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Lessons From Our Past

 

Isaiah 43:18
Forget the former things;  do not dwell on the past.

I was part of a Facebook discussion yesterday on the “Rebel flag” and what it represents. Any discussion that includes what has become to be known as the Confederate flag (the “Rebel flag” was not the real Confederate flag. It was only the battle flag of Northern Virginia. There were different variations of the real Confederate flag.) is going to bring with it passionate feelings about hate and racism. My friend is passionate about not supporting a flag that represents hate and racism. My ancestors from my grandmother back lived in Louisiana. My ancestors were cotton plantation owners and yes, slave owners. What is my view on the Rebel flag? It is a symbol of a part of United States history. I will never condone racism, hate, or oppression of any kind. I am passionate about speaking out against injustice. I will not discredit those who view the rebel flag as a symbol of hate because of what their ancestors lived through. I will challenge all of us though to see it for what it is, an inanimate object that has no power other than the power we give it. Recently there has been a trend in tearing down the statues that represent parts of our history as Americans. People have become upset by what these statues represent. We are giving power to non-living objects instead of examining our own hearts to see what part WE are playing in bringing the hate and racism from the past into the present and future. These statues and other symbols that we see as representing negative aspects of our history need to be used to fuel us to work for peace instead of the violence that is erupting instead.

This country was built on the destruction and slaughter of thousands of innocent men, women and children. The Native Americans. We, as Americans, have a history of violence and intolerance. At the same time, I have seen great examples of compassion and love. WE choose what attitudes we will take into the future. If we choose hate and racism then we, at least need to be mature enough to take responsibility for those actions and not blame our actions on a statue or piece of fabric that has no power to make us do anything. My ancestors were slave owners, but that does not define who I am. I am passionate about working to bring justice where injustice lives. I am not my ancestors. I choose not to bring their attitudes into my present and future.

My challenge to you: Forget the past. The lives of our ancestors are gone. They are dead and so are the circumstances they lived through. Learn from what they lived through to make things better for those of us living now. Learn from the past to make things better for our children. Choose to make the future a better one for all of us. Let go of the past and choose to live in peace.

 

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Serve One Another

 

John 13:14

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Matthew 20:28

Even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. 

While Jesus was on earth, He taught us how to serve others. He made water into wine. He fed thousands of people on different occasions. He healed the sick, brought the dead back to life and poured Himself into the lives of His disciples. But, the one example that always stands out to me is how He humbly got down on the floor, took His disciple’s dirty feet and washed them. He washed the dusty, dirty feet of His disciples. Not expecting anything in return, just that they go out and wash one another’s feet.

If Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, could humble Himself and serve the needy and poorest of the poor, then why is it so hard for us to do the same? He did not have to serve anyone. He was and IS God. He did it because He loved those around Him and He loves us today.

Our problem today is that we have to much pride to wash one another’s feet. We think it is beneath us. We are to good to wash someone else’s feet humbly and with love. I’ll admit, I would not be the first in line to wash a stranger’s feet, but in not wanting to step out and serve, what am I saying to my Jesus? In not serving others we miss the opportunity to live out a major part of who Jesus was. He came to serve, not to be served.

Imagine what this world would be like if we all stepped out of our comfort zones to serve others. If we stepped out to serve those that our different than us, those who may make us uncomfortable. What if we looked beyond the color of someone’s skin, or the dirt of the homeless, or the smell of the alcoholic, what if instead of seeing all of these things that make us uncomfortable, we saw Jesus in that person. Remember what Jesus said:

Matthew 25:34-40

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Challenge: My challenge to you is to keep your eyes and heart open to least of these and step out to serve in whatever way you can. Even if you can’t do much, do what you can. It is the love in service that speaks louder than words and will work miracles in restoring a broken soul. If we all stepped out in the love of Jesus and started serving one another this world could change. We could see peace in the chaos. I’ve not given up on that. Go forth and serve!

 

 

 

Path Of Intention

 

I emailed my letter of intent, stating that I want to continue in my journey of becoming a Providence Associate. The picture above is a beautiful path that can be found right outside the door of my workplace. It is the path I often take, at the end of a long day, to get to my car. I never fail to feel the stress of the day wash away as the peace of this magical place fills my heart and revives my soul. Along this path is where I have contemplated my purpose in becoming a Providence Associate. I have named it my Path of Intentions.

What are my intentions? I have thought and prayed about this. I know that my intentions are to grow closer in prayer, ministry and personal relationships to these women that I have grown to love. I don’t know yet how that will play out. I don’t know how God will interweave my life into the fabric that is the history and legacy of a congregation of women who are strong, courageous, intelligent, and filled with faith, love, mercy and justice. I don’t know how God will use me as an Associate. I don’t even know if I am worthy of the role. I do know one thing:

 

This journey must lead me closer to Jesus. Just as this statue of my Savior is found at the end of my Path of Intentions, this journey with the Sisters of Providence must lead me closer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I am looking forward to serving the Sisters and others with love, mercy and justice.

 

 

I seek…A Poem

 

I Seek

In the world, I seek…

Peace, but find chaos…

Love, but find hate…

Justice, but find condemnation…

Mercy, but find cruelty…

Compassion, but find judgement…

I seek, but never find…

I am seeking in the wrong place…

Where? Where is the answer to be found?

I am lost…

I am lost…

I turn my eyes to the hills…

Jesus…

In Him, I find…

A peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)…

A love that never fails ( 1 Corinthians 13:8)…

A justice that upholds the cause of the oppressed (Psalm 146:7)…

Tender mercies from a loving God (Psalm 25:6)…

A compassion that is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)…

In Jesus I have no fear…

“In the world you will have tribulation. but take courage; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)

 

 

Proverbs 20:22

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.

 

After my divorce, I was filled with anger. I felt like I was being abandoned. My hopes and dreams lay scattered at my feet and I was furious at my then husband for what was happening. I was full of rage and I was determined to pay back the wrong that had been done to me.

I’m sure you’ve been there, single mom. You are Filled with so much anger that it keeps you focused on that wrong that has been done to you. That rage takes your eyes and heart off of what’s important: your kids. It’s easy to get sucked into that hurt and anger. It is normal to feel that revenge will help you feel better. It is normal to want that person that caused you pain to suffer too.

I’m here to tell you, single mom, that revenge will NOT help you feel better. I won’t go into detail about my own childish behavior, but I will tell you that my actions left me feeling guilty about the example I had set for my kids. I regretted behaving that way in front of my kids and I felt like the worst mom in the world.

Did God avenge the wrong done to me? Well, sort of. In my situation, He changed my heart towards my now ex-husband. The more I trusted God and leaned on God, the more I felt my anger melt away. I still get angry at times, but I trust God to take care of the situation for me.

Your saying, “well, my ex-husband beat me, he deserves everything he gets.” That may be true, but your #1 priority has to be your kids. Allow God to work in the situation. He WILL fight for you. If you focus on your children and allow the Holy Spirit to melt that anger in your heart, God will protect you and fight for you. I am NOT saying to not fight for justice in your situation. If you have to take someone to court or get a protective order to protect yourselves and your kids, then absolutely do what you need to do to protect yourself and your children. I am saying to seek justice within the law and not seek revenge based on anger and rage. Our God is a God of justice and He will bring justice in your circumstance. You are a daughter of God, He loves you and He will fight for you.

My challenge to you: Allow the Holy Spirit to heal your spirit and melt the anger in your heart. There will still be times when something happens that makes you angry. If you need to seek justice within the law, then do so. Trust God to bring justice. Your kids need a mom who is at peace and is focused on doing what is best for them. Allow the peace of God to fill your home. Do not allow the anger and chaos of Satan to enter your home. Your kids feel what you feel. Let go of the hate and rage and trust God to work.

If you need prayer or an encouraging word, just drop me a line via my contact form. I am always here to help, my single mom friend!

Accept One Another

 

Romans 15:7

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

This passage does NOT say to judge one another. But, that is exactly what we do. We use our Christianity to put ourselves on a pedestal and we judge everyone below us. Why do we do that? Jesus NEVER judged anyone! Jesus was compassionate, merciful and humble. He never put Himself above anyone else. He even said that He was not sent to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Jesus had every right to put Himself on a pedestal. He IS the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! But, Jesus was not like that.

We, as Christians, need to reread the Gospels and really let the characteristics of Christ sink into our hearts. We need to embody Christ. We need to be more accepting of those that are different than we are. We need to be more accepting of those with different opinions and not assume they are wrong because we might not agree. Do we think that God loves one of us more than another? Well, God does NOT have favorites (Romans 2:11). God loves the homeless as much as He loves the millionaire. He loves the drug addict as much as He loves the pure in heart. We ALL have imperfections. We ALL mess up. We ALL have made HUGE mistakes at one time or another. We have ALL lived in sin. None of us has any reason to condemn or judge anyone else.

My challenge to you (and myself!) is to go back and reread the Gospels and write down in a notebook the characteristics of Jesus. Then we need to make an conscious effort to embody those characteristics on a daily basis. Live like Jesus. Don’t expect everyone to serve you. Go out and serve others. If the King of Kings was humble enough to wash the disciples feet, we should be too.

 

1 Corinthians 1:10

10 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

The Church of America is divided. We have separated ourselves into our man-made denominations and pick which parts of scripture we feel fits our personal doctrines. We find denominations competing against each other and fighting over which one is “right.” Inside the local church, we find cliques being formed based on social status or demographics. Unfortunately, there is always the group of “undesirables” that get left out. In my experience, it has been those “undesirables” that have the closest relationship with God. We bicker, argue and judge to the point of driving people away. Many people are now saying that non-Christians are more accepting and loving than Christians. Non-Christians stand back and watch us fight among ourselves and they are glad that they are on the outside. A house divided can not stand.

Mark 3:25

If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.

We SHOULD be united in the scriptures. We SHOULD be united in obedience to the Holy Spirit. We SHOULD be united in Jesus Christ. We serve ONE God and ONE resurrected Savior. There is only ONE Bible. We should NOT be divided. We SHOULD be united as Sisters and Brothers in Christ. We SHOULD be loving each other. We SHOULD be supporting each other. We need to stop the fighting and come together as the family of Christ. We ARE family! We have been adopted as children of God (Ephesians 1:5, Romans 8:14-17). We need to become that united Body of Christ that stands together in mind and thought. Let us glorify our God by taking a unified stand against Satan and those who are sitting back and waiting for the Church of America to implode. Jesus sacrificed His life for US. Don’t we owe it to Him to get our acts together and present a unified front?