Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Grace Flows Down...

"...as I go, I comfort myself with the thought that when I come

to the gate of the City, the Ruler of the City will easily

recognize me since I have this coat on my back—

a coat He freely gave me the day He stripped me of my rags"

~ Pilgrim's Progress ~

Sorry I'm so late in posting my follow up to the previous post.

I had a WONDERFUL trip to visit my family.

If you recall...God heavily put it on my heart

to confess my sin to those I've hurt over the years

and ask their forgiveness.

That's a VERY humbling thing but I was eager

and excited to share what God had revealed to me

and to get everything off my chest...it was a burden

I had carried around for far too long.

Also, the freedom I was feeling from all that

God had revealed and worked out in me

the weeks leading up to this moment

was overwhelming...in a good way!

So, I arrived Saturday afternoon and

realized if I had arrived a few minutes later

I would've missed the chance to talk to my Step-Dad

since he was leaving to spend the weekend

with his mom & brothers.

A little history on our relationship....

My SD came into my life 21 years ago

at a very difficult time and

for that I've harbored resentment

and anger in my heart toward him.

Now...never mind that my SD was nothing but

sweet, loving, kind and would do ANYTHING

for me...I couldn't get past my own hurt

to receive that love.

When I sat down to tell him what God

had revealed, confess my sin, apologize and

ask for his forgiveness, I was FLOORED

with his gentle spirit, loving words

and GRACE that was extended to me.

I certainly didn't deserve it but he was very

quick to give it....much like my Heavenly Father!

The next day I was throwing a baby shower

with my mom for my brother's girlfriend.

A little history there, she's been around

the family for over eight years and

through a series of events I lost all

respect for her for some decisions

she made in her life that I disagreed with.

Like any normal person not walking

around in blatant sin...

you would just agree to disagree and move on...

clearly, that was not the case with me!

I was walking around in judgment toward her

and, you know...that makes everything better!

Not so much...I can honestly say I've spent

the last eight years ignoring her...to the point

that I couldn't even LOOK at her.

Imagine family birthdays & holidays with

that awkwardness.

Well, before the shower started, I was eager

to confess my sin to her and ask her forgiveness.

She was very understanding of why I may have acted

the way I did but I quickly explained there is

no excuse for my behavior.

I was not loving her as Christ would love her.

She, too, quickly and kindly

extended grace to me.

It's humbling to sit here and right this...to confess to

you all just how ugly & deep this sin in my life was

and that I let it go on for YEARS!

But, praise God, my story doesn't end there.

As I drove back to OKC I reflected on what just happened

that weekend.

Both of these people, whom I had NOT loved well

over the years, whom I had not shown the love

and grace of Christ that was so freely given to me,

just POURED out grace to me.

I was humbled by their kindness and even more humbled

by God's kindness. I've done nothing to deserve it...

but grace has been given to me...

it's not the first time & it won't be the last!

Thank you Lord for stripping me of my rags and

placing a coat of grace on my back....

May I be mindful of this and quick to extend grace to others.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blind to Sin....

The following quote sums up what the
Lord has been teaching me the past few weeks:

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating.
By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil
and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer~

Man...I couldn't have said it any better myself, Mr. Bonhoeffer!

I'm in a Bible study at church called
Freedom in Christ...
I took this class back in the spring
and I'm co-leading one of the
groups this fall....
I learned sooo much last time
and God is faithful, as usual, to
continue pruning me and making me
in His image...as I sit in The Fire.

Two weeks ago the lesson was on Forgiveness...
this is by FAR my favorite lesson in the entire course.
It's such a powerful night for all involved...
it's a night where we go and sit on our own
and work through repenting of our sin
then on paper writing out everything we would ever
want to say to the people that have hurt us...
then giving it back to the Lord and saying...
I forgive you to that person that hurt you.
Once we're finished we put it through the shredder
never to think about it again.

God had been working on me for a couple of weeks
prior to this lesson.

As I sat there listening to the two women give their
testimonies of how they've forgiven...I sat there
with tears streaming down my face and I couldn't
wait to get to the exercise...I was ready to spill
my guts and forgive the person
God had put on my heart...
which led to two others I needed to forgive as well.

I sat down with my pen and paper and began writing...
as the words appeared on the paper
God gently revealed to me how I had been blind
to my own sin....
how I've spent YEARS judging each one of these
precious people in my life...
harboring ill feelings and anger toward them...
it had gotten so bad I could hardly look
them in the face...
the worst thing about all this is that I was so
deep in my sin that I couldn't even see how I
was wrong or how I was hurting them.

God graciously softened my heart for this very moment...
to reveal my sin and change my heart toward
each one of these people.

He's also given me the heart to sit down
with each one of them
and confess my sin.
If you think about it...say a prayer...
I'll be doing that this weekend.

I can't WAIT to see them, love them and extend
the same grace & forgiveness that
Christ so graciously extended to me.
I pray through this, they will see
Christ's work in me and receive His love
through me...
To God be the Glory...
Great things He has done!!!