Grace wins

Encouraging, Faith

Have you ever found yourself at the end of a grudge match? You’ve battled with bitter, angry, and hateful feelings towards someone whose actions or words you dislike. Someone you cared about might have broken your trust. Maybe a disagreement turned nasty and now the idea of speaking to a certain family member, former friend, co-worker, or acquaintance drives you mad.

I’ve been there. I’ve carried warranted and unwarranted distaste for some people that have come into my life. I’ve harbored anger towards them, even resentment. 

As a believer in God, I still struggled with forgiveness. I’d forgive but not forget so when someone expressed or showed a desire to change, I saw it as comical. Really? Them, change? Never in a million years could that person change. 

I would list all the reasons why people didn’t deserve another chance. I told Jesus I was sorry but I wouldn’t allow myself to get struck on my other cheek willingly. I’d foolishly think, Jesus couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to forgive someone who hurt him, someone who didn’t deserve it. Silly me. He understands it more than I could ever comprehend.

I was okay with grace as long as it was for me because I never did wrong. The things I did weren’t that serious compared to others. I was a hypocrite. 

James 4:6 says, But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Every time I saw myself as above the people that hurt me or did me wrong, I was filled with pride. I had to question what good would it be if I continued to live like that?

I stopped looking at people in a whose sin is worse than mine, way. I accepted that some people really do change and even if they didn’t I had to love them anyway. I had to pray for them even if at first I’d grind my teeth together in an attempt to speak life unto their name. It was hard. I hated it. I hated praying for people that disrespected me. I wanted so badly to curse them out and put them in their places instead of pray. Whenever God would put it on my heart to pray, I’d roll my eyes and pout like a toddler. ”Why should I pray for them to have a good day when they just ruined mine, God?”

I came to the realization that the prayers we’re just as much for me as they were for the people that I was praying for. God was softening my heart. He was preparing me for the droves of people I would come in contact with that needed my prayers more than I need to prove a point. He was opening my eyes to see that if I wanted grace, I had to be willing to give it.

After all, I’ve changed. Who I am now is drastically different from who I was five years ago. It took work. It took a lot of self-reflection and acceptance that I wasn’t mentally and emotionally the person I should have been.  The woman I use to be rejected any idea that my temper was a problem or that my readiness to fight someone who gave me a little attitude was unhealthy. I wasn’t a mean person but I was very quick to anger and had no patience for disrespect. 

When I remember that part of myself it becomes easier to understand others. I don’t ride on my high horse acting as if I never needed to be forgiven. My past attitude had always affected the relationships I had with people and myself. And while there are times that I find myself in situations that test me, I don’t take things personally. I know that a person’s words and actions can come from a place of loneliness and pain much like mine once did. So when I’m questioned about why I continue to forgive people that have hurt me, I simply tell them that I myself have needed to be forgiven many times.

Grace is not something that we hold on to for dear life so that only we can reap its benefits. Grace is something we should share freely with others. And in the end, even if we still have strained relationships with the people who have done us wrong, our conscience will be clear and our hearts at peace.

 

As always guys, (HUGS & LOVE)


 

Listening ears on: God told me to visit my ex in-laws.

Uncategorized

Being human is hard. Add being a Christian and you have a whole list of rules and regulations you must follow in order to truly be a follower of Christ. Usually, especially now, doing the right thing and being sweet and kind has come easily. Even things that would trigger me, just goes over my head and I say a prayer in my mind, grin, and keep it moving. Last week however, I was thrown a curve ball that I really just wanted to dodge.

My ex told me that his parents were going to be cooking a big meal and asked if the kids and I would come over. Without hesitation, I said NO. I mean, why would I? Besides the fact that I’d have to drive over 45 minutes, I’d have to come in close contact with the family of the man I abruptly left in the middle of the night, with a week’s worth of clothing, and my kids. It wasn’t exactly a peaceful breakup and I found myself on the hated end of the stick. His father had a lot to say about me in the past and would quickly jump on social media in defense of his son, whenever I was the topic of a falsified rant.

I insisted that I had no business going there and I prayed to God that some crazy occurrence would happen so it would be set in stone that I couldn’t go. Be careful what you pray for because four days later a tropical storm came through AND a tornado happened 9 minutes away from us. We were obviously spared and I thought that was God’s answer to my prayers– no honestly! You want to know something? It wasn’t.

My ex told me he would be getting out of work early so he could take us if I didn’t feel like driving. I told him that was great because that meant he could take the kids and leave me out of the equation. He seemed hurt and told me not to be that way. They weren’t my family and I remember how dysfunctional it was when all of us lived together. I did not want to go so I purposely ignored all my ex’s text after that.

You know, God works in very BLUNT ways and as I headed to the bathroom I heard, “Go” in a vey soft voice. Now, don’t call the luny bin on me but I heard it clearly. I remember saying, “yeah right, God. You would never want me to go there.” I then saw a vision of me walking into their home and a voice said, “Go, so they can see all I’ve done for you. Go to be a light. ” Guys, I laughed so hard and said NO! Then I tried to convince myself that I was the one creating the instructions that I had but when I said the word “Go” in my mind it sounded different from what I first heard. This was not something I wanted to be obedient to. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable and I didn’t want to break bread with my ex’s family.

When my ex arrived, I grabbed my purse and roughly told him to hurry up and let’s go. He was shocked but he got up from the chair quickly and we headed to me car. Once we were all buckled and ready to go, my ex thanked me for going. I heard a voice say, “I told you.” I rolled my eyes and replied ok God, of course in my head because I didn’t want to sound crazy. 😂

The drive down was actually enjoyable and I didn’t find myself ready to jump out the car or complain to the heavens. But when we got to his parents house I found myself feeling uncomfortable and nervous. My girls rushed inside and I bought myself time by getting my son out of his carseat. Surprisingly, I was greeted genuinely and asked if I wanted some food and my ex made me a plate. I can’t even lie, for a second I thought they were trying to poison me so I asked my kids if they wanted some food and when no one screamed out “No”, I knew that the food wasn’t unsafe to eat.

I stayed for maybe an hour and a half and I watched as my kids enthusiastically ran around and played with the side of their family they hadn’t seen for so long. I felt relieved. My kids were so happy and I felt good. I talked with everyone and at no point did I want to run for the door. When I left I almost felt sad. His dad thanked me for coming and said we could do something for Christmas if I had no plans.

Before last Sunday, I had so much anger towards my ex father in-law. I was upset because he knew what I went through with his son and he completely turned against me when I left. I was mad and hurt and really wanted nothing to do with him ever again. Visiting him was a healing moment for me. It thought me forgiveness in a way I did think I needed. There is so much truth in forgiveness being for you and not the other person. I was released from the grip of anger.

If there’s anyone you need to forgive, whether they said you an open invitation or not, forgive them. Listen to the voice inside that sounds crazy because it goes against every logical thing you believe in. I listened to God and went somewhere I DID NOT want to go and it ended up being a beautiful moment for me.

I hope you liked this post and as always Hugs and Love!