Give Your Love Away

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Jesus commands us as the second of the two things we must do to complete the law of all the prophets.  Being Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

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When we share the love that God has given to us we are in essence reflecting God’s love to those that we love.

When we have love in our heart and lives we won’t be gossips and hurting people by spreading hurtful things with an untamed tongue.  When we love we won’t be jealous and envious of others, rather we will join them in the joy of their fortune. When we love we won’t wish ills on others but rather be praying for blessings for them.   We will be looking for a way to be a blessing to them rather than caught up in our own lives.  We will be vigilant about noticing signs of distress that may mean that they need our assistance because that is the least that you would do for your own body.

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It may seem impossible or radical but let’s really think about our neighbor and not to be noisy but out of love and concern be attentive to what is going on in their lives.  Let’s open our hearts and doors.  No more driving in and out of your garage and into your house never even knowing who your neighbor is.  Walk down your sidewalk and introduce yourself.  Stop at the mailbox long enough to greet others in your apartment complex, who knows it might be an opportunity to show some love if not at the least a smile and you may make someones day.

This world has become very isolated but we don’t have to let it stay that way.  We can choose to look for opportunities to connect to others be that playing it safe by just being friendly or taking a chance and actually showing love to someone.

When I lived in England I learned a song, I believe it’s called, “Magic Penny”.  The lyrics go:

Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, you end up having more.

It’s just like a magic penny.  Hold it tight and you won’t have any, but lend, spend it and you’ll have so many, they’ll just roll all over the floor.

For, love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away, you end up having more.

So may I challenge us to look for ways to give our love away?  God has an unlimited supply to restore and refresh us with.  Like the song says if we hold our love tight we won’t have any, it becomes a stagnant pond useless to anyone.  We must think of our love as a fountain where water never grows stagnant or rushing waterfall that’s mist nourishes all the plants that surrounds it.

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Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 7

Today I found myself blessed with the reuniting of a dear friend and her family.  She is blessed with a wonderful husband and the sweetest 16 year old daughter I’ve met in a long time.

I’m so grateful to God for bringing us back together again after two decades of being apart.  God is so good!  I’m also grateful for Facebook for being able to find her in it.

Since we’ve found each other we both have been through a lot and it was so good getting to catch up in person today!

Never take friends for granted they are also so very important.  May I encourage you to keep in contact with your friends from your youth.  This friend was from back in college and that makes her so special because she knows my history and my family and that is just something that can’t be replaced by anything else.  So if there is someone you have been wondering about may I suggest that if your involved with someone but the person your thinking about is a same sex friend look them up and let your loved one know if you find them.  Share how they are a part of your life with your loved one and include them in it.

I’m fortunate enough that my loved one was a part of my girlfriend and my’s past in college.  We were all a part of a group called Zeta Chi.  My it was so good hearing those words again today.  It’s been years since I’ve heard those words and I miss all those special people that were a part of that college group.

My prayer is that God will reunite me with some of the other women of that group in the future.  We shared things in the past that are special and I care about those girlfriends very much and have a fond place in my heart for them.

Lord bless all my friends those I’m in touch with and those I may be reunited with  and those that I may have to wait until I’m with You in heaven.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

30 Days of Gratitude – Day 6

Today I am still grateful for God’s creation but in a more intimate way.  I have a little Chihuahua Schitzu mix.  Other then my Lord and boyfriend she, Tessa is the love of my life and cheers me on a daily basis.

Last December the Lord directed me to her at the shelter and I have been blessed by her calm nature for a Chihuahua and rare barks.  The above photo is when I first got her.

She does love to kiss, which I am attempting to curb.  I don’t care for her tongue in my mouth which happens far too often than it should have.  She loves to cuddle whether it be mommy, daddy or a new friend.

She delights me and it is a blessing from God to watch her each day and her antics and the fun personalities that she shows me.  She loves to play.  One of her favorite games is what daddy calls rabbit.

He uses two fingers as ears that are attacking her.  She absolutely loves playing with her daddy and I love watching them play together.  They are so cute.

She likes to perch on her tower.

I’m so grateful to God that He had the creativity to create dogs they are, other than God and other human’s, man’s best friend or third or second if you don’t know God best friend.  Sorry to be so serious but I believe that even in enjoying God’s creation we must keep our priorities straight.  Even though animals are wonderful we mustn’t let them take the rightful places of God and human companionship.  But even so I would not want to be without the blessing of my dear Tessa of whom I’m so grateful God directed me to.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 9

Lynn had a fitful night’s sleep. Drank a cup of coffee and headed out for school. Things didn’t get much better there. Curtis was waiting for her at the parking lot. “What’s all this talk about me raping you?” he shouted. “I never raped you, you tease! You know you wanted it just like I did! You lying slut!” Ken had driven in as Lynn did and was privy to most of Curtis’ tirade. He was coming to Lynn’s aid as quickly as his legs would carry him but he didn’t reach her and Curtis until Curtis had called his precious Lynn a slut, this got Ken’s blood boiling, “Look you lousy scum of the earth don’t you dare call her that! You’ve already done quite enough to my woman I won’t stand for you continuing to persecute her any longer! So get into your car and get the hell out of here before I have to get physical with you!” Lynn adored this manly protection never before had anyone stood up for her in such a manner. Oh, how she loved this man. Lynn swooned. Ken caught her before she hit the pavement. As she awoke, Ken asked, “With the stress of all this are you getting enough food? I know you usually eat like a bird but sometimes I wonder if you aren’t too petite?” Lynn replied annoyed, “Oh, you and Diane are such worry warts! I wish you both would just lay off!” Ken could see that this was not the time to discuss this; Lynn was in no way ready.

Dealing with the fall out proved to be very challenging but the support of Ken and Diane, and her family, Lynn made it through. The hardest part was dealing with Curtis. He insisted on a public retraction of the rape charge but she found the courage to tell him that she would not deny the truth and if he didn’t stop harassing her she would press charges; for both the rape and harassment. As she found her voice her eating got better. She also realized what Diane meant that first day by this was an opportunity for healing. It took two years of therapy before she could really grieve all her losses. With the help of not only her therapist but Ken, Diane, and her family, she found healing and came to a point of forgiveness. Lynn realized that She and Lora had their own demons and each needed to forgive the other. She prayed daily for an opportunity to reconnect with Lora. She longed to let Lora know she had forgiven her and to seek that forgiveness from Lora.

While Lynn was healing and growing, Diane continued to remain friends with Lora in hopes that she might be able to one day bring “Sisters Three” together again, especially since she knew this was Lynn’s desire. As much as Diane was attempting to stay close to Lora, she was pulling away. Finally four years after the incident Diane saw something more than just pulling away when she looked in Lora’s eyes, while having Saturday lunch with her. She silently offered a quick prayer to God for wisdom on how to precede, “Lora, I see something when I look in your eyes. I’ve sensed you pulling away from not just from me but it appears everyone now. I see pain and loneliness. Can you tell me what is going on inside of you?” Lora replied, “I’m not positive what is going on I know that the girls at work avoid me and don’t include me for lunch. I used to be popular but over the last three or four years I’ve become more and more isolated.” Diane ventured, “Do you think that the timing of the change could have anything to do with you letting Lynn’s secret out and not forgiving her?” “That was between me and Lora I don’t see what that has to do with the girls at work! Just what are you getting at Diane?” snarled Lora. Oh Lord, please help me with the right words, prayed Diane, “Let’s look at this objectively. You say this started three or four years ago that would put it around the time of you revealing Lynn’s secret. Such an intimate confidence being divulged may have the girls at work worried that if they share anything with you, what will happen if you get mad at them? That is easy enough to understand, isn’t it? Now, as for the pulling away, have you noticed that your language has gotten more and more cutting over the years? This could be a reason why the girls don’t invite you to lunch with them. I love you and I’m here for you in good times and bad but these girls aren’t as invested in you. Even I have been a victim of your increasing harshness but I love you and know how you are hurting.” Lora had a shocked look on her face. Diane took a deep breath and continued, “But my friend you are letting your hurt turn to bitterness and that is an ugly thing that no one wants to be around. It is time to let go of the anger and bitterness. You have let this brew in you long enough and now you are seeing the repercussions of jealousy. It’s time for a new beginning its time to forgive.” The years of hardness of heart was cracking, Lora answered, “I don’t know if I know how. I’ve been living so long with it.”

Still praying, Diane replied, “There is One who has forgiven you for everything you have ever done and He will teach you how to forgive. Would you like to meet Him and start a relationship with Him.” Something in Lora’s heart leapt as she said, “You’re talking about Jesus right?” Diane beamed, “Yes, He is the author of forgiveness. If you want to learn how to forgive He is the one to go to.” Lora questioned, “What do I need to do?” Diane was elated, “All you need to do is ask Him to forgive you for your sins and come into your life and believe. It is that simple.” Lora bowed her head and said, “Jesus forgive me for my sins especially for what I did to Lynn, come into my heart and help to make things right with Lynn. Thank you Jesus.” Almost instantly Lora felt a difference in her heart, the coldness and hardness seemed to be melting away. Looking at Diane for approval Lora asked, “Was that alright?” Diane smiling with a tear in her eye, “Lora that was beautiful and perfect, it came straight from your heart and that is exactly what God wants. You know now “Sisters Three” are sisters in two ways emotionally and spiritually. Lynn became a Christian before she and Ken got married 2 ½ years ago. Ken shared Christ with her and 4 months into their dating she accepted Christ.

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 7

A few days later Lynn got a call from her mom. “Lynn, your dad and I got a letter from Lora, sweetheart she writes that you told her that Curtis raped you and that you got pregnant and she took you to get an abortion. Honey your dad and I are not judging you but we want to know if what she wrote us is true?” Lynn was stunned; she didn’t know what to do. “Lynn are you there?” asked her mom. “Yes mom, um the answer to your question is yes. That is why I broke up with Curtis on New Years. That’s the night it happened.” replied Lynn, her stomach was all in knots. “Mom, who else knows?” “I’m not sure honey but all I do know is she sent letters to dad and I and the boys but I don’t know who else Lora wrote letters to. Lynn, I’m so sorry you didn’t feel comfortable or safe enough coming to us with this. I can only imagine how painful, scary and frightening this must have been for you.” There was the sound of tears in her mom’s voice. Changing thoughts, she asked, “What happened that she would turn on you?” “Oh mom, she’s getting back at me, I’ve fallen in love with a man,” cried Lynn “that she spent the night flirting with and I didn’t get permission to date him from her first. She is furious with me and I can see that by what she’s done she was serious about me ruining our friendship over a man. I don’t want to lose her but I think that Ken could be the one. Mom I’m so torn on what to do.” Trying to sooth Lynn her mom responded, “You and Lora have been through a lot together and hopefully this will get straightened out, but if you really believe that this man is the man for you, I would say to follow your heart.” her mom continued. “Lynn, I also want you to know that your dad and I love you and we support you, especially if the rape and abortion gets broadcast even more. Whatever fallout Lora is working on we are here for you.” “Thanks mom and let dad know how much I appreciate his support. I have a feeling that things are going to get worse before they get better. Excuse me mom but I really must get a hold of Ken before someone else does.” said Lynn.

She tried calling Ken at home but she got his machine. Then she tried his cell phone but he wasn’t picking up. She was apprehensive as she drove to school, parked and walked to his office. She knocked tentatively on his door and he welcomed the knocker in. Ken looked up from a pile of folders on his desk when she walked in. She was even more nervous when she saw him. He came out from behind his desk and took her in his arms saying, “Hi sweetheart, I think I know what you’ve come to talk about but I’m really swamped and I want to give you my full attention, so how about having our usual lunch?” Much relieved Lynn said, “That sounds fine to me.” After a soft gentle first kiss that sent chills through Lynn’s body, she went to her classroom elated.

Lunch couldn’t come soon enough for Lynn. She was barely aware of teaching English; she was watching the clock so much. At the park Lynn started with, “Have you heard some unpleasant things about me?” She didn’t know how else to broach the subject. Ken took Lynn’s hand and looked in her eyes and said in a matter of fact way, “Lynn, there is a rumor that you were raped or more accurately the rumor is that you said you were raped and that you had an abortion. Whether that is true or not I still feel the same way about you darling and we will get through this together.” Lynn felt so comforted by these words of affection, she admitted, “It is true that my high school boyfriend raped me and I got pregnant. I couldn’t face any of it so I got an abortion and never told anyone about it except Lora. Now that she knows about us she’s lashing out. She is using this as a weapon hoping to split us up and destroying my reputation. How is this going to affect us? Will this jeopardize my teaching position? What will be Curtis’ reaction? What is everyone thinking about me?”“Lynn I have seen something in your eyes for a long time now that looked painfully haunting and now I know what it was.” Ken admitted moving a little closer to her, “As far as this affecting us don’t worry my darling we will get through this together. You will always have me by your side and there is nothing that anyone can do that the two of us can’t handle together.” He said as he held the sobbing Lynn.

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 6

Lynn gave Lora a call before school was out and asked her if they could meet for coffee somewhere this evening. Lora suggested a local place called, The Coffee Hut, “I’ll meet you there at 5:30 pm.” Lynn responded, “I’ll see you there.” Lynn had made emergency prayers in the past; asking God to stop the rape, hoping she wouldn’t get pregnant, hoping no one would find out about the abortion, but she now realized she was falling in love with Kenneth and she was begging God that Lora would give her blessing or at least understand. When the girls met they hugged and exchanged the usual greetings. They asked how one another’s day had gone and what was new since they had last seen each other. Lora had big news of a promotion in her advertising company. Lynn mentioned that they had a new counselor at the school. Lynn added, “The new counselor is the reason why I wanted to get together with you.” Lora questioned, “What have I to do with the new counselor?” She then took a closer look at Lynn, “Are you or have you fallen for him?” Lynn answered, “We met his first day and he invited me to lunch, we went to the park so we could talk. We have been having lunch together every single day now for two weeks. In answer to your question yes I have fallen for him. I fell for him even before we met at school.” “How can that be?” interrupted Lora. “If you’ll let me finish I’ll tell you.” responded Lynn. “The first time I saw him was at a bar, one look and I fell for him hard. You know me Lora I’m never one to make the first move so I waited begging God that he would notice me. He didn’t, he noticed another girl.” “Well, what does that all matter, you have him now.” interrupted Lora again. “I hope you feel that way when you here the rest of the story.” stated Lynn. “Lora, the guy I’m talking about is Kenneth Randolph. I know that I didn’t ask permission to date him. But it didn’t seem like dating at first. I truly couldn’t put my mind around the idea that he was interested in me. I guess that is why I didn’t come to you immediately.” “How dare you go behind my back! I thought you were a better friend than that! I’ve never dated someone you’ve dated. I surely wouldn’t even consider doing so without consulting you first! All these years of friendship and you’re just throwing them away for a guy!” screamed Lora. By now Lora had the attention of everyone in the coffee shop. By the end of her tirade she was storming out the door. Lynn picked up her things and sheepishly exited the coffee shop. Once in the safety of her car she let the tears flow. When she looked up again it was dark. She called Ken to see if she might meet him and talk about what happen. He invited her over for dinner.

Lora was still beside herself the next day with anger. She fumed and fumed debating about how she could get back at Lynn for this betrayal. It was obvious that Lynn was madly in love and unwilling to give Kenneth up but that is exactly what she wanted Lynn to do. She was hurt to the core by this betrayal and she wanted to make Lynn hurt. Then it came to her, she had the perfect weapon to wound Lynn to her very marrow. She would broadcast Lynn’s rape and abortion to anyone that would listen. First thing to do was to write her family and let them in on the news. Then she’d let Flossy know an old high school acquaintance that was known for gossiping. Flossy would be certain to get the news around to all of the old friends. Maybe I should even tell Flossy that she told me she was raped and I don’t know for sure, Lora thought. Yes that’s it she would simply let everyone know that Lynn told her that she was raped by Curtis and that she was with Lynn when she had the abortion.

Lora’s Lesson – A Short Story – Part 1

If you had asked Lora she would have told you that there was nothing wrong with her. In her eyes she was perfectly alright and in no need of change. But if you asked those close to her they might have said, “She can be cold and prickly.” Or “Sometimes she seems rather hard.” Only one person really might have understood her. One who had been so close at one time that instead of calling each other friends they referred to one another as sisters. But Lynn had been out of the picture for over four years now.

Lora was a conscientious employee and worked very hard for nine years but in the past four years she had become more and more cantankerous, and critical, often blowing up over minor mistakes by fellow employees. In fact lately the other employees had started to avoid her. She’s noticed that she was spending more lunches alone. Puzzled by this, she couldn’t put her finger on the reason why. She had always seen herself as gregarious and outgoing and a lot of fun, all of which were true as long as you didn’t cross her. It was sometimes very tricky to pinpoint what she’s had done. She was very charismatic and cut you with humor while smiling all the time. While you’re left wondering what just happened?

Lora didn’t always abuse her charisma. In fact it is was what attracted Lynn to her in the first place, as well as her humor, playfulness, compassion, loyalty and empathy. Lynn’s heart broke when the friendship fell apart. She has been hoping that they could find a way to reconcile. Her nightly prayer was; “Lord, I know what I did was wrong and I have asked Your forgiveness, which I thank You for giving me. Father, I have tried to speak to Lora to apologize and ask her forgiveness but she won’t take my calls; she returns my mail and refuses to open the door when I go to her house. Lord, please soften her heart that she would be willing to accept my apology and that our friendship would be restored. I so miss the old Lora.”

The two women had been friends since that first day of first grade. They met on the play ground when bullies were taunting Lynn a spunky and feisty Lora came to her rescue. This sealed their friendship. Not that Lynn needed defending but even at that tender age Lora had a tender heart coupled with a take charge streak.

Time went on, and when the girls reached high school they blossomed into beautiful, popular, young women. They were both on the girls varsity volleyball team. Lora was of course the team captain. They were also very involved in the drama department. This is where Lynn shone. She got the lead in nearly every production, and Lora was always there to cheer her on.

In her junior year, Lynn fell madly in love with Curtis Madding the varsity quarterback. They started dating in November and things started getting serious by Christmas. She started feeling pressured to go all the way. Curtis had big plans for New Year’s Eve. When he let Lynn in on the scheme she felt half exhilarated but mostly terrified. She had visions of how the night would go; dinner at a fancy restaurant, going dancing afterwards, and then a romantic intimate encounter in the hotel room. Things were going just as Lynn had imagined. They had a lovely dinner at “Pierre’s” the most expensive restaurant in town. Curtis had arranged for fake ID’s for them and Lora and her date Tom. So after dinner the four of them met at the “Club Venice”. Lynn was apprehensive about this because she had seen Curtis overdue on alcohol before and really didn’t want to be around him when he was drunk. As she suspected the first thing Curtis did at the club was to order a beer and chasers. She went to Lora and said, “I’m getting scared, Curtis keeps drinking and he is getting more and more aggressive, and demanding. I tried to get him to stop but he pinned me against the wall. Can you and Tom please give me a ride home?” Lora was distracted by the party atmosphere had no desire to leave so she replied, “Oh, Lynn don’t be such a baby. It’ll be okay. He’ll probably just pass out and sleep it off.” Lynn asked, “Do you have your cell phone so I could call a ride home or some change for the phone?” Lora responded, “No I didn’t bring a purse with me I knew Tom would be taking care of everything. Buck up everything will be okay, your such a worry wort.” Lynn walked away feeling deflated and abandoned. She then realized that she had no money to call her mom and dad and left her cell phone charging; she realized Curtis was her only way home, perhaps she could reason with him. Deciding to numb her fears she ordered a rum and coke. She was still nursing it when midnight hit and Curtis pulled her toward him and gave her a sloppy French kiss then said, “Come on baby it’s time to go.” He grabbed Lynn’s arm hard and dragging her out of there, much to her dismay. Before she knew it she was in his truck on the way to the room. All the way she kept telling Curtis, “Please, no! I don’t want to anymore! I’ve changed my mind! Curtis, please take me home! Oh, please, please, no!” Curtis replied only once, “Look you stop being such a tease! I’ll take you home when the evening is over and it’s not over yet you bitch!”

The Gift of Gratitude – A Short Story Part 5

Gab appeared in the hallway and stayed in the shadows where he observed as, Jack went on to first tell her how he had managed to not only loose the house in the fire but because of his ill temper as he put it he had managed to loose the business as well. How he had met Gab that night the last night of the business and all that they had done together.

Janet’s response surprised Jack. She seemed pleased that they had shared the food and his encounter with the homeless rather than being furious about loosing their livelihood. He went on to tell of Esther how peculiar she seemed in the light of that place and how her story had got him thinking. “Do you think that this Christ could truly do what this Esther woman claims He did for her?” he asked Janet. “What do you think?” Jack replied, “Janet if you could just see how Esther truly had nothing, not even most of her teeth anymore but the joy that she had seemed genuine enough. I can hardly believe that I’m finding myself envying a woman that has nothing but this Savior she speaks so lovingly about. I also need to tell you that I realize that I’ve been perfectly awful to you and Julie. I don’t understand how you could stand living with me. It’s like my eyes have been opened up to the man I’ve been and I can’t say that I like him very much, to be honest I very ashamed of the husband and father that I’ve been to you and Julie. I wouldn’t blame either one of you if you wouldn’t want to have anything to do with me. I felt that way coming here. I was hoping you would be asleep and I could just be near you with my thoughts. I was too ashamed to hope that you would want any part of me. I was bad enough when our life was perfect but since the fire I’ve avoided you and Julie when you both needed me the most.” At this Jack stopped he heard something he wasn’t sure his ears were serving him well, it sounded like tears and laughter. This is definitely not the response that he was expecting. Jack questioned, “Are you crying or laughing at me?” Janet softly responded, “Oh, Jack, don’t you know that this is what Julie and I have been longing for, even before the fire? The tears are tears of joy and relief that our life together might be all that I’ve been hoping and praying for, please forgive the laughter but it just hits me as funny that now that you’re becoming the man I’ve always loved, you think that now I would turn my back on you. Heaven’s no! God is finally granting the desires of my heart.” Jack was shocked, “How could I be married to you for so many years and not know that you were one of them, a Christian? You weren’t when we met and married were you?”Janet lovingly responded, “No, Jack, I did not deceive you when we were dating and got married into thinking you were marrying something other than what I was.

Not long after our marriage I got lonely. You were so distant and busy with the business. It seemed the only time you needed or wanted me was to parade me around and use me as a show piece at various events other than that you were content to have me stay at home and be a dutiful wife. You gave me everything but what I longed for most, you. Then a neighbor invited me to some teas at her church and at one of them I finally realized the emptiness in my heart could never be filled by anyone but God. So I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It wasn’t that I was trying to keep it from you; I desperately wanted to share it with you. The problem being we never really talked and you were always so busy that this has been our first real conversation since my conversion decades ago. I asked my Christian sisters how best to approach you with my faith. They suggested that I do as the Bible says for wives to be submissive to their husbands and to always be loving to you and that through my actions not my words an opportunity to speak might present itself. Since the restaurant kept you so busy it was easy to fellowship at church with you never even knowing I wasn’t home because you were always at work. Then when Julie was born my sisters in Christ helped me to train her up in the Lord. At every meal she prays that her daddy might love her like her Heavenly Father. She will be so pleased to know that your heart has changed.