Path to Joy

January 15, 2015

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Knowledge is priority
A cheerful heart leads the way
Secret things will come
When love’s received
When I get over myself

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Understanding is the path
Your story and the others
To do this I must listen
Search for the wisdom

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Insight comes to those
Who seek it with all their heart
Who have the courage to ask
Move outside the box
Of religion and the world
I focused on a person

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I sought the counsel
Of those who know how to love
Know how to be still and hear
Not fix me but help
Point to possibilities
Give respect and room to think

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Their cheerful look brought me joy
Good news brought health to my bones
Friendship born in acceptance
With laughter and song

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I will pursue righteousness
I will hunger for the truth
I will make love my focus
For myself and God

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God teaches me how to love
Brings me freedom to be me
Enhances those around me
Surprises with joy

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My simple prayer to God is this.

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I want to please you
To bring joy and love to you
Be light in the world

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These reflections come after reading Psalm 45 and Proverbs 15.

Good Conversation

January 13, 2015

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Good conversation
Is available to all
Who will receive love

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One person I will talk to
Is the one who initiates
Who reaches out with kindness
In the little things

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This person I discovered
Is willing to listen well
And is full of surprises
Begins in silence

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It’s hard to be still
The noise of the “to do” list
Imprisons my soul
And stops me from seeing me
And the one who loves me so

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I get sick of me
I’m the root of the problem
The one who loves me says “Stop!”
“Be still and listen”
The God who made you loves you
His only Son gave His life

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I decided to trust Him
Take His word rather than mine
Enter this love covenant
Respond to His gift

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He gave me His Spirit of Peace
The forgiveness I longed for
Conversation I needed
Based on a promise

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This resurrection promise
Has the power to change things
And restore my wounded soul
He knocks at the door

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It’s a daily thing
I practice with discipline
A choice I can make

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“Behold, I stand at the door”
Is the voice I’ll listen to
I will enter His Presence
And rest in His Love

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True words are powerful. They set a person free to be fully alive inside. I train to live from the inside out as a way of life. God, Creator of the Universe made us in His image. He made it clear by the love demonstrated through His Son that we are His priority. Every person counts with God. He always listens and responds uniquely to each person who calls out in response to His Love. I believe with all my heart that you are favored and Beloved. I could be right!

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Being an over-comer
Is different than healing
Forgiving is the secret
Narrow road to life

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Forgiveness can come
When I see my own failure
Anger dissipates

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I would like to disappear
And escape the human pain
I find there is no exit
I am powerless

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No one can see this
My lot is to be alone
Overcoming doesn’t work
I’ve come to the end
Getting past the hard issues
False sense of nobility

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This layer of bitterness
Can stay hidden in the church
These deep personal wounds
Cut me to the core

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My soul is wounded
Spiritualizing the problem
Burying the grief
My soul wound has been hidden
Hiding behind the “false self”

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I am not strong and noble
I do not have the resources
I can no longer overcome
I need to be free

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It will take courage
To face the personal lies
With a mind that’s clear
With personal surrender
With patient love freedom’s born

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The journey to authentic forgiveness undoubtedly is the most treacherous path of the human soul. “There is a difference in overcoming wounds and forgiving from the heart.” (Anonymous) I found in surrendering to real love, facing my own humiliating shame with a friend who knows and can point me to a love relationship larger than my “false nobility.” There is freedom I have longed for in this world. It is available to all who seek and discover the patience and love of the mysterious Creator of Life.

Awake Expecting

January 8, 2015

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Awake expecting
To hear things you need to hear
From your Creator
Speak to my heart, soul and mind
Let love dominate my life

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Human beings live
As reflections of your heart
We look just like you
No wonder you love us so much
Even though we have failed you

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You bestow honor
And glory on all of us
Made in your image
At conception it’s given
Love never stops pursuing

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My guilt is heavy
A burden too much to bear
Failure consumes me
Wounds fester and bring sickness
To my soul, body and mind

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I sit in mourning
Feeble and utterly crushed
This searing pain comes
I groan with anguish of heart
My longings lay before you

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My sighing is not hidden
“My heart pounds, my strength fails me”
The light has gone from my eyes
No friends are in sight

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Neighbors stay away
Traps are set to destroy me
Deception is all around
I’m blind to your light

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I’m like a deaf man
Whose mouth offers no reply
With no voice to speak

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The reason I love
God found me in this condition
Lifted me out of the hell
Came looking for me
He found me in the darkness
Gently led me to the light

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God is pursuing you now
Be still, focus and listen
Choose the voice you trust
One tested in history
Gave his life that we might live

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I confess my wrongs
My iniquity is great
I am troubled by my sin
Hated without cause
Slandered when I seek the good
O Lord, do not forsake me

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Lord, you are not far
In my darkest hour you came
Opened my eyes to see love
Touched my very soul
Gave me a language to hear
Your Spirit to know the joy

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These promises were fulfilled
Stated in Psalm sixty-eight
We would all do well to look
And believe His word

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Our God is a God who saves
Who daily bears our burdens
From him we escape from death
My heart fills with praise

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I will never forget where I came from and the darkness I lived and grew up in this world. Hope against hope was the surprise that is not only for me but is for everyone. These reflections came in response to Psalm 8, 38, 68, 98 and 128.

Love Pours Down Like Rain

January 5, 2015

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I wait in expectation
Morning by morning I seek
To listen to your kind voice
To walk in the light

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Those who tell lies crush others
Homes are destroyed, children lose
The safety and love God gave
With two loving souls

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No word can we trust
Hearts are full of destruction
Only action speaks

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I found a place of refuge
Place I can be glad again
God can restore the real joy
Spread his protection

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Those who love your name
Will find a place to rejoice
When we seek a pure heart
Our eyes are opened
Love pours down like the rain
We experience God’s love

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Forgiveness from God
Is the greatest gift of all
Then we can forgive
The one we have hurt the most
The offense against our souls

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We wounded ourselves
Lied to ourselves and others
Miracles of forgiveness
Comes to those who will repent
Accept God’s love and give it

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God will run to receive you
Others will be unable
Celebrate this gift and give
Others time to heal

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Reflections from Psalm 5 with awareness of the Father-son relationship in Luke 15.
Your Story Matters http://www.yourstorymatters2him.com

Early Morning Times

January 4, 2015

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My best questions come
In the early morning times
In quiet moments
I’m confronted with my life
My fears and anxieties

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I’m frightened sometimes by dreams
By realities of life
For others and for myself
My questions are hard

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What do I believe
I struggle with unbelief
About the world and the pain
How do I view me
And the big question is God
And the meaning of friendship

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I take the time to be still
To listen and contemplate
The puzzle of this journey
That involves my life

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In my early life
I learned to detach myself
To not feel the pain
My imagination flew
To a place where I felt safe

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I could settle down
With memories that were good
Of people who cared
Grandmothers and the neighbors
There was a secret comfort

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I found in the solitude
A forced abandonment pain
A feeling of helplessness
With no person there

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Solitary confinement
On the raft of shifting seas
With sharks all around
I was searching for answers
To understand and survive

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It was in this search
To find out who I can trust
I found a focus
Big enough to contain me
Give me perspective on my life

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No easy answers
But confidence I could find
The hidden love presented
By One I could trust
Who never failed to give love
To broken and lost children

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I am one of His
If I ask the question,”Why?”
I must ask then “Why not me?”
We all have a cross
His mysterious presence came
“Don’t be afraid, I’m with you”

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Reflections after reading Psalm 4, 34 and 64. Proverbs 4:7. I had no mother or father to guide my thinking or big enough to listen to the pain. I had no words to communicate. There was only silence and a simple prayer taught me. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.” There was a song I learned that I sang, “Jesus Loves Me” this I know. I chose as a child to hold onto this mysterious unseen love and to trust this unseen God. I grew up and learned his story and discovered there was One who was with me when I was unaware and the angels were attending. His love was there and looking back I can see. He brought me through it all with His angels attending. He will bring you through. In the midst of my unbelief I cry out confessing it and pray “Help my unbelief!

Move to the Light

January 3, 2015

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It is not easy
To be a human being
With all the trouble
With all the failure we share
We inflict on each other

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Children suffer most
What they receive they will give
What they hear they speak
These cycles can be broken
A gift from the Son of man

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Forgiveness – the miracle
It breaks the cycle of death
Opens the window to joy
Freedom to be you

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When there are hard times
I’ll stop and evaluate
And move to the light

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No darkness exists
When the light of life is there
The Son of man came
To give life abundantly
He did it being human

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The movie “Unbroken” reveals the inhumanity to man. It illuminates the power of forgiveness in the midst of man’s inhumanity to man. Louis Zamperini’s overcoming reveals the greatness in a person who decides to never give up. He discovers the freedom to be Louis Zamperini. The book “Unbroken” reveals the rest of the story of how the move to total inner freedom came from forgiveness – the greatest miracle of his life.   I John in the New Testament tells how to “Move to the Light.”

Living In The Light

January 1, 2015

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Two important things
Knowledge and understanding
Will equal wisdom
Knowledge applied at right times
Will give power and freedom

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Waking up each day
Knowing a certain future
Anticipating real joy
Is a way to live
That is possible for all
Can be a daily practice

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Circumstances cannot rob
Take away this joy in me
It’s based on knowledge and wisdom
I”ll live in the light

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The world can hurt you
Sometimes it certainly will
I have found I have a choice
How I will respond
The power is in knowing this
Love is larger than all things

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Pride is within me
Along with lust and the greed
Basic things to all of us
There is an answer
To keep these from destroying
My soul, body and my mind

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The light in my soul
Will heal the wounded places
Received with great joy

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Happy New Year to those who choose to share this joy. I have chosen the word “light” to be my focus word this year. No resolutions just one word. This word brings clarity and understanding as I look into the heart of God through the light of His Son. May this be the best year of your life. One day at a time, walking after love, as revealed in the daily practice of interacting with the passion and compassionate heart of God, that is light to me. If you have chosen a word for the New Year, would you share that word with me in your reply? Thank you!

Worthless Idols

December 31, 2014

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The worthless idols
I can name them in my life
Easily deceive
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They led me down to the pit
My soul was trapped by these lies
Beliefs handed down to me
From generations
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It is good to name
The beliefs that will destroy
Turn from them as enemies
Their toxic darkness
Holds a person in prison
Until the light of love comes
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Moving to the light
Across the bridge of seeking
With an honest heart
Things that are true and noble
What is excellent and good
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The barriers rise
Awareness of the sickness
Awakened me to the problem
My soul was wounded
And needed the healing touch
Of the Master Physician
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Wound – Abandonment
The lie is I must fix it
In me and in the others
I sat with no hope
I turn away from idols
“Be good,” “Perform” and “Be Strong”
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Repent of the lies
Revoke them as enemies
Replace them with real truth
Truth that heals the soul
I’m a beloved son of God
Practicing living in the joy
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I have found a spacious place
In the morning when I rise
A friend to always greet me
Welcome me to hope
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These are reflections after meditating on Psalm 31. There is power in naming the enemies and becoming aware of the enemies that lie in the unconscious. With knowledge, stillness and reflecting on things true allows the Spirit to dismantle the powerful unconscious feelings that tell us we are not good enough. Name them, turn from them, revoke them and replace them with the truth “I AM BELOVED” each day. Joy comes in the day as we practice believing what is really true about us. This will lead us into a “spacious” place in our souls. All the best for a wonderful 2015.. Your Story Matters http://www.yourstorymatters2him.com

A Lifetime

December 30, 2014

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What lasts a lifetime
Something that will never end
It is God’s favor
He brought me up from the grave
And spared my life from the pit

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Anger is short lived
Weeping may last for a night
Rejoicing comes in the morning
Because God is near
Lifted me out of the depths
And he made my life secure

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When I feel secure
I realize this one thing
A love much larger than me
Establishes life
Gives me the impossible
Anchors my soul in the truth

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My wailing turned to dancing
My cry for mercy came true
I’m lifted out of the pit
Favored and Beloved

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I give you thanks forever
One day at a time I come
My eyes and heart are open
My mind is captured

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Healing always comes
It is God’s precious gifting
To those who believe
Accept His gentle favor
Sit quietly and be loved

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Dark times drive me to the light
A surprising thing takes place
When I’m honestly looking
My soul is refreshed

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These are my reflections from Psalm 30 looking back over these short seventy-two years. The dark times have driven me to light. Oswald Chambers is full of insights into this secret in his book “My Utmost for His Highest.” All the best to us all as we begin this new year. We are all favored.

Soul Maker

December 29, 2014

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No one understands
The depth of the human hurt
It is emotional
Runs deeper than the ocean
And higher than the heavens

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I can go so far
Confess my limitations
Say, “I’m unable”
To be there on that level
I cannot comfort you there

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I’ve tried that and failed
The deep places of the soul
Can only be helped
By One much larger than me
Only the “Soul Maker” heals

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This mystery discovered
In the depth of my despair
When my soul cried out
I had no language to speak
The inner groaning of my soul

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“Where is God,” I say
Why God if you’re really there
Do you let us suffer this
Desperate grief

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I asked, “Who are you?”
When I began to seek you
You came in the deep darkness
Brought light to my soul
Gave me new information
About you and about me

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Now I am hungry
Arise each morning to seek
Be still and listen
There’s someone who hears my cry
Who loves me as His dear son

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Psalm 28:6
“Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and shield;
my heart trusts in him and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy
And I will give thanks to him in song.”

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David speaks of where he found help!

Light

December 27, 2014

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To say I’ll walk in the light
Brings me joy and great sorrow
Because I can remember
And I am aware

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When I walked in the darkness
I was blind and did damage
To myself and other ones
This is the problem

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I lost some good friends
Who gave to me from the heart
I took and did not return
Give back the love gift
I know I’m hard on myself
That is still all about me

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Growing up is hard
When one misses the stages
Others will suffer
Maturing comes through the pain
The trials and the hardships

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What is good in me is this
I was looking for the light
Darkness is what held me captive
My tears called his love

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Confusion and the chaos
Growing up was the challenge
Navigating the losses
Is what each must do
No one escapes the darkness
No one can hide from the light

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Moments of silence
In the abandonment years
Came my life questions
Suicides, alcohol, grief
Love entered in little ways

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Pinholes of light came
Little kindnesses given
A smile and a gentle word
Of affirmation
Were the surprising moments
Were embraced with great delight

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Light brings the delight
Forgiveness breaks through with joy
For myself and the others
This love was revealed to me
Through the life of Jesus Christ

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He led with real compassion
His gentleness drew me in
Religion orchestrated
Making sure he died

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He died a horrible death
I cannot even fathom
The magnitude of this loss
Love it represents

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He is my pinhole of light
My failure as a human
Is connected to his death
And resurrection

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I have peace today
Forgiving myself right now
Forgiving others
Accepting the light of his love
And giving it to others

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I’ll make no demands on you
We can be a reflection
But not the reality
God is near to love

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These secret truths are revealed all along the way in the process of growing up and deciding to never give up! There is so much to learn on the journey and I hope to never stop learning. One thing I am determined to do is never stop moving toward the light even in the darkest hour. The movie “Unbroken” is a good example of light coming in the darkness and the power of never giving up. Love never fails. It must start with me and not the other person. Forgiveness opens the window of the human heart to the light of inexpressible joy!

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“Delta Blues From Darkness to LIght” can be reviewed on Amazon and is $0.99 cents on Kindle. It is my story of the painful but hopeful process of continuing to discover light.

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A Christmas Gift

December 24, 2014

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I’ve received a gift
It’s the divine grace of faith
I offer myself
My mind will be your workshop
My heart will be your playground

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My soul flourishes
I will be God’s workmanship
His poetry in this world
Living with a fire
Accessing this deep friendship
Gift available to all

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Please form Christ in me
I will be engaged in truth
Feelings will not deter me
I accept your love

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Christmas Truth

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The littlest child
Hidden in a manger still
I sing “Silent Night”

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The light of the world
Coming down to bring real joy
Unending love given all
Who will believe it
Historically certain
It is verifiable

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Please consider this story
Don’t take others word for it
Religious or atheist
You can decide this

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Consider all things
Get all the information
Respect your judgment
Listen to your broken heart
Listen to the heart of God

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I’m given a mind
A heart, soul and a body
Time to consider
What is true – what is not true
I have chosen to believe

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The littlest child
Hidden in a manger
Was the Son of God
I am alive to live it
I am free to share the joy

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Death has no power
I have chosen where to stand
A resurrection
Has taken place in my soul
Both now and forever more

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Blue Christmas

December 23, 2014

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This season brings awareness of deepest joy and unspeakable sorrow!   I think about my mother who for many Christmases sat in desperation at not being with her four children. She abandoned them when they were ten, eight, seven and two in 1950. I found her broken and devastated in 1968, eight-teen years later at the age of forty-five. Jesus’ story of meeting the woman at the well had inspired me to contact her. She had been married five times and was living with a man who was not her husband. She spent Christmas with us in Boston in 1985, and her story and picture were on the front page of the newspaper on Christmas Eve, telling the power of forgiveness and reconciliation. People with hatred, guilt, shame, and broken relationships were at the heart of Jesus’ mission.

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The experience with my mother created a desire in me to reach out with compassion, which is why I started Coaching Life Matters. Coaching Life Matters is committed to removing barriers to healthy relationships and restoring people to joy. We are a non-profit educational organization that chooses not to charge for our services. To learn more about the work we did in 2014 and our plans for 2015, please click the link below to read our December newsletter.

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http://coachinglifematters.org/resources/Newsletter-Dec-2014.pdf

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If you would like to know more about some of the stories of our work with veterans with PTSD,  Operation Stand Down, (an organization working with homeless veterans), and our work in the prison, you can view video clips in newsletter:

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If you are already connected to Coaching Life Matters, we want to thank you for your continued support and encouragement in our work. If you are just hearing about us, please check us out and consider joining us in going “outside the camp.”

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May your hearts be filled with hope, and if you are in despair, I pray you will find that “pinhole of light.” Special thanks to Boyle Investment Company, which donates office space for CLM to operate.

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Wishing you the best Christmas and a joyful 2015.

Thankfully, Terry and Charlotte

Why Christmas?

December 23, 2014

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I will meet with you alone
There is no greater moment
Than being in your presence
The secret treasure

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You delivered me
From the bonds of slavery
A prison inside

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My heart demands perfection
I can never measure up
To be able to please all
It’s impossible

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So I stand guilty
Behind the bars of performing
Looking for affirmation
So someone will see
I am a person of worth
My grief and losses scream out

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I have hidden faults
Secret ones that condemn me
I can’t measure up
Beliefs about me are a lie
I keep looking for relief

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I found in silence
Behind the condemnation
The noise of judgment stopped cold
When I looked in eyes
Of the Creator of life
Who showed me that He loved me

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Stillness is so hard
Because my own heart condemns me
I need to be held
Comforted like a small child
Held in the arms of my friend

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I found this unseen love
In stillness God came to me
I focused on His dear son’s
Compassionate love

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He knows each of us
With understanding He comes
He has chosen you
Knows your name and your pain
Says, “Your are my Beloved”

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I could be right about this
“You are Special and Beloved”
I’m not talking religion
But relationship

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Friendship that’s deep and lasting
A friend who will never leave
A joy that’s unspeakable
Love that cherishes

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This secret treasure
Is for all those who seek truth
Who decide to fight
Begin by caring for self
Take responsibility

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I have found the light
My soul searched with compassion
And the message, “I love you”
Comes with knowledge
Understanding the story
That God became a human

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I sing “Silent Night”
The reason for the Season
In stillness He comes

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Early morning reflections from Psalm 19