The Grandeur of Faith

It was past time to leave work and go home, and I heard rain coming down fiercely. I quickly got my things and left the office. Once in my car, I heard thunder and saw lightning, and the rain was a downpour, mixed with hail! I as well as the other drivers were cautious in driving, and I had to gas up my vehicle before continuing. Once there, I noticed a calm come over me, and then I realized the rain had stopped. I thought that then was the time to get to the bridge and make my way home, hoping I would get away from the storm.

I was right. I made it through the storm. Once to the bridge, the sky was blue, not much by way of clouds, and the sun was shining; even the roads were dry. I felt as if God was sending me a message that all was well. I made it home and went to my mailbox to retrieve the mail.

I opened the nursing home bill for my mother expecting to see the usual numbers. I was surprised to see there was an $1100 monthly increase. Focusing on the amount, I panicked, wondering how that could be, and knowing neither she nor I could foot the increase.

As is usually the case, I tried to ‘fix it’, thinking of ways to obtain funds to pay this.   I went in prayer, and asked others to do the same. I realized I couldn’t  resolve this, but this was a situation only God could fix. I remembered the message of the previous day by Pastor Marcus England who spoke at my church (if you want to hear it go to westparkchurch.cc Drop the Mic series) regarding us asking ourselves that there must be more to living life, not settling and being passive, but being active by getting up, picking up and walking. All that stems from wanting more, not only surviving, but thriving. And getting the more involves us trusting God more. That message made me think of doing something Jesus is recorded as saying to many. Whether in the form of a question (“Do you believe I can do this?”), to a very succinct statement: “Just believe”, or as recorded in Mark 9:23: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

I watched the message of Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church talk about having baby faith, and if one has the faith of a grain of a small mustard seed, one can command any mountain to be moved, and it will.

The next day presented itself, and my plan was to take my mother’s bill and go to the nursing home and talk to someone in the business office. But an idea came to my brain to call the main office in Texas first. As I was talking to that person it was as if God dropped something in me: gross.  I pulled the annual statement that showed the amount my mother received for the year, divided it by 12, and that is how the larger figure was computed, the gross pension amount. When I told the person that, I asked her if the medical insurance that is deducted from her pension was considered. When she reviewed her files, she stated it wasn’t, and it needed to be. That was the difference. I had my answer to bring to the attention of the business office at the nursing home. So off I went.

Once there, I did not get a chance to bring up the issue of the health insurance, as they noticed the error. They went into their files, found the information I had given them months earlier, made the correction and the discrepancy was resolved. While the monthly bill increased, my mother’s monthly check covered the fee. All was well.

Actually all was well before I received the bill. I just experienced going through a storm, but coming out on the other side free of rain and having dry roads and sunshine. God was giving me signals not to be concerned, He had it under control.

Now if I can only apply this to other areas of my life, I can continue to experience the  grandeur of faith, no matter how small my faith seems to be…be strengthenized.

The Mental NO!

I was determined to go to my Tuesday evening zumba class, knowing I would get not only a sweating workout, but have fun in the process. My plan was to leave work on time for a change, quickly change into my workout gear, cook a meal that would put fuel in my tank, and make it to the gym. This worked out perfectly.

Though I thought about taking the next class, I was pleased that I endured a good sweaty workout, and decided to go home. Since the body got exercise, the spirit must get the same, I thought. So for the remainder of the evening I thought to read some scripture and do some writing before going to bed.

As I got in my car to head home, my mind seemed to immediately gravitate to thinking about food, and started to give me some ideas of what to eat, and dare I say they were not healthy food choices. Fried chicken (or anything fried for that matter) was the suggestion, and my mind continued to wander into the world of getting something to eat. The good side of me mentally gave all of me a resounding NO!  to the request, and  I made it home without going somewhere to get s tasty snack full of unwanted calories. Why waste all that movement I did in class to consume something I didn’t need?

After parking my car once I got home, I thought about what had just happened.  I could have followed my mind as I have done numerous times, (the reason for my overabundance of fat I carry in my body), but this time I decided to do as scripture says:

1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 (NIV)

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Paul wrote this to the those of the church of Corinth, encouraging them how to not only run the race, but win the prize. The method of running must be strategic, and one must not run the race with no goal in mind, aimlessly “beating the air”, as the King James Version records. Since we are talking about runners here, when they prepare for a race, they plan, train, and eat the right foods that will fuel them as they run. And when there’s one lap to go and the finish line is in sight, they hope they will have that kick of energy that will enable them to be the one who wins the prize.
But the runner, like Paul, whips the body in  shape to be presented to the world as the winner. Paul learned that having the body in shape provided the best way to present himself. We can apply the mindset to our lives. What goals do you want to obtain, and what mind suggestions do you need to eliminate that causes your body to follow the thought? After all,

“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
― Samuel Smiles, Happy Homes and the Hearts That Make Them

So keep those NO!s coming to yourself, and eventually change will come, and you will become the one who wins the prize, for
“The Body Achieves
What the Mind Believes.”  Bishop Dale C. Bronner

Being Clutter-less

I entered my cluttered home: everywhere I looked there were piles of stuff.

  • my desk was cluttered to the point I couldn’t see the keyboard, let alone the computer
  • the dining room table had stuff on it, things that needed to be put away
  • piles of shoes on the floor that needed to be in a space I created just for shoes
  • the bedroom chair I couldn’t sit in because it possessed a pile of clothes
  • I don’t even want to describe the kitchen or the bathroom

The more piles of clutter I saw, the more discontent I became. Why do I stare at this stuff day after day, I asked myself. Why can’t I just have a goal in mind of doing the cleaning, even if I break it down that goal and do it a step at a time?

As I thought on this, it was as if God pulled back the curtains of reality and invited me into the spiritual realm to tell me something:

“Perhaps the reason for the clutter is the unwillingness to go through the process of getting clean.” 

Really? Must we go there? Apparently, God thought the need to bring this to my attention, so let’s take this a step further.

The mind, they say, is a terrible thing to waste. That waste can be in the form of allowing things to clutter it. Like the piles of stuff around my home that need to be dealt with, we allow our minds to be consumed with piles of worry, piles of ‘what ifs’ that may never come into fruition, all the while recognizing the overwhelming need to go through the process of de-cluttering. Imagine entering into a space where things are in order, what needs to be in a drawer and not on the floor, what needs to be on a hanger and not in a chair, what needs to be wiped down and smelling fresh and clean.

Imagine not taking worries to bed with you, not dreaming about problems, not waking up during the night, but rather awakening in the morning refreshed and ready to take on the day. How can all this take place?

The process of being clean enables peace to enter in. If allowed, peace can do a mental cleansing of the mind, ridding it of the cares of this world. If we go to God, in faith believing that He will take care of the ‘piles’ that clutter our lives, He will ensure that He will care for the stuff that leave us stymied, enabling us to go forward in an uncluttered way. That is when the process is needed.

  • the process of letting go of what so easily entangles and besets us
  • the process of being patient when we want things to happen immediately
  • the process of being still and letting God handle the stuff of life

So one evening I came home and went to my bedroom and tackled the chair pile, and I was sure the chair was happy when it was empty. Next, I uncovered my dresser, putting  clothes to their proper drawers and being able to see all had been cleared away. More to do, but happy the process started.

Just my thought, but I think when your home is cluttered, perhaps it may represent what is mentally happening. And the problems that develops into piles in your mind transfers to piles of stuff you see in your home, so perhaps when this happens it is a signal that you need to mentally check yourself, and consider what it would be like to be clutter-less. When your mind is devoid of problems, you are willing to keep your living environment de-cluttered of stuff.

Could this be you? If so, consider being clutter-less, and be strengthenized.

Let the process begin

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4: 6,7

 

 

Workin’ the Faith

Work – an activity involving mental and/or physical effort done in order to achieve a result; task(s) to be undertaken; the result of an action

Faith – complete trust in something or someone; a strongly held belief

“Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” James 2: 17,18

What happens when you believe you have all the faith in the world about a dream, that it will happen, but don’t do anything regarding it? It is almost like daydreaming, you know? What happens when you daydream? It is a lovely feeling in the mind, thinking of how that dream would work for you, but at the same time sitting in your comfy chair or lying in bed, not jotting it down, not looking into it further about how it can move from the realms of the mind to the openness of reality, where it blossoms through the work. When this occurs, it is there where one has made the decision to move at the realization of faith.

For many (me included), this can be challenging to say the least. Moving past the fear, the atmosphere of the unknown, and just venturing out can seem like a difficult task. Faith is needed, this is true. But if that is all you have, your faith is dead, as said in the second chapter of James. It is like faith in and of itself is feeling lonely, needing a partner to blossom into an atmosphere of optimum speed to become exceptionally magnificent.

  • The book of Nehemiah tells of how one man led a group of people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. He came up with a plan of what he needed, talked to the king about it who gave him what was needed in letters and supplies to get the task done and let many to get the task completed: faith paired with works.
  • In the ninth chapter of Matthew faith enabled the woman with the issue of blood to imagine the possibility of being healed; that, coupled with her movement to get to Jesus at all costs to touch the hem of his garment and immediately be made whole. Faith and works came together and the outcome was magnificent.
  • Faith enabled a desperate father to bring his son to Jesus in the ninth chapter of Mark; the movement was he not only considered it, but got his son to Jesus (works). The outcome was total healing, and the father’s faith was increased.

Have you coupled your faith with works? Are the two working together, or separate, with your dream not becoming reality? Have you ventured out by researching and finding out how your dream can become reality, having faith that God will bring it to pass while at the same time being willing to do what it takes to actually realize what you know God has input in you to do?

It is great you have the faith: now work it, and be strengthenized through the process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Informational

Earlier in the day I read a post from another friend:

“Sometimes it can be EXTREMELY overwhelming trying to figure out where to begin with all the Lord has put in you, in addition to dealing with all that life brings you!”

I responded with many comments:

“and trying to discover the balance between the two! Just know you are not alone in this battle! Many (including me) are going through this…Then you get all these great ideas, and you think now how am I going to do THAT! Then comes the thought, God must be giving me these ideas because He believes I can do it. My question is HOW? I haven’t finished the other ideas given me! So I truly understand.”

I had been asking God for His direction on a myriad of issues, from health concerns to starting a business, to writing (which by the way had come to a screeching halt on my part). I knew this weekend would be full of attending two friends’ events: one yesterday, and one today. I didn’t feel my best yesterday, but knew I wanted to attend both events. Saturday evening’s event was inspirational on many fronts. I got to hear many points from three presenters that really got my attention:

  • one spoke of leaving Chicago, moving to LA with not much financially, and though it took a few months, he realized his musical dreams, which included starting a business, and working in the entertainment field with top talents and realizing another dream of traveling the world while on tour. He encouraged all who attended to not only believe the dream can be done, but to invest in yourself, even if that means leaving the familiar and venturing out into the unknown.
  • the next person was also in the musical field, but left her good paying job in one field moved to another city for an intern job (no money), and discovering yet another field of helping others increase their finances through investments. She had no idea where her journey would take her, but was willing to get out of the familiar and realize her dream of no longer being broke while helping others in the process. Now her clients are nationwide and beyond.
  • the host, a talented singer/musician, discovered her dream of creating this event of giving to others, and said “don’t bring your million dollar vision to penny minded people.” Therefore, one has to chose to be surrounded by those who are encouraging (rightful connections), not by ones who are not motivating. Dreams need to be written down (as recorded in Habakkuk 2:2), keep watch over what you say in the atmosphere, and the most important one I think: just do it.

As I sat in the back listening (sitting in the back was on purpose: I was the oldest one there), I thought of how often I have come up with ideas – and by the way, God keeps giving me even more – and I am not doing the equivalent of the Nike commercial: Just Do It. Awe, but there’s more.

This afternoon I attended another friend’s event that launched her latest book entitled Pursuing Purpose: 5 Keys to Fulfilling Your God-Given Purpose. This book is right on point, meeting me where I presently am. It was a joyous occasion, and one I hope to experience of my own by the end of this year hopefully. This same person has also launched her own business of being a publisher; just what I need – a right connection.

Everything I saw and heard was very informative this weekend. I got to see two women forging ahead, trusting God by coupling their faith with their works of realizing their goals.

This morning I sent my friend (the one I first mentioned) another message:

“I went to an event last night of a friend. I wish you were there. If you only knew what she talked about! It was on the … comments of yesterday. I am so encouraged. I started not to go. Just be encouraged that God will see to it that he will tell you he is for you, and will send a word to you through others to tell you to follow what he has deposited in you. Be encouraged to strive and continue….”

“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.  For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”  Habakkuk 2: 2,3

This weekend which was full of confirmation of what I already know, and has shown me I need to be the next spokesperson for the Nike commercial…stay tuned while being strenthenized.

 

 

An Honored Request

How do you pray to God?  Does it contain thoughts about what is wrong in your life and how you want God to change it? Is the reason for the prayer more about you than about God? Do you ask for things to be given you to fit your agenda in place of asking for God’s will to be done?

Pastor Marc Poland of West Park Church spoke on these and other thoughts in his most recent message, part 3 of the Teach Us to Pray Series. It had many who listened thinking about the content of our prayers to God. Then he presented the contents of the Jabez prayer, found in I Chronicles 4: 9, 10:

“And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.  And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Goes to his source of blessings, who is God
  • Requests that his territory or span of influence be enlarged
  • That God’s hand of protection would be with him, and
  • That God would keep him from any evil that would cause him pain

Jabez’s mother named him based on the pain she endured while he was being born. Imagine having a name that means pain! Nevertheless, Jabez was described as more honorable than those around him.

Pastor Marc stated that this prayer did not give detail on life’s despair, and further did not (in a round about way) demand that his will be done. How many times have we asked for God to do something to fit our agenda? What if we modeled our prayers as kingdom prayers, shifting the focus on God’s will be done instead of our own? On the surface it appears the prayer of Jabez was attempting to get things from God. At closer review, Jabez was asking for help to enlarge his spiritual territory, that through Jabez the kingdom would be expanded! It is similar to some of the elements of the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13):

  • Acknowledging who God is (verse 9)
  • that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven (verse 10)
  • to be delivered from evil (verse 13)

So what would happen if we prayed in this manner? It only took one verse to record the prayer of Jabez, and God responded in a positive way; as Jabez honored God, God returned the favor, honoring Jabez his prayer request.

We don’t have to tell God the details of what is going on in life; He already knows, and He knew before the foundation of the world the details of the present situation. However, when our prayers recognize the God of the universe, requesting God’s will to flow through all we do, God not only recognizes the prayer but honors it with all he does. And that is yours for the asking.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20

 

NUHTIA…

These are challenging times you see, for it’s difficult to see

If you will be taken care of or disposed of, thrown away like a ragged doll

Like a ship crashed against a rugged terrain with not much left to retain

What can be done,  all seems lost, you say, bills are piling up with no greenbacks to pay

And speakin’ of pay where is it?

Locked up like a hostage in jail, with me feelin’ financially frail,

My plight is real, not imagined, but complicated

As two sides of leadership pit one against the other in this riddle

There’s a third side: me and others like me caught in the middle

And as week three continues with no concrete answer

I offer a solution of spiritual evolution, and the direction is N.U.H.T.I.A.

When all is crazy, bundle up the fear and the frustration, the anger coupled with

Impatience, and give it all to Him:

Now Unto Him, Ephesians 3:20 starts, That Is Able, the next phrase imparts

God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think

According to the power that works in us, The us is the one who lives by faith

Despite what’s currently happening, stand on what God provides

Never leaving nor forsaking you, gifting you with His endless supply

And when your mind gets cluttered with fear and frustration

Allow Him to overtake it, giving your heart and mind a peaceful revelation

To get you through this time of furlough, an answer awaits your plateau:

NUHTIA…

” Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,”   Ephesians 3: 20

 

 

 

 

 

When a Situation becomes a ‘Sitiation’

Situation: the way in which something is placed in relation to its surroundings; all the facts, conditions and events that affect someone at a particular time and in a particular place.

Sitiation:  a critical, trying, or unusual state of affairs; an important or sudden problem; an obstacle that has elevated to another level – it was a situation, but is now a sitiation.

Whatever level of your predicament, either can be stressful. It can cause one to lose sleep, suffer from pain and worry, to mention a few. Usually in the middle of this event in life is an obstacle through one’s efforts appear to be insurmountable, something that can’t be overcome. It is probably the way the woman recorded in II Kings 4 felt in her situation…

Can you imagine how this woman must have felt, being bombarded with calls from her creditors to pay up or we’re taking your sons? Can you think of how distraught she must have been, all the stress and worry as time went on, wondering what she was going to do to solve her dilemma? As she poured her heart to Elisha, the prophet listened to the widow woman regarding her plight. She was in debt and could not pay her creditors, and was told they were coming for her two sons, to put them to slavery as payment for her bills. Elisha asked what he could do to help, but at the time, the woman said she had nothing in her house…except for some oil. The bible records that Elisha told her to get flasks from her neighbors, the oil was poured into as many containers as she could obtain, and with the selling of that oil, was not only able to pay her creditors and keep her sons from being thrown into slavery, but have oil left over, to use to sustain her and her sons.

What do you do when your situation elevates to a sitiation? Many are in a similar plight, as they are enduring not being paid as a federal government employees (me included). As of this writing, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are either going to work daily or being forced to stay home without receiving their pay checks, all the while dealing with their creditors, some of whom understand, and many who don’t, demanding the bills be paid. As saying goes, you can’t get blood from a stone, but this is a critical, trying and unusual state of affairs, an obstacle that appears to be insurmountable. Now this could be handled in a myriad of ways:

  • worrying about it won’t solve the problem
  • allowing the issue to invade your body with pain and stress won’t solve the issue
  • But if you are a believer, being steadfast in faith, make your obstacle an opportunity

In his message Masked,  Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church spoke this:

“Obstacles and opportunities are almost the same, depending on who’s on your side.”

“So when God is on your side…When debt is in front of you, God says don’t retreat, step towards it, I’m Jehovah-jireh, your provider, I’ll meet every one of your needs…because your obstacle is no longer an obstacle, because if God be for you, who can be against you? “

So how do you view your problem when is becomes a situation and gets elevated to a sitiation? I vow to believe God will supply all my needs according to his riches in glory. I vow to make the shift from what appears to be an obstacle to a God-opportunity.

And I hope you will come back for Part II of this issue, but in the meantime, be strengthenized…

Stirred Up

” Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God…”
(2 Timothy 1: 6)

I wasn’t sure if I would be participating in  the Christmas program at Broad Street Ministries. I would be coming straight from work, and I wanted to keep on driving until I got home, not wanting to deal with Friday evening traffic, driving around to find a parking space, etc. But I finally decided to go, and participate in the program.

So glad I made the right decision.

When I arrived I saw many familiar faces (like Tony, our music director) along with new ones (student musicians from Curtis Institute of Music). Throughout the collaborative effort, Broad Street group would sing some songs, then Curtis Institute would either sing or play music, and vice versa. When it was time for Curtis Institute to rehearse, I heard Kendra and Sage practice their selections…

OMG!

Their operatic sound was simply amazing. At the same time (knowing I would sing O Holy Night), I immediately experienced an inner roller coaster of pure intimidation, thinking my sound was nothing compared to the quality of their gifts. I thought of how could I even attempt to sing when they were more than capable of singing such a classic Christmas song. My voice felt tight when I practiced; it didn’t seem to open, and I was afraid to attempt the high notes I planned to put in the song. Maybe I shouldn’t have come after all, I thought, coming very close to asking Tony to have someone else sing the song.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to Timothy, a young minister who with Paul founded churches in various cities at the time.  The letter was to encourage Timothy in the faith to light up the fire of the endowment God had given him known as the gift. The next verse is a familiar one, which talks of God giving us power, love, and a sound mind, and not the emotion of fear, which seemed to be what I was feeling at the moment.

Before the program began, one of the professors of Curtis Institute came to me and complimented me on my voice…

(another) OMG moment!

But this time, it was a good one, as I was very encouraged by her words. I think it helped me relax a little.

All the participants gathered for prayer, with Tony prompting us to have fun and enjoy it all. I decided that I had my own sound, and while I was concerned about its quality, I asked God for help, after all, my participation was not because of my efforts, but because of His, and I wanted to do my best by singing for Him.

Everyone did great, (I have never seen someone play the trumpet with one hand and play the piano with the other at the same time, but I witnessed it! From the crisp and clear sounds of the trumpet and violin coupled with Tony’s eclectic arrangements to traditional Christmas songs that the Broad Street group sang, all went well. And as for me, after praying the prayer that no one knew about but God, I felt the stirring of the gift (my voice) open up, while being able to unlock my hands that were tightly gripped behind me, and hit the high notes with ease, surprising myself in the process. Feeling the power of the inner gift, fear had left the building as the sound I created was the best I could do for the moment, and I was pleased for a change (instead of being a mental critic as I usually do).

From hearing words from Psalms being beautifully sung, to classic Christmas carols, to a song sang just for fun (Signed, Sealed Delivered by Stevie Wonder led by me), there was much I gleaned from the experience. I need to relax and let things happen, whether it be singing or writing, allowing the stirring to generate the creativity God has already provided from within. When that is allowed, I can experience lovely OMG moments of my own…

Be strengthenized…

Forgiveness

“Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.”                                                                                                Indira Ghandhi

“When you forgive,  you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” Bernard Beltzer

“Forgiveness is about empowering yourself, rather than empowering your past.”                    TD Jakes

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”                                 Lewis B Smedes

“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;”                          Jesus Christ in Matthew 6:14a

Whether it be watching a Law & Order episode that had forgiveness (or the lack thereof) as part of the plot of the story, to  listening to a sermon online, or listening to a daily devotional, the word of the week for me seemed to be forgiveness. First, this could stem from being hard on myself for not doing things I know I should be doing (like writing, which lately has been shelved). I have been feeling like time is quickly wasting away, thinking God will take the writing gift from me.

Secondly there’s the issue of caring for my mother. Dementia is a disease that has entered my mother’s brain and induced her to believe things her mind conjures up, different from what I tell her actually happened. Her words are hurtful and full of mistrust that I did not cause; yet, it continues. The relationship we have now is strained, the whole process of lessening stress levels has become difficult, the frustration becomes hard to contain, becoming a victim of a disease that lashes out at will. Not wanting to hear the same accusations I have heard for almost a year, I shut down during the one-sided conversation. Before eventually hanging up the phone I say to her “I don’t know what to tell you, Mom” after explaining something that I have told her many a time, with her response being one accusation after another, calling me a liar regarding actions that never occurred.

And through it all, I must forgive.

So I thought to start this post with some quotes on the subject. One that is not listed  says the first step to forgiveness is the willingness to do so. Before stepping into the realm of forgiveness one has to want to be there. And, as Indira Ghandhi is quoted as saying, there is bravery when entering into forgiveness. Hopefully the reason to go there is because one has to admit the prison that unforgiveness causes.  The lack of forgiveness is full of negative actions and responses, shrouded in darkness that can cause one to be in an abyss of anger and ill-will towards the person. This is the definition of the prison Smedes speaks of in his quote. How can one experience freedom while covered in the realm of unforgiveness? This kind of atmosphere attaches itself to the thought stream of the mind,  keeping record of past hurts that keeps one hinged to the past without considering the future. Thus the empowerment comes not from the present but from the past that chains hope for a bright and open future.

When one decides to make a change and forgive, the doors of the future are opened. One must decide to no longer be chained to adversarial statements that have been received as hurtful. Here is where the strength and bravery must be adhered to. As long as the disease continues I will continue to hear the same statements over and over from my mother. And every time I must forgive, detaching myself from any negative response regarding me coming to my defense. Tonight during the usual conversation, the thought came to do just that. I decided not to go down that lane anymore, as it does not accomplish anything. It is as Jesus said, I have to turn the other cheek, regardless of what is (in this context) being said to me.

Forgiveness is an action that must be accomplished, though it may take a lifetime to achieve. I hope to release myself out of this prison, gifting myself with the empowerment of the freedom forgiveness provides. If I forgive, God will forgive me. Perhaps you are in a similar situation, a crossroads of what to do next. With the strength from God who is always willing to help, you and I can be brave enough to forgive, checking out of prison, and empowering ourselves to experience the freedom of forgiving ourselves and others.

Be strenthenized…