Monday, March 29, 2010

Come On Summer!

It's right about that time again. The t.v. channels are filled commercials chanting those "Summer is almost here" jingles. The stores are loaded down with beach towels, swimsuits, suntan lotion and new garden supplies. It's not even April 1st but every one's gearing up for Summer... especially my boys. Unfortunately, they have two and a half more months of school and they're not very happy about it.

This week Brody (our oldest son) is off for Summer break but Carson's (our younger son) Summer break doesn't start until until next week. I know, it sort of stinks, but unfortunately our boys go to two different schools which means different schedules and different vacation days. We'll have to give up the idea of a Spring vacation for the second year in a row but honestly, what my boys enjoy most about Spring break is staying up late, not having a set schedule, sleeping in, and not having homework. Basically, not going to school for a whole week!

This morning Carson woke up so grouchy. He knew that Brody was soundly sleeping in his room next door and the idea that Carson had to go to school was more than he could bear. He grumbled through breakfast, fussed his way up the stairs when I told him to go get dressed (for the third time) and whined his way out the door to the bus stop.

At first, I was trying so hard to be compassionate, sympathetic, and understanding but by the time he left the house I was completely spent and wanted to hit somebody!

Carson wanted what his brother had. He desperately longed to stay home from school like everyone else. He was totally frustrated and wasn't shy in letting me know about it. Carson was feeling left out and unhappy with his circumstances. Carson's heart was aching and he wanted someone to fix it. Bottom line...Carson wanted someone to give him permission to stay home too. Well, that surely was going to happen, not today that is.

When he walked out the front door I said "I love you Carson" but there was dead silence until I heard to door slam shut. My heart sank as I watched him walk to the bus stop with his head hung low and his backpack dragging behind him in the wet grass. I watched from the window to see if maybe he would talk with the other children while they waited for the bus but he didn't. He just stood there, motionless, quiet, and very unhappy.

As I sat quietly, looking out the window with my warm cup of coffee in hand, I began to pray for Carson. As I did, God whispered in my heart "sometimes you act like that too". It wasn't in a condemning tone but sort of like "I'm just bring this to your attention" tone. I had to agree with Him too.

Sometimes I do long for what someone else has. I can become totally frustrated and not shy about letting everyone else know how about it. I can feel left out and unhappy with my current circumstance. My heart aches and I desperately want someone to fix it. I want someone to give me what I long for but that doesn't always happen.

Yes, sometimes I do act the same way that Carson acted this morning and ya know what? It doesn't look pretty, impressive, or cute.

I'm so thankful that my heavenly Father does a better job at parenting than I do. He's always patient when I throw my little temper tantrums. He never stops encouraging me with words of affirmation and love. He is always compassionate and understands what I'm going through. He may not always give me exactly what I ask Him for but His decisions are always based on what is best for me.

What about you? Now lets be honest, o.k.?

Do you ever want what someone else has?

Do you sometimes feel left our or imagine that everyone else has it so much better than you do?

Are you unhappy with your circumstances and want to take a "Summer Break" from life for a while?

Do you become frustrated at times and wear your emotions on your sleeve so that everyone can see them?

Do you have days where your heart aches and you long for someone to fix it?

If so, I'd encourage you to take your concerns to Jesus and let him help you process them one at a time. He can handle it and wants to encourage you today. Jesus longs to spend time with you and show you how much He loves you.

He will never become impatient and tired of listening to you. He will never be too busy or interrupt you because He has something more important to take care of. He probably won't give you everything you ask of Him but His decisions are always based on what's best for you.

Jesus is that someone who we can take our aching hearts and mend them. He is full of compassion, understanding and gives us the mercy we need. He grants us His grace, love, perspective and peace in the midst of our trials. All we have to do is ask Him.

Jesus longs to be that someone you so desperately are looking for. Will you ask Him for help today? He is patiently waiting...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When Really Good Friends Hurt You (Part 2)

Yesterday I was sharing with you about a past hurt that had resurfaced earlier this week. Once again, I found myself taking my broken heart back to God and asking Him to mend it for me.

O.k. Lord, what am I suppose to do with this now?

I thought this situation was all behind me.

Will I feel this pit in my stomach every time I hear that person's name mentioned?

I don't want to hold a grudge - it makes me weary.

I don't want to be angry - it's too stressful.

What should I do?

As I sat very still and tried to quiet my thoughts, almost straining to hear God speak to me (not in an audible voice but a sensing in my heart or a thought that is placed into my mind which lines up with His Word or His character), I was reminded of Peter's conversation with God in Matthew 18. It says...

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me, seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times but seventy-seven times".

I had read this passage so many times before but today I gleaned something new from it. I realized that maybe when God said "seventy-seven times" he was referring to those moments when the original hurt would resurface in your mind... days later, weeks later, months later, years later. Each time that wounded memory would show up again, my part would be to forgive that person all over again.

So that's exactly what I did! As I quietly forgave the person who had hurt me, such a peace came over me that I couldn't help but smile. If God was willing to extend grace to me each day for all the things I had done which hurt Him deeply, who am I to hold a grudge against anyone else?

Monday, March 22, 2010

When Really Good Friends Hurt You. (Part 1)

Have you ever been hurt by a really close friend?

Not a little hurt but really hurt?

Have you ever found yourself asking these types of questions...

Why would she say something like that to me?

How could they have done that. I thought we were friends?

He knew that I was struggling. Why didn't he help me?

This morning I'm licking some emotional wounds and asking those exact same questions.

About two months ago, a situation presented itself, things were said, and feelings were hurt. And, yes, those feelings belonged to me.

At first, I decided to go and talk with my husband, Keith. We are polar opposites in many ways, which can sometimes be good, because he helps me see things from a different perspective. Besides, the situation effected Keith also and talking through it helped us process the hurt we were both experiencing. Later on that day Keith seemed to be fine but I was still struggling...really struggling. So then I went to God.

I laid it all before Him. The good - the bad - the ugly. I told him my thoughts (even though He knew them already), shared how hurt I was by the things that were said, and actions that took place. I let Him know I was still struggling A LOT and asked Him to please take away the hurt. I felt as if I had a big open gash in my heart that was bleeding profusely and slowly becoming infected.

I wanted His peace to invade my heart and mind.

I wanted some closure to the situation so I could forget and move on.

I wanted to forgive but I just couldn't yet.

My struggle continued for a few weeks and every time the situation would come to my mind, I'd just hand it back over to God. He was so faithful to remind me each day of the mercy and grace He extends to me. Eventually I was no longer angry and hurt. Finally, closure had come. Or, so I thought.

I'll share the rest of my story tomorrow but I'm wondering if you've had a similar situation.

Maybe you're in the middle of something right now where a close friend has really hurt you without even knowing it. Or, maybe they said something, knowing it would hurt you, but said it anyway.

Maybe you thought a past wound was completely healed and that you had closure on the situation. All was fine and dandy, then when you least expected it, something happened, you're reminded of the encounter, and the pain comes rushing back like a flood.

There you are, left with a reopened gash in your heart. Your feeling hurt all over again, rejected, angry. Where did the peace go? What about the closure you once had?

If your feeling this way right now, can I pray for you today? I don't need to know the details if you'd prefer not to share them. After all, God knows the specifics and that's what really matters.

I want to experience peace and forgiveness in my situation but I also want you to experience it too. Let's agree to pray together over our hurts and burdens. Let's hand them over to God so that He can heal your broken hearts and restore peace to our days. All we have to do is ask Him and I know He will be faithful.

Hugs & prayers,