It’s MY plank?????

17 Jul

I was lied to last week.

I suppose I can’t be sure by who since three people are involved. But I got three different stories.

Two of the three I am 95% positive are the ones who were being untruthful and yet, I gave them both the freedom to say the truth without any ounce of pressure or disbelief on my end whatsoever and still, they chose to lie.

I’m not angry they lied.  They were both trying to cover for another person.  I’ve been there.  I get it.

But the irony is so thick and so heavy… I can’t escape it.

Irony?  Yes, irony.  These two people made me carry a cross that was so heavy, no one person could have ever carried it and survived.  I didn’t survive.  I died.  I fell all apart.  I couldn’t forgive myself. I couldn’t accept the past, present or future.  I didn’t know how to function without constant fear of confrontation and rejection.

You see, I had told a couple silly insignificant lies almost 15 years ago…. and I couldn’t be forgiven.  I could never be trusted again.  I was deemed unlovable and unbelievable on any account.  I was mocked and gossiped about and labeled “THE LIAR”

All the while, I was very aware that they were lying about so many things.  I tried on some occasions to confront the situation, but it was pointless.

I actually tried the gossip train.  The revenge train.  The forget about them train. I rode every train…. right until I jumped on the crazy train.

And then God stepped in.  In all His glory He changed me from the inside out.  He gave me my life back.  Freedom. Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. Hope. Faith.

And He changed everything.

Today, I have no hard feelings whatsoever. When Satan has his hands on things, it’s suffocating, intoxicating and he puts on a death grip.  I don’t blame anyone. Sin is engrossing and blinding.  There is no one to blame for that but Satan himself.  The accuser, liar, thief and demon.

However, the irony is just causing me to do some self reflecting—

Bitter or Better?

Here’s the truth:  this isn’t a finger pointing game.

Satan’s schemes are never singled out for one person only.  His deceit is playing the same games on all of us.

What blinders do I wear?  What don’t I see about myself?

1.) What negative qualities or characteristics do I naturally see in others?

2.) Is there a reoccurring fault I find in multiple people or one person I have constant interaction with?

3.) Do I grow angry or disgusted when a certain behavior is discussed?

4.) Do I feel proud or judgmental toward people who do these behaviors I don’t like?

5.) Do I minimize any time I’ve ever done these behaviors?

Ding, Ding, Ding…. we have a winner Johnny.

That glaring quality I detest (for another post someday), just might be present in my own life.

Hence the verse, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)

qualities

It’s so easy to see the faults in others.  And so hard to see our own.  Until we realize one day that the faults we see in others usually are our faults, and that’s why we hate them so much.  We just need to own them; instead of minimizing them in our lives and magnifying them in others.

Practical Application:

How do your answers pan out to the five questions above?

What do you see in the mirror?

Any planks?

I wish you just…..

7 Jul

I don’t think there is ever a happy ending in marriage from the words “I wish you just….”

 

It’s easy to go there. Satan desires us to go there and he’ll lead us there at every turn.

I wish you just…..

didn’t nag me

let me go out with my friends more

helped around the house

didn’t spend money on junk

liked what I like

talked more respectfully to me

prayed with me

surprised me

thought I was funny

spoke my love language

enjoyed the same recreations I do

liked sports

didn’t use swear words

would be more free in the bedroom

desired me

liked holding hands in public

 

—-

 

I mean I can go on for hours for both men and women right?

 

For what though?  Premeditated resentment later?  Division?  Anger? Doubt? Confusion? Temptation that someone else or something else would be better?

Check, check, check, check.

I wish you just…. always leaves us feeling like we would “finally, truly, completely be happy, accepted and loved if so & so just did such & such.”

Would we?

I’ve wanted my husband to change in a lot of areas.  And he has, without a doubt.  But my, “I wish you just” list just keeps growing and changing.

He can’t win.

That’s the truth right?

I wish you just …. were perfect.

That’s the bottom line.  I want perfection. And not perfection for any standard accept my OWN standard of perfection.

I wish you just… is so selfish because it’s desiring (dare I say, DEMANDING) your every desire be met.

Every temptation in the book will look appealing because it’ll appear like perfection… until I have it.  And then, it’ll be revealed as nothing more than a false reality.

I personally believe divorce happens because of “I wish you just” lists.

Instead of, “I’m so thankful you…” lists.

How about it?

Can you make an “I’m thankful you” list today and rip up the “I wish you just” list?

Practical Application:

Take control of your lists.  I wish you just, comes easy.

I’m thankful you lists take intention.  That’s why marriage takes work.  What kind of a list do you want your spouse to make about you?

 

Sarcasm – friend or foe?

4 Jul

Testing, Testing?!?!
Is this thing on?

Wow friends…. if any of you are left.  I haven’t wrote anything in like 6-7 weeks.  I’m sorry to my faithful readers.  I’ve been so busy. 

And….

the whole truth is that I’ve struggled to have anything to write about.

It’s been a hard season for us.  And sometimes, it takes everything you’ve got just to bear through it… and I literally felt like it’d take too much energy to write a single word.  I didn’t need any reason to think more about the things I was going through by writing about them.

Normally I’m all for sharing your heart in the heat of the battle instead of just when it’s all over as a nice, pretty testimony…. but I couldn’t speak.

So here… today…. this will be short and sweet but I wanted to let you all know – I’m here! I’m not sure how often I’ll be writing right now, but I am still alive :)

I read an article the other day that, dare I say this….?  Pissed me off.

Sorry, but to say, made me a little angry doesn’t nearly do it justice.

I’m so sick and tired of people making their cases and arguments for something based on the cruelty of sarcasm.

Speak about facts.

Speak about feelings.

Speak about gender differences.

Speak about hardships.

Speak about personality conflicts.

But for crying out loud, do it in a manner that honors our fellow human race.

I don’t care how strongly you disagree with someone, they are still created in the image of God and whether they are trapped in sin, or walking as a beloved child of the promise…. they have feelings, struggles, beliefs, temptations, and ideas that they carry as a weight on their back just like the rest of us.

So, because we feel differently, or don’t struggle with something— we’re called to mock the other person?

How dare us.

That disgusts me.

If I have to go to one more women’s event where they trash talk their husbands, I might never hang out with crowds of women again.

Does degrading men for their faults or difference behind their backs build up our marriages and help us bare through the tough stuff?

Or might it just fuel our pride that we’re right, they are wrong and they are stupid, grown children that we have to mother along with our other children at home?

Because THAT is what sarcasm does.

Sarcasm doesn’t prove any points.  EVER.

The purpose of sarcasm is to belittle someone else with tongue in cheek humor that gives us a rush of pride…. “HAHAHA, we’re so right and that stupid, ignorant other group of people is pathetically wrong… idiots.”

Sarcasm does three things:

1.) Shows animosity for others’ feelings and beliefs while puffing up our pride
2.) Causes division and hurt
3.) Fuels the flames of an argument or debate

Those who love their neighbors speak with gentleness and self control.  They respect others’ feelings and treat them with kindness and love.  Even when they disagree they promote peace and work to restore joy.  They cloth themselves in patience and goodness always trying to make decisions that put other’s above themselves, instead of trampling someone beneath sarcastic remarks elevating their own feelings or beliefs instead.

See the trend? They have all 9 fruits of the spirit in their life and they utilize them through the power of the Holy Spirit working inside them.

Sarcasm is not a fruit of the spirit. No one will ever be won to another side, especially in the name of Christ, with sarcasm.

So why use it?

If our goal is to hurt someone else and puff your chest with pride at how we’re so much better than the other person or group… then by all means, keep right on being sarcastic.

But if we love our husband, kids, family, church, or even just HUMAN KIND

ditch the sarcasm.

Win them with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control bearing with them in all things.  And putting off things that might make them stumble, while raising them up above our own feelings.

Practical application:

1. Stop being sarcastic.

2. Start using the fruits of the spirit as my basis for arguments, disagreements and personality conflicts.

3. Treat others as greater than myself.  “For the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve.”

What kind of friend are we?

19 May

It occurred to me while talking with my son about sharing with some friends a decision our family has made that they may not like, we have some growing to do in the area of friendship.

How to be one, and what qualities we’re really looking for in a friend.

And I have to say…. I think our first two natural responses might be off the mark.

Most people when asked…. “what quality do you cherish most in a friendship?” they reply “trustworthy.”

Ok, don’t misunderstand me… trust is needed and a GREAT quality.  But do we want trustworthiness for the right reasons?

I wrote this out the other night to a friend sharing my heart and it’s still on my mind.

So…I’m just thinking out loud here but what if we held ourselves more accountable for our actions instead of blaming our friends for not keeping all our dirty laundry quiet?

What if we put in place a standard that took away the depth of all our secrets that weren’t really secrets but things we shouldn’t be doing? An accountability measure that said “If I’m afraid someone is going to find out I said this, or I did this….then I shouldn’t be saying it or doing it.” Not one that says “How dare she/he tell someone what I said about someone else?”

What would the world look like if we taught our children that finding good friends is not about finding the best secret keepers…. but about finding the people with the least amount of secrets they hold a noose around our neck to keep quiet for them? Or actions to cover up for them?

I think we have become a people of friend jumpers because we want to be able to get away with gossip and secret lives without anyone else finding out about it. And then we blame everyone else if we end up exposed.

If we aren’t the kind of friend who has anything negative to say about others, then our friends become safe and secure with us building true intimacy and security.  They long to honor our friendship, and won’t blab true secrets that need to be kept.  Especially… because we’re telling those things to people who mimic the same standard…. if they aren’t blabbing about others, they likely won’t blab about us.

Lets be the kind of friends who don’t need to add “Don’t tell anyone I said that.” to the end of our sentences and then we won’t be disappointed if people struggle to keep quiet.

 

Women especially take on the label “catty” and often times, rightly so.  That label comes from speaking gossip, inability to refrain from repeating gossip, a fallout from distrust, and a grudge against another person.

Any secret that needs kept about ourselves first and foremost should be selectively shared with only those who are righteous in the way they relate to us and about others to us.

Practical Application:

What kind of friend am I?

Do I gossip about others?

Do I have a lot of negative opinions about things?

Do I say or expect the phrase to be assumed “don’t tell anyone I said that?”

Am I holding a grudge against someone for throwing me under the bus when really… I had no business saying what I said in the first place?

Am I a friend jumper because I’ve been untrustworthy or I tell secrets to untrustworthy people?

Don’t wrong us.

14 May

Oh friends — I’m so, so busy this time of year.

BASEBALL season is upon us.  And this year, I have TWO boys playing in SEPARATE leagues.  We are running to practice and games 5 or 6 days a week.  We eat supper either at 4:30, or have a snack at 4:30 and munch at the games and eat again at 8:30 -9:00 when we roll back in the house.  It’s chaos most nights… but we’re all making the most of it and adjusting the best we can.

Every year something happens to me when I watch my son(s) play baseball.  I feel like that gentle and quiet spirit I try so hard to cultivate all year long… it leaves me.

Not only do I get excited about the game and love cheering for my boys, I somehow start to take the game personally.

I feel frustrated when our boys mess up, only because I know their talent and I feel their own frustration when their bodies seem to fail them in the moment.

But more than that, I get incredibly worked up when the coaches of my boys’ teams and the coaches of the other teams behave in a manner that degrades the children, the lessons being taught, or the game.

This week, my son (in the 7 & 8 year old league) played a team who beat them 19-0 in 4 innings.

Mind you, in our town… they go from t-ball to 7 & 8 league so this is their very first year of playing the game with real rules.  They are learning that there are three outs, the difference between forced outs and tagged outs, how to make good throws and catch the ball, and how to run the bases. Everything is new!

This other team decided that if our team dropped the ball or had a bad throw, instead of taking advantage of one extra base, they ran 2 or 3 extra bases every time – including sending kids home to run up the score.

When our 7 year olds were batting, they had their infielders move all the way in so they were almost all playing around the pitcher’s mound so if our kids did hit the ball, there was no way they could actually get on base.

And it’s coach pitch, but their coach would pitch but then stand in the middle of the field so our kids had to try to see and play around him, instead of running out of the way once the ball was hit and let the kids play the game.

I won’t even mention the foul ball that they called fair, the kid they let score while their coach was holding the ball, or the way their fans cheered like this was all appropriate and spectacular.

I was mumbling under my breath, texting a friend, and biting a hole in my tongue.

I wanted so much to say something.  How dare they?  Don’t they see how wrong they are?  Don’t they care that they are degrading and hurting our kids?  Don’t they feel any sense of moral responsibility to teach all kids to play the game when they are 7 & 8 years old?  Do they really think they deserve cheers and a pat on the back for their behavior?

And then I thought long and hard the whole next day about my personal anger.

A huge part of me wants to call it righteous anger and justify anything I do with that anger.

And yet… I’m thinking about some other applications.

Am I this moved over true righteous anger?  Do I defend Christ like I defend my son’s baseball team?

 

Or …. more than that…..

 

Am I this angry over my own sins?

Do I ask myself the tough questions? ….  Am I as mad at myself when I let pride lead my actions as I am at others?

What would I answer if I repeated this same confrontation to myself:  “How dare I?  Don’t I see how wrong I am?  Don’t I care that I am degrading and hurting our kids?  Don’t I feel any sense of moral responsibility to teach all kids? Do I really think I deserve cheers and a pat on the back for my behavior?”

Practical Application:

What really do I have to say for myself?

Motherhood journey.

12 May

You're going to be a momJayden is a boyJayden is hereDear Mom024Expecting LincolnLincoln is a boyLincoln026Miscarriage 1027Miscarriage 2Miscarriage 3028Am I brokenpregnant with jaxon029030Jaxon032Dear Deb034Marisa on the way035TeachersMarisa037041009004To every mom

It should read “every” and “piece”  — please forgive the typos.

 

Happy Mother’s Day.

It’s not happening like you said….

6 May

I’m spending some time this morning reflecting on Job.  I often reference the first three chapters of that book when I’m feeling a little “woe is me.”

However, I’ll be real honest… I struggle reading chapters 4-42.  They seem to drag on and on and ON and ON with these ramblings from Job’s friends and from Job, all the while, he’s in miserable pain.

I can’t claim to know anything of Job’s life.  If there is one thing I can guarantee you, it’s that God has never looked down and said “Satan, have you considered my servant Kayla?  There is no one on earth like her; she is blameless and upright, a woman who fears God and shuns evil.”

It’d be awesome if I fit that bill, but I just don’t.

And yet, something is really compelling about the story because since I KNOW that I don’t measure up to Job, I feel even more like the hope for a righteous future with Christ (be it on earth or in heaven) is made clear for all of us.  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Because sin entered the world and Satan is able to walk around tempting and devouring people. But that’s not the end of the story.

Last Saturday (1 1/2 weeks ago) I was helping my husband do yard work and I got some bad scrapes and marks looking similar to hives on my arm.  I didn’t think too much of it, because it seemed to have come from these pine needle bushes we were tearing out.

By Tuesday, it was a different story.  It was itchy and in a few more spots.  And, my husband was getting it.  He knew immediately it was poison ivy (sumac or oak… SOMETHING poison!) He’s had it a hundred times, I however, never have before.

By Thursday I had tried every at home remedy.  Apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, fels naptha soap.  It wasn’t helping at all.

I turned to facebook and asked my friends for help.  I got a long list of suggestions.  I tried them all, well except for pouring bleach on it, because I didn’t want all the nasty scars (although now I’m going to have them anyway.) In fact, I had two people who swore that Zanfel (an over the counter wash costing $35) was pricey but would clear it up in minutes. MINUTES she promised!!!!

I rushed to the store.  The first application eased the itching slightly for a little while but it came back.  So I tried again.  I tried 5 times and ended up awake in the middle of the night between Friday and Saturday, crying in pain over the sink in the bathroom scrubbing and clawing away at my arms.  I contemplated getting a knife and trying to scape as much of it off as possible.

I was in agony, and I felt like all my friends had somehow let me down.  They didn’t do anything on purpose and I wasn’t really mad at them at all or anything like that… but I felt like they offered all this beautiful relief, and yet… I was left totally empty and in pain.

And there it is.  Job.  The ramblings of his friends desperately trying to “help” him find a reason, a remedy, a resolution to his problem… and they all left him empty.

Saturday morning I went to the walk in clinic and the doctor walked in, looked at my arms for 2 seconds flat and said “Wow, that is worse than I thought it would be.  It’s in your blood stream.  Normally I do a shot or pills, you have to have both!”

I asked the nurse, how long until relief…. she said give it at least 12-24 hours.  Guess what folks, it’s been 70 hours right now after a cortisone shot, 12 steroid pills, 12 Benadryl pills and I’m still miserable.  I might be slightly less willing to use a knife and claw up my arms… but I can’t say I’ve found “relief” yet, that’s for sure.

So let’s get deeper here.  My poison ivy can only be hidden under a long sleeve shirt, however, I can’t truly hide it.  It’s on the outside of my body.

But most poison isn’t so obvious to others.  Some poisons eat away our insides slowly, all the while on the outside – we look fine.

In fact, sometimes, we try to talk about our poison only to hear a long slew of “this is all your need to do” from our friends, family, church members and yet, when we attempt to apply their at home remedies — we feel lied to, let down, and misunderstood.

“They can’t possibly know what is going on with me. There is no way this worked for them.  Sure, her life turned around when she did xyz, but she isn’t married to the same man *I* am married to. If it were only as simple as ‘just stop.’”

Do you feel like there is a secret poison eating away at part of you and no one else really understands, sees, or has dealt with like you are?  Do you feel like everything everyone has ever offered has been nothing more than a false reality? Do you secretly want to take a knife and dig away at the broken, empty, hurting, burning, gnawing, nagging poison in your veins that is causing you so much misery?”

Practical Application:

Poison is intimate.  It knows exactly how to attack and shut down your system.  And it may not attack your system like someone else’s system.

There is only one remedy for poison.  Christ.

I’m not suggesting we never talk about what eats us — it’s good to bring light to poison.  What is exposed loses power just because it’s not in the darkness anymore.  BUT – talking about poison isn’t the cure.

Christ is the only cure.  He knows your body because God the father MADE YOU.  He knit you together in your mother’s womb.  He knows exactly what is going on and has the real golden ticket to sweet relief.

But you have to go to Him.

 

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