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{Forgive}

21 May

This weekend was spent relaxing in my favorite summer spot:: our back deck.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy sitting out on the deck; chatting with my roommates, some country music in the background, enjoying the evening air.

This weekend I spent most of my time on the deck in the sun, reading “Real Marriage” by Mark Driscoll. I came across the chapter where Pastor Mark explains what true  forgiveness, like Christ forgives, looks like.  He also explains what forgiveness is NOT.  I was so challenged by what true forgiveness really looks like, I want to share the points he makes about it.

Forgiveness::  Loving despite sin or wrong doings.  Just as God forgives not just undeserving but ill-deserving sinners, we must too.  “Forgive us our sins,  for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.  And lead us not into temptation.”  Luke 11:4  We cannot simply ask God to forgive us of our sins; we must also extend the same forgiveness to others.

1. Forgiveness is NOT denying, approving or diminishing sin that is committed against us::

We cannot say we are find, that it was no big deal, or that since it was in the past, we’ve just moved on.  We must be honest about the reality of the sin if we want the forgiveness to be equally earnest.

2. Forgiveness is NOT naivety::

Naive people are prone to live as if the world were not filled with depraved sinners capable of evil; they often become naive by not really looking at the sinfulness of sin, including their own.  Such people are not forgiving sin as must as they are ignoring it.

3. Forgiveness is NOT enabling sin::

To forgive people is not to remain stuck in their cycle of sin, thus being complicit and enabling their continued transgressions.

4. Forgiveness is NOT waiting for someone to acknowledge sin, apologize, and repent::

The sad truth is that some people will never fully repent, and other never at all. Others we will never see again, or they will die before we hear an apology.  We forgive because it is what God requires and what we need, not because out offenders have apologize.

**I was very convicted with this point.  This is such a challenge not only in a husband-wife relationship, but with family or friends in general!  We are called to forgive, even if we never here a “sorry”…this can be a tough one for some!  If we don’t ever forgive & just harbor the feelings, we build up bitterness & hold a grudge, which in turn- is wrong.  Something to think about… 

5. Forgiveness is NOT forgetting about sin committed against us::

It is actually impossible to completely forget such things.  This is why when God says, “Their sin I will remember no more,” it does not mean that He has no memory, but rather that He continually chooses not to bring it up or keep it in the forefront of His thinking.

6. Forgiveness is NOT dying emotionally and no longer feeling the pain of the transgressions::

Rather, forgiveness allows us to feel the appropriate depth of grievous pain but choose by grace not to be continually paralyzed or defined by it.

7. Forgiveness is NOT a one-time event::

Those who have been sinned against commonly have seasons when they feel afresh the pain of past hurts and have to forgive their transgressors yet again.

8. Forgiveness is NOT reconciliation::

It takes one sinner to repent, and one victim to forgive, but it takes both to reconcile.  Therefore, unless there is both repentance by the sinner and forgiveness by the victim, reconciliation cannot occur, which means the relationship remains continually broken until reconciliation does occur.  Forgiveness is the beginning of potential reconciliation but is not in and of itself reconciliation.  Forgiveness takes a moment.  The trust that reconciliation requires is gained slowly and lost quickly.

 9. Forgiveness is NOT neglecting justice::

God will deal with every sin of every human being justly.

**refer to chapter 5 in Real Marriage by Mark Driscoll for more about forgiveness, repentance & bitterness.

{my ferocious watch dog}

{my sweet Bella girl}

{a sweet lesson on patience}

2 May

Some of you may have read this story before.  I stumbled upon this sweet lesson on patience via facebook, and after reading it I was lost in thought….have I missed moments to reach out and help someone, have I missed a chance to have a short conversation that may have changed someones day, do I rush through moments in life that could impact someone else???  

I definitely tend to get rushed if my mind is stuck on what I’M doing.  Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

After reading this story below, I felt very challenge by this verse to really stop & make sure I’m putting others ahead of myself, even when I’m feeling rushed in my own life.

Normally I pass on reading these type of things on facebook, but I’m glad I stopped to read.  Will you be patient enough to take 3 mins and be inspired by this story?

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive
through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14

{True Friends}

27 Apr

Last weekend I got to enjoy pastor Mark Driscoll & his wife Grace on their “Real Marriage” book tour.  Their conference has sold out all over the nation & here they were right in my neighborhood!  I honestly had never heard of this couple before, but when I started getting facebook messages & emails from friends around the country saying, “you better be going to this?!”, I decided I should look into it!  lol I’m SO glad I did!

Obviously, I wished I could have been there with Pat, but circumstances don’t allow for that.  My amazing, very single sister, braved the MARRIAGE conference with me. I think we can both say, we left changed.  Mark & his wife have been through so much & are very open about their failures in one another, but in their honesty, they reveal hope & grace from the Lord…the same grace that got them to where they are today, best friends!

I wish I could share everything I learned, but that would take one very lOng post.  You can refer to Mars Hill Church for his podcast on his book, Real Marriage.

I will share with one of my favorite lessons from their book, FRIENDSHIP.  The biggest lesson they’ve learned over many years has been, you must be true FRIENDS with your spouse in order to have a deep intimate relationship.  Most would say, well DUH!  There’s a lot involved in the kind of friendship he’s defining:

Fruitful, Reciprocal, Intimate, Enjoyable, Needed, Devoted, Sanctifying

*check out part 2 of his podcast to hear an explanation of each parts.

This seems so easy to me, obviously Patrick & I are friends, but their honesty about what a marriage friendship should look like was so enlightening.  Men & women are different & that’s just the bottom line, but that’s not an excuse.  We both have to be selfless & thinking of the other.  Since we’re human, this is a commitment everyday to serving, not just serving your spouse, but serving the Lord in how He calls us to love.  He tells us to love our enemies?!  That’s powerful.  I don’t know if I do that all the time…

We must see our spouse as the Lord sees him/her.  When we can do that, we can love no matter what the circumstances.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

{Jcrew blouse, Victoria Secret pants, LV Speedy, H&M ring, Forever21 necklace, Thrifted earrings}

I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

{long distance love}

23 Apr


{via}

{Truth}

5 Apr


Gosh, do I need to hang this on all my mirrors & remind myself of it daily!

Lately, my days have felt like weeks sometimes.  Communication with Patrick hasn’t been as frequent as I expected.  So, obviously when I don’t hear something for 2-3days…I tend to “wonder” not “worry”????  ok, fine..I worry.  Some would say…it’s 2 days, relax!  Like I said, those 2 days feel like weeks.  I then read a verse like this…and BOOM!  In my face! lol Love how He does that!

I know Pat is fine!  He’s in the hand of the biggest Protector there is.

Talk about a faith tester.  Daily I have to trust & let go.

Please continue to pray for all the troops as we are getting into the months were fighting picks up again.

{Psalm 91}

{been there…}

4 Apr

As a newly engaged woman & someone who’s striving to be the best fiance & soon-to-be-wife as I can, I truly enjoy hearing the stories of woman who have BEEN THERE.
They’ve made it past “the first year”.
They know what worked & what didn’t.
Tips & tricks at getting through the tough times.
What NOT to say in the heat of the moment.
They know how to build him up.
How to keep it fresh.

I was flipping through the amazing blog by Ashley from The Shine Project and came across these “6 Relationship Ideas”.  I love Ashley’s insight on marriage, growing out of the “honeymoon phase”, and finding that getting past that phase, taught her an even deeper & new kind of love for her hubby.

Here are her 6 ideas::

1. Go to bed at the same time: Life gets so busy. So, so busy… But we’ve
tried really hard to go to bed every night at the same time. A lot of times I can’t fall asleep, and he’s out within seconds, so I take a book to bed and read next to him. There’s something important about that quiet cuddle time, and even when you can’t be together all day, you’re able to end your day together.  It helps me remember that we’re in this together, and that at the end of the day, he’s the most important thing that my time needs to be invested in.
2. Leave love notes: We bought a little mailbox at target a couple of years ago.  When the mail tag is up, it means there’s a little love inside. Reading how Mike feels about me, and what he’s proud of me for accomplishing gives me a lot of confidence.  It’s nice to know how the one you love feels about you. Ya, you know they love you…but hearing those words of affirmation brings a deeper knowledge.  If a love note is a text…that’s great too. Mike texts me throughout the day to see how I’m doing, and to let me know that he’s thinking about me.
3. Hold hands whenever you can: I always get sad when I see couples who don’t really
interact with each other. I am a firm believer that it’s important to put effort into your relationship every single day. Physical touch can really bring you closer together…even when it’s as simple as holding hands.
When we’re in the car, walking through the grocery store, sitting in church,
you’ll always see us holding hands. We did it when we were dating, and there’s
no reason that it should change a couple of years later.
4. Create something that’s “yours” together: See that picture up there with me in front of a tree?  Ya, that’s “our” tree. Mike planted it the day before we got married as a wedding gift to me.  It’s grown sooo much, and we go back to it on our anniversary each year.  It’s so fun to have something that’s only ours, and that we can share with each other.
5. DATE! DATE! DATE! We try our hardest to go on a date a week.
Sometimes it involved staying in and watching a movie, and other times they are more fancy.  One of my favorites was when we met each other in our kitchen and made smore’s in our microwave. Finding new things to do with each other keeps the fun alive!
6. Measure your progression as a couple: I love making lists of things that we’ve accomplished as a couple. From buying our first place, to graduating from college together and seeing specific prayers answered, it’s vital to know that your relationship creates good in your individual life, as well as your life together. Setting goals together and then reaching them as a couple gives us things to work towards so we don’t feel stagnant.
___
What do you think of her ideas?  Do you have others to add?? I’d love to hear from those woman who’ve BEEN THERE!
My sister said something very encouraging to me the other day.  She said, “Al, I hope that when I’m engaged and planning my wedding I have the same out look as you.  You’re not allowing yourself to get wrapped up in “wedding hype”, but you’re spending more time preparing & planning for actual married life”.  That really shocked me actually because I hadn’t really thought of it like that, but it’s true.  Why do so many girls get lost in the wedding event, and not focus more on what comes after that ONE day…married life?!  I can only pray that I continue to keep this focus & spend time learning & preparing to become a wife.
Let’s hear your tips ladies!

{pictures by Emilee Chambers Photography summer 2010}
I had a great blogging friend {Kimberly} suggest some great books, that I’ve read and really enjoyed.  Each book had such great insight on becoming a husband & wife UNIT.
___
I highly suggest them::
Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts by Les & Leslie Parrott
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
___
A few other books I’ve read and highly suggest::
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
For Woman Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
___
On my “to read list”::

Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

I grew up with an awesome example of what true love looks like.  In the good times & the tough times.  A couple that truly relies on the Lord as their rock & foundation.  I can only pray that Patrick & I will also be that example someday to our own family!



1 Corinthians 13:4-8  “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.”

{Faith}

27 Mar


{via}

God’s timing is the perfect timing.

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