Posts Tagged ‘beliefs’

Jud-ger

If I had to describe myself I would say I was thoughtful, kind, generous, fun-loving, have a great sense of humor, boisterous, OCD ish, passionate, well meaning and a heart that truly seeks after God.  I am working very hard at using good words here…lol.  I am very hard on myself and I don’t usually have much grace to hand to me.  I can hand it out all day to everyone else, but not myself!!  I just have very high expectations for myself and I usually don’t reach them!  The sad thing is, in all my efforts, I still seem to rub people the wrong way :/.  Try as i might, I can set out to prove to someone I Love them and, before I know it, they think I hate them.   This has actually happened…twice!!!  Weird.

Every time something goes awry, I will go before The Lord and really take a good look at what happened and why.   In most cases, if not all, I never saw it coming.  This is probably what throws me the most.  Why didn’t I see it coming?!??!  What did I miss?!?!?  I cannot even count how many times I have been misunderstood or misquoted or my intentions taken wrong.  Many people will say that if it keeps happening to one person, maybe it’s that person that is the issue.  I can’t say I disagree either.  Which is why I try to figure out what I did or am doing!!!  I just can’t seem to nail it down and it really frustrates me because I would like to stop doing whatever it is that I am doing wrong.

Here is one example:  We started a church plant with a guy who was very good at preaching.  We thought his heart was genuine and my husband was excited about joining his ministry.  I wasn’t but I didn’t want to hold him back so I supported the move.  In the beginning the Pastor met with us and said that he was so excited to have us on board because I had a past that would contribute to the city people we were going to be reaching out to (I came from a hard core family and ended up on the streets before I was saved) and he felt that I would be a valuable voice in the mix.  We became the youth group leaders and began the journey into “saving the city”.  We gave all we could give to this ministry but found ourselves very frustrated by some actions and decisions the Pastor was making.  We would very respectfully talk about it and would choose to support him when he would give his reasoning, although we did not always agree with him.  After about 6 months we decided to meet with him to talk about some difficulties we were having with the ministry as it was not growing and the direction had taken a severe turn from our original discussions.  We met in a restaurant with he, his wife, my husband and myself.  Our only goal was to talk things out, get some direction, and try to understand where the ministry was headed.  About 10 minutes into the conversation, the Pastor began to say things that were totally out of the blue.  By the end of the 20 minute conversation, I had been called an unsubmissive wife, unstable, emotional, and accused of lying!!!  The attack on my character was so bad that my husband, who has a great respect for people and rarely speaks against anyone, took a stand and told him that if he did not stop speaking to me in the manner he was that we were going to leave.  The Pastor refused and we left both the restaurant and the church.

As I recall that night now I can see it for what it was:  A very old fashioned person who could not reconcile my personality with his legalistic beliefs.  However, at that time, I was deeply crushed and devastated.  As we drove home I was an emotional mess, crying my eyes out,  and I looked to my husband and I asked him to please be gut wrenching honest with me.  Did he think I was all the things the Pastor was saying about me?  He looked me straight in the eye and said absolutely not.  He went back over every situation the Pastor had brought up and reminded me that he was present  and that he saw how things had been twisted and turned against me.  He knew I hadn’t lied because he was there!!!  The interesting thing is this.  My husband was there in almost every instance that was brought up and we had made certain decisions together, but , I was the one who was targeted as the bad person, not him.  He was the youth leader, I was the assistant but everything fell on me!!   Weird.

As I moved through the next few months I struggled with this attack because I had set out to Love the youth kids, his daughter included, support the ministry, and see God move on our city.  In the end, the pastor’s daughter was the one who lied about my words and my actions, the ministry was not furthered, and the city didn’t even know we were there.  What did I do in those six months that I didn’t realize I was doing?!?!  What made the Pastor go from being so happy to have me on board to judging me so badly he didn’t even know the real me??!!  Even as I write this I am trying to think of what I did but all I can come up with is that maybe I was just too honest.  If you ask me a question, I am going to answer you with complete honesty.  That Pastor asked me what I thought quite a bit and, apparently, he wasn’t liking my answers.  I don’t know, still haven’t fully figured it out but I have since laid it all on God’s Throne and moved on with my life gleaning what lessons I needed to learn.  In fact, I haven’t even thought about this in a few years but it is a great example of what I mean when I say I wish I could see what I am doing because I am often misunderstood.

My husband once said to me: “You are an easy person to judge because you put yourself out there.  Most people won’t do that and so they don’t get attention.  Unfortunately, the attention you get is not always good.  But don’t change because I Love that about you.”  That’s enough for me.  If he Loves me this way, then I’m all good.  Mostly :).

I still go to God every day and lay my heart, mind, spirit and soul out before Him, asking Him to search me and know my heart, to test me and know my anxious thoughts, to see if there is any offensive way in me and change me.  I will continue to do this and hope that people who put themselves out there be given more grace, more understanding, the benefit of the doubt, and loved just as they are.  We ARE easy to judge.  But that doesn’t make it right for us to BE judged.  God made us who we are and, just like everyone else, we have a right to be free in who we are :).  So the next time you are tempted to judge someone, please remember that they are who God made them and your perspective is not necessarily the correct one.  View all people through God’s eyes and funnel your thoughts through Him first.  He might even show you something about them that you would never have seen without His assistance.  Let’s Love one another unconditionally and leave the judging out of the equation!!!

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Fam-A-Lee Ak-Cept-Tunce

Families are so eclectic.  They can be anywhere from amazing and close to distant and difficult.  The family I grew up with can be classified as the latter.  I thought it was a good thing when I married into the opposite!  However, I find that with them, I am still on the outside.  When I first realized this I was pretty devastated because  I couldn’t understand why i went from being rejected by one family, right into another.  I have struggled with this our entire married life, which is close to 25 years now.  But something changed this year…something amazing.

I absolutely LOVE, and am so thankful for, my own immediate family!  We are as tight as tight can get and I never take that for granted.  In fact, it is something I have created intentionally.  I have been adamant that I would not let one single day pass without my husband and my children hearing the words “I Love You”.   They have come along on this and freely say those words to me and to each other and every time it’s like music to my soul.  Our house is warm, welcoming, full of God’s Love, and peaceful.  Well, most of the time!! LOL!!  Of course we are normal and can be moody and irritable and all that comes with being human, but the foundation we have is firm and stable.  I give full credit to God because from the first day that I accepted Jesus into my heart, He has been transforming me into the person that I am today.  Not perfect of course, but so much better than what I would have been without Him.

So Christmas was coming and the usual inner stress of being with the in-laws was coming upon me.  We have a ton of nieces and nephews and with them it’s easy.  I am the favorite aunt and I Love it!  Now, if only I could have this much favor with the adults!  The biggest problem is that there are a bunch of sisters and brothers and they are ridiculously tight!  When they are all together, no one else matters.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think this family has one mean bone in any of their bodies!   In fact, they are probably one of the kindest families you will ever meet!   But here in lies the problem…they are oblivious!  They have absolutely no idea that they are constantly leaving me out and making me feel like I don’t belong!  This, to me, is worse than if they were just outright mean!  At least then I would have a legitimate reason to be mad at them!  But nope, they’re not mean at all.   Just so close they don’t realize that there is no room for anyone else in their circle.  Every year I seem to get less and less hurt and try not to take their actions so personal.  This year something different happened.

I was listening to the radio while I was driving the other day and someone was telling a story about how this is their first Christmas without their loved one.  I turned it off before the story was told but the thought lingered with me.  I came to the realization that we cannot guarantee how many more times our family will be complete.  I am part of this family and without me, it wouldn’t be the same!  My nieces and nephews would miss me a ton because I am the only aunt who will sit on the floor with them and play games, braid their hair, polish their nails, and wrestle with them.  Even my in-laws, who don’t always like who I am, would miss me.  I do not fit in their ‘box’ but I am a vital part of the family.  This realization went even further when I began to imagine our get togethers without any one of THEM.  It simply wouldn’t be the same!  I was so thankful that The Lord used this time to teach me before our normal celebrations because I went into them with a whole new perspective.  Was it perfect?  No.  Was it all I would have like them to be?  No.  Did I feel included this year?  Nope, just the opposite.  But this time, the hurt didn’t go so deep because I knew in my heart and soul that my feelings and emotions are not what it’s all about.  It’s about accepting our family where they are and, instead of contributing to the problems, becoming a catalyst in changing them.  We are more effective tools in God’s Hands when we stop seeing things through our eyes and start looking with His eyes.  I was better equipped this year and hopefully from now on.  As long as I can stay at the foot of His Throne leaving my messy feelings with Him 🙂

Happy New Year and I pray God’s Blessings on everyone!!!

Fakt or Feeleeng

So I have a very strong and deep faith in Jesus.  I believe that He lived, He died, and He rose again.  I believe that we can live every day according to His will.  I Love Him with all of my heart and my life has been changed dramatically because of HIM.

I wish that I could keep my head and my heart focused on that fact because on days like this one, I am challenged to literally “walk in Faith”.

I came to my prayer time this morning and felt very discouraged from a tough weekend.  This is one of those times when the rubber met the road as far as ‘having’  faith, and ‘walking’ in faith.  I turned on my favorite song that has always drawn me closer to the Lord.  Today…it didn’t even penetrate my heart.  I tried so hard to “break through” the left over feelings of dealing with a challenging situation over the Easter weekend.

Speaking of Easter, even as I sat in Easter service yesterday, I was about as far on the outside as I could get.  Not intentionally, that is just the effect of dealing with intense situations or people, they take almost everything out of you.  If not for Jesus’ presence, there would have been nothing left of this girl. This is one of those “snapshots” in life that I can always look back on and remember the benefit of having a personal relationship with Jesus.

As I was driving down the road, a very disturbing thought occurred to me:  I don’t feel like God’s blessing is on me.  I feel empty and alone and I don’t even know how I’m going to get through this day.

You know, that thought was so strong that if I had not been very firm in my beliefs, I might very well have given into it that kind of thinking.  Fortunately, I do have a strong relationship, in spite of myself, with God.   The very next thought that ran through my mind was:  You may not “feel” God, but it doesn’t change the “fact” that He is still here.  I can’t even describe the sudden sense of peace that came over me at that point.  I may feel utterly frustrated, angry, hurt, and hopeless, but it doesn’t change God’s presence or Love.  He isn’t like our emotions, which can take us from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows.  He is called our “Rock” for a reason, He IS ALWAYS PRESENT!!!

So here’s the coolest part of my day.  I started out feeling angry with my daughter, frustrated with my husband, upset with myself for not always handling things right, and wondering how I was going to accomplish anything today as there was zero motivation in my soul.   I met with a friend, talked, prayed, came home and prayed more (all without ever having a breakthrough in my ‘feelings’), went to work (I happen to work with my husband 🙂 ), and just kept moving.  Now, my husband knows we are coming off a very stressful weekend and the tension is unusually strong between us.  He decides that we need to pray, then he closes up shop for lunch (which he has NEVER done before), takes me out to lunch and we just sit and talk about EVERYTHING.  By the time we left that restaurant, I felt closer to God than ever, my relationship with my husband was restored, God had helped me to forgive the person I was having issues with, put into place a realistic plan for dealing with that situation, and on top of it all, He gave me more peace, hope and joy than I could have ever mustered up on my own!!!  Now THAT is the power of walking in the facts of faith, not on the fragility of feelings!!!

So what did I learn from this?  That no matter how low, or how empty I felt, I turned to God anyway and He was able to do the work in me that He needed to.  I freed Him up to work in me when I chose to trust Him and turn to Him even when my feelings were in direct opposition.

Now, don’t get the wrong idea about me…I am not always THIS strong in my faith!!!  The reason I am even writing about this is because I am so stinking excited that I actually did what the Bible said to do and I was able to experience God moving in MY life!!!  I feel like I just graduated from 5th grade faith class to 6th grade!!!  Whoo hoo!!!  Finally!!!  I am so encouraged now to take every challenge this world throws at me and apply my faith to it.  This is what the Christian walk means to me, learning and hearing from God every day and growing at the pace God is pleased with.  Amazing how after 22 years of being a Christian, I still feel like a kid being taught by her Loving Father.  I guess that’s because in the spirit, I am continuously being taught and for that I am truly thankful!

Well, here’s me, signing out and not exactly looking forward to my next challenge, but ready to face it with a new measure of faith!!!