The last few weeks have been rough to say the least. In the course of the last month, I have had a Lupus Flare, Shingles, Hay-Fever, and a nasty 48 hour virus. Things have not been fun at the Kinsey Home. I have not been beautiful. As a matter of fact, I was covered in shingles (tiny blisters that burn like fire), had a runny nose (from hay-fever), my joints were red and swollen (from Lupus), and extremely pale from the war going on inside my body. To add insult to injury, I went to get my hair done, so I would feel better about myself. There was an accident with the treatment put into my hair, so my hair looked like Guy Fieri on a really bad day. Beautiful is not something I felt…at all.
During this time, I attended a writer’s conference and did not know I had shingles. I thought I was just being a weenie about my Lupus Flare. In addition, I was catching up my blog, looking into a new Church, getting some blog posts updated, and working to update my social-network. Add to that, my son was having a bit of a crisis, and I felt that I could do nothing to help him.
Beautiful is not what I felt at all, and my next doctor visit echoed that. My doctor said, “What is wrong with you? You have to slow down. You have to rest, and by that I mean going to get a glass of water is enough exercise until you improve.”
Take an overachiever with a health crisis, add in a pinch of idiocy, a teaspoon of low self-esteem, with a dash of despair, stir – and you have a recipe for disaster.
At my lowest point, I woke up in a stupor one morning, wondering why I bothered with my blog posts at all, stumbled to the bathroom, and found this note on my mirror:
Another note said, “Get some rest.”
I cried. I thanked my husband. I prayed. And, I rested.
My husband knew exactly what to say at just the right time. That’s priceless.
If you have such a person in your life, call and thank them today. If your relationship doesn’t work so well, and you need more love, just say so. Find a way to get to that place where you both care more about one-another than you do yourself. Strive to stay in that spot where you know you are loved, and your spouse knows you love them. How do you do this? Remember who is in control.
PS. If you’re contemplating marriage, are married (happily or unhappily), or are looking for a life partner, please get a copy of The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It works best if you BOTH read it. I have to say it’s helped me understand the language of love more than any other self-help book I’ve read so far. It even helps me with people I’m not married to – like extended family members.
- Money: “How much money do you have? Great, now tell me how you got all that money, so I can get some too.”
- Politics: “So, did you vote for a Republican or a Democrat?”
- Religion: “I’m a Christian. Would you like to go to Church with me?”
What’s funny about the last conversation isn’t just that you can’t have it gracefully, but that it bothers us to have this conversation at all.
When I was a kid (not that long ago by the way) it was considered an honor to be asked by someone to visit their church. Somewhere along the line, that changed. I don’t know why, but it seemed to happen about the same time atheism grew in the media and Christianity became ‘uncool’ on TV. All of the sudden, it was gone like Disco.
No matter the reason, we as Christians need to stop being ashamed of our religion. Yes, admit it, we are ashamed of our religion if we can’t talk about it openly with others.
Why not walk up to your co-worker and say, “Hey, do you want to go to church with me this weekend?”
We don’t seem to have a problem with walking up to someone and saying, “Hey, do you want to check out that new restaurant with me this weekend?” Some of us, and you know who you are, feel more comfortable saying, “Hey, how about hitting that new bar with me this weekend?” than asking someone to go to church with you.
I think it comes down to this: We have to break the ice. How do we do that? By making it ok to ask. And, we do that by making it a common practice. It’s going to be awkward the first time. You’ll feel like a giraffe on skates, but do it anyway. After that, it will get easier. Who knows, maybe that’s the best thing you could do for the person you’re talking to.
What are they going to do? Punch you in the face? If so, you can say you ‘took one on the chin’ for God. In my experience, more hugging than punching occurs. They may not say ‘yes’ right away, but you’ve at least planted the seed. You gave out an invitation for God.
Here’s to asking someone to go to Church with you this weekend – and making it a common thing.
When’s the last time you asked someone to Church? Why?
For some, guilt comes in small packages. For others, guilt comes in a the form of a large immovable object.
Why is it when God forgives us, we continue to carry the burden of our sins?
Every action has a consequence, but once God forgives us, shouldn’t we drop it?
Even diligent Christians are haunted by the past. The sins we committed, the wrongs we did to others, the ignorance we had of God, they all come to us in the middle of the night or as pangs of guilt in the daytime.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”Psalm 103:12
“As far as the east is from the west.” That’s how far we should be separated from our sins once we’ve sought genuine forgiveness.
Think about how much energy guilt takes from us. Think about how much could be done with the energy that’s wasted on guilt.
“No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:34
If God doesn’t remember our sin, we shouldn’t either.
My friend, Pastor Nolen Brunson, explained the concept of forgiveness to me this way:
Give me your hand – palm up. Take this pebble in your hand and close your fist around it. That’s sin – The pebble itself and the energy you are using to hold on to the sin. Once you ask for God’s forgiveness, you must turn your hand over, open your hand, and drop the pebble. That’s the act of forgiveness – Letting go of the pebble (sin) and no longer holding on to it (guilt). Now turn your empty, open hand over, palm up. This is the act of forgiveness between you and God. You have been forgiven, and now your hand is open and ready to receive God’s blessings.
Until I heard that lesson, I didn’t get it. I thought every sin I’d ever committed was still there. Not for God, but for me. I thought it rightfully should be there. How wrong I was. Forgiveness is a two-way street. God lets go, and so do we. Until that happens, forgiveness hasn’t happened. Once we both let go, we’re free to receive God’s blessings and do the work of God.
Here’s to giving up the ghost of sin, letting go, and letting God today….and every day.
Is there something you just can’t seem to let go of? Is there something that haunts you? Grace may seem simple – because it is. Grace really is all you need. Grace, and a willing spirit.