Have you ever done something you didn’t want to, and then regretted it?
I regret being a woman who desperately wanted men to like her. I regret not standing up for who I was. I regret not standing firm when people tried to tell me what to do.
Because I think all this produced a thick heart. Skin that is like cow hide.
And now I tend to not trust people easily, believe what they say, accept things without considering the strings attached or believe people will like me – for me.
I consider ulterior motives. I consider God’s ulterior motives.
As if he says to me:
If you aren’t good, I won’t be good to you.
If I don’t think you are serving me well enough, I’ll be distant from you.
If you don’t spend time with me, I am angry at you.
If you don’t give enough to me, I am over you.
If you don’t have something to offer the world, I’ll pass you over.
I am being frank with you today.
I am also convicted that hearts covered with protective skin are not God’s best working ground. He loves a supple heart that lays in his hands. One that, when he presses on it with just the slightest amount of loving pressure, responds.
So, I’ve forgiven those who never asked for forgiveness. I’ve asked God asked to soften my heart. And I’ve requested to hear his voice. God speaks to us today, something like this:
I won’t hurt you.
I don’t need anything back from you to love you.
I’ll love you as a good, pure and holy Father, forever.
I know where I am taking you. It is not to a place of harm or ridicule.
I don’t have plans to help and then hurt you.
It’s not what you do for me. It is what Jesus did for you.
If you take off what covers your heart, I’ll reach in and heal it.
I’ll grow you because I love you.
I care for hearts, including yours, with care.
You can trust me.
I took a walk the other day. God blessed me with a walk was on the beach (yippee!!!). I inhaled; it was peace. I listened to the pounding of waves, the strength of his wind and the might of his strong-hitting waves. All was good.
I passed a woman. She sat in a camping chair pressed against the rolling waves, bible in her lap, head down with a bandana around it. As I saw her, something in me called to reach out to something in her. I almost felt as if there was something God wanted to say to her, but I hadn’t the faintest idea what, so I kept walking.
It wasn’t until about 100 feet away that something struck me. I suppose it was the word – “faithfulness.” I looked down at my little footmarks in the sand, leading forward. I decided they needed to do “a turnaround.” They needed to loop back. They needed to address something.
But what God? What am I supposed to say?
His nudge was: pray.
Feeling all happy that God has great ideas, I went over and asked my sister in Christ if she needed prayer. Her feeble head lifted up slowly from her phone and she said, “Yes, my husband is in the hospital with a heart condition and I need strength.”
Indeed. Of course she does. Of course God knew. He always does. He also knew this prayer time, as she stated, would be “just what she needed,” a “confirmation from God.”
I’ve been realizing the turnaround is powerful. Because for once, I’ve been doing it…
I made some ongoing rash judgments about people.
Turnaround: After much stomping of my feet, I apologized.
I was quick to respond when tiredness, hunger and overwhelming feelings conquered me. I normally brush my reactions aside.
Turnaround: I’ve been seeing truth for truth. These days, I’ve been humbling myself and saying sorry.
I forgot friends. I don’t want to get caught up in my world, but I do.
Turnaround: I’ve asked God to help face them (despite my shame).
To turnaround is to see God again. It’s to face him outside of the realm of shame, and let him welcome you to healing, whether it belongs to you or someone else.
Where do you need to turn around? Where are your foot marks in the sand headed? Your way? Or home, into God’s arms?
He never hurts children who’ve done bad. He welcomes you in. He’ll lead you to his better thing. He’ll nudge you with the words to speak. He’ll uncover the greatness of freedom in the error of your ways.
“Now return to the LORD your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness And relenting of evil.” (Joel 2:13)
It’s number 5 that really gets me; I try so hard to be perfect, so to break the porcelain veneer is like dropping grandma’s ancient heirloom. I feel crushed. I feel caught. I feel like someone might want to yell in my face.
Yet, when my son started pointing fingers at everyone else but himself. When he couldn’t admit doing things wrong. . . well, all fingers pointed back at me. I can’t blame on him, what he learns from me. He’s really just a reflection of the environment that I create for him.
I declared it was high-time I start to change something – about me. And, sooner rather than later. It is far easier to say you want to change than it ever is to actually do it.
I still tried. I noticed when I got that little prick of anxiety in my heart and admitted why: I pushed a little too hard on my husband to get my way. I paid attention to the small sense of guilt I previously ignored and acknowledged my wrong: I brought up a sensitive topic at the worst time. I looked at my child’s face when I chided with too much force and reacted: I am sorry.
Nope. And, I wasn’t perfect. Sometimes, my pride inhibited my humility. Pride made me take an hour, where humility would have shown up right away. But, I am learning: it is a learning process.
Sometimes, the act of being honest with yourself is the first act. You have to cheer yourself on for this. I am doing this. YAY!
Maybe you need to join me? Have you built up defenses so high even you can’t see over them to the truth? Have you found that you don’t ever want to be wrong.
This verse has been such an encouragement to me: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Pet. 5:6)
I used to think an apology meant I needed to go dwell in a dumpster or something. Now I see an apology is a welcome by God to a higher place with him. It is my letting go so that I can welcome his glory and peace in. When I do this, I find my way back to his heart more easily.
Our foster-love has entered into the broad world of the wall-eyed fit.
We have epoxy-stained concrete floors in our house. It only took a couple times for her to rethink throwing her entire body weight onto the floor and screaming her head off.
It hurts, so the effectiveness of showing her frustration was overruled by the knot on her noggin.
Now, when she is frustrated she gently sits, then lies blithely on the floor… and then proceeds to throw a fit.
We cannot help but giggle as the drama of her tantrum is overridden by her cautious technique of getting to the pinnacle of the spectacle.
Often we wonder, as long as it took her to get prostrate had she forgotten what she was mad about?
And this may seem silly but recently I was upset with God. I felt He had pulled the rug out from under me. I found myself flat on my back, hurt and angry that He hadn’t been there to stop the insanity train from leaving the station.
For the better part of two days, I ignored my habitual instinct to “pray without ceasing.” I found myself audibly saying, “I am not ready to talk to you about this…”
I went so far as to get out some stationery and pen to write out my complaint. With Thesaurus in hand and my gift for the written word, I would tell God exactly how I felt about the current downward spiral.
Yet the longer I postponed the tantrum, the more I worked through the calamity, the more my vision cleared… and all of the sudden I had new clarity.
He didn’t do this to me.
There were natural consequences for our current trial. He was not dishing out troubles, yes He allowed them and then walked with us through them, but He was not in the business of destroying us.
When did I first believe Him to be cruel I do not know?
But I am rejoicing in the new-found message of GRACE.
Freedom in Jesus wasn’t something He promised just to hear Himself talk.
If we are free… then we are free indeed.
How I love falling into His arms.
How I need Him to catch me and show me it is all okay.
He makes all things new. And all things work together for good for those who love Him. In the midst of a trial, I was refreshed and renewed that He was for me.
He is for my marriage.
He is for my children.
He is for my good will.
Who is this God who we encourage others to adore? Is the walk of salvation a trick manifested just to get others to fall in line? Or is this the real deal?
Pray, I say to you He is so real… so dear and wise.
In my folly, I have questioned Him. In the explicit moments, He has welcomed me, without judgment or harshness, and allowed me to lie at His feet and worship.
What God is this that shows such mercy and love?
My God… my love and life’s breath. He will never leave me or forsake me.
He is for me and He is with me, affording mercy and grace… even unto the carefully executed wall-eyed fit.
Matthew10:16(NASB)”Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”
Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.
Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email –click here.
Do you hate yourself when you yell – again?
Do you want to flick your wrist when you eat those brownies you should’ve dumped a week ago?
Do you call yourself an idiot for forgetting that appointment?
Do you believe you’ll never get better, live better or act better?
Freedom can feel far. Hope can feel lost. Deliverance can taste like an extra-large pizza, when you are one who berates yourself in your head.
Half my life, I’ve looked at my mistakes and asked, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I say something dumb. “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I bump someone’s bumper with my bumper, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I miss an opportunity, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
No wonder, one of my big fears is of being stupid. I’ve been speaking that fear into my heart for a long, long time.
What have you been speaking into your heart? Does it look – and hit – hard, like a hammer to the head or does it look and feel soft – like grace?
If you’re a heavy self-hitter, like me, listen up, because this is important: You no longer have to be hard on yourself, because the world was already hard on Jesus.
Let it really sink in. It hit him hard – and he took it.
Have you considered the weight of that? You don’t have to beat yourself up because, Jesus, the bodyguard of all bodyguards, took all your hits. He got hit so hard his flesh broke wide open.
So, while you sit and stare at your injuries, thinking, “They’ll never heal,” God says, “If I conquered the cross, surely I can conquer what plagues your heart today.”
Your brokenness is of no magnitude
that the maker of heaven and earth can’t fix it.
When you whisper, “Please God, help me, help me, help me. God, I can’t. God…God…God…”
God hears and nearly whispers, “Jesus”.
Because if you see this man on the cross,
if you see the fullness of his gift,
if you see the King,
nearly riding to death on a donkey,
in this place of poverty and powerlessness,
if you just see him,
you’ll see how he hung –
arms wide open,
the weak, wounded and restless one.
You’ll see mercy,
You’ll see his heart
to save –
both for today and yesterday.
When we see, Jesus, the man who won our freedom,
we really begin to trust his life can save us.
He didn’t died for us yesterday,
only to give a half-hoot about us today.
When Jesus spread his arms on the cross, he welcomed our pain. He welcomed the addicts, the rapists, the depressives, the adulterers, the anxiety-prone, the controllers, the abusers, the abused and the proud. He basically says, “See me, I am reaching out to hug you, to embrace you – to receive the worst of you. Don’t forget what I’ve done. Let yourself be saved from your plague.“
With this idea friends, knowing his heart, I want to be saved afresh. There is an area so wounded in me, I keep on trying to layer dirt over it. I keep trying to wrestle it down in my own mind. I keep wanting to tell it to go hide out in Timbuktu. It never does. It tapes itself to me. It labels me.
Well, today friends, today…today, I say, Jesus, you are my only way. I am willing to travel through the hurt to find your help. I am willing to get honest with you, so I can get healed by you. I am willing to give it a shot, knowing that you surpass my slip ups.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Pet. 2:16)
Hurt one, are you ready to live free? What’s holding you back?
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3
Today, I am delighted to welcome Celeste Gonzales to Women’s Ministry Monday. Celeste points out a path to healing after being injured at church. Thank you, Celeste. It is a delight to welcome you.
Why does God tend to grow us through painful times? Ever noticed? In times where you want to withdraw, God asks us to be vulnerable, willing and open to new relationships and leadership.
Joseph is the prime example of this: sold by his brothers into slavery, appointed ruler of Potiphar’s house, thrown back in prison, then appointed second in command of Egypt.
Ups, downs, ups, downs… God’s ways are a mystery. Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
Ecclesiastes 7:13 (NLT)
So, how do you stay emotionally healthy when you’re hit with betrayal, accusations, and loss of friendships, all while being expected to shine Jesus?
Good question! To be honest, I haven’t mastered this…
I’ve had times where I felt so emotionally unstable from how cruel people can be that I needed to collect myself in the bathroom before entering the next meeting so I wouldn’t fall apart.
One day, I looked at my husband and said, “I’m not doing well. I’m sick emotionally and I don’t know what to do.” Unfortunately, he had no idea what to do with me either. It was rough!
I decided I’d had enough. I didn’t know who to trust or if I should even trust anyone, but I was determined to find healing.
Christ died to set us free, right?
By his stripes we are healed, yes?
Doesn’t that mean emotional healing, too?
If Jesus left gifts for us at the cross, isn’t it our job to seek them out? That’s just what I did—I sought answers and guidance. I asked for help…
And, you know what happened?
I didn’t get a response. Nothing. It hurt. Discouragement settled.
However, one thing I knew is I wasn’t giving up. I wasn’t giving in. Jesus’ healing was already prepared for me. He bought and paid for it on the cross over 2000 years ago! A good Father loves to give good answers. He’s not satisfied until we find them. So, on I went.
I saw a Christian counselor for deeper guidance. I followed through on the homework he gave me, I took notes during every message from my pastor, and I continued in personal devotion. Like physical therapy after a bodily injury, I kept pressing on toward the goal.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:14
How is God calling you to press on?
What might he be calling you to pursue?
Let me assure you, God not only works for you, but he works with you and behind the scenes – for you.
It just may not come as you expect. You know, I hardly wanted to be open with people about my feelings. That’s tough work. After all, I trusted before – and I got hurt. But God, he had other plans. One way or another, God let people in on my secrets.
Frustrated, I wondered, “Didn’t He just see what happened to me? And He dares to give people insight to my life and tell them things only He knows?”
Well… yes, and yes.
We had a talk: “God I don’t want people to know these things.”
His response: “I know, but it’s good for you.”
Why does God always have to be right??
Because God is God and he has good deep down in the depths of our hurt.
I can attest to this. I really can. Today, my friendships are stronger than they’ve ever been, my home is peaceful, I love the ministry I’m leading, and my heart is full of joy.
Like Joseph, this path wasn’t easy, but still, I found fruitfulness in a time of affliction.
Today, you may feel pained, ashamed or out of the game, but let me assure you, your pursuit of God is not purposeless.
Let Joseph be your reminder. He didn’t stop leading, or stop getting out of bed, or turn his back on God. He got up, kept his heart pure before the Lord. God not only prospered him, but redeemed his pain!
Maybe these words by my pastor might resonate with you, “I’ve never been hurt more than by the local church. I’ve never been healed more than by the local church.”
Have you been hurt?
If you’ve found yourself in an emotionally weak place, today find encouragement – you don’t have to settle into it or ignore it! More awaits. Acknowledge it and seek wholeness; settle for nothing less!
God has already paid the price for your healing, and if you seek him through it – he will lead you to it!
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here
For nearly a decade, Celeste Gonzales has pursued the call to see women grow in their God-confidence and walk boldly in their calling. As part of the Celebration Church Austin team (along with her husband, Daniel) Celeste utilizes her relatable communication style, effective strategy, and heart for discipleship to help develop and equip women leaders. She has three things that get her up every, or at least most, mornings with a smile: Syrena (11), Luke (8) & Kya (4). Follow her on Instagram & twitter @celesteadores .
What looks buried over so much that you are convinced is impossible to dig out?
If you came up with nothing, think deeper. What is it you believe you can’t do?
Remember this thing.
I am face-to-face with impossible these days. What I want to do, I have tried to do, yet no matter what, I just can’t seem to do it. To make matters worse, the problem sources within me. If it was others – their circumstances, problems or things – those wouldn’t be so offensive, you know, you can more easily brush those off, but what is internal it feels eternal sometimes.
Sure, I said I have forgiven, but truly forgiving is hard when someone keeps on offending. It is hard when you feel abandoned and ignored. It is hard when those feelings rise to the surface and make you remember stuff.
So I go deep…
I cover my irritation in the darkness, but there it sits.
The pain was a time ago, but irritation sits heavy.
The relationship waits, and I lay immobile to feelings. The rock lays over me, and I am closed up into myself. I am tightly wrapped, in my own thoughts about how things should go. I can’t breathe, I feel upset at myself for not being able to move on.
I feel like I am stuck in a hole. A deep, unscalable, deathly, waterless hole.
But, here is the kicker – so is Jesus.
And, here is the double kicker – he rose from it and will raise you up too!
In the tomb, where you feel dead, Christ is ready to rise up in you – to make you alive.
In the tomb where all things seem lost, Christ already won that battle.
It is called resurrection power!
“But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb…and did not find the body.” (Luke 24:2-3) Resurrection power!
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5)Resurrection power!
“He is not here, He is risen.” (Mark 16:6) Resurrection power!
What looks dead, comes alive.
What seems impossible, becomes possible.
What seems unbearable, becomes bearable.
What seems hopeless, finds hopefulness.
What is it for you that looks dead, dank and dying before you?
Jesus is raising it up to new life. By his stripes you are healed and by his resurrection a new answer to your situation is being revealed.
Jesus both tells and asks you something. Something pointed, like he did to Martha not so long ago, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)
Do you believe this?
See your situation and believe this verse over it. Grab it like a lifeline. Call it yours.
As you do, he will lift you up out of the pit. You simply: 1.)hand it over to him 2.) let his resurrecting forgiveness wash over it and 3.) feel the promises clean your shame-soaked body.
Here’s what happens – He saturates it with so much light, it nearly blinds you to what was of old. Then, as he raises you to new heights, you move from trauma to transformation (and it doesn’t even feel that hard). Why? Because the power of resurrection sinks right into you…
…if only you believe.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
How could he do that? What was he thinking? What am I doing wrong now?
Everything he did, said and thought seemed to be a judgement about who I was, am and one day will be. His eyes spoke volumes about the magnitude of his disdain for me.
So I shut down. I shut things down faster than a prison cell at lockdown. I packed it all up, made it all tight and kept myself behind the distance of bars. The risk of injury was too high and I had been hurt one too many times to know that you don’t go around prison like a sitting duck waiting for its next attack.
Nope. I got smart. Not this time. You can’t get me again.
Yet, as much as I felt I was doing the right thing, I didn’t. The other side of me hated that I was locking it all up, closing it all down, hiding myself away. I didn’t want to be isolated, I wanted to be free. Free of pain, free of the looks of condemnation, free of having to pretend I am someone I am not.
It was like I was at tug-of-war with myself.
God wants me to be open, vulnerable and transparent. Tug.
No. God wants me to protect my pearls and not be injured again. Tug.
I am not being a good Christian by not loving. Tug.
I am better able to love when I don’t feel so hurt. Tug.
He has treated me cruelly. Tug.
I am to die to self as Christ died for me. Tug.
What do you do when “relationship” means
forging into enemy territory feeling alone and open for attack?
Do you take the risk, the barrage of open-fire,
for the dream that you can one day be free?
I did. I headed straight in.
Because God was saying: check your own eye, daughter. Just as much as you think his eyes can’t see you – yours can’t see him. I want restoration for your heart and for his. I want to clean things out for your good.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:3
Really God? I want it to be all his issue.
But, the truth is that as I analyzed his wrongs, so I was wrong.
Isn’t how it so often happens? What we see in another as their main flaw is really the flaw that we carry around – we just try to hide it under an inch of makeup, don’t we?
As I figured it, the only natural place to go after you realize you have wronged is to make right. So I did.
I confessed to him that I judge and can’t seem to hug, that I sneer and can’t be near and that I fail and often feel frail.
I faced the captor knowing that One already had secured the victory on my behalf.
He may have looked bruised, beaten and defeated himself, but he never was – he won my freedom.
In this, I was freed to love.
Who do you need to apologize to?
Might they look like someone who has a mile-long list of wrongs?
Perhaps, you the tiniest power to make things a little more right?
I won’t say that all things are right between me and him, but what I will say, is that we moved a step closer to intimacy, to openness and to healing. The door to my cell is open. I am starting to take more walks towards him so he can see who I am is not all bad – maybe sometimes good even – and what I am starting to see are the same things about him.
It’s amazing what forgiveness can do when you let it work.
So often, we see the one who really needed healing is – us.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
And when I mean wrong, I mean – wrong. Really wrong. Horribly wrong.
Wrong where it makes your heart beat out of your chest because you are a good Christian blogger girl and those type of good girls aren’t supposed to act in these types of bad ways – in a mean-girl kind of way, in a self-righteous kind of way.
This person was loaded to the brim with a huge loss and I let their response to my prayer throw me off the my clear running pattern of love.
To add insult to this horrible injury, I also retaliated. I retaliated with vengeance over a mean dispute about – (brace yourself) – prayer.
I can only imaging God’s delight as I fought so vehemently for his truth, can’t you
(please sense the sarcasm)?
Instead of arguing over theology,
what if I was set on praying for humility?
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Tim. 2:23-24
I let my pride walk like a bully
in front of another’s aching need to vent a pain-ridden heart.
I let her shot take me down,
completely missing the fact that she just needed a straight shot of love.
Her words weren’t ever about me, they were all about her and her dire situation.
Why is it that sometimes in the moment we can’t see?
I can’t help but think, this is why our wise God so often instructs us
to listen more than we talk.
When we can see that others piercing words are really just responses to their own threats, we can act in compassion.
How can we get angry with those people who are in deep pain, frustration and irritation?
So often people block what they most need, because the severity, the weight and the presence of their issue is suffocating. And, sometimes, coming above water means miles of vulnerability that is frankly too scary to swim through. The distance can seem daunting and shoreline can seem unreachable, so they act in fear.
And, fear is never known for staying contained, it seeps out to reach its gnarly arms around all those it encounters, it hurts those it never intended to. It causes pain.
Yet, when grace meets another’s fear, God’s supernatural placating abilities are activated.
die to self no matter how the opposing side treats us,
see another’s needs above our own,
remember that we have acted much in the same way,
grab on to the truth that God has placed us in this person’s path for such a time as this,
extend a hand when it looks like the other person might cut it off
and we believe, hope and trust that he will forge truth in the unsaid… we are operating from grace-power accessed at God’s throne.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16
Christ’s grace is the lifeline to hope.
It’s the split-second that a person has to find the light of Christ through their moment of need.
Not by our rescues, or by our insults, or our control or our power, but through his small words spoken in the silence of need.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Pet. 4:10
Then, the door to safety, truth and fearlessness appear – to us and to them. All are granted an opportunity to see the way, the truth and life of Christ in this moment.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11
Grace changes hearts – including ours.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
She’s the one who offended me.
The one who deserves my annoyance.
The lady I really didn’t want to see.
It’s nearly impossible to wrap your arms around the word “love,” when you have your arms crossed with hate.
She didn’t hit me like a monster truck might, with an intentional crash, but still she her hit-and-run approach was something I took note of. Intentional or not, she caused damage.
And, I wasn’t going to let her get away without paying damages.
How do you let go when another doesn’t realize the damage they have done?
Don’t they deserve to know how they’ve injured you?
I wanted the reparations that should be mine. My heart was demanding it, although know one would ever know about that little secret.
I knew my insides were ugly, but I couldn’t seem to get my insides – out – out into the hands of God.
She was seen with a halo, while I felt like a zero.
Sometimes, though, God works circumstances for our good, because he loves us and he knows our heart intends to be called according to his purposes (kind of Ro. 8:28).
Even when we don’t know how to work or are too busy working on the wrong think or are thinking in the wrong way or are messing up, God often still works things out when we turn to him and let him work out the knots of our tangled up his purpose.
When we come back to God, he backs near to our heart again.
When we see an opportunity to love, and put it above ourselves, the love of God shows up.
A friend approached me and basically said, “You know, you have something, a little piece of information, a little inside scoop that could help that woman (aka: frenemy) out. Why don’t you go over and share it with her.”
With her? The blessing-taker, the joy-kill, the bane of my burdens?
How can I give to the one who is loaded to the brim with liquid gold while I am drinking out of the plastic cup of nothingness? How can I give when she practically made my drink to taste so bad.
I don’t know about that.
My feet moved, but my heart stayed still. They moved me right in front of her. My mind said, “You can’t,” but my Spirit said, “You can.”
So, I did.
I poured out the information that she had been on the hunt for. I told her I would be her helper. I instructed her on the in’s I could have kept in, but instead I helped her out.
And, what I noticed, is that fears and pain and anger went out too.
They scurried away.
Giving took the eyes off of my pain and placed them onto my gift. A gift much like the one offered for me, a sinner who didn’t deserve love.
An undeserved gift, especially the act of forgiveness,
brings Jesus right to the center of relationship.
My arms came undone and fell open to receive and pour out love.
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Mt. 5:44)
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Prov. 25:21)
God knows something we don’t (ok, a lot actually) and it is this: When we give to someone, we start to love them. We start to feel for them. We start to see that their issues are more about them, than they are about us. We start to see that they need us – and that we need them.
A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Prov. 11:25
As we reach out, we start to see all that is reaching into us through the act of love. We start to see it is not all about us and our rights, but it is simply about giving our rights to another, just as Christ did for us.
He is the justice-keeper, we are are the love extenders.
I learned, the joy is never found in the harboring of rights,
but it is always found in the helping of the hurt.
Forgiveness is the heart and soul of Christianity.
It is the feet – to love,
and the heart – to relationship.
As you let your feet move,
your feelings eventually follow.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Mt. 6:14