Category Archives: Faith

Forgiveness

It’s difficult to forgive – whether it’s someone we feel wronged by or even ourselves for mistakes we’ve made. Accepting what we can’t control or change leads us toward forgiveness. It doesn’t mean we forget nor condone the offenses; however, as we read in Matthew 6:14-15: 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Everyone deserves forgiveness – no one if perfect. People make mistakes; it’s human nature. Some people learn and strive to do better while others aren’t self-aware of their wrongdoing. It’s their nature to do whatever it takes to get what they want without concern of who they harm along the way.

Though forgiveness can help repair a damaged relationship, it doesn’t mean that you need to jump headfirst into an affiliation with the person who harmed you. When you allow forgiveness, it provides peace of mind and releases your negativity. While there is some debate over whether true forgiveness requires positive feelings toward the offender, experts agree that it at least involves letting go of deeply held negative pain. Being able to recognize the strain you suffered without letting that pain define you helps as you heal while moving forward with your life.

Forgiveness isn’t easy. What would our life be like if we learn to forgive those who have deeply hurt us? Would we inspire others to pursue forgiveness in their own lives? “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Colossians 3:13: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Now What?

Well, today was the day. At 6:43 a.m. my first Fitbit band bit the dust! It’s amusing, and I have to share in hopes that it will make you laugh too. I hold on to everything. No, I’m not a hoarder, I don’t think there is always a need to be buying. Eleven months ago I purchased a Fitbit because it’s just not enough to track my runs through my Nike+ running ap, I also need to keep track of the number of steps each beyond those from my morning run. Yep, pure craziness! The one thing I refused to purchase was an additional band.

About two months ago I noticed that one of the straps was loose, and as long as I re-positioned it, my Fitbit was still secure. I knew the inevitable would happen; I would be forced to purchase at least one new band. Ugh! Now I have to spend money. (I am laughing. As much as I hate spending money on frivolous things I genuinely enjoy Internet shopping or at least Internet browsing.)

So I was prepared for the fateful Fitbit band biting the dust day. I spent time perusing the Internet for a selection of fashionable bands, and oh my, I hit the Jackpot! Of course, the seller that was my demise was on Amazon as they have everything and at bargain prices, plus FREE SHIPPING!!!

As I neared the end of my run this morning, I could feel the band loosen, and this time there was no way to save it. The original black band has been sturdy and reliable after spending 11 months and nearly 900 miles on my wrist as we ran many streets and trails. I bid thee farewell as I don one of my new fashionable bands. Thank you old friend for seeing me through runs in the snow, wind and rain, and a few close calls with wildlife as well as sitting in blistering heat and dealing with being covered by dirt and agri-lime as we enjoyed every minute of travel ball this summer. What a GREAT run we had!

Psalm 16:11: You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Off-track?

Have you ever gotten off-track, without realizing? How often have you found yourself starting, stopping, starting, stopping – and then without realizing you’ve gone nowhere and accomplished nothing. With the distractions of social media, email, video chat, and life, we find ourselves spinning with no end in sight.

Many times I think of how I need to continue my writing. My daily inspirational insight has gone unattended for months. I even moved my unfinished book to an online site so that I can take a moment here and there to continue with that work too, even when I’m sitting at one of my children’s activities.

For whatever reason, everything still sits. Maybe I overthink my writing. That has crossed my mind. Instead of relaxing and letting the story flow, I find myself choosing the perfect words so that each sentence is just so. My downfall at times is I’m a perfectionist. It’s difficult for me to settle for less.

At times I wonder if the unknown of catching a break and being picked up by a publisher holds me back. Change is scary, something I shouldn’t shy away from considering I’ve done well with throughout my professional career in public relations and marketing.

How to get back on track, to stay focused and not falter.

Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Have You Ever Wondered

If it were easy, we’d never grow, we’d never discover ourselves, we’d never follow the path that He’s guiding us down. How do we make the choices of love, careers, friends, and even our lifestyle? Some people seem to be born with the golden spoon, everything they say or do, flawless, money to spend, money to burn, the home that is worth millions, and a life that has others green with envy.

While others live paycheck to paycheck, always working hard for every penny, never knowing if they’ll have enough for groceries, never enough extra in the paycheck to purchase a want or even pay for the unexpected.

How does this happen? I’ll never forget the time I listened to two men tell their stories of how they tithe. It was fascinating to listen to the older man, who had worked hard all of his life to provide for his family. He and his wife lived a comfortable life, their children grown and on their own; however, what was interesting is that this man didn’t feel it was necessary to purchase lavish homes, clothes or vehicles, nor did his family take lavish trips. Instead, he talked about loading the family into the station wagon, how his wife would pack food into the picnic basket and off they would go to enjoy time together, as a family.

Now the younger man’s story was quite opposite. He was a man of wealth, someone who craved a lavish home, clothes, vehicles, and trips; not so much quality family time. The younger man most definitely hadn’t seen hardship nor a lack of income. He even took a moment to share that his wife always tells him “not to worry, we’re very well off.” His story of tithing was not one of sacrifice or going without what he wants. His is one of his needs; first, everything else comes last.

Most of the audience reacted the same, honestly not knowing if the younger man even realized what he was saying. I found myself walking out of the building in silence, not sharing my thoughts with anyone as I could only pray that God shed some light on this man’s life.

Hebrews 13:5: Let your conduct be without covetousness, and be content with such things as you have.

The Search

What should be a typical summer, it’s not. When you’re forced to be on an unpaid vacation; one you couldn’t prepare for, one you didn’t ask for. But how to keep things sane? There is nothing ordinary about this. Seriously, who yanks the carpet out from under another person knowing a family is in peril, that children’s lives have turned upside down?

It’s difficult to not dwell on the actions of others that have sent your world spinning out of control; to focus on the task ahead is difficult, almost daunting. Now what? Where to start? Sure there are lots and lots of online postings from employers hiring. You’re diverse, quite the background, achievements and work experience; however, you know this will be a strike against you as someone with your skill level doesn’t find a job by accident, you have to know someone.

You put out feelers, make contact after contact with colleagues. When you’re the one who typically helps others, asking for help is difficult. A few respond with keeping their ears open, while others actively send you job postings they’ve come across. It’s overwhelming, almost scary to think that you’ve shared with others your pain.

Philippians 4:6-7:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The Pain

The pain of having your job ripped from you is devastating; it leaves a hole in your heart. At first, you’re in shock, not sure if this is happening or if you’re dreaming. And then it hits, like lightning ripping through your being. Stunned, you ask why followed by what did I do wrong?

You know the answer, and it makes you scream! Someone you’ve never met, who holds a seat in the ivory tower has decided you’re not needed. Without caring about the hours you’ve put into your position, the personal sacrifices you’ve made, you aren’t necessary. You find yourself stumbling to safety, your eyes filled with tears, your mind racing with the unknown.

What now? What am I going to do? How will I pay my bills or support my family? Insult to injury – there isn’t a severance package, just a paycheck for forty hours that week. And, being told you’ll be paid for a full day even though they’re dismissing you at 4 p.m. The only words that come to mind are gee, thanks, I’ve been here since 6:15 a.m. and haven’t had lunch yet.

At first, you wonder how you didn’t see this coming. Your supervisor along with the regional team has known for months that your position would be eliminated, and yet they said nothing; not even out of courtesy for your family. The pain grows thinking of how you trusted them, how you were never anything but honest with them, but yet they were not with you.

How is my family going to survive?

Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Why are they so difficult?

We all know that person, the one we find “difficult” in one way or another. Have you ever wondered why you’re the one that deals with that person? Whether they’re selfish, argumentative, condescending or just simply rude, somehow they know how to create chaos, and drama surrounds them. They drain a person, and their actions become tiring.

Why are we the one that deals with that person?  Is He asking us to handle something, is this an exercise to learn something, but what? It’s easy to respond, and not in a kind manner.

1 Peter 3:9: Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

The Threat…

Every day I hear it, it’s real, not just words thrown around. I’m never really sure if I should respond or listen. How does it happen that one person dares to subtly hint to others of the peril they face, and not because of their actions, but due to those by others?

It’s baffling and frustrating to hold on so tight as everything begins to fall apart. No safety net, no one will know about the threat – the person doing wrong will continue their ways.

Psalms 28:7: The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

The Actions of Others

How we react to the actions of others reflects who we are, correct? But it’s not easy to stand by and when others attack. Who wouldn’t jump in and rescue their friend when they require help? Are you the bad person for not backing down?

The other day I was reading a nicely written piece about our actions and doing what is right. One line that stayed with me was we should always take the right actions even when it’s difficult – if you talk the talk then walk the walk. We all come across those that test us and pray that our actions reflect who we are when dealing with a difficult situation.

At one of my children’s sporting events, a group of parents and grandparents of an opposing team displayed such poor behavior toward opposing teams, their fans, and others at the game, that their boldness led them to target a child. The child, who did not know these people, was being bullied while playing, and even though officials spoke with the adults that were misbehaving, in their eyes, they were doing nothing wrong.

Interestingly enough, the parents of the child that had become the focus of the poor behavior did something that made me take notice; they rose above all of the harsh words and walked away. I could only smile as this couple surrounded their child and calmly made their way to their vehicle even with the bullies on their heels.

I had the opportunity to commend the parents and their daughter on their actions as I was very impressed. As we talked about the incident, I learned that several officials attempted to diffuse the situation and that this isn’t the first time that particular group of adults had bullied a child and their team penalized due to their poor behavior. Even though the bullies weren’t going to give up, neither the parents nor their daughter responded to the taunting.

I was curious as to how they were able to keep their composer and not lash out. The mom’s response was simple, “what good would it have done to act as they did… what would that have taught our daughter.” If only more people would walk the walk.

2 Corinthians 5:20: Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

Accomplishments

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the one where you’ve done a lot but accomplished nothing? Typically it’s not a bad day, just busy and nonproductive.

When the five o’clock hour approached yesterday, I couldn’t believe how much I hadn’t gotten done even though I had been busy from the moment I walked in the door. How does this happen? How did I put in a 10 hour day and complete nothing for the day? I didn’t even stop for lunch, just snacked on everything in sight because I had so much to do.

While at home I found myself thinking about my unproductive day. I should have put everything behind me, but I couldn’t. My day kept playing over and over in my mind. I wasn’t bothered, just shaking my head at not being able to let the day go.

My first thought was a trip to the gym, which always makes me feel better, that would be the answer to letting go of the day. After shuffling children to and from their nighttime activities, I made my way to the gym where it’s just me and my music. Such a good feeling to focus on nothing; however, all too soon that distraction was over.

I decided that I would look over the notes from the day to figure out why I was so restless. As I read through my day, I thought about everything I had worked on, the phone calls I had taken, the people I helped, and then I realized how productive my day had been. I had accomplished a lot – prep work for projects, made sure those in need of assistance had been taken care of, resolved numerous problems, and did all of this between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

I took a deep breath and smiled, even though I felt as if I had done nothing but spin my wheels all day; I had accomplished a lot – it was a good day!

John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.