Leave Yesterday’s Mistakes Behind




yesterdays mistakes

 

Our past is a huge part of our future…our stories shape us and we become a women of our individual journeys. I don’t believe we can or should leave our stories behind us and think that we can just forget where we’ve been or what we’ve done.

But let’s not let our mistakes or sins keep us from the beauty that God has before us.

The ashes are a necessary part of the beauty, but don’t let the ashes direct us, let hope and trust in the Father direct us.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Your Life Is Waiting For You To Let It Happen

let go small

Why do we fight so hard to hold on to a life that is far less than what it could be?

Old customs, habits and relationships that are stagnant and lifeless, yet we cling to them like worn blankies because they are comfortable.

What are you clutching that needs to be released?

Is it ideas about what will make you happy, but have failed to for years?

Is it hope that the past could have been different?

How about today, you decide that even though the outside world hasn’t changed, you have, and you’re not staying in this puddle pretending it’s an ocean, any longer.

Your life is waiting for you to let it happen. Let go of what’s keeping you from it.

The Silence of Forgiveness

silence of Jesus

Photo by SS

Snapping back is so easy, it takes no effort.
Retaliation spills naturally from our lips.

Silence is a necessary struggle.
Thankfully, Jesus showed us how.

I Prefer Nice People

I like nice people. They’re easy to get along with; they don’t stomp on your feelings by calling you a bad mom. They don’t eat your sandwich at the office or talk to your coworkers behind your back. They don’t tell you that you look nice on Sunday morning and then inform everyone in your Bible study that you dress like their Grandma.

Nice people are nice.

But then there are those others in life, there’s one in every office, family and small group. They are not nice. They hurt out feelings on a regular basis and make life miserable every five minutes they are around us. They get under our skin with condescending remarks about everything from the project we’re working on to the style of our hair. We don’t like them; we want them to go away. We wish they would move to Bangladesh or on really bad days we’d like them to be stuck in the woods with a pack of angry wolves like in the movie “Grey.” THAT would be awful for them, almost as awful as having to watch the movie, which was 2 hours past terrible. I’m a huge Liam Neeson fan and I still hated the movie.

Sadly, I have to inform you that we won’t have a life filled with nice people. The mean ones are out there and scouting new ways to make us want to curl up with a blanket and a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream while watching reruns of The New Adventures of Old Christine. Which never should have been cancelled but that’s another post.

The moral of this is that mean people are not going away so we may have to put on our big girl pants (unless you are a man, and in which case, please do not do this) and deal with it. You can’t wait for them to be nice to you; it’s not going to happen. Stop blaming them for your bad moods and hang nails. If you need to address a situation, do it. Be all Sally Field in Norma Rae and start a fire, but if your in laws or the lady in the choir are keeping you awake at night, it might be time to stop giving them that much power in your life. Let go of what you can’t control and don’t let their smallness make you small too. You’re better than that! You drive a (insert brand of car, and it really doesn’t matter what it is because cars don’t make us better people, but this is a rant so go with it)!

I can get 100 sweet comments on Facebook, but it’s the one negative one that spins in my mind like a gerbil on a wheel. Over and over until the squeaking makes you scream at your kids because they forgot to empty the dishwasher.

If we’re going to be happy and successful in this life we have to stop letting mean people take away our joy. They do not define us…unless we let them. The choice is ours. When we find our worth and value as a person, from the God who created us, we will not be so quick to forfeit our peace.

Dare to make today different. Dare to believe that you are loved and cherished by God and that He is right there with you. Don’t let feelings dictate your day.

C’mon girls (and guys), we got this!

Revenge Is So Tempting

I may regret this post later. I’m going to be honest. Revenge is tempting. Right now. I’m wedged between tears and anger, vomiting and screaming.

I have the platform to spew out my side of the story and set the record straight. I have publishers that have asked me to share my story.

But as temporarily satisfying as that would be, I won’t. Not now. Not with the current state of my heart.

This verse, gives me pause. It helps me get my head on straight and lifts my chin back up to look in my Father’s face.

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.” Luke 6:27-30

So I’m writing this to you, thinking maybe you can relate. If not today, another time perhaps. And I hope this gives you encouragement to know that you’re not alone.

As I wrote in yesterday’s post:

 “We’re all tired of the cookie cutter Christian woman, we want real. We want honest. We want raw. We want to see the broken bloody parts, only then will we see the power of grace make a difference. We need to know we’re not alone in our messes.”

I’m bleeding today, but once I made the decision to put it in God’s hands, I felt His grace. Peace came back and I know that He is healing those wounds.

As tempting as revenge is, I know it’s empty and damaging. I’ve learned that the hard way.

The most wonderful part of being at this place in my journey with God is that I have such an amazing sense of His love and presence in my life, that even though life can break my heart, it can never take away the peace that an honest relationship with God has brought into my life.

I don’t serve Him to get anything but Him. I didn’t used to be able to say that. Position meant everything, titles ruled my life.

I’ve been considering (for a couple months now) taking a hiatus from all things Praise and Coffee. I haven’t made any decisions about it yet, but it gives me such joy to know that stepping away from Praise and Coffee would not be a step away from ME. My identity is found in the love the Father has for me and no title gives or takes that away. I believe that we all need to occasionally put our “stuff” (ministries etc) on the altar as Abraham did with Isaac and make sure it’s not becoming an idol before our God.

Anyways…

Thanks for listening, any thoughts on revenge and how God has walked you through this temptation?

EDIT: I wrote this today to clarify some of the things in this post.

 

Is Your Past Holding You Hostage?

Your mind reels with memories that imprison you. You rehearse the events like Groundhog Day, each time inserting a new response in your mind of things you wish you’d said. If only you’d told them this or reacted like that. But at the end of your minds’ spiral, life is not changed, the facts cannot be undone.

Have you ever been tormented by your own thoughts?

I’ve spent far too long in this life rehearsing pain from my past. Betrayal, regret, even abuse, and I can’t think hard enough to process them through to a place of peace; they have to be taken hold of and released.

You know you should forgive, you want to. You want your life back. You plead with your own heart to just move on, but you can’t seem to find the freedom you desperately crave. The past is holding you hostage as you realize that you still hold out hope that somehow the memories could be different, but as long as we stay in the place of regret we cannot move forward.

Forgiveness and healing can only happen when we give up hope that the past could be different.

There is a settling in our heart that happens when we embrace the truth that the past is done, it cannot be changed. However, we can change our tomorrows, and as I let the remorse slip from my hands I start to see with the eyes of hope.

Hope is a waking dream. —ARISTOTLE

As if we wake from a long slumber, hope brings fresh eyes and dreams of freedom. Thankfully, these dreams can come true if our hope is in the Father of all life because He has promised to heal our brokenness when we bring it to Him.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalms 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3

I don’t pretend to think that this is an easy or fast process, but it’s the only process that makes us whole.  This world offers many ways to deflect the pain, but I believe that God wants to bring much more than a momentary distraction. He wants a relationship with us that brings healing and security as we discover His immense love for us.

I wish I had some fancy steps that you could take, an ABC of healing that I could throw out to you, but I don’t. I have the scars that remind me that this life is a journey not cut and tied in pretty little bows but instead a path littered with thorns and crosses, prodigals and promises. I can’t imagine trying to walk it alone, I hope you can’t either.

“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13:5 NLT

God created you. He knows all, He sees all, and yet He is crazy about you. He can be found in every moment if we open our eyes and look up.

Are We Living FOR God or WITH God?

Summer’s busy isn’t it girls?!

I have been doing something every day and having a great summer but I don’t think I’ve ever had a busier one.

I’m thankful that I do have a few mini vacations coming up and I will enjoy them thoroughly.
Beach time, family time…can’t wait!

I have had it on my heart to remind you (and myself) that through everything you are walking right now…you are loved.

If you are busy or bored, or troubled and scared.
You are loved.

He is walking right alongside you and willing to carry you when needed.

There is so much said about grace today and I’m reading several books on the grace of God. All different authors and reflections on the subject.

There is so much to learn…and I think that the more I learn, the more I realize ….I barely know anything.

I used to think I had life and God all figured out but now I see that I’ve only seen glimpses of who He is and there is so much more to understand about His character and His love.

So much of my own life has been spent in church ministry that naturally compels us to try and help others know “how to live”

But now I think and feel that the point is not “how” to live but WHO to live and walk WITH.

Rom 4:13-14
13 It is clear, then, that God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was not based on obedience to God’s law, but on the new relationship with God that comes by faith.
NLT

NOT based on law or our “performance”

And then there’s this about relationship:

Rom 5:6-11

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

7 Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good.

8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment.

10 For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life.

11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God–all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God. NLT

Powerful words to chew on!

I have spent so much time trying to help others live FOR God but now I feel such an emphasis on sharing how to live WITH God.

Relationship with Him is what brings healing, hope and freedom.

I pray that you also will feel drawn to the message of God’s love and grace and let Him show you the peace that He brings through it.

Have a great summer girlfriends!!
I’ll be around when I can.

The Freedom of Forgiveness

Did you know that unforgiveness and holding on to anger increase your chances of a heart attack five fold? It also increases your risk of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other diseases. Not only that, but our emotional health is at risk too. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with unforgiveness, it’s medically proven.

But love on the other hand brings forth healing, peace and joy.

Mark and I were at a friend house and their 4 year old little girl wanted to go swimming. Much to our surprise she proceeded to strip naked right there on the porch. She had no shame whatsoever! I looked at her and said, ‘Emma, what are you doing?’
She responded bluntly, ‘I’m putting on my bathing suit!’ As if to say, ‘duh, I can’t swim in my blue jeans!’

I thought about this story recently when I was reading Colossians 3. It talks about stripping off our old evil nature and all those old attitudes, then clothing yourself with a brand new nature and new attitudes. Those attitudes include mercy, patience and humility.

Col 3:12
12 Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
NLT

I believe that humility is the key that opens the door to forgiving others. It was complete humility that Jesus modeled for us when He went to the cross, and that was why His response to their hatred was love. With humility comes love.

So what does all that have to do with Emma’s lack of modesty? Well, we need to strip off our old sinful ways so that we can put on God’s clothing of love- because you can’t swim in God’s river with the heavy weight of sin and unforgiveness. We need to take it off and put on the proper attire so that we can ‘swim’ in all that God has for our future.

There is freedom in forgiveness!

Col 3:13-14
13 You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.
NLT


The Bible says that we should bless those who curse us. One way to do that is to pray for our enemies. I don’t mean just saying a nice little, ‘God bless them’ prayer while teeth are clenched. We all know that is not love. The prayer that I’m talking about is the kind that says, ‘I pray that they would be blessed in all they do, that they would come to know You more intimately, that they would have favor in their lives with all men.’ Basically, praying for them like you would pray for your loved ones. Speak blessings over their family.

If you are faithful to do this, your heart will start to change. You will begin to have compassion for them and see them as God does.

Then you will feel the freedom of forgiveness!

What’s been your struggle?

I read one time that wisdom is:
“Making decisions today that I’ll be glad about tomorrow.”

I like that. It’s simple and true.
I wish I would follow it more often though!

So often I feel like Paul when he says:

Rom 7:14
I don’t understand myself at all,
for I really want to do what is right,
but I don’t do it.
Instead, I do the very thing I hate.
NLT

I was reading Romans chapters 7 & 8 this morning and they are such a wonderful reminder of the fact that we can’t live for God-without God.

We need Him and His Spirit to help us live this life. Our natural desires are sinful, they rush to sin, but if we belong to God we can rely on the Holy Spirit to help us in these weaknesses.

I encourage you to read those chapters if you are struggling with sin- and who among us is not?!

Romans 7 is a heavy read…but hold on because Romans 8 brings us hope. I re-wrote verses 9-14 into a confession/prayer using the word “I” in the place of “you.” I was going to post it, but I think it would be much more effective if you did it yourself.

So, what’s been your struggle??
It doesn’t matter what the sin you stuggle with is…He already knows about it- in fact He’s been talking to you about it (because He loves you so much), so why not choose today to address it.

Wisdom will make choices today that you will be glad you did tomorrow.

Freedom in Prison

I have loved this song since the first time I heard it. It was playing this morning while I was getting ready for church and it still brings me to tears. I looked for a video share with you and found this one. How incredibly powerful to see it sung before prisoners at the Louisiana State Penn.

Yup, I cried…again.

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