Archive for May, 2014

Conflict: God-Style

 

Sunday, my mind was BLOWN.

I saw a fight. There were two sides to the story, heightened emotions, children involved: the whole nine yards.

It was beautiful. It was epic. I’ve never seen anything like it.

See, I’m tired of being involved in drama. Who isn’t? We all say it, we all post it, yet we all contribute. And we can all cover it up in “good” ways.

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We vent.

You know what I mean. We just HAVE to talk to someone, because we’re upset, and we might say the wrong thing if we talk to them right now, you know? Well, it’s a cop out. It’s gossip, pure and simple. I even take the really high road, and vent to my cousin in ON. I don’t name names. . .  it’s a totally innocent way to get out what I’m feeling. But wait. The Bible doesn’t say not to gossip so that the other person doesn’t hear it, it clearly states: do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building people up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29). There are three people we hurt when we talk and vent about others: the person we are talking about, the person we talk to, and ourselves. And obviously Jesus, because He is the Father of those three people. We must speak life (a favourite expression in our home right now, thank you Toby Mac.)

We ask others to pray for the situation.

This one is a gooder. We are so thankful for our personal Savior King. And then sometimes we just want more of a corporate group, right? Whether we are asking for prayer for ourselves or the other person, if we reveal too much about an issue it can be nothing more than thinly veiled gossip. Not cool. If you’re going to do something, just do it. We can’t let our “holy attitudes” make it seem like it’s a better way. He is your God. Pray to Him, alone.

We stew. We sit. We ponder.

I hate this one. As a matter of fact, I came across a little gem in my Beth Moore study this morning, “Constantly thinking little of ourselves is still constantly thinking of ourselves.” Whether you’re meditating on how you wrecked a situation, or on the fact that the other person is a lousy wet noodle, the answer is the same. The world does not revolve around us. Our thoughts are supposed to be on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Anything short of this hurts us and our Maker. Obviously, we can’t do this. Or at least I can’t. My HH will testify to the fact that this is something I greatly struggle with. If I think someone doesn’t like me, or is angry with me, it can often consume my thoughts and energies. I’m being very personal, here. I will sit and think on, “Why did I say that? Did she think I meant it in a different way?” This can, and has, consumed my energy. I MUST STOP. This is not the victorious life that God has set out for me. I could go on and on about how we must guard our hearts, and what we are dwelling on, but if you think this is something you are struggling with, ask the Holy Spirit (or your hubby!) and He will reveal it to you.

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Then when the time for battle comes:

We bring out past hurts.

‘Nuff said. We can validate our pain with their prior offenses, bring up anything and twist it till it causes the other person to hurt the same way. This does not bring God glory: making someone else hurt doesn’t make our hurt any less.

We run.

We have a chance to work things out, to bring the other person to task, to clear up a misunderstanding: but instead we bury it down, not forgiving, but just hiding it. Or we run, for real. Leave churches, leave community groups, quit the situation that brought about the injury. This doesn’t give us a chance to see God’s redemption, grace and mercy. This only shows ourselves, and often our children, that when the going gets tough, we check out. There is a place for this. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that can be done, and God calls us out. But if it is a one-on-one hurt, as opposed to a group issue, we have to pray about whether the relationship was ever worth it. It almost always is. If it wasn’t, why the heck were you wasting time with that person in the first place?

We refuse to own our mistakes.

I make them. You make them. We all do. Why are we so afraid to just say sorry? Even if the other person saw it in a completely different way, often we can own what we did in a situation. It saves time, hurt, bitterness, resentment and pain, to just SAY SORRY. Even if you have an excuse. Even if you couldn’t help it. Thank you Jesus for your mercy, new every day! Hopefully tomorrow I won’t hurt anyone by accident, or on purpose, because either way, they were hurt.

This is what happened on Sunday:

There was hurt. It was spoken of. Both women were ready for battle, God-style. They both were so busy trying to understand what the other was feeling, they weren’t as worried about themselves.

 

They walked through the whole situation, letting the hurt show.

There was apology.

There was forgiveness: Spoken, and lived.

There was grace.

Next time, maybe instead of praise and worship at church, they could reenact it.

Who doesn’t want this? Who doesn’t want real relationships with room for grace? Where if we mess up, we can trust the other to forgive, and forgive ourselves? Where our relationships get STRONGER, because of the obstacles we’ve overcome?

This is Jesus living, pure and simple.

And it starts with me, and you.

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Dry Bones

The last few weeks have gone down hill fast. We’ve been blessed with so much- new furniture, movie tickets, a friend to decorate and help organize my home for a few days, besides the normal things- everyone’s healthy, growing, food on the table and too many clothes in the dresser. Why is that? Why I am so darn grumpy?

In Luke, it says “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Well, what is my heart full of? I know I am filled with the Holy Spirit, so why does the Fruit not just flow out the way it’s supposed to? You know: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. My “go to” place has NOT been joy, gentleness or self control.

Right now I am sitting in a beautiful hotel room that my HH got me for the night, for Mother’s Day. I’m not lying when I say that I just ran in here, holding back the tears, ready to just sit, read, listen and soak. On the way up, I listened to Chris Tomlin’s “Awake My Soul” and that has just been my heart lately! I feel like dry bones, with no life. It doesn’t have to be this way- I haven’t been spending time with Jesus alone, allowing Him to breathe life into me. And this is what I get- a hollow shell, a grumpy mom, a tired wife.

Right after Easter, I posted this about our family time. I put so much into it. For the first time, I was ready and prepared for a holiday. Usually I’m all like, “WHAT? Christmas is in December this year?!” This Easter felt great. I bought beautiful, meaningful, gifts; stayed in budget; studied with the kids; readied my own heart. But in all the fun preparing and the activities, maybe I let my hopes get a little too high, and was too excited about the kids’ reactions. They were happy with our Good Friday activities, but they weren’t JUMPING DOWN excited like I was. In hind sight, it just shows me that they are really used to fun, family, stuff. Not a horrible thing. But at the time, I was kinda disappointed. “Don’t you realize how much I put into this? How hard it is to shop for you all without you seeing, when you TAKE UP 75% of the cart with your bums? The surprises, the wrapping, the love I put into this? Don’t you see? Why aren’t you SOOOO excited?” 

And then news flash.

I wonder how Jesus feels about me.

When I sigh, and pick up the whining baby, not reveling in this gift of life we’ve been given. When I wait till the fight has escalated, because I don’t feel like peace making a fight about something that has no relevance in modern day society. When I don’t jump up to see what they have to “show me,” because I’m tired, even knowing that this season is so short and pretty soon they will stop showing me things. I’m choosing to see the circumstance, not the gift.

To see the moment, not the eternity.

These children, these hearts, that we’ve been given the huge responsibility of shepherding, are such an enormous blessing. But some days my bones just feel tired, and I need Jesus to breathe new life into me.

So that’s what I’m doing. Reading Ezekiel, even. I love the story of the bones. But I also came across another beautiful gem.

3:10-11 “Then he added, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.”

Two profound messages: for a poor prophet of Israel, and for a grumpy housewife in rural Winterland. One, let the words sink deep into my own heart. Two, do it whether they are listening or not.

So since I have all this time and all this quiet, I have started a new study to do on my own from Beth Moore on Daniel. It’s meant to be done with a group, but well, I’m doing it myself. It’s about living with integrity and with prophecy. Sounds terrific. Integrity is something this Mama needs more of.

I want my heart to be a wellspring of joy, not because of what God gives us, but because of who He is. I don’t want to “forget,” or not think about it. I want my “go to” place to be full of grace, peace and love. I want my first reaction to be patience and joy, not harried and grumpy. So here goes.

Lord, you got about 15 more hours to fill me up, before you send me back on out. Please make them long.