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

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

Inspiration

Sing Your Heart’s Song!

“Be filled with the fullness of the Spirit of God

and your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord.

Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture,

singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit!

Always give thanks to Father God for all things and every person he brings

into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And out of your reverence for Christ, be supportive of each other in love.”

Ephesians 5:18-21 The Passion Translation

 

I’m here, sharing my heart with you, 

Passionista Mimi

Inspiration

Priority #1

Do you know what our first priority is? To love God.

Not try harder or work harder or strive to get it right to be enough for Him. Just simply love Him. It’s all He ever wants from us. Really. Just love Him.

Like a little child loves a parent. They don’t work hard at it. They just love. They trust us to take care of their needs. Their hearts respond to our love. It’s easy for them and they don’t have to do a darn thing. Just be.

And that is one of the hardest things for a people-pleaser like me. But notice I said people pleaser. Not God pleaser. In order to please God we just have to love Him with our whole heart.

Funny how when we do that, He directs us. He teaches us how to love others and even ourselves. He shows us what is important and what needs our attention. He teaches us how to love HIM.

And he directs us to go to Him and rest. Just love Him. Rest in Him. Just be. And He is delighted with us. Wow! So freeing.

 

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you will recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Matthew 11:28-30 The Message Bible

 

“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

For those of you who want more, I found this beautifully written devotional while researching scripture: The Father’s Love Letter

 

Blessings, my friends!

Passionista Mimi

Inspiration, Mimi's Messages, Words To Help

Grandmama’s Quilt

I wanted to tell you that I appreciate you. Is it weird that I think about my readers during the day? Perhaps that’s what bloggers do. I wouldn’t know, I’m still relatively new at this and haven’t talked to other bloggers.

I have been wondering….how are you? No, I mean really. Not what you think I want to hear. Not what you feel you should say. But really. Is your heart heavy? Is your spirit grieving? Do you feel pressured by all you think you should be doing right now? Are you comparing yourself with others?

First of all, WHATEVER you are doing during this quarantine, it’s enough. In fact, you are pretty wonderful to even be surviving what is happening in our world. And if you have been blessed with health, wow, what a gift!! If you know someone who has gotten sick, I know that has been stressful, and I pray they have recovered. If you have lost someone dear to you, oh goodness, I am so very sorry that your heart is hurting. I really am. So much loss and grief right now. It weighs us down. 

Perhaps you haven’t labeled what you might be feeling as grief. But, there is grief from the loss of our normal life. Of losing our jobs and source of income and the camaraderie of co-workers. There is a LOT of grief over the loss of highly-anticipated activities, such as graduation celebrations and vacations that had been planned. There is also the loss of our country’s health and the stress that loads upon us. And the grief from missing family and loved ones and their presence in our lives. There are times that I grieve losing hugs and human touch.

Considering that you are carrying a large amount of grief,

I want you to view yourself differently.

Treat yourself as if you have suffered a huge loss, because you have.

Give yourself grace.

Grace means that you don’t HAVE to perform. Grace means that if you need to sleep more, take breaks to read, spend time outside just to maintain some sense of sanity, then you  give yourself permission to do just that. To do whatever it is you need!

We are conditioned to work hard to be enough. To succeed. To keep up. First of all, that’s a horrid way to live anyway, but especially when the rug has been pulled out from under you. You are dealing with situations that are brand-new to you, for goodness sake!!

You may want to deal with stress in healthy ways:

*Spend less time on Facebook cuz that could lead to comparing.

*Spend less time watching/listening to the news, cuz that builds hopelessness and stress.

*Spend more time talking with positive people and those you love, and laugh, cuz that builds endorphines. 

*Go outside, breathe (the air is cleaner now and it’s SPRING!! Yay!)    Play some. 

*Read, study, discover something new. 

*And lay off the self-pressure. 🙂 

Like Grandmama’s quilt we will emerge from this horrible pandemic stronger, and perhaps wiser, and hopefully more compassionate.  One thing for sure, this season of our lives will affect us. We are all woven together, connected by the threads that bind our lives. I’m praying that you all learn things about yourself, and are able to come out of it stronger.

With much love and gratitude for you,

Passionista Mimi

 

Inspiration

But How Can I Fly?

Hey there. How are you doing? Are things a bit rough right now?

If you are stressed and worried, it may not help, but you are not alone in that. A lot of us are struggling. Trying to find “what’s next?”.

Sometimes I have dark days. I’m sure you have days like that too.

I wanted to share this with you today. I wrote it, not really very long ago, while I was in the midst of a deeply emotional and spiritual turmoil. I was thoroughly beaten and discouraged and felt pretty raw inside. 

I decided to publish it now because, well, I’m just supposed to.

 
They say, “Fly into your dreams.”

But how can I fly

with wings missing feathers

and bearing tattered edges?

How can I fly with a heart that weighs

heavily like stone?

Lift off is impossible.

And how can I dream when the smokey haze of

night terrors suffocates me at dawn?

I’ve reached the ragged end of strength.

The dark hole has blinded me.

Flight is impossible, but for You, God.

You promised to carry me.

To give me wings like an eagle.

It’s up to You, my strength and the lifter of my head.

And then, rescued from the pit by Your hand, once again will I soar. ­­­­­­­­­

Perhaps you have been where I was. Maybe you are right now.

Maybe it will help, knowing that someone else survived a time like that.

Many in our world (maybe even you?) are in the pit, feeling hopeless, in turmoil, betrayed, and scared.

Where, or in whom, do you place your hope during these hard times?

My hope is not in myself. I’m way too fragile and inadequate.  But my hope is in God, the maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 124:8

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

Psalm 3:3

Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,

that hovers over its young,

He spread His wings and caught them,

He carried them on His pinions. 

Deuteronomy 32:11

 

I waited patiently for the Lord;

and He inclined unto me and heard my cry.

Psalm 40:1

 

In my distress I called upon the Lord;

I cried out to my God,

And from His temple [in the heavens] He heard my voice;

My cry for help came into His ears.

2 Samuel 22:7

 

I pray that you find your hope in the Lord. He is dependable and faithful. This, I know.

Much love, Mimi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keepin' It Real, Mimi's Messages

Lean On Me Cuz It’s Lonely Up In Here

Ok, truth; how many of y’all just get stinkin’ lonely right now?

Let me see your hands!

Yep, and it’s one of those emotions that we hide, perhaps afraid if we admit it, there will be a landslide of others to follow. And well they may! But here’s the deal, once we admit that we are lonely, hopefully it will prompt us to reach out to others. And you can be guaranteed that there is a huge, immeasurable cloud of loneliness over the world right now. Isolation is not good for most of us. Perhaps introverts are faring better than those who love to be around people, but not being allowed to choose can take its toll on even those.

What can we do? Lean on each other!!

Loneliness is a room with a door that you open from the inside.

Admit that we need the voice, the face, of another person. No, we can’t leave our homes, but with all the ways to do face time with people, unless you have no phone or computer with a camera, you do have choices. Messaging, texting, old-fashioned email and calling are also choices and create that connection.

Now, because I have two teens in my home with me, you might think that I wouldn’t be lonely (but you do know that one can be lonely even when married or in a group of people, right?). And most of the time I am not, even though there are challenges. My son, who is mentally like a 5 year old, talks incessantly about Pokemon and what they do and who he has evolved into and who he caught–on and on continuously. Every 5 to 10 minutes all.day.long. Yeah, it gets a little tiring and challenging for my own mental health. (And makes writing, praying, and reading a bit tough, ha!) By the end of the day my ears are tired. If it would just warm up a bit here in Michigan we’d be outside more! My sweet daughter is usually holed up in her bedroom most of the day, only coming out if I make her do something or to get food, during which time we connect a bit. Our conversations are minimal because she has always struggled with communicating face-to-face and “doesn’t know what to talk about”. Thank goodness she likes to text! She is a true introvert. But, I do get a couple of hugs a day from them, and I treasure being with them. I am not alone. (By the way this is Day 33 that we have stayed at home. All three of us are at risk, so when they closed the schools on March 13, that was it for us.) 

What I long for is adult conversation. The kind where you talk about what you are thinking and look into each other’s eyes, and laugh at the funny stuff. And give hugs and eat together. Good thing I have to stay behind the door when the UPS guy comes by, or else I’d tackle him and say, “TALK to me!! Tell me anything! What is it like on the other side?”.  🙂 

So anyway, I found this video while chasing other rabbits, and thought it quite appropriate, especially since the participants are from all over the world, and this loneliness is worldwide. 

When my heart begins hurting with the loneliness I feel, I start jabbering to Jesus. He is with me. That’s what His name, Emmanuel, means: “God with us”. Yes, loneliness could take me down a dark hole, (shoot, even writing this is stirring those old feelings) but here’s what I do to stop it in its tracks. I say, “God my heart hurts right now. I miss having friends around me. I miss having someone to love me. I hate being alone. I need to talk to someone. But I know you are there. So will you please touch my heart? I want to be released of this hurt. And show me how to help someone else, so my mind is off of myself. Thank you for your love and faithfulness.” 

And then I get busy. I read (something fun to give my brain a rest), cook, walk outside, text or message someone, go sit with my son and see what he’s doing, (as if I didn’t already know! Ha!) 

I know that this time will pass, but loneliness is not something new for me. All of my immediate family is gone, and the rest live far away. I’ve had a lot of grief to deal with (loneliness, to me, is a kind of grief), even the loss of close friends when I retired. Perhaps that’s why I have tools to deal with it. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, and that sometimes it doesn’t take a while to ease. It does. But I’m so thankful and blessed that I have Emmanuel beside me, walking this crazy journey with me!

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.

Mother Teresa

Reach out to others. Especially those you know are alone. My heart breaks for the ones in hospitals and nursing homes who can’t have family with them. And I pray that those who haven’t, in the past, been very attentive to their loved ones in nursing homes, or with their elders home alone, can now understand better the importance of contact with them. I know that when I was in my twenties I sure didn’t see the value of a visit with my grandmother, and I regret it now.  Let’s just say that the hardships of the past have given me more compassion. 

That’s all for now. Please be safe, stay home, find ways to reach out, and pray for others. And hey, please comment below so I know you are out there! 🙂

Much, much love. (I appreciate you!)

Passionista Mimi 

P.S. If you have ever wondered if God loves you, read my post “Does God Know Me?”

 

Supporting verses:

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matthew 28:20 “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Inspiration, Keepin' It Real

Life Ain’t Always Sunshine and Roses

So here’s the deal.

It’s NOT always sparkle and shine in my life.

There are days like this week when I am burdened for a precious friend and feel helpless in the situation. When I am a bit tired of working, parenting alone, being this age with kids, being indoors, wanting something fun, loneliness, just the keeping on keeping on.

And there are some days when the only prayer I can form is, “Oh God, oh God, oh God!”

That is the real truth, folks. I get in those places too.

I thought maybe you should know.

I never want you to feel as if I downplay your pain. Or suggest that your difficult situation can just go away “poof”.

But I post the positive things I do because SOMEONE needs to read them.

And in my inner spirit those things are ME. They are what I do to keep doing.

I smile, I pray, I spend time being thankful, I reach out to others, I help others if at all possible….

All these things help to center me and bring the “yuck” back into perspective.

I do know that when we fill our brains with positive thoughts,

we attract more positive energy to ourselves.

And that is what being thankful is about.

That is what “speaking to the mountain” (see previous post) is about.

We actually DO have a choice in how we spend our focus/energy.

And when I’m in a funk, I choose to spend mine by rejoicing in all the good I see around me.

Being thankful for the many, many good things in my life.

And realizing that these funks don’t last forever.

Two things I know–God is always faithful, and the sun will eventually shine!

 

This is re-posted from three years ago! Really applies to today. 

Be well, safe, and blessed in these crazy time!

Much love and big hugs, 

Passionista

Inspiration, Keepin' It Real, Raw Honest Brave

A Call to Prayer

There’s a sense of urgency in my spirit this morning. 

We need to pray for our nation!

We have become acutely aware of how helpless we really are.

We need God!

Pray that God will pour out His mercy,

His grace, His love, and cover our nation with it.

The world too.

But today, it’s our nation that needs urgent, heart-felt prayers.

If you are one who prays,

please do that with total abandon, urgency, full commitment.

There’s a shifting going on.

There is a power moving among us.

God’s power! God has commanded His people to pray.

He said that if we will He will hear from heaven and heal our land.

We must, as a nation, turn from our wicked ways.

There is so much evil in our country.

Bad things happening. Besides the virus.

Please pray that God would move in a mighty way.

We are the nation that is “one nation under God’.

It’s time to rise up to that calling!

Only God can heal our nation.

Only God can bring life and truth to our darkness.

Won’t you join with me for the next several days and

pray with an urgency that you’ve never had before?

Won’t you begin to take back our nation for God through prayer? 

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

This is not a “pretty” verse in the Bible.

It holds a condition–but also a promise.

We need to stand in the gap before the Lord for our nation,

repenting of the evil and sin that has taken us over.

This is not the time to say “it’s not me”

and just wring our hands about how dire the situation is.

It is time to TAKE ACTION!

Go to our knees before mighty God and

entreat Him to turn our nation around.

To heal our land. 

You may not like this.

You may not like me.

But this is what is on my heart and mind today.

And I am compelled to write it.

Do what you will. I pray that you will take it to heart.

Now is your time.

 

 

Just know that I am there with you.

Much love and prayer, Passionista

 

Inspiration

Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light In The Darkness

Put this where you can see it often! Right click, save, print it off.

Worship God with me! Call on His name. Petition the throne of heaven for God to move on our earth! 

Here’s the video if you want to join me. Way Maker

Way Maker

You are here
Moving in our midst
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Working in this place
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Moving in our midst
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Working in this place
I worship you
I worship you

 

Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are
Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are

You are here
Touching every heart
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Healing every heart
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Turning lives around
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Mending every heart
I worship you
I worship you

 

Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
That is who you are
Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are

You wipe away all tears
You mend the broken heart
You’re the answer to it all
Jesus
You wipe away all tears
You mend the broken heart
You’re the answer to it all (to it all)
Jesus

Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are
Way maker
Miracle worker
Promise keeper
Light in the darkness
My God
That is who you are

You are here
Touching every life
I worship you
I worship you
You are here
Meeting every need
I worship you
I worship you

Songwriter: Osinachi Okoro

May God hold you and keep you safe.

Blessings, Mimi