Gifts

I couldn’t stay sober on my own. I, like all alcoholics, tried very hard. I went to meetings and called my sponsor. I prayed. I read books.

It was the prayer that was key to my sobriety, but not because I prayed, but because I was obedient to pray. When I did achieve sobriety, I realized that I hadn’t done it myself, God had done it for me. I could never stop by myself, in my own strength. I wanted to do it

I was reading about David wanting to build God’s temple for Him. God said that he had never had a temple, and he would not require David to build it. He then said:

“ ‘Furthermore, I declare that the LORD will build a house for you—a dynasty of kings!

So, David wasn’t required to build a temple for Him. Additionally, God announced he would bless David with his own house. Not just a house, but a dynasty!

That’s the way God works. David offered Him something. Like I tried to offer God my sobriety. Not only did he not require anything of me, he gave me my heart’s desire. One of the biggest gifts He could have given me. Then he gave me his Son. The gift of everlasting life with Him! You can’t leave out the part ‘with Him.’ Without Him, it wouldn’t be much of an everlasting life.

That’s grace in action. Lately I’ve realized that the story of redemption carries a powerful message of grace. I’m living a free life today, and every day is amazing. Even the not so great ones.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (1 Ch 17:10). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Gifts

Fierceness

I am fierce in a couple of ways. People who don’t know me well won’t see this, but my intensity on the inside is incredibly strong and has led me in both good and bad directions in my life.

Earlier this year I said I wanted to focus on being gracious. Many times in life there are people or situations that have upset me and made me angry and didn’t afford the opportunity to express it, if I was behaving properly. I know this is easy for a lot of people.

I felt it last week in court. Things were said that I felt were incredibly unfair and unkind, and I was furious! I wanted to respond, but, of course, in court you wait your turn. That turn didn’t come.

I didn’t say anything, and the opportunity passed, and after it was all said and done, it was ok. Nobody had to know how I felt. God asked me to let it go, and I did. And it was a huge relief in the end. I didn’t say anything I’m sorry for, and things worked out well.

People are mean, and there aren’t words that will change that. Ever write a really long email to respond to a problem? I haven’t had great success with that. But when I let things go and give that person grace, I am free.

Today is a great day of freedom for me. Freedom from the past, from financial hardship, from living in a difficult situation. Being gracious has extricated me from the bondage of anger and resentment. It hasn’t changed how other people behave or believe, but it’s worth letting go of all of that in order to experience the peace I have today.

Life isn’t always fair.

Fierceness

Embarrassment versus Shame

People confuse embarrassment and shame. I know I did forever, and probably still do. I wanted to share my thoughts about it.

When I was a child in church one day, I grabbed my mom’s hand, only to find it wasn’t my mom’s hand after all, it was a stranger! I was so embarrassed that years after that I could recall the feeling. But why would it bother me so much years later, a small accident? I think it is because I was shame based. I was predisposed to think negative things about me meant I was bad. The worst even!

Now I see an innocent child happenstance, and I’m sad for that child who felt such horror at making a mistake.

Embarrassment is an emotion. It’s neither positive nor negative, it’s simply telling you that something is going on. What you tell yourself about that emotion is what is important.

I took a spill last week right in front of someone I care about impressing. I was embarrassed, how could I not be? But I told myself that it happens, it didn’t mean anything bad about me, it happens. Madonna did it in front of millions of people, and lived to sing another day.

I have less embarrassment than I did 6 months ago or a year ago. I’ve cleaned up so many memories of when I was growing up, but I do get in moods sometimes where I’m recounting those things to myself….but then I realize it’s the Enemy who is the accuser and I have to choose to live in the truth daily.

Embarrassment versus Shame

Turning Wheels

I had a horrible day with my son yesterday. He is a great kid, but he’s 15 and he’s 15! So we spent some prolonged time together and fought like teenagers.

Between that and a horrible Mother’s Day and arguing with what feels like everybody, I threw in the towel. I’m not  mother any more. I’m not trying to be. I’m not trying.

I woke up today and realized that throwing in the towel didn’t change anything, and I’m still a mother. Saying I’m not one doesn’t make it true.

But then I realized I’m not a failure either. Not only am I still a mother, but it’s not over yet. We are working on a continuum here and the end is when we enter into glory. The truth will be shown to all. I’ll know who I am, and everybody else will too. And they are going to love and appreciate me the way I am. As I will them.

I read something from Beth Moore’s ‘Children of the Day

‘Satan loves to fuel our feelings of failure. Just when we finally muster the courage to act or take  stand for the gospel, he prompts us to believe we blew it. Our feelings of failure cn start an ongoing cycle of inadequacy: if we feel like failures, we’ll act like failures and if we let that condemnation go unchecked, we’ll make our next decision out of the same perceived defeat. And the wheels on the bus go round and round.

Turning Wheels

Worshiping with Sinners

I’m a critical person, as most people know. I don’t want to think of all of my tendencies as negative because being about to discern things is a good thing, and evaluate things can be a very good thing.

But I  haven’t been in a church, except one, in which I didn’t have a critical spirit about other people in the church. This one is too outspoken, they are an idiot, they do this or that wrong.

I attended a service a long time ago where a woman spoke about when she would go to church, and on the way home they would criticize the pastor, the sermon, the musc, the people. And then she realized that they weren’t worshiping or honoring God at all. They were just being critical.

I’m not in a place right now where I criticize the church service, but I know a lot of Christians I put down in different ways. Paul deals with it thusly:

New Living Translation Reference

It is simple obedience.

Worshiping with Sinners

A Message About Worship

I’m one of the worst people to talk about worship, but I was reading Timothy today and it really spoke to me.

Timothy is written by Paul, and 1 Timothy has a lot to do with relationship, especially within the church.

I’m going to make this into two posts. The first is the more difficult for me. It is about praying for all people. ALL PEOPLE.

It’s easy for me to pray for unbelievers. They have an excuse. But praying for Believers? Wow, not so easy. But I have tried to become willing to be willing. Today, reading this section, which is 1Timothy 2:15, it gave me a blueprint and here it is

1) pray for all people
2) ask God to help them
3) intercede on their behalf
4) give thanks for them

Well, I got stuck on ‘intercede’. Let’s face it, for me, interceding would be praying ‘God, please take away their negative attributes that bother me.’ or ‘Lord, please make them not such an asshole.’ Hahahah….but that’s not what it means. When the Holy Spirit intercedes for me, I hope He doesn’t say things like that…..even though he could!

No, it’s asking for good things for them. Less anxiety, less fear, less anger, more peace, more joy.

I had a friend years ago who would pray in combat with her husband. He would say ‘I pray you would make her not such a shrew’ and she would pray ‘Lord I pray you would make him not such a jerk!’ They laughed about it later, but it is at its base what we are tempted to do.

A Message About Worship

Crazy Like That

There is a scene in the movie ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ that I relate to a lot.

The reason I relate is because people will treat you a certain way when they think you are crazy. The way they treat you is the way they interpret you are crazy. Sometimes people even use it to manipulate a situation, to get what they want or make themselves more sane and responsible and therefore your point of view doesn’t matter. So, I think that’s what the character is responding to in this scene, and I think it might be the impulse of every ‘crazy’ person to respond the same way. But we don’t….well, I don’t…..or, at least I haven’t….yet!

I have a friend whose daughter was just checked into the hospital to deal with some issues. It struck me hard, and I was immediately taken back to the first time, the first night in the first hospital I went into. The bed so stark and lonely. The fear.

Fortunately my friend’s child is having a better, less fearful visit. But what I realized is that first visit changed me. I went from a person with issues, to a crazy person. That’s what the hospital did. It married me to my insanity. I was no longer suffering with issues.

I was crazy.

Crazy Like That