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!

The Trap of Comparisons

Comparisons. They kill us. They kill us because they damage our self-worth. One day we might think we are doing pretty well at something but we can always find someone who is doing better and then that wounds our pride and our self esteem.

God tells us to do “everything to the glory of God.” What does that mean? To me, it means that I need to write my articles to the glory of God. I need to write the best I can. The best I can. It would be unfair of me to expect an article to come from me that is the equivalent of an article from someone who has been writing for 35 years and is a best selling author. But I can write an excellent article just the same.

To do everything to the glory of God means that I need to take care of my home the best that I can and give it to the Lord. It doesn’t mean that my home has to be immaculate with designer cushions and name brand furniture. It doesn’t mean that I have to live in a large house in a fine neighborhood. It simply means that I need to live in my house thankfully and take care of it to the best of my abilities giving all that I have to the glory of the Lord!

You see how we can twist things so easily? Simply by comparing our lives, our looks, our things – with those of others? It is a great tactic used by Satan to push us backwards, hold us down, and get us to feel sorry for ourselves. And it works.

I think that women naturally are curious. We naturally check each other out. We watch what other women wear, where they go to shop or eat, what they put in their homes, etc. And then if we admire them – we think that in order to be admired, we too, must adopt those standards. But we are not always necessarily correct. And we do a huge disservice to ourselves and our families to place our lives on a rotation of comparison. For instead of living our lives out the way that God intended us to, with our own personalities, set of skills, desires, gifts, and direction – we relegate our lives to mere trends. Someone new will always come in who has something different to bring to the plate. We will always be changing what we think and want when we offer ourselves up to comparisons. Because we will always fall short in our minds. And if we don’t, then we might think greater of ourselves than we ought.

If I can do everything to the glory of God – if I can be all that I can be for the glory of God – it takes me out of the equation. It puts the emphasis on God where it belongs. I can be happier, more satisfied, and more fulfilled allowing Him to work through me instead of me trying to do all of the work myself and expecting myself to live up to standards that He never set for me.

Comparisons are a trap. They simply set us up to fall because we rate who we are as people and compare that with someone else. It will never be fair.

Let’s leave the comparisons behind and start embracing who we are and who God has placed around us. Let’s enjoy the gifts that He has given those who inspire us and thank Him for those blessings instead of coveting them. And let’s allow our own hearts and world to be opened up for Him to bless us in the ways that He chooses – even if it’s not the way in which we would have preferred.
~ Dionna Sanchez/Founder: http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com

 

A Trophy of Grace

 

I have noticed over the past few years that sharing things from my past that used to make me cringe with shame, now have much less of a hold over me.

It seems the more honest and open I’ve been about the myriad of mistakes I’ve made, and the more I’ve allowed God to take the ugliness that was my life, the more exciting and energizing it has become.

He makes a masterpiece out of our junk.

God is just cool like that.

It’s as though what I once hid, fearful for the onslaught of rejection and judgement I assumed would follow, has become a display of God’s relentless love and extravagant grace.

I am a trophy of God’s grace.

The story below so beautifully explains this picture…

“Some years ago on a hot summer day in south Florida a little boy decided to go for a swim in the old swimming hole behind his house.

In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving behind shoes, socks, and shirt as he went. He flew into the water, not realizing that as he swam toward the middle of the lake, an alligator was swimming toward the shore. His mother – in the house was looking out the window – saw the two as they got closer and closer together. In utter fear, she ran toward the water, yelling to her son as loudly as she could.

Hearing her voice, the little boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim to his mother. It was too late. Just as he reached her, the alligator reached him.

From the dock, the mother grabbed her little boy by the arms just as the alligator snatched his legs. That began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the mother, but the mother was much too passionate to let go. A farmer happened to drive by, heard her screams, raced from his truck, took aim and shot the alligator.

Remarkably, after weeks and weeks in the hospital, the little boy survived. His legs were extremely scarred by the vicious attack of the animal and, on his arms, were deep scratches where his mother’s fingernails dug into his flesh in her effort to hang on to the son she loved.
The newspaper reporter who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs. And then, with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, “But look at my arms.

I have great scars on my arms, too. I have them because my mom wouldn’t let go.”

You and I can identify with that little boy. We have scars, too. No, not from an alligator, or anything quite so dramatic. But, the scars of a painful past. Some of those scars are unsightly and have caused us deep shame and regret.

But, some wounds, my friend, are because God has refused to let go.

In the midst of your struggle, He’s been there holding on to you.

Scripture teaches over and over again that God loves you.  He adores you.  Yes, YOU.

He sent His one and only son to die a horrendous death…to win you back.

In the same way a parent longs, no…lives, to protect their child, He wants to protect you.

But sometimes we foolishly wade into dangerous situations. The swimming hole of life is filled with peril – and we forget that the enemyis waiting to attack.

That’s when the tug-o-war begins – and if you have the scars of His love on your arms be very, very grateful.

He did not – and will not – let you go.

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Sizing Up

A lot of times when a challenge or hurdle enters our life, we tend to feel defeated and weak. We look at the size of our challenge or obstacle and it can seem so huge and overwhelming because we tend to measure them up against our own strength, emotions, and willpower… instead of God’s.. We just need to apply some faith in Him and trust Him with an issue or hurdle that is very personal to us.

When we feel weak and defeated – our enemy (whether it’s a temptation, challenging or hurtful person, health hurdles, or anything else) is made to look bigger, and stronger. So we feel like we lose the battle before we even begin it.

God can help us overcome anything

Can you do it?

What have you got to lose? He’s waiting to show you what He’s really all about.

~ Dionna Sanchez

http://www.EmphasisOnMoms.com

Making Decisions Under Stress

Women are emotional by nature. That’s not a bad thing. God created us that way. Our emotions come from the passions we feel so strongly about. It’s kind of like a well that is so full of water that it can’t help but spill out. That’s us.

Normally, I’d be a staunch supporter of encouraging women to not be ashamed of their emotions. We need to feel comfortable in crying when we feel like crying and giggling when we feel full of joy. But there is one area in life that we need to be careful of in letting our emotions pour out and over – and that is the area of making a decision.

Decisions are things that take a lot of thought, research, prayer, and advice at times. They need to be weighed in the proper lighting with perspective and discernment so that we can feel peace about the choice we make regarding that certain issue, circumstance, or challenge facing us. We need to be so careful when we are feeling our emotions full throttle. Making a decision when we are emotional can be damaging not just to ourselves but also to others for oftentimes we can react rather than responding in a thought-out, methodical manner.

We’ve all seen it (or even done it). We see that mom who storms in somewhere on behalf of her child and yells at the teacher or person in charge when she could have let the matter settle in her heart for awhile instead of reacting in the heat of her emotion. How about buying something when we are upset and later regretting that purchase? Yes, we can make rash decisions when we are emotional.

Stress does a lot of things to people. It makes them panic, angry, and it can make you feel like you need to take action immediately. But sometimes it takes getting away from a situation temporarily, or letting the dust settle a little to be able to objectively look at something enough to handle it in a mature and wise manner.

I think we will find that if we make decisions under stressful circumstances that it is much harder to feel confident about the choice we make. And I realize that it’s not always possible to think about something for a long period of time before a decision is required. I’ve found that in these situations, it’s often good to take a brief “getaway” if for nothing than my mental state. Go to a movie for 2 hours, play a game with your kids, bake some cookies – anything to calm your heart and mind and allow some clear thinking to invade those high-strung stressful emotions. And of course, always, always pray and ask God for His help and guidance.

Women’s emotions can be a beautiful thing. They showcase a tender, passionate heart for those she loves. We just need a little reminder to tame those emotions once in awhile. Believe me, when all is said and done, you will be so glad you did.

~ Dionna Sanchez is a freelance writer and Founder of the Emphasis On Moms Ministry.
You may email her at madetomom@yahoo.com

Embracing Our Weaknesses

I am not a very good decorator. I usually find great ideas by seeing what someone else has done. But if left to my own devices, sometimes I can flounder. I know women who just have a knack for putting together a room. They know how to make a room flourish with the right paint color and some key focal items. They somehow are able to keep things dusted, vacuumed and put together despite the pressures of a family.

I know some women who are excellent cooks. Still others have a talent in the area of crafts or attracting friendships. As I look at what other women are good at, it can tend to make me feel “less than.” I think that is because I take my eyes off of the road that God has me on, and I put them on someone else’s road.

I’m just wondering why it is that we as women struggle with the fact that we have weaknesses? Why do we feel that we must be good at it all? When did we come to the understanding that a weakness must be hidden, or improved until it is no longer a weakness?

As I was thinking these thoughts, it occurred to me that I need to learn how to embrace my weaknesses. I don’t want to simply get lazy or self-indulgent, but I can certainly learn (in a healthy way) what my boundaries as an individual are. I can learn and know what I am and am not capable of. I can learn to not feel ashamed when I am not good at something.

I only battle against myself and my innate nature when I struggle to become something that God never intended for me to be. I need to learn to let certain standards and expectations of myself go – if only to feel free in being “me.”

God tells me that in my “weaknesses, He is strong.” So, if I flip that saying around and I try to be good and strong in everything then He must not be very strong in my life. If I’m good at everything and have no weaknesses (or pretend that I don’t), then I don’t need Him very much in my life. How shallow of me to presume that I should and could be good and wonderful at everything in my life! How prideful!

It is okay to have weaknesses. Whether it’s being afraid to be home alone, afraid to speak your thoughts among a group of women, or simply cooking a dish for a large group of people – it’s okay to have vulnerable areas in your life. For it is in those times and moments that God can show Himself great on our behalf. It is those times where we truly give Him a chance to show off for us! And without our weaknesses, we simply would not need much of His strength in our lives and it would only become “all about us.”

I want to embrace a new mindset in my life. I want to be able to admit where I fall short and let God fill in the gaps – instead of trying to fill them in myself all of the time. Only then, will I learn how to be authentic in my own skin and free to simply be the person He created me to be – flaws, weaknesses, shortcomings, and all.

~ Dionna Sanchez is the Founder of EmphasisOnMoms.com and blogs for women at http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

All I Have To Be

I go through cycles and phases in life where I feel really “uncool.” It might be that I feel left out of a “cool” group of friends, or I don’t understand why a really good blog post doesn’t get any comments when someone else’s page gets 20 comments a day. Why do they like her and not me – I think? So I try harder to be what I deem “likeable.”

It occurs to me today how I have lived most of my life wanting people to like me. I know most all of us do want others to like us. But I have that inner need that compels me and propels me. I can’t stand it when I feel like someone doesn’t like me. It makes me want to get them to like me and to prove to them (and maybe myself) that they were wrong about me. I am not unlikeable!

Words cannot express how my heart feels knowing that I tend to be like this. I am saddened that I have let myself be gripped by something so much. I am learning that it’s okay if people don’t like me. I may not like it, it may even sadden my heart – but I’m learning to deal and live with it. You know what? Not everyone liked Jesus when He walked the earth, and not everyone likes Him today. I know it saddens His heart, just as it saddens mine. But He can handle it.

As I learn how to have my own voice in life more and more; as I grow into my own skin and realize my purpose in life, my gifts and strengths, as well as my flaws – I’m going to have to learn how to deal with others who won’t agree with everything about me. I may love one part of my life to a passion, where someone else cannot relate to it at all. It does not mean I’m unlikeable.

There is an old song by Amy Grant called “All I Have To Be.” There is a part in the song that says,

“The more I try to be the best,
the more I get the worst
And I realize the good in me
Is only there because of who you are.

All I ever have to be
Is what you’ve made me
Any more or less
Would be a step out of your plan.”

This is my heart’s desire. I want to remember that all I have to be is who God made me to be. Nothing more and nothing less. What the world makes of who I am is their choice. As long as I’m living for my Lord I can carry the knowledge with me that not only am I likeable but I am loveable – so much so that God created me just to enjoy me.

I’m just trying to be real. This is who I am. God has no more expectations of me so I shouldn’t put any on myself. There may be days where someone doesn’t choose me to do something with him or her or I am forgotten by someone else. I may not have the most popular blog or move everyone with the words that I write – but it’s okay. I am learning it’s okay. It’s what I carry in my heart and live out in my life that truly matters.

This is all I need to be.
~ Dionna Sanchez

http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com

Previous Older Entries