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Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Fabulous Family Friday–It’s Time to Let Go

Thursday, July 28th, 2011




Dallas’ step-mom stepped into Glory early Wednesday morning.


Times like this make you re-evaluate your life.


What is really important in life?  What IS the “important stuff”?


Well, if you know me at all, you know I “preach” about relationships all the time.


Relationships.  Those are the “important stuff” of life.   God wanted fellowship, so He created man.  He didn’t “need” us.  But He wanted a creature that would choose to fellowship with Him. So He gave man a choice.


Man didn’t make the best choice and has suffered for it ever since.


Then the Father made a way to reconcile us to Him.  He paid a precious price to redeem us from our foolish choice of self!


What a wonderful Savior He is!


And yet….


I can’t help but think of the parable Jesus told in Matthew 18:21-35.   I used to tell my girls, when they were younger, how the servant owed money that if it were stacked up, would be as high as “the tower”.  “The tower” is connected to a Cargill facility and stores grain to be used for mixing feed.  It is 8 stories high and visible for miles around!   In our rural area, it stands out!  It was pretty new when they were small, and they used to look for the tower on our way home from anywhere and start this litany of “I see the tower!  I see the tower!”


So it made a BIG impression on them to think of $20 bills stacked 8 stories high!


(Note:  I’m not stating that is the exact amount or how it might look but was using it for an analogy! ;) )


That’s how much the servant was forgiven!


Then what does he do?  He goes out and finds a fellow servant who owes him $20 and says, “Pay up or else!”   As his fellow servant begs for patience, he has no mercy whatsoever.


I’m sure we’ve all read that and thought, “How could he do that?  How could he just be forgiven a debt that he could never repay, and then demand his fellow servant pay a ridiculously small amount?!”


Because he didn’t understand mercy.   Or grace.   He didn’t focus on the “important stuff”.


I have watched Christians hang onto bitter grudges and hurts, and say things like “They’ll get theirs!”


Really–do we want others to “get theirs”?


What about “ours”?


Oh, that’s different!  WE get grace and mercy!  But “they” don’t “deserve” it.


It looks pathetic in print, doesn’t it?


Yet that is what we really are saying when we choose to not forgive.


And that is usually at the bottom of broken relationships.  Someone is not meeting our needs, someone is not doing what they should, someone else is being selfish and it hurts you….yet God’s grace is there to help you forgive them.


It’s not a feeling.  It’s a choice.  But too many of us are bound by our feelings.   And as we’re waiting for “feelings” to help us forgive, we’re getting more bitter every day.


Bitterness is not just wishing for revenge.  It can also be hanging onto the hurts.  Which is all too easy to do, especially when the other person either doesn’t have a clue they even hurt us, or they don’t care.


But we are commanded to forgive, to let go, to love, to bless and do good to our enemies (Mt. 5:44).


If we are to do that with our “enemies”, shouldn’t we do that all the more with our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Especially in our families?


This brings peace, rest, grace…unity.


And unity is the gift we can give to Him.


“That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us:  that the world may believe that Thou hast sent me.” Jn. 17:21



How will the world believe the Father loved them enough to send His Son, when His children can’t even love and forgive each other?


When we keep His lovingkindness, His mercy, before our eyes, it is easier to see how to walk in His Truth.


“For Thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes:  and I have walked in Thy Truth.”           Ps. 26:3


His lovingkindness is also His beauty, His favor.


When we keep before us all He did for us, and that we have favor with Him only because of His Son, it makes it easier to trust Him and believe that truly He can work even the wrath of man to praise Him. (Ps. 76:10)


Do we really think we can make a difference in an offender’s life by holding him or her hostage to our bitter emotions?


Christ died to free us from the shackles of guilt, shame, bondage to sin.  So why do we insist on putting shackles on our brothers and sisters?


I told my husband the other day that I think I know what the “unpardonable sin” is.


He asked what?


I said, “Unforgiveness.”


No, I can’t prove that theologically.   What I mean is, first of all, if we don’t forgive, He plainly said He won’t forgive us, either.  (Mt. 18:35)


If we are truly His, and we choose not to forgive, we may still “get to Heaven”, but we will live in a self-made hell-on-earth, because we can’t stay in fellowship with the Father Who forgave His prodigal when we harbor bitterness and unforgiveness towards another.  We won’t feel His forgiveness, His favor.  We will also destroy other relationships, because anyone who acts like or reminds us of the one we won’t forgive will evoke a reaction from us.  Or we’re so consumed with rehashing in our minds and to anyone who will listen how that person wronged us.  How we’re justified in feeling this way.  And then we will wonder why certain people have become distant to us.


Our hearts will shrivel up more and more as we get more self-focused, self-possessed.


“Be careful that you are following Me, and I will care for all else.  Striving is for those who have not yet learned to trust Me.  Anxiety is the affliction of the self-possessed. The godly know their heritage and revel in the protection of their Redeemer.  For it is in the blood of Jesus that refuge is found for every onslaught of the enemy.                                               ~Come Away My Beloved, by Frances Roberts


Truly, hanging onto offenses shows a lack of trust in God, and a lack of belief that He is Sovereign.   He could have stopped the offense, but didn’t.  Can He really be God?  (Where does that lie come from?!)


By embracing the grace He extends to you, and choosing, in spite of your feelings, to forgive, and instead of rehashing what was said or what you will say when you get a chance the next time, you choose to think of His grace and say, “I choose to forgive them.  By Your grace, I choose to love them”, then eventually it doesn’t hurt anymore.   And you actually DO love them!


Jesus didn’t die on a Cross so you could “have the right” to “speak your mind”.  Or to hold onto a grudge and refuse to give grace and mercy when you have received so much more from Him.


It’s really a slap in the face to the Glorious Son of God Who died to set you free!


We really have no other choice if we truly want peace and to stay in fellowship with Him.


It’s time to let go.


As you can imagine, life has prompted this post.


29 years ago, my step-mother-in-law had heard some things about me that weren’t true, but she trusted the one who told her.   She didn’t know me very well yet.  For close to 2 years, I could tell she didn’t like me and didn’t really accept me as her daughter-in-law.   At the time, I didn’t know why.


I had to choose to forgive, to say, “I love her” even when I didn’t feel it one little bit.


I’m so glad I did!


As I knelt by her bedside a few days ago, holding her hand, not knowing if she even was aware we were there, I thought, “Thank You, Lord!  Thank You that we cleared all that up years ago!”


My mother-in-law did say she was sorry, but by the time she did, it really didn’t matter anymore.


You see, if you wait for them to “say their sorry and mean it’, they will never be able to mean it enough for you.  You will still be expecting so much from them, and when they sincerely ask forgiveness or apologize, you won’t be able to release them.


And your “balance” will be upset.  As long as they were not acknowledging their wrong, you were “justified” in your feelings.  But now they have received freedom from God, if not from you, and their end of the balance has flung to the Heavens.  And you are left with the weight of the bitterness you harbored in your heart.


There is only one thing to do.


Let go.   Give it to Him, a thousand times a day if you must.  But let go, before it totally destroys you and those you love.


After all, when you get to Heaven, and see those nail-scarred hands, just what will be so important to hold on to, when you look into the face of One Who let go of it all…..for you?


Remember, it was from His Cross that He spoke the ten words that are our example….



“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”



May you find in Him the grace, the mercy, the strength….


…..to let go.


For then you will see and know His Truth, and “the Truth shall set you free.”


May you be free in Him!




Fabulous Family Friday! Taking Care of Mama!

Friday, January 21st, 2011

You’ve heard the saying:  If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

There’s a BIG element of truth in there! ;)  

We truly are the “heart of the home”, and if we’re having a bad day….somehow it seems the rest of the family is, too!

We mamas are usually giving from dawn to dusk (and sometime from dusk to dawn!), serving our families in one aspect or another.  Often the tyrrany of the urgent drives us, and the important priorities don’t always happen.

One big one is, taking care of ourselves. 

Let me say right off I’m not advocating some aspect of “me time” at the expense of your family.  There’s enough written about that out in the world! 

But neither is it some form of Godliness to let yourself get so run down to the point you can no longer function well in your roles as child of God, wife, mama and homemaker.  Sometimes illness or a crisis (or several!) just makes it hard…sometimes it is our choices that lead to this point.

In my studies for becoming a personal trainer with T-Tapp, it has been interesting to see it reiterated over and over how our lifestyle choices are most often what cause the degenerative diseases of aging.   The seemingly “out of nowhere” fatigue, fibromyalgia, aches and pains, arthritis, thyroid issues, burned out adrenals….they didn’t come from bad genes or a virus, but little choices along the away that add up to BIG consequences!

(Sounds a bit like something I’ve read in the Bible somewhere….. ;) )

Now, there is the caution that we don’t become obsessed with being thin, looking youthful, or even eating well and being healthy.   We know as Christians that we live in a fallen world, and you can do a lot of things right and still suffer.

But neither do I think we should ignore the physical and suffer for our own foolish choices!  If we’re going to suffer, let it be for God’s glory and not for our foolishness!

I know as a young mama, taking care of all these areas at one time during some seasons of your life may not happen.  But your heart should be to do what you can in each season of life.  Because I’m here to tell you now, there will be a price to pay.   You can either do what you can to pay it now, and reap the dividends later, or you can say “I just don’t have enough energy to think about that right now” and you will also reap the dividends of that later–but it won’t be as pleasant!

1.  Time with the Lord

Yes, I know it’s tough with little ones.  I love how Nancy Campbell often admonishes mamas of many littles to keep their Bible by the kitchen sink.  Grab a verse here and there.  Or if “all” you get to read is half a Psalm, turn that into a prayer back to your Lord!  That’s what the Psalms were, anyway–hymns of praise to the Lord!  (Complaint sometimes, too, but always ending back on praise!)

Work on memorizing a verse–say it while diapering and doing dishes.  Your little ones can learn along with you.  Come up with hand motions (ASL browser has come in handy for me!  I used to borrow books from the library to come up with signs!)   So what if you only memorize one verse a week?  Or even a month?  That’s better than none!

One other thing you can do to feed your soul is sing hymns and praise songs!   Keep a hymnbook of choice handy with your Bible.   Or copy off a hymn you’re learning and tape it in a prominent place you spend a lot of time.   We try to sing a “hymn of the week” so my children will be more familiar with some of the great hymns.  At one time we even had a “hymn of the month”–that’s even better!  They will know that hymn forwards and backwards!  And so will you!

2. Emotional Health

This is pretty easy to write about, and pretty hard to do!

Probably the biggest 3 things you can do for your emotional health are:

1. Trust God

2. Let go of things


You have to begin with #1 or you can’t do #2 and #3!    Too many times our issues really stem from not trusting God for Who He says He is.   We don’t realize that and we’d certainly never say, “Oh I don’t really believe God is able to do that!  I don’t believe He is Who He says He is!”  but our actions say it quite loudly!

I read something very interesting in a book by John Ortberg, Faith and Doubt   (highly recommend it, by the way!).


Ben Patterson tells of a common experience of westerners, particularly missionaries, traveling through jungle sections of the Amazon.   They will ask members of a village to give them directions to where they want to go.  “I have a compass, a map, and some coordinates.” The villager knows precisely the directions to get them there, but he offers to take them himself.

“No, that’s okay.  I don’t want a guide.  I just want directions.”

“That’s no good.  I must take you there.”

“But I have a map right here.  And I have a compass.  And the coordinates.”

“It does not work that way.  I can get you there, but I must take you myself.  You must follow me.”

We prefer directions, principles,  steps, keys.  We prefer these things because they leave us in control. If I’m holding the map, I’m still in charge of the trip.  I can go where I want to go.  If I  have a guide, I must trust.  I must follow.  I must relinquish control.

God is not much on maps and compasses and coordinates.  Life just doesn’t work that way.  We don’t need directions.  We need a Guide.


~Faith and Doubt, p. 172 by John Ortberg (emphases mine)


You will probably see that quote again on my blog.  It profoundly puts the proverbial finger right on our pulse, in many areas!!!

When we can’t “trust God”, we’re really saying, “I want to stay in control”.    So the first step MUST be to trust Him.  Then you can place things in His hands and leave them there.

And then you can forgive.  Forgiveness helps you more than the offender.  When you really boil it down, if you can’t forgive the person before they even ask for forgiveness (or if they ever do), you really won’t be able to forgive from the heart when they do ask.

Isn’t that what God did for us?

#3. Physical Health and Well-Being

Again, let me say I am not promoting a physical focus to the detriment of all else.  No obsessing!

This is why I love T-Tapp! (You knew I had to include that, right?! :D )

In just 15 -20 minutes a day, you can get some movement in, for way less than the cost of a gym membership (besides, who has time to run to the gym for 1 1/2 hours daily?!)   You can even do it every other day, and while you may not see major inch loss, you will still feel better for getting that lymph pumping and some movement in.

In fact, many people address diet first.  Well, way of eating.  Ah, neither one sounds good!  (Diet has DIE in it and way of eating is often shortened to WOE!  LOL!)

Actually, your first thought should be to get movement in.  Walking is good.  I will say, though, that walking is generally not as all-over body conditioning.  I know, because I walked for several years before finding T-Tapp.  It was definitely helpful, but the lump in my armpit didn’t get smaller with walking.  It did with T-Tapp! 

So you’re moving now, but what about eating?  Is it any wonder eating has become a billion dollar business—the food industry, the diet industry, the supplement industry—it’s enough to make your head spin!

And there is so much out there!  Low carb, high carb, low protein, high protein,  no fat, good fat, no sugar, fasting, low calorie, and a plethora of diet plans that have variations on the theme.

The problem is, though, that if we don’t understand how our bodies are fueled by food, we can be fooled by food!   

It is not a matter of calories in=calories out.  You don’t figure how many calories for maintenance and go below that to lose “weight”.  (You’ll lose, indeed.  Usually more muscle mass and water than fat!)  Nor do you figure how much to exercise to get your caloric intake just right.

It is far more complicated than that.

I’ll be sharing more next Tuesday on my T-Tapp Tuesday about food and dieting, but I wanted to share today, for you busy mamas, that getting moving and making sure you are eating as well as you can are more important than restricting calories to get thin, or thinking cutting food groups out will make you healthier.

Balance is the key.  If you eat a balance of good protein, good carbs, good fats and non-starchy vegetables, that will do so much good for your body’s metabolism.   In fact, if you just add more veggies into your eating, that alone will take care of some “poor choices”!  I’m not going to say, “give up sugar”, but make sure you’re getting plenty of other good food, too!

And one last thing for today–drink water!  You need half your body weight in ounces a day–more on hot days and when you exercise (meaning you don’t count the two glasses you drink while exercising as part of your normal total!).  Nursing mamas would obviously need a little more, too!

If that has you confused, I’ll demonstrate:

I weigh 146 lbs.  right now.  So I would need half of that, 73 but in ounces.  So I need to drink nine 8 oz. glasses of water during the day. 

It’s best to drink it throughout the day, and try not to gulp down water with meals.  Sipping water at a meal is fine, but that should not be where you get most of your water intake!  When your children (or you!) come to the dinner table and gulp down water first thing, that is a sure sign they didn’t drink enough throughout the day!

Our bodies need water for many functions, and it strengthens the immune system. 

AND–by the time you’re actually “thirsty”, you are already dehydrated!

So, busy mama–fill yourself a pitcher with the right amount of water in it, and make sure it’s empty by the end of the day.   That will help you make sure to get your water quota in!  If you find it hard to drink water, adding slices of lemon or lime or even cucumbers can help it taste refreshing and make you actually want to drink more! 

Please take time to take care of yourself, young mama!   (And older ones, too!)   Really, none of these steps requires much in the way of money, and really, not even that much time.  They do, however, require some effort to make them work.  But as in much of life, a little effort will bring rich rewards in refreshing you and helping you to be the best daughter of our Father, wife, mama and homemaker that you can be.

HUGS to you as you seek the Lord on how to take care of yourself, for His glory!

Then everyone will be happy…because mama is!  ;)