Author Archives: bgraciesmith

Pondering………

Pondering………

……….When  ”We the People” watch a live cam of April the Giraffe and anxiously await the birth of her baby, but stay silent about the 100′s of human babies aborted daily….Do “We the People” have our priorities all messed up?

……..When the current day Women libbers encourage women to #Shoutoutyourabortion, but ignore the millions of women who are silently living with emotional trauma from theirs…..Is the movement for or against women?

……….When a U.S. state brings legal charges against a filmmaker for exposing an organization that sells baby parts for profit but protects the criminal organization….Does this state believe the 1st Amendment is outdated and that some organizations are above the law? healing path

……….When a Nation no longer recognizes the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death…..What happens to the Nation?

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God’s Love Surrounds Me

As I headed east this evening on my commute home, I wept openly.  With Christian music playing on the radio, the events of the griefday muddled my mind. There were words spoken by a frightened young woman, sadness and grief seen in tired eyes, and the conversation and stories about yet another leader who had strayed from the teachings of our faith.  My heart was filled with heavy anguish. For a brief moment, I wondered is this how God feels as He looks at the current state of affairs.  Does His heart grieve for the decisions His children make which have rippling effects across our families, communities, and Nation?  My next thought was “Get a grip… I’m teetering on the edge of hopelessness.”

Almost as a last resort, I began to pray. First in words I knew, then with “groans too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)  The anguish started to lift as the lyrics of a favorite song came to mind.

“…….and there’s nothing I can do.
My only hope is to trust You
I trust You, Lord.
In the eye of the storm,
You remain in control
In the middle of the war,
You guard my soul.
You alone are the anchor,
when my sails are torn.
Your love surrounds me
In the eye of the storm
…”

By the time I turned off the main highway and onto the last stretch of road towards home, I sensed God’s love surrounding me. He wasn’t going to let me sink into a hole of despair. He had replaced my anguish with peace.  In those few short miles, the situations which concern me hadn’t changed but I had.

Where are you tonight?  Have you experienced the rippling effect of bad decisions? Are you weary from fighting the war?  Did you just think “Get a grip?” If you are weary, teetering on the brink of despair? My hope is God uses this song to encourage you too!

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Do Something

Again, I say……………It’s time for us to do something!IMG_20140812_095850762_HDR

This time it is a well-known, beloved comedian and actor. Another family left in the wake, dealing with grief and asking why?

A nation in mourning! Every news station has covered his death; social media is blown up with his pictures, quotes and movie clips.  All of us join his family in their grief and ask why?

Isn’t it time?  Time for you, me, all of us to do something.

It’s time for us to recognize the serious of mental illnesses and disorders.

It’s time for us to move quickly and remove the stigma associated with these disorders. Helping enable those suffering in silence to get the treatment and help they need.

It’s time for us to ask the hard questions and seek the right answers.  If you or someone you love is dealing with depression, don’t be afraid to seek help.

There are organizations which can help you and/or your loved one.  Are you thinking of harming yourself or others? If so, seek help NOW.  Give yourself permission to call the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine (1-800-273-8255).

Other national and international groups such as To Write Love on Her Arms, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Freedom from Fear provide lists of resources and ways to find help for depression.

There are local mental health offices in most communities and cities across the nation.  Check your local phone listing or google mental health in your county.  Seek out a support group. These groups can provide practical suggestions and emotional support for individuals and families dealing with depression and other mental disorders.

For you and your loved one, it’s time for you to DO SOMETHING!

For us, as a nation, mourning the loss of another individual to a mental disorder, it’s time for us to DO SOMETHING!

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Tattletale

tattletaleBack in January I blogged about some unfinished business concerning unforgiveness in my life. Here we are 7 months later and I haven’t gotten much further in this business of forgiving.  However, in my devotional time on Friday, God showed a truth I hadn’t seen before.

I was reading through Overcoming Unforgiveness, a chapter in Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word, and she confirms it is ok to talk to God about these people.  She writes, “I mean learning to tell on them to God. Yes, I’m talking about tattling.  Learning to tell God what they’ve done to you and how upset you are.  Learning to tell Him all the things you feel and how unfair you believe someone has been to you.”

This is so NOT christianese for me to say.  But I love the thought of tattling to God!  Growing up I was never given permission to tattle and if I did, I was in big time trouble.  But now, I feel free to tattle all I want to my Abba Father. The thought makes me giddy!

God even confirmed it through one of the verses Beth shared.  Psalm 62:8 says, “Trust in him at all times, O people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge!”  Refuge, there’s that word again.  My 2014 word!  Not only has God given me permission to tattle, but He is promising to be my refuge when I do!

Now, let me add a disclaimer here. I realize God doesn’t want us to stay in the tattletale mode from now to eternity. Yet, he does give us permission to pour out our hearts to Him. The Good. The Bad….and more than I like to admit. The Ugly!  My thoughts are that if once God and I get through this tattletale business, we will start working on the unforgiveness.  Doesn’t that sound like a great plan!

For now, I gotta go.  I have some tattling to do!  What about you?

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It’s Time For Us To Do Something

It’s time for us to do something!anguish

There has been another shooting.

More families dealing with unspeakable grief. 

Additional rhetoric by the media.  However, still no long term solutions for the treatment of individuals suffering with a mental illness.

In the song Do Something, Matthew West sings, “I’m sick and tired of all the talking! …. I want to be someone who stands up as says, “I’m going to do something!”  His words echo my heart this morning.  Isn’t it time, we do something?

A couple of opinions you will NOT read in this post are: 1.) It’s the families fault and 2.)  We need gun control.

In this particular tragedy the focus should not be on gun control.   It should be on how our society addresses and treats individuals suffering from a mental illness. 

My heart broke as I read the article which pointed out the shooter’s (Elliot Roger) family had contacted police in late April.  Upon visiting with the young man, the police deemed him stable and left it at that.  In a manifesto written by Elliot, he stated, “If they (police) had demanded to search my room … That would have ended everything. For a few horrible seconds I thought it was all over.”

“What if’s” and “could have been’s,” cannot change the outcome of this latest shooting.  However, serious conversations and immediate action in regards to education and treatment of individuals with mental illnesses can.

To date, I have written very little about the personal aspects my family experienced with Mom’s mental illness.   However, as I watched news coverage and read articles about Elliot Roger.  The memories flooded my mind.  There were those days when I sat next to Mom as she waited for a mental health evaluation.  As a family, we recognized a need for intervention and hospitalization in order for her mood to become stable.  However, even trained professionals, sometimes don’t get it right. The manipulation characteristic in mental illness can, at times, be difficult for even professionals to recognize. There were numerous instances when we were sent on our way, and Mom continued down the slippery slope into mania and/or depression.  Most of the time when Mom threatened to harm, it was to herself.  As I recall, there were only two instances she threatened harm to someone else.  Both times, she was taken to a psychiatric ward before the threat was carried out. It goes without saying that I am thankful Mom received the needed intervention and treatment, yet, I can’t overlook the fact there are hundreds of individuals and families, like Elliot Roger’s, who do not.

So, when reading the account on Rodgers, I couldn’t fault the police.  They are not trained mental health professionals.  They did what they were supposed to do, a welfare check.  I have no doubt the manipulative side of the mental illness Elliot suffered with, talked them into believing all was well.

Today, we know all is was not well!

Today, our entire nation should grieve along with the Roger’s family.  This family recognized the signs, they asked for help.  However, somewhere between April 30th and May 23rd, the system failed.  I am not talking about the police department.  And I certainly am not talking about the family.  I know from personal experience how frustrating it can be.  You realize a family member needs intervention and immediate psychiatric treatment, yet there is nowhere to turn.  I can’t tell you how many times we heard “she needs to be threatening harm to herself or someone else, before we are able to intervene.”  

Why does it have to get to that point? Individuals suffering from mental illnesses are typically not going to recognize and/or admit they are on a slippery slope spiraling downward. The family members who deal with these illnesses on a daily basis know better than any professional or policeman when their loved one is in danger.

When the individuals doing the evaluation listened to Mom instead of us, I always went away feeling angry, frustrated and helpless.   Even though I know that sooner than later, she would be admitted.  It was the in between time, the waiting and wondering what was going to happen time, that was paralyzing.

The helplessness and frustration had to be overwhelming for the Rogers family.  They too had to be waiting and wondering what next.  And the “what next” which came for Elliott and the entire Rogers family is something many of us will never, ever have to walk through.  They are experiencing a grief few of us will ever endure and a sorrow no one should ever have to bear.

Matthew West continues to sing, “Right now, it’s time for us to do something. If not now, then when will we see an end? To all this pain. It’s not enough to do nothing. It’s time for us to do something…”

Before another individual struggling with a mental illness reaches their point of no return.

Before another shooting.

Before more families have to deal with unspeakable grief.

Before we talk anymore about gun control, let’s take a good hard look at mental illnesses, the diagnosis and treatment for… and then begin to search for positive, life changing solutions.

It’s time for us to do something!

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A Change is Gonna Come

detourRoad Work Ahead.  

Warning:  Construction Area.  

Right Lane Closed.  

Detour ahead. …

This spring it seems that every street I travel on in Lawrence has road construction going on.  And let me say this, I am not the most patient when it comes to road construction.  Inevitably, when the right lane is closing, someone speeds up and wants in ahead of me. Due to the road work, I often have to change the course of my travel.   And why does my travel time from one place to the next seem to get longer each time I am in the car?

As I sat down to write this post, I realized how my life parallel’s road construction. 

 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 1:6 NASB)

Ok, so I know He is doing a work in me.  I realize with road construction, once the work is complete, the “ride” is always smoother.  However, some days I desire for His work in me to be over with already!  I want to speed up the process and in doing so; I get ahead of my God.

Then there are those days, He takes me in a direction totally opposite of my plans.   A detour of sorts.  Traveling on road I am unfamiliar with.  A course which scares the “bejeebers “out of me!   

The past sixteen months God has orchestrated course changes I would have never dreamed possible.  Not only has there been a geographical difference, there has been foundational development.  Even with all the changes, there is one thing I am sure of……He isn’t done with me yet….a change is gonna come!

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My. Heart. Grieves.

My heart grieves this morning! It grieves with a family I don’t know, who is grieving a daughter I never met. whole in heart

My heart grieves because the circumstances of this story are all too similar to tragedies of other children all across our land.

My heart grieves because we as a nation haven’t figured out the answer yet! And since we don’t have any answers, there will be another family, another child whose story ends up resembling this one.

I cried out to God this morning, not only for this family in a neighboring State, who mourn the loss of their child.  But I cry out for us, as people, to mourn the condition of our Nation.

As I ranted this morning to my husband about those few short hours after this child was taken, he chastened me. He was correct in doing so. We all have an idea without me expressing it, what happened in those few short hours. There certainly is no need for me to cast any additional thoughts into an already horrid situation.

And so, I. Continue. To. Grieve!

If you have followed this blog at all, you know my feelings in regards to the easy access of online pornography. You know I believe with all my heart the escalation our Nation is witnessing in sex trafficking, sexual assaults and other sex crimes are directly related to the apparent open door to online pornography.

throw awyMy heart grieves because as our Nation moves farther from the One true answer; baby, children and even adults seemed to be viewed more and more as objects. Objects to be abused, used and thrown away.  Seen less as a precious life, and more as a worthless commodity to be used and then thrown away.

My. Heart. Grieves.

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Unfinished Business………………Unforgiveness

Unforgiveness!

Unfinished Business in 2014….has to start with unforgiveness, at least for me.

I know the scriptures and understand God’s stance on not forgiving those who have hurt or offended me and/or my family.  In fact, Matthew 6:14 tells me that:

“For if you forgive people their trespasses [their [a]reckless and willful sins, [b]leaving them, letting them go, and [c]giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Amplified).

Do I want my heavenly Father to forgive me? Do you even need to ask?  Darn tootin’ I want forgiveness, not only from Him, but from the long list of individuals I have hurt and/or offended!

But. Can. I. Be. Real. Here!

Just because scripture tells me to forgive and because I want to be forgiven, doesn’t mean it is always easy to forgive.  Not only is it difficult but sometime it seems I have to forgive over and over and over and …..(you get the picture).  

Forgiveness is NOT always a “piece of cake, a walk in the park or easy as ABC!” Forgiveness can be hard and sometimes just down right…UGLY!

Once again I find myself with some ugliness in my heart masked in the form of unforgiveness and I have to say..

 I.Can’t. Do. It. On. My. Own.

Some things have happened that my heart does NOT want to forgive.  (Did she really just write she doesn’t want to forgive?)  I can try to will it away.  Ignore it.  Or worse yet, I could live in unforgiveness.  But then I would be choosing to live with unfinished business.

And 2014 is about finishing our unfinished business! Right?

My Jesus was beat so bad, he was unrecognizable.  His hands and feet were nailed to the cross and he hung there to die!  After all of that…all the unbearable pain, He whispered three words!  Three words…

It is Finished!

Translated to Greek, “It is Finished” is tetelestai, an accounting term that means “paid in full.”  Did that sentence just give you goose bumps?  It should! Because what Jesus meant was that He had paid the debt owed to God.  It was gone, wiped away, erased from the ledger!  The debt was paid in full.  Paid by His grueling and cruel death on the cross. Paid! But…not His (Jesus) debt was paid, but mine, yours and those who I need to forgive!

When I remember the facts of Jesus death, in light of the truth of my life, how can I not forgive?  If Jesus suffered such a cruel harmful death to pay my debt in full, why can’t I mentally release those who have hurt me?

I. Can’t. Do. It. On. My. Own.

The next few days, my Jesus and I will be working through my unforgiveness.  With Jesus beside me, I know this unfinished business is about to be FINISHED.  Whoot. Whoot!!

What about you? Is part of your unfinished business…. unforgiveness? If so, why don’t you join me in praying this prayer? If you initially don’t feel any release after praying the prayer, keep praying it! It might take a few days or weeks, but at some point I promise, you will feel the freedom that forgiveness brings!!  And your unfinished business will be FINISHED!

Jesus, thank you! Thank you for paying my debt, for suffering through the public humiliation, anguishing pain and unfathomable suffering for me.  I don’t deserve it, yet you willingly did it.  So, can you help me? Please help me. In my eyes, ______________ doesn’t deserve to be forgiven.  You know what ________ has done. You also know that right now I don’t want to forgive, but I need to for me, for You and for ________________.

I can’t do this on my own!  But I know with you, I can be more than a conquer.  I can be a woman who is walking in freedom and finished business.  Freedom from unforgiveness!  So, please help me release ___________________ from the pain and consequences __________ caused in my life.  With You and through you Jesus, I choose to forgive.

Amen.

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Unfinished Business

Yep, it’s here…2014!  2013 has ended and we have already ushered in the start of a New Year.

But you have some unfinished business, don’t you? And some of that business dates back far beyond 2013. What’s “unfinished” might actually be more like a “battlefield in your mind, “(like Joyce Meyers calls it) or perhaps it is a condition of the heart. Either way, let’s merely call it what it is……“yuck.”

Yuck is defined as something messy or disgusting.  Messy.  Disgusting. Either word can be the simplest definition of your unfinished business. 

You know what I am talking about….

That messy relationship, which has left you broken. 

Broken. Into. Millions. Of. Pieces.  

So many pieces that you don’t know where to begin in putting your life back together. The starting point is clouded because this isn’t the first messy relationship, but a continuation of a broken heart that needs some serious mending. 

Unfinished. Business.  

Maybe it isn’t a messy relationship, but Your. Harrowing. Past.   

A past which brings thoughts and feelings that need to be numbed, or at least you think so. That’s where the messy comes in. The numbing comes in the form of a pill, a bottle or perhaps a syringe.  For some of you, it may not be some substance. Yet you still numb, don’t you? After all dulling the emotions seems safer than illuminating them. Illuminating them could totally get disgusting, right?

Broken pieces or anesthetized pain. 

Unfinished. Business.

Dear One, this “yuck” doesn’t need to linger. In fact, whether or not you believe in the God of our Universe. He is calling to you! He is pursuing you! He wants to come alongside and help as you complete this Unfinished. Business. Why not let Him into your business?

Yep. It’s scary!  No. It’s not going to be easy!  So, why not…..

Allow. God. To. Be. Your. Refuge.  

And in 2014, let’s finish this……

Unfinished. Business.

 “Trust in, lean on, rely on, and have confidence in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him. God is a refuge for us (a fortress and a high tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]” (Psalms 62:8, AMP)

 

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