Tag Archives: Forgiveness

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.

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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!

One of the Best Tips I Have Received!

Let it goOne of the best practical tips I ever received…

Visiting over at #TheLoft today and thrilled to be with some excellent women of God!

Has anyone ever said to you “Oh just let it go!” I heard it today and shared it as well. There are times when an issue needs to be resolved, a theft or a murder, absolutely! But what about the seemingly little things that come and go throughout our day that can drive us crazy to no end! This girl has had to receive and heed her own advice, to just let it go.

The ‘some ones’ in my life seem to be part of my most difficult choice to abide by that rule of thumb. In and of myself, I cannot make someone respond by what I would call ‘correctly’ whether it is to own up, or apologize for an offense or wrong doing. In my mind I play that game of ‘justice’ and the harder I play at it the more convoluted things begin to look.

Now I know what Matthew 18 says about those who ‘may’ have an issue with you and by gum, somehow I am suddenly carrying the thing I am trying to get rid of! What??? And I know about the 7 x 70 rule that Jesus expects us to live by but I always get in the way of it!

So intentionality has to come in to play here where I look at what I am able to control…that would be me and my emotions! Maybe I am making more out of a scenario than I need to? And my assessment wants to scream ‘but they did…’ and then I hear those words, just let it go. Yup sometimes it really is the best choice to make instead of allowing myself to get bent out of shape over something hardly worth picking at. Like a scab you know!

Seems like a cop-out but friend, a lot of the time it can spare a lot of bickering and wrong thinking toward another. Rather let’s just choose to just “Let it go!”

The Best Dad, Father, Pappa, Ever!

Father wounds are very painful and they can take a very long time to heal. We have been airing a program on our radio station that has naturally–because of upcoming Father’s Day–made father the focus. Rightfully so!

One day a year we can honor the man (in some of our lives) that served to be that marvelous example of love, provision, admiration and respect. As I said, in some of our lives. I think it is truly wonderful when people speak of their fathers with the utmost of respect and admiration. But on the other hand, there have been too many poor examples of that fatherhood role exhibited by those who claim the title of Father, Dad, Pop, Papa, etc.

I don’t mean to sound sarcastic about this, I really don’t, I am however standing in for those of us who either had poor examples of fatherhood inflicted upon them or didn’t have a father at all such as myself.

  • Did you have a father who was in the house but didn’t show his love for you?
  • Was your home dysfunctional where your father was missing or maybe you were afraid of him?
  • Maybe you were like me, no father in the picture at all that you can remember?

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Now listening to the gentleman on our program give the most illustrious talk about the man he looked up to and admired with the utmost of respect, his father, made me long for that missing link in my life. I get pretty teary-eyed to think that there can be an earthly man that fills that mold of ‘father’ so wonderfully as the speaker’s father did. Wow! The respect and admiration was more than evident as he shared of losing his father and spending those last days with his hero.

Okay, you are thinking what is this girl’s problem? Can’t she just be thrilled for a shining example of an earthly father. Really, I do think it is wonderful but my heart has been empty for the father that I longed for and never had. I always heard what a wonderful man he was but funny, that wonderful man couldn’t take care of my mother and me. I am repeatedly told I would have loved him as he was such a pioneer type, rugged and fun-loving…but I have only seen pictures of me with him as a baby and as a one-year-old.

I understand he came from a family of good fortune but mom went to work to support us because that great guy of a father couldn’t hold a job.When I wrote an aunt to find out some information about my father she told me he was a “disgrace to the family and poor excuse for a human being.” Wow, there was no love lost there! Needless to say, my image of this “wonderful” man was somewhat skewed and the whole scenario of fatherhood seemed quite a mystery to a little girl who remained curious and longing for what she thought others had and she did not.Line BreakIt took many years of very difficult circumstances for me to realize that I was looking for ‘love’ (father’s love) but that I was going at it all backwards. In my early 40’s my life took a ‘right’ turn by realizing that I had a root of bitterness that I wasn’t even aware of. And this thing had wrapped all around my heart. If unforgiveness is a stumbling block you might want to read this post on the Toxic Root of Bitterness.

It was 12 years earlier that I had opened myself to the gift of salvation and received Jesus Christ into my heart. But even that didn’t fill my empty heart (or so I thought.) A series of circumstances brought about by my pride, dysfunction and strong will found me miserable and ready to give it all up.

A father and his daughter!

It is remarkable to think that God had a different plan. And part of this journey was acknowledging that the pain in my heart was–for the most part–due to anger toward a man I never even knew. It is hard to fathom how someone you never knew could have such an impact on your life! It was in large part because of the “Freedom in Christ” ministry of Dr. Neil Anderson, that I was able to release that bitterness and begin to see that I really do have a perfect Father now. I still have twinges of longing for “God with skin” like when you want a great big hug from arms that can just pull you in and hold you. So you can snuggle your head into his chest and feel the comfort of all comforts only a daddy can provide. For now, that can’t be, but someday, I am going to run to my Abba Father, my Daddy and He is going to embrace me and never let me go.

“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5

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Friend, if you have that emptiness in your heart, a hole that just runs on empty because there was no father love to fill it up, I have an answer for you. Will you let the Father of all fathers begin to fill that hole with love that will begin to heal as a balm does on a wound? He is the Father to the fatherless, and He will never let you down, leave or forsake you! Cry out to Him right now, something just like this:

Father in heaven, I am longing to have this hole in my heart be healed. I have looked for love in all the wrong places and have paid dearly for my poor choices. I am so tired of running from one thing to another as I look for whatever it takes to keep the pain from overwhelming me. There are times when I just want to kill myself and be done with this life. As I look up to You, will you receive me just as I am and forgive me for doing my own thing as I searched for something to bring me happiness? Forgive me for the mess I have made of my life and help me to have a clean, new beginning with You. Thank you that by Your Son Jesus, I can come to You and You will hear me and answer and You won’t turn away from but will welcome me into Your family. I look forward to the plan that You have had for me since I was being formed in my mother’s womb and I am going to trust You to be my guide as I learn to love and live for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

You will never regret making this new beginning. Welcome to the family of God, you are now a child of the Most High God! If you made the decision to receive the free gift of salvation will you let someone know? You can even let me know and I will do my best to send you something to help you on your new journey just email your response to kimberly@kimberlynyborg.com. You can read more about knowing Jesus over at Knowing the Father.

What God has Joined Together…

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Love is…

Do you believe in marriage?

I think a lot of us would say of course we do…

But then life happens and things get rough and times get tough and the winds of adversity beat on our united front and we begin to think ‘what am I doing in this situation..it has to be better somewhere else…’

From Matthew 19:5,6 we find common words spoken over bazillions of wedded couples:

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?  So they are no longer two but one flesh.  What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

When life gets hard it calls for grit and guts to hang in there and trust that God will work it all together… Click To Tweet Life is definitely difficult today and there is a plethora of egocentric screaming going on in and around each and every one of us!  When the proverbial honeymoon period is over and its time to get down to business and live life, old self-gratification waltzes back into our thinking and then “it is all about me” becomes our song.

As a young mom, emotionally immature and needy I didn’t know how to look beyond my own needs when I finally got married with my one son born out of wedlock, I was looking for someone to take care of us. No faith to sustain me except in myself and that was pretty pathetic. My first marriage ended prematurely leaving me with three children that I didn’t have a clue how to raise and so it was easy to find myself back in another relationship.

Thankfully, God intervened in my life and He began to turn me from upside down to Christ-side up. What a process indeed. However, I will be ever so ready to say that I have made the choice to go it the long haul.

I am done being a quitter and a runner! I want God to be glorified in my life and in the example that my marriage makes in a world gone awry. I am a woman of God, and if I say I believe in Him then I better put my faith into action by trusting Him even when it hurts! And guess what, I’m not talking upon condition either.

Is it stinkin’ hard? At times, you bet it is. Like when we both look pretty ugly at each other and want to demand our way. But life is messy and relationships are some of the messiest stuff out there. But you see, if I’m supposed to point others to Jesus then I better quit pointing at myself and demanding my rights.

Then there is this forgiveness issue…pride says “I’m right and you are wrong!” But love says “I’m so sorry, will you forgive me?”

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Remember this familiar description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in the Message paraphrase:

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first,” Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”

I want others to know that it does work. But also, that it may take some elbow grease in the process. Like scrubbing away me to see I am in this with another.

Love this song from Casting Crowns that points to the fact that most times we don’t enter a marriage with the intent on giving up our selves. But if it is going to work it must. Click To Tweet

My question to you is this…will you fight for marriage?

Will you lay aside your demands and get on your knees and ask God to show you how to make a difference in your life, not change him Lord, but in you?

No prize is worthy of having if it has come easily! And your marriage my be a diamond in the rough so keep… Click To Tweet

 

Boundless Love, Loving Boundaries…

If you have read my blog in the past you might have read my posting on Lessons from a Schnauzer.  Oh, that little loving pup of ours is in some ways like my prodigal children have been, in that she is used by God to teach me more about Him.

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Our Sassy Little Elsa

A few years back over Easter weekend, we had an incident that only happens thankfully once in a while.  I am always praying against this happening because I am fearful of the consequences.  Elsa, is a Schnauzer who is very true to her calling, she loves children and loves to ‘hunt’.  Schnauzers were bred to mind the kinder and keep the vermin at bay on the farms.  Even when she hears children on the Television or radio she perks right up and would love to join the kid party.  As to her inquisitive nature to hunt and chase after ‘vermin’ she would constantly be off to the woods and who knows that we would ever see her again.  She even thinks that she should investigate the deer that are always roaming through the property.  So in light of her natural calling we are not able to let her run free.  If we are out she must be hooked to something to keep her from doing her ‘Schnauzer thing’.  It sounds rather cruel but she knows that is the way it is and the leash has just become a part of her life. 

Like our own human nature every now and again, Schnauzers, like ourselves need to have a taste of freedom.  Elsa’s last fling without the leash came on Easter Sunday as we were getting ready for church.  My daughter and I were the last to head out and I asked her where Elsa was and she thought she was possibly downstairs.  Knowing that the kids were not in the house I suddenly entertained a thought that I really didn’t want to think about.  I went downstairs with a heavy heart knowing that she was nowhere to be found in the house.  I hollered up to my daughter and said Elsa must be outside to which she opened the door and promptly tried to coax her back into the house.  All to no avail for all the coaxing in the world was not going to ruin this fling with  freedom.
By the time I ran up the stairs and grabbed the leash and headed out doors she was springing  for the highway leaping like a lamb through the front yard and I imagined hearing her yelling, “I’m free, I’m free…”  I began to pray immediately to the Lord beseeching Him to not let her get hit on the road as the cars were coming up and down the hill.  Yes, she leaped across the ditch and across the road she went up the neighbor’s driveway.  I continued my praying, pleading with the Lord to please keep her safe and direct her homeward.  We were all calling for her as I am sure she continued in her little puppy mind, “I’m free, I’m free…” 
Then…(thank you Lord!) she turned around and headed back home, darting past my son-in-law heading right to my oldest grandson, Zachary.  I said gently, “Grab her and don’t let go!”  Which he did and then they came over to me and I promptly took her and put her on her chain by the kennel.  She only uses the chain and kennel when we have to be gone for a short time and have no one to watch her.  Or, sometimes just so she can be out and about when it is nice out.  Then off to church we headed.  I was praising God the entire way to church that He kept her from harm and returned her to home. 
Well naturally my immediate application was to see this episode as how a loving God gives us loving boundaries for our good.  For Elsa it is the leash and for us it is in the Word.  For a long time I resisted some of God’s boundaries because I wanted to maintain my “freedom.”  I realize now that I make enough mistakes as it is without thumbing my nose at a bunch of rules, regulations and warnings. 
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There is this sin nature that we wrestle with that is directly contrary to our Christ-like nature.  It is a battle that we will wage until we go home to glory.  But if we consciously live our life desiring God’s ways instead of ours we will provide less opportunity for the enemy to trip us up.  Or in Elsa’s case become a flat, black furry spot on the road! 
Paul tells us himself how he too very wrestled with doing what he was not supposed to do in Romans 7:15 

For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” 

I am amazed that Paul would openly admit his struggles.  And for me it is freeing to know that a man of Paul’s character—although probably not very often—struggled with sin.  He understood sin’s character and the impact it leaves behind.  (I think we would call that consequences.) Sometimes, we may only struggle with seemingly small issues and the Bible warns us with a blinking yellow light like the following verse: 

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 

And search the word fool to see the many places you will find this in the Word.  Like in Psalm 14:1 and 53:1 that says only fools say there is no God; Proverbs 1:7 says that fools despise wisdom, and discipline; Proverbs 1:22 says that fools hate knowledge!  I could go on and on for there is much for us to learn about fools and foolish behavior. (Actually Proverbs is based on the contrast of the wise man and the foolish!) It is sometimes these grey areas that are not terribly obvious that can be used to trip us up and lead us astray. All for the sake of “freedom”, freedom to choose what I will and will not allow myself to get into.
I know that for years I have struggled with thinking I know best what is and is not good for me. It is just crazy how a little time here or there can leave a lasting impression on us when we spend time where we probably shouldn’t.
Elsa
She is now 7 years of age and a bit more settled down although a rabbit will really get her going!
In this book called the Bible, there is a wealth of practical wisdom that God Himself has given to keep us safe and to warn us about old behavior patterns. Why? Because in His lovingkindness He wants what is best for us.  He wants us to be safe and continue to grow more and more into Christ’s image.  It is inevitable that there will come times when we succumb to old patterns or we may take a risk and do something that could put us in immediate danger, not heeded the warnings from our loving Father.  We will suffer the consequences from blatant disobedience and hopefully we repent and say, “whew, I am glad I didn’t continue down that pathway.” 
So whether it is not ‘completely’ telling the truth, a little flirtation with the opposite sex, watching that thing on the television that stirs old feelings inside of us or reading the same, all of these little blinking yellow lights are flashing when we enter into the danger zones of life.  But, there is something that we can do to heed the warning signs.  For me it is the check in my spirit telling me that I shouldn’t go there.  I acknowledge the danger sign, back out, and praise God for His Holy Spirit that protects us, in essence, from ourselves teaching us how to take every thought captive and crucify our sinful nature.  Freedom is wonderful but not freedom that bites back or is only fleeting! 
Father, my sweet little girl could have been a spot on the highway in her quest to run to places she had never been before.  I confess my desires can be much the same.  I ask forgiveness for ignoring Your loving boundaries that are in place for my good.  I know those earthly desires that can sometimes screams at me to just give it up for a season of ‘fun and freedom’ but I  have done this enough to know how easily I can get trapped and caught up.  I am grateful for your Word to me in Corinthians that says that “No temptation has overtaken [me] but such as is common to man and God is faithful, who will not allow [me] to be tempted beyond what [I] am able.  And with that temptation will also provide the way of escape also, that [I] may able to endure it.”  If we go out a bit too far You provide a way for us to escape.  Help me to be listening and willing.  Thank you Pappa for Your amazing love that only wants the very best for those You love!  Amen.

Lessons from a Schnauzer!

dscf1621If you happen to think you have things figured out enough in your life and that you and God are on the same page but for some reason you keep going round the mountain, give me a moment of your time to tell you my story. 

I went through this huge test–simply put–because I always think I know what’s best for me! However, that can come with some troubles, and I am ashamed to admit it, because surely by now I should know better (not fun to admit I’m am a slow learner.)  But I am going to risk some vulnerability because I have a feeling that I am not alone! Maybe you have a decision you are getting ready to make that could change the direction of your life. It could involve a serious relationship, a financial investment or job opportunity. Whatever it is let me urge you to read this somewhat humorous lesson and ponder its implications before you cautiously proceed. 

Determination! That’s me ever since I can remember. I have always been and still am a very investigative sort. Yes, that can be a great attribute when channeled in the ‘right’ direction. How else would we ever know that there are (for example) planets that are part of a ‘solar system’ and that we (planet Earth) belong to one of them? Unfortunately, in my life it has become a stronghold that has gotten me into lots of trouble and this spirit of independence has plagued me even as a more ‘mature’ Christian. You see when I get something in my mind, I am not easily deterred. One might just reason it away saying I lack common sense at times. But what I really need to have is a plan before taking action and remember how vital it is to have a witness of agreement with two or more to help discern whether or not I am really hearing from God.

You would certainly think that a few hard lessons would reign in this young lass who stepped out into some pretty bizarre situations. Like running away from home at 13 and again at 15 (not to return.) My younger years were strange years and I grew up rather quickly. Yes, I was rather impulsive.

Gratefully, I became a Christian at the age of 30 and God began His deep work in me as I have learned to surrender the many areas of my will with its baggage and consequences (and the deep pain in my heart) to the Lord.  I am learning that as it says in John 15:5 “I am the vine, You are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” And this is where I want to begin, now that you have some background.

Let me begin by honestly saying that I really am beginning to like who God is creating me to be. “Lord, please keep me teachable so I don’t quit growing!” I also add that there is a whole lot of refining to be done. As with all of us, I am in process and will be until Christ calls me home. So most of the time I really do appreciate what God is teaching me and doing in my life. Now here’s where I will reveal one of my strongholds to you–I still like to call the shots and think I know what is best for me. I forget Whose I am and Who knows best!

My husband and I now have a this dog who was a darling little puppy that I totally obsessed over until I got her. You see, after having to put down our sweet old “Chelsey” dog of 13 some years ago, and then putting down our inherited Sheltie (acquired from Jerry’s dad when he went home,) it was then time to get what I wanted and thought would be best for us to have. I have wanted a Schnauzer for a long time! So for two months after the Sheltie was gone I searched online high and low and researching as I went, for our Schnauzer. They are great dogs, smart, sturdy, healthy and cut too! My husband decided that he didn’t want any more pets (we also have a Siamese cat) insisting that when these were gone there would be no more. Yours truly persisted to convince him that we really should “try one on for size” assuming that he would just fall in love with her. I did pray about it, a lot. But let me confess, I did not wait on the Lord and like I always do, took matters into my own hands. Yes, Kimberly knows best. In July we acquired our first standard Schnauzer. A scrawny 3.5 month-old black female from Canada (Manitoba to be exact.) I even had her name all picked out before hand, Elsa, a good German name for a good German dog, and it means ‘God is my oath’.

So you ask “What’s the point?” Let me tell you how God has and continues to use this little dog to teach me some stuff! I have learned some vital stats about ‘Kimberly’, like don’t make me wait and don’t tell me no! And I have had to pay the price for my resistance to learn. Old Frank Sinatra may have sung the song but I keep living it out, ‘doing it my way’.

She is pretty cute don’t you think?

Our little Elsa is a smart little Fraulein and she really learns quickly the fun things. But…there is a very stubborn and determined side to her and as smart as she is she came with a few issues.

  • Coming off the farm, everything about city living scares her. (I should have named her Skiddles and when she first came through the door of the house, the cat greeted us as she always does and little Elsa freaked and poop literally went everywhere!)
  • She had a horrible case of round worm–yuck–that we had to deal with including diarrhea issues for several months and that was no pleasure to clean up! (Two doses of medicine took care of that and we were good to go although the vet blamed the kennel rearing–how would I know?)
  • We got her at 3.5 months which gave her head start in nurturing her strong will not to mention that the housebreaking took forever (we finally made headway at 7.5 months and they are supposed to be EASY to train!)
  • This little dog has a strong will that runs competitive with mine.

Argh–what have I done? Now I haven’t painted a very nice picture have I. So please, don’t get me wrong, she has her delightful moments and can be a lot of fun. It is just that there are a few hurdles we are going to have to jump through before it is all said and done. 

 So what’s all the fuss anyway? First of all, I forgot the time involved with a puppy. For a time and a season I have had to give up some pretty precious time that God and I spend together. I must say that that has been the biggest adjustment for me. Especially our first three months together. I have missed my time to write, read and study or do the little extra things around the house and I so look forward to once again being able to have time back. My mornings and evenings have involved puppy sitting while I try to read my Bible in between disciplining her for snatching the newspaper or pillow when I’m not looking. I know, this is all very typical puppy stuff.
I am also concerned that I am getting old and cranky! A few frustrating times of training–the experts always say don’t push it if you’re frustrated–have given way to some harsh reactions on my part. I hate that! And have had to cry out to God for forgiveness and mercy for being so harsh. I don’t want to ruin her sweet spirit and cause her to be afraid of me. That has been very hard for me to deal with. Who wants to think of themselves as a harsh disciplinarian? Firm and loving, that is the way.

As I conclude this I have realized that things are definitely getting better. (As she learns and I learn.) But for a time I thought what have I done, and am I going to regret once again demanding my own way and going ahead of God? The thoughts have come and gone regarding what we could have had if I had waited for God’s best. Like when the vet says his Schnauzer was house broken in short of two weeks at under two months old! Or will she ever get that “stay” is for her good and so is “come”. With all the deer in our yard I wonder what would happen to her the day she decides while off the leash, to chase one. Will I ever see her again? I know by heart the verses in Proverbs 3:5,6 that say,

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

But I forget the rest of the story when I read verse :7

Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.”

Ouch, the Proverbs can really make the tough calls! Old Solomon was in tune to his maker! So when will Kimberly realize that God, Abba, knows what’s best for His girl and that it is so much better to wait than to regret? His best is always for our best even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time or that is is just taking too long?

I pray that as God has redeemed the jump-start girl once again He alone can bring beauty from ashes. Our Elsa is learning and is now grown up. She has matured into a tremendous companion to me and my husband. The ride is slowing just a bit and as you can see I even have some time to do a bit of writing these days, yeah!

Well, if you can identify with my plight, let’s pray and ask God to give us what is ultimately His very best and nothing less and the courage and patience to wait on the Lord. Let’s pray

Pappa, once again I jumped ahead of You and You have gently reminded me that Father knows best! I really do want to give You my strong will and I also want to give You that part of me that thinks I know what is best for me. You know how impatient I can be when I don’t get my way. Just let me learn this time as I surrender. Thank you for your word in Isaiah 40:31 that says we really do gain great strength from waiting upon You. Mounting up with wings like eagles, running and not becoming weary and walking without fainting. What a promise awaits those who are willing to hold on for Your best. I want that and I am so tired of the learning curve as I traipse around the mountain again and again in this area. Please deliver me and give me the courage to stand fast as I wait on You, in Your powerful Name, Amen!


Out of the Desert…

I have had my dry times–spiritually speaking–where it seems as though I am crawling  through molasses. Have you ever experienced that? Everything is just as it always is and I then begin to sense the growing barrenness in my life. That old feeling of walking alone and out of sync with the flow. Everyone else seems to be alive and excited to be serving God but for some reason, I feel blah spiritually!Those times have been too often and frankly I do not like being there. It is a pathway that is weighty and bordering on sorrow and dare I say depression? 

I have never been in a sand dessert but for a time I did live in the northern part of New Mexico. It is not quite the same but there are some similarities with the hot dry, summers. In a sand desert, there is some life but not a bustling flurry of activity as in a thriving forest. It is simply too hot and dry.This ugly cactus plant of mine is rather similar to the plants that grow in the desert. It tends to thrive on very little water and it is so ugly that I almost wish it would die so I could get rid of it. I think it is about 45 years old and as you can see it doesn’t get huge. What grows (very slowly I might add) are these ugly long fronds or whatever you call them with their prickly little edges (although not like the usual cacti with its thorns.) It sits rather lopsided in my pot and obstructs my husbands view of the television if I don’t turn it around the other way. 

My dry times can be just like that old cactus, dry, barren, lonely and fruitless. It really is a terrible place to be. I am not even nice to be around because I have no joy, motivation or energy. I just want to hang it up. Interestingly, it even causes those that I am around to get cranky, like my husband. My hard places don’t just effect me, they also have an impact on those around me. My co-workers know when Kimberly Dawn is going through rough times because I am usually a pretty joy-filled person. (Praise God!) But not with the weight of the world on my shoulders, pressing me down! Or a mind preoccupied with relationships gone awry. 

However, it is in these valleys where my sorrow is caused by my own poor choices. If you are a relational person like me, you know how important people are in your life, you need them to interact with and fellowship with and just to enjoy life with. Thank you Lord for creating fellowship with one another. But then a quirky communication takes place and an offense comes along and suddenly the joy has been robbed. I have reacted by making provision for the flesh, and harbor bitterness or jealousy in my heart and wham, down I go and it is time to linger in the desert for a few rounds about the mountain. My thoughts are possessed with wrong thinking. My reactions are very “me” centered around all my thoughts and hurt feelings. Woe is me, they don’t understand, what about my feelings on the issue and don’t I have a “right” to feel the way I do? Just look how they have hurt me! It is amazing what we will try to justify! 

When I go to bed at night, I want sweet thoughts and pleasurable memories of my day or week. I want to reflect on the goodness of the Lord and to be able to see His hand in motion throughout my day. If I am in the midst of a desert experience I can’t see any of that, just poor, miserable me. If I dwell too long in that place I become dryer, harder and more and more lifeless and bitter in my own defense. What an icky place to be! 

How in the world do I come to an end of my desert journey? Thanks be to God for the power of the Holy Spirit in spite of quenching His Spirit with my “me-nessmentality. Something jogs my heart and I begin to see that I am the problem not the other party. I’m the one who is holding on to the bitterness, unforgiveness, anger and resentment because all I can see is how mistreated I have been. God’s Word has sooo…much to say about the above list of excuses we use to stay in our desert-land: 

This Scripture from Matthew 5:23,24 really sheds a spotlight on relational issues out of sync:

So if you are standing before the altar in the Temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

I am believing that my offering to God is not going to amount to anything with resentment at the root of my heart. And I have worshiped and wondered why I couldn’t sense His presence and wondered why He seemed so distant from me. 

From Romans 13:14 Paul tells,

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

And this includes along with all sorts of immoralities, strife and envy.  And once again from Mark 12:25

But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.

You have to admit that forgiveness is a huge issue in God’s eyes. I guess that means that I better make it a priority also. God says 7 times 70 and that if I cannot forgive then I too will not be forgiven. God forbid I don’t get a grasp on this one! So, what is my excuse now? Can I really justify my situation any longer? I don’t think so! Okay Holy Spirit, show me how to get myself to the watering hole ’cause I am so parched and desperately longing for Your presence once again. 

You see, with enough sunlight and just the right amount of water, that ugly old cactus does an amazing thing every once in a while. It unpredictably blooms. Sometimes only one or two but these huge gorgeous blooms come out of the most unlikely places. And like that blooming cactus, I too need adequate time in the “Son” so that I can produce fruit that will please my Father and bless others.  

How’s your heart today? Are you filled with bitterness and anger? Unforgiveness and resentments? The Lord would have us walking in the fruit of the Spirit which is right where I need to be so I want will exhibit those attributes toward others. It is through a victorious life that this fruit grows and is used to show others the love of Christ.

 Galatians 5:22,23

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.

Father, will You show me my unpleasantness and its root? I don’t want to be there anymore. I want the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in my life so that when others look at my life they see You. Help me to root out all the negative things like anger, resentment, bitterness, envy and strife those things that keep me in bondage. Set me free and even if I need to go to someone for forgiveness will You give me the grace to humble myself and approach that one so that we might be restored to fellowship with one another and with You? I trust that You will work out all the details of this in my life and that You will receive all the glory, honor and praise due Your Name. I will lean on Your promises and trust this to be resolved in Your perfect timing. Restore me Lord to Your presence and fill me with Your sweet Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ Name, Amen

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Breaking through Unforgiveness Toward Others

This is a topic that will touch every one of us because even if we happen to be one of the few who has not held bitterness or offense toward someone (come on and let’s be honest), we may have been on the receiving end of either.  It is a topic whose fallout is so detrimental that (especially lately) many books, sermons and Bible studies have been written about it.  I am convinced that of the strongholds we will examine, it is probably the most debilitating.  And God’s Word has much to say about this topic of unforgiveness.

Matthew 5:22-24 (NASB)

“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, `You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, `You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”

Wow, such strong words from Jesus!  Really, I am certain that all of us can honestly say we have—even if for a brief time—taken on an offense toward another or internalized bitterness.  In the verse above, the Word specifically says to first go and be reconciled to our brother (the one who has a beef with us) before we can even present our offering to God. Please take notice of the words in parenthesis, or the underlined scripture.  This is addressing one we know might have something against us.  To start with we are being asked to do something that is going to show obedience to God and then release that one for God to work deeply in their heart!

How about this verse from:  Mark 11:25,26 (NASB)

“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. [“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]

Does someone treat you unfairly?  Maybe it is quite noticeable at your job that your boss favors someone who gets byI Forgive You with “stuff” and you who maintain utmost integrity barely get noticed for your efforts.  There may be an unresolved conflict between you and another and you just keep hoping that it will go away.  It could be that someone has done something in your past that was unjustified and you keep expecting them to apologize for what they have done but they are never even willing to admit what they have done let alone apologize for the hurt. 

When I was a toddler my father left my mother to raise me alone.  He was rather irresponsible and unable to hold a job. He apparently had a serious drinking problem that consumed much of who he was.  While growing up, my father was not in the picture at all.  I believe that I saw him once as a four or five year-old and my mom said I wet the bed that night for the first time in a few years.  Argh!  I really do not remember that incident at all (we can tend to block out hurtful experiences.  What I do remember is my mother saying (even until recently) that it is too bad I could not have known my father, as he was such a great guy.  Excuse me–a great guy?  To this day I remind my sweet little momma that “great guys” do not abandon their family leaving them to live in poverty. 

I truly believe that many of the searching and longings in my life have come from not having a father’s presence in my life.  I covered and buried it deeply not realizing there were deep-seated resentments that had woven their way into my little girl’s heart. 

As God began to do a great work in me—the result of crying out to Him for a deeper journey with my heavenly Father—I was introduced to Neil Anderson’s materials Bondage Breaker and Victory Over Darkness.  For those of us who recognize that we have “stuff” in our lives that need to be addressed and relinquished, Neil Anderson has developed the “Seven Steps to Freedom”.  They are all based on our identity in Christ (such key truths to help us mature in Christ).  The steps are a time of intense prayer and acknowledgement of all the areas in one’s life that have been given over to deviant behavior which can be the result of abuse.  I am not going to go into this topic, but instances of abuses of all kinds would seem to be a good reason to never forgive a perpetrator of such heinous actions toward their victim.  It is such a serious time of deep cleansing that it can take hours to go through and because of an enlisted intercessor, things can come to the surface that have seemingly been long forgotten or buried deeply. And such it was with me in regard to how I had stuffed the anger toward my father.

The bottom line of my time going through the steps revealed to me that I needed to forgive the man who abandoned my mother and me.  I was so shocked that I had harbored that intensity of unforgiveness.  I did offer forgiveness to a man I would never see or know and the outcome was that I received instant healing because of my step of obedience to do so.  You see, he had died several years earlier, so I could not go to him personally, but this step was sufficient but necessary and God heard my heart. 

When we are angry, bitter or resentful, bad things happen to us emotionally and even physically if it continues without resolution.  Being an amateur gardener I am reminded of that miserable thing we call quack grass here in northern Minnesota.  It is so terribly persistent and I am telling you that you cannot leave a piece of the stuff behind or it resurrects itself with a vengeance.  So it is with the spirit of unforgiveness or the root of bitterness.  You must not leave a thread of it behind because it will indeed rear its ugly head once again.  I have often said that if we truly forgive someone, we will have to really dig deeply to remember what the issue was in the first place.  Have you noticed that?  You see, you have truly let go and there is no root left to thrive. 

So lets take a moment to pause and reflect on those little hurts that become big issues in our life and can even lead to things like aches and pains and, well, you fill in the blank.  If there is someone with whom you need to mend the fence, will you take the time to really pray for the situation and that person?  I have found that when I am up against a sand paper personality who rubs me the wrong way and just drives me crazy, all I have to do is to stop the mind game of the whys and wherefores and just pray for them.  If I really mean what I am praying then how can I entertain bitterness or anger?  It took me a while to figure out how that worked, but now I just ask the Lord to bless them and to show me how to be kind to them regardless of how difficult they can be.   

Now, Father, thank you for teaching us about just how serious it is to harbor unforgiveness toward another.  This is serious business to You and that means that even if it is difficult, I need to work my way through to understanding how to release ill feelings toward another and exercise forgiveness.  I know that I do not want to be stunted in my spiritual maturity due to my unwillingness to comply and be obedient.  Will you help me, Father, because this is not easy, to forgive and release where You reveal that I need to do so.  I will trust You because I know You have my best interest in mind and that You do not want to see me living in a way that does not glorify You or show the world that You are our ultimate Healer and Redeemer!  I will thank You now for the work You are about to do in my heart as You prepare and make it fallow and easy for the Holy Spirit to bring about miraculous change that glorifies You!  Amen.

How Do I Forgive Myself?

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I have added a page to my blog with the intention of offering a kind hand through prayer to those who struggle to forgive themselves.  Is your past one like mine that is filled with pictures of where you never again want to visit…have you done stuff that seems unforgivable?

Please take a moment to view this page on my blog and maybe share the hope of forgiveness with someone you know might be struggling with past regret!

The Tough Stuff