Recent Updates Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Monica 1:33 am on July 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Don’t Tell Me He Loves Her 

    The sun is setting. A beautiful glistening over the green landscape provides the backdrop for one of the most painful conversations to sit in with my dear friend.

    “My husband fell in-love with someone else,” she gingerly whispers through her deep pain, “he says he loves her.”

    At that very moment my spirit burned within me, almost to the point of a severe offense. Not toward my friend and not even toward her now ex-husband, but an offense to the clear opposition to God.

    “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

    Adultery is not love. Adultery is distorted lust. Adultery is unfaithfulness to real love. Although it can be poetically justified, there is no love in adultery because it was not designed nor condoned by God; therefore, please do not tell me that “love” orchestrated a God opposed relationship.

    “He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself” (Proverbs 6:32).

    Love is long-suffering, love is patient, love is kind, love is NOT self-seeking (that even pertains to our own pleasures), love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. LOVE NEVER FAILS.

    When we as a culture begin to lose sight of honoring marriage and unions designed by God, we lose sight of real faithfulness. Love becomes conditional and defined by humans rather than supernaturally unconditional with the absence of fear.

    So, my dear friend, your ex-husband did not fall in-love. He merely demonstrated the absence of love in his own life. And by the grace of God, he doesn’t have to live his whole life without God. Our God’s love is so enveloping that He can even throw the grievance of adultery from the east to the west on our behalf and restore us to His place of belonging – the object of His love, His nature.

    Attraction outside of relationship is not unforgivable, but it is not love. Love remains forever.

    Romans 8, “38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    • Karen Valentine 2:07 am on July 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I heard Lady Gaga once say “Men do not always love us with the same type of dignity that we love them
      with.” I think she was correct.

  • Monica 12:45 am on May 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    The Truth About Trust 

    Ah, trust me.


    Even my most sacred, secure relationship doesn’t ask me to blindly trust. Jesus spoke to His works revealing His nature. Who He is/was equated to what He did/does. Ultimately, He gave His life; but as He walked, He gave His heart.

    He walked with patience, kindness, and compassion. Although He walked with boundaries that weren’t crossed to people-please, His reliability remains unmatched. He always is/was who He says He is, and He always did/does what He says He will do.

    Jesus is my vault. My trust has been built one prayer at a time. He has comforted my breaking heart for years. With each lie told about me, each moment of someone else’s wrath, or even when I break my own heart with my shameful mistakes, He loves…my God who hears.

    I have a book with story after story of why I can trust Jesus Christ. I’ve also memorialized some of my own encounters with Him. With each story, trust is built. And when I hear your stories, more trust keeps building.

    The truth about real trust is that it is earned. We can share our stories with those around us that have earned the right to hear them and to speak into them. Jesus warned us not to cast our pearls before swine, and He modeled real trust.

    So maybe the next time someone asks you to blindly trust them, you might simply ask them, “why?”


  • Monica 3:27 am on January 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    2017, What will you glamorize? 

    Have you ever been blindsided? Maybe the day you found out that Santa wasn’t real. Or worse yet, maybe you are the one that found an email between your husband and his girlfriend – a girl you knew nothing about.

    2017 holds 365 days, random days that hold the potential to shatter your reality and rock your world. Don’t I sound like a kill joy?

    The heart behind this blog isn’t to steal your joy. Quite the opposite. The hope is that as you consider your 2017 aspirations and resolutions, you’ll consider what belief system gave birth to those desires.

    glamorize (v.) make (something) seem glamorous or desirable…to glorify.

    I’ve been known to spend sixty to seventy dollars on hippie-style shirts from a boutique in Tulsa. I’ve glamorized hippies to be a high freedom people with loose clothing and laid-back lifestyles. A group that has an ample amount of time to sit by the beach and pontificate the meaning of life and purpose. If only?

    The truth is, I wouldn’t be able to afford my clothing if I lived the life that I’ve glamorized.

    So what have you made glamorous? Is it a glass castle with a propensity to shatter?

    As a child I sang, “on the solid rock I stand” at least once a month at church. Back then I wouldn’t have described that lyric as glamorous. Today, however, I imagine the exquisite sapphire that Jesus stood upon as Moses and seventy elders viewed on. So glamorous. Stunning.

    Yet, like the Israelites, I too, can forget the real substance in which lasting castles are built. The kind of foundation that still holds true regardless of being blindsided. To desire any other foundation, even the well-intentioned ones like family and friends, is to put your peace and security at risk of being taken from you.

    “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
    by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

    1. My hope is built on nothing less
    Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
    I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
    But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

    2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
    I rest on His unchanging grace;
    In every high and stormy gale
    My anchor holds within the veil.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

    3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
    Support me in the whelming flood;
    When every earthly prop gives way,
    He then is all my Hope and Stay.
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

    4. When He shall come with trumpet sound,
    Oh, may I then in Him be found,
    Clothed in His righteousness alone,
    Faultless to stand before the throne!
    On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
    All other ground is sinking sand.

    2017, joyful new year.


  • Monica 4:17 am on December 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Air, Water, & Food 

    Relationships. Do we need them or do we want them? (Thanks, Dr. Roselene Coblentz, for this concept.)

    “Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:24 & 25).

    All people fall short, some shorter, but all fall short of being unconditionally trustworthy. In all my years I have never heard of a story that included a perfect marriage or friendship. In our humanness, even striving for our personal ideal, we have mishaps. We use careless words or actions and our lover turns skeptical of our love and devotion.

    If the love is a want, it is recoverable. If the love is a need, like our unsustainable need for air, water, or even food – well, there you’ve got a possible scenario for a devastated heart.

    A few weeks ago I asked one of my college girls about her relationship with her boyfriend. She said, “When he is happy with me it is the best feeling in the world, but when he is mad at me it is the worst feeling I have ever experienced – I just want to crawl in a hole.”

    I get it. I’ve lived it like most of the world. The roller coaster of giving my heart to a human for my needs. Even now, if they had AA meetings for falling off the wagon for this addiction, I’d go.

    I’d go because I know better. Jesus entrusted himself to the Father for his needs, but he obviously desired human relationships as well. Key word, desired. Peter, James, and John got to go further with him on two occasions recorded in the Bible. Jesus appeared to have a circle of trust with these guys. So close relationships are not forbidden. They are encouraged.

    But how do we balance “guarding our hearts” with “dying to self” when it comes to relationship?

    This is the part of the blog where the blogger typically ties it up with a bow of self-help do’s and don’ts. Well, so sorry. At first pass, there doesn’t not seem to be just one formula for knowing if you’ve crossed the line from want to need. Maybe our answer lies in our devastation. What devastates our hearts?

  • Monica 1:06 am on November 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Beliefs, Changing Lives Daily 

    “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

    Adolf Hitler

    In the days of Adolf Hitler, many believed they were contributing to the greater purpose of rebuilding Germany. They believed. Today, we reframe their belief as propaganda and cruel insanity.

    Our beliefs begin with our thoughts. Our thoughts graciously move us to feel. And then this combination causes us to move or behave.

    Most of my life I have been hyper-vigilant. I actually thought it was a good thing. Safety first of course! Now, I realize it has a deep root in my belief system. Most of my life I have genuinely believed that my hyper-vigilance saves lives and keeps people safe.

    If you look at my belief as the top of a table, consider the legs. The legs that support my belief come from experiences. Experiences, like being the one to alert me and my friend that a sketchy guy in his car could actually be trying to abduct us. Yeah, true story. Ten and eleven-year-old girls walking home from QT found themselves in a shower scrubbing off urine from an attempted abduction in suburbia by a serial killer. Not a typical childhood story, right?

    Another leg is me, a seven-year-old girl, squeezing the hand of another girl under a mattress in a drug house, praying. At that moment, I believed my hyper-vigilance and ability to pray to God would be our shield. My abilities, my leadership, saves lives.

    Lie. The truth is more freeing. The truth is God, in His mercy and grace, has provided multiple rescue missions on my behalf and some of those stories include me being alerted by Him.

    When I consider this belief, I’m reminded of the three-year-old that walked the neighborhood with much older kids and decided she’d slide down a slide that went into a pool as one who couldn’t swim. The kids scattered. I, somehow, managed to find myself sweetly placed on the side of the pool dripping wet in my winter clothes.

    Beliefs are everything. What you believe today determines what you will do tomorrow. Be careful with your thoughts. As you dwell, what feelings provoke you to action? Do you post meanness, do you protest, or do you feel responsible for all of those who do?

    Beliefs. The core of us all. Let’s choose wisely what we feel with certainty.

    • Brook Grieco 3:34 am on November 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Love this Monica and you! Never grate about you in the swimming pool…. We’ve been doing WW2 research…Hitler and Corrie ten boom, so your quote grabbed me!

      Sent from Todd & Brook’s iPad


    • Monica 2:33 am on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Brook. You’ll have to see Hacksaw Ridge…wow, powerful!

  • Monica 9:30 pm on November 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Sacred Places 

    Today was not a typical Wednesday. As the college students came filing in for class, I noticed one of my favorites looked almost drugged. On a normal day, he enters the room with his tall stature and his bright smile; but today, I was so taken back that I couldn’t keep myself from asking if he was okay.

    Stoically, he let the class know that he had just been told of a great loss. A friend of his died unexpectedly. The care and concern for him was felt by all. Another favorite stood up and lead the class in prayer.

    The rest of this story is too sacred to share.

    Whether called a teacher or a professor, really matters not. We are oftentimes, emotional first responders. It’s a sacred place to be let in at those touch point moments when life happens.

    What an honor to be in sacred places.

  • Monica 12:11 pm on September 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply  


    “Thus I must contradict you when you go on to argue that men are completely unable to do without the consolation of the religious illusion, that without it they could not bear the troubles of life and the cruelties of reality…Perhaps those who do not suffer from the neurosis will need no intoxicant to deaden it.” Sigmund Freud

    Sigmund Freud, like many of us, faced human suffering. After losing his nine-year-old daughter he found it difficult to believe that there could be a loving Father that would allow such egregious suffering. His heartsick remedy was a concoction of neuroscience exploration and cocaine. Although we can be appreciative of his psychoanalysis method and the further study it provoked regarding the human mind, we cannot look to Freud for a healthy heartsick remedy.

    As one who has had the “Sprite & Saltine Cracker” days of despair, I can tell you that there is no relief until you tackle your own view of suffering. In my experience, it begins with more questions than answers and requires a level of transparency that feels painfully naked. And, just like in Job’s day, cliché answers given by those standing fully erect breeds only mistrust.

    When Eden was a toddler she had to get a shot. As we walked into the doctor’s office she asked me, “Is it gonna hurt?” My answer back was honest, “yes.” My follow-up, of course, was “but only for a little bit, then you’ll get a sticker and a sucker and it will be all over.”

    I don’t like to suffer. And quite honestly, I’ve never fully mastered it. Has anyone?

    When my heart is deeply troubled, I only know to hang on to the larger story. The story of my heart’s redemption, the sacred purity of my tears, and the end to all pain and suffering.

    “I have told you theses things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus

  • Monica 7:34 pm on August 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    To Serve & Protect 

    It is an honorable role to be placed as someone held accountable to serving and protecting a person or a body of people. An honor that requires an intricate balance of power and sacrifice.

    “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton

    Maybe that’s why our Founders drew up documents to balance the distribution of power and then kindly place us all under God. I can only assume they were responding to a history of seeing power exploited and feeling the catastrophic fall out.

    Jesus balanced power by not considering himself the source, but more a conduit or a deliverer of power. He claimed to do absolutely nothing without his Father; yet historically, Jesus is considered to be one of the most powerful humans to have walked. His recorded miracles alongside his lasting impact on the masses after his walk are more talked about than any other historical figure that has lived.

    His followers, Christians, have varying reputations. Some people have had a good experience with them. They’ve been fed by them, clothed by them, and taken in by them when they found themselves down and out. Others have been rejected by them, called names by them, and public humiliated by them. Regardless of their actions, these followers have been commanded to love and to serve people sacrificially with their words and deeds. Christ himself left all Christians a “code” in which to live by.

    Honor isn’t a title on a uniform or a verse on a t-shirt. Honor is a virtue bestowed upon the individual that authentically lives up to the “code” of the title. Our society houses honorable Christians and dishonorable Christians, honorable parents and dishonorable parents, honorable politicians and dishonorable politicians, and lastly honorable policemen (and women) and dishonorable policemen (and women).

    To those courageous individuals who have chosen to serve and protect and live according to a sacrificial “code.” Thank you.

    • David Cochran 11:38 pm on August 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Love this reflection. Timely to say the least. Yet always relevant. Love this: “Honor is a virtue bestowed upon the individual that authentically lives up to the ‘code.'”

      As followers of Christ — what a code we’ve been given to follow!

  • Monica 10:43 pm on July 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Bury it by the Tree 

    Grief. Something you treasured or someone, buried.

    When I was fourteen my cousin was killed in a car accident after leaving my house. Even at forty-two, I can still visualize the tree she was buried by that harsh October. Tears still make their way to my eyes as I recall leaving my secret keeper, treasured friend, and part of my family under the foliage of that tree.

    My grief was tangible. The heartache had a name, “death.” And over the years, the sadness and what ifs associated with that grief were talked about plainly with my forever Confidant, Christ.

    If only everything we buried and grieved could be this cut and dry. We’d bury, we’d grieve, then we’d talk to someone, who loved us relentlessly, about it and feel comforted – maybe even hopeful that it had purpose or meaning.

    Abuse is different. Whether it is sexual, physical, or emotional, it is typically much harder to name and infinitely more difficult to bury. And most of my clients, myself included, try to bury it way before we ever name or address it. We are really just burying the way abuse has made us feel.

    We pray and will ourselves to stop feeling those companion feelings of fear, anger, and sadness. Bury. Dig, like mad, and bury. Our heartache, the happenings of our story, should automatically be buried as well, right? If we can’t feel the abuse aren’t we over it? The storybook closed? Healed?

    Unfortunately, we haven’t been designed to respond like that. “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt” (John Green).

    To bury pain, you have to know your story. Whether through writing, support group, or one-on-one friendship – the story gets a name and an audience.

    Buried by the tree that Jesus hung on is my deepest pain of treasured innocence stolen, my sensitive heart that harbored cruel words and put downs, and my unmet ideals in this world.

    Buried. Grieved. Walked away loved and free.

    “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, NLT).



  • Monica 10:40 pm on May 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Unlikely Songs 

    Anyone out there remember Rich Mullins? If I had to guess his personality profile, I’d place him as a Melancholy. Not sure that Nashville knew what to do with a Melancholy singer/songwriter for the Faith. The late Rich was a far cry from the 90’s upbeat gospel songs.

    I loved Rich Mullins. He got us music lovers asking questions. Like why do we hide our hurting hearts behind cheesy smiles and Christian sayings? Do we hurt less because we are Christians? No, our hope doesn’t diminish human misery or pain. Let’s be honest, sometimes we might be tempted to hurt even more because we have misplaced expectations that life with Jesus is a life without hurts.

    Although Rich pioneered authentically painful lyrics to a culture that had adopted a Jesus equals happy mentality, he didn’t pioneer the idea that followers of God experience pain and suffering and write about it.

    “I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
        Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
    When I told my story, you responded;
        train me well in your deep wisdom.
    Help me understand these things inside and out
        so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
    My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
        build me up again by your Word.
    Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
        grace me with your clear revelation.
    I choose the true road to Somewhere,
        I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
    I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
        God, don’t let me down!
    I’ll run the course you lay out for me
        if you’ll just show me how.”

    Psalm 119:25-32, MSG

    Right now I could write one grateful, thankful song after another, but I have not been promised to feel this way tomorrow or the next day. And quite honestly, like many of my closest friends right now, it only takes a phone call or a “discovery” to be brought to my knees. I know.

    When I was younger I offered a huge smile and a happy song to my friends in pain. I wish I could take them all back. There’s a Proverb that agrees with me.

    But now I’m older and I’ve learned to sing an unlikely song in our circles, the song of honesty. God can handle our emotions, Jesus revealed that. If we walk closely, we can also handle those around us having emotions – the full spectrum. And we don’t have to lie and tell each other that Jesus never intended for us to hurt, so the enemy is badgering or causing grief again.

    Let’s acknowledge the harshness of each other’s reality sometimes and encourage the truth. Sometimes our prayers don’t get the answer we recommended and sometimes we question our circumstances or those around us, but we all know that God is God and we are not. So we hurt, hold each other, and remind ourselves that if nothing good is born on earth from our pain, that our souls are born again.




Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc