Saturday, December 20, 2008

Truth about Relationships and Then Some

Something that the Lord has been showing me over and over through my relationships this past year and by seeing other relationships encounter turmoil, division, or whatever else you want to call it is that we can not view those that have hurt us as our true enemy. We only have one true enemy and that is the Devil himself...well, and the flesh. Both of those things want us to believe lies about other people to gain ground over our thoughts and our "rights" that we think we have. I was reading in "My Utmost for His Highest" the other day and it was about how God uses circumstances to test our faithfulness to Him. We say God is in control of everything very easily when things are going well, but when things around us are falling apart that involve people, or something they have done, suddenly we believed it was caused by that person and then we can totally lose focus on who we should be focusing on. And then we start wanting to be in control of fixing the problem or taking matters into our own hands. Yes, people do things that are wrong or hurtful to others, but how are we to respond to that. Are we to continue to stake blame on them and be unforgiving and bitter toward that hurt, or are we to see it for what it is? Trust me, I've had my share of bitterness, unforgiveness, and sometimes hatred over people who have hurt me and it did nothing but made me miserable. The Truth is God still in control, even when we think we are. Either he allows or orchestrates things to happen for a higher purpose than what our angry, hurting flesh is willing to see. The enemy doesn't want us to see it that way though so he starts putting thoughts in our head about that person or those people that have hurt us, and even about God, therefore keeping our eyes off of of Who we need to have them on. Remember, God had good will toward us, and if God caused or allowed this to happen, then He did for our own good. It may not make sense right away, but we will always be able to look back and learn from it if we are willing. We have to fix our eyes on God who has either caused or allowed this to happen for a higher purpose. And the only way to come out of it in the right position, is to depend completely on the One who ordained this situation in the first place. When we feel we are in a battle with someone, we need to look beyond that person and into the spiritual realm, and see who are battle is really against. Remember, "our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers and rulers of this dark world". If we could believe that folks, how many people would we have spared unforgiveness toward. Let's fight our battles the way God calls us to, and start rebuking the enemy and not our brothers and sisters in Christ. God is on our side and knowing that He is not just on our side individually, but on "our" side as children of God as a whole. That person may see you as their enemy too but that is just them believing the same lie you are. So that is when you need to pray for them to see things clearly as God does. Whoever it is that has hurt you, or even continues to hurt you, start going to the Throne of God on their behalf and claiming that God is for you both and Has a beautiful plan for your lives. And it also requires surrendering what we want out of that relationship and asking God to reveal what He wants. And then patiently allowing Him to accomplish it in His's tough but not impossible.
The biggest breakthrough I think Tim and I have had in our relationship recently is realizing that we are not each other's enemy. I believed too long without even realizing it that Tim was out to make my life difficult. But little did I know that he was believing the same thing about me...ha! Who was behind that? Uh..huh! The truth is we are not out to get each other and have no ill will toward each other in the grand scheme of things. We have said hurtful things to each other or even done hurtful things to each other, but really when it comes down to it, we didn't want to do that. It was an "in the moment" time of weakness that we regret. The only person that wanted to tear us apart was the enemy himself. And God was finally able to pound it into us after a difficult season that we had to go through, that He is on our side together, He is for our marriage, and as long as we believe the Truth of His Word over each other instead believing the lies that we have for so long, we will be ok. And things have been monumentally better since then. But it's a daily thing. We have to take every thought captive, EVERY thought, EVERY the obedience of Christ. Which means we ask ourselves in every situation "is this thought from God, myself, or the enemy"? If your answer is anything but from God, than you rebuke it and replace with something that God would have you think about that person, even if you have nothing to work with. Just speak a blessing over them, even if you don't feel it, just do it. There is power in that...and the results will follow in your favor.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blessings from Above

First of all, I want to say "Thank You" to my dear friend, Liz, for mentioning me for a blog award. How sweet of you to do that. It has been quite a year and I have not been as good about posting on here as I used to be. I get to where I have so much to say that I don't know where to begin or what to talk about so I just avoid it altogether sometimes.
So me not blogging doesn't mean there's nothing to say...LOL! There's just too much sometimes and I don't take the time to jot it all down. But I feel with it being the Christmas season, that there is nothing better to do than to say thanks to Jesus for all the blessings that He has given me in my lifetime. It is a thank offering to Him to celebrate His birth and His life that He has given so freely to us. And with it being a difficult year for my family financially, I have been forced to find all the things I have already been blessed with, and to be thankful and greatful for all the un-material things God has given me. And for that I am thankful, because I have felt more full this year than ever before.

Thank you Jesus for:

1. My husband- for the love and friendship that is growing between us, and for continually holding our marriage into Your hands. Thank you for making Tim a man after Your own heart and for never letting him go. Thank you for the amazing father that You have made him to be for our girls. You knew what you were doing when you joined us together 11 1/2 years ago and I know there so much more that you have planned for us. Thank you for the gift of your promises and hope for our life together...and thank you for fulfilling your promises for our life.

2. Hannah - what a beautiful, sweet, loving daughter she is and I am so excited about the things you are doing in her life right now. Thank you for giving her a heart to reach out and disciple her lost friend and for the amazing letter that she wrote us in her journal. That was a gift that will never be forgotten. Thank you for answering my prayers when I pray that my children would first and foremost learn to love you with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. And thank you for loving them more than even I can. I pray that you show us how to raise her in a way that she will have a love relationship with you that lasts her lifetime during her journey here on earth.

3. Faith - I prayed for 2 years for this little girl when we were wanting to have our 2nd child. Though the waiting was hard, she came in your perfect timing and she has become such a tender-hearted, loving, and compassionate little girl and brings so much joy to our lives. I pray for her to know that our love for her will never waver no matter how much or little she sees it, and that she will find her true identity in You and You alone. I give this child to you and ask that you would meet her every need from the inside out and help Tim and I to know how to help her cultivate a lasting love relationship with you.

4. Rebekah - What a wonderful unexpected blessing this child is, who came at a time when we thought our family was complete. But you had other plans and now I just can't imagine life without her. She brings such life and joy to our family that I can't describe. I love that she needs the quality time that I love having with her. And that she is so affectionate and embraces every happy moment we give her. She has a smile and presence that lights up a room and brings such laughter to this family that we wouldn't have without her. I pray, Lord, that you would use Rebekah's vigorous and captivating nature to shine Your light to others. That people would be drawn to her because of her love for You, and because your love flows through her to others. Inhabit her heart in a way that is real and contagious, and that she will never want to run from you all her days of her life.

5. Mom and Dad - Words just aren't enough to describe the blessings that come from having such loving, giving, caring parents. My dad has become a patriarch of our family and has shown a love for us that will never be forgotten. My mother is such a selfless, sacrificial giving person and is truly one of my best friends. And you just can't put a price on that. Thank you, Jesus, for putting me in the family that you did and that we have been able to grow in our love for each other over the years instead of grow apart like so many families do. I pray that you will continue to grow our relationship with each other and that there will be lasting blessings that come from our family for generations to come. Create a bond of peace, joy, and love for you that can not ever grow old or weary.

6. Matt and Shelly - I am so greatful for my brother and "sister". Though my relationship with Matt hasn't always been the closest, that doesn't change how much I love him and believe that he was placed in my life for a reason. I hope that our relationship can grow from here on out and that we can find common ground in ways we never knew we could. That would be such an extra special gift from above.
Thank you God for Shelly. She has been such a an awesome addition to our family over the years and I am so blessed to call her my sister I never had. And I love her desire for You in her life. She inspires me and I hope and pray that our relationship would grow and mold into something more than we could imagine. She is considered one my best friends and though we don't see each other as much as we'd like, I pray our bond does not go away and actually grows stronger because of your place in our life.

7. My friendships - I tried listing them all but I'm too scare of leaving someone out, so I'll just say that I would not be where I am today without my amazing sisters in Christ. Every one of them that has been part of my life, whether big or small, has been a huge impact on my walk with the Lord and has poured so many blessings into my life that I really am just too overwhelmed to list. I have learned this past year that I can't take any friendship that I have for granted and that God in his sovereignty and provision, very intricately places each person in my life for a reason and I hope that I can be to others what they have been to me. I hope and pray that what has been poured into my life by my Lord and Saviour through my friends and sisters in Christ, can be poured out of me to them all a hundred times over. Thank you, Jesus, for friends. What a blessing from above.

8. My family in NY- I have grown more and more greatful and blessed by all of the family I have away from home. I am so blessed by our visits with them every time we go up there and whenever they make it here. I have grown to miss them more and more over the years. I pray especially for Becky, Beth, Scot and the Waters family during this time of year as they are missing Mike. I pray that this will be a year that they can say that You were still present in their lives even in the midst of their sorrow. I pray that they can find the joy and hope that only comes from You and that they can find the hope in Your promises for their lives. Thank you for the blessing that they are to me. I love my family in NY.

9. The Christmas carols that my children are currently singing to me as I'm typing. It's the sweetest thing ever and a gift (don't worry, I stopped and watched them).

10. Giving Yourself to us - You left the heavenly realms and walked in our shoes for 33 years to bring good news to the poor, and to give your life sacrificially so that we may have a love relationship with you for eternity that we couldn't conjure up on our own. You rescued us from eternal death and gave us eternal life. You love us the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow no matter how sinful or wretched we are. Your unabashed love for us is something that no material item can match. What I want for Christmas is for every knee to bow and every tongue to confess that you are Lord over all the earth. That we realize that you are the reason we walk, breathe, and exist on this earth. I pray that our lives will reflect your glory this Christmas season and that your light will shine in a way we've never experienced before.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

May this Christmas season bring you more of Christ than ever before, my friends. For He is our ultimate Gift.