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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Glass Slippers

I adore love stories!  Recently a dear woman of God shared her love story with me.  The beautiful way God brought her and her husband together.  God drew these two very different people toward one another with a love and appreciation that has lasted for years.  She honored me by sharing her heart.  Only another woman would appreciate how special this moment was.  Women need women.  Women need the emotional connection that other women offer.  Please don't misunderstand me, I love that man of mine!  I'm definitely not a man basher.  Never have been.  I love men.  They offer so much that women need but, there are times  we just need a "friend girl" to appreciate our story. 

I think sometimes we girls forget other's lives are full of stories.  We get so caught up in our own lives everything really does become all about me.  One woman's story may be a romantic love story.  Another's may be of a love that was lost.  Maybe you are still waiting on your Prince Charming to ride his valiant steed into your life (flashbacks from my childhood of Roger & Hammerstein's Cinderella are flooding my mind).  Then again,  maybe you have decided Jesus is the love of your life and you are called to live single.  Could your story be of an amazing miracle God has performed on your behalf or possibly you are waiting for the miracle that you so desperately need.  We all have a story.

Could it be possible that God is calling all women to renew our love for each other, our sisters in Christ?  Those in our local congregations, women in our communities, women who have forgotten how special and unique they are.  In her Bible study "Stepping Up", Beth Moore makes a statement that creates such a beautiful word picture.  Quoting her, "He (Jesus) is the ultimate Prince Charming to every woman, especially the one who forgot she was Cinderella."  What's your story Cinderella...maybe just as important is taking the time to listen to another princess tell hers.   

Until we visit again...
Live blessed,
Carmen

  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Trustworthy

One of the ways I know God is speaking to me concerning a particular subject is when that topic is presented to me in several different ways.  That is how I came to this subject.  I read John chapter 2 and a couple of verses caught my eye. Then, an Oswald Chambers devotional I was reading was based on the same verses.  I really felt impressed to write but, put it on the back burner.  Fast forward a couple of months and it was presented to me again.  I awoke at 6am Saturday morning and knew this was my subject. 

Trust.  Have you struggled with the concept that to love someone means you must trust them?  I have.  Those who have broken your trust might tell you they must go hand in hand.  If you don't trust, you don't love.  What does trust mean to you?  Webster's dictionary defines trust like this, "assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.  One in which confidence is placed." As I read in John that day, I "saw" verses that I had not "seen" before.  John 2:24-25 says, "But Jesus didn't trust them, because He knew what people were really like.  No one needed to tell Him about human nature."  Hmmm, interesting. 

Recently I was given a survey of sorts to offer my thoughts on trust.  There were approximately 10 questions dealing with every thing from how I define trust and how I know others trust me to, have I ever broken the trust of someone, and if I had, was I able to re-establish it, and how?  Responding to that survey, really pushed me to search my heart on trust.

I love that God chose to include this passage because it appears that Jesus knew that we would befriend and even love those that we may not always be able to trust or that would break the trust we have for them.  Dr. Henry Cloud, Christian clinical psychologist, author and relationship expert, is quoted as saying, "Trust is not something that is freely given.  It is earned by our behavior.  A good character never feels "entitled" to trust.  Instead, he or she feels like he must prove himself to be faithful and that someones trust is not to be taken lightly."

The last question on the survey asked, "Have you ever broken trust with someone and if so, were you able to re-establish it and how?"  Here are a few things I have learned along the way:
  • The first steps always include confession and repentance.
  • Regaining trust takes time.  Remember that God forgives instantly a repentant heart but, with humans, it can sometimes take a little longer to work through the process.
  • When regaining trust, you must be willing to give permission to the offended one to ask questions and, be aware that you must be transparent and open without anger and defensiveness.
  • Realize, that returning, even if only briefly, to an old hurtful behavior could set you back and, according to how serious the offense, and how long you've been in the healing process, you may have to do some of those beginning steps again. 
  • When you've done all you can do (be sure that you've done all you can do though) and you still have not been able to rebuild trust, you must leave it to God.  You just keep on doing what is right and let God do what only He can do. 
I'm not a relationship expert and there is much more involved in these steps than it appears.  Use this as a spring board to learn more about this subject.  There are many great books, written by some great authors, to help you and I build and keep strong relationships. 

My desire is that I be found trustworthy.  I want others to know that my word will bond me.   Unfortunately, I have missed that mark before and have had to rebuild the trust that I damaged.  Allowing someone to rebuild trust that had been broken has also been apart of my life.  Both sides of that road can be difficult but rewarding.  I like how "The Message" paraphrases Proverbs 10:7, "A good and honest life is a blessed memorial..."  That's what I want, a legacy of being good and honest.  How about you?

Until we visit again,
Live blessed,
Carmen

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's Seasonal




Cooler temps have arrived in my little corner of the "land of pine trees and lakes".  These cooler days are the first tease of fall.  I love autumn.  Sunflowers, football, hay bales and pumpkins.  Trees with their beautiful display of colors.  All of the gifts of fall are as welcome to me as the flowers and new growth in spring. 

God , in all of His wisdom, blessed us with the changing seasons.  I like living in an area where these changes are evident.  Life is like that,  full of change.  If it wasn't, we would never appreciate where we've been or look forward to where we are going.  Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds me "There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven."  Solomon also said in verses 11&12 of chapter 3, "God has made everything beautiful for it's own time.  He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end."

Often we hear about different seasons of life.  Most often, people are talking about our childhood, youth, middle age and senior years.  That's a little simplistic for my life.  Those are seasons of life yet I have found there are others as well.  Some of them I have been sad to know they were changing and others I couldn't wait to move on.  Do you remember the excitement of starting each new phase of school -elementary, middle school, high school and then college?  How about starting a new job or marrying your sweetheart?  Those are all seasons.  Then there are others that may not be quite as exciting.  Your children growing up and going away to college or moving out on their own.  Losing a job and starting over.   Losing a spouse through divorce or death and wondering how you will cope in this new season alone.  Part of my survival during some of the seasons I have weathered is the knowledge that this too will pass.  A wise pastor of mine told me years ago, "nothing stays the same, good or bad."  As our Bible verse says, "people cannot see the whole scope of God's work...". I think that is probably a blessing.  If we knew ahead some of the seasons we were going to pass through, we might not want to go forward and if we "saw" the really good stuff early, we would never enjoy the present.

I am in a new season.  I have been for about two years and as I look around, I see others I care about entering new seasons and others leaving some tough ones behind.  It's good that our seasons change in nature and life.  One of my favorite movies is "Hope Floats".  Birdee Pruitt (Sandra Bullock) makes a great statement about changes in life.  "Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad but it's the middle that counts the most.  Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning.  Just give hope a chance to float up and it will too..."

Are you entering a new season?  If it's an exciting one, take time to enjoy the ride!   If it's one that you know immediately you are going to be glad when it's in the past, Psalm 31:24 says "So be strong and take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord!".  Birdee's advice is great advice, "give hope a chance to float up and it will too..."

Until we visit again...
Live blessed,
Carmen