Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2012

Daily Blog Challenge: Day 17 & Day 18

What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

I wish I was great at emotionally separating myself from situations when it comes to disciplining my children. I see my mom handle it with such grace, peace, love, and dignity. She is able to correct and discuss without becoming emotionally involved. She would spank us and not be angry at our actions. Maybe she was just better at hiding her frustrations, maybe we just pushed her to her breaking point, or maybe she just has this way of handling things. 

Sometimes I get angry, frustrated, tired, annoyed, and disappointed. I try to hide my feelings and handle things with grace but I know that sometime I can be transparent. 

Do you get angry or feel like you would lose your cool with your child? 

What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

Wow, this one cuts deep doesn't it... If I told the most difficult thing I have ever had to forgive, it would end up hurting the person and if I purposely did that I wouldn't have really forgiven them, would I have? 

What I will say is that I was hurt by multiple people in one situation. It had rocked me to my core. What I can tell you is how I forgave. 

I had come to the end of myself. I was absolutely powerless over the situation. I had no strength in myself to fight or to flee. So, I turned it over to God. I prayed and I decided that until I knew what to do I would do as I knew Jesus would. What would Jesus do? 

If they were repentant He would forgive them. (a)
He would pray for them. (b)
He would love them in spite of their sin. (c)
He would have boundaries set.  (d)
He would turn all else to God. (e)
(matching scriptures at bottom)

So I made the conscience effort to do that. It was honestly one of the hardest things I have done on my Christian walk. I forgave them. I prayed for them. I loved them as fallen people. I made boundaries. I tried to show them love, while keeping my boundaries. I gave God control over my feelings of anger, depression, and grief. I faked it until I made it. My relationship with each person that hurt me has been healing. God has done some amazing things. He has brought freedom and victory. 

(a) Mark 11:25 "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

(b) Matthew 5:44-45 " But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

(c) Ephesians 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her"

(d) Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

(e)Luke 22:42  “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

How are you at forgiving? Is there someone out there that you need to have more grace for? 

What a great way to show our thanks to God for the grace He gave us, by giving grace to others.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Safe Guarding the Heart

I notice the fog creeping up on the front window. I continued to replay the argument in my mind. At the first sound of my ring tone I jumped. Would he really have the balls to call me  right  instead of just stepping out the door? At the second ring I decided to look at the phone. It was him. He was one of my best friends. As I spoke on the phone he reassured me. He told me everything I wanted to hear but none of what I needed to hear. He told me that I deserved better. He told me that I am smart and beautiful. He told me that he could understand me and felt closer to me than anyone ever before and I felt the same about him. Those were all words that I had longed to hear for so long. What first was only the best intentions soon turned into something dangerous. Things at home went from bad to worse. I was extremely lonely.  My marriage was explosive. 

A huge fight left us in shambles. I told my husband that I wanted out. I went to find comfort in my friend. When I was with him I no longer felt alone. Through the months of talking I had fallen in love. Not into a godly love but into a love built on desperation and neediness. He kissed me and I found no strength to fight it. That night my affair went from an emotional one to a physical one. I had an affair. I committed adultery. Those are some words I never thought I would never post on the Internet. There are so many names some may call me, but none that I hadn't called myself. The guilt haunted me. 

That was in 2005. That was seven years ago and God is still using it to teach me and to reach out to others. How much my life has changed since then. I am very blessed. God has shown me so much grace. God used the situation to pull me close to Him. My husband has forgiven me. 

I was listening to a great song that really summed up where I am at. 

Steven Curtis Chapman, "Remember Your Chains"

There's no one more thankful to sit at the table
Than the one who best remembers hunger's pain
And no heart loves greater than the one that is able
To recall the time when all it knew was the shame
The wings of forgiveness can take us to heights never seen
But the wisest ones, they will never lose sight of where they were set free
Love set them free

So remember your chains
Remember the prison that once held you
Before the love of God broke through
Remember the place you were without grace
When you see where you are now
Remember your chains
And remember your chains are gone

I find that when I remember the chains that held me in bondage, I am able to see other with more grace and love. 

My friend and I were discussing the importance of protecting your heart. We are supposed to keep our hearts guarded from things that are ungodly. We are to be alert because the "devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)" When the devil finds a weakness he will pounce on it. 

Ways to guard your heart:
1. Keep in close communion to God. This can be achieved through prayer, His word, praise, and fellowship with fellow Christians. 

2. Have realistic expectations. Your spouse will never fulfill you. Your friends will never fulfill you. Books, sex, music, crafts, drugs, and other things will not fulfill you. God is the only one who can fill the void. Only God can bring true fulfillment. 

3. Keep an eye out for the enemy. A huge lie that many Christians get caught up in is forgetting or not believing that there is a very real spiritual war. If you do not have your armor on (Armor of God- Ephesians 6:10-18). 

4. Have a thankful heart. By keeping a thankful heart you can prevent yourself from the dangers of self pity. 

5. Be watchful of what you put into your head and your heart. By listening to ungodly music, watching ungodly movies, and reading ungodly books we open ourselves up to the lies of the devil. We desensitize ourselves from the things of the world. We are to be set apart. My friend just wrote a very honest and truthful blog about "50 Shades of Grey", a book that so many are speaking about. The book is basically soft core porn.

6. Call things as they are. By using God's terms it brings the truth to it. Instead of saying affair say committed adultery. Instead of saying a child disobeyed say they rebelled. We try to soften things up so that we don't offend people. We want to be politically correct, but we need to be God correct. John 15:18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first."

7. Seek out only godly counsel. We are to reach out to nonbelievers. We are to show them God's love and grace, but we are not to seek out their counsel. We all, pretty much, know our friends well enough to know how they handle situations. The friends of mine that will let me vent but then hold me accountable to what God wants of me, are the ones I go to with issues. The friends that are very worldly, I don't discuss personal things with. 

8. Write God's word on your heart. When the devil attacks, the best thing to combat his lies is God's word. 

9. Share God's grace with others. Show them the forgiveness and love that has been given to you. 

10. Don't give the devil any more ammunition. He already has enough ways to attack us. We are told to reject evil (1 Thessalonians 5:23). I have chosen to protect myself by not having any close male friends. Other than direct family members, I don't have any males on my Facebook. I don't talk to a male in a private conversation. If someone wants to contact me, they can reach me through my husband. I am not saying that all Christian women should cut off ties with male friends, but I know myself and I don't want to give the devil any room. I also want to honor my husband. By taking away his fear or giving him an opportunity to lose trust in our relationship is not worth it to me. You should stay away from whatever separates you from God.

Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

Colossians 3:9-10 "Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it."

What is keeping you from God? How do you safe guard your heart? 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dedicated to Friendship

As I sit at my keyboard my eyes well up with tears. What once were tears of grief and sorrow are now tears of joy. I feel like God is wrapping me in His arms. It is the first time in a while that I feel like I can breathe again.  I made it through. God helped me through. 

Several months ago, I had lost a very dear friend to me. We had to cut communication because it was not a healthy situation to be in. It was completely unexpected and shook my world. I prayed that God would show His glory through the situation, but wasn't sure what that would look like. It seemed like a few months ago many people in my life weren't where God wanted them to be. 

Through this all God taught me what it means to be a true friend. When I was a child I thought a friend was just someone that you play with. It was a person that was easily replaceable. Through this situation I have not only learned who my friends are but how to be a friend. 

I had many friends step up and show me love and support. I had friends offer to visit me and spend time with me. I also had so many friends offer to pray for me. I am so thankful for my support system. 

When I was going through all this I would still long to connect with my old friend. I found myself trying to check in on her from time to time. These are the things God taught me:

1. Being a friend doesn't mean not having boundaries. We all need to know what we can handle and we need to communicate it with others. If you don't communicate your needs and expectations it can turn in to anger and bitterness, which is not good for either person. 

2. Being a friend means wanting the best for them even when it hurts. Sometimes when someone hurts you it can be difficult to see them happy, but a true friend wants the best for the other person. 

3. Pray... If you want to continue to be a true friend with someone but have no communication with them, for whatever reason, pray for them. Prayer is a powerful thing that can heal your heart and attitude towards the person, while connecting you to God. 

4. Forgive...  forgiveness can free you from the bondage of anger. It can allow you to see God's amazing love and grace for us. 

5. Stay close to God... God is the perfect example of friendship. He is love. 

I have been so blessed to begin reconnecting with my friend.... I love "Whatever You're Doing" by Sanctus Real... 

"It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender..." 

God took the situation and has completely transformed the lives of both those involved and those who are on the outside of it. God is beginning to rebuild the relationship between my friend and I. I don't regret anything in my life and this is definitely one of those situations. I truly believe that, in time, we will be able to rebuild a stronger relationship than we had before. I don't think anything can separate us. God has helped me grow so much in just the last couple months. He has claimed victory over the situation and will continue to get victory and glory. 

"Friends are friends forever if the Lord's the Lord of them." The best friendships and the only ones that can last the things of this world are those that have a firm foundation on God. 

Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
    but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron,
    so one person sharpens another.

John 15:12-16 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 

“‘Cause I’m never gonna walk away
If the wall comes down someday
All alone and you feel afraid
Be there when you call my name
You can always depend on me
I believe until forever ends
I will be your friend. “ – Amy Grant , I Will Be Your Friend

“And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long to live as friends.” – Michael W. Smith, Friends

“Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sand
Made the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their hands
Help us to remember we are all the least of these
Let the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded
What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You did” – Casting Crowns, Jesus, Friend of Sinners

“What a friend we have in Jesus,     
all our sins and griefs to bear!     
What a privilege to carry     
everything to God in prayer! 
O what peace we often forfeit,       
O what needless pain we bear,        
all because we do not carry   
everything to God in prayer.”- Hymn, What a Friend We Have in Jesus

“Who am I that You are mindful of me
That You hear me when I call
Is it true that You are thinking of me
How You love me it's amazing” – Israel, Friend of God

What is friendship to you? Who does God want you to show love and friendship to? Who is your friend? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

When Your Heart Stops

I walked into the room filled with joy and excitement. I sat down on the bed next to my love and I saw it. My heart immediately stopped. I could feel my chest tighten and my eyes were flushed with salty tears of pain, anger, and disappointment. When my heart began to beat again I could feel it sink into my stomach. Even though the image was only on the screen for a second before he was able to close it, it felt like minutes. I was able to have an entire dialog with myself as the thoughts flowed from my soul, but I wasn't able to get the lump in my throat up enough to push out the words I so wanted to say. I took a very focused breath and asked what I needed to ask. He seemed extremely defensive in his assurances that it was only a pop-up from a blog. 

God must have given me His peace, because I only asked to see the blog that it pops up on. Upon viewing the blog several times there was no pop-up. I had asked to see his history in as much of a calm and nonjudgemental fashion I could muster. The settings were in such a way that it doesn't record them. He continued to try to assure me, which only led me to assume the opposite. I felt myself not knowing whether to yell, fight, or cry. Again, God gave me His peace. God's peace doesn't mean you don't always feel the pain, but it does mean you are able to face the pain in a more controlled fashion and less influenced by inner emotional toil.  I left the room to contemplate the situation. 

I write this, not to bash my love but to allow God a chance to speak to my heart and to yours. Sometimes, being a wise Christian means separating your soul from your spirit. My heart is flesh and will deceive me. Whereas, my spirit is in communion with the Holy Spirit, who has the ultimate wisdom. 

My heart wants to know if he was speaking the truth. My heart wants to make him feel pain for the pain he causes me. My heart feels defeated and overwhelmed, but my spirit wants to grow and wants to crawl into my Father God's loving arms, pouring our my tears and frustrations. My spirit needs to see the Truth, so that I can defend myself and my family against the father of lies. 

The truth: 
We all have sins and addictions that pull us and tempts us. These things pull us away from our family, our friends, and from our God. Whether or not he was giving into his addiction is ultimately between him and God. I need to be in prayer for him as the Devil is on the prowl and is trying to attack my love. 

I am no more righteous than my love. I am no more worthy of God's forgiveness and love than my love is.  

Satan would love for the situation to distract me from God's work in my life, from the relationship I am building up with my love, and from praising God. I will praise God because He is worthy. Because God has given me victory over Satan. Because God can turn all things to good. 

My focus is not supposed to be on whether or not I can trust my love or anyone else that I makes myself vulnerable to. My focus is to be on God. He is the one I can trust at all times. He can heal my heart from the pain. 

Where to go from here: 
I need to pray. I need to pray that I may be able to show my love God's love, forgiveness, and grace. I need to pray that I do not allow things to come between my walk with God. I need to pray that God protects my love's heart and helps him become strong spiritual headship. I need to pray that my love can find fellow Christian men that can love and support him. I need to pray that God protects all the marriages around us. 

I need to praise. I need to sing it out. I need to shout the amazing love and glory of God until my heart believes my spirit. 

I need to claim the victory that Jesus has given us. 

1 Peter 5:8 "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

Romans 8:26 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans."

2 Timothy 1:7 "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline."

Isaiah 41:13 
"For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand 
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you."

Psalm 46:1-3 
"God is our refuge and strength, 
    an ever-present help in trouble. 
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way 
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 
though its waters roar and foam 
    and the mountains quake with their surging."

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

1 Peter 3:1 "Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,"

What can God help you overcome? Do you put your trust in man or in God? What do you need prayer for?