Tag Archive | forgiveness

Don’t Look Back

And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”  Exodus 16:2-3 (ESV)

Just as the Israelites did, continuing to live in the past can hold us back.  What the Israelites had in the past kept them in fear and they never made it to the promise land.  They forgot how God provided for them: escape from slavery in Egypt, a path, food, water and directions.

gaze

We all have a past.  If I could, I would go back and change some things. Many things.  I would also love the opportunity to apologize to a few people, but unfortunately I can not.

Glance back at your past ONLY to appreciate how the LORD provided for you and got you through.  Stay there only long enough to thank Him for His provisions.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word.  Thank You for guiding me and showing me how my past has shaped me.  Please forgive me for wasting so much time on things from my past that I’m unable to change.  Please forgive me for not being grateful for how You protected me during that time and how You provided for me.  Holy Spirit, please help me to forget the painful and sinful moments of my past, and please remind me not to linger when my mind wanders to my past.  Thank You, for releasing me from bondage and for a new start each day!  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen. 

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My Renovation Project

I am facilitating a study of “Taste for Truth” by Barb Ravling with about 50 ladies online.  This week we are focusing on appearance and renewing the mind.

My earthly father called me Fatty Patty.  I wasn’t fat.   He also called me dummy.  I’m not dumb.  I’ve carried those lies with me far too long in this life.

ephesians-4-22

I renew my mind by reading God’s Truth.  I can not do this on my own; I’m being extremely prideful when I try to make any renovations in my life on my own.

My earthly father passed away 13 years ago today.

I thought I would become free that day.  Free from having an abusive earthly father.  Free from worrying about the possibility of him hurting my children or grandchildren.  Free from his anger and hatred.  Free from the bad memories of my childhood.

My life did not change on that day because I was already free when I was accepted into the family of God. ❤  I have had a loving Father for almost 23 years now.  A Father Who has accepted me, Who doesn’t call me names and Who doesn’t hurt me.  A Father Who wants the best for me and Who doesn’t put me down.  A forgiving Father Who guides me in His Truth, Who lovingly corrects me, and Who shows me how to do better in this life.  A Father I willingly obey because He loves me, He cares for me, and He protects me.

I am who I am because of Christ, NOT my earthly father.  I am who I am because I’ve been forgiven.  I am who I am because I renew my mind with God’s Truth and do not pollute my mind with what the world says I should feel.

psalm-68

If you had an abusive father or didn’t have a father present in your life at all, you DO have a heavenly Father Who loves you and desires the best for you:

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Revelation 3:20 (ESV)

 

Being a Good Mother-in-Law


I married my husband at 21 and became a Christian at age 33.  I
never had a Christian mentor and could have used the help of an older Christian sister when my mother passed away when I was 42.   As I revisited the story of Ruth, I realized I want to be a better Christian mentor to my own daughter, daughter-in-law and to other Christian young women.

  If you’re unfamiliar with Ruth and Naomi’s story in the book of Ruth, Naomi had been a widow for 10 years when both of her married sons passed away.  Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem and since both of Naomi’s daughter-in-laws were Moabites,  Ruth instructs the childless younger women to return to the homes of their own people.  Orpah does, but Ruth insists on staying with Naomi:

 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”  But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.  Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”  And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
Ruth 1:15-18 (ESV)

Each time I read Ruth, I wonder what made Ruth decide to stay with her mother-in-law.   Was it her kindness?  Was she just feeling sorry for her?   Had Naomi been such a good mother-in-law that Ruth desired to go with her instead of going back to her Moabite people?

  I would only want to go with a woman who was kind and upright. As a child/teenager there was so much turmoil in my own family, so I didn’t have good examples.  I married into a Christian family, but I’ve only seen favoritism and badmouthing of ex-daughter-laws which made me bitter.  Rereading Ruth has shown me the kind of mother-in-law I would like to be and how God has directed me to be.

Titus 2:3-5 shows the responsibilities of females in the church body:

Titus 2

Here’s my list of rules for mother-in-laws.  Please feel free to share any advice/rules that have helped you in your mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship.

1. Pray for your daughter-in-law.
2. Always call ahead before visiting.
3. Do not be intrusive.
Don’t call too much, visit too much or do things without asking.
4. Don’t be critical of your daughter-in-law.
How she raises her children, keeps her house, her cooking, etc. is her business.
5. NEVER criticize your daughter-in-law to your son or other family members.
6. Do not gossip about your daughter-in-law.
7. Don’t show favoritism – this includes your own children, grandchildren, and other daughter-in-laws.
8. NEVER tell your grandchildren that their mom or dad is wrong.
9. Love and praise your daughter-in-law.
10. Do kind things for your daughter-in-law.
11. Always include your daughter-in-law.  Schedule special times with her, other daughter-in-law(s) and your daughter(s). Going out to eat or getting coffee together, a simple day of baking, getting manicures, etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
12. If your son divorces, be kind to your daughter-in-law, especially if there are children. She will ALWAYS be the mother of your son’s children. NEVER talk badly about an ex-daughter-in-law, especially in front of your grandchildren.

 

High School Can Be Painful

guard your heart 2

I didn’t think working in a high school could be so painful sometimes.

Most days it goes very well, with the students working on their assignments as they should or me successfully helping students with their algebra or science homework.

Then there are those days where I’m reminded of my own teen years.  

Walking down the high school halls occasionally takes me back to the reason why I preferred to be in school instead of home.  It also painfully reminds me of my own actions to others. 

I believe that today’s youth are more rude than when I was in high school because our society is selfish.  Most high schoolers do not have “filters”… they say EXACTLY what’s on their minds the moment a thought comes to them, and they do not give a hoot if it offends you, hurts you or disrupts the education of others.

While I like to think that I wasn’t as discourteous as teens today are, I know now I acted very hurtful towards many people.  I’m not in any way trying to discount my actions just because I had a bad home life — I just see now that I was only following the examples I had at home and that I was an extremely selfish person.

I once cussed out my favorite teacher when he was only trying to help me (could he have known what I went home to?).  I chose alcohol over my education.  I pushed people that I loved away.  I said and did mean things to the few friends I had and to teachers who tried to help me.  I even chose self-preservation over my siblings’ welfare, leaving home just as soon as I turned 18.

I have tried to apologize to some people — some have accepted my apologies and some have not.  Although it would be wonderful to go back in time to do things differently,  I have recognized that God is using these difficult reminders to show me how to be patient with children (ya, they are still children!) who are rude or unkind.  I need to guard my heart from my painful past, not dwelling on what I did or even what could have been had I behaved differently.  I also need to THANK God for helping me through those years, for the people He put in my path who made my life better, and for the lessons He taught me so I can now help others.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

A Heart at Rest

heart at rest

Something the LORD has been working on me since becoming a Christian 19 years ago is learning to trust people. Through the study, “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God”, I have learned that I can often be a very cynical person. I experienced some things in my childhood that often resurfaces a critical, unforgiving spirit in me.

I have found that I have an easier time forgiving a non-Christian than a fellow believer.  So what happens when a Christian hurts me or doesn’t act according to how God’s Word says we should act?  Sometimes I allow old ways of negative thinking to creep back in.

I’ve been out of sorts for the last few weeks and couldn’t put my finger on it.  I gave up Facebook and television so I’d have a week to concentrate on God’s Word and not the things of this world.

Sacrificial giving of money or things is easy for me.  I don’t have anything very valuable or cherished that I couldn’t part with because I realize everything in my possession actually belongs to the LORD.  Forgiveness has always been the hardest thing for me to give someone, and sadly, our adversary knows this about me.

“Try to see others as Jesus see them” is statement a college professor wrote on one of my papers 8 years ago.   When a friend or family member hurts me, I need to see them as Jesus sees them.  When a Christian acts contrary to what the Bible says, I need to see them as Jesus see them.  When I get irritated at the selfish actions of Christians and feel ready to give up on people, I need to see us as Jesus sees us.

Only Jesus was is perfect.  Humans are ALL still sinners, who will NEVER be sin-free while living this life on Earth (Romans 3:23).  I need to love others by giving them grace…the same grace that the LORD gives me.  I need to remind myself daily of this truth.  When I do, my heart is at rest.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.”  (1 John 3:18-19)