Are we spending time with God?
If the answer is no what is our excuse?
Who do we not want to be?
How do we not want to behave?
Some people take claim to busyness in their life as to why they don't have time to connect with God. They continually shove God to the back burner of their life yet always seem to be in search of something undefinable and always yearn for a love that is never quenched. It takes self discipline to make the necessary time with God... we have to choose what goes on the front burner versus the back in life.
Saying "Yes!" To Hope...
Some will mistakenly claim that God could never love someone like them... as if they are too far gone and a hopeless case. Perhaps they've never realized that there is a love out there that is unconditional and pure... free from any agenda... God's love is the best ever.
"Hey God, I Need Help!"....
Some may only cry out to God when they find themselves down in a rabbit hole like Alice... wondering how to get out, ready for a magic solution so they can carry on, yet once out and back on steady ground they move on without so much as a "thank you God" in return. They walk away in pride and misguided self reliance.
Some may live their life with a misguided philosophy of "Ask for forgiveness not permission"... aka meaning they just do what they want (sin) let it all hang out, have fun in the sun and then at the eleventh hour before their last breath THEN request God's forgiveness. They may squeak into Heaven but will they have lived a life of joy?
But I Have "This Or That".... So I'm Off The Hook....
Some people may attempt to use a "get out of jail free" card because of Narcissism. Someone with Narcissism may erroneously believe that they are owed this or that, lacking empathy or showing it... differences due to a mental and or emotional state may certainly impact their life. But having these things doesn't let them off the hook in loving and serving others and walking a humble path. Likewise, a man or woman with Aspergers that involves a natural self-focus on their likes, desire and interests doesn't condone living a life doing just that… they must seek balance and have an interest in others.
God sees our struggles.
God sees our limitations, our capacities, our strengths, weaknesses, our mental and emotional limits, our damaged selves. He sees when we've inherited genetics that create more difficulties with staying in His word. He sees when we are struggling with the impulsivity and restlessness that goes with ADHD. Yet these aren't excuses to sin... Having ADHD isn't a free ticket to act out or fly the coop because the monotony of Monday through Friday is comparable to being stifled in a closet.
Believing But Not Pursuing...
When I was in my twenties I believed in God yet didn't pursue a relationship with Him. When I married my ex husband at twenty two I was adamant we get married in a church. It's amusing to me now to look back on that because I was so well intentioned but yet so incredibly misinformed. In my young naivety I truly believed getting married in a church would stamp my marriage with His approval and it would be blessed. It never once occurred to me that perhaps it might have been wise to have God in the marriage not just at the church. Not until after many years, two kids and a very stressful marriage did I see the true importance of this and how miserably lacking the union was in the spiritual sense. We can't expect to slap a bandaid on a situation later and expect it to work out if we haven't laid the proper foundation to begin with.
What was my excuse? None. Perhaps many contributing factors but no real excuse. If we believe in God who are we to then dismiss Him as if not having any true relevance in our life? Doing so leads us to a path that's not the best for us.
Injustice As An Excuse...
God sees when we feel jipped in life... when we feel wronged and if we believe we are owed something. We may try to justify our actions due to past injustices but these are zero excuse to push God away or commit sinful behavior. We may fail but we can turn to God in humble spirit and ask for forgiveness knowing His love is greater than any sin we commit.
God sees our busy days, our packed schedules and yet He would love to have a minute of our time... He would love to be included in our day, to be asked "What do you think about this, God?" Instead of us filling every waking minute with noise and media... the truth is... silence is golden. It's in those quiet moments that God can whisper "I've missed you." or "You need to apologize to this person..." or "Stop. Doing. That." ... whatever He is trying to tell us we can remember: His conviction is not to condemn, not to hurt but instead between each word He touches us with there within lies the weaved message of:
I love you.
That's a beautiful message to share with someone we love.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
I watched him carefully as he winced, his facial expression one of pain. It was a look I knew well and had known for years. I watched as he reached down to grasp his knee.
"It's going to rain tonight." I said quietly.
He looked over at me "It is?" He asked.
"Yea..." I trailed off. I glanced over at our son, waiting for him, so I could leave and head home. Above us, the evening sky was streaked with colors of salmon and dust blue from the setting sun.
"How do you know?" He asked me with curiosity.
I spoke without hesitation "Because your knee hurts." I told him.
He paused, looking at me first with quiet shock, as if I'd taken him off guard... that I remembered. Then his face broke into a smile... "Yeah..." He nodded, "You remember."
I nodded and briskly moved on.
Of course I remember.
It's hard to forget all the little things about someone you've known since you were nineteen and now thirteen years of (broken) marriage later... considering that means knowing this person nearly half a life... you don't forget it... or all the other little things about them overnight.
There is VALUE in someone knowing everything about you.
I wondered fleetingly if he realized that.
If he knew that.
If he missed that.
At the end of the day that was his buisiness not mine and internally I shrugged knowing regardless it really made zero difference now... it was a mute point. But I realized something... very defining in that moment... that I had noticed I'd been working toward for awhile but now it settled over me like a comforting shawl-like blanket around my shoulders.
I had lost the rage, the anger, the hate... slowly dissipating bit by bit in tiny increments.
It had been diminishing more and more with lots of prayer, reading God's word, His conviction...
I had reached a new destination in my journey of healing. It was freeing.
It was peaceful.
It was detachment.
And maybe a little pity for him.
By no means did this mean I would forget what he did in that I certainly wasn't going to open the door to hand out trust or invite unnecessary crazy in my life.Because unlike that song I don't want crazy calling me maybe. The best part was I didn't feel a need to fight. Fire doesn't need fire, it needs a strong spray of water. And a good exit plan so you don't get burned.
Instead I knew my boundaries. And it was what it was.... I didn't owe any explanations or soft peddling or compromising for the boundaries I chose. It was suddenly simple, so not complicated and all very matter of fact. Later that night as I listened to the thunder rumble... predictably rolling in, becoming closer as my children set up a board game for us to play and soon hearing the rain hitting the roof...
I thought of how much sin hurts families when poor choices are made that reflect a lack of value... appreciation... for the person who knows everything about you... every glance, look, pause and the silence that speaks between you. Some people would give their right arm to have that... to have that with someone because they are unhappily alone. I can think of nearly nothing better than knowing someone so intimately you finish each others sentences, you clasp their hand when you know they are struggling, you know just when to crack a joke to lighten the mood and when feeling beyond exasperated with them you turn the kitchen sink sprayer (true story) on them with a gleeful laugh along with it... only to be wrestled and tackled for it and get soaked back.
One day I will have that.
But better yet someone who appreciates it.
The opposite of love is not hate.
Hate requires as much energy if not more than love. It's a flashing sign of pain within. It's all-consuming. It's real and yet so not pretty. It's undeniably exhausting. It's boiling and acidic and makes you feel... feel awful... you waffle like a red light green light game between feeling justified and feeling convicted... knowing you need God more than ever before.
Peace can be yours...
Peace can be for each of us.
If we don't do but one thing today... one thing at all... let's tell one person who loves us, who we are blessed to know in our life, who knows everything about us...
how much we value them.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013
We tend to think of it as the end.
After all, Cinderella found her prince,
lived happily ever after and....
the story ended.
Novels and romantic films have so often led us to believe that when boy meets girl, they get married, consummate the marriage and inevitably it's the end of the road for those folks... with nothing left to look forward to and live for.
But this couldn't be further from the truth.
Marriage is the beginning.
The exchanging of "I do's" at the altar is a significant starting point for two people coming together in love. It's saying "I choose you this day and every day here forward. I choose to love you and give myself to you entirely. I choose to obey God and by doing so our marriage will bear beautiful fruit."
We begin with a pocketful of hopes and dreams, we dream of the simplicity of a quaint apartment, we save for the house with the picket fence, we picture ourselves sharing coffee over kids and a dog in a cheery kitchen adorned in finger paint art. We can see it with starry eyes and although we want to get there it's certainly not a final stop. Marriage is the beginning of a beautiful life to be shared... including many little beginnings... pockets of them like tiny treasures found along a shoreline in this journey we call life with the one we love.
The intimacy we share with the one we love in a marriage is unlike any we will ever find. We know this person's thoughts, grumbles, gripes, scars, warmth, joys, laugh, sorrows, losses, kindness, dreams, goals, scent, facial expressions... we know their silence... we know often just by their body language, a glance... or what they aren't saying when something is wrong or right. We see them at their best, worst and lowest and yet the ride continues... God uses marriage as a way to shape each one of us... to make us more like Him and less like the world.
We consummate our marriage and it's not a grand finale announced with streamers and horns but instead the beginning of a constant stream, a long river for us to ride, to float, to explore and delight in.... it's the beginning of many new beginnings to know this person initimately unlike any other on earth and to know they are ours and we are theirs... that together we are one and it delights God.
In marriage we choose again and again to forgive this person we married and this may be incredibly difficult to do when you live with them... when we are in such close proximity to one another... sharing a bathroom and a bed, it may often seem impossible or beyond daunting.... but God calls us to forgive. Because we are so undeserving of forgiveness ourselves yet God forgives us. It certainly doesn't mean we don't act like it didn't happen, however badly we were wronged... we don't stick our head in the sand, act like our spouse didn't do anything sinful, we don't lay like a doormat or even trust them anytime soon. Trust has to be earned bit by bit over time.
But we can still choose forgiveness also knowing it gives us peace and a chance to move forward. How do we know when our spouse is repentant? When a spouse is truly sorry for their hurtful actions they take responsibility and back it up with new actions to prove it, showing humility and love. It may take a long time to give them your trust again and at the end of the day it may not even be possible. Only you know depending upon your specific circumstances. But whether we choose to stay or move on... in that both being new beginnings... from a marriage we can still choose to forgive, squashing that fleshly desire to not.
Marriage is choosing everyday to obey God... to honor this person you've chosen to share your life with, for when we obey Him it consequently affects others for the better also.... beginning with the one we love and our children. Obeying God's word has a domino effect on our loved ones and each day we have a new beginning to do just that... to choose to turn from our old ways... alcohol, abuse, neglect, working too much and so much more to begin again.... to have a fresh start and walking in light not darkness.
A beginning of two people coming together... yet it's also a beginning for you... for each and every one of us... to chisel us bit by bit to become not what we wish but what God desires us to be.
That sounds like the best story ever.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2013