Everyone does it. You go to the restroom and if by CHANCE you forget your phone or iPod, you grab something to read out of boredom or to make the time pass quicker. Chances are, that “something” could be a shampoo bottle. On the back side of that bottle, the directions will say, to wash, lather, rinse, and repeat if it’s needed. Many wonder why you would have to “repeat”. When you use a lot of products in your hair, it builds up a residue, a sometimes STICKY residue, that just washing ONE TIME will not get out, hence the repeat action.
Now, let’s look at this in a Spiritual aspect. We are walking along on a Spiritual walk, hand in hand with God, and then #WHAM!, you slip and fall. You feel down about it and disappointed that you “failed”. You HAVE to get up, repent, let God wash you clean because He forgives a multitude of sin! Forgive yourself and continue your daily Spiritual walk with God. We are human. God knows that we are human and that we are going to fall at times, that’s why He will keep His hand extended to us when we fall, giving us the boost we need to get up, and washing us clean again when we ask! We can’t stay in the muck and the mire.
Sometimes, we HAVE to go through the LATHER, RINSE, AND REPEAT more than once because of our own stubbornness. Thank God that He gives second chances and repeats His forgiveness!
As moms, we’re pretty hard on ourselves. If dinner burns, we forgot to get five things at the grocery store (although, in all fairness, they weren’t on the list), the kids misbehaved in Sunday school, or the neighbor complains that our dog is too noisy, we’re quick to blame ourselves. But what about when a marriage struggles, relationships with our children are strained, or we lose a job? Right. We blame ourselves there too.
We’re human. Of course we bear part of the blame! But most of these scenarios involve situations and people that we can’t control on our own. So we aren’t wholly to blame, even though it feels like it.
How do you recover from failures like these? How do you survive the stress and strain? How do you find success again? There are solutions, and they’re not as complicated as you might expect, whether the issues are big or small:
Obviously, these are pretty vague, and they don’t apply equally to all situations, but the basic principles are there. God can help you through any failure you find yourself in. He will see you through all the pain and heartache to the other side, if you will surrender yourself to Him to bring the healing and restoration you need.
My little boy, J.R. was five when he knocked over the big Christmas tree.
I was in the kitchen when I heard the crash & knew immediately what happened. Knowing I would have a mess to clean up, broken decorations & a sick looking tree, I made my way toward the destruction.
On the way, I heard a mumbling noise & the cat scampered by in retreat as I rounded the corner to inspect the rubble. There, in the farthest corner of the couch, with his head under a pillow was my little boy – both hands raised in the air, praying loudly & fervently for God to forgive him and help him not get a “whippin’.
What can you do after seeing your little boy doing what you taught him? When you do something wrong – repent quickly. He did. Quickly and loudly. He knew what was coming though. No, I did not spank him, but we did have a long talk right before he helped me clear away the mess.
I think God is so merciful to us – right in the middle of our mess – when we need a whippin’ – He gives us mercy when we genuinely repent. He’ll even clean up the mess if needed – that’s how much He loves you.
As most of you can tell, my sister, Emily, and I, love music. We love to blog about what inspires us through song.
I love to listen to my worship CD’s and listen quite often to AIR 1 and K-LOVE. Matthew West has a new song out called “Forgiveness”. I have watched the back story that lead to this song and found myself amazed! It tells the story of a lady, who’s child was killed by a drunk driver. Instead of being bitter and hateful about the situation, she CHOSE to forgive the drunk driver for what he did. Because of his bad choice to drink and drive, he took what meant the world to her. Something that would be devastating to the very core of her being. She FORGAVE him. Think about this situation. Picture yourself in the position that this lady was in. Could you be so forgiving?
I know that this would be very hard, but if I am a true Christian, a true child of the most high King, this is what must be done to have a home in Heaven. There will be no sin entered into those pearly gates. Having un-forgiveness in your heart is a sin. We have to choose to love others despite what they do or have done.
Not only did she forgive him, she lobbied to get him released from prison early. Then, actually took him in as family! Could you do this for someone who killed your child?
They go on speaking tours together and speak against drunk driving. This is an amazing feat for someone living out true Christianity.
When you come up against hardships with others over one thing or something else, remember that we HAVE to love those that come against us or despitefully use us. We HAVE to LOVE those that are seemingly un-loveable.
Recently, I was reading the book of Job. When I got to the last chapter, which I had read several times before, something new struck me. I just love when that happens! As I was reading the end of Job’s journey, I was reminded of Jonah. I know, I know…..You’re wondering how in the world I could think about Jonah while studying about Job, but I couldn’t help but compare the end of their stories.
In reading the book of Jonah (a story familiar to most of us), you’ll find that God had called Jonah to travel to Nineveh- a nation full of wickedness- and preach repentance. After a bout of disobedience and unusual consequences to his disobedience (he was swallowed by a large fish!), Jonah reluctantly did as God required. He headed to Nineveh and preached the word that God had sent him to deliver. The results were amazing! The people repented and turned to God! However, that isn’t the end of the story. Instead of rejoicing over an entire nation turning to God, Jonah was displeased at the mercy God showed the to the people of Nineveh, a people he had no personal connection to. He sat down, sulking and pouting, and had to learn one more lesson from the Lord. (Jonah 4:1-11)
In the fleshly sense, if anyone had the right to be angry about God’s mercy toward others, it was certainly not Jonah. It was Job. Chapter after chapter he endured accusations of wickedness and rebuke from his three closest “friends.” In a time when they should’ve been comforting their friend, they questioned his word and integrity. Job definitely could’ve taken things personally. In the end, God talked to these so-called friends of Job and called them out on their wrong judgments. He then gave them direction on how to get redemption. God also instructed Job to pray for them in order for their redemption to come.
How many times have we stopped to pray for those who have hurt us, accused us, wronged us, etc? Job could’ve turned his back on those friends in a heartbeat, but instead, he did exactly what God instructed him to do…he prayed for his friends. When this occurred, all of Job’s losses were restored and he got double for his trouble! (Job 42:7-10)
Jonah’s negative attitude caused him to sit angry and miserable, begging for death. Job, on the other hand, found blessings in praying for those who caused him hurt. We as Christians are called to respond just as Job…Luke 6:28 says, “bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes people can be mean and hateful. But guess what… There is power in our response, and there is power in our prayer. We can either walk in tremendous blessing as Job did, or we can be miserable like Jonah. A happy and joyous life depends on our response!
I will never forget my Senior year of high school. I have never been one to be over confident in any area of my life. I have always been self-conscience. Except for when it comes to my faith in Jesus Christ. I have always tried to be a light to others. The key word being “tried”.
I spent Kindergarten thru 11th grade at the same school, but transferred to a different school for my senior year. I went forward expecting great things. Hoping to make new friends. I know as well as any other girl/woman, that when there are close knits friendships already made, it’s hard to find somewhere to fit in. What I was hoping for did not happen. I had a horrible year that included girls making fun of me because I was a Christian, call me “churchy”, and put me down for several reasons. I just couldn’t wait to get out of there.
Well, one day last year, I was surprised to get a friend request on facebook from one of those girls. Being nice and apprehensive at the same time, I accepted it. Later, I received a message from this girl. She apologized for the way that she had treated me in school. She had turned her life over to Christ and this is one of the things that bothered her. She regretted her actions.
This meant the world to me! I was shocked to receive the message, but it made my out look change.
So if you know any “mean girls” out there, start praying for them. (Pray for those who despite-fully use you.) Let God do the changing in their life and you just may be surprised by what else He does.
Well, here I am again… with another old family tale from my childhood for you. Another event in my life that God reminded me of again recently and taught me a lesson with. Hope it’s not too boring. Enjoy!
When I was 5 years old (about to turn 6) my Grandpa, Mom, and little brother all packed up into the car to go visit family in Kentucky. Because of my being enrolled in first grade, my Grandma and I stayed behind. Most would be upset that their trip would require them to be gone over my 6th birthday. But not I! Grandma and I had BIG plans.
One of these big plans, was a trip to Pic N Save, which is now “Big Lots”. I know, I know, bear with me here. I was a kid, and that place was full of cheap stuff to buy with birthday & first lost tooth money!
So we got ourselves dolled up and jumped in the car. I still remember picking out a perfect hot pink back pack and a bunch of rinky dink toys. But before we knew it the weather was changing from a perfect Southern California Autumn day into a cold, dark, windy, and rainy mess. Being that Grandma refused to drive in either the dark or rain, we had a problem. Before we started on our way we prayed. “Jesus, please let us just make it home before the storm. Amen.”
About half way home, the thunder and lightning started. The rain was coming down so hard that we couldn’t see. We were both scared and nervous. Storms like this are rare in our neck of the woods, you see, and she hadn’t driven in these conditions in quite some time. “Oh Jesus, please, protect us and let us make it home safe. Just let us get home before the storm. If we can just make it in before the storm, I know we’ll be okay.”
To not show her upset, she started talking about how wonderful the night in at home would be. There would be hot chocolate and marshmallows. We could watch the lightning show from the window and wear our cozy jammies and slippers. It was to be a grand ol’ time! But once again she prayed, “Lord Jesus, If we can just make it in before the storm, I know we’ll be okay.” I kept thinking, “She does know the storm has already hit, right?” but never said anything. Just went with it.
This went on for a few miles, and finally we were home safe and sound. Sure enough though, as soon as we got in the storm got worse. We did as planned and enjoyed our time together, laughing at how scared we were on the way home from the discount store.
Someday soon, Jesus is going to come back for the church. Life from now until then may get unpleasant. In fact, it’s going to get really unpleasant. The storm is going to hit and things are going to get really nasty. Just watch the news one night and you’ll see it’s already begun, just as we are told in the book of Revelation.
But if we can just make it in before the storm…
What the world is going through now is NOTHING like what it will be. The awesome news is that the body of believers will be taken away right before the storm really gets going. Just like Grandma and I sat all comfy cozy with our hot chocolate, the church will be in Heaven shouting and rejoicing without a worry or a care when the storm hits hard. Until then we must pray. “God, protect us from what is going on, and Jesus come quickly!”
But what if you’re not ready?
All you have to do is ask for forgiveness. Simple as that. Believe in Him. Change your ways. “Go and Sin No More.” (John 8:11)
Before we know it the storm will be over. Just hang tight. Until then, lift up your head, for your redemption draws near… (Luke 21:27) Because we WILL make it in before the storm, and it really is all going to be okay!
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. –Ephesians 4:31-32
One thing that my husband and I have taught our children is to always apologize and forgive when needed. It is not always easy, and teaching them to forgive and actually mean it is a whole different story. My son does this easier than my teenage daughter. Getting them to really forgive has been hard. It has helped to remind them of Ephesians 4:32. To know that we should forgive others because God forgave us is thought provoking.
This past year, as I was looking for a counselor, I got a call from someone from who was related to the man who abused me. It was a very hard phone call to take and I was very quiet until the shock wore off. I finally told this person to not contact me anymore.
As I was going through counseling, I went through all of the emotions of my past as if they had just happened. I also realized that the person who contacted me was very much a part of my abuse as she would put me in harm’s way if I didn’t do what this man wanted me to do. She would be the one who would sic the dog on me; she would be the one to coerce me into this. I also found out if she didn’t, the man would do the same to her. So I was her scapegoat.
About a month later, I received a message on my Facebook page. It was a nice message telling me how they were praying for me and hoped I was getting the help I needed. I have to admit, that really pushed my buttons!
It is not easy for me to forgive someone who has hurt me. It is not easy to forgive someone who has hurt my family. It is easy to put it behind us and continue to hold that grudge. To tell people, “I don’t like so and so, because they did this to me.” That causes dissension between the people.
I took quite some time to write the person back. When I did, I wrote the words, “I can, through God’s help, forgive your family”. As soon as those words were written I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders. I felt a freedom that I’ve never felt before. The reward of forgiving was peace and freedom.
Does this mean I have to confront people to forgive them? Do I wait until they apologize? No, not at all!!! I have never been apologized to for my abuse. Yet, I forgave. It also doesn’t mean you have to run everyone who has hurt you and tell them you forgive them.
It also doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with them. God does sometimes put the people back into your life, not always though. This doesn’t mean you continue to be bitter toward them, but be Christ-like toward them. Love them with the love of God. When Satan brings up the past, forgive the person again. It is a daily process at times, but you can do it.
My challenge for you this week is to really forgive someone who has hurt you. If you talk with them, or not, get down on your knees and ask God to help you forgive with the same forgiveness that He has given you. Then either call that person, or write it down in a journal or letter, and forgive them.
I thank you today for dying on the cross for my sins, for forgiving me when You didn’t have to. Thank you for those who are reading this and making changes in their lives to become more like You. Father, I ask as they are forgiving others, you bring a freedom to their lives as You have brought me. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
Yesterday, I turned my back on my 3 year old son for a minute while I cared for my infant. When I turned around, I wanted to both laugh and cry. He had gotten into a RED ink pad and smeared it all over him, the wall, and the carpet.
I took him right in, cleaned him up, and told him why we do not do things like this. Frustrated? Yes, but I kept my cool. At that point I think I was just relieved it wasn’t blood!
Minutes later, as I was still cleaning up the mess, I heard the kitchen sink turn on. I stood up from where I was cleaning ink out of the carpet. Lo and behold, there was the same child standing on a chair at the sink playing in the water. Right back to the bathroom for clean up.
The rest of the day was full of constant lectures on why we don’t do certain things. (Why kids always decide to learn so much of these lessons in one day is beyond me…)
Imagine how it is for God. We are CONSTANTLY getting in to things we shouldn’t. Making one mess after another, while He is constantly cleaning up our messes. How frustrated our good Lord must be.
However, just as we still love our children, our Heavenly Father loves us. He wants nothing but the best for us, and will give us as many chances as we need to get it right.
Remember, He is a loving God. A forgiving God. Not a judgmental, begrudging, and hateful God. He wants what is best for you. Won’t you let him help you clean up the mess of your past?
Today, I am thankful for grace and patience. What about you?
Some of you may be wondering:
How can I have a legacy that carries on when I have such an un-Godly past behind me? Doesn’t that leave me marred somehow?
We’ve all done things. Some of us more so than others. But then we came to know Jesus, and he washed all of those sins away.
Now that you’re on your new found path, you stress. But why?
Um, maybe because my past is troubling me…
I’ve struggled with this myself before. I used to always worried that I was unworthy or incapable of teaching my children the ways of the Lord because I was not always pure. But there are a few things I want to point out to you that helped me…
Nothing in your past has anything to do with the legacy you will pass down unless you allow it to. So stand tall, hold your head high, and teach your children the way they need to be taught. Never hold back or feel insecure. Tell them all about our Father and be confident.
After all, if you’re not confident, why would they want what you have? Be the example!