Tag: grace

Even When It Hurts

Currently I am reading through Proverbs, I am seeking wisdom; wise counsel. I am trying to ensure that my life is pleasing to the Lord, and I want to ensure that I am grounded in His word. Verse after verse Proverbs tells us how we should live, how we should behave, how we should speak, and it is written very clear in its meaning; nothing is hidden in useless rhetoric. It says DO this DON’T do that.

As I am walking down this road of reflection and writing, there are instances from my past where I stood at crossroads and purposefully chose the wrong path. As Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” One particular time of my life stands out very clear to me, I had reconnected with a friend from high school who did not know the Lord, and in the past had no interest in knowing Him. Also during this time I was in a romantic relationship which was not pleasing to the Lord. My friend from high school became my road dog , my ride or die, she would come to church with me on Sunday’s and party with me every other day. In my eyes, I thought I was being a great example to her because, “I’m getting her involved in church, introducing her to the gospel, as well as surrounding her with people who love the lord. I’m doing my Christian duty”. However, that is not what I was doing. I was showing her examples of how to be a hypocrite, how to behave on Sunday and still live in the world on Monday. This girl was desperately seeking the Lord and His perfect love, and I was running in the opposite direction. Almost 15 years later I can look back on that time in my life and think what were you doing? Why were you trying to please people and fit into a mold that wasn’t made for you; especially when the Bible explicitly tells us we are to be in the world but not OF the world. (Reference John 17:14-15). But 20 year old me wanted to belong. Praise the Lord this girl, my friend from high school, found solid friendships amongst my friends in the church and they actually showed her what the love of Christ looks like. They also showed her what life should look like when you are indeed living for the Lord.

During that time, a lifelong friend called me up and said, “ hey what are you doing?” Not in the sense of “How’s it going? Want to hang out?” but instead it was like “ You know better than this, what in the world are you doing with your life?” There was a desperation in that call, a pleading almost. She went on to tell me how we should be an example of Christ, especially to new Christians. I can only imagine how hard it was for her to make that phone call, but she was doing what we as Christians are called to do with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to correct them. There were tears shed and I hung up hurt and angered by her corrections; I mean, who wants to be questioned about their actions. However, the weight of conviction was heavy on my heart. Now this story would be great if I could write to you all and say that her words stopped me in my tracks and turned me back to the cross, but that would be a lie. Instead, I ran a while longer and a lot faster from the path I was supposed to be on. Eventually I found my way back after a whole lot of heartaches and pain and through the Grace of God.

What I really want to touch on is the concept of gently correcting our brothers and sisters in Christ. Why is this so difficult for us to do? I believe today’s world has blinded us and made us timid when we are supposed to be focused and bold in our approach. We should not fear the reactions, but we should embrace them and in love correct them. We, and I include myself in the we, are so worried about offending others that we stay silent and don’t speak up when we should be the most vocal. Of course the immediate response is not going to be positive; what person is going to say, “thank you for pointing out my sins? “ No one! I most certainly didn’t say thank you that’s for sure. But ultimately it was for my own good I needed to be told what you’re doing is wrong. We are already facing a war from the world, and we need every soldier possible in this battle. I want my friends to be in battle with me, my battle buddies, not against me.

The important thing is how we do it. The Bible instructs us to be gentle in our approach as to be mindful in how we do it, and always correct in love. In order to achieve this boldness we must stay in prayer and ask for guidance. Galatians 6:1 “brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently, but watch yourself are you also may be tempted.” How does the lord want us to approach the topic? What words does he want us to use? When should we approach our friends? When we follow the model we are given it will always work out for the good we just have to be patient and remain in prayer for our friends during the process.

How Are You…Really?

Good morning everyone!!!!! I have been absent for a few days attending a lovely wedding of a dear family friend in San Antonio, Texas; however, I am back and ready to jump right back in with you all.

On the drive back from San Antonio, I had quite a bit of time on my hands, I mean, we were in the car for 8 hours. So, I began reading a book, and it ask this question, “How are you…Really?” Why is this such a hard question for us to answer? I mean, everyday that we wake up, we know as soon as we open our eyes how we are feeling. Right? But, when someone asks us how we are we struggle to answer this question. We gloss over what we are really feeling, we lie, or we just shrug it off, I mean, who really wants to know exactly how I am. In my experience, sometimes, people don’t know how to respond when you answer honestly. I will be the first to raise my hand and say that when someone tells me, “I’m going through something and life is just really tough for me right now,” I don’t always know the right thing to say. The other side is, when someone asks us how we are , we immediately think, they don’t want to hear my problems. I’m going to raise my hand once again and say I don’t always answer honestly to this question either. Who wants to hear what is really going on in my life; they have enough problems of their own, why do they need to hear my #firstworldproblems.

Here’s something that we should keep in the front of our minds when it comes to this question, we don’t always have to have the “right” response! I know, sounds so easy right, but clearly, we all know this isn’t as easy as it sounds. I think our world teaches us that we always have to have a positive upbeat response to people. We have to fix whatever is wrong with them, so we are programmed to say; I’m good, I’m blessed, I’m well, or my favorite response, I could complain, but I won’t.

Here’s a simple truth, we’re not always good, we don’t always feel the blessings of the Lord, because sometimes we are going through some really heavy stuff, and we allow it to block our communication with the Lord. We allow it to block us from feeling grace towards ourselves. The first step is being honest with ourselves, and looking in the mirror and saying, “today, I don’t feel that great,” and from that step then we can take the next step to getting to where we need to be to be able to honestly answer the BIG question.

For those who ask this BIG question, know this, you don’t always have to have the “right” answer, or response. Sometimes, we are placed to just listen, and when we do respond, we should respond with love and sincerity.

As I have mentioned before in other post, I was raised in a Baptist church singing gospel songs. This morning when I woke up, a song that I have not heard in years and years was running through my head, the lyrics so like this;

                         Please be patient with me, God is not through with me yet.  When God   gets through with me, I shall come forth as pure gold. 

Growing up, I did not really understand the meaning of this song, but today, I can understand it a little better…as long as we are walking on this earth, we are not going to be perfect, life is not going to be easy, we are not always going to respond in the way we should, BUT there will come a day when our work here is complete and we are on the other side of heaven, and we will shine like gold. As long as we are walking on Earth, we will be a work in progress, we won’t always be good or alright, we will face hard days and we will feel less than ok. When those days come, we can respond, “today, I don’t feel my best.” We can be honest with ourselves and others, and we don’t have to respond with the cookie cutter answer and say, “oh, well it will get better.” Because real talk, some days we don’t need an answer, we just need an ear that will listen and tell us, you don’t have to always be ok!

Today I will say this to you, I just (literally right now) pulled a white hair from my head, I feel just a little bit old. (LOL), actually I pulled out two. Be blessed today my friends.

 

Gaining the Unexpected

Today I had the thought, I’m not going to write anything today, but as I was going through my daily study, the message resonated in me to share with you all today. Today, I read about when waiting meets the unexpected. I’m not sure if I have mentioned what I am currently reading, but it is titled “Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans” and the author is Wendy Pope. I HIGHLY recommend this book to you, it is blessing me in ways I never expected. So, in the insight portion, Pope asks the question, “Who has God unexpectedly brought into your life to help you as you wait?”

Well, at first, I thought, I just decided I was in a season of waiting a week ago, and no one has really come into my life to help me with this time as of yet. But, the more I thought about it, I realized, I have been in a season of waiting for longer than a week; I just cognitively  decided to be “actively” waiting within the past week. I began to think more about my life over the past year and a half, and I quickly realized that YES the Lord has indeed placed someone new in my life to help me as I wait.

I really hope she does not get upset with me for sharing her with the world, but the person the Lord placed into my life started as just my boss. I was her assistant, Leticia Morales. We have talked about this before, and I honestly think the Lord placed us in each others lives at the perfect time. She was going through her issues, and I was being placed into her store and I was struggling with finding my confidence again. I have known who Leticia was for many years, we’ve worked for the same company for almost 10 years and had mutual friends, however, I never actually knew her on a personal level. I hesitantly walked into her store and we sat down and talked. Over the days, weeks, and months, we grew a new friendship, and kind of became each others rocks through some difficult times in each of our lives.

I value this woman, and she has become my hero over the past year. Many of you know, and others don’t, but my birth father passed away in March. After he passed, I lost my joy for a little bit. I put on a brave face for everyone around me and went on with my life until I sat across the desk from Leticia and bawled my eyes out, and was more emotionally raw with her than I have been with another person in a long time, and she let me feel. She did not judge me, she did not give me any meaningless words to try to make me feel better, she just let me feel. That was the day that I realized, she is more than just my boss, this woman is my friend, and she has an amazing heart. We share our faith with each other, and that is such an awesome feeling to be working side by side with someone who shares the same beliefs with you and you are able to talk about it freely and listen to worship music while completing inventory counts.

Around 4 months ago, my dear friend was diagnosed with cancer and started going through treatment. Throughout this season of her life, her spirit has shown stronger than any other time in her life. I called her one day, just to check on her, and she said you know, I’m not going to complain because this is part of the process that I have to go through to get through this, and the Lord is taking care of me. Those words shook me deeply, because she could have complained and cried and told me all the things that she was actually feeling, but she responded positively. Right then and there, I saw the strength that was inside of this woman. Also, in the midst of all of this, I called her with my problems, and she gave me such an encouraging word that continues to resonate with me.

God placed Leticia in my life and I did not even know it was part of his plan. Before I even recognized I was in my season of waiting He was preparing me. She has been her true self and carried herself with such grace and dignity when facing the biggest giants of her adult life. I am so blessed to be able to know her and call her my friend!