apologies…

so i’ve been thinking a lot this weekend about apologies… i’m pretty sure a lot of you can relate, considering nearly all of us have been wronged or have wronged someone else at least a few times in our lives thus far. first of all though, i need to say – don’t read too into this & convince yourself i’m talking about you! i’m talking about life in general & myself included on this issue. furthermore, when i talk about offenses – i mean of ALL kinds. small remarks that manage to cut you to the core w/out it even being someone’s intention to total rifts in relationships that stem from heavy-duty issues…the whole spectrum…

sometimes i still feel i am “owed” apologies & some i’ve received have seemed far less than genuine. discernment tells me so! right? :) so, thinking about that got me thinking about that “owed” stuff… are we really owed any apologies? well, i sure feel like it… especially when you see the person & it’s like nothing ever happened on their end, but your left with these thorns in your side & every time you see them or think about it, it’s like that sting returns. you know what i mean? how can some people just go about their lives like any pain they caused you is just no biggie? everything gets swept under the rug…

well, then i think about offenses, which leads to thinking about forgiveness, which leads straight to thinking about Jesus. then i’m hit full-circle w/that issue of entitlement. do you think b/c i still feel i’m “owed” that apology or that the one i received should have been more genuine or earnest, that’s an indicator that i truly don’t forgive them? i say i do. most of the time i seem to think i do. but do i? what if Jesus held me to that same standard…

colossians 3:13 “make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” making allowances – that’s where i’m seriously falling short. make room for people to let you down. tolerance. acceptance. not lower standards…just a mature understanding that people are going to hurt you. i think of Jesus loving peter & judas…loving all people…knowing ahead of time the rejection, the letdowns, the betrayals… i’d love to be more like that.

ok – so here’s a gross analogy, so don’t read on if you’re grossed out by the whole birthing process…actually, if you are not female – just stop here period.

ok – so i asked the doc at my last appt if i’d have to have another episiotomy w/this baby. her response was that even if the baby didn’t require me to have one (supposedly i’m carrying a petite girl b/c we’re a couple wks under in measurements), i’d prob still get one b/c “the scarring is less forgiving.” pretty interesting statement. the scarring is less forgiving. it is tough. it’s less flexible. it’s a scar….damaged skin…a mark left forever…the replacement of “normal” tissue. after doing a little reading about scars i found these simple & common-sense comments much more meaningful… “nearly every wound results in some degree of scarring.” “it’s a natural part of the healing process.”

see the correlation? i feel God gives us reflections of our spirit man in our physical man in many cases so that we can better understand ourselves & His ways. a scar is less forgiving… chew on that one for a minute.

anyway, so that’s what i’ll be praying more about this week & doing some in depth reading of what He has to say about the way i’ve been feeling. i know w/my head what it is i need to feel, but i need some more scriptures & prayer to speak to my heart. after all, as it clearly states in proverbs 4:23 “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” everything flows from it…thoughts, speech, actions, motives…everything. so i need true forgiveness in my heart to forget about offenses – really, truly forget them. the way God forgives & forgets mine…

yeah…like he said…

this is the “Daily Blessing” i received today in my email. it pretty much says what i was trying to illustrate w/my last blog on peace. mr. stanley says it much better, so i’d like to share. hope you get something from it. i have.

Thoughtful Living

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. – Psalm 25:8-9

Are you living thoughtfully and intentionally—or automatically? It’s so easy to get up each morning, do our work, enjoy some relaxation or entertainment, and fall into bed each night without giving any thought to God’s involvement in our lives. But to be ignorant of how He has blessed, guided, protected, and warned us is a foolish way to live. Just consider the benefits of keeping our spiritual eyes and ears open throughout the day.

Those who are aware of the Lord’s presence during their daily activities enjoy the peace of knowing that He is always in control and working to accomplish His good purposes. Every day’s experiences with Him teach them to know and love Him more.

When we learn to see God’s footprints in our days, we will become aware of the scope of His involvement in our lives. Maybe He strengthened you for a task or opened a door of opportunity. Perhaps He guided your decisions or helped you respond in a godly way to a difficult person.

If our ears are open to the Lord’s warnings and instructions, we won’t repeat the same mistakes again and again. But those who are deaf to His voice will continue in unhealthy thought patterns, negative emotions, and foolish responses.

Each night before you go to sleep, take some time to reflect on the day’s activities. The Lord is constantly with you, guarding and guiding your way. He wants you to see Him in everything and understand life from His perspective as you rely on His wisdom and power to face any challenge.

Charles Stanley

peace…

so , i’ll let you in on a little secret…for nearly 4 months i had been a law-breaking citizen! eek! yep, for 4 whole months… i realized around january that my car inspection had expired in november! not good. so, i did what any christian lady would go & do…i got home from running errands in my illegal car & hollered at my husband! debate ensued…”where are the registration cards?! where is my insurance card?! this one isn’t current! you handle the mail! no, you didn’t give it to me!” get the picture?

well, we figured we’d just keep breaking the law until my registration was up as well, since that card was mia…& so for 3 whole months i drove around feeling like a fugitive. every single day i’d think through the scenarios of being pulled over. what do i say? i don’t want to lie! but it’s totally unacceptable to knowingly drive around for 3 additional months in an “illegal” car! shame on me! i’d pray & sweat every time i passed a cop car. please don’t pull me over, please don’t pull me over…whew! the next trip…repeat. it was AGONIZING to drive! i know some of you may think this is just dorky, but it’s true. i hated driving b/c i felt so uneasy all the time. i didn’t realize it though until this past weekend when we finally got those shiny new inspection stickers… i drove off that parking lot w/pride in those stickers! haha those little pieces of paper carried so much meaning…so much PEACE. finally, i was following the rules again & it brought me so much peace. that’s when it hit me – this is a lot like living w/out Jesus…

when we live w/out Jesus as our Lord, we’re often living our lives breaking the rules & there’s no peace in a life like that. i’m not just talking about the “major” ones – the commandments & so forth, but also the “rules” we often overlook. do i gossip? do i bend the truth? do i curse my enemies rather than bless them? do i retaliate for wrongs & offenses – even in passive agressive ways? do i really seek God’s path for my day & my choices or do i follow my own plans?

i’m reminded of this scripture in proverbs 6…”there are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”

all of those things we may or may not do throughout our daily living & they have a direct connection to the amount of peace we experience as we go about our day. some things may seem worse than others, but they’re all wrong in God’s book, so i really need to try harder to live righteously, pleasing Him w/my life in every thought, word & deed.

anyway – random thoughts as usual, but that’s me. Jesus, please let me hear your voice, so that i may follow your ways. let your thoughts be my thoughts & your ways be my ways, so that i may truly live experiencing your peace. i ask these things in your name, amen.

here is a scripture regarding peace i thought i’d share…
John 14:7 “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.”

this one doesn’t really relate to my story, but it’s beautiful, powerful & life-changing…
Isaiah 53:5 “but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” thank you, Jesus.

christian w/a multiple personality problem…

so i got to have one of those showers today…a thought-provoking one…it’s been awhile. :) i got so into my thinking about this that i almost turned the water off & got out before actually bathing! oops…

i’ll start off w/a picture – i think in pictures & analogies, which is why i think i love Jesus’ use of parables so much – picture an onion with all its layers (not so much the smell) :) that’s what i feel like. beneath all these layers (maybe in my case just a few) is my core person – who i am in front of the Lord, when i’m alone, when i pray, while i sit w/my child or close my eyes at night next to my hubby. that’s me, but for some reason those are really the only times i get to be me. the rest of the time i feel i’m a close version of me, & rarely, but more often than i’d like, i’m someone the real me doesn’t even recognize.

perhaps it’s walls we build up around only certain ppl…ppl who have hurt or disappointed us…ppl we subconsciously just don’t trust w/that inner person. i have a few of those ppl in my life, & the version they get to see of me isn’t who i really am & so consequently, they base their opinions on who they see, right? who they think you are, but that’s not you & in the end, you find yourself stuck in a box w/your labels & false personality. in my case, you eventually suffer knowing that they’ve got it all wrong about you & it’s mostly your fault, b/c you just can’t be yourself around them for some reason & there you stay, stuck in the box. yet you stay consistent, b/c that’s who you have become around that specific person or group of ppl, & God forbid you act your true self, right?! b/c then, they’d think you’re on crazy pills or something…& you can’t have that… am i making any sense? it made sense in the shower… :)

the other part of my problem – another cause of my “multiple personality problem” stems from becoming a christian – a true christian. now, before you jump to any conclusions, i LOVE my relationship w/Christ. He is my rock, my refuge, my peace & my hope. just some history though to shed light on this dilemma…before i became the person i am now – the person who loves & has an actual relationship w/Jesus – i was a good person. i was fun, had LOADS of friends, popular, funny, fashionable (believe it or not) – just plain fun basically. now…my family would probably say i’m no longer that person. i know, b/c i’ve heard it many times in the last 11 yrs, but among all those other things, i was also sad & empty inside. that’s where Jesus came in. things still make me sad, but my life & heart are full of love & purpose – something i hadn’t had before & no matter how much you know you are loved, or how much you give love, the fulfillment of that deep longing only comes from knowing Jesus. so anyway, that was a little tangent, but to get back to my issue…i still find myself wanting to be those fun things i was before Christ, only the christian version, but this is me now. here are some scriptures that kind of explain this spiritual transformation that happens miraculously, beyond your control or own doing…”therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 corinthians 5) & “you were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (ephesians 4). my new self is totally different from that old self. how do you get those traits you did like to carry over? it’s not that i don’t want to be fun, or laugh all the time, or feel “fashionable” – it’s just that i’m different now. i think i struggle letting go of my past personality sometimes & knowing that my loved ones who knew me then prefer that “old man’s” personality, sometimes throws me into a personality pickle per se…

anyway, so there’s my little shower soap box for the day. any thoughts? can anyone relate?

oh & just a side note – i know i’m a certified teacher, but i throw all the rules of mechanics out the window on here…hope you don’t mind :) but apparently grammar still gives me ocd, b/c i’ve been back to edit my mistakes now 6 times…

frustration & faith

so this has been a downer of an evening…
hubby comes home – not a great day for him. breaks my heart. angers me really. he deserves a good day – at least ONE a week. doesn’t everyone? wouldn’t it be nice to be able to count on just one fabulous day each week? we pray, we work hard, we love and care for others. where’s our mountaintop? these valleys…just stink.

so i read 1 peter 5 again today. verses 5-11… “In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

i’ll probably need to read it over and over everyday. anyway, verse 7 resonates in my noggin especially. He CARES for me. He cares for US. my family. our daughters. we matter to Him. shortly after reading these scriptures, i opened my email and read my “daily blessing.” the title? “don’t worry! pray!” followed with philippians 4:7, which reads, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

so – that is what i’m going to do – pray, pray, pray, and pray with expectation that God will move on our behalf, b/c He cares.

He knows what we need, but i will tell Him again, and i will thank Him for all He has done, starting now. i thank Him or providing for me a husband that has a heart for Jesus, a husband that goes to work each day, regardless of feelings and ALWAYS gives 150% – to the point that he works from home almost every weeknight and weekend – even though he won’t see an extra dime or affirmation for it. i thank Him for our healthy, beautiful girls. ava is the greatest gift He could have ever given us. the fact i get to wake up each morning and be her mommy is enough to praise God everyday for the rest of time. she is tangible joy. i know isla will be the same for us. pure, tangible joy – a piece of Heaven in the flesh. i thank Him for great families and true friendships. i thank Him for always meeting our needs – we have a warm, safe home, meals, cars, clothes. yes, i may look like a stuffed sausage these days, but i am still covered! :) anyway, i guess what i’m saying is life is tough. it’s not fair, but God is good, and He will see us through this valley and the next.

marriage with a side of cinnamon banana pancakes…

first things first…the marriage stuff…so my hubby & i were having a little argument the other day – hard to imagine if you know us haha – and i was sulking privately in our bathroom, thinking thoughts like, “he should be more like…i deserve him to be like…” get the picture?  so then i had a pleasing revelation – “he really should be the kind of man that he himself would want ava to marry!”  he should be THAT kind of husband at ALL times, because we should model THAT for our daughters…RIGHT?!  right…and then, I believe the good Lord butt right into my scrutiny :) and kindly reminded me that i should be the kind of woman & WIFE that i would like to model for my daughters.  ouch.  yep.  seems like i have a lot of work to do on my end and it doesn’t involve pointing my finger…so that’s what i am working on from now on – making a conscious effort to be a more godly example of a christian woman for my family.  so far that has involved getting my butt out of bed this morning w/ a smile on my face, making my family pancakes on a monday morning (usually just a saturday thing), doing a load of laundry, and showering all BEFORE ava woke up.  to some of you that may sound lame, b/c you do it all the time, but not this night owl.  i’m lucky to have my teeth or hair brushed most days before 7:30.  hopefully i can keep it up and keep the complaining spirit at bay in the process.

as for the pancakes…  :)  one of my favorite traditions growing up was my mom’s weekend pancakes.  she ALWAYS made from scratch, which is probably why i loathe bisquick, and so now i’ve adopted that tradition myself.  unless we go out for breakfast, which is rare, or i’m sick, saturday mornings at our house almost always include homemade pancakes or waffles.  ava’s on a dairy-free diet, so i adapted the recipe for her.  some of my friends had asked for the recipe before, so here it is…btw it’s a work-in-progress, b/c i insist on getting them right.  they started out way too flat, but tasty.  then they were fluffy little clouds, but the hubby stated he would prefer having pancakes he could chew on, so here is my latest update.  enjoy!

cinnamon banana pancakes (dairy-free optional)

bowl #1
mash 1 ripened banana & coat w/ 2 tbs of sugar – mix well
add 1 tbs veg oil & 1/2 tsp vanilla
measure 1 cup milk (or rice/soy milk) & add 1 egg – beat together
add egg & milk mixture to banana mixture – combine

bowl #2
start w/ 3/4 cup flour
add 1/4 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 3 tsp baking power & 1 tsp cinnamon (or to your liking)
add additional 1/8 c flour – mix (if using non-dairy…add an extra 1/4 c instead)
add to wet mixture
stir – but don’t over do it – you want lumps & air pockets

cook on low/medium heat til lightly brown on each side (i give a flip then a gentle tap immediately to spread w/out flattening)

i love how puffy they get & still offer that chewiness you’re husbands will love :)
let me know if you make any alterations that work better!  thanks & enjoy!