their eyes away from what they’ve seen Christ Himself do for the ‘bad seeds’ because they were that once and they know…..they know.

Some mothers wait at crosses where children pay penalties for their sins and some mothers wait at tombs where there is nothing left to cling to but hope because it all went down quite badly and really, without hope you’d have to walk away.

And you, momma, the one at the crosses and tombs, you are the one I honor this Mother’s Day. You’re more into vigils than picnics and Hallmark and Instagram can’t find your pulse points to make beautiful images or words. You’ve bled out of those long ago. There are gaps at your table and holes in your heart and yet it still beats at full capacity and full throttle. And everyone’s spoken and unspoken suggestion is to walk away. And you stay.

You are so much like Mary in this. And this love is pure and holy and God given and perhaps this, this staying love is what He saw in Mary when He chose her.

Some mothers throw children away before they are born and some throw them aside when they’ve tarnished the family image. Some mothers have a terrible need to look good in their motherhood and when that’s threatened they choose an image over a bond.

And yet there is that little band of mothers who stay at crosses and tombs, saying, “It’s not done yet. You don’t see the end of this story yet. This is not all there is and will be.”

And like Mary, you won’t leave. I love this about you. And I won’t say to you, “Come, come here with me and have some tea.”  No. This time, I will learn to leave my place and come to you. I will not ask you to leave and abandon your place at your child’s side. I will come to you with refreshment and we will both stay here and keep vigil, awaiting the morning and the resurrection to life.

You’ve been on my mind a lot, dear momma. You and Mary. And I say maybe we don’t have to read Proverbs 31 this coming Mother’s Day. Maybe the children are rising up to call us anything BUT blessed. How about we just set aside that chapter for the day and how about we go read some in Matthew 27 and 28 and see a mother chosen by God and observe what she does. Can we just pull up our empty tanks at this place, not at gates of cities where we’re honored and the kids finally get us and all we’ve done. Let’s go to this place we know so well, past these city gates and to the hills of Golgotha, the place of crosses and tombs. This is where you find the mother of Jesus. 

Let’s fill ourselves here, where we drop our shame, our expectations, our mindset of how it was all suppose to be by now, and our plans for success. Let’s just stand here this Mother’s Day weekend, together. You, me, and every mother who hurts right now and watching sin inflict pain on our child. We will stay and we will stay together. We will await a resurrection.

The Strategy from Bitter Naomi- When Queens Collide Series

naomi

Her name is Naomi. She bears the branding of a bitter mother-in-law. She said call me Mara. And so we have. Without a single thought we took the label of bitter and branded her with a Scarlet B. She asked for it, right?

God has given this woman more grief than I can comprehend. She was provoked to sorrow, forced to drink from a cup not a one of us could handle. Her very soul must have been vexed to the point of shattering. Many say she was foolish and accusatory to God. That she was filled with bitterness now. That her years of living in an ungodly land dragged her down, worked her over, and changed her view of God. I respectfully disagree. And I wish to redeem back this story of a mother-in-law and give her back her credentials that were stripped from her by some who casually look in to a story and think they know this woman’s heart. A wife’s heart. A mother’s heart. Or a mother-in-law’s heart.

It was a time when the judges ruled the land of Israel, which means that it was a time that everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes, which means that the land of Israel was not fairing much better than Moab. It’s just that Moab had food. And one can claim it all as sin and rebellion that the mister took his family down to Moab, but I believe God sent him there to get a young woman to bring back to Israel. To save Israel. To save us.

And in this middle of this great Redemption plan (because of?) Naomi loses her husband. Ten years pass before the next tragedy comes and this time it packs a double punch. Both sons die. And a woman grieves her loss and decides to go home. But even after the bonds of covenant and ceremony are broken, the relationship between Naomi and her daughter-in-laws holds.

And before you believe the charge that Naomi was a bitter woman, read what this woman does. She releases the women bound to her through a thread of marriage that was now broken, she gives them blessing to go be united with someone else, to have children, to go  and live.

You tell me if this sounds like a bitter woman.

“The Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband.”

My tongue has known the language of bitter. My heart has had plots of bitter planted and tended to.

This is not what our ‘bitter’ sounds like or looks like.

She doesn’t push away the daughters-in-law because of her pain and she doesn’t hoard them for free slave labor in her fear. She stands in the path God has forged for her and she is willing to do it alone. Her grief and sorrow do not trump the mourning of the young widows. Naomi pulls in with her grief, she doesn’t push away.

A bitter woman can’t do that.

It is Ruth who vows from her heart that the bond between them can never be severed. The world famous vow of following, cleaving, lodging, and burying. The one where Ruth says your God will be my God. Everything Naomi does in this book of Ruth is an act of love.

Call me Mara. Call me bitter. Because God has dealt with me very bitterly. She doesn’t say she is bitter. And God doesn’t change her name to Mara. She remains Naomi in the Word of God for all of eternity.

May our faith be as credible to our daughter-in-laws when we sit in ashes. May our words to them be blessings when we speak from pain. May threads be woven in our relationship with love and not obligation and marriage licenses. May our sorrow and pain never be weapons or license to afflict pain on our sons queens. May we pull in and not push away. May our God and our faith be attractive to these young women.

Call me Mara, she says. See what God has done to me. I look anything but pleasant and good. I went out full and God brought me back empty. The Lord has afflicted me, she says.

And yet kindness still poured out of her. Her relationship with her daughter-in-law still bloomed and grew in this place of affliction. Because the bitterness didn’t take root and it didn’t grow. It did not define her. And God did not change her name. 

 

Click to read more in the When Queens Collide Series.

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