Who gets the Victory in your Life?

One of the first things I remember being a preacher’s daughter was my mom telling me, I couldn’t bring my baby doll to church with me on Sunday nights anymore. I was probably in kindergarten or first grade and being that services typically went long on Sunday nights. I always enjoyed  bringing my baby doll with me. I am sure it kept me occupied during the long night and I probably ended up cuddling with it and falling asleep at some point. I really don’t remember, but one thing I do remember is sitting next to the daughter of the deacon that night who had told my daddy I couldn’t bring my baby doll anymore to church. I sat there and watched as she played with her doll, wondering why the rules were different for her than me.

 

That would not be the last time I would be singled out as the preachers daughter and be expected to keep a standard higher than others around me,  but it will forever be embedded in my memory. I still deal with fighting bitterness and anger from that incident. Especially since I still have contact with the daughter and see how she now gets to care for her parents. I am not going to lie, I have wondered, why would God allow someone that was so mean to my father,  still get to live and why would a God that loves me take my daddy instead, and at such a young age. My daddy has been gone since I was 23 years old. He hasn’t gotten to be a part of my kids lives nor see his great grandchildren or see what kind of a woman I have grown into. My husband has missed the mentoring that my father could of provided to his ministry that would of been so useful especially in the early years.

 

But one thing is not different about me, I am still expected by God to forgive. Just like anyone else in this world. You may ask “Well what is expected of us”.  The bible says If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (1 John 4:20) Then Matthew reminds us “But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15

 

Oh! That isn’t the only hurt in the church that has happened to me, in fact I am pretty certain satan has instigated many opportunities for me to be bitter and angry at God’s people. It’s not important I share all the details of the opportunities for offence I have had. See,  I am not alone in this. Satan has been using these tricks to discourage believers since the beginning of time. Just look at the story of Job in the bible. We are told that satan and God are having a conversation. When God says “Have you considered my friend Job” In the conversation God basically tells satan, you can do anything you want to Job except take his life, and he will not turn his back on me”. So satan goes after Job, he ends up taking everything Job has expect his complaining and nagging wife, which if you read the story you realize, she was probably working for satan. Even in all that Job lost, his children, his home, Job refused to turn away from God. Job tells us that even if he dies, he will not stop trusting in God. I guess that is what I would have to say too.

 

See, my family has failed me, my friends has failed me, my church has failed me, my denomination has failed me, but one thing I can say is my God has never failed me. Oh! I lived in a season of my life in bitterness and anger and all it did was hurt me and the people around me.  And you know what? The people that hurt me so much and who I was so angry at continued on with their lives as if, nothing had happened. I was the only one hurt. I was letting my bitterness and anger hold me captive while the one that I wanted so badly to hurt went on with their lives.

 

I was a prisoner in my own world, a world I had created of bitterness, isolation and anger. I didn’t realize that I was angry at the wrong people. I, like all of us, needs to focus on the real enemy and that is satan. I,  like all of us also, needs to realize that with every opportunity for bitterness,unforgiveness and anger that comes my way, I need to remember that this also, like Job, maybe a test, Perhaps God has put so much faith and trust in me, He has told satan, “Go ahead, see what you can do to her”. Like a coach who puts his best player out in the time of the game that is critical to the team, he is depending on you to make that finial point for the team to win the game.

 

When we come to look at every opportunity for offence as an opportunity to rise above and be the shining star on God’s team. We will then let Christ’s love in us shine through and overshadow any root of bitterness. When we realize every opportunity of unforgiveness is just a trick from the enemy. We will begin to see a whole lot less opportunities for unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment. Because satan soon leaves stops using tricks that don’t work. It is important that we realize we are not a war against people but satan, its just that satan often uses people as his ploys. We can see from the beginning of time, satan as only used those things to slip us up and keep us from the life that God has called us. But Jesus died for us to live.

 

Christ doesn’t desire for us to just have life here on this earth but He desires for us to live an abundant life John 10:10 tells us that satan comes to steal our joy, kill our hope  and destroy our faith in God. But Christ came that we would have that abundant life, not just an ordinary life but an abundant life that is full of joy and peace, that is a comfort for those who are in need and a peace to those who are troubled. One of the ways we can receive that abundant life is the choice we make when we are tempted to refuse to forgive and live in unforgiveness, bitterness and resentment.

 

Make no mistake we always have a choice how we respond and that choice either glorifies God, or glorifies satan. So the question is, who are you living for? Who do you want your life to glorify? It isn’t the people that hurt us or our families we need to be angry out, it is satan himself and the sooner we realize that,  the best defense to his skeem is to not play in his hand. Because as long as we live in unforgiveness and bitterness satan wins and I for one refuse to allow him to have any victory in my life. What about you?

 

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Happy Birthday to Me!!

Happy Birthday to Me!!

We recently spent sometime with my kids in honor of Mother’s Day and My 51st Birthday since the dates are just 2 weeks apart. We went to one of those break-out/escape rooms, and then sat around a table at a local restaurant and just chatted and reminisced.  As I sat back and looked at each of my kids I see the adults they are becoming and I revel in each and everyone of their successes.

See I had many opportunities to do my life differently from what I have, but I don’t believe I would change a thing. See, I could have finished High School, before I got married, but I didn’t. I could have chosen to go to College right after High School but instead I choose to have my first son. I could of chosen to have a musical career when a famous christian artist offered to write songs and produce an album for me, But I didn’t. I choose to stay at home and be a mom. I could of been an ordained minister like my mother who was one of the first ordained woman in the Assemblies of God in the state of Oklahoma, but I didn’t, instead I choose to stay at home and minister to my kids. I could of continued in a successful career as a Assisted Living Director, but I choose to focus on living with my husband and assisting him in every way I could.

Many would say I have given up a lot. Some would even say I sacrificed myself for my family. See to me, none of my successes matter, if I don’t have a family to sit around and enjoy it with. Jeff and I made a commitment a long time ago, truth is, it is our family motto. For we committed, that “What good does it do to win the whole world for Christ, if we lose our own families soul”. Now I know some would say I could’ve had it all and perhaps I could have, but one thing I have learned in this half a century of life, is you can have it all, but something in that equation always has to sacrifice and I wasn’t willing to take a chance that it might be my family that did.

I wouldn’t give up, being up all hours of the night with my babies,  dinners around the family table, family nights, friday field-trip days, or piles of dirty laundry for any of it! (okay, maybe the laundry haha!)

See because as I looked around the table and saw each one of my children and the amazing adults they have and are becoming. That is my successes.

My oldest who is an amazing father, who married a wonderful young lady, and has a Master’s Degree in Family and Marriage Therapy.  He is a Psychologist making a difference in young boys lives in a boys home everyday. He is beginning to make his way in the political world as well as serving as the online campus pastor at his church and he will forever be the future forward thinking farmer. That is my success, with each success he has, it is my reward as well.

My daughter the up and coming Graphic Designer, on the Dean’s list the last 2 yrs of school, member of Phi-Thetta-Kappa, she has been an Intern and Personal Assistant to the Senator, Amazing Nanny to 8 kids under the age of 11 that she has helped homeschool. Assistant to the online campus pastor at her church, where she led people 2 and 3 times her age. That is my success.

And my youngest son, Who is growing into an amazing adult. Passing all his classes last semester, the hardest working teenager I know.  The kid with a heart as big as he is, who will always be my protector, I know God is going to use him in a mighty way, more then just behind the pulpit, he will use him to share His love with others in so many ways. His life is already a testimony and the way he has chosen to live his life.  That is my success.

Then there is the up and coming grands, oh what will the future hold for them? I do not know. But, with each of their success it is my success. Because I am confident that because I

Have poured myself into my children, therefore when they pour themselves into their children it is part of me pouring into the grands. Whether my kids choose to teach them similar values and traditions or they choose to go in a totally different way, either of those choices reflect what I have taught them.

Has our lives been perfect, No. Do we fight and argue, Yes. But I am thrilled to know when I look in the eyes of each of my family members, I get to see a love for Christ and a desire to serve Him with so much passion that I know it runs to the core of who they are and for that, I am very thankful. Because what good would it of been for us to win the whole world for Jesus and lose our own children’s souls?

Do I think we are home free and I don’t have to worry about my children any longer? Not for one minute! I pray for them regularly, the older they get the more prayers they need and the more I worry about them. And if somewhere along the way any of them find that they have made a turn forgetting what they learned, on their journey in this relationship with God. I know that He is forever standing there with His arms outstretched, waiting for them to come home. Because they know, that all I expect of them is to be there! (Heaven) Because none of their successes matter if they aren’t.

But I do trust in the one that gave them to me and I have chosen to believe that He will honor the choices I have made in raising them and because I thoroughly believe, I did what He asked me to do,  to the best of my ability and so I have no regrets as I tip over the half a century mark, and I am thankful, that I still only feel like I am 29 on most days!