Category - wounded hearts

The Fallen Christmas Tree
Spiritual Dementia
Why Are You Crying?
Twenty Years
PART TWO: What about the Mommies?

The Fallen Christmas Tree

The decorating of the Christmas tree up on Rocky Top has always been a festive time….Christmas carols playing in the background, the smell of a freshly cut tree in the air,  a crackling fire glowing in the fire place, crab bites (a family favorite) and sparkling Welch’s.

Not so much this year.  As I sat on the floor going through ornaments, I begin to quietly cry.  Over half of our ornaments were given to us by people we had pastored in the past.  Satan whispered in my ear, “No more ornaments for you.  That part of your life is done.  You don’t even have one from your own mother.  And she’s dead now. ”

Preacher didn’t know what was going on in my heart as we began to decorate the tree.  I had chosen not to make any crab bites and the Christmas music playing in the background almost seemed annoying.

After it was decorated, we stood back to admire the work and I think I just let out a sigh.  Normally we sing a Christmas carol together as Preacher turns on the lights.  Not this year.

A few days later as we were traveling for our new ministry, I received a text from a friend who had agreed to come take care of our home and water our Christmas tree while we were traveling.   The text read, “Here is how I found your tree.”  It was followed by a picture of the tree turned over, stand and all, water everywhere with pieces of broken ornaments scattered throughout the room.

My heart sunk.  I did not cry.  Sadness just enveloped me.  Two dear friends cleaned it all up and even tied the tree to the back door to keep it standing up.

Upon returning home, Preacher and I once again decorated the tree.  Determining to change my perspective and heart, crab bites were made along with cookies.  Maybe food would soothe my wounded, grieving heart.

The tree stood proud for one week.

After a long day of ministry and Christmas shopping, I walked into the house to once again find the eight foot Christmas tree lying on the floor with more broken ornaments and  a water soaked tree skirt.

This Rocky Top girl would like to tell you she worshipped, kept perspective by remembering so many people who are going through much worse things than a fallen tree but I did not.

I sat in the middle of the mess and began to just sob and yell at God.

When Preacher got home, he helped me clean it up.  He offered to attempt to stand it up again.

“No! Get it out of my home.  Tomorrow I will buy a fake tree.” I yelled.

Preacher carried it out and threw it over the cliff on the back of Rocky Top.

The next morning when I sat with Jesus so many emotions swirled in my heart and head…..from anger to shame to failure.

As I opened His word He spoke with gentleness:

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.  I will put my Spirit upon him and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.  He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope.” Matthew 12:18-21

Through His word, Jesus reminded me of why He came.   He came to sit with me in all my mess.

Christmas is grace in our failure.

Christmas is forgiveness to those who wound and betray us.

Christmas is strength when we are weak.

Christmas is justice and not judgement.

Christmas is peace in chaos.

Christmas is joy in our deepest sadness.

Christmas is comfort in our grief.

Christmas is knowing He will lead when we are wandering.

Christmas is your mentor, your Timothy, and your children giving you ornaments of truth to hang around your neck instead of glass ones that will eventually break.  (Proverbs 1:9)

Christmas is HOPE in what we believe to be hopelessness.

We want Christmas to be filled with laughter, fun, gifts and happiness.

Sometimes Christmas is just remembering that in all the hurt, in all the pain, in all the change, in all the disappointments in life, whether they are big or small, Jesus came to give us Himself.

Emmanuel………God with us!

The HOPE of the world.

P.S.  The fake Christmas tree with pre-lit lights is standing proudly up on Rocky Top.

Spiritual Dementia

Today I’m waiting for a thunderstorm to come while sitting on the back porch of Rocky Top.  I hear claps of thunder and lightning is striking in the distance. The clouds are quickly rolling in over the lake.   The impending storm is reflective of my mood.

My heart is heavy because some things just didn’t happen the way they were supposed to. Life didn’t go as I planned. Life didn’t happen like lots of people planned in this situation.   People I love dearly are hurting and the world just seems to continue to spin out of control. Judges in Washington are telling us how to live. Floods are ravaging states. Children are missing. Godly people are dying too young.  And political candidates are making way too many promises in loud voices.

And I am fighting spiritual dementia. I just keep forgetting a very important truth.

My mom, who does have Alzheimer’s, tends to ask me the same question over and over. I calmly will answer her. Yet, after about the sixth time she repeats the same question I want to just say, “Mom, I have answered you! You know the answer to that question!”

Sadly, I am afraid the Lord is sitting up in heaven saying, “Really, Donna? I have answered that question for you before. You know the answer.”

In I Timothy, Paul is writing to a young pastor named Timothy. Timothy does not have an easy job. He is pastoring a church in Ephesus during the reign of Nero. Christians are being persecuted. Many of the people in Timothy’s church are immature believers……lovers of self, lovers of money, lovers of having things their own way.

At the beginning of this letter, Paul reminds Timothy of a very important truth (the one I keep forgetting). Paul knows that in order to lead this church in Ephesus, Timothy can’t afford to have spiritual dementia. Timothy will need to keep this truth in front of him at all times.

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever Amen.” I Timothy 1:17

Paul reminds Timothy of who God is. He reminds of him of God’s character.

My God is King! Nero is not King. No president is King! No Supreme Court Justice is King.

My God is eternal!   He has always been and will always be! He never ceases to be!

My God is immortal! The Greek word “immortal” here means incorruptible. My God has no corruption in Him! He is without flaw. People will fail me. God will not.

My God is invisible. My God is in all and through all. He is not limited by a physical body.

My God is the only wise God. The Greek word for “wise” means “watchman”. My God sits on top of the mountain and can see all around. Nothing catches Him by surprise. My God is Sovereign.

Today if you are struggling with life not going as planned, take I Timothy 1:17 and put it where you can see it on a regular basis. I have it written on my office wall and on my desk.

It is a truth that must be kept in front of me at all times. When life doesn’t go as planned and I begin to question life and just who God is, I return to this passage. When I do ask God this question over and over, He gently reminds me of just who He is. His character is steadfast.

The storm is upon me and I must leave my rocking chair on the back porch.

Just like life, the storms will come and go but………….

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever Amen.” I Timothy 1:17


Why Are You Crying?

I stood on a beautiful white sand beach just a few days ago with tears streaming down my face. It started as a few tears welling up in my eyes but turned into an uncontrollable sob. You know the kind of cry that when you try to talk, you sound like a blubbering idiot.

No one was around. It was just me, the crashing waves against the shore, my Jesus, and my tears.

I could almost hear Him say, “Why are you crying?”

Well, Lord……….my dishwasher at home is broken, the microwave still isn’t fixed, and the air conditioner just went out.

Really?? You are standing on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and you are crying because your appliances aren’t working?

So, Donna, why are you crying? I heard Him whisper my name and my soul began to calm.

I’m overwhelmed with life, Lord. My eyes are off YOU! I thought coming to the beach, hearing the waves, smelling the salt air would somehow magically make it all better. Running to the beach doesn’t make it all better. It just makes you at the beach.

What does make it better? What will enable me to stay the course, deal with the stuff of life…….the appliances, the circumstances and people that are causing me to sob uncontrollably?

I remembered someone else who had been asked the question, Why are you crying?

Mary Magdalene stood in front of an empty tomb crying. Jesus was gone. Jesus had been her everything. He had rescued her and had given her new life. Her world was falling apart because of His death. Jesus came to her outside the empty tomb and said, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?” Mary thought the answer was to just find His dead body. Then, Jesus called her by name, “Mary”. She immediately recognized His voice when He spoke her name. She replied, “Rabboni!” It is the Aramaic word for “Teacher”. She immediately put herself under His authority and responded with “teach me, Lord”. (John 20:10-16) She didn’t respond with “fix it, Lord” or “make it all better”!

A hurting heart, an anxious spirit, uncontrollable tears, an overwhelmed life will not be fixed by a trip to the beach or to any place. It is the Person of Jesus who calms our fears, holds us when we do cry, teaches us how to handle life and is our peace and joy.

So as the old hymn says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

I did choose that day to “turn my eyes upon Jesus”.  As I turned my eyes to Him and put myself under His authority, the aggravating people just didn’t seem to aggravate me as much. The appliances aren’t fixed yet, but they are just appliances. The other circumstances and people are still there but so is my JESUS and He is just so much bigger. He is my Teacher!  He will teach me how to navigate life, choose joy and be victorious.  I just have to turn to Him and choose Him and His ways.


Twenty Years

It is a pleasure to welcome Kristi Nolan to Rocky Top’s back porch once again.   She is a young woman who continues to bless me by allowing herself to be open, honest and just flat out real!  Her story shouts of the grace and forgiveness we just celebrated on Easter.


It took more than 10 years for me to walk through a March 30th without struggling with the date – and then, all of a sudden, I would find myself on April 1st and it would hit me – I made it through!  So as we celebrate Passion week, I am celebrating His love, grace and forgiveness.

It’s been 20 years since I saw a line on a stick in a Wendy’s restroom – since I sat in disbelief and wondered what it meant.

20 years since I hesitated to make a phone call to a clinic and set an appointment for a consultation.

20 years since they told me I was making the right decision.

20 years since they told me it was safer to terminate the pregnancy than to try to carry to term and deliver a baby – safer for me anyway.

20 years since they performed an ultrasound and told me I was lucky I came in when I did because it was going to cost me $250 less than it would have in another week.

20 years since they handed me a valium and sat me in a dark room with other women, wait, other girls, who sat in silence and tried not to think about what was to come.

20 years since they positioned me on a table and told me it was my last chance to change my mind.

20 years since I didn’t.

20 years since I laid upon a table and read the serenity prayer taped to the ceiling above me and pondered the irony.

20 years since the sound of life being sucked from my body brought me to the reality of what exactly it was I was doing in that moment.

20 years since I couldn’t get out fast enough to throw up in the parking lot.

20 years since the enemy began an assault on my mind that would convince me I didn’t deserve a loving husband or children.

20 years since I felt my sin was too deep for the Blood of Christ to cover it.

20 years since I took the innocent life of what was formed by the Lord in my womb.

But in those 20 years, though the enemy tried to win – he has lost.

Christ’s Blood has won.

In those 20 years I met a man who would love and cherish and serve me – who calls me his “bride” every single day.

In those 20 years God showed that the enemy had no power over my womb, but He did – He has given me three beautiful children.

In those 20 years God has replaced my guilt and shame with FORGIVENESS and JOY.

In those 20 years God has used my darkest sin for His greatest glory.

In those 20 years every time the enemy tried to whisper “you’re not worthy”, God would shout “MY GRACE IS ENOUGH”

“Not that I have already obtain all this or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14


PART TWO: What about the Mommies?


Most women, including myself, carry around HELP WANTED signs when it comes to our hearts. Some carry scars from an abortion, others from a divorce, death of a child, addiction, suicide of a loved one, financial difficulties, loneliness or just the stress of everyday life.

How as women can we help each other with our wounded hearts? Below are some practical ways we can help one another.

    1. BE REAL!!   Let’s be real and honest with each other. Quit playing games and hiding behind masks of perfectionism. If you are alive, you have a wound of some kind. Let’s not flaunt our wounds but let’s talk! Many times our wounds and what Christ has done in our lives to heal us of those wounds are the very stories that will lead another woman to Christ or help her heal!Remember what Kristi shared last week, what you hide in the dark can’t be healed by the light of Christ.
    2. BE CONFIDENTIAL!   When a woman dares to be honest and vulnerable with you, keep her story confidential!!! It is her story. Don’t even share with someone else as a prayer request!
    3. DON’T BE SHOCKED! Also, when a woman opens up to you, keep the shocked look to a minimum! It takes a lot of courage and bravery for most women to open up and share about their wounds.
    4. BELIEVE THERE ARE NO COICIDENCES!   A few days after Kristi Nolan sat on my back porch years ago and told me her story, I found a young woman crying in church. She had an abortion and was struggling with guilt and shame. I called Kristi and asked her “Are you ready to share your story to help another?” Kristi was ready!!!  Kristi and that young woman were connected quickly. AGAIN……NEVER SHARE SOMEONES STORY FOR THEM!   But do know God uses our wounds to help others heal.
    5. BE PROACTIVE!!   Be a part of the solution in your local body of Christ. Volunteer to offer support groups for wounded women. When support groups are offered make sure it is done with the utmost of confidentiality….probably not best to locate “Surrendering the Secret” (a bible study for women who have had abortions) on the same hallway as the other bible studies your church offers.
    6. HAVE A FILTER! When you are hanging out in a large group of women and the topic goes to something like Planned Parenthood do not throw around terms like “baby killers”. Most likely if you are in a group of 8-10 women, one or two of them have had an abortion or someone they love has had one.
    7. BE LOVE!   And finally, just love women with the love of Christ. Every woman has a story. Every woman has a past. Every woman needs Jesus. I believe there are no accidents in my day. God brings women into my path all the time that I know just need a hug, need someone to listen to them, need someone to encourage them. Be love to those around you!!! BE JESUS!

Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:3-4

Thanks for sitting on the back porch with me Kristi Nolan!

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