Alone, Not Alone

In my grief it is easy to get lost in what others think, say and do.  I can imagine things they haven’t said, amplify and distort the words spoken, and my instinct is always to retreat.  Some things said are inappropriate, not just my imagination.  Again, my instinct is to retreat.  But then I feel alone, very alone.  And in those thoughts I begin to imagine the worst, the most damaging things, and in those thoughts I alienate others, whether that is my intention or not.  

I have a responsibility to take care of self and to communicate my boundaries when necessary, but that is not the same as hiding because I feel rejected.  Setting boundaries and staying connected when I feel hurt is the hardest thing to do, the most challenging to balance in my life, and shame tends to be the circus master.  And it does become a circus in my head.  I want to control and blame, hoping then I won’t feel afraid to continue to be vulnerable, to need others and to feel the hurt of being let down.  And others will let me down.  And I will let them down.  

So this is the dilemma, to depend on God and need community, and to know the difference.  I can yield to shame and desperation, or I can be a tree planted by the water, nourished by God.  The tree with deep roots, unbroken by this world and the damage of sin.  I think it’s intriguing that “sin” in Spanish is the word for without.  Scripture teaches that sin is anything that comes between God and self, that leaves me without Him in that moment or connection of relationship.  It leaves me without the ability to depend on Him, to be loved and nourished by him, to remain sheltered and protected.  To sin leaves me without everything I need, and those needs are directly met by Him, and Him alone.

Christ was willing to be alone, without anyone but the Father, in his time of greatest need.  He pled for there to be another way, and I find myself pleading for the same.  I am not afraid to die, but I am afraid of being alone, and at times deeply hurt when I look to other sinners to fill that need instead of the Father.  Christ was alienated or denied in His greatest hour of need by every follower who claimed love and fealty, so why am I hurt or even surprised?  That is my sin in that moment, expecting from others what only God can give, letting loneliness take over and questioning God instead of leaning on the One who will never fail me.  And then I put unfair pressure on those around me, on people I love and care for, and I pull away to protect.  

I push away when I really want to rest, relax, and enjoy them.  Everything becomes about performance, for them and me.  When I lean and depend on God, everything is about connection and joy, acceptance and hope.  I don’t need to know the future, and when I demand to know it, I quickly trade joy for anxiety.  I pray to rest in the joy of now, of speaking out and sharing struggle, exposing the shame that binds, and celebrating a love that knows no limit or bounds.  I pray that love can flow through me, undeterred and surrendered.  We will let each other down.  We will fail.  But in that worst moment, He is there.  We are never abandoned or alone, and knowing this lets us live in genuine community.  May we walk through today wrapped in the mantle of His love with peace and joy in our hearts and sharing that love with one another. 

An open letter to the Unresolved community

Cross in the clouds

                                                                   The cross of Jesus Christ

                      Dear Unresolved Reader,
Today is Aug. 1, the beginning of the month, and for me a new beginning spiritually, a time to refocus and reframe my priorities.

You see, tomorrow is my 65th birthday. As of today, I am officially on Medicare (I am excited to see the perks this will give me!) As I approach this birthday and this milestone, I look back at what brought me to this point. I look at the jobs I held, the places I moved, and the steps that led me to discover and marry my heart-mate, soul-mate, best friend, and the reason we reside here in Mississippi, near her family.

What a realize is that God has been faithful to provide and lead all my life, especially since I gave my life to Christ in 1969. While some things may be unresolved, unfinished, incomplete, uncertain, there is one thing that is eternally true – Jesus Christ is faithful to lead, provide, and work all things together for good for those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. God is faithful. God is good. And God will bring us through to the end. May He help us to lean into Him and focus on Him, come what may.

God bless you in your journey, wherever you are right now.

Pastor John Day

Good Mourning

Good morning to you all.  God has been encouraging, challenging, and directing me to come out of hiding and begin to share myself with all of you.  I have resisted, hidden, made excuses, let my insecurities and fears drive me into the corner, and finally I stand in a place where I can no longer deny what He is instructing without stepping into intentional disobedience.  

2 Corinthians 4:7 states, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”  In ancient times, the most valuable documents were housed in highly decorated, but breakable, jars of clay.  Scripture teaches we are such jars, and that our bodies house great treasures.  These treasures are our God-given gifts and talents intended to edify and build up others.  In the breaking of the jar, God becomes evident and poured out on those around us.  

I am 50 years old, a child of God, mom, cook, gardener, avid reader, therapist, and life coach.  And I used to be a wife.  

I was widowed suddenly at the age of 46 after 15 years of being married to a beautiful man.  I have learned much about great pain and great hope.  I have been comforted by the life of Job, learned to choose the Refiner’s fire, and let go of fear.  I have learned there truly is a season for everything and that clinging to a season past only makes the heart sick. I have learned to trust and be intimate with God with a depth I never thought possible.  I have learned that “bottoming out” is just the beginning of my next breath, that healing beyond our understanding is available to us, and joy truly comes in the morning… and in the mourning.  

I believe one of the most soul-sucking fears we face is the fear of being authentic.  We hide who we are for fear of being rejected, mocked, ridiculed, and shamed.  And this blocks relationship, our deepest need.  We are created to live in community, yet we readily accept cheap substitutes to have a sense of what we need without taking the risk of authentic connection.  This is exactly why I have resisted stepping into this next venture; I fear exposure, failure, and shame.  So I have avoided surrender and obedience, and, as a result, the possibility of great satisfaction and reward.  I can not hold onto to fear and be surrendered at the same time.  

So, with that firm belief, I introduce myself to you with the hope that you will be gently curious to know me and that I will be a faithful jar of clay, broken, that God’s love and truth will pour out on all of you.  I realize that for this to happen, I must surrender, lay down self, let go of my need to protect and be private.  I have confused what is personal with what is private, and this has kept me from being obedient in my gifts.  May I be broken that I may know the faithful heart of God.  

And may we all have a good mourning. 

NF’s the search, a reflection of humanity as a whole?

You may not know it, but I have been a fan of NF for a few years. He is a rapper, who often talks about his faith, but also is not one to paint things in a rosy picture. His music often speaks to his mindset, his struggles, and his victories. He writes what he thinks, and it’s often raw and real. NF has often taken a lot of heat from the Christian community, and I can understand why.

However as I turned on the Search, his fourth album, I began to listen through different ears.

You see when I first found NF he was speaking my language in ways I can’t explain. At the time I was not in a good place, and what I couldn’t express to others, I found in his music.

Now a year and a half later, I can say things have radically changed, I am in a better place, I have found victory over the many bondages that plagued me, and as I take a listen to NF’s latest offering, I find my heartbreaking for the man who was once someone with whom I commiserated at one point through the songs he wrote.

I don’t claim to know him, or the things he’s gone through, but I see the themes that come through, his struggles with his own thoughts, the doubts of his faith, his struggles with the fame he has, his being near suicide, his hate of himself, and so much more.

Yet I also see some positive sides, his willingness to bring these things to the light, to work them through in his music, and his desire to change the path he is going down, returning to God. I also don’t see as much arrogance as there was in his previous records. Not to say there isn’t that battle every other rapper mentality in some of his songs, but this album seems to take a darker, but more honest tone.

I won’t say that this is an album I will be listening to daily, as I prefer to have on praise and worship and think about things that will honor my Heavenly Father.

That said I do believe there are some things that we can learn from NF’s story.

First, don’t be afraid to be raw and be real with God. He can handle even the worst of things you have to throw at him, especially your anger, and pain. Burying stuff down and trying to pretend it doesn’t exist is only a recipe for more pain and destructive habits later on.

Second, don’t be afraid to ask for help One thing NF recounts in The Search is that he went to seek help to deal with the issues he had. Trust me, this is one of the best things you can do, if you are in that dark place, and don’t see a way out.

Third and finally, realize that we are in a war, and the war starts in our mind. I’ve been there, where NF describes in his music, feeling like my emotions, my thoughts are my own worst enemy, when all the while, the real enemy is Satan himself who has hated me because I am an image of the one who created me. My Lord and King Yeshua Hamashiach.

We must use the weapons of our warfare, we must use the armor that has been provided to us by God, and we must be willing to fight for the ground we gain, and then fight to keep it.

In conclusion, I have committed to pray for NF, that God will provide someone who can help him gain the victory he seeks, and get to a more stable footing with our Lord. I will also be praying, for all those who may find themselves in similar situations.

If this is you, please leave a comment, or e-mail me, and I will do my best to help.

God bless,

Teresa Blaes


P.S. If you want to hear the album for yourself click the link below.

How do we know we are not cast away? We are not forgotten.

Isolated beach, blue water, pink sand

                                                                                    Isolated beach

Last night, my wife and I watched a movie that we had seen in the theater years ago. It featured Tom Hanks, who was a FedEx employee, always driven to work and succeed. He gets on a plane which crashes and he lands up on a desert island. The movie is called Castaway.

His character goes through so much for so long. His only companion is a volleyball named “Wilson” and a pocket watch of his girlfriend, Kelly, with her picture inside the cover where it closes. He is alone, isolated, and felt very much helpless.

After the movie, Karen and I talked about it and realized there were some lessons that senior citizens and others could learn from this. The purpose of this post is to share those lessons and to offer encouragement to those that may feel isolated and cut off from the rest of the world.

What we need to realize is that we are seriously loved by almighty God, our creator, who made us in His image, in His likeness, after HIs own heart. The one true God of the universe loves us.

Secondly, we need to be reminded that this God who loves us and created us in His image, is always present, everywhere, in all places. When it is dark, He is there. When it is cold, He is there too. When we feel like we are alone, we are not. God is there. Always. Consistently there.

Finally, we need to realize and be reminded that God, who made us and loved us, sent His son to die on the cross so that those of us who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). If we are in Christ, we are never alone – literally, never. We are not forsaken. We are not cast away.

I accepted God’s free gift of eternal life as a teenager. I did nothing to deserve it. I just admitted that I needed Jesus and asked Him to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart. Have you done the same? Have you asked Jesus to come into your heart, to save you? If you have, then you can know that you have eternal life, that you are eternally loved, and that you are never cast away. You are loved. I hope and pray that you know that today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The overflowing septic tank – a parable for stinky sin

Our righteousness is as filthy rags

                       Trash in the water

When Karen and I lived in Grayson county, we rented a home that had a septic problem. It was overflowing and needed cleaned out. At the time this happened I was trying to get a handle on a very powerful verse of scripture, 2 Cor. 5: 21 –

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

You see, our sin stinks. Even our righteousness, our “goodness”, our purity is as filthy rags. As Isaiah 54:6 says, 

“We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

In Christ, we are clean. We do not stink. We are not foul or offensive in His sight. Why? Because Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). Instead of our sin, God sees His Son.

By the blood of Jesus we are made clean. Lord, may we walk in that cleanness and live like we are God’s children today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

There are two things to learn about God
There are two things to learn about God from going to the Hattiesburg Zoo, or any other zoo or wildlife center. In learning these things, you can have a better appreciation of how great God is and how much He loves us.
Gen. 1:27

As my better half, Karen, and I went through the zoo today, we were amazed at the wide variety, beauty, and unique characteristics of all the animals there. Truly God’s creativity is amazing and so varied. It is intricate, complex, and amazingly beautiful. Some animals made you laugh. Some were like “ooh, I’m glad he is in that cage and I’m out here.” One of them was really loud. One even sounded like a siren. And all of them were hot today. It was really hot. Thankfully, the zoo had lots of fans along the route, so that helped. The point is that God’s creation is amazing and truly reflects His glory.
And then we look at ourselves and think, “I’m not that amazing and unique.” Really? Those animals were created first before God brought us along. When He created them, he said they were good. When He created man, He looked at them and said they were very good. Mankind was made in the image of God, in His likeness. The reason we can be creative is that we are created in His image. Not only did He create us but He also breathed life into us. “And man became a living being.” (Gen. 1:27; Gen. 2:7)
Not only are we created in His image, with His spirit living and breathing and moving within us. We are also His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:8-10)
Child of the Most High God, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, fully unique, special, called, created, and deeply loved. (Ps. 139:14)
Thank you, Jesus, for making all of this possible. We give you the credit for your amazing creation and plan. in Your name, Amen.

A little humor to brighten your day – “Get in Shape” (senior style)

(a selection of quotes from “Over the Hill and On a Roll” by Bob Phillips. See if you can relate to any of these – I know I can!).

funny bone, humor, boy laughing

boy laughing

“As you grow older, you will find it takes just about half as long to get tired and twice as long to get rested. The iron in your blood has turned to lead in the seat of your pants.”
“Show me a man with his head held high, and I will show you a man who is having trouble adjusting his bifocals.”
“They say that life begins at 4o – but so does lumbago, bad eyesight, arthritis, and the habit of telling the same story three times to the same person.”
“I’ve got to the age when I need my false teeth and my hearing aid before I can ask where I’ve left my glasses.” (Now that’s pretty bad!)
“My doctor said I look like a million dollars – green and wrinkled.”
“It’s hard to feel fit as a fiddle when you’re shaped like a cello.”
“If you’re pushing 50, that’s exercise enough.” (That would never do for Keisha, our fearless leader in the senior exercise class!
“She had her face lifted, but it turned out there was one just like it underneath.”
“You know you’re an adult when you’ve ceased to grow vertically, but not horizontally.”
(and finally) “I know she’s got her own teeth. I was with her when she bought them.”
Remember, kind readers, that you are dearly loved as you are in body, mind, and soul. I’m sure God laughs at the funny stuff we do sometimes as seniors.

God bless you all and give you lots of laughter!

(This post is dedicated to the honor and memory of my late brother-in-law, Dan, who was a gentle soul and who had a great sense of humor.)

Sample post from series on “100 Prophecies fulfilled by Jesus”

I am inviting you to follow along with me on a series of posts about Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. To find other posts (up to Day 56 currently) in the series go to the website below and click on the “Soul and Spirit” category on the right hand side of the page. 

Here is the link to the article and the website, respectively.

The website link (for a lot of great content) is below:

Most mornings, in prayer, I reconfirm the Armor of God upon me. However, lately, the Father has reminded me of His teachings from three years ago: His describing the High Priest Garments as the Armor of God. Yes, we’ve benefited greatly by recognizing this Roman Centurion armor upon us. However, as a Kingdom of Priests, and Yeshua living in us, we truly have this Priestly”Armor” upon us.

This is what The LORD has had me acknowledge in my recent morning prayers. More is explained in the video:

🗡 Belt of Truth: Sash of Yeshua, girded about me. My robe is secure, and nothing will hinder my service for The Kingdom of God.

🗡 Breastplate of Righteousness: Ephod & housing stones of Judgment. Just as the 12 stones were upon the High Priest as He interceded for the Children of Israel, I am charged with interceding for others of whom The LORD has placed upon my heart, and He has placed within me His Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Power, Knowledge, and Fear/Reverence. These are used to direct me in His Righteousness.

🗡 Feet Fitted with Gospel of Peace: The Priests worked bare foot, treading and making paths of blood, near the altar, and in the holy and Most Holy Place, were on Holy Ground. I am fully atoned and covered by the Blood of The Lamb. I walk in His Peace/Shalom. I walk on Holy Ground, as The HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD is within me. I no longer live, but He in me. Where I walk IS Holy, only because HE is Holy WITHIN me.

🗡 Shield of Faith: I am fully surrounded by the very Presence of God and His Glory. Arrows have no aim—no penetration. I walk in His covering of sweet aroma of prayer and glory.

🗡 Helmet of Salvation: Upon me, I am donned with the head covering, proclaiming, “Holy to The LORD”. I am covered by His Salvation—Yeshua—Yah’s Salvation (Yah Shua)

🗡 Sword of The Spirit: The Word of God—The Instructions, The Truth, The Way, The Very Life of Life Is “High and Lifted Up” in my hands! I proclaim The Truth of Life, and He is The Defender and Opposer to me and those He’s called me to serve.

May the LORD bless you, as you explore this Armor in a whole new LIGHT.

Shabbat Shalom,