Monday, December 7, 2009

Choose to Forgive

I just want to take a moment to speak to all you anonymous thirty somethings. I want to tell you that this may be "just a stage you are in", and it won't last forever. You've been through stages before, you know. Like when all your friends were in the dating stage; then all of you went through the getting married stage; next was the having babies stage, and then (unfortunately), some of you went through the getting divorced stage.
It seems that the women around me are going through a hurt, disjointed, and disillusioned stage. It doesn't have to be that way, of course, but it seems that by the time we reach this "thirty something", we have collected a lot of hurts. We've hurt others (often unintentionally), and we've lost a lot of relationships. We feel hurt sometimes, and we feel alone! Some of us don't have an extended family to fall back on, and some of us are under stress in our marriages to boot. Many of us have teenagers, or are under financial pressures.
Wow. We are going through some stuff.
But I think what's most important at this phase in life, is to be ruthlessly forgiving. Remember, that those women who have hurt you, or betrayed your friendship- they are hurting too! Your parents are fallible, your church is only full of normal men and women. You will have others fail you, and maybe they already have- terribly.
But this reminds me of my sweet daughter Victoria, and her recent encounter with her slightly older brother Joshua.
Joshua took Victoria's mittens, and was out in the snow drifts having a great time. Victoria was in the house, dejectedly searching for any sort of mitten. To no avail. Assessing the situation, I suggested to Victoria that she put some of Jed's turbo thick woolen socks over her hands, and just go have a good time. But Victoria was intensely focused on the terrible injustice of the situation- "Joshua took my mittens, and he wouldn't give them back!" An injustice, to be sure, but I wanted to point something out to Victoria.
"Are you enjoying yourself by being bitter about it?"
"What if you just forgave him, and moved on with your life? You could spend the whole day being angry, and it would ruin all your fun... or you could let it go, and it would have no power to affect the rest of your day! Just put on the socks, and leave it behind."
(Sage advice for myself these days. "Just put on the socks, and move on with your day.")
She cried. And put on the socks. I don't know the end of the story yet, but I think it's time for me as a thirty something to forgive. To recognize that I can't change what's going on around me, but I could do something about the future. I can get through this stage a lot faster, if I will ruthlessly forgive.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Don't Quit, and Don't Give Up

This is something I repeat to myself frequently. "I'm not quitting, and I'm not giving up!" Some days I feel I have to say it over and over, in order to remind myself. Other days I say it in relief. "I didn't give up, and I didn't quit!" (Phew!)

The basis for this unwillingness to quit is this:

Jesus came into my messed up life, and He accepted me- He changed me. He took my sins upon Himself, and He went to the cross in my place. He went to hell for me, and then He gave me His Life, His Resurrection, when I had earned nothing, and deserved death.

He rose from the grave by faith in the Father's word, and He gave me His Spirit to live in me forever, so I would always have a friend- always have hope! He conquered sickness, temptation, sin, and the grave for me, and He gave me His written word so that I would have all access to Him; all comfort-- so I would know that I have a covenant. I have His promise!

When He overcame for me, when He purchased all victory with His own blood, and then turned around and called me victorious... How could I give up?

How can I look into the scriptures and read the accounts of those in worse circumstances than mine, and disregard the intense faith that they kept in Him- and that He delivered them!

How can I read what He has promised me in Isaiah, and ever be discouraged... How can I believe He is against me when the entire bible outlines His unfailing goodness! He is God, and He is good!

How could I quit, when His Spirit lives inside of me- has become Part of who I am? How could I ever fail, when He Who lives in me is unfailing?

When He has won it all, and He won't give up on me? When He won't quit on me?

I can't I don't. You won't either. Some days seem tough, but we call those blessed who persevere (who didn't quit- who didn't give up). And there are good days too! And there is heaven ahead. He won't give up on me- I will not dishonor Him by giving up. All we need is His word, and He has given it to us in written form, to have it with us forever. Promise, after promise. And the more I read it, the more addicted I am- this book is filled with hope! This book is filled with life itself! This book is Alive, and This Book is a Person! This book is true, and it is The Truth. Oh, how I love His Word, and I can't live without it- and neither can you. You cannot live without the One who will not fail you or forsake you! He can't live without you either- He loved you enough to die for you, to win you to His side, to woo you, and to have you. He is the Great Bridegroom, the Irresistible, the Undeniable. He is the Awesome Almighty- He is Jesus. Oh the Blessing, oh the Joy, oh the Power. He is Worthy.

No. I can't give up. Neither can you- there is hope ahead for your life- the kingdom of God is within you, and you have the mind of Christ now. When you ask Him in to the dim and dismal places of your heart, He will enter, and He will cause you to be reborn- born from death into life; from depression into hope. When we know His word, we know that there is always Hope, and that we must not give up, and we do not quit. He is with you now- He will not fail you or forsake you. He is Love, and Love never quits or gives up.