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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How far have I fallen?

That's the question I asked myself this morning, after coming out of the freezing cold having biked for 7 or 8 miles in the snow like a crazy person.

But the snow in my hair and frigid wetness on my face and muddy clothes felt fine -- because again, I'm right where I need to be at this time and space and place in my life.

"Remember from where you have fallen," came the lesson today whilst I was seeking Him, loving the way Jesus complimented that wayward church first before telling them their faults and warning them to do right before worse stuff happens:

Look how far you have fallen! 

Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don't repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.

So that had me reminiscing about when I first got saved, or any times that I was closer to God than I had been lately. Not that I want to turn into some judge-y Ms. Super Saint, but I did think of some times when I spent more time with Him (usually after being reminded) -- braiding my hair and staring out the window. Perhaps not ignoring warnings...

Or the times I would maybe push away from my laptop and fast every Tuesday for a while there and not let the busyness of life and work and people consume me and take my time and attention away from my Maker.

It's a slow fade, when you give yourself away...

Well, God has my attention now.

And yeah, I may cry nearly every day -- but there are happy times too, and He is doing something to strengthen that "inner man" that I can feel and really need right now.

He keeps reminding me that this is better than it could have been. I must look at the positive side of things.

The Mighty One really does love us and is out to protect us more than punish us...

The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven is helping me too, reminding me to thank Jesus for the healing He is already performing on our broken hearts and minds and souls -- and to keep any feelings I have in perspective.

After all, a billion people would love to have our lives and the "problems" that we can't let sink us into self-pity.

Okay, I think that's enough for now. The bed and a DVR'd "Modern Family" episode and the hubby are calling -- along with so many other writing projects that will probably take a rest right now.

At least "Open Court" with those retired ball players is entertaining him for now.

There's always tomorrow, Lord willing, and I promise some fun Internet making-money talk will be coming back to these sites.

But for now, I kind of like this memoir-style expression.

It's good and well with my soul... and cathartic, just like those cleansing tears.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

21 days...

I made it past the 17 days that put my mind on that Prince song, and now that it's late into the night of the Central Time Zone that I occupy at this moment, I can't help but think of it being the 21st day.

Yes, some experts claim it takes 21 days to replace one habit with a new one, hopefully a better one.

Should I move to Chicago or California? I asked myself last night.

Well, in between fleeting thoughts of despair I am able to see the brightness of my heart turning back toward home and my husband and this wondrous and wonderful life I've been given.

"Don't go to your sterbs," they say. Oh dear God what if you are my sterb?

And therein lies the rub.

It's not all peaches and roses...it's more like wine and help me Jesus, but He is doing the job.

I finally converted to Mac land...

...and left that Apple Store beaming and guarded with my new MacBook Air 13-inch under my arm, so these new habits are good ones.

The chief change will be digging into God more than before and seeing where His road leads me, career-wise and personally.

I know it will be interesting, and remembering that it will be better than before or any silly wrong imaginations in my head helps keep each day coming and going till I stop counting the days since it felt like the bottom fell out.

Paradigm shifts abound...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sad, but hopeful...

I know this fog will lift.

It's already lifting as I type this on my iPad 2 due to my laptop's hard drive threatening imminent failure.

Yes, Black Friday may actually find me at the store with the big, tempting apple with a bite taken out of it on Michigan Avenue, so prominent and famously recognized it doesn't need a name.

Or more likely online finally adding one of those Macs to my shopping cart and actually checking out.

Less mad at God, feeling His long-term love...

I admit I was mad at the Lord for a good minute there.

I know, the nerve of me, right?

But I asked Him for signs and dreams and felt like I got the go-ahead.

I said don't let me make mistakes with my writing like I did before.

I know I acted foul in other areas but it just felt good to "conversate," as people say in that made up of a word way.

Anyway, when that project became public in the last manner that I EVER expected it to, I knew God orchestrated it that way, and I wondered why.

"He ain't tempt me, but He let me fall," Da.T.R.U.T.H. rhymed this morning in my ears on that elliptical.

Yeah, He let me fall right into His big mighty Holy One's hands.

I see now that it all had to go down in a way that I wouldn't have chosen because it really was all for the better.

Can a man scoop fire onto his lap without being burned? That's what Proverbs asks us rhetorically. No, we can't, unless our Maker snatches us away from the fire we think we're smart enough to handle, even when I'm acting stupid.

My point is that God can see the disaster ahead that we blindly or foolishly and naively walk near to, and works all things together for good to prevent some worse disaster from happening.

I think of tragic news stories avoided.

So I don't need to be mad at God, I need to be thanking Him over and over again for caring about us so much.

I realize some situations are a lot harder than this one.

No outcome may look worse than what some have endured on this earth -- and the Master plan of grace may only be understood in heaven -- but for this situation, I am finally looking past all the hurt and shock and pain I caused (and felt) to be grateful we will never have to feel the pain and hurt and shock that could've been on the other side of a steeper, more rugged cliff.

God really is good. It's all in how we look at Him whether we recognize it.

And He really does correct those whom He loves...so I am feeling his wise, long-term love as something that protected many souls, and drew the ones He ordained in holy matrimony back closer together where we all belong.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Love this song...

I love the song by Prince called "17 Days," and couldn't help but think of it today.

I'm off to buy Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival -- a great book that I'm sure God will use to change my life and those lives around me for the better.

I'm surprised Prince didn't send the copyright police for this video yet:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lead me to the Rock which is higher than I...

Admittedly, it's been good spending time with Him that I hadn't been doing consistently.

Only when I've stopped more and turned to Christ Jesus in crisis-mode is when I realized He was really waiting right there for me all along.

Today I learned that as He is in heaven, so am I right now. God help me...help us all...

So this morning as I climbed higher and higher, looking down to avoid snakes that weren't there -- I looked up and thought of that song, "I go to the Rock..."

Looks like it's based on Psalm 61:

Lead me to the rock
   that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,

   a strong tower against the enemy.

And it reminded me of all those times Jesus would just break away from the pressing crowd and climb higher and higher up a mountain to talk with God the Father.

Sometimes He'd spend the night up there.

"Weren't You worried about bugs?" I asked Him this morning, able to talk to Him like a friend about the silliest of most-human concerns.

Eventually He directed my gaze across the mist-covered valley, and brought me down safely and showed me a bridge that I didn't know existed so close to my home.

I made a mental note to come back when it's sunny to get a clearer view. But that time in the misty rain was just what I needed. A fill up.

It's beautiful -- and it's more than any human being could ever give me.

Forgive me, God, for looking for it there. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Getting over grief: What a difference a day makes...

Grief is such a freaking fascinating thing.

One minute I can be sucking down a glass of Merlot -- something I never do on a Wednesday night -- laughing at Modern Family to mask the pain -- ready to give up on everything again and feeling hopeless.

And then I can wake up on a Thursday morning -- begging "Help me, God..." and "Help us, Lord..." for nearly the 14th day in a row.

I let the Word of our Mighty One wash over me through Pastor Joseph Prince -- who reminded me that lustful thoughts aren't from above, and that we can reject them at their onslaught.

Oh yeah, I should've remembered that little lesson -- and taken a big hint from the visions of snakes around me at the altar when I fasted and prayed. (One was a green one that winked at me...I didn't like that because it reminded me of another nightmare years ago -- and at least that snake's head was soon cut off in the vision.)

But God also showed me a strong chain of links (especially a big silver one on the right in my mind's eye) being broken apart by one weak link in the middle -- and some things are coming clearer.

What did that tenuous, discolored link in the middle that broke apart represent? A horrible fate avoided? That's the type of positive stuff we can focus on when life and circumstances seem bleak. It could've been soooo much worse than it is right now...

The things we lose at times are for good reasons. Great reasons. He protects us and shows us ourselves.

The hope returns...
So I put on those bike pants and let the Tow Path and Jesus beckon me and give me the energy to do an 8-mile bike ride, back where I belong with Him in the freezing cold 33-degree weather.

It felt good to exercise once more...something I'd lost the will to do temporarily.

He reminds me of His "It is yours" promises, and that this seemingly devastating plot point is not the end.

And Christ keeps bringing me back whenever I'm tempted to dance on the edge of despair. 

"I'm back," I felt, peddling those miles with renewed confidence -- after checking out that white goose that just doesn't realize he's supposed to migrate with all the others to warmer climates.

But he knows just fine where he should be. His story is not like the others.

Hold on, old soldier!
That's what Bishop Walter Hawkins told a crack-addicted pastor who went back to that stuff after he was saved. What a testimony of a good friendship the cleaned-up pastor had at Hawkins' funeral, when he told the crowd how Hawkins flew him out to his house and ministered to him during that rough time.

God knows just what we need when we need it.

When I was warmed up enough back home after being fulfilled by my time with Him, that's when the text from my bestie checking on me was found by me, as well as the message on my land line from another good friend I kind of broke up with three years ago.

We were able to pick up past where we left off and share hearts and souls and relay stories, asking ourselves and God, "Why did we act that way?"

Getting Over the Grief and Past Hurts...
As faithful as He is, the answers come right away:

Because you're still hurt by this situation...

Because you need to get over this past pain...

You did the same thing and hurt people because you still need to deal with your anger over this other person...

Exactly when I needed it, the Almighty brought the idea to dust off The Grief Recovery Handbook ideas and let us do more graphs. After all, it's been a good 6 years since I last went through grief recovery.

I think I've got a few losses and people to grieve since that time.

So lunch dates are planned, loss letters to be read -- as well as blessed time away (I pray) during the holidays on vacation trips, if they are meant to be.

Prolific posts are happening, and I know this is just not our sad ending. I can literally feel it.

And even though down-in-the-dumps nights can happen to anyone, it's worth it to wake up in the morning to discover His new graces and mercies being showered upon us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Creating Kindle Singles, getting better...

Since I'm stepping out of depressed-ville and read about "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it..." today and learned that Jesus is the Way out -- my focus is getting better, as I hope is yours...

Therefore I'm curling the weave and writing about these new and interesting happenings:

The 50-page, $1.99 Kindle Singles ebook that drew the attention of MSNBC

The guy who made $19,000 from an iPad app and quit his job

Monday, November 14, 2011

I almost let go...

Today I wrote about when I almost let go, a song I thought about before church yesterday -- and lo and behold I walked in and they sang it.

Commence the ugly cry...

Almost couldn't praise, but of course God kept me and let me...

And of course the message was right on point...

I am where I am supposed to be...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

When people misunderstand your writing or don't like what you write -- plus, the Wall Street Journal wrote about me

What a week, to say the least.

First, I underestimated just how large my readership was over on PaulaNealMooney.com because of my Herman Cain article, and that led to unwanted attention (from those outside of Hollywood, that is) for other writings.

Can't people tell a dream sequence from reality? Composite characters and fictionalized truths from documentaries?

That's what I've asked myself. But let me shut up and not write out of anger.


When people find you online...

It's been interesting noting who has been reading and just how much that attention is mushrooming.

I still know our LORD God has majorly great plans for all my writings, even if it looks bleak now.

Intertwined with that reality is the fact that people can at times read our writing and be so taken aback by what goes on in our head or the truths we spill or the fictional circumstances that we create in that guise that it's hard to take in black and white.

I've been through it before, and I believe I'm a little more used to it than others. But no one likes to be misunderstood.

I realize I'm writing cryptically -- to protect hearts and minds and souls more than I have in the past. And yet, the Lord fights our battles so I don't need to say much more.


I got a small dose of my own medicine today...

...when I checked my Gmail and found out The Wall Street Journal had written about me today.

So yes, I can see why it can be a bit disconcerting to see ourselves painted in an unfair light at the stroke of another writer's pen.

Seeing my name in a way that I don't necessarily agree with gives you that feeling of, "No! That's wrong! Take it back!" But like Dr. Phil says, you can't unring a bell.

The most we can continue to do is pray for grace and favor and forgiveness and contrite hearts -- within ourselves and within others.

And just keep going.

Keep it moving, like every other reality TV starlet seems to be saying these days. And beyond that, the Almighty is our peace and defender and recompense.


So tell your own truth...

...and I want to say defend yourself. Only as the Lord leads.

I feel like I should be quiet now more than anything.  

"Oh no, I've said too much...I haven't said enough..." ring the words of REM in my mind.

So there.

Tell the truth and shame the devil. At least the gentle truth...not rubbing salt-in-the-wounds truth.

It's all getting straightened out by God in the end. Real soon.

Here's the Wall Street Journal writing about me:

Monday, November 07, 2011

Hurting people hurt people... so pray in the Holy Spirit of God

I get it now.

People who are hurting within themselves over their own situations can inadvertently turn around and hurt the people they love -- the gifts from above.

* sigh *

And us writers have to especially understand the power that our pens (and keyboards) wield -- and truly understand that anybody can find stuff online, no matter how obscure.

I really think God wanted this particular writing to be found to teach me a lesson or to shake some stuff up and prevent a much worse fate from happening to many.

But anyway, the lesson I learned today from all of this is when we hurt people, pray in tongues and lean on God wholeheartedly, and He will really see you through.

Real talk.

Not just empty words.

He's done it before.

As a writer, I've experienced great things the Lord has brought through my words. But as a human being, I've made mistakes and caused damage that I really want to take back, if only I could.

I can't...but all things really are possible with our Maker in heaven.

I must hold on to the hope that He is making this situation better for all of us right now...today.

Each moment.

Paula Neal Mooney