Category Archives: Faith Walk

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones…

But words will never hurt me.  That is what I was told as a child and I am pretty sure I was made to say it back as if it were a mantra I would always need to remember. But it wasn’t true. I have never had a broken bone but I have had many hurts that were a direct result of people’s words. I have also been the cause of pains felt by those I care about because of the words I chose to use when talking to them, especially my children.

I recently have made a new friendship with wonderful mom over at Hands Free Mama. She has so much truth to share with the world and she has had some amazing opportunities to share lately. She is genuine and cares deeply about the families she is hoping to impact by sharing her stories and her journey. I am blessed to call her a friend in this journey of motherhood.

On December 11, 2013, I was up late at night because I was unable to sleep. I came across an article written by the Hands Free Mama entitled The Bully Too Close to Home. It peeked my interest and I was the only one up at 2am so I read it. I highly  encourage you to do the same, Even before you finish reading my post.

As I began to read the article, I immediately knew that it was going to be significant in my life. Her words all at once comforted me while also calling me to the carpet on the way I speak to my children. I can not express to you how convicting her words were for me. If you struggle like I do with the way you speak to your children, then she has such encouraging words about how we can get on track. It won’t always be easy but you can always start over each time you mess up.

The night I read the article I did so through drenched eyes. After I finally made it through to the end of the article, I spend the next 10 minutes on my knees bawling before the Lord about this inequity in my life. I don’t want to be the bully in my home. I want to create a safe haven for my children and for my husband. I want more than anything to encourage them and build them up at all times but many days it doesn’t come out that way.

I am so thankful for being part of a family that does Grace and second chances. My family does not hold it over my head if I make a snap judgement, or snap at them, or treat them like they should already know how to do some things better than others. They just simply say they are sorry and we move on. I know the benefit of apologizing for my behavior as well. And I know the importance of being intentional with them so that they know I want more for our relationships together.

When my oldest was out for school, we had truly the most fun we have ever had together at home. I chose not to be the Bully. I chose not to assume because his brother was crying that he must have done something to him. I sat aside time special just for him each day and I enjoyed it so much. I know he did as well. We went most of the Christmas break with no yelling. Praise the Lord!! Just calm reassurance. It was truly so amazing that I did not want my son to return to school, which if I am being honest, is not the norm. I am usually ready for him to return because the two of them are driving me crazy. But not this time. I soaked up every minute I could get with them, gave them lots of hugs, snuggles, played games, and just spent time together. These were the things that helped me from being the bully in my home.

I feel that this year is starting out better and I am going to continue to be intentional about building up the relationships with those closest to me and not doing anything as far as I am concerned to tear them down. There will be plenty of people in the life of my children that will hurt them with words and I am resolved not to be one of those people. Grace is extended to us each day and in my endeavor to live a more Christ-like life. I want to be extending that same grace to my children in allowing them room to make mistakes.

Thank you Hands Free Mama for sharing your struggles and words of encouragement. And thank you for allowing me to share what your post, The Bully Too Close to Home, has done in my life. I thank the Lord for the friendship he is building in us as well.

It Matters To This One

As the old man walked along the beach at dawn, he noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally, catching up with the youth, he asked why he was doing this.

The answer was that the stranded would die if left until the morning sun.

“But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish,” countered the other. “How can your effort make any difference?“

The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves.

“It makes a difference to this one,” he said.

-The Starfish Flinger by Loren Eiseley

I was reminded of this story today when a sweet friend of mine was talking to me about my blog. She shared with me that even though she has been married for almost 25 years and has adult children she is able to learn things from my experiences. And that is exactly  why I write and share the messages the Lord has put on my heart.

When I wrote my very first post Grace Abounds, I was begging for input from friends and family. Not necessarily about the topic itself but about whether or not it was useful. I wanted to know if sharing my experiences was helpful to anyone. No one responded directly. Then in a casual conversation with one of my dearest friends she mentioned that she had read the post and it made her think about how she interacted with her child and some alternatives. Grace Abounds is about my struggle with yelling at my children and the steps my husband and I have taken to be intentional with other ways to get our message across.  I was able to talk with her about our struggle and how we have seen it affect our children. I left that conversation with the confirmation that if sharing my experiences helps no one else in my life but her then it is worth it. Then a family member also expressed that it got her to thinking about alternatives to yelling. Again, confirmation that the messages the Lord gives me need to be shared for the benefit of others and their families.

I am not so naive to think that every post I write will help everyone that reads it but if each one only helps one person then I know the Lord’s work is being done. I want to bring God glory in all that I do and that includes writing. I believe he has given me messages to share to inspire and empower other women to be godly women, wives, and mothers and if it is one woman at a time then His work is still being done!

This type of conversation always makes me think of Luke 22:31-32. Jesus is telling Simon Peter that Satan has asked to sift him as wheat. Jesus tells Simon that he will pray for him through it and when he is done he is to strengthen his brothers. Each of my struggles is to be used for God’s glory and I can do that by getting through it, learning what God wants me to learn from the experience and sharing it with others that they may be encouraged and strengthened through their own challenges.

Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace

 

I have heard this hymn many times before but it wasn’t until yesterday that I felt the Lord showing me something different through these words. Tune my heart to sing your grace. What a proclamation  to my Lord! Make me more like you! Make my heart gracious like yours. Break my heart for what breaks yours. It revealed different things about myself and reasons why it is important for me to lean on Him daily and not on my own ability to get through a day or any given task. And  then the third verse comes and it just blows me away at how relevant it is to me now in this very season and this very moment in my life.

So to grace, how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be
And let Thy goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, Lord, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above

Lord let your goodness like a fetter(chain) bind my wandering heart to thee. Chain my heart that wants to, by nature, run in the opposite direction of what is good, to you Lord and to your goodness. This was a reminder of the importance of waking up daily and turning my heart over to the Lord asking him to have his way with me today. Because, if left in my control I will let my heart wander. I will let my heart listen to things that will not bring him glory.  I will let my mind read things that will not bring him glory. I will say things that do not bring him glory and I am certain to look at things that will not glorify him. No matter what medium those things come in as if I have not asked the Lord each day to seal my heart for his uses, I can and will likely be easily strayed by my wandering heart.

My husband and I were talking this past weekend about what sin looks like in our lives. We are in a different place than we were 5 or 10 years ago so it does look differently because we have grown and we have allowed the Lord to prune us and rebuke us for our choices that did not bring him glory. So at this juncture in our life, we feel that it would be more difficult for certain sin to take over our life. This is not a piece on sin in particular. Sin is sin is sin. We have all heard that but what sin looks like for someone who is just beginning their walk with the Lord and what sin looks like for a person that has been walking for many years of their life will look different. I will use an example from my own life to help solidify this idea. This is my example and what the Lord has convicted me of. I used to enjoy  getting together with my friends having some drinks and just letting loose. While the Lord has been working to prune that out of my life for quite some time, it hasn’t been that many years ago that on a weekend night it would be a priority. It is not now a priority for me and hasn’t been in about 3 years so I feel that it would be much more difficult to “fall” back into that sin. It wouldn’t be a fall really. It would be a gradual descent. Which brings me to the point that my husband and I were talking about. Because we are at that different place in our life, it is the little concessions that we make for sin in our life daily that could take over and send us spiraling out of control away from the Lord. I believe the Lord has greater purposes for us than that if we rely on him completely  and not our own understandings.

I once heard a pastor(unsure of who it was)  say that we are to make no concessions for the flesh. None at all. It is when we begin to make those small concessions here and there, oh I will just have a drink at this event or maybe one won’t really hurt anything, that we compromise our abilities to be fully used by God. We take the focus off of the Lord and his work and place it on our selves and our selfish desires.

Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Our flesh no matter what the topic is wants to run this game. Whether its pride, anger, lust, bitterness, drugs/alcohol, offensive language spoken or heard, things we allow our hearts and mind to take in through music, books, or other forms, you all know this list could go on forever, because if something does not put God first and bring him glory than it is an idol and our flesh pushes us to be idolaters. I know this will look differently for each and everyone of you. I also know that some may be newer Christians and it would be easy for you to just simply step back into your old habits or you might be someone who has been walking with the Lord for a very long time but you see that gradual descent away from Him. My challenge to us all, myself included, is that each morning we will rise and be wise enough to know that our flesh will begin battling for our focus and attention and we must ask the Lord to take our hearts and seal them. Seal them for His courts above.