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When Love Feels Hard — Guest Blogger

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What happens when we’re called to forgive our enemy? Surely some acts, even some people, are unforgiveable, right?

Carolyn was the last person I wanted to forgive. The event I experienced because of her was so traumatic I’d blocked it from my mind for thirteen years.

I met Carolyn at a public pool when I was eleven. She was tall and pretty. We instantly hit it off, but my parents didn’t know she had a troubled home life. She was also friends with another girl with mental problems. They were best friends until I was put in the middle. One night, when I no longer wanted to be a part of their dysfunctional antics, I told Carolyn I didn’t want to be friends anymore. She begged me to take one last adventure with her and visit the roof of her high-rise apartment. I obliged, though terrified of heights.

The roof was dark, cold, and windy. I didn’t want to go to the edge, but Carolyn encouraged me. A few feet away, I gingerly peered over into the abyss. Carolyn gripped the back of my shirt. She pushed me closer to the rail and delivered her ultimatum, “Say you’ll be friends with me forever or you’ll go over the side.”

I hated her, but I’d buried the fear she’d instilled deep inside. I thank God people rescued me from her physical clutches, but I still needed Jesus to heal me from the mental one. As an adult, I had to confront the past, but I didn’t have the power to unlock the door. Jesus showed me my mental prison, the truth about my worthless warden, and the key to breaking out.

Choosing to love the person we most fear or hate is difficult. Jesus died on the cross for everyone, even His enemies. Conquering all sin and rebellion, his sacrifice demonstrated the greatest act of love that was won with the greatest weapon: Forgiveness. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 ESV) and we choose to forgive because we are forgiven (Eph.4:32).

Following Jesus’s example of unconditional love enabled me to forgive Carolyn. It was by no means an easy task, but I know now it was a necessary one.Following Jesus’s example of unconditional love enabled me to forgive. It was by no means an easy task, but I know now it was a necessary one. Click To Tweet One week after I prayed to love and forgive her, I received an email to an account I rarely used. The subject: Do you remember me?

It was from Carolyn. She was married with kids and had recently found old photos of us. She remembered my name, which recalled happy emotions, but because of childhood trauma she couldn’t remember any events before high school. She wanted to know what I remembered about her so I chose to be honest. She was so mortified by my experience that she asked to talk to me over the phone. By the loving mercy of God, it was an hour-long conversation that set two once-tormented little girls free.

Love is a choice. Forgiveness is priceless. Both are the keys to freedom.mirachellequote2-apr8-fb

Perhaps you struggling to forgive someone today. What will take for you to choose God’s love in order to forgive?

Love is a choice. Forgiveness is priceless. Both are the keys to freedom. Click To Tweet

Get to know Mirachelle!

Mirachelle's author photoMirachelle Canada is a writer, playwright, screenwriter, and theatre director/producer from Northern Virginia, where she teaches television production at her high school alma mater. She is passionate about awakening creativity and the gifts of God in everyone.

She is currently working on her first historical fiction novel set during WWII, inspired by her time studying theatre education in London, England.

Connect with Mirachelle at:

her Website  on Facebook,  Twitter, and  Instagram.

Faith

In God’s Wisdom — Of Greater Consequence Than What We Do Today

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I have a tendency to focus on all the problems and opportunities in front of me. To plan and plot and scheme and strive. But I’m learning, God is more concerned with what is going on within me than anything going on around me.

God is more concerned with what's going on within me than anything going on around me. Click To Tweet

He’s much more concerned with my growth, in wisdom and character, than any role I fill or opportunity I accept. As a result, He rarely tells me what’s up ahead. Instead, He gently whispers guidance for today.

One summer, I found this particularly frustrating. I was wrestling with some career decisions, feeling as if I needed answers immediately. I wanted to follow God’s wisdom, to yield to His guidance, but He appeared to be silent. Feeling discouraged and unsettled, I met with a friend for coffee.

I shared with her all my concerns, all my options, and of course, all of my confusion.

“Well,” she said, “What’s God saying to you?”

I sighed. “Nothing. Other than character-growth stuff.”

She smiled. “Then that’s what He wants you to focus on.”

Later that afternoon, as I puttered around my house, tidying up (also known as allowing my thoughts to stew), realization hit. My personal growth would have far greater benefits, not just in terms of my faith and relationships with God and others, but also in relation to future success, than any momentary decision I could make.

We don’t need to have everything figured out. We simply needed to follow God’s guidance, trust in His wisdom, & lean into His strength.

Scripture and experience tells me my view is faulty and distorted on my best day. But God’s wisdom is perfect and infinite. He knows everything I’ll face tomorrow and precisely what I’ll need, internally and externally, to overcome every challenge.

Foggy road with quote pulled from postIn His wisdom and infinite love, God was preparing me for what lay ahead. This understanding lifted my heart and stilled my swirling, chaotic thoughts. I didn’t need to have everything figured out. I simply needed to follow God’s guidance, trust in His wisdom, and lean into His strength.

We don't need to have everything figured out. We simply needed to follow God’s guidance, trust in His wisdom, & lean into His strength. Click To Tweet

The rest would come, in His perfect timing. And it did. With each opportunity, and endeavor, God showed me precisely what steps to take, leading me in a direction I hadn’t known existed but proved far better than anything I could conceive on my own.

He’ll do the same for you.

Let’s talk about this! Are you in a period of waiting? Are you tempted to jump ahead, to make things work out according to your plans and wisdom? Do you trust that God truly does want to guide you toward His very best? How might focusing on that truth give you the courage to yield to Him–His timing and will? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

 

Faith, Living loved

The Unshakable Security of Christ’s Love

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Jesus should’ve given up on me long ago. I gave up on myself, especially during my teen years, when I spent more time drunk than sober, and filled with enough anger to emotionally combust.

But each day, God pursued me and lovingly drew me until, eventually, His gentle and persistent love soothed my inner angst and healed the hurt it came from. He always offers us more grace and patience than we’d ever offer ourselves, and His staying power far exceeds ours. I know this, but in moments of doubt or discouragement, or when my pride wins out over obedience, I can easily forget.

God's love for me is based on who He is, not what I've done, and my salvation rests on what He's done, not what I haven't. Click To Tweet

In Christ, I am held secure.

I never fully understood God’s heart for me, and the power and strength emerging from it, until I became a parent. But having walked beside my daughter through nearly a lifetime of good, bad, the obedient, and at times, flat-out rebellious, I’ve caught a better, deeper, picture of my Father’s heart—a heart that never lets go, never gives up, and will in no way ever turn away.

When our daughter was seven or eight, we moved across the country from Southern California to Bossier City, Louisiana, a transition she struggled with. Though initially, we were oblivious to her pain—seven-year-olds aren’t often able to express their emotions—we soon became alert to a drastic change of behavior. Our normally cheerful, affectionate little girl had become sullen and angry.

I was confused and concerned.

One afternoon, she grew quite upset with me (for reasons I can’t remember), shouted, “I hate you!” and slammed her bedroom door.

That was the first, and perhaps last, time she’d ever said something like that to me, and it broke my heart. But not for the reasons you may assume.

My heart broke because I knew hers was breaking. Beneath her anger and harsh words, I saw her pain, and in that moment, what I longed for most was to draw her near and hold her close.

Throughout my faith journey, I’ve displayed a similar response toward God as she had to me, numerous times. Like when my friend was dying, and I struggled to reconcile my circumstances with what I knew regarding God’s love, power, and sovereignty. Once my emotions settled down, guilt and fear followed. Had my anger angered God?

Had I—or would I—do something that would drive Him away for good?

But each time, not only did He remain. But He took giant, loving steps toward me.

God holds me secure, and His love will always remain. Unshakable. Immovable. Solid and sure. Click To Tweet
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How securely are your feet planted in grace? When doubts and insecurities arise regarding God’s heart for you, how might pausing to remember who He is, rather than what you have or haven’t done, help you rest in His embrace? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

For those wanting to learn how to more fully embrace their Christ-centered identity and rest in His grace, grab a free copy of our study, Becoming His Princess. You can do so HERE. And make sure to join us for one of our upcoming Fully Alive conferences to learn how to connect on a deeper level with your Savior and live vibrantly alive in every moment. Find out more and how to register HERE. Want us to join you for your next women’s event? Contact us for more information or to schedule a time to chat by phone HERE.

 

 

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