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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When Something’s Gotta Go..

I’ve been in what feels like one of the most overwhelming times of my life. Some I can share with, others I can not. I know who to safely unload with and who would rather not hear it any more. Do you have those people? The ones who get a glazed over look in their eyes, like “here we go again”. Stop with those people. Love, but don’t share. They are done with hearing it.

Take it to God, find a good friend who never gets tired of you. Unload and reboot. When schedules are crazy, relationships are strained, kids are going back and forth, and work pressure is on, something’s gotta give…

I had one friend remind me that anxiety gets the best of us when we are taking on too much in advance. The “what ifs”?? “What about whens”? I have them. And, I was wisely reminded to take this day, our daily bread. One day at a time. We can’t change the past or “fix” the future, only live in this day. So, that’s where I’m starting. With today.

Today, I miss my girls. I already feel like I miss half their lives being a working and divorced mom, but last week my oldest was away at school and I haven’t seen her since. I cherish my time with them, yet when I get them back, they are tired, grouchy, hungry, annoyed with each other. Sounds like a pleasant time, huh? Still…I miss them.

When the pressure cooker of life is whistling like a freight train, we can’t throw our hands up and quit. Even “quitting” won’t fix certain things. For me, what’s gotta go is my concern of what others think of me. Add that like a cherry on top of our already stressful lives, and it’s bound to come tumbling down. Or I am, in a heap.

So, that’s what the Lord is leading me to today. “Take it out of the equation, Darla, because that’s the ingredient that will do you in.” Just like everything else He’s asked of me, I cannot do it on my own, He’s gonna have to help me. And, because I know He’s a loving Father, I will depend on Him to. I have reached my limit Lord, take it from me.

Something’s gotta go..

 

Painful Dealbreaker

dealbreaker

I find myself on the outskirts of another painful breakup. Another reason dating is hard. Another risk I’ve taken, put my kids in the middle of, and opened myself up to. This is very hard because he was a wonderful boyfriend. He treated me better than I’d been treated before, he respected me, committed to me, and loved me well. Marriage was on the horizon. Yet, here we are…

I go between sad, irritated, and thankful. Sad that it’s over. I miss him. Irritated that it came to this. Yet, thankful it came to a head before a wedding and not after. This didn’t come down to lack of love, rather compatibility. I have no doubt he loved me, all of me. All of me except my faith. That’s what it came down to. My church was our issue. He doesn’t agree with it and I do. The more he searched, the less he did. The more I pray and ask, the more I do.

No church is perfect. They are all set up by and filled with imperfect human beings, but I feel called in to serve and to help, not called out.

Once it finally came out that he wouldn’t/couldn’t marry a person of my denomination, I knew there was a change that needed to take place. Either I leave my church or we part ways. It came down to lack of peace vrs. pain. I knew in my heart, that I would feel a lack of peace walking away from my church.  Leaving would be turning my back to truth I believe in and that I want my daughters to learn as well. I also knew we would both feel pain letting this relationship go. We loved each other, no doubt. Pain doesn’t necessarily mean lack of peace. Peace may lead to pain if it means letting go of something you wanted so badly to work out.

This has been hard for us both. We both want what’s best for each other and I guess it’s not us together. I’ve learned another painful lesson. Two people can love Jesus with all they have, but if other beliefs are polar opposite, it can lead to unrest in a marriage and confusion for the kids. To be equally yoked is more than loving God. To be equally yoked is to be able to have a conversation about core beliefs and nod rather than shake your head. It makes sense to me that if you’re both following God and it’s leading you in different directions, it must be best to let that happen. This narrows the dating pool down even further than age, location, love, and tenderness. And, we all know how hard those are to come by.

I know in my head that I’d rather be single than forsake a faith that I believe in. But, my heart is grieving this loss and I pray that God will heal us both. I want us both ready for the ones He knows will meet our deepest desires in Him.

Letting Go…..

letting go

I think letting go has got to be one of the most difficult things we encounter as human beings. Letting go of a person is hard, letting go of a dream is harder. What we WANT isn’t always what’s best for us. We understand and enforce this as parents by not allowing our kids to eat whatever they WANT all day long. My girls would survive on cheese sticks and Junior Mints alone if they had their way.

How much more should we trust our Heavenly Father with our wants vrs. needs?? If He knows that removing something or someone from us will lead us closer to Him, our circumstances may very well take a turn we don’t expect or want in the short term. We need to trust that His “nos” are every bit as loving as His “yesses”. No one loves us like Him. He is a heartsick Father longing for each of His children to return to Him. To choose Him. To want Him.

There are so few things in this world that we have actual control over. We can’t control another person’s thoughts or actions. We can’t make them feel a certain way. We can’t make them treat us a certain way. We can’t make them see our point of view or agree with us. What we can do is make our thoughts and requests known. Our actions may influence their feelings or immediate actions, but we can’t change them. We have as much control over changing someone else as we do controlling the weather. Nill. We can love them, but we can’t control them.

Go where the love flows freely and soak it in. Surround yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are and who you are not. Be thankful for friends and family that love and accept you, even at your worst. These people are blessings.

Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you.  1 Peter 5:7 (NIRV)

Remember that God loves you enough to let go. Remember that He sees the bigger picture. Remember that this world is not our eternal home. Remember that He made you to love you.  And, know that it’s His love that releases our grip.

Master Plan

assembly required

Don’t we all have a master plan?? A plan for our career, an age we’d like to be married or remarried by, a plan of when and how to raise kids, a plan for the perfect wedding or perfect vacation? The perfect Christmas card, birthday party, or neighborhood to live in? One thing I’ve clearly noticed is that our master plan may have nothing to do with the Master’s plan for our lives.

Our plans feel very similar to a “some assembly required” list of instructions that can drive us crazy. We start out with great intentions and expectations and then end up inevitably missing a part, can’t make sense of the verbiage, or lack the skills to build it at all, much less easily. I’m in awe of people who can whip out the instructions and build a dollhouse or easy bake oven from scratch, no biggie. They make it look so simple! That’s, not me.

One of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes is: “You can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

To untangle or not, that is the question. I’m not typically much of an untangler. I’d rather someone untangle them for me or just buy new ones. But, I’m learning that wisdom is determining whether it’s worth putting the time and effort in to untangle the lights you already have or let them go and start new. I think both are wise depending on the circumstance. I’m also finding that if God is at the center, it makes sense to put the work in.

Untangling may make you appreciate the final product more while buying new feels exciting and easier, but can also be scary. With new, you never know what you’re gonna get. Kind of like a box of chocolates. It may be the sweetest thing you’ve ever tasted, but you have to try to know. It takes endurance and commitment to untangle. It takes tremendous faith to start new. Both necessary at times, and both part of the Master’s plan for our lives.

Sitting down with someone to help me untangle lights sounds a lot more inviting than doing it alone. Find people who help you. Find people who love you for you. Find people who have marriages, relationships, and friendships like you desire and learn from them. Ask them questions. Read their books. They will help you discern if it’s wiser to untangle or start new. So many of our life situations are similar to tangled Christmas lights and sometimes there’s only so much we can do.

Sometimes, we need to put the work in and sometimes we need to let go. Sometimes we are missing a crucial part. Sometimes we need to work on our verbiage and communicate better. Sometimes we need to be patient and sometimes we need to work on our own personal skills. It may never construct easily, and that’s okay. As long as we are building what we desire most to build and to the glory of God, He will step in where we can’t. Follow your peace, His peace.

Our Master’s Plan will lead us in directions we never thought we’d take through situations we never thought we’d face. Knowing He’s walking alongside us, turns it into an adventure of a lifetime.

We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go. Proverbs 16:9 (CEV)

I’m not much of builder, but I’m learning. I’m learning not to be afraid to build. I’m also learning that if it all crashes down, then the Master has a different plan for me. I’m learning that His plan requires a lot of patience because it has a lot of moving parts. I’m learning that His plan touches other people through our own personal journeys. I’m learning that His plan beckons us closer to Him and leads us to an eternity with Him. I’m learning that His plan brings purpose from our pain. I’m learning that His plan provides peace, even in the midst of the unknown. I’m learning that our Master’s plan will simply amaze us.

I’m learning every day that His plan is, hands down, better than my plan ever was or ever will be.

 

 

When It Doesn’t Make Sense…

sense

One of the last things my ex-husband said as he was leaving was that he couldn’t do “the husband thing” anymore. He could do the “daddy thing”, but not the “husband thing”. I just wanted him to want to work it out. He wanted to leave. There was nothing else I could do or say, just let the chips fall. Let the dream go. Let it happen, my worst nightmare. Thus began a new chapter from rock bottom.

Being that he said he couldn’t do the “husband thing” anymore and my deep desire to DO the wife thing, you can imagine my confusion when the girls came home, THRILLED that daddy was getting married again. Of course, I’m happy the girls are happy, but they don’t understand. They don’t know. I did everything within my power to put on my happy face for them and turn away when the tears fell. I cried for two days. Not because I wanted him back, I could never trust him again…..But, because of the deep desire I have and always have had for a family unit. Not just any family unit, a healthy one. A God-loving, God-fearing, God-first family. The kind that can make it through anything. The kind I tried so hard to have.

I host a women’s Bible study on Wednesday nights. Last night, I felt the Spirit speak straight to my heart. I went in heavy and came out reassured. Our lesson was all about the times in life when there are no answers. The illness or abuse of a child, the tragic death of a teen, the loss of a pregnant mother, a tornado that demolishes a town, a deranged shooter who kills the innocent, a dreaded diagnosis, a marriage torn apart by selfishness. So many events in this life that leave people looking to God and pastors with a “why”? “Why would God allow this?” “Where is this God you speak of in the midst of all this?” Traumatic events that change a life forever without permission…..on a dime.

The verse that nailed my confusion was: Then the Lord said, “Here is a place for you to stand by me on this large rock. I will put you in a large crack in that rock. Then I will cover you with my hand, and my Glory will pass by. Then I will take away my hand, and you will see my back. But you will not see my face.” Exodus 33:21-23 (ERV)

In these events when we can not understand, He places us in the crack right beside Him. Our vision is impeded, because it’s in these times, that His hand is covering us the tightest. What we see as darkness is His covering, His Glory. Him. He is still in control when we are not, He still hears when we can not, He is still sovereign and we never were. Our understanding may be hindered, but His is not…ever.

He doesn’t just see our situation…He sees them all. Every heart, every tear, every injustice, every single one and they hurt His heart too. There are times when we can’t give or see any justifiable reason for an event. We can only trust God, in His sovereignty, to see and to know. To trust His heart when we cannot see His plan is faith. And, I want more of it…..

He Loves Me Enough To….

 

he loves me enough to

He loves me enough to….

  • Let go
  • Forgive
  • Relax
  • Move forward
  • Change
  • Be honest and get real
  • Admit weakness
  • Come to my rescue
  • Help me raise my children
  • Listen anytime and every time
  • Try new things
  • Try again
  • Chase a new dream
  • Give more than I “think” I can
  • Share more than I “think” I can
  • Speak up
  • Stand up
  • Keep going….

That’s freedom to me.

Each one of us has different fears, different issues, different pasts, and different baggage. God’s love is the healing balm. Feeling His love will cover you, embrace you, strengthen you, remind you, and overwhelm you. His love is why my grandpa’s favorite song was “No Regrets”. The lyrics “No regrets, I chose to follow Him” is actually written along the bottom of his tombstone and I can hear him singing it every time I read those lines….

No regrets because His love is what it’s all about.