Posts Tagged ‘grace’

All Rise

Posted: April 6, 2015 in Forgiveness
Tags: , ,

“All rise,” the bailiff proclaimed loudly.

I didn’t want to rise that day or any of the other days I was in court for my divorce. Rise? I wanted to crawl under that table on my side of the courtroom.

Rise? Of course I gave that judge the dignity he deserved for a lifetime of service. He had earned it so I rose. Each time he entered the courtroom.

Part of me died that day back in December of 2010. My heart surely broke, that much is true. Everyone that knows me knows that.

Rise? I wanted to get on all four hands and knees and crawl my way out of that courtroom. But this thing called a divorce was happening and all I knew to do was listen to my family and my attorneys. So I did.

Rise? The very word was the opposite of what was actually happening. We were lowering ourselves. He had given up and after the divorce I would too.

A month or so ago I prayed that God would help me remember some memories that I don’t have. I begged him to help me remember some memories that were taken from me due to some unusual medical circumstances and treatments.

Tonight as I watched a movie based in a courtroom when the bailiff in the movie proclaimed “all rise”, I was immediately transported back to that courtroom so many years ago. My courtroom.

And the tears began to fall like rain. After I finished the movie I was sitting, crying uncontrollably. Then I realized that if my memory was restored that it would include the good and the bad.

Rise? I’m willing to rise from my fallen countenance if it means remembering more of my children’s young memories. If it means remembering playing in the sandbox with them I am willing to rise above the sadness to remember.

So, with God’s help, I will rise. I refuse to be a prisoner of the bad memories only. I embrace every good memory I have, even of my marriage. Because it all is what has made me ME. And I’m learning to like ME a little bit more with each year.

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What a wild and expected couple of weeks this has been! I was diagnosed with pneumonia a couple of weeks ago. Round one of antibiotics was a failure so they did more X-rays and am on round two of antibiotics.

Although I would not wish on my enemies, it has allowed me time to rest. Truly rest. Unplugged from most in the world, from work, from most things. I spend whole days not talking to another human being.

This morning I was cleaning my kitchen listening to my favorite playlist on my smartphone. Singing and worshipping my King who sits in the throne in Heaven and in my life.

Listening to my favorite music is like a weird trip down memory lane. Each song on my list has been one that God has used powerfully in my life. It’s like revisiting old memories but this time they are more like revisiting God’s mercy and grace.

When each song comes on I am transported to a certain time in my life, often that started with turmoil but was redeemed by God’s grace. They are like little victory songs, gems.

I own a rather spectacular dog named Louie. When I sing his tail wags and I don’t think he quite knows what to make of it but he knows that I’m happy and in turn, that makes him happy.

My mom wrote me an email recently and told me that I’m so brave. It was sweet. I’ve never thought of my being brave. I look at my life and am humbled by the God who has carried me through so much and I rejoice. I’m not brave, I just have learned to cling to Him with my last bit of strength, knowing His strength will carry me when I’m not strong enough.

I serve a big God. One who cares about me. One who cares about you. Who cared so much that He sent His only Son to die on the cross. You see, the Bible tells us that sin separates us from God. Nothing we do can bridge the gap between our sin and God. So God, being all loving, sent Jesus to take our place. To cover our sins and give us the chance to be able to approach God. This week Christians celebrate Easter.

For those of you who are unfamiliar about what Easter is and how amazing it is I’ll sum it up. Jesus was killed. He took our place as our sins (wrong things we do) would separate us from God for eternity.

So God being the all loving God sent His Only son (can you imagine) to die in our place. But that’s not the cool part. After being crucified on a cross, Jesus rose from the DEAD after three days in his tomb. He declared victory over death.

I ask you: do you know where you are going to spend eternity after you die? The Bible states two options: hell and Heaven. No amount of good deeds will get you to Heaven.

It’s simple: realize that we need God. Thank Him for sending Jesus to take our place, to pay the price for our sin. Ask him if he will transform your life. I can guarantee you that it will change your life as it did mine.

I’ve tried hard to keep this as real as possible. If you would like to know more about how to have JOY in the midst of life, please write me or comment here so I can communicate with you and pray on your behalf.

This is the week we celebrate good news! Join me in serving an all powerful, all knowing and all loving God. I invite you.

The hum of the washing machine as it whirls in the background. Listening to my top 25 playlist on my iPhone. There it is again. That song. Forgiveness by Matthew West.

This song is like the anthem of my life that just won’t go away. Even now I sit here on my soft green chair with pneumonia it plays and I type.

I know that God has forgiven everything that I’ve done and everything that I will do. That concept is hard to wrap a mind around but I grab onto it like a life raft.

I’ve forgiven others for things I never thought possible.

Yet here I sit pondering the concept of self forgiveness. It sounds like a bunch of psychobabble bunk but I take pause. This might be the missing link to this journey of grace I’ve been on.

I give grace to others: my family, my friends and my kids but I am less likely to give it to myself. Why is that? I think it’s because deep down I think that I don’t deserve it. Sure I know what the Bible says and trusted people say but still I reserve this concept of forgiveness for others, leaving me devoid of this freedom.

But what if:
I could lay down my condemnation of my failures, of my sin, and allow myself to forgive myself?

To:
Fully accept that forgiveness that God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth for.

Perhaps:
I could finally fly.

The right words at the right time. This week I had to step out into the stairwell at work to call my dad. I was upset and frustrated and worried. A lack of timely communication about my daughter had me feeling hurt and worried.

As my dad often does, he talked me through the rough situation, offering insight into me and the other party involved that was wise and timely.

After we discussed my reaction to being hurt, again, my dad said these words which wrote on the very surface of my heart:

He can’t hurt you anymore.

And with that, something healed in my heart and head. You see, I HEARD it and believed it. No, I won’t live a life without hurt or loss. How I react to it is what is important.

I’m done. No more power is being given over.

He can’t hurt me anymore.

Be faithful in the little things. Over the past year, this thought kept coming to my mind. I’ve not doubt God was prompting me and at first I did not know what it meant.

Months passed. I was faithful in the little things. I worked hard at my contract job. I made effort in little things in my personal life and life with my children and extended family.

Recently, my life has had an explosion of amazing things. I was hired full-time in my current contracting job so in a week or so I will have full benefits (medical, vision and dental insurance), PTO, paid holidays and other benefits. I was blown away. Not only did I get the job but they gave me a promotion and more money. Funny thing – if I would have been hired a year ago I wouldn’t have gotten either. But God knew. And I waited. I was faithful every day in my job. Even if I wasn’t given the job, it would have been the right thing to do.

One day I cried out to God, literally. I said “God, please send me someone to help take care of me.” The next day, God answered my prayer in an obvious way. My dad called out of the blue and said “mom and I would like to help you move, pay for the deposits, movers, etc.” I was blown away and of course burst out in tears. Once again it was a out and out answer to prayer. God has done amazing answers to prayer in my life but tangible ones since my divorce.

So then my brother and dad went to look for a place for me. Found one even better than I’d hoped in my price range. It was perfect. All I had to do was visit it and sign the lease. For this single mom stretched for time and energy, this was such a blessing.

I needed to give up my cat which I was allergic too but this fell into the being faithful in little things category. Even though it was hard, it was the right thing all around for me and my family. Then, my brother offered to help me with my dog. With training, food (he gets free food at his business), etc. And was excited about my having one and understood how important a dog was to me. This was a blessing. I had kept my owning a dog hidden from my family for 1.5 years. Now I was blessed with not only being able to tell the truth but to get the support of all my family.

Tomorrow I move into my new place. To say I’m excited is too mild a comment. I’m thankful, blessed, happy and full of peace and joy. God has done a great thing in my life with the full time job, new apartment, new mattress donated to me, new bedding donated by family and dear friends, etc.

I am deeply grateful tonight.

In my life I’ve had a lot and a little. Growing up I was blessed financially. I’ve been to 49 out of the 50 states. I’ve skied in Switzerland. Ive traveled Europe and been to South America. I’ve experienced middle class as a stay at home mom and I was also weeks away from being homeless.

I look around me every day both at work and at church and I see people who take things for granted and that makes me sad.

As a child I wore name brand clothes and went to a private school. As an adult I have learned to adjust my living to the state I’m in.

Where some might be thankful for their fancy outfits I’m thankful for clean clothes and quarters to wash my clothes with.

Tonight I was giddy as a schoolgirl (why does this expression exist still?) as I bought a nice, new pair of shoes for the first time in about six years. Real leather. Brand new, in my size and they felt great on my feet!

You are probably reading this and think I’m quite mad. My point is this: be thankful for what you have. Don’t take things for granted. Be thankful to the One who gave you what you have or don’t have.

Six years ago I couldn’t have told you the price of a package of chocolate chips. ($2.28…down from $2.45 which they were for six months.) And no, I don’t often buy chocolate chips but I’ve had to live in such a way that required that I know these things.

I’ve literally spent my last dollar on my kids before without them knowing.

What is my point? I’m thankful to God for providing for me from childhood to adulthood. From wealth to low income. You see, neither has the power to make you happy or not. Joy lives outside of your circumstances and you can experience it even in the middle of pain. I’m not just saying that. I know. I’ve lived it.

Tonight I celebrate a new pair of shoes and brand new socks. On the cusp of my six dollar thrift store shoes wearing out God provided. As He always does. In His time.

It’s not about stuff, people.

Six years ago my ex spouse filed for divorce and I moved out of my home with a few pieces of furniture, a baking sheet, pan, a wooden spoon and a few clothes. My brother bought me a blow up camping mattress which I slept on and every morning I would wake up under 5 blankets and that darn bed was deflated!

I’ve had some rough times during the past years. I was ill more than once and fairly seriously. I battled depression that hospitalized me. My kidneys almost shut down. I ended up with MRSA, a staph infection that could have threatened my life. I was out of work for almost a year. I endured a horrible divorce. I am recovering from an abusive relationship. At one point I was almost homeless.

I don’t write these things for sympathy or support. Today I celebrated a wonderful gift from God. After a year contracting for a company, today was my first day of full time employment with them. With insurance and benefits!

I know that we are not promised tomorrow so we’re supposed to make every day, every encounter count. Today I celebrate God’s goodness and His caring for me. Even the timing of this job offer and the details with which I got with it were in His time.

I don’t know what tomorrow brings but today I celebrate what God has done in my life and how He is moving me toward my future. God is good. All the time.