Bitter! Bitter! Bitter!

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

Isn’t it just like life when you start looking at something closely you find it around every corner? As you know, I’m learning the bittersweet. Right now I’m seeing the bitter…Everywhere!

The word in English actual means sweet with a bitter aftertaste, or a poisonous climbing plant. I still haven’t found the word “bittersweet” in the bible. There are lots of references to “bitter” and to “sweet.” A few references have both words in them. I haven’t even broached poisonous vines yet! Whew! this word study is going to take a while!

Now personally, I would love to only focus on the sweet! I mean I do love sweet stuff! I decided to tackle the passages dealing with bitter and sweet together first. There are less of those references. But God seems to have other plans for me.

One of the things I do when I embark on a word study is open my eyes to the word in my surroundings. It makes me hyper-aware of my world in relation to the study journey I am taking. Well…Lately I’m seeing bitter everywhere. Makes me want to stamp my foot! “Lord I want the sweetness too!”

I think I heard that chuckle as I look heavenward.  He knows what I need even when I don’t want to follow the path, little stubborn ewe that I am. I was cleaning out my emails and came across Girlfriends in God email from

The email was from a few weeks ago. The title caught my eye, A Bitter Cup. Of course I had to open it and read the contents. I couldn’t resist. Cleaning out my email would wait another day…right?

Well this girlfriend discussed the bitter cups in our lives. She describes how parents can pour their bitterness out to their children. As the children sip from the cup of bitterness they grow bitter roots.

I sat back and thought I can relate to that. My father grew up with a bitter father. He learned the bitter at the knee of his father. Now as an elder man he follows the same path by keeping his bitterness in his soul. I watch his bitterness morphing into fear, paranoia, and distrust. The bitter root rules his old age.

In contrast, my mother grew up with a bitter alcoholic mother. She made a decision as a young woman to follow Jesus Christ. She also made the decision to learn from her parents and be a better parent. The path she chose was very different from the one she learned as a child. When we get together she is filled with love, joy and peace. The essence of the Holy Spirit surrounds her.

I have to say I am blessed to have the contrasting examples. If I pay attention I will find my way. I continued to read the email. At one point the girlfriend talks about a teacher who taught her when life hands you a bitter cup, it is you need to drink all of it, not to pass it to others (I have paraphrased here). The verse she chose for the devotional is:

Hebrews 12:15 (I used the NABRE):  “See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled,

When I read this I thought of all the ways we spread our cup of bitterness with those around us (whether they want it or not). My father spits out his bitterness with verbal abuse. I thought of the times I’ve spread gossip, and division. How I’ve commiserated with others. Ya know the “woe is me” game. “My problems are bigger than yours “competition. I’m not proud of it but, these are some of the ways I have participated in sharing the bitter cup.

It’s not easy right now. Life swirls around me with anxiety and stress. But, remember back to where God was teaching me about my roots. In one of the posts I found I can dig the unwanted roots out of my garden. After looking at the contrast between my parents I find; if I choose to trust God today, I am digging out the bitter root of my fathers.

I may get my hands dirty but…I choose to dig! May the peace of God rest in your soul.


Photo by Robb Leahy on Unsplash


via Daily Prompt: Bubble

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Photo by Andrew Wulf on Unsplash

Sooo I started a different post and couldn’t finish it today. I was going to look at lessons learned with the Turtle and the Hare. It didn’t work so…now you get Bubbles! Thank WordPress for the inspiration.

Actually things didn’t go well today. You could say my bubble got pricked and burst. I had a task to complete with my father. I had hoped it would go smoothly. Of course my dad made sure it didn’t work out. As he slowly loses control, his need for control surfaces. I was to meet him and go over legal things he instructed me to set up.

The warnings started Friday when I called him and he dressed me down for not getting the information to him last week. Which really is a feat since I didn’t get all if the documents until Thursday. I explained I was coming over on Sunday to go over the documents with him. The attack turned to my not calling him enough. I defended myself because we call or see him every day.

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My Bubble Facing the Storm. (Photo by Letizia Bordoni on Unsplash)

I felt defeated by the bullying. I know this is nothing new with my father. I have dealt with the loving father turned bully all my life. He’s a nice guy, just verbally abusive. At 86 it is not going to change. The weird thing is it’s getting harder to take the verbal punches.

Dad and I had a pleasant conversation on the phone yesterday. There was no talk of our planned meeting. Today when I went to visit with him, my father refused to talk to me. He started with a problem which we resolved. After that he couldn’t avoid me. That’s when he flatly refused to sign or look over anything. He proceed to insult me and kick me out of his room.

I said my goodbyes. I told him I loved him and kissed his cheek. Tears blurred my vision as my bubble burst. I left the assisted living facility hurting from a father who has made almost everything we have had to do together hard. From daily chores to vacations it couldn’t be easy. I have not lived up to his expectations. Why would this be any different? I thought with a bitter taste. Anger pulsed through me but I had to swallow it.

Then steps in God my Father. I got home. Not sure what to do next, I pick up one of my devotionals “Tea Time with God” I open to “Which Way is Up” (page 108). First I read the scripture caption:

I will never leave you or forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 (NRSV)

I tear up all over again as I feel my Father’s comforting Presence. The devotion starts with a story about a speedboat driver who was thrown from his boat. He fell deep into the water and did not know what direction to swim to surface. He stayed calm and let his life vest pull him towards the surface then began to swim faster. He survived by waiting for the sign showing the way up.

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Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

Reading the little book felt like when you blow bubbles and a bubble hovers in front of you for a few seconds. You marvel at the myriad of colors then to your delight the bubble moves closer to burst on your nose. It tickles, a giggle bursts forth causing you to smile and blow more bubbles.

Bubbles seem to  rise. They usually make their way to the surface of the water or up in the atmosphere. But at some point they burst. Bubbles are supposed to burst, right? Hope is like that too. It rises. I feel it welling up in me. At some point it bursts. When hope bursts it may bring tears, like today. BUT there are times when hope bursts bringing your dreams.

24For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; For why does one hope for what he sees? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. [Romans 8:24-25 NKJV]

Rise with your bubbles! Hope On, My friends!


P.S. I had a weather phenomenon today. This morning the skies were bright and sunny. After lunch when we went to dad’s place and drove into a rainstorm. It rained on and off all afternoon. While I am writing the post this evening it is storming again. It is quite the coincidence for the weather to match my stormy day dontcha think? hmm…