When We Sabotage Our Own Lives

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Once again I am preparing myself to pack up another child’s room.  Once again I feel the sting of grief.  My hope is that as my heart is shattered into more pieces that God can use those pieces to love that much more greatly through me.

As Mike and I think and look back we feel no regrets.  I pray and ask God was there something else that needed to be said or done.  There is nothing, but a peace He gives that we did all we could.  We loved whole heartedly we provided chances, forgiveness, teaching, true sacrificial giving of time, energy, and resources.

There has been nothing that has painted a better picture of what Christ has done for each and every human being than this ministry of Foster care.   We are born into a sinful and broken world.  Why are innocent children abused and neglected at such a young age?  Why are so many people succumbed to addictions to drugs and alcohol?  Why are we so prideful and full of ourselves?  Why are we so selfish?  Why are we so ungrateful?  Why do people who show nothing but love and kindness get taken advantage of?  It is all because of sin.  God gave us all freewill.  I can not make choices for any other human being and can only control my own.

We become comfortable in our situations of sin self inflicted or inflicted by others.  It is what we know.  It is why so many victims of domestic violence just keep returning to the abuser. When love steps in, when God calls to a person’s soul, we become uncomfortable.  We start to realize there is something far greater and bigger than us and it is scary.  The thing about our human nature is that so often we start to see and realize what true love, true abundant life can be and we sabotage it.  We retreat back to old ways because it is what we know.  Our sinful habits are what we think will make us happy.   It is a deceitful lie that leads us down a painful and deadly path.

The image of Jesus dying on the cross taking all my sin and shame as well as every human being’s remains the strength that keeps me going.  Christ was rejected by his very own.  He is rejected every minute of every day.  So many curse Him, turn their backs on Him, and run straight into the pit of destruction He came to save them from.

Oh, but when a person finally does realize their great and desperate need of His love and forgiveness that is when life truly begins.   Life is hard and the consequences of our own bad choices are very hard.  God gave us a way out of the pit.  He gave us a way to true life through Jesus Christ.  As my relationship deepens more and more I yearn for each breath I take to be for Jesus.  Because of my own sinful nature I still have so much to learn about full surrender and trust.  The more I breath Him in the deeper my peace, joy, and realization of how loved I am becomes.

My heart breaks when the love I give is rejected.  I can only imagine how Jesus feels to have paid the penalty for all sin through death on the cross only to be rejected by so many.   In fact the love I give doesn’t even come from me it is Christ loving through me.

So my eyes will continue to look that much more intently on Jesus and His way.  Everything I do is for His Glory and not mine.  God has a plan and perfect will.  My hope and trust is that anything done for His Glory will not go in vain and that He will take the seeds planted and continue to water His truth on them.

Philippians 2:1-5 “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and one of mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…”

Life is More than a Vending Machine

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The other day my youngest daughter and I had dashed out of the house without eating any breakfast.  Our place of destination that morning happened to have a vending machine full of junk food that could provide a very short lived satisfaction to hunger pains (with no nutritional value I must add).   My daughter asked if I had change so she could get a snack until we can get some “real food”.  With those big blue eyes softening my heart I of course  caved and told her to go ahead and get some change from my wallet for  a snack.  Her first try to obtain a snack of her choice the tasty treat became entangled in the spiral mechanics of the machine and would not drop below to her reach.    Upon her second try for another choice the snack once again became stuck between the spiral grasp and the glass door of the machine.   After the second try  the only thing being fed was the machine with mom’s change instead of her belly so she decided to call it quits and just count her/our losses.

 

This encounter reminded me so much of the world we live in.  Some give and give yet never seem to get ahead or become successful according to the standards of our world.  There are some who may give a little and get what someone else paid for and lost.  There are some who may just shake life and make demands and the demands are granted without any work or effort.    Sometimes worldly systems work  sufficiently and one can get what they have worked/paid for.  Life can really seem unfair and meaningless.

Life of one who has a relationship with Jesus provides so much more than the give and take of this world we live in.  The things that are so fleeting and superficial, beauty, money, power, fame, attention, etc… start to become just that, superficial, as one’s relationship deepens with Jesus.   A quote caught my attention in Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s Bible Commentary of the New Testament.  “God’s love for His own is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting love.”    It seems all anyone wants to hear is what God will give give give.  Our lives are so much more than what we can get.  The world is so focused on “self” and what God and others can do for “me me me”.    God’s plan for us is to perfect us.  Not in a way the world sees perfection.  It is a perfection of faith and love.  The more He perfects our faith the more of His light and love can flow through us.   The stronger our faith the more God can work through us to love others perfectly.  The stronger our faith the less we let ourselves get in God’s way.  Sometimes deepening our faith means we have to go through a lot of pain, suffering, sorrow, and mistakes in this life.  When it comes down to it I would much rather be perfected than to have everything perfect.  When I look back on what may seem a complete mess in my own life I can see God’s perfect plan and how it evolved and refined my faith.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– His good, pleasing and perfect will. “

I Can’t Clean up my Own Mess

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As suggested by my Aunt blogging about this project will be much more constructive than this failed project.

Back in January when we picked vacation weeks I saw that the week of Mike’s and my anniversary was open for the taking.  Thinking maybe we could actually take a trip or something I put this week down.  As life and circumstances happen we are going to end up being lucky if we even get to go out for a meal just the two of us.  Wanting to make good use of time, I assigned myself some projects to complete this week.   One being to repaint yet again the old picnic table Mike’s dad gave us many years ago.  After scraping for what seemed like an eternity I moved to a power sander, scraping more, power sanding more.  The paint peel seemed to just keep growing worse.   I then tried power washing which wasn’t much help then we ran out of gas for the power washer.  Today I tried actually stripping the paint.  That has made yet a greater mess.  As the mess kept growing I began evaluating what is truly a valuable use of my time.  The hours of fruitless effort were already mocking me in the fact that I can not have that time back.   There is a strong willed competitive nature that I have as well as a very sentimental nature that was driving me to want to complete this project no matter the cost.

As of now I have had to walk away with my tail between my legs waving the white flag.  My mind is already planning other uses for the paint that I bought.

One thing this FAIL project is reminding of is how we can’t clean up our own mess.   Our life is a mess of sin.  We inherited the sinful nature the day we took our first breath.  All of us.  We are all a complete mess.  Oh there are all kinds of man made “cover ups”  “fix yourself” “religions” all types of methods, but nothing lasts or truly cuts to the heart of the problem.  The only one that can truly wipe away our every flaw is Jesus.  No amount of money, self help programs, or “good” deeds will clean us spotless.  Only the blood of Jesus.  God’s only Son who took the penalty for all of our mess upon that cross can forgive us and wash us clean.

What I need is a planer (pronounced like plainer) board to cut away all the old paint, stained, and spotted wood.  After we accept Jesus we are forgiven and as we follow him He is our planer board cutting away all the old messy spotted stuff.  He makes us clean and new.  Whew he still has a long way to go on me.  The good thing is that God doesn’t walk away from His creation like I have walked away from my project.  It doesn’t matter how messy we are He will wipe us clean and make us new!!  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

Perfectly Imperfect

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There is a new hobby I have found in rehabbing old furniture.  A hobby that has come from trying to create a fun and whimsical space for the kids on a tight budget.  Just jumping right in seems to be how I do things best and learn as I go.   As the flaws in my painting and in old scars of the furniture started showing a different kind of beauty has developed.

I can’t help but think of how imperfect I am and how life in general is.  It is through these imperfections and scars that God can create our greatest beauty.  Giving Jesus our sin, our scars, and our weaknesses He covers them with His righteousness and turns our flaws into something of beauty.  Each of our lives are unique and have a specific purpose planned by God.  We can remain dark and drab or allow Him to bring out a beauty that we cannot see or create in ourselves.

Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

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