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Archive for the ‘Friendship’ Category

Jesus had 12 disciples that He counted on, shared with, taught…and of that 12 He had a circle of three – James, John and Peter. His trusted 3.

I have had a lot to process upon coming home from Smithers and my last core. The teaching was so rich but also I’ve been in the process of mourning something I left there…my group of 5.  When you share the deepest parts of your heart and soul in a group, when you know, without a shadow of a doubt that you are genuinely loved and covered in prayer  -you become a band of brothers and sisters.  You know one another in relationship, in my opinion, in the way God truly means for us to “do church”.  It becomes all about love and relationship.  The truth is we can’t be that to everyone in our church, nor can we expect that from every person there.  But God longs for us to experience that depth of relationship with one another.  His heart’s desire is for us to love like that – to truly glorify His law to love well.  We all need a circle of three.

What does that look like?

It looks like having at least three others that you can call to mentor you, to challenge you in love, to hear the depth of your heart and truly love you anyway; to encourage you and inspire you to keep growing.

It’s a group of people you can be vulnerable with – be the true you God created you to be, with…and just as challenging, for you to be that for them.

I think about where I’ve been, and where I’m going and it’s nice to see movement!  I think I can honestly say that I was once an island unto myself.  For a long time, in my youth and spiritual immaturity, I could not keep my mouth closed about anything. If I felt it, you knew it! I knew that was wrong, even verging on gossip at times and I chose to change it.  So I didn’t share anything, ever.

The worst part about it was that I called it faith.

Yes, I believed the lie that my faith was strong enough to just keep things between me and God…sometimes God does ask that of us – but from my experience, it’s quite rare.  I believed that I was strong because I could take things to God and no one else.  What a lie!

That was sin. No dancing around it. Yes we get hurt in relationships, but we also heal in relationship and

ALL GOD CARES ABOUT is the state of our hearts…and our ability to love well (and be loved).

He created us to be in relationship.  He did not want man to be alone, without a counterpart.  Since creation, God designed us to be in relationship.

I’m learning. I’m learning that my vulnerability draws out the vulnerability in others.  Sometimes I have to offer it to receive it. It comes naturally to me to be a listening ear, a compassionate heart – not as naturally to seek a listening ear and trust someone to be a compassionate heart for me. Maybe it’s pride. It’s definitely fear. I’ve been hurt before. I’ve been broken to the core by someone I loved. Maybe you have too.  But it’s the freedom to tell our stories that opens the door for others to tell theirs.  Do you believe God is big enough to fight for you? To protect you?  It’s the telling of our stories and the listening of others’ stories that brings light into darkness and begins to unlock healing.

I have a circle of three, maybe I’m even blessed with 4.

Do you? What would it mean to you if you did? I’m betting if you don’t you feel pretty lonely, isolated, tired to your core, and I know that you are longing for that kind of relationship.  Just as I have. We’re hardwired to long for that.

As I do before I write every post – I’m praying for you, my dear friends and readers, that God puts someone in your life that you can begin to build on your circle of three.  I’m praying that you’ll have to courage to receive that.  Take down your walls and reach out – give someone the opportunity to reach back. God longs to bring light into your darkness, into your chaos and loneliness.

Stay tuned for my next posting on how to find Rest in God.

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I just came from a weekend filled with love.  In May I was a care-giver in a course called “Pain of the Heart”.  It was a sweet blessing to me to be able to care for the ones who’ve just begun their journey of healing – as I continue on my own. I invited all of the women from that course out to my house, to stay in the Sanctuary – and share our hearts.  Not all of them were able to come but…

Mr. Handsome blessed our socks off by cooking for all of us ladies on Friday night, then he started a fire for us while the kids cleaned up. We sat and talked til 1am…oh what a sweet time of fellowship.  I was asking them where their hearts were, how they doing since the course and if they were able to stay engaged and get through some of their hearts’ wounds.  The conversation was rich.  At one point, one of the ladies asked a question that kept me up until 4am praying…she asked,

“What do you do when you love someone and they just can’t seem to receive it?”

I thought of a post I read on Ann Voskamp’s site called Because Hard Days Are White Horse Days.  Please check out that link and read her post (it will open in another window).  She writes,

“Sometimes it’s hard to look love square in the eye and accept the acceptance.”

Have you ever offered someone love and they just can’t seem to receive it?  What do we do with that?  I think these are the White Horse Hours.  We have to keep offering the love and pray that God will give us grace, that He’ll soften the heart of the one we love and above all – we have to know that we see just

“a sliver of the sum, swaying behind us there in a whisper of wind.” (Ann Voskamp)

…but God sees the heart; both theirs and ours. 1 John 3:20.  He does not want us to turn away from one another but to love one another…to look love in the face and receive the acceptance that comes with that.  Sometimes we’re the ones offering that love and sometimes we’re the ones who can’t receive it from someone else; sometimes we’re both.

One of my sweet sisters said:

“You can always tell when God is first in someone’s life because you can sense it in them. You can see it in how they serve others, they are about others. You want to be around them because they are so filled with the love of God, with a sense of peace. They are living out the fruit of the spirit.”

Wow. Isn’t that beautiful?  I want God to be so evident in my life and heart that I can look love in the face and receive it – that I can pour it out in a way that brings God all the glory

because in my own strength, I can’t do either.

I think before we can commit our hearts to looking love in the face – in the giving and receiving – we have to remember to

commit our hearts to Him who loves well.

This is for my beloved sisters who spent the weekend with me, you all know who you are…and for Kristal who didn’t get to come.
Look love in the face.
Give it and receive it with all the passion God has for you, in His fullness…
To His glory.
From my heart to yours – with love.

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I’m reading the book Courageous by Randy Alcorn, based on the movie by the creators of Fireproof.  I think the movie comes out in September and I can not wait to see it!
WOW. 
I have loved this book. I’ve devoured it in two days!  It really address’ the crisis we’re having in the world right now;
with demoralizing our men and stripping them of their manhood and respect.  Then we wonder why they won’t stand up.  This is a really good book, one that every man in the world should read. I plan on making it required reading for Booker in school this year…

I have witnessed so many marriages in this past year, struggle to the point of dissolving and every one of them made my heart ache.
What on earth is going on?
Because Mr. H and I are unequally yoked, I get a lot of questions about how I handle the differences in our home.
What about the man loving the wife like Christ loved the church?
Those are really tough questions. Yes, God calls the men of this world to do that and the Bible teaches them how to stand;
but that is when they have committed their hearts to Christ.  Even Christian men have to know the Bible in order to follow it.
It’s hard work committing to study. Who has the time?

I was really touched by the men in this book, how they stood and kept each other accountable.
The Resolution they made and how they walked it with one another deeply touched my heart.
They lived by Scripture.

Why aren’t more men doing this?

Because it means being vulnerable. That is scary, especially for men.

Why aren’t more women doing this?
Same reason.

Then I got to thinking…

Maybe it’s me who should take this book to heart.

If we expect men to stand up and be Courageous as leaders of our families, as spiritual head of our home,
then shouldn’t we, as wives, stand up too?

How many of us know what the scripture says about being a wife and mother?
Sure, we’ve all ready Proverbs 31 but have we studied it?
Have we ask God to show us what it means in regards to His heart for us, as wives, as mothers?

What if we took the time to study the Bible together instead of chit chat?
What if we banded together,

A Circle of Sisters,

and make our own resolution?

I think God could do something powerful with this;
Something powerful in our families.

Are you up to the challenge?

 

 

 

 

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You know what happens when you put your hand up to someone else’s and they push?  You push back right?  It’s a natural response, try it!

But what happens if you put your hand up to someone else’s and they close their fingers around yours in an embrace, as to say “you are not alone.” 
Sigh.  Isn’t it nice when that happens?

That is what a good friend does.  They draw you to your knees, knowing you aren’t alone but also reminding you to lean on Him.  Today I was struggling with a bit of a rebellious attitude in school, with one of my children.  I asked her for prayer. This was her response:

I have no idea what to do with a teenager either. But you know what, God does – He deals with them everyday for centuries, thousands of years. Oh, Lord, please help us as we dive into this new territory with our sons. Helps us to love them as we guide them.   Lord, you deal with your rebellious children all the time, we hurt you, we make you feel unimportant, unvalued, unappreciated. Lord, gives us wisdom.

I sat there reading that, crying.  Crying because I feel so inadequate as a parent sometimes. Crying because I don’t want a rebellious child. Crying because I am a rebellious child. I’ve chosen others over Him and I’m sure I’ve hurt Him. Just crying.

But what she wrote was a balm to my heart…words of pure sweetness going up on my behalf. I am not alone. Her words drew me to the WORD…to Him with my heartache.  He knows better than anyone what it feels like to have rebellious children, what it feels like to be hurt by your children…

Romans 1:12 that is, that you and I may be encouraged by one another’s faith.

Thank you dear friend. I so appreciate you!!! How blessed I am!

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Remember when I posted here, asking what God is up to?!  Well, I’ve been walking through some things and when I came up just as stumped as ever – I decided it was time to call on Tina and her husband for some guidance.  Friendship…Romans 1:12 that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one an other’s faith  Again, how blessed I am, not only to have a Tina of my own, but that our love and friendship extends to her husband – who is such an encouragement to me.  For more than 2 hours I poured out my heart to them and they listened to me, poured over scripture with me, cried with me and prayed with me.

I’ve written about guarding your heart but I’ve been struggling with guarding my own. More than that, I’ve been struggling with what it means to show godly love.  See, because Mr. H isn’t saved (yet), I feel such a heavy burden to always be a good and godly example to him – and to others.  But in doing so, I’ve over looked some basic scriptural truths; and some important truths in the instruction of guarding your heart, and mine.   It’s time I explore what godly love looks like. I love how Kevin and Tina put it to me;

 “If it is love it is godly because God is love. Christ showed us love in many different ways.”

I’ve been thinking that I have to turn to other cheek, always show love.  We are instructed to do this. But I’ve said before ‘that does NOT mean being a doormat’ – but then what does it mean?  Even I was confused on this one, in regards to some things I’ve been walking through. One of the first things Kevin ask me was “What is love?”  Hmmmm, I really had to think about that. Finally I replied, “Christ.” He led me through as we looked at how Christ behaved. In  John 2:12-16 when Jesus enters the temple and there within the temple, doves are being sold!  He yells and upturns tables…he is furious!  Is this loving behavior?  It doesn’t seem loving, I think to myself.  Then I think of John 17:6-19 where Jesus prays to the Father for His disciples.  I reread that this morning through tears. I almost feel like I’m intruding on an deeply intimate moment when I read that passage.  He cries out to the Father on behalf of His disciples – with all of his heart; not as for all believers – the masses that will come; but for the ones who have walked with Him.  That is love.  We moved on to the persecution and crucifixion of Christ – where He says nothing.  He doesn’t defend Himself.  Do we turn the other cheek when we’re being persecuted? Yes – Jesus says that we will be hated because of His name. Yet that does not mean that we are doormats. Back to John 2:12-16;

 sometimes love is tough. But that doesn’t mean it’s not godly.

As I read through Romans (before my meeting with Kevin and Tina), seeking His wisdom on judgements and offenses; I began to feel so guilty for my reactions to things that have happened, that I’m trying to work through.

Hey, wait a minute, God isn’t the God of guilt. Something is not right here! 

 I am reminded that we feel angry and frustrated as a result of allowing something to go by where we shouldn’t have.  When we do that, it causes a pause in our spirit, it eats at us.  I thought I was a Woman of God!  Shouldn’t I be able to get past offenses?  What is worse than letting it go by, is replaying it over and over in my mind and heart.  When I do that, I empower the enemy.  Right around this time, the enemy starts throwing things at me, like mud. “Humph!  You aren’t all that, are you? Claiming to be a Christian and yet you can’t get over a silly offense! What is wrong with you?”  

 A thought comes to me,

Do you think offenses actually have more to do with us, than with the ones who’ve offended us?

I mean, isn’t it my own insecurities and fears that let it go by in the first place?  So yes, I do have a place in all of this – though  it’s not guilt.  Perhaps it is conviction and nudging. At any rate, now how do I fix it?  Well I will have to start with prayer, as always.

I am human. I am flawed. I make mistakes everyday.  My own inclination would be to tell all, saved and unsaved, allll about how they’ve hurt my feelers…but that wouldn’t be right either?  Like I said, it starts with prayer:

Dear Jesus, thank you for Tina and Kevin and their love and willingness to walk along side me.  Lord, what I’m asking is this: please fill me with the supernatural spiritual discernment to know when to be bold and when to be quiet; when to let go and when to stand and fight.  So importantly Father – give me a heart that is extra sensitive to when I hurt or offend others so that I can  handle it with grace and love. 

 Align my heart with yours, O God. 

Where ever it is not, perform a transplant and replace my wretched heart with Yours.

Search me, O God and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
And lead me in the way of everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

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