Posts Tagged ‘NASB’

I have a friend who is doing the 40-day love challenge, which is based off of the movie “Fireproof”. Today’s posting was about love being a choice. It says:

“Love is Faithful (Hosea 2:20). Love is a choice, not a feeling. It is an initiated action, not a knee-jerk reaction. Choose today to be committed to love even if your spouse has lost most of their interest in receiving it. Say to them today in words similar to these, ‘I love you. Period. I choose to love you even if you don’t love me in return.’” (The Love Dare by Stephen and Alex Kendrick)

I really like this definition of what love is. It’s a choice. And the great thing about it is, while this is written specifically for married couples, this principle applies in any relationship, whether it’s with a friend, colleague, child, or even an enemy. Love is a choice. It means, even if I don’t particularly like someone, I still treat them well. It means, even when my child says she hates me, I tell her “I love you” in return.

When I look at love as a choice rather than a feeling, it puts a whole new perspective on things. Feelings are not something you can really control. Feelings can change. Feelings lie. But, when I make a choice to show love, I am doing that whether I feel like loving or not. I do it whether I like someone or not. Love is a choice.  1 John 4:7&8 says,

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (NASB).

We are commanded to love one another. God’s Word doesn’t say love each other if you feel like loving each other. It doesn’t say love each other if they treat you well. It says love one another. Why? Because God loves us. This verse is specifically talking to Christians loving each other, but what about those who are not considered brothers and sisters in Christ? What about those who are doing things that God’s Word indicates are wrong? What does God say about that? Are we to hate them? Are we to be vindictive?

I think most of us would know that the answer to those questions is “no.” We’re not to hate them. In fact in Matthew 5, Jesus says,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘ You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (vss 43-46, NASB)

In a parallel passage in Luke 6, Jesus says,

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (vss 27-36, NASB)

We are not only commanded to love those who are lovable, but to love those who are easy to hate – those who hurt us and use us. That’s so hard. My first instinct is not to show people like that love. But we are commanded to love. So, love is a choice. I can choose to be kind, or I can choose to be unkind. I can choose to react out of anger, or I can choose to calmly respond with kindness. I can love or I can hate. Today, I choose love.

Your turn! What is your opinion about love? Is it a choice or is it something you have no control over?  How do you show love when others are not?  I would love to hear from you!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

 

Photo Credit: Photos by Mavis via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Photos by Mavis via Compfight cc

In this life there are always going to be problems. After all, as I have been reminded of time and time again, we live in a broken world full of broken people. And broken people hurt each other – sometimes on purpose and sometimes by accident. The bottom line is, everyone gets hurt at some point. And I’d venture to guess if someone insists they have never been hurt, they were probably either the ones inflicting the pain, or they are lying to themselves. I suppose there could be the rare case that it’s actually true, but if it is, then it truly is a rare case indeed. It would be nice to be able to say that the cause of all my problems rests squarely on the shoulders of others, but unfortunately for me, often I am the cause of my own problems.

So, if I am the problem, what can I do to fix it? And shouldn’t that make things easier to fix? I mean, the only person I can really do anything about is myself, right? Alas, it’s not that simple. It’s actually easier to see the problems in someone else’s life because I’m not part of that life, and it has no bearing on me. I’m a neutral party. But the reality is, it’s not my job to see everyone else’s problems. It’s my job to work on me. So, how what does that mean for me?

First things first. Before I can begin to fix a problem in me, I have to actually know that there is a problem. My experience has been that I don’t really see my own problems. I’m too close to the issue. That’s where friends come in and help. I am blessed to have at least 2-3 good friends who are willing to point out to me when I have a flaw in my thinking or if I am overstepping my bounds. I trust these friends with pretty much every aspect of my life – which is saying something because I don’t really trust people easily. But because I trust these friends, I know that if they are taking the time to tell me I have an issue, I listen. I don’t like it. But I listen. I might get angry at first. But I listen. I listen because I don’t want to be one of those people who refuses to see the issues in my life and stay in the same unhealthy patterns. But what do I do once I have seen or someone has pointed out to me that there is a problem?

I think there are three things I need to do in this situation. After all, God gave me a brain, and He gives me the tools necessary to learn and grow.

1) I need to review what has been pointed out to me or what I suspect, to determine the truth in the situation. Sometimes a perceived problem, isn’t truly a problem. But often it is. So, first, I need to examine the facts. Who is telling me I have an issue? Is it someone I trust or someone I just happen to know? Is it someone who tends to find problems in everyone or someone who usually thinks well of people? Am I just feeling insecure, or do I have facts that back up my suspicions? This could mean that I need to ask for honest feedback. It definitely means I need to get into God’s Word to see what He says. The main point here is that I need to be willing to take an honest look at what has either been pointed out to me, or I have a suspicion about.

2) Once I have determined that there is actually an issue, I need to be willing to admit that there is a problem. Admitting the problem means that I recognize the issue, and now I want to do something about it. I don’t want to be one of those people who says “Oh yes, I have a problem, but that’s just who I am.” That’s not a healthy outlook. If I have a true issue, then it is something that can be remedied and worked on. Yes, I have a personality, and that personality makes me who I am, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But if I allow myself to be ruled by my personality, then I am not looking out for the best interests of others. And as a child of God, I am called to care about other people. Philippians 2:1-4 says:

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” (NASB).

I don’t have the luxury of thinking only of myself. I have a responsibility to look out for the interests of others. So, if I have an issue, I need to admit to the issue. It doesn’t mean an overnight change necessarily, but it does mean I need to admit there is a problem.

3) Finally, I need to address the issue. I need to take steps to improve in that area. Sometimes that’s difficult to do because perhaps the action or thought has been so deeply ingrained that it takes a long time to make the change. Making the change quickly isn’t required. Committing to making the change and then acting on that commitment is. Some things I can do to help me with that is to ask someone to help hold me accountable. Knowing someone is going to be asking me about my progress means I am more likely to take action. Another thing I can do is get into God’s Word and see what He says about that issue, and also memorize Scriptures that can help me stick to my commitment. I can also keep a journal to track my progress.

I do need to remember, though, that making progress isn’t necessarily overnight. I am going to have times when I fail. At those times, I need to remember that this is a process, and instead of giving up, I need to get up and keep moving forward. My experience has been, when I have actually done this, I have walked away feeling better about myself and have been better able to help others in the process. And really, isn’t that what I’m here for – to help others?

What about you? Do you have other ideas for how to make changes in your life? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Photo Credit: Flооd via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Flооd via Compfight cc

Church should be a place where you can feel safe from harm. It should be a place where people don’t cast stones and where love, healing, and growth takes place. The problem with that is that those who gather for church are human. And when you get more than one human together in one place, the chances are, someone is going to get hurt. So, how in the world are we to handle it when it comes? If it’s inevitable, how do we protect ourselves?

I will admit, it’s difficult, and it’s something I struggle with because I have been hurt more than once by a church or someone who was a part of the church. It is so difficult when those who should be leading you, instead of resolving issues, turn to cutting you down and tearing your dreams to shreds. I very recently went through a very hurtful situation, where I felt attacked. I wish I could say that I handled it in the best possible way, but I must admit, I probably could have done better. I wanted so badly to see issues resolved, that when it became obvious that wasn’t the intent of the other person/people involved, I lost all interest in trying to show respect. That isn’t to say that I did lose respect, but I probably didn’t speak as kindly or listen as carefully as I would have normally. I spent the rest of that day fuming and hurting and crying over the way things went down. I was so hurt. And I was so mad at God. How could He allow this to happen? How could He allow me to go through all these crazy drama things I have going on lately? How could He not do something?

But then a new day came. I can’t say I’ve completely gotten over being mad at God. I haven’t. But I’m closer. I am finding comfort in His Word, and through the counsel of my friends, readings, devotionals, and yes, even Facebook statuses that have come my way. And interestingly enough, I’ve begun to look at this differently. See, I want to be a leader. I don’t necessarily want the title of leader – I want to have the actions of a leader. A leader leads whether they have a title or not. That means, even when I am hurting, even when others respond badly, even when I feel like throwing in the towel, I set an example of what love looks like. I set the example of treating others with kindness instead of casting stones. And that’s hard. So, how do I do that?

1) I need to forgive. Forgiveness starts with me. It doesn’t start with receiving an apology. It doesn’t start with someone else realizing they were wrong. It doesn’t start because I feel like forgiving. It starts because I choose to forgive.  One of the statuses I read on Facebook last night said,

“Recently, I received a text message that caused me to stare at my phone in complete disbelief. Why couldn’t this person see how hurtful they were being? How could they be so insensitive?

Hurtful situations tend to make me want to fight back and be mean too. Maybe you feel the same way.

But Colossians 3: 12-14 reminds me, “…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

My job isn’t to fix this person or make them see my side of things. My job is to obey God by offering an extension of the forgiveness I’ve been given.” (Lysa Terkeurst)

My job isn’t to fix the person/people who hurt me. Do you know how much of a relief that is? Again, my job isn’t to fix the person/people who hurt me. My job isn’t even to make my side heard. My job is to forgive. I am commanded to forgive. And forgiveness is a choice – sometimes one that has to be made over and over again.

2) I need to stand strong and persevere. James 1:12 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (NIV).  Maybe this is a test or trial I need to go through so that I can grow. If I look at it as a punishment or a bad thing, then I do myself a disservice. However, if I look at this as an opportunity to grow and learn, then I find a purpose for the trial. I now have a reason to move forward because now I have an opportunity to learn. Hebrews 12:11 states, “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (NASB).

It’s not going to be fun to go through the painful situation, but in the end, if I allow myself to be trainable, I will grow from it, and yield “the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” That’s something to look forward to!

3) Finally, I need to keep serving God. If I allow myself to be hurt to the point where I feel I can’t serve, then I am being disobedient to God. We are called to serve, right where we are at. OK, so my ability to serve in the capacity I was in has been taken away at least for the time being. That doesn’t change the fact that I have other ways to serve. I have talents and gifts that God has given me. I will continue to use them to serve Him. Nobody can take that ability away from me, except God Himself.

So, while I am still hurting, and I am still upset, I know God has a good plan for me. He will use me in other capacities if I allow myself to be open to it. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me!

Your turn. Have you ever been in a hurtful situation where you felt like someone was casting stones at you? How did you handle it? What do you do to remind yourself that you still have a purpose? How do you handle hurtful situations? I’d love to hear from you!!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Photo Credit: Mundoo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Mundoo via Compfight cc

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost an entire week since I left New York. How time flies when you’re busy, right? Anyway, I had intended to keep up with my blog while I was there, but got a little busy after the first couple of days. In fact, I did more driving in that week and a half I was in New York than I do in six months (no joke). It was a lot of fun, and when it came time to leave, I found it quite difficult.

While I was there, I went to visit one of my brothers and his family. I decided that I was going to stop off at my uncle’s house to see my grandmother on the way there. So, I got the address, and general directions, but I figured I’d be fine. After all, I had my phone, which I use for GPS all the time. There was one small problem with that plan – when I hit the little town of Pitcher, the signal on my phone was gone. And I don’t mean it was just slow or spotty. It was completely gone. I freaked out just a little because I had no idea how much I relied on my phone until I didn’t have it to rely on any longer. I pulled over, and tried to get it to work, but to no avail. So, I started driving in what I was assuming was the correct direction, thinking if I could just go a little further, I might get my signal back. In the meantime, I had someone behind me, who was probably getting quite irritated at the crazy lady driver in front of him. So, thinking I’d get out of his way, I pulled into the drive of a church – all the way up to the grassy parking lot.

Now, if you know anything about New York in March, you probably know that it can be cold or warm, snowy or sunny, or any combination of weather. On that day, it happened to be warm and sunny. And when it gets warm, a grassy parking lot is not exactly the best place to stop. See, I, in my infinite wisdom (or lack thereof), stopped on that grassy lot, and tried to figure out how to get a signal on my phone. Within a few moments, I realized it wasn’t going to happen, so I tried to leave. To my horror, the car didn’t want to leave. It was stuck in the mud. I tried for probably a good 20 minutes to get out of that parking lot on my own – making things worse with each passing moment. Finally realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to do anything about the car on my own, I decided that I was going to try to find someone home. So, I knocked on the door of someone across the street. She was quite friendly and gave me some ideas – which probably would have worked for someone other than me. In the end, she and two other people came over to help me get out of the mud. My car and sneakers were covered in mud. The situation seems quite funny now, but at the time, I was frustrated and annoyed and ready to just throw in the towel.

See, while I was trying to get out of that mess on my own, I was praying. I was asking God to get me out of the mess I had gotten myself into. In fact, at one point, I believe I even asked Him why He’d allowed me to get stuck in the first place – as if I hadn’t made any decisions on my own. I had been so focused on relying on my phone, that I forgot to rely on the only one who is able to be relied on at all times. Now, I believe God sent those people over to help me. I truly do because I don’t even know where two of them came from. I only talked to the one lady, but three people came over to help me. And in true small-town fashion, we stood around talking and laughing at the situation afterward. But the moment that could have ended in more frustration didn’t end that way. It ended with me feeling blessed by three people whose names I don’t even know.

I believe God was answering my prayer before I even thought to pray it. I believe He orchestrated events to allow me to learn something. This is what I learned that day. I need to stop relying on myself and everyone else so much. I need to rely more on God. I worry too much about what is going to happen and forget to rely on God. I am so busy trying to control everything that I forget that I don’t really control anything. I whine and complain about the bad stuff instead of remembering Romans 8:28 that tells me that God “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” (NASB). I forget that He can use even being stuck in the mud to bring about something good in my life.

In the end, I made the rest of the trip to see my grandmother and my brother and his family with no further issues. But I walked away with a lesson that I hope never to forget. Even when I feel stuck in the mud, God is there, and He is working things out for my good. I don’t have to stress and whine and complain. I can rest in His promise that He is there with me, through everything. And HE is in control.

What about you? Have you had times when you felt like you were “stuck in the mud?” What do you do in those instances? Do you try to control more or do you let it go and trust it will work out?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

 

Photo by Paul JarvisI wrote a few days ago about the need to face forward while running and in life, so that I will not miss the obstacles that are in my path. I mentioned how looking down or to the sides could cause me to stumble. And that is totally accurate. But, the past few time I ran, I realized something else. I am a big picture person. I am the type of person who sees what the end product should look like and then I make a plan to get there. I’m very good at that. What I’m not good at is planning for the problems that might come up. See, I have in my mind this perfect plan where everything will just go as I intend and nothing will go wrong. So I keep my eyes on that big picture, and I plow forward. However, one thing I’ve noticed as I run is that, if I look too far ahead on the path, I “forget” about the obstacles in front of me. I “forget” to pay attention, and the next thing I know, I’m tripping over an obstacle in my path. Or, if I’m looking too far ahead, I miss the hidden obstacles. You know, the ones you can’t see because they’re buried under the pine needles or leaves.

This morning, as I was running, I tripped on one of these hidden objects. There was a root that was buried under a bunch of pine needles, and I hit my foot on that root. I didn’t fall, but I almost did because I was so busy looking ahead, I forgot to pay attention to what was right in front of me. I tend to do this in life, as well. I get caught up in trying to reach my end goal, that I sometimes miss the things going on right in front of me. Perhaps my daughter has an issue, but I don’t notice because I’m so focused on following my “perfect plan.” Problems don’t fit into my perfect plan. Or maybe there is someone in need, but I don’t notice because I’m so focused on my goal. Or maybe it’s just that I fall into a behavior that is not in my best interests because I “forget” to pay attention and avoid it. Whatever it is, I am missing the obstacles, and I get tripped up. When that happens, I guarantee you, I don’t respond in the most gracious manner.

So, what can I do to make this better? For one thing, I can choose to pay attention to what is going on around me. Believe it or not, running has helped me to notice things more because I have become more focused. I am learning to focus on what is going on around me, while still moving toward my goal. Because I am succeeding in this area, I am gaining more confidence in succeeding in other ways. But I believe there are a few things I can do to make sure that my plans are reasonable, and that I am better able to see and avoid (or better deal with) the obstacles in my path.

 1) Ask God to help me make better plans.

James 1:5 says that if anyone lacks wisdom, then we just need to ask God, and He will give it generously and without making us feel bad about asking. I don’t know about you, but I can always use more wisdom. In addition, Proverbs 16 has a lot to say about the plans of a man. Verse 1 says, “The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.” Verse 3 states, “Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.” And, finally, verse 9 states, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” So, if I am giving my plans to God, and letting Him lead me, then I have a better chance of succeeding because He is all-powerful and best able to help me to succeed.

 2) Ask for counsel from friends or others who may be able to provide insight.

When I just go off on my own thoughts and make a plan, I often don’t look at all angles. I might see one or two, but sometimes I miss the most obvious ones because I am so busy looking at the big picture. So, getting the advice of others can help me to make a better plan. This is in line with biblical teaching as well. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed.” So, if I get good counsel, I have a better opportunity to succeed. This is really hard for me to do because I like to think I know what I’m doing, and I don’t like to bother people with my problems. But one of the things I have started to learn over the past few years is that there is nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact, that is often showing more wisdom than anything else I could do.

 3) Give myself grace when I fail.

I will never succeed all the time. There are going to be times that I fail. I have a tendency to give myself a hard time when I make a mistake, and I don’t let myself forget it. But I need to learn to give grace to myself when I fail, and instead of wallowing in my failure, I need to get up and try again. Failure isn’t permanent. I still have an option to get up and try again, and maybe the next time I will succeed.

So, the next time I make plans, I will ask for wisdom, help and not dwell on my failures. And maybe, just maybe, I will see success with defeating the obstacles in my path.

What about you? Do you find it easy to miss the obstacles right in front of you because they don’t fit into your plans? How do you avoid or deal with those obstacles? What has worked for you?

~Until Next Time,

 Karen Signature

Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling. Proverbs 16:18 (NASB)

There are days when I wish I could get a “do-over”.  I’m sure you probably know what I mean – the kind of day when you start out wrong, and it all goes downhill from there.  Often when I have those kinds of days, it often as a result of my feeling of pride – though the results are never something I am proud of.  I get into this mind-set that I have done so well, I can keep doing it on my own power.  The reality is, when I do well, it’s never by my own strength.  I don’t do well because I “resolve” to do well – my resolve always waivers.  I do well when I let God work through me.

This morning was one of those mornings when I wish I could have a do-over.  I don’t know if it was a result of being over-tired, being frustrated, or a combination of both.  Regardless, I handled things badly this morning.  I’d just been telling a couple of people earlier this week how well it had been going with me and my kids – how we hadn’t really had any shouting matches, how we were handling things much better, etc.  Then this morning comes – and I fall apart.  I lost it over nothing really.  I yelled at one daughter for running behind and not being responsible, and basically acted like a spoiled brat who wasn’t getting her way.  I yelled at both of my daughters for yelling at each other.  (I know, great example I am setting, right?)  I yelled at both for being rude and irresponsible.   And I did all this in the course of about 15 minutes.

And afterward, I felt small.  I felt like a failure.  I feel like a failure.  I want so badly to get it right, but I just keep messing it up.  And in the end, what ran through my mind, what whispered in my ear was, “Pride goes before destruction.”  Yep, that’s about right.  My pride definitely brought destruction.  It brought destruction of the peace in our home.  It brought angry words and destroyed my ability to communicate effectively with my kids.  It destroyed my well-being – bringing me to a place of tears, pain and regret.

Proverbs 18:6 & 7 says, “A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows.  A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.” (NASB)

Those were hard words to read this morning.  I didn’t want to admit that I had been foolish, but I had.  My words were my ruin this morning.  And sometimes I wonder if they will always be my ruin, if I’ll ever learn.  I feel like, I take 3 steps forward to take 2 steps back.  But I read something this morning that gives me hope.  Lisa Terkeurst writes in her book, Unglued, the following:

“Imperfect changes are slow steps of progress wrapped in grace….imperfect progress.”

She goes on to share an entry from her journal that talks about how it’s OK to have setbacks and need do-overs.  What struck me was that she used the exact word I had been wishing for, “do-over.”  It’s like God spoke to me in that moment and said, “Karen, I know that you’re hurting, and your heart is in pain.  I know that you wish you had done differently.  I know that you feel like a failure.  But Karen, it’s OK to make mistakes.  You’re human.  What’s important is that you learn from those mistakes.  Keep moving forward.  Don’t give up.”

And in that moment, I had hope.  I had hope that just because I keep messing up, doesn’t mean I am not making progress.  Just because I’m not getting there in the time frame I wish I could, doesn’t mean I will stay in this same spot.  I need to keep getting back up and keep trying.  It doesn’t make it OK that this scene happened this morning.  I still need to deal with whatever comes from that and make things right with my kids.  But I don’t need to dwell there with that mistake.

Do you have times when you wish you could have a do-over?  Do you sometimes get frustrated and feel like everything is falling apart?  Do you struggle with this too?  I would love to hear what you do in these moments and how you have made progress.  Share in the comments below.

~Until Next Time!

Karen Signature

I had a someone tell me recently that he was looking for a relationship with someone without a complicated past, and that mine was a train-wreck. So basically, even if I were looking for more than friendship, I’d be out of luck right from the outset. As harsh as that sounds, at least it’s honest. I do have a train-wreck of a past. I had a lot of things happen to me, and I did a lot of things that I am not proud of. And I haven’t had a lot of success at relationships.

Now, this person is nothing more than a friend to me, and there was never any expectation or desire for anything more. However, I have to be honest, this hurt. It still hurts even two days later. When I heard those words, my heart broke a little.

If he, as my friend, wouldn’t ever want more with someone with my past, how would anyone else ever want to be with me? It would be easier to be rejected for my looks or my size or my personality – because those are all things I can change. I can’t change my past. My past will always be my past.

In all honesty, I’m not looking for someone, but someday maybe I’ll want to. Maybe there will be that desire to have a romantic relationship with someone someday. Will that person also reject me as unworthy of more because I have a train-wreck of a past?

Before I go further, please understand, my friend didn’t reject me as a person and has never treated me with anything other than kindness and respect. In addition, this statement is not in context, so please don’t think I’m trying to vilify him in any way. In context or not…desire for more or not, the fact that I would automatically be out of the running because of my past still hurts.

See, here’s the thing – I am not my past. My past is a part of my life that God has used to shape me. But it is not who I am.

I prefer to think of myself as God’s “victory in progress”. Here is who I am: a child of God. Every day I learn more truths about myself and how God feels about me. And guess what! I’m pretty special to God.

God wanted me so badly (even while I was sinning – see Romans 5:8) that He adopted me when I confessed that He was (and is) Lord of my life. Romans 8:14-17 says,

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba!  Father!”  The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (NASB)

I get to call God “Daddy” and I am one of His heirs. How awesome is that? He chose me, past and all!

Not only did He adopt me, but He forgave me for all my past indiscretions when I confessed them to Him. 1 John 1:9 says,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (NASB)

On top of forgiving me, He wiped my whole entire slate clean – it’s as if none of my sins from the past ever happened in His eyes. Psalm 103:12 says,

“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (NASB)

I don’t have to live in shame because of my past. God removed that shame from me when I confessed my sins to Him.

God didn’t stop there, though. He is still changing, renewing my mind, and shaping me. Philippians 1:6 says,

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (NASB)

He’s not going to stop working on me until I am made perfect in Him (so basically as long as I live)!

So, while I may never be accepted as worthy of more than friendship here on earth, in God’s eyes, I am worthy of way more. He wrote my name and deeds in His book long before I was even born (see Psalm 139:16). He knows who I am. I don’t have to be brokenhearted. I just need to turn to the Heart Healer, and He will hold me tight in His loving arms and remind me that because of His love, I am not my past.

Have you ever felt like you were owned by your past? Is your past still haunting you? What do you do when you feel like your past is your identity? What I said above about myself is true of you, too. God wants you and He will take you into His arms too.

~Until Next Time!

Karen Signature