Living With Gusto, Mimi's Messages

Tell Your Story!

 

 

Tell your story! Seriously, once you share the hard stuff, several things happen:
* it’s not as devastating because it’s no longer hidden
* you actually “hear” it as told to someone else and often make more sense of it
* your story helps someone
* you take away the paralyzing power of what happened to you, and find redemptive power in the telling
* you look back from a new perspective, perhaps more wisdom, or compassion for the person you were.

We don’t stay the same. Though your story may not change, how you respond to it can. You may gain insight. Or resolve.

I’ll tell you right now that I KNOW you have been through challenges, or hard times, or good times, and that you learned something to either NOT repeat again, or that helped you survive, or made life bearable.

Yes, my dear, you can glean from those things. AND, sometimes realizing that our story is valuable happens as we are just telling someone about something that happened in our life.

It doesn’t have to be big. It is usually just us living our lives, daily working through.

But, when we share those daily walks with another person, somehow it becomes even more real in the telling. We realize that we were (are) powerful and creative problem solvers, and so many other things.

And the person listening says that they are so glad to hear us tell it (our story),

or that they never thought of that,

or that it’s amazing to realize that they weren’t the only one…..

There is so much power in our stories, in our lives.

So, don’t be afraid to share your story. You will find others with chapters of the same. A kinship. A support.

And it matters.

Much love, Mimi 

Inspiration

Hallelujah!

 

 

Oh praise God we have a risen Savior!

There is no one like our God!

He is alive!

He rose from the dead and has redeemed our souls.

Hallelujah!

Praise and glory and honor are His alone!

Now THAT will preach!

Blessed Easter to y’all.

 

“All my life I have been called unworthy.

Named by the voice of my shame and regret.

But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”

I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet.

I am redeemed, You set me free!

So I’ll shake off these heavy chains.

And wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be.

I’ve got a new name, a new life, I’m not the same.

And a hope that will carry me home.”

Big Daddy Weave

Have a blessed Easter!

Passionista Mimi

 

Inspiration, Words To Help

Onion Layers

 So I saw this meme on the internet, and thought I’d comment about it.

And then God begins to peel the layers off and heal in between each so that your heart can once again love and receive love. 

It’s a real process, for sure. It takes time–for me, several decades.

It’s not a pleasant experience. At times you weep. But the freedom and healing are worth the work it takes to look inward, consider the wounds, allow God to stir up your emotions, and allow Him to have the things that wounded you. And to replace the wounding with healing.

He is the healer. He wants you whole and free from the bondage of those things that you carry, those things that cause you to feel wounded.

Hugs and love,

Passionista Mimi

Inspiration

Can We Trust God?

How do you know that someone is worthy of your trust? Most likely it’s because they have proven themselves to you: they are dependable, they have kept your secret, they are loyal and supportive of you.

It takes time, usually, to establish trust in someone. And a kind of “testing”. 

God knows that it isn’t easy for us to trust Him. We are weak-hearted and easily disappointed by people and the events in our lives. We are constantly being let down.

But God is faithful. He is trustworthy.

He cannot lie:

God is not a man that he should tell or act a lie.” Numbers23:19

He who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind.” 1 Samuel 15:29

He does not change:

I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:6 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

There are so many scriptures that talk about God’s faithfulness. However, this is an area that often takes personal experience to believe, not just taking someone’s (or the Bible’s) word for it. God’s faithfulness is proven during the course of our life, through provision or protection, and especially deliverance. To me, that one is the first and best proof of His love and faithfulness.

He delivers us:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9

We can have absolute confidence that God forgives us. If he couldn’t he wouldn’t be God. Perhaps it takes faith for you to believe that. But let me say that I have experienced His forgiveness, the cleansing of my heart, and the outpouring of his love. It’s not all in my head. It’s a precious way of life that brings me joy.

As far as God’s proving his faithfulness?

He shouldn’t have to because he is God and God is faithful. Period. But yet he does. Over and over to us. There have been times when I don’t even realize he delivered or provided or protected until years later. And when I have those “ah ha” moments it’s pretty incredible.

I think, “Oh that’s what was going on behind the scenes. That is what God was doing!” And my heart fills with gratitude and praise. There are many instances in our lives like this (for example, when I didn’t marry the person who turned out to be of questionable character). We don’t even realize that God has touched a moment in our lives and taken care of something for us. Or sometimes we DO! Like when I was able to pass between two cars that were destined to collide at an intersection. Whew! I praised God for sure while I was shaking in my boots!

You CAN put your trust in God.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 

I hope you will risk it. Try him out and see if he doesn’t prove himself to you. I dare ya!

 

Inspiration, Mimi's Messages

Focus On The Light

 

focus on his light

From the book Indestructible by Blake Healy, these sentences really grabbed my attention:

“The enemy is fighting to get you to see things his way because

a simple act can release a massive amount of God’s goodness,

leaving a mark that can last for generations.”

 

Satan does not want us to realize the power that is ours through Jesus!

When we act as “Jesus with skin on” to those around us,

reach out a hand to the hurting, 

when we pray in the mighty name of Jesus and foundations shake,

when we stop hatred and meanness,

when we cuddle a child in need of love……

the plans of the enemy are brought to a halt!

 

“There is no place on this earth that God has not

placed the potential for good.”

 

No place is so “dark” that the power of Jesus cannot break through and shed glorious light! Never give up on someone or a place or a situation!

 

“If we know that God is always ready to do good no matter where we are, then instead of fighting the darkness, we will focus on honoring the glory we see in others, perpetuating the light.”

 

Oh friend, He is waiting to do good. God doesn’t need us at all. But for some reason He chooses to use us as vessels of His light, love, and life. Never think that you are not enough to have an impact for God’s kingdom, or that your calling is too inconsequential or small. It matters! If God has put a niggle in your heart to do something then do it! The rest is up to Him. 

For instance, this blog is not bringing in money, nor do I want it to. I don’t have many who follow me or even read what I write. But I’ve had to come to grips with what my purpose really is. God told me to write, and I believe that those who are supposed to read these simple words do.

So what about you? Have you been hesitant to do something, thinking it doesn’t matter anyway? Hey, are YOU reading this? Then you know the power of one person shining their light. 

And by the way, there is no small act of kindness. It all matters. Just sayin’.

So keep reaching out, touching lives, praying, shining light!!

I’m with you,

Mimi

Inspiration, Keepin' It Real

11:11

There are many, many concerns on my mind these days. They kind of swirl around in the background as I go through my day. I’m not especially so worried that I can’t do all that I need to, but yes, this list is ever-prevalent, just a thought away from giving me stress if I allow it to.

I know that my ways are directed by the Lord. I know that He will provide for my needs and will accomplish all that He desires. I do turn my “list” over to Him. But some days the items on that list almost suffocate me.

Because God loves me and is concerned about my welfare and the condition of my brain, I believe He gives me signs to assure me that He is handling everything I’m concerned about. One of the ways He does this is by “helping” me to see the time of 11:11 on my clock.

For a long time now I’ve been seeing 11:11 on clocks around me (and my phone) and I believe it’s God telling me He loves me and that He is present in my life. I tell Him I love Him too whenever I see that time.

So these past two weeks I have been more concerned (stressed) than usual. The list continues to grow and things mount up. And guess what? For two nights in a row, no matter what my routine has been, when I crawled into bed and turned off the lamp, 11:11 was the time. God really does make me laugh!

I couldn’t have timed it. God is just saying that He is with me. His attention to, and providing of, the details that reassure me are precious acts of love. It’s such a sweet way of letting me know of His presence. He knows I love the visuals!

And then? The next morning I opened my Bible to read and it fell open to this verse I’d already underlined…

“Because you have delighted in Me as my great lover, I will answer your cry for help every time you pray.

And you will find and feel my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble.” 

Oh the timing of God’s hand in my life!!

 

Love and hugs, 

Passionista Mimi

Scripture quoted is Psalm 91:14-16 (excerpts) using The Passion Bible translation.

Comment below and tell me what YOU think the 11:11 on the clock means.

 

Inspiration, Keepin' It Real, Living With Gusto

Ever Feel Like You don’t Belong?

 

Most of my life I have felt left out, looked over, and that I didn’t really fit in or belong.

Some of this was because I moved so many times during my school years. I was always trying to fit into a new crowd of people who already had their cliques. And I was shy and anxious, which sure didn’t help my cause.

Being taller than the other students, and often the teachers, made me feel gangly and ugly and awkward. I was not in the least sports-oriented and was always chosen last in gym class teams. (I know a lot of you can relate to this one).

Unfortunately, perhaps from listening to lies or just my own family’s limitations, I had an attitude of jealousy when I saw other friends doing fun stuff or having opportunities that I did not. I felt looked over. I now know that wasn’t the case, just the situation, but it was another lie that plagued me.

All that background leads to why I love these verses so much!! I have a place, a home, where I am cherished and valued. I am picked first! I am the most popular! I am cherished!

Of course, you know that I am referring to my home with Jesus, my family with Abba Daddy God. Knowing how He regards me has totally changed how I see myself!

I know that to some of you I am old, so you may think I don’t know what you are going through. I also realize that I’ve been able to shake off the opinions of others and striving to please people to feel like I matter. Oh goodness, what glorious freedom! But it took years, years I say! I’ve walked where you walk.

Perhaps I didn’t have the social media influence that you have now, but that didn’t keep me from yearning to be like the popular girls. From desiring to be liked by the boys. From wishing I had clothes like the others wore. Or that we had enough money to do some of the things the other families did. Believe me, I had the kind of comparisons going on in my brain that you have now.

And I had all the deep feelings I described earlier. So really, I’m no different from most of you reading this. So….

take these words to heart. 

“To those who were rejected and not my people, I will say to them:
You are mine.’

And to those who were unloved, I will say,
You are my darling.’

In the place where they were told, ‘You are nobody,’

this will be the place where they will be renamed
Children of the living God.’”

Hosea 2:23 Passion Bible


Take heart, my dear friends. There is a place for you where

You are chosen! You are cherished! You belong!

All my love,

Passionista Mimi

Inspiration

Wrapped In His Heart

Guide me in Your truth and teach me,

For You are the God of my salvation;

For You (and only You) I wait (expectantly) all the day long.

Psalm 25:5 Amplified Bible

The Passion Bible translation has this footnote that knocked my socks off:

“The Hebrew word most commonly translated as “wait”, qavah, also means “to be tied together by twisting, to wrap tightly, to entwine”. This is a beautiful concept of waiting on God, not as something passive, but entwining our hearts with him and his purposes.”

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance says “a primitive root; to bind together (perhaps by twisting)”.

So when I read this verse in the Passion Bible and it gave me the illustrative words,

“I have wrapped my heart into Yours”,

I was just swept away by the visual image these words presented.

Oh my, what better place to be but wrapped together into God’s heart?

THIS. This is what I desire. I want to be wrapped up in God’s heart. Especially when I am waiting for answers. To feel as He does. To love as He does. To know that I am in His heart, being held, as He prepares His answer. And to “know in my knower” how very much I am loved by Him.

How about you? Do these words resonate with you? Please do let me know!

And as always, I’m sending you love and big hugs!

Passionista Mimi

Inspiration

God Sings? Really?

Warning: long post ahead. Hopefully your attention span is longer than the average person’s (eight whole seconds) because this is really good stuff. Grab a cup of something and take a minute. 

 

I.Love.Sparkles! Anything is better with sparkles–clothes, nails, shoes, jewelry—shoot, I’d wear sparkles on my face if I could do it without looking like I’m trying to be a three-year-old princess.

And sprinkles? They are like sparkles. Sprinkles make things like cupcakes, cookies, and doughnuts better. They are the icing on the cake with an upgrade. Sprinkles are like confetti and make us happy. The colorful bits of sugar look festive and make us feel like life has a bit of special added.

And that, my dear, is you! You are amazing with a side of sprinkles. Not just a few on top but a whole side dish of sprinkles that you shower on people like a fairy godmother. You give our lives sparkle—like “here’s some for you, and some for you, and some for YOU!”

You bring joy and make us feel festive just by being you.

Don’t believe it? Perhaps you feel that you have never, ever added joy, festivities, and sparkle to people’s lives? I understand. I did too. But you won’t believe it until you realize what a gift you are—what a delight.

And here’s the wonderful thing. You don’t have to be anything different from what you are. In fact, when you are truly real and honest, when you are able to understand your heart and longings, your gifts and abilities, and embrace your character and passions, the better able you are to spread those sprinkles around into people’s lives.

Our world needs you—the real you. You are a gift to us. You bring delight into the lives of those around you.

But. Here’s the deal (you were thinking there was a catch, huh? You thought this was too good to be true, I know.) The deal? The big trip-you-up-and-make-you-stumble deal? You have to BELIEVE it.

Oh, well then, just forget it. Right? Because there is no way you are ever going to believe that you bring delight—and sparkle, for goodness sake—into people’s lives. There are days you can hardly stand yourself. I’ve felt like that too. But remember, it’s not about your behavior; it’s about who you are. You are loved by God. Period.

I felt like such a flawed version of myself. It all boiled down to not being enough. I was pleasing people so I could be worthy, seeking the approval of others, and living afraid that I was saying/doing/being the wrong thing. Tense all the time and highly alert.

Finally, one day I just decided I was plenty tired of the suffering caused by listening to lies that ran through my brain on a constant loop. I decided I was going to choose to do something about it. (The whole process is written here if you’d like to read more.)

Because, there was this verse in the Bible (you knew I was going to bring God into this, right?) that I just couldn’t get past. It was the big trip-me-up deal. It seemed daring and unbelievable, too good to be true. That verse?

It says that God delights over us with singing! He WHAT? Not only does He find delight in us but He SINGS about it? Whooee, can you even imagine a thing?

What kind of verse is this? Can it be real?

Read this, dear friends:

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;

He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love;

He will exult over you with loud singing.

(English Standard Version) Zephaniah 3:17

Oh.my.goodness!

And in this translation from the Brenton Septuagent Translation:

“The Lord thy God is in thee; the Mighty One shall save thee,

He shall bring joy upon thee, and shall refresh thee with His love,

and He shall rejoice over thee with delight as in a day of feasting.”

Now do you see it? God feels about us like we might a party we have looked forward to. But this isn’t just a party—it’s a feast with lots of food and dancing with abandon and singing—lots of singing and music. Joy, such joy!

“Delight” means to please someone greatly, a strong feeling of happiness, and a great pleasure or satisfaction.

Can you even imagine such a thing? Our God–the creator of heaven and earth–is strongly satisfied with us! So much so that He takes great pleasure in us and has strong feelings of happiness when He thinks about us. And when we take time to go to him and seek his company I imagine that he’s ecstatic!

It truly boggles my mind. I am so flawed. I have been so broken. How (or why) in the world would God feel that way about me? About us?

Because He loves us. Honestly we have no clue what God’s love is like, because we only have humans to illustrate love. And goodness, is that ever a distorted picture of pure, unconditional love!

After years and years of reading God’s letter to us, of trying to listen to His voice, of seeking Him with my whole heart and asking Him for truth, I am thoroughly convinced that the words in this verse are for real.

To me it’s one of the most important (and often overlooked) scriptures in the Bible. It illustrates the essence of God’s love for us:

He will save us

He will calm and quiet us

He delights in us

Talk about got it covered! Not only is He a warrior who fights for us, rescues and saves us (delivers us from the hand of the enemy) but He also is like a nurturing mother who calms an afraid and distressed child. I visualize the soothing arms as she gently rocks her child, whispering consoling words and reassurance that she is there and will take care of whatever is frightening them.

And then there’s the part of delighting in us. I don’t know about you, but my heart always longed to be cherished and unconditionally love, to be enjoyed for who I am. And yes, for someone to take delight in me.

When I finally realized that God, my Abba Daddy, felt all those thing for me, and began to receive that truth into my spirit, my search was over.

Yes, I’d heard the scripture for many years. But I hadn’t internalized its truth. And just like with the John 3:16 verse that tells us God loved us to much He sacrificed His precious son in order to give us access to Him and eternal life, I had to choose to believe and receive this verse too.

I had to make the choice to embrace the truth of it.

I had to allow its truth to change my life and thoughts regarding myself and who God is.

Was it easy? IS it easy? Nope, my brain still wants to return to my flaws, sins, and disappointing behavior. It continually blows my mind that God, in all His holiness, would find great delight in ME!

And please, do not for one second think that He can take pleasure in me because I’m such a good person. Remember that God sees the heart. And y’all, no matter what I do, thoughts that aren’t loving, kind, and generous pop into my brain. I do things that hurt others. And though I strive not to, I sometimes sin. I’m a flawed human, just like everyone.

So just because I’ve managed, for the most part, to clean up my act over the years, that doesn’t make me better than you or more loveable. That’s the beauty of God’s gift of love—it’s a gift. Nothing we do could ever win His love. He just loves us, unconditionally. Definitely mind-blowing!

And what about me, the person who was always “too much” this, and “not enough” that? I’ve come to realize that not only am I okay, but absolutely enough and very worthy (as we all are). What is the truth that fills me with joy, puts a bounce in my step, and allows me to be unconcerned about what others think?

That the Almighty God who created the universe loves me and takes great delight and pleasure in me!

Mull that truth for a minute. Meditate on it and allow its truth to permeate your spirit.

And if that isn’t life-changing for you, then I surely don’t know what is! Perhaps nothing ever will be.

“I am truly His rose, the very theme of His song.”

Song of Solomon 2:1

I know this was a long one, and thank you for reading all the way if you got this far. My prayer is that these words will change your life. 

Many blessings, Mimi

Keepin' It Real, Raw Honest Brave

A ‘Lil Bit About Me

I was asked to write my testimony for a women’s group I’m a part of. After writing, I thought I’d go ahead and make it public here.

There are so many things I’d love to tell you in my her-story, but today I want to mention two pivotal times in my life. First, here’s a little background as I set the stage, because you know I love a good story!

I am blessed beyond measure. I had a loving family, I was well-provided for—even though we were “poor”, and I knew about God’s love from the moment I broke forth into this world. I accepted Jesus as savior at age nine, because I loved Him so much, and I wanted to follow Him.

However, being the middle daughter of strict Baptist pastor/teacher parents who loved God with all their hearts (but were inhibited in their emotional expression of it) had its challenges. God created me as a highly emotional being. Of course, I didn’t know it was from God then, and I suffered greatly because I felt things so deeply. I now call it passion (and a gift from God), but for most of my life it’s felt like a curse. And I’m sure my mom felt like it was too!

We moved six times between 1st grade (in Texas) to our final place in Michigan (11th grade) as my daddy was “planting”, or starting, churches up here in the “north”. And every time my place of belonging and the friends I’d made were jerked away from me I suffered greatly. Almost every fall I had to make my way at a new school, with unknown teachers, classmates who already had their own friends, AND a new church for daddy to pastor. Feeling left out was common for me and I quite often felt like a “fish out of water” not fitting in and not knowing the game plan—while living in the “fishbowl” that a pastor’s family does.

Add to all this that I was very shy, had low self-esteem (a result, in part, of the molestation that had taken place as a young child), a horrible body image, felt like I was not enough, and yet too much of some things.

And, I was “set up” before I was even born. I have no proof that the enemy of our soul attacks us in the womb, but I do know that we are aware of what is going on around us outside the womb, and he sometimes uses this. There have been studies that prove it, and also, John and Paula Sanford have done a lot of spiritual healing work with people and their pre-natal experiences (see “Healing the Wounded Spirit” ), and it made sense to me. Because, even though I knew my parents loved me, for as long as I could remember I had felt like I was a “problem”.

God orchestrated a way to show me that I did, indeed, have pre-natal experience that “programmed” me to feel like this. Several years after my mom’s death I was given a letter she’d written to my grandmother while she was pregnant with me, 11 days before delivery. In the letter she was stressing over the timing of having “it”, the baby, that they really didn’t have time to have it (mama needed to start teaching school), and maybe the doctor could induce her early. They “should have thought about this more.” Hmmm, sounds like I was a problem, causing stress to my already stressed-out mom.

Lest you think I’m making mountains out of molehills, I know God showed this as a very early reason that led me to feel like I shouldn’t cause problems, make waves, had to be the good girl, and absolutely had to please in order to earn love. Added to this was the molestation that robbed me and made me feel broken, and my parents’ extreme busyness with other people which often felt like abandonment and that I wasn’t worth their attention.

In other words, the perfect storm. And Satan had a heyday! He was well on his way of lying and stealing toward the goal of destroying. However, he couldn’t compete with my parents’ love and their prayers for me, OR the unconditional, all-consuming love of my Abba Daddy.

For you see, God had designed me, that little hyper-active, loud, bubbly, couldn’t-sit-still girl for a purpose. He gifted me with such love for Him, such joy in life, that it couldn’t be stifled. Oh yes, there were times of sadness when I couldn’t measure up, there have been times of great depression, of promiscuity while I sought love in the wrong places, of deep grief and loss—there has been so much loss (all my family, my marriage, my home and credit, friendships I held dear)—but through it all God has been faithful. He has held me. He has strengthened me, taught me, and loved me. Oh how He has loved me!

In my late forties, when I’d discovered God’s “inner healing” and was going through the painful process of allowing Him to strip off the layers, while regarding an extremely unhappy period of time in my twenties, I’d asked God why he’d allowed me to do the things I’d done. And you know what He said to me?

“Because I wanted you to know that I love you unconditionally. You don’t have to be good enough to earn it. You are my child.”

So that was a huge turning point. I already knew that God loved me. He has given me the gift of deeply knowing that. But that experience tattooed it forever on my heart.

And then, about 13 years ago, after I’d become a single mom, was no longer a teacher, wife, worship leader, daughter, sister, home owner—everything had been stripped away—I sat in silence. And pondered. And got fed up. And said, “ENOUGH!”I gathered all my resolve, all my God-knowledge, all my healing, all my strength, all the love of God, and told the lies (and Satan) to SHUT UP! I was done. I decided then and there to stop listening to lies.

And I had believed that I was a mess, not good enough, broken, a problem, and not worthy of love. So changing my belief system was monumental in my life! I’ve never been the same.

You may think this was no big deal. But, remember that our behavior is determined by what we believe.

I began to speak truth about myself, according to what I felt the Bible had told me and how I felt God regarded me. I’m sure He gave me the words that day…I am loved, I am perfect as He made me, amazing and wonderful and intelligent. I do not have to be ashamed, nor do I have to suffer at the hands of anyone who makes me feel less than the precious one in whom God delights.

And though I am by myself, walking an unusual and sometimes very difficult journey, He fills me with a joy that is unquenchable—though Satan has tried. I know how faithful God is, I know of His overwhelming love for me, and I know without a doubt how valuable I am to Him. When those ugly lies try to find a place in my mind again? I start thanking God for His love, and remember that He loves, and delights in, every part of me, just the way that I am! And that, my dear friends, has set me free.

I truly hope you are able to find the freedom in Jesus that I have. I’m here for you.

Love and big hugs, Mimi