Monday, August 18, 2014

Owning my Reactions

So- yeah- I feel like this-lately- like people are making me act a certain way-like my reactions are someone else's issue-I really am struggling with this girls...

... God is as always dealing with me on this...thank God He keeps teaching me even when I am not always the best student...

...SO lately-I REALLY feel squeezed tight by those around me and the things that they do/don't do...things that hurt, things that are just straight up insensitive and I have been asking God to help me determine how I should be dealing with this and He has been revealing a hard truth to me-

...maybe it can be helpful for you as well-but as with anything I share- take what you need from it and leave the rest...

Here it is:

...God is revealing to me that while yes, nicer people who do what I think is best and right ARE easier for me to glide along life with and YES sometimes people are wrong in their actions towards us and of course we don't have to put up with certain things...but...

...regardless- my reactions reveal...what is me...yes-I said that right- people don't create the yuck in me- they REVEAL it.
And it is time for me to take a good look in the mirror and see what is really in there.  

God reminded me the other day of something that really stuck with me in the past-

I heard a speaker once who had a bottle of water with dirt in it...she said- "If you look at the bottle straight on- you can't see the dirt; however- when you SHAKE the SEE the dirt. You see what is ALREADY INSIDE of the bottle. But if you do not shake the bottle, the dirt is still in there, it is STILL DIRTY, correct?"

When we are shaken by others actions, inactions, words, etc...what comes out of us, is-what is already IN US. It is our sin. And it is OURS ALONE to deal with.

NOW-I don't like this so much-I mean, I have a right to get mad at times, don't I? Um...yes- anger is okay- if it does not lead to sin...

I'm gonna be honest with you ladies-I REALLY did not like what God was trying to teach me at first (Have I already mentioned this?ha!); however- the more I chewed on it and applied it to my own life- the more I grew to appreciate it. In some ways- it has begun setting me free from some things...and I love it when God uses hard stuff to un-cage me a bit...

You can't change something about yourself if you are always blaming someone else for what you are doing. It's not possible. You just can't. And you know what happens when you do- resentment, anger, bitterness and your DIRT just gets DIRTIER. And you know what else you do when you blame- you give away your power to LET GOD CHANGE YOU... 

Well- there it is...

My lesson I want to share and pass on to all my Mamas out there who are reacting up a storm to their nutty kiddos who do things that make absolutely no sense and to their hubbies who, well....we don't need to be specific, but we all know that Men and Women have to lean crazy hard on Jesus in order to get along and love each other.

I think our reactions can be amazing teachers when we choose to own them and learn from them...a lesson I will always be learning, progress-not perfection, always.

Just two key lessons I have learned from owning my reactions- I hope that in some way they help:

1. They clue me in to my need for Jesus.  Some days-things are smooth- everyone seems to be doing alright and life feels fairly breezy-I may skip my time with God, and kind of slack a bit on my focus-but then, someone irks me and it happens AGAIN- I get ugly and I remember how MUCH I need Jesus to keep me straight. I need Him to help me be better than that old stuff, that old girl-I need Him to help me walk as the new creation I am in Him.

2. They remind me of some issues I have from my past that need to be dealt with. Sometimes it is trust issues, maybe I am angry about something, and you know what? It is all good because I can't deny these things- the past teaches me and I can let God redeem the past as I work through the present. I can learn from these issues and overcome. My reactions can be kind of like a spotlight on something that I have not yet handed over to God. And I CAN change, with God's help.

One last thought- when faced with your reactions- don't beat yourself up about them. You are human, you are a sinner and you have a Savior who is right here with you to help you grow.

You will never reach perfection, but you will grow and change and blossom and shine with His amazingly bright and brilliant light- the more you lay down of yourself and the more you depend on Him.

I love you ladies and I hope that something I have shared encourages you and challenges you all at the same time.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Building Cathedrals- YOU ARE NOT INVISIBLE

I have not blogged in sometime now. I have been waiting for a message and this week- it came.  A dear friend of mine shared about her struggles with feeling unappreciated. I could feel the pain in her words. I began to tear up because I recognized myself in her pain. As a Mom and Wife, we ALL go through this, sometimes on a daily (minute by minute) basis. Motherhood can feel like a very lonely place and we need and want to KNOW in our depths that someone SEES and APPRECIATES us- it is a need we all have.
 I was able to share about her struggles on an on-line group and I got a TON of responses that I sent to my friend and she was so blessed. One of the ladies sent a link to this story and I shared it with my friend who told me later that she read it through tears.
I can't think of anything better to share on my blog than this story- about
my dear friend and how other sisters in Christ around the country reminded her that she is not invisible...that God sees her...that her work as a Mother and as a Wife is as profound, as majestic, as HUGE as the building of an amazing cathedral...
 Read Below...
The Invisible Woman by: Nicole Johnson
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.
I'm invisible.
The invisible Mom.
Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!
One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'   In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:
No one can say who built the great cathedrals -
we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives-
for a work they would never see finished.
They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied...
'Because God sees.'
I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over.
You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.
When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.' As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

This story is an excerpt from Nicole's Book The Invisible Woman: A Special Story for Mothers
Check out Nicole Johnson from Women of Faith doing her version of the Invisible Woman.
Love you ladies! You are not invisible.