Month: May 2010
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45
Have you ever said something in the heat of the moment that you instantly wished you could take back? I know I have – too many times to count. But what makes it worse is when you have to dig deep and confront the feelings that brought on the words. Unless you do that, those feelings will remain, and I assure you they will come out once again down the road even if you’ve promised you will never say them again to whoever it was that you hurt. You have to step back, pray about it and really talk to God about your feelings and figure out what really made you say those hurtful words. Was it insecurity? Was it anger that you’ve let build up over the particular matter rather than discussing your true feelings? Did you let the other person push you to a point of anger? Or did you let your own ideas and assumptions about a situation cloud your view of the truth? There are so many different reasons, but they all lead to the same thing: once the words are out of your mouth, you can never take them back. The other person has heard them, and the damage has been done. Now you have a responsibility to yourself and to God to work through the cause of the hurtful words because the root is deep seated in your heart and there is obviously something in your life causing you distress. Not only that, you have now caused a hurt within a relationship rather it was an acquaintance or someone dear to you. Confronting our own feelings with wisdom from God is the only way to grow, conquer and mature in our Christian life. And now matter how old we get, we always have room to mature!
If you are the one who was hurt, as we all have been that person many times in our lives, you know that the words can stick with you long after the “I’m sorrys” have come and gone. Hearing words that hurt are sometimes so deafening that you feel a sudden physical hurt in your heart that you feel may never be repaired. We have to ask ourselves, “why did that hurt so much?” Sometimes it could be that the person who hurt you was so far off base with their opinion that you can’t believe they would even think or say such of you. Sometimes it’s the opposite – the person has hit the nail on the head in voicing a problem with you that you know is true. And then other times, you have said something to provoke a response. Whatever the reason, the words still hurt. What will you do? Will you brush it off and let the hurt become anger until you do the exact same thing in return to them or even to someone else? Will you confront them in anger or will you beg to know what the problem is?
I’m no expert in any of this. But what I do know is that if you let problems fester or issues of the heart and mind become too great without looking to God for wisdom, it will soon flow out of your mouth and someone will be hurt whether it is you or someone you love. Don’t let it get that far. Look deep into your thoughts and figure out why you feel or think a certain way. Determine if it’s really worth getting angry over or do you really know all the facts to feel the way you do. And then there’s Christian love and forgiveness. It is a powerful thing that we all need to aspire to live our lives based on it. Why even wait until you’ve made the mistake to go looking for God’s wisdom? Seek His wisdom and counsel now to save yourself from the future mistakes you KNOW you’re going to make!
Yes… I know that’s a weird title, but I believe you will find it quite fitting. Over the years, I have collected so many things to remind me of certain moments in my life or my children’s lives. I have also been one to hang onto clothes that I knew I was never going to be able to fit my big butt into ever again, but I just hated to get rid of it. I think we all keep things for different reasons whether we need them or not. For some reason “stuff” gives us a certain amount of security just knowing it’s there and that it belongs to us and it’s familiar. I definitely have had that feeling and let my belongings make me feel better somehow.
Once we learned our son had cancer and we suddenly had to leave the familiar, pack a bag, and live 100 miles from home, my perspective suddenly took a sharp turn. I learned that my “stuff” meant nothing. I have a house full of things that when it comes right down to it, serve no purpose. I love the things my children have done over the years, the photos I possess… I’m not really talking of those things. I’m speaking of those things that we buy for decoration, the clothes we won’t get rid of, the jewelry we have, the CD collection…. those things are no longer important. In the end, it is just stuff. It can’t love us back, it can’t pray for us, it can’t wipe our tears away. Our stuff sits in a house 100 miles away collecting dust for the last 2 years. I am proud to say that there will be much less to collect dust once we finally get back home and begin to dispose of things that we just don’t need.
I am glad God taught me this lesson. I won’t rely on “stuff” anymore to make me feel like I belong anywhere in this world. I am God’s child and I belong wherever He sends me. I have learned to live straight out of a suitcase in cold hospital rooms, sleeping in a chair for days at a time, and bathing from a sink. No doubt that I don’t need stuff to make me happy. And no amount of stuff in this world could take away the pain or worries of having a child with cancer.
I hope you all look around your home at your stuff and realize it’s not so important after all. What’s important is your heart, your soul, your family. Like I said, your stuff won’t love you back and it sure can’t pray for you so maybe you need to reevaluate as well. Remember – you can’t take it with you! And personally, I hope that my reward in Heaven is worth a hundred times more than anything I will ever have here on this earth!
Have you ever thought “I would really like to try that…” But then your next thought was “Nah… I can’t do that. I’m not good enough/strong enough/capable enough.” Why do we do that to ourselves? Sure – we all have limitations in our capabilities, but so many times we can do wonderful things and we just don’t take the opportunities because we let ourselves be held back by insecurities. The sad thing is, a lot of our insecurities or perceptions of ourselves are only in our own heads and other people do not even perceive us that way. And even if they did, who cares? I myself am getting better at this little by little. Our family has been through so much in the last two years while our son has been battling cancer. I have experienced so much myself in caring for him and living at a hospital so much that I have learned to just step out of my shell and seize my opportunities. Let me tell you – it feels good! One of my big hangups has always been being afraid of what other people were going to say about me because I’ve never liked to be a person that other people talked about or didn’t like. I let it bother me if people didn’t like me. Now I don’t want to run around making enemies or anything, but you will never be a person that everybody likes! You will have those that despise you because of your opportunities. You will have those that don’t like you simply because they don’t like the way you talk, your interests, or are just plain jealous of something you have. You only have one opinion that counts and that is God’s. If He puts an opportunity in your life, then seize it! Believe in the person that He made you to be. Take a look at the picture to the right… that’s little Ben. Cancer took part of his leg, but yet there he is – seizing his opportunities and showing other kids that life goes on and he will fly high! If he can do it, we all certainly can!
Have you ever known someone who was in a situation that as you observed their actions, you just felt so sure that if you were in it, you would handle it much differently… much better? Of course there are obvious circumstances that you would choose to do better like choosing not to steal or murder when someone else did. I’m not talking about obvious situations like that. I’m talking about being on the outside looking into someone else’s life. For example, you let your children wear makeup, date, stay up late on school nights, and watch countless hours of TV, while your best friend Sally Sue decides not to let her children eat anything but organic food, be in bed by eight every night, make their beds every morning before homeschool, and doesn’t own a TV. Do you judge her actions as wrong? Does she judge yours as wrong? I would hope that neither of you do but respect each other’s differences and pray for one another.
I often try to picture myself being one of you on the outside of my life and wondering if I would judge a person like me who has a child with cancer, living 100 miles away from home, our closest family 6 hrs away, and 4 other children to try and give “fair” attention to. Let me tell you, after walking this road for 21 months now… this agonizing, heart-wrenching, I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t road that we’ve been traveling… I will try to never look at someone else and judge what I think they should’ve done in whatever situation they find themselves in. One big reason I feel this way is because you never really know EXACTLY what is going on in someone’s life because you’re not them. How in the world could you pretend to know what you would do if you were them if you are not living that person’s life, feeling their hurts, listening to their thoughts, their worries, their concerns? It’s impossible! Another big reason is that we’ve met so many parents just like us who are struggling to take care of their sick child, making crucial decisions on their child’s health, living a roller coaster, but yet are trying to take care of home, bills, other children, and worrying about all of it incessantly to the point of anxiety attacks and stomach ulcers! They have people in their lives who believe they are handling things wrong and on top of all the emotions they are trying hard to contain every day, loved ones begin to judge which is devastating to them. And they cry often, as we do, feeling as though we’ve not done enough or given our best to every aspect of our lives. Thank goodness we have the knowledge that God is the only one Who could perfectly navigate this road and we can only do our best and keep our eyes on Him. We will keep sharing that message with others around us for the rest of our lives.
So please – the next time you see someone handling a situation “oh so wrong” (at least in your eyes), stop yourself and think things through. YOU are not THEM. We all raise our children differently, operate our marriages differently, worship differently, LIVE differently. That’s because God made us all differently. We should lift each other up, pray for one another, offer advice if it’s asked for, go to that person in your life that’s making obvious mistakes – but go in Christian love. But don’t ever tell someone that they are running their life wrong according to the way YOU see it. And don’t ever assume to know how you would act in certain situations if you’ve never been in them. This will never win you the trust of those around you, it will only inhibit your relationships which is very sad. God wants us to love one another and treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated. Appreciate each other and your differences – you might learn something!
Though many things happened to me before the year 2001, I consider that year to be one of great learning, soul-searching, and so many lessons that were just beginning to unfold. It was the year that I met the man in the picture – my best friend, my husband. So many obstacles to overcome that I won’t bore you with, but I learned a very distinct lesson and a very hard one that year: follow your heart, your instincts – even though they may have led you astray at other times in your life, if God is at the center of that heart, then everything should turn out as it should be. So here we are 8 ½ yrs later. I consider those to be the best years of my life so far. I have learned more deeply what it means to be a person and truly care for someone to the core of my being and put their needs above my own desires. I have learned what it really means to come to grips with my shortcomings and meet my demons head on. I have learned self-worth that I thought would never develop and how to protect myself… well… from MYSELF. I have learned to grow a backbone to protect my family and stand up for my God who gives me everything. All of these things were taught to me as I was growing up, but the person who reminded me and reinforced these things in my life was the man in the picture. He reminded me to never fear, to never think I’m alone because God is with me at all times, to delve into my Bible as though I’ve never read any of it before, and to love with trust knowing that no matter what happens in life, we will do it together with God at the helm. The man in the picture is the inspiration for this post because he reminded me that even HE is not the most important thing in my life… God is. With that knowledge, I can believe in myself and not waste my time throwing away opportunities. I hope that you will do the same.