Love them… Lead them…Let them

67093324_2790312467710925_1143867284050149376_n By: Awakened_Arts 

The first and greatest commandment is to love. So often we hear that Christians are despised because they are judgemental and do not show kindness. Christians often confuse their role of loving someone as they think that because of the love they want to show them the way so much that they do in fact become judgemental.

Looking at the definition of LOVE according to Corinthians…
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

This is THE standard of love. So first and foremost we are to love others as God loves His children. We are to be kind and patient and not dishonor.

With that being said, when we have someone we love we are called to lead when we see a pattern of living in destructive choices. Whether they are a Christian or not, we can lead them. Lead by example, lead by action and lead by sharing wisdom. Sharing is not judging. Sharing is not shaming. Sharing is being honest in love with the hope that abundant life will be the result.
I lovingly shared how I saw all the destruction addiction was having on my loved one.
I lovingly shared that there was a better life. There was a life of goodness waiting. I shared how valuable and loved they were.
Same with my loved ones living an unhealthy lifestyle. I also shared how much I mess up my own walk of healthy choices. Being exposed, real and vulnerable.
The snag here is, often when you lead by sharing a better life, those that are not interested or not wanting a change can get defensive. But I ask you, have they become defensive because you mentioned something that concerns you in love with someone you have an established relationship, or are they defensive because you are pushing an issue that they have given you no place to speak into? Also, are you pushing the issue every time you see them?  There are times you must speak out, no matter the response because you are looking at a 911 situation. But, I admit that I have over spoken when it has not been my place (shocker I know ). I have been so excited for another to receive freedom, that I neglected to see the heart. I neglected the loving them first and foremost. Instead of loving as the father I rushed into the fixing and that is not my place.

We all have choices in this life. We all have the right to live how we choose. There comes a point that when you share what you feel may be healthier and produce abundant life, that if someone chooses not to follow your lead, that you let go.
Love them…lead them…let them.
By insisting someone makes the choices you make and then if they don’t you condemn them, you are giving the very opposite of true love.
This brings to mind, however,  that there are times you have loved, lead and then people living in their choices are in fact destroying you. They may destroy your peace, they may destroy your safety, they may just break you personally because your heart is so attached to them. Again… let them. Let them be in their choices and move on.
Jesus himself said (Matthew 10:14) if they do not receive the message you bring to dust your feet and move on. Invest where the investment is welcomed.

The painting above is titled “Goodbye”. The darkness represents all the hurts and blows from those that have rejected her, shamed her, left her, and not received what she had to offer. But the beautiful colors represent what is ahead as She has loved… She has led…. and now She must Let. It is not her place to carry the weight of an other’s unhealthy choices. It is her place to settle in the JOY of knowing that she did as she was called.
May she never forget that first she was called to LOVE.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

Discontent? Perhaps its time to Disconnect!

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My husband is most often a happy go lucky encourager. It isn’t very often that he becomes cloudy and in the dumps. So I asked him the other day if his emotions come in waves at all like the hormonal mad woman that I can be at times lately. I asked if he feels discontent and just doesn’t show it. He thought for a moment and his answer resonated with me.

He said, “I feel a quick rise in frustration or joy when things in life happen. I get mad when someone cuts me off in work traffic or a customer comes at me in ignorance. It is a moment and fades. But you know, what really gets to my emotions is the posts on social media. I have to be mindful to not spend much time on the negative junk that is posted. I can rise in anger at injustice or politics. I can sink in the dumps when I see what others have where I lack in talent or luxuries. I can feel unmotivated when others are doing what I want to be doing but don’t know how or feel I can’t leave my profession. A lot is to be said about what your thoughts are on. Until social media, I was a lot easier going than I am now if I let the junk in.”

I too have felt this very thing. It starts as a little stirring of discontent. Perhaps as you scroll you see someone far more talented than you see yourself. You compare and your brain begins to scramble with all the thoughts of how you can improve or how you can measure up, or even how you just can’t. Then you see a political post that you are the polar opposite of and you grow frustrated how far one way or the other politics has swung. Your mind is filled with even more scramble and emotions.
Maybe you make an innocent comment on a post and you are attacked with bullies hitting you in very personal ways. Add more scramble and discontent. Then you disconnect from those that are around you.
If you are unmotivated and discontent in your creativity perhaps you need to disconnect from comparison and seeing what everyone else is doing.
If attitudes you hear and read are affecting your own attitude, disconnect from the ugliness. The onslaught of thoughts can be so overpowering, the mind becomes scrambled and what is truly important can be tangled in the mess. Perhaps the rise of depression is linked to time spent online and not face to face with others, or tangible creative opportunities and living life without the screen in your way.

Maybe the solution for discontentment is to disconnect from social media outlets for a season, or online gaming. If you are just not resonating and connecting to people that are around you in the flesh it is important to see what is in your way. I saw a little girl crying and completely upset and her mother doing nothing more than scrolling her phone and pushing her child away. Another little boy fell and hit his head hard, and the mother had a very little reaction for her hurting child. We have to disconnect in alarming ways! We are not hearing the heart of others. We are not regulating our own emotions.

Social media, as a tool for marketing business or connecting with people, is great. But when seeds of discontent begin to be planted and the more you submerge into the cyber world the more discontent you can become, It can pour out into the attitude and emotions in the life around you. It is time to disconnect from the source of death and to reconnect with life-giving resources.

I ask you to listen to the words of wisdom of my love. If you are feeling disconnected or ‘off’ or if you are feeling more temperamental then perhaps look at how much time you are spending with screen time outlets as your social connection. Maybe it is time to disconnect from that screen and connect face to face.

A different lens: Perception

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I recounted a story that changed my perception years ago, at Shaey Anthony on YouTube.
If you are interested, give it a view as it places this blog in a fuller context.

Heart Connection- Intimacy

51800956_10218316452447687_1323505532450897920_n   awakened_arts 

The truth of the matter is, you can know someone, know all about them, even be in a relationship with them and still miss out on the deep heart connection of intimacy.

There is head knowledge of our salvation: This is the same as walking in life with someone, knowing they are always going to be there, but stopping at that and continuing on with your life without the heart connection. A knowing without intimacy.

John 5:24- Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me, has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but has passed from death to life.

You can have the head knowledge that you are saved. You can know because you dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s that you will enter heaven. But what good comes from a relationship that has begun, but has not been cultivated.
You can miss out on a deep-rooted heart connection intimacy with the Lord and all the glory that comes with it if you do not seek it.

♥ Heart Connection takes investment:

So often in life, we become distracted in the different seasons that we face. We become overwhelmed, feel inadequate and exhausted. Often our messes in life become our focus, and slowly without meaning to our hearts grow distant.
Just like any earthly relationship, you must invest in your relationship with the Lord.
For a deeper heart connection get to know Him by spending time set apart only for Him.

Invest in:

Prayer
– is our communication with the Lord. An opportunity to talk and share. Cry out and be real.

Word-
The Bible reveals His heart for us, His plans, and His hopes. Loved saved, thought of and not forgotten.

Praise and worship
– Reveals our heart for Him. This is our chance to pour out our love on Him and lift Him up.

When you are feeling lost, disconnected, frazzled, and overwhelmed, make sure to slow down and set time to be settled in your heart connection. It makes all the difference.

♥ Heart Connection takes pursuit:

In this life, you must pursue the ones you love. Lack of pursuit and interest leads to stilled relational growth. At times lack of pursuit can lead to opening a door for another to enter.
It is in our lack of pursuit that the enemy comes in with lies. When we are not fully pursuing the Lord, it is easier to believe that we are less than or lacking. We are not building our relationship on His truths.
Then life comes and smacks us in the face and we can begin to develop resentment. We risk growing angry with the Lord when disaster and hurts have stood to in the way of pursuing him. Resentment turns into resistance.  Examine what is holding you back from pursuing Him. Is there anger, bitterness or distrust there? In order to overcome, you must pursue His heart for you, and not listen to the lies the enemy is trying to win you over with.

♥ Heart Connection takes vulnerability:

Vulnerable – To be exposed.

We are taught to hide the ugly. We are taught to toughen up, don’t be so sensitive, shake it off and to be good. We have learned that when we show our true selves, anywhere that we are lacking others will reject us or ridicule us. We have been hurt in unspeakable ways, rejected and unwanted. So we build walls, we hide, we self-protect.
It has become a habit to hide away anything that is not perfection. The danger in this with relationships, you are holding back your full self. Everything that is hidden, is becoming a barrier between you and the one you love.
The sin areas in our life that are standing in the way of our growing need to be exposed. We do not need to self-protect with the Holy Spirit. God knows our mess, He wants us to be able to trust Him enough to let Him love us through it.
The enemy wants to keep you bound up and hiding. He does not want you to experience the full heart connection that comes from being raw and real with the Lord. It is through exposing all my junk to the Lord, that He is able to come in and do His work. It is recognizing I need Him in a way only He can fill. I can’t do the cleansing and the healing on my own. His amazing power comes in and does the work and I get to rejoice. For being exposed, leaves me open to being held.

As I am held close in the Father’s arms, there is hope. HOpe builds within the Spirit man within us as we experience the Father’s love.

ROMANS 5:5- Now Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given us.

It is in our weakness that makes us whole. He wants all of us, not just what we think we have together. He wants our ugly, He wants our flaws, and He wants our weaknesses. For In Him He makes us strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10- But He said to me my Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so the power of Christ may rest upon me.
For the sake of Christ then I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecution, and calamity. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When the Lord makes us strong in our weakness, all the glory goes to His power and not on ourselves. I tried to do it all myself for years in my own strength.  I got nowhere, except broken and exhausted. It is our testimony to what God accomplished when we have overcome in Him.

Reflection- Often times we base how we have been treated by others, on how we think the Lord will receive us. Others judge harshly that is how we see the Father. Others reject us or abandon us, we may expect the Lord to turn away when we are a mess. BUT His word says;

Psalm 27:10- “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”

No matter who leaves us, or abandons us, hurts us and betrays us, the LORD is ready and waiting to embrace us. Arms wide open. Ready for a deep heart connection intimacy. One that does not forsake.

Give a listen to this song:  INTIMACY by Jonathan David Helser

Intentional Connection

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John 14:26-

The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you. 

Let me start off with this thought… you can not theory your way into changing my heart of what I have experienced personally. You may not believe in the Holy Spirit in such a way, that is okay, but I have EXPERIENCED the Holy Spirit this way, and I will not be convinced otherwise.

The greatest gift is to be able to have an intentional connection with the Holy Spirit.

Where would my relationship be with my husband if I was walking through life, knowing he was there and hearing his voice from a closed door in another room but not have an intentional connection with him? I would be one with him, but not aware of him.
I can hear him trying to converse with me, but no clarity of what is being said. What kind of relationship would that be?

This is how we can walk through life with the Holy Spirit. When we are saved and baptized the Holy Spirit comes and dwells within us. He is our friend, our comforter and hopefully leads us in our walk as we let him. But there is a difference between the Holy Spirit being there and having an intentional connection with Him. He is our face to face encounter with the Father. Our opportunity to hear the Father’s heart towards us.

Just like my relationship with my husband (or anyone for that matter) the Holy Spirit needs and deserves intentional connection. He delights to hear from us. He delights to spend time with us. He delights to speak into our hearts.

So I am intentional, shutting off the noise around me and asking the Holy Spirit, what do you want to share with me today?  He has blown my mind with His goodness and love for me. He reminds me that I am loved and not forgotten. He reminds me of my purpose and call. He is every bit as intentional with me, as I am with Him.

So very thankful for the intentional connection with the Holy Spirit. To be able to say, Holy Spirit, I welcome You.

Two shall become One

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Our families first wedding! My middle son found his bride, his treasure. We are so blessed by this union. To see the change in my son after finding his soul mate was the sweetest joy.
He was complete and it was evident the day we met her.

There were a few moments at the wedding that struck me how awesome my God is.

For starters, I think we are one of the few weddings in history to start on the dot on time.
I was reminded of God’s timing and how his ways are always perfect.

My son longed to find his other half, he knew he wanted to be a husband and a father young. He was not one for frivolous dating he wanted the one and no other.
Sometimes we wait much longer for our destinies than the young age of 21 and I know that discouragement can come with the waiting.  But I am reminded He knows our needs, our calls and He knows the desires of our heart. He is faithful when our eyes are on him and His timing is right.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Another reminder was loving one another in action with a sacrificial love and not just words.

As the maid of honor was giving her speech she mentioned how last week Devin had burned his feet in the kitchen at work, with boiling water. He lived two hours one way away from his soon to be bride, but as soon as she knew he was hurt, she was packing an emergency kit and drove the two hours to go take care of her guy. This story brought to mind, my prayers for my boys that they would find a helpmate that was joyful in the caring for them. This is the love I have prayed for my boys, as well as they bestow this love on their beautiful brides as well. My mama’s heart swelled as I got a picture of her serving my son in the same way Mary Magdelin had with the washing of the feet of Jesus. I know this is a girl that would do anything for my son. I also know from watching him so closely as they grew in their relationship that he too will serve her in this way and I am blessed.

Ephesians 5:25:

“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.”

 

Genesis 2:24:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

 

Lastly, I was reminded how God cares for our every need as we rest in Him.

Our kids have jobs at the beach which they have both longed for. The jobs opened up with housing, utilities and meals included. But there was a little bit of debt that would make the lower pay a bit tight. Since all their expenses are covered the pay is a lower scale, so as  I and others have been praying for the kids’ provision, the Lord answered and supplied finances to pay almost all of their debt. Through amazing gifts from thoughtful friends and family, My boy and his new bride will be going into life with their ability to have all needs supplied and a paycheck to boot! God is so faithful and His love and care for my son and his wife are amazing.

HIS WIFE, I don’t think I shall ever get tired of those words. A blessing beyond measure. My husband and I have our first daughter, as the two shall become one, so our family is one step closer to completion.

Matthew 21:22

And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Lord thank you for answering our prayers!

 

A letter for my sons

Dear Son,

You are kind, loyal, faithful, trusting, and extremely focused on those you love. When you love, you love deeply and carry your heart on your sleeve. You are all in, and want that one special someone until the day you walk down the aisle. You do not desire to ‘search’ around and as you say, “window shopping is not for me.”  So unlike most people at 16 you were looking for a wife. As your mom I was saying, don’t date, slow down,  just wait and this is why…

This is my concern. In this world today, most people believe you need many life experiences, they choose to date many people, and at a young age are taught to follow their hearts. Often times they will for the moment be interested in all the things you offer and play you along that they are just as happy and all in like you and do not express their true feelings until the very last-minute, but instead lead you along on a string. You have to realize that a guy that is marriage minded is what a girl wants….for a moment. But at a young age as this, they begin to start seeing all that they will become and for many the complete and utter focus on you at such a young age is not in their best interest.

Also, because you offer them what they want for a moment, such as the flattery, the loyalty, the commitment and complete devotion, when their world shifts or their interest changes or they were not all in as you once believed, then it is you that is left confused, and hurting and the realization that you were played.

Honestly son, I know you and at times I know you better than you know yourself. My desire for you is that you would maintain friendships until you are ready for the big day that you have a bride. The thing is, when you are young, it is about learning to love and often that young girl is driven by emotion, excitement, hormones, feelings, and still confused about what she wants to do with her own life when she ‘grows up.’

My desire for you, is that one day you will have one that loves you fiercely with a GOD love. Not based on emotions and feelings but based on love that is described in Corinthians. I want someone for you that will stand by your side in the waves of life. But that is a big commitment to ask of a girl not ready for marriage. Heck, I have been married to your father for 18 years and it is still a day-to-day commitment for me.

Sometimes all people are pulled by their desires and they realize that isn’t what God may have for them after all. It is a good thing when someone walks away sooner, rather than later.

For you my son, I don’t believe dating is your calling.  I desire you to focus on building your future, when you are ready to take a bride, it is that time and season that you allow the building process of the friendship around you to take root, or wait for that one to be placed lovingly in your path, by the Father, whom already knows your future. Until this time, a girl is a distraction, she takes your energy, your focus, your time and keeps you from the one that has been quietly tapping on your shoulder, saying… “please recognize me and my presence.”

I know you are young, and you will follow your heart as you always have. I just want to share a bit of wisdom. You are still discovering yourself, becoming the one God created you to be. You are shifting and changing daily and maturing by leaps and bounds, it is not fair to expect others to not be shifting and changing daily in their life process and at times, it takes them down a different road, even if we don’t desire it.
Protect your heart and if I could request it, don’t give it away so freely and completely to anyone except the Lord. Once He holds it, He will give you more than you ever imagined possible.

Mom

 

ps. this is some good advice on the subject 😉

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/42855-8-women-christian-men-should-never-marry