Back To The Starting Line

The Cheesecake Factory, our first date. I remember it like it was yesterday, what you wore, most of what we talked about it, your laugh, your smile, your innocence.

You asked if you could order a Bud Light with your salad. I smiled and thought it was the cutest thing I’d ever heard. I ordered the Louisiana Chicken Pasta with a Mich Ultra. I was never a fan of Bud Light.

We’ve only been back once in the last nineteen years since then. We were going through our first rough patch and I thought it would help to remember.

It didn’t go well.

But we survived, we healed.

At least I felt as if we did.

Now, I am sitting across from you for the third time at this restaurant. If my memory serves me well, this may be the exact table we sat at. If it’s not, it’s pretty close.

I brought us back here, back to the starting line, to see if we can get a new start. Remember why, how, when we fell in love.

I’m not ready to cross the finish line yet.

But here we are.

You order an Angry Orchard , without asking. You started drinking cider years ago when you went gluten free. I still order the Louisiana Chicken Pasta. I know, so many choices but I like what I like. But I order an IPA.

I guess we all change in our own ways.

We both kind of half smile at each other. It feels like we both are afraid to speak first.

How did we get here?

Slowly the words come but the conversation doesn’t flow like it did all those years ago. Every word seems like a struggle. Both of us are afraid to say the wrong thing so we don’t say much at all.

I try to say something funny. But you don’t laugh. Man, how I miss the sound of your laugh. Right now, it would light up my world just to see you smile. But you don’t.

I reach across the table and touch your hand. You start to pull away but you leave it there. But there’s no feeling there. No spark. No emotion.

Damn this sucks.

We eat in silence but there are so many words in my head.

How did we get here? Can this be fixed? What did I do? What did I not do? Is it worth fixing? Why can’t we talk like we used to? Why’s it so hard to tear down these walls we built? Why can’t we get back to where we were all those years ago, in this same restaurant, when we fell in love? Love, what is it, does it even exist? What happened to that light in your eyes? When did you know it was over? When did I quit trying? How did we lose it all? Why can’t we find something to connect us again?

I can’t turn my mind off. And maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I think too much instead of just being me, letting it flow.

Maybe it’s as simple as you don’t love me anymore.

Maybe that’s all there is too understand.

We finish our meals and both look at each other , another half smile.

And I know. In my heart I know.

Back here at the starting line, we’ve crossed the finish line.

Say Something by A Great Big World –

Over For You by Morgan Evans –

Leave Me Again by Kelsea Ballerini –

Hard Season by Matthew West-

Just Say I’m Sorry by Pink/Chris Stapleton-

Our Last Christmas Eve (In A Place We Called Our Home)

I know it’s only made of wood and stone

But it’s the first place we called our home

It’s where we went when you became my wife

Where our girls grew up and learned about life

Where we had safety after a hard day

And it’s where we came when we lost our way

Where memories were more than the past

Where I thought our love would always last

Now there’s a for sale sign in the yard

And I never thought it would be this hard

To say goodbye to some wood and stone

And I never thought I’d feel this alone

In a place we called our home

We smile through our last Christmas Eve

And I really wish I could believe

Santa could save our love and our home

I watch you sitting there reading your book

You catch me and smile with a knowing look

Sometimes I swear you can read my mind

Wanting to give it another try, but it’s time

I see all the presents under the tree

But the only gift I want is for you to love me

That’s a miracle only God can provide

Cause we’re already living separate lives

Now there’s a for sale sign in the yard

And I never thought it would be this hard

To say goodbye to some wood and stone

And I never thought I’d feel this alone

In a place we called our home

We smile through our last Christmas Eve

And I really wish I could believe

God could save our love and our home

I wonder if these floors will still creak in a few years

I wonder if these walls will remember our laughs and tears

These windows never quite kept out the cold

There are so many stories left untold

Now there’s a for sale sign in the yard

And I never thought it would be this hard

To say goodbye to some wood and stone

And I never thought I’d feel this alone

In a place we called our home

We smile through our last Christmas Eve

And I really wish I could believe

We could save our love and our home

Wrapping Presents For Myself by Chris Isaak –

New Year’s Day by Rob Thomas –

Christmas Through The Years by Matthew West –

That Silent Night by Jim Brickman feat Kenny Rogers –

Your Rose Garden

Image result for rose garden

I wrote this one over a year and half ago and for some reason, over the last five months it has had almost 250 views. Maybe people are searching for forgiveness or rebuilding their lives or dealing with the loss of a loved one or texting and driving or maybe they thought it was about roses, but whatever reason, thank you for the views, I hope this story helped. I am reposting it in case others are searching for the same things these others were searching for.

Your Rose Garden

I watched you for what seemed like hours as you tended to your rose garden. I never understood why you would want to have so many roses and why you would want to spend so much time out there. You would always say you loved the way the dirt smelled. You would spend countless summer days bent over the garden, sweat dripping from your brow, pulling the weeds and pruning the roses. You would come inside sweaty, dirty, and looking exhausted but you always had a smile on your face.

I don’t get it I would say. You would reply, what’s their to get. It’s my time to do what I love and it’s my time I spend all alone with God. You should hear the conversations we would have. I would always reply I don’t know if I want to and we would laugh.

Even in the dark cold days of winter you would get bundled up and go outside to walk the path through your garden. Talking to them, touching their dead branches. Of course, I didn’t get that either. Why on earth? You would always say that they aren’t dead. There is life inside of them. They are like a lot of people in this world. Walking dead but there is life in them. It’s up to us to bring that life out. Waiting patiently, for today they may appear dead but with tomorrow there is always hope.

Image result for rose garden

You were like that. You had a natural beauty that I was instantly attracted to but it was your inner beauty that would light up my heart. You could walk into a dark room and it would be like someone turned on the lights. It is the type of person you were.

Until one day you were taken from me. A teenager was texting and driving and ran into you. Neither of you survived. God needed his angel back and I had to pay the price. At your funeral the pastor recited your favorite bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Forget you God. If this is your plan then I don’t want any part of it. I looked out the back window and saw your rose garden. In my grief, I ran outside and I pulled and broke and cut every rose bush. I screamed and hollered your name. I screamed at God.

Out of breath, cut, scratched, and bleeding from the thorns, I dropped to my knees and let my tears water the lifeless dirt.

Summer turned to winter and, like the days , my heart grew darker and colder. I didn’t know how to live without you. I didn’t want to live without you. God should’ve taken me with you. My pain was too much to bear.

I looked out the window and saw the bare garden. I finally understood what you meant. Even if they appeared dead, at least they were still there. Now there was nothing but bare dirt. I grieved more as I recalled that day I destroyed what you loved.

Pin on In The Name Of The Father,Son And Holy Ghost Amen

As seasons go, winter turned to spring. We had an early spring this year. I looked out the window and could not believe my eyes. Somehow in the very back of the garden, barely visible from where I stood, a rose bush had survived and now had two roses blooming.

I ran outside as fast as I could. I had to touch them to see if they were real. As I did, I could swear I caught a faint scent of you. Then in the spring breeze I could swear I heard your laughter. I immediately dropped to my knees and grabbed a handful of dirt. It smelled so full of life.

In that moment, I felt my heart start to beat again.

I went out and bought as many rose bushes as I could find. There had to be at least a hundred of them and I was going to fix what I destroyed. I was going to fix your rose garden.

I labored for hours that first day. I went to bed exhausted, sore and smelling like dirt but I would wake up refreshed, ready to start again. I realized I could not do it on my own.

I looked at my phone, hesitant to dial their number. I dialed anyway. I called the teenagers parents and they came over to help. I think all of us healed a little bit that day.

I watched every day as your garden came back to life. I spent hours out there talking to you. I slowly learned to talk to God again.

Summer rolled around and I was still in the garden. Sweat rolling off every inch of my body but it was okay. I stood up to take a break and I swear I felt your hand touch mine. I closed my eyes remembering what your touch felt like. I looked down at my hand but yours was not there. I started to lift it up when a beautiful butterfly landed in my palm. Then a sliver of light fell right on it, giving it its own spotlight. I smiled, then the butterfly fluttered toward my face and touched my cheek, as if giving me a kiss. Then it flew to a nearby rose and I did something I hadn’t done in a long time.

I said your name out loud. 

Then a summer breeze picked up and I swear I heard it carry your laughter. Tears fell down my face but I smiled.

In your rose garden I found life again. I found you again. I found God again.

I miss you every minute of every day but it was right there and then that I knew I would never be alone.

Image result for joy comes in the morning

Forgiveness by Matthew West –

The Widow

She had mixed emotions as she approached the tree. She wasn’t even sure why she was here after all this time. She continued up the hill to where the tree was and sat in the shade of its branches. With her back to the tree she looked up and asked, “Why am I here?”

Yes, this was the same tree where she met him. She was okay before she met him. She had great friends that made her laugh. She did well in school and was the second best scorer on the basketball team. Her parents loved her even though her dad wasn’t around much. She was an innocent girl. She came to the tree to get a break from the summer heat.

That’s when he walked up to her. It was under this same shade tree that she let her guard down and welcomed him into her life. She immediately took a liking to him and opened up to him. She told him about all her fears, her concerns, her feeling unwanted by her dad. She knew he loved her but he was never around. Too busy working, too busy hanging with anyone but her.

That’s all he needed to hear and he knew she would be his. He was smooth talking and was easy on the eyes. She fell for him hard. It wasn’t long before she was doing things she never thought she would do until she was married. She started drinking. She started fighting with parents. She started sneaking out of the house. She missed more curfews than she can remember.


“Oh God, why am I back here?!!” she yelled.

She thought about the mess he caused of her life. Well, she knew she caused it but it was all because of him. He promised so much but fell so short. She thought back and could only shake her head and laugh. “I gave up so much for him. I was a mess. So why am I back here? Did I just want to see where it all started one more time? Was I wanting to go back to that life? Was I missing the excitement that he gave me? ”

No, that wasn’t it. She was happy where her life had taken her. She was happy with her family. She had the most amazing daughters and she couldn’t even begin to tell you how amazing her husband is. She found herself remembering the day she said yes to Jesus and no to him. She remembers the darkness that left her. She remembers the freedom she felt. It really was astounding to think that someone died for her. That someone gave His life so she can live. After all she had done, He still welcomed her home. Back to the place she was before she met him. Even when she had betrayed Him and went her own ways, He was still there waiting for her. She thought to herself, now that is an amazing story.

She thought about her journey. The good, the bad, the ugly. So why was she back here? Why did she have to come here? What was she missing in her life that she would go back to him? No, that wasn’t it. She wasn’t here to go back to him. As crazy as it sounds she thought she was here for closure. She was here to say good-bye once and for all.

“You tried to break me. You tried to turn me into your toy and it worked for awhile. But I am better off without you. I am better now that you are gone. I have Jesus and I don’t need you. You have no place in my life. I am stronger because of you and for that I thank you. I won’t fall for your tricks again though. Even when I feel you pulling me I know the pleasure isn’t worth the pain. It’s not worth the hangover the next morning. The shame and guilt. I’m past that. I am new now and I will never go back to you. There is one in my life that is stronger than you. One that is better than you. One that doesn’t lie to me. One that will hold me, will love me no matter what I have done. Good-bye to you. I am and always will be better off with you gone. Dead and gone. Like you made me for that period of my life when I fell for you. But I am alive and I am here because of Jesus. You are dead to me.”

“I am a widow to my old self, to my past sins, to him. I am a widow to the death that was inside me.”

“Thank you God for never giving up on me. Thank you God for searching for me when I was lost. Thank you for carrying me when I was too weak to walk. Thank you for holding my hand when I just needed to have you with me. Thank you for listening to me when I need to talk. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for your grace and mercy. Thank you for loving me and thank you for who you are. I promise I will not go back to that life again. Thank you for the power of your love that I can walk away from him, he is truly dead to me and I have you to thank for that. You are all I need.”

With that she got up and walked back down the hill. She never looked back. She did look up and smiled.

Satisfy by Worship Mob – Long video but listen to 5:30 to the end if time is short 

Surrender by Blanca – 

Name by Nichole Nordeman – 

Broken Hallelujah by The Afters – 

Back Where I Began by Seventh Day Slumber – 

Give Me Jesus by Jeremy Camp – 

That Was Then, This Is Now by Josh Wilson – 

Grace Wins by Matthew West – 

Your Grace Finds Me by Matt Redman –  

Thank You by Jesus Army – 

Cinderella and Forgiveness

We watched Cinderella, the movie, this past weekend. I haven’t seen the animated version in probably 18 years so it had been awhile. What I remember about it is just the simple story of Cinderella being mistreated by her step-mother and step-sisters. The prince searches for his one true love with only a glass slipper in his hand. She then finds ever-lasting happiness with the prince after trying on the glass slipper and showing him she is the one.

Maybe it’s because it was a movie (and not animated)  or maybe it’s because I hadn’t seen it in so long. Maybe it’s because it varied a little from what I remember. Maybe it’s because of where I am with my walk with God that this movie had more of an impact on me.

I would consider this movie a Christian movie. The story of overcoming tragedy. The story of doing whatever you do with joy and doing it to the best of your abilities, no matter how mistreated you are. The story of being true to who you are, being true to yourself. The story of others pretending to be who they are not. The story of forgiveness.

I can relate the scene where all the prince’s men are searching the kingdom for the one who lost the glass slipper to God searching for us.  God searching His entire kingdom for me, for you. For the ones that don’t know how great His love is for us.

One of my favorite scenes is toward the end of the movie. Cinderella looks into the mirror and the narrator says “there is no magic to help her this time. Perhaps this is the greatest risk any of us will ever take, to be seen as we truly are.” (I included this scene at the bottom.)

Love each other as we are. That’s how God loves each and everyone of us.

I don’t want to give away too much in case you haven’t seen it but I would highly recommend this movie. While you watch it, watch it through the eyes of a Christian.

Have courage and kindness and always believe in what could be.

Not forgiving someone is like you drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Non-forgiveness, hatred, anger will only destroy yourself.

It took me a long time to forgive but once I did my world changed. How many times have I needed forgiven? More than I count. What kind of person would I be if I chose not to forgive?

Is there someone you need to forgive today? Is that person YOURSELF?

I Forgive You Scene – 

Losing by Tenth Avenue North – 

Forgiveness by Matthew West – the story behind the song and the song live – 

Forgiveness by TobyMac (feat Lecrae) – 

Forgiven by Sanctus Real – 

Forgiveness by Beckah Shae – 

Forgive Me by John Waller – 

Forgiven by Skillet – 

Forgiven by Laura Story – 

Forgiveness by Collective Soul – 

Forgiveness by Chris Young – 

Heart of the Matter by Don Henley – 

All Has Been Forgiven by Mark Schultz – 

Forgive Yourself by Downhere – 

Come As You Are by Pocket Full Of Rocks – 

Forgive Me by Nural – 

Forgiven by Relient K – 

Long Road To Forgiveness by Melissa Greene – 

O God Forgive Us by For King and Country – 

I’m Getting A Divorce

No, not from my wife. I am divorcing all the things in my life that take away from God’s purpose for my life. The list is long and I may fail on some but with the help of Jesus, I can end the relationships.

I am divorcing pride. He was been there too long. Not that I thought I was better than anyone else because I am not but the pride that I thought I didn’t need anyone else. The pride that told me I can do this by myself. The pride that kept me from reaching out to others for help. Proverbs 16:18  Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

I am divorcing negative thoughts. The ones that tell me I can’t do this. The ones that keep me from doing that. The ones that tell me people will think I am not good enough. The ones that tell me no one will read this anyway. Proverbs 15:26 The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him.

I am divorcing negative words. I will no longer bring others down by the words I speak. I will speak words of encouragement, words of healing, words of truth, words of love. Job 4:4 Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees

I am divorcing fear. Fear that has kept me from talking. Fear that has kept me from doing. Fear that has kept me from living. Fear that has kept me in my box far too long.

I am divorcing not forgiving others. It is said that not forgiving someone is like drinking poison then waiting for the other person to die. I am tired of holding on to the pain, the anger, the hurt. It is not up to me to punish them. I have to forgive in order for me to live again. God is in control. How many times has he forgiven me? Luke 11:4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

I am divorcing going through the motions. I will no longer say I am okay or fine when you ask if I am not okay or fine. I will no longer say I will help and not. I will no longer say we should volunteer and not sign up. I will no longer live my life like a robot.

I am divorcing shame. Shame that has kept my secrets hidden. Shame that I am not wanted. I am divorcing the shame of my family not wanting me, the shame of my family controlling me and doing things they want so they will like me, the shame of my family giving me no boundaries, the shame of the family that abused me. (note: this isn’t my family. I have a wonderful family but this is for those that don’t). I did not deserve to be shamed by you and now I am divorcing you. Job 11:15 then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.

I am divorcing my past and my worries and anxiety about the future. My past does not define me and will not shape my future. My worries about the future only take away the joy of my today. I will live in the present. I will love each moment I have of today. I will live each day like it is a gift from God. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

I am divorcing my selfish ways. I am going to give more of my time to my wife and children. I am going to give more of my time to my community. I am going to give more of time to my church. I will not be overwhelmed by the things I have to do. If I need 25 hours in day to get things done, God will show me how to do it. Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

I am divorcing my low self-esteem. I am not who you say I am. I am wanted, accepted, and loved by my God, Jesus.

I am divorcing guilt. Guilt for the things I have done to others. Guilt for the things I have done to myself. I am not a bad person even though I have done bad things. Psalm 38:4 My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.

I am divorcing lies. Lies I have told and lies I have believed. I am divorcing the lies of this world. There is only one truth and that  is the Word Of Jesus. Leviticus 19:11 ‘Do not steal. ” ‘Do not lie. ” ‘Do not deceive one another

I am divorcing anger and hate. I have been so mad at people that it has made me hate them. I have hated people I don’t even know for the things they have done to people I don’t even know. I have hated and been angered at those that hurt children. I have hated and been angered at those that have taken advantage of the elderly and the sick. It is not my job to put punishment on these people. God will have the final say. Deuteronomy 30:7 The LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you

I am divorcing judgement. I have judged people on the way they look and the clothes they wear. I have judged people by the job they have and the places they live. One day that could be me. Mark 14:7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me

I am divorcing temptation. I am tempted way too often by way too many things. The devil will tempt me again but by the name of Jesus I will not fall for his deceptions and his lies. I will follow the truth. Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. and Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.

Some of these I will be able to divorce easily and quickly. Some of these will be hard and take years. Will these ex’s try to sneak back into my life? Yes. Will I cheat on my new life by falling back to my old life? I pray not but only with the help of Jesus will I succeed. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Lay Down My Pride by Jeremy Camp – 

Speak Life by TobyMac – 

Motions by Matthew West – 

Dear X, You Don’t Own Me by Disciple – 

We Fall Apart by We As Human – 

Disconnected by Veridia – 

Negative Positive by 3 Winans Brothers – 

Shame by Keith Urban – 

Why Worry by NewSong –