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I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

I am a renaissance woman.  I am a supportive wife, loving mother, forgiving daughter, humble horse trainer, thankful friend, budding artist, fierce warrior, passionate witness, thoughtful writer and humbled child of God.

I never would have said I were any of these things less than 10 years ago.  I was my own worst critic.  The inner voice told me I was lazy, stupid, selfish and hard-hearted. But through this long journey, God has a gentle way of showing me who I am in Him.  He has allowed me to see that I am wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14).  Because everything good comes from God (James 1:17).  And I am good.

A modern day poet sings it like this:

“This, this is for all the girls, boys all over the world
Whatever you’ve been told, you’re worth more than gold
So hold your head up high, it’s your time to shine

From the inside out it shows, you’re worth more than gold”

So you can choose to see yourself the way others see you.  But let me tell you, my friend, the world is a very cruel place.  There are so many skeptics and doubters and some will only see you in a negative light.  Why?  Because they either do not have the Holy Spirit at all, or they struggle with how much time the Holy Spirit resides in them.

Ask God to show you how He sees you.  Jesus was able to see the good in every one and recover the good from everything.

Only the full glory of Jesus allowed the adulterous woman to walk freely away toward a new beginning when everyone else wanted to stone her (John 8-11).  How she lived her life from that day on, only God knows, but she had the opportunity to begin again. In addition, only Jesus had the authority to forgive the crippled man He then asked to get up when the teachers of the law were skeptical (Mark 2:6-10).  What became of the man? No one knows, but he was able to go on living a full live with the ability to share his miraculous story.

Only Jesus could heal the boy of his seizures after his disciples failed to heal him (Matthew 17:16).  What became of the boy? I will bet money he followed Christ.

And finally, only Jesus saw the greatness beyond the darkest moments in his own brutal murder (Matthew 16:21).

So don’t let “the people” stone you.  Even some of the greatest disciples fail to heal.

Remember this: you ARE awesome.  Let God show you just how awesome you truly are.

With love, always, ~D

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Perfect Love

best-friendsI joined a group for new moms a few years ago and immediately felt blessed for the new friendships that were forged through the group. I became friends with one woman in particular but our friendship soon ended after I shared a personal story with her.  She became hostile and judgmental toward me.  It saddened me.  I wondered what I said that would make her act that way.  Then I got angry.  White hot.

Later on in the year, I saw her at a women’s function and said a few things I am not proud of. I immediately regretted being harshly judgmental towards her.  But I couldn’t help it.  A part of me wanted her to feel the judgment she directed towards me.

Did I get even?

Not even close.  I felt awful.  And it ate at me. How do I fix this?

Being home with a newborn,  I longed for a few Christian moms who would help me navigate through this new ‘mommy world’. After joining a couple of groups at my new church, I found other moms who scheduled play dates and helped me nurture my growing faith. 

Most days, I was so thankful to be surrounded by many awesome women.  But there were some moments I would stumble home feeling as if I were returning from another battle in the never ending cold war of defending myself.  I was still super sensitive to being judged.  I know I am a sinner and have done A TON of stupid things in the past.  But I was doing my part of confessing my sins to other Christians.  However, I wondered why it was sometimes met with hostility and judgement.

Then I began to understand.  Get out side of yourself, Dana.  Its so much bigger than you.

I guess at the end of the day,  I just need to let the past be the past.  I’ve learned from my mistakes.  And its OK that I am still not perfect today.  I am a work in progress, just like everyone else.

Nine months later, baby number two arrived and girl friends from our church welcomed our little bundle with homemade dinners for my growing family.  **By the way, never underestimate the power of a home cooked meal!  **

One of our visitors was the mom whom I got short with after “sharing”.  As she lovingly placed the hot meal in our partially finished kitchen, we chatted for a while.  I immediately remembered why I was drawn to her when we first met.  She was easy to talk to and so down to earth.  She openly shared lots of life experience.  But we still had a lot of mending to do.  Negativity was shared on both sides, and that was not easily fixed.

I gently declined her offer to join her small group.  I was overwhelmed with being a new mother to two baby boys and needed some down time.  However, through her persistence, I met up with her and together we shared our deepest shames in the parking lot of our church.

I am so thankful she was able to come back around and share more of her story with me.  It made me realize why she acted the way she did.

Six months later, I attended her baptism at our church.  In her testimony, she shared the stories of her past with the rest of the congregation as she accepted our Lord and Savior.

Today she stood in front of so many moms in our group and bravely shared her story.  She cried along with some who barely knew her, but also with a few of us who knew her well and loved her so much.  She poured out her feelings about how her father committed suicide and left her with a mess to clean up.

This experience has taught me not to take hostility and judgment personally.  Its not my place to “punish”others for the way they treat me.  Because I never know the whole story.  Only God knows, and He will right the wrongs. Plus, my good conscience beats me up after I intentionally hurt someone.  Its just easier to let God handle it.

I am just so thankful that I stuck around to see the story unfold.  His perfect story.  The story of how someone hurt so much, and after much work, comes back to Him.  Its always a beautiful story.

He has taught me patience and to keep going, and things will be revealed in His time.

I am in awe of my Lord and Savior.  His work is miraculous and perfect.

The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me – He will complete what he has begun. He will not begin to interpose in my behalf, and then abandon me. He will not promise to save me, and then fail to fulfill his promise. He will not encourage me, and then cast me off. So of us. He will complete what he begins. He will not convert a soul, and then leave it to perish. “Grace will complete what grace begins.”  Philippians 1:6

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