Just as He Said

[From the keyboard of Editor/Sister/Dogsitter Cat]

Today is Palm Sunday.  Hopefully, you get to experience the pageantry of the children’s department parading around the church waving palm branches and singing their Easter best while proud parents and grandparents beam from their front row seats.  [Small aside:  No one ever wants to sit in those seats when it’s just the regular worship team; however, when it is children’s choir Sunday those things go faster than seats on the 50-yard line at the university in my backyard.]

Before the pageantry begins, before the hustle and bustle – it’s quiet at my house.  All the creatures are still asleep, both two-legged and four-legged.  Even my guest dog is snoring. In the quiet, I thought I would read ahead, the familiar words we will read as a congregation today. Luke 19.28ff – you may know it by heart or you may have never read it.  If you want, take a moment and read it.  It’s okay, we’ll wait on you.

Jesus has been on this steady march towards Jerusalem for some time.  Mark records it as, “He set His face towards Jerusalem.”  It’s all about to heat up and throw down.  [If this is your first Easter, I will not spoil the ending.  Promise me that you will hang around for the whole story.  It will get good, bad, and heart-breakingly horrible before it becomes gloriously amazing.  It will change your life – don’t give up on the story!]

Luke 19-32

As I read the familiar words, two phrases jump off the page: “The Lord needs it.” and “They found it, just as He told them.”  In my over-active imagination, I can see the Lord laying out His instructions to the disciples, while they stand there with befuddled expressions.  “So, we are just going to borrow someone’s future livelihood because You said?”  Yep.  I see them shrugging and doing as He directed, maybe mumbling to themselves as they trek off.  And then I see them astounded.  Because they found it, just as Jesus has told them it would be.  What He said, was.  What He needed, was.

How many times do I shrug and mumble when the Lord gives me a directive?  How many times do I ignore the preparations He is making on my behalf?  How many times do I become timid in asking those around me to participate in what God Himself is planning?

Where I might see inconveniencing someone and hindering their future in a random way, the Lord sees the very vehicle that He is going to use to fulfill prophecy.  Where I might see an impossible string of coincidences that just won’t work, the Lord stands outside of my timeline and knows what I can’t even begin to imagine.  Where I see myself being rejected for my outlandish requests, the Lord knows what the answer is going to be.

Jesus came in the fullness of time.  Jesus set His face towards Jerusalem when the time was right.  In the grand scheme of bringing the fullness and Jerusalem together to change the world’s eternity, God paid attention to a little jenny that nobody remembered and gave her a foal.  Because the Lord would need it and the disciples needed to find it just like He said it would be.

Oh, my friends, what in the world am I thinking when I don’t think the Lord has a plan for my life?  When I don’t think that He can do what His word says He can do?  When I wonder if He is really, truly strong and mighty to save?  When I read His words, His very directive to me, then shrug and trek off – full of doubts that those words apply to me or my life situation. Why in the world do I wonder and doubt?  Because right there, written down for the entire world to read:  “Go … because the Lord needs it.”

And they found it just as He had told them they would.

To the Mother Struggling with Failure

To the weary mom, tired from trying to earn your way into forgiveness, God’s grace is enough Click To Tweet

I walked away in the middle of life, left a husband and three kids, and never returned.

You and I both could use a lot of words to describe myself and they would fit accordingly. Mothers do not run away. For fifteen years, I have kept this secret. By those who found out, I have been mocked, judged, cursed, and left to drown in my shameful sin.

Asked to define my life in one word, I would say, “failure.” That one little word, heavy with weight, set the standard for my life and permeated every fiber of my being. I allowed failure to pull me down and drown me under the waters of anxiety, depression, and fear.

Then God said “enough!”

Maybe you’re not like me. Perhaps you live at the corner of Betty Crocker and June Cleaver; your crown of faultlessness untarnished. There is a possibility you are the mom whose children set the bar of impeccability and “failure” never crosses your lips. I admire and applaud you, but that is not me.

Hearing the stories that adult children tell of how their parents ruined their lives and harmed them spiritually, emotionally, and mentally in one way or another, and ladies trying to recover from the scars of a “failure mom.” I hear the horror stories and see the statistical devastation. I know the aftermath failure moms leave upon society and all I can say is, “I am that mother.”

Maybe you are like me. Perhaps you struggle with failing your children in one way or another. Perchance you’ve not been the mom God called you to be. It possible that you’ve harmed them and left them out to dry.

If you struggle, if you answer to “failure” please hear me. God is still in control; hope is not lost.

It’s Not All Your Fault

I am the mother of an alcoholic, drug-addicted daughter. I know she lives in North Carolina and she is a waitress (Thank you, social media.) and that is all I know. Yes, part of this is my fault, and I accept the natural consequences that abandonment causes. However, I did not make her pick up the bottle or force her to do drugs.

Even as I write, I struggle with accepting the entirety of this blame. “It’s all my fault,” haunts me and “shame” keeps me in the realms of guilt. Had I continued to raise my daughter in the way I began to raise her, she might be a different young lady. I made choices. She made choices. None of them good.

To the mom who is defined by failure, accept responsibility for your actions and yours alone.  The evils of this world will try to convince you that it is ALL your fault. The sins of the whole world are not yours to bear. Take your faults and hand them over to Christ, lest His death is in vain. He did not die for nothing; He died for your failure.

.To continue reading, (please do) click over to Unmasking the Mess

Through His Grace, you are forgiven. By His Grace you are set free. Click To Tweet

To-The-Mother-Struggling-With-Failure-1

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#sittingamongfriends with Jaime Wiebel

Christ Traded HIS Freedom So That You Can Be Free From Your Burdens

When guilt, shame, or fear, try to entice you to come back, just say no! Click To Tweet

Freedom has set you free

To give the ultimate gift of freedom, Love laid down His life for the sake of another. This unselfish act of sacrifice allows freedom to reign so that others do not have to live in bondage.

What is it in my human nature that causes me to forget the “freedom from bondage” part on a daily basis?

In my human nature, I quickly forget that I am free. Guilt tells me I deserve the pain in which I live and shame reminds me of my story. They are the ball and chain I drag relentlessly. Guilt and shame are key ingredients for a recipe of disaster. Together, the two of them convince me that I deserve every ounce of my suffering. Nine times out of ten, I give in and believe them. I pick up my chains and follow, because it’s easier that way.

However, the cross is not easy. Maybe it is the blood, the guts, the gore of an actual human suffering unto death, but I don’t think the cry of Christ to His Father “Why have you forsaken me?” portrayed easy. The Savior of the world could have removed Himself from the suffering situation in which He found Himself. He could have used the excuse, “It’s just easier this way.”

It is for the freedom found in living free that Christ died. He gave me a choice to accept or deny.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”

Galatians 5:1

Freedom from my past

My past is an ugly place…

Journey to Chaoticlifeoflauren.com to read the rest!

Letting go is hard, but the price is paid. Set down your chains and back away slowly. Click To Tweet

 

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Forgiveness: 3 Things I’ve Learned Through Life’s Hurts

Forgiveness

We are told to forgive, not necessarily for the offender but for those of us who have been offended.  Forgiveness helps us in our mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Matthew 26:28 says, “This is my blood, which seals God’s covenant, my blood poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

matthew 26

Colossians 3:13-14 says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

The Bible contains many scriptures on forgiveness.  In the NIV translation, the topic of forgiveness is mentioned one hundred fifty times.

What I’ve learned about forgiveness is this:

  • Are we to forgive when the offense is so serious as to cause physical, mental or emotional disabilities? I think we are commanded to forgive no matter what the offense. Jesus went to the Cross and shed His Blood FOR EVERY SINNER!
  • Does this mean we are to confront and “work” through this forgiveness with a serious offender? I don’t believe that is necessary for effective forgiveness to take

Many times a conversation with a person who has hurt you can be an unsafe place to be; it can be unsafe physically, mentally and emotionally.

  • I don’t believe God expects us to take control of how this plays out in the flesh. He’s a bigger God than that, and can indeed work the situation out for both parties.

Sometimes the offender will come into a relationship with Jesus because of our forgiveness.  Sometimes that change in the offender comes at the very end of his or her life. That’s ok, at least the change occurs.

I think the point I’m getting at, and something I’ve had to learn over my adulthood is that we can’t control the other person.  We can only control how we react to an offense.  Many times I’ve had to intentionally hand over the offense and the person who needs forgiveness to Jesus.

My prayer is this, “Lord, I don’t know how to fix this.  I need for you to take care of it for me.  I trust that you will do that for my peace of mind.  Somehow, convey to the person who hurt me that you loved him or her and died for him or her just as surely as you did that for me.”

And this, I believe, is forgiveness. Sometimes we verbalize it and sometimes it is necessary to let our Father handle it.

 

me

Gloria is a wife of 43 years, mother to 2 grown sons, grandmother to 6, Biblical Counselor, blogger, and experienced leader of women’s organizations.

Gloria Boone has a rich personal history that uniquely qualifies her expertise as a healer of hearts.  Overcoming the life challenge of growing up in an alcoholic home, Gloria has utilized overcoming her own struggles as a catalyst for ministry to others.  As a Certified Life Coach at Destiny Coaching, Gloria’s passion is to invest all of who the Lord has made her to be into the personal growth of those the Lord brings into her path. The Mission of Destiny Coaching and Gloria’s heart is to impart HOPE to all who wonder about their purpose and calling, offering a clear path to individual destiny. Please visit Gloria’s site  Destiny Coaching

 

Being a guest:

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Finding Your Rest

Out of the ordinary, I offer you not me today.  My friend Rachel from Texas has joined my journey!  I met Rachel through one of God’s boundary-expanding exercises of which He is extremely fond.  Not only has she brought a fresh perspective to my road, I have the day off (not really, Tuesdays are my out-of-the-house volunteer day).  I am richer for the experience!

Please welcome to The Journey of a Million Miles, Rachel Bennett.

Rachel is a daughter of the King, in love with her husband Chris, and mommy to three adorably fun little boys.  Her passion in this life is to encourage and equip women to love God and live on purpose.  She is the author of “Anchor: A Bible Study & Prayer Journal Through Hebrews.”  Please, stop by Rachel’s place and give her a virtual high-five because she is just that awesome.  As well, you can find Rachel on Facebook!

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www.RachelBennett.me

Without further adieu, on day twenty-one, I am thankful for rest and friendship!


Hey there, friends of Mari! I’m so excited to be here writing for my new friend, and excited to meet all of y’all! 🙂

Today I want to talk about one thing that God expects from you that you probably have a tendency to feel guilty about.

For the last few months, I have spent a lot of time in the book of Hebrews. I wrote a bible study on it, and even since I finished, I just don’t want to put it down! It is SO full of God’s grace, goodness, and love.

One big verse that stood out to me (as a woman, as a mom) was Hebrews 4:9-11.

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

Y’all, As a person of God, He expects you to REST. Here’s what that means:

 

  • Netflix doesn’t count.

 

Sorry, I know this probably hurts your feelings, (it kinda hurts mine too) BUT Netflix is not rest. I’m not saying that occasionally sitting down to watch some TV is bad, but it can’t be our haven. When you feel stressed, the natural reaction is to want to shut down, to sit in front of the TV and ignore real life for a while. The problem is, when you get back up, do you feel better? Has your soul been fed?  If you’re like me, the honest answer is no.

  1. Find your Soul Rest

So, if Netflix isn’t cool, what is?? Well, God has wired each of us a little bit different.

Introverts

If you’re like me, an introvert, then you find rest by spending some time alone. Once a week, my husband comes home from work, we all sit down for dinner, and then I head out to a coffee shop to spend some time alone. It is the most refreshing time of my entire week! I journal. I listen to music. I dream. I pray. I come home feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and ready to spend time with my family again.  

We’re not perfect about this, but the first 7 years of our marriage I didn’t do this at all. Honestly, I felt like I was about to lose my mind, but didn’t know why. I just figured it was because we had 3 small boys, and the years of being pregnant and having babies had just worn me down.

We took this little quiz, however, that basically took the temperature of our life, and mine came out exactly like I said… I was about to lose my mind! Thankfully, this led to some serious discussions and together, my husband and I figured out that I needed time to myself that I wasn’t willing to ask for.

I felt guilty. He was working easily 60 hours a week, and I felt bad taking time for just me. Also, he worked 60 hours a week, so I wanted to spend as much time with him as I could!

Unfortunately, time together as a family when I am JUST DONE is not fun time together. :/

Extroverts

Get some friends (I’m assuming you have lots because you’re an extrovert!) and plan a weekly coffee shop chat session! (If you don’t have friends to ask, head to the park, the YMCA, etc. and meet some other moms.)

  1. Observe Your Non-Rested State

When you don’t intentionally spend time resting, you put your heart in a dangerous place. It is so much easier to feel angry, impatient, discontent, inadequate, mean, and simply like “maybe God doesn’t care about me” when we are tired when we’ve worked too much.

He expects you to rest. He has created you to stop and take some time to revel in who He is, who He made you to be, and by using the gifts that He put inside you.

In a state of rest, when you have relaxed and rejuvenated, it is so much easier to live in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It’s so much easier to be the kind of mom you want to be, the kind of wife you want to be.

  1. Be Intentional. Plan it.

I encourage you to take some time to examine your state. Do you rest? Do you spend time alone or with friends? If not, what would be most beneficial for you? How can you spend time that will put your heart and mind in a state of rest?

Talk with your spouse, and put it on the calendar! Set a date and make it happen. Don’t feel guilty about it! God expects it. 😉

How do you spend time in rest?