When I Don’t Want to Forgive

Push-back.

Nothin’-doin’.

No way, no-how.

Alternatively, smooth sailing. As easy as  1-2-3.

The choice is ours.

To forgive another. 

Ouch. I’m sure someone comes to mind for you as it does for me.

A friend.

A colleague.

The parent of your child’s friend.

Even in our own trustworthy circles where offenses ideally, shouldn’t take place, they do, and we may find ourselves needing to extend forgiveness. Perhaps we’re holding a long-standing grudge over a conflict that has gone A-wall and left unresolved. Maybe it’s frustration at the driver who cut you off or the teacher who gave an unfair response to your child at school.

Sometimes I hold on to anger, especially when it is rooted in unfairness, betrayal or inconsideration because honestly, in some strange, crazy way, being steamed feels better than cooling off.  I guess I feel justified, after all, I was wronged! What’s there to forgive? What’s there to feel good about?

Jesus.

He sacrificed His life so I would not have to pay the price for my sins nor suffer through deserving judgment for all the days of my life, including, eternity.

Hanging on to anger is not God’s way. His way is opposite, based on right action, not poor-me, pity-party inaction.

A forgiven sinner forgives others–a truth not always convenient  to be reminded of because that means we have to be accountable and that’s not always easy but yet what the Prince of Peace calls those who have received and accepted His gift of peace and forgiveness to do.  In order to experience full freedom and model Christ-centered behavior as moms and as women, we have to give out in obedience what we have received in acceptance.

Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.

It was given to us as quickly as 1-2-3.

God’s act of forgiveness to us by dying on the cross for our sins and mistakes is enough for us to act with the same kind of unselfish love. Even when it’s hard. I have to remind myself that my feelings about the person or situation will just have to catch up with my taking that  step of obedience to forgive and allow the offense to fall wayside not stay afloat in my spirit. I can’t wait for my feelings before I act  because truthfully, I may never act…those feelings may never develop and then I am following myself, not the LORD.

Jesus forgave so why do I have to? asks the child deep down in my spirit. That same one who finds it easier to hold on to anger as if it were melting ice cream that I needed to devour before gone.

We forgive so we can  live and benefit from the affects of forgiveness and be released from the power  that anger, bitterness and resentment holds in our spirits, hearts, minds and relationships.

We forgive to eliminate having divisiveness in our relationships. Jesus died to bring peace between Him and mankind. How can I act any differently? I am His child and that means irritation and anger have no lasting nor permanent place in my heart.

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)

We forgive to be connected to God, not separated from Him, for it is HE who commands us to forgive others and live a life where our relationships are rooted in love, mercy, calmness and grace.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

Not always easy to do. Jesus knows that.  What He endured was surely no picnic nor anything related to easy.

God will deal with all people accordingly and hold each person accountable for their actions.  Let’s leave the judgment of peoples’ hurtful actions to God and the choice to move forward, to us. God will equip and enable us to overcome the sorrow of anger when we invite Him into our angry mess that only He can clean up and restore to a right and beautiful condition.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:8) We receive the power to forgive others through Jesus and only Jesus. His power to do so can be in your spirit as quickly as 1-2-3 when you call upon Him.

Who might God be calling you to forgive this week?  Can you make the process as quick as 1-2-3?

 

 

Focus High

Have-tos. Unresolved matters. The to-do list. Our children’s cares. Unfinished work. Interruptions. Lots going on that can feel like a brick has been put upon our spirits.

When your heart is heavy, keep plugging away at your prayer lives, moms. Keep talking to God, keep focused on Him, all the way.

When disappointment and frustration come on the scene, it is so easy for our eyes to stare at what’s before us and remain fixated on the problem…and as moms, we have a lot of concerns, questions, decisions, pulls and tugs—fix your eyes up above, pray and know that God will see you through the situation even better when your eyes are set on Him. For it is in that focus, dependence and trust where you will receive the strength, wisdom and encouragement you need instead of the discouragement and worry that comes from focusing on the parts of our problems.

Get on your knees.

Pray.

Talk to God.

He has a plan.

And it doesn’t include worry, fear or anxiety but peace, dependence and trust in Him.

If our circumstances create that greater dependence and submission, let’s thank Him. That’s a good thing because it is in those empty places of our soul where He fills us and where we experience His hand at work.

Real work.

True work.

Perfect work.

When you seek Him, the things above, you’ll experience His mighty power that will put those doubts and fears into a smaller place—where they belong, Mom.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Col 3:2

focus

Need a Crossing Guard?

Going somewhere, mom? Need some assistance crossing a dangerous intersection or slippery slope?  “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)

What encouraging words to hear from Moses as he addresses the Jewish nation prior to his death and just before they are going to head to the Promised Land God has prepared for them. But Moses knows the people are fearful, anxious and worried.

Sound familiar?

As moms, we know these feelings fully.

Moses tells the Jewish nation that they will not cross the Jordan but that God himself will cross “over ahead of you.” (Deut 31:3)  In other words, God will do the crossing for them. Then Moses told Joshua to be strong and courageous as he takes the people into the new land. He is the one for the job and he is the one God will accompany.

Joshua just has to be obedient, trust and show up for the call.

What job is God calling you to do today? Can you trust that He will accompany you as well?

The same promise holds true for us when we have to venture out into the unknown, into that seemingly “scary” place or take an action that makes our knees buckle. The unfamiliar. The unwanted. The “really, do I have to do that?” situation or place. We do have to do it.

But not alone.

Are you able to take these words in from the same God today, Mom? Wherever you are stepping, wherever you have to go, know that God goes before you and you can trust Him through the entire journey to see you through to the other side.  With God, you have no reason to fear and plenty of reason to cross.

Once you get to the other side, you have no idea what He has waiting for you.

But first, you have to cross.

Your Soldier’s Story

During the military battles that King David was engaged in, much dependence was placed on the strength and speed of the chariots and horses that helped secure or weaken a soldier’s mobility during war. Ultimately, it was the strength of God and His resources that could be fully trusted and counted on as well as God’s plans for Israel. King David knew the size of a soldier and  number of enemies didn’t equal destruction. He knew that it was the size of His God that would weigh om favorably.  (And just a footnote, God’s plans for Israel always prevailed.) That didn’t mean that being prepared and suiting up for battle wasn’t necessary on a soldier’s part, it just meant that at the end of the day, God would overcome injury or death on the battlefield (much like the way He did on the day of His own battle, but that’s another story, isn’t it?)

What battlefield are you on today, mom? What is the chariot you are putting your faith in? The enemy of what you are up against may seem like its ruling the ground you are standing on, but it is God who will strike successfully and rise up. Like King David, when we put our trust in God over the chariots in our lives, we will experience His will and victory in unexpected ways.

Let go of your reigns mom, and trust God. Your chariots will be there, but God is the One you’ll be able to fully count on.

A truth worth riding.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” (Psalm 20:7)

 

The Ultimate Quick Fix

Where do we place our comfort and trust? Quick-fix, feel good outlets? Been there, done that. Friends, parents, colleagues, bosses? Yup. Don’t forget coffee…how can anyone truly get going without it?!  But humans aren’t perfect, “things” are temporary. God is immortal, trustworthy and a safe haven who can outlast, outnumber, outcomfort and outdeliver anything and anyone. When times dish out discouragement, disheartening news, or we’re in a tough or trying situation, we need to remember the true place where permanent trust and lasting comfort can be found. “The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread and he will be a sanctuary.” (Isaiah 8:13) Mama, I hope today, you find lasting peace….not temporal.

Your safe haven awaits and it’s more than a quick fix.

Where are you looking for lasting peace?

Your Steps Today

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One step at a time, moms. Much awaits our children but we don’t accomplish teaching them everything they need to know in a day nor even a week but over time. Lots of time.

Through do-overs.

Repetition.

Mistakes and mishaps.

Lots of repeats in this business, huh?

And….through joys and fun times, laugh-outloud comments and silliness….let’s not forget those. God works the same way in us. There are hundreds of steps we are climbing in the course of a lifetime….we don’t climb the whole staircase ourselves. If we were to, we’d be overwhelmed and probably run back down…to the basement! There are days I am sure we all feel like doing that, just like there are days when it’s hard for a kid to be a kid (even in Australia, right?!) but we hold our children’s hands through those days just like God holds ours. And He doesn’t ask us to endure those days alone. He is with us and provides support.

Through His presence.

Through His Word.

Through the Company of others.

He brings back-up. Support. Faithful friends and family. He is God and can do all things. And wants to do those things for you.

Where is God bringing you as you parent in this season of mothering? What small step is He asking you to make?

A step of trusting in Him?

Waiting on Him?

Changing?

Getting rid of something undesirable?

Stepping out of your comfort zone?

A step of change?

A step of attitude or adjustment (or an attitude adjustment?!)

Whatever staircase you are climbing and stepping on (and even if you are stopping for a bit before having to take the next step), God can be trusted on the way up, the way down (if need be), and even on the landing if you are between steps. He is our faithful guide and protector who won’t let us fall. He has has a plan, remember?

Of all the steps you are taking, be sure not to lose sight of that one, mom.

“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.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Keep climbing, mom. You are doing great!

 

 

 

A Better Way

 

 fingers-crossed

We trust our cars to start when we turn the key, that our loved ones will come home safely and that our friends will remain faithful. We trust that our children will be protected out in the world or at school, that our health will be “good,” or that we’ll get better if we are ill. We trust our doctors, children’s teachers, favorite magazines, radio programs and blogs to help us figure out how to be better moms,  better stewards of our money, better problem solvers. We may even trust the Food Network to provide dinner suggestions, and home decorating publications to direct us with style tips and organization ideas. We trust that a class will educate us, a movie will entertain us. All great resources.

Are we first trusting in the Lord? Trusting Him to:

Redeem us?

Restore us?

Change us?

Renew us?

Build us?

Re-develop us? 

Sound too hokey? Sound too weird to put that much trust into God when we can do it ourselves or seek what the world has to offer in terms of its solutions to fulfill and gratify? We are capable and self-reliant, right?

Do we trust that God might be bigger than our attempts? Do we trust that He is in control, unchanging, stable, reliable, all-powerful and dependable in ALL circumstances, ALL the time?

Maybe we should just cross our fingers and hope for the best. That takes faith too. 

I’d rather put my hands together and cry out to a God who hears. A God who cares. Who has my best interest at heart. Who will never leave me nor forsake me. That’s His promise to me and that’s His promise to you.

You don’t have to have hope in hope.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” (Jeremiah 17:7)

There’s really no down side in putting your trust in the Lord, is there? Think of all the places where you have put your confidence.

Do you have anything to lose?

Perhaps. Perhaps not.

But you sure stand a lot to gain.

New on the 1st, the 20th in January or June

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We don’t need January 1st for a new beginning nor to begin again.  Every day is an opportunity to be renewed and re-directed as God sees fit. He is always at work in you–on the 1st, the 5th or the 16th, be it January, August or October. Aside from making you a new creation (which is a huge “aside”), He is also creating new things that make you YOU.

A different you.

An even more purposeful you.

A Godly you.

When we feel frustrated with what might be happening and perhaps worried about what isn’t happening, the LORD is creating new things.  He is at work. Trimming. Cutting. Shaping. What exactly is He refining and working through?

Your pain.

Your questions.

Your doubts.

Your fears.

Your desires.

Your old ways.

Your goals.

Your knowledge.

Your direction.

Your heart.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:1-4) 

Praise God for His power to help us bear the right fruit and the personal need to abide in Him to do so. 

New happens TODAY. Each day.

Thank you God, that you care that much about us to not let us wither nor die on the vine but to prosper and become the best we can be for your glory. Thank you for the new life that you breathe into our lives and circumstances because of the old that you bore and took away through your Son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brownie or Not, God’s Got the Plate

 

Image credit: bhofack2 / 123RF Stock Photo

 My how quickly can our good intentions and goals get overshadowed by the reality of old ways.   Where we have vowed to give up sugar, we  have nibbled with delight on something brown. With fierce determination where we have committed to have more self control, that impatient tone of voice returns.

Don’t despair, Mom. God is in control even 48 hours into the New Year.

Keep praying. Keep your goals ahead of you. Keep God in front and He will lead you to the places He wants you to be. To the habits He wants you to have. To the tasks He wants you to take on.

He can give you discipline.

He can give you self control.

He can give you patience.

All your wants and good intentions are still real and He will equip you to accomplish them. Or, He’ll turn you around and show you what He wants to accomplish through you.

He will strengthen you.

And He will carry you when you fall.

There is still a next time. New Year or Not.

His grace is sufficient in your failings and mistakes because of His love for you.

So if you eat the brownie or lose patience with your children, stop and pray for what you need in that moment and in the ones to come. By turning to Him, you can approach your goals, intentions and future opportunities with a fresh start and the right perspective.

His.

No matter how many hours into 2014 you are, turning to Him for strength and for your plans is the right direction to move. He’s got the plate–crumbs and all, and He’s got you.

 

Scripture References

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:13)

“I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Speech of My Soul

Image credit: ivaleksa / 123RF Stock Photo

Regret those words you just snapped? Frustrated over how you delivered what needed to be said? The tone in our voices can be as hurtful as harsh words. In the moments of impatience, we can easily blow it and we’ve then arrived at sorrow, shame and guilt. Despair can set into our beings but it needn’t stay there nor define us as moms. You are still a wonderful, well-intentioned mom!

Pray these intentional and beautiful pleas and truths at the start of your day and in the moments you desire the right response…we all need a little help with self control at times! God knows that.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you O God.” (Psalm 19:4)

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Psalm 16:24