My Journey Along the Narrow Way

Posts tagged ‘forgiveness’

Sin and Security…

I am going to be really transparent in this post. If you don’t like transparency, or emotional outbursts, this is probably not the post for you.

I have been taking a class at church going through a book called, “The Peace Maker” by Ken Sande. I have to confess that at first I was drawn to this class because at times my marriage has needed some peacemaking. But when two sinners get married, what do you expect?

The first few chapters were good, but then I hit Chapter 5 – Conflict Starts in the Heart. Wow…I will have to say that is when God really opened my eyes. I started reading this chapter and all of a sudden everything was applying to me…not to my husband. And let me tell you something, it was heartbreaking.

God has really used this book, and another study I am doing in my quiet time about Prayer, to break me. He has shown me that I have made an idol out of the need for security. I have seen clearly for the first time how I will do anything, including putting a huge burden on my husband, to get the security I crave and think that I deserve.

Let me back up a bit. Most of you know that I was adopted as a baby. I had fantastic, wonderful parents who always told me how much I was loved and wanted, but there was always this deep seated insecurity inside of me. I always felt like I was different and somehow not good enough because my birth mother obviously did not want me and just gave me up. Of course, as I got older and (a little) wiser, I realized that this was not true at all. She did love me, enough to give me up to someone who could better care for me. But knowing that intellectually and living it emotionally are always two very different things.

So, little by little, I placed a huge burden on my husband of making me feel secure. And when he failed, and he did, because he is a human sinner, as am I, I blamed him for my insecurity. This caused me to build a wall in my heart to avoid the pain. Sin, sin, sin…

I have never seen this so clearly as I did today. Let me share a little of what I journalled for my homework in class:

What do I seek and desire? Love of my spouse and security in our relationship. This is my idol. When I do not feel the security I desire in our relationship, I punish him by becoming distant (justification = protect myself) or angry (threaten or blame shift), instead of finding the security I crave from the one True God.

Another entry says:
As you look back on how you have handled this conflict do you see a need to repent and for confession? Yes! I was placing my needs and expectations on Bud. I believe that most of this (a recent argument) stems back to placing my desire for security on his shoulders as a burden that he can not possibly fulfill or carry. Again, repentance is necessary on my part as I have placed this on him rather than on God who is the only one who can and will give me the security and love I desire. I have continually taken the desire for love of God He has placed in me and put it as a burden on my husband. This has brought about a lot of conflict in our marriage which I have then blamed on him. I now realize there is no way my husband could ever meet these needs because he was never meant to…only God was.

As you can see, this has been rather eye-opening for me. And wildly freeing to my heart.

I can see God’s goodness and mercy so clearly and how I was the one backing away not God.

Why am I sharing this in a public forum such as my blog? I think transparency is a good thing. I think it is a public confession. I also think when God shows you something this good and freeing, you need to share it so others can learn from it as well. But most of all, I wanted to share how GREAT our God is! How loving and merciful and tender. I want to praise Him for being so longsuffering with me when I do not deserve it, worm that I am.

Thank you for letting me be transparent and free with you, as well.

Falling in Love (or God’s Plan for My Life), Part IX…

The next Sunday we went to church but Bud again had to work. After the sermon, at the time of invitation, I was singing and I felt like someone was pushing me out of the pew. It was an actual physical feeling. I knew I couldn’t just stand there, I had to walk…to the front…right then…and pray to receive Jesus. I started going out of the pew but Bella started hanging on my arm and telling me not to go. I just brushed her off and walked to the front.

I was so excited to pray to receive Jesus. I also filled out the card to join a FAITH team then and there.

Our lives changed totally within that period of a few weeks. The first thing I noticed after my salvation was that the anger was gone. And I had a totally different perspective on why God took my mother. I finally understood that all my prayers that he heal my mother HAD been answered…just not in the way my selfish self wanted. God did the ultimate healing and took her out of her pain and suffering to be with Him in Heaven!!! Oh how selfish I was for wanting her here with me, suffering. I had a sense of peace and joy that I had never had anytime in my adult life. We made friends and had friendships that were so different from anything we had ever experienced before.

I would love to say: and we lived happily ever after. But that isn’t the Christian life. While I know that in the end we will live happily ever after as we spend eternity praising our holy God, I know that there are and will continue to be trials and tribulations.

For example: a few years after we Christians, Bud lost his job yet again. Our income was cut about 2/3rds in one day. I had just bought a new car four days prior to him losing his job because Bella had been in a car accident and my car was totaled. Joey was also starting at a private school the week after Bud lost his job. Bella was a senior in high school with all the extra expenses that entails.

Bella & Joey

Bella & Joey

But God was so faithful to us. He worked through many people and circumstances around us to ensure that our family had what we needed. One time we didn’t know how we were going to pay tuition for Joey’s school for the month. We hadn’t confided this to anyone (except God). The last day to pay before getting a penalty, I decided I would just pay it and then figure out how to pay our power bill and get groceries later. When I got to the school to pay, I was told that the tuition had been paid for that month. The school wouldn’t tell us who paid it because the donor wished to remain anonymous. To this day I don’t know who God used to pay that tuition, but I do know with all my heart that God did lead someone to pay it.

Several times, when we needed to pay a utility bill, we would get a notice from the utility company that we had overpaid sometime in the last year and there was no payment due for that month.

Through several job situations, God has remained faithful to provide for us and to put us in a position to be able to survive. And God also has changed my husband so much. He is such a godly man who worked any and every job to ensure that his family had what they needed.

Life is so, so good. We have had so many ups and downs but always knowing God was right there with us. Loving us, providing for us, guiding us, and even chastising us. God still has to knock us over the head with a two-by-four. But He has been faithful to us. And best of all…Bud was recently ordained as a deacon in our church. Eight short years ago Bud was an in-your-face atheist and now he is a deacon. What else can I say but…..God is so good!

(The End) =-)

Inventory…

My children both work at Lifeway Christian Bookstore and for the second year in a row, Bud and I helped with Lifeway’s inventory this past weekend. There we were scanning all the items in the store for the inventory and I started thinking about keeping track of things.

In a store (or a warehouse like where I work), we do cycle counts and a yearly inventory to keep track of the inventory. In life, God keeps track of everything we do, both good and bad. What a truly frightening thought! Just think about that a moment…that ugly thought you had about your spouse or child, that curse word you said when something didn’t go right, that moment of complete selfishness…..all recorded for all eternity. Wow…I’m in big trouble.

But here’s the good news. When our “inventory” of sin is done, the report is still good! What???? How can that be? Even though our “numbers” should be horrible, and I will admit mine would be even if only a day’s worth of sins were recorded, they aren’t. The reason….the Lord Jesus Christ has given me his record in place of mine. Oh, what wondrous love! This is not how things are supposed to work but I rejoice in the lovingkindness of our God that this is how He has determined they will work!

So, in thinking of all of this, I am again driven to the cross. And I am more determined to work out my salvation in fear and trembling by leaning on the Holy Spirit for power to overcome these sins.

It’s Spring again…

I’ve been trying to figure out what is up with our weather…..

I mean in the past couple of weeks we have had extremely cold weather, shorts weather, tornados, snow, shorts weather again, torrential rain, and back to shorts weather again. It’s no wonder I have a head cold I can’t get rid of. I’m sure that my sinuses are just fed up with the daily weather change.

I will have to say though…I love Spring. I like Summer too. I guess I’m just a warm-weather girl. I think I like Spring so much because of everything coming back to life. Just watching all the bare trees start sprouting their leaves once again, the flowers begin blooming, and seeing all the birds and squirrels running around makes me happy. It reminds me of how things are with us as well.

When we have unrepentant sin we experience a lack of closeness from God. Until we repent and repair our relationship with God, there is a time of Winter in our relationship. It’s cold and distant and not satisfying to our soul.

But then we repent….and just like Spring there is new life in our relationship. The relationship blooms between us and our heavenly Father. The light illuminates our soul. The fruit in our lives just begins to bloom. Oh, the lovingkindness and forgiveness of our loving Father God!

So I just have to remember – no matter what the weather is doing outside – I can always have the newness and life of Springtime in my soul. Thank you my Father!!!