When you need to let go…or when life runs full with love, forgiveness and all the colors mingling

GOOD HARBOR DUNES - Copy

These are the moments of our life.

So let’s not waste a single one.

Because they pass as quickly as summer.

Breathe deep.

Think deeper.

And choose wisely.

Know God.

And know that He loves you and me like crazy. No. Matter. What!

Hold tight to all that is dear but know when it’s time to let go.

Say farewell.

Then move forward.

With a tear and a smile.

So much grace.

And gratitude abundant.

For life is a gift in all the thousands of moments, one after the other after the other.

Unwrap each one fully present for they slip away like sand between our fingers.

Vanishing like vapor.

So let’s hold them in our hearts rejoicing more than regretting.

Forgiving all.

And foregoing the grudge so we can be free.

Free to live.

Slowly.

With intention. Like we mean it. Realizing the value of the gift.

Feeling deeply all our feelings yet controlled by none.

Resting.

Letting our hearts be His.

Still, soft and wide open.

Receiving.

So we can give more.

Taking life moment by precious moment as it is not as we would have it.

All glory to God.

Savoring sunrises and sunsets passing in a heart beat.

And life flowing and overflowing like a waterfall tumbling over the edge, spraying rainbows as it crashes below.

Or like a watercolor where broad brush strokes of a thousand tiny dots of color mingle and meld.

Each one touching the other.

Deeply.

And together creating beauty to inspire.

Bleeding into each other.

One.

Blood covering all in Light diffusing softly over mountains misty in the distance.

Rising to meet the sun…

 

The house is sold. Summer is unofficially over. The baton was passed yesterday in a significant shift within our close-knit church family. And after a summer together under one roof my sons {and daughter-in-love} have moved into their next chapters, one flying far away before dawn today, relocating to the West Coast.

BEN TO WASHINGTON 1

BEN TO WASHINGTON 3

BEN TO WASHINGTON 2

BEN TO WASHINGTON 4

All is as it should be even if my heart feels faint.

And what about your heart this morning? Do you feel a tug?

Because letting go can do that to us. It tugs and it tears. And God, He uses it to tether us more closely to Himself.

So are you reaching out to your Lord in your season of letting go?

Yet through all the changes we are under cover.

Banner over us is flapping in a summer breeze, love held high by the One who never changes.

Not in morning sun or evening shadows.

And though my woman’s heart is wistful today, and my Michael holds me long and slow,  and I am tired, physically drained and spent from a season full to overflowing with wonderful, wearying changes — —

I look up and open my hands and my heart. You, too?

Holding on to Him while letting go in love.

Only to receive…

~sheila

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Your child could die! To wives who allow husbands to abuse their children and believe God wants them to stand by their man…

BULLY - Copy

In this life there are little boy bullies in big men bodies.

Mean and cruel.

They hurt their families and justify their actions. They let their anger rip and then they say sorry.

And the wife stands by her man.

Believing God wants her to.

Believing he will change.

Believing lies!

Abusive, angry men, unless they truly surrender their hurting, hardened hearts to Jesus which rarely happens, never change.

They keep on hurting those weaker and smaller than they are. They take out their own inner pain on defenseless women and children rendering blows that break spirits.

And blows that can kill.

Maybe when they were little their daddy or step-daddy beat up on them, or cursed at them heinously, or told them lies about themselves that cut tender spirits turning them savage. Or maybe their daddy sexually abused them. And the hate and anger in their heart comes out all lethal and loveless.

And that little boy broken who grew up to be a bully has hurts that no doubt run a mile wide. But his sins run wider. Yet he runs away from the only One who could ever heal him.

And everything in life is a choice.

We choose to love.

We choose to hate.

We choose to break cycles of violence.

We choose to perpetuate cycles of violence.

And the wickedness continues to the next generation and the next for those abused often become abusers themselves. Or they marry abusers.

ANGRY MAN

Angry men who had issues with their own fathers, or mothers, are allowed to hurt children and teenagers because they can.

The women that they married are as broken inside as they are. As needy for someone to love them as the next broken heart. And in her neediness, fear, ignorance, and in her choice…she stays.

And stands by as her husband physically harms her son or daughter. Making her guilty, too.

And those precious babies that grew in her womb and were fed at her breast, the ones she says she loves with all her heart forever, are abandoned to the monster living in the house.

Year after year. Decade upon decade. Marking anniversaries that are a sham overshadowed by anger, violence and unrepentant sin. And she prays and quotes scripture, and screams and cries and threatens. One day she hates him. The next day she tells herself and anyone who will listen that he is the best husband and dad in the world. And the dysfunctional, co-dependent cycle continues.

Even abusers can sometimes do, say or buy nice things for their families and behave appropriately.

But mostly they steal from their families joy and peace. robbing children and teenagers of the security and stability of growing up loved.

And some abusive men even claim to love God in one breath, and then in the next spew evil words of death to their children or wife demanding that everything go their way.

The craziness perpetuates and wives justify their husband’s actions, refusing to acknowledge the truth.

Abusers are fearful, little men who wreck big havoc on their families.

They throw their weight around and throw punches that one day might kill a child. Or a wife. They kick and scream and through temper tantrums like the hurting, sinful two year old they are inside. Kicking wives, children and maybe even the dog, rendering internal injuries that one day may prove fatal.

Fatal!

Narcissistic, they only love themselves for shame and pity’s sake, having no real idea that God loves them very much while hating their terrible deeds.

And a wife who stands by her man as he destroys the souls and bodies of herself or her babies, whether they are newborn or 18, is unwise and mislead about her role of following her husband.

God will NEVER call a wife to submit to torment and terror. God NEVER says it is okay for a man to beat or abuse a woman or children. 

NEVER!

Please wake up, Wife.

This man that you married for better or worse is not a godly husband or dad.

He may wear a mask in public and at church, he may even go forward for altar calls all teary eyed, but the changes are never lasting. He may be kind to neighbors and friends who believe he is a great man but behind closed doors — watch out!! Nothing EVER gives a man the right to physically or verbally harm his family.

Dear wife my heart cries out to your heart — all hurting, fearful, and angry inside — You claim to love your kids with all your heart. And I know you do, but the love got twisted long ago and you are allowing abuse.

Parents are called to protect, nurture and guide their children to successful adulthood. And there is NEVER an excuse for an angry man to ever lay a finger on a woman or child unless life is at stake.

But the only life that is at stake is the life of the one abused.

GRAVESTONE

Do you really want to attend your child’s funeral someday, Wife?

Try to imagine for moment how you will feel the day they lower your son or daughter’s coffin six feet under and you realize you had the power to prevent their untimely death. And no amount of tears will ever bring them back to you.

If you truly love God and your babies, then leave. Today.

Get out and get help before it is too late.

And in your leaving — not going for counseling again or asking the pastors to pray again — you just might shake your spouse awake so he can see how evil and broken and small and hard he is inside.

And you will save the lives of those you love.

Reality is that you live with a ticking time bomb.

He doesn’t respect you, but exploits you.

He doesn’t love you, but uses you.

He’s not proud of how lovely you truly are, but flaunts you to boost his own fragile ego.

And you let him.

But God.

DAD SON

God truly loves you and your children so let Him be your Maker who is your Husband and the Father of the fatherless. God will never leave you, He will make the way, He will provide and protect you and your babies if you will only let Him be the One that you cling to.

Please open your eyes to the hideousness at home and be warned that more than four children DIE EVERYDAY in the United States as a result of abuse.

Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.

As many as two-thirds of adults in treatment for drug abuse report having been abused as children.

LEAVE the abuser that you live with and let God deal with him.

Or would you rather wait until your child dies at the hands of a man who is no man at all?

Pick up the phone, Wife, and make a call to change your life for the better.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

For adult survivors of childhood abuse these resources can help.

And here’s an article When Fathers Kill Their Kids

Other information can be found at ChildHelp.org

May God our good Father bless you and keep you and give you grace and courage to leave. Now.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

~sheila

Photo credits:
Bully
Angry man
Gravestone
Dad and son

 

Summer morning splendid and suspended and my heart melting…

CANTELOUPE 4

Slightly sweet scent of freshly sliced and very ripe cantaloupe greets me as I pad softly into the kitchen this morning.

Bowls of apricots, skin like micro-fiber velour, and bright red tomatoes still attached to the vine, rest on the counter.

All but one other than myself still slumbers. Him my beloved other. And our empty nest home now full of children grown returned for a season.

All of us together under one roof. Again.

Season of healing and of tying up loose ends as this old house — home to me and my three sons for so long and home to me and him, my wedded darling, for the last three years after so many days and nights alone — seems ready to pass on to a new owner.

And in saying so long to the home where my heart has hung for more than two decades, I embrace the gifts of past, present and future laid out before me.

So many gifts for my heart to hold. Opening each one slow in order to savor. To tuck away in memory for days ahead when winter winds whip cold.

Bravely and gratefully greeting each new day as it slides off the calendar as fast as my once little boys of summers long ago would glide down the big metal slide at the schoolyard.

Summer!

Glorious season stretching before me with gregarious color everywhere and spilling from window boxes and sunlight long as it leans into evenings still but for the sound of crickets and children laughing.

Cracking open French doors to let in morning and birdsong sweet as prayers of praise and my heart soaring heavenward with the sheer pleasure of the moment.

Suspended and splendid.

GREEN BACKYARD

Dawn has brightened the sleeping sky and slowly infused it with a blue like that of robin’s eggs. Limbs out back lush as key limes fill my view and willows languid blow lazily in the gentle morning breeze.

All of it such good gifts from a sweet Father who loves without limit. Me and him. My babies and their loves so big. You.

And my heart melting on an early summer morning late in June…

~sheila

Blessings on your weekend, friends! And my apologies for being absent these last few days from blogging, but with the pending house sale and waiting for contracts to sign, looking at local apartments and tending to beloved family members these blessedly long hours of summer seem fleetingly short. Thank you for grace…

 

 

#BringBackOurGirls…When it’s the day after Mother’s Day and my heart hangs heavy with moms a world away as they wait for the return of their daughters

MD5

Yesterday marked Mother’s Day in the States and many moms across the country celebrated with their daughters and sons.

Surely there was lots of hugging and laughing and breaking of bread.

Or being outside in sunshine glorious, warmed by the Son.

Breathing and living free and knowing that any day is mother’s day and my own heart rejoicing as my three sons and daughter-in-love recently return to the Hudson Valley — best Mother’s Day gift — after having been gone from home base for more than two years.

Blessings ever flowing like the river this valley is named for and my heart flowing grateful to God for His mercies tender.

Yet midst all the  joy in my little world yesterday my heart kept traveling a world away to join with several hundred mothers’ hearts broken and trembling.

Their girls stolen.

Held against the will of all that is good and a world captive, holding it’s collective breath with prayers of all sorts rising to the Father for a speedy and safe release and return.

And I thought of Rachel weeping.

A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
Matthew 2:18

BringBackOurGirls

My mother’s heart hurting for these mothers missing and me screaming inside:

Let. Them. Go.

Wondering what can I do? How I can help in light of this latest world travesty?

And this issue overwhelming goes far broader and deeper than just these 300 precious souls.

For all the world over there is slavery and many are trapped.

Most abhorrent being the bondage that entraps human souls in the strength and force of another. Bullies abounding with human life sold and traded like so many commodities on Wall Street. Women and children and even men helpless. Trafficked and terrorized. And hearts that love them agonizing at home for those they have lost.

And slavery not so long ago abolished here in America.

Slavery going back to the Egypt of Moses. Or the Germany of Hitler.

And beginning in the garden glorious.

And 300 beautiful girls — daughters like yours and mine — captive,  lives shackled and hearts slipping fearful into hopelessness.

My heart hurting badly and my eyes filling and my soul crying out to God asking why?

Knowing that there will always be unanswered questions in life. Questions that bring into question God’s goodness. God quickly blamed for all the bad, buck stopping with Him.

But God is good and His intentions for us are good, yet bad happens in our fallen, loveless world.

And there is another with power on this planet, an evil other limited that fell from grace so long ago. Stalking and taking captive the daughter of God. And all us daughters of Eve falling prey, and sons of Adam, captive still.

And the struggle between good and bad continuing until Jesus Himself returns to set everything right, liberating us all.

And evil swirling in the world swirls in our very own hearts. If we are brave and honest we confess — instead of blame — that we are the worst of sinners. And it doesn’t matter if we go to church every Sunday or have a great knowledge about God with scripture verses sunk in memory.

Truth be told we all have a dark side.

And we all have a choice.

We are free to choose to follow Truth or keep living the lie.

And sometimes we choose poorly, giving into evil and doing bad to our fellow man, woman or child. Hurting spouses and siblings and friends, thinking more of ourselves in those moments and less about the tender hearts of others that will be cut or destroyed by the evil falling freely from our lips. Or our hands. Or our choices.

Yet the evil that slips from us inside is but the dead husks of the live sins striving for supremacy in our hearts.

And when we are ruled by our sins we are hardly free.

Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. Then the disciples came and said to him, Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying? {And Jesus answered –}Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.
Matthew 15: 10-12; 16-20

And Gandhi was right. We each need to be the change we want to see in the world.

Our choice to do good, do right, to please God right where we are — in our marriages, families, jobs and thinking — can be like that tiny butterfly whose flapping wings on this side of the world makes a world of difference miles away.

So I ask you as I ask myself — in our free will how are we choosing?

With prayers never ceasing for the freedom of daughters captive, let us pray for our own freedom.

In Christ. The One who came to free us from our sins.

And once free, to become the amazing loving beings that He has created us to be. Me and you no longer slaves.

For Love is the most powerful, liberating force in the universe for change and for the good of us all.

Will you join with me and Michael in praying without ceasing for every single stolen girl?

Including all other women, children and men in any form of bondage or trafficking here in the U.S. as well as worldwide — to find their way home, back into the waiting arms that love them, the arms longing to hold their loved ones again.

And for all those mother’s hearts aching.

Father, dear Father, #BringBackOurGirls and bring back our very own souls from the slavery to selfishness and sin that propagates evil in our world. That we all might walk this earth free from the entanglements that destroy us and every good thing, trusting in Your steadfast love and goodness even when we do not understand why certain things bad happen.

Guarding our hearts that You see so clearly even when we cannot so that we might do our part for Love’s sweet sake…

~sheila

PLEASE consider sharing this post and as you do please pray for freedom for these beautiful young women. And us all.

 

An open letter to my niece on her first Mother’s Day…and to moms everywhere words of encouragement for the journey of motherhood

allie-pink

My dearest Allie —

I remember your birth as if it were just a few days ago.

Gazing at your tiny face and those little fingers and toes.

Holding you as you slept.

Changing your diapers.

And now you are changing his, your sweet little man.

5 MONTHS

The journey of motherhood has just begun for you, but you will blink a few times and Easton will be all grown up.

For time never stands still, Allie, never waits. And moments lost are lost forever.

So make every moment of mothering your son — every moment of your life — count, packing them with purpose and lots and lots of love all patient and kind.

SLEEPING

And mothering a child will take everything you’ve got and even more. And when you reach a moment where you don’t know what to do — or you’re so exhausted you cry right along with your baby — remember that God is watching over all.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
    He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
    he gently leads those that have young.
Isaiah 40:11

So to you, my dear niece all grown up, may your very first Mother’s Day hold all sorts of special blessings that you will long treasure in your mother’s heart. I love you, Allie.

And if I could turn back time to when your three cousins where little boys there would be a thing or two I would do differently having the wisdom and experience of this side of motherhood, nest now empty.

Hindsight yielding the greatest lessons.

So for you and moms everywhere, may my humble words be of value as you shepherd your children’s hearts and celebrate Mother’s Day — words gleaned from having done much wrong in my early years of first marriage and mothering, learning the hard way, and losing much. And my babies losing, too.

hands-frame

>>When a woman becomes a mother her entire world changes as she falls deeply in love with this new little person who grew under her heart. She fills with all consuming love and joy and everything is full of wonder. And no matter how old her child is, he or she will always be her baby.

>>Yet motherhood is a holy calling, a sacred privilege, entrusting a woman to raise and mold a baby to become a fine, upstanding man or woman. There are times when this will scare you to death and you will wonder if your stumbling on the path is ruining your child. But God’s grace is bigger than all our mothering mistakes and messes.

>> The most important gift you can give your child is to love and respect their daddy well. And to work at creating a strong, marriage. A woman is usually a wife first before she is a mother and that will always be her primary role.

>>Strengthening communication with your husband and spending special time alone together dating each other your whole life through will go a long way in growing a lifelong marriage. So will praying together. A solid marriage gives children security and a firm foundation upon which to launch their own lives.

>>When it’s you and him against the kids make sure you are always in your husband’s corner. Present to your children a unified parental front.

>>Discipline your sons and daughters in agreement with each other and settle your differences in parenting behind closed doors. May neither you nor your spouse forget this. When parents are pitted against each other, children can use the opportunity to their advantage. And that will ultimately be their disadvantage.

>>More is caught than taught so teach your children well by your own example. Some mothers instruct their children to do as they say, but truly it’s more important that they see you doing the right thing consistently. You are their first teacher.

>>And sometimes we have to play catch up and grow up right alongside our babies. God is a good Father and wonderful Counselor who gives us wisdom and courage to change and for all the challenges along the way.

>>Spend time and lots of it with your babies for babies grow up much too fast. Careers are wonderful and important and women have much to offer in that arena but childhood lasts only for a heartbeat in time. One hundred years from now what will matter most is that you made a difference in the life of your children.

>>When you mess up, and all mothers do, humble yourself and tell your children you are sorry, that you are wrong for having overreacted. Ask them to forgive you. And older moms, it is never too late to do this. Children are wonderfully forgiving and tremendously loving.

>>Remember to breathe in all the moments and record them in your heart. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Laundry can wait till tomorrow.

>>Speak positive words of truth in love. Never punish your children in anger only discipline in love.

>> Little things mean the most. Laugh easily and often.

>>And hug your babies all. the. time.

~aunt sheila

Please share this blog with other mothers.

And read some of my nieces stories of how she combines motherhood with the world of fashion on her blog, Diapers and Dressforms.

Linking with Serenity Now