6

Tricky, Beautiful Relationships

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Relationships can be a tricky thing. They can be difficult and messy. They can cause us heartache and pain.

If we’ve been hurt in ministry, we can tend to pull back from the church as a whole.

When friendships have caused us heartache, we often choose to retreat.

Family lets us down and we learn to keep those closest to us at arm’s length.

We retreat to our safe corners, we set our fists in a defensive stance, and we harden our hearts because the pain…?

Well, the truth is that it hurts.

Self-preservation and the avoidance of pain are natural responses. Healthy relationships and proper boundaries are a good thing. But we must also take great care to tread cautiously when it comes to putting up walls that are intended to keep the hard things at a distance.

You see, growth happens as a result of difficulties.

We will hurt others and others will hurt us. But it is in the working out of our misunderstandings that we learn from one another.

It is in the humility of an apology that we learn to consider the perspective of another, whether we agree with them or not.

It is in offering true forgiveness, deserved or not, that we live out the forgiveness of Christ on the cross.

Extending mercy, even when it is really, really hard, reminds us of how much mercy God has poured out on us through His Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus is all about relationships.

He put himself out there no matter the cost. He was ridiculed and scorned. He was misunderstood and rejected. He hung on a cross and died, not because it was comfortable, but because it was necessary.

For love.

For you.

For me.

Friends, there is nothing wrong with using wisdom and discernment in relationships to protect ourselves from those that would cause us unnecessary harm. But, let us also remember that relationships are beautiful – even the really hard ones.

Let us protect our hearts but not harden them. 

Let us build healthy boundaries but not walls that keep others out.

Let us resolve not to keep others at an arm’s length because when we let them in, our hearts can be changed.

For our good.

For their benefit.

For His glory.

We will hurt others and they will hurt us. We will fail. We will fall.

The key is picking ourselves up out of the dirt, dusting off the hurt, and trying again.

Because it is in the trying that lives are touched. It is in the challenge that we are changed. It is in the loving that we find true love.

And we can’t love if we don’t let others into the depth of our hearts.

“You will know that you are my disciples when you love one another.”

-John 13:35

This post was shared on A Proverbs 31 Wife & the SDG Gathering.

8

A Letter to the Daughter I Never Had

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While I have been blessed with two amazing young boys, I haven’t had the privilege of bringing a daughter into this world.

I have an unborn child in heaven and I’ve always thought that she is a girl, but I can’t be certain of that. If that baby was a girl born from my womb, this letter is a portion of the truths I would have taught her as she grew up.

Some of you reading this know that I love and care for you deeply as well as your daughter. This letter is full of the things that I want your daughter to know because she means so much to me.

Some of you are my nieces, my cousins, and my sisters. This letter contains truths that will help you to find joy and freedom in who (and whose) you are. I pray that you will let these words into your life and change you because you are dearly loved.

Most of you reading this, I will probably never meet on this side of heaven. Though I don’t know you, I care deeply for you and for your daughter. It is for this reason that I have written this letter and that I am sharing it with you today.

Perhaps you feel as though you have failed your daughter as a parent, but I am here to tell you that it is never too late. The only thing bigger than the mistakes we have made in the past is not living to correct them for the future.

To the mother who feels she hasn’t taught her daughter well, this letter is for you. God gave you the daughter He did for a reason. He doesn’t make mistakes. Let Him hold you up where you fall short.

To the mothers of daughters everywhere, ponder these truths in your own life. Live them out for her by your example. Teach them to her that her life might be blessed.

To the Daughter I Never Had (and to Yours),

I am honored to be guest posting in a series called 30 Days of Love from a Mother’s Heart.

You can finish reading this post at Kaylene Yoder’s blog. She is a dear blogging friend with a heart for encouraging women to pursue wisdom and grace. To continue reading this letter, click here.

This post was shared at Awed BodyCornerstone ConfessionsJennifer Dukes LeeEmbracing His WillSoul SurvivalWomen with IntentionA Little R&R, & A Look at the Book.

2

Messy Beautiful Love

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I just finished Darlene Schacht’s brand new book, Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages.

I am passionate about beautiful marriages and read as much as I can on the subject. This is one of the best books I have read on marriage.

“In an age when wives pride themselves on being right, Darlene shows the power of doing right. The timeless truth in this book will help any marriage.”                        ~Arlene Pellicane (author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife)

Using wit, personal examples, Scripture, and a very honest look at the pain that results from choosing less than God’s best for us, this book is an incredible encouragement to any married couple.

She reminds her readers that

Continue reading →

14

How Everything Can Change In A Moment

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One incident. One accident. One illness. One episode. One phone call.

We’ve all experienced a time in life when one moment has changed everything. Though we may get through the original event, we never really see things the same way again.

It has a way of changing us; a way of reminding us that life is short and time is precious. We remember that we forget to tell them they are loved, that they are precious, and that life is beautiful because of them.

I must have needed that reminder.

Just in case you do, too, hold your spouse a little longer the next time you are hugging. Make that phone call to say, “I’m sorry.” Send that card or gift that says, “You’ve blessed my life.” Hold your child’s face, look them in the eye, and tell them all that they mean to you.

‘Cause everything can change in a moment.  Continue reading →