Forgive Those Against You.

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Saying some prayers this evening for those who have figuratively nailed me or anyone within my family (my parents and sister included) to a cross.

I may have not been “in the right” but neither were they. In all situations, it takes two to reach the outcome.  It takes two to argue.  It takes two to point fingers.  But it only takes one to stand up for what is right.

It is not one-sided, it is not a blame game, it isn’t a game of wits, and it isn’t about who told the honest truth over who told the personal truth dabbed with lies.

It isn’t about who has the ability to stand up for themselves.  It’s about who has the ability to stand up for Him.

You can judge me, you can criticize me, and you can persecute me.
But then you cannot stand and call yourself a believer.  You cannot stand there and preach against one thing and act another.

“Do not repay evil with evil. Try to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes.  If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.
If your enemy is hungry, feed him.
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  For in so doing
you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” – Romans 12: 18-21 (HCSB)

I may not be (and possibly never will be) at a place where I can reconcile. It is my Christian duty to forgive others so that my Father will forgive me .

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him so that your Father in Heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.” -Mark 11:25

Give It Up.

Dear Lord,

Today, I am lifting up to you those individuals who are suffering in different aspects in their life.  I ask that you be our comforter in our time of need.

It’s during times like these that we are impaled with thorns and it feels like we will never fully heal.  It feels like day after day, we get stuck with a thorn.  However, you bore the cross wearing a crown of thorns.  You suffered greater pain than we ever will in this lifetime and for that we are grateful.  You wore that crown so that you could withhold the thorns in our life.

Even though we may be suffering loss, your loss was greater.  You gave your life so that we may live a life full of unfailing love and forgiveness through you.  You will give us a new life within you; one where pain and suffering does not exist.

Grant us the strength and courage to throw ourselves upon your mercy and give up our sufferings to you.  You know how much we can handle and you allow us to unite the rest with the sufferings that you have endured.

Allow us to trust in you no matter what suffering may come our way.

In your name we pray,
Amen.

By Your Side.

This past week I was fighting a hard battle.  I was having some vicious spiritual and emotional battles going on.  I was barely functioning for a week.  Everything was a challenge.  I was trying to sift through issues and tackle them one at a time but I could only do so much.  However, I was fighting to turn them over to God; even though I hammer it over and over again in my posts.

I had hit a point later in the week (Thursday or Fridayish) where I was so frustrated and beaten down that all I could do was cry.  I felt like I had failed my husband, the kids, myself and especially God.  I had fallen behind in school work, house work, and other general responsibilities.  Sunday came and I felt like church is exactly what I needed to “reset” my struggles.

I sobbed during church.  I couldn’t even sing a full song without bursting into uncontrollable tears.  It felt like every song we sang was directed towards me or the battles I had fought the past week.  I felt like God was doing some work in me, but why was it so hard to let go?  It got to the point where I had to actually leave church, gather myself, and then come back in.  I physically couldn’t stop the crying no matter how hard I tried.

This is one of the songs that we sang.  It was definitely the hardest to maintain my composure (HA!  More like black streaked face the entire song!)
I love this song and it is so true!

He was by my side through all my struggles, but Satan was battling back and made me feel like I was going at it alone.  There was not one point where I was alone, spiritually or physically.  God wanted me to stop fighting but I felt like all I could do was fight; fight to keep Satan out as best as I could.

He loves us and He is there for us.  We don’t need to fight alone; He’s fighting for us and with us.

The Never-Ending Hug.

One of my friends posted this picture yesterday and I couldn’t pass it up.

This picture speaks volumes.  Therefore, this blog is going to be super short.

I am so thrilled that I was able to return to my faith and finally see and feel what God was doing in me and in the lives of people around me.

I am thankful that He overcame death so that he could forgive every wrong that I have ever done and that I will ever do.

He speaks to us through His word and shows us that He is there for us every step of the way.  We just have to trust Him and allow Him to take us into His arms to show us the way.

Living On Edge.

One of the biggest things that irritates me about myself is my temper.  Maybe more of my patience.  Not meaning I’m walking around angry all the time but more of the fact that I get so easily frustrated with situations that are not worth flying off the handle for.

And I get mad at the fact that I’m mad.  Then I get even more mad.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Today, for example, I was furious with Verizon Wireless after about…. 5 minutes of using their online chat.

Shane and I have been battling them over one thing or another since I can remember. (I was evening battling them before we started dating.)  We often times find additional charges or changes to our plan that were not authorized.  But recently, we have been dealing with the Edge plan.  (A plan through Verizon that you can get a brand new phone without paying for it up front and it is split up into payments that are added onto your bill; you also get a discount.  It’s pretty impressive actually.)  We were both eligible before we got married and Shane “Edge’d up” when we looked into it and I was going to “Edge up” when we got our plans combined.  I was looking forward to this since I have had numerous issues with my iPhone and just wanted to be done with it.  However, in the midst of all the changing and transferring, my eligibility was removed.  We made numerous calls and spent hours upon hours on the phone with different agents to see what we would do to remedy the situation.  We came up dry.  I got mad.

Of course I got mad.  My phone only works when it wants to.  You don’t realize how much you use your phone until you can’t.  I use it for everything; blogging/checking the notifications, banking, schooling, checking on my loans, social networking, researching different things; the list goes on.

However, I was contacting Verizon last week because my phone completely quit.  I couldn’t do anything.  I was disconnected from WiFi, it wouldn’t connect to 4G or 3G, in fact, it said “No Service.”  So, I hopped on Verizon chat and did some troubleshooting with the agent for a while and we just happened to be making small talk when our issues with the Edge program were addressed.  She couldn’t understand why nothing was done about it before since it was a simple form to fill out.  She promised that she would take care of it and I would see results.  I was impressed.

I went back on today to just check and see if there was anything more I could do on my end and what their system was showing.  BIG MISTAKE.  The agent I was paired up with could not differentiate between Shane’s phone line (who happens to be the account holder) and my phone line.  He was trying to tell me that I was already on the Edge plan and that I needed to pay off $300+ dollars in order to “Edge up” again.  Um.  No.  That’s my husband, not me.  I tried to explain it better (since all I wanted to know was if the form was filled out) in hopes that he would understand; no go.  The longer I sat there explaining the same thing over and over, the more frustrated I grew.  Like, crazy rabid squirrel frustrated; fangs showing, foaming at the mouth, pulling my hair out frustrated.  Eventually, I got tired of wasting my breath (after explaining the same thing over and over for about a half hour) that I asked for his employee ID to leave him a review and logged off.

My blood was boiling.

As soon as the chat was ended and I took a few breaths, I realized that I was frustrated over something so small and so stupid.  Then I started reciting this verse without realizing it:  “…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to be come angry.” – James 1:19

I often hear my husband mummer this under his breath when something is frustrating him.  He also happens to be one of the most patient, understanding, and forgiving men I know.  I have him to rely on and to help build me up and encourage me, but yet it is so difficult for me to stay calm in situations that try my patience.

Shane really is a living example of Christ’s love and how we, as Christians, should be conducting ourselves.  We need patience instead of anxiousness.  We need calm instead of chaos.  We need to listen instead of slander.

I can only pray that I can begin to show patience and understanding in my character.

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

Hidden Faces.

Betrayal (verb) : to deliver or expose to an enemy by disloyalty; to be unfaithful; to disappoint.
Denial (noun) : an assertion that something that is said or believed is false; refusal to believe doctrine; disbelief of existence of a thing.

At some point in our lives, we have all experienced one of these emotions.  Maybe from family, friends, co-workers, or maybe in some cases, ourselves.  There have been times that we may have denied a friendship or talked about someone behind their back with someone else, there may have been times that we refused to believe someone even though they were telling us the truth, there may have been times where we have disappointed others or ourselves.

But the extent that we have felt these emotions are nothing compared to what Christ felt.  He was betrayed not once but three times by one of His followers, He was mocked, He was tortured; all so that we didn’t have to be.

But His denial didn’t stop with Peter; it continues with us.  I’ll be the first to admit that there have been times where I didn’t admit to being a believer.  The friends I spent most of my time around in High School were not believers and I got tired to fighting the fight of trying to convince them to believe.    Even though I didn’t deny it, the fact that I didn’t defend my faith – defend Him – wasn’t close enough to betrayal – it was betrayal.  My betrayal to Him was worse when I stopped worshiping.  I quit going to church, I stopped praying, I took my issues upon myself and majority of the time, they got worse.

We turn our faces in fear as to what others will think.  We get the frame of mind that no situation is bad enough to where we need His help.  We lose faith because of things we may have been put through in our lives; deaths, abuse, divorce, life-threatening diseases/illnesses, and so on.  We become bitter and closed off because we just don’t understand “why us.”

But since Jesus died on the cross for our sins, we no longer have to live like fearful and faithless cowards.  We can stand proud, confess our sins, and ask for forgiveness.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ~ 1 John 1:9
He is there to make our crimson stained lives white again.  He is there to cleanse us from all that is unholy.

Since yesterday was Resurrection Sunday, Shane and I braved watching The Passion of the Christ with the kids.  Talk about a tough movie to watch; especially with two kids who are visually sensitive to movies like this.

I first saw in in 2004 while I was in confirmation.  At the time, I was a bit put off by all the blood and gore that was shown but I didn’t fully understand the meaning behind it.

However, watching it 11 years later had a whole new feel to it.  I understood why these things were happening.  I found a greater appreciation for what He endured so that we didn’t have to.  But, the kids covered their eyes and hid their faces as the most pivotal points in the movie were happening. (But I can’t say that I blame them.)

But then I realized our biggest faults here on Earth.

We hide our faces.

We hide in fear that we may not “fit in” or that we will be viewed as “weak.”

We cannot keep living a life of masquerade.  How can He help us if we don’t allow Him to?

Sometimes we just need a pivotal moment in our lives to knock us down and show us that we cannot keep living our lives the way we had been.  My moment?  When I realized I had been brainwashed to become a person I wasn’t.  When I realized I was fighting with my family more than I was talking to them.  When I realized that that ring on my finger felt more like a noose.  That was when I realized that I needed Jesus and that I needed to stop living in denial and misery.

We have two choices; continue on a destructive path harming ourselves and those around us or ask Him to guide us back onto the path that He has laid out for us.

He gave His life for us, the least we could do is give up our lives to Him.

What is your choice?

Are you willing to uncover your face?
Are you willing to uncover your face?

The Demons Inside.

There are battles that we as humans go through every day; greed, lust, self-image, forms of self-destruction, etc.

Just yesterday, I was battling self-image.  I was getting ready for work and didn’t even recognize the woman looking back at me in the mirror.  Her hair was lighter, her eyes were brighter, her lips were smooth and her cheeks were defined.  That wasn’t me.  I have lifeless hair that hangs, my eyes tend to stay a dull green, my lips are lifeless and my cheeks are sunken in and dull.  That person I was seeing was someone I could only dream of becoming; someone who my husband sees but I never can.  Only then was I able to see beyond my “flaws” and see me the way that God sees me; perfectly imperfect.  The only thing that was different between yesterday and any other day I felt that way – I actually believed it yesterday.

These temptations are daily struggles for most and we don’t even realize that Jesus is calling us – begging us – to continue on the right path even when we are going down the destructive path.  He fights the battles for us so that we don’t have to fight them alone.

I was sent this video this morning and I cried.  I had to pause it a few times to dry my eyes to continue watching it.

It’s tough but it’s something that needs to be seen; especially on the day where we learn more about His death and what He accomplished for us so that we didn’t have experience what He did.

Get your Kleenex ready and turn it up so you can hear the music with it.

A Diamond In The Rough.

So, I wish that I would have included this in my last weeks follow Friday but I’ll throw it in this week because its A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!! So, I’m not sure if they found me or if I found them first but either way, if you enjoy my posts, you need to see what B Hoyt talks about. The bogs are open ended, full of wisdom and completely captivating! There have been a few where when I walk away from them, my brain feels like it’s going to explode (in a good way of course!) I highly highly highly suggest going and checking it out!!