Monthly Archives: April 2015

MY STONE MISSED

Toni Thrash Not An Afterthought

“FOR EVERY GOLIATH THERE IS A STONE”

I was sitting in church not long ago when my Pastor said, “Your prayers might not be answered here on earth, but you might just be the answer to someone else’s prayer.”

The Israelites were looking for an answer to their prayer. They didn’t expect how it would come.

David turned out to be the miracle the Israelites were looking for. He just didn’t know it. (I love this because if he had known, he probably would have blown his first assignment) For that matter, they didn’t know it either. They were confident Saul was their answer.

David was confident in what his God was capable of doing. Regardless, of what happened in his life.

As you know, David slew Goliath with a stone.

Miracle accomplished. Not the way the Israelites had envisioned.  But how God wanted it to play out.

Let me ask you a question… What if David’s stone had missed?

What would Goliath have done?

What would David had done?

Do you think Saul and David would have had a huddle to discuss his errant throw? Discuss what to do now?

Think Goliath would have stood there and laughed until he couldn’t breathe?

Would the Israelites turn tail and run? They were so good at this. Running.

Let me ask this question: Have you ever gotten to the place where there was nothing left for you to do and you felt like a failure?

You. had. literally. done. all. you. knew. to. do. 

You prayed. You sought counseling. You prayed. You cried. You got angry. You lost hope.

Has someone told you: you needed to have more faith, pray harder, fight for it, or stay?  (their heart was in the right place)

Nothing you did was the miracle you had been praying for!

My Pastor said this in his message this past weekend:

“Have you ever had to regroup after your stone missed?”  

It was so startling to me I literally yelled out loud during the message.

  • You went to counseling/your marriage ended in divorce
  • you talked to your boss/you were let go
  • You got the “help” your child needed/they weren’t healed and the worst fear you had became real
  • you got financial counseling/still had to declare bankruptcy
  • you prayed and prayed for that miracle/ it just wasn’t answered the way you thought it would.

Please understand, I’m writing from a complete place of weakness and vulnerability. 

Been there. Done that. All of it. Didn’t get the t-shirt. Just wounds and scars.

I was driving the other night when I asked my friend this question, “Libs, is it possible that all I’ve gone through is my miracle I prayed for?

I texted my friend Holly this morning. Posed this same question to her.

Told her I wanted her to look at it from all angles and to process through it before she answered.

A few hours went by. Here’s her response:

Listen to Blessings by Laura Story.

Exact premise.

Here are some of the words to the song;

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace

Comfort for family, protection while we sleep

We pray for healing, for prosperity

We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while You hear each spoken need

Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops

What if Your healing comes through tears?

What if a thousand sleepless nights

Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life

Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear

We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near

We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love

As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea

And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win

We know that pain reminds this heart

That this is not, this is not our home

It’s not our home

What if my greatest disappointments

Or the aching of this life

Is the revealing of a greater thirst

This world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life

The rain, the storms, the hardest nights

Are Your mercies in disguise?

My friend Bonnie said these words to me in a text just this afternoon, “He sees around corners.”   Oh. My. Word.

He doesn’t have a blind spot.

Listen, I’m not jumping up and down for joy that I went through what I went through. But, when I get to the other side of it, will I recognize God’s hand in all of it? Will I see how He moved me from there to here? I’m beginning to see a hint of it.

What is it you’ve gone through that is/was your greatest heartbreak? It will take time for you to see. This life is hard. But my prayer for you is that you will begin to see hope that God saw what was coming. But most importantly, you will see Him as your miracle regardless of where you find yourself today.

I would love to hear your story. To know what your miracle is. Even when it didn’t seem like one at the start.


THE RUB

ironsiron

Someone ever rubbed you the wrong way? As in disagreed with you, angered you, frustrated you, or disappointed you?

It causes a friction like none other.

Relationships just do this.

It causes us to shift uncomfortably in our chairs.

It challenges us to own our part.

It creates chaos, even if only for a small window of time.

We have no idea why someone jumped all over us the minute they saw us. What in the world could I have done, if I just walked in the door?

Their issue. However, my initial reaction, is to go into defense mode. Why?
I’m thinking through what could I have done. Then I go to my “go to emotion.” Yep, ANGER!

I made this confession the other night at Bible Study. In fact, I was plain prideful about it. (which if you had been there, you would have known it was a subject we were discussing) I could have been wearing a big letter P around my neck!!!

The way I see it, rubbing helps remove the tarnish from us. Allowing it to happen moves us into a place of humility and humbleness.

Tarnish; you know the ugly stuff that needs to go away.

Friction from the rub kinda burns.

I imagine sparks flying. Words spewing. Feelings hurt. Confusion. Temperature rising.

Here’s what God’s Word says:

Proverbs 27.17 “ As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

I googled the process, so I would have a clearer picture of what it looked like.

The “Iron Sharpening Iron” process was carried out in a few steps.
1. First was the pounding out of the sword with the iron hammer. They
would flatten it around the edges like sheet metal.
2. Second, they would use an iron file or an iron-ore stone to take create a razor-edge.
3. Thirdly, they would use another piece of iron to rub and lift that edge. This would have to be done whenever the edge would become dull.

Can you imagine the pounding it takes? I bet you can! You’ve been there, perhaps as early as today. Someone has taken the liberty to pound you for whatever reason.

The filing process is where it burns. Metal on metal until there is a razor sharp edge. The dull has been filed away.

Then the rubbing and lifting. Not with a soft rag but again with iron. Until it is so sharp it cuts a hair.
What I’m realizing is we need the rub. We need the tarnished buffed away. Usually, it’s a process, because we are prideful, stubborn people.

At some point, though, there is a glimmer of shine under the dull. We’ve been hammered enough.

Our pride dwindled to a whimper. Not loud and proud anymore. We begin to see the truth and can take our ownership of what we need to own.

This is why particularly we are created to live in community. To rub each other, buff and lift one another, and cause each other growth.

God is not opposed to using anyone to help us get our shine back.

He has shown in His word there are people He’s had to rub to get them moving. Maybe it’s forgiveness , maybe it’s going somewhere they didn’t know the destination, or just maybe growing  someone into a king.

I need and so do you, people who push when you need to be pushed. I need someone to tell me I’m wrong. I need someone to question my motives. I need someone to hold me accountable. This is what iron sharpening iron looks like. It can get ugly, but here’s what I know:
At my age, I don’t want to be let off the hook.  I want to know what I need to do. I want to make it right as quick as possible. (ok, if I’m exhausted, it may take me longer. I can get grumpy and my stubborness is amplified)

The rub is required. We cannot grow without it. Accept it.

God always has a purpose for the rub. He usually knows when it needs to happen.

Recognize the rub, walk through it, and shine,  otherwise, you might be joining me with a big P draped around your neck.


BLURRY VISION

IMG_1307When I was in 7th grade, I was having trouble seeing. Especially out of my left eye. It was blurry.  Off to the eye doctor I went. Sure enough, I was near-sighted and had astigmatism in that eye. Right eye was fine.  So I literally wore one contact for years. Eventually the right eye started to go and then I became a normal 2 contact person.

About the age of 35, I went in for a routine eye exam.

The doctor told me my corneas were warped.  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound good.  I decided to see a specialist.  It wasn’t a great prognosis.

I had keratoconus.  A degeneration of the corneas in my eyes. Hence, the warped corneas.  My doctor then told me at some point you will have to have a cornea transplant. What? There was no cure at the time. Surgery wasn’t an option. So, I was fitted with gas permeable lenses. (That’s fine if you want to feel like you have glass in your eye all the time.) Uncomfortable to say the least. But, it cleared my blurry vision.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday night.

I was sitting in Bible Study. We’ve just started a new one on Malachi. We watched the video and were discussing the group questions.

The author in the video said when we misinterpret God’s Word it creates blurry vision. The result is: damage. Of all kinds.

I’m wondering what kind of damage has been done to you?

What’s been said to blur your vision? 

Who’s done something to you to cause you to not see clearly?

I’m wondering if you have ever been looked at with blurry vision?

Has someone misinterpreted you or a decision you have made?  Has someone judged you for something that simply isn’t true? They have no idea what it was like behind the facade of you having it all together.

What I’ve come to understand is people judge because they don’t know or are too afraid to ask. Really.

Does that blurry vision seep into your life and cause you to be defensive or does it counter with a love that goes beyond rational? (My good friend, Bob Goff has something to say about this. Bob doesn’t actually know me. but someday, I hope to get the chance to thank him for writing the book, Love Does. Anyway, Bob says, “ Love sometimes borders on the irrational.”Translation: Love isn’t blurry. At all. )

My friend, was sitting in the floor as we were discussing blurry vision. She was recalling her younger years when she felt far from God. I had to write down what she said next. It was painful hearing it. Can’t imagine how it actually felt for her.  I just knew in that moment she was being real.

Here’s what she said, “I was angry with the Christians who turned Him (Jesus) into someone He wasn’t supposed to be.”

Dang. Shut up. Really?

We do this.

We do this with each other. We listen to people give their false perceptions of what they believe to be true. We let them cast us into  a sea of blurriness.

People get robbed by other people’s perceptions. Robbed of their emotional, mental, and spiritual health because of warped vision. Spiritual blurriness.  It robs us of our worth from the only One who gives it.

Then that blurriness transposes to Jesus.  We start to believe that what they say and the way they act is how Jesus really is.  Or  people watch us and if we are not careful we blurry their vision of who Jesus actually is.

We are the ones who need to exemplify clear vision.

We have Jesus…for crying out loud!!!!

There’s nothing clearer than Him. But we’ve made Him into all these rules and regulations and unapproachable because our sin is TOO bad and our lenses are not clear. It’s you looking through my glasses and not being able to see a thing. BLURRY!!!

The moment she said it, I could feel her pain. It was so unnecessary to walk through believing Him to be someone He wasn’t. I know God has used this in her life to grow her to the point of where she is now. Still, unnecessary.

I know He is just and I know I must face Him and answer all the questions of what I’ve done here on this earth, but the one thing I want to show others and myself(because I can still go there) is He loves you. Me. The bottom line of everything; He loves.

The only way to see clearly is to read His Word. It will clear any blurriness you might have. Ask Him to show you clearly. He will.

I want us to see Him clearly for who HE is and not some warped or blurred figure someone has painted Him to be. He deserves the chance for you to see Him clearly. Once you do, it will be crystal clear.

My responsibility is to live my life with an irrational love that is seen through untainted lenses.

Be the lens of clarity for everyone you meet.