Tag Archive | Christianity

Forgiveness Is Hard – 4 Ways To Keep From Even Getting There

Feet in Sand

As I move along, slowly, in my quest to walk where God wants me to be and learn what God wants me to know, He has revisited with me the weighty matter of loving and forgiving others, and its imperativeness for experiencing the full power of His Spirit, and His blessings in my life, the full expression of His gifts 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, and the simple truth that if I claim to love God, I will love and forgive others.  1 John 4:20 

But, let’s face it, once I start harboring bitterness, anger, resentment, or even common annoyance against someone it is difficult to uproot.  It’s hard to even want to uproot it.  I am very comfortable in my annoyance with some people – and isn’t it funny how resentment begets resentment, or anger begets anger?  Because when I’m allowing annoyance with someone to fester, I just look for more reasons to be annoyed with them!  Happily tending my little garden of petty, ugly wrongs.  Blah!  So not a 1 Corinithians 13 attitude.

So instead of the yucky, painful, dirty work of pulling up all those thick-rooted weeds of annoyance, there are a few things that I do to keep from letting them grow in the first place.

1.  AGREE QUICKLY – PURSUE PEACE.

As much as you can, live in peace with all men.  Romans 12:18

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone . . . Hebrews 12:14

Agree with your adversary quickly . . . Matthew 5:25 

I love how the different aspects of God and His Spirit all fit together.  And here love, and forgiveness merge seamlessly with His teachings on peace.  When I am tempted to argue, or be un-righteously opinionated, or to have the last word, I remind myself that I am to seek peace first and foremost – not to be right.  Merely checking myself and reprioritizing my goals in a conversation avoid so many hurtful words.

2.  SPEAK YOUR MIND (when appropriate).

. . . be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you . . .  1 Peter 3:15

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.  Colossians 3:16

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God. 2 Corinthians 10:5

This may seem contrary to #1, but this is where some Godly discretion comes in.  It is not good either to say all that’s on my mind, or never to say anything.

Sometimes, when lead by the Holy Spirit, I must speak my mind – or rather God’s mind, and be a witness for His truths (in gentleness and meekness – 1 Peter 3:16).  When I fail to do this, it often leads me to bitterness and resentment as I re-live in my mind all the things I could have/should have said, and those things become warped in my mind into the things I wish I had said.

When I speak my mind in a God-fearing attitude, and then move on, I feel that – no matter how the other person responds, or what hurtful things they may say – I have done my part, and can leave it where it lies.  No bitterness, no resentment, no residual anger.  I have done what God asked me to do, and He will take care of the rest.  Several times a day a pray this verse – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD,” my strength and my salvation.  Psalm 19:14

3.  DONT LET THE SUN GO DOWN.

Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.  Ephesians 4:26

Pretty simple, huh?  I know that, no matter what, by the end of the day – even if a hurtful topic will have to be readdressed at a later date, even if I know the offender will re-offend, no.matter.what . . . by the end of the day, I must turn it over to God and let Him be God.  I have until I lay my head on my pillow (at least that’s my cut own personal cut-off) to get all the getting-over-it done with.  NOT easy.  But it is a lot easier than giving the devil the foothold and trying to yank up that ugly un-forgiveness later.  I have seen how toxic not letting go of the “little things” can make life.  And I am here to say that, for me, it is not worth it to sit in my comfortable chair of self-righteousness, surrounded by my cushions of undeserved wrongs.

4.  RE-FOCUS.

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing  2 Thessalonians 3:13

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think . . .  Romans 12:3

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

Whenever I feel the roots of resentment, un-forgiveness, or even a critical spirit creep in I re-focus on three things: (1)  I am not busy enough doing what God needs me to be doing if I have time for this nonsense. (2) I am very, very, very, very far from perfect, and if I’m gonna think about somebody’s mistakes, maybe it should be my own before pride maketh me a’fall.  And (3) Jesus DIED for me while I was still a sinner, when I didn’t even know that I needed His help.  So maybe I should cut other people just a little bit of slack too.  Maybe I should take all this free time I have to be hating on people, and think about THAT for a second.

I find that the more I walk in love and try to head off these hurts, and wrongs, and grievances in the first place, the less I have to forgive (or maybe I should say – the easier it is to forgive them before they fester), and the more I keep myself in God’s peace.

“Faith” is a Verb

Faith

I’ve been trying to learn a lot about faith lately.  And I have a lot of thoughts on it.

Faith is a noun. It means . . .

1.  complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2.  strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Pretty straightforward, right?

But what does it mean when Jesus tells us to have faith?  Well, to me it is a verb – an action within all of my other actions. When I think of faith I think of the scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where Jones knows that he is supposed to step out into the chasm, but he can’t see how he can do that and not fall to his death.  Trustingly, yet still fearfully, he takes the “leap of faith” and steps out, only to be caught by the path of stone that was there, but he couldn’t see.

I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who thinks of this.  As I searched for an image on Google, I found this amazing clip of that movie, set to the song “Walk by Faith” and overlaid with incredible verses.  I highly recommend it – here!

There have been a few times in my life where I felt like I had to do that.  I’ve been so glad I did every time.  And I’m thankful God gave me the opportunity to do it.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging a lot more on this topic soon.  But for now I’ll just watch the video a few more times, and revel in the fact that God is always there to support us in our walks of faith.

Photo credit here.

Liebster Award

liebster_award

I was so honored yesterday morning to have been nominated for my first award! The word liebster comes from the German, meaning beloved (That’s what my name means! I wonder if that means my name would be “Liebster” in German??), lovely, dearest, valued. It is given to up-and-coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.

I want to thank Tilly Hawkins for nominating me. You should check out her b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l blog at http://tillynailart.com/the-girl-behind-tillynailart/. I am blown away by the amazing art that she can put on the tiny tips of her fingers. But her blog is so much more than that. It is sweetness, and encouragement, and great reading too!

Now, in answer to Tilly’s questions:

1. Why did you start blogging?
I started this blog, because I saw God doing amazing things in my life. I mean, I have always seen Him do that – but in new and amazing ways. I began to see how truly everything I have I owe to Him. I began to see His amazing providence for me and my family on a daily basis, and feel Him moving in my life – spurring me on to bigger and better things. And I felt like I needed to shout it the world! I felt like I needed a platform to share some of these things, and other thoughts, with people, and to allow them to share back with me. You can read more about my reasons here.
2. If you could go to any three places in the world – one for a week, one for a month and one for a year, where would you go?
I would go to Hawaii for a week. I would go to France for a month. And I would go to England for a year.
3. If your life were a movie, who would play you?
I don’t really watch many movies, but I read a lot! And I would have to say I would be Dagny Tagart from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. (This isn’t really cheating – they actually made a movie from the book. LOL) Whether you agree with Ms. Rand’s philosophy or not, I love that character. She is strong and independent. But loves fiercely and truly, and never gives up on her dreams. My favorite female character of all time.
4. If you could spend a day with one person, living, or dead, who would it be and why?
It would be my Dad. He died when I was 19, and I have so many things I would like to tell him.
5. Describe yourself in three words.
Stubborn (I’m working on that), loving, smart.
6. What’s your happy song? (i,e. Can’t help smiling when you hear it)
It’s “Build Me Up Buttercup” by the Foundations, because it makes me remember a day I was riding in the car (I was about 20) with my mom and aunts, and this song came on the radio. My mom, who was driving, started singing lead, and so I started singing back-up, as LOUD as we could. And my aunts were looking at us like we were crazy! Good times. I miss living near them. I smile every time I hear it.


7. What do you want to accomplish in your life?
I feel like God is calling me to do something for Him – which I know sounds ridiculous, ‘cuz He calls all of us to do things for Him. But I feel like He is preparing me for something new in my life at this time, and I don’t know what it is – but THAT is what I want to do.
8. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Tough one! I think invisibility. I think. Maybe, flying. No! I don’t like heights. Invisibility. Yep.
9. When was the last time you did exactly what you wanted to do?
I’m a blessed person – I do this pretty much every day.
10. Who is the one person who can always make you smile?
My husband! Always, no matter what is going on. I love that about him. ❤

For my nominees – if you decide to accept, here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
2. You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you.
3. You must nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination.
4. You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

My nominees (should they choose to accept) for the Liebster Award are:
DeeJourney of a Fab Mom
Life and Loveliness 
Sacred Motherhood 
The Painted Rogue
Peace in the Pod 
Shining a Light in the Darkness
Lauryn the Magnanimous 
Cabin Pressure May Change
Not Quite Home 
Fi’s Mutterings

My questions for you are:
1. Why did you start your blog?
2. What is your favorite hobby or activity – one that really makes you feel happy and peaceful?
3. What is your favorite book?
4. Tell us something about you not many people know.
5. What was the most magical day of your life, and why?
6. Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?
7. What is your favorite childhood memory?
8. Describe yourself in three words.
9. If you could spend a day with one person, living, or dead, who would it be and why?
10. Who is the one person who can always make you smile?

I can’t wait to read your answers!

The story I don’t tell people, ‘cuz I’m honestly not crazy

Disclaimer:  I have, actually, told this story to very few people, mostly because I feel like they either won’t believe it, or they’ll think I’m crazy if they do.

God has given me lots of gifts.  I’m sure all of you would say the same.  When asked to list them people usually say God has given them: wonderful spouses, beautiful children, health, jobs, etc.  And I would be no different.  In fact, I believe everything I have is a gift from God.  But sometimes . . . every once in a while, He gives you something in such a way that stuns you.  It makes you think, “Wow, God.  I know you’re always here and all, but you just showed up right HERE and did that . . . for me.”  And it makes you warm and fuzzy, and it makes you realize He really is a Father to you – who likes to give you things just because He loves you.

Well, one day, God gave me this:

Copper Scrubby-Thing

Yep, one of those copper pot-scrubber-things.  And I treasure it.

I was in my early 20’s.  I was in a time in my life where I was really trying to draw closer to God, and learn more about Him.  After loosing my earthly father a few years earlier, and feeling that loss very keenly, I was trying to let God fill that void and really feel Him as my Heavenly Father.  And I was struggling with it.  I was also trying to be better about managing money.  I wasn’t bad at it – but I was in a phase where I was really trying to cut spending and impulse purchases.

Also, as you can read in my About Me, I love copper – pretty much anything made of it.  I think it’s just divine.  I’m not big into jewelry, or handbags, or very much of anything, for that matter, that a lot of women are into.  But anything copper catches my eye like a fishing lure to a bass.  And I have a nice little collection of things now, from kitchen gadgets, to art, to jewelry.  But at that time I was just beginning my collection.

So I was shopping at the grocery store.  And – I know you’ve seen them dangling along the sides of the cereal aisles – the little scrubbers were hanging in little individual packages, all bright in their coppery-goodness, and calling to me.  I had always admired them before, but never felt so strongly called to them as I did on this shopping trip.  I WANTED one.  And there was really no reason not to buy it.  I was not hurting for money at all, it was only a purchase of a couple dollars.  But as soon as I selected my coppery treasure and plunked it in my cart, I felt like I shouldn’t do it.  I needed to be disciplined, I thought.  It was the ultimate in “impulse purchases” – just the type of thing I was trying to avoid doing.  And so I put it back, congratulated myself on my proper choice, and didn’t give it another thought.

I bought my groceries, put them in the car, and drove home.  And as I came around the curve and approached my house I saw something in the road, something coppery looking, directly in front of my driveway. I shook my head in disbelief. Then I got out of the car, walked down the drive to the road, and just stood in the middle of the road while the cars drove around me and stared. It was a copper pot-scrubber-thingy – in the package nonetheless!!!! Say WHAAAAT?!?!?!

I really couldn’t believe it.  And this is where I expect people to totally think I’m crazy, or lying or both.  But I felt like God had plunked that thing down there just for me.  Like, wherever all that manna came from back in the day, there was a coppery pot-scrubber-thing up there too, and He let it fall there for me.  He knew I wanted one.  He saw me agonize over the decision.  He watched me put it back.  And He wanted me to have one.  It was actually a different brand, and nicer than the one I had just been looking at in the store.

What is amazing is that it’s not like He provided one for me two weeks later – this was immediately upon driving home from the store – less than half an hour later.  He didn’t give me an old one – like fell-off-the-back-of-the-garbage-truck old.  BRAND NEW.  In the package!  And He left no doubt in my mind that it was from Him – right in front of my freakin’ driveway!!

I picked it up like it was a newborn kitten and took it in the house.  And I set it on the counter and cried.  Yes . . . I cried . . . over a silly little object that’s purpose is to scrub scrambled eggs off my pans.

I have it still, obviously, and I’ve never used it.  It is a reminder to me that God is with me.  That He sees everything I do.  That He cares about all the little things in my life.  That – just like the good father that He is – He wants to give me nice gifts, even when they’re just little copper pot-scrubber things.

I’d love to hear about the little things in life that remind you of God’s presence and never-ending love.  I’d love to be inspired by your stories of times that God showed you He was there – in big or little ways.  Please comment below so we can revel in God’s grace together.

Zero to Hero Challenge – Day 3 “What’s on my mind.”

Day 3 of this challenge is to write the post that your originally had in mind when you started the blog. And, like many people, I have sort of already written it. What I had in mind was not one post, but a way to gratefully express all the wonderful things God is doing in my life, the ways He is meeting my family’s needs, the things He is showing me. So it is a work in progress.
I’ll just post a link here to my original – very first – blog post, which kind of expresses the spirit of my intention – that in the midst of this crazy, imperfect life there is always His Amazing Grace.

Calling All Christian Women . . . Let’s talk about sex.

please-do-not-disturb-beautiful-door-hanger

Yep, s.e.x.  Let me first say what I want this conversation to be and not to be.

1.  I want it to be an actual conversation.  I welcome all opinions and comments.  I’m not offended by the thoughts and opinions of others on this topic (or any topic for that matter).  And I know this topic is intensely personal – so I know that my thoughts and opinions are not for everyone else – and that’s fine.  I want us to really challenge our assumptions, preconceived notions, and listen to one another.

2.  This post is written with the intention of us Christian ladies coming together – as we are called to do – to encourage one another to be better wives, and more fulfilled women not to be gratuitous, sensational, gossipy, or divulge information that would make our husbands uncomfortable.

3.  Although this post is written by a woman, for women it comes with lots, and lots, and lots of information straight from not just one man, but many men’s perspective.  My husband (who, unlike many men, has noooooo problem being open and sharing his thoughts and feelings) is something of an amateur psychologist.  He loves talking to people and learning about them, analyzing why they do what they do.  And he has been the sounding board to many a man’s perspective on this subject.  While I’m more interested in the hearing from the ladies – if there is anything I have to say to the men it is this: TALK to your wives – openly and honestly – about your feelings, about which (hopefully) you have given considerable thought to beforehand.  There.  Done with the men – back to the ladies.

4.  I do not intend this to be an argument or debate about, or to pass judgment on specific acts, preferences, desires, etc . . .  I leave each person/couple to decide what’s OK for you.  Rather, it should be a conversation on the topic in general, things that hold us back from having the sex-life we should/want to have, and ways to overcome them.

Geez, I could write a book on this topic.  So it may be the subject of several posts rather than one.  We’ll see where it goes.  There are a million blog posts out there from a Christian woman’s perspective on making sure you give your best self to your husband, don’t just wear sweats around the house, how we shouldn’t always turn them down because we’re tired or “not in the mood.”  This is not that post.

This is a post to challenge you to go far beyond that.  This is a post that says you should be entirely comfortable with your husband on this subject – discussing every fantasy, using every word.  This is a post that says you should/can/deserve to be excited – like giddy excited – at the thought of sex with your husband.  This is a post that says you should be willing to step outside your comfort zone (within reason) to meet his desires, and be everything that he would like you to be – AND that you deserve the SAME from him.

My husband and I often ponder on how the topic of sex  in a marriage is either no big deal, or it’s a massive big deal.  Meaning, if everything is going well, and each person is content with the current “state of affairs,” the topic of sex is really like a non-issue.  But if someone is not happy it is a HUGE deal, and the sad thing is that if you don’t have openness and communication about it, the other person may never know – or not know until it’s caused all kinds of problems.  Sex is a regular topic of conversation between my husband and me.  But that takes work, and stepping out of the warm, fuzzy comfort zone.  I know it is not easy – and improving this part of your marriage, like any other, is a process.

But why don’t people talk about it more?  SERIOUSLY – this is not rhetorical – please weigh in here.  There are so many reasons.

Men don’t talk about it because men often just aren’t talkers (Fortunately, not a problem in my house).  Men (women too – but more often men) don’t talk about it because they are afraid of being judged by their spouses.

Women don’t talk about it because they’ve been made to feel that “ladies” don’t talk about it, because they’re embarrassed for whatever reason, because they’ve had bad experiences with it, because they’re just not interested in it, the list goes on.

Now – go back to my point #2 above – I don’t think this should be a topic just bantered about for sensationalism or gossip.  But couples should absolutely be completely at ease with one another one it.  I know sooooooo many women who aren’t even comfortable using basic, basic words in conversation with their husbands.  If you cannot look your husband in the eye and say “penis” with the same straight-faced, devil-may-care ease as you say “potato” something is not right.

Why don’t women talk about it with one another more?  As Christians we are supposed to lift each other up, encourage one another, support one another.  We counsel and console our sisters on everything from how to hold our tongues, to how to hold our babies to breastfeed – but sex is a taboo subject among many Christian women.

I have obviously only skimmed the surface here, and most of this post revolves around the common problem of a simple lack of communication.  But what do you think?

How would you like your sex life to be better?  Or have you made that journey from a stale, boring bedroom – to an exciting and adventurous one?  And how did you do it?  If your husband asked you to do something you never even considered before, what would your reaction be?  What should your reaction be?  What are the major roadblocks to a better sex life for you?  Is it lack of communication, being too tired, not being on the same page as your spouse?

I sincerely hope to hear from you. 🙂

Photo credit here.

 

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches . . .”

Proverbs22_1

Here we are on Day 2 of the Zero to Hero challenges: all about our blog name, tag line, and optional widget explaining a bit more about ourselves.  So all three of mine basically revolve around my appreciation of God’s amazing grace in my life.  I’m here to celebrate my journey through life, and share what God is doing in it.  I am constantly amazed at how He shows up every.dag-gone.day, good or bad, and He is always the same good God, and His promises are always true, and His mercies are always new.  And I’m just in awe.  So thus was born my blog name.

But I love the whole idea of names.  I love my name, which I elaborate on a bit in my About Me.  It’s Vida, and it’s Hebrew, and it means “beloved one,” which my mother chose especially because she wanted me to always know how much I am loved.  And it’s the feminine form of David, which was my father’s name.  And that helps me feel connected to him, because he died many years ago.

I love that God has always known our names.  Isaiah 43:1, John 10:3, Psalm 91:14  I think names are important to Him too.

I’m pretty pleased with my blog’s name for now . . . although my widgets could use some work.

Photo credit here.