Friday, March 7, 2014

Give Life To Your Words!

Have you ever spoken a word over and over so many times that it begins to sound funny and almost foreign? Well, single attention-grabbing words have been doing that to me lately – only instead of the word itself beginning to sound foreign, it’s the definition that is beginning to sound foreign.

Standing in line at the local Ace hardware, one can hardly miss the parallel row of greeting cards let alone leave them untouched. There are so many choices and naturally I always gravitate towards the comical ones. You know…the booger pickin’, funny dog face, goofy old lady kinds. On this particular day, however, it seemed every card vying for my attention had some variation of “mother” written on it. Not too many weeks before this, a different word began vying for my attention. That word was “love”.

I was questioning words; questioning titles. Asking, “What’s in a name,” so to speak. Sometimes words are thrown around so flippantly. Sometimes we settle for the superficial, twisted definition of a word when a deeper meaning could be just around the corner. Words are just words…technically. The word “mother” is just a title…technically. “Love” is just a four –letter word. “Teacher” is also just a word but look at the implicit meaning that James 3:1 presents and then let’s apply it to mothers:

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

If you will, try reading the scripture above replacing teachers and teach with mothers and mother. That right there is a load of implied responsibility, my friends. And mothers really are teachers. We should not consider parenting (fathers feel free to apply this to you also J) unless we are ready to fulfill the definition and not just the title. The title of “mother” is honorable and so incredibly sweet when it pours off the lips of your beloved child. That highly coveted word is a gift to the parent. The definition though…that is the parent’s gift to the child. When I become the embodiment of a mother I am gifting my child with what God intended for them. I am giving them the best of my best. I owe that to them and I owe it to God.

Because some words come with such huge implications and responsibilities we shouldn't be quick to strap ourselves with any word or title that by definition we are not willing to live up to. A big problem arises when we use them but don’t show them. What does it look like to show love? What does it look like to not show love? That was what I found myself pondering when I realized I had tossed the word around a lot one day.

Then I stood there in that line at Ace (it really is the place – in fact, I go there so often my google phone app thinks I work there) asking myself the same kinds of questions about the word “mother”. What does it look like to be a good one? What does it look like to fail the very definition? What is implied in the word? And most importantly, how can I keep from failing those who use that title synonymously with my name? I suddenly felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. Mothering is a huge responsibility.

Never should it be enough to have the title of “mother”. As a momma, I have to strive to give life to that title. I have to relentlessly seek the honor in the title and the honor comes from being honorable in the parenting arena. It’s like being up to bat with the bases loaded for 18 years straight (and then some). The pressure is on and the batter has a duty to keep their head in the game. That glorious title means nothing if I haven’t exhibited the character, honesty, and integrity of a mother (teacher) while walking the path alongside my children. The title means nothing if I let my kids walk alone while I took a path I thought would be more fun or less work. The title is empty if I abandon my children when they need me most. As a parent, I would be completely dishonorable to take credit for being there for my child if I really hadn’t been. Amputating the definition from the title can still bring applause from outsiders but our children will always know the truth. What kind of mother would I be if I shamed my children into holding my unethical parenting secrets inside of them yet also asked them to bless me with the accolades that come with the title of being their “mother”? That would make me a mother who is content with appearances but lacking in application and elbow grease; a mother lacking in love. If I have brought more burden than blessings to my children, it wouldn’t matter if a million people congratulated me for being a “mother”…the truth would eventually shout itself from the rooftop of my relationship with my children.

We are wise to remember that actions speak louder than words and God expects us to be faithful to the children He chose for us. We are also wise to remember that when (not if) we fail at superbly defining our own motherhood, there are two words that can reset the relationship – both with our children and with God –

I’m Sorry”

Both “mother” and “love” should be synonymous in raising our children. God didn’t give us children as personal bell hops whose assignment in our lives is to carry our past baggage plus whatever we may choose to add to their load along the way. We should instead really, actually, for real, be helping them carry their own load and not just taking credit for it.

Lord, let me be real. Let me be honest. Let me lighten the load on my children versus adding to it. Let me run my parenting race with fervor, knowing that my responsibility is to invest in and not withdraw from my children’s lives. Let me be a mother that is more concerned with the hard working, practical implications of my name than I am with just claiming the title and its accolades.

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Husband Is A Tool...For God!

I started thumbing through some old journals the other day and I was reminded of just how far God has brought me in life. There were lots of common themes in all of them, but the one that stuck out the most to me was my plea to God to help me understand unconditional love. Without a doubt, I had been given unconditional love by my Grandma and Grandpa and I also without a doubt have unconditional love for my children. When they were born it awakened a whole new level of love that I had never felt for anyone. Ever. I still look into their beautiful blue eyes and realize I love them so much it hurts. I am so thankful for the love my grandparents gave me and that I can pass that on to my own children.

The unconditional love I was so desperately searching for in my journals however, was the kind that says, “I choose you, Cynthia, and there is nothing you can do that will change that.” That is how God loves us. I didn't feel that my grandparents had chosen me but more that they had gotten stuck with me and just made the absolute best of it. They did a good job. But I always told God, I need someone here on earth to show me what your love looks like. I can’t comprehend a love that never walks out on me, that never forsakes me. What does that even look like? And will there ever be someone who actually chooses me on purpose?

When parents don’t fulfill their Godly role to their children, it leaves some children thinking love equals obedience. If I obey, I get love. If I don’t obey, I get no love. If I tell anyone the truth, the love and *conditional* acceptance will go away. I want them to like me so I won’t tell. Silence in exchange for some version of sick and twisted love. We try to milk love out of those we want it from most. In forcing it, we are already off the track of someone choosing to love us vs. being manipulated into love. My view of God, then, was the same…if I obey, He loves me; if I am disobedient, no love.

Anyway, my prayer for many years – give me a tangible example of unconditional love – was answered in the biggest way! Now here I sit, writing to tell of God’s faithfulness. He is our Father and….

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13

I asked my Father to bless me, expected Him to bless me, and He did. He gave me a most wonderful husband who actually understood healthy, non-oppressive love and could share what it looks like to walk it out. It is like God wired him for me and me alone. Although since he’s been married previously, I don’t know who actually got his “rib”. Probably a different wife since it would be a tight fit for me :D Through my husband, God encouraged me to step up and out of 35 years of an oppressive situation. And it was like I could actually hear God saying, “It’s time. Eric and I will be standing right here to help strengthen you. It won’t matter if no one else stands with you because I am enough and Eric will remind you of that.” And this is huge, because every other time I tried to rise against it, I would get bullied back into submission by Christians and non-Christians alike. Now I stand here on my own two feet with Christ and my husband standing tall with me. Boy does the devil hate it! But for me? Even though I feel unsteady on my feet like a child just learning to walk, it feels so wonderful to look to either side and see my team rooting for my freedom and fighting for me as if I’m worth it.
My husband showed me that God’s kind of love isn't oppressive, it isn't secretive or controlling. He doesn't bully us into submission and if His kind of love is the greatest of all…why settle for less in both giving and receiving love while we are on this earth?

“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:30

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is Your Talk Fogging The View Of Your Walk?

"Oh, I would never."
"You should"
"You shouldn't"
"Just pray for healing"
"Cheer up"
"Have more faith"

Trite answers. Ever heard any of these before? Ever used them on someone else? Guilty. In our made up minds, things seem so simple sometimes. I just engaged in a vaccine debate where a mother was upset that unvaccinated kids would pass their sicknesses on to her vaccinated and vulnerable children that might cause hospitalization and/or death. That's a scary place and no mother likes to think about her child suffering in that way. I'm on the other side. I've watched my son almost die from seizures that were vaccine I would never push vaccines on anyone. Ever. You know why? Been there done that. I faced hospitalization and near death with my child because of vaccines.

I've heard the "just have more faith" or "we just believe that God is going to heal everything our children have now and in the future so we won't seek medical care". I've heard it all. Words are so cheap, though, until you've had to back them up with your own life and actions. You mean your child had a cold and you believed God for healing? Good for you. That's level 1 on this Wii game we call life. Wait until your child is facing life or death, walking or wheelchair, seizures or no seizures and then please by all means tell me your thoughts on life. I will want to hear every nugget of wisdom you will pass my way. Really -- I will!  I DO always love to hear the stories of when "the rubber meets the road" for people. In that meeting, wisdom occurs on a whole new level.

It's all about the whole "walk a mile in my shoes" thing. Sympathy vs. Empathy. Been there done that vs. I've never been there but I do care. I can understand people wanting to vaccinate their kids for health and safety reasons. I can also see the other side of it. When I look at both sides, I see children suffering. Or as a believer I can also understand wanting God to heal your child more than anything in the world. Been there done that. I understand  pleading with Him to not only let your child live, but live well and prosper. But you know what? God didn't let me get in the way of His healing plan for my son -- He healed him through a few excellent doctors. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. God is too big for that box.

Who are we to tell a chronically depressed person to "cheer up"? Who are we to tell a grieving person how grieve and when to be done with it? Empathy shows up when I can look at a person and say, "Me Too" (to quote my totally awesome church's motto). Sympathy looks at a person and says, "You know, I've never faced what you're facing but let me walk it out with you as best I can." Rarely is anything black and white, sweet and simply summed up in short close-ended responses. Thus, I am well to remember that no matter which category I find myself in -- sympathy or empathy --  there should always be less talk and more walk.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Don't Be A "Lukewarm No-Go"

Have you ever considered -- much like the list of "qualities" we look for in a mate -- making a quality list for friends? I'm not saying writing it down, it's just the mental list we make for what we are looking for. I know I have. I've also considered advertising! Much like someone considering the prospect of the dating game -- the task of finding friends seems arduous and too time consuming. Especially to just get to the point where you look at the friendship and realize it probably won't work.

One time I made a list of qualities I wanted in a friend and then focused on being the embodiment of it to my own friends. In doing that, I quickly realized how short I fall a lot of the time. In a world of superficial, fast, fast, fast, our relationships seem to stay that way too. But if we had a listing, a set of soft criteria, it seems like it would weed out the "no-go's"....or would it?

Do the "no-go's" realize they aren't loyal or are gossipy or unkind? We never think those things about ourselves, right? We tend to think more along the lines of, ", no...not me." We look out into the crowd and point fingers elsewhere. I recently wrote down 3 things that are critically important to me in my own friendships. These are my "must-haves" of intimate friendship: 1) Confidentiality, 2) Kind but truthful, and 3) Spiritual maturity.

The first criteria of confidentiality is not because I have secrets to keep. God knows nothing much is a secret in my life anymore after Restorative Grief came out. So, it's not about the secrecy. It's more about respect. My life and my stories are mine and mine only to tell. I get that people who share my book with others will also share tidbits of my story -- that is not the type of talk I'm speaking of. I'm more speaking of the catty, chatty coffee time banter. **Sidenote -- we recently became the proud owners of some chickens...they are noisy and catty to eachother...and now I fully understand the saying about women being a bunch of "hens". They cluck for no apparent reason ALL OF THE TIME. Who needs a rooster when you have a loudmouth hen that starts clucking at 5:30am???** And that is where my point lands -- loudmouth hens that cluck and cluck just for the sake of clucking. Well, and to make themselves feel better about their own lives, right? Hey, I've done it and before God whapped me upside the head on the issue, it just felt normal and comfy. The words I would speak of others would become a warm blanky I could wrap and soothe my own soul in and think, "At least I'm not like _________, at least I don't  __________."

My next criteria is the balance between truth and grace. I am a blunt person. I prefer blunt people as friends because us blunties, we just spit crap into the air, let it fall on our listener's ears and hope to move on in the next breath. Air it out and move on. I remember when I was a teenager my mom and I fought alot. ALOT. Did I mention I like to fight it out and be done? My mom's personality is more apt to have it out a bit longer so she would get really mad when I would say my peace and then act like nothing happened. **Another sidenote: my mouth used to be my weapon of choice so "my peace" wasn't so peaceful** She always hated that I was ready to move on afterward but to me it felt normal. I am still that way, whether it's normal or not I don't have a clue. I know for myself I don't want a bunch of "yes (wo)men" in my life. I want my friends to feel comfortable bringing truth to the table even if it's not what I want to hear. I don't like being called out, but it is better than the alternative. Plus, now that I'm more mature, I know I can take the things people call me out on to the cross and work it out with God to test it's validity.

My last criteria is that I want my intimate circle of friends to be coming from similar moral and spiritual backgrounds. The same was true for me even when I wasn't following Christ well. I wanted others who were at my level so I didn't have to hear any one chiding me for my lifestyle. **Misery loves company** Nowadays, however I don't follow advice or opinions unless they line up with what I read in Scripture. I enjoy going deep into Biblical conversations and I want friends who enjoy the same things -- nothing makes me happier than time spent talking about the Lord!

3 things...that's my list! And God has blessed me immensely with a handful of friends that meet and exceed these things. I love that! See, here's the thing, though -- it's not about them -- whether they are good or bad. It just isn't. We can't control them. Here's our tendency: before I rate myself on the friendship meter, I put my stylish rose-colored glasses on so that the light shining in the mirror doesn't reflect back and blind me! I (We) look good, right? Mmmmmm Mmmmmm Mmmmm. Yep, we got it goin' on. Anybody would be blessed to call us a friend. Our glasses fog up a bit when we look at others, though, so we take them off. Bleck, the colors aren't as brilliant and we can see more detail without them. That's just how we like to see them...isn't it???? It's the difference of  the 50x magnifiying make-up mirror and standing back to take a full body shot from a distance. We must look at ourselves and our friends using the same standard of measure.

My son recently asked me, "Why are you doing this for her when it doesn't seem like she's a good friend to you?" My reply was this, "It doesn't matter how she treats me. What matters is what kind of friend I am to her. And I always try (doesn't mean I don't fall short sometimes) to be the friend I would want to to have." Does it feel like I am always the one doing the giving? Yes, but is it the rose-colored glasses speaking? **My glasses are like my chickens, they are noisy and usually not saying anything worth listening to**

If I've fallen short in a friendship with you, I am truly sorry. I'm workin' on that! And here's an "I'm sorry" in advance to those friends I will fail in the future. Being a friend takes work and investment so let's be intentional and honest about who we want to enter into that with. If we treat others in a flippant, "take them or leave them" manner, we are lukewarm in our friendship. Be hot or cold, but leave no room for lukewarm -- it's colder than the cold.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Post Visit Slump

Anyone else get that? I always have about a week after a visit where life just takes a nose dive. It's always a whirlwind visit. The emotions leading up to it, the different emotions during the visit, and then the culmination of it all afterwards is almost too much. It makes me want to find a cave somewhere that I can just be alone and process life. But life goes on. The next day is too full, as is the day after that, and the day after that. Even on the busy days, though, I still feel those emotions. They are like a little rubber bouncy ball going from the tips of my toes all the way up to my brain -- jolting everything in me with each bounce. I guess they don't want me to forget they are there -- waiting to be dealt with. Lucky me.

The visits are always nice -- don't get me wrong. I cherish them! And I especially cherish the one I had last weekend. It was sacred alone time with just my son. The very thing I have waited 8 years for. It was pure heaven. And pure hell. This is the part of life that I have to take captive -- my thoughts -- and re-align it with Christ. Every single time. If I don't do that, all the what-if's and the could-have-been's would just eat me alive. I look into my son's eyes and nothing else matters. We talk as if nothing is abnormal about our situation. All weirdness melts away and we are just two souls, sorting through the ties that bind us. But see, I bought into a huge lie at the start of my adoption journey. It was a lie I repeated over and over again. "I am giving him a better life," I told myself. As time has gone on, I have accepted that even at the lowest point of my life, I was giving my kids a good life. I didn't give my son a better life by choosing adoption for him. I just gave him a different life. I heard a fellow birthmother say this a few years back and I have not stopped thinking of it since. It really is true. I know it isn't the case for every situation, but here it is. All the things I wanted for my birth son, God provided right here in my own home.

I think we all, as birthmothers, hit a point where we look at our lives and think, "I could have..." I have thought it many times already and I'm sure I will more in the future. The control freak in me starts to obsess about all the details of life -- not just in adoption either -- and I have to stop, breathe, and remember. I have to call my thoughts in to obedience. I have to remember the prayer and gut-wrenching raw, honest pleading I did with Christ. Life is messy, man. It's rough. And just when the ocean seems calm, new turbulence begins to develop. If I'm standing in the sand, my progress is washed away with each crashing wave. If I stand on the Rock, no matter the wave, my progress rests on a solid foundation until the storm passes.

I chose adoption in obedience to Christ. I will stick to it in obedience to Christ because my ways are not His ways and my thoughts are not His thoughts. Thank God.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.   2 Cor. 10:5 ESV

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Prophetic Words Spoken Over My Teenage Self

In the summer of 1995 my Grandma drug myself and my friend to hear a man by the name of James Spencer speak. I was 17 at the time and absolutely did not want to be there. However, my Grandma loved to torture me back then. On a side note, all that "torture" was really God's prep work in my life. Anyway, there I was in a conference room full of people just waiting for it to be over with. I was trying to be inconspicuous, but God singled me out. From my perspective, it seemed James Spencer honed in on me randomly and wouldn't let go. By the end of it all, I remember crying, accepting the Lord, and I remember him speaking what would end up being prophetic words over my life. He told me "God had big plans for me". Some would say this is just a vague reference, that could be said of anyone. I get it. I really wanted that to be true and I held it tightly in my heart all these years; often telling the story after I saw my conversion in the Lord begin to happen. When he spoke those words, I couldn't imagine it being true but I held fast to it anyway!

The next month, my Grandma told me Mr. Spencer had written about our encounter in his newsletter. I don't remember caring a whole lot and by then was probably already back to my old ways but I've never forgotten about his newsletter either. As I grew in my relationship with Christ, I began to get more and more curious as to what it was he wrote about me.

 I was speaking of Mr. Spencer this past weekend with some friends and it got me thinking. I began to wonder if I could contact him and get a copy of his writing. It was nearly 18 years ago for one, and for two he would have to remember something about it to be able to recall it. "What are the chances of that," I asked myself. Well, yesterday I decided to give it a shot. I looked him up, shot him an email briefly describing our encounter and had a response from him within a few hours.

He recalled that night vividly! He said he wept when he wrote it and he wept when he revisited it yesterday just seeing God at work! I know I've said this before but when God writes a story, He writes a story! Now I can look back on a day in my life and gain heavenly perspective written by a mere human who dared to be the hands and feet of God in my own life. The story immediately dropped me back into the dark place I resided in at the time, but more than that, it filled me with overwhelming joy at God's redemptive powers and the restoration he provides in our lives regardless of how many times we fall or how broken we are.
Take a peek into a day in my teenage life written by James Spencer, author, speaker, hands and feet of Jesus:

The turn out in Twin Falls was small and the audience was tired.  So was I.  Have you ever tried to dig up concrete?
          Don’t get me wrong, these were good people in a good church with a good pastor.  But it was hard that Sunday night just this past month.
          Before the meeting a woman came up to me, escorted by two teen-age girls.  “I saw you when you were in Buhl,” the woman said.  One of the girls obviously was her daughter.  The other one hung back and looked at the floor.
          As I began to preach my prepared text, I was struck by how bored we all were.  The congregation was bored, the pastor was bored, and I was bored.
          That’s when I knew something was up.
          See, I am not bored about preaching the gospel.  Neither is the pastor nor his people.  But that night we were.  Hello?
          When the kitchen sink comes flying through the window—when the devil is working overtime—its time to get excited!  Something is up.  Opportunity is afoot.
          I didn’t know what was up.  But I have been preaching long enough to know when to shift gears.  I began to pray in the Spirit, even as I preached.  What’s going on here, Lord?  What are you trying to do?  Where should I go?
          I began shuffling the deck.  Searching the faces of the people as I allowed God to move me through several ideas in rapid succession.  I was fishing.  I was looking for direction.  Then it came.
          I saw the young girl in the back, sitting hunched over, face to the floor.  The devil wants to keep her in bondage!
          I swung into a salvation message.  At that point I didn’t care about anybody else in the meeting.  Although I didn’t look at her, I preached to her.  (Nothing obvious, no one in the room knew what was going on.  I doubt that even she knew I was focusing on her.)
          You was unmoved by my preaching.  However, the congregation woke up.  I woke up.
          The pastor looked at me like he knew I suddenly knew where I was going.
          When I gave the altar call, several responded, but not my girl.  I prolonged the invitation.  “Don’t let this moment pass.  Don’t leave here and allow the sensitivity you are feeling in your heart dissolve away.”
          Still nothing.  Eventually I had to bring the meeting to a close.
          However, the pastor and I (who work very closely together in the Spirit) both knew the meeting wasn’t over.  He led the congregation in a couple more choruses.
          He called a man out of the congregation and we prayed for him.  We prayed for a family in which the grandparents were raising three grandchildren because the mother was unable to do so at this time in her life.  As we prayed for the children, they began to weep.
          Suddenly, I had eyes in the back of my head.  What I mean is that in the Spirit, I saw my teen-age girl who was seated several rows behind where I was standing.  I turned around and she was still sitting with her face lowered to the floor.
          Do you know you can be in the flesh, even at these moments?  I knew I should go back to where she was.  The draw was almost irresistible.  Is it just my pastor’s heart?  Will I make the situation even worse by publicly embarrassing her?  Will I simply harden her to further ministry?
          I walked back to her and said, “Miss, stand up.”  She stood up but looked at the floor.  Is she a hard case?
          “Miss,” I said.  “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in your life?”
          She shook her head.
          “Would you like to do so?” I asked.
          She looked at me for a long moment and then said, almost inaudibly, “I said I wouldn’t do that.”
          Said it to whom?  Said it to me?  Said it to God?  Herself?
          “I didn’t ask you that,” I said.  “I asked you if you wanted to accept Christ.  Do you want to do that?”
          Tears came to her eyes.  She nodded her head.
          “Why are you afraid? I asked.
          She didn’t know.
          “Is it because someone in your family will be unhappy with you?
          Apparently not.
          “Can I pray with you?”
          Yep, I could.  And I did.  And she broke and wept and fell into my arms.  And I broke and wept—and am weeping now as I write these words…
          Listen, God wants to send me to lost people to bring them His message of reconciliation.  He sends me in seminars, in books, and through radio and television.
          Why am I telling you this?  Because I can’t go unless you send me.  Please send me.  How much is the soul of a teen-ager worth?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sit Tight

Not a day goes by that God doesn’t whisper into my ear saying, “Be still”. The word, “still”, by definition goes against every fiber of my being. Until the last 5 years or so, I haven’t understood what that would even look like. However, God never fails to present these situations that in the past would cause me to squirm, fidget, or even run. Given that I am such a socially awkward person you can imagine how many moments I have in one day!

On any given day I am prone to have multiple situations I would prefer to run from. Somewhere in my life I developed a coping mechanism for each awkward moment. In silent moments, I always had to interject something. In tense moments, I always had to make a joke. In teary moments, I would emotionally separate and probably still make a joke. In moments of disagreement or situations requiring confrontation I would run. In moments of strife, I would jump in and “fix”.

In the last few years though, God has been working with me on this and just really asking me to “sit tight” and feel whatever is presenting itself at the moment – asking me to just let there be silence, let there be tension or tears or whatever may be. Naturally being a “fixer”, it was hard to resign myself to just being present but not coming up with solutions. The idea of just being surrendered to what comes and to be sensitive to the idea that it may be just what the Great Doctor ordered; no matter how uncomfortable it feels to me.

It has itself playing out when I visit my hospice patients – just listening to what they are saying and what they aren’t saying – and staying with it regardless of how uncomfortable it is. It plays itself out in my friendships, just sitting tight and praying for friends or family when they hurt my feelings or gossip or whatever the circumstance may be. This was the point I used to run. Now I feel God asking me to just stay and wait it out. How hard this is! I find myself asking the Lord how long I have to wait. How many times do I have to hear a friend gossip before I can be done? **That was a lesson I learned years ago from a best friend – I loved hearing her juicy gossip about others, but was somehow blindsided when she gossiped about me** Now when I spot a gossip I am the first to turn my head and disengage – let alone pursue friendship. “Lord, you really want me to be a sitting duck just to be obedient to you?”

God is funny that way, though. Somehow He brings people and situations in and uses them to refine us. I can complain all day about others and how they’ve wronged me, hurt my feelings, or gossiped or cheated me -- but it isn’t about others. It’s about me. It’s about what I’m going to do with it. How am I going to handle it? Am I going to sit tight and trust God? And no matter which way I turn, I feel God gently asking me if I’m going to sit tight and trust in Him; to be still and know…that He is God.

I’m convinced it’s Satan voice I hear when the words “run” or “give up” nowadays. I won’t say that God will never tell us to steer clear of someone or some situation – I know better than that. But many situations in life are just that – temporary situations that God is working on behind the scenes. We just have to be willing to sit in the uncomfortable hot seat as long as it takes. It isn’t always pretty, but honestly, the view from that seat is raw and real and most definitely perspective changing.