Project Love – Accepting Love

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Well readers by the title you can guess why the post regarding Friday was so late coming out, I’ve been sick. It started on Friday, was horrible yesterday, slept most of the day, and seems to be getting more tolerable today. A friend of my assured me this morning that it only lasts 4-5 days. I’m on day three so I see a light at the end of the tunnel and who knows maybe I will be spared of having to endure another day or two. One can only pray.

I live alone and needed help so I called a friend and she got me some much needed supplies to get me through this. Her help was so greatly appreciated! This time it was my opportunity to accept love. I had been able to do nothing much other than sleep and wake the entire day. By the time she was there I was feeling very ill and not sure if I needed to go to urgent care or not, however, the food and drinks she brought did wonders! She did all of this even though earlier in the week someone had knocked out one of the windows of her car and she had been waiting for the guy to come and repair it. It had been hours since the time he said he would be there so she came to my rescue. “Love…is not self-seeking,…” 1 Cor. 13:4a-5b She indeed was doing anything other than being self-seeking! Such kindness and thoughtfulness was overwhelming! I felt so cared for and so loved and unbelievably grateful for her kindness and selflessness!     

Who knew that when this started 4 days ago that it would begin a lesson on accepting love. I have never felt worthy of love. My youth group used to go to a concert/service where there was an alter call every Friday night and every Friday night I would feel compelled to go down to the alter to ask Jesus into my life. I had the misguided impression that God would sooner see fit to allow Hitler into heaven than me a 13 year old. I know now that if Hitler should’ve accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior he would be my brother. Which (forgive me Lord) still is a difficult thing to wrap my head around. (I definitely still need a lot of work.) One of the reasons why I’m so excited about #projectlove because I know it is going to do a work in me and I hope that it does a work in others. As far as the alter calls were concerned I finally realized with the help of a friend that I wasn’t trusting my Savior. So I decided to put my faith in Him and never ask Him again. However, when it comes to accepting love I still have a hard time. I have difficulty believing that I’m deserving of it. I married my ex-husband because I thought no-one else would want me and I better get it while the getting was good, which to be honest it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong I did care for him just not like someone that should marry. I told myself I did. Which was a lie. When I watch, really watch, people who are in love they know all about their beloved! I couldn’t even tell you what beer he liked. I would bring a different one home each grocery trip. There were a number that he drank so I’m not sure if he liked a few and I just never learned them or he just didn’t have a favorite and drank whatever was available at the time. I know not very present on my part. Not a very proud time in my life.

I have learned that I am worthy of being loved first by my LORD and then others (not necessarily a husband). The challenge for me is the head knowledge of knowing I’m worthy of being loved and accepting the love. Which when I think about it is odd because although I am truly happily single for 28 1/2 years. Yes, I got married and divorced at a young age, all I’ll say is both are in my 20’s and no it wasn’t a really short marriage. Receiving love or maybe rather believing that it is real has been difficult for me the majority of my life if not all of it. As with all stories it starts with my past, which wasn’t a pretty one. But praise God, He has brought me out of all of that and blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. I’m still in the process of accepting love. This is something that I have been working on for decades now and I am much better than I was when I was younger yet I may never be done with this lesson, until I die. I know for certain that if I do complete this lesson a new one will be waiting for me. It seems as though this particular onion has many layers.

We can be certain that God loves us time and time again in Ps. 52:”8 (NIV),  Hosea 11:1 (NIV) , Malachi 1:2(NIIV), 2 Thess. 3:5 (IV) all speak of God’s love. Of this we can be certain that God does love us! There is no and if’s or buts about it Ps. 61:7 (NIV) “May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever; appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.” God so loves us that the maker of the universe & every cell & atom in it (just try and wrap your head around that), who placed each one in prefect harmony, wants you to be enthroned in His presence! How’s that for being excepted?!!! It makes me down right giddy. And of course there is always John 3:16 “For God so loved other world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” I don’t know of any father that would do that. Here it is Father’s Day and we can be certain that no matter what kind of father you had or if your father is no longer with you, you do have a Heavenly Father that loves you unconditionally! Yep! Just as you are warts and all! No matter what you do He is in the business of forgiveness. All we need to do is ask and accept His love.

My hope for you is that if you struggle with accepting God’s love or the love of other’s that you would be encouraged and open yourself to accept what you do truly deserve and that we may journey together at accepting love.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner In Christ                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

      

How Do You Look At The Details Of Your Life?

I love this from Beth Moore in her, “Breaking Free: Day by Day” devotional, this was found on 8/29:

We have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.  –   2 Corinthians 4:7

Here is my personal check list of Scriptures and evaluations that I seek to apply to my life on a regular basis.

  • Is my most important consideration in every undertaking whether or not God could be glorified? (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • Do I desire God’s glory or my own? (John 8:50,54)
  • In my service to others, is my sincere hope that they will somehow see God in me? (1 Pet. 4:10-11)
  • When I am going through hardships, do I turn to God and try to cooperate with Him so He can use them for my good and for His glory? (1 Pet. 4:12-13).

These really got me thinking about the motives behind what I do on a daily basis.  Do I follow the four bullet points that Beth talks about or am I more concerned about myself.  To be honest I’d say it is not as good as I would like it to be.

I want to be used by God not just sit on the sidelines and watch while others have all the fun.  I want others to see God in me.  As a matter of fact that is what I want them to be consumed by God when they look at me.

I want my hardships to be used for my good and for His glory.  That is one of my ultimate goals.  It is my ultimate work goal.  I want to encourage people as much as possible that no matter what it is that they have gone through, our God is greater and He will bring you through to the other side and you will be the better for it.

If I had known nearly 25 years ago what I know now: 1. I never would have believed it possible.  2. It would have saved me a ton of misery if I could have wrapped my mind around it.  Nearly 25 years ago I had made my first of too many to count attempts at suicide.  Now I know that that is not an option for me.  I have better coping skills with the illnesses of Bi-polar and General Anxiety Disorder.  Unless I’m sick I keep my appointments with my doctors and am very strict with myself about taking meds.  I’m getting better about keeping to a stringent sleep schedule, although at times I fail.

Whatever your Achilles heel is, it is my strong belief that you too can live a victorious life, are you going through a ugly divorce?  Allow God to teach you and bring you through.  There are always lessons to be learned no matter what it is that we are going through.  Dealing with issues of abuse?  God can help you there too.  He can help to show you that you’re not the one to blame and that in due time with healing forgiveness can be given for your benefit but that takes time so don’t feel bad if you’re not ready yet.  Going through a loss.  God is the Great Comforter and He longs to comfort you in a way that no human can be.  Once He has comforted you, you will have a more intimate relationship with Him than ever before.

The list could go on and on but it is my fervent hope that you get the idea and whatever you are dealing with the Holy Spirit has already brought it to mind and how He would like to be there for you if you would just trust Him and release yourself to Him.  He is called the Comforter for a reason.  Allow Him to do what He is here to do.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

The Gift of Gratitude – A Short Story Part 3

Jack looked around the room and his gaze fell upon a women that appeared mostly toothless, with a weather beaten face and straggly matted grey hair. In his world this woman would have been one of the most unwanted and unaccepted or even unnoticed because until just recently he did his best to make these people invisible to him. With all of her grotesqueness she had something more that attracted her to him. First there was a sound. The harder he listened the more he realized that she was singing a happy song. Then it was that toothless smile that not only light up her face but radiated all around her. The last thing that drew him to her were her eyes. They shone as bright as the sun and twinkled like stars in the heavens and danced like a youth 1/10 her age. They drew him in to her in awe and wonderment. Never had he seen eyes like hers. He walked to her purposefully and quickly as not to miss her for fear she may leave before he could ask his questions. He introduced himself and asked her what her name was, she replied, “My name is Esther. Is there something on your mind Jack?” Well, that was easy he thought this fascinating woman seemed also able to see into his soul and know that there was something on his heart. “Yes there is something I want,” started Jack “I’ve been noticing how happy you are I might even use the word grateful, yet as near as I can tell you have nothing. How can that be? What is it that fills you with this joy that I so plainly see on you?” “Oh, Jack,” Esther replied, “this indeed is a worthy question. I would be most honored to tell you of the joy I’ve found. But first I must know are you pressed for time?” At this he wasn’t sure, he had no idea of his companions plans for there evening together. He looked quizzically at Gab and he smiled back and nodded. “No,” replied Jack, “I’m not pressed for time. I’m all yours Esther.” “I’m glad to know that,” said Esther, “it’s been a long path and it takes a while to tell.”

“You know I wasn’t always the woman that you see. I had a grand house with upstairs and downstairs servants. I had grounds men for the gardens and the pool and tennis courts and a chauffeur to drive me and one for my husband and they did all the upkeep on the many cars we had. With all of that Jack I lacked the most important thing I lacked gratitude for what I had and I had no joy. My heart was empty and cold. When my husband was jailed for embezzling from his own company I lost it all in a matter of days. When I lost my wealth I lost what friends I thought I had. They were there for the good times but when the bad times hit they were nowhere to be found. The hard heart that I had so cautiously crafted and built at first became even harder when I started blaming all of my losses on my husband. In an attempt to distance myself from him and the losses I listened to some ill advice and divorced him. While in prison and with nothing to look forward to since now I had turned my back on him and not stayed true to my vows of for better or worse he killed himself. The news of this was the beginning of my undoing and a massive change began to take place in my heart. I hurt for the first time at what I had done to my husband and how I had abandoned him. With no where to go and no friends I soon found myself on the streets. This was a truly humbling experience considering where I had come from and how far I had fallen. I had no one, nothing or so I thought. I soon learned that there was a community of hurting people feeling much the way I was feeling here. In the shelters I quickly learned the ones to ask questions of for help with survival skills. So I survived at first with a bitter heart at all I had lost. But as I began to look around me I noticed that there were those that were as equally as bad off as I was that were doing more than surviving. This made me very curious. How could anyone in our circumstances do anything other than merely survive? I wanted to know, as I suspect you want to know, how anyone could find joy in such a place? Am I right?” Jack nodded. Esther smiled her eyes dancing all the more, “This is a true mystery. One I’m honored to share with you. I finally asked my new friends how they could be what appeared to be joyful in such lowly circumstances. Their first answer was but one word – gratitude. All I could think as I left them is what do they have to be grateful for? What do any of us here have to be grateful for? This answer at first angered me more than comforted me. I walked away with an even harder heart than I had had before. I thought these people are truly nuts. I’ve wasted my breathe on a bunch of lunatics! I stayed away from them for a while and soon found myself in the company of some lost souls that really were truly out of their right mind. This got me thinking. If my former friends really were not lunatics they must have had something with this “gratitude” thing. But I was still at a loss as to how to possess it. So I eventually returned to my friends and they welcomed me back with open arms. Which made me realize that they had something more than gratitude they also had acceptance, what I would later discover was love. These were qualities that my friends of the grand old days didn’t truly possess. I became more and more attracted to them. But where was all this coming from in the midst of poverty and utter despair?