I Am That Woman

photo credit: Hejaab via photopin (license)

photo credit: Hejaab via photopin (license)

He purposed to be there that day. There was no getting around that fact.(John 4:1-42) Once more the Master defied the disciples plans for their teacher. They shook their heads in disbelief, yet there they were in Samaria, a place despised by the Jews of the day. Jesus led them there showing once more that the ways of the Father are not the ways of the children. He was showing them they had much to learn of the Father’s unconditional love, grace and mercy. More

Not A Christmas Fairy Tale {but maybe a tangled tongue tale}

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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 the opportunity 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? Firstto 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. SecondlyI 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. 

Originally shared on December 26th, 2011 as A Twisted Tongue Tale.

*This post is the final of The 12 Days of Blog Posts, Weekends and Wednesdays in December!*

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The Day She Prayed For A Brother {Guest Post at Beautifully Rooted}

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There I stood, tripping over Tupperware containers strewn about the floor. She sat at the table coloring. These are the days of Play-Doh, crayons and finger -paints.  The times of wooden spoon drumming on upside down pans. She turned to me as I scurried about the kitchen in my busy mom mode, interrupting my momentum abruptly by the one simple request. “Mommy, I want a little brother or sister.”
Would you stop join me over at Beautifully Rooted where I am sharing one of my favorite exchanges with my sweet girl? 

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I am including this post as part of the 12 Days of Blog Posts for December!

Rise And Shine {Your Redemption Draws Near}

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There I am watching from a distance.
I’m watching myself as a stranger.
I am like one who seems aloof. 
Distracted.
I’ve done my list today.
The dishes have been done, bed made, laundry washed, dried and folded.
Phone calls and e-mails have been returned.
I’ve done all of the things that needed to get done this day.
I am sitting with my family at the dinner table.
My dear husband is serving me a portion of the dish he has made for us.
I look around the table.
I realize I have been watching myself all day but not fully aware. Not really present.
I am surprised at my awakening.
I ask, “Did we pray?”
The looks of surprise on the faces of my husband and daughter speak clearly.
I ask, “What is my problem, Lord? I am tuned out today”
I know part of the answer lies in the way I jumped into the day.
It’s not that I wasn’t thinking about Him nor He me.
His grace and faithfulness never leave me, yet I can surely distance myself from Him.

Perhaps you have done this, too?
The song “The Motions” by Matthew West comes into my mind.
I agree that “just Okay is not enough”.
“I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
‘What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?’ ”
~Matthew West
I want to be fully alive and present in the moments of this life, and the “nothingness of life” seems to sneak in like a snake, strangling my heart with subtle apathy and passionless moments. 
But our God is a compassionate and passionate Being.Not complacent. He is fully alive and active in the lives of His own.
The awareness and acknowledging of Him and His very real presence bring intimacy and connection.  
I am convinced that Jesus didn’t keep a To Do List or a Bucket List.  
Sometimes our long lists keep us from His right now, in this present moment, good and perfect will for us. To be in that will we must have tune our ear to the One who promises to be present with us always.
Are we turning a deaf ear to the Savior of our souls?  Are we drudging through the days, checking off our lists without checking in with the One who hears our heart’s cry?  If so, it’s time we wake up and smell the spiritual coffee, and take a good long drink from that steaming, hot, rich brew.
Let’s stop in our tracks, shake off our slumber and praise Him for who He is; drink Him up! Certainly He does great and mighty things for us and should be thanked accordingly.
But consider that He is a Great and Mighty God who deserves our full attention all the time and is worthy of our praise every moment of the day. Oh, praise Him that He is patient with our dullness! There is nothing wrong with having To Do Lists, Gratitude Lists, Bucket Lists, the list goes on and on.
Trust me I am a fan of lists. But the power of praising Him for who He is more than what He gives, ushers us into His Holy presence! Let’s not be just list makers or sleepwalkers going through the motions.  Instead let’s be people who praise our Mighty God and Deliverer daily. 

Let’s be connected, present and available in the time called today, right now!
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
  (Romans 13:11)


Are We Just Going Through The Motions?”  was my first offering as a regular featured contributor and team member at 5 Minutes for Faith

*This post is part of The 12 Days of Blog Posts, Weekends and Wednesdays in December!*

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A Sleepless Night and The Ultimate Shut Up

 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. 
Ephesians 4:26-27
It was a bad night. Everything I planned backfired. I was feeling discouraged, defeated and a tad angry to boot. When I walked into our home I wasn’t planning on a confrontation with my dear husband. I’m convinced he wasn’t planning on it either. Sometimes when we least expect it we find ourselves in confrontations anyway. So there we stood face to face. Whatever it was he said in response to me is unimportant now. But at the moment it may as well been a knife. I felt pierced, wounded. I shot back angry words and retreated to the bedroom; he to his chair. I decided to escape reality by turning in early.

After all it had been a bad day.

I wanted to drift off on a peaceful boat of sleep.
Of course that boat eluded me.
Instead I found myself drowning in a sea of unforgiveness.
My mind reeled and raced – I was as mad as a cornered  porcupine and as stubborn.
I’m pretty sure there’s no sleep for angry, cornered porcupines either!
I tossed, I turned. I refused to let go.
It was a long night, no doubt.
Did I mention my stubbornness?
Finally after a sleepless night, my restless heart and mind began to realize the choice. I had to forgive.
Don’t think I did not have a long talk with my Lord, giving every honest thought, emotion and argument to His patient, listening ear. I did.
In the end I had a choice.

I had to choose whether I would turn my back on Jesusand continue to walk in disobedience or turn back to Jesus in obedience and trust. It took one sleepless night as well as one long dialogue telling God (boldly and honestly) all of my rationalizations, justifications and excuses about why I was right and my husband wrong.

Then He gently reminded me of my Lord and asked me to consider all of these things I shared in light of His love, His sacrifice and His example.
The ultimate shut me up.
I chose to follow Jesus.
Forgiveness is not always easy.
It’s a choice.
Jesus made a choice too… it cost Him everything.
It secured forgiveness for all and
the freedom to choose.
Oh, that we would walk likewise.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21
A fellow blogging sister asked if I would write a post for her blog.
My own stubbornness provided meat for the post.
God was faithful to give me the words once I repented and accepted the lesson.
I hate love when that happens!
There is no hiding in His classroom.
He is faithful!
*This post is part of The 12 Days of Blog Posts, Weekends and Wednesdays in December!*

Linking with some favorite places:
Winsome Wednesday @ My Daily Walk In His Grace
Friendship Friday @ Create with Joy
  Faith Filled Friday @ Beholding Glory
Fellowship Friday @Christian Mommy Blogger
Weekend Blog Hop @ Mommy Only Has Two Hands
Weekend Wonders @ The Thriftiness Miss

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