Today God reminded me of a few things I need to work on if I want to truly fulfill His purpose for me. I feel led to share them with you.
We are called to be a light to the world. 2 Timothy 1:11 says "And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of this Good News." I have been called and placed exactly where I am for a divine reason. I was called to work with our youth group to minister to and encourage our teenagers. I can use my testimony to benefit them. To be there for them and encourage them in their walk with the Lord. I am also blessed to be a part of a military wife group called Combat Boot Divas. This group allows me to meet other military wives which allows us to strengthen and encourage each other. Even if a person upsets me, I must live out my call. Allowing someone to shake me gives that person the power to interfere with my purpose. No one should have that power but God.
I need to stop reacting poorly to anyone who upsets me. Two verses from Matthew 5 give us clear instruction for how to handle opposing people. Verse 28 says, "But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also." Verse 44 says, "But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!" I should never even think about wishing anyone harm. I should not desire for others to suffer. It does not matter what they have done to me. Instead we are told in James 1:2 "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy." I am supposed to rejoice at tests and trials. I am supposed to remember how blessed I am to serve the Lord Almighty. My God is bigger than any wrong done to me. My Savior is greater than any insult or injury. He heals, restores, calms and strengthens his children.
We are instructed very clearly to forgive those who wrong us. Matthew 6:14-15 tells us "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins." I don't know about you but I cannot afford to not be forgiven. I have done wrong. I have wronged and hurt others. Even if a person is constantly doing or saying hurtful things I must forgive each account and move on. There are no exceptions. There are no "well once they've wronged you X number of times you don't have to forgive them anymore." If God were to allow us a limit on how many times we must forgive someone, He would have to limit how many times He forgives us. Thankfully Lamentations 3:23 tells us "Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh every morning." Once we have repented of a sin it is forgotten by God. He does not keep it in his mental record to bring back up later. He moves on like it never happened. I believe we are called to forgive in this same way.
Not only are we called to reach the lost but we are meant to influence and strengthen other believers. Proverbs 27:17 words it like this: "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." If I'm not building up other believers then what am I doing? Probably hindering their walk with the Lord. I do not want to stand before my God on judgment day if I am not sharpening my spiritual brothers and sisters. I have been blessed with so many uplifting people in my life. Friends who inspire me, keep me accountable, encourage me, love me at my worst and accept me as the precious gift I am. I should be constantly striving to be like that to those around me and so should you.
I believe each person we interact with has been placed in our path by God. There are no coincidences. I meet who I meet for a reason. I may not always know the reason but that is irrelevant. God's ability to work in me and through me does not depend on my own understanding which to be honest is a huge relief. As I look around at all the people I interact with on a daily, weekly or monthly basis I can't help but feel overwhelmed. The impact I can and should have on this world is far greater than I have ever realized. From a passing "Have a blessed day" to the lifelong commitment to my husband and children, I am making a difference. My prayer is that I am changing, shaping and encouraging those around me for the better.
I hope these messages from God can inspire you the way they have inspired me. Right now, in the middle of the storm, nothing is better than feeling God's loving embrace. I'm so blessed.
Yikes I can't believe another 30 days slipped by me. I'm actually two days past the sixty day mark. I have not begun a third Orange Rhino Challenge.
How am I doing?
Well things are stressful for us right now. Stress can make you do crazy things. Overall I feel like I'm still doing okay though. There is still work to be done but I can feel a change in myself. Even when I do yell (just being honest, it still happens) I don't feel as out of control. We're still working on getting back on track with discipline. I'm trying to finish the current book I'm reading before we set up any new plans. I know we will be implementing family meetings. Punitive time out will become positive time out. And I'm sure as I continue to read my book I will realize other changes that need to be made. I still believe in positive discipline and feel it is the best path for our family. I just want to have a better grasp on things before we start making changes. For now I will continue to work on not yelling at my children and making small changes in how I talk to them and what words I choose when correcting them or teaching them. Parenting is a fun ride isn't it?
My goal for this 60 day challenge was to post every ten days but obviously that has not been the case. Today is actually day 30. Half way. Doesn't even remotely seem possible. Time has been flying by it seems. I can feel myself finding a new rhythm that doesn't involve yelling. I still raise my voice at times but I didn't expect for that to end. My goal was for the crazy, angry, temper-tantrum (yes I'm talking about me and not the children) like yelling to end and so far I'm feeling pretty good with things.
Right now our family feels a bit in limbo. We've gotten off track as far as discipline goes. Right now we're trying to find our path again. It's a little overwhelming to change something as drastic as the way you discipline your children but we know that our family will be better for it in the long run. We have to stop focusing on the frustrations of now and look ahead to the young ladies we see our daughters becoming. It's exciting and terrifying. The joys of parenthood, right?!
Hopefully I will be more faithful in the second 30 days than I was in the first 30 days.