This week's follow-up is a bit different. After Claire's blog post, one of you sent us 2 poems you had written as well as a great quote. Darla, you were touched by her blog and we were touched by you!
We postponed our next follow-up so we could share these poems and quote with you. It is so beautiful to hear how God speaks differently to us all. These 2 poems say SO MUCH and we know you'll be blessed by them as we were.
Thanks to Claire for writing the personal post last week, and thanks to Darla for sharing parts of her journey with us.
Blessings to you all this week!
"Perhaps that is the very reason we are in this world where sin and sorrow and suffering and evil abound, so that we may let You teach us how to react to them, that out of them we can create lovely qualities to live forever. That is the only satisfactory way of dealing with evil, not simply binding it so it cannot work harm, but whenever possible overcoming it with good. "
Behind my wall
I find myself again
Sheltered and safe, no one can get in
A place I go to heal
And hide away
What I must remember
This is not a
Place I can stay
Isolated and hidden
No harm can come to me
But over time and
With a prayer or two
God will help me see
To be His servant
And messenger of His word
Behind a wall
I can not be heard
Take a chance
On the people He sends my way
We're here to learn from them
Trust in who He sends
Getting hurt is a maybe
But God will guard my heart and
Catch me if I fall
His hand waiting for me
Reaching behind my wall
The Bible says to me
Sometimes this road is filled with obstacles
That I did not see
Can I find it in my heart
To forgive the hurt and pain
I know that when I can forgive
There's so much I will gain
A sense of peace and freedom
A burden lifted from my heart
Dear God teach me to forgive
Please show me where to start
Forgive myself and others too
You can show me how
There is no more waiting
The time to begin is now
Forgiving is the first step
To start my walk with You
Dear Jesus take my hand
Show me what to do
Show me how to break down the wall
And give You more of me
To forgive means to trust in You
This is the life I seek
Be with me as I take that first step
Sometimes on shaky ground
It is in Your grace and words
The next step can be found
God amazes me with the way He orchestrates our lives and situations. Months before the opportunity to lead the session on Grace and Mercy at the Becoming Conference, God allowed circumstances to come into my life that required me to give, receive, and understand those ideas in a deeper way than ever before. It has been difficult and painful, but also humbling. I’m seeing that to give or receive true Mercy and Grace, we have to be humble enough to recognize where we stand in comparison to a Holy, Worthy God .
The need for mercy and grace, whether from God or man, comes from the fact that a wrong has been done. Romans 3:23 states it clearly: “For everyone has sinned, we all fall short of God’s glorious standard”. Yet I love the way it is put in the Message: “Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinner and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, GOD DID IT FOR US. Out of sheer generosity He put us in right standing with Himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and RESTORED US TO WHERE HE ALWAYS WANTED US TO BE. And He did it by means of Jesus Christ”. WOW! What I cannot do, God did for me. I am placed where He wants me to be, though I can’t get there myself, nor do I deserve it. I am nothing, and did nothing of merit. He did it all! There is no value in my actions, and immeasurable, eternal value in God’s actions.
My circumstances have shown me that before I can give mercy and grace, I must understand that it is not about what I do or do not deserve. Though someone may have wronged me, or done wrong, that is not truly the point. The point is what God has done FOR ME, and what He wants to do in the life of the other person. It is not about justice, judgment, or even the other person repenting or changing ways. It is about me following the example Christ set before me. Because if I really got what I deserved, where would I be? Humility and a clear picture of who I am and Who God Is quickly puts things in perspective.
But – that does not erase the consequences of actions. Sometimes God gives us Mercy and Grace, but we still face consequences. “…Don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It is the child He loves that He disciplines; the child he embraces, He also corrects. God is educating you, that’s why you must never drop out …God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best” (from Hebrews 12, The Message).
I think of my little girl. Her Daddy and I love her, so we discipline her. She faces consequences so she can learn to live in a way that is better for her. To not discipline her would stunt her growth and maturation, keeping her from becoming a mature, kind, responsible adult. The same thing applies to our relationship to a Heavenly Father. Consequences come to help us grow, not in order to punish, humiliate us or harm us. The purpose lies in our greater good. Yet even then, Grace and Mercy are there – because truly our sin should bring death! (see Romans 6:23).
When I bring this back and apply it to my personal relationships, the understanding of humility is vital. Someone may wrong me, but I have a choice about whether or not to extend Mercy and Grace. The relationship may change because trust and safety are destroyed. That is often a consequence in relationships. It takes time to rebuild trust and safety with someone. I can give God’s mercy and grace, because I have been given a good beyond what I deserve. I can still humbly seek God and ask Him to make me wise as to how to best rebuild and restore that relationship into one that glorifies him and works for His purposes. These things are choices that require much humility, focused effort, and prayer.
I am also learning that pretending the wrong never happened and never dealing with it THROUGH THE FILTER OF GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE is a dangerous thing for all involved. True healing won’t come for either person in the relationship. Removing those God-given consequences might keep the other person from learning the lessons God intended for them. It could stunt his or her personal and spiritual growth. I just have to stay humble enough to constantly and prayerfully ask God how to proceed so that His discipline helps good come, rather than my discipline (or revenge) taking over. I need to seek His wisdom on how to rebuild and restore the relationship in a way that is better, and even healthier than before. Going back to what was there before is a recipe for disaster, and does not allow room for God to grow us through the difficult circumstance. Once again, I have to realize it is not about what I deserve, but about what God has done and is doing in the lives of everyone involved.
It all comes down to a few very simple questions – What do I truly deserve? Who am I truly living for? What do I want my life to be about – God’s ways or my own? Every day of this journey is a day of growth – becoming a bit more merciful, acting and reacting a bit more like Jesus. Yet, being Christ-like is something worth BECOMING!
Thanks for being part of the journey with me.
We have been looking at Romans 12 in a newer translation called The Voice. And when in Rome, do as the Romans. :)
Let's pick back up in verse 9:
Love others well and don't hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil and pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor each other by putting others first.
This brings us back to the masks we spoke of at the Conference. Did you relate to the mask? Have you been evaluating areas of your life to see if you put on masks? Why would we put on maks anyway? Maybe to hide something...maybe to portray something as if it is something it's not...maybe to avoid something? Whatever it is, women are good at putting on masks. But as we read here, we are not to put on masks, we are to love each other authentically as sisters, and we are to live in devotion to each other.
Are you living authentically? Without masks? Are you living in devotion to your Destiny Friends?
Verse 11 continues:
11 Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over as you serve the Lord. Do not forget to rejoice for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming and devote yourselves to prayer.
We can't let up!! Plain and simple! We should be bubbling up and on fire for the things of God. THAT is becoming!! We need to hold each other up through the tough times because we know we have a hope in Christ and its just around the corner. Have you noticed how if you know when something hard is going to end, you can stick it out? If you are working out and you know you will be done climbing that stairclimber in 5 minutes, as tired as you are, you can stick it out since you have an end in sight. The same goes for the tough times in our lives. And despite the fact that we don't know when exactly tough times will end, we do know they will end and hope is around the corner - so encourage each other through those hard times.
And finally, verse 13 says this:
13 Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others, even if they are outside your faith family.
"Even if they are outside your faith family" - wow!! As we are becoming more like Christ, we need to be there for our faith family and open our lives and homes to those outside our faith family.
For some of us, it's easier to be kind to those within our faith family because they are more like us. And for some of us, it's easier to have compassion for those outside our faith family because we have lower expectations for what kind of person they will be.
Are you looking for ways to "be Jesus" to those bith inside and outside your faith family? Are you compassionate to both? Are you accepting of both? Are you non-judgmental to both?
Remember, you are influencing those in your life - even if you don't think you are. You ARE!! This week, look for a way to reach out to someone that is more difficult for you to reach out to. Maybe a coworker who is not a believer, maybe a parent who seems to never let up, maybe a child who let you down, maybe a friend who made a mistake. Reach out, honor God by honoring them and put them first. Seek to reconcile instead of seeking revenge.
Live and love authentically as you are becoming!!
Thanks for being you-
This morning, I was looking through my digital photos for a specific picture - which I found - but a few spots over, I saw a picture I had taken of a page out of a Bible. I evidently took the pix in March out of a new translation I was reading called The Voice. Have you heard of it? It was of Romans 12. I'm sure you've heard parts of this before, but you might not have heard it from this translation. And if you haven't heard it, you are in for a treat. :)
Romans 12:4 starts like this:
"For in the same way that one body has so many different parts, each with different functions, we, too - the many - are different parts that form one body in the Liberation King. Each one of us is joined with one another, and we become together what we could not be alone."
Easy enough - we are all parts of one body in Christ. I love the last part of that, though. "Each one is joined with one another, and WE BECOME TOGETHER WHAT WE COULD NOT BE ALONE." WOW!!! I hadn't heard it put quite like that. Together, we can become what we couldn't become alone. So maybe we need each other after all. I heard it said once that we were meant NOT to COMPETE with each other, but rather COMPLETE each other as sisters. That verse is a great example of that - we become together what we could not be alone. Again - WOW!!!
Ok, to continue on with verse 6 ...
"6) Since our gifts vary depending on the grace poured out on each of us, it is important that we exercise the gifts we have been given. If prophecy is your gift, then speak as a prophet according to your proportion of faith. If service is your gift, then serve well. If teaching is your gift, then teach well. If you have been given a voice of encouragements, then use it often. If giving is your gift, then be generous If leading then be eager to get started. If sharing God's mercy, then be cheerful in sharing it."
We did our strengths and skills exercises, have you worked on them again? Have you gone back to look at what you wrote that day? Have you avoided it?
Remember, BECOMING IS A JOURNEY! This is a process. Don't just attend the conference and be excited that day, that weekend, or that next week. EMBARK!!! Go back to your notes from the conference - what did God say to you that weekend? What has He said to you since then? Are you listening??? Are you asking?!?! Embark on that journey that God has for you discovering, uncovering and becoming! Put the effort in - some days the effort will be much more than others - but take time to discover things about yourself you didn't know, to uncover things you have consciously and subconsciously hidden, and to become more like Christ in ALL areas of life.
BABY STEPS!!! Some days we just need to focus on baby steps. This week, let's take a baby step together. Pick ONE area, just ONE, to work on this week. Maybe this area is a role you have, maybe it's a strength of your yours, or a skill, but whatever it is, do it well. As we just read, "serve well, teach well..." Whether our roles, strengths, or skills are being a co-worker, being a mother, being a wife, being a boss, being a manager, being an artist, being a singer, encouraging, writing, speaking - whatever it is, do it well. Mother well, lead well, manage well, design well, write well, whatever you do, do it well as you are becoming all He created you to be.
You are BEAUTIFUL! You are BECOMING!!
thanks for being you -
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