Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for them. One of my dearest friends wrote what I am sharing. With her permission, I am sharing this. It is hard for me to see injustice done to someone that I care so much about. I am the warrior for the ones I love. I am fiercely loyal and want to go to battle for them. There is a season for everything. In these times we trust our Sovereign God . He ordains all. He is our defender. We must trust in him at all times. Pour our heart out to Him for he is our refuge.
She was there for me last week through some revealing and refining that the Lord was doing in me. She was listening to me and my heart open wide and exposing my struggles and feelings of inadequacies. She sat by as the tears were pouring down my face. Who knew the very next week it would be me encouraging her. We are both cheerleaders and encouragers. It is rarely the encourager gets encouraged. SO thankful that our friendship has lasted through the years and miles. As I told her, a righteous man (woman) may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all. Psalms 34:19.
I am sharing this because during our darkest hours of night, HE is there. She is pouring out her heart and the raw emotions are leaping off the page. There are few things that hurt me as much as the act of betrayal by a friend. But, our redeeming Savior experienced that too. There is a saying that I have said many times this year, I started praying for the Lord to protect me from my enemies and I started loosing friends. God does everything for our good even when it does not feel like it. He knows who we need in our lives and He removes who we don’t. Trust in Him ~ My friend HE is refining you for such a time as this ~ Stay strong and continue the course. The road is narrow and sometimes rough. True companions are few but OUR GUIDE , He is reliable and HE will see you through. You are loved DeeDee Shaw ~
Do you sometimes struggle with how people respond to situations? It is a rare occasion that my fuse burns down and ignites my soul. Cleaning or digging in the dirt are usually my solace when this happens. Sometimes, the emotions are so raw that solace isn’t even sought. Do you allow yourself to wallow in self pity? One of the qualities of leadership and growth, and a measuring stick for determining your maturity and emotional fitness is how long you wallow. Today was a day of wallowing. In a split second my life was changed, and that flame etched a forever memory into my soul. Pollyanna would remind me to be glad that no one died or was injured (and I am.) I am usually pretty good at playing the glad game, so much so that my children get sick of it. Today Satan’s voice was louder. F A I L U R E he shouted. You are a loser he whispered. So much for the confidence I was preaching to a friend not long ago. I have pondered that conversation and tried to define the difference in confidence and self confidence. Maybe the real word I was looking for was determination. Confidence is often placed in things, inanimate props, or is sometimes attached to financial successes and tangible achievements. We become confident when we achieve something, or master a skill. I honestly think self confidence can’t be taught or developed. The more I think about it, the more I think it is rooted in our faith in God. Can you have self confidence that you will be successful even if you have failed? Only if you dig deep and cling to determination coupled with faith in a power greater than yourself.
If you have that determination deep within your soul, it will surface, and you will get back up when circumstances push you down. Maybe people without faith can succeed, but I know it is the strength that I draw off of when I am unable to get back up on my own. I can do, all things through, Christ who strengthens me. (can you hear the tune?) Without Christ, I am a miserable blubbering excuse of a human being. In my weakness, He makes me strong. I don’t always believe that. Do you? I still don’t feel strong. I am the child warrior who crumples to the ground when no one is around. My armor isn’t invincible, and today my heart was pierced.
I have processed through a lot of emotions in my lifetime including the death of my son, but I can honestly say what I struggled to work through today was harder in many ways. It had to do with me failing, and finding myself in a position where I couldn’t “fix” it. Not only that, in my failings, I have failed my children. I am so thankful that God is a God of second chances. I can not imagine the anguish he feels when we fail in the tasks he sets before us because I know my internal turmoil is a finite taste of his infiniteness. What if God only gave us one chance?
If there is one shortcoming I see in Christians it is their ability to extend grace. Here in the south we do it in a superficial way outwardly (which in my opinion exacerbates the problem.) Inwardly we carry on conversations with ourselves though, don’t we? If we entertain them, they will eventually become discussions out of range of the listening ear of the one who needs grace. It is never easy to accept criticism, but it is especially difficult when it comes to you in a way that excludes Matthew 18:15. That is a verse that is always referenced when there is a conflict, but there are so many more that are just as applicable. If you have an issue with a brother or sister in Christ, it is especially important that you seek biblical resolutions. Always, we are to live a peace with others to the best of our ability. (Rom 12:18) Some people feign peace and create strife, crying peace, peace, when there is no peace. (Jer 6:14, 8:11)
A little bit of grace goes a long way especially when you couple it with kind exhortations.
As moved into the realm of needing a physical outlet for my frustrations today, I decided to clean my long neglected bathroom. And God used it as a teaching moment. As I stood on my head scrubbing with baking soda and vinegar I contemplated how much easier it would be to use toxic chemicals. Outwardly I’d get the results I was wanting faster and with much less effort, but at what cost? Am I willing to trade convenience for cancer? I have to admit, I do sometimes give in, when I have neglected the task for so long that I know doing it the healthy way isn’t going to be easy. As I scrubbed, my thoughts transferred the same principle to tending relationships. Sometimes it isn’t fun to confront someone or point out areas where they need to improve, but a healthy relationship needs that. It also needs a heavy dose of grace, administered often. When we seek to handle a situation without using biblical principles it is like cleaning with toxic chemicals. Outwardly it might look “clean” and you may have gotten the results you were seeking, but expect there to be some collateral damage. It might not surface immediately, but it will accumulate and eventually create problems, and usually the problem that emerges is far more detrimental than the issue that was never addressed correctly.
The question then becomes: How will we handle it when the toxic buildup surfaces like the iceberg in front of the Titanic? Let us learn from history and not be so arrogant to think we are unsinkable. We can choose to react or respond. Today I must confess; I reacted. We can choose to unleash our righteous anger and feel justified, or we can question what it is we are supposed to learn and move forward. How long we are frozen at this crossroads determines how much of our life we waste. I hope that putting some of my musings on paper kept this from being a totally wasted day. There is something about anger that many people don’t realize. It is always more damaging to the giver than the receiver, even when it is justifiable. We can’t compare it to Jesus’ anger either because he managed to be angry and not sin. The rest of us don’t escape so easily, even if it is just sinful thoughts. One way or another we choose. People don’t make us angry. We choose to react. People don’t make us happy or sad. We choose, regardless of the emotion. We can spin our wheels wishing things had been done differently, we can be paralyzed by our feelings, or we can choose to seek to treat others differently than we have been treated (and often differently than they deserve.) Our choice affects US more than anyone else.
We can let the death of a dream destroy us, or we can succumb to the change of direction God is leading. There will always be a path in front of us if we are willing to exercise faith and step out onto the next rock. When it looks as if the vastness of the sea will swallow us up, God will part the waters. I have to believe that, even when I don’t see it, even when I don’t feel it.