My Sentimental Journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God


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We Are All God’s Favorite

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A shadow of favoritism formed over my mom at the birth of her younger sister, Donna. Her parents made the poor choice of comparing the two siblings throughout their lives… even on the most menial tasks. The sting of favoritism ,coupled with comparison, delivered a deadly blow to my Mom’s self-worth. She was daily reminded of failure to measure up and it haunted her long after her parents passing .

Mom carried a distorted image God never intended her to gaze upon .She learned of God’s love early on in life while sitting on a little bench in the basement of Minthorne Church’s Sunday school class. But, her heart never fully recovered from the deeply embedded favoritism wounds that plagued her all her life. Her tenacious love for God did enable her to overcome many hardships and disappointments she encountered along the way . And,God’s love gave her wisdom and courage not to repeat the same mistake of showing favoritism and comparison towards my brother and me.

When we look a the definition of favoritism , ” the unfair practice of treating some people better than others,” we know it’s contrary to God’s nature. Numerous Scriptures underline this intrinsic truth of His loving character. Romans 2.11 reminds us ” God shows no partiality .” He is no respecter of persons . Peter exploded with this good news  when God revealed there was not distinction between Jew or Gentile. All are grafted into the same tree. He declares in Acts 10.34  It’s Gods own truth ; nothing could be plainer :God plays no favorites ! It makes no difference who you are or where you are from. If you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open .” (Message)

How freeing it is to belong to such a merciful and loving Papa, who does not compare or measure,raise a high standard or base His love on conditions.

Today I rejoice in the legacy of my mother’s loving choices against favoritism. I am   thankful to a God who declares we are all His favorite.

Published by The Christian Journal May 2014 Lisa Thompson Jennings

 


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Where’s the Beef

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” Where’s the beef” became a iconic catch phrase after petite Clara Peller  the 81 year old former manicurist turned actress did her first Wendy’s commercial airing January 10th 1984.
Claire’s small line demanded an big  answer after being served a mondo hamburger bun with a minuscule hamburger patty from the fictitious Big Burger Chain. Making her three -word phrase­­­­ a cultural phenomenon and boosting Wendy’s sales 31 % allowing them to accomplish as much in five weeks as they did in 14 1/2 years. *
From time to time I still like to quote Miss Clara’s classic line and her three -words made me look at “where’s the beef in a whole new light the other day .
“Where’s the Beef ” when it comes to terms of having a grievance towards someone.
How does one walk in a place of freedom when you have been deeply wounded by the brokenness of others ? and how can we overcome our personal brokenness to lessen the wounding towards our fellow man ?
It’s a question I wrestle with  as I reach for a deeper level of growth and maturity . Desiring to not roll up to the drive thru of life and order an all beef patty of offense.
God’s word is full of wisdom in how to deal with offenses.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.”
Ecclesiastes 7:21-22

“Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.”
Proverbs 18:19

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
Luke 17:3-4
“When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”
James 1:19
Lord , I long to operate in grace and walk in an atmosphere of what my friend Joe calls ” the zone of forgiveness”. Forgive me of my failing and trespasses and allow me to forgive those that have trespassed against me. And” if it be possible, as much as lies in me, may I live peaceably with all men”.. Releasing those that choose not to reconcile into your loving nail scarred hands.. Amen

” Grace is when someone hurts you and you try to understand their situation instead of trying to hurt them back “.


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Innie or an Outie

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Before you go checking your God given belly button to answer my strange query you can relax no TMI required. Just a simple question birthed from my personal quest on the issue of pride. Apparently, mine is so cleverly disguised and utterly inverted I thought I was free from its’ glaring clutches.
Recently I’ve been lovingly outed on my “innie” pride while sharing a struggle I was desiring to overcome. During two separate conversations with two different friends, they tenderly said, “perhaps it is inverted pride your dealing with”… Gulp!

This reminded me of God’s truth in Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”.
My heart longs to pin down hidden or exposed lies to the mat, or better yet deliver a 1- 2 punch of victory rendering a KO in record time. Rather, I stumble in my human frailty unable to move like the fierce Muhammad Ali who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee.
Instead, I stand with cauliflower ears scarred by shames relentless beatings, causing my natural defenses to swell with pride covering heightened  insecurities . Or at times, unintentionally hidden under the guise of false humility, pride driven “Innie-ward”, inadvertently … the end results remains the same for middle letter in pride is I . Lack of trust in God’s goodness lands me ,myself and I in the driver seat pushing the petal to the metal,singing Sammy Hager rebellious tune ” I can’t drive 65″
God’s word is clear “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall”..
So the journey continues towards healing my Innie and Outie forms of pride… asking God that I would “humble myself under His mighty Hand that in due time He will lift me up.”
Grateful for safe relationships spur us on to be authentic and open without the fear of rejection or ridicule. Becoming a safe haven of unconditional love that allows genuine transformation from our pride, selfishness, and other battles of our fleshly nature.
May we choose daily to no longer hide in any forms of pride forged from our brokenness but move in your Spirit of love. Perhaps with your grace I can float like a butterfly after all .
“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

For pride is spiritual cancer it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment or even common sense. C.S. Lewis


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The Small Significant Jug

DSCN2807When I grew up we owned a blue picnic jug that had a special purpose. Perfect for holding mom’s batches of whipped up Kool-Aid that quenched our thirst. Whether my brother and I played happily at Eagle Creek in Estacada or paddling our boat down the narrow waterways in Westmoreland park, okay more like bailing water out of our boat. Not only did the little blue plastic jug travel in a car full of giggles during our joyful excursions, it never failed to be by our side when we visited the Spring Water Cemetery, our family’s final resting spot.
Loading up this faithful jug along side a bucket full of fresh cut flowers from our garden we would make our annual visit; winding around country roads to this discrete location. Wild strawberries bloomed under our feet as we placed flowers on the graves of our loved ones. The little significant jug poured water into vessels allowing the cut flowers to sustain their freshness a little longer. When it was not pouring water to fill, it was pouring water to clean the headstones. Each visit my dad faithfully pulled out his pocket knife from his trousers bending down to remove moss from the inscription crevasses of their second son Brent’s gravestone. Mom and dad side by side as she lovingly washed the grime and moss away that dad had unloosened, intermittently wiping the tears from her eyes.
Year after year the jug trekked with us to pay our respects, the years increasing as our losses did. One by one grieving the loss of our grandma, grandpa, father and most recently our mother.
Now I carry the jug to the grave site becoming what my friend calls a generational daughter. Grabbing hold of a Jug shaped baton pasted down from my mother. A juggernaut of legacy with her profound statement she embraced later in life still lingering in my mind: “Lisa”, she said ” we know they are no longer here, only their shell remains.” At that stage in her life she was perfectly content to not going to the cemetery any longer, she knew they were in the glorious presence of the Lord and that was all that mattered.
Though I am comforted by this truth, I still choose to visit my families generational grave sites; carrying that faithful jug that has seen my family in good times and sad… mindful of of Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads”.
Lord , thank you that your word says* “Precious (important and no light matter in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones.) Everyday may I live in all life’s moments being present in the gift of today, ** Teaching me to number my days so I may apply my heart to wisdom.

*Psalms 116:15
**Psalms 90:12

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Standing On Holy Ground

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Whenever I hear the phrase “You are standing on Holy Ground” two thoughts pop into my head. My first thought conjures up the sacred soil encompassing the deep seated roots of the bush that burned without consumption.  This anomaly drawing Moses immersed in unanswered questions far beyond a bush unyielding to the roaring blaze;  a loving God desirous to capture His son’s attention.  His heart yearning to share the secret of a long awaited deliverance, while reminding Moses His intimate knowledge of every injustice and crushing blow dealt by his enemies. Unknowingly these promises were to be fulfilled, God beckoning Moses to unloosen his dusty sandals in order to stand in His Holy presence of destiny.

Secondly, when I’m not thinking about Moses my heart is stirred to sing the beautiful worship song, “We are standing on Holy ground and I know that their are angels all around.  Let us praise Jesus now, for we are standing in His presence on Holy ground”.

Lately I have been looking at Holy Ground in a whole new way. The Lord brought this to my attention when I stood on the grass of my childhood home this last December. It was not the first time I was near this house as an adult, for in July 2013 my friends Kelli and Cynthia were kind enough to indulge me on my first birthday without my mama. A trip to my childhood home took precedence over visiting her gravesite for it was too painful, too fresh since her passing away two months earlier; fearing I would throw myself prostate on her grave and weep. The weight and pressure of trying to keep it all together while she was alive was slowly lifting, yet finding myself not quite ready to see what that looked like at her gravesite especially on my birthday. Instead we opted to visit my old neighborhood in Woodstock, Oregon. Taking photos of familiar stomping grounds, including the now outside fenced yard of my childhood home.

There we were, three giggling ladies peering over the current owner’s fence, this no doubt stirred curiosity for it brought out Susan who was inside.  She was gracious as we introduced ourselves and explained the reason for the obsession with her home.  She happily shared information on the various neighbors I grew up with, while in turn I offered to make some copies of old photos of the home when we lived there.

December 2014 my promise was honored, finding myself swinging open the gate of my childhood home, feeling an overwhelming sense I was standing on Holy Ground. Endearing memories flooded my mind of the activities my family and I had shared there.  Like sitting by my brother Troy as we watched the crackling fire my dad tended to on front corner of our lawn.

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Playing in our above ground pool in the summer or the coveted mud puddles during winter.

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Or the time when a car crashed into Troy’s bedroom; and as unbelievable as it sounds, he remained sound asleep amongst blaring headlights and broken glass.  Though there are countless more to share, I will end with one that makes me laugh every time it comes to mind.  During one particular blustery winter my mom bundled me up so  I could barely move… basically  my mommy made me into a Mummy!… Realizing what her zeal to keep me warm had done she commissioned  my brother to assist me if I happen to fall and couldn’t get up. Becoming my own personal “Life Alert” system.

Precious memories flashing before my eyes in the midst of my loss… Holy ground of equilibrium where past and present mingled with pain and destiny. The great I AM that is the same yesterday, today and forever… comforting the afflictions of His daughter while promising a new beginning.

I’m not sure where life has you today, however, I do know, whether you are in the lowest valley or on the highest mountain top, God is your deliverer …  you my friend are standing on Holy Ground.

“Life is the external text, the burning bush by the edge of the path from which God speaks.”  Jose Ortega Gasset .

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