MY BLOG POSTS, My Reflections, Poetry

ALIVE


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So often, we humans can focus too much on the negatives of life, because they dare to tear us down.

We are thrilled when good things happen in our lives, but we also cling to wanting our lives to be full of good times and peace. While we realistically know that the bad moments are also a part of life, we can’t help but want to avoid the pain that comes along with those times.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” – John 10:10

Every time I read this passage, I’m reminded of God’s mercy to us. Let me explain.

I spent many years of my life with asthma. At times, it was so debilitating. More than once, I came near death. I’ll never forget being asked by a paramedic, weeks after a massive asthma attack who not only treated me, but knew me, “I didn’t want to tell you this in the middle of helping you, but there’s still one thing I don’t understand. On that day, we couldn’t figure out how you were awake, how you were communicating with us [I used body language to get them to give me paper & pen to do this.], how you were even alive. How did you do that?”

I wasn’t certain what he wasn’t telling me, so after asking him what was so unusual about that, he replied, “Everything we had you hooked up to, every one of them showed your oxygen levels were at zero. Not only should you not have been able to communicate with us, but all signs pointed to the fact that you should not have even been conscious, let alone alive!”

That’s when I answered him with, “Well, let me tell you more of my story and my God.” Without Him, without my Lord, that miraculous situation never would have happened. While I don’t know why God used that health situation to occur, my life with Him has shown me over and over and over again, that He is good, that He is love and that His plans are always for our good. I give God glory for using me, even in that time, to touch the life and soul of another for Him.

Something that could have killed me, gave me an even stronger appreciation for being alive.

Since last March, it’s been even harder to avoid the negatives of life. Having lost loved ones and having seen so much grief on various fronts, I am all the more grateful for God who has never left my side. I say all of this as a known optimist, but I am also not naive and have had many situations throughout life that have dared to tear me down many times.

In spite of the ups and down, I still have a passion for life.

Just last week, the world celebrated Easter . . . the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.

While Jesus had disciples who learned and did so much from Him and with Him, prior to Jesus’ death on the cross, they found life much more abundantly in the years they had afterwards. They were able to travel to various locations, preaching the Good News to so many. Miracles occurred again and again. However, their stories cannot be told without also knowing that they each experienced what we would call negatives in life.

While that was so long ago, I can’t help but see that they felt more alive than ever before. How? Because, even after all of my own painful life experiences, God has shown me through all of my life that the great moments in life are that much sweeter. The great moments in life aren’t as powerful, without also knowing the other side. Life is fabulously amazing, because He lives.

Because He lives, the art and beauty of this world and universe exist.

Because He lives, we get to have others to love and to be loved, in return.

Because He lives, we are still in awe when we see an amazing sunrise or sunset, when we hear the laughter of children, when someone says or does just the right thing when we need it most and when we experience the joy of God through it all.

Because He lives, we know the negative parts of life are not all that exist.

Because He lives, we have those who provide healing for the mind and body.

Because He lives, we have churches that remind us that we are meant to live in community, we are here for a purpose and we are wondrously loved and wanted.

Because He lives, we have teachers who spend time helping others to find themselves, to learn, to connect and to find their passions.

Because He lives, we can get back up again after traumas that will forever remind us that life is fragile, but there is still so much abundance of life giving moments ahead for us . . . HOPE.

Because He lives, we live. That’s something to rejoice over.

Life is meant to be fully lived. While trials may come, never forget the joys of being alive.

JUST BREATHE

For while I have breath
I know I am alive
For while I have breath
I enjoy the beauty of life
For while I have breath
I can embrace another
For while I have breath
I am a wife and a mother
For while I have breath
I can sing and dance
For while I have breath
I can take another chance
For while I have breath
I can live my passions
For while I have breath
I can provide compassion
For while I have breath
I can dream great dreams
For while I have breath
I have faith in the unseen
For while I have breath
I can make this world better
For while I have breath
God always holds me together
For every breath that I will ever breathe
I will know I was created
By the King of kings.

By Rachel Basden © 2021

Being alive will always have its heartaches, but one thing I have learned from knowing how quickly one’s breath can be taken from them, is to never take a single inhale/exhale for granted. Never believe that we don’t matter. Never lose sight of hope. For within each breath we take, there are so many moments we are meant to be a part of and wonderful people whose lives are meant to intersect with ours. Every breath is a reminder of life, because He lives.

Don’t allow the hardships of life to tear you down. For we are more than just ourselves. There is purpose. We were made with strength. We were made with love. We were made to live life abundantly.

With every breath, know that you are alive for far greater things and with each breath your breathe you are walking further into your destiny. So never forget how each inhale and exhale matters. YOU MATTER!

My Reflections

BE THE CHANGE: Matthew 10:25-37, Mark 12: 30-31, John 3:16


Not to Act is to Act

Almost from the start of mankind, the existence of  evil and suffering have been a part of the human experience. While the faces and the circumstances may change, evil and suffering still persist. Watch the news and there is plenty of evidence of the horrific acts that have been happening in the Ukraine, the beheadings of Christians in Iraq or the fighting and killings in Israel, to name a few.

While these are indeed horrible, there are other acts of evil, of injustice, happening daily in our own country and world-wide. Sex trafficking is one issue many would rather ignore. According to F.R.E.E. International:

1)     There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history, including the trans Atlantic slave trade

2)     Commercial Sex Trafficking is the third largest criminal enterprise in the world

3)     Trafficking occurs both internationally and domestically within the United States

4)     It is estimated that anywhere between 100,000-300,000 children are exploited for commercial sex every year in the United States

5)     The average age a person enters into prostitution in the United States is between 12 and 14 years old(SOURCE: http://freeinternational.org/the-issue)

There’s also the issue of the abuse and neglect of children by the hand of those who are supposed to love and care for them. According to Royal Family Kids, which serves abused and neglected foster children across the globe, “Annually, 3.6 million cases of child abuse, neglect or abandonment are reported in America,” and “One of these victims dies every six hours due to that abuse” (http://royalfamilykids.org/about/our-history). Those are just the facts on the reported cases.

Actor, comedian and humanitarian Robin William’s suicide was another stark reminder that the hurting are among us. Many people put on a good face and say that everything is fine, when their lives are far from it. There are people going through domestic violence. There are people contemplating taking their lives, feeling there is no other way. There are people who wake up every morning wondering why they exist, because they feel worthless. There are those suffering from mental illness. Need I go on?

Unfortunately, we often ignore the obvious signs of the pain in others and the injustices that exist, because it makes us feel uncomfortable or we don’t realize that we can do something to help. What’s even sadder, is we don’t often even notice the pain and injustices around us, because people have learned to hide so much of it, recognizing that most people will sit by and do nothing.

Christians have been taught to serve, to love our neighbors, to get involved when we see someone in need.  Many who haven’t read Matthew 10:25-37, have heard of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  In a nutshell, those who should have helped a stranger who had been victimized walked by him and did nothing, while the most unlikely person stopped to not only help him, but to get personally involved.

Jesus Christ died for all. As John 3:16 tells us, ““For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”  Notice that Christ died for ALL people.  He has and always will love ALL people, and yet, we don’t often do the same.

Love requires action.  Love goes beyond feeling.  Love sometimes involves us to get uncomfortable. Why?  Because it is not about us. It is about others, loving them, protecting them, serving them.

In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus reminds us, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” To love God is to love people. To love people is to act. 

As my pastor, Dr. Ryan Darrow shared on a Sunday morning, “The Samaritan could have made many excuses to not help, like the others. What area is God asking you to get involved in another’s life? It doesn’t always mean getting involved with an organization, but the person who we see every day.”

We so often feel more comfortable conforming to what others do, even when we know we have the means to help, which doesn’t always mean money. We can help with our skills, talents, knowledge, time, whatever we have and are.  What is right is still what is right. Our lives are meant to make a difference in the lives of others. We are called to fight for justice with whatever we have within us and whatever we have to give.

The Lord calls us to be involved in a practical way. As Pastor Darrow reminded us, “Our neighbors, [at home, school, work] are often metaphorically lying in a ditch hurting. What can you do? What is God calling you to do?”

We are His hands and feet. There are people dying on the inside. You are not where you are without a purpose, a purpose to change the world.

We are called to advocate on behalf of others. They are counting on us. We all know that change is needed. Be the change.

Want to talk with me more about how you can be the change?  Let’s join our efforts. Are you already being the change?  I’d love to hear about what you’re doing.  Let’s inspire one another to do what we were called to do.  May Jefferson Bethke’s latest video inspire you that darkness is losing.

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My Reflections

MORE THAN JUST A GAME: Part 4 – Proverbs 4


Details matter.  Something else that I’ve learned, as I’ve worked on improving my game, is that details are extremely important in the game of golf. Wrong foot positioning, incorrect movements of the head, wrong analysis of angles, even if slightly off, will affect the entire trajectory of the ball and ultimately, your game.

We often go through life, oblivious to many of the details around us.  People can walk in and out of our day, without us even noticing. The emotions played out on their faces, evidence of who they are and what they’re going through, ignored.  The beauty of nature, art, and so many other things are too often replaced by our electronic devices and a myriad of other distractions.

The impact we are truly meant to have on one another, even if it’s only a small impact, may never happen.  Those seemingly small details can and do change the trajectory of a person’s day, and at times, a person’s life.  We often underestimate the influence our actions have on others, let alone ourselves.

That is a huge mistake, because it is no longer some game of golf.  When we ignore details in our everyday lives, the impact is one that ripples to those we may never meet.  Golf is fun, but life is important.  Don’t let it pass you by.

“Don’t look back at tomorrow and say you could have done more.” – a fire chief on “Chicago Fire”

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My Reflections

MORE THAN JUST A GAME: Part 2 – Proverbs 4


Our actions are worth nothing, without follow through. As much as I’ve improved in my game, one of my biggest problems is not following through.  My club will hit the ball, and almost immediately my momentum stops.  If you know anything about golf, continuing to follow through is necessary for the ball to go the distance in which you initially sent it.

The same is true with anything we do, in life.  We may start off strong or gain some great momentum along the way, but following our actions through to the end is what counts.  Often, obstacles get in our way. If what was once started truly matters, those obstacles will strengthen us.  Just like the follow through, in golf, provides the rest of the power to take your game where it needs to go, as we are strengthened through overcoming each obstacle, our overall ability increases and we come to realize that our potential is much greater than we ever imagined.

Is there an area of your life where you began something, something important and gave up along the way?  Or have you achieved a certain level of success, in some part of your life, but then stopped reaching higher, stopped believing that you could do more?

Follow through, all the way. See all that you are capable of doing.  Don’t slow down. Don’t settle.  Don’t quit.

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My Reflections

REMEMBER TO LEARN . . . DON’T REMEMBER TO DWELL – Isaiah 43:18-19, Philippians 4:8, Psalm 30:11, Philippians 4:13


 
If it is one thing we all have in common is that we are all vulnerable to pain. Some experience it more than others. Some experience it earlier than others. But we all know what it is like to hurt. As followers of Christ, if we allow Him to, He can use our past pains in marvelous ways, for His glory.
 
As a female, I know that it is very easy to dwell.  To dwell on our day, to dwell on our future, to dwell on our past. . .especially to dwell on our past! That is not always a bad thing, but too often, when we think about our past hurts, we stay in that place for too long. That’s when it can get dangerous.
 
The Bible tells us, in Isaiah 43:18 & 19, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”
 
When we think on past pain and ask God to heal us, that is beneficial. When we think on our past pain and ask God to show us how He can use it for His glory, that is called healing. When we think on the past pain and get stuck in a bad place mentally, and our emotions and thoughts can’t seem to move away from those moments in time, that is not where God wants us to be.
 
You see? While it is easy to dwell, when we do that, we begin believing we are living in defeat. We begin to feel like we haven’t moved forward, when we have already taken steps in that direction. There’s a reason why we’re reminded in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
 
When we think in those terms, then we begin asking God to turn our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11). We begin to praise Him for how far He’s taken us, since those moments, how much we’ve healed, as we’ve shared and given those pains and hurts to Him. We begin to realize that the truth is that God is doing a new thing in us, as we live for Him.  He’s doing things with us, that in those painful moments of our lives, we never thought possible!
 
Will there ever be a day when we stop getting hurt?  Not on this side of Heaven, but one thing is certain. With Christ, you can have the strength you need, to fully move forward  (Philippians 4:13). So, remember to learn from the past. Don’t remember to dwell.

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My Reflections

TRUST ME – John 12:44-50


WHO CAN YOU TRUST?

Funny how we often want to have people in our lives we can trust, can count on, but then someone tells us, “Trust me,” and inside we hear, “Wait a minute? Trust you?  Why should I trust you?” Then your mind runs through every moment of mistrust ever done to you, by that person or any number of other people in your life.

We so desperately want to trust.  We even want to be worthy of trust ourselves. But, then we have those moments.  You know the ones. Those moments when we fail ourselves and let someone down. Those moments when even those who you should be able to trust with your very life let you down, and you wonder if trust is even obtainable.

It is.  John 12:46 says, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their TRUST in me will no longer remain in the dark.”  That’s a powerful truth. But maybe you’re still sitting there, doubting.

That’s a powerful image. Picture yourself in complete darkness. No light from anywhere, and you’re alone, without any clear indication of which way to get out, which way to go, to reach light. That’s a frightening thought, but we’ve all had those moments, those panic stricken moments.

So you begin doing everything you can think of to find your way.  You may try walking with your arms outstretched, possibly stumbling over things or smacking straight into a wall, feeling more and more pain with each attempt to get out. You may even begin to get down and crawl, something you haven’t done since you were quite young, but you simply don’t know what else to do. Even though you can feel your body being scraped and cut, as you try to make your way, you continue. You’ll resort to anything. You need to find a way, and there’s no one there to tell you what to do.  No one you can trust, to help you out of this dark place with no chance of escape.

Suddenly you remember. Wait a minute, there is someone to get you out of this dark place where you have nowhere to turn. Inside yourself, you mentally ask God, “Are you there? Do you see me? Can you really get me out of this?”

Then, as more time passes, and you keep trying on your own, with no results, you find yourself crying out, “Jesus! Help me. You tell us in Your Word that we can put our trust in You! Lord, get me out of this darkness.  I don’t know which way to go!”

Suddenly, the answer is clear.  You know exactly which way to go.  Jesus answered, and made the way out known to you.

God is always worthy of your trust.  Man may fail you. Friends and family will fail you, from time to time. But, your Heavenly Father, your very Creator, will never fail you.

When you’ve tried everything else, try God. Maybe next time, you will remember to trust Him first, and save yourself all of the bumps, cuts and bruises from stumbling around in the dark. He will never let you down.

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