Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sprinkle Forgiveness Around like Confetti

Have you seen it?  It's a very popular meme:

I was sitting in church on Sunday listening to the sermon.  I was, to be honest a little distracted for whatever reason.  My mind was swirling with words.  God was speaking to me both through the sermon and in addition to the sermon.  The sermon was entitled, "Do you Really See Me?".  Father Bruce was talking about how God sees us where we are.  He sees us for we are.  He sees us for who we are to become.  He does not think with limiting thoughts like we do, but sees us through the lens of who we can become.

Then our Pastor asked a question: "Does the Christ in you see and experience the Christ in me?"


How many times do I respond in pain or anger, hurting someone with my actions or words?  Sure, they hurt me, and deeply, but the greater sin here is that I let my pride say it was ok to respond shortly, or bluntly because I was speaking the truth.  No matter what they have done to hurt me, intentionally or otherwise, I should not be allowing my pain to do the talking. 

Pain fuels anger.  Pain is important, and righteous anger is one thing, but it also has a tendency to cloud our judgement, fueling pride that our actions are somehow justified because we are hurt.

Does the Christ in you see and experience the Christ in me?

The Lord spoke to me during the sermon, telling me that I need to make amends to those who I have hurt.  He said their part in it has no bearing.  I am to simply apologize......

That I need to Sprinkle Forgiveness around like Confetti.

Then, I was doing my bible study this morning on Anxiety, and I read this:
"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him" 1 John 3:1

One of my issues is that I often feel misunderstood, particularly by my family who are not believers.  And I am.  And it is often hard for me not to take it personally, and have it affect my own feeling of self- worth.  If my family thinks this of me, I must be etc....  But the thing is, they WILL often misunderstand me because they do not know Christ who is in me.  It is my job to do what the Lord tells me to do (sprinkle forgiveness around like confetti) and pray for their salvation.  But it isn't my job to try to convince them of who I am.  They are not seeing with open eyes.  And not just my family, but my friends on social media and in real life.  Why do I look to them for validation, when the one I should be looking to is God.  It is God who gently prompts me to act differently and to be the person He knows is my potential.  No man on this earth knows that, and I need not look to them for direction.

So, God issued a directive to me to make amends with those I know I've hurt before Easter.  I will be putting my feet where my faith is and doing this.  I'd be lying if I were to say I'm nervous of the outcome.  But one thing I have learned without question in my life is that I am always surprised at how God works when I'm simply obedient to Him.

Love, Semalee

Monday, March 20, 2017

How Long, Lord?

How many times over the last year and 2 months have I asked this question?  When do I have peace?  When do the kids have peace?  The truth is, we're so far from where we were last January.  None of us are the same people.  And, perhaps, these questions aren't even fair.  As I look back over this period of grief, of pressing in, of commitment, of healing I can see God so much in the details.

But, to be here and tell you this, means nothing to you.  What I hope will mean something is the how and the why we are where and how we are.

There are some things about this journey that are still hard.  I am scared.  A lot.  I've been fighting it off for quite some time.  It isn't at all that I don't trust God.  I trust Him to make things all work out for His purpose and the good of His people.  I just don't know how much that is going to hurt.  I'm tired of hurting.  I'm tired of loss.  In the last couple of years I've said good-bye to some people that I really didn't want to, grandparents, a couple of long time friends, a pastor and friend, and in the last 14 months my cousin, 5 cats and a bunny.  I've felt like death was surrounding me at times.  It's hard not to get fearful when you feel surrounded by death.

I've struggled with being afraid of the next one to go.....  being a police officer's wife has made that harder.....

I've struggled with how to put the pieces back in place for my kids when I can't work out the pieces for myself......

I don't understand.  I'm angry at times, but most of the time I'm very sad.

I make the day to day ok.  But in my quiet moments, when I'm alone with God the tears still flow.  I still long like never before to just curl up in His lap and leave the pain of this world behind.

But God.

This has become an underlying constant theme in my life.....

But God.

I often pause in the midst of trouble to look for God now, because I can always look back and say...

But God-

I follow someone on Instagram who has been talking about the different devotions and studies she's doing, and she talked about a bible study called "Anchored", by She Proves Faithful that she has been doing.  It's all about anxiety, and approaching the Throne of God to deal with your anxiety.

I'm only on chapter 3 and I can tell you it is life changing.  One of the things she talks about in this chapter is about how God uses the storms of life to do 3 things:
  1. Reveal your sin
  2. Test your faith
  3. Drive your heart to Him
She asked us to think of a storm and assess how God used it in one or more of these ways.

I can tell you, when it comes to the storm of losing my cousin and adopting her children I think it falls to the "Drive your heart to Him" category, because the only peace I find is when I go to Him with this.  I have to believe what His word says, in Acts 17:26 "Acts 17:26  Living Bible (TLB)26 He created all the people of the world from one man, Adam,[a] and scattered the nations across the face of the earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and when. He determined their boundaries." 

It is talking about nations here, but when I read it earlier, it spoke to me in terms of people as well.  The Lord determines when we will rise and fall, and where our boundaries lie. 
I don't understand why it is that my cousin had to die.  I don't understand that.  But I have peace in my heart because I know she knew the Lord.  It sounds cliché, but it is true.  I know she had a lot of trouble in this world.  And I also know that she had encountered the Lord, and she knew what His grace meant.  I have to believe that God was with her as she died, that she wasn't alone, and that she now has that peace she looked for but never could find. 

For those of us who are left behind, we can only look to draw closer to the Lord, and find that peace that passes all understanding.

And, it is coming.  We are all becoming more comfortable with each other, and looking more forward and less backward.  Not walking away from the past, but understanding it's place in where we are, and where we're going.  And, when I watch my kids grasp on to the truth of God's word, it has such incredible healing power.

When I'm alone I often just listen to worship songs, and shut out the world as much as possible.  The more my eyes look to heaven, the smaller the difficulties here seem.

I've been in the valley.  It's a dark, and scary place.  I'm not totally out of it yet, but I see the fruit of the Spirit emerging.

"The Garden"
I had all
But given up
Desperate for it
A sign from love
Something good
Something kind
Bringing peace to every corner of my mind

Then I saw the garden
Hope had come to me
To sweep away the ashes
And wake me from my sleep

I realised
You never left
And for this moment
You planned ahead
That I would see
Your faithfulness in all of the green

I can see the ivy
Growing through the wall
'Cause You'll stop at nothing
To heal my broken soul

I can see the ivy
Reaching through the wall
'Cause You'll stop at nothing
To heal my broken soul

Ohh, You're healing broken souls
Ohh, You're healing broken souls

Faith is rising up like ivy
Reaching for the light
Hope is stirring deep inside me
Making all things right

Love is lifting me from sorrow
Catching every tear
Dispelling every lie and torment
Crushing all my fears

You crush all my fears
You crush all my fears
With Your perfect love
Ohh-ohhh, with Your perfect love

Now I see redemption
Growing in the trees
The death and resurrection
In every single seed...

In love,