Don’t Cross Me!

In anger, a person makes a threat. “Don’t you cross me!” No one enjoys being threatened and intimidated. The old self-preservation mode automatically kicks in and we feel compelled to retaliate. “I’ll show you who you are trying to push around!” We get our hackles up and our resistance to temptation down. There is a far better response. I choose to cross them.

Jesus alone, through his death on the cross can produce peace. “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross (Colossians 1:20 NIV).” Now, I am onto something. He reconciles; he makes peace.

He powers peace and reconciliation with others through our reconciliation with him. “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1:22 NIV). He frees us from making both false and justified accusations. He frees the accused. “I’m crossing you; please cross me!”

Our Own Reflection

Many moms can become lonely. Friendships can be hard to keep up when your families’ needs come first. It is a wise woman who knows this. Yet even though we may know that sometimes our wishes and desires have to be put off, that doesn’t mean we feel any less lonely at times. It doesn’t mean that our hearts don’t yearn for some good girlfriends who can understand our soul.

Just as our children need good friends in their lives to walk alongside them, encourage them, and be strong for them during those times when they aren’t feeling so strong – so also, do we as adult women need this in our lives. In fact, just when we may need this the most (when we become mothers) is when it becomes the toughest to cultivate.

So, what do we do? What do you do when you feel like there is no extra time in the day to get together with another woman for lunch? What do you do if you are having a hard time making friends who you feel truly care about you and your family? What do you do when you feel really lonely for women friendships?

I have been on both ends of this spectrum. I’ve been thankful – most of my life – to have been able to easily make and keep friends wherever I’ve lived. I always thrived with girlfriends in my life to help teach me things about myself, to encourage me, and to just be a sounding board at times. Yet, I also hit what I call a “desert” period in my life with friendships. I’ve had close friends leave my life and holes have been left that created quite a deep loneliness in my heart. It was a new feeling for me.

As lonely as this time has been, God taught me some special truths through it that I wouldn’t have learned had I been filling my heart and mind with only the words from the mouths of friends. Instead, I was forced to go straight to the mouth of God for what He thought of me, what He wanted of me, and how He would help me. I learned that it is good to have no one to depend on at times other than my Lord. For so often we can let others fill His shoes in our life when that is not their place. And oftentimes we can lose a little bit of what makes us unique if we are in the company of women who are stronger, or more verbal than we are. But with God – all He shows us is our own reflection. It may not be one we want to see at times, or it may be just exactly what we need to see to encourage us to move onward. But it is pure, it is authentic, and it is full of love for us and our future.

Nothing can ever take the place of earthly friendships. As women, we are social beings and we were created that way on purpose. God knows we need friends. But if you find yourself in-between friendships, or maybe in a position where you’ve been praying for years for sweet, Godly friends to enter into your life – then be encouraged. I believe they will come for each one of us in God’s perfect timing. Until then, know that you have the best friend of all who is right there beside you. He wants you to unload your daily heartaches and burdens on His shoulders, share your dreams and hurts, ask Him His thoughts and perspective, and He wants to be able to encourage you and show you just how beautiful and lovely you truly are. He wants to show you what HE sees in you so that you can blossom as a woman.

You can have a very special friendship with Him that will help hold you together until those women come. And you will find that even when they do, God will be the first person that you turn to with all those thoughts and feelings that you’d normally run to a girlfriend with. She’ll still be there to hear them – but they will be filtered with the wisdom, grace, love, and devotion of your Heavenly Father. The best friend a woman could ever have.

 

 

~ Dionna Sanchez

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

Cutting Words

Words contain pain or a powerful remedy. We have freedom of choice in forming vocal messages. Do we take the time to search for just the right words? Are we too quick to criticize and too hesitant to praise? God blesses us with the ability to communicate; that also involves responsibility.  People hear not only with ears, but also with hearts.    

Words spoken in anger or sarcasm cut deep and may leave lasting scars. Bitterness penetrates the wounded spirit, inflicting pain and emotional suffering. Wrong words, spoken in haste, linger in memories for a very long time.

Words of love and grace carry benefits of nurturing, strength, and wholeness. God will one day reveal the full impact of uplifting communication. “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health (Proverbs 12:18 NKJ).” We do not need a pharmacist’s diploma to dispense that prescription!

How Much Do You Love?

Have you ever loved someone so much that tears come to your eyes, your throat, and your heart – just thinking of them? I love my Lord that much. And as I was thinking today – I was just thinking about all the people who say they are “Christian” in name and yet don’t have the tender heart of love for the Lord that goes with it. How do you know if you have it?

Do you cringe when someone says God’s name in vain? Do you get rankled when the media scoffs, laughs, or ostracizes a Christian? Does your heart feel literal pain when you know you have sinned against God? Do you fall to your knees in humble blessing and gratitude when God has done something for you – something you wanted – that only He could do? Just at the realization that God is truly alive and active?

When was the last time you talked to Him during your day? When did you ask for forgiveness or set aside your pride and comfort to give to someone else – out of a heart full of love that only can come from walking with God?

This IS a season of joy. But it’s also a season of heartache for a lot of people. What are you going to do about that? Nothing? God said, “And the greatest of these is love….” He was the most profound example of love we could ever possibly dream of. How are we loving others in His name?

Life isn’t always p-r-e-t-t-y. We live it out. We should know. It’s downright ugly and scarey sometimes. And sometimes we just need to be reminded so that we can let hearts FEEL! And LIVE! And so we can love in some fragment of a way in which He loved.

I do not want to be a “Christian” in name only. So I ask myself a lot – “What am I doing with the life that God has given me?” Look at what He has done for us. What are you doing with the life He has given you? What does God mean to you? Does He impact your heart to tears? He does mine.
~ Dionna Sanchez

You can follow Dionna on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DionnaSanchez

Tangles

Help, I cannot straighten this out!  Is that your cry? Do you have problems untangling a long vacuum cleaner chord?  There have been many times when it got the best of me. I have no idea how they can get in such a mess. Another frustrating example is a tiny delicate necklace chain; once knotted, it is nearly impossible to correct.

If there is someone close by, passing on the project might be the solution.  Maybe a fresh approach is all that is needed. Another suggestion is to just set it aside, and come back later when we have more time to concentrate.  We can work things out.

 Things are more involved when the tangles are in our relationships. Anxiety takes over and it feels like our nerves become tangled. We get that feeling in the pit of our stomach. An invisible force has you tied in knots.  In those times of stress and feeling overwhelmed, we need to go directly to God. He can make a way, when it seems there is no way.  

The Apostles Paul and Peter faced conflicts regarding relationships with Gentile believers (Galatians 2:11-12). Later we see from a writing by Peter he held no hard feelings toward his accuser, “and regard the patience of our Lord to be salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction (2 Peter:3 15-16 NAS).”  Let the Lord untangle; His hands are to be trusted!

Sticks, Gold & Life

There’s something I’m learning about people.

They’re sort of like sticks.

Allow me to explain.

The climate and surroundings of a person have the potential to utterly destroy them, to the point of sapping the very life from their being, or to cause them to flourish beyond their wildest dreams.

Imagine a stick.

Snapped off from its only source of nourishment, it has lost its only purpose in life: to be a conduit for more life.

Unless someone identifies a glimmer of potential in it, it will lay on the compost pile, awaiting slow disintegration.

Enter the gold digger {someone determined to search for the gold in something/someone rather than highlight the obvious dirt…as expanded on here).

My husband rescued said stick from certain doom this spring, when he discovered we were short of stakes to mark the vegetable rows.

Into the dirt went the little stick.  Surely dead, but still able to be used for something relatively important.

{Goal accomplished}

But then…

the climate was right…

the surroundings were right…

and the nutrients needed for survival were present.

Slowly that hopeless little stick started to become a tree, surging once again with life.

Just look at that baby {it was completely bare when it went in}!

People are just like this stick.

If we are only willing to take on the ‘job’, we get to be the soil, the nurturing, life-giving plot in which someone is ‘planted’.

We have the potential to spur on tremendous growth and inspire greatness in the lives around us.  All the while, maturing and developing ourselves.

Isn’t that something?

What a thrill to know we have the ability, the power if you will, to so profoundly impact the people who, by no coincidence at all, are in every circle of influence we come in contact with.

I want to speak lifesow life…invest life into my husband, my children, my sisters, my friends, the overwhelmed single-mom down the road, the frazzled, down-trodden sales clerk at Meijer.

And I can.

I just have to be willing to look outside of my comfortable little world of “self” and look for opportunities to search out the gold in others, looking for ways to encourage them, lift their chin, speak life over them, and love them.

It’s a deliciously “dirty” job…but we’ve been called to it and equipped for it.

So, how about it…

Wanna be soil?

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Waiting For the Other Shoe To Drop

I was introduced to heartache at a young age. When I was 11 years old, my grandpa died suddenly of a heart attack. Three weeks later, my uncle died in a plane crash. These two traumatic incidents were only the beginning of tragic events that would happen in my life. I lost two friends and classmates – one my junior year of high school and one the summer after graduation.  I had two cousins commit suicide a few years apart. I lost several family acquaintances to cancer and had to make the tough decision to put my cat to sleep. 
 
Then, I married someone whose battles became my battles. We went through some hard times fighting for our rights together that included attorneys, a court battle, harassing phone calls and more.
 
When you go through tough things in life – it takes its toll on you. You may heal, but there is still a part of you that has been changed by life’s events. It starts to shape who you are.
 
I grew up a very bubbly, talkative, confident young girl. I became a stressed, insecure young woman. That’s what life can do to you, if you let it.  I say, “if you let it” because I believe in the human heart. I believe that a person can rise above their circumstances, overcome unfair things in life, and still become who they dream of being – if they simply make the choice to do so. I also believe that there is a purpose in the pain and that God can show you how to use what you’ve been through to better your life and others’.
 
I recently realized that although my life has been bestowed with many, many blessings – I often would still be feeling pain underneath of those smiles because there was something in me, based on what I had been through and seen in life, that was still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept thinking that the good times were temporary. Something has to go wrong soon! But I was wrong to think that way and I was wrong to live that way.
 
God has the right to give and take away things and people in our lives. But even though we’ve been through personal pain, that doesn’t mean that our whole lives have to be lived as though we are victims. We don’t have to look around every corner, jump at every phone call, or sit and wait for that “next” bad thing to happen to us! We are wasting God’s blessings if we do this.

And I have done this.
 
I don’t want to waste God’s blessings on my life. I know that “life is life.” There is good and bad in life. There is fun and there is hardship. There is pain and there is joy. It is all a part of life. My life. And it all teaches me something. It’s up to me to learn from it.
 
I can always hold close to my heart those personal pains that are dear to me. Those things in life that touch my heart in profound ways because of what I went through and what they taught me. But I can’t continue to let them hurt me. I can’t let them overcome the present day. God has many blessings that He wants to give me in life too. And even though I may have felt the hurts in life on a deep level, I should allow myself to feel the joys of life on a deep level as well. For it is those joyous moments in life that remind me of my purpose, and my vision. It is the blessings in life that refuel me and heal me. If I don’t let myself fully feel them, then the painful moments in life will take over any joyous moments that I could have had. They are like weeds left untended. They kill the flowers that are trying to grow.
 
We all have heartache and painful memories. We’ve all dealt with “stuff.”  But there is a quote in the “Rocky Balboa” movie that says, “It’s not about how hard life hits you – it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” That’s what we need to do. Keep moving forward. Don’t let those weeds grow too big in your life; for there are many flowers just waiting to bloom.
 

~ Dionna is a work in progress. She shares what God teaches her through her pain and her joy in the hopes that it will help someone else break free from the lies and pain that Satan has laid before them. You can read more of Dionna’s heart at her blog: http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

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