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Ten Ways to love: Complete trust

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Number 8 on our countdown is:   Trust without wavering.

{Love} 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”     Corinthians 13:7

 

THE HORIZONTAL:

Wouldn’t it be great if we could have absolute, unwavering trust placed in us or placed in another?  Actually, we have that when we’re born.  We have no lack of trust.  We completely, totally, and abidingly trust our parents (and anyone else).  We don’t pop out wondering if our parents will take care of us.  We have to learn not to trust.  How sad is it that it doesn’t take long to learn?  Humans let us down, some on purpose and some just by being humans.  Add in the sin nature and the fact that our brains and perceptions have a few years to grow, and it’s inevitable that we learn to mistrust.

We get hurt; we expect others to hurt us too.  Sadly, we then contribute to mistrust in others.  Someone I know has been hurt by an ex-girlfriend (no, not my husband) and frequently brings it up in his new relationship.  He sabotages the current relationship because of the hurts of the past.  It turns into a vicious cycle.  I know I gave my husband a lot of grief in the early years because I had a trust problem.  My trust issues had nothing whatsoever to do with him, but he paid the price, as did I.

"Forgiveness 3" by Carlos Latuff.

“Forgiveness 3” by Carlos Latuff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lack of trust does not show love at all, because real love trusts.  Real love doesn’t hold others responsible for the breach of trust given by others.  Real love FORGIVES.  Forgiveness is not for the person forgiven, it is for the forgiver.  In fact, the only way to keep from becoming a person who can’t trust is to forgive those who hurt us.  It frees us to trust again.  People usually don’t mean to breach your trust, just as you don’t mean to do it to others.  When someone repeatedly breaches your trust, forgiveness does not say “it’s ok.”  Forgiveness doesn’t mean staying with someone who abuses you or continuing to trust someone who can’t be trusted.  What forgiveness says is this:  “I do not have to let you tarnish every other relationship I have.  I can free myself to love and trust.  You will not change who I am!”

Do you allow your hurt to keep you from trusting?

 

THE VERTICAL:

And what about God?  I used the word abidingly above on purpose.  If you look up unwavering in a thesaurus, you will find the word abiding there.

John 15 talks about us abiding in Him.  He is the vine, and to abide in Him, we must remain connected to that vine.  We can’t connect and disconnect, trust and then not trust.  We must remain connected, sucking up the nutrients only the vine can give.  When we abide in Him, we grow.  When we don’t, we wither and die.

This post is well-timed.  I see so many who struggle with trust, and a couple in particular right now.  After all, we all have people in our lives that let us down.  Those who have endured abuse have even more reason not to trust.  God is not human.  How often do we project human failings on Him, though?

We project the sins of the dad on the Father.  We blame Him for evil we bring upon ourselves.  We pout and blame when we don’t get our way.  We allow our trust to waver.

We also look at our own untrustworthy nature.   BUT:  God is, was, and always will be faithfuleven when we are unfaithful.  II Timothy 2:13

"Forgiveness" by Carlos Latuff.

“Forgiveness” by Carlos Latuff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

says, “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”

Thank you God that you are faithful, even when I am unfaithful.  When I struggle with trust, You hang in there with me and teach me to trust again.  I want to faithfully abide in You, and yet I am human.  Father, I choose trust.  I choose to love like I’ve never been hurt.  I choose to cling to you as the Vine, the Nurturer, the very Life Blood.  Bless your holy Name!

Do you abide in Him?  Do you have trust issues that need resolved?  Can you love like you’ve never been hurt?  Do you have anything to add?

 

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Ten Ways to love: Accusations

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The second statement in our ‘Ten ways to love’ series is this:

Anger

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Photo credit: baejaar)

2.  Speak without accusing.

The verse:  James 1:19:  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

I find this one very difficult because it’s so hard to keep accusation out at times.   Because it’s more difficult to see my own stuff, I’m afraid I will have to use what I see in others as examples here.  I am not casting the first stone, however, because I can accuse with the best of them at times.

The backhanded question

A certain person is quite good at speaking with accusation behind seemingly innocent words, usually in the form of questions.  “Why is the front door open?”  translates to “Why didn’t you shut the door, do you want to heat the whole world?”   Implied (and often spoken after the statement) is the hard work trying to earn money to pay the bills while everyone else wastes money like it grows on trees.  This is speaking with accusation.

I saw ‘evidence’ and, I know you’re guilty!

Sometimes, we speak with accusing when we haven’t received all the information needed.  This one seldom happens a LOT in relationships.  If you’ve ever caught some of the Maury Povich type shows, you see people coming on with accusation oozing out of their pores!  I saw a text on your phone, so you MUST be having an affair.  “I only slept with 5 people, but I know you’re the dad.  So why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to take care of YOUR child?”   “I saw you look at her, you don’t love me!”    And so on ad nauseam!!!  This way comes by jumping to conclusions and attacking rather than waiting for more information and strangling him in his sleep DISCUSSING it in an adult manner.

How could you?

Sometimes, in a similar vein to above, we assume another’s motives.  It’s entirely possible we’re wrong, but we think we can read minds, so….  Another person I know seems to be able to find a negative motive in most anything.  I probably attribute good motives more than I should, but I’d rather give a person a chance than to assume  wrongly.  People have different love languages (and other filters), and sometimes they mean well, even if the results are not what they intended.  For example, when my husband does something for me, like going to work every day or fixing a problem, he is saying, “I love you!”   Because I did not understand this for a few years, I attributed wrong motives and didn’t believe he loved me.  I was wrong and caused a lot of heartache to myself and him.   Sometimes we can just accept people, and their motives, at face value.

A Person (Man) exclaiming something

A Person (Man) exclaiming something (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Political Debates gone wrong

If you’ve ever watched a debate, and I use that term loosely.  How often do you hear accusations flying?  Uh, yeah, all the time!  Rather than defending one’s own take on the issues, deflection techniques muddy the waters.  Personally, I would rather hear what a candidate believes than the mistakes of his/her opponent.   A person that can stick with the issues and not get sucked into the vortex of distraction gets my respect.  This type of conversation (no matter who is doing the ‘debating’) should keep the focus on the person speaking and not the other person through accusation and idiocy.

The Children

We do this to children all the time.  They bring us a flower and we yell at them for picking it.  They want to hug us, but we accuse them of ‘bugging’ us or being to clingy.

The rest of the story

If you read the next verse in James, it says, ”

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

 

I memorized this scripture many years ago and use it often to remind me that my anger, accusations, judgments, etc. do not work God’s righteousness.  In fact, they often get in the way and turn others away from God.  In order to show love, it is necessary to tame that tongue and give thought to our words before we allow them out of our mouth.  No one is perfect, but sometimes that extra second of thought will save some heartache for all.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions and wrongly accused someone?   Have you rightly accused them, but to the relationship’s detriment due to the way you handled it?  Have you attributed negative motives to someone and accused them by word or deed?  Do you distract through accusation in a fight, debate, discussion, argument?  Have you brushed a child aside and spoken with accusation to them?  What are some other ways we speak with accusing?

The Weaver

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THE WEAVER

My life is but a weaving

Between my Lord and me.

I cannot choose the colors

He worketh steadily.

Oftimes he weaveth sorrow,

And I know foolish pride

Forget He sees the upper

And I, the underside.

Not till the loom is silent

And the shuttles cease to fly

Shall God unroll the canvas

And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful

In the Weaver’s skillfun hand

As the threads of gold and silver

In the pattern He has planned

~ Author Unknown

~*~

~*~

In cleaning out my dad’s room, I found this old poem in one of his books. It was like finding an old friend. This poem is one of my favorites, because it reminds me that I am not God, I am not the center of the universe, and I am not all-knowing, all-seeing, or all-powerful!  To seek to understand everything that happens in my life is a fool’s task.  God is the only one who sees His plan from beginning to end.  I do not.  I must trust that, when I do see the final tapestry, it will take my breath away in its beauty, its complexity, and its rightness.  If you’ve ever looked at the underside of a tapestry, you will know what I mean.

~*~

 Today I challenge you to look at your beliefs, and see if you are looking (and critiqueing) by the underside of your tapestry (or anothers).

Life is Hard

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Many times I have heard people say, “God is a crutch for weak people”

I say, “DUH!”

What those people do not understand is that we are all weak!

As human beings in all our sin nature and humanness, we are broken.

 

 

If you had a broken leg, especially if severely broken, you would not try to walk around without a cast, a crutch, or whatever you needed to get around.  You would think someone crazy who attempted to walk around with a broken leg.  And yet, this person crawls around, broken but unable to see it.  This person laughs at those who have their leg set and cast, walking around with crutches or in a wheel chair.

~*~

Life Is Hard

~*~

Life is hard; why do it alone,

Standing hard against the wind?

“God helps those…” you often say

For yourself you try to fend.

~*~

We are weak, but He is strong

Not about defeat, but true.

We have a need that He can meet,

When we allow Him to.

~*~

He gives us grace to carry on,

Always taking the larger share

Of the yoke that we must carry

And each burden we must bare.

~*~

When storms approach, His arms

Wrap ’round to take the brunt

Of all the crashing wind and waves:

Those things wich do affront.

~*~

We feel the wet and cry, “Why me?”

Not knowing what He’s done

Saving us from much worse things

When hard times have begun.

~*~

Life is hard; why do it alone?

For all is better shared.

Yoke up with Him, lean hard-

With Him forever paired.

~*~

a poem by Angela Masters Young  copyright 3-29-2012

 

What are some of the things people lean on instead of God?  (i.e. addictions, …)

Lean hard my friends!

 

 

I’ll do it later

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piston pump of a soap dispenser/ de: Kolbenpum...

Image via Wikipedia

I have repeatedly asked myself a question for ages some time now and more than once a day.  The question is . . .

How many times am I going to get hit in the chest with soap from the dispenser before I fix the clogged dispenser tube?

Not a hard job, right?  So why do I think about it, even while I have the water running to do the job, and still walk away?  Laziness? Procrastination?

Well, I can no longer ask myself this question, because I finally did it.  I removed the top, ran it under hot water to melt the soap clogging it, squirted it a few times to make sure, replaced the top, and squirted a couple more times for good measure.  Even with all the squirting factored in, the job took about three minutes of my time.

So why am I painting you a picture of my domestic moment?

—-

An In-N-Out Burger 8x8 animal style for the ar...

Image via Wikipedia

First thought:  I wonder if my arteries look like that?

How often do we consistently do or not do things that effect our health?  We get a report from the doc that our cholesterol is high, the blood pressure is up there, the spare tire is bigger than the entire car, . . . .

How often do we think, “I’ll do something about that later?” as we allow the problem to get worse and worse.

How often do we believe we will be the exception to the rule?  –up until that moment when something serious goes wrong?

I am not a health nazi.  I believe there is a lot af fad bad advice out there, and too many people jumping on the ‘if only’ bandwagon, the cycle of effort, failure, depression, more effort. . . .  That said, however, there are things we know will harm us and steps we can take to prevent or help a physical problem.  We know and yet procrastinate.  This is dangerous.

English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Image via Wikipedia

—-

Second thought:   What about clogged emotions?

How often do we stuff something back because we don’t want to hurt others, fear the consequences of honesty, or any of the many other excuses we use for doing so?  Stuffed anger leads to bitterness.  Stuffed love leads to despair.  I am not saying it is appropriate to just blurt out your feelings or emotions in every situation, but there are other ways to deal with emotions besides stuffing them.  We can journal for one.  The point is that if we continue to ignore emotions and not deal with them, we get clogged.  Then, just as the soap shot out past the clog to get all over me, our emotions shoot out and land all over everyone around.  This too is dangerous.

—-

Mental floss: clear the clogs

Third Thought:  Mental clogs?  What are mental clogs?  I would say this harks back to the old ‘garbage in, garbage out’ adage.  We put bad, worthless, or harmful things into our mind and they become clogged to the good things.  Just as pornography has been shown to change a person’s brain over time, many other things, imbibed consistently, change how we think.  From there it changes how we believe and then how we act.  When we act out our new thought patterns and beliefs, our actions burst out all over others.  This too is dangerous.

—-

Question mark in Esbjerg

Question mark in Esbjerg (Photo credit: alexanderdrachmann)

Fourth Thought:  Can we be spiritually clogged?

Yes, we can.  If we have never met God on a personal basis (known in my circles as salvation), we are clogged.  If we are not spending time with God, not spending time in the Word, in prayer, and fellowshipping with others, we are clogged. It is only as we apply the heat of the Word, prayer, felowship, and time in intimacy with God that we can unclog ourselves spiritually.  Spiritual clogs are probably the most dangerous of all.

Are you clogged?  Do you know you’re clogged and yet put off doing anything about it?  Do you know why?  What are some other things that clog us or unclog us?  What clogs you?

 

Stuffing it in

I can’t let it go

my rage presses

fast at my heart

I fear the

consequences

will show

the ugliness

clogging me up

Disrespect unchallanged

and back turned

on God

these and more

keep me

from my best

when I turn

and surrender

let it out

let it go

then I find

myself open

to all.

Where was God when….?

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Along with the survivor stories we all have, are those from people who do not feel like survivors or have lost loved ones.  I know one person who lost a loved one in the Indiana tornados and several who have loved ones that survived it.  One tornado was <10 miles from the trailer where my son, daughter-in-law, and all my grandchildren live (next to my sister).  I know how quickly life can turn.

Last time we talked about survivor stories, but today I’d like to talk about the other side.

What if it were my family planning a funeral or figuring out what to do with nothing to our names right now?  Would God still be good?  To that I give a resounding: YES!  Believe it or not, I’ve had some pretty awful things happen to me and/or those I love.  Life is like that:  it comes with the good and the bad.  People have a tendency to give credit to God in the survival stories, but often blame Him when the bad things take away life or possessions.

Where was God…

…when fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock was pulled from a mobile home to land in a field some distance away?  Where was God when her mother, father, and two siblings were killed by the same tornado?  Where was God when little Angel let go of life yesterday?  Why this family and not another?

I am not God, so I can’t answer all the questions.  I do know God, however, so I can say this:  God was there.  He was with them as they crouched in fear, hearing the sounds of destruction coming for them.  He was there as those lives were taken and that baby was laid in a field.  He was there with Angel as she drew her last breath and went to join her family.

God has a plan

God loves each and every one of us.  He loves us in a way we may never understand, for His love is beyond understanding.  We never go through anything that God does not know about.  For some of us, that is comforting.  For others, those who do not know God’s love or cannot see it in their moment of darkness, may see it as a reason to blame God for what they see as a curse.

The truth is that we cannot determine if something is a blessing or curse at the time of its happening.  In every one of the tragic events of my life, God has woven His love throughout the experience.  Sometimes I couldn’t feel it at the time, but always, in looking back (or in looking up in the midst) I see Jesus.  He was there, and God’s fingerprints were everywhere.

Where was God when…

One of the darkest moments of my life was when my Mother passed away.  One of the most beautiful times of my life was when my Mother passed away.  What?  How can it be both?

Given 6 months to live after a cancer diagnosis, my mother managed to live 11 months.   Not only did she live that long, she went to WalMart only a few days before her death.  Having seen several cancer deaths, this was an unexpected blessing.  I stayed with them during this time, going home on some weekends to see my husband and daughter, to help take care of her.  We had a great time, one that can never be taken from me, during this.  We were out and about almost every day.  Many times you could find us shopping at WalMart and being silly.  We liked to make up languages to speak just to make heads turn.  There were hard times here, but the time spent together, the time to go over old pictures and hear old stories, the time to prepare — all of these were priceless.

I had gone home when I got the call that Mom was in the hospital.  The plan was hospice, but a football-sized, matastasized tumor in her stomach broke in two and the pain was unmanageable at home.  I was so grateful to have missed this moment with her.  She was in the hospital only a few days.  Watching her die, watching the pain and confusion in her eyes, watching my dad sobbing over her and telling her he’d marry her all over again, all of that was a deep, deep pain.  But through it all, God was there.  All the family was able to gather in her hospital room.  We sang hyms; we prayed; we cried; we hugged; we watched a beautiful woman slip away to glory.  She would not go until my second son was able to make it, so we were gathered around her bed, holding hands, as she escaped the bonds of her body and went to meet her Jesus.  It was awful!  It was beautiful!  It was priceless!

You see circumstances are simply that:  circumstances.  They do not determine much, but how we respond to them, how we look at them makes all the difference.  If I had not been looking for the God, if I had been focusing on the pain, I would have missed a beautiful thing.

God gives us free will and that brings a lot of pain when we choose sin.  But, even in all our willful mess, He came to give us a way to Him – because He LOVES us!  Love isn’t about feelings.  Feelings come and go.  God never goes.  He is always there, even in the middle of the biggest storm.  Look up into the eyes of Jesus. Raise your hand and ask Him to pull you up and walk with you back to the boat.

Do you see God’s hand in the hard times?

How do you feel about this post?  Some of you may feel differently.

Go back to your survival story and look for God’s fingerprints.   Share them here if you wish.

Can you “Praise Him in the Storm”?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw

Survival Stories

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A headline on my news feed this morning read, “Survival stories emerge from victims.”  This was in regard to the deadly tornadoes that hit last Friday.  This reminded me that life is often about survival.  Yes, we can emerge victorious from the trials of life, but while we’re in them, we are in survival mode.

The wonderful thing about this is that survival is possible.  People can go through horrible life circumstances and emerge, not unscathed, but often better for having gone through the experience.  No, not everyone will survive and not everyone will thrive, but the indomitable spirit of human kind often emerges through hardship.  This is true of those going through the experience and those who seek to help them.

Upon hearing about the tragedies of loss and death, many people stepped up to help.  People see the need, have compassion, and put their hands to the task in whatever way they can.  In all the mess going on in our world, it is good to see that people still care about one another and that survivor stories are still alive and well.

 

What can we learn from the tornados and other life experiences?

  1. Things don’t matter.
  2. People matter.
  3. Life is short.
  4. Time is not promised.
  5. Say I love you now.
  6. Don’t count on tomorrow.
  7. Don’t wait.
  8. Human need transcends our differences.
  9. Character is exposed in the hard times of life.
  10. You can survive hard things.
  11. You don’t have to survive hard things alone.
  12. God and much of mankind will stand with you.

 

I have survivor stories.  In fact, I have many survivor stories.  I call them “God Stories” and collect them in my faith scrap-book.  They remind me of the things that matter, and that my God is always there, even in the darkest night.

This is my challenge to you today:  Do you have survivor stories?  How has hardship brought you to a better place and revealed your character and/or the character of God?  You can share in two ways:  1) Share your story in the comments. or 2) Share your story in a blog post and share your link in the comments.  It can be about anything, not just tornados….     You may also share other lessons we can learn.   I am looking forward to reading your stories. 🙂

 

My tornado God story: 

In 197?  a tornado struck Franklin, Ky, where I lived at the time.  I was reading, laying on my mom’s bed and looking out the window, when I saw a black wall coming toward  us.  I ran into the Living Room where my Father was gathering my Mother and siblings.  He had us lay on the floor with his arms over us.  At one point, the roof of our house lifted up and slammed back down.  Later, we discovered that a large tree in our front hard had cracked and fallen on the roof, holding it on.  All around us was devastation, but our house still stood.  Some say coincidence, but I know it was God’s protection.  Why us and not others, that is not up to me.  However, I am glad allowed us to come through it unscathed.  My parents, as pastor and wife, were able to go out and help others recovering from the same storm.

Fast forward a great deal to a time I was heading up to my step-grandmothers.  Things kept happening to keep me from leaving when I wanted to.  I was half an hour late leaving.  Up north, driving through the outer parts of a tornadic storm, I come across some devastation where a tornado had gone through 1/2 hour before I got there.     The same thing happened Friday.  Had I been much later heading home, I would have been in danger on the highway in hard hit areas – with two grandkids in the van!

 

I have learned that God’s timing is important.  Impatience plays no part in waiting on God, even though we think it does.  Just goes to show that we are not as ‘in control’ as we think we are:)

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