Faking Forgiveness

If there’s one thing I struggle with, it’s  forgiveness.

 

Of course I can forgive a person for calling me a name, or borrowing my favorite shirt and not giving it back. But, it’s the deeper things that crush my spirit so easily that make forgiveness seem nearly impossible.

I am currently reading “The Storm Inside”, by Sheila Walsh – totally an amazing book for women. It has a pretty self-explanatory title.. it’s about the storms inside of us that are hard to face, but as Christians we have to. As I read through the chapters, taking countless notes if I must say, I seem to always flip back to chapter three on forgiveness. 

 

Just a quick, little insight on who I am as a person.

I am very simple, so it is very easy to make me happy. But in the same breath, I am also a very sensitive person. I could be laughing one minute at a joke Amy Poehler said on Parks and Rec, then a second later I will be getting tears in my eyes because of those heart-wrenching Sarah Mclachlan commercials. Those poor animals..

Since I am highly sensitive.. I have a tendency to turn small things into big deals. And it is something I don’t mean to do. It’s just when something is said or done, I take it personally, and every time my heart breaks a little more. Most of the time I don’t like confronting those feelings, because deep down I know I am wrong. But since I don’t confront them, my feelings build up until I explode. (I do not suggest trying that at home).

I have been hurt by a lot in this passed year. By people who mean the world to me.

I have been told things a woman shouldn’t hear. I have been called names any person should never be called. The trust that I have developed for certain people has been torn down, built back up again, and then completely diminished because of something that has been done. I have been pulled down by those evil things that have been burned into my heart for way too long.

But it seems like every time I forgive those people and let go of the hurt, something happens again that tears me right back down again.

I have now gotten to the point where I have realized forgiveness isn’t for letting the person who has hurt me “off the hook”. It’s about me and God.

Matthew 18:21-22 says, “Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied. “but seventy times seen!”‘

Sometimes I don’t even want to forgive once, but God is telling me to forgive the same person 490 times.. wow.. that is a bunch of times.

In “The Storm Inside” Shelia tells us what forgiveness isn’t.

Forgiveness does not say that what the person did was okay; people do many things that are far from okay.

Forgiveness does not mean that you have to continue in a hurtful relationship with someone who has harmed and will continue to harm you.

Forgiveness is not burying your head in the sand and pretending the offense never happened.

Forgiveness is not denying the pain.

Forgiveness does not mean we don’t take the wrong seriously.

 

So.. what does it mean?

“More often than not, forgiveness means dragging our will and our feelings to line up with the will of God, as an act of obedience.” (p. 44)

Sometimes it really doesn’t sound like fun, but in the end God rewards us for being obedient to his word. “Forgiveness is not about removing someone else’s liability, but about setting our own hearts free.” (p. 51) That’s so beautiful to me. It’s about bringing the debt and debtor to God. It’s about actually forgiving someone with our whole hearts.

It reminds me in a sense of my favorite story in the Bible found in John, where Jesus says, “Whoever has not sinned may cast the first stone.”

We’ve all been on the opposing side of the forgiveness court. Some in bigger ways than others. But we all have longed for the taste of forgiveness in some way.

Tonight I just pray for each and every one of us to truly find peace in our hearts and our minds with the people that we need to forgive. It is such a more beautiful and enjoyable life when we can forgive a person who has hurt us with our full hearts and forget the pain that they have caused us to feel. Refusing to forgive puts us in direct rebellion against God.

Write down on a piece of paper everything that is hurting you right now. Every person that you need to forgive, and ask God to put peace in your hearts for everything that they have done to bring you hurt and sadness.

God is listening right this second.
He will make everything new.

Beauty

All women are created to feel beautiful.

As women we all grew up with the image of the “perfect woman” in our thoughts. We grew up being told by many men what the definition of “flawless” is. The same as sexy and perfect. We all grew up having some sort of self-esteem issue, and with eyes that see our own imperfections.

But it’s not just the world’s fault. Sometimes we dress to make ourselves feel that way, but push the limit too far. Shorts are too short, shirts are too low, and we don’t realize how it makes other people feel about themselves and the obvious thought of how people see us.

I have decided to take the words “perfect” and “sexy” out of my vocabulary. Because our views of those are all different.

I am classy and beautiful.

Because all women deserve to feel that.

Contagious

I have recently discovered a new way of loving the man of my dreams.

Ty gave me the book “Love Does” by Bob Goff to read. He told me if I was a book, this would be it. I’d like to think if I really was a book.. I would be an action-packed serious of intense books no one could put down. But since the love of my life suggested it to me.. might as well read it, right?

I’m four chapters in, and it is incredible.

Chapter three is “Ryan in Love”. Bob Goff talks about while at his house one afternoon, this boy, Ryan, runs up to him and asks if he could propose to his girlfriend, and for the record, they have never met.

His proposal request started out with just a simple down-on-the knee proposal in Bob’s backyard. It quickly escalates to dancing on his porch, then popping the question, to having a dinner while being served by twenty of his friends, to borrowing his boat and asking while on the water. Bob just laughed. He loved the love Ryan had for his soon-to-be wife.

The last page of the chapter, Bob talks about how inspirational Ryan’s love is.

“Ryan’s love was audacious. It was whimsical. It was strategic. Most of all. It was contagious.”

Contagious.

Wow.. that’s something I want my love with Tyler to be. Contagious.

Ever since the beginning of mine and Tyler’s relationship I have heard how great we are together. People can see how much fun we have, and how he is completely my best friend. After every time we hung out, we prayed. Before we went to bed, we prayed. We prayed after chapel, after we talked on the phone. We constantly prayed for where we were, and where we were going to be soon and in the future.

But lately we’ve been frustrated.

I’ve been cranky. I don’t think I’ve ever been so cranky in my life. And we both are in a position of change, and just waiting on God. It’s rough.. but it’s life.

But why should we be frustrated with life? Why should we be frustrated with what season of life we’re in?

“I want my life to be full of abandon, whimsy, and in love. I want to be engaged to life and with life.” (24)

That’s what I want to be. I want to be engaged with life! I want to love it, and everything in it!

I want to love my man like God loves us. This is something I have always wanted, but it finally really hit me today, and it’s life changing.

God was in love with us when he created the world. He was audacious, whimsical, strategic. Contagious.

I’m ready to be contagious.

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Perfect Man

Every woman in the history of the world says that they have the “perfect man”. But, they’re wrong.

I do.

I have always believed that he was perfect since day one… I just truly realized it today.

When it comes to mine and Tyler’s relationship, I am the one who “lacks” passion. I am passionate, don’t get me wrong. I am passionate about people, Jesus, my family, friends, food, clothes, shoes, coffee.. everything a normal person should be passionate about. But not a single soul is nearly as passionate as the man I get to share my future with.

But, having a man in your life who is “passionate”, isn’t as easy as you would think. Tyler is passionate about what I do, how I spend my time, my friendships, what I eat, what I don’t eat, what I say and don’t say, and just about anything else you could think of. I explained that worse than I probably could.. or even should have. But you get the picture. I seem to lack that incredibly strong passion. I’m the type of person whose mindset goes a little like this.. if you do something, make it worth while, fun and for Jesus, if you have friends.. pour into them more than they pour into you, you can eat whatever you want as long as it makes your soul “feel good”, if you say something.. make sure it’s nice. And that’s about as passionate as I get.

I have been fine with that passion I have never encountered before. Until I actually found myself right in the center of an incredible man’s passion.

Tonight I looked at Tyler in a way I have never looked at him before (we’re 3 1/2 hours away, so I had to pretend). Since day one, he has prayed about our friendship, relationship, and that God will open doors for us in ways we could never imagine. And because of that, God truly has. Side bar: Ty is looking for a full time job, and has been talking to a few churches for a worship leading position. The search is going great! But we would be so thankful if you kept us in your prayers! :)

That passion that he had was something I looked up to. It was something I never saw before.

But, God gave me this love I never felt before. Yes, from the beginning. But, tonight it was so much stronger.

Tyler has a friend who is a new believer in Christ. It is so beautiful! And this friend has been in my prayers since day one! (Keep them in yours too! :)) This passed week, Ty has been an amazing example for this friend. He has been sharing Jesus to them, just so much love and joy. It continues to take my breath away. But my man hasn’t only shared the love and knowledge of Jesus to his friend.. but, he continues to share it with me.

During this week Tyler has been an incredible disciple for God. But, I have not.

I have been so rude, hurtful, sensitive, angry, emotional, and just straight up mean. What right or reason do I have? I don’t have a single one. But, while I have attacked him with incredibly hateful words and my insecure heart.. he has shown me more love and respect than I could ever deserve. Just like Jesus does.

Satan has straight up been attacking my heart. Sounds scary, huh?

Tonight I told Ty that I needed to talk. Not fight. Just pour out my heart and all my problems and insecurities.

Once I was done, this amazing man of God just prayed. He comforted me when I felt weak, and reassured me when I felt insecure. He showed me Jesus when I felt so empty, and so far from the love of my savior.

In return, all I could say was, “I’m sorry.” I told him I was sorry for hurting him, for being so hateful, and not like the woman I was created to be. It made me hurt that I made him hurt. But, he wasn’t mad. He just loved me.

Just like Jesus does. He just loves. He takes care of us when we need it, and reassures us when we can’t find any reassurance in anything else.

I truly believe Tyler was placed in my life to be my husband. And let me tell you one thing.. I know he will be. And I know he will continue to pour into me like he has since the very first day.

I am so thankful. I am so blessed.

I found MY perfect man <3

ImageHello, handsome ;D

The Joy of God

Sometimes my heart just hurts.

Not from the fact that my heart has an irregular beat itself.. but because of things I come across throughout the day, some of the things people do, and most of the time because of this awful thing my brain does which is think about unimportant things that just make me sad.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am usually a very simple person. I usually can keep a smile on my face and a light heart in my soul.
But I am human, sometimes I just straight up hurt. Which was today.

I was sick, I had a headache, and for the cherry on top………… it’s midterms. I’m sitting in my room, studying and working on Business Law homework, when I realize homework is so much more enjoyable with music.

So, I turn on the Piano Guys.. Heavenly 

I sat here for a minute just trying to clear my mind. And I couldn’t. I kept on getting distracted by the pain in my head, the runny nose, and my throbbing heart from the struggles of being sensitive to unimportant things. Then, while a slow tear shed down my cheek, cue Piano Guys now, I realized that I didn’t have to hurt.

I have Jesus.

And it’s as simple as that. Too many times we get worked up in the pain we feel, or the little, unimportant things that bother us, and we forget the beauty in what truly has our heart. Proverbs 23:26 says “..give me your heart, and let your eyes keep to my ways.” Jesus is telling us to give him our hearts and look at him for guidance. Holy smokes, do I forget that too much. I forget how much Jesus has done for us. And how easy it is for him to take away our pain. I don’t even understand why I let myself get upset about anything. I mean, I’m human.. so, of course I do. But in the end, all my pain is taken away. So is yours. How awesome is that?

If you have been reading my other blog entries, you know I’m reading the book, “Jesus Is” by Judah Smith, and it is incredible. I’m on the chapter of Jesus Is Happy, and in one of the millions of parenthesis I have scribbled in the book, Judah says, “It’s God’s grace, God’s joy, and God’s strength, and we have free and complete access to it. It doesn’t get any better than that.” Just typing that gave me chills.

Just think of how much happiness and joy our creator has! God invented happiness and joy! So he must have a heck a lot of it. And I must imagine it isn’t very hard for him to tap into either.

“Happiness is a natural result of knowing God and of experiencing his love. Time and time again, when the Bible describes what it means to be a true follower of God, it uses the word blessed. That term can be translated happy or pleased. Authentic faith produces happiness, pleasure, enjoyment, and blessing” (Smith, 123).

To me, that is the most beautiful thing I have ever read. Why let our hearts hurt when we have the joy of God?

Vision

February 14, 2014

Valentines Day, 2014

 

These past couple of days, I have learned the true meaning of love.

In this week that has just went by, I have had a lot of amazing answered prayers. But in the same breath, have had a lot of frustrating tests from God. In a few short months I will be moving to St. Louis, getting my own apartment, full-time job, so I can soon start my life with the man my heart desires.  But to do that.. I need an apartment to move into, a full-time job, and money to make everything happen.

Because we all know Americans need money to breathe.

 

First, it started with my trip to Africa. I needed $1,000 in a week. I received $200 of it, then on the day the $800 was due, my dad called and said he would fund the rest.

Praise Jesus.

 

Second, I prayed for job opportunities. In the next week, I received four emails of people interested.

Praise Jesus.

 

Then it happened.. when I was on the top of my mountain, I tripped on a rock and fell straight off the edge about what felt like a million feet.

 

I realized I need more money for my trip, so I can supply myself with the needed items.

My car broke down the day of the interview, and I missed it. (I also had a job back at school that I now can’t drive to).

I was in an accident over my winter break and the insurance companies all have different stories on what happened. So instead of getting the $3,800 I am “supposed” to be getting.. I will be receiving zero.

 

Ty wasn’t in a good position either.

His phone broke, so he can’t get ahold of anyone he needs.

He is waiting patiently on God to provide a full time job for him as well, and it’s taking longer than expected.

And recently, the breaks on his car gave out.

 

Let’s just say things aren’t going the way we figured God would make for us.

And we have been frustrated.

And.. taking it out on each other.

 

I have a tendency to shut down in the middle of confrontation. I feel defeated.

Tyler needs to talk about things on his heart, no matter good or bad.

So, sometimes we just hit walls with each other.

But these past couple days have been different.

 

“A relationship with God isn’t going to change our circumstances. But it is going to change the way we see ourselves, see others, and see God.”

 

I look at myself with the confidence that I can do all things with the strength that has been given to me by God.

I look at my perfect man with the same eyes I did on our first date.

I look at God with the heart of assurance that everything will be made perfect.

 

This weight that has been like a parka on my shoulders, so heavy and hot on my body, has been lifted off me and made me feel free and happy for I have the love of Jesus Christ.

 

Today I want to challenge you to see your circumstances in the eyes of God. Take the heavy and hot parka off your back, and let Jesus take it for you forever. Look at your circumstances like things that will be gone soon. Not eventually. But soon.

 

For a relationship with God will give vision to our eyes.

Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant

January 29, 2013

Lately I have been pretty stressed, some would say I little upset with God.

After class I came straight to Starbucks and started praying and reading the Bible. To be honest, I was getting frustrated. I felt like God wasn’t “giving” me anything. I felt like I had no words of encouragement to give myself or anyone around me for that matter. The only thing I could think of was “trust”.. and sometimes I feel like I say that word a little too much. Then I opened up my verse notebook. I was flipping through the pages and landed on my study of Ecclesiastes.

1:18 says: “For much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Chapters 1 and 2 completely talk about how everything is meaningless. Solomon, when he was king, devoted himself to studying and exploring the word of God by asked for wisdom of all that is done under heaven. To see things the way God sees them. Seeing life through the eyes of God made him hurt SO bad. An immeasurable amount of hurt.

Then he looked at himself. He knew all these great things that he had done in his life; built houses, planted vineyards, made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them, but he realized that even though he was doing all these great things in this world, he wasn’t gaining any credit. Any happiness by these things. 2:11: Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind’ nothing was gained under the sun.

Nothing was gained under the sun. That is incredible to me.

Then I got to verse 14. The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both. Everything we do is meaningless. All of it.

But then Soloman continues on by saying in verse 17 that he hated life. That all the work that was done under the sun was grievous to him. He talked about how he poured his hear and soul into all the works he had done in his life, but he didn’t get to rejoice in them. The man after him did. And that made him frustrated because he felt “worthy”.

It then moves on to chapter 3. 3:1: There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.. a time to weep and a time to laugh.. a time to mourn and a time to dance.. a time for war and a time for peace..

Sometimes this season of life that I am in seems as if it’s continuing for a million years. But, its not.. 3:11: He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Deep inside, we all want peace. Some are hungry for it more than others. You need it more than I do in this season.

But we must know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it or taken away from it. God does that so men will revere him. (3:14).

Then I flipped to chapter 7. At the beginning Solomon talks about how mourning is better than feasting, sorrow is better than laughter, because a “sad face is good for the heart”. God is testing us. He is testing all of us when we go through times of struggle, toil, hardships. Because he tests us.. it’s him filtering out the luke-warm hearts. There is no loving God and not trusting him at the same time. There isn’t having faith in one thing and not the other. Jesus knows we are weak. He puts us through these crappy times to make sure we are strong in our faith of him. During hard times we shouldn’t be mad at God, we should rejoice that he is putting us through these times of suffering, because it is a reminder that at the end of it, is a beautiful time of laughter, joy, and love for our life that Jesus is handing us.

“When times are good, be happy, but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” (7:14)

I guess what I’m saying is that we need to rejoice in these times. I am continuously praying for God to give me and others struggling a glimpse of what the future holds. Because I can see that it is beautiful. HE can see that it is beautiful. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I shouldn’t be upset with God. He has it all under control. He understands that it’s hard, and feels nearly impossible to not be upset and frustrated with these hardships he is putting me through. But I can’t blame him. He can change the end of my story in a second. 5:2 says not to utter anything before God. God is in heaven, and you are on earth, so let your words be few. Don’t utter words of hate to the man who created you. Yell words of Joy. Rejoice in this time.

In the end.. you want him to say, “Well done my good and faithful servant”. (Matt 25:21)

There is no fear in love; perfect love drives out all fear. (1 John 4:18-19)

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