Written By Amy
We are so thankful for the comments we receive…they are always so meaningful to Jen and I because they are heartfelt, honest, and let us know that you, Jen and I are connecting at some level.
Yesterday, Liz, my mother-in-law, responded to Jen’s post by email. We wanted to share it with you becasue it is another real voice speaking into this topic. Liz is a faithful woman of God. She allows Him to speak into her life, things both difficult and beautiful. Thank you, Liz, for sharing your heart with us:
I really enjoyed today’s post written by Jen. The continuation of that line of thinking is how competitive we are with our children – sports, grades, behavior. How I would judge (a long while ago) a child or family by how that child dressed, combed or didn’t comb their hair etc. How I could feel jealous of another child and wonder why my child didn’t achieve the same recognition. Or the flip side – what sort of parent would allow a child to behave that way in a store or restaurant. It is such an easy trap to fall into – although I have been known to tell a child I did not know to return to their seat or to go and stand by their parent rather than run around the clothing racks in a store. Just saying!!!
Now take that back to Elizabeth and Mary. One woman would be the mother of our Lord and the other would be the mother of someone living in the desert, dressed in funny clothes and eating weird food. Yet there was shared joy. Don’t we all need that sort of trust in the Lord and His plans? Do we all need that sort of grace to extend to each other? And just think how both of these mothers must have suffered as they watched their children – just as we sometimes suffer when we watch ours. And then remember how both of these children – second cousins – died. John was beheaded and Jesus was crucified.
Do we ever know the full story behind other parent/child relationships? I think this is just another opportunity given to us by God to extend grace, leave things in His hands and at the same time recognize that perhaps the best reaction we can have in almost any situation is to smile, offer a quick prayer and praise God that He can be trusted and He is in control.
Thank you for your post today. I just LOVE when it opens the door for God to stir my soul.
Posted By Amy
Hello! The following post is from a Guest Blogger named Hester. She has a wonderful blog called Hester’s Heart that I encourage you to visit. I know of Hester through a mutual friend in Washington state. She has a gift for teaching and writing and I wanted to pass on one of her lastest posts, with her permission. Thank you Hester!
Voices raised, frustrations escalated and irritations, evident. Last week, while in the kitchen, I overheard commotion between two of our children. Back and forth they went until one loudly blurted, “I’m trying to do what God taught me in my devotion this morning, but you’re making it really difficult!” He emphatically continued, “God told me not to return evil for evil but you make it impossible!” I quietly chuckled and just had to smirk at his unashamed and upfront honesty. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Boy, oh boy. How often do I try to blame others for my actions, that are of course, completely justified?
- If it wasn’t for the check out lady playing Jenga with my groceries, I could be more patient.
- If it wasn’t for the man trying to secure a home loan in the bank drive-thru, I could be more tolerant.
- If it wasn’t for the stores unreasonable return policy, I could be more understanding.
- If it wasn’t for my disobedient children, I could be a gracious and loving mother.
- If it wasn’t for her lack of open-mindedness, I wouldn’t feel like judging her.
- If it wasn’t for their sharp tongue, I wouldn’t have to retaliate.
- If it wasn’t for his insensitivity, I wouldn’t be so angry.
- If it wasn’t for their self-centeredness, I wouldn’t have to pretend to love them.
- We cannot change people . . . regardless.
- We cannot force people to respond fairly . . .regardless.
- We cannot blame others for our back-lash . . .regardless.
- We are responsible for our reactions . . . regardless.
- Our reactions impact our relationships . . . regardless.
- We must choose to reciprocate in righteousness . . . regardless.
Heart Work: Consider the ways you try to justify your actions/reactions. Seek the Lord for His supernatural strength to be upright in your reactions . . . especially with the most difficult circumstances. Choose a verse from below to memorize and meditate on this week. When tensions rise repeat this Scripture over and over until its truth rearranges your heart.
Heart Exam: What specific situation(s) really push your buttons? Can you identify the root in this matter? Are you prepared to accept your share of the responsibility? What would a righteous response look like?
Heart Changing Word: Proverbs 10:19 (NIV 1984) “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” Proverbs 12:18 “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 21:23 “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.” Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Ephesians 4:29 & 31 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” James 3:9 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” Copyright 2012 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.
Posted by Jen, Guest blogger Michelle Greydanus
Our presence, words and conversations about or with others are either “life-giving” or “filled with the toxicity and stench of death.” (Paraphrase of Kathy Lee Gifford on the Today Show). I’ve been pondering the truth of this phrase all week and it led me to reflect on I Thess 5:11.
1 Thessalonians 5:10-12 (NIV)
“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Pondering the calling as a follower of Jesus to “Live together” in unity with Christ and the Christian’s role in encouraging and building others up. And how the opposite conversations of gossip and toxic negativity destroy this unity in the body. It builds walls of separation and establishes “armies” of dissention within workplaces, schools, churches and families. Yet, how quick am I to accept and join in on this behavior…yuck…to the Cross again I go.
Last week I posted an unknown author’s variation of Corinthians 13, and challenged us all to rewrite it for our own lives. Well, a friend of mine did. Erin is a mom of three and teaches at the school where Jen’s and my kids attend (I have been blessed to have my children in her class!). She also has a blog called ThreeByThirty (click on our blogroll on the right) and she posted her version last week in response to this challenge. It is inspiring and heart warming.
Here is what she wrote:
This morning, I read an entry written by Amy
entitled “How Well Do You Love?”.
I had never read that variation of 1st Corinthians 13 before, but immediately
began drawing parallels with my own life. Of course, there are parts of that
version that don’t yet apply to my life, which is why I was inspired by the
challenge Amy presented, in re-writing a version that reflects where I am in my
life now. Despite the non-stop pace of this day (and so many more before it, as
well as those to come), I found myself thinking about this post. The hour is
late, the science tests that rode home with me sit unscored in my work bag, and
the laundry needs switched (sidebar: the washer buzzed just as I typed
that…a little extra reminder from God, since laundry is, in my opinion, the
worst.chore.ever.??). All of these factors aside, I feel compelled to take on
this challenge tonight. I know it won’t be my ‘ideal’, but that illustrates
just how organic motherhood and womanhood can be–tomorrow, this whole
thing could be different.
I can sing the theme song
to Spongebob and recite The Little Mermaid by heart, but without love, I am
merely a car alarm going off during nap time.
I can change the diaper of a
squirmy baby in ten seconds flat while watching a three-year old’s impromptu
dance routine and listen to my five-year old read a book for his homework I can
chop veggies so fine they can’t pick them out of the sauce, while making a
grocery list complete with a stack of neatly trimmed coupons. I can hold a
conversation with a magical fairy princess and a Storm Trooper from Star Wars
while tossing a football and blowing bubbles, but without love, I am
Love is patient while listening to the
minute-by-minute account of a fight, told by a frustrated child who wants
validation in their decision to show their anger toward their sibling with their
Love is kind even when I’m overwhelmed and
exhausted, and I’ve heard ‘moooommmmy….?’ for the three thousandth time in the
day…my tone is nurturing and calm.
It does not envy the
mommies who somehow have time to work out, have standing pedicure appointments,
or a wardrobe from stores I can only dream of shopping in…but trusts
the Lord to provide me with my own joys and pleasures as ‘treats’ for
Love does not brag about the blessings which
have been bestowed upon us. Love rejoices in the blessings God
bestows upon our friends and family.
It does not boast,
when I’ve come home from a full day of work to prepare a healthy and
well-rounded dinner for my family when my husband’s ‘chef’s special’
incorporates peanut butter and jelly with bread.
Love is not
rude, even when other customers at the grocery store are oblivious to
the family circus I am trying to keep under control, and run into my children
with their cart in an attempt to be first in the check out line (despite the
screaming baby in my car seat)
It does not immediately seek after
glory after I’ve unloaded the dishwasher, or folded the
It is not easily angered by other drivers who
*love* to drive in my blind spot, or by an endless slew of red lights on
mornings I’m already running late and evenings I
It does not delight in evil when
I’m obviously right, but rejoices in the truth…that I
was right. (room for growth…I know!)
Love does not
give up hope when you’re supporting your best friend through the fight
of her life.
It always trusts God to watch over my
husband when he’s driving in the middle of night on limited sleep, to keep my
children safe when I can’t be there or can’t put my ‘mommy bubble wrap’ around
them. It always perseveres…through 3 kids in 5 years,
thousands of miles from family, non-traditional work schedules, crying babies
and tears, angry outbursts and tragic loss.
Thanks so much for sharing your life with us Erin! If anyone else has decided to rewrite this scripture for their life, please email it to us (if you feel so inclined) at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know if we can share it on our blog. If you are reading this on email, please click on the GraceFullhome link above to see new pictures and other fun stuff on our sidebar!