A Twisted Tongue Tale

The holidays. You prepare, anticipate, agonize the details and hope all will go smoothly on the day all come together to celebrate. Often we see people we may not see all year, but through family or friendship we find ourselves in their company once, may be twice a year. Although we love our family, there may be one or two people who just challenge us. Like nails on a chalkboard, they offer us the opportunity us to smile and not cringe, despite the level of discomfort they bring us. Well, this is a story about one of these. Bear with me if you will, and I will share a bit of holiday pain, which may turn out to provide a lesson for you as it did me. Unless of course you are already so pious. If so, move along, move along. I am here to be authentic, and those of you who know me already know, sometimes it just ain’t pretty. But God can work with the mess of me. And you too… if you will allow Him.

As we drove home from visiting family this Christmas, the words I wanted to speak about a certain person were swirling around my mind just waiting for the opportunity to emerge. I knew these words would not have passed the Ephesians (4:29) or Philippians (4:8) litmus test for proper conversation, so I tried to keep my tongue. You know that thing behind the lips that speaks murderously and betrays the heart. Our words reveal our heart AND furthermore, if it is in the mind, it is as good as said aloud. However, this is one of those things that if it’s not said you can confess and deal with it discreetly with God before you damage and poison those around you. Unfortunately, I was not wise with my tongue and I went ahead and gushed forth my complaints about the person before my family. I was stopped when my daughter called me out. I knew she was spot on, too, especially after my defensive response was spoken. The fact was, even if what I said had some validity, it was not loving. It was not kind. It certainly was not gracious, to the person spoken of nor to my family, who had to hear it. Oh, I was guilty as charged and I did not like it…I knew I had chosen poorly and sinned. My tongue had turned against me and now I was tangling with my own child over it!

 I was reminded this holiday that God loves those who I might otherwise find rude, annoying, difficult or just plain mean. I know this, already, right? Yet apparently I needed yet another reminder. 
How about you? Can you think of anyone for whom you can relate to what I am saying?

God has called me to a life of prayer, not complaining about the un – lovliness of others. He has called me to kindness, not criticism. Even, if at first glance it appears justifiable. Jesus spoke the truth, in love.The truth should not be spoken, when it is not laced with grace, but instead accusing attitude and critical spirit.

One of the ways I glorify God is by sacrificing my preferences for His, through yielding my will concerning others. There is no greater challenge to the core of my Christian faith than when I say not my will but Yours, Lord. This is the first and final battle in the walk of faith. It does not come easy, but it has already been won, for we who believe.

What is God’s will for me concerning this person? First, to recognize that despite my annoyance with the person, that Jesus loves them completely and is pleading for them before the Father. He wills that they should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus calls me his friend. Friendship requires humility, grace and submission. I must consider that my “friend” Jesus,  laid down His life that I might not only gain eternity but learn to live life with a holy order, rising above petty annoyances which distract me from His divine purposes and  plans. Secondly, I need to pray for this particular family member and ask God to change my heart attitude, which is wrong, and let God deal with it through the intimate time we share in holy conversation. When I do this He may lead me to pray more specifically, once I get beyond the superficial, raw prayers like:
“I confess I can’t even stand this person, Lord…but you tell me to pray for others and because I love and esteem your will more than my own – or at least desire to- I confess my lack of love and likeness to you and ask you to allow me to pray with your heart and mind for this person, teach me your ways, Lord.”

Yes, I really sometimes start there. I’m honest with God because he already knows my yuckiness. Now you know. Aren’t you lucky! If you can’t be real with God, dear one, I fear you are not real with anyone. And that is much worse than just being a little rough around the edges. He knows all, friend. Keep it real with Him. He will take care of the rest!
We talk in cliches all through the season.
The fact is that Christ came that lives would be transformed, and that we would be born into a Kingdom of Righteousness, one heart at a time. 
By His Grace, for His Glory.
Amen.
PS: On a side note I apologized and was forgiven by my family! My daughter patted me on the shoulder after I reluctantly admitted my sin and told me so. God is good. 

Linking up for the first time with Shanda from A Pause On The Path!

It’s Got To Be The Monday After…

It’s got to be the morning after…see my pasty, white complexion,
beady eyes and dazed expression?

Well, if it isn’t the morning after Christmas day and of course, this is my favorite day to blog and link up with Carissa at Lowercase Letters! So, hoping you all had a wonderful weekend, grab a cup of Joe and join in my Monday morning madness, will you? We’re off!

“Re-calclating” direction…

So last Monday, late afternoon, I got “The Phone Call”. Oh, I am so relieved, even though disappointed. I did not get that coveted position and it was confirmed through the lovely voice on my voice mail. They even had an offer ready, but due to a technicality… OK, in reality 6 years experience working with a specific group of people required which I don’t have AND a tiny grant stipulation (not so tiny, really) it seems that the light went from green, to yellow to red and that is the end of that. For now. Swallowing hard and trusting Him who knows best. Here is an excerpt form my personal journal (Brave, aren’t I?) : So, Lord. Being honest here. It’s disappointing. Not so much because they did not “pick me” but because I thought I heard you. . . again. Because I saw possibility and opportunity and because I wonder if I will ever know when you are directing my path.  I want to honor you. I don’t understand the things you choose for me. Or withhold from me. – 12/19/2011

A week is not complete without coffee with a friend so I had a lovely coffee chat with a sweet sister at one of my fave places for such ~ Cool Beans Cafe on Wednesday!

Library find of the week:  

I really enjoyed reading this fictional account by Lois Untermeyer  about the holy family
one year later living as refugees in a foreign land with a tiny babe. 

New England Christmastide
Every year I get one  new Christmas CD and this year was a beautiful  instrumental
which both my daughter and I adored! Hub prefers more contemporary stuff!

Christmas Eve service was beautiful and the reading of Isaiah 53 brought me to tears- as it always does. Our  patient Pastor competed with a bleating lamb but she was silent at just the right time! The children loved it very well, and I consider myself as one! When that little lamb was placed before us, it stirred within my heart such deep grief, pain and joy. All of the prophecy came alive within me. It is beyond words to describe. 

The reading of Isaiah over a bleating sheep stirred the heart.

“Flower” safe in the arms of her very own good shepherd!
She is just 10 days old and has made her acting debut to
 glorify the Lord!
A morning visit to a certain special Grandparent brought forth a new family member 
to my future Fashion Designer (?) daughter and much fun ensued. 
Introducing Mary Kate – Barbara!

But more importantly the most precious of all coveted gifts …
The packaging!
After Christmas Eve service, we had a quiet night together
 which included laughter, and Charades. 
Miraculously, sweet daughter was happy to open one gift 
and we all hunkered down before midnight
for good night’s rest. 
Christmas Day we visited family and I had an epiphany which
 I will share in a post later this week.
Did anyone read Daily Bread’s perfect portion that day? I really liked that share!
  Now IS the time to worship! Yes! 

Don’t forget, there is time to enter for a chance
(Winner  to be drawn New Years Eve!)

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

Now, we prepare for the new year and say goodbye to the old.
What are your hopes and dreams for the New Year, friends? 

               Have a great last week of 2011! 
Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

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