Monday, February 1, 2016

I'm sorry

Gary Chapman wrote The Five Love Languages - which I have read several times as well as The Five Love Languages of Children and The Five Love Languages of Teenagers. Fascinating relationship skills. Then Gary Chapman wrote the The Five Languages of Apology. This may sound weird, but it is a good read and I it was a requested Christmas gift several years ago. People think I'm crazy. They may be correct. I learned so much about how I apologize, how other people apologize (or don't) and how I accept apologies. I'm not an expert, but it broadened my relationship skills. Like all topics, this information has bled into my parenting skills.

Children need to know how to say "I'm sorry." We have been diligent with Meg about this skill and it is beginning to pay off. It is not enough to only say "sorry" after a wrongdoing. A quick "Sorry" means nothing to either person. She must say "I'm sorry for..." then name the wrong actions - not following directions, being disobedient, saying no, not being a good friend, not sharing, etc., etc., etc.. This is important. 

Apologies must be immediate, honest, aware, and sincere. Most of all, we must all be able to apologize. It is where repentance begins - remorse and confession for sin. Saying "I'm sorry" leads to "Please forgive me". This is all part of our relationship with God. 

There will be people in our lives that refuse to apologize to other people. This is so frustrating because it blocks the growth of any relationship. The person who does not apologize will always remain in control of the relationship - in a negative way - and will cultivate a weedy garden of mistrust.

Am I mad at someone today for not apologizing? No. I just dealt with a toddler who refused to apologize and the topic began to rattle around in my head. The skill of apologizing should be taught at a very young age. Don't skip this step. It is vital to human relationships of all ages.

Saying "I'm sorry" is just as valuable as "I love you".

And "I love you" is not an apology, but that is another day's topic.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

God's Provisions

If we just look to God's provisions as part of our journey, this is how He allowed it to unfold.

January 2010 - the realization that I was creating moments in other people's lives, not my own. And that I considered those moments to be huge when really, they were very small. "What am I doing?"
March 23, 2011 - I began making the snowball.
April 2014 - Steve resigned from Faith United Methodist Church in Spring, TX
May 2014 - We began attending Champion Forest Baptist Church North Campus.
June 2014 - God began to convict me each Sunday through the sermon - "When will you stop and give this to me?" over and over and over until I began hearing myself say, "I can't live like this anymore." Every week. He would not let it rest.
July 2014 - I began to tithe 5% of my income - the first time, I ever tithed on a regular basis. From this point, our bank accounts were never $0. 
March 2015 - a cry for help because the snowball was too large to handle.
September 22, 2015 - a phone call. Another cry for help. Friends who helped without hesitation.
September 23 - Do the Right Thing. Stop the snowball. Repent. Confess. 
September 24 - Give the snowball away because "I cannot live like this anymore."
September 25 - Resigned from a 20 year teaching career. Told our families. Told our friends and prayed with them.
September 26 - received grace from friends
September 27 - survived church without a breakdown
September 28 - received a State Farm refund check for $74. Steve received a $3/hour pay increase. I began counseling.
September 29 - Stranger gave us 2 tickets to the zoo.
September 30 - We met with our pastor.
October 1 - bank resolved a 1 year old issue from June 2014 and we received a $150 credit. Steve & I discussed a variety of incomes - one of them being voice lessons. Within 5 minutes, I received a text requesting voice lessons.
October 2 - began teaching voice lessons. God showed me 2 Kings 4:1-7 and 2 Timothy 2:21 - God will provide and I must allow Him to use me for His good work.
October 4 - Our Life Group class began praying for us. I ordered a book for Meg from Amazon - the cost was $.56 because of a credit that Amazon could not explain or find origin. God began working on my heart through 2 Timothy.
October 5 - I began relying on God's Word to guide my anxious heart. 2 Peter 3:14 "Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing. Don't let them frighten you. Don't be intimidated." (The Voice). At Cheryl's urging, I began to pray for those in authority - Hebrews 13:17, 1 Timothy 2:1-6, Romans 13:1-2
October 16 - I shared our story with a friend. He reacted with God's grace. God revealed this to Steve "Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone in our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy." The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning.
October 19 - Steve begins a promoted position as IT Floorwalker. Meg's Halloween costume that Gram made - cost maybe $6 because she used fabric that she already had. I contacted the Class Administrator of Bible Study Fellowship near me. She responded that day - yes, there were waiting lists, but it was possible that there was a spot open.
October 20 - BSF Children's Program Coordinator contacted me to say that yes, there was an opening for Meg in the Children's Program, therefore, an opening for me. 
October 21 - Meg & I began attending BSF at Champion Forest Baptist Church. Cheryl shared Psalm 32 with me and I began studying Revelation. I picked up the BSF study in Revelation 2 - John is addressing the 3 church pertaining to the importance of repentance.
October 22 - God's love for His people and His redeeming grace shown through 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12-13, Jeremiah 23:29, Ephesians 5:25-27, 1 Peter 1:22-25, Psalm 34
October 23 - John 7:4 "For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly."
October 25 - "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot
October 30 - Riser Vocal Studio is up and running with 6 students.
January 2016 - Riser Vocal Studio has 11 students.

And on and on and on it goes......God continues to provide for us. 

To think that we never fully trusted God to take care of us until September 23........

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Up the Hill & Down the Hill

My daughter and I love to tell the story of Mr. Wiggle and Mr. Waggle - a fingerplay/vocal exploration story. The story explores highs and lows in the speaking voice to describe travel to and from each other's houses. 

This week has been a bit of low with a new wrinkle in our journey. Today, I just wanted to lay in bed all day and hide under the covers. With a 4 yr old who has not learned how to work the remote controls of the tv - that is next to impossible. I did get some sleep, but how do you explain these feelings to a child? "Momma has a headache because my eyes hurt."  Yes, I speak in 3rd person and don't know why.

Here's what we are dealing with - ME. I messed up. No good excuse for the whole ordeal, but it got too big for me. So big, I had to stop it. I brought it to a screeching halt. I just could not live with myself any longer.  I was dying inside and had been for a long time, but God had been hammering me with conviction for over a year. The thing had to stop. I had to repent. I had to sacrifice parts of my life that were so important to me that I lost sight of the rest. My husband and I laid ourselves at the foot of cross, broken by our transgressions, exhausted from the weight, and asked God to forgive our sins. Immediately, the burden was lifted and the healing began. 

But today, I wanted to bury my head in the sand. Tomorrow will be different.

Now, four months later, I just want the whole thing to be over. It is not. I sense that the worst is yet to come. Hopefully, that anticipation is wrong. There are hurdles that remain in the path. 

God, in His infinite glory, will see us through. God has not promised to protect us FROM suffering, He has promised to protect us IN our suffering. 

Protect us now, Almighty God. Keep our hearts looking to you, our minds focused on things above, and our eyes......let us see you clearly when there are hurdles to clear.