Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Forgiving's sake!

I've been provoked lately to talk to God about the concept of forgiveness. In November and December, just in time for the holidays, I came down with a bad case of non-forgiveness. I had two different family members do me wrong, in my perspective, and make no attempt at a even a semblance of an apology. So, I hunkered down and became self-indulgently bitter. It wasn't so much of a conscious decision of embitterment as it was a thick mud out of which I could not seem to step. Any I kept thinking I should forgive, and I should try, but by my own willpower I couldn't do it.

Image from here
And then, for some reason, I let go. I had several conversations with people I love and respect and realized that there was nothing I could do to try to forgive. I just had to ask God to help me. I find God often brings me back to the there is no way I can do this on my own thought before he is going to do something really cool in my life. Often when I have that thought I know I am ready to hear his voice. Thus, in early January, I stopped trying to forgive and simply decided to learn more about forgiveness. For me this small step has meant reading a scripture verse or two each week and asking God what he has to tell me through it. One verse in particular has stood out to me. It says:

If you are going to give a gift to God, but you know someone has a grudge against you, go and resolve the conflict. Be reconciled to that person. Then, after you have a resolution, you can go and present your offering to God. 
(Paraphrase of Matthew 5:23-24)

I had Adam read the verse after I did because I wanted to make sure it really says that if someone has something against you, YOU can go make it right. I've been talking to God about this scripture because, although I am less stuck in the mud of bitterness, I still don't understand how and why it is my responsibility to be reconciled to a person when they have taken no action towards a resolution. Any thoughts? Have you had an experience with forgiveness or unforgiveness that relates to this scripture

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The eternal, intentional and incidental

My father-in-law died unexpectedly about a month ago. It is true that he was 83 years young, and he did have some health issues, but the call was jarring, and his death a true loss. As I was thinking about him, so much came to mind, especially since I just got to spend time with him at Thanksgiving, and then about ten days before his heart attack. The day before his memorial I wrote down two words... intentional and incidental.
At his service I was unsure about speaking, but when it came time, I knew that I wanted to share some of what I had observed of this man over the past thirty years. I am a firm believer that some of the most important things I have learned from others have been incidental... that is, the person was not "trying" to teach me something important, but rather was being intentional in how they lived and what they believed in, and as they shared life with me, I was moved, challenged or transformed. This was my father-in-law's way of being. He was very intentional in his faith and his love for others, praying for them, taking action when appropriate, and coming along side in interest of the other. However it was not for show, or to have an agenda for another, and I believe that is why he was such a person of influence for the God he knew and loved.
So, I have added the word eternal to my list of descriptors, because I believe that what Earl lived out of most importance is eternal, and will speak of him and His God forever.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

prayer and memorization

Today I feel burdened to pray...

It's been happening more often lately. It seems like every other day there is some great need that I find out about. Today it's a high school friend who lost her sister suddenly. Last week it was a family I know who is grieving a suicide. This week its a friend waiting for test results. Last week it was seeing someone struggle through a personal dilemma. On and on the list goes. And being so far physically removed from most of these situations or just the simple fact that there's not much to actually "do", I just have felt the urge to pray.

Today I feel burdened to hide God's word in my heart. This post from "A Holy Experience" was right in line with what I've been feeling this week.


Monday, May 23, 2011

just some ponderings...

i guess i'm a bit of a beth moore fan...but here's a nugget of wisdom that i got from the last video session of "A Heart Like His". I'm still working it through and trying to see what I think about it.

(and it's not word for word, but here's the gist...)

If you have any desire to serve God, His will for you will find you. Stop stressing about finding it. Stop panicking. If you love Him, you will serve Him.

i mean it makes sense that if i truly love God and have any desire to serve God, that i will find myself seeking out things and situations that are glorifying to Him.

i guess i'm just wondering is if that specific good/glorifying thing that i end up doing because i love God is His specific will for me. and how do you find that you're really in His specific will. but on the other hand, is any godly thing His will for me just because in its essence it's a God-glorifying thing....

...just some ponderings

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Christ in you, the hope of glory

I have a friend who quotes this verse (Colossians 1:27) and I never really understood the magic of it. But tonight, while sitting through a video Beth Moore Bible Study, I feel like I've learned a little of the meaning and depth behind these words. The topic of the study tonight wasn't even on this verse specifically, it was just one of side verses she mentioned. But, I was able to connect with it.

You see, since November, my life has been in a spiral; a tornado at times. Without going into all of the lovely details, it has been the most stressful season of my life thus far. It was a period of time that I knew would end this spring once we had moved and were all settled and one that I knew I couldn't have good perspective on while I was still in the thick of it. I had so many points in which I felt like I was going to break down and completely lose it, but just somehow kept going. I couldn't think of anything I had to do tomorrow or the next day, because I had literally lists of things to consume my current day. And now, that my to-do lists of things to do and be concerned about are down to what I can count on on hand, I can see that the only way I could have gotten through the last six months was with God. It was 'Christ in me'. And tonight in realizing that the only way I am where I am now is through Him and in that He is glorified, I can see a glimpse of the hope of God being glorified in the future even more by my life.

God is continually bringing us to perfection, which is ultimately to His glory.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Church Search Part 2

Good news! Adam and I found a church! It happened kind of unexpectedly, in that we decided last minute to visit All Souls Church of Boulder, and our experience there was really affirming. We knew almost right away that the church was a fit for us.

The church is small, and it meets in the building of a Seventh Day Adventist Church. The building is really beautiful and similar to the type of worship structure I am used to from growing up in the Presbyterian church. But more than the physical aspect of the church, there were at least 3 people who greeted us the first day we were there and mentioned, "I haven't seen you before, are you new here?" This kind of reaching out and awareness on the part of several people within the church created such a welcoming atmosphere. And it seemed that the people who greeted us were genuinely interested in us, not greeting us out of some obligation or superficiality.

The worship style of a church has also been something that is really important for Adam. Because he and I came from such different backgrounds, he is used to more charismatic worship, while I am used to traditional hymns and liturgy. If there was a way to combine the two, All Souls has found it. And it wasn't what either one of us expected either. We sing the words to mostly traditional hymns, but the music is re-written with somewhat of a bluegrass/folk feel in which a guitar, bass, and fiddle (and occasionally a piano and banjo) provide the melody. There are freedom and artistry that Adam appreciates and the structure and words that impact me so deeply.

Lastly, our church doesn't have a pastor. I think this would be the only thing that, in any other case, would make us a little bit wary. However, the church body shows such unity and so many people within the church volunteer in various capacities that the absence of a pastor is somewhat overlooked. Don't get me wrong, we definitely continue to pray for the right person to come along as a leader, a teacher, and an administrator. There are several people who volunteer their time to oversee the administrative aspects of the church, and it is apparent that they are very busy and perhaps exhausted by this role.

All this to say, THANK YOU, God for providing us with a church community in such a surprising and exciting way. Thank you for praying for us, too. Adam is saying that he is excited to go to church for the first time in years, and he even went without me this morning. (I wanted to sleep in, and I feel the freedom to do that!) The pastor who spoke last week said "Church is the place where people come together that have no earthly reason to do so." I think that statement adequately describes both the fact that our church is full of imperfect, quirky people, and the fact that, despite this, we are called to gather. Adam and I are excited to gather with others in the name of Jesus.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I came across this verse today that was great encouragement. Perhaps you can find encouragement in it as well with where you are at in life.

"For this God is our God for ever and ever, he will be our guide even to the end." Psalm 48:14