Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gift of Forgiveness

                How do you forgive someone who doesn’t ask?  How do you keep moving, when you feel stuck in the waiting;  when you’re walking forward so slowly, but looking back still watching for the conclusion to catch up and just be done already.   They probably didn’t even realize that the words chosen would affect your soul.  Was it simply a thoughtless neglect that made the action seem so severe?  So often the things we say reach further than the longest of miles.  It’s as if our words become a tree, with its branches reaching places we didn’t imagine.  So much further than just where we placed them, they branch out, growing wider and further than we meant.  But there they go, never the less what the intentions were.  We can’t take them back, just like we can’t ungrow a tree.  But maybe we can train them?  Bind them to something sturdier than ourselves?  Surely the tree will bend and collapse beneath its’ own weight if left to itself.    It will fall in a strong wind, and the branches will be scattered.  Breaking others in its’ path, it will damage what it touches.  Then there will be repair work to do. 
               The repairs are forgiveness.  It is a binding of the wounds inflicted to allow healing, but everywhere there was a break there will now be a weakness.  Every time the wind blows in the same direction, there will be an effort to not break again; an effort to not remember the first break in an attempt to stay whole in the present.  The repairs are continual.  The binding will need to be replaced to maintain the strength.  It is an action taken again and again.  Forgiveness is choosing to know that alone the branch can break, but when bound in the One who created it, it becomes stronger.   Forgiveness is an active choosing to let the binding hold us together when the wind picks up.  An active choosing to give up what we feel is our right, and to place it in the hands of the One who will hold accountable.  Does the tree tell the wind not to blow?  No, it develops roots to help it stand.  Does the branch demand the wind to repair what was broken?  No, the branch holds tightly to the binding and borrows its strength in the storm.
                Forgiveness is a choice first, and then a repetitive action.  A giving up of our perceived rights to allow the Repairer and Forgiver to work His will.  A decision, and then an action each time the wind blows to lean into the binding for strength.  It is a will, and then an action to reinforce the binding again and again with a re-submersion into the medicine chest of The Creator ~ His Word.  Forgiveness is not a feeling; instead it is a repetitive response.  It is a choice made again and again to respond internally and be held by the Binding, instead of reacting outwardly and being broken by the storm.  It is a remembering of who holds us together and then choosing Him.  It is a choice to forgive the wind for doing what it does, and a releasing of our attempts to hold it accountable.  It is a letting go and a trusting in the binding that holds us together.  Forgiveness?  It is an action we take for ourselves, and then by grace we give it to another.  It is a merciful gift we receive so that we can share.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Lessons from my Child

For several years and through several children, my husband and I have had many conversations on the topic of truthfulness. Specifically, being truthful with our children, so that they can trust what we say to be true. When we say we’re going to do something, even as small as reading a book at bedtime, we do everything in our power to stick to what we said. I can recall a few nights when we've been tempted to put them to bed quickly because of the hour, only to have one of them remind us that earlier in the day, when busy with some chore or task, one of us had said we would read to them at bedtime. Then after a long afternoon where time slips by, we suddenly realize it’s an hour or more past bedtime and they are still up.  We try to be speedy about the bedtime prep and just tuck them in with a quick prayer. It’s then, when they look at us and remind us of our words, that we realize it’s one of those moments that can build trust or break it. We try to never break it.

It may seem small, the little untruths that make things easier, but there is One truth we want them to believe so much, that we make every effort to build their trust in us so that they will believe us when we tell them. The One truth is of course, the existence of their loving Father. A Father so full of grace and mercy that He will never forsake them or leave them. A Father so true, that where ever they go, whatever they do, He will be right there with them. A Father so trustworthy, that without even a thought, they can lean on Him and be held. A Father so perfect, that they will be able to trust Him without even consciously making a decision to do so, because to not trust Him wouldn’t even occur to them. That is the One truth we want so badly for them to believe, that we will sacrifice time, sleep, money, all to have them trust us enough to believe us when we tell them.

The conversation on trust and truth has often circled around to childhood traditions like the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and of course, Santa Claus. We have struggled with how our children will view us, when after years of playing this folly, they discover these characters do not exist. Would our children still believe that Jesus is real and alive, and longing for a home in their hearts? Would they question the countless bible stories we’ve read all their lives? Would they believe the One truth that will ultimately save them?  To handle this untruth, we decided that as soon as one of them questioned the existence of these traditional play characters of childhood, we would sit that child down and share the secret. By our third child we felt this was going pretty well. We answered her honestly when she asked if the tooth fairy really came and left money for her little brother. She took it like a trooper. Not at all upset with us, she instead enjoyed the little conspiracy she had with us, that little brother still wasn’t part of. It made her more grown up, more important to be trusted with this little secret. I however, was sad BECAUSE she was a little more grown up and a little less my little girl. I rolled it over in my mind the rest of the morning, how our next conversation would be about Jesus, and that no matter how grown up she got, He would always be the same. He would always exist. He would always be real, and He should never be a secret. Jesus should be shared.

After lunch that same day, my young lady and I sat outside in our hammock, holding hands and swinging under the shade trees. We started to talk about our savior, and I asked her if she understood that although the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa did not exist, that Jesus did. She looked up at me, and put out her arms as if she was trying to encompass the trees above us, the fields around us, the birds eating from the feeder, and the garden beside us. She looked me in the eye, and in her still childish voice said, “Of course I know, who else but Him could have made all this?” I knew, she knew.

We had taken something so simple and perfect, and made it hard.  We had taken a truth so special, and thought it was something only we could teach her.  We had forgotten that the Truth loves her more than we as her parents are capable of.  The Truth had already sought her, pursued her, indwelled her and made her His, and we were so busy trying to earn her trust, we missed it. “For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”, (Mark 10:14).

This is the lesson I learned from my child today. I’m so glad I listened.

**Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,”.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sleep in Peace

    I woke this morning to my husband lying on his side, head resting on one arm, looking at me.  I stretched out; waiting to come fully awake then asked why he was watching me.  “How do you do that?” he asked.  “Sleep so soundly, without worry keeping you up, fall asleep as if you have no fear, then sleep all night like one of the kids.”  I had no answer.  I have always been able to sleep easily.  Anywhere really.  Not the restless tossing and turning of many adults, but the deep slumber that hears nothing.  We have always laughed how I’m like a baby in the car.  I’m asleep before the end of the block, rocked to oblivion by the motion of a moving car.  I’ve never been able to keep my husband company on a long drive, I’m too busy sleeping.  I don’t usually drive on trips because I fear I could just as easily fall into a slumber in the driver’s seat as the passenger’s.  Aside from the periodic times in my life when I’ve dreamed incessantly, and felt as if I lived two lives for a time, one in the day and the other in the night, I’ve woken early, well rested, and ready to do anything.  The hallmarks of a morning person I suppose.
    I never answered the question though, how do I sleep in this kind of peace.  It was too early to think deeply and the coffee pot was kicking, making that awesome brewing noise that wakes you up before you even smell what it’s making for you.  Shrugging out of the covers and leaving my bed for the day, I all but forgot his question.  Already I was mapping my day, planning the breakfast and lunch menu’s, mentally listing the business calls I needed to make, ordering the chore line up for the crew of 4 kids we call ours but really borrowed from God.  I stood in front of the coffee pot, willing it to finish so I could pour a cup without burning my hand, wondering if I went really fast, could I poor just the one cup without it finishing it’s brewing.  How much mess would it make and would it be worth the clean up?  No, I decided with not a little chagrin, I just waited the interminable 30 seconds more!  Finally, with cup in hand I headed to the chair.  You know the ’chair’. The one you long for when you’re away from home?  The chair that may have seen better days, but fits your deriair like no other.  The one you sit in for that first cup of coffee with your bible in your lap just glad for a new day.  The one you wish you could stay in a little longer, but the rest of the world (or at least your house), knows where you are at that moment if no other for the rest of the day, and they come to find you before you feel finished.  Yes, that’s the chair.  Bible opened, coffee in hand, I read through my daily psalm, and started the first Chapter of Daniel.
     At times throughout this day, I’ve briefly thought about my man’s question to me.  How do I sleep like that?  But even more, it’s made me wonder, why do I not feel the stress that I should be feeling right now?  I’m very aware of the fiery arrows of the enemy bombarding me from all sides.  I note the stress in my husband from a job he detests, but can’t leave.  I note the turmoil in my family right now in the form of a wayward sister.  I note nephews in foster care, and a mother and father who retired years back, but now face the possibility of raising two boys.  I note memories of anger, resentment, disappointment and dysfunction, but with it all, I don’t feel the stress I would expect.  Why?  Am I numb to so much?  Am I hardened to the feelings of others?  Without much of a time lapse, I realize that it’s ‘no’ to both.  I’m not numb; I feel real sorrow for the pain of others.  I even feel sorrow for pain that I see some inflicting on themselves.  But what I realize is that I’m living a habit now.  When I feel that sorrow, I pray through it.  I lift up the person in pain to God and I leave them right at the feet of His cross.  I pray so much that I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to do it.  I pray a conversation with my God so often that I don’t realize I’ve begun to pray, I just find that I am.  God has answered my prayers in the peace He gives me.  I know His love is greater than mine, and since God loves those I lift up to Him, then nothing outside of His will can touch them.  They still have free choice as I do, but I know that what God wants for them is far greater than what I could even dream of wanting for them.  In that, I know peace.  In that peace I send my kids out into the world, in that peace I tell my husband I love him when he leaves in the morning, in that peace I speak love to my mother, and in that peace I know God is with them even as He is with me.  In that peace, I lay down to sleep.  Nothing here can separate me from His great love, not jobs, not money, not broken families, not the pain and the suffering that comes with loving other imperfect people completely, and not the great sorrows I witness in this world. In that peace I rest, I live, I love and I pray.
    I look back with the 20/20 vision that comes with viewing the past and I clearly see the hands of God guiding, protecting, leading and saving me.  I know that while I prayed, He was outfitting me with His armor, and shielding me from the arrows of the enemy.  I was not aware He was doing that, but when I look at myself I see the dents where the arrows hit, yet didn’t reach me completely.  I was touched enough to know to pray, but protected enough to hold onto His peace.
    Tonight, I know I will sleep in peace.  I know who gives it to me, and now that I’m aware of it, I will pray in thankfulness for this gift I received that I didn’t even know to ask for.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Grace and mercy received? Regifting encouraged!

If you have ever been interested in sharing what God has done for you, through speaking or writing, I would strongly encourage you to visit the website and consider attending this conference!  It is a great opportunity to hear and connect with other christian women who are sharing the gifts from God they have received.  Prayerfully consider attending!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sin not in anger

Ephesians 4:26  Don't sin by letting anger gain control over you.

Anger is a difficult emotion to overcome.  Compounding anger with a sinful reaction is even more difficult to overcome.  Anger is defined by as "an emotion related to one's psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged or denied and a tendency to undo that by retaliation".  How do we control this powerful urge to sin in retaliation to the people and things that surround us everyday?  How do we as sinful creatures, train ourselves to respond in a non sinful way?

Yesterday was a lesson in learning for me.  I experienced an anger that was so overwhelming that I was speechless.  Looking back on that experience from the perspective of a new day, I see that speechless was in fact a good thing and most likely the holy spirit covering my mouth!  I had started my day with quiet time with the Lord, reviewing a scripture passage for a meeting with my small group.  The passage was Genesis 33:22-32 where Jacob wrestles with God.  As I read this passage, I thought of how blessed I have been.   We have jobs, health, a home, two working vehicles, four beautiful children and enough food to never know the feeling of hunger.  I was so thankful in fact, that I laughingly thought to myself, "I bet my time of 'wrestling' will come eventually".  It did!  By 8:30 AM in fact.  Didn't take too long for God to wrestle me off my high horse!

What started as a quick trip to the pediatrician for a sore throat in a 12 year old quickly morphed into a wrestling match on the table with a petite nurse, a mother, a large kid and 2 rather long q-tip swabs!  I could not believe my normally well behaved child and this wiggling, squealing monster were the same person.  Now I knew from past experience that this daughter of mine was afraid of strep tests, but this was beyond my wildest imagination.  We had discussed how to best do this test, and even pointed out that it would be less painful than dental shots in the mouth and getting your ears pierced (both of which she had done well at in the last year).  She was ready!  She sat right up on the table, assured me she would be fine and cooperative, and waited patiently...until the door opened and the nurse walked in!

Needless to say,(but I will anyway), I WAS ANGRY!  I was embarrassed.  I was ashamed that I could not control my own child better, ashamed that I obviously had not trained her well enough in obedience, ashamed that I hadn't anticipated this and left the younger siblings at home.  I mustered the ability to say one line, "Get in the car now"!  I couldn't speak anymore.  I couldn't find the words to express to my child what I thought.  Every word going through my mind was inappropriate for a christian mother to say to any child.  So I said nothing.  Nothing all they way to school to drop off the little ones, nothing all the way to the middle school to drop off the offending 12 year old, and nothing on the way to my small group where several christian women waited to discuss the bible verses from Sunday's sermon.

One of the ladies read through the scripture of Jacob and God wrestling, but the part I think of now as most significant wasn't the wrestling at all, but what God said to Jacob in changing his name to Israel. "Your name will no longer be Jacob.  It is now Israel, because you have struggled with both God and men and have won." (Gen. 32:28)   He won.  Perhaps not in the way we look at winning today, Jacob didn't pin God to the ground.  Jacob won because he survived.  He didn't die because of God's presence, he thrived.  Jacob could have chosen anger at God for his troubles, or selfishness when he went to meet Esau the next day, but he did neither.  After his encounter with God, Jacob choose humbleness.

So how do we train ourselves to not sin when we become angry?  With preparation.  Reading God's word on a daily basis will soften our hearts to situations that have the potential to be volatile.  Gathering with other believers who will hold us accountable for our actions, who give Godly advice to help us deal with the "wrestling matches" we encounter, and who stand in the gap praying for us.  Seeking the company of older, wiser Christians whose lives and behaviors we can see as examples even if they're not perfect.  By surrounding ourselves as much as possible with God's word and God's people, we will enable ourselves to reflect Him in our lives and in our responses.  By controlling what we put into ourselves through reading, hearing and association with others, we control better what comes out of us as well.  "Whatever is in your heart determines what you say", Luke 6:45

Determine this day, what you will put into yourself.  Will it be God's word, songs of praise, inspirational christian writing?  Will it be the supermarket checkout magazine, the top 40 music hits, the secular romance novel?  Who will you have lunch with today, the office gossip with an ear bending story, or the christian sister who will pray with you?  We are surrounded by many choices everyday.  Choose wisely.

"then choose today whom you will for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."
Joshua 24:15

Saturday, March 5, 2011

If you give a girl a candle.....

If you give a girl a candle, she might want to put it in her bedroom. If she puts it in her bedroom, she may want to set it nicely on her dresser. If she sets it on her dresser, she might notice that she needs to dust the dresser, so she will go to the kitchen to get a rag and some Pledge. When she gets the Pledge from under the sink, she might notice that the dishwasher is done and will begin to unload it. When she puts the plates away, she might remember that she is hungry and will get a box of crackers from the pantry. When she opens the pantry, she will see some tea bags and decide to make a cup of tea too. While she drinks her tea, she may read her bible and notice that the proverbs 31 woman quilts her own bedspreads.  She will think it would be nice to at least wash hers to make them smell fresh. When she gets to her bedroom, she will see that the laundry basket is full, so she will probably decide to wash that as well. When she removes the bedspread, she will probably want to change the sheets too, so she'll go to the linen closet to get the clean sheets. When she pulls out the clean sheets, she will see the new shower liner on the shelf, so she'll probably want to hang that. While she's hanging the shower liner, she may notice that the top of the shower is looking dirty. She will look under the sink to get the cleaner where she will notice that she is nearly out of toilet paper. She will probably want to go to the kitchen to add that to the shopping list. When she gets to the kitchen, she will see her plate and cup on the table so she'll want to put that in the dishwasher. When she opens the dishwasher, she will see that it's only half unloaded. She will probably be frustrated, but she will finish unloading it. When she reaches over the counter to put the cups in cupboard she will notice the box of crackers, so she will most likely put the box away too. She may become a little discouraged. When she returns the box of crackers to the pantry, she might notice the Pledge sitting on the shelf. She will wonder how that got there and will probably want to put it back under the sink where it belongs. When she opens the door under the sink, she might notice a stack of clean rags. With Pledge in one hand and a rag in the other, she may decide to dust. When she is dusting the coffee table, she might hear the buzzer on the washing machine. She will probably want to switch that to the dryer. When she opens the dryer, she may find a load of clothes waiting to be folded and put away, so she will take them to her room and dump them on her bed. On her way back to the laundry room she will see the Pledge in the living room on the coffee table. She will probably pick it up and take it with her to the laundry room in an effort to not forget to finish dusting. After she switches her laundry, she will want to go to her room to fold the pile on her bed. While she folds her laundry she will probably make stacks for each member of her family. When she is done, she will want to put the laundry piles in the right rooms for her family. When she puts the laundry in their rooms, she will probably notice the beds aren't made, so she will probably make them. While she's making them, she will probably wonder how long it's been since the sheets have been washed, so she will change them too. When she takes the sheets to the laundry room, she will see that she already has quite a pile, so she might decide to wait and let the kids wash their own sheets. She may now see the Pledge sitting on the shelf next to washing machine. She will probably want to finish dusting. While she's dusting the book shelves, she may see an empty spot on the shelf, and think that might be a nice place for a candle. Then she may remember the candle in her room. She may go to her bedroom to get the candle, where she will see that her dresser is dusty. She will probably dust her dresser, put the candle back on top, and then lay down for a nap because she is too tired to go find a match to light the candle. When she lays down on her bed, she may notice that there are no sheets, but as tired as she is, she simply will not remember why.

**inspired by “If you give a mouse a cookie” and my friend Rachel!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Trading Frustration for Fruit

Galations 5:22-23 "But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." 

     I have noticed that I am becoming very easily frustrated lately.  Really frustrated with many things, be they big or small.  I have also noticed that my response has not been very, let's say "fruitful".  I'm not sure why this is cropping up now, but I suspect that Satan is throwing things into my path to deter me from my Christian walk, and I must say, I'm allowing him to do a very good job.  Not only is my attitude having an affect on my own heart, but I suspect it's affecting the hearts of my children too.  Now that I have made myself aware, I'm making a plan to fix it!  You are welcome to join me in this little "exercise" if you like.
     Let's call this a  training exercise!  If you want to change anything, be it your diet, your level of fitness, or even a spiritual problem, you need a plan.  "Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness"..."which is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next", 1 Timothy 4:7-8.  In this particular exercise two steps are necessary.  Step 1 will be to acknowledge the sin.  By this, I mean that precise moment when something comes along and we feel the frustration beginning.  It might be a thoughtless comment from someone else, it might be the never ending construction zone, it might be the lack of funds to do something you would like, but the sin is your own thoughts about the situation and your subsequent reaction to it.  Step 2 will be to replace our sinful thoughts and responses with fruitful ones.  When eliminating a bad habit, it's important to fill that spot with something good.  If we don't make a conscious decision about what to replace it with, we will find something will fall into its place on it's own,  and it might just be another bad habit.
     To practice this now for use later, recall a moment today or yesterday when you were frustrated.  For me this was an argument between my two teenagers that I stepped into "help" with, and said some really annoying things that even I didn't want to hear.  I was frustrated by the tone they took with each other, and the unkind things they said.  I was further frustrated by the fact that they behaved in this unchristian manner in front of younger siblings who watched in open mouthed awe.  My reaction belittled the older kids, and did nothing encouraging for the younger kids.  The argument ceased, and we all sat down to eat a breakfast we no longer wanted with people we didn't want to sit with.  Satan won that round!  A fruitful response would have had different results.  Looking back on this moment I want to think about what could I have done or said that would have reflected the fruits of the spirit.  Calling a truce to cool off, taking an opportunity to pray with each teenager individually, but something constructive to stop the flow of useless and hurtful words, and turn the atmosphere back to one of love and joy or at least peace and patience.  I'm choosing now to be thankful for this situation as it will give us an opportunity to talk to one another and practice asking for, giving, and receiving forgiveness.  It matters not who is right or wrong.  It matters that we love one another and keep short accounts on wrongs.
     This practice of reflecting on the past sin, will give us a clue for how to deal with the future sins we haven't yet committed.  For the rest of this day I am going to actively look for frustrating circumstances and situations so that I can practice!  When I leave my house and drive through the construction zone that has been our neighborhood for almost a year, I'm going to pray for each construction worker that I pass.  I'll pray for their warmth and safety.  I will pray in thankfulness that we will have a new and far less treacherous road for when my oldest son learns to drive soon.  When my family gathers tonight after a day at school and work, I will not rehash the unseemly behavior from this morning.  I will hug my kids tight, have a snack with them, listen to their day, and be thankful we have each other and everything we need in a world that often seems to be spinning widely out of control around us.  When my husband comes home, I will not meet him at the door with all the dirt of the day.  I will ask him about his day and listen like I really want to hear it, because I do.  I love him and he works hard for our family.  He is a good example of a hard worker for our children and he leads our family in the way we should go.  If someone, friend or stranger says something unkind or unthoughtful, to myself or someone else, I will not respond in kind.  I will instead pray for that person, and if appropriate, say something kind or uplifting to them.  I will show love when someone seems unlovable.  God loves them already, how can I do less?  I will use little frustrations as reminders to pray.  Prayers of thankfulness for safe keeping, for guidance, and for opportunities to grow, will be what I replace my frustrations with.  I will choose to be used by God instead of Satan when life's little frustrations come my way.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Please don't Complain

"Please don't complain to me", is an often repeated phrase in my home.  No one likes a complainer.  I even find that I frustrate myself with my own complaining!  Why do we complain?  Have you ever wondered why it is so incredibly easy to find something to complain about?  Why is it so much more difficult to find something pleasant to talk about?  God clearly shows us in His word that He realizes this is human nature by warning us about ourselves.  "In everything you do, stay away from complaining and arguing," Phil 2:14, and "These people are grumblers and complainers," Jude 1:16, and "How should I describe this generation?  These people are like a group children playing a game in the public square.  They complain to their friends,"  Matthew 11:16. 

Being of human nature however, does not excuse a sin.  What comes naturally must often be taken under control, but knowing why we do what we do, may make it easier to overcome.  It's like knowing that your car isn't running because it has no gas.  You wouldn't complain about the car not starting if you knew that YOU forgot to put gas in it!  You might complain about your own memory issue, but you wouldn't blame the car!  That would be silly, you can clearly see it's not the car's fault YOU didn't acknowledge the low fuel light!  That we understand, but what if the light didn't come on and the gas gauge was broken, would we see clearly what the problem was?  1 Corinthians 13:12 shows us the "why".  "Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything in perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now."  If we don't see things clearly, what we do see confuses us.  If we only see a part of the whole, we don't know what it means, or why something is the way it is.  That is the point we start to complain.  What we are complaining about is actually our own inability to see clearly the why and how things are happening around us.  We like to share our "confusion" with our friends, and since they also can not clearly see, we may even find ourselves in the proverbial blind leading the blind situation!  I believe this additional sin then takes on a new name called "gossip".  

Wouldn't it be nice if we knew WHY that guy was speeding down the highway, driving like a maniac?  If we knew he was in a hurry to get to the hospital to see his new baby being born, we would probably pull over and let him pass.  What if we knew that short tempered woman in the grocery line that's yelling at her kid to stop touching the candy, had just lost her best friend in an accident?  Would we stop and pray for her, smile sympathetically at her and let her go first?  How about that mean lady in your kids school who never smiles and is always short with you?  What if you knew her husband had left her and she was now raising two kids on a school salary?  Would you pray for her?  Would you try to squelch the gossip from the other moms and maybe even yourself before SHE heard, and then had one more strike against her?  If we only knew WHY, we would probably respond differently.  God has told us however, that we do not and will not know why or see clearly until later.  Knowing this, we can choose to accept our confusion.  Rest in the knowledge that God sees all, and understand that we just don't understand.  By acknowledging our own inability to see clearly and know all, we can now allow things around us to continue as they do without complaining.  We can pray that God will give us His eyes and heart to see those around us as He does.  We may not know why people do what they do, or why things happen the way they do, but we can be used by God where we are when we accept His lead.  He knows where and why.  Do I trust Him enough to let Him lead me?  Can I accept that I don't know why and pray anyway?  Can I love the seemingly unlovable?  Can I squelch the urge to complain and accept that God sees all?  I know that I will try to do this.  I know that I will fail. I know I will give those around me chance to complain about me.  I also know that God will forgive me and I will try again. And again, and again.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Wisdom? Where can you find it?

"Wisdom is having lots to say, then not saying it."  I saw this gem posted outside of a local church recently and it has really stuck with me!  How true is that?!  I have found that I have very often regretted the things I have said, but only rarely have I regretted the things I refrained from saying.  The bible is full of verses about what comes from the mouths of us humans.  Here are just a few, "The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life", (Prov. 15:4). "The lips of the wise spread knowledge," (Prov. 4:7).  "Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue," (Prov 17:28), and one more (my favorite)  "For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks".  What I gather as I read these verses and many others similar, is that the words from our mouths are a direct mearsurement of what is in our hearts.  If we fill our minds and hearts with things from the Word of God, then what naturally comes forth from our lips will reflect Him.  If we have starved ourselves of the Word, then what naturally comes from our mouths will reflect our human nature, sin. I have to ask myself daily, have I feasted on God's wisdom today?  On those days I have not, I better be careful to keep my mouth closed.  On those days I have feasted and spent time with my savior, I may still want to keep my mouth closed, but if the spirit moves me to speak it should be a response and not a reaction.  When I lay down at night, I want to review my day and all the interactions I have had with others around me.  I want to rest in the knowledge that at my best, I reflected wisdom from God, and at my worst, I only remained silent.