Browsing Category: Forgiveness

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When the Stess Becomes Evident

Our living situation, or should I say our comfortable empty nest has changed. I have always thought of myself as fairly adaptable and willing to flex and change to accommodate those things life throws into our comfortable mix. However, I recently learned how I too can be in denial.

Almost four years ago on July 4th, after discussing at length, the options for our mom, I told my sister–after discussing with my husband–that living up north with us might be a workable option. I said yes and my sister said okay and brought her up for what mom thought was her annual three-month stay in Minnesota. She always enjoyed pleasant summer temperatures and her lovely trailer tucked beneath the trees beside our home. Independent living at its best. Mom always said it was the best of both worlds. Orlando for nine months of the year and International Falls in the summer months. Life is good!

It didn’t quite turn out the way our little momma thought it would when asking my sister to make her return flight to Orlando. My sister had to be the bad girl and tell her that she wouldn’t be coming back. Bam…the first blow. We did work it all out however and our poor, little lady had to face her first winter with–us as one of the coldest in many years blew through the winter months. Apart from some physical issues she really did do fairly well. Along with her friends, we made sure that she was set with clothing to keep her warm. My little momma is only 4’10” tall, weighing in at 80 pounds. Yeah, how does that work without fat on her body to keep her warm. However, she did make it!

Blow two came in the summer when she was looking forward to moving into the trailer for three months or so. “Mom, you aren’t able to live in the trailer anymore. It isn’t suitable and you can no longer see well enough to be alone. But maybe we can find you a place in town where you might get a meal with your living plan and I can even bring you meals.

That plan softened the punch a bit. However, there wasn’t an apartment available at that time but she could be put on a waiting list to call when one became open. Summer came and went and nothing opened up until later in the fall of 1014. By then we just couldn’t see her living by herself at all. Yup, the third blow.

As we rolled into 2015 we realized we were at a crossroads with our mom. Her independence dwindling as she basically resided in our daughter’s old bedroom and our living room upstairs. “Well mom, this is home!” Our hopes were that she would be able to resign herself to being comfortable with us. But a few issues got in the way of that, including health issues and trying to make her comfortable.

I am so not a drug person. I don’t like to take them and for me, they are a ‘last resort’. With our mom, she has to use a few which I understand is pretty good for an 86-year-old today. She started itching like crazy when she was with us and we did the derm and allergist thing and you name every cream, pill, and salve in the book, all to no real avail! What were we going to do about this?

Almost every night I have helped load her skin up with of cream all over her little bony body so she can sleep through the night. She would sometimes wake up itching like crazy and be very angry. I have often wondered how much of this was brought on by her disappointments? I guess I will never fully know the dynamics. From a tiny, elderly lady who awakens to puff a half a cigarette, eat a few bites of some sugary pastry (oh how she loves her sweets!), and seldom drinks any water, I’m amazed at how well she is doing. So needless-to-say, her skin issues may never get better at this point, it is so hard to retrain a person in their 80’s!

I have shared prior to this post of how I have had to let go of some of my dreams because this momma is my top priority right now. However, there are times when you have a V8 moment and realize you have been harboring resentment and to top it off, not dealing with it! Ouch, that is a reality that I really didn’t think I would ever have to deal with.

Last early spring I started losing my hair. Now I am on a fabulous nutrition product so that isn’t the problem. I studied and looked and pondered and prayed as to what in the world was going on. Thyroid? Diet? Vitamin deficiency? Or dread, maybe…stress? Well after doing all the ‘right’ things I could think of, this was the only thing I could conclude as my issue…stress...oh how it doesn't do the body so good! It can literally destroy us when we aren't willing to deal… Click To Tweet

So I again when to my mantra of Philippians 4:6-7 and asked the Lord to show me what in the world was going on. On one of my walking routes one day it all came pouring out of me. I had to admit some things to the Lord that I really didn’t want to out of the fact that I was sort of ashamed I had harbored these feelings. After all, didn’t He tell me I was supposed to write that book and speak all over the place? But as I had to give up my space, my time and all those things that gradually took me away from my dreams, I guess I got angry. Ever heard it said that anger turned inward is depression? Makes sense doesn’t it. We harbor bitterness that grows and makes us a very angry, unhappy, unhealthy person.

Argh, I walked and cried like an idiot that day on my walk. I’m sure people driving by were wondering what my problem was. However, getting it all out on the table so to speak was so the right thing to do! I was then in for a huge blessing.

Now, you might think that when you get a dozen roses that’s pretty special right? You bet it is. But better than roses–even though I couldn’t bring them home with me–there along the road in the ditch (where I walk all the time) low and behold…a perfect dozen Pink Showy Lady Slippers (our state flower, btw.) It was just like the Lord blessed me for my honest walk with him!

I really can’t tell you just how much that meant to me. They were absolutely gorgeous! It was as if He confirmed my forgiveness by giving me this incredible gift!

Oh, friend, God is so kind and gentle, and I love this from Psalm 145:8…

“The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

You see, I had to let go and let God fill me with His peace!

You know what? I did quit losing my hair within a few days! That is just proof that stress destroys. I believe we aren’t meant to carry bitterness and anger. And when we choose to ignore it, we will suffer because it has taken up residence in our hearts!

Friend, sometimes you just have to let it go and when you do you will be flooded with the ‘peace that passes all understanding’! I’ll take a dose of that any day…how about you?

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

February is most of all highlighted by Valentine’s Day, and designated to express and receive love! How delightful. Let me share this writing with you by Stephen Crotts…

Love ~

To be young, wealthy and in love–all in the third century. And to be a Christian. 

Such was young Valentine. He would consummate his great love by taking her as his bride. Soon he would be wed. But his world came crashing down around him when the Roman emperor declared all Christians illegal citizens and guilty of treason. All they had to do was to say, “Caesar is Lord!” Rather than deny Christ, young Valentine was arrested. 

In jail, awaiting his execution, he wrote love letters to his girlfriend…beautiful, passionate letters assuring her of his great love for her. But theirs would be a love not lived out. On February 14, 269, Valentine was put to death, martyred for Jesus Christ. 

Since then, Christians have celebrated his fidelity to Christ and romantic love on the 14th of February by sending our own love letters to special people. And we do so this year, let us resolve to live for Christ unashamedly.  ~ Stephen Crotts 

So my friend, how will you spend your Valentine’s day? Maybe a romantic dinner with card and flowers from or to your beloved? It seems odd that we need a day in the year to remind us to show and exhibit love. Click To Tweet A day that indicates we should express our faithfulness and love to our beloved!  Yet, how about most of all to our Christ. His words to us penned by the apostle Paul in Corinthians need to be seared upon our hearts:

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

“Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13 

No small wonder it is called the Love Chapter. The above words are the key to any and every relational issue known to man. For if we do as it says we should, we become humbly involved in laying aside our agenda and we pick up the care the concern for others and administer love, unselfish love. 

I know my tendencies and I know how hard it is to look beyond me and see others in the light of God’s love, forgive me Lord. As Your creation, it should be a natural to do likewise–as You do unto us–to those around us. Why do I always get in the way? 

Father, when I am struggling with my spouse, my friends and even the poky driver ahead of me who thinks I should live my life at his speed, help me to think LOVE. Forgive all the “buts…” that I throw out as excuses to justify my unloving attitude. Lord, if I could always have on my mind the love You showed Your unworthy child, I just might remember. And how do I really show Your love to that unlovable person(s) we all seem to have in our lives? Whatever it takes Lord, I need Your grace and mercy so that I would remain that humble servant who desires to walk in love and then purposes to do it! I am so weary of asking and then I watch myself turn around and reneging on my intention. Give me authenticity that will reveal who You are through me. I love you Abba and my desire is to live for You. In Jesus Name, Amen!

Oh Momma…When you REALLY Blow It!

So it was an afternoon at the Salon, pick up pizza because mom and I would be late getting home and life would be good right? Oh so not ‘right’.

At home was a stewing guy who collided with a girl who hates conflict. I won’t divulge the situation in detail but what I do want to share is that I responded in a most extremely unChrist-like manner. I blew, completely and totally blew it!

Seems like the enemy of my soul reared his ugly head in my heart and I reacted in a crazy fashion of yelling at the top of my lungs in response to what I thought was inappropriate charges. Okay, we all have fought and disagreed at some point in our marriage, but it seems more likely during the early years. Well, we will be in it 30 years in October and frankly, I shocked myself (which will give you an inclination of just how out of control I was!)

I have written before about blocked goals and know firsthand the frustrations that come from having your best laid plans interupted! And I have also written extensively on the topic of unforgiveness because it has been a key to my ‘growth’ and spiritual maturity. Is it is possible that maybe you can even identify with an unfortunate situation like mine.

Well, we didn’t speak the rest of the night. However on my three mile walk I allowed the Lord to speak to me about what had just happened. I am so glad I live in the rural part of our community because a sobbing woman walking swiftly might give cause for concern.

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You see, I am a leader, a woman who loves to mentor and lead other women in the Christ-like manner we should all be walking in when we are His girls. I was so ashamed of myself for the way I behaved. I was ready to put in my resignation at my Christian ministry job, cancel all speaking engagements, keep walking and never come back (I have a natural inclination to run!) and surely never face the one I tangled with.

However…our loving Father, who is so gracious and kind began to speak to my heart and hear the story that I spilled out, and yes, even though I knew He was there in the midst! However, He so gently reminded me that I am not responsible for the “but he did…” in this showdown. Nope, I had to face my pathetic response, face my wrongs and ask the Lord to search my heart and show me the wickedness of my own heart. Grief, what was in this heart of mine that would make me lash out in response the way I did?

Mist rising Psalm 139.23-24

Oh friend, this was such a humbling experience. I hadn’t been in this place for a long time and I was shocked at both of our responses. I continued to allow the Lord to show me my fears, insecurities, doubts and asked to see just where was this coming from. I didn’t raise my fist to heaven and try to blame God or my guy. That’s because I knew I had to look into my heart alone and trust that God would take care of the rest.

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When I returned home the guy was in bed, as he is an early to bed, early to rise type, which meant that it was just me and my mom (who was the unfortunate witness to the entire event) left to converse. I told her I was so ashamed of how I responded and asked her to forgive my outbursts. She wanted to justify my response and I just gently said I wouldn’t discuss it any further, and that I was terribly wrong. You see so often we want to rally our troops and justify our actions. Click To Tweet I knew I couldn’t do that! I had to respond correctly as the Lord had lead me to do.

The guy had worked so hard that day that I knew he needed his sleep or I would have awakened and we could have talked then. And I had prayed for boldness to end this thing before the “sun would go down on our anger.” However I slept and surprisingly well at that. He is most often awake before I am so when I got up his first response was “Good morning.” Hmmm…I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting that and I grunted somewhat and proceeded to get busy making my muffins in hopes that we were all done and finished never to revisit last evenings main event ever again.

I was thankful that when he came into the kitchen he did apologize for his outburst the night before. To that, I was able to then reply back that I was so ashamed of my behavior. I had made up my mind that I wasn’t going to focus on him and what he did to get me riled up. No, this was about me. I had crossed the line and I wanted him to know that I knew how inappropriate it was and that I was so sorry and hoped that he would forgive me. I also told him that I loved him. And that is why this situation cut so deeply. People who love each other aren’t supposed to hurt each other like that, or at all (although it too frequently happens.)

You see, I have a small prayer group that meets weekly, and we care enough about one another’s spiritual well-being to be able to look each other in the eye and say,

It's not about them, it's about what God wants to work in you! Click To Tweet I admit, that sometimes bites! But I know it’s true.

So have you and your spouse every tangled?

How did you respond after the scenario played out?

From my perspective, here’s what not to do:

  • Don’t rally the troupes to gain support for your wound licking party. If this is about you then allow God to search your heart and be willing to take a look at the unpleasantness in your own heart. Both parties can turn ugly during a heated argument!
  • Ask the Father to show you if there is something in your heart that you have refused to give over to Him. Remember, diamonds are made from raw coal and pressure. Over time we hand Him every little bit so that He can make us more and more like Jesus.
  • Don’t focus on all that the other person did wrong in the situation. He did..she did this that and the other. This is where you admit that you are not responsible for changing the other one. That is not your job! There is no degree on wrong…it is just plain old wrong!
  • Ask the Father to show you how to humble your heart. Pride is a tool of the devil and he will certainly get you into trouble if you continue to entertain it.

Humility1

What can you do when reeling from a situation like this? Here is where you acknowledge your responsibility, humbling yourself and looking inward instead of over at the one who hurt you! Walking in humility isn’t easy but when you lay down your pride it can be done. And remember that these trials will only make you more and more like Christ, and you will be more inclined to offer grace to another when you see that they have blown it big time!

Make up your mind that the devil won’t win this battle!

 

When the Scoffers Come!

1Pet 2.1Ever have those conversations that leave you thinking or screaming “What in the world was that all about?” I have and the hardest part of it all is that it was someone I love who railed against me and left me feeling worthless!

Some of you know what I’m talking about here! But when it comes from those we love, ouch, it sure does bite. I was left devastated, giving in to negative thinking for a brief period of time.

I am so grateful that I know the Lord, and that I know His Word. Because of this knowledge, I can combat the lies of the enemy when he comes pointing fingers and scoffing at me. You see I know it isn’t that loved one that I am battling, it is the enemy of my soul who wants to see me rendered ineffective.

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God’s Word really is a healing balm…

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 NASB

I am so thankful that the Lord reminded me of this because I let myself get angry! I was devastated and hurt. Not only that but my ministry was also attacked. How could that be?

You see the devil loves when he can pit us against one another and cause us to back-bite and curse one another with that poisonous venom that threatens to kill us emotionally and render us completely useless. He is the ruler of this earth and for a season he longs to make us hate one another.

If Jesus came to show us love so that we could love one another then the devil does just the opposite! He stirs us up with negative thoughts of one another and we kinda get paranoid which is described as causing you to falsely believe that people are trying to harm you. But the verse above is what we have to remember more than anything. And that hurting people hurt people.

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So what will you do the next time the accusations come to taunt you and put you on the defense?

Will you retaliate and think of all the bad things that person has done and caused?

Will you get on the band wagon and rally the troupes in hopes of getting others to take your side?

Will you get into a shouting match with that one and tell them just what’s on your mind?

When conflict comes our way, we actually have an opportunity to put that ole devil in his place…by not giving in to our emotional reactions, instead, acknowledging the situation for what it is, applying the truth instead of succumbing to the deception.

All these things can help us to see that the person who seems to be against us is actually the enemy who is out to get us. We may just be a target for their pain and frustration. Certainly that doesn’t make it right!

2 Corinth 10-5So to take every thought captive means that all the negative thrown at us must be weighed and measured with the Word of God. We may see a few things that could be true about ourselves but seriously, we are not going to drink the poison of our taunters.
Here’s what I must remember to do when I fall into a situation like this…pray!

Then, I must forgive.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

It does take time to move beyond circumstances like these. But I know when we extend forgiveness and let go of the pain we have given over to the Lord, He will heal our broken hearts and hopefully restore and reconcile the situation. You may or may not have the relationship you once had but then again maybe you will have a better relationship than ever before?

What do you have to lose?

The pain and recollection every time you run into them, especially if it is a family member.

What do you have to gain?

Peace, peace knowing that God is working even if for right now it doesn’t look quite like it!

If the Son Sets You Free…

Every now and again those songs come along that just touch your heart and add peace to your day. I love this group of young fresh Irish Christ lovers who call themselves Rend Collective. Their songs are joy-filled and full of faith.

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Since I have been pulled from the pit of destruction when I was that crazy mom of 30, through many trials and tribulations I now know what it means to be free. Free from the guilt that stained my heart and kept me from walking in liberty. I know how God redeems and sets us free to live in fullness which He must delight in as He sees us dancing in our freedom in Christ!

Scars 2

If you are still having difficulty pulling free from your past gunk, let me boldly ask, what are you waiting for? Give it all to Him, quit holding on to your past and the bondage that is keeping you from true freedom in Christ! If you don’t think I know what it means to be there you can visit here to see what Jesus has done for me!

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:34-36 NASB

No one is too far gone with too much past that God, our mighty Savior, cannot break through! We are called to point others to Him but walking in the Light as He is in the light! 1 John 1:7

If you have never met the Father and would like to, please know that there are redeemed ones who have prayed for you to know Jesus and the peace and joy that only comes from knowing Him. How does this all work you might ask…jump over here to find out more. And visit my prayer page if you would like prayer! Today I pray you will bask in His peace!

It’s a Gift of Life!

But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend; you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

                                                                                                                     ~ Isaiah 41:8-10 ESV

Praise be to God who allowed us the amazing privilege of being grafted into the lineage of Abraham–God’s friend–as well as Isaac and Jacob’s.  How?  Simply put by accepting His gift, His one and only Son, Jesus.

John 1.12

For God Himself, sent His only son, walking flesh and bone, to live among us. He would make a way where there was no way because of the sin that took place in the garden so long ago.

Jesus, came to earth as a humble little baby, born of a virgin (young Mary). A story that is told year after year when we celebrate Christmas. This was done purposefully so that you and I could become God’s sons and daughters.

Do you realize just how incredible that truth is?  Can you wrap your brain around the fact that the Creator of the universe, our Father, made a way for us to have a personal relationship with Him?  I will honestly say that I don’t understand it.  It makes me crazy to think of the expanse of the love that my heavenly Father lavishly poured out for you and me.

This truth certainly exceeds all imagination, all to be restore into a right standing with Him!  How could I ever expect to comprehend this one?

But…by faith, I must. I must simply believe! He saved my life, gave me hope and a chance to walk with purpose in each step, giving me a reason to wake up and live and a reason to love others as He has loved me! 

I like what Francis Chan said in his book Crazy Love, “The point of our life is to point to Him…” Click To Tweet

You too can have life that is intended to be full, rich and abundant and filled with purpose.  You do know that don’t you?  If not, friend, I can’t say enough, in an attempt to convince you of this truth. I know, you can’t see it, taste it, smell it or see it but…it is yours for the taking.  So here, here is the gift of hope and life, and it’s wrapped in love and not just any love but the Father’s love.

easterBecause Jesus went to the cross for you, you have been gifted with spending an eternity with the Father. I want so much for you to have it, no strings attached! If you are like me, it is just too hard to fathom a cross, a horrific death, where life drained from a broken body as Christ’s blood was spilled for you and me. You would think that that would be it, end of the story! But really it was a beginning on the third day, when death was defeated and eternal life in heaven won the victory as Christ arose.

“Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52
This is just too exciting! And there’s more…
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
Oh the devil thought it was finished when it had only just begun!
 John 20.30-31
You know, my words really don’t do this story justice at all. But the story is told in His Words. Why not start with the book of John. And know that most of all I pray you receive the ultimate gift of life and the blessing of being welcomed into the family of God, friend.  Take it from someone who has been so topsy turvy on the journey to find peace, love and to have joy in the rest of my earthbound journey.

So once again…here it is, yours for the taking…here’s to life!

Failure, It Just Stinks!

Do you know your love language? I learned a few years back that my primary love language is Words of Affirmation. I almost think this doesn’t qualify as gift! You see, I am a “Words of Affirmation” girl, and it is so hard on me when I screw up. If you bless me with a compliment, I can go for miles and miles. Point out my failures and I am devastated and obsess with the situation for days. I can’t quit thinking of my flub and frankly it sucks!

Line BreakWhen needed, I am a fill-in worship leader (in my church.) I love to lead worship although it is a bit trickier for one who didn’t grow up with traditional worship and hymns to lead for the traditional service. For two weeks in a row a friend and I helped cover the traditional worship service and for some crazy reason it just didn’t go well for me.

The second week was worse than the first because I didn’t know a couple of older songs very well, argh…I really messed up! Bless the hearts of the congregation as they sang those familiar songs without missing a beat! I even forgot the call to worship which starts us out. This was just crazy and I really felt like I made a fool of myself.

Because I only sort of read music and sing by ear, if I know a song I’m fine but for one not so well known it can really get tricky when there are four verses and I have to try to follow the music and read words.

It drives me crazy how I react once I blow it. I feel just like a freak in front of perfect people and I become devastated! You know there won’t be any words of affirmation to greet you as you exit. As a matter of fact, people will tend to avoid you or if they do brave talking to you it is going to be about the weather, ha! Weather is such a safe place to navigate.

I wish that was all! But to make matters worse was my performance based other half who couldn’t wait to ask why I messed up and not just on one but two songs. I wanted to scream and cry all at once! And I didn’t reply very humbly when he asked what the other worship leader had to say. So my retort was far from grace-filled when I said that she is so filled with love and grace that she would have just given me a big hug and said that she has been there. That shut him up in a hurry!

Yes, I have thought about this for way too long. And yes, once again I am admitting to my tendency to be a people pleaser. I know there is a healthy balance between doing your best and pleasing people to satisfy your affirmation craving! But I have to remind myself that I am not perfect and that I will make mistakes.

KD Worship

As a worship leader, my responsibility is to lead the congregation into worship. If I hold myself to performing then I am defeating the purpose and losing focus of my audience of One. He alone is who I want to please, first and foremost. He knows my heart and the intent.

In Darlene Zschech’s book, Extavagant Worship, she points out:

“The disciples whom Jesus chose to have around Him were an imperfect bunch of people to spread the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.”

Somehow this makes me feel a bit better about messing up!

So I am at it again this week and like they say about falling off of a horse, you have to get right back up there and try again. I have reckoned with my heart and I have dealt with my shame and frustration (which doesn’t really do a person any good anyway!) I know Who I love and Who loves me so I will trust that this Sunday’s worship will go much better than the last time.

Psalm 103-8

Maybe you have had to contend with your failures, how did you dealt with your mistake?

Is there something that you do or tell yourself after messing up or miss the mark somewhere?

And finally, how do you think God feels about you when you mess up? Did His love for you drop a notch because you didn’t hit the right notes?

I know my Father’s love and if His mercies are new every day then we need to exercise grace to ourselves and others who may fail now and again.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”  Psalm 103:8

For this truth I am so grateful!

In a Perfect World…

Why are relationships so difficult? Why do I do things that irritate people? Why are there people who totally annoy me? Sometimes I just want to go where I won’t ever have to deal with people and all of their stuff!!! Well…wait a minute…I wonder how many people say those things and think of me? Plain and simple, relationships are hard stuff.

Imagesbyozzie As I was pondering what lessons God has wanted me to learn in this season, and immediately remembered that He is teaching me what “love one another” is all about.  You see…when we refuse to abide by this mandate, then we give the enemy a foothold. This will develop into a stronghold and it gets harder and harder to deal with the situation and do the right thing. Laying aside ourselves to take up the concerns of others!

Just look what this passage in Colossians says from the Message paraphrase: “When you love someone you just want to spend time with them and that’s good because that is how relationship is cultivated.”

That just might be the easy part unless you have kids and schedules or work full-time.  Making the effort with those commitments can get a bit sticky! However if we need to hang in there even when things get weird. Oh my do I know that that’s like and when it happens, I just want to escape and try not to deal with it. But that’s not the way to do it. That’s when I need to expend some effort to mend the hole created by an unkind word or a misunderstanding. I sure don’t want to take up an offense!

Colossians 3:12-14  So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

Put on love, in other words it should be the first item on when you awaken and the last off before bedtime. And if you have a spouse then I guess you need it 24/7!

It is a big, and sometimes consuming job–all this relationship stuff! But you see, I have been given the mind of Christ. That means that I must gradually begin to adapt to Christ’s nature in me, as I journey through the tough stuff. Even though I have bad days, don’t I get a break here? Probably not if I am going to attain my goal. (Man, some days it can be a tough row to hoe!) And if you struggle with unconditional love like I do it can be even more difficult. But I am learning and it helps to take a look backward to see all that God has forgiven in me. This new garment of love takes a concerted effort to put and keep on, daily.

What can you do when relationships get sticky?

How difficult is it to wrangle your pride and admit that you may have had a role in an uncomfortable situation?

Father, it feels like I have so far to go on this journey, but I will continue to allow You to work out those uncomfortable traits in me even if it hurts and is uncomfortable. I will trust You as You continue to work all things together for my good and Your glory, in Jesus; name!

My Right to be Right?

Humility1There will be those days when you wonder who you are really living with and comments are made that are hurtful and seem to come out of nowhere! But then I think at this point in my marriage relationship that we have come too far for that! Well guess what, even though my husband and I just celebrated our 28th anniversary, we can still fall into a nasty slump with each other. It still isn’t pleasant and it still hurts!

However, I am learning to see that it is important that when those crazy moments come that truth is what I need to focus on. Do we still love each other? Does he know that I still love him? In these times I need to let this guy know that yes I am hurt but that nothing can make me love him less, even if he is being cranky and saying hurtful things. Oh how our mouths can get us in trouble! And whether you admit it or not we all say hurtful stuff at times!

For me some time has to lapse so I can mull things over and settle down and see clearly that number one: I am not battling him but I am battling against our enemy the devil who would love to see our marriage fall by the wayside. Second is that we can get through this onslaught. Okay…and so how does this happen?

My word in this season has been humility. I do not believe that resolutions happen without it! I have to stop and be willing to look not only at him and his behavior toward me but I have to look at me. What did I say or do that may have fed into the heated argument. Finally, can God bring us through this? Well of course He can and He will. But am I willing to let go of my right to be right? Or exercise my right to “give him what for” because he was nasty and ugly to me? My battle is won by letting God know I was hurt and asking Him to show me how to bring about a right resolution without driving the wedge deeper into our relationship. Then I asked God to show me how to have a humble spirit or attitude when we discuss the situation.

I often pray out to God Psalm 51:10-12 and it really sets the tone for my attitude so that I can come to my offender in humility and ask his forgiveness in my part of this wrongdoing. I will say however that my guy’s heart is turned when I tell him that it really hurts when someone you love treats you unkindly (then describe the way I saw it played out.) It needs to be gentle and without intimidation. Proverbs 15:1 sure is the key isn’t it!

Oh that it would always play out like that! Or that we would never ever again, have a misunderstanding. That would be grand! However, I am learning from these instances after all these years! My hot headed responses are giving way to a more gentle and godly approach that leads to a resolution we all can grow from! After all, our Father has shown us the perfect example of that very response…

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”  Romans 2:4 (NASB)

What are you willing to lay down to enter in to a resolution?

What good quality about your loved one can you point out in reconciliation?

Lord, I know that there are plenty of days when I won’t do it right. I ask you to give me your discernment when it comes to disagreements and remind me that I have relinquished my right to be right! Instead I will choose to do the right thing for Your sake and glory, in Jesus Name!