Waiting Up

The house is dark and quiet; a dim light shines from the living room and the vigil continues. A wife waits up for her overdue husband or a parent anxiously watches the clock, peeks through the curtains and strains to hear the noise of a car turning into the drive. A teenage son or daughter has broken curfew. Love silently waits up for their return.

Our loving Father waits up. “And therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him (Isaiah 30:18 KJV).” The Lord does not pace the floors or wring his hands. He waits for each and all to return to his open arms.

Coming Up For Air

In this house

we do dishes, yes…

Dishwasher Boy

But we also do wild.  Unorthodox.

We do mistakes.

We do second chances.

And third.

And four hundred and seventy-ninth.

*thankfully*

We do silly.

We do laughter.

We do real.

We do tomfoolery.

{and plenty more mistakes}

We do “I’m sorry’s”.

{A lot of “I’m sorry’s”}

We do loud.

We do long hugs.

Lots of sweet kisses.

We do grace.

We do family.

We do us.

Perfect imperfection.

 

It has been a tough parenting day.  One of ‘those’ days.

Actually it’s been a rough week.  Ever since returning from our anniversary getaway, we’ve been dealing with incredibly unpleasant {see…I’m choosing my words wisely} behavior in my daughter; over-the-top whining and drama about every little thing, constant boundary-pushing, mega attitude and rudeness like we’ve not experienced from her before.

And today, I fell apart at the seams.

And it was the furthest thing from pretty.  It was downright scary.

I failed miserably, shouting – in the heat of the moment; where utter exhaustion and intense furry collide – with such anger in my voice that my heart ached with regret as the dagger-like reprimands left my mouth.

Sure, she was wrong in behaving the way she did.

But now, so was I.  My immature, impulsive handling of her behavior simply added fuel to the fire.

I get to choose: water or fuel. Today I grabbed the fuel.

It was one of the most ferocious crazy cycles we’ve ever been caught in, her and I.

I modeled such poor anger-management skills today that it breaks my heart to think about.  The very heart attitude we are working to mold and transform in her was so starkly, blatantly revealed within me..and found wanting.

One of the hardest parts for me to swallow is this: I never was an angry person before this season of my life.  Where is all this rage coming from?  In 7 years of marriage, I have never spoken to my husband in the harsh, unkind way I did to my daughter today.  I have become a yeller.  And I hate it.

Maybe it’s simply that I was good at stuffing…and my toddler is good at digging.

Immature outbursts drenched in selfishness & impatience: 2

Tenderly delivered, grace-filled lessons in {tough} love: 0

And despite {many} apologies, my heart is still heavy.

What a horrible, ugly side of my heart emerged today.  And my 3 1/2 year old, tender-hearted little girl, had a front seat.

Oh, how desperately in need of saving I still am.

How deeply I need accountability in the way I process my weary frustration in mothering toddlers.  How vitalsupport and friendship is to surviving this rollercoaster ride of parenthood.

How very grateful I am for God’s incredible patience with me.  His ever-present mercy, grace and direction on this journey.  His faithful protection of my daughter’s impressionable heart.

So I press on.

“God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
He’s all I’ve got left.”

Lamentations 3:23-23 {The Message

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Are You Broken?

We all feel broken at one time or another. We don’t have to stay that way.

~ Dionna

A DEEP VACUUM

Those were the lonely days, the days when friends were scarce and I was unable to leave my home. Isolation built a wall around me. I didn’t think I could take one more blow.

But, it came anyway.

An acquaintance from church called to see how I was doing. I was honest—after all, she asked—and told her the truth: I needed help. My house is a wreck. The toilets haven’t been cleaned in ages. My carpets needed vacuumed. Laundry was piled up.

After a long pause she said, “I was thinking about meals. No one wants to clean somebody else’s toilets, much less their own.”

I fought hard not to become embittered by her remark, which revealed her true character. to this day, it brings tears to my eyes as I recall the sting of her words.

I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the friends that abandoned him during his imprisonment,

“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them.” 2 Timothy 4:16

Paul was on trial for his very life, yet his friends failed him.

HAVE YOUR FRIENDS FAILED YOU, TOO?

Yet, the very next verse declares Paul’s victory:

“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…” 2 Timothy 4:17-18

Even in our darkest hours, the children of God are not alone. The Lord stands by our sides and gives us strength. When all others have failed, we have certain confidence that the Lord is with us.

Just this morning I read the powerful words of Jeremiah 20:11,

“But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior. . .”

If everyone else has deserted you, remember you are guarded by the Lord, the mighty warrior, who promises never to leave you nor abandon you.

TAKE COURAGE IN THE LORD!

Carrie Cooper @ comfortedbyGod.blogspot.com

Restoration

Do-overs. How many times do you wish you could go back in the past and do something “over?” We all do. We all make mistakes or have things happen to us that profoundly impacted our lives and the way we see and feel about life. We can be affected by those moments and circumstances forever.  But, how will we let them affect us is a much deeper question than simply acknowledging that they will, indeed, affect us.
 
Sometimes we let those past hurts or sins to disable where we are today.  We don’t leave them behind in the past, where they belong. Instead we wear them with us – every moment – every second of our lives. We live and breathe them. But when we do that, we have let Satan cripple us. He uses something so personal to us that God could use for a ministry in our lives; and instead, he cripples our ability to heal and be made whole. He cripples our ability to be used by the Lord.
 
God can provide positive outlets of ministry in our lives from those very pains and sorrows from our past. Instead of simply being “affected” we can instead be “effective.’ It’s kind of like the saying – “turning lemons into lemonade.” We can use what we did or what happened to us and turn it around for the good of others and for the Glory of the Lord. 

God can restore us – but we have to let Him. That means walking through those minefields of hurts and heartaches. It might even mean unveiling them and bringing them out into the open where other people will hear and know about them. But I have found that God has an amazing way of making something that we think is so dark and ugly, appear so merciful and tender when it’s brought into the light of His forgiveness and grace. It’s scary getting to that point but He will walk us through it step by step and we WILL make it.
 
We each have a chance to have a “do-over.” We have the chance to respond to that “thing” that hurts our heart so deeply. That time is today.  The time is now to make the choice to not just be “affected” but to be “effective.”  Don’t let Satan make you a victim any longer. It’s time to be restored.

~ Dionna Sanchez (http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com)

I Am Second – Michelle Aguiliar (From Biggest Loser)

Letting Go of Bitterness

Ephesians 4:31

Get rid of all bitterness.

Bitterness is such a touchy subject. It’s not like you can feel free to point out to someone you love that they are showcasing a bitter heart. Because usually someone who has bitterness in their heart isn’t very open to hearing points of view that differ with theirs! It’s like they are caught in a web, yet content to stay there.

We’ve all dealt with bitterness in our hearts at one time or another. Some of us are blessed enough to have escaped the long-term effects a bitter heart can have on a person. Others aren’t so lucky. They still waddle in their hurt, pain, and in whatever they have lost. They may want to escape, but they don’t know how. It’s like in a strange way, the hurt has become a friend. At least it’s something they are familiar with! Breaking free from that – well, it can be uncomfortable!

I’ve had a bitter heart before. I may well tread near having one again – I hope not though. Do you know what I learned from having a bitter heart? Not much. I learned that it cost me, though. It cost me joy, time, and it cost me freedom. Freedom from what it was that made me bitter in the first place. The more you try to bury something that has hurt you so deeply, the deeper it entangles your heart. I learned that once you become bitter, it takes a long time – sometimes years to break free and heal from that. But healing is possible.

God commanded us to get rid of all bitterness. That’s a tough pill to swallow when your heart wants to hold on to it with every fiber of your being. Maybe you were really wronged. Maybe someone you loved was really wrong. You can’t go back – you can’t change what happened. Something or someone may be lost forever. It’s done. But all that bitterness will do is rob you and destroy you. It will rob those close to you as well because they will feel and sense the effects of your bitter heart. You can’t contain a bitter heart; it spills over into many areas of life.

I often think of the Amish. A few years ago some students were shot at an Amish school. Maybe you remember it? It was a horrible incident. But do you know what the Amish did? They forgave the gunman. And they did it fairly soon after the incident, if I remember correctly. I remember feeling astonished and amazed at the huge steps their hearts could take as they were burying their sweet sons and daughters. And I was humbled by it because I knew that they were demonstrating how God would want each of us to respond.

You see, ultimately, God is judge. It is up to Him to hold others accountable. It’s up to Him to punish, discipline, and forgive. So by us letting go of our bitterness, we are not necessarily saying that what someone did was okay, or even that they will get away with it. Because they will have to be accountable to God for what happened. And that should be good enough for us… that is if we truly trust God. Do you trust Him with your heart and your life?

No one ever said that letting go of bitterness would be easy. It’s not. It’s dang tough sometimes. All we want to do is hang onto it and what little pride we may feel that we have left. But we need to trust God; that He knows what He’s doing with our life. And we need to allow ourselves to break free from the deep wounds that life gives us. We may never forget – and that’s okay. What we go through in life is what makes us who we are. But we can embrace and hold close to our hearts what has happened to us without letting it destroy us. All bitterness ever does is destroy. It’s good to remember that before you find yourself in the throes of it. Be prepared to find the courage to let it go. Only then will your heart truly have the chance to heal and be free.

~ Dionna Sanchez

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