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Monday, January 20, 2014

You Are Not Damaged Goods

This one is for all of you who feel like you're not good enough.

Like you're damaged. 

Broken. 

Less than. 

I've had enough. 

I've heard enough. 

It's past time we all put down the scales of justice that are hanging around our necks: The albatross that is drowning us slowly but surely. 

That voice in the back of our minds that whispers how badly we suck. 

How we'll never measure up. 

How we fall short. 

Silence it. 

Put your fist through it. 

I've have enough of unrealistic expectations put upon us by ourselves and others. 

Enough of watching beautiful women systematically tear themselves down for all the ways they fail in their own eyes and in the eyes of others. 

Enough of moms shooting flaming darts at one another in the name of "good parenting". 

Enough of the "mommy wars". 

Enough of "Christians" tearing others down in the name of being holy. 

Enough of the nights spent crying over past indiscretions. 

Enough time wasted beating ourselves up over things that happened decades ago. 

Enough judgment cast that isn't necessary. 

Enough of carrying on a family legacy of bitterness and condemnation that doesn't have to be continued. 

Enough. 

When will we realize Jesus doesn't call us to be anything more than His?

When will it sink in that all we have to do is accept that He has made us perfect? 

When will we stop going through the motions and actually accept Him at His Word? 

When will you accept it? 

Say these words out loud. 

It's okay if you're not alone:

I am enough. 

I am made perfect through Jesus. 

There's nothing I can do to change my past. 

I am not defined by my past.

I am worthy. 

I am enough. 

I am called. 

I am made perfect through Him. 

Today is the day I will accept that. 

Today is the day I say goodbye to yesterday.

Today is the first day of my life.




Linking to:

Inspire Me Monday cropped 250x250

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hold On, Mama-You Got This.

Ever had one of those nights, mama, where you've said one final "good night", picked up the last toy, placed the last dish in the sink, and you sit down for 5 minutes of solitude, 5 minutes of quiet.

Those elusive 5 minutes that you never seem to find during the day. The same 5 minutes you loudly lament never having when the demands of those little ones gets to be too much. When you cannot possibly pick up another Lego, fetch another drink or answer one more question. 

And then it happens: in those precious moments of quiet...the quiet you've been yearning for all day...the weight of the world falls on your shoulders and you cannot possibly stand up under it. 

Every harsh word muttered, every snappy answer given, every moment they begged for your attention, but you were so drowning in responsibility and a to-do list a mile long that you only half listened. 

It's all there. Casting judgment on you. Sentencing you. Suffocating you. 

And the tears come hot and fast. And you vow that tomorrow will be different. 

Lift up your chin, mama. 

Tomorrow is a new day. His mercies are fresh every morning. 

Climb those stairs, tip toe into their room. Kneel beside their bed and pray for them. Ask God for forgiveness and for a better attitude. Ask Him to help you recognize and enjoy those moments that will go so quickly and be gone in an instant: a lengthy tale about an imaginary character, an exhuberant list of birthday wishes, an amazingly detailed story woven by chubby fingers and peanut butter scented cheeks. 

And lift your chin, mama. Your job is hard. Some days you're not sure you can do it. You can't get out of bed. You're wracked with doubt and insecurity, unsure you can rise to the task. 

But know that no one, no one can do this better than you. 

Whether you carried these babies in your womb or the thought of them in your heart until the day they were placed in your arms, you are perfectly equipped for this task. 

They want for no one but you. 

And you're not in this alone. 

God gives you every iota of strength you need to make it through, to succeed and thrive!

You are never better equipped than when you don Christ's love and rely on God's strength. 

You can do this.




Linking up to: 
and also:

Your Story Needs To Be Told

"I'll never tell anyone that."

"I'm so embarrassed. If anyone ever found out, I'd die."

"I'm such a screw up. God can never use me."

"No one will take me seriously because of [insert reason here]."

"They'll think I'm a hypocrite if I talk about [insert flawed past here]. I've made such a mess of my life, how will anyone listen to what I have to share?"

We all have so many reasons why we shouldn't be handing out life advice.

I know I do!

I have lots of reasons why I think I should keep my mouth shut.

I am a miserable failure at so much.

Yes, sometimes I get it right, but so often...more of the time...I get it wrong.

And I feel like, "what do I possibly have to share with others? How can I possibly speak to what God wants for us when I have made so many mistakes myself?"

Do you ever feel that way? Do you feel like you have so much on your plate or too many skeletons in your past that you could never speak about those things to someone else?

Are you afraid to speak up? Are you leaving it to someone else "more qualified"?

Are you afraid you'll chase someone away if you speak out to them?

I'm here to tell you...that's all bull.

Every last bit of it.

There is no scale by which we can gauge ourselves to deem if we are "appropriate" or "qualified".

If those who had a spotless past were the only ones qualified to speak up, there would be silence.

We are all flawed. And, contrary to our method of weighing and measuring sin, God sees it all the same.

We have ALL sinned and ALL fall short.

Romans 3:23 (MSG):

"Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ" (Emphasis mine).

I am a sorry mess.

But somehow, God still chooses to use me...in spite of me and DEspite myself...for His glory.

And you know what...He wants to use you too. We all have a "ministry".

How that looks for you may not be how it looks for me.

He may not ask you to blog or write.

He may be asking only that you are willing and available.

He may ask you to adopt.

He may ask you to take that job that everything seems to be pointing to, but you feel inadequate to perform.

He may ask you to forgive that person (and pssst...He asks that of all of us!)

He may ask you to sing that song.

He may ask you to care for that loved one.

He may ask you to be kind to that individual that grates on you.

He may ask you to stop being silent when your friend shares how she is going off the rails of life.

He may ask you to tell the truth.

He may ask some scary things of you.

He may ask wonderful things of you.

And although the ways He asks us to serve may look different, they have one very big thing in common: Him.

He will always be in the middle of it.

He will never call us to anything that He isn't already able, willing and prepared to do through us.

He already knows we're inadequate. He wants us anyway.

Here's what I am starting to figure out..

God puts us where we are for a reason. And yes, sometimes we make some less-than-stellar choices that lead us down paths that we weren't meant to be on, but according to Romans 8:28, God can use anything and everything for His glory:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

I'm finding that He uses the areas that I struggle in to help others struggling in the same areas.

I'm finding that the very things on my mind are on others' minds too.

I'm finding that I don't have to look at others' "platforms" to find my own.

I have a past.

We all do.

The answer...I'm learning...isn't to sweep it under the rug or hide it in a vault.

The answer is to shine a light on it and how God brought me through it...and continues to bring me through it.

For me, that means I need to talk about growing up in a bumpy childhood, life after adultery, thriving after divorce and remarriage, being a mom to lots of kids, dealing with anxiety, being obsessive...and the list goes on.

So, what is it for you?

What things has God put in your life, allowed you to go through, or made right after you messed up, so that you can minister to others?

I bet if you thought about it, you'd be surprised in how many areas He can...and wants to... use you.

You say you don't see yourself as having a "ministry"?

Your story is your ministry. And it needs to be heard.

After all, you are an expert on your life. Who better to tell your story than you?

Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Right Where You Are

So many times I look around at the babies running around in diapers, the stack of dishes on the counter, the half-eaten lunch still in bowls on the table, the sticky, dirty floors, the mounds of laundry that never get done, or I stew about what I can write or what I can do to make a difference. And I feel myself pining for something more.

I think, "in this season of my life, my family is my priority, but when the kids are grown, I can really launch into ministry."

And I look at others around me whom I admire like Candace Cameron Bure, Darlene of Time-Warp Wife, Courtney of Women Living Well, Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries and I feel totally inadequate.

These women are New York Times Best-Selling Authors. They have enormous followings. They have teams of people in ministry with them.

What could a married mom of 6 from a small town near Pittsburgh, PA possibly have to contribute to the world?

And then, as He so often does, God brings me back to reality with a kind word and a swift kick in the behind.

"Bloom where you're planted."

I don't know that that exact phrase is in the Bible, but it I've heard it many times. :)

If I truly believe Psalm 139 (that I was knit together in my mother's womb) and Jeremiah 29:11 (that God has a plan for me, a plan to prosper me and not to harm me) then I have to believe that God has me right where He wants me. Right now.

God is not going to waste a moment by having me somewhere that does not contribute to His plan for me. Therefore...if I look around, I will find the areas I am to minister into.


Here they are:

My husband
My children
My church
My friends
My circle/sphere of influence
Random strangers

And while I may not be called to lofty things like speaking engagements, book deals or an audience of thousands, I do feel called to be here. With my family. And on this little blog. Sharing my imperfections and lessons with you.

And I love it here. And I am thankful for any who read and those who comment.

And it goes without saying that loving my family is above and beyond any blessings I could have imagined on this earth.

And I'm thankful that a mighty God can use a tiny me for His grand purpose.

Are you wondering where God can use you?

Do you feel that looking at spreadsheets or handling customer calls isn't a "real" ministry?

Sweeping up Cheez-its and scrubbing toilets doesn't feel as glamorous as speaking at Women of Faith?

Don't feel like writing or blogging is your "thing"?

Wondering how you fit into this cosmic puzzle?

Look around you.

God is not a God of confusion. He has placed you in this very place for a reason.

Pray and ask what His plan is for you.

Look for everyday opportunities to be the "hands and feet" of Christ (which is a poetic way of saying to be kind to others, treat others the way you want to be treated, to love without prejudice...)

And be willing to listen to that small voice that tells you to GO and DO even when it feels uncomfortable. Even when it feels "small" compared to others' ministries. Even when it is the LAST thing you ever thought you would do. Even if you don't feel like it's "enough".

Because, I'm finding, when I bloom where I am planted, and look at my life--as it is right now-- as my ministry, that's when the magic happens. :)


Saturday, January 11, 2014

The "A" Word...Anxiety

Last night was awful.

I have mentioned a time or twenty that I suffer from anxiety and I worry almost constantly.

Mostly about my kids.

Last night our 3 oldest (ages 8, 7 & 6) went to spend the night at their grandparents' house.

It hit me as I was tucking in the youngest 3: The house feels so empty when any of them are missing.

I know they are safe and loved at my in-laws', but it just feels wrong that all my chicks aren't under my wing.

So, I laid down in bed and tried to distract myself by reading, and I was doing okay until I did one final scroll through Twitter and saw a Tweet from our local news: "Complaint details fatal torture of 4 year old."

And I lost it.

I mean, it's not like I [rationally] believe anything will happen to my kids while they are away, but the thought of a little guy suffering at the hands of an evil monster ruins me. Add that on top of me missing my kids like they're in Africa, and I was a heaping mess. The weight of missing them and always fearing for their safety was just too much in that moment.

Plus, everything is always worst at night when it's dark and all the normal sounds of the day are quiet.

I prayed to God, telling Him what a wreck I was (as if He didn't know) and asked Him to either remove the oppressive feelings from me or help me get past them.

Then I remembered something my dad used to tell me when I was little and would cry that I was afraid of the dark: He'd say, "There's nothing there in the dark that wasn't there in the light."

And the same idea could be said for how I was feeling.

Whatever this nameless, faceless "thing" I was fearing...is inside me. It's in my head. I'm fearing something that hasn't even happened. And may never. I am giving life and power to something that does not even exist!

And I thought, "Nothing has changed outside of me. It's all still the same. The sound of the furnace kicking on and off, the sound of Joe sleeping soundly next to me, the sounds of our youngest rustling in his crib...it's all still the same. The only thing different is inside of me. In my head. Something intangible and not real."

That thought was an eye opener.

How much energy am I giving over to something that isn't even there?

How much time am I wasting on feelings and emotions for something that hasn't happened and probably never will?

If you struggle with anxiety or worry, I hope you don't misunderstand what I'm saying. I'm NOT saying it's as easy as "Okay! I'm going to stop worrying now!" And *POOF* you stop.

No.

But realizing the fear is in control when it shouldn't be and when it isn't even real was huge for me.

Once I put my finger on the truth that this overwhelming, all consuming anxiety was in my head and arguably something I could agree to let affect me or not, I was empowered.

And I know it was God.

There are many verses that say not to worry and how God has not given us a spirit of fear...but I want to focus on one of those verses: "For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and of self control. (2 Timothy 1:7, NET) or the NIV version, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (Emphasis mine)

So God has not left us powerless to deal with this struggle. I can't do it on my own, but I know I can with His help.

With his Power.

And it reminds me of the verse that I shared in my last post: 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in your weakness" (Emphasis mine).

Fear is one of my weaknesses. And God may not take it away, making my path that much smoother. Instead, He may choose to let me weather the storm, but with His guidance and using His strength--His power.

If you suffer from anxiety or worry, know you are not alone. Daily I struggle with it. It varies in degree or in severity, but it's always there. We are not powerless! We are not destined to worry our lives away, always waiting for the other shoe to drop, afraid to really live because something horrible may happen.

It is a relentless bully that pounds inside my head and tries to destroy my peace. It fills my thoughts with unspeakable visions of what could happen and causes my body to go into fight or flight response...when nothing has even happened!

There is hope. It starts with prayer and asking God to remind you He is in control and He has your back.

Then read.

Fill your mind with His Word, with His reminders that we are not to fear and that we don't have to because--with Him and His power--we can be free from worry and anxiety.

I pray for all of us that we can be freed from worry and anxiety.

Image courtesy of stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Feel Like Screaming? Say A Quiet Yes Instead

I started a desperate prayer last night with

"God, please help me..."

And then I almost laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of those words.

God, help me.

Help. As in, assist.

As in, "I'll do the heavy lifting if you'll just lend me a hand."

It hit me.

I can't do anything without Him. Not to the absolute best.

I need Him. I want Him.

It's that letting go of control that is so hard. (And let's not even get into how that 'control' I have is a mirage anyway).

I am such a dichotomy inside.

I pray for Him to take over, to take charge and work through me, yet I struggle to pry my fingers off the reigns of my life.

I feel like the man in Mark 9 who told Jesus, "I believe...please help my unbelief."

I know He can lead and I want Him  to...but I have the hardest time actually letting Him.

And it's not like I'm doing such a bang up job that I don't think He could do better.

Crimany, no.

I sat today thinking just how many times can He...will He rescue me from myself?

How many times will He continue to love me and forgive me when the situation I'm in is my own doing?

How many prayers will He endure where I am crying out to Him all the things that are wrong in my life...about me...about others...without growing tired of me?

And the funniest thing happened.

As I sat and was quiet (which is a relative term in this house), I did feel some "whispers to my soul".  I know that's so melodramatic.

But seriously, I felt God saying to me, "Don't give up. You're a work in progress. My power is made perfect in your weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV)

And I realize that if I had it all together (which is laughable) I would have no room or need for Him. It would be in MY strength and the credit would all go to ME. But when I am weak and I have to rely on Him to be strong, the glory and credit goes to Him, as it should.

Which is good since there is no way I am ever enough on my own.

I have been so intrigued with the Full Armor of God talked about by Paul in Ephesians. It is what we should be wearing (metaporically) in order to be protected in this life. In order to withstand (defensively) the challenges we'll face and to be proactive (on the offense) against them. But it requires giving over complete control to Him and being willing to be the people and doing the things He has created us to be and do.

This topic has been on my mind for about a year. I think it's time I actually sit down and study it. And I'd like to do it on here.

So, I just want you to know...if you are feeling at the end of your quickly fraying rope...again...just know that we are not expected to be, nor can we practically be, perfect.

If you've failed. Again...

If you don't even know what is happening, you just know something isn't right, and you feel powerless to change it...

If you are tired of reaching the bottom and exhausted at the thought of climbing back up...

Know that God is able. He'll do the heavy lifting. He'll do the carrying. We just have to be willing.

"So let God work His will in you. Yell a loud NO to the devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet YES to God and He'll be there in no time." James 4:7, MSG.




Friday, January 3, 2014

We Need To Talk

It's time, I think.


Time to fast forward past the awkward small talk, past the initial "feeling out" phase, past the polite and politically correct B.S.--to where the shiz gets real.

I dislike the pomp and circumstance that skirts around what needs to be said.

Like how we all communicate with each other. Sure there is a certain amount of prefacing we must do when we are new to each other, but in the case of Believers...I think we spend so much time on skirting issues and hiding behind carefully crafted masks and facades that we never get to the meat. The real stuff that we all struggle with, but never talk about.

Why?

There was a discussion on my personal FB page the other day where one woman shared her struggle and another piped up and thanked her for sharing and for being so transparent. The first woman said she is an "open book" and that she feels that her story and her struggles are to be used to help others...and that God has allowed her to go through things for that express purpose.

A thousand times, YES!

I got all fat fingered in my haste to respond that I agreed! I could barely get the words typed out.

I have felt convicted in that area for quite a while, but I was still holding back in a lot of areas for fear of negative reactions and responses.

I HATE conflict. I hate confrontation.

I am dreading the day that I receive a really negative comment-especially if it is about my faith.

And that is cowardly.

I have allowed some unnamed person (who may not even exist!) to determine whether or not I speak about my faith. And the Luke 9:26 (MSG) keeps popping in my head: "If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I am leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in the company with the Father and the holy angels."

Well if that isn't convicting.

But here is where it begins.

I played one of those dumb games on Facebook not that long ago. I listed a certain number of things about myself that not everyone would know. Some things I listed I thought people knew and others were just some (what I thought were) pieces of interesting trivia about myself.

Wouldn't you know that post garnered a bunch of attention and comments like "wow, now that I've read that I think you're someone I'd like to hang out with!" and "I wouldn't have guessed that about you!" One person said they'd had me pegged for a "Duggar" type. Now, I actually like the Duggars, but I don't think it was meant as a compliment.

And it made me really think. I actually went into a little funk for a few days.

I thought about the posts on here that seemed to resonate most with others. And it was the posts where I share that I am a total mess. I think the reason for that is that others don't feel alone in their own messes. People feel that they can relate better with other flawed people.

So I wonder if I was doing the annoying thing that we so often complain about: showcasing more of the good than the bad in my life.

Granted, no one wants a day by day, minute by minute of me saying "FML!" And listing all the things that are going wrong in my life. I hate posts like that.

But I think this is the time to stop hiding--whether it's purposely or not--the imperfections and struggles that we have...that I have.

So here goes...if you suffer from any of these things, you can now rest assured that you are not alone.

*I've been divorced. Twice.
*I've had affairs
*I've been pregnant before marriage. Twice. :-/
*I have struggled with my weight for the past 10 years.
*I have been abused mentally and physically in my past.
*I struggle with paying enough attention to my husband.
*I had a bout with depression in my 20s. I was put on an anti-depressant. I had awful withdrawal when I went off it. My husband at the time did not support me being on it and told me often. So I went off it cold turkey.
*I am an extroverted introvert who enjoys being with people, but then I need a while to be in "my bubble" and recharge before doing it again.
*I have struggled with judging and negative thoughts about everyone in my life. Everyone. No one has been unscathed. Please don't ask me if you're included in that. Just know that God is working on my spirit of grace and forgiveness with lessons on humility thrown in.
*I struggle with fear and anxiety on an almost daily basis. To the point of wanting to move to a big farm in the middle of nowhere and go off the grid.
*I swear something awful. The "F" word included. My kids hear me. That's humiliating.
*I get enraged easily.
*I often have to fight with myself to remain humble and not get a big head about things.
*I hold grudges.
*I have stretch marks everywhere on my tummy and sides.
*I pee a little when I laugh, cough, sneeze or breathe too deeply.
*I absolutely hate talking on the phone. Hate it.
*I very often push my husband to lead the way I think he should. (Now if that ain't some irony...)
*I get annoyed sometimes when my kids get hurt if it interrupts what I am trying to do. :-/
*Potty training is by far my least favorite parenting responsibility.
*I struggle with my faith that God will protect me and my kids and that He really does have plans to prosper me.
*I am bad with money.
*I am awful with numbers.
*I have a PhD in assumptions and inferring.
*I have a really hard time respecting someone who hurts or disappoints me.
*I have almost zero will power.
*I am undisciplined.
*I can be passive aggressive.
*I struggle with feeling not good enough in most areas.
*I have empathy for others to the point of grieving like I'm going through their situation.
*I have such a soft place for children it can undo me to hear about child abuse and neglect. I can't watch the news anymore.
*I wonder, daily, if today is the day I'm going to die and if it will be painful.
*I am self-diagnosed obsessive/compulsive with emphasis on the obsessive (if you didn't catch that in the above sentence.)
*After I publish this post I will probably struggle with being an "over-sharer".

Did I get a little carried away?

So there it is everyone. A long laundry list of things that I am not proud of. But it's time to quit trying  to pretend I am someone I am not.

That's not  to say that every post on here or FB will be me airing my dirty laundry. Oh good Lord no! I would still like to have friends!

But I am offering you an engraved invitation to hunker down and get real with me. With yourself. What are we choosing to hide or sweep under the carpet because we think we won't be "Christian enough" if someone knows about it? What are we keeping close to the vest for fear that others will judge us?

Here is a safe place. Let it hang out. I'm grabbing some coffee and getting ready to listen...

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are You Offended?

So much to say!

So excited for this new year and for the change of perspective I'm having.

It is fascinating that the older I get, the more I realize about myself and can see how I have so far to go and so much still left to understand.

Today it starts with talking about being offended.

I find myself offended a good 50% of the time. Probably more if I was honest.

Offended by Facebook, Twitter, the news, family and friends, complete strangers.

Offended.

Annoyed. Irritated.

Bothered. Harassed.

And then I saw something that made me stop in my tracks.

A blog post or FB post (can't remember which) that said "You can choose whether or not you are offended."

And I was so confused.

And annoyed. :)

But the more I thought about it the more I realized it was RIGHT!

Even if someone slings mud, lashes out, says something intentionally rude, INTENDS to offend you...you CAN choose NOT  to be offended.

That means not lashing out and retaliating.. It means not harboring a grudge. It means keeping my trap shut when all I want to do is itemize why the other person is pond scum.

I can move on and realize they are entitled to their opinion and that their actions DO NOT DEFINE WHO I AM nor should they define HOW I ACT.

We say it to our kids:

"She hit me!"

"She hit me first!"

"It doesn't matter who hit who first. She was wrong for hitting you, but since you chose to hit her back you're both wrong."

Instead of wasting precious time and energy on stewing about that vague Facebook post that I am SURE was aimed at me or contemplating the comment about [insert hot button issue here], I can say, "You know what-- I don't care! Yeah, that hurt. And yeah, it was really annoying. But I have a choice here: react and be mad or take a deep breath, ask God for strength to look past it, and move on with my day.

I have spent years....YES, YEARS.... replaying conversations and wrongs committed to and against me. All to never get that time and lost sleep back.  Whether or not I realized it or meant to, I gave others my power and took that energy away from my family. I lost countless nights of sleep by rehearsing what they said, what I should have said back and what I wished they'd say to me over and over and over...

What did it gain me? Did they fall on their face begging for forgiveness?

No.

In fact, in some instances, nothing has changed. And in some cases, it's only gotten worse. I build invisible walls with bricks of hurt and harbor simmering animosity that keeps me from offering grace and forgiveness.

And all of that stress and underlying tension eats away at me and keeps me unbalanced.

How do I go before God with a grateful heart when I am so full of all that crap?

Sure stuff will happen. People will be idiots and purposely do hurtful things. People will also unwittingly hurt my feelings, but I have a choice in how I respond.

And Should that person who "offended" me come back and want to make amends or clarify...it will be a lot easier to do so if I haven't given them a blasting of 'what for'.

I have an amazing talent of going from 0 to blind rage in .3 seconds, so this will be difficult for me. I am queen of inferring offense from FB posts and Tweets. In lightening fast precision, I can weave together a reason someone would be rude to me--even if they had no intention whatsoever.

And for those who are purposely mean, rude or moronic...let them be. I don't believe in the concept of "karma" but I do believe that the seeds we sow come back to us...positive or negative. And the positive will yield blessings from God.

And truthfully....if someone is saying or doing something outside of God's will that offends me, my first thought shouldn't be to be personally offended. It should be to pray for them and ask for wisdom; wisdom in knowing when and how and IF to respond. Wisdom to remember that any judgment I lash out at them may be coming back to me since I am sure to fall and may have offended others as well.

There is a difference between the Holy Spirit within me being grieved at someone's actions or words and my being personally offended. I am learning the difference. I am also seeing in my own life daily how Jesus can be BOTH from my actions and yet he chooses to forgive me and inspire me to change. I want to be more like Him. And I want to focus more energy on loving and growing closer to Him than I do on being offended at others who are imperfect like I am.


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