Monday, September 30, 2013

When "Never" is a Safe Bet and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.  Before you leave, take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
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I was drinking too much.

Two glasses of wine every night.  Not enough to make me drunk, just enough to take the edge off.  Because it was summer and with two kids home all the time, a book deadline, and just everything else, I had a lot of edges to soothe.

I knew it was becoming a problem when I would begin to look forward to that 6pm time around, oh, say, noon.  I knew it was becoming a problem when I asked Craig to keep me accountable to just one drink a night and I started thinking about sneaking the first one before he got home.  I really knew it was becoming a problem when God flat out told me I was running to wine instead of running to Him.  You know, the whole Holy Spirit conviction thing.  Not so easy to shake.

And I didn't want to tell you about this, because well, who likes admitting they've been substituting alcohol for Jesus?  But there's something called hypocrisy if I can tell you all about my husband's porn addiction but decide to keep my own junk in the dark, locked closet.

But I know from experience what darkness does to secrets and shame.  And I know how light can dispel lies.  And I know how telling our stories can give courage to others.
Last week, we talked about zoe and ginomai, the difference between living and just existing.  The key difference between the two, biblically speaking, is Jesus.  When we bring His life into ours, when we let Him into all the multiple facets of our lives, we get to participate in God's life and we are surrounded by His light.

But what does this look like to be bathed in this light?  What happens when we allow this light into our dark places?  What happens to those fears, those addictions, those secrets, that shame, those lies, that sin?  Can exposure really ever feel good?

The temptation to keep our sin, faults, and secrets is a big one.  Satan tries to infiltrate our minds with lies because he doesn't want us to experience the freedom that comes with standing in light.  We battle daily with questions/accusations like these:

What would people think about you?
You are not good enough to deserve God.
People expect more of you.  You can't let them see you like this.
If you were really a Christian, you wouldn't have...

And on and on and on, right?  Satan makes the darkness enticing by making God's light look too bright, too overwhelming, or too out of reach.  But, where would we be without light?  By looking at how our earth would cease to function in the temporal sense, we get a good idea of how our spiritual lives would also come to a dismal end.

If there was no light on earth, there would be chaos.  God created the light to separate the night from the day, bringing order and structure.  Jesus' light brings order into our lives.  All the times I feel like I have to hide from Jesus and shut Him out, I end up robbing myself of the peace He brings.  I start "chasing every breeze that blows my way" (to quote Toby Mac) trying to order myself and my out-of -control thoughts.

If there was no light on earth, we would be unable to see things as they are.  We would literally roam the land, our hands always outstretched, fearing what we might run into.  Our steps would be tentative, for we would fear our ever-increasing ability to stumble.  Satan often tries to distort my reality, making me unsure of what is true or false.  He is a master of disguises.  Things that might look good on the surface may only be a shadow of what it really is.  Without Jesus' light, I would be blinded to obstacles in my spiritual path that try to trip me up.  I would be unaware of the paths He has designed for me to take.  Jesus' light helps me see the fullness of a situation, a conversation, an opportunity, a lie, etc.

If there was no light on earth, there would be no growth, and therefore, no nourishment.  Plants require sunlight to undergo the process of photosynthesis and produce the food designed to give us energy and vitality.  As humans, we area also dependent on the sun for vitamin D.  Spiritually, I need Jesus' light, for He is the Bread of Life.  His light brings nourishment to my soul, feeding me peace, unconditional love, a sense of worthiness, forgiveness, etc.

If there was no light from the sun, we would have no moonlight.  The moon can only reflect the sunlight that washes over it.  If I am to live out the call to go out and make disciples, to be a light to the world, I must have Jesus' light in me. I cannot reflect a light I don't receive.

No matter how overpowering Satan makes the darkness seem, light can always pierce it.  Jesus will NEVER be overcome by your sin, your shame, your secrets, or your addictions.  NOTHING you do or think or feel is stronger than His love for you.  Once you allow His light to enter into your heart and your light, you can see the fullness of what may have gotten you into the situation in the first place.  And restoration can begin to happen. 

Think of the reflection of a tarnished spoon.  This is what our sin and shame make us.  But as we allow God to polish us, wash away those things and forgive us, we become new again.  And when light hits it, it reflects in such a majestic way, showing the power of redemption for all the world to see.

Back to the wine-drinking.  I realized my stress was driving this need for alcohol.  I was so overwhelmed by what I thought I had to do, that I never took time to rest.  As I began to believe Jesus would help me accomplish what He asked me to do, I began to give myself a break.  During these periods of rest, I became to understand a whole other facet of God I hadn't known.  And this nourished me in a way that wine never could.  So, now, I still enjoy a glass of wine.  But I enjoy it for what it is, not what it can do for me.  Jesus has that role now.

Are there places of darkness in your heart? Or have there been before?  What is/was your reason for keeping them in the dark?  What might/did happen if/when you started to bring them to Jesus and let Him bathe them in His light?

Linking this on Monday with Michelle and Jen too!
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Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
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Want to show a sister some love? Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters. Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!
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Did you see?  SDG Retreat Registration is LIVE!  Click here for more info & the link to register.
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photo credit: Kuzeytac via photopin cc (Words added by Jen)

Friday, September 27, 2013

5 Minute Friday: True

The Steve Miller Band at Austin City Limits
It's true I have a hard time letting go and having fun.  Somehow, I turned out all kinds of uptight.  I'm work-oriented, goal-driven, and competitive.

And sometimes I realize with all of this, I neglect to live in the true spirit God has given me.

The truth is, I feel as though I've spent much of my life fighting, striving, forcing.

This kinda stymies the whole play/fun/relax thing, yes?

But, I know it's in there, longing to get out.  There's this girl who picks flowers and puts them in her hair.  There's this girl that creates art, even if it's not perfect.  There's this girl who's willing to wait patiently on a bench, swinging her feet, until God shows her what's next.

Inside this woman is a girl who longs to play.

A girl who gets so caught up in life that she loses track of time once in awhile and doesn't care.  A girl who chooses to make a dance party of one at a Steve Miller Band concert because she's caught up in the guitar and crazy lyrics.  A girl who runs just to feel the wind on her cheeks, not to win a race.  A girl who can somehow find delight in mess.

Gotta find this girl.


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I'm hanging out with Lisa-Jo this morning.  Want in?  Here's the deal:




1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Just Wait Until..." Reflection on Time Guest Post

Welcome to our new guest post series about "time."  
How do we use it? Misuse it?  Many of us spend so much time complaining we don't have enough of it, but how often are we grateful for what we actually have?  It is a gift we receive every day...a fresh allotment.  But how will we spend it?  And what values shape how we use it?  As we reflect, may there be space to consider how and where we spend our precious seconds of this gift.

I'm growing to despise that phrase the more I think about it. I've been guilty of spouting these words more often than I'd prefer to admit, but I'm trying to remedy the habit.
No one feels encouraged when those who have gone before them throw  "Just wait until..." into a conversation. I may be the only mom guilty of this, but I have a theory that the "just wait" attitude is pretty common amongst mothers.

We look at those beautiful newlywed women with their slim figures, cute outfits, and 9:00-5:00 jobs and think, "If only that were still me," but to curb the guilt that comes with our jealousy, "just wait" becomes our motto.

"I'd look that good, too, if I still had time to get ready in the morning without trying to get little people ready as well. Jus you wait!"

"What do you mean you're tired?!? Just wait until you have kids! You won't know tired until then."

"You feel overwhelmed? Ha! Just wait until you're juggling children, meals, and cleaning. THEN you'll feel overwhelmed."

I had a conversation with a young twenty-something friend a few weeks ago, and I felt conviction as I heard her admit, "I don't know if I can ever have kids. Everyone says how much harder it will be, but I'm overwhelmed now..I can't seem to get it together now."
In that conversation, I was forced to remember the girl who struggled behind the smiles in my newlywed days. Those were the days of trying to find security in all of the wrong places, flubbing my way through juggling a job and a household for the first time, and getting way too stressed out over it all.

Mommy memory loss has taken away my ability to recollect how often I messed up during that time in my life. (Hallelujah! Amen.) Unfortunately, I've only focused on selective memories of how nice it was to sleep when I wanted, go shopping when I desired a new pair of shoes, or enjoy spontaneous nights on the town with my husband. Those are the memories I've  allowed to define my my newlywed years as the "easy" time of my adulthood.

Don't get me wrong, those were great years, but they weren't easy either. I had a lot to learn, and desperately needed to grow. I did not become a master of the wife life with all of my "spare time." I made many mistakes during those years and tried lots of ideas and suggestions until I began to learn a system that worked for me.

For that season in my life, I was busy. No, I wasn't busy in the same way being a mom makes me busy, but I was living life. I needed to experience busy in that context so that I could be better prepared for the demands of motherhood.

So, to you sweet young woman who feels inferior or terrified after listening to moms hash out their "just wait" speeches, take heart. We have all been where you are, but perhaps we've forgotten just how challenging it is. If anything, we want you to not take this time in your life for granted. Don't waste your days stressing over circumstances beyond your control. We are all learning how to grow to be stronger women who can take on the next phase of life when it comes.

And mamas, for all the chaos that kids bring, we know the irreplaceable joy that comes with them as well. Shouldn't we all want to encourage others to have that experience? Will you join me in replacing the words "just wait" with words that inspire others to live their current season of life to the fullest? It's a much more pleasant use of time for all of us.

Kelly is a stay-at-home mom who is passionate about encouraging others to find Jesus in the average, day-to-day ministry of motherhood, marriage, and friendship.You can join her on her journey at her blog kellywestblog.com

Linking with EmilyMichele and Women to Women today.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Do You Exist or Do You Live? and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.  Before you leave, take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
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Do you exist or do you live, friend?

The Greek word for "made" in verse 3 is "ginomai" and means to "bring into existence."  In the next verse, we find, though, that Jesus {the Word} holds life.  The Greek word for "life" is "zoe."  While the dictionary would lead us to believe that "existence" and "life" are the same thing, the Bible makes a clear distinction.  Even our worldly connotation eludes to a difference between existing and living.  The idea of truly living brings to mind a person who is actively engaged, present, and a willing participant in what happens within our walk on this earth.

John's distinction is clear: Jesus moves us from mere existence to life.  And what kind of life does He bring?  One of everlasting abundance, filled with richness and satisfaction (see John 3:16 and John 10:10).

But here's the thing: having this satisfying life is a process.  Yes, we can give our life to Jesus, ask Him to move into our hearts, forgive our sins, and direct our paths.  When we do this, we are assured of our salvation.  But there is something more here than just a ticket to Heaven.  This eternal life doesn't start when we physically die.  It starts now.  There is a daily surrender, a {sometimes hour by hour} decision to ask Jesus to take all the bazillions parts of our lives and make them His.  This eternal life He's talking about, it's God's life.  Throughout the Old Testament, God is described as eternal and everlasting.  Eternal life, then, is that life which God lives.  And while our life while on earth won't be perfect as God is perfect, we have access, through our belief in Jesus, to some of the serenity and power that belongs to God.  I can't say for sure about you, but I want that power and serenity in my life daily, not just when I've passed through this world onto the next.

Who commits their lives to Christ understanding the fullness of what it means to die to themselves, to surrender all control, to live for the glory of God and not the glory of man?  Not me.  I didn't have a clue all the work God was going to have to do in my life to help me experience life at the fullness of which He designed me to be able to live it.

And I'm still not there.  Because there are days I take back what I was at some point determined to leave at the cross.  I still covet control.  I still seek the approval of man.  I still use worldly pleasures to satisfy places in my soul that were meant to be filled by Him.  When I take back (or neglect to surrender in the first place) these parts of my life, I choose existence instead of life.  I choose to settle for the best I can muster up as opposed to the treasured gifts He longs to give me.  And I usually do this because I don't understand or think I know best or I'm afraid of the process I'm going to have to go through to get those treasures.

But just as a seed has to crack open its shell to allow space for roots and a stem, I need to shed my own self-protective armor so I can allow space for Jesus into breath into me.

The best example I can give in my walk is when I surrendered Craig's porn addiction to Jesus.  There on the bathroom floor, I realized I had been merely existing -- relying on worldly ways and my own ideas that might "fix" my husband.  It wasn't until I gave up that He was able to show me how to live in my marriage.  And living meant trusting, praying, believing, and hoping -- all really hard things to do in the face of betrayal, self-image issues, and fear.

Even though they were life-giving things, brought by Jesus, they were still my daily choice.  There were some many days which I did not choose them.  And I fell back into existence until I was ready to let Jesus in again...and live.

What would have happened to me, my marriage, my children, had Craig and I not allowed Jesus to show us how we needed Him to actually change our lives into ones that God designed for us?  What would have mere existence looked like in my marriage?  Sure, my salvation still would have been secure (I asked Jesus into my life in 6th grade), but I probably would have lived in my own worldly hell until I got to the other side.

John's point is this: We don't  have to live separated from God's life while we walk this earth. We have access to His peace, His power, and His riches this very day.  Why wait?  Or why choose to live in some areas, but merely exist in others?  Our lives here will never be perfect, but there is a fullness that is waiting for us to take.  But in order to receive this fullness of life, we have to surrender all our areas, all our relationships, all our jobs, all our concerns, and cares, and circumstances. To get all, we have to give all.

What parts of your life or your heart are you withholding from Jesus?  Where are you merely existing instead of truly living?  Can you imaging making space for Him in those places?

Linking this on Monday with Michelle and Jen too!
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Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
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Want to show a sister some love? Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters. Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!
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Did you see?  SDG Retreat Registration is LIVE!  Click here for more info & the link to register.
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Beyond Facebook and Twitter: Social media hangouts your teen knows about but maybe you don't


This research I'm doing about the social media that is out there for our teens is making me queasy.  It's ranking up there close to when I did some legwork about our children and the possibility of their exposure to pornography.  (The sad fact is that some of these social media outlets can bring exposure to porn.)

Apps and websites such as KikSnapchat, and teen dating sites such as MyLOL, are filled with both innocence and harm.  And it's possible that someone who starts with innocent intentions can land smack dab in the middle of a treacherous danger zone.

Some of our teens who are using these forms of social media are able to use them without sending and/or receiving inappropriate pictures or meeting older men or engaging in inappropriate conversations.  Some of them who find themselves in dangerous situations are equipped to handle themselves appropriately.  They know how to get out and get away.

But some of our teens only *think* they know (or they really don't know at all) , but before we know it, there is a messy situation at hand.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Waiting...for the Next Thing: Reflections on Time Guest Post Series


Welcome to our new guest post series about "time."  
How do we use it? Misuse it?  Many of us spend so much time complaining we don't have enough of it, but how often are we grateful for what we actually have?  It is a gift we receive every day...a fresh allotment.  But how will we spend it?  And what values shape how we use it?  As we reflect, may there be space to consider how and where we spend our precious seconds of this gift.
Sleep when the baby sleeps.


That was the advice given to me when my daughter was an infant.

It made sense, and I could do that at night time. But during naps? I didn’t do so well with the advice then.

I looked forward to nap time, but then I was antsy. I thought she would wake up any minute, so I couldn’t relax. And, I felt like I should spend the time doing something, like laundry or cleaning, or something of that nature. So, I went from thing to thing, without accomplishing much of anything.

And when nap time was over, my daughter was well rested…and I was tired.

I didn’t think of resting as doing something, and I wasted the precious quiet time I was given.

I’ve been thinking about this again because I wonder if I’ve changed much.

There are times in life when I feel antsy, like I don’t know what I should be doing. I don’t mean because my “to do” list is so long I don’t know where to start. I mean when it feels like nothing is going on.

When schedules slow down and there is time before a new routine gets underway.

When it feels like God is asking me to lay down my dream, and now I don’t know what I’m working toward.

When I know God has a plan for me, but I have no idea what it is. And God seems silent in giving me a clue.

I feel unsettled and unfocused, and I don’t know what to do with this quiet downtime.

As a society, we’re used to always being busy. Downtime feels uncomfortable, and worse, it’s sometimes viewed as being lazy.

But I remember how I wasted the quiet nap time I had, and I’m starting to see these periods of downtime differently.

This time of waiting for the next thing is not a time of doing nothing.

It’s a time to focus on what God says is important, instead of what the world says.

It’s time to spend with God…growing closer to Him and learning the sound of His voice.

It’s a time for rest, and a time to unwind and recharge.

So then, when the quiet period is over, I’m ready for what comes next.

I’ll know the sound of God’s voice better and how to listen for it. And because I’ve had time to rest with Him, I’m ready to face the next thing that comes my way, not in my own strength, but in His.

I think the advice I was given when my daughter was an infant can be translated…

Rest when God gives you the time and opportunity to rest.

All too soon, life will get busy again. And this time, I don’t want to waste the precious gift of quiet time He gives me.

Laura Rath is a follower of Jesus Christ, a wife, mother, writer, blogger, and works in church ministry. She continues to grow daily in her relationship with Christ and loves the faith journey she’s on. Laura is a monthly contributor for 5 Minutes for Faith, and can be found at Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith, where she shares from her heart and encourages others in their walk with the Lord.
Twitter: @LauraJRath
Facebook: Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith

Linking with EmilyMichele and Jenifer today.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Gospel, the Greeks, and the Power of Words (and, of course, the Soli Deo Gloria Party)

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.  Before you leave, take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
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I'm not a research kinda gal.  I don't easily retain information that I read.  Don't ask me the exact year the Civil War started or to give you the details surrounding the Geneva Convention.  

But to teach my Bible study class, week after week, I have to engage this part of my brain that lies dormant much of the time.  And even though I have to read things over and over, write them down five times, and have Keynote slides to help trigger my memory, I do love researching about God.  Why?  What makes this different?

Because each time I do, I find out new ways He's shown us that He loves us.  

We're studying the Gospel of John this year, moving slowly, unearthing treasures that frankly may have become mundane to us after all these years.  How many times have we read John 1:1? 
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
How many times have you heard or noticed that this fourth gospel is different than the other three?  But have you ever figured out why?

The answer is simple.  Because He loves you.

Chances are, you are a Gentile.  And if you are, this gospel was written for you.  If you have a moment, go back and read the intros to the other three Gospels.  One starts out with a genealogy (Matthew). Another, a reference from an Old Testament prophet (Mark).  Luke tells us about the humble beginnings of a priest named Zechariah.  

These three were written by Jews for the Jews, camping on ideas, people, and an oral tradition they all knew very well.

And then, there's John, the last gospel, who is able to relate to both Jew and Gentile alike.  Turns out, we don't have to be a Jew to experience Jesus.  And of course, we know this today, but the Greeks who wanted to experience Jesus needed a less convoluted way to get to Him.  They needed a different roadmap.

God cares so much for us, He will lay out His plan of salvation in a way that will capture our hearts.  No pedigree required. 

Logos is the Greek word for word that we find in John 1.  And while it does mean literally word, it also means reason.  The Greeks were really into reason.  John wanted to show that if we look at Jesus (the Word), we get to see into the very mind of God.  Jesus becomes the conduit into the unseen world.  Greeks believed already that the seen world is merely an imperfect shadow, or copy, of the world unseen.  Jesus brings the reality of the unseen into the seen.  He is the aletheia (the Green word for truth), reference later in John when Jesus says "I am the way, the truth, and the life."  

John's gospel has been named as a "spiritual gospel."  Written 70 years after Christ's death, John not only records the historical events and scribes Jesus' spoken words, but he is also able to expound into the meaning of Christ's words.

The historical event:  Jesus fed the 5,000.  Meaning:  Jesus IS the bread of life.

The historical event:  Jesus opened the eyes of the blind.  Meaning:  Jesus IS the light of the world.

The historical event:  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.  Meaning: Jesus IS the resurrection.

While this gospel seeks to reach the heart of John's new community (he wrote this in Ephesus), his words do resonate with the Jewish people, too.  The Jews knew the power of the spoken word.  Their entire way of life was based on an oral tradition passed down for generations.  All of creation was spoken into existence.  Spoken blessings could not be reversed, as we see what plays out between Jacob, Esau, and their father.

For both the Jew and the Greek, for you and for me, Jesus is the physical manifestation of the very heart of God.  The words He speaks illuminate God's pure, holy, and unchanging love for us.  There can be no contradiction between Jesus' words and the heartbeat of purpose God has for us.

As such, we see the power of the words we ourselves speak.  And I wonder this:

How many times have the words coming out of my mouth been a contradiction to what my heart so desperately wants?  Because I am imperfect, consistently plagued by impatience, fear, pride, and self-centeredness.  And simply, sometimes I just don't know the words that will convey the desires of my heart.  The words I utter have the exact opposite effect I want them to have.  It's happened with my friends, my husband, and my children.  Has this happened to you?

I find I routinely make this mistake with my oldest child in regards to her swimming.  The true desire of my heart is for her to participate in an athletic activity she enjoys to promote physical and social wellness.  And yet, before I can even think about it, small critical remarks cloaked in the aura of suggestion escape my lips.  Did you really try your hardest?  Did you push yourself enough?  What if you tried...My words, which have power, are not aligned with my heart and simply characteristic of language used in my upbringing.  I could trade all that gab for words that will fill her soul.  Something like "I just love watching you swim."

If you have a few moments, can you think of moments where your words don't match the true desires of you heart?  Will you share so we might relate and also offer encouragement to each other?

Linking this on Wednesday with Michelle, too!
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Are you new here? Welcome! We'd love to shower you with some love and encouragement, so if this is your first time linking up, will you put "I'm New!" as your caption under your linky picture? Want more info on what this sisterhood is all about? Click here.
**********************************
Want to show a sister some love? Tweet her post using the Twitter handle #sdgsisters. Make sure you check the # later for some great posts to read!
**********************************
Did you see?  SDG Retreat Registration is LIVE!  Click here for more info & the link to register.
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Friday, September 13, 2013

FMF: Mercy

The email comes in and my heart breaks in a thousand little pieces.  She's telling me the story of her marriage with her husband, who is a porn addict.  And even though it's her story and not my story, my heart resonates so quickly and so powerfully that for a moment, I cannot separate my own feelings from the past and her feelings of the present.

The pain is so raw and the hopelessness so plain and the uphill battle so very steep that all I can do for the moments before I respond to her is mourn.

How do you you respond to such hurt with a call to be merciful?

The cursor blinks back at me as I pause right now in this heavy moment.  Because I know what I wrote and I pray that it conveyed deep understanding, but I also know what it's like to think about showing mercy to the man who has betrayed you.

It's wretched hard.

But she tells me that she knows she wants to fight -- for her husband and for her marriage.  And I reminder her that this fight requires not the weapons of this world.  I'm talking about prayer, intercession, but now I realize, I'm also talking about mercy.

What happens to a willing heart when they are shown unexpected mercy?  When they are loved instead of hated, embraced instead of scorned, forgiven instead of sentenced to isolation?

Miracles happen.

And I think this: Mercy allows for miracles. 

photo credit: Christopher JL via photopin cc (Words added by Jen)


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I'm hanging out with Lisa-Jo this morning.  Want in?  Here's the deal:




1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

More than Okay: Reflections on Time Guest Post Series



Welcome to our new guest post series about "time."  
How do we use it? Misuse it?  Many of us spend so much time complaining we don't have enough of it, but how often are we grateful for what we actually have?  It is a gift we receive every day...a fresh allotment.  But how will we spend it?  And what values shape how we use it?  As we reflect, may there be space to consider how and where we spend our precious seconds of this gift.
It’s a little word that carries so much weight.

Much has been said about time…

“Don’t waste time.”

“Make time for the important things.”

“If only I had more time.”

“Time is fleeting.”

In time…we heal, dreams come true, things come to pass, purposes are fulfilled.

In my mid-50s, I’m on the other side of a lot of time. And I’ve learned a few things along the way.

1. There is a time to let go. I’ve spent so much of my time raising children…34 years, including my stepdaughter. Now it’s time to let go. Each one of my four daughters has left home. And it’s good. It’s supposed to happen. But it’s been a long time since my home was quiet, still, empty the way it is today. I miss the noise, the singing (lots of singing), the sounds of tears and laughter, the squeals of victory and the cries of defeat, I miss the sounds of coming and going. Don’t tell my kids, but I even miss the mess. Their rooms are neat and sterile. And it doesn’t take time to clean up a room that’s no longer being used, no longer lived in.

2. In time, it’s going to be okay. My friend Sharon was telling me about all the changes ahead for her.…selling her home, relocating, moving in with and caring for her mother, a daughter getting married. Lots of newness, lots of unknowns. Each change she described was followed by, “But, it’s going to be okay.” I know what she means. I’ve too gone through a lot of changes. It takes time to adjust, but eventually we do…and it’s okay.

3. This too shall pass…is what my grandmother used to say. She had a pretty tough life—an Irish washerwoman alone raising a wild child, lost her husband to the Great Depression, left crippled from a break that never healed, and near blind from a degenerative disease. Yet, she made it through with strengthened faith and the will to keep going and keep looking up. Her mantra became a part of me when I faced some terrible times in my life. The raw unexpected devastation of loss…even this, in time, passed.

4. Time flies. Whoosh…and it’s gone. But on the other hand, I’ve lived so very fully. I’m astonished at all that has occurred in these 50+ years. So much living, so much growing, so many events and moments. I feel in some ways like I’ve lived many lifetimes…a very happy thought.

5. Don’t wish time away. Young mama, this one’s especially for you. I know how hard and long some of these days can be. Full of the mundane of raising, cooking, cleaning, wiping, wishing away the To Dos, the  Got to Get Tos. It may be hard to stay in the moment, but trust me, all too soon, this work will be done, and your kids will be raised, and your home will be quiet. You’ll have lots of time to think…and it will be really good in so many ways. But you will be sad too and miss all the chaos and craziness of raising kids. So stay here…in this moment…savor this time.

So this is my bottom line on time…
Time goes fast, so fill it well, intentionally, moment by moment. Savor today. Know that whatever difficulty you are going through will pass. It may not go away, but the sting, the hurt will lessen. You’re going to be okay. In fact, you’re going to be more than okay. Because our God of all time, has your time, your purpose, your life in the palm of His hand.



Elise has been married to Chris for 28 years and is mom to four beloved daughters, one son-in-love, and is expecting her first granddaughter in November!! She is the Cofounder and Executive Editor at www.CirclesOfFaith.org . Elise has been a professional writer and editor for 30 years, and a writing coach for five. For more info, go to www.EliseDalyParker.com . Elise loves to speak with women in small circles, workshops, and at big events. She blogs at Our Stories Gods Glory, tweets at EliseDalyParker, and can be found on Facebook.

Linking with EmilyMichele and Jenifer today.