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05. Sep, 2012

Forgiveness

Forgiveness

I sit down at my computer this morning, staring at the blank page seeing the blinking cursor.  It seems to be mocking me… challenging me, “do you REALLY wanna go there”??!!

But, as I smile, I know that I have never been one who is good at backing down at speaking Truth, even if it goes against the flow, or rubs people the wrong way.  Ultimately, I am not really here to please people, I am to be living my life as a pleasing aroma to my King, and willing to use whatever gifts He has given me, to help speak Truth in love, encouragement, challenges, and a loving desire for my brothers and sisters to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Being a bit of a “word-buff”, I decided to go to the dictionary and look up a few words that seem to be floating around me recently.  Words that said by themselves, seem to be words that we sorta slide over, rush past knowing their meaning isn’t really nice, but not really wanting to spend too much time looking deeper into them, and see the blackness behind their true definition. Now, being a tactile person, words are just words to me, unless I have a way to FEEL them, resonate with them somehow, or have personally seen them played out both positively OR negatively in the lives of my family and friends.  So, I want you to, if you will, stop with each word and think.  THINK how you maybe have been impacted by them, seen them used in your family or friend’s life, or… if you will be willing to be very honest, be willing to admit that you have been the one to speak them yourself.

Definition of SLANDER : to utter slander against : defame

Definition of DEFAME 1archaic : disgrace; 2: to harm the reputation of by libel or slander; 3archaic : accuse

Definition of DISGRACE 1archaic : to humiliate by a superior showing; 2: to be a source of shame to disgraced the family; 3: to cause to lose favor or standing disgraced by the hint of scandal

Definition of GOSSIP 1: a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others; 2a : rumor or report of an intimate nature

21 years of ministry, and 42 years of living, and I have to tell you I have been on the receiving end of these words on more than one occasion.  I personally had great pain from the impact of these words.  We have seen loss of friendships, ministries, and family because them.  I have seen how turning a blind eye and allowing the cancer of these words to spread, can become so damaging all you long for is Heaven and the perfection of the Holy and Righteous God who Judges according to His goodness, Love and Truth.

And, to be brutally honest, I have been the one speaking these words from time to time.  I have done the unthinkable and opened my mouth to speak out against my brother or sister.  I don’t approach this subject with a blind eye, or a finger pointing at the splinter in someone else’s eye, when I KNOW that I have had not only logs, but full on forests growing in my eyes!

Our women’s group at Lifezone have been going through the Book of James and we have had 6 weeks so far, of hard hitting words from the half-brother of Christ.  He doesn’t seem to mince words, or beat around the bush.  He straight forwardly said:

 Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?” –James 4:11-12

In our study, this was said:

“Judgmental thoughts toward other believers put me at greater risk of trouble with God than those old sins I have committed”.  We then were encouraged to go read Luke 18:8-14. I spent time just reading and rereading this passage, particularly verse 14.

I see how these words of “slander, defame, disgrace, gossip” are really the negative outpouring of each of us standing in judgment over each other.  I can judge your actions based on my own personal information, and decide that I have the right to be judge and jury in your life. And you do the same in my life.  You stand in judgment over me.

I loved that we were hit full force with the clear understanding that God is the only One that is allowed to judge.  And what is the coolest thing is that God will judge based on Truth.  He sees the past, He sees the present, and MOST importantly He sees the future!  He knows what the real motivation of our hearts are, and He will judge accordingly. And when He Judges, there will never be slander or gossip from His Holy lips.  He will never disgrace or defame one of His Kids.  We are His Inheritance. We are part of His Royal Priesthood and are Princesses or Princes in His Kingdom.

But let me get back to James for a minute.  James seemed to be encountering a pretty yucky situation in his congregation, for him to feel the need to speak so strongly to his brothers and sisters.  It seems they too, were not acting like Princesses or Princes.  They might have let slide the understanding that they are part of the Royal Kingdom, and were allowing the “world’s” standards instead to begin to seep in. They might have been turning on one another, slandering, defaming, disgracing and gossiping, instead of seeking to reach a sick and dying world around them. Was he seeing what I have been seeing?  Did he feel the sting of gossip, slander, and defamation too?  Was he seeing his family and friends being affected by this cancer?

I wonder if it is that as believers of Jesus, we are seemingly not doing  a very good job of loving each other well.  Francis Chan’s book “Crazy Love” talks about how if we are loving God with every fiber of our being, we will not have room in our lives to be sinning.  We will be so filled up with love for God, that it will pour out of our lives into others around us.  And as we are loving God with all our hearts, souls and minds, we will naturally love our “neighbors” (both the non-Christians and Christians alike) as ourselves.  That in loving El Elyon with such devotion, that we become aware of how much grace we have been extended, and again, from that place of complete love for God, we naturally pour grace unto others around us.

Funny, as I was standing in the shower this morning, I was thinking about a conversation I had with my oldest on Monday.  She has been studying the Fruits of the Spirit, and she was on “Patience”.   Sis has also spent some time at the feet of a Bible Teacher learning the importance of having “porcupines” in our lives because by having the hard to love around us, we are being given real life examples of “practicing what we preach”.  If I say “I love you no matter what, because God has given me the greatest love of all”, then certainly we should expect He is going to allow us to have people to do that very thing with.  Or, if we say “I am SOSO overcome with God’s amazing Grace in my life, I just can’t imagine not showing it towards my brothers and sisters!”, then we should know that Adonai will place people in our lives that we need to give grace, grace and more grace to.

Peppa said her Bible Teacher encouraged us that we need these people to help us learn how to “die to self”.  The world says “if someone is making you miserable, get rid of them”, but God’s standards are different.  If someone is in your life that allows you “practice what you preach”, then maybe you and I need to spend more time thanking El Roi, who sees it all, and knows what the outcome of this situation will be. He is desiring to refine us, and that by turning up the fire in our lives, He wants to allow the imperfections to come to the surface so that He can scrape them off and we will become more and more in the image of His Son. Instead of fighting with His kids, and judging each other for this or for that, He wants to show the world that He is a God of love, and wants to use us to do that.

So how do we do that?  Because, let’s be honest, there are people and situations that in my 42 years of living, that even now, in my mind’s eye I want to line up in front of a nice good old fashioned firing squad and will happily jump up to be the commanding officer that gets to count down the rifle bearers to shoot.  Come on, as you read this, I hope some of you are smiling and murmuring an “amen!” under your breath.  I HOPE that I am not the only one….  I see them as my “porcupines” and I struggle to WANT to love them, to extend grace to, when it seems like I have some deep wounds from their involvement in my life.  So, I go back to the only source that I know will speak Truth and be reliable to show me how to live in a such a way that won’t grieve the Spirit that is in me.  Because the reality is, the Holy Spirit really isn’t One to encourage firing squads!  I know that…….

James 1:22-25

Obey the Word of God. If you hear only and do not act, you are only fooling yourself. 23 Anyone who hears the Word of God and does not obey is like a man looking at his face in a mirror. 24 After he sees himself and goes away, he forgets what he looks like. 25 But the one who keeps looking into God’s perfect Law and does not forget it will do what it says and be happy as he does it. God’s Word makes men free.

I have seen this pattern in my life, where I will emotionally connect with a passage of scripture, or a message being spoken and go “Wow!!  That was really good!  I should try and remember that.”, but walk away and never seek to put into practice what I have learned.  James speaks to this… Being a “hearer” or an actual “doer” of the Word.

So, why does it seem like I am walking around in circles and not really “getting to the point”??  Let me try now to tie this all up by offering a personal testimony.  17 years ago, I was really burned by those words that we started to look at in the beginning of this blog.  Being a “artistic” person, and ADD to boot, music has always had great impact on me.  Words sung from a heart with different instruments used to add emphasis resonate deeply to my core.  A song that I would listen to over and over again during that painful time, was from a band called White Heart, entitled “Seventy Times Seven.” I just would sob, sing, sob, sing and sob some more.  I was young and naïve.  I was completely bowled over by the knowledge that believers in Jesus could so deeply wound one another.  People that I had respected, considered friends and counted on, left me bleeding in the dust.  I don’t for a minute believe that it was a coincidence that White Heart’s song was the newest released song getting massive air time on the Christian radio stations.  And whilst that song helped me cry out my pain in the moment, I don’t believe I did what Scripture says.  I didn’t really forgive seventy times seven. I just simply moved on from that pain, allowing the “past to be the past” and not ever really wanting to open that door to my heart again.

I have come full circle.  This morning I created a new play list on my Praisepod.  It’s simple title is “Forgiveness”.  The first song to go into that play list was White Heart’s song from so long ago, with several other new ones that K-Love is playing right now.  “Losing” by Tenth Avenue North, and “Forgiveness” by Mathew West just to name a few.

The point I am trying so desperately to make as I seek to close this circle of thought is that choosing to forgive is at the heart of being on the receiving end of all those awful words.

Definition of FORGIVING 1: willing or able to forgive; 2: allowing room for error or weakness

Definition of FORGIVE 1a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for forgive an insult; 2: to cease to feel resentment against

This time around, I want to do differently than I did 17 years ago.  I want to forgive.  I want to give up resentment, and I want to allow room for error or weakness in other people’s lives. I want to turn up my Praisepod, sing the songs as my hearts cry, and stand in front of my 1 Corinthians 13 passage taped to my bathroom wall and choose to pray love into my situation.  I want to love as God has loved me.  I want to offer grace, to the same measure that I have been given.  And I want to forgive to the same measure of which I have been forgiven. I think in doing that, I am doing what James has said. I am looking into that mirror, and NOT walking away this time as if nothing is different.  I want to wake up tomorrow different.  I want to be dead to myself, and have more of Christ shining out of me.  I want to be one that the sick and dying world can look to and see someone that has offered grace and forgiveness to, NOT in my own strength, but because I am represent a God that has done it for me.

And I never again want to allow slander, gossip, or defamation to come from my mouth.  Words hurt deeply.  Careless words spoken, divide.  And slander will destroy friendships and trust.  I don’t want that to be part of my list that God speaks to me about on my day of reckoning.  I have enough other issues we are still working on.

So, I will end this with a “Thank You”.  With not one little bit of sarcasm or bitterness in my voice (I pinky swear!) thank you to each one of you who have allowed me the opportunity to die to myself.  I have chosen to take Paul’s words one step farther, and say “I thank God for my remembrance of you”.  I can sit here this morning and think of each of your faces.  If I didn’t have you “porcupines” in my life, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be refined.  I wouldn’t have the opportunity to grow in Christ.  I really do need you.  Each of you have taught me more about myself, and shown me how much I long to be a girl that through thick and thin, good and bad, happy times and painful times, is growing to become more Christ like.

I will end with some of the lyrics from Mathew West’s song, “Forgiveness”

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
 
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness
 
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you
 
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness
21. Jan, 2012

Waiting on a Lost Kitty…..

Waiting on a Lost Kitty…..

For those of you who know me well, you would know that I am an avid animal lover!  Having been raised with cats all of my life, I have grown to appreciate the value of having a furry critter in my  life. The comfort and warmth in the dark nights, the unconditional love and acceptance, the constant companion thru laughter and tears.  In fact, my ex-boyfriend can attest to the lengths I would go to, in rescuing a kitten that I found, from certain death.  Having had my fair share of furry bundles of joy through the years, I decided a long time ago that I would ever only have inside cats.  Lots of practical reasons why, but one emotional reason was that I had one too many heart breaks as a youngster of beloved kittens getting run over.

Well, this morning I have had time to reflect once again on not only the love of animals that I have deep within my soul, but the opportunity to see a new spiritual revelation.  Our kitty Ipo decided last night to find an escape route out of the house again.  Now you have to understand this kitten.  She is full of life and fun for her “People”, always making us crack up at one of her antics, (especially our very own bug catcher!) but she is always very warm and loving to anyone who comes thru our door.  “Stranger” is not in her vocabulary. She believes that everyone is her immediate new “best friend” and loves to spend time talking to, and sitting with them.

However, one thing Ipo has struggled with, that her sister doesn’t seem too concerned about is that by being asked to stay in the safety of her home it really is for her protection, not our desire to kill her fun. She can be often found watching doors and windows to see if someone, ANYone might have given her a escape route.  Over the course of the 1 ½ she has lived with us, she has made her way outside on several occasions.  One time, late last year, she did it at night, and ended up being out all night.  What we found in the morning was a really scared and pretty beat up cowering little quivering ball of fur.  I can only imagine her glee as she *finally* made it to what she perceived as “FREEDOM”, and was quite excited to head off on an adventure.  I am sure, she ran up to someone that looked an awful lot like her, and immediately believed she had found another “new best friend”.  But, I am afraid what she found in the  Big World is that just because something or someone LOOKS like you, does not mean that they are friendly or receptive to your desire to be buddies.  There are a lot of bullies and meanies out there, and they don’t fight fair.  In fact, I remember talking to my family about seeing this really great blog forming in my head about the lessons that Ipo would have learned that night.  The spiritual truths of how the “World” can look so warm and inviting and full of adventures to be had.   God our Protector has asked us to willingly and submissively stay within the safety of His “house”.  That He has set up boundaries for our protection and safety, not to kill our fun.  And yet, how often do we look for that escape route?  That we think that it would be MUCH more fun out “there” and we flee the warm and safety of His presence to go have our fun.  And, not surprisingly, we end up getting really wounded.  The scar on Ipo’s nose is a living testimony of her belief that her way was better than our way.  The scars in my life, are simply the same thing.  The living testimony that *I* have chosen to try and go my own way also, instead of listening to Adonai, my Loving Master and believing that He has my best at heart.

Over the next few months, she seemed to settle back into realizing that INside was safer than outside, and never once looked twice at a open door.  She would quiver at loud sounds and wasn’t as quick to love on new people that came through our door.  But, what they say is true.  Time really DOES heal all wounds.  It seems to dull the memory of pains of the past. And the mind makes foggy the reality of what really happens when we try and escape the safety of our protective boundaries.  Ipo, once again last night, decided that she would rather try again to live her life in the wonder of the big world.  She left sometime in the evening, and as the writing of this pondering, she still hasn’t come back.  Bubbie and I both have been out looking all through the neighborhood for her, calling her out again and again.  Seeing if we could find her and entice her to come back to us.  Wondering if she was wounded or worse yet, dead.  But, as I walked and called…. Called and walked this morning I was struck with a new side to this story.  I had a real intimate moment with the Prodigal son’s dad.  (yes, I *do* know this was just a story that Jesus used to try and share spiritual truths with not only a crowd of people, but also the Pharisees and Religious Rulers that would have been in the crowd that day. If you will permit me, I would like to share my musings………)

I can imagine what the father must have felt like wandering around looking for his son.  Wondering what kinds of things that his son might be involved in.  All the possible dangers that he must be being exposed to. Praying for him, longing to see him again, remembering all the good times of the past they had together.  The late night chats, the snuggles and cuddles of his younger years. I wonder if he would wander around his town, looking for his son, under cars and in yards, particularly areas where there is tall grasses that could cover a hurt or broken body. I wonder if he even tried to peek into people’s windows to see if he could get a glimpse of his son, maybe having fallen prey to a stranger with not good motives. If he did, I know now what that feels like now.    As I walked around our neighborhood this morning, I felt a kinship with this father.  I saw thru his eyes, the longing he must have felt, and the sense of loss at having no idea what has happened to his beloved son.  And then, as God usually does, allowed my thoughts to drift to Him.  As I walked and called for my sweet Ipo, and longing for her to answer back to me, He allowed me a small glimpse of what it must be like for Him when I do this very thing that Ipo has done. Interestingly enough, I was struck with this thought earlier in the week, and put it on my Facebook status…

“Jesus never imposed His will, virtues, or ethics on anyone. He presented Himself, along with the offer of abundant life and freedom made possible by abiding in the truth He offers. We have an invitation from Almighty God, our heavenly Father, to live in His shadow and His shelter while following the Lord, who is our Shepherd. Refusing this invitation is like shouting, “Bring on the consequences!”

Truth be told, I am struggling to think of what the consequences of Ipo’s chose will be.  I am pushing down, even now, the reality that we might not see our sweet kitty again.  Ipo was named by my mother-in-love when we first brought her home.  Her name means “Sweatheart”, and she has been true to her name the last year and a half.  But, just like Jesus, we can’t impose our will on her.  Whilst El Roi  is all knowing, and ever present, *I* am not.  I can’t see where she is.  I don’t know her fate. I can’t force her to come home.   I am left to understand the reality of her decision will have consequences on not only me, but my family.  We have offered her a life full of health, safety, happiness, adventure (bugs are ALWAYS being shown to her, so that she can have her fun!) and comfort, but it ultimately has to be her decision to choose it.  Her sister Mo has been wandering around, calling for her, and seeking us to give her even greater comfort right now in our loss. (THAT, in of its self has a WHOLE NEW BLOG begging to be written! 😉 But, right now is not the time.)  I am left to grapple with the idea that our “tomorrow” might be without the presence of this amazingly sweet ball of fur, and all we will be left with is our photos and memories.  Interestingly enough, even THAT thought isn’t left without Jesus’ whispers of Truths also.  “He presented Himself, along with the offer of abundant life…. Refusing this invitation is like shouting, “Bring on the consequences!”

My life has had to bear the scars of my “consequences”. I have people who have been, and still are journeying with me, that can give testimony to that fact. In my early years I chose to refuse His invitation and decided that I could do a better job at living my life.  Whilst I know without a shadow of doubt that my sins have been forgiven, I still bear the responsibility of the consequences of those sins.  And yet, even in those consequences, God has been ever gracious, ever loving and ever present.  I know that I am welcome exceedingly abundantly MORE than I can imagine, at His table.  He calls me Princess.  He places a Crown of Righteousness on my head.  I am worthy to be His child.  And my consequences are really only woven into a robe of beauty as He fulfills His promise that He “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.”

Should Ipo decide to return home, she will be shown no less consideration.  She will be warmly welcomed.  She will be smothered in love and kisses.  I am sure that Bubbie will spend a lot of time walking around, holding her and whispering quiet words of love and comfort into her ears.  I might even open a can of tuna and allow her the honor of licking it clean! =)  She will be cuddled throughout the evening and I bet we might fight over which bed she will get to sleep on. (Well, not Sis, she likes a kitty-free sleeping arrangement!)  My mind is FULL of all the things we can do for her!  Once again, my thoughts drift to the Prodigal son’s father.  I bet he too, mentally planned all kinds of celebration parties for his son if he was ever allowed to see him again.  Playing it over and over in his mind for all the years his son was gone. So much so, that when the day finally came and he saw his son staggering down the road towards him, that he picked up his cloak and RAN to him!!  He grabbed up his son in a warm embrace and held him tightly. He carried him home, and dusted him off and put into motion all the things he had been planning for so long.  The joy!!! The excitement!!! The fullness!!!  His son was *finally* home.

Ipo, still has a decision to make, if she can……………………………

26. Dec, 2010

Lessons from a Litter Box

Lessons from a Litter Box

Well, I have a confession to make.  I was really frustrated with my kitties, well… really, just Ipo this week.   I was performing one of my seemingly endless “mommy chores” of cleaning the litter box.  Not my FAVORITE job, mind you.  Would MUCH rather be doing laundry or ironing (yes, I realize that to some, THOSE chores would seem yuckier), so you have to understand that whilst I *LOVE LOVE* these furry babies of mine, doing this duty didn’t have me in my bestest of moods, ifin’ ya know what I mean.

Ipo seems to find GREAT pleasure in having her box new and fresh.  To her, it is less of a “dumping of waste” ground, as it is a “endless possibility’s of fun” ground!!  Fresh sand, to her, makes for GREAT GOBS of fun in digging and splashing sand EVERY WHICH direction!! And well, I just was NOT in the mood to clean MORE kitty litter up off our bathroom floor.  I had already been nauseated just CLEANING the dumb thing in the first place!! Neither one of us was  in the greatest of places to be in each others presence, for what was about to happen.

So, she in her glee of fresh litter dives STRAIGHT into her box, whilst I hold, dumb-foundedly watching her, the kitty scrapper spoon thing.  I just sat there, on my haunches completely amazed at what I was seeing happen

before my very eyes.  Litter, *LITERALLY* was being flung 3 feet in every direction, (including onto my body).. She had this gleam in her eyes that spoke of wild abandon, with her ears pinned back on her head, spinning in a circle around and around her box digging, flinging, dashing, digging, flinging splashing…..

I think it must have been litter that was getting a little to close to my face, (or

maybe I just shook myself out of my stuppor, not really sure WHY I came too, just *BOOM* I’m back) and swooped in, grabbed her by her front and back leg and flung her throw the opening of the bathroom door, hollowering “You STUPID CAT!! What in BLAZES to you think you are doing??!!!!” I quickly slammed the door in her face, as I could see she had recovered from her flight thru space, and was about to ONCE again dive back into the box for more fun!!

It looked around me at the mess she had made.  I was near tears, when I started to once again, clean up the bathroom from the litter that seems to find EVERY crack and crevice!  As you do, in situations like this, I was muttering to myself all kinds of evil black thoughts towards my putty-tat.  But it didn’t take long, for my King to turn my thoughts in another direction.  I was about 1/2 thru the clean up process when I saw it all thru His eyes.

How many times in my life, have I been Ipo?  The Lover of my soul, comes in, lovingly cleaning up the waste in my life.  The poo’s and pees that I have made and left sitting stinking up the place for too long, and gently, tenderly and lovingly adds  new and fresh” litter” to my “box” of a life.   Sadly, just like Ipo, instead of finding joy and happiness in the CLEAN, and choosing to happily go traipsing off to find my toys and play things that He has provided

to bring me joy, I come straight back to *MY* litter box, and would rather play in it? Wallowing in the place of waste.  Splashing the litter in all directions, perfectly happy to stay in the chaos of the bathroom floor?

Oh Precious Lord.  Will I ever learn?  I long for holiness, for righteousness but like Ipo, I find myself again and again choosing to come back to the litter box and would rather play there.  I find myself flinging litter in all directions, adding grief and frustration to those around me.  Help me,

Adonai to allow you to be my Master, and help me remember to follow You as my Jehovah-Raah, OUT of the bathroom, AWAY from the litter box, into the life that You have designed for me

I love you Lord.  Help me tod

ay to live for You today.…..

08. Aug, 2010

Judgment

So I have had some interesting encounters lately of people in my life who have some pretty strong opinions. I found myself today getting really angry at the audacity of people who seem to think that they have the right to sit in judgement over others.

I have spent my whole life cowering in the corner watching life happen around me. Due to some yucky things from my past, (none of which really need to be rehashed here) I would find myself believing anything that people I trusted would tell me. The older I get, the more that I realize that I don’t need to take this belief.

I think that because I was pretty much a push over earlier, I let people run over me, and would find myself one who was being judged by those around me. I didn’t talk the same as they did, I didn’t act the same as they did, I wanted different things in life than they did. That apparently left a door open for the judgers to walk thru and pass judgement on me. I spent some years in pretty incredible pain believing some of the things that were said to me and about me. Again, don’t need to give any examples of some of these statements, just sitting here writing about them makes me hurt and angry all over again.

But I think what God has been teaching me in the last couple of years, that those who believe that they can look at someone else’s life and pass judgement really do themselves a great sin. He reminds me again that we are not to try and remove the splinter in our brothers eye until we remove the log in our own. To judge others really is putting them in a box and never believing that it can or will be any different in their lives. And here is the biggest thing that Jesus loving reminds me of again and again…

What about GRACE? Grace that says, “we are *ALL* fallen creatures” and that not one single one of us deserves anything different than hell!!! That it is only by His grace, and sanctification that we are worthy of better. I can’t rightly look at your life and make decisions based on what I *think* that I see, and then pass judgement on you. Until you are willing to walk with someone, and understand what has lead them to that place, and why they act or feel a certain way, then, in my book, you shouldn’t feel free to criticize them or their life.

I think what we are missing is that less and less people are willing to walk with each other thru the hard things in life. To walk hand in hand, knowing that together we are stronger and more able to handle the fiery darts that the enemy sends our way. I might be struggling with something right now, but tomorrow might be your turn to struggle. By not judging you, and you not judging me, then we have built a trust that will extend far into the future of joy and hardships!!! Doing life together, instead of feeling like we are battling all on our own is where I want my friendships to be.

And maybe for me, that is what it comes down to. Trust. If I know that you have my best in mind, and believe in the best for me, and are not sitting back believing this or that about me or my life, than I am more readily able to hand my trust over to you. It is a hard thing for me to do. To trust someone other than my husband, kids, or best friend, (all who have proved themselves over and over and over again to be trustworthy) is hard for me. And yet I long to share “life” (mine and yours) with people. I want to be supportive, and strong for my friends, knowing that I will need them to be strong for me when I feel beat up and trodden down by the enemy. He strikes deeply and well in my life, how about you? Does he seem to know exactly what can and will “take you out”?

Then why not throw out the self righteous attitudes, and stop pointing out the “wrongs” that you think that you see, and instead join up hands and move forward?

07. Feb, 2009

Happiness vs Joy

So, here is what my Maker was working on while we were in transition:

I am learning “JOY”, and what that means. It is *not* happiness, and how those two words have become interchangeable for most people, but are HUGELY different!! One is dependent on outward circumstances and what happens to, around, for and about me. The other is comes in learning about my Maker, and what His nature and character is and finding joy in what He is doing!!! (I am having a hard time trying to type feelings into this blog, with emotions that are only very new and tender and not quite able to have the wings of words attached to them. Know what I mean? ) I have been going thru a Chuck Swindoll book on “Outrageous Joy”, a study of Philippians and Paul’s journey. It has been HUGE for me!!!

I can be happy, but it never seems to last. I find myself one day wondering why I am not happy anymore, and wondering what I need to do to become happy again. Most of the time it is based on getting something in my life, or something GREAT happening at the moment. But that is the thing, it only seems to last a moment!! It seems fleeting.

Then there is Joy. Joy, I have stumbled on, comes from a inward source, or I should say Source… I find that when I am spending quality time with the Lover of my soul, I find joy, and joy that seems to bubble up and infect others around me. I see my kids laughing more, and Bri and I don’t seem to have conflict.

Here is the second thing…
Confidence Brings Joy when:

1. You focus on things that you are thankful for. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for what He has done.” Phil. 4:6

2. You let God BE GOD!!! “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continueHis work until it is finally finished on th day when Chirst Jesus returns.” Phil. 1:6

3. You keep growing love in your life! “I pray that your love will overflow more and more and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding” Phil 1:9

It is a interesting journey. One that I am enjoying =D and that I can’t seem to get enough of!!!

07. Feb, 2009

Why is the grass always greener?

You know that cliche that says “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”? New idea to think about.

I am the one in our family that mows the lawn, does the gardening, and keeps the scrubs and trees cut back. Basically, if it is an “outside job”, it is mine. (But before you go and get your yourself all worked up about why my husband isn’t doing these jobs, I would like to tell you that *he* is the one that does WAY more inside household jobs. Toilets, tubs, vacuuming, dusting, yup, pretty much all those he does. So I figure, we are a good fit, cause I LIKE the outside stuff….)

Anyway, I am watching it growing lush and green with the weather warming up, and the rain sinking deep, and the fertilizer doing its lovely job. =D Basically, IT’S SPRING TIME, and the earth is coming back to life!!!

The other day, I was sitting out back, and admiring my neighbors yard that is right over the back of my fence. Sorta wishing that I had as many beautiful plants and shrubs that they have. And this pretty *amazing* water feature right against my fence that is SOOO cool!! I can sit in my bedroom, or back porch, or tree swing, and get lost in the sound of that babbling water!!! Their trees are all soft pinks and whites. The flowers that are blooming are a rainbow of colors.

And I find myself at that proverbial “grass is always greener”… scenario. I am pretty much drooling over what they have, and feeling pretty disgusted with what is right in front of me.. And it struck me, “WOW, I really do do that!!” From my neighbors actual yard, to maybe someone else’s life, to someone else’s marriage, to maybe even someone else’s job. It sure does look “green” from where I sit.

Here’s what God spoke to my heart. “Melanie, what is it that makes that grass right there in front of you so green and lush and beautiful?” So I started thinking about all that I do to make it be that good. And “yes”, for those of your that know me, I did indeed have a cup of joe i my hands!!

1. Fertilizer

2. Lots of water

3. Sunshine

Then He quietly made me go back and re look at some of those things that I was spending my time thinking about. That I had started drooling over. He walked me thru what had made their “green grass” look so lush and beautiful to me.

Humm. Crap, storms, and Sonshine…

So the next time you step a bit to far into admiring someone’s “green grass”, stop to think what it has taken it to get to that spot!!! Crap, storms, and Sonshine!

07. Feb, 2009

Compassion

I have been talking to a friend of mine lately about compassion. Have you ever noticed that some people throw that word “compassion” around and really use it like a knife instead of it’s true meaning?

Somehow the word seems to have changed to use *against* people when you don’t think that they are doing something that you want them to do, or even think that they should be doing! I hear more and more how “your not being compassionate enough. You just don’t care!!”, instead of saying “wow, you have an amazing amount of compassion in you. Despite what is going on in your life, you still choose to be involved in the people’s lives around you!!”

Compassion: n.The deep awareness of the suffering of another, together with a desire to relieve it.

Compassionate: adj.Feeling or showing compassion; sympathetic.

–And because I am me, and need this–

Sympathetic: adj.1.Of, feeling, expressing, or resulting from sympathy: 2.In agreement; favorable; inclined.

Sympathizing: To feel or express sympathy or compassion for another. 2.To share or understand the feelings or ideas of another.

Hummm, this bears some thinking on a deeper level, don’t you think? Aren’t people really using it completely wrong? I see “adj” at the begining of those deffinations. That means action, doesn’t it? To not use it against someone, or accusing someone but *YOU* use it for *YOU* to act out to someone else.

I know that I am not a Bible scholor, but I am pretty sure that I have never seen Jesus welding this word to a follower as a weapon. I have seen Him acting out the word to the down trodden, to the beat up, to the sick and lonely, to the despairing, to the hopless and hurting.

Boys are created to be warriors in God’s image. Girls to show the beauty of God’s image. Neither were created to trample those who are “below” them,..what ever that means. I might be “below” you today. But you very well could be “below” me tomorrow.

Compassion means feeling each others pain, understanding why and where it came from, and choosing to walk (which may mean picking up out of the mud for some of us!) down the path of righteousness.

Righteousness, right living. Let’s choose righteousness instead of “knife weilding” and “face slapping” words and actions that wound the heart and soul further!!!