When it never comes….

12 Apr

So I told you at the end of my last post, I had some life-giving words to give.

I did it.

It was not easy.  Well, it was easy but …oh, just let me explain.

It took me a long, REALLY LONG, time to speak these words.

I knew years ago, they needed spoke.  But as I’ve talked before about how to give a real apology, I knew I wasn’t ready yet to not try to justify myself… or include “you hurt me too.”

In my opinion, one of the biggest hindrances to forgiveness is when we try to tackle both people’s issues at the exact same time.  Often what happens is, neither feels their issue was addressed properly and nothing truly gets resolved.

There is a time to tell someone, “you really hurt me when….”  but it’s not the exact same time you’re saying “I’m sorry that I….”

And I wanted to say that first part really badly.

Normally, I’m all about face to face apologies.  There are exceptions.  And in my case for this one situation, it was a letter kind of apology.

It was easy to write.  I did have a lot to ask forgiveness for, and I knew it! God had convicted me a long time ago, and I had repented and asked forgiveness years back.  So, there wasn’t any doubt about what I had done or why I should be sorry about it.

However, what came next was hard.

The waiting.  Knowing the letter had been read, but waiting for some kind of a response.

You never know *if* you will get a response, what it will say, or what it won’t say.  But you have to wait anyway.  We all do.

Best case scenario, you get a quick response, total forgiveness and an apology for what they may have done in or because of the situation.

That doesn’t always happen though.  And then we have to control our emotions and lead our hearts with what we’ll do next.

This might seem silly to some, but I waited 48 hours for a reply, and it felt like eternity.  In that time, I felt very vulnerable and exposed.  It seemed like my raw honesty was being ignored.  Or minimized.  Or maybe even mocked?

I wrestled being hurt or offended. But I was preaching and preaching and preaching to myself… DON’T pick anything up.  This wasn’t about me.  This was about them.  Entirely about them!  I owed an apology.  And I gave a sincere, genuine apology.  If I didn’t hear anything back, that was OK.  I didn’t have to.

The response was very nice.  I was forgiven in full.

Praise Jesus!

Yet, that one last thing was missing… “I know I hurt you too.”

…….

 

Guess what?  It’s OK.  That’s not news to my heart.  I knew that YEARS ago too.  And Jesus is the power to forgive… not simply by the receipt of an apology.

Sure — I believe in apologies.  That’s why I gave one.  But… Jesus’ paid the debt for everyone’s sins.  Mine, theirs, yours… all of us.

I don’t need to require payment to forgive.

I can forgive quickly and fully because Jesus’ has forgiven me of much worse.  He paid my sentence.  He paid their sentence.  IT IS FINISHED.

 

If you’re still waiting for that response, forgiveness, or admission of guilt from someone else….. can you look to the cross this Easter and say:

IT IS FINISHED!

Practical Application:

Am I still being a debt collector? Am I requiring payment that Jesus’ already paid?

Life or Death

9 Apr

I saw this picture I’m about to share awhile ago and I haven’t been able to get it off my mind.

You know the old saying “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Yeah, so we all know that’s not true. No need for a post explaining that.

Words can kill

However, hurt… and kill….. are those the same?

I remember a long time ago, someone said something to me and it wasn’t just a wound.  It killed me. Literally, a part of myself became dead and destroyed.

I don’t want to post what it was, because I’m sure the person remembers saying it, and well, I learned awhile ago when I almost quit blogging for good that personal stories that include other people can really be hurtful if not explained well, and I made a promise to avoid those situations in the future, because I never know who will read this one day.

At any rate, I’ve forgiven (after a LOT of years of bitterness and angst.) But… it’s definitely something I just can’t forget.

It took a lot for Jesus to revive that part of me again.  And honestly, I still protect it like it’s the most fragile part of me.

This got me thinking….

I’ve murdered a lot of people with my words

One of my biggest struggles is that when I’m hurt, I am tempted to become a loose, reckless cannon. (I am getting better.  I won’t claim victory.)

In those times, I might as well have put a shot-gun in my mouth and pulled the trigger.  Because I know I murdered others with what I said.

I remember so specifically something I said to my husband.  And I wish more than anything I could take it back. This was a LONG, LONG time ago…. but I said

“You disgust me.  I feel so bad for our boys.  I wish you weren’t their father.”

Ugh.  I start crying every time I remember that.  How could I? What was I thinking?

For the record, I don’t mean that! I didn’t then either.  My husband is an AMAZING Father!!

I just was so careless with what I would let fly out of my mouth.  I wanted him to hurt as bad as I felt like I was hurting.

Some words hurt others… some kill.

Practical Application:

If our tongues have the power to give life or death… how many dead people are in my life?

Have I given life to any enemies lately?

* I have some life-giving words to give …. more to come on that.

~~~~

On an unrelated note… sorry for being a little MIA!  I know I’ve been a little slow replying to emails, and getting new posts up!  It’s because I decided to start up a new business.

I *want* to write a huge post about it, but I know you all aren’t coming here to read about that.

BUT — just incase you might be interested at all… you can like my Facebook page here!

If you like the page, you’ll automatically be entered in a giveaway for a free product when I hit 75 page likes.

I was so skeptical of this company for over a year.  I didn’t want to risk wasting my money, however, my friend started selling and I won a couple of items for FREE, and then I fell in love.

I don’t like chemicals, but in an effort to go “more green” I tried cleaning my house with baking soda and vinegar, and it didn’t work AND my house smelled like vinegar.  So I went back to the chemicals.  Until, I found Norwex!

I’m seriously BLOWN AWAY!!!

Ok, Ok… I won’t say any more unless you contact me on facebook and want to know what all the fuss is about and how it works.

One last thing, I can do parties over the internet now without having to be in home… and it makes it possible for ANYONE to host a party with me.

The rewards are insane! I had a small party, and I got EIGHT free gifts for hosting.  Yes, EIGHT!  Totally worth it.  Easy, peasy.  And I got to try everything without risking a single penny of my own.

You’d be my hero if you decided to host an online Facebook party for me! Seriously, I’d love you forever!!!

Ok, I’m done… for real this time :)

Lonely.

6 Apr

I think there may be no greater danger in life than the place of loneliness.

Whenever Satan can convince us that we’re alone, unseen, unloved, undesired, unknown, unwanted, unproductive – it’s there, in the middle of the loneliness, that his lies sound like truth.

When we’re surrounded by strong Christians, good friends who are holding us accountable and REALLY know us, and a marriage that is flourishing, we’re less likely to fall apart.

That doesn’t mean temptations don’t come, or that we can never stumble.  Of course we can, but we are much less likely to feel defeated when we feel loved.

I believe this is the very reason for the promise “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus’ constant reminder that WE ARE NOT ALONE, even if we are tempted to feel like we are, is meant to be security against Satan’s attacks. He knew that promise mattered.  Which is why He promised it.  Because if we feel alone, we feel defeated… and defeat doesn’t press on toward the prize.  Defeat paralyzes.  It lies to us and cripples us from using God’s power in us to face whatever is coming at us.

This is important, please don’t miss this….EVEN IF there is nothing “significantly pressing” going on like illness or persecution…. loneliness is a threat we cannot take lightly.

I’ve seen people who seemingly had EVERYTHING.  They weren’t facing any major catastrophes in their life at all… and yet, because they were lonely, they completely fell apart.

My friend often says this saying “Once we’re aware of something, we no longer have any excuses against it.”  What she means is, if you “know” you have an addiction to sweets, it’s no longer something you can spend hours justifying or crying over if you’re not going to address it.

I’m very aware of loneliness.

I spent a good three straight years incredibly lonely.  Yes, I had “friends” during that time.  But I was “unknown” at the same time.  My Christian friends didn’t know everything that was going on… like the problems in my marriage.  And my non-Christian friends never filled that void in me for deep fellowship because sin was always so present in their advice and invitations.

Once I realized the loneliness problem – I decided I would never allow myself to be “lonely” again.

I’m aware of the danger.  I’m aware that Jesus makes it very obvious that fellowship is essential to our faith.  It’s why belonging to a local Church is vital, for the body to come together.  It’s why the disciples never ministered alone,  they always had someone with them (unless they were in prison.) And again, it’s why Jesus promised us He’d always be with us.

It’s been a hard year… one I’m willing reluctantly admitting has been constantly tempting to feel lonely.

Understand, loneliness isn’t a temptation because you’re locked in a cellar with no one in sight.

Loneliness is a temptation when something feels like it’s missing.

This year has been A LOT of changes for us.

Since leaving our church home of ten years, two years ago… it’s been incredibly lonely.  Once you’ve had a very active church family, it’s so hard to walk into a building and not know anyone’s name nor does anyone know who you are either.

I miss being known.  I miss being accountable to my church family.  I miss knowing what is going on with the body of believers I worship with – knowing what to pray for them and ask them about the following week.  I miss sharing prayer requests with someone I know is really going to pray, and ask me how my week was when I see them on Sunday.

Today, I looked around me during service and felt so out of place.  It doesn’t feel like home at all.  It feels lonely.

Yes, I know Jesus is all I need.

Yes, my marriage is strong.

Yes, I have friends I can call on.

Yes,  the temptation for loneliness is still heavy and pushing at me to entertain the defeat.

When something feels out of whack, it tests us in every area. Even areas we know we’re strong.

Questions like “Are my friends really my true friends?  Is my husband really able to be my “best friend” when we’re so different? Does my blog ministry even matter, is it effective or reaching anyone? What’s the point of church if we don’t know anyone anyway? What are those people saying about us when we leave?”

I know all the answers to those questions… and there’s nothing really to be tempted over.

Practical Application:

Call out the loneliness.

Once we’re aware what is going on, we can recognize the lies and tempting thoughts so much easier, instead of believing them or wrestling with them for so long.

Write the truth down. Say the truth out loud.  Meditate on the truth. Purposely talk about the truth.

Don’t settle for defeat.

Only heinous people tell lies.

3 Apr

 

For the longest time, I thought I was the worst person in the whole world because I struggled with lying.

Only really terrible people do something so heinous as to make up a lie. It’s unacceptable, inexcusable, and unforgivable.
“What is WRONG with you that you wouldn’t be honest and you’d hide behind made up stories to fit in, or have something to talk about that anyone would want to listen to. You’re a fake and a total disgust of a human” are just a few of the thoughts that paralyzed me for a long time.

My husband has reassured me over and over again that EVERYONE lies. Yes, some people struggle in a more in-depth way than others if it happens to be an addictive behavior that Satan wraps them up in, but that doesn’t mean others have the authority to put themselves in a position of superiority like they are above such ugliness.

The problem is often that they classify “lying” as a definition that only includes what they “don’t do” and then conveniently exclude the ways that they lie.

There are a number of ways that we are tempted to, and even give into lying, that we rarely talk about in-depth. I’m not going to cover them all. I’m going to tackle three and hopefully I’ll start the ball rolling for you to make your own list.

1.) Lying by omission.

This is simply “not” saying all the details. I’m not describing keeping someone’s secrets, secret. It’s ok not to share everything we know about everyone with everyone. That is being a trusted friend.

Lying by omission is when we’re leaving out information, details, words, ANYTHING about ourselves that is giving someone an impression or story that isn’t entirely accurate. We might feel like we didn’t “say” anything that was a lie or that we can’t be responsible for what other people assume, however, if we are willingly painting a picture by NOT painting it, we’re lying.

Telling our spouse that we went to lunch today with a co-worker, while leaving out that it was a male co-worker, is lying by omission.

2.) Lying by repeating something with a different tone, inflection or attitude.

This happens in marriage A LOT! But that statistic in marriage might be beat out by how often this happens between women who have problems with each other.

The story changes, and the likelihood for hurt feelings and offenses greatly increases when tone of voice is misrepresented.
Picture this:
In a soft, calm voice with a smile Gina says to Penny, “Sally looked so pretty today. I bet she spent a lot of money on that dress. It was really worth it. It worked well for her.”

Penny doesn’t like Gina and always reads offenses into everything she says, so….
With a harsh, sarcastic tone she says to Sally, “Penny said you looked SSSOOO pretty today. I BET she spent A LOT of money on that dress. It was REEEAAAALLY worth it. It worked well for HER.” Flips her hair as if Gina was rudely gossiping about Sally and says “you should have seen her face.”

Sally leaves hurt and confused and now has an offense against Gina.

It’s not uncommon for spouses to say the phrase to each other “I didn’t say it like that.  I didn’t use that tone.  You’re making me sound like such a jerk!”

What if a husband says, “I’d rather you not tell me how to handle this situation. I’m struggling with the best decision and your emotions are so high right now that you’re speaking from a place of hurt.”

And the wife repeats it like this, “I’d rather YOU not tell ME how to handle this situation. (Pounds on chest) I’m struggling with the best decision and YOUR emotions are SO HIGH right now that YOU’RE speaking from a place of hurt.” (As if I’m the problem here and am messing up your life.)

In both of those situations, the words were repeated correctly…. but the heart was misrepresented and that constitutes as lying.

3.) We lie through our actions.

As a believer in Christ, this one really stings because if we have Christ, and we walk in sin…. we’re lying with our bodies.

Am I saying we can’t make mistakes?  Of course not.  We all sin.  And will all sin until we die!

But committing a sin and repenting is not the same as walking in sin continually and habitually.

We can’t claim to have Christ and yet walk a constant contradiction without lying with our bodies.

This happens often with couples who have sex before marriage.  They are telling a lie with their bodies that they are indeed one flesh when they have not truly become one flesh through permanent commitment and marriage.

This also happens when we have a habitual gossip, anger, addiction, porn, lust, pride, selfish, idolatry, money, love, forgiveness, bitterness, mercy problem(s).   We’re claiming to be a child of the living God, but constantly maligning His testimony through us.

We praise our Father, but then curse with our bodies by allowing them to follow the ways of Satan.

 

Sometimes we get so judgmental of other who struggle in ways WE never would, all the while, missing how we maybe aren’t that far from them.

That’s why Jesus likens hate to murder and lust to adultery. We may not be letting others see it on the outside, but in our hearts, we’ve already sinned.

 

Practical Application:

Are you trapped right now by Satan because of something you struggle with that you are believing no one else struggles with or is as horrible as you?

(Comment below or shoot me an email… I’ll help you uncover why that’s a lie too!!!)

Are you judging someone else for being so much worse than you are because you’d never do what they do?

Have you ever told a lie in any of these ways? Does this change how you feel?

 

You will???!!

1 Apr

For those of you that aren’t aware, we bought a new house almost a year ago after living in a 968 sq ft two bedroom home for ten years.  With the crash of the economy, we were stuck. The value of our home dropped at least $25,000 and there was no possible way for us to sell and buy another place.  So, even though we tried and prayed for a miracle for six years, we never moved.

We had all four kids sharing one bedroom (3 boys and a girl) and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit still today that it was really, really hard at times.

I have never been one to ever need extravagant or flashy…. but there was literally no where for any of us to go to get a little space.  Besides the clutter of fitting us all in there, we hardly let the kids have many toys because there just wasn’t any room.  It felt like we were constantly throwing anything away that we could to make it feel less claustrophobic in the house.

In that ten years, we painted the inside of the house numerous times in an attempt to keep it fresh while trying to sell, and just to change the scenery so it didn’t always feel so overwhelming.

I always did all the painting.  My husband isn’t a fan of painting, so it was never any interest of his to help in that area.

I don’t want to get off topic here, so I’ll just say this in a small paragraph or two, but we were always trying to move in a desperate attempt to ease *my* frustrations.  My husband wasn’t nearly as overwhelmed by the crowded quarters as I was.  We had a beautiful six acre piece of property (which he REALLY loved) and he worked and coached and wasn’t home really all that often.  I, however, haven’t worked in the last six years and felt like I was at our home 95% of my life.  I rarely left.  And I often felt suffocated.  It was a really long season of learning to be content in the Lord.

I use to bounce back and forth between praying God would provide some relief, and then immense guilt thinking about third world countries where ten people live in a 100 sq ft mud shack with no running water and I had the audacity to ask God’s help in my situation?!

Once I relinquished the control of our family to my husband, it was about six months later and my husband was ready to try to sell our house after two years of just accepting the situation.  I was surprised because nothing about the challenge had changed.  However, we got a land contract offer 30 days after it was on the market, and we moved 30 days after that.  The land contract provided us with all the factors we needed with the bank and auditor to be able to move.  The story still amazes me.

ANYWAY!! Back to my point here…..

When we moved into our new house, I did a LOT of painting!  I did most of it while my husband was at work so it didn’t take away from our time together; however, occasionally I worked on parts in the evening hours.  My husband would chat with me while I was painting but never picked up a brush or roller to help.

On Saturday, while lying in bed at 7:00 AM, we were discussing what we were going to do.  I said “I’d really like to go buy a gallon of paint and get our bedroom painted since I finally got our curtains made.”

He said “I’d like to rearrange the bedroom and make it so these cords aren’t everywhere and turn the bed and get rid of this head-board.”

In my mind I was questioning turning the bed and getting rid of the head-board, but I thought it was worth giving it a try since he wanted to do it.

So I said, “You wouldn’t want to help me paint would you?”  Fully expecting him to say, “eh, not so much. But I’ll rearrange once it’s painted.”

Instead he said, “Ok. Yeah, I will.”

“WHAT???!!! YOU WILL???!!!”

I thought my heart might pound out of my chest.  “Ok. Great!”

So I ran to the store to get the paint and he started pulling stuff out of the bedroom.  The room was a dining room that we turned into our bedroom.  In our hurry up to move in, we just kind of shoved everything in the room.  It wasn’t real appealing to the eye, but it worked.

We spent the whole day painting together, fixing the outlets, and rearranging the room.

It was the best day!

And to my surprise, my husband was SO right! The room looked SO much better with the bed turned and no headboard.  The room looked bigger and gave us more space.  I’m so glad I listened to him instead of shutting down his idea because I doubted it would work.

Bedroom 001

As we went to bed, I thanked him for everything and told him what an amazing day it was with him!

I spent Monday reflecting.

WHO IS THIS COUPLE???!!!!

We’ve changed so much, I barely recognize us.

I’m not really sure why he painted with me.  I haven’t worked up the courage to ask yet… maybe in fear that I’ll jinx us :)

Practical Application:

Step back for the next twenty-four hours and look for the changes.

Sometimes this journey is hard and long, and we can become so discouraged that everything isn’t perfect that we miss and don’t give enough credit to the things that have changed.

What things has your husband done /said / bought / helped with / ANYTHING that has shown growth in your unconditional respect/love journey?

Did you stop and really thank or praise him?  If not – be sure to do it!!

** I’d love to hear any stories if any of you want to share something that has happened that surprised and blessed you!

 

That one “thing” we don’t understand.

29 Mar

Your husband has it, my husband has it, every husband on the planet has it.

It’s their “thing.”  The one “thing” that is just, them.  They can’t separate from it because it’s literally part of their personality. It’s part of their make-up.  It’s part of what makes them tick.  It’s ingrained in who they are as a person.

And try as we might…. what makes “this” the “thing” is that we as their wives, don’t understand it at all.  In fact, we might be polar opposite and even frustrated by this.

That “thing” isn’t the same for every man.  It could be, but it isn’t always. Especially because what makes it the “thing” depends on who they’re married to.  And no two wives are the same; and no two husbands are the same; and no two marriages are the same… so I just can’t blanket post this.

But I know what my husband’s “thing” is… and I recently heard from another wife what her husband’s “thing” is, and even though their things were TOTALLY different…. I felt what she feels.

I can relate on the deepest level.  The confusion.  The frustration.

The wanting SO much to accept him and respect him unconditionally – not judging or condemning anything about him (especially when his “thing” isn’t even a sin at all!) and yet… all the while…. secretly wishing you could change it. Maybe even praying desperately that God would change it.

My husband is an introvert. He’s quiet (until you get to know him), shy, hates being surrounded by people he doesn’t know, does not make new friends easily at all, would prefer very small crowds, and hates speaking when called on without his own initiation.

I am an extrovert.  I’m not shy at all.  I am not intimidated by large crowds of people I don’t know in the least.  I make new friends quickly and make it look effortless, and I am always willing to share whether I know you or not.

I wrestled for a really long time feeling like this difference meant one of us was wrong.  And since my personality was mine…. I felt like mine was the correct way to approach life.

I remember feeling very judgmental thinking that he could change if he wanted to.  And that he was being a stubborn jerk just so he didn’t have to change.

Sound a little prideful much?! Just in case you’re not sure… Yes, yes it does.

I’ve done really well accepting this difference and appreciating how he enters a room and takes everything in, in a way I never do.  I can now see that there are strengths in his reserved approach to things and his natural tendencies give him time to access places and people who are present.

But. Sometimes his personality still puts me in positions where I’m not “getting everything I want”.  Which is a great way for Satan to attack me and tempt me to disrespect my husband, give into selfishness and ultimately hurt my marriage.

A perfect example was just a couple of months ago.  We recently changed churches and the church was offering a class after service to better explain their beliefs, ministries, church doctrine and practices.

At the beginning of the meeting, the pastor asked everyone to go around the room and say their names, where they were from and how long they’d been going to church there.

I SO wanted my husband to do this.  For me, I want him to come across as the leader and protector of our family because HE IS.  It’s not for public attention, it’s actually to avoid public attention.  It gives the wrong impression in my mind for the woman to do all the leading in public, but for her husband to do all the leading in private.  It makes for an inability to ask his permission/ideas when on the spot and looks like I need to speak for him or over him.

It’s hard to have a gentle and quiet spirit that is submissive to your husband when you have to do all the talking in public. You’re put on the spot to sometimes answer questions and make decisions without his input.

Of course, the worst thing in my mind had to happen.  The first table to go started with this scene:

The pastor called on the husband to speak and he said “oh my wife will do the talking, I learned that a long time ago.”  Hysterical laughter broke out throughout the room.

Awesome.  So when it’s my turn, and I talk instead of my husband… everyone will think the same thing about me.

I looked at my husband, and he was about to get up and walk out of the room because he hates that type of environment.  So, he sat there quiet, and I did the talking.

We left and I was horribly embarrassed. Not because my husband did anything wrong.  I was embarrassed because I was concerned with what I thought others were thinking (without even knowing for sure if they were.)

Did I need to be? No.  Does it matter what others think?  No.  Is it more important for me to be the helpmate my husband married and use my personality, gifts and abilities to add what would bless him most and benefit our marriage best? Yes, absolutely.

But my flesh needed some time to accept that on that day.

Here are the words of another wife describing her husband’s thing:

“I’ve planned every date we have ever gone on. We did go out to eat a week ago, but then just ran errands together even though I suggested fun activities because he was just too tired.. He says the way that he most relaxes it to do a household chore with me like weed the garden or plant our vegetable garden or helping a sick cow… To be honest, those are not fun for me. I do them because I love him. I would like to go to a bed and breakfast, stay all day in bed one day, go hiking another day… He would rather just stay here on the farm. But I am on the farm A LOT. I just haven’t figured out how to do this…he connects at home…I need to go out. Yes, I’ve told him this. I even offered that we go out and do something fun and I help him with a chore.. The chores have gotten done. Dates…maybe 1/4 of the time and I plan them… I guess I wish to be pursued, but he just doesn’t have the energy.”

Basically, he relaxes at home, she relaxes by going out.  Is he wrong? Is she wrong? No. Not at all. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard on her flesh not to scream out that he should want what she wants!!

They say opposites attract, but it seems after they’ve attracted, they battle to become the same to stay together, instead of appreciating what makes them opposite.

Really, this is just another opportunity for us to lay ourselves down and be thankful for the differences in who we are as humans.

Practical Application:

The next time his “thing” brings the temptation to be hurt or angry, stop right then and think about two things that are actually STRENGTHS about his thing.  Think about those things and how you might actually be lacking in that area, and how he helps balance you out.

And then, if you’re really feeling courageous (because Satan will definitely tell you that you’re about to encourage his nasty habits and ruin any chance for change) PRAISE him for his “thing.”

Little Reminders.

27 Mar

I’ve been doing pretty well since my total broken melt down last Friday.

I have mourned deeply, but been very purposeful about not wallowing or being the victim and intentionally LETTING and ACCEPTING my husband’s forgiveness.

The best thing we can do when forgiven, is forgive someone else.  It’s a true sign of maturity that those who know they’ve been forgiven of much, forgive much in others.

Which is why I purposely posted about forgiving the unforgivable in my life with my follow up post.

I have been forgiven without condition and I have learned to forgive without condition.

But.

There is ONE little (GINORMOUS) problem in moving forward. Try as we might escape him, Satan and his demons are always roaming the earth looking for someone to devour.  It comes in the subtle whispers, or even often loud pressing thoughts in our mind, that say “remember.”

Some times it’s simply what seems to be out of nowhere.  You’re going about your day and this person crosses your mind, and while thinking about something pleasant, all the sudden, a memory of a past hurt scrolls through your mind.  “Remember when they …..  don’t you remember how that made you feel?”

Some times it’s in a current gesture that tempts you to take it the wrong way.  “When she said ‘this’, was she really meaning ‘this’ like she use to say and do to me?”

Some times it’s in the actual memories of someone else. Like for me last night! We’re in the middle of talking, cuddling, being romantic… and we are casually talking about when we were first dating and teasingly a memory comes out of his mouth.  And it felt like a brick was thrown at my face.  Not because of anything he did, but in the reality that absolutely he’s forgiven me, but he’ll never forget.  It’s a fact. Part of history.  Can never be erased. (Satan wanted nothing more than to destroy that moment of intimacy and push us apart. **Women, be warned, some of the worst temptations often come while trying to be intimate or while having sex with your husband.  Satan’s greatest pleasure is to destroy the marriage bed.)

Some times it’s in the words of someone else.  “So & so told me blank is going on with them right now.”  What?  How did I not know this?  Are things not as reconciled as I thought they were? Did they really not mean it that they forgave me?

 

We can purposefully allow our minds to think about past situations, but sometimes it seems to spring on us without any thought at all. So what do we do with that?

Well, we have to make a choice before it happens.  You can make a choice while it’s happening, but it won’t be nearly as easy to do.  Walking the narrow road takes premeditated thought, and practice.  Just like when I talked about training for trusting your husband.

Here’s the two options:

1.) Dwell on these thoughts, doubt, struggle, weep all over again, pick back up offenses and lock myself back up in a prison.

2.) Decide that memories are a beautiful reminder of how far God has brought me. Rejoice.  Be thankful for the one thought, as an opportunity to worship God, and then wrap my heart up in praise instead of entertaining a conversation with Satan who longs to use my past to destroy my future.

Simple? I’d never say that.

Life changing? ABSOLUTELY!!

If Christianity were easy, there wouldn’t be a narrow road.  We’re not looking for easy here.  We’re looking for possible.  We’re looking for God’s power to come in us and enable us to do the unthinkable.

As my husband always says “Those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it.”  God doesn’t remove consequences or memories because they serve as security gates for us to remember the danger of walking without Him or making choices that separate us from Him.

If we forgot how much we hurt someone, we might easily hurt them again in the same way…. or at the very least, take them for granted.

If we forgot how much we’ve been hurt by someone and how God has empowered us to forgive them, we might easily cut ourselves off from everyone who has ever hurt us isolating us in a prison we don’t even realize we’re in.  Bitterness takes a root so deep that is changes our ability to truly love God or anyone else because hate and love cannot co-exist…we can’t curse and praise at the same time.

Learning to forgive is freedom.  Remembering the power in us to forgive is a refining tool to becoming more and more like Christ.

Learning to be forgiven is freedom.  Remembering the grace and mercy extended to us is a tool to seeing in the flesh a glimpse of what Jesus did for us on the cross for ALL of our sins and draws us closer and closer to him.

Both are needed in this life.

Satan may long to use this against us…. but we don’t have to let him.

We were made to be warriors.  We were told to put on our armor. We were commanded to go out into the world making disciples.

Want to be ready for Satan’s attacks?

Practical Application:

Make a choice right now that reminders of the past are just reminders to rejoice.

Train for attacks.  Be in the Word every day, Pray, and prepare for temptations (EXPECT them), so you’re never caught off guard.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 329 other followers