Wednesday, March 21, 2012

dirty bullet

I think perhaps the biggest lesson I learned over the past few years is that everything is a choice.

Your standing next to your husband. You dont see him, but the enemy, YOUR enemy the devil is there. He is always there, waiting, watching looking for the right moment. He sees it, and shoots. He obliviously wants to kill hubby with the sin of adultery, he is the devil after all. He deserved to be shot, he was awful right? But... now listen to what I'm saying, I have walked this trail and seen the traps, let me warn you.  
He shot you both.
He intended to shoot your husband dead on, and is hoping he will die fast due to his sins. But you? He only grazed you trying to get to him right? Your not hurt right?
No he didn't miss. He just wants you to die slower. He doesn't fight fair, those bullets he used are dirty and poisoned. He wants that little wound you have to become infected, beyond the point of help, he wants you to suffer a long and painful death. He has absolutely no mercy for you. He is hoping that by watching you die so slowly, it will eventually kill your kids as well. Maybe it will poison their lives, their future relationships, their children even. Its all just a bonus to him.

Jeez thanks for that Kings Daughter, could you paint an uglier picture please?

John 10:10
The thief comes only so that he can steal and kill and destroy

He isn't like the cartoons make him out to be, the devil isn't just running around trying to make mischief.
The bible talks about the church being the bride and Jesus groom. What better way to hurt a groom than torturing his bride?

Now I understand you had no choice about you or your husband being shot. But you do have choices now. Of course their are the choices about whether to stay or leave. Those aren't the choices I'm talking about, I'm talking about the choice to clean your wound. I figure there are lots of you out there, like me who decided to ignore it. It doesn't hurt that bad. Oh but it will. I ignored my cut for months, and even after I noticed it I decided not to treat it.

I was NOT going to be the victim. It was NOT going to hurt me. I could be fine without hubby, see? Look at me planning dinner dates with girlfriends, giant parties for the kids, out and about getting mani's and pedi's with the ladies.
Choosing not to hurt at all sounds like the strong thing to do. In reality its the fastest way to become hard. You shut that door on feeling unpleasant emotions, you will also be shutting the door on feeling the really great ones to. This personally was my biggest problem with choices. I had to let God show me how to feel again, it was scary not gonna lie.  Taking that lock off my heart was the best thing I could have ever done. Its a freeing feeling knowing I dont have to be fine all the time. 

I hated him. I hated what he did. And I hated the women. Its OK to be mad, its really, really, really OK to be pissed. But please heed my warning, be very careful not to hate. I would scream at my husband and take the lowest digs I could till he cried. Then with venom tell him what a loser he was for crying. Trust me that's a hard one to choose to let go of after you pick it up.

Its not fair! Its true, it isn't fair, not even a little bit. This might be the toughest one, but choosing to focus on the fairness will eat you up in the end.  If you choose on never letting this one go, bitterness will take hold of you. That small graze you got, will become completely infected. The infection acts like a cancer. Its vicious and I have seen it take over lives. Destroying not only the women who chose to hold onto it, but their friendships, family relationships, their childrens attitudes, even their careers.
Think about some of the most unpleasant people you have ever met, I would be willing to bet they let bitterness spread a long time ago. Now they are left permanently infected.

You dont have to be a victim to feel.
You dont have to hate when you are angry.
You dont have torture yourself with all the ways its unfair.
Its your choice. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

a wretch like me...

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be for ever mine.
Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Everyone knows this song right? Or at very least the chorus. Its one of my favorites, but not because it sounds nice. The story behind it is what I love, and I love sharing it over and over with my kids. Why? Its such a vivid example of how God can change anyone in any situation. Have you ever heard it?

In the 1740's there was a man named John Newton, and he was not what anyone would describe as a good, loving or nice person. To make a very long complicated story short this man was a very cruel slave trader that ran slave ships to and from Africa. "I sinned with a high hand," he wrote, "and I made it my study to tempt and seduce others." In short he loved his job and was good at it, and he loved that others knew it too.

In 1747 his ship was homeward bound and caught in a terrible storm that the crew was sure would kill them all. He converted during the storm, though he admitted later, "I cannot consider myself to have been a believer, in the full sense of the word." He wanted God, but only enough to cover his butt. Afterwards
he continued for a few more years in his profession.

Slowly he started to see things differently. As a slave trader he was trying to "promote the life of God in the soul" to both his crew and his African cargo. Oh I'm real sure his newly captured slaves really wanted to know about his God, yeah right. It took many years but he finally become so completely disgusted with slave trade as a whole, he quit. Now what must that have looked like to everyone in his world? The circles he ran in? Rich, top of his game.... and he quits? He had hit a point where he cared more what God thought over what his peers thought.

In 1764 he was ordained into ministry and took a parish in Olney in Buckinghamshire.
Its there that he wrote Amazing Grace, as a poem.
Newton had wrote those famous words from personal experience.

Now why would I love this seeming sad story so much and make it a much talked about lesson in my house? First off you need to know I don't enjoy sad stories much. So what the heck right? This story does have its devastatingly sad parts (read up on this guy and you can hear all the awful twists and turns besides what I told you) but in the end its happy. Beyond happy, since it ends with redemption!

First off lets look at Mr Newton. He was cocky. But we all in some way aren't we? Prideful of our jobs, or our looks, or even our childrens successes. He was totally happy where he was and what he was doing. Anyone else relate? I can!

But then this Newton hits a terrible storm, and  He cries out to God, "Save me Lord!". Total crisis prayer. I think most of us wait till that point. But part that hits home with me the most was how he later admits to not thinking he was a true believer at that point. I can relate to that too. I had cried out to God a few times before and figured I knew what it meant to follow. Look at Newton, he cried to God in the storm, God answered and saved him. Newton was grateful and talked the talked but yet continued in his slave trading. Did God change him right away? Nope. And thats true with lots of us. Sometimes the best thing is to just let God in. He will change you, but not in our timing. And a lot of time that involves slowing breaking everything your so proud you built up in your life down. Its painful, crazy painful. But how can he build you the way He wants you, until he takes the you, you built away?  This is where trust comes in. I know with me, and my hard head the learning curve was steep. There's a famous quote says it perfect. "You may never know that JESUS is all you need, until JESUS is all you have." He wants you that broken, its only in that place do you truly understand how much you need God.

Luke 5:31
Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.

Newton found that out. God broke him down until he had become completely disgusted with what he had become. But God wasn't going to leave him broken, God loves way too much for that. He built him back up into the man he had designed him to be in the first place.

One day sooner or later life has a way with bringing a storm. The storm can come from your own actions, it can come from from others actions affecting you, it can come in way sickness or death, but it will come. You can cry out to God and trust he will save you, or you can go down with the ship.

God saved my husband. God saved me. He can save you too. Call on him where your at. Test that promise He gives out. He promises not to leave us the way He finds us, He promises a future and a hope. And his plans for a future are always way better than anything we could ever dream up.

Jeremiah 29:11  
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.