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Dear Daddy, 

It's our anniversary. 

I can't explain to others the way it affects me every year, even to you. But somehow, from the deepest corridors of my soul, I feel compelled to try. 

I hate it--this time of year. Maybe because it reminds me how vulnerable I am, even forty-five years later. It makes me wonder things about you I will never know. It dares my heart to travel down all the paths of "what ifs?" and "why nots?"--questions for which I still crave the answers. 

November shatters through the facade of this grown-up woman I pretend to be--all strong and in control. It's what's expected of me--required by holding the title of a 'Survivor.'

But you and I both know the truth. Underneath it all, I'm still just a little girl who desperately needs a hug. From you, and only you.     

Tonight, I need one more than ever. Because it's November. And it's still not fair. 

November is where my 'Before' met 'After.' For us, the beginning was the end. 

So, in November, I let the tears fall where they may. 

I treasure this month and the way it still brings me to my knees. It's raw, unfiltered. Too powerful to ignore. 

And I need to share our story. Not for my own benefit, but so that others will know you were here. That you mattered. And you still do. 

November allows me to imagine you being alive. A real person who walked down the hall and kissed his family goodbye early that morning. It allows me to picture myself as a baby in your arms. I imagine the sound of your voice and the sparkle in your eyes. 

I wrap myself in a blanket of all the possibilities and create a million almost-memories for myself.  I can hear your footsteps. I can see your shadow. I can hear your laugh. 

And just for a moment, it feels as if I could reach out and touch you. Like you are closer than ever. 

So, for that reason, I will always cherish November, because it proves that you were here. 

And to be honest, there are times during the rest of the year that I wonder if you were real. 

Because it's been too long. And because I don't remember. 

And because I didn't get to keep you. 

But tonight, I know the truth. You are still mine. 

It's our anniversary, and I love you for coming to spend it with me. 

It's just what I needed. 

But you already knew that. 

I adore you, 

Janet  

P.S. Mom is doing well. She is the one who taught me to be strong. You chose well, Daddy, and would be so proud of her!

And your four grandchildren have grown into amazing adults. A bit quirky on most days, but that's part of their charm. You would love them. They don't really know you, or even recognize that they need you. But it's November, so maybe they will learn a little more. 

Because it's our anniversary. 

See you soon. 
























 
 
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Exodus 20:17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's donkey."
Dear God, 

I think I'm guilty of it. Again. 

Of coveting my neighbor's donkey. 

I know we've already talked about this, several times, and I trust you and your provisions. 

In my defense, I wasn't really looking for any negatives, but they kind of hit me like that; like a slap across the face I was not prepared for. 

I guess it comes from comparing myself to others. Maybe I yearned for the same success that they had. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's how it all started. 

The truth is, God, that when I look around, it's easy to feel like a failure. 

I'm on no best seller list. My real books haven't been published yet. I still hear more 'nos' than 'yeses.'  I write and rewrite until the letters are no longer visible on my computer keyboard. I have goals, some ridiculously high and others low enough to allow me to cross a few things off my list each day. Most days, I wonder if I am doing this correctly. 

And constantly, I have to ask myself what areas of my writing do I hear your voice the loudest? Are you blessing these efforts? Am I wasting my time?

And then I hear another success story; someone who fought their way into validation. Legitimacy. Authors and speakers who continued to write and speak long before anyone cared what they had to say. 

I guess that's where I am right now. 

Still, I hear you beckoning me to go deeper, to keep walking, learning, and writing. To run the next mile of the marathon, even if I have blisters on my feet and my socks are slipping down into my shoes. 

They say a professional is simply an amateur who didn't quit. 

I want to be that professional. 

I want to make you proud. 

I want to succeed; but on your terms and timeline. Not my own. 

So, forgive me, again, for coveting my neighbor's donkey. 

If I measure success by the times I feel your pleasure, then I am successful every time I write. 

So I will keep writing. And remembering that whatever it is that I'm supposed to be has not yet been revealed. 


I John 3:2 "Dear Friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed." 



 
 
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Sometimes, God calls us to a life of abandonment.
Abandon - Forsaken or deserted. 

This entire blog is based on those very feelings. 

We have all felt abandoned, at times. 

But there is more to this word; to this story. 

Abandon - To leave completely and finally. 

Or, how about these? 

Abandoned - Uninhibited. Unrestricted. To yield without restraint or moderation. 

These definitions sound better. Less intimidating. 

As a matter of fact, this word seems to describe someone who is disciplined, who sees the big picture, who is willing to sacrifice self for the greater good of others. 

I hope to be the type of person who can do this; to live a life of abandonment. Long past the intersections of pride and reputation, of wealth and mandatory schedules controlled by everyone else, there is a road that leads to a life of abandonment. 

Perhaps this is what Jesus referred to in Luke 14:26 - "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple." 

Surely, he never meant for us to hate anyone, especially not our brothers and sisters or the same father and mother he instructed us to honor. 

No strings attached. That's what he asks of us. In order to fully live our lives for Christ, we must leave behind all that we were before. No holding on to our chains, or dragging them along behind us.  

A youth pastor friend of ours says that when he agreed to try to reach teens for Christ, he gave over control of where God sends him to do that. He thought he was headed to Florida, but ended up in Detroit instead. Not because it was best for his family, but because that was where God needed him most. 

The most inspirational and effective leaders are those who have learned to do this. To go where God sends them, with no strings attached. 

If heaven is our destination, we don't much in this life. The only thing we can take to heaven with us is the people in our lives. Our relationships are what God needs in order to pull others toward him. 

And most times, that journey starts alone; with a life of reckless abandon. 

A life of freedom. 

What has he asked you to leave behind?





 
 
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Everything we need is within our grasp.
What if I remained inside my little corner of the world? Hoping, begging, pleading, for the world to come inside to find me?

What if I wanted it all, but never stepped outside to find it?

What if the story I told myself every day grew bigger than the four walls that contained me? 

What if I dreamed of climbing mountains so big that even I did not realize how much they contained until I reached the top?

What if the future was so majestic and powerful that if I could see it, there would be no way to contain it all?

What if everything I ever wanted was within my grasp the entire time?

What if I took the time to lift my eyes, rather than down? To look forward, rather than behind me? 


What if God showed me miracles every single day, but it was I who failed to see them?

What if, instead of asking the question "Why me?" I changed it to "Why not me?" 


What if everything I ever dreamed of was waiting right outside my door?

What if?

Psalm 121:1 - I lift my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?

What about you? Why not you? Share some of your own goals, dreams, accomplishments. 


 

 
 
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The eyes of doubt or the eyes of faith. It's a daily choice.
I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing. 

Today is just one of those days. 

I question the path that brought me here. Did I make a wrong turn somewhere along the way?

I wonder if I somehow took the reigns away from God, trying to steer my own vehicle to a place in which I thought I belonged. 

All I am sure of, for today, at least, is that I have more questions than answers. 

And that feeling of being abandoned is always so quick to return. 

I started the day giving these feelings to God. He already knew I was struggling. I asked Him, instead, to fill me with peace. His peace. And reveal the plan. His plan. 

And He asked me to believe His promises. He asked me to trust Him. Not myself, nor my talents, nor my networking abilities, nor my marketing techniques. He just said to leave all my questions there, with Him, and focus on what I already know about Him. 

There comes a time in every relationship when you have to look only into the eyes of the other, ignoring the advice of others, and choose to go deeper with each other. No one else. 

That's the beauty of living a life of abandon. It is difficult, at times. Lonely on most days, since my path was carved out for me alone. But when pressed to flee or trust Him enough to go deeper, I know to go deeper. That this is part of the journey that prepares me for whatever lies ahead. This is simply a season; my winter months, with their naked grayness, that seem to accomplish nothing. 

My search for answers led me to the book of Romans, where Paul had some strong words for people like me, who were teetering between focusing on their doubts or clinging to their faith. 

Romans 14:23...and everything that does not come from faith is sin.  

Ouch. 


I realize that my doubts come from my circumstances, but never from my God. As I look deep into those eyes, I see a slight twinkle, and trust that this journey, wherever it may be leading, will be worth it. 

And for today, I choose faith. 

What about you?







 
 
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Laying it all at the altar.
There comes a moment when you have to let go. 

To lay it on the altar. 

All of it. 

Whatever is troubling you. 

Whatever hurts or letdowns you might have from the past. 

Whatever ideas you may have had about how life was supposed to go. 

Rejections. Disappointments. Bitterness. Brokenness. Failures. Unforgiveness. Unanswered questions. 

The past. 

And with that comes the freedom to embrace the future. 

This is truly a difficult thing to do. We think we must protect ourselves; to make sure we never get hurt again. If we stay angry, on guard, we will surely hurt less in the future. 

But the opposite is true. By holding on to the pains of the past, we imprison ourselves from the possibilities of the future. Our paths are not yet chosen; there is much to be explored. Hopes. Dreams. Opportunities. Surprises.     Unexpected answers. Growth. Healing. Freedom. By letting go, and laying it all at the altar, we are proving to God that we trust Him with our future. Looking back over the many stories in scripture, everyone was required to let go of something when God called. 

Peter had to let go of the boat in order to walk on the water. 

Jonah had to let go of his plans in order to be rescued from the belly of the fish. 

Moses had to let go of his fears in order to become the leader God called him to be. 

Paul, who once was Saul, had to let go of his eyesight, briefly, in order to truly see. 

The woman at the well had to let go of her search for love and acceptance  in all the wrong places, in order to truly find it.

Noah had to let go of his reputation. 

Matthew had to let go of his career. 

Mary had to let go of her childhood. 

Joseph had to let go of his doubts about Mary. 

Thomas had to let go of his own explanations. 

Even Jesus had to let go of his own will. 
 He pleaded for God to find another way, but accepted his answer willingly. 

Laying it all at the altar is a sign of trust. It's a way of saying, "I am ready to try your way." 

It's a way of letting go of garbage or ashes from the past. 

And God is thrilled when he can finally show us the plans he has for us, without the restrictions from our past.

 Isaiah 43:18 - 19 Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. 


 

 
 
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Keeping life in perspective
I recently found myself in an odd place.

Alone.

Abandoned, if you will.

I was at church, returning a few items that I had borrowed for an event. That in itself it not so odd.

What was rare is that I found myself in the building completely alone.

It was a holiday, so the staff members that normally would have been there were at home, with their families.

Drawn into the sanctuary, I started singing the words to one of my favorite songs.

"It's just You and me here now. Only You and me here now..."

I wandered in and took a seat on the front pew.  Then, I remembered a time when I had been there before.

Alone.

Abandoned, if you will.

It was almost 28 years ago, when this auditorium was still being built. I probably wasn't supposed to be in there at the time, but had sneaked past the "Caution" tape to spend a few minutes alone with God.

I could still smell the drywall paste on the walls that surrounded me. There were no lights inside; the only source of light leaked through the openings that would soon hold the entrance doors, casting larger than life shadows across the stage. The beams above me creaked and groaned, as if warning that I should not have been there. It should have been enough to cause me to flee from the almost finished building.

But fear was the last thing I was feeling.

On that day, I laid on the newly installed pews, some still covered in plastic where they were finishing the final touches. I buried my face in my hands, and cried uncontrollably.

That was the reason I had gone in there.

God and I both knew it.

I splayed before Him my situation; my unanswered questions; my greatest fears.

I confessed my mistakes, asked for forgiveness, and then wondered if there was some way He might still bless my future.


There, in that auditorium, when I had burst past the 'Caution' tape of life, God met me.

And He said "yes."

He promised to walk with me through some of the most trying times of my life.

And those times soon became the most triumphant times of my life.

Because of Him.

Because I sought Him.

Because I met Him there.

Alone. On the front pew.

Abandoned, if you will.

Looking back, I realized that my questions from 28 years ago were answered in ways I didn't even have the strength or faith to dream of back then. My 'ending' much happier than I deserved.

I left there, keenly aware of the gift of perspective. it changed everything, once I focused on all that God has done, rather than on what He is yet to do. 

In both instances, almost 28 years apart from each other, I found what I was looking for. I left singing the same song that brought me there.

"It's just You and me here now. Only You and me here now...."

Can you share a time when God intervened and provided a much happier ending than you thought possible?






 
 
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The opposite of peace
Peace. 

It  is hard to come by. 
It is the ability, regardless of the circumstances or surroundings, to rest.  

It becomes more valuable in the midst of chaos. 

To have peace in the midst of chaos means to trust someone other than yourself  or those around you. And the truth is that anything that does not bring peace is not from God. That's a hard lesson to learn, but once you get it, it's impossible to un-learn it. It's important enough to repeat. Any activity that does not bring peace is not from God. Worry is not from God. Anxiety is not from God. People who criticize or bring you down are not from God. And if this is true, then we must ask ourselves where these feelings come from. Or perhaps the better question is this: From whom do these feelings come from?It's easy to recognize the signs: the distraught look in someone's eyes; the lack of hope in their face; their words and expectations; expectations of the future. I've grown to call this "spendin' time with the devil." I can see the symptoms a mile away, and experience has taught me, finally, to choose not to spend time with him.I just don't accept his offer to pull up a chair and stay for a while. I must remind myself that it is impossible to spend time with him and come out of it unscathed. He seeks to destroy and deceive with his lies. His goals have never changed.  No longer will I let him steal my joy. No longer will I let him rule over me with the mistakes of my past. No longer will I let him drive a wedge between me and those that I love the most. Jesus died so that I no longer have to fight these battles. I'm not interested. I refuse to hang out with the devil. And anything that does not bring peace is not worth my time. I Corinthians 14:33 - For God is not a God of disorder, but of peace....
What about you? What are some ways the devil invites you to spend time with him?

 
 

A repost from earlier in 2011. 
Dear God, 

Everywhere I look, I see people hurting. 

Give them Jesus. 

For my friends fighting Stage 4 cancer. 

Give them Jesus. 

For the one who lost her husband, then gave birth to her third child alone. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the family raising their grandchildren, facing one health battle after another, only to discover their grandaughter now has cancer. 

Give them Jesus. 

For the one who struggles to find peace, who wonders if you are done using her to touch the lives of others. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the one who is tired of the bullying actions of others, who already feels more alone than those bullies will ever realize. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the one who is tired of false relationships, having to pretend to be something she is not, and no longer believes there is anyone who could possibly love her. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the one who regrets his past decisions, and doesn't know where to begin to start all over. 

Give him Jesus. 

For the one who, just days ago, was ready to give up and end his life. 

Give him Jesus. 

For the one who struggles to forgive, stuck in a pattern of doubt and self-pity. 

Give him Jesus. 

For the one child who is watching her parents go through a divorce, and is convinced that no relationship was meant to last forever. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the children who are fatherless. 

Give them Jesus. 

For the one who trusts her superstitions more than she trusts her God. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the one who lost both parents in a tragic car accident. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the one who doubts her abilities as a parent, as she watches her teens fight daily battles of their own. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the soldiers serving overseas, facing dangers from every direction, thousands of miles away from the people they love the most. 

Give them Jesus. 

For the one who yearns for a bigger stage; a megaphone so that others will hear your story. 

Give her Jesus. 

For the ones who are trapped in an empty lifestyle they did not ask for, surrounded by evil, because you are absent. 

Give them Jesus. 

For the ones who can no longer believe, because they are certain that if you were real, their pain would not be so great. 

Give them Jesus. 

For the ones who have never known you. 

Give them Jesus. 

And if it be your will, use me to introduce them to you. 

Give me Jesus.  

Janet Morris Grimes
April 10, 2011 
 
 

Highlighting the top posts from 2011. . 


Dear Friend, 

I am not sure where to start. I see you over on the opposite sideline, pacing, contemplating, choosing your next move carefully, but never wondering. You are too determined for that. Often, our eyes meet for a second too long, but we just turn away, afraid to address our differences. 

But I love you, and with that comes this obligation to share what is on my heart, whether you want to hear it or not. Because I love you enough to allow you to be mad at me, if that’s what it takes. 

I love you enough to no longer remain silent. 

Here is what I know about you. Your path has been difficult, filled with betrayal by the people you loved the most. You craved acceptance, but received just the opposite. You feel as if you have let everyone down at one point or another, so rather than carry that guilt around with you, you had to let it go. Your very survival demanded it.  

You lost most of the people who have been close to you; some to death, painful and unexpected. Others walked out of your life by choice, which left even deeper scars. You searched for a life raft to keep you from sinking when surrounded by one storm after another. But a timeline of disappointments left you feeling more abandoned than ever, and you decided the only person you could truly depend on was yourself. 

Still, I know that at one time, you believed. 

But something within you has changed. 

Did it become easier to decide there was no God at all, than to consider the possibility that if He was here, He must not care about you? 

After all, how could a God who loves you allow such terrible things to happen?

I have asked that same question many times. 

So, I get it. And I know this relationship I have with God is not something I can shove down your throat, nor can I be the extension cord that connects the two of you; it is something you have to discover for yourself. 

At times, I hear you mocking me, even as I pray; even when you are the one that drops me to my knees. 

You stand with your guard up, ready to debate every theory from evolution to eternity; the beginning to the end. You crave the argument, and any chance to spread doubt in others, as if you enjoy keeping score. 

But the score does not matter. 

I will never buy into the battle that pits God vs. Science. In my opinion, Science is the study of all that God has created; the universe is too magnificent to have happened accidentally. The One who knit the world together thought of everything, and He does not need our help to figure it out.

Still, I love you enough to listen to your opinion. For now. 

But, Eternity is where I draw the line. 

Because I love you too much to allow you to be separated from God forever. Away from God, no good thing can exist, which is the very definition of Hell. If you think this world is evil, harsh and uncaring, you cannot imagine what it might be like if God was not a part of it, working through the hearts and lives of regular people, just like you and me. 

It all points to Heaven. This is the reason life makes little sense at times; the reason we have so many unanswered questions. This world is only temporary. 

Hell is as permanent as Heaven, and I cannot bear the thought of you being in such torment. Not today, but definitely not forever. 

In the end, I need for you to be there with me. In Heaven, back in the arms of the One who created you. 

Because you are perfect in my eyes. 

And because I love you enough to say it. 

Luke 16:27 – 28 “…I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’  (NIV)