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Posts Tagged ‘God’

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10 years ago, around this same time, my girls were 10 and 8. My oldest would have been just getting ready to go into 6th grade and my younger into 3rd. I would have just finished up my first year of teaching 5/6th grade and (unknown to me at the time) one year away from teaching high school English lit. My girls were homeschooled. I was pursuing my SLP degree. My husband was AGR in the Air Force. Life wasn’t bad and there was so much on the horizon.

Since that day so many things have happened…. We transitioned the girls into public school. My younger into an arts charter (later a small IB middle school, and finally to Renaissance HS) My older daughter into Renaissance HS. They’ve had their ups and downs. Friend transitions, school transitions, leaving the church, hormonal years of Jr. High, the pressure years of high school. And they’ve turned out phenomenally. They are both kind, compassionate, thinking, caring girls who want to make the world a better place. They both have gone on to graduate high school with honors, obtaining their IB diplomas, and are excited about their future. I couldn’t be prouder of the people they have become.

Alongside the girls getting older, my husband and I have had our ups and downs. Just a few years into my 30s we hit a fork in the road, divorce felt like the only option, fear, anger, and uncertainty rested like a cloud over our marriage. And we didn’t let that stop us. With the help of phenomenal friends and a lot of hard work we learned a new dance; one that would honor both of us. We shuffled through what type of music we’d both like, stepped on each others toes, and prayed more than ever that God would make it work. Six years removed I can say that it was all worth it. I can’t imagine living life without Steven; he truly is my best friend, my place of comfort, and my love.

Reflection.jpgAnd I, I have changed… So many lessons have been learnedthrough the abundance of loving, caring friends over the years. I have learned how to trust, and to be trusted. I have learned how to have confidence in myself. I have learned how to standup, step out, and support those in dark places. I have learned that each person’s deepest hurt, is their deepest hurt (their deepest level of pain, is their deepest level of pain) no comparison is necessary. I have learned that God is so much more than I can ever comprehend. I have learned that God is always good, and he’s reflected in every good thing. I have learned that though things are imperfect, God is not, and he moves in and through the imperfect. I have learned that compassion is gained as you listen to the stories of others. I have learned that I don’t have to compromise my morality in order to have compassion for others. I have learned that the stories I make up in my head are often warped representations of reality. I have learned that my body will forever change, so I’d better learn to appreciate it like a loyal friend. I have learned that death is the win and life is a gift. I have learned that a smile, a text, an encouraging note can be life changing. I have learned the decisions that I think are life changing often are not and the decisions that I think are flippant are often the ones that change my life. I have learned that family is priceless, that friends are precious, and that community is essential. I have learned that my emotions are often not a representation of the current situation. I have learned that there are few things worth fighting for. I have learned that my mind, body, soul, and spirit are intertwined and each one needs to be cared for, nourished, and honored. I have learned that most things are not what they appear to be. I have learned that forgiveness is freedom. I have learned that connection and communication happens in vulnerability, truth, and love. I have learned that shame grows in the dark and dissipates in the light. I have learned that courage and fear are catalysts to faith and trust. I have learned not to be defined by my past. I have learned that I am worth more than I think I am. I have learned that I don’t know as much as I think I do. I have learned that I can learn from everyone and every situation. And I have learned that there is so much more for me to learn.

As I move forward into my 40s I hope and pray that I will remain open, soft, and sensitive to all of God’s nudges in my life. That I will see each person for who they are, where they are, and the purity of who they were created to be. And that I would walk to the rhythm of his heartbeat for me, growing in trust, courage, confidence, faith, hope, and love.

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My thoughts on Galatians 1.1-10

From the very beginning of this letter Paul appears to be very deliberate. Choosing even the words in his greeting carefully, always directing people back to the grace of Christ – the message of the gospel.

Taking only a few verses to say hello, he gets right to the point of why he’s writing – something pivotal is being distorted. Something that is at the core of who they are is in a vulnerable position. Paul needs to remind the people of Galatia (he needs to remind us) of the truth.

Truth-and-lies1Like all things in life, you cannot change what you do not acknowledge. Sometimes we need people in our lives that are there to point out the things we do not see. We need people in our lives to remind us of the reality of the truth when the lies seem so convincing and true. This is what Paul is doing. He’s showing the people of Galatia the deception; he is telling them that there are liars out, fabricators of truth, who want to deceive them. People whom, in the words of Paul, should ‘be accursed’ for all they are trying to do.

And Paul doesn’t stop there; he goes to the root of the temptation – the lure of the deception. He looks at the heart of the church of Galatia and point out their blind spot so that they not only stand firm against this deception they are facing today, but that they are able to stand strong against anything that would come between them and an intimate relationship with God through the grace of Christ.

Paul addresses the approval factor. That thing inside of each one of us that longs to be loved, accepted, and cherished, not for the things we do, but for who we are. That built in part of us that embraces the praises and ‘attaboys’. It’s the same part of us that hides those things that bring us shame and pushes us away from those we most long to connect with.

Let’s step back and take a minute to consider the last verse in this passage: “If I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ.” These words may appear to be harsh words of judgment. Yet, they really are a simply a statement of truth.

MomJugglingI remember early on in my academic career, I was young, had two children that I was trying to homeschool in elementary school, all the while trying to keep my house in order. Many nights I would stay up late after everyone was in bed, only to wake up a few hours later, trying to grab a couple of hours of study time before everyone was awake again. (Coffee was my best friend during these days.) My motivation, my heart, my passion, the thing that drove me to those crazy hours was my focus on doing the best I could, knowing that one day my transcript would be examined by a board of strangers who would determine my fate into graduate school. In the back of my head throughout my days, as I planned family events, play dates for my girls, even considering what meals we’d eat, I always asked the question – will this sacrifice my grades. I was driven by the approval of an unknown board of people, knowing without their approval I wouldn’t get what I really wanted – entrance into graduate school.

Each one of us has something like this, something that is driving our daily lives, our priorities, and our passions. For some this may be a degree, for others its a friendship, an image, a persona that has consumed their identity. What Paul is trying to get through to the people of Galatia, and what God is trying to get through to us today, is that thing that is driving your approval is the very thing that you are serving, whether consciously or not.

As we get further into Galatians you’ll see examples where the approval of man has interfered with the truth. And as a result, it takes people away from intimacy with God.

Take a moment to ask yourself what’s driving you? Who’s or what approval are you longing for? Is it driving you closer to the grace of Jesus or further from his embrace? Are you seeing yourself more clearly or do you feel like you are loosing your identity?

da3b5a56666364c4acde690e401c57ceAsk God to show you today how loved you are by Him. Ask Him for His approval. Ask Him for His grace filled eyes to overwhelm your every move today, and to give you a glimpse into what He sees. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. And better yet, He loves you for the simple reason that you are His. You are beautifully and wonderfully made, by Him, through Him and in Him.

Rest in His peace today, precious dear one.

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