Monday, May 20, 2013

Forgiveness is a Beautiful Thing

Forgiveness is a funny thing.  It is something that we all crave for ourselves but have a hard time extending to others.   I think back to when I was a kid and my siblings and I would fight.  We would get in trouble and then our mom would make us say sorry to each other.   You know that half hearted "I'm sorry"?    And then being the gracious kids we were... "well I don't except your apology!" :)    It sounds so funny to look back on it now.    We always did end up accepting the apology and moving on.  But every once in awhile we would bring it back up with those "remember that one time when you did that to me" stories :)  Little did we know that we were learning what would be one of the hardest lessons to learn as an adult.  Learning how to accept an apology, truly forgive and move on.

A friend and I were talking the other day and we were discussing some things going on in our lives and with our children.  Like me, she is a single mom and she was having a hard time with forgiving.    She said to me "every time something goes wrong with me, I get mad all over again and blame my ex husband.  None of what I am going through would be happening if he did not do what he did".   There is some truth to that statement.    She had no choice in the fact that he decided to walk away and leave her with her children.   Now the financial hardships, the loneliness, the single parenting are all things that she has to contend with.   Life has a way of making us "rehash" things over and over again. And our finger is sure to point back to what we feel is the "source" of our problems.

The familiar quote we have all heard comes to my mind.  "To err is human, to forgive is divine!"  The author knew what he was talking about here!  It is hard to forgive!   We as humans look for places to assign blame and when we have a just cause it is so easy to hold that up and use it for an excuse for everything that is not right in life.     We are often convinced that we are justified because we were done wrong.  But there is a major problem with unforgiveness.   It is a disease and it is deadly.   It never attacks the intended victim, but usually eats away at the wrong person.

I have watched many people, including myself, hold unforgiveness in their heart.  And I have also seen the person that they were harboring the offense against move right on with their life often not even knowing or acknowledging that they were the "perpetrator" of an offense.    Unforgiveness is a disease because it attacks the wrong person.  It eats away joy, happiness, vision and clarity.   The longer you hold the offense the more skewed your memory becomes of what really happened in the first  place.    The bondage that comes with harboring unforgiveness is so strong.    When you allow the process of harboring unforgiveness to start in your heart, it's like the visual of someone handing you the end of a rope.  That offense begins to wind itself around you and the longer you hold onto it the longer that rope gets.   It just keeps wrapping itself around you until you can no longer see!   You are robbed of your future, your joy and your potential all because you choose to hold on for that apology that may never come in this lifetime or to see that person get what they had coming to them.

It is a hard thing to do to really forgive someone but it is also very liberating!  Life is full of ups and downs.  You will have things happen to you that are not fair, that you did not ask for nor do you deserve!  You will have people speak ill of you, treat you unfairly and take advantage of you.  If you choose in your heart to not forgive these people, then you are sentencing yourself to a lifetime of being their prisoner!   But when you find the courage to move past the offense, to forgive and let are freeing yourself instantly from their control.     The irony with unforgiveness is that we hand the people we feel "powerless" against all the power!    I choose today to forgive because I declare the right to choose who has the power in my life.  Only God has the place in my life to hold the control.    I will not be held back or held down by the people that I feel have betrayed or offended me.   I will let go of that pain and that hurt and forgive so I can move on into the true future and destiny that God has set aside just for me!   

Ask yourself today...who or what is worth giving up all you have for?  Was it wrong...yes.   Are you justified in feeling hurt...yes.   Does that person truly owe you an apology...more than likely.   But are you going to let the would of, could of, should of's hold you back any longer....NO!    Practice the fine art of forgiveness to others!  You will find such a freedom and peace when you do and you will also be sowing good seeds into your future.  You just never know when you may need a little mercy and grace thrown your way!

In this thing called life with you my friends! :)  Love you all - April

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mirror Mirror on the Wall!

One thing that I have found that I have dealt with my entire life, from childhood until even now, is comparisons.   Comparing myself to other people comes like second nature to me.  I can't help it.  I know it is not what God would have me to do, it just happens.  And then I begin the journey of reminding myself of who I am in Christ.  

When I was a little girl I had many aspirations to be many things.   Like most children, my dream of what I would become when I grew up changed from week to week even day to day :)  I fancied myself an astronaut, then a doctor.   Oh yeah, a great female firefighter and then of course the most famous of all TV reporters!   I believed that I could be any of these things simply because I wanted to be them.  

Then real life kicked in and I started to grow up.  When I quit growing (height wise anyways) in about six grade, I realized that my firefighting, fighter pilot, astronaut flying days were probably a no go.  Then when pre-teen acne hit, I figured my days gracing the front of a magazine were probably limited at best.  Unless I wanted to be the "before" picture for a Clearasil ad.   As I got even older, the social-economical limits of my situation began to hit me.   I had a wonderful, fun loving, total middle class family.   What we lacked in monetary things, we made up for in relationships.  But we know that love doesn't pay a college bill :)   I began to see myself more limited by what I perceived I didn't have, than believing that I could make it happen with what I did have!!  Does that make sense?

The other day I was talking to a friend about a prayer request and I began to realize that this mentality had bled over into my perception of what I felt I deserved from God as well!  I had the faith of a mountain to pray for other people and believe that God would answer that prayer.   It has never occurred to me that God couldn't or wouldn't when it came to praying and believing for other people!!  But when it came to me, I have often found myself wondering will He?  does He want to?  do I deserve it?   What a hypocritcal way of thinking!!

I had to correct myself because God revealed something even greater to me!!  It is so EASY to believe for someone else and to pray with great faith for another because I personally do not have to deal with the aftermath of the results of those prayers.   I can pray and walk away.  I don't have to deal with their doubt, their struggle, their consequence.    The feeling that God did not hear or did not answer.

God is no respecter of persons.  The Word states that plain and simple.  If it is good for one, it is good for all!   He doesn't love me more or less than others.  We are ALL His children and His ultimate goal is for us to have life and to have it more abundantly!!  Just because He doesn't answer the way I think He should, doesn't mean He didn't answer.  He sees the bigger picture of my life.  He is not just walking in my present, He is ever working to make the way for my future.   Sometimes His seeming silence is His way to tell me not to get ahead of myself because the best is yet to come!

I have come to know that I have no right to pray and believe for someone else UNLESS I believe that God can do it for me!!    I would never want to give my son something that I did not feel was good for me!   That is how God views us!  He is so wise in all His ways.  He is ever in tune with the season of our life and He is making the way to answer our prayers and to build our faith.

So I stand corrected!!!  I will look into the mirror and realize that the lady staring back at me is valuable and worthy of what God has for her!!  When I bow my head and connect my faith with others, I will remind myself that the lady I look at every morning is as deserving as the people I love and care for the most!!  Do you believe this for yourself?  I am tired of buying the lie of the devil!  God made me and He isn't finished with me.  The devil and his tricks are just a tired, second hand imitation of what my God is able to do!!!

Believe in the faith of your prayers for others....and believe that God is just as interested in meeting your needs as He is in meeting the needs of those you love!!  Your friend in this thing called life!

April Phipps