Granting Grace

After nearly thirteen years together sometimes he just works my last nerve!  Last night I was frustrated to no end with my Love so I decided to leave the house to get some air.  I needed to go to Wal-Mart anyway but then I figured since Chick-fil-a was right next to Wal-Mart I deserved a cookies & cream milkshake…heaven on earth!

At the light while waiting to pull out of my subdivision, still fuming, I was going over the events of the past few minutes.  Even though I was in the car by myself and no one would have known, I was silently praying to God to help control my anger as to not start cursing that man out verbally or in the quiet corners of my mind.  

Sitting my anger at that light I clearly heard God say, “grant him grace.”  Ugh!!! God has been doing that a lot lately.  Just jumping into my thoughts, reminding me that in order to complete my circle not only do I have speak my faith, I also have to act my faith.

Grace is one of those words we hear so often that we tend to brush it aside when we are frustrated or angry.  In general, we all know what grace means but in all things Christ-like we have a choice in whether or not we use it.

Like I said, I know generally what grace means but I decided to look it up anyway so that I could make sure it was really grace God wanted me to extend in this current situation with my Love. (Won’t we try to find a way not to do what God tells us to do?  The flesh is weak!)

By definition, grace is the unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.

In reading the definition, it was the word unmerited that stood out the most so, I looked it up too.

Unmerited – not adequately earned or deserved.

I meditated over that word for quite sometime before I started this post.  No one and I mean no one, not even I, deserve grace.  If I were totally honest I know without a doubt that I sometimes say, do, think and act in ways that anger or frustrate God yet, even though I did absolutely nothing to earn or deserve it, I EXPECT God to grant me grace.  To forgive me, bless me and love me no matter what.  So who am I to not give to others what God so lovingly and freely gives to me each and every moment of my life?

I had the most enlightening drive to Wal-Mart! I also enjoyed my milkshake but then went home with a better attitude, helped my son with an online exam, hugged my Love and peacefully went to sleep.

Learning how to listen so that I can listen to learn.

 

Past, Present and Future

Normally, it takes me all of a few hours to write a post.  Once a topic, thought or interesting conversation comes to me, my juices start flowing and I just start writing.  However, I’ve been pouring over this post for about a week.  I knew what I wanted to convey but it was coming to me in weird pieces and I just couldn’t get the wording to make sense.  Anyhow, I’m going to give it to you the best I can and hopefully it will make some kind of sense 🙂

My mom used to say that the more things changed, the more they stayed the same. Of course as a child I had no idea what that meant but as I’ve gotten older I think I have a little bit of an idea as to what my mom’s sentiment might mean. As adults we live and hope that we can learn from our mistakes in order to do better.  However, what happens when we don’t learn from those mistakes? I guess this is how things can actually stay the same.

I got permission from my friend to tell this story because my mom’s little saying popped right into my head as she and I met for breakfast to talk over a week ago and I thought it was absolutely the perfect way to describe what she’s dealing with.  So, this friend has been married for over fifteen years.  She and her husband have three children all under ten years old.  Her husband, as far as I can tell and from what she says, is a cool dude.  Works hard, tries to spoil her as best he can and provides her with a pretty good life.  For the most part, she’s happy.  Unfortunately, she has a penchant for having male friends. Sometimes these friendships have been more than just friendships.

This has obviously caused a serious strain on her marriage which is what we were discussing over breakfast.  Although they have been to counseling, at her husband’s request, she has not made much progress in seeing how her “friendships” are effecting her marriage or what she needs to do in order to cut those ties.  I’ve known this girl for years.  I love her dearly but she’s as wrong as two left shoes and I had no problem telling her that.  In knowing her and talking to her that day, I could clearly see how situations she dealt with as a child are affecting her relationship with her husband and as long as she refuses to shed light on and talk about those issues she will never be free to be the wife her husband needs.

Her life and her story also puts in my mind generational curses and how they can impact so many lives for so many years.  If no one ever stands up to acknowledge what’s wrong in the family and talk about those family secrets they will inevitable eat away at the very fabric of all those involved.  Because I’ve known her so long, I know that this situation didn’t just start with her.  Her mother had the same exact issue in her marriage and story has it that her grandmother had the exact same issue in her marriage.

I almost can’t feel too bad for my girl though because as a grown woman she can make the decision to make a better choice so that this doesn’t continue to carry forth to impact her children.  Instead of being afraid of what may come out as a result of her talking about and dealing with the issues of her past, she can make a lifetime of difference for herself and her family by openly and honestly taking on that challenge.

 

Love yourself enough to take on the challenge… 🙂

 

 

Refreshed

It took a little while but this morning I was able to complete my 90-Day study of Awaken by Priscilla Shirer.  I love the format in which this book is written.  Each day begins with a scripture and then a short discussion followed by time to write down your thoughts.  If you are looking for a short daily devotional with high impact, I would definitely recommend this book.

On Monday, when I realized that I was almost done with Awaken, I stopped at my local Lifeway Christian bookstore to find my next bible study jewel.  I had no idea what I wanted to read/study next so I browsed the shelves for about an hour trying to find a book I was hoping would speak to my mind, spirit and soul.  I thumbed through all of the authors I am familiar with but nothing felt quite right.  I then turned my attention to authors I had not read before.  Low and behold I came across a book titled Craving Connection by (in)courage.  (in)courage, I have since come to know, was founded by Dayspring as an online community for women to share stories about their every day lives with God.

I purchased this little gem and brought it home.  I am looking forward to cracking it open in the morning and taking the next step toward building an even closer, deeper relationship with my heavenly Father.

On to greater heights...😊

Morning Drive – Part 2

So a few days ago I posted about my struggles with my morning drive to work and the subsequent solution to my problem.  Now that I am having an extended quiet time as I drive to work listening to positive people discuss positive things I must say that not only is my attitude better but I am learning a ton.

I totally agree that Smartphones can be so very annoying in that they seem to be all up in our business based on things we search and apps we use.  Of course, YouTube does the same thing and posts in your feed videos that are similar to those you’ve watched and searched for.  My go to morning inspiration person from YouTube is Pastor John Gray.  Every now and again when I want to switch it up a bit I listen to Joyce Meyer or Priscilla Shirer.

Then last week as I was scrolling through YouTube looking for a new message for the day I came across this Pastor named Michael Todd of Transformation Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Man, have I been encouraged on my drive this week!  When I began listening to Pastor Todd he was beginning an eight week series on what he titled Relationship Goals.

In this series he talks about all aspects of relationships; friendships, dating, engagement and marriage relationships.  I have learned so much from this series. I am currently on Part Five and plan to finish the series and maybe even listen to more from him later on.  I think the most important thing I have taken away from this series so far is that relationships of any kind will only work best when God is in the middle.

I can definitely see how that can be true.  From personal experience, I notice that the more I grow in my relationship with God the more I feel disconnected from the relationships/friendships I have with others who do not have a personal relationship with God.  I’m growing and changing in a way that is different from theirs.  Of course I’m not saying that I am in anyway better and they are less, it’s just different.

The more I learn about God and myself, the more I want to do better.  It’s kind of hard to grow and do better in relationships with those that don’t hold you accountable or encourage you to to better.  When those around you don’t grow in away that promotes the best of God it can be difficult to maintain a positive and successful relationship with them.  If they are still hanging out in the same places, using the same language, behaving in the same way you both did before you decided to build a relationship with God, then it stands to serve that your relationship with them will not be the same.

I know that I am much different now than I was prior to my relationship with God. I still have some of the same friends however the friendships are different.  I have to set boundaries not only for myself but for them as well.  However, those friendships that attempted to hinder my relationship with God had to be severed. I still love them and wish them the best but my relationship with God was much more important.

Moving on…:)

Not In Vain

Currently, I live with two teenagers.  If you have teenagers of your own, know teenagers that belong to someone else or remember clearly being one yourself, you know those lovely teen-formative years can be challenging.  Not only are they challenging to the teens themselves but they are even more challenging for the adults who have been dutiful chosen to raise them.

My love and I have had the distinct pleasure of raising a brood of seven so we’ve seen our fair share of shenanigans.  However, I must say that all of them are respectful, kind and caring young people.  Yet these last two…the twins…my, my, my! They are a hot mess!  I feel like I spend most of my days getting after them about keeping up with their homework, cleaning their rooms, and doing their chores.  Where ever they put things down is where it stays.  Let me or Dad put something down and it disappears with the quickness never to be seen again!

So day in and day out we work hard to bring up great, loving and caring human beings.  We get up early to make sure they are up and ready for school with a hot meal in their bellies.  We hit the bed long past our bedtime exhausted from running to practice, to after school appointments, making dinner, discussing various ways they can solve their problems without fighting, chasing after them to get in the shower and then to bed on time.

Just when we think it’s all for nothing and that we are failing at this parenting thing, there is a twinge of hope.  The boy twin came to us a few weeks ago and asked if he could transfer to a private school he had been researching.  He’d downloaded and read through the entire student handbook.  Even after reading all of the things he would be restricted to such as not wearing his earrings, not being able to wear his various pairs of shoes but also being required to wear a uniform, this boy was not deterred.  When we asked why he wanted to change schools, his reply, “it’s a smaller school with smaller classes and I’ll be able to get the attention I need.”  Huh, what!?  Then to top it all off, today I was typing in his responses to the questionnaire on the application and here is his exact response to the last question: “By the time I turn 25 I would like to be playing professional ball in the NFL, taking care of my family and creating a foundation that allows me to give back to my community and giving kids that are less fortunate a chance to make it out of the struggle.”

“Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”  That is the sound of my heart singing!  Something is sticking.  Forget the part about being in the NFL and taking care of his family, I’m just glad he’s thinking about others.  Community service and looking out for others is something his dad and I are passionate about so just to know he has some understanding of why we participate in community service events, why we make them do it and why it’s important makes my heart smile.

Today was a good day...:)

Just the Highlights

I am so very glad that I journal almost every day, put darn near everything I do in my calendar and capture the most important moments on digital image.  In this particular instance it will make giving the highlights of my 2017 year that much easier.

Leading into 2017 my focus was saving money in hopes of purchasing my first home.  Then came the business of house hunting.  But in between that lofty goal I…

Visited Washington D. C. and the African American History Museum

Completed a couple of 5K’s

Bought a new car

Served my first term as President of Soroptimist International of Tampa

Spent lots of time on the beach

Completed a bunch of School District trainings

Attended a District II Training in Ft. Lauderdale for Soroptimist

Attended more high school football games than I can count

Hosted a One Day Conerence for teen girls

Saw my old apartment building being torn down

Visited my boy and grand-boy in North Carolina

Helped my friend with her wedding business

Saw my God-Childen on their visit to Orlando from California

Took part in a protest

Celebrated my sister’s twenty years on the job

Weathered Hurricane Irma

Watched one of our schools burn down

Visited Mt. Dora

Read 14 books

Had breakfast, lunch and coffee dates with my friends and family

Got my church on…not every Sunday but frequently

Through all that I spent time reflecting on life in general, family relationships, friendships, my career, my love life, my future.  And here’s what I learned…

If it makes me happy…I’ll keep doing it

Read more…my goal this year is 24 books

Make my morning quiet time a priority

The only person I can change is me

Keep up with community service projects

The truth will most definitely set you free

Dream Big and Dream Often

Your character says a lot about you

Forgive

God’s plan for my life is meant for me; everybody can’t go

As long as I am a teacher, I will need multiple sources of income in order to survive

Work toward my goals a little every day

Here’s to 2018… 🙂

It’s Her Birthday

Today is a very special day for me. It’s my momma’s birthday! She would have turned sixty-six on today.  I lost my momma in June of 2015.  Even now, it’s still very hard for me to believe she’s no longer with us.  Grateful that she’s no longer in pain but so sad she had to go.

The months of November and December were her favorite.  She loved cooking so Thanksgiving and Christmas gave her the opportunity to go all out.  Feeding us and making a plate for anyone who stopped by gave her so much joy.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think of both my parents but I think of them most often during this time of year.

Time is not always on our side and everything can’t wait.  There is one thing I can be whole about when it comes to losing my parents and that is we had no unfinished business at the time of their deaths.  I can mourn and be sad without guilt or feeling as if I should have said something or done something prior to losing them.

Be authentic. Love your family, love your friends.  If you have something to say…say it.  If you know you were wrong…humble yourself and apologize.  If someone hurt you, tell them and clear the air.  Remember…forgiveness is for you.  You walking around in hurt and anger is only further hurting you.

Missing my momma…