Vengeance is Mine.

When we are deeply wounded, we are changed. God knows this and the devil knows this.

If someone hurts you deeply, ask God how to forgive every day, every hour if necessary. If we don’t have the desire to forgive, we will continue to suffer in the bondage of resentment and bitterness from the pain inflicted which is exactly what the devil wants. This pain can affect every relationship we have, even and especially those who are completely innocent in it, which is also what the devil wants. He loves to watch the collateral damage ravage lives and generations.

Knowing this, it just makes sense to forgive rather than suffer. Haven’t we already suffered enough? But how?

Healing comes gradually… as does relief. We can stay mad at the person for hurting us or we can ask God to help us forgive and view them as He does. Over and over again. We can blame them for our situation or ask God to help us forgive and see where He wants to take us from here. We can obsess over what they are doing or why they did what they did or we can turn our focus to those who do love us and desire us in their lives.

We can HOLD ON or we can LET GO. And that includes revenge. Letting go has got to be one of the hardest things we do in this life. To let go of a person, a dream, a life, is painful. There’s no getting around the pain. We can mask it, avoid it, cover it, downgrade it, but it’s still there.

To let go of the desire to avenge and seek justice on our own is hard. It’s only natural to want to do so. So letting it go helps us. I love how Max Lucado explains…

“Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice; it just entrusts it to God.”

The person who says they feel no pain or dismisses yours has not dealt with their own. The ones that have get how hard this is and God knows too. He created us to love and be loved. Our hearts are fragile.

 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:19-21 (NASB)

Not only has God promised to take care of it, whatever “it” may be. He asks us to leave it to Him so that we can go in peace. Forgiveness restores our happiness and loving by forgiving and leaving them to Him may even open their heart to Him in a way it never has been before. No matter what, it frees us. Over and over again.

It’s a beautiful thing to hand it over. I thank Him for taking it! Once again, it’s a command given out of His love for us. Let Him carry that too. Let Him have it. That’s what He asks of us and it’s for our own good. To lighten our load and make way for joy.

 

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Thankful.

I’m thankful for…

  • The lessons
  • The strength
  • The wisdom
  • The courage
  • The perseverance
  • The time
  • The support
  • The friendships
  • The quiet mornings
  • The crazy mornings
  • The family close by
  • The prayers
  • The steady paychecks
  • The unexpected help
  • The help with my girls
  • The closer relationship with and dependence on Jesus
  • The forgiveness
  • The ones who have made me laugh
  • The ones who have helped me cry

 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NLT)

When Words Fail…

I’m a writer, so I obviously love words. I share them and sometimes they flow…But, there are also times when words fail me. Expressing appreciation and in the midst of conflict are the two most common times. Multiple times, I’ve caught myself saying, “I know this sounds meager, but thank you.” But, is it really? Because I can also think of times I would have appreciated nothing more than hearing a “thank you” or an “I’m sorry too”. I think most can relate. When words fail, how about getting back to the basics?

I’m sorry & thank you.

On my lunchtime walk today,  I was running these situations through my head. When hearts are hurt and heads are hot, words can go flying. It’s happened to me more than I’d like to admit. Then, I’m at a loss. I’ll bet most of you can relate. We have three choices. Let the relationship suffer and possibly die, stay in conflict, or do our part. May I suggest “I’m sorry”. This doesn’t mean the whole thing was your fault, it means “I’m sorry for my part in it.” How the other person accepts or responds is on them. Most conflicts are two sided. Can we just say “I’m sorry”. And, “What can I do differently here?”

When expressing gratitude for love given, lives shared, or deeds done, words fail me. I feel I could go on and on and on and it’s just not enough. So….”Thank you” will have to suffice. I can think of a few instances where I’ve gone above and beyond for someone who hasn’t done the same for me, and not even a “thank you” followed.

I remember thinking, “Man, not even a thank you!” How simple is that? Are they thankful at all or do they just not know that they should say it? We don’t know, so it leaves us feeling taken advantage of. Thank yous matter…they should be shared and not taken for granted. Thank a person. It’s the least you can do and honestly the most you can do for something they’ve given or done for you. Anything. Be it forgiveness, a listening ear, a hug, and ride, a sweet note, met you halfway, fed you.

As parents, we often say to our kids..”What do you say?” When a “Thank you” or an “I’m sorry” is warranted. So, how about as adults, we recognize how powerful these although “simple” phrases really are and what a long way they can go in our adult relationships? In some cases, what more can you say?

When someone shows they love me, I’m thankful. When someone says I’ve hurt them, I’m sorry. When words fly and fail, use them. They may just salvage or cement the relationship. If you truly mean them, you will have done your part in doing so.

 

When They Leave…

Have you been walked away from? Ghosted? Not committed to? Replaced? This is an article for you.

Even when our kids leave, there is a tremendous amount of pain. It’s a ripping. A tearing away at our heart.

I have had all of the above. I’ll bet you have too. If not yet, you may. I want to help you see a positive in the pain.

This is not a pity party post. After my divorce, I boldly asked God to remove anyone not meant for me. I meant it, but never thought it would take so many “tries”. It takes a lot of courage to try again with anyone after such a blow. Even more to stick your neck out with kids and in public. I had no desire to date in the dark or without intention, so I continued in prayer, worked on my weaknesses, gave them to God, and asked Him for help.

As the backs turned, friends too, I thought me being me was the problem. I was even told that, so I did a lot of inner work and crying out to God. Still, in my heartbreak and bewilderment, I trusted God’s heart in the pain and the questions. What was going on? Why? Even my truest friends didn’t understand why this was part of my story. I prayed, they prayed. I loved, they loved.

Rejection is one of the most excruciating things on this planet, but I can say now that I fully trust His heart in each one and would again. I trust He wants what’s best for me. And, because He is it, I trust that anyone He removes will ultimately distract me from my first love, Him, or I them.

My deepest desire is to grow closer and closer to Him together and show His love to others, not the other way around. And, if that scares anyone off, so be it. I hate to lose people, I love people, but He comes first.

I have not only been rejected, I have also done the rejecting. That’s hard too, but I knew and know it was best for me and my girls. I’ll just go ahead and assume the guys who rejected me felt the same. I wish them all the very best. Because of the hurt, I’ve learned from each one.

In the case any of them actually read this, I’d like to say “Thank you.” Thank you for pushing me closer to Him. Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for your part in making me a fighter, a learner, a stronger person. You helped me dig deep for healing and my truest Lover and Corrector.

Now, I realize that the lessons learned have given me a ministry. I wouldn’t have the lessons without the story. I’ve always loved to write, but wouldn’t have the content without the story. It’s been in the confusion and rejection that I found my beloved Jesus and a way to use the gift He’s given me. He’s the One who never turns His back on me or leaves for college or draws a final breath. Rather, holds me closer than ever. Each time of loss this has been confirmed and deepened our relationship.

I pray that this helps me understand and sympathize with my daughters’ dating years better than before. That I help others heal from their childhoods, divorces, and to maybe even gain insights if they choose to date again. I pray this helps others not only stay married, but have a better marriage. I pray this helps others find their worth in Christ and not those who walk away or put them down. I pray this helps women find their beauty in their Creator and men to recognize that we both have the same Creator and Father. I pray this helps us all remember and recognize that we are accountable to Him. What has He asked you to do?

The enemy messes with me. He discourages me and tries to silence me. But, may my lips and fingers never stop praising my faithful God. The One who only lovingly turned His back to protect us from His Glory (Exodus 33:23). The One who will return and never have to do that again. The One who welcomes the prodigal sons and daughters home. The One who asks me to share my heart. The One who craves His time with me. The One who teaches me.

May each rejection, loss, season push you closer to His heart. That is His will for all of us.

To Come…and to Stay.

It took me almost 40 years to get a dog AND a man that won’t run as fast as they can to get away from me first chance they get. For those of you who know my men and previous dog stories, you know what I mean! With men, this has usually been when I’ve stood up for myself. But, now I have BOTH and I thank the good Lord!

When I think and frankly expect either one of them to turn tail and run, they both look at me with those puppy dog eyes, as if to say “Where would I go?” “Why would I leave?” “I want to be right here….with you.”

This is new for me. On both accounts and it feels really nice. I’m used to feeling not good enough, too much, too little, and ultimately second choice. But, I have a very strong feeling, there’s nowhere else either one of them would rather be. And, I am so thankful!

I’ve been told I have a dark cloud that follows me. No matter the thunder, tears, lightning, or circumstances, these two would rather be with me in any weather than without. I’ve experienced rain that no umbrella can withstand. I have stood up where necessary, I have let my guard down, and I have been given the beautiful opportunity to love all over again. What a gift!

I thank God for the people (and puppy) He has sent me who love me enough to never let me or want me to get soaked alone again. Dark clouds or sunshine, they are with me.

 

How Can Pain Be a Blessing?

We learn from pain. Some more than others and some quicker than others, but we all do in some form. If not, we wouldn’t be careful around hot stoves or warn our kids not to touch them. We usually have to experience enough pain to change anything about ourselves or what we do. Physical pain brought on by ourselves makes us more careful. You’ll more than likely avoid that coffee table corner after stubbing your toe on it or that person after being hurt over and over.

Pain we witness from others makes us more careful too. “Wow, that could be me!” It can make us think twice. Hopefully, we learn this way too. Pain brought upon us by others makes us mad. We didn’t want this pain. We didn’t ask for it, we didn’t even make the mistake to cause it. Still, so much to learn from this anger and frustration. There’s always something to learn.

As unpleasant as pain is, imagine what life would be like without pain receptors. The only way to know if we were hurt would be to see bones or blood. So, thank God for pain receptors. How would we live day to day without them? Extremely timidly, constantly hurt, and continually supervised.

If we learn from pain, it makes sense that the wisest people we know have experienced the most of it. They haven’t just been through it, they’ve allowed themselves to feel it. They’ve gone there, they’ve grieved, they’ve felt and expressed the pain rather than avoiding or covering it up. They’ve taken it to God. They’ve owned their part and they’ve changed because of it.

The pain of divorce may lead some to fight for marriage while others blame marriage itself and refuse to even consider it again. The pain of co-parenting may lead some to surrender and embrace while others vengefully fight the rest of their lives. The pain of betrayal may lead some to a deeper intimacy with Jesus and others to deem it foolish to trust anyone again or become untrustworthy themselves. The pain of failed relationships may lead some to a deeper appreciation of the one who’s different or to write them off altogether. The pain of family disapproval may lead to a deeper reliance on God’s or a life lived to please others.

Are you being crushed? All of these are painful, but it is in the crushing that the sweet aroma is produced. Grapes and olives must be crushed to make wine and oil, as it is with us. The deeper the crushing, the more pure the outcome.

Have you seen the joy and laughter it brings people to stomp grapes with their bare feet? That’s how I imagine the devil looks while we are being trampled on, thinking he’s doing us in. But, it leads to something so beautiful in the transformation and only possible by the crushing. I don’t recommend looking for pain. But, I do recommend gleaning whatever wisdom you can from it, looking for the blessings during in it, and remaining thankful in spite of it. There is always something to be thankful for. He’s always there and He knows how you feel. He may have allowed it, but He hasn’t forsaken you because of it.

The Lord says, “It was my plan to crush him and cause him to suffer. I made his life an offering to pay for sin. But he will see all his children after him. In fact, he will continue to live. My plan will be brought about through him. Isaiah 53:10 (NIRV)

Jesus wasn’t just crucified for us, He was physically, emotionally, and spiritually crushed before it for us. It’s in contemplating this pain that we come to tears and surrender over what He did for us. The suffering He endured for us is how His love was expressed and our ultimate gift provided.

I hate that Jesus experienced any pain because I love Him so much, but if He hadn’t, I couldn’t live with Him forever. He did it for me. It was because of God’s immense love for us that His worst pain turned into our biggest blessing.

Being crushed for His purposes hurts like no other in the process, but coming out the other side you recognize the honor that it is and the joy it ultimately brings. You’ll come out closer, forever changed, and with a sweet personal aroma (story) of who He is to you.

Nothing Compares…

When you’re living in your God given purpose. When He’s backed you up, picked you up, and broken chains. When it’s His approval you live for…Nothing compares!

I’m thrilled my girls have the opportunity to dance their hearts out. I’m thrilled my girls get to attend the church school I went to. I’m thrilled I was able to buy a house in my  hometown. I’m thrilled I get to serve at the church I grew up in….in a whole new way. And, excited for what’s next for us. Because, I know now. He’s there too!

I’m thrilled for the courage the Lord has provided for me to write and share my story. And, I’m thrilled and humbled by the people it’s reached. To God be the glory!!

I’m thrilled for the lessons I’ve learned about love…and that now I actually have it in return. Beyond thankful for the friends I’ve made along the way. They’ve prayed me through. They always will. They have been my backbone, my confidants, my encouragers to follow where the Lord is leading me. I pray for that honor in return. That’s exactly what it is. An honor. To love and to be loved in return…Nothing compares. It’s God’s design and will for us.

Life after divorce is hard. There are difficulties you’ve never even considered if you haven’t been through it. Some things will never be the same. But, some things will be so much better! God knew. God knows. And, joy DOES come in the morning. For all the sadness and heartbreak I’ve encountered, He fills and uses in His most precious and perfect time.

Thank you, Lord! For loving me before, loving me during, and loving me after. Loving me always. ❤