Finding Nuggets of Gratitude When Family Dynamics Are Adversely Impacted

How does one find a nugget of gratitude when life presents you with a family-altering event beyond divorce that actually impacts the dynamics of family as you knew it? How does one make preparations to walk and lead with head held high in a humbled heart state? Can the attitude of thankfulness and gratefulness be found? Is it really possible to live and love out loud with hope?

Well, please allow me to take you on a personal scenic outlook overview at a cliff that stood very high and hidden. Perhaps it shall reveal that those very real down deep questions and the nugget-finds of gratitude can be found. And let me say first, that the answers do not nor cannot lie in a one-person excavation of the precious gratitude jewel because often the actual nugget can be too massive to unearth alone. Remember that I am all about #givingyouhope. 

While there are numerous folk over the last 34 years who have been people of faith influences to me, please take a few extended moments to follow along of a few #standout vessels whose lives and words each incited the reverberating walk out the God-kind of agape love-out-loud and live-out-loud faith echoes in the chambers of my being. Here goes my account of live-out-loud and love-out-loud inspirational cliff-dwellers of encouragement with picks, shovels, jack hammers and all the necessary tools to assist me in finding my nugget of gratitude that led to this very 31st day of December 2016…

  • My two awesome kiddos, Leslee and Aaron, of whom I am very proud and before whom I committed to the Lord and to self to guide in a godly manner a model live-out-loud faith and a love-out-loud love that rises #above ANY circumstance in life. 
  • An associate pastor and his wife who actually came to my life before marriage and the birth of my kiddos. This couple now residing in Tennessee whose live-out-loud God-the-healer Jehovah-Rapha kind of faith was prayed over me in 1980 when first we met, as my body was lying very high-temperature weakened on the floor of a Contemporary Christian Choir touring bus that pulled up into their church parking lot. That incident turned out to be a divine setup for our lives to be forever entwined with an unconditional love-out-loud bond as I was adopted into their unbreakable commitment to God and family.
  • A senior pastor formerly of Trophy Club, TX who chose to Deuteronomy 28:13 rise above the circumstance and 1Peter 5:6 humble himself and place a love-out-loud phone call to me regarding a mutual friend of his family and mine. He spoke these thought and life-impacting words to me through uncontrollable live-out-loud tears, “Rainey, I need the Lord to teach me how to love as He loves…a new and deeper kind of love.”
  • A dear precious friend in Tennessee came to me in a love-out-loud manner in 1996, gently cupping her hands over mine, looking into my eyes with the compassion of Jesus and softly and tenderly exhorted me in a still quiet voice as that likened unto my live-out-loud Lord, “Rainey, always be gracious. Whatever you do, always be gracious.”
  • A local senior pastor and his wife who accepted our family with a love-out-loud embrace in 2001 with an unconditional unspoken love commitment to our family from then through and beyond present and spoke words of live-out-loud faith-filled words of life and Jehovah-Rapha healer to my son over me in 2004. All of this was yet another Divine plan for me to regularly glean from that dynamic marital duo as they became senior pastors in 2007 to my redefined family and a live-out-loud model to do what love-out-loud love requires with grace and truth.
  • An incredible newlywed lay couple couple in a Louisiana church we met 1998 with whom lives we became intertwined, who later accepted the calling of pastors. The wife and I shared an intentional live-out-loud intimate admonishing one another impenetrable bond of love and faith. In 2008 while in the midst of an excruciatingly emotional and physically painful stage 4 breast cancer live-out-loud faith, she painlessly expounded with words that rendered captivatingly enlightening wisdom to my many years of quandary in the 1982 obedient response and commitment to the Lord to a love-out-loud daily denial to self on a long journey which presented many twists and turns. 
  • 46-year glorious friendship of two incredible women whose respective life journeys compelled them to stand firm in a commitment to live-out-loud in faith for healing through breast cancer and a vegetative stroke coupled with a stand strong love-out-loud above ALL adversities, whose lives resound as loud testimonies to me. 
  • A remarkably coachable and teachable woman of God on Maui, HI, whose unbridled outspoken character began being tamed as yet another setting of live-out-live to teach to me to love-out-loud to a people I did not understand, yet for whom I was to be the vessel to bring increases to the Kingdom. 

So while there are many others to whom I have great gratitude, may I ask of you to #STOP in the midst of your own challenged circumstances to live-out-loud and love-out-loud? Then #DROP to your knees in humility before the Lord and the whomever/s He would or has placed in your life to help you #ROLL the care of the seeming madness onto the Lord by an unrelenting determination to dig deep in search of your nugget of gratitude. I think you just may find that amazing jewel of gratitude was found while in your drawn focus to THE bright shining #LiveOutLoud #LoveOutLoud Light of the world. Wishing you a blessed and prosperous 2017 of many exciting nugget finds of gratitude. 

Blessed To Be Contagious!

The unexpected twist that occurred at my medical appointment today…

No matter what is going on or how I am feeling, “Blessed” is the response I give when asked how I am doing. Now those of you who have interacted with me interpersonally, know that about me. That is because no matter what the present feeling, feelings could change from moment to moment. Soooo with a smile, ‘Blessed’ was how I responded to each of the 3 staff who asked “How are you doing today?”.
Despite the extreme pain, blessed’ is a constant, no matter how the body or soul feels.

Now the doctor was with earshot of each of those encounters. However, upon the doctor’s entrance into the exam room, he presented me with the same question. I joyfully replied, “Blessed!” And then the unexpected twist from the doctor as he joyfully smiled and became very animated in demeanor and excited and encouraging words.

“Ms. Matthews, you are really something with your positive attitude given the pain and complexity of your health, you manage to bring sunshine and make people feel good or better just by being around you. Many people in your situation would be feeling sorry for themselves and project negativity. You are amazing!” While I was humbled and blessed by his words, I let him know that because of The Lord I am most blessed and that is what I choose to major on.

Side note… Many know how painfully challenged my health has been since Christmas 2013. His words were like praise music in my ears…especially since the 3 times I have seen this specialist has been during this escalated difficult time. So praise to my Lord who Always causes us to triumph and thus I am truly blessed.

Let me encourage all my readers to be blessed and be contagious!

Convicted or Under Conviction?

CHARGE:   Stressed Out

DEFENSE:   My Client is stressed Out due to carrying and/or juggling cares of this world in life

PROSECUTION:   The Defendant is stressing out to eliminate stressing out

VERDICT:   The Defendant is Guilty as Charged

SENTENCE:   Philippians 4:6-8; Matthew 6:25-34; James 4:4-6; 1Peter 5:5a-9a; Psalm 23; 1Corinthians 13:4-8a; Psalm 91:1-6; Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:10

PROBATION:   Proverbs 3:5,6; Matthew 6:33; John 8:31-32; John 15:4; Matthew 7:1-2; 1John 4:7-8

PARDON:   Romans 5:8; Romans 8:1; John 10:9-10; John 14:1-4; John 4:25-27; Romans 8:34; John 8:10-12; John 16:31-33; 1John 4:16; 1John 4:9-10


Release and Forgive…Forgive and Release

A few days ago my spirit was weighty with an unrelenting message that would not leave until I obediently share it. It is an exhortation to “Forgive and Release” “Release and Forgive” as entrance is made into the new year to receive the full extent of the blessings that 2014 holds. Even though the Lord showed me several decades ago that I must not walk in unforgiveness, the message I am about to write is for me too.

Ephesians Chaps 3-5 lays out how we are to walk (not run) as the new person in love, in the light, in wisdom. Chap 3 tell instructs us to PUT OFF the former conduct, be renewed in the spirit of the mind, to PUT ON the new person which “was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness”. We are very familiar with Galatians 5 that speaks of the fruit of the Spirit. It goes on to say that we are to live and walk in the spirit…”not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another”, thus putting off fleshly passions and desires. ICorinthians 13:3-8 so clearly states that love is an action word. Yet we seem to get it backwards. Decisions are made according to the Flesh to put on the actions of rude behavior, envying, parades of conceit and pride to make self look good, thinks all kind of evil, rejoices at at injustices and unrighteousness. Instead it seems choices are made to put off patience, put off taking no account of the evil done, put off allowing love to suffer long, put off being easily provoked, put off believing the best, put off rejoicing when right and truth prevail… All because offenses, perceived suffered wrongs, betrayals, etc have seemingly occurred..with justification to stand our ground to make a point. When in fact what has occurred is ground has been given for the enemy to Steal, Kill and Destroy. Choose to be resolute to forgive and release.. release and forgive. Do it even if that means taking a moment to ask forgiveness and releasing and/or releasing in order that you may humble self and ask forgiveness. Now go forth and walk in the actions of love and the blessings of the overcoming kind of 2014! Miss Rainey Giving You Hope…