Laughing Among the Chaos

I watched chaos ensue in every area of my life this week.  And I mean every area.  Nothing was left untouched.

 

So I should have been toppling over the edge of sanity, with all but one or two toes fully ensconced in the stress and anxiety.

 

But I sit here and laugh – loudly and boldly – in the face of the enemy who tried to destroy my peace but failed miserably.  And I laugh with a joy only God could provide – because I am full of “… the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding …” (Philippians 4:7).

 

Not wallowing in despair or sinking into depression.

Not shrinking back and shutting down.

Not worrying about endless negative possibilities that may never happen.

 

Laughing.

Smiling.

At peace.

 

Laughing Among the Chaos

 

Because despite all the messy pieces, I know these things to be true:

God is in control.

God has a good plan.

God is working things out for our good.

 

And I held onto these things as I watched the chaos continue.  Even as my women’s group disintegrated under the weight of not having a given meeting place and people’s high expectations.  Even as I faced the last work week of a coworker whom we have not been able to replace – with my boss feeling mounting pressure to replace her and coming up empty and me trying to keep with my usual tasks while my work load increased.  Even as my sister continued to have daily big seizures that panicked my mother and traumatized our family.

 

All events designed by the enemy.

To crush me – mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

To crucify my emotions and send me into a tailspin of stress, negativity, and desperation.

To curtail the good work God has been doing in me.

To cheat me out of the grace and blessing God had for me this week.

 

But I refused to flinch when he applied pressure.

I refused to focus on all the “what if’s” he whispered in my ear.

I refused to unfurl the emotions he tried to plant in my mind and heart.

I refused to follow the dark and deadly path he tried to lead me down.

I refused to fellowship with the stress and chaos he kept in my path.

 

Because I trust God has a purpose and He is working out that purpose.  He asked me to step out, but He did not promise it would work out exactly as I expected it to.  It was a great learning experience for the next time I step out of the boat.  Through medical intervention unplanned by us but orchestrated by God, we were able to find out what was causing my sister’s ongoing issues and start immediate corrective measures.  As for work, I will do as much as I can each day and get the most important things done.  We will manage, maybe a little awkwardly, for a little while.  But we will manage and get things done.

 

So when I realized how I focused on God instead of the crashing waves of my week, I thanked Him for the grace to maintain my victory.  And then I laughed at the enemy who lost yet another battle in his quest for control.

 

How have you responded to his attacks this week?  Can you laugh at him with me?

 

Marie Fremin.  10/13/18.

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Purpose of the Pit

I talked to someone recently about the consequences he is facing for a bad choice.  He chose to make a bad decision and now frets about having to suffer the consequences.

 

Joseph did not have the same luxury.  He committed no crime.  One of the two biggest complaints about Joseph was that he was a tattletale – “… Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father” (Genesis 37:2).

 

It appears to be the “easiest” way of life for Joseph.  He follows his ten older brothers around, feeding the family’s livestock and doing chores around their properties.  And he is sometimes sent purposely to spy – and then tattle – on them.  Like in Genesis 37:14 – “Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me.

 

Purpose of the Pit

 

Joseph had it good.  Go see what his wayward brothers are doing and report back to his father.  Who will probably chew out the brothers about what he tattled about.  Then he is rewarded by his father for his “disloyalty” to his brothers with gifts.  Which he probably rubs in his brothers’ faces – and they have to face these physical reminders of how much their dad doesn’t really love them … compared to the favorite son Joseph.

 

How often did you flaunt the fact that your dad loved you more (Genesis 37:3a)?  How often did you try to hurt them with his love?

 

Because I cannot imagine at 17 that you were trying to play nice with your brothers … but maybe you were and just got caught up in Jacob’s net.  I imagine you were the typical brother who rubbed their noses in Jacob’s favoritism, a lot … but maybe it bothered you that all your brothers hated you greatly and refused to speak to you (Genesis 37:4).

 

What I do know for sure if that you, at the age of 17, were a tattletale.  You were often sent to spy on your brothers – and I wonder if you ever had anything good to report.

 

And looking at you at 17, your destiny seems obvious – stay with Jacob while your brothers disperse and never speak to you again.  You may have evolved into a good man, but you could have easily remained a tattletale who alienated those around you.

 

The problem with this path?  God saw 13 years down the road, and He needed a governor.  He needed someone secure and stable.  He needed a mature and careful man.  He needed someone humble with integrity.

 

And at 17, were you any of these things?  Probably not.  I would guess you often enjoyed tattling on your brothers and being showered with gifts.  You probably relished your father’s attention, even though it caused great strife and division.

 

But God needed a leader.  God needed a man confident enough to stand on his own, outside of anyone’s shadow and influence.  God needed a man people would respect enough to follow.  God needed a man who would care about others.

 

And as a 17-year-old tattletale, you weren’t him.  There was no palace or position of leadership in your future.

 

But God had a palace for you, even at 17.  So He had to prepare you.  He had to separate you from the poison of Jacob’s favoritism.  He had to remove you from the hostility of your brothers.  He had to strip you of everything you cherished.

 

Because in that moment, you had nothing but God.  Literally.  You had your ephod and your chains, and nothing else when your brothers “sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt” (Genesis 37:28).

 

Seems harsh.  Seems extreme.  Seems cruel.  But it was so necessary, so God could start to build the character of a governor in you.

 

He did not let your angry brothers kill you as they wanted (Genesis 37:18-20).  God had big plans for you.  So He purposed your oldest brother Reuben to convince the other 9 to throw you into a pit instead (Genesis 37:22).

 

And that pit, Joseph, was the biggest blessing of your life.  Yes, it was deep and dark and “there was no water in it” (Genesis 37:24).  But that was the exact place God’s destiny began and His salvation came alive.

 

For God started ordering your steps to Egypt, where He needed you to be 13 years later.  What reason would you have had to go on your own?  What reputation would you have had if you did?  How would you have gotten an audience with Pharaoh?  You would have been too unknown and insignificant if left to continue your life as it was.

 

And I know God starting doing a great work in you in that pit.  Because you become a different man.  Instead of spending your days looking for ways to rat out Potiphar’s staff, you focused on your God and your duties.  Which led you to be promoted to “overseer of his house” (Genesis 39:4), trusted completely because of your integrity.  And you had a valid opportunity to tattle on his adulterous and flirtatious wife, who continuously threw herself at you … until that one fateful day when she tried to take you by force.  You ran, and she lied.  But we don’t see any record of you trying to defend yourself by tattling on her.

 

And God was with you every day you spent in prison unjustly because of her.  Until finally the day came that you were ready for the palace.  Yes, He brought you from the pit, through slavery, through prison – and finally you arrived at the palace!

 

And when Pharaoh calls you to interpret his dreams, you give God the credit instead of making it all about you (Genesis 41:16).  You have become so humble.  You didn’t ask Pharaoh for anything for yourself, even though you were in the perfect position to suggest yourself for power (Genesis 41:33).  You have learned to trust God, so you share the wise plan for surviving the coming famine.

 

And because you don’t ask to become part of the team, God honors the man you have become by having Pharaoh appoint you second in command (Genesis 41:40).

 

That governor God saw in you before the pit became a reality because of the pit.  He used the pit as the start of your leadership training and the end of your superiority complex.  He used the pit to break your father’s control over you so would be willing to lean into God instead.  He used the pit to show you the power of humility – and how far it will take you in life.

 

Your best life started in that pit – because you were destined to be more than a tattletale.  You spent 13 years waiting to get to the palace – but then God blessed you by allowing you spend 80 years in the palace.  Being able to influence people and save lives.

 

Purpose of the Pit 2

 

And the added bonus?  You reconciled with your brothers and reconnected with your father.  And you were finally able to have a great relationship with them.

 

So what is the take away for us?  Don’t shun your pit.  God has you there to break some influence off of you.  It is the place that starts your journey to God’s palace.  “God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20) – because the pit will help you start moving toward the good life He has planned and waiting for you.

 

Marie Fremin.  10/7/18

Known

Known.

 

We are all created with a desire to be known by people.  To be appreciated.  To be seen.  To have our lives matter.

 

But how often, in our quest to be known, do we forget that God wants to be known by us?  That God wants us to know His unconditional love.  That God wants us to experience His abounding forgiveness.  That God wants us to embrace His unending grace.

 

God wants to have a meaningful relationship with us, to be connected with us on every level.  To help us.  To encourage us.  To direct us.

 

And He does not care if where we have been or what we have done.  He still wants to be connected with us and help us live our lives to the full.  He wants to draw us toward His best.

 

Just look at Peter.  The outspoken and erratic disciple who one minute confessed Jesus as the Messiah (Matthew 16:16) and then a few breaths later chastised Jesus for talking about His upcoming death (Matthew 16:22).  He swore that he would never deny Jesus, even if things got to a breaking point (Matthew 26:33).  Yet that same night he was confronted three times by three people about his relationship with Jesus – and each time, he quickly denied any connection to the Man on trial inside.  “I do not know the Man!” (Matthew 26:70,72,74) is the only thing he could say in the middle of extreme confusion and chaos.

 

And Jesus could have left him to wallow in the self-pity, despair, and regret of his fear driven denials – making the rest of his days spiritually void.  But Jesus still knew Peter and wanted to be known by Peter.  He wanted to show Peter that yes, Peter could still know Him, love Him, and serve Him.  Peter could still fulfill his purpose God had planned for him (Matthew 16:18).

 

So as Jesus stepped back into the disciples’ lives for the third time after His resurrection, Peter is overjoyed to see Him and be with Him (John 21:7).  Peter deeply regrets his actions in the high priest’s courtyard, and Jesus knows this.  And because He is “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), He wants to reset Peter’s thoughts, reassure Peter’s depressed heart, and rewrite Peter’s story.  Because Peter needed to know that Jesus still loved him, despite all he had done – so Peter could go out and help others know that Jesus loved them in the same way.

 

So Jesus draws Peter out of his discouragement and into repentance, releasing him from the burdens of his denials.  And as many times as Peter publicly denied Him, He has Peter publicly declare his love and commitment – “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” (John 21:15-17).  Then choose to know Me, which means “Follow Me” (John 21:19) wherever I take you.

 

Known

 

And thus Jesus, who knew Peter all along, helped Peter know the true heart of his Savior.  The One who knows us and still loves us.  The One who redeems our bad choices with another opportunity.  The One who applies grace as often as we need it.  The One who forgives fully and finally.

 

And oh, how being known – and forgiven – changed Peter.  That day, as Jesus rewrote his story, I think he embraced the full power of God’s love.  Because he became emboldened to go out and start making an impact in the world around him.  It was Peter who stood up at Pentecost and preached “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) to the people gathered there.  It was Peter who healed the lame man at the temple gate (Acts 3:6-7) and then preached to the astonished people who quickly gathered (Acts 3:19).  It was Peter who boldly confronted the religious leaders about their role in crucifying an innocent Man (Acts 4:10) and refused to stop preaching about his Savior (Acts 4:20).  And it was Peter who was eventually proudly crucified for his outrageous faith.

 

All because Jesus knew him – and loved him through all the mistakes, the messes, and the missteps.

 

And the great news today is that God knows you.  Yes, you.  Sitting there reading this.  No matter what you have done, where you have been, or how often you have chosen not to know Him, He still knows you.  And He loves you, completely.  He is waiting for you to be like Peter and turn to know Him.  It will be the beginning of a whole new life – and purpose – for you.

 

Marie Fremin.  10/1/18 and 10/7/18

From Disaster to Divine Appointment

Isn’t it so much fun when crazy things happen to us?  NOT!

 

I was definitely not feeling “happy” Tuesday night when I busted a tire and had to pull over.  And then sit and wait for help to come.  And then scramble to find a tool that was not in the car.  And then having to call for different help – and to be told I would have to sit for about 2 hours, waiting.  In the middle of an empty parking lot.  As the time crept past 10:00pm and kept going closer to midnight.  Trying to keep my very tired eyes open and my very active thoughts somewhat calm.

 

And I could have panicked.  I could have verbally berated myself for causing the problem.  I could have sat and cried from the combination of frustration and exhaustion.

 

But instead I sat and waited.  Praying for people who came to mind.  Praying for my peace of mind.  Planning out my day the next morning.

 

Of course I knew why I was sitting there, unable to go home.  But I wondered about the purpose – what divine lesson was playing out?  And would I ever get the blessing of finding out what it was?

 

Well, to my extreme delight and complete surprise, I did find out.  Only 9 hours later.  And it was the biggest blessing of all that happened in that 24 hour period.

 

See, I had been safe and never once worried about my safety.  Everyone I spoke with made sure I was well taken care of and in no immediate danger.  The roadside assistance people kept me in the loop about when help should arrive and what I could approximately expect to pay.  The dispatcher for the tow truck told me to go home and rest because of the lateness of the hour – after I spent an hour waiting and would have spent another 2 more before it arrived.  I made it home safely and got the bonus of having a nice conversation with the Uber driver on my way home.  I got to sleep in my own bed.  My car was delivered to Firestone without issue, and they texted me with pictures to confirm.  Firestone made me their first priority the next morning, and everything was fixed within two hours of opening – and at minimal cost (thank you tire protection).

 

All blessings, when I think about what could have happened.  But all of these combined don’t add up to anything compared to the biggest blessing of them all.  The real reason for all my woes.  Her name is Miss Bea.

 

From Disaster to Divine Appointment

 

Miss Bea is the part-time Uber driver who picked me up Wednesday morning to take me to my repaired car.  God purposely put me in her path.  Because she was driving before one of her part time jobs to make money to support herself, her daughter, and her granddaughter.  I asked her about her beautiful accent and found out she is originally from Nigeria and has been here for 23 years.  God recently moved her to Woodstock.  And Miss Bea is looking for a church home in this new area of town.  I happen to love talking about my church, so I told her about the church and the pastor – and how friendly everyone is and how God makes all people feel welcome there.  Then I find out she has been curious about this church for a while, because one of her jobs is across the street at the new Costco!  So she has seen the church each time she goes to this job, and she has been wondering if she should attend.

 

And we both realized very quickly how God was working.

 

Because Miss Bea wants to get connected in the area so she can get closer to God in corporate worship.  And she has been praying – for her future jobs (hoping to condense from 3-4 to 2), her family (she is taking care of her daughter and granddaughter), her finances, and her faith.

 

So God had me tear up my tire Tuesday night so I would need a ride Wednesday morning.  And He sent Miss Bea, who was an Uber driver in the area driving before work, to pick me up.  How would we have met otherwise?  How would I have told her about the church she has been wanting to visit?  How would I have given her my phone number to call me?  How would she know who I was when she excitedly said she would be there Sunday?

 

I am hoping to hear from her, confirming that she will in fact be there Sunday.  I hope she finds herself right where God wants her to be and can get planted – with her family.

 

No matter what, I pray that God meets her right at her greatest needs.  That He provides a more stable and better paying employment opportunity for her.  That He continues to bless her with great Uber riders who tip well.  That He helps her settle into her new life and eventually into a new home.  That He surrounds her with grace to lead her family well.  That He continues to show her the beauty and benefits of holding onto hope and faith.

 

So what I thought was a careless and inconvenient accident turned into an amazing divine appointment.  And I am still sitting in complete amazement that God orchestrated everything so I could part of His plans.

 

And I hope I am always available to His purposes in the future.

 

Loving Father,

Thank You for loving me no matter how crazy I speak, think, and act.  Thank You for keeping me safe during times of trouble.  Help me to calm and quiet any crazy thoughts and out of control words – so I can focus on You and the plans You are bringing to pass.  Help me remember the blessing of Miss Bea – and how there is a blessing at the end of each trial.  In Jesus’ all-mighty name.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  9/20/18

 

Matthew 4 – temptation of Jesus

Matthew 4:1-3a – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him …

 

Are you hungry?  Tired?  Lonely?  Frustrated?  Unhappy?  Full of fear?  Then the devil is looking for you.  Like a moth to a light, he is coming for you.  And he will not be distracted from pursuing you.  Because you are a prime target for his sneaky, slimy, and slanderous attacks.

 

Matthew 4 - temptation of Jesus

 

He will wait until you are at your most vulnerable – like Jesus not eating for 40 days.  Do you think Jesus didn’t feel hungry?  He did.  He was ready to eat.  And it could have been as He pulled Himself up to standing and was heading back into the city to eat something that Lucifer met Him on the road.  Ready to pounce.  Ready to tempt.  Ready to destroy.

 

So he “came to Him”.  He came into Jesus’ space, ready to attack His emotions, His thoughts, and His confidence.  And he was ready to attack from every angle.  To see if this man was the genuine article or not.  Because surely He is not the one God promised all those years ago.

 

So the devil comes to Him (literally) and at Him (spiritually).  And as they stood face-to-face, he decides to start easy, with the basic human need He currently has unmet.

 

Matthew 4:3If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.  If You are the Holy One, then use Your divine power to satisfy Your hunger.  You know You are hungry!  God rained manna from heaven each day, so surely You could do something easier, like just turning these stones into food.  You don’t even have to move – they are here.  Turn them into the personal provision You need.

 

But He didn’t fall for it.  Because “… is not life more than food …” (Matthew 6:25).

 

Hmmm.  That was easy, but it didn’t work.  Maybe He was insulted at something so easy.  So let me challenge Him with something that will allow Him to show off.

 

Matthew 4:6If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’  If You are the Holy One, then call upon Your legion of divine soldiers.  Since You can easily protect Yourself, You will never be hurt.  Show me.  Show off the personal protection readily available to You.

 

But He still didn’t fall for it.  Because “I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness…” (1 Chronicles 29:17).

 

Man, this guy is tough.  Maybe He is the real deal.  But anyone can be swayed by the allure of power, so let me throw my best stuff at Him.

 

Matthew 4:9All these things [all the kingdoms of the world and their glory] I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.  Are you sure God isn’t withholding something great from You?  You are here on earth, a mere human.  You haven’t been swayed by food or showing off, so maybe You have nothing.  I can offer You everything humans want – power, glory, and control.  Just say I am better than God, and it is all Yours.

 

But a third time He still didn’t fall for it.  “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2-3).

 

Three times the devil came at Him personally, offering Him something most people spend their whole lives chasing.  And three times He refused, choosing God’s purposes over His personal well-being.

 

And now he is going to come for YOU.  Just as he watched Jesus, waiting for the right opportunity, so too is he watching you.  “… Like a roaring lion …” (1 Peter 5:8), waiting for the right opportunity – when you are tired, scared, insecure, vulnerable, alone, shame-filled, or confused.  So he can try to tempt (convince) you (far) away from God’s love.

 

And you may not have the faith, strength, or courage in that moment to speak the Word at him (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10) and send him packing (Matthew 4:10).  But pray now that when that moment comes you will be prepared and you will fight back.  Because the same grace that enabled and empowered Jesus to overcome the incredibly enticing temptations is available to you.

 

So tap into it and walk boldly in it.  And you too will find yourself saying “… Away with you, Satan! …” (Matthew 4:10) and being blessed by God.

 

Marie Fremin.  7/21/18 and 8/11/18.

I Know It’s There

But I know it’s there.

 

This was the cry of the afflicted in my house one day this week, after a trip to the hair salon left a slightly imperfect hair line behind an ear.  Not even visible, as attested by everyone in the salon.  But it didn’t matter.  The result was a two hour fit that started by getting nose-to-nose with the salon mirror, pulling the ear down, staring at the imperfections, and mumbling until it was time to leave.  No assurance could stave off the fit, and the sulk lasted until the offended corrected the problem.

 

Why such a fit over something invisible to everyone?  Because I know it’s there.  And apparently knowing the hairline is less than perfect, even though invisible, is enough to not let go and reuse to move on.

 

And aren’t we the same way?  Yep, ouch!

 

I know it's There

 

We hold on tightly to our sin, refusing to let it go and accept God’s grace.  Because we think it blocks God’s grace from working for us and in us.

 

We cuddle our shame and insecurities close, allowing them to define who we are and determine the quality of our relationships.  Because we believe we can never be good enough for (lasting) love.

 

We give power and place to fear, allowing it to stop our progress and block our blessings.  Because we stop believing God could ever be big enough to help us or loving enough to bring good.

 

So when God draws near to us and asks us to draw near to Him, we won’t.  Because I know it’s there.

 

How quickly we forget that God’s grace is designed to overcome any baggage and burden we carry.  Because grace knows exactly where we’ve been and what we’ve chosen.  Grace knows every there in our past and present.  And yet grace still comes to us – knowing we can rewrite our past, rechart our present, and redirect our future.  If we will surrender our there and allow grace to take its place.

 

So what is stopping you?  What there is in your life, keeping you from God’s best?

 

Today is the day to stop letting it control you.  Throw it with all you are into the waiting arms of grace.  For He promises a divine exchange, His grace for your mess – “To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness …” (Isaiah 61:3).  And when you (finally) allow God in, just watch Him start to transform your life.

 

No there we have is too much for God.  It may feel like it – but He can handle it.  And He will walk into and through the mess with you to help guide you out.  Just like He promises in Isaiah 43:2.

 

So what will you let go of today?  Don’t let your there be there any longer.

 

Loving Father, thank You for Your grace.  Thank You for allowing grace to overwrite the sin and mistakes in our life.  Help us today to embrace the full power of grace by allowing grace to take the place of anything less than Your best.  Help us open our hearts, minds, and will to the transformation You can and will do in our lives.  In Jesus’ mighty name.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  8/11/18

Brotherly Love instead of Bone to Pick

Romans 12:10Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another

 

I don’t know about you, but people tend to get on my nerves.  They don’t usually mean to, and they aren’t usually trying to.  It just happens – because they get in my way and/or make it hard(er) for me.

 

It’s easier to deal with when it is a random, unknown person:

  • The person who cuts the left turn too short
  • The person who blocks the entire grocery aisle
  • The person who goes 30 and hits the brakes a lot in a 45 mile an hour zone
  • The person who refuses to let me (or anyone) merge into morning traffic
  • The group blocking the walkway anywhere (movies, church, theater)

 

Nameless and unknown.  You comment under your breath and move on, knowing you will probably not see or have to deal with the person again.

 

But what about the people you know?  The ones who know your name:

  • The coworker who leaves a mess in the shared kitchen or bathroom
  • The coworker who leaves early or calls out on a short-staffed day
  • The coworker who sends a nasty text because she didn’t like something you said

 

And how about when it gets in your face personal:

  • The boss/parent/teacher who makes every problem your fault
  • The boss/parent/teacher who calls you useless or worthless to your face
  • The boss who gives your supervisor permission to verbally abuse you … to her face
  • The family member who only talks about your negative points

 

Any of this is enough to wear on anyone.  But it is tough to tough it out and “be kindly affectionate” when it gets personal.  And I have moments when the pain people bring into my life causes me to (proudly) wear my pissy panties.

 

Brotherly Love

 

And I know it is wrong.  Because it puts me so far from Jesus’ idea of love (giving people understanding and serving them) and Paul’s idea of love (see 1 Corinthians 13).

 

We are called to so much more than hissy fits and emotional baggage.  Paul spells it out in Romans 12:9-21.  We are called to think, act, and speak like Jesus.

 

In verse 10 alone, we are called to:

  • To choose not to repay bad actions and harsh words with the same.  We are called to “be kindly affectionate” – to give goodness at all times.
  • To choose to live out of amazing grace instead of our unreliable emotions.  We are called to “giving preference” – to give forgiveness, even when it is not asked for, and to find compassion, even when it is least deserved.
  • To choose to see people as children of God … and to react to them as such.  We are called to “brotherly love” – to speak carefully, to love continuously, to pray compassionately, and to react cautiously to all of God’s masterpieces.

 

And I miss all these marks.  Sometimes all in the same day.  And I could get down on myself and beat myself up.

 

But I don’t.  I choose to see the lesson in each failure – and take a step toward love the next time I have a chance.

 

And I remember I am not called to have a close and personal relationship with everyone.  Even Jesus only had a handful of people close to Him.  But I am called to love everyone – I am expected to help people see the goodness and experience the grace of God.  Whether it is for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

 

And that means in order to “… live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18) I have to check myself.  A lot!

 

I need to choose to pray for each person who gets on my nerves.  God please help me, because I need it!

 

Loving Father, thank You for loving me through all my good and bad moments.  Thank You for never giving up on me, no matter what I do and how many times I miss Your best.  Help me to love and respond to people in the same grace-filled way You do.  Help me to assume the best and choose to bless … especially in those moments when I don’t want to react this way.  Help me to be a tsunami of grace to everyone around me.  In Jesus’ all-mighty name.  AMEN!

 

Marie Fremin.  8/4-8/5/18.